Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Purple Cords and Pretty Hair

Today I did my first attempt at an Edith hair style. Looks pretty good I think!

Looking at her hair, it's neater but also looks longer in the front and shorter in the back. Mine's just the opposite but that's just due to the length my hair is now. I think it'll be a bit closer when my hair's longer.

And here's my purple corduroy 40s jacket! (Simplicity 3688)

I'm very happy with it, though I think I'd make the sleeves a smidge longer next time.

Buttons on pockets with button hole.

Buttons on sleeve with out button holes.

 Inside of bound button holes.

Outside of bound button holes.

Lining-plaid quilting cotton on the body and green garment lining for the sleeves.

 I can't recall if I've ever shared this blouse on the blog before. It's another version of Colette Pattern's Sorbetto with a self-drafted collar and sleeves from Wearing History's Smooth Sailing blouse. I also added self fabric ties at the side seams to give a better shape. The fabric is white with tiny yellow polka dots!

And in case you are wondering, I did snap some pictures in my Edith's black floral blouse too! Check out the facebook page for a sneak peak! (And you might as well like my page while you're there.)

Monday, January 30, 2012


Guess what? I've lost 14 lbs since November! Woohoo!

 May 2009 Wedding weight
(so hard to find a wedding picture where the bouquet is not covering my midsection lol)

I lost a lot of weight in Spring '09 before my wedding. I actually had to stop working out so my wedding dress wouldn't have to be taken in. That summer I lived at school to do my thesis research (my husband was in Iraq) and I lost even more weight because I was feeding myself with just a microwave to cook with (and not getting paid that much!).
October 2009-Right before hubby arrived home

Then my husband came home (yay!) not only did we eat out all the time but when we did eat at home, my husband would make up my plate and give me as much food as he gave himself. And then we rolled right into the holiday season and before I knew it I'd gained 25 lbs. After that I slowed way down but still gained about 10 lbs over the next year.

October 2010-Near my highest weight (oy hips)

Enter my husband's weight loss competition at work last spring. I wasn't officially entered but I was hoping my husband's gungho attitude would keep me motivated. I lost 5 lbs during the eight week period but was still way heavier than I'd been in my entire life.

Spring 2011-post weight loss challenge

Summer 2011- I promise I lost weight since the last photo! Just goes to show you much clothes matter.

My weight continued to creep down until I started a low carb diet (~75 per day) in November. When I lost 3 lbs in the first week, I knew this diet was for me. I made it through Christmas without gaining any weight and am down a total of 14 lbs.

Winter 2012  

I've still got about 15 lbs to go before I reach my goal weight but I'm hoping to be in great shape by summer.  So far I'm down 3" on my hips, 1" at the bust and 1/2" at the waist. And I'm thinking that if I bought a new pair of pants, I'd be down a pant size.

All of this self-improvement has really got me in the mood to spruce up my hair. I am growing it out (and my bangs) and I just feel like I need to do something to it.

And I'm thinking about a perm! I have a friend who is a hair dresser who has permed her own hair and it looks a lot like this picture (except she's blonde). I'm not sure how this would go with vintage styles but I've always wanted curly hair and knowing someone I can trust with my hair makes me feel confident enough to maybe try it. (Plus my hair is so fine, I'd welcome a bit of damage!) I'm also self-conscious about my high forehead. Having a thinner face just makes the long shape even more prominent so I think curls would add some volume to the sides of my face.

So bring on the weight loss and perm stories!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Lady Mary's Closet: The 1920s Sweater

There is not a lot of knitwear in Downton Abbey but I did spot one in epsiode 7 of season 1 (and I've seen one in season 2 too!).

mary knits

Mary wears this lovely grey blue sweater when she arrives home after remaining in London with Aunt Rosamund. It's got a cream button placket and grey blue buttons. She pairs it with a cream skirt and a simple white blouse and pearls. I always find it interesting when the Downton costumers put together a look with unusual (to a modern viewer at any rate) color combos. Generally, white and cream together is a no go. Not sure what color blouse I think would look better but I adore the grey blue color of the sweater!

mary knits back

Here's a back shot of the sweater. It's a nice slouchy sweater that reminds me so much of 1920s sweaters. Perhaps Mary has brought back some of the latest fashions from London!

This one has such a similar color palette!

Don't they look so warm and comfy!

Looking to make your own 1920s sweater? This 1918 pattern on Ravelry would be a nice pick or start with any slouchy ribbed cardigan pattern. Knit the button placket and collar in cream to get the two tone look. Not a knitter? Modify a thrifted sweater by sewing on a fabric button placket and collar in contrasting color.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Pink and Pizza

Ah, Saturday! After a lovely morning lazing around the hubby and I went to Dewey's Pizza for lunch.

