Friday, September 4, 2015

The Mint Sundae Dress

Today I'm bringing you another 1920s 1 Hour dress. This pattern is so basic and easy that I can't help but want to make it again and again! I went for a very different look with my second one.

The Mint Sundae Dress: A 1920s Afternoon Dress
Fabric: 2.5 yds of embroidered cotton purchased at Costume College 2013 ($6/yd)
Pattern: Festive Attyre's 1 Hour Dress Lawn Party edition
Year: 1920s
Notions: just thread
How historically accurate is it? Fairly. I did serge my seams. While embroidery was popular on dresses, I'm not sure about the netting used in the embroidery section. I did make my own bias tape for finishing the neckline and sleeves and I thought that that was a very period touch.
Hours to complete: More than 1 one but the cutting took a while because I wanted to get the motifs lined up just right.
First worn: August 2015 to church
Total cost: ~$15

Overall, I am very happy with how this dress came out! This pattern definitely looks better in a more light weight, drapey fabric. The skirt shape is much more columnar which adds to the 1920s feel.

Originally, I had purchased this fabric with an Edwardain/19-teens dress in mind but I couldn't come up with anything that felt different enough from my other boarder print/embroidered/scallopy dress. I really need to start giving my costumes names so you know what I'm talking about when I refer to one of them. This is the Mint Sundae Dress.

So 1920s it was. I thought this fabric would be just perfect for a garden party type dress like those often worn by the ladies on Downton Abbey. It's light and airy and looks appropriately dainty for a woman who's not supposed to do anything more strenuous than eat hors d'oeuvres and make small talk.

The print placement took a bit of work to figure out. There was a lot going on and I didn't want anything odd going on like vines pointing to my breasts or the sheer part coming down to low (which is why this fabric never made it to a vintage 40s/50s dress before).

It's very light weight and airy for summer. I think it would be perfect for a summer wedding. For the first time in a while, I know several couples who are engaged so I might actually get invited to a wedding that I can just go to and enjoy!

One of the things I had to contend with on this dress was that there was a large section of sheer fabric on the border print. Should I underline it? Make a separate slip? Just position it carefully? I know in the decade previous, this would have been a nonissue. They just let their undergarments show through sheer fabrics. Of course, they also wore like 3-4 layers of underthings before they could get to the actual dress. I decided that I'd just be ok with my bra and slip straps showing a bit.

Really, you can't tell that much. Plus this dress is quite covered up as far as the rest of it goes. And the pearls make it classy. Pearls make everything classy.

Ah, I'm just so in love with this fabric! It's so pretty! It's so girly and delicate and not something I'd normally gravitate towards.

But it really works with this dress. Sometimes stepping out of your comfort zone helps you step further out of your comfort zone.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

The Story of a Girl

Once upon a time, there was a shy, introverted, fashion ignorant girl. She didn't do anything remotely brave or adventurous and her wardrobe was much more concerned with being comfortable than anything. She wasn't quite sure she'd ever figure the whole girly thing out but secretly she yearned for pretty dresses and princess tiaras and rhinestone jewelry.

On day, she discovered a fabulous new world on the internet. Pretty girls wearing pretty clothes from by gone eras. She admired their outfits. She daydreamed about their hats. She wondered if she could ever get her hair like that. She stood in the makeup aisle pondering red lipstick shades but never quite mustering the courage to pick a shade. She wanted to be like them but knew she couldn't. They were fabulous in some way that she could never be.

Then it happened. This girl found The Blogger. The Blogger was fabulous just like the other girls she had seen but The Blogger was real in a way that resonated in her soul. Maybe The Blogger's nose was too small or her ears a bit too big. Maybe her hair was a bit too wild or her laugh was a bit too loud to be called pretty. Whatever it was, The Blogger wasn't afraid to show her less than perfect side on the internet.

And the girl looked at The Blogger and saw herself. She began to think, maybe I can be like The Blogger. She bought that tube of red lipstick and she wore it....outside of the house! She started wearing skirts more often and tried to figure out how to get a good night's rest with a head full of pin curls. And one day, she even decided to start her own blog.

This girl knew that she wasn't as great as all of the other bloggers out there but she had fun and was even starting to get a few followers. She continued on this way for a while and each day she grew braver, wearing more fabulous dress, winging her eyeliner out more and more and trying more complex hairstyles. And so life went on until, one day, something changed.

