Saturday, March 30, 2013

Sew For Victory!

So I kind of decided to join in the Sew for Victory sew along hosted by Lucky Lucille  at the last minute but I did manage to finish and wear my 40s dress by the deadline!

I did have some 40s patterns and appropriate fabric in my stash. In fact, the only thing I had to purchase for this dress was the zipper! 

I opted to make a white shirtwaist dress using Simplicity 3517 form 1940. I just adore early 40s

This dress came together really simply. It's made from rayon which is a dream to sew with!

My biggest issue was trying to keep it clean while working with the white fabric! But I was successful.

I did use metal buttons because they were super cute roses and I rationalized that in 1940, the war had barely gotten started so rationing wouldn't be as huge of a deal yet (especially here in the states) and a seamstress might have such darling buttons in her stash already.

I accessorized with American Duchess 23skidoo shoes. Since it's an early 40s dress, 30s shoes are ok. ;) Plus I love the fact that they are white!

I also popped with red accents but the great thing about this dress is that I can wear what ever color accessories I feel like!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

WIP: March

I've been working on bits and pieces of things, but knowing that it is much too chilly to wear any of these even if they were finished has given me creative ADD. So, instead of one finished project, I give you several works in progress.

1. Early 40s shirt dress

While at Costume College, I took a class taught by the lovely Lauren of Wearing History on making a working vintage wardrobe and I took detailed notes on the essentials that I wanted to make. One thing that really intrigued me was the idea of a basic white shirt dress that could be matched up with a rainbow of different accessories for tons of looks. I finally cut into the 6 yds of white rayon I brought home from the LA garment district and started this dress. It just needs a few more buttons and hemming....and about 40F higher temperatures.

2. Lavenda Droplet Bolero

I thought a good spring project would be a bolero and I fell in love with this one from A Stitch In Time Vol. 2. It's actually knitting up rather quickly. I've got the back and one side done and the second side is almost done. I'm switching out the long sleeves for the short sleeves from the matching blouse so this project should be finished in the next month or so.

3. My first Vogue

I've started picking up a couple vintage Vogue patterns whenever they go on sale but this is the first time I've ever made one. Since I haven't worked with this brand before, I opted to make a muslin which was a good idea because it needed a bit of work. I've found that muslins are a great way to use up those leftover bits of fabric that are too big to toss but not big enough to really do much with. I've got a great novelty print fabric for this dress and I'm super excited for it!

Have you moved on to Spring/Summer projects or are you trying to squeeze in one last winter projects?

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Youtube: Among the Roses

More short hair styles coming your way! This style was inspired by this photo I found on pinterest:


Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Fashion and Flim: Three Coins in the Fountain

I've always wanted to travel to Europe, so technicolor 50s location films are great! Vintage fashion and fabulous locations. Three Coins in the Fountain (1954) follows three American secretaries living in Rome. They each throw a coin into a fountain and soon become romantically entangled-one with her novelist employer, one with an Italian worker at the office and one with an Italian prince.

The fountain! I just love the blue suit!

I love this yellow polkadot dress. I love the unlikely yet successful pairing with orange.

I love the green accents on this green dress! So classic!

I just love the fact that two of the three ladies have short hair!

With beautiful scenery, gorgeous 50s clothes and three great love stories, this is one film you need to catch!

Monday, March 25, 2013

HSF#6: Stripes

 It's another Historical Sew Fortnightly Challenge! I missed #4 embellish because my project did not get done (I'm saving it for a later challenge now) and #5 peasants and pioneers because I didn't really have anything I wanted to do for it.

The Challenge: Stripes
Fabric: It's a poly cotton blend so not terribly historically accurate, but I had such a hard time finding 1" stripes in an appropriate weight and lack of stretch.
Pattern: I used a 1915 pattern to determine the width of my skirt and then just pleated it to a waist band.
Year: 1915 or so
Notions: 6 snaps, 2 hook and eye
How historically accurate is it? Aside from the polyester content, I think pretty accurate.
Hours to complete: A few, but only because I hand sewed the hem.
First worn: Not yet, but this project is for Costume College. Plus I have to make a blouse first!
Total cost: $15 or so

For this challenge, I was inspired by 1915-1917 beach wear. Plus with the by the sea challenge right around the corner, the matching blouse will be perfect for that challenge. Here's some of my inspiration.