It was actually ridiculously warm for January so I took the opportunity to get some outfit pictures.

Top: gift from a friend
Skirt: me made
Shoes: Payless
Knee socks: I've had them for forever

Oh, and best of all it was blue out today! Ohio can be so grey out in the winter.

Ok, so maybe it wasn't as warm as I thought! It was windy and that made it a bit chilly.

Hope you all are having a lovely Saturday!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Knitting help!

 I've been knitting away and finished a sweater. It's a 1930s sweater pattern from A Stitch in Time Volume 2.

It fits pretty well in the front. It's supposed to be a bit blousey and there's not shaping between the arm hole and the ribbing on the bottom.

But just like my last sweater, the back (and neckline) mysteriously grew when I blocked it. So I reblocked it and the back was smaller for about 5 secs then it stretched out again. This sweater is knit in three pieces and then sewn together so I'm seriously tempted to unsew it and unravel the back and knit it up in a smaller size. I really can't see myself wearing it as is. The neckline is huge and my bra straps keep peaking out. Plus if you look closely at my right shoulder, it's a slightly different color. I ran out of yarn had to go get more, but they were out of my dye lot and this was the closest match I could find. So if I reknit the back, I'd probably have enough leftover yarn to reknit that part of the sleeve too. And I could knit the neckline in a smaller needle to make it tighter.

*sigh* But that'd be a lot of work. Advice would be appreciated.

In other news, I have a Dressing Downton piece almost done and I'm itching to size up a pattern from The Edwardian Modiste (probably a chemise or slip to start with). And tomorrow is set aside for party dress sewing!

Have a lovely weekend!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Lady Sybil's Closet: The New Frock

I finally got to go fabric shopping for notions and fabric for more Dressing Downton projects! One is almost ready to go but I'm making a dress for Valentine's day so that will be up in the sewing cue first. So here's Sybil's new frock to tide you over.

New Frock 4

I adore this aqua color!

New Frock 2

And *gasp* it's almost pants! And check out the shoes! Alas my full length picture was not cooperationg.

new frock 3

The bodice has this lovely insert. Complete the look with white gloves, a head band and pearls!

Downton Abbey Costumes

This costume was on display in various places. (Not by me though. :( )

New Frock 1

I just love all of the details on the bodice!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Dressing Downton: Suits

There are some really fabulous suits in Downton Abbey. These three lovey suits are from season 1 episode 2. The girls wear them to the ceremony where Isobel is made director of the hospital board but these suits pop up in other episodes too.

 Sybil wears this darling powder blue suit with tassels.

Driving Sybil

Edith's suit is a lovely coral pink.

Edith's salmon suit

And Mary's suit is grey with adorable black frog closures and tassels again!

Girls in suits

Mary also wears this suit when visiting her aunt (who also has a killer suit!).

mary and aunt suits 2

mary and aunt suits 2 back

I just love the unusual shape of the back of the collar!

Snap Shot

This candid shot is just too cute!

Out on the Town

 Last night, my husband went out for a night out on the town. We started out with dinner at a nice restaurant. We'd never been there before but the food was great and the decor was lovely. The food had kind of a Mediterranean flair but the walls in the part of the restaurant we were in were covered in beautiful embroidered and beaded fabrics with and Indian feel. I wish I'd thought to take a picture of them. So pretty!

This is what I wore. I decided on Tuesday that I really wanted to make something to wear from my stash. So I pulled out this pretty blue floral quilting fabric that I had originally bought with Colette Pattern's Ceylon in mind but I didn't get enough. So circle skirt it was. I used Casey's tutorial again but instead of a zipper I used four blue buttons as a closure. And on Friday, I made the genius decision to hand sew the hem......It took forever but I got it done.

I also wore my vintage fur coat, new snood and newest Belle Blossom. I wasn't sure what shoes to pair with this ensemble but I went with huge heals since I decided to make a longer skirt. High heals can take a long skirt from dowdy to sexy.

My some miracle I got my hair to do victory rolls. They always give me such trouble and I'm not sure why I decided to try them last night but it worked. Alas, the only picture I got where you could kind of see them was the one that come out really crappy. Sorry. We forgot the nice camera and I only had the old point and shoot to work with.

The show we went to see was Jersey Boys. I'd heard some good stuff about it and while I'm not a Four Seasons fanatic, I do enjoy their music. The singers were great! And the female actresses were amazing! Three girls played all of the female rolls in the show. I was super impressed. It's hard enough to be one character without having to switch in and out of different people all night.

