Friday, October 18, 2013

We're Off To Neverland!

So, this week has seen the sewing up of a Peter Pan shirt and hat, a stomach virus interlude sweeping through myself and the children, and I finally got the Girl's Regency dress pattern from Sense and Sensibility traced and the fabric cut out. Hopefully everyone will feel better tomorrow and I can sew something!
Peter Pan shirt for Sir J the Brave.
This shirt was a relatively quick sew, but I didn't realize I was supposed to have grommets to lace the leather through on the front. Since people were sick, I was definitely not going to go out to try and buy some. So, I hand sewed some eyelets, which made this a much longer project. Thankfully there were only four. Considering the hat was entirely hand sewn as well, I think this turned out to be a surprisingly fun project. I think I kind of like handsewing.

So, my little princess has decided to succumb to her mother's intense begging and let me sew her not one, but two Regency gowns! The first will be the short-sleeved "Wendy" dress and the second will be a long-sleeved version in this cute print featuring children in Regency era clothing playing. Hey, she needed some more wintery dresses anyway. Plus, I've wanted to sew Regency dresses for a long time, but do not want to sew one for myself just yet as they remind me too much of maternity wear, and I'm not pregnant....right now, lol.
I bought this when my Cowgirl Princess was a baby with the intention of making her a Regency gown out of it one day. I didn't have a pattern at the time, but knew this had to be a Regency gown. 
By the way, Sir J the Brave has hardly taken his hat off since I finished it the other day. His taking the hat off today was a good indication that he didn't feel well. He's always liked wearing hats, and pretty much refuses to leave the house without one. I love that about him.
And with his felt hat.  
I have to say that I'm blessed with children who enjoy playing dress up and still want mommy to make them clothes. I hope that never changes unless it means they're making their own. Which reminds me that I need to finish another long-sleeved dress I had started for my daughter a couple months ago in the fabric below. This was originally going to be a dress for me, but I ended up trying to size it down for her, because it never quite looked right on me.
It's kind of a deep purple with hot pink flowers, but for some reason didn't show up that way in pictures. 

Ahh..doesn't a nicely folded stack of cut pieces of fabric just make you happy? 

Hard to believe this is enough for two Regency gowns, and one that is fully lined. 

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The Almost But Not Quite Shirt, Now Is!

Super posing. 
Yup, it's finished, and I actually wore it all day. It's really comfy, but I will have to tweak it a little. I'm for sure moving the pocket towards the button placket. I followed the placement on the pattern piece, but seriously it's weird. I also need to put little vents at the bottom of the side seams. It won't matter if I tuck in the shirt, but I want to have options, plus I'm normally untucked when I wear jeans, and right now, 'cause I'm shaped like a pear, the bottom can get this little gap in the front under the bottom most button.
Yes, it needs ironing, but the point of this picture is, How weird is that pocket placement? I'm tempted to take it off and leave it off. What do you think?

This is the pattern I used for the main parts of the blouse.
Like always if I make another, which I hope I will, there will be some changes. I will change the shoulders. The pattern doesn't call for shoulder pads, but apparently my shoulders are narrower than the pattern's normal shoulder width. So next time I will shorten that. However, I am not unpicking the sleeves and changing this one. Besides it being a lot of trouble, I don't think they are that bad, and well, I didn't mean for this to be a fancy shirt, but just something basic for wearing at home or to look a little nicer when I run errands. It fulfills that already.

Ugh! I hate that little gap at the bottom. 
I only wore it to the grocery store and around the house, but my husband complimented me on it, and said he like it and that I should make more. I like it when he likes what I make <3

Check out these mad plaid matching skills across the button placket. Oh yeah.
It would've looked nicer if I had ironed it, but I have a chronic allergy to ironing, and only do it when absolutely necessary; i.e. for church, date nights, weddings, and funerals. Although I reserve the right to get away without doing it for these occasions whenever and wherever possible. I was also super excited to go ahead and wear it already.
I had to use the sleeve pattern from this Simplicity dress pattern, but thank God it worked. 
If you'd like to read the *ahem* missteps I took while making it to begin with, go here. Overall, I'm pretty happy with my new shirt, and as soon as crazy sewing for kids is over, I want to make more blouses and shirts, because that's an area I've not done as much sewing in, oh, and I want to sew some wide leg pants, too. Oh, oh, or maybe even some vintagey overalls! There's just too much awesome sewing to do, and way too little time to do it in.

