Friday, November 21, 2014

Fall Pastels

Goodness knows I am not what I think anyone would describe as "on trendy" or even very "fashionable", at least not for modern times. I have always dressed in a way described as "different" by most people who have ever known me. Oddly, even though my style has obviously evolved, the basic elements and style preferences I enjoy have not really changed much. I met my husband when we were both seventeen and he says the fact that I dressed my own way actually made me not only stand out, but attracted him to me. 

However, when I put this outfit together I later found out that pastels were on trend for this fall, lol. Not that it matters, but I thought it rather funny that I was accidently sort of trendy. Obviously I'm not wearing them in a trendy way though, lol. And clearly I don't look remotely like a model, which I'm actually kind of glad about, because I'd rather be me.

Even though I'm naturally very pale and some pastels can wash me out, I still love them and feel totally girly and very feminine when I wear them. I think pastel peaches, blues, and some lavenders look the best on me, and it's kind of fun to wear them in fall or winter when they are least expected, and they cheer me up. It's hard not to be a little happy when wearing pastels.

I wouldn't say that my style fits perfectly into a specific vintage period either, though, I guess I will never completely "fit in" as far as fashion trends, but I'm okay with that. After all, a big part of the reason I wear vintage clothing and styles is because I enjoy being a little unique and eclectic.

I have elements in this outfit from at least four different decades, but I think just like I'm not completely from one decade, neither is my clothing. It's amazing how everyone is made up of all the time, experiences, and elements from many years (unless you're a kid reading this, lol), yet if we look at pop culture or to the fashion world, we are supposed to forget everything we loved or wore ten years ago and follow whatever current fashion dictates regardless of whether we like it or whether it's flattering on us. If this logic were applied to any other part of our lives, we would laugh. I love that wearing vintage clothing and thrifted clothing allows people to show more of who they really are through what they wear. I've always been interested in older things, whether it be vintage clothing, antique furniture, antique cars, or traditional and older music styles. Why not let your clothing speak to who you truly are?

Outfit Details:
Skirt: drindl skirt made by me
Shirt: peachy turtleneck from who-knows-where because I've had it since college
Sweater: vintage 1980s, purchased from Brittany from Va-Voom Vintage's Etsy (Vintage Under 30) store this summer (Pssst! Here's a link to her new awesome new Etsy shop Wacky Tuna.)
blue leather belt: don't remember, but online somewhere
Earrings: vintage Niagara Falls souvenir clip-ons, because I'm touristy like that and that place is special to my husband and I.
I also wore gray tights and some black oxford ankle bootie flats, and yes, one day I will take pictures of my shoes! I'm just a germaphobe and do not wear shoes past my basement door at our house.

With the upcoming holiday of Thanksgiving here in the U.S., I'm sharing a big part of what, or rather who I am soooo thankful to God for right now. Above is a gratuitous cute baby picture with the girls, because I'm head over heels for  our sweet little girls. Can't believe I'm a mom of four and get to have TWO little girls! God has truly blessed our home and family with an unbelievable sweetness!

Do you wear pastels in fall or winter? What does your style say about you? What have you been blessed with lately?

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Work Basket Wednesday: Crocheted Bread Tray Doily

I haven't done a Workbasket Wednesday in a long time, but I've still got plenty of Workbasket magazines from the 40s and 50s, so I hope to continue posting them, and I hope you enjoy them, too.

I'm not the greatest crocheter. I can crochet simple things, but never really have tried to tackle anything very difficult. However, I actually have always had a soft spot for doilies. They're just so pretty. I've inherited many from both of my grandmothers and do occasionally use them in decorating (The past few years I've used a sort of snowflake patterned set to decorate at Christmas). This pattern doesn't look too hard, so maybe one day when patience and time are on my side I will attempt it.

I hope you enjoy!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Vintage Mama Monday: Shirtwaists and Breastfeeding

Vintage picture of woman breastfeeding in the 1950s
Where I found this picture, but not the ultimate source. I really found the contrast between
the nursing mom who looks tired and a bit tense next to the young woman with beautiful
hair and makeup seeming so happy very funny. Motherhood is more enjoyable when you feel good about how you look, but sometimes I look more like this lady nursing her baby.

