Friday, May 27, 2016

Italian for Summer

This weekend was our monthly Adrian Empire event. The forecast was hot and humid with a good chance of rain so I dressed accordingly.

I decided to Italian-ify another of my English gowns. I've really been loving Italian garb, especially for this climate. My linen camica is just a dream to wear! The breeze goes right through it, leaving me nice and cool.

Not to mention that I find Italian looks effortlessly elegant while the English tend to look more prim and proper. I'm not sure why but it may have something to do with the lovely hair dos. Mine is still too short to do anything fancy but a snood and a hair piece make for a passable style.

And Italian jewelry is so pretty! I couldn't help but bling myself out a bit even though I was going for a more lower class look. Period appropriate looking jewelry makes my heart go pitter patter so I'm always on the look out for new pieces.

Often when I'm in costume, people ask if it's comfortable to wear. And I tell them that it depends. If your clothing is made to fit you and is functional, it's quite comfortable. If it's ill fitting and poorly made, it will be terribly uncomfortable! This dress had a boning pop out the top of it's casing and was poking me in the arm pit the last time I wore it and it was painful! Thankfully, it was an easy fix and this dress is back to being super comfy.

It's important to remember when doing historical costuming that ready to wear is quite a new concept! Clothing would be made to fit you or you'd remake a handme down to fit you. Most ladies would know how to sew or could afford to pay someone to tailor it to their bodies. Unfortunately, we are so used to ready to wear that many purchase ready to wear garb and end up with uncomfortable things! If you've ever heard some one complain about uncomfortable corsets, I can almost guarantee they bought ready to wear or did something silly like lace it way too tight on the first go.

This dress has 6 steel bones and fits like a firm hug. It supports and shapes me while still allowing me to do many everyday activities with ease. I won't be doing any yoga in this dress but that's ok.

You might think I'd rid my costuming closet of wool now that I'm in Florida but I'm actually wearing too bits of wool here. The soccia or pocket is made of wool and adds no warmth to the outfit. My apron is also wool. Since wool is water resistant and smolders instead of bursting into flame like linen, it's great for aprons.

So while I don't plan on making any wool dresses in the near future, I do enjoy having some wool accessories. To combat the Florida summers, it's linen all the way! While some people choose cotton due to budgetary restrictions, linen is cooler, more durable and period accurate to boot.

Personally, I'd rather wait until I could afford linen to make a new dress than to cut corners on fabric content and make more dresses. Summer is just too hot for polyester!! (Except for whatever my faux hair is made of. I'll keep my hair piece.)

 So I probably won't be making as much garb this year but I am making a new Italian Renaissance gown so be sure to check out my IRCC6 posts to see how it's coming along!

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Can you be a Minimalist and a Creative?

Minimalism and crafting are two activities that seem to be on opposite ends of the spectrum. Minimalists dream of empty clutter free spaces while crafters yearn for a room full of every crafting supply they could possibly want. It would seem that crafters can't be minimalists and that minimalists would have to give up creative hobbies but that is not so!

Today I want to share with you a few tips on how to have a minimalist attitude towards your creative endeavors without having to give them up completely.

Keep only what you love (and will realistically use)

The first thing to do is a good old fashion declutter. If you are like me, you can't even remember all of your supplies let alone love them all! When you have been crafting for years or even decades, your tastes change and you won't love everything in your stash. Get rid of everything that doesn't spark joy even if you got it on super sale or might use it one day. If you don't love it, you aren't going to use it. Consider gifting your unneeded supplies to a friend or donating them to a school or church children's ministry.

When you are going through your supplies, also keep in mind how many projects you can realistically do in your life. Many of us have more than we can finish in a life time and we still feel like we need more! Those unused supplies can sit around making you feel guilty so let them go. If you have enough supplies to last you for years, you are in the danger zone.

Shop your stash

Which brings me to my next point, shop your stash. Now that you've decluttered and have a better idea of what is actually in your stash, use it! Don't buy new unless you absolutely need too. You'll be surprised at how creative you are when you are limited to using the supplies you already have on hand.

Set limits

To keep your now decluttered stash under control it is important to set limits and stick to them. You can limit your supplies to a certain volume such as one bin or basket, to a certain finite number to have on hand and or to a certain budget per month. I use all of these in my stash and it definitely makes me think harder about purchases when I go to the craft store. If you need to, find a friend to keep you accountable.

One in, One out

Stick with the one in, one out rule. When one new crafting supply comes in, an old one goes out. Don't buy a replacement until the old one has actually run out. I do this with my wardrobe and it has cut out abut 99% of my impulse purchases. Decide while you are still in the store what item is leaving when you make a new purchase and remove the old item immediately so there is no chance of forgetting.

Set an expiration date

Unlike food, most crafting supplies don't go bad or expire for a loooooong time. So we never feel like we need to get rid of them because they are no longer good. It's up to us to set our own expiration dates. This is great for UFOs and those supplies that you think you might use. Label them with an actual date and if you haven't used them by then, let them go.

