Saturday, April 18, 2015

Historical Sew Monthly Planning

I really want to do all of the Historical Sew Monthly Challenges (even though I missed February's challenge of blue so I'll have to do that one for the re-do challenge) and life has finally calmed down enough that I can start planning out what I want to do for future challenges. I've already finished my April challenge so let's start with May.


This challenge is all about making an everyday wear around the house type piece. I did a lot of work on my lower class Elizabethan wardrobe last year so I won't be doing anything big this time, just working on accessories. I really want to do some headwear for this challenge. I only have one proper coif/caul and it's made from an old sheet. I have some leftover linen from my Italian chemise that would be perfect for this.

Practical outfit with the sheet coif and sheet shift.

June- Out of your comfort zone

This is the time to try a period or technique that's brand new! I've decided to do an embroidery project for this one. I have done a bit of embroidery before but not really for a historical project. I have been practicing a bit of blackwork. If I get ambitious, I might try a coif but I haven't found a pattern I like yet. An apron or partlet is more likely.

July- Accessorize

After seeing Morgan Donner's Italian Renaissance dress with a veil, I've decided that I must have a veil! I'd love to do one in silk like her's but I have to do some research and see if the budget will stretch. Either way, this will be a simple, though fiddley project.

August- Heirlooms and Heritage

This project is to be inspired by something an ancestor wore or might have worn. I don't know a lot about my family history all though there has been some research done on my hubby's side of the family. This one will take some thought.

Photo of my great-grandma (the one not facing the camera) and her aunts. 

September-Color Challenge Brown

I have some yummy brown wool just waiting for an Elizabethan jacket. I may not feel like looking at wool in September in Florida but that's the plan so far.

October-Sewing Secrets

Make something with secret in it-a pocket, false front, mend, secret message or allegiance. I'm a member of an Elizabethan costuming group on Facebook whose members are called EC Bees so I want to make something bee related to show that I'm part of the group. I'm not sure what I want to do for this project but there will be bees on it!

November- Silver Screen

Oh, yes! A movie project! If my Borgia dress isn't done before this, that's what will be here. It's going in slow spurts so it might be November before it is done but if not, I'll probably do something vintage.

December- Re-Do

I need to re-do at least the blue challenge. Thankfully, blue is a good color on me! I'm thinking a kirtle or petticoat would be a good idea.

I'm sure some of these will change before then (especially those at the end of the year) but I've got some great projects to focus on!

Monday, April 13, 2015

A Frock for Spring

I know that for many parts of the US and Canada, you are just tasting the first blooms of spring but here in Florida, it's feeling quite like summer! Either way, it's time to dust off our cute shoes and pull out a new season's wardrobe from storage. I've always loved wardrobe rotation time!

This 1950s dress is perfect for a nice warm day! 

I don't often buy actual vintage anymore. It can be hard to get a good fit especially when buying online, they are not often up to the wear and tear of everyday life and prices have gone way up. But I just had to make an exception for this dress when I found it last summer.

Someone had taken very good care of this dress. All it needed was a wash and to tack on some of the buttons which had come loose.

Speaking of buttons, the ones on this dress are great! Knowing me, I would have probably picked a basic black button to go with such a busy print but these ones are just more fun. Whenever I wear this dress, I'm reminded to not be scared of some of the more exciting buttons in my stash.

And the self-fabric ruffle at the neckline is fabulous too! This would be a great way to use up those little bits that are always left over from a sewing project.

I wish that it had a matching self-fabric belt but this black one does just fine. It's probably one of my most worn accessories actually.

Unfortunately, we were running late this morning so it's the only accessory I had time to throw on. And my hair was kind of blah but that's life sometimes. Not everyday has to be picture perfect.

Simple and pretty is always a good idea. The more I wear vintage, the more I am attracted to more simple, everyday styles. Those fancy looks just take so much energy.

Of course, I still love my giant crinolines! And swooshy skirts!

What are you excited to wear as spring is arriving?

Friday, April 10, 2015

HSM March: Stashbusting

Yet another Historical Sew Monthly project complete! This one is actually March's challenge of stash busting. I did actually get this done in March but I made it to wear for Easter so no photos until now.