I've now had four children and have breastfed three successfully for a year or more and hope to do the same with our youngest. I absolutely love breastfeeding. I love, the closeness, the ease of always having her food with me, the health benefits for us both, and being in awe of God's incredible design for mothers and feeding their babies. I say all this not to make anyone who does not or cannot breastfeed feel badly, because it's okay. 
1930s Cotton Dress / XL Laundry Day Dress / 30s
1930s with a great print and colors and pintucks on the shoulders.
Find it here. Oh, and this is actually an XL if you're interested.
While I am passionate about breastfeeding, I find it next to impossible to be as passionate about how it changes my wardrobe. Things like nursing bras, huge breasts and cleavage, and everything needing to have easy access for feeding. It means almost no dresses for most women, as well. But let me just let you in on a little secret, breastfeeding is, I think, a little easier for the vintage wearing mama and her wardrobe, depending on which era of clothing she prefers to wear.

Vintage 1940s Shirtwaist Dress Shaped Shoulder Yokes Flared Skirt Round Pocket 1942 Advance 2752 Bust 32
Grab up a 1940s version for a totally different look.
Find it here.
We have the advantage of the quintessential, the amazing, shirtwaist dress. There's nothing like being able to put on a cute dress and still being able to feed and take care of your baby. I love that it makes looking and feeling a little more put together so much easier than trying to match up or find separates that still fit. Put on a shirtwaist, grab a few accessories and you're out the door a whole lot faster. 
1950s Vintage Sewing Pattern Shirtwaist Dress Bust 34 UNCUT Butterick 6710 Full Skirt, Wing Collar, Tab Accent Day or Evening Dress
What a great change up from the standard shirtwaist.
Find this 1950s pattern here.
I love that shirtwaists came in a variety of prints and colors and were made with easy care materials. I love that they are relatively easy to find in vintage or to purchase a vintage pattern and sew. You can even find many modern shirtwaist dresses that look vintage. 
NOS 1960s shirtwaist dress. Peter Pan collar short sleeves. June Cleaver. Button front dress. Jeune Liegue by Cherberg. Toile look dress.
Awesome rooster toile print. Get it here
Some tips for planing your postpartum and breastfeeding wardrobe are things like looking for looser fitting ones on top, because well, you're gonna be bigger. Also look for elastic waistbands, yes, some vintage shirtwaists had them, definitely makes your fluctuating size a whole lot easier to deal with. A great source for cheaper priced shirtwaists often with elastic waistbands is to look for 70s and 80s vintage shirtwaists. (A little tip that I do to keep elastic waist 80s shirtwaists from looking too much like 80s and not enough 40s or 50s is to buy them to fit me with the elastic stretched almost as far as it will go. It's still comfy, but looks a little more fitted at the waist, something that may mean a lot to you after 9 months of no waist.)
1970's japanese pink aqua blue floral vintage dress,Floral dress,Pink dress,Shirtwaist dress,autumn winter dress,art deco dress,tea dress
Look how crazy cute this vintage 70s shirtwaist is, but it ain't cheap.
Find it here. 
I think all us vintage mamas probably all have an appreciation for the shirtwaist dress, but when you're sleep deprived, need to wash your hair, and carrying a ton of supplies for baby everywhere you go, the shirtwaist dress just makes one more step a little bit easier. 
Shirt Dress, Red Dress, Floral Print, Vintage 1980s Size Medium
1980s red shirtwaist dress available here. 
Hope this encouraged and helped you to feel a little better in a season of life where feeling good about your appearance can be a daily struggle. And if you're expecting and think you might breastfeed, I would suggest that you start planing and thinking about your postpartum wardrobe and what you need to add if anything. It just makes that time a little less hectic and depressing. 
Modern "shirt dress" here.  I just pefer a vintage version because
you get more length and usually a little more design details than with modern,
but modern versions are pretty easy to find and fairly affordable.

What was your go to wardrobe staples postpartum or while breastfeeding? Do you love a good shirtwaist dress or shirt dress? 

Friday, November 14, 2014

Help! Birthday/Thanksgiving Dress Decisions

Okay, so here's the deal. Every year for my birthday, I think to myself, "I'm going to sew an amazing birthday dress." Some years it has happened, but most years, not so much, or at least not in time for my actual birthday. This year is very special because my birthday happens to also be Thanksgiving and I was actually born on Thanksgiving. This only happens every so many years and this would mean that I would actually have somewhere to wear a special birthday dress for my birthday (my husband and I don't always get to go out for or on my birthday, kids you know).

This year I really have been thinking of late 1930s and 1940s dresses, but I also need something fast and easy and I want to use this crazy bright and patterned fabric if possible. No, I'm not asking too much, am I? Oh, and I want a pattern that's super cute and doesn't require a lot of modification to fit me, because, well, there's not much time left to make it. All this, hence the cry for.....HELP!