You don't have to keep everything

Often, we feel like we have to keep everything we made but that is not true. Release yourself from the need to keep everything. Let's face it, not everything we make comes out that great. Let go of those beginner and dud projects. For those projects that are good but you don't want to keep, consider gifting them or selling them on Etsy. When you go to start a new project, consider it's final destination. Will it be a gift or a learning project? Try not to make too many things without a purpose and let go of the ones that don't come out quite right.

Combat multihobby insanity

When you are like me and have multiple creative hobbies, the craziness increases exponentially. If you have multihobby insanity, try applying these principles to entire hobbies and not just to the supplies themselves. Declutter your hobbies and let go of those you don't really enjoy any more. Set limits on the number of hobbies and WIPs you have going at any one time. Try the one in, one out rule. When you start a new crafting hobby, consider letting one go. I recently decided to let knitting go and focus instead on Bible journaling. Set an expiration date on hobbies you haven't done in a while. If you don't reach for them in the next 6 months to a year, consider letting them go.

So what should you do if there is a hobby you haven't done in a while, but you can't quite bring yourself to completely let it go and think you might come back to? Let go of one time use supplies and keep the reusable tools. There are a few reasons for this. Supplies are definitely a place where tastes can change and you may not even like the supplies you have when you get back to that hobby! They also tend to be a lower dollar investment. Keep those tools that you spent a lot of money on and that you know you'll use again if you pick the hobby again.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Are you ready for summer?

Memorial Day and the unofficial start of summer are just around the corner! I am so excited for summer and fun, pretty summer dresses (even though I can wear them pretty much year round here in Florida). I'm so ready for bbq and picnic season to begin. The 1950s is a great decade for summer wear with bright, fun prints and light full skirts.

I am so in love with this pink polka dot dress that it's seriously making me reconsider the lack of pink in my wardrobe. This dress would be dreamy in a lovely light cotton.

 If pink is not your thing, why not try this lovely black and white number? This darling sleeveless sundress will keep you looking fabulous at all of your summer events. Don't forget your sun hat.

Solids with white accents make a smart look for summer. A great basic dress like one of these will be in heavy rotation all summer.

While florals definitely have a strong spring feel, I adore wearing them in the summer too! Swap your cardigan for a parasol and you'll be ready for summer.

Don't forget to think of comfort when you dress for summer. Whether it's too hot to be bothered or you're having too much fun to fuss with your outfit, stick with styles you love to live in. I particularly love her updo which will stay looking great all day in the summer heat.

Are you ready for summer? What are your plans for Memorial Day weekend?

Friday, May 20, 2016

IRRC6: Update 1

It's time for an Italian Renaissance Costuming Challenge 6 update! It's just past the one month mark so far.

I decided to start on the petticoat first to test out a new cutting layout and new hand sewing techniques. Usually, I just pleat 3 yds or so of fabric to a waistband but I tried a pattern with gores and I rather like the effect. I also decided to handsew the entire petticoat. I used a running stitch for the long seams and hand finished them by trimming one side, folding the longer side over top of it and slip stitching it down.

 I then knife pleated the skirt to the waistband and attached with a backstitch. I still need to hem it but I’m going to wait until the gown is done so I know what length to hem it. I was pleasantly surprised at how fast it stitched up but I haven’t decided how much of the rest of my ensemble I want to hand stitch.

Next, I started work on the gown. I used an existing bodice pattern from an English gown and shortened it to get the raised waistline I wanted. For the inner layer of the bodice, I used some cotton canvas. I used six steel bones on the bodice front for a bit of extra support.

I then cut the outer layer, folded the seam allowance over and catch stitched it down. Then I cut the lining fabric (some linen cotton from my stash), folded the seam allowance down and slip stitched it down. Next up is sewing it all together and then eyelets.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Konmari Organization Part One

I'm not doing a detailed vlogging of the organization part of the Konmari method, but I did want to share some of my progress today! I'll take you to a couple places around the house where I've implemented new organization.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Day at the beach

The absolute best part about living in Florida is the beach. I just adore the ocean and sometimes we just go there to hang out and don't even get in.

My favorite outfit for just such an activity is my 1930s beach pjs made from this Wearing History pattern. They are seriously the most comfortable thing ever but they make you look so glamorous. 

I made these pjs out of some yummy 100% linen so they are dreamy to wear and quite practical for the summer sun. (And it's Florida so our summers usually last from May through September.)

I also like that it covers me up which means less places to slather on sunscreen and less places to get burnt! I probably should have brought a hat though because the sun was fierce!

I always get lots of comments when I wear these. Beach wear fashions have definitely gone downhill since the 30s. I guess people aren't used to seeing glamor on the beach any more!

On this particular occasion, I was attending a beach baptism which was really cool but definitely wasn't going to include me getting dunked. (Fun fact: I was baptized in a hot tub.)

I did end up doing a bit of wading right before we left. Even just this bit of water helps cool you down a lot and I can imagine many beach going ladies in the 30s doing the same thing.

Even though you can't see it well because of the wind, I also got a new hair cut! My hair wasn't quite grown out enough to do exactly what I wanted but my hairdresser worked some magic to give me this 20s inspired bob! Hopefully, I can get a more authentic 20s cut in a few months when all the layers grow out but until then, at least all the unmanageable bits are gone!

What's your favorite thing to wear to the beach?