The Challenge: Stash Busting-make something completely from stash materials.
Fabric: less than 2 yds of linen
How long in stash: I purchased this fabric in January to make my 1930s beach pjs (which are finished but not photographed). I wanted to do a color blocked version so I erred on the side of too much rather than too little fabric. I had almost two yards so I decided to try and squeeze a dress out of it. It took a bit of creative cutting layout kung fu but I did it.
Year: It's based off of a 1942 Hollywood pattern
Notions: zipper and thread from stash
How historically accurate is it?  It's very historically accurate. I did use polyester thread and used my serger to finish my seams. I also left of the shoulder pads.
Hours to complete: 5 hrs
First worn: to church for Easter service
Total cost: free since everything was purchased and leftover from an old project.

 This is actually the second time I've made up this dress. The first I made up way back in 2011 as part of Elegant Musing's Swing Dress Sew Along. I'd been sewing less than a year and it didn't turn out that great. But I've learned a lot since then and I though that this pattern deserved a second chance.

I probably should have made a muslin but I decided to wing it. I needed a quick project to sew up so I just went for it. 

There were a few issues that I ran into. Again, I had some bunching where the gathers hit the waist band but I was prepared for that and fit as I was sewing it up. Also, the facing on the bodice and the facing on the back neck didn't line up for me. I made it work but the neckline ended up a bit lower than I wanted.

I've seen several versions of this dress where ladies have used a brooch to hold the neckline closed a bit higher so I might try that next time. Overall, I'm pretty happy with the fit. 

I added to the outfit my 40s Fashion Calendar brooch and my Lady Mary's Garden Party hat.

I love that the background of this brooch matches the color of this dress so well. It makes the whole thing a little bit less bold for someone like me who is still learning how to wear brooches.

 For Easter, I knew that I wanted to wear a hat of some kind. Unfortunately, none of my green hats were quite the right shade to go with this dress. And quite a few of my hats just don't work with straight hair. My hubby suggested that I wear this hat and it was a great idea.

 Floral hats are always great for Easter and spring! This outfit was so much fun to wear.

Did you make anything special for Easter this year?

Monday, April 6, 2015

Wardrobe Architect: Week 8

I'm working my way through the Coletterie's Wardrobe Architect project. If you missed the first post, start here.


This week's task is all about hair, makeup and beauty. There was a list of questions to answer so let's get too it!

1. What hair style has been most flattering and comfortable for you? How did it make you feel about yourself? Did it invoke any of the words you came up with in our core style exercise?

I've had quite a few lengths of hair over the years but at my heart, I'm a short haired girl. I personally think that hair is an accessory and should be changed up every once in a while. I'm still relearning my hair in the Florida weather but I'm sure short will be the way to go in the summer. Right now, I'm really loving the bob. It's the haircut I've had most frequently in my life and it always feels like me.

2. How much makeup are you comfortable with? It could be no makeup, or a full face with contouring (and all that jazz I could never figure out). Or it could vary day to day.

I prefer a more natural look with a pop of color on the lips. My everyday makeup routine takes about 4 minutes which is just perfect for me because I'm not a morning person. I have a few basic eye looks that I rotate through based on what I'm feeling like. I do like to play with makeup for a night out too.

3. How does your makeup and hair reflect your personal style? What do you feel they say about you and your aesthetics?

I really like looking put together but not over done. In both my modern and vintage wardrobes, that's what keeps popping out at me when I think about what I really like to wear. Simple, classic basics that always look good. And I like my hair and makeup to look like that too.

4. How much product do you want to own? Do you like collecting products, or would you rather just have a few essentials? How much bathroom clutter are you ok with?

Since I've discovered Sephora, I've found joy in trying new products. But on a day to day basis, I tend to rotate through a small subset of products. I've yet to "hit pan" on any of my products except for my beloved eyeliner so I've been trying to resist the siren call of new products.

5. What requirements do you have for the products you buy? Do you stick with all natural products? Are there ingredients you avoid?

I don't really have any specific things that I avoid although I have been trying out more natural or diy products recently.

6. What colors feel best near your face? How do they relate to the color palette you created?

I look great in yellow. Jewel tones are also killer on me. I'm not afraid of color.

7. What colors never look right near your face? What colors have you tried and given up on before?

I've never felt that there was a color I couldn't wear near my face. Maybe I just naturally avoid those colors or maybe I'm just blessed with a great complexion. I do know that I look better with darker hair rather than lighter so I'll stick with that.

8. How much time do you realistically want to spend getting ready in the morning?

 I enjoy putting together outfits, but on a day to day basis, I would much rather have a grab and go wardrobe. I think having a more cohesive wardrobe will really help with that since more things will mix and match.