Meanwhile, what basics are you adding to your wardrobe this fall? 

Friday, October 11, 2013

Another Circle Skirt!!! And I'm wearing a hat!?!

 Okay, I could just stop typing now. The title says it all, lol.
Trying to look all vintagey cool.
I had to take my kids to get their flu shots, so I thought it would be a good opportunity to wear my new circle skirt. And since I didn't get any pictures of it on Sunday, and the kids were all good and tired after shots and a special Chik-fil-a lunch, I decided to take a few minutes to take pictures of my outfit for you. You see, I don't normally wear hats. I own several vintage hats in the hope that I could/would wear them, but never wear them. However, being recently inspired by Jessica of Chronically Vintage, and her ability to effortlessly wear the most scrumptious hats on a regular basis, I decided to bite the bullet so to speak, and wear one of mine. It was also a rainy day, and the high was supposed to be 70 (farenheit) and seeing as how I get hot in hats this seemed the perfect occasion to wear one. What? Don't you dress like this to go to get a flu shot? ;)

I got this hat on eBay a couple years ago, but this is the first time I've ever worn it outside of my house, but it definitely won't be the last time. It's 100% navy wool with a little bow on the left side.
I really enjoyed wearing a hat, and felt like my outfit was more complete with it on. 
I did get some looks, but I think our pediatrician and the nurses there are used to me looking unusual, lol. I was surprised how comfortable I felt in the hat. I think I need to find hairstyles that work with the hats I have and let the hat do the talking instead of my hair. I also like this style of hat on me. Pillbox hats I can't figure out on me, but I think this style is rather flattering, whether anyone else does or not, lol.
No, my hem is not that uneven, just realized my skirt was on the chair, lol. 
This is the second circle skirt I've made from this pattern, and I'm considering starting a third. This time around it was way easier. I was able to make the waistband the perfect size the first time and just cut out the skirt about six inches shorter than the pattern called for. The length is just below the knees, which I think is perfect, because I don't much care for the look of knees, mine or others. The only thing with circle skirts is to beware of sudden wind or breezes, lol, but that's what slips are for, right?
I still like twirling in a circle skirt. I also wore a vintage slip with a slight crinoline at the bottom that I think did help the silhouette. Does this mean I may have to try a full on crinoline now? Hmmm.
I wore this skirt with a plain navy tee I bought at old navy about five years ago and a soft, almost fuzzy, blue sweater that I've had for literally about fifteen years. I even wore this sweater the first time I went to the movies with my husband. We were both seventeen. <3 It has little shiny round blue buttons and embroidered flowers on the bottom front corners.
My husband still likes to see me wear this sweater as he says it reminds him of when we first were dating.
He's such a romantic to even remember what I wore. <3
I also wore a favorite new brooch of mine. I call it my homeschool mom pin, because it has the three little baby birds being taught by their mamma. I ordered this on eBay, and it was one of those things I just "had" to have. The first time I saw it, I couldn't afford it, so had to let it go, but no one else bid on it and the seller relisted it. Fortunately I could afford it by then, but unfortunately I did have to bid against someone else and pay more than I would have originally. This picture was photobombed by Sir J the Brave. Ain't he cute?

I didn't realize until I took these pictures that the little flowers would look like polka dots from a distance, but I think that just makes it look that much more vintage.