Unfortunately, when there wasn't singing, there was cussing. And more cussing. And more cussing. I know cussing doesn't bother some people but it bothers me. I don't go see films rated R for language and I don't even usually see movies rated PG-13 for language. It even took a lot of pushing to get me to see The King's Speech. So I wasn't exactly a happy camper. During intermission, my husband told me that there had been a profanity warning but that the show had been rated appropriate for ages 12+ due to "authentic language".

I'm sorry but over 100 cuss words with f bombs dropping everywhere is not appropriate for ages 12+. Had I known that there was that much cussing, I would not have gone refunded tickets or no refunded tickets.

So, sewing-win. hair-win. dinner-win. Jersey Boys-fail. Just get the sound track.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Knitting vs. Sewing

I've been sewing for about a year and a half but recently picked up knitting. As I'm looking ahead to planning my winter/spring sewing, the question is to knit or to sew. Realistically, both will occur but it has really gotten me thinking about what I like/dislike about sewing and knitting.

I'm much better and more experienced at sewing. I have a good feel for what fabrics and patterns go together and what kinds of adjustments to make. I'm experienced enough that I know things will usually come out correctly and if it's not working I know how to fix it. Sewing is also fast. I can get going and moving especially on some of my tried and true patterns if I need a quick FO fix.

Knitting is a new and new things are fun. I also have this really fab book full of vintage knitting patterns that have been multisized and translated into modern knitting lingo. It's also winter and in my brain knit = warm. But knitting is sloooooooow and I knit really sloooooooow. That's partly because I like to knit and watch tv so I'm not exactly paying 100% attention like I do when I sew. Knitting also tends to be quieter, which my husband appreciates! (Although my new machine is much quieter than my old one.)

Lately, I've been noticing that I feel more motivated to sew during the day and knit at night. I think this has two causes. During the day, I'm in my get up and go mode. I'm up and down a lot during sewing, especially since my sewing space is kind of spread through all three rooms of my apartment. (Really, the only place there's not sewing stuff is the bathroom.) Knitting is much quieter and more relaxed which I like when I'm winding down in the evening. Also, the lighting in my apartment is really crappy so I like to sew during the day and take advantage of natural light. At night, I can sit under my lap and have plenty of light to knit by.

Do you have hobbies that you have to split your time between? How do you handle your divided loyalties?

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Some 1930s Sewing

 On thing I really wanted to sew this year was more blouses to go with my Freddies of Pinewood jeans and ones that would be work appropriate. Modern blouses just look too odd with the 1940s style jeans for my tastes. So I whipped up Wearing History's Smooth Sailing blouse in this cute green leaf print that I bought and was supposed to make up about a year ago. (Please excuse my crazy hair! Not only was I having an uncooperative hair day today but it was super windy.)

My first attempt at this blouse did not go to well fitting wise. Not only do vintage patterns have small sleeves, apparently, I have chunky arms. So this time I was prepared and redrafted the sleeves.Voila! They fit. (And, hey, I just realized that I also wore last year's version for last year's first day of school too!)

About the same time that I picked up the blouse fabric, I got this green corduroy for Wearing History's Sporty Toppers view 1.

I started on this hat back in June but then I froze when I got to the bow detail in the back. I'm not the kind of person who can whip up a cute looking bow. Mine always look at bit kindergarten-y. Add in an unexpected  trip to Maine and you have a great recipe for a UFO. So I decided to finish this up when I made the blouse.

I'm still not solid on the styling for the hat. One of the pictures on the hat pattern cover looks like the edges are turned up so I've been playing around with that. I do feel like I should be a great lady golfer in it though! (But that may be because it's called a sporty topper.)

The pattern was very easy to follow just like the last time I used it. I'm still a beginner milliner but this hat went very well once I actually sat down to finish it. This hat is a smidge tight just like the other one I made from this pattern, but that's what I get for not making a muslin.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Lady Sybil's Closet: Purple Embroidered Dress

This is another outfit from the Duke's visit in season 1. Sybil wears this darling purple dress with embroidery on the collar. I just love this dress! I want to make at least one more dress in addition to Mary's garden party dress and this is high on the list.

If you look closely, you can see an embroidered patch pocket. I adore pockets!

duke arrives 1 

The gown in action. This is also a pretty good shoe shot.

duke arrives 1 (2)
In addition to the five buttons on the white insert on the top of the blouse, there are groups of six buttons down the front of the skirt. (And we can see a second patch pocket on the other side.)

when the duke arrives

Here's a close up of the embroidery. How yummy!