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.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Fall Sewing Projects and Plans

I've been trying to plan out my fall and winter sewing projects. There are several stash busting projects I'd like to sew up and a few others that will materialize if I find the right fabric.

I have some light weight navy wool that I had earmarked for a 40s winter suit. When I checked, there was less than I thought so I may end up with a skirt and a vest instead. We'll see. I'm thinking of one of these two patterns for the skirt but haven't decided which yet.

I want to make a blouse from the remainder of my Egyptian fabric. I think this lovely 30s blouse pattern will do nicely. The 30s had some really cool blouses and I think I need some more in my wardrobe.

Speaking of the 1930s, I'm going to make this pattern out of some lovely plaid suiting. It's definitely more of a summer pattern but made up in fall colors, I think it will be perfect for a Florida fall.

There are a few other 1930s patterns that I'd like to make for fall. I think my issues with previous 30s makes were picking fabrics with not enough drape so I'll be keeping that in mind for further fabric shopping.

 And this is the lizard who was watching me right outside my sewing room window. There is usually one on that tree but this guy was staring at me.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Downton Abbey 1 Hour Dresses

After the success of my 1 hour dress, I've been day dreaming of more! I thought I'd try and find some inspiration from Downton Abbey and I found quite a few dresses that could be recreated using the 1 hour dress pattern.

This delightful white summer dress is darling! Add a peter pan collar and drapey bits to a dress made in cotton voile or lawn.

This version features a boat neck and gathers on the side panels. While I suspect this dress was hand embroidered, you might be able to find some pre-embroidered fabric.

 This dress would take a bit more effort to get to with the sailor collar and set in sleeves but you could merge a sailor blouse pattern with the 1 hour dress pattern to do something similar.

Sybil is rocking out a cute printed version of the 1 hour dress. It's a perfect pattern for a great print or fun embellishment. This one features longer sleeves and a matching underskirt which works for the earlier period when Sybil was still on the show.

Edith's, Mary's (seen above) and Rose's could all be made with the 1 hour dress pattern. Edith's dress features some pretty embroidery and a cute collar. Rose's dress has a slimmer skirt and has a great beaded pattern on it. And check out the cute bows at the hips!

The really key to these dresses is picking a light weight drapey fabric and then adding a special detail like embroidery or a print. With additional neckline and collar variations, the possiblities are endless! Which should I make next?

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

HSM August: Heirlooms and Heritage

I am finally back on my costuming game! Between the super hot weather and not having any costuming events coming up, I haven't really been much in the mood for costumes. But I decided to just go for it anyways.

The August challenge is Heirlooms and Heritage. You could make something that your ancestors might have worn or make something using heirloom techniques. So I decided to make a 1920s dress in honor of my great-grandma Elizabeth and her aunts.

My great-grandma (the one not facing the camera) and her aunts on a picnic in the 1920s.

I've always been nervous to do anything 1920s because the ideal silhouette is exactly opposite mine. But I thought this would be a great time to try it out. I didn't have a specific event to wear the dress to so if it was a wash, no big deal.

The Challenge: Heirlooms and Heritage 
Fabric: ~3 yds quilting cotton ($7/yd)
Pattern: Festive Attyre's 1 Hour Dress Lawn Party Edition- Since I've made a corset pattern she also posted for free online, I know that I'm a bit smaller than her so instead of adding seam allowance to the pattern, I just used it as if it already had a 1/2" seam allowance. It worked pretty well though I did shape the side seams just a bit for a slightly more flattering shape. I ended up making the narrowest part to my exact bust measurement to make sure I could still get in and out of the dress. I made 6 knife pleats on each side and also added piping at the waist, neckline and sleeves for a bit of pop.

Year: most 1 hour dress pattern's I've seen have been 1924/1925 and that seems to match what I've seen in extant dresses and ads from the period
Notions: piping ($5)
How historically accurate is it? The quilting cotton is not the correct type of fabric to use for this sort of dress. It would really be better with something more light weight and drapey. I also used my serger to finish the seams which would not have been available for home seamstresses at this point. The pattern itself is drafted from period directions so it's good there.

Hours to complete: more than 1! I did run into some issues (having to run to JoAnn's, breaking a needle on my serger and then having to rethread it) but it's definitely a pretty short project. I know I'd be much faster sewing it up the second time around.
First worn: to church and then for photos on the beach
Total cost: ~$26

To style this dress, I added some vintage crochet gloves and a long pearl necklace. I was going to wear my American Duchess 23Skiddos but changed my mind after we decided to do the shoot on the beach. Maybe next time!

My hair didn't really cooperate with the wind on the beach though. I definitely need a cute white hat for this dress. Guess I need to go hat shopping!

It might be a bit overdressed to go to the beach but I couldn't resist a bit of wading. I pretended I was with the staff at Downton Abbey when they all went to the beach!

 I'm still not 100% sure about how I feel about the shape of this dress on me. It definitely doesn't do my actual waist any favors. On the up side, it's ridiculously comfortable. It'd be perfect for a day of classes at Costume College (especially Sunday when you're super tired). I think I'll try again in a more drapey fabric. It should fall closer to the body and be more flattering.

 But I did really adore this print and don't feel bad about caving into quilting cottons. And there is nothing that makes me quite as happy as wearing bright, cheery fabric!

Monday, August 10, 2015

More Outfit Adventures

I'm still working on my lady adventurer/archeologist type look so when I found this great printed blue rayon blouse, I knew I just had to have it! A lot of times, this look is all browns which is not really me so I paired it with a great green skirt for a bit of Stephanie.

 I love the cut of this blouse! It's loose and comfy. It reminds me a bit of the blouse that Marion wore in the Raiders of the Lost Ark but with a blue print instead of red embroidery.

Oh, the yummy print! I'm definitely not a Middle Eastern print guru so I just look for something that reads as ethnic but not African, Asian or Southwestern. African prints seem really popular this summer but I'm not doing safari this summer.

It's been hot, steamy and rainy lately. Part of the inspiration for this look was looking at how people dress in other countries that are super hot. Light, loose and covered is a great way to beat the heat. Plus light weight, natural fibers dry quicky when you get caught in a surprise shower.

I'm loving my short hair again. It's just very me. I'm a crazy short haired lady. And it's way easier to deal with in 100% humidity with rain every day.

I've been playing around with my makeup too. I still like a very natural look but it's always great to change things up. Today, I wore a darker, more muted red lip and went with dusty rose blush to invoke a bit of that 20s feel.

What this outfit is missing is some great accessories. I'm still on the hunt for some great necklaces, earrings, belts and brooches. I was hoping to score some at our local flea market, but there was really only new stuff and junk. :(

Florida is definitely not as good for antiquing as Ohio. Guess everyone leaves their old stuff in Ohio before retiring to Florida! Seriously, there are a ton of Ohio peeps in Florida.

On the upside, there are great tropical plants to pose in front of! It definitely adds to the adventure feel of the outfit.