I love the full skirts and light colors! It makes me long for walks along the beach!

I love the yellow striped skirt! Although I did consider the blue dress on the right for a while!

I love this yellow and blue number with the rope belt. Ladies in the 19-teens tended not to wear more than one color plus white but not always!

The top row in the center dress is great! Blue with stripes!

Ultimately, I fell in love with this pink ensemble! Next up, a stripey belt and middy blouse with pockets!

Saturday, March 23, 2013


Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Hey all, just to let you know that I've claimed my blog over on Bloglovin. The google reader may finally be kicking the the bucket for real so feel free to follow me over there too so we'll stay in touch! 

There are three ways to follow and they're all over in the side bar ----------->
1) Subscribe via RSS feed
2) Follow via Bloglovin'
3) Follow via Google Friend Connect

Also, if you scroll all the way down to the bottom, you'll find my facebook widget so feel free to like my facebook page too!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

There's nothing quite as thrilling as a new frock

If you follow me along on facebook, you'll already know that I wore out a new dress on Saturday!

Tada! Rebecca correctly identified it as a Bernie Dexter dress.

As a seamstress, I don't usually buy dresses so this was quite an indulgence for me!

I wore it out to a bar to hear a great band play. It's called Sibling Rivalry and the girls asked for a shot with me!

It was a great night out! It was a bit chilly so I wore the dress with a newly shortened cardigan. Once the band got rocking, the bar warmed up enough for me to take it off!

As a rule I don't wear green on St. Patrick's day, but on St. Patty's day eve, I let a bit slide in with the cherry leaves. I so popped in the sea of green!

And I think I need more yellow in my wardrobe. I had no idea it would look so good on me!

Love these shoes!

Now for the dress review part. This dress did not fit me all that well when it arrived, but I really expected that. If this had been a backless/halter/strappy type dress, I probably could have gone down a side, but I went with a large because a too big dress is better than a too small dress.

I too some out of the center back at the zip. I also took a bit out right under the arm. Lastly, I made the princess seam curve more at the top so the neckline wouldn't gape. It's kind of a reverse FBA. It fits pretty well right now except that the back of the armhole does something a bit funky when I slouch. Just have to remember to have good posture!

 Since I did do a bit of remodeling, I got a chance to see the inner workings of the dress. It's really nice. Everything was clean and of good quality. I love that there were pockets! And there was a bit of boning in the bodice inset which gives a nice shape. The belt also seems pretty good quality. The only thing I didn't like was that it had a tiny hem and I would have loved if I could have let it out a bit since it's a bit shorter than I prefer. (And I'm not that tall either....)

One bummer with this dress is that they only ship one day a week and I happened to buy it the day after the weekly shipment went out so it was almost a week before it shipped.  (I bought it directly form Bernie Dexter's website as opposed to a retail place that carries the line like Mod Cloth.) So keep that in mind if you have a specific event you'd like to wear it too. It's 100% cotton but is labeled dry clean only, which really annoys me. They are probably worried about shrinkage but for cotton, the most delicate I'll do is hand washing.

Bernie Dexter Clothing is a small business and they do produce the dresses and run things here in the US which I love! These dresses are great but being a seamstress, I know I could easily make a similar dress for much cheaper if I could find a similar fabric (because then there'd be no labor costs/shipping/etc). Bernie tends to use a lot of Micheal Miller fabrics so I'll probably keep an eye out for these fabrics rather than buy another dress even if I have to get a different color way. For no sewers, the price is pretty reasonable since it's comparable to what I'd charge to make a dress like this with this fabric especially when you take into consideration the overhead for making this dress. (Being married to a small business owner has been quite an eye opening experience especially with pricing!)

With all of that said, I adore this dress and I'm going to wear it till it falls apart! Going into this purchase, I wanted a quality repro piece even if it meant paying a bit more. Grad school has kicked into high gear and sewing time is quite rare right now. I'd definitely recommend this brand to anyone. I'm sure you guys will see this dress loads this summer!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Youtube: Pin Curls and Short Hair

And here's the tutorial for the hair style that snuck in at the end of last week's video! Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Why I Rotate

Wardrobe rotation is not something that a lot of people do, but I've been doing it for quite a few years now and I love it! Rotating a wardrobe means packing up your off season clothes and just leaving out your current season clothes. Right now I have out my winter clothes while spring/summer pieces are packed away. Once the weather starts to turn spring-y, I'll bring them out and once threat of snow is finally gone, the winter pieces will be packed away. Of course, some pieces stay out all year round. There are several benefits to this system.