A reader commented on her blog telling her how inspiring she was and that the reader had even started on her own vintage fashion journey. And that's when she realized something amazing. She had become The Blogger, not the one who had inspired her long ago but a new blogger who inspired people just like she had been inspired. She, who had been the most ordinary of girls, had become something she'd never thought she'd be, someone who could ignite a passion for vintage in others and give them the courage to step out of their box and become a different girl.

Instead of being stunned by this new found position, she felt braver and bolder. She tried even more different and new things because she wanted to show others that they could do them too. After all, she had! And just look at where she started out!

If you are reading this blog, parts of this story are probably familiar to you. It's all familiar to me because this is my story as well as the story of many, many bloggers out there. Some of us always had this innate sense of style and love of old things but many of us started out just as ordinary girls.

Maybe you are that girl at the beginning of the story, too scared and shy to try something new. Maybe you've found your The Blogger and are just starting to try wearing vintage. (Mine was the lovely Casey.) Maybe you've been wearing vintage for a while and considering starting a blog. Where ever you are, I have a message for you.

You can do it.

After all, I did it. And I was a shy girl who lived in jeans, wore almost no makeup and never could figure out what to do with her hair.

Monday, August 31, 2015

The End of Summer

Ah, August! That month which conjures up both thoughts of long summer days and the excitement of back to school. For me, August always means those sweltering, too hot to handle days that plagued Ohio at the peak of summer.

Of course, Florida has months of this type of weather. So I've been sewing up even more summer appropriate pieces to keep up with the heat.

I picked up this appropriately summery printed cotton at JoAnn's earlier this summer and grabbed some red stretch shirting to make coordinating separates.

The blouse is made from Simplicity 3144 which I had originally purchased to make a red shirtwaist dress. I was a bit surprised when it arrived to realize that it was a blouse and skirt pattern, not a dress! Oh, well. It worked out for the best and I did end up making half of the intended project.

The blouse was a pain to make though. I usually stay away from anything with stretch because it can be difficult to wrangle but this fabric was the perfect color and weight so I went against my better judgement. My machine did not appreciate it. In fact, the button holes turned out so bad that I left them closed and just sewed decorative buttons on top. This blouse actually closes with snaps. I have a vintage dress that has the same feature so we'll go with it's "authentic".

The skirt pattern I made from Butterick 6309 which is a suit pattern with a rather asymmetric neckline. Anyways, it has extra volume in the front but is slimmer in the back. The challenge in the skirt was print matching. I was able to do an awesome job print matching on the center front but I had to do some piecing and did not have enough fabric to even attempt print matching on the back.

 Note to self: just get ride of the seam next time and save yourself a lot of drama. I had originally planned to also make a blouse from the tropical fabric but I don't have a lot yet. I may be able to squeeze out a crop top. (I've been eyeing the Lana crop top pattern but I have to dig out my leftovers and double check my yardage first.)

 I actually felt a bit out of love with this outfit once I finally finished it but a bit of separation was all I needed to fall back in love with it!

 Oh, and I dyed my hair black again and I love it! :D I'm just a dark haired person and that's how it is.

Are you squeezing in a few more summer projects before fall truly hits?

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Three Things August

Life's been a bit crazy lately so here's a quick post of some of the things that have been going on lately.

Three projects I'm working on:

1. Another 1920s 1-hour dress- This one is made from some yummy embroidered cotton that I purchased in the garment district in LA. I'm also planning a matching jacket to go with it.

2. Mending- I am way behind on mending! Eep! While I'm not doing Project 333 anymore, I've not unpacked my "extra" clothes so my closet is still pretty small. Even losing two or three pieces to the mending pile makes a huge dent when you are wearing only 33 pieces.

3. Beachwear- I started the Wearing History Sunkissed Sweetheart pattern but then got distracted by other things. And while most of you are wrapping up summer, here in Florida, we've got another solid month of it to go!

Three shows I've been watching:

1. Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries is a fabulous show about a lady detective in late 1920s Australia. I adore all of the fashions in this show and the plot of the mysteries are actually pretty clever. Alas, season 3 is not on Netflix yet.

2. Once Upon a Time inspired me to get a pixie not once, but twice! The latest season is set to be released on Netflix soon so I'm rewatching the previous seasons in preparation. Hopefully, I'll get through everything before the new season airs on tv since we have cable again.