I carried a black and white leather purse that I've had for almost ten years. I think purses are like shoes. If you buy a good one in a classic shape and color they can be used for years. A fairly expensive purse at the time, but considering I've used it so long and it's still in near new condition, I think it was worth it.
I'm not sure what kind of a pose this is supposed to be, but you get
a really good view of our handy vac and the apples on our kitchen counter.
Once again I didn't get any pictures of my shoes, but I wore my black Frog Prince mary jane ballet shoes mentioned before, but still not pictured, sorry. You see, I'm a bit of a germ-a-phobe. I have a degree in Cardio-pulmonary Science and worked in hospitals before having kids, so we don't wear our shoes upstairs, but take them off in the basement. This also helps keep little babes from chewing or sucking on shoes or touching germy bottoms of shoes onto their toys and placing said toys in their mouths. I know, but we've all got our quirks, right?

Oh, and a quick shot of the adorable black and white check pants my mom made my son. Since he wanted to photobomb anyway, I thought I could share the cuteness a little more. <3
I was actually surprised how much I like this outfit.
I hate the idea that because I'm a stay-at-home, homeschooling mom, that means I should look sloppy, and have found that when I actually dress for the day, I get more done and am in a better mood. It's not that I never wear sweats at home or pajamas for that matter, but I do try to wear something nicer if we're going somewhere, even if it's just the grocery store.

Sir J the Brave and I, we're buddies. 
Do you "dress up" to run errands? Have you found that how you dress changes the way you act?

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Birthday Sewing!

 Ok, so my daughter has a birthday coming up in about a month, and I have tried to make her a special dress/outfit every year. I do a lot of sewing for her everyday clothes, but this is an opportunity for her to have something fancy or for dressing up. This year she wanted a dress like Wendy wears in the Disney version of Peter Pan, and I was overjoyed, because I've had this pattern from Sense & Sensibility for a long time. I've wanted to make it, but had been held back probably a little out of fear, and a little because I didn't want to take so much time to make it and then she not wear it. However, now that she's totally into it, I'm fairly sure she will want to wear it.

This blue chiffon(?) is exactly the right color in person, though not in this picture....hmmm. I'm planning on lining it with the same shade of blue from a cotton sheet set someone gave me a while ago. (Do people give you sheets, cutains, and clothes, etc, once they find out you sew a lot?) I know it's completely impractical for her birthday as it's in November, but it's a birthday gift, so impractical is okay. Plus, my mom made her a deep purple colored fleece, full length, fully lined cloak last year that would go perfectly with it. I'm getting excited just thinking about my little princess in it!

She's also a big fan of Pride & Prejudice (the BBC 1995 version, as if there were another real version), and we've both daydreamed about wearing those dresses. Now I have the perfect excuse to make myself a Regency gown! Should we both have blue chiffon?

Of course my two year old was overhearing all this and promptly put in his order for a Peter Pan costume. Fortunately my mom had a pattern for one in his size. She buys tons of costume patterns anytime they are on sale at our local Hancock Fabric. They are often $15 or more regularly, and on sale can be $1.99 or $0.99! Costumes are a great way to make dress up clothes for kids, and my mother-in-law buys Halloween costumes when they're marked down afterwards for dress up clothes. Yes, we have quite the collection for playing dress up.

So, I'll be making him a green tunic and matching hat out of green felt.

Maybe this would be a good time to make myself an Edwardian gown like their mother wears and a faded red footy pajamas for the baby? Oh, and do you think I could convince my husband to dress in tails and a top hat like the father?

Monday, October 7, 2013

What to Do Next?