I know this looks like a bright and crazy print, and well, it is, but I really love it, what can I say?
This fabric was actually a birthday gift for me last year, so I would really like to use it. 
Some plainish black, red, and tan striped fabric. Very serviceable, but not very exciting. 
This kitschy kids picking apples print fabric just screams to become a 1940s dress,
but I'm not sure it's birthday-dress-exciting enough. 

This first option is literally the kind of dress I dream about wearing, but I'm not sure it's right for the pattern on this material or if I could wear it without a lot of modifying to make it breastfeeding friendly. (If you have any ideas how I could easily adapt it to nursing friendly, please let me know!)

This next one is super cute, too. I would have to size it up a little and I'm not sure how I would like it in the long-sleeved version, but I'm cool with making it short-sleeved. The only hesitation I have is that unbelievably long zipper, which would make it very nursing friendly, but oh, the logistics of finding such a zipper and then having to put it in! Hmmmm.....

This next one is a pretty straightforward 1940s shirtwaist. I'm not sure that the design of the dress wouldn't get lost in this print and all those button holes would take a while to sew. However I wouldn't have to do any sizing up or modifying to make this one work.

Logistically, I kinda know this one is probably the safest bet, because the design is simple enough for a busy print, the size is right, and I think it would be a fairly quick sew-up.

So, please help me! I will not promise to do what you say, but I will definitely take any advice into consideration before I cut any of the fabric. I'm open to short or long sleeves, but the big thing is it has to be easily accessible for breastfeeding. 

Which pattern would you choose? Which fabric? What should I do?

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Stripes Ahoy!

This was an outfit that I wore about a month ago, but I wanted to share it because not everyone lives somewhere that requires continuous covering of your arms and legs. Here in Tennessee the weather is as unpredictable as imaginable throughout the year. We've literally had Christmas day with tons of snow and below zero temperatures some years and sunny and 70 degrees other years. This means that I may be wearing a short-sleeved dressed with bare legs in the fall or winter. As I type this it's really cold outside and tomorrow is supposed to be the coldest day we've had this fall/winter so far. So, I honestly feel a little weird looking at these pictures. But I digress.

My absolute favorite color is yellow, and although I don't wear a lot of just plain yellow because I don't think many shades of yellow look so good on me, I love pairing it with my outfits for a pop of color or contrast. Blue is probably my second favorite color, so this was a winning combination in my book.

Love my yellow guitar brooch!
This dress is extremely versatile as well. The coloring and medium weight of the fabric make it able to be worn in spring and summer as is, but also to be worn with a cardigan or sweater/jumper and tights or stockings. It's great for the post partum nursing mom, too, with the buttons on top and elastic waistband.  

But this is what I think is the best part of this dress: it's a vintage 1980s dress! So, it was under $10 in cost! If you don't know by now, I'm notorious for not wanting to spend much on my wardrobe (I would rather spend more on fabric and vintage sewing patterns, ironically), so this dress that cheap makes me really happy. 

Outfit Details:
Dress-1980s Vintage eBay find
Bracelets-Vintage lucite from various sources
Belt-from vintage 1950s yellow swiss dotted dress I own
Brooch-vintage plastic guitar brooch from eBay
How do you stretch your wardrobe to transition through the seasons? Would you buy a 1980s dress and actually wear it?


Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Bad Blogger!

I've been a very bad blogger the last few months. Not only do I keep coming back and promising to post more regularly, but then don't, I wasn't even that concerned about my false promises and absence.

I really and truly am sorry for that, but just to let you know kind of what's been going on I'm posting today along with some previews of posts to come.

Well, I was seriously busy after the birth of our fourth child, but I've also had some continuing health issues that started after the birth of my third child two years ago. I knew that some of it could be helped with some physical therapy, but the biggest issue would require eventual surgery.

Well, that surgery wasn't as eventual as I had hoped. I ended up having some severely and physically restricting pain that led to me having the surgery a few weeks back. I'm doing well, and just got clearance from my doctor to lift the baby again (Hooray!!! That was the hardest for me.) and I will have about a 4-5" scar, but hey, now things should get back to normal again around here.....just in time for holiday madness, lol. I am so glad to be done with the surgery and now am just trying to focus on healing and savoring every moment with my family.

I have some new series and topics for upcoming posts and have several posts in the works already. So, look forward to some holiday surprises coming up and more sewing, vintage mama posts, and a birthday giveaway set up for later this month. 

The girls and me! Sweet baby Emeline Joy and my oldest daughter. 
Thanks for sticking with me in spite of my absence and I can't wait to jump back into the blogging world again!