A large, organized closet may not need rotation, but mine sure does!

1. More closet space!

Unless you are lucky enough to have a closet big enough to hold all of your lovelies (which not even my mother-in-law who turned an entire bedroom into a walk in closet has), then this will keep your closet from looking like it's going to explode all year round. You can store off season clothes in tubs or boxes, in a hard to reach corner of your closet or in a spare closet such as in a guest room or coat closet. I use all three.

This is a baby's closet but it really illustrates great wardrobe rotation skills! Off season clothes packed away in tubs (and labeled even!), current season clothes hanging neatly organized and shoes, accessories, etc in cute green bins.

2. Getting to shop your closet

I love shopping and I'm sure you do too! If all of your off season clothes are packed away, you'll forget some of them and pulling them out later in the year gives you an entire wardrobe of new things without you having to spend any money. Who doesn't like shopping for free?

3. Enjoy the current season better

I don't know about you, but I can get quite sad seeing my summer dresses languishing in my closet all winter. Out of sight is out of mind! This helps me stay focused on the current season. Also, having something exciting to look forward to before a less fun season *coughwintercough* helps me get pumped about the things I do like about that season.

4. Protect your lovelies

Indulge your quilting fabric love by turning them into garment bags!

Vintage and handmade items need extra love and care. Storing your garments properly in the off season will help extend their lives. Make a trip to the dry cleaners at the end of each season to clean garments going into storage and set aside pieces to be mended in the off season. Garment bags will keep them dust free and ready to wear when they come out of storage. This will keep those special pieces in their best shape.

5. Editing your wardrobe

Going through your wardrobe at least twice a year will help you pin point and let go of things you don't wear. If it's time to pack up summer wear and there's that dress that doesn't quite fit right that you haven't worn in all the time it's been out, then it's probably time for it to go.

Do you rotate your closet?

Monday, March 18, 2013

Pinspiration: Circle Skirts

It's no secret that I love circle skirts but it's been a while since I've made one and the circle skirt bug has bit again! I've got a few more projects to finish before I can do one but one can always day dream!

Style 1: High Fashion

Style 2: For the Active Girl

Style 3: An Elegant Affair

Style 4: A Look for Leisure

Style 5: For the Girl Who Has Everything

How do you like to style circle skirts?

Thursday, March 14, 2013

A Quick Fix

Sometimes, when you are in the midst of a long, complicated project, you just need a quick pick me up project to get your creativity going again. After so much historical sewing this year, I needed just such a project.

Fabric: 1 yd green gingham probably poly/cotton blend ($?)
Pattern: Butterick 7328
Year: 1950s
Notions: Buttons ($6)
First worn: March '12
Wear again? Yes! It's still a bit chilly for this blouse, but it's going to be great for this summer! :D

 It was pretty chilly so I topped it with a cardigan and my Freddie's of Pinewood capris. It really was too chilly for them to but I was so ready for summer!

Plus my hair was so cute! It deserved a nice outfit.

Are you ready for summer? Or are you more content to just ease on into spring?

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Wearable 1950s Makeup

There is a misconception that if you like vintage (in particular the 50s) you have to wear loads of makeup but that's not true! Here's my toned down 1950s look that's great for day or work. Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Fashion and Film: The Mating Game

I love great old films and this one fit all of my requirements-entertaining, in color, and full of cute clothes! The Mating Game (1959) stars the ever lovely Debbie Reynolds as a farmer's daughter who's in a bit of a pickle with the IRS. The farm does almost not business in cash and it's sent tax collector Lorenzo out to the country to discover what's up. Mariette (Reynolds) falls for Lorenzo and the whole family comes together to try to hook them up.

Poor Lorenzo is in a bit over his head!

I'm not generally a fan of anything country but their simple farm clothes is just what I'd love to wear all summer!

Mariette has a great style that's both practical for farm activities...

...and has some darling more feminine surprises.

I wish I could have found more pictures on the internet to show you but you'll just have to watch it yourself now!