 Well, I finished my second circle skirt, and actually wore it to church yesterday(I will post on it later, as I didn't get any pictures). Man, those things are addictive! I'm already considering making a corduroy! But that's partially why I'm posting about it here, because I'm not sure that's what I want to do with the corduroy.
A really soft caramel corduroy. *Sigh* It seems so cuddly, and I like it so much that
I can't make up my mind what to make.
This corduroy was purchased while I was pregnant with my first son, and had been intended to be made into a vintage 1970s maternity jumper pattern. I actually made almost my entire maternity wardrobe from vintage patterns for this pregnancy, but somehow never got around to this one. So, the fall after he was born I had intended to make it into this mail order pattern, however, before I could get to it, I found out I was pregnant again. As we've lost two babies and had struggled with infertility in the past (we'd even been told we were miscarrying our first son by our fertility doctor early on), this was a most welcome blessing, but this skirt took a backseat to more maternity sewing, and again I made almost my entire maternity wardrobe from vintage patterns (summery this time). 

I've had this pattern for a while, and especially after my post on the cowgirl style of Dale Evans, I'm newly excited about making version A (the light colored one with the button pockets).
 Couldn't you just see Dale Evans wearing this?

But now that I've fallen so hard for circle skirts, I want a more cold weather appropriate version, and corduroy seems the obvious choice, but....Aghh! I can't decide!

I've been buying an extremely limited amount of fabric for the last year,  only buying some swimsuit material for my daughter at the beginning of summer and yesterday I bought some fabric for specific projects. I have an unbelievably huge stash and REALLY need to use it before buying any more. 
This is my trusty circle skirt pattern. Yes, I could do it without a pattern, but am too lazy to do the math. :P

This is where you come in. I can't promise I'll take your advice (I'm notoriously fickle), but would love your input on which I should make. 

So, please comment below which you'd make if given the chance?

Friday, October 4, 2013

Style Inspiration: Dale Evans Queen of the West

Dale Evans: Queen of the West circa 1950s.
I have always loved all things western. My maternal grandfather was born in 1907 and his family lived and worked on a cattle ranch. He lived a life like a movie. At five years old his own mother and father sent him to live in the bunkhouse with all the cowboys. I don't know why they would do this and I never knew my great-grandmother, but from all accounts she was not the most loving person. However, he said there was an old man who took care of him and taught him all about working with cattle. He even used to tell a story of when the great flu pandemic of 1918 hit, he was the only one who was well enough to go out and look after the cattle. So, at eleven years old, he rode out by himself in the snow, but passed out from the flu. He said his horse just took him right back home.
On their tv show in the fifties, which was obviously aimed towards children, she often wore this outfit. Even though it's cliche for western wear, I can't help but want to pair a circle skirt with boots now. Do you think I can pull it off? Hmm...
My dad and mom grew up watching cowboy movies, and my father wore boots, western shirts, and a cowboy hat when I was a kid. He worked as a musician, and I was sure at the time that he was a real singing cowboy. He is also of Native American descent (yeah, I know it doesn't show at all in me and my paleness and blonde hair). They both passed their love of western culture and cowboys on to me. My dad still loves to watch Gene Autry and Roy Rogers movies, and had half of his basement converted to look like a log cabin to display his collection of western memorabilia. He even has a large collection of "cowboy" guitars.

Ok, nothing supports her Queen of the West status more to me than this outfit, I only wish we could see her shoes more.  Gorgeous fur wrap? Check. Full skirt with crinoline? Check. Adorable tiny cowboy hat? Check. (By the way, isn't her hat way cuter than most cowboy hats for women available today?) Cowhide purse? Check. Oh my, Mrs. Rogers, oh my. 
Now I get to enjoy Roy Rogers movies with my own kids, and they love them, especially the Roy Rogers Show. I have to say that I also love watching them for the outfits Dale Evans wears. She goes from cowgirl cool, riding her horse Buttermilk at full speed pursuing the bad guys with her gun holstered on her hip, to cute and gorgeous aprons (she ran a restaurant on the show) and separates all with a decidedly fashionable fifties full skirt silhouette. I love that her wardrobe was feminine and practical with hints of western wear without always being over the top.