9. What types of scents do you gravitate towards? Do you wear perfume? Other scented products? What do you feel the scents you like communicate about your personality?

I was never much one for wearing perfume and now that I have birds, scented things are out. I much prefer unscented products.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

HSM April: War and Peace

I have been sewing! It's been slow going in the sewing arena but I did get some stuff done! This project happened to fall into the April Historical Sew Monthly challenge of War and Peace.

Finally, my 1940s suit is done! The skirt is the one I made from Simplicity 1659 back in January and the jacket that I just finished is from Simplicity 4013. You can see both patterns in this post.

The Challenge: War and Peace- Make something that shows the effects of war or extended peace.
Fabric: 2 yds linen
Pattern: Simplicity 4013 c. 1939
Year: 1939
Notions: vintage buttons, thread
How historically accurate is it?  It's very historically accurate. I did use polyester thread and used my serger to finish my seams but other than that it's all good. 
Hours to complete: 3-4 hrs
First worn: to church
Total cost: ~$16

I made it up in a yummy red linen. I adore linen! It's yummy to wear and sew with if a bit wrinkly. Linen rayon blends are also great for vintage projects.

Since the jacket was made of linen, I didn't need to do any kind of fancy tailoring. It's more like a blouse that looks like a jacket rather than an actual jacket. You might even call this type of outfit a two piece dress.

I had a hard time deciding on buttons for this suit. Metal buttons would be severely rationed during WWII. A lot of vintage suits from this era have self fabric buttons but I didn't want to go through the hassle of making them. Mine never turn out that great anyways. I didn't have any red buttons in my stash but I found these great white ones instead.

I really wanted to wear a brooch with this suit but I couldn't figure out which one to wear with this suit. I'm horrible with brooch placement. Plus we were running late so I just grabbed these great crochet gloves.

And add a great hat for a great outfit! This is one of my favorite hats. The flowers are so cute! It looks great with pin curled hair but I also like how it looks with my bob.

This outfit made me remember what I really love about 40s fashion. The classic, tailored shape is fabulous and chic but also so practical. Plus, I finally have a 40s suit! Oh, the mixing and matching possibilities!

To round out the outfit, it's my Remix shoes! They don't necessarily match but they go. And why not wear fabulous shoes!

Do you have a vintage suit?

Monday, March 30, 2015

Wardrobe Architect: Week 7

I'm working my way through the Coletterie's Wardrobe Architect project. If you missed the first post, start here.


Week 7 is all about looking at prints and patterns that you actually like to wear (vs the ones that call to you from the quilting section of JoAnn's) so that's what we're going to do. I started by looking at some of my favorite outfits to see what types of prints I enjoy wearing.

So what I have noticed? I like a lot of solids, either great basic pieces or a mostly solid piece with some sort of embellishment. I tend to like smaller prints rather than large ones. I like classic prints like stripes, dots, and geometrics (not too modern looking though!). Mostly, I do not like novelty prints especially ones that look really young but there are exceptions to any rule.

What kinds of prints do you like to wear?

Friday, March 27, 2015

Fit for a Princess

I shared my excitement about the new Disney Cinderella last week so when I finally got to see it, I just had to dress up! Thanks to an epic Pin Up Girl clothing sale last spring, I had the perfect skirt in my wardrobe already!

So, this skirt is Sleeping Beauty inspired but whatever, it's princess-y and I like it!

I adore navy so I had this great sweater to go with it. I suppose white or black or pink would also go as well but I don't like to be too sweet looking.

Anyways, the movie was quite epic. It told its own story will still remaining true to many of the things we love about the original animated version. No singing though. :(  (I have heard the live action Beauty and the Beast will have singing though!)

The film also had quite a few fabulous actresses including Lily James and Sophie McShera (Rose and Daisy, Downton Abbey), Holliday Grainger (Lucrezia, The Borgias), Helena Bonham Carter (Belatrix, Harry Potter) and Cate Blanchett (Galadriel, Lord of the Rings) to name a few.

I've not loved all of the live action Disney remakes but this one is good in my book! The costuming is also fabulous. It's sort of a mix of vintage, historical and fantasy elements. The evil step mother's costumes, hair and makeup, for example, scream 40s/50s glamor! Oh, so drool worthy!

I did manage to restrain myself enough to leave my tiara at home though!