3. I've been a House M.D. fan for years and now I get to watch it with my hubby. Yay for Netflix!

Three things I've been day dreaming about:

1. More Disney bounding- I had such a blast Disney bounding earlier this summer! I don't currently have any definite plans to return to Disney in the near future but it can't hurt to have an outfit prepared just in case. Plus, there's always Halloween coming up.

2. Historical Costuming- It's almost the Ohio Renaissance Festival season and I'm having costuming withdrawal. I haven't found any local costuming groups that are a good fit for me yet so I haven't done too much costuming lately.

3. Art Deco jewelry- With all of the 1920s things I've been looking at, I've developed quite a taste for art deco jewelry. So lovely! Alas, the vintage pieces tend to be way out of my price range and the 1920s aren't hip and cool right now.

Three things I'm looking forward to:

1. Pumpkin things- I adore pumpkin flavored things and I'm one of those people who get's excited when those things start to roll out a bit early. Nom nom nom.

2. The end of the rainy season- It rains a ton here in Florida in the summer and while I much prefer a rainy summer to a snowy winter, I'm ready for a break. I also wouldn't complain of some of the outdoor allergens decided to take a break.

3. Retreat- I'm going on a women's retreat with some of my girl friends in September and I'm super pumped for it! It's being held at a fabulous hotel right on the beach.

Friday, August 21, 2015

The Same But Different

Most people think that having a small wardrobe means that your outfits will quickly become routine and boring. This is so not true! First off, you are always wearing pieces you absolutely love rather than things that are sort of meh.

It's hard to feel blue when you are wearing things that you love!

Working with a more limited wardrobe actually makes me feel more creative because I have to work harder to get that variety.

Accessories are really key for helping you spice up more basic looks. I've worn this blouse and skirt combo before on the blog but not with these accessories.

I swapped out my more traditional shoe choice for these remix leather sandals that really deserve to get worn more often.

And you don't need belt loops on a skirt to add a belt. A nice crisp white belt adds visual interest to the waist line.

While neutral accessories are an easy choice, I could have gone with any of the colors in my Wearing History Norma Jean blouse. Imagine blue, navy or even bubble gum pink!

To echo the white belt, I added a white hair flower. If you are ever nervous about if the color of your accessory goes with your outfit, just add a few more accessories in the same color and you will almost always be safe.

To finish off the look, I stuck with my color palette and went with green earrings and pink lipstick.

 Basics are a girls best friend! Especially if you are just starting out wearing vintage and trying to build up your wardrobe.

 Do you enjoy restyling your favorite outfits or do you generally have one set of accessories that you wear with a particular outfit?

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

How to Wear Vintage at Work

Work can be one of the most intimidating places to start to wear vintage! But it can be done gently and professionally. Check out this video for my tips on how to add vintage flair to your work wardrobe.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Detectivess Divine

I know I'm probably a bit late to the game but I've been watching a lot of Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries lately. It follows the adventures of one Phryne Fisher, lady detective, in 1920s Melbourne, Australia. I'm not usually one for the mystery genre though I do like criminology shows like CSI but Phryne is delightful and, of course, yummy costumes!

Our lady detective sports a fetching bob and is rather a modern woman! She's not afraid of the latest fashions.

She has a penchant for fabulous jewelry. In particular, I adore her dangling art deco earring collection. Some one really needs to make and sell a Miss Fisher line of earrings.

One thing I love about this show is all of the great coats and outerwear. What I don't love as much is how often she runs round in pants. Even for a bold like Phryne, pants are a bit much at least until we reach the 1930s.

You'll get to see many fabulous locations including China Town, back alleys, Turkish baths, fancy dress parties and the sea shore. And our heroine has outfits for them all.

The fabrics and prints used are just yummy! And the millinery work is to die for. I wish all of her hats would just appear in my closet.

There are also a lot of other great characters, including Dot, Miss Fisher's companion. Aside from the fact that I have a great aunt Dorothy who also goes by Dot, I love that she sports a more conservative wardrobe. Most women in the 1920s would have been Dots rather than Phrynes.

 They also did a great job of costuming older women such as Aunt Prudence and young girls like Jane. I love when you can see wardrobe differences based on age and social situations. Fashions are not a one size fits all thing!

See, mild mannered Catholic girl Dot vs wild adventurous Phryne Fisher.

 Have you seen Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries yet? They are currently on Netflix streaming so it's not too late to check them out!