Even in casual/regular clothes, she looks so pretty. I would also love to find a pattern to make a sweater like this. Does anyone know of one, preferably free or cheap that looks similar? 
For the past two years my daughter has wanted to have a cowgirl theme for her birthdays. We don't have huge production parties, but a cowgirl theme for the cake, plates, and cups, and of course she dresses for the occasion, lol. She's also obsessed with having her own horse some day, and loves to play with toy horse sets. A great resource for buying kids toys with ranch sets for boys and girls that are very affordable is Tractor Supply Company (no I'm in no way affiliated with them, but would welcome free stuff from them anytime).
A perfect outfit! I love a thick waist band on a high waisted skirt, and this combined with a peasant top, chunky necklace and hair flower is perfection in understated and tasteful simplicity. 
My son also loves to play cowboy, and when at a family reunion for my mother in law's family this summer, found a cowboy hat, put it on, and told everyone he was Roy Rogers. The Roy Rogers show is a great show for little boys. They love the adventure, the violence is to a bare minimum, and there's always a lesson taught by Roy and Dale.

If you have your own comic book named after  you, then you can pretty much label yourself queen, too. A simple plaid shirt tucked in a high waisted skirt always says western, but isn't so blatant, especially if it's worn without boots. 
I do wear cowboy boots with skirts in the colder season, and actually should be getting some use out of them soon, but I think it requires a couple of things. Your boots must be really comfortable. So go to a large western store and try lots on, and buy a good pair, yes, I spent a lot on mine, but they're worth it. You also have to where them with confidence, as well. You WILL NOT look like everyone else if you're wearing cowboy boots, and you have to be okay with that. Add to the mix decidedly vintage pieces and you'll look even more different, but it can look amazing, so try boots with lots of outfits. 

If I ever have to work on a ranch, I would like to dress like this. I love that it's plain and simple, practical yet feminine. 
I am NOT a rhinestone kind of cowgirl. I do not wear a lot of jewelry or sparkly things ever. So, if I wear western it's more likely to be kitschy western than sequins and rhinestones. My boots are plain deerskin, and one neutral color. I don't go in for most modern western wear, and find it to be more than a little tacky and sometimes downright ugly and dare I say sleazy (a cowgirl doesn't mean a bikini with hat and boots).

This is Roy and Dale with four of their six children in the late fifties. Aren't they an adorable family? Their story of loss and adoption are truly inspirational, and Dale wrote a book about their daughter who died called Angel Unaware. They were amazing people on and off screen. 
And don't they make the cutest couple ever?
The sleeves and floppy bow at the neck are awesome, but the horseshoe pattern makes this top amazing for me. 
I had always wondered what colors they were wearing since most pictures of them are in black and white. What vibrant hues black and white photography and movies must be hiding!

I love everything about Roy Rogers and Dale Evans, and I think she epitomized class, glamour, beauty, and everything lovely about being a cowgirl. Long live the Queen of the West!

What is your western inspiration?

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

The Almost, But Not Quite Shirt

So, we went on a little vacation last week and I thought it would present the perfect opportunity for me to wear a new blouse I had been working on. The only problem was it's going to need more work. *sigh*

I used this vintage blouse pattern and some vintage fabric I'd gotten for a dollar, but only after cutting out and sewing up part of it, did I realize that one of the facing pieces and the sleeve pieces were missing. Thankfully I found another pattern I had that's sleeves were almost identical and I was able to draft the facings.
I'm making the version in the middle in a plaid, but want to make the drawstring version as well.
Then I sewed and sewed and sewed to try to finish it before we left. It was almost done, and then I tried it on. The pocket, even though I put it where the pattern said to isn't centered, but too close to the left sleeve. So, that will have to be taken off and repositioned. I think I will also let out the hem a little as I'm long waisted and put in side vents. There is still some hand sewing to do, but there was no way I could get it done in time. Hopefully I can finish it this week, but there's nothing more annoying than being so excited to wear something new and finding such silly mistakes.

So, do you ever do rush sewing for an event or trip? How do you keep from getting in too big a hurry and having to unpick stitches?