Friday, September 19, 2014

A Body of Work

Something I've seen a little bit lately in the blog world has been posts about body image. Most of the posts I've read have been written by women, who in my opinion, have a more culturally ideal body than I do, and who adamantly say they have no body issues, but here's their opinion on it. I'm not writing this to negate anything they have said or feel, but rather to say that I find it odd that they are the voices on this issue, but also that as a society we are embarrassed to admit we struggle with body image or with being overweight in general.

It almost seems like you aren't supposed to admit you're unhappy about your body or appearance, but if you don't fit the ideal of our culture, then you will be bombarded with images and weight loss suggestions until you change. Of course, you will be simultaneously subjected to lots of food advertisements and people saying you have to be happy with your body right now and that you should just flaunt whatever body you have regardless of societal norms. So, to be unhappy with my body or weight is taboo, but in reality we don't want to be overweight either?

Not to mention the pressure put on moms in our day to look no different after giving birth (no matter how many children you've had) than they did as a teenager. If you don't bounce back than you just have no self-discipline or restraint and the implication is you are a failure as a woman, a wife, and a mom, and trust me, everyone puts in their two cents worth on this. Doesn't that just make you want a Hershey bar?

I struggled with posting pictures on my blog when I started it for a couple of reasons. I didn't want to give up a lot of my privacy, which is why you won't get my full name here, where I live exactly, or many pictures of my kids. Yet the main reason was because I was and am unhappy about my appearance. I used to be very active and never stick thin, but definitely a lot thinner than I am now. I used to have the time and ability to exercise every day, to go to the gym, and to run as long as I wanted.

Now, I'm not saying this to decry the effects of motherhood and pregnancy, nor do I want to use that as an excuse or crutch. Rather to say we have a wrong way of perceiving women and mothers in our culture. I am much more than my body or my appearance, and my body is more than my appearance, as well.

No matter how many times the 22 year old skinny feminist tries to tell us that it's men making us feel this way, I refuse to believe that. I've never had a man, including my husband, say anything about my weight, yet have had girls and women make comments about my appearance since elementary/grade school. Men are much less obsessed with our weight than other women seem to be. Not to mention that it's women whom we dread their scorn in this area. It's women whom we hope notice just how "hot" we look after losing weight or while wearing an outfit that makes us look amazing. After all, they are the ones who can really appreciate it, right? Just go on facebook/instagram and see how many women are posting workout photos and bragging about their bodies to other women. I know when I first went on facebook and saw just how many of the women I had went to high school with now posted almost constantly about their workouts I was a little shocked, then I felt guilty for what I was or wasn't doing. Now isn't that the point of posting those pictures?

There's nothing wrong with enjoying exercise, I actually enjoy it, I just don't get to do as much as I would like, but only to say maybe we should question why we are talking and posting so much about our bodies. What's the point of that picture? Am I showing it only in hopes of making others feel bad? Do I take pride only in my appearance or am I more than the body that houses my soul? Why do we have to be embarrassed to have any body issues? I have a feeling all women in our culture struggle with body image to a certain extent, it's kind of unavoidable.

I realize this may seem like an odd topic to come from someone who is a blogger and has multiple pictures of themselves posted on here, but I am asking myself these same questions. I do take more than one picture for each post and I do only pick the ones I think make me look my best, but I am starting to question my motives. Am I doing this only to feel some sort of validation or is it only to share a love for certain styles of clothing?

We live in an age of discontentment and I am resolving right now to not be ashamed that I've not got the perfect body, the figure I once had, or the figure I really want. But I will choose to be content where I am while endeavoring to make needed changes (seriously, I want to fit in my jeans, not have to buy new ones). I'm grateful that my body has withstood the growth and birth of four babies as well as the death of two. I'm amazed when I look at my children to know they were and are such a part of me and have such a connection and bond with me. I'm blessed that my husband still thinks I'm the most beautiful woman in the world and am sure he's lost his mind or eyesight when I look in the mirror.

This is partially why I have chosen to post pictures of myself post-partem, swelling and all. I want to show what motherhood actually looks like, not what we're told it looks like and in some way to celebrate that. To show the imperfection and yet the strength of the human body. The fact that we have been created to do so much with it and how it changes and survives and thrives in spite of all our bodies are put through. I don't want to hide behind motherhood or physical conditions as an excuse to being unhealthy, but rather choose to not hide away in spite of them. I'm not there yet, but by God's grace, I will get there.

How do you deal with your body image? Do you feel like there's shame to admitting we're unhappy with our bodies?