Thursday, January 30, 2014

Why Did We Stop Wearing Housecoats?

Okay, that's a weird place to start, but hang in there, I'm going to try to convince you anyway.
I cannot get enough peter pan collars. *sigh*

One of my favorite details of the housecoat I
made, bluebird buttons.

When I think of housecoats, I do have to be honest and say that I do mostly think of my grandmothers and the old show Mama's Family(?). However, I think they deserve a second look and can be very practical.
Vintage 1950s Simplicity 4972 Robe, Duster, Negligee or Housecoat Size 14 Bust 32
I used this pattern for my housecoat
and you can get your own copy here.

First, a housecoat is NOT a robe. There is a difference between a robe and a housecoat. One being that a robe wraps and ties in the front and a housecoat usually buttons, zips, or snaps up the front and may or may not have a tie at the waist. Vintage housecoats also are usually about knee length and a vintage robe is floor length. Oh, and pockets! A housecoat often has really roomy pockets!
1940s 50s housecoat loungewear quilted apricot  satin dramatic hip pockets
Make sure you check out this 1950s
housecoat with princess seams and quilting.
Not all housecoats are so voluminous.
I have one housecoat that I made from a vintage 1950s pattern, and I wear it more than I've ever worn a robe. The one major plus is that it buttons up the front and so stays shut way better than any robe I've ever had.  I wear it while ironing the day's outfit, while cooking breakfast, when I have to hurry from the shower because the two year old woke up before I could get dressed and is wondering through the house, and just to keep from walking around in skimpy pajamas. I also wore it while in the hospital after the birth of my two sons (I wish I'd had it after the birth of my daughter), and felt covered and much more ready to receive any visitors while still being able to nurse easily.
No. 7716 Size 14 Advance 1950's -Misses' Duster or Smock - Housecoat
Try a short-sleeved housecoat 
for the warmer months.
You can still buy housecoats like my grandmothers wore in the 1980s, but the older ones I think are way better and look much less like a grandma. I wish I still had some of the vintage ones my grandmothers had, unfortunately many family members see old clothes as trash and the really old ones were all given away. (Noooo!)
Vintage Housecoat NEW Pink Quilted Polyester
My paternal grandmother had a
similar housecoat except it was
satin and had embroidered moons
and stars on it. So chic! This new
old-stock one is available here.
Older vintage housecoats are often more form fitting and not the kind of thing you'd be embarrassed to wear to answer the door. And the details on vintage housecoats are simply beautiful. You can still find a few vintage ones out there even from the 1930s, but if you're willing to sew or have one sewn for you, the possibilities are endless.

30s housecoat size medium - large / vintage robe / vintage lingerie
How about a 1930s housecoat
And if you do decide to sew, don't be afraid to use the pattern for more than a housecoat. I made two of my favorite wrap dresses from a 1948 housecoat or brunchcoat pattern. (Note to self: take pictures of said dresses and post here on blog, eventually.) They really can make cute dresses if you pick a more form-fitting style.
Fabulous Vintage 40's  Misses' HOUSECOAT Or BRUNCHCOAT PATTERN Two Lengths
This vintage housecoat pattern
looks better than most of our
everyday clothes. 
So, have I convinced that this garment is way more practical than it seems at first glance? C'mon give a housecoat a chance. I think you'll be glad you did.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Workbasket Wednesday: Homeward Bound

Today's Workbasket Wednesday is for a design called Homeward Bound and can be used to make a quilt block for embroidery or painting. I think it would be a cute print to frame or paint and put up in a little boy's room.


Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Workbasket Wednesday: Pineapple Quilt

Today's Workbasket Wednesday is a pattern for a vintage Pineapple Quilt. I actually really enjoy quilting and wish I were able to do it more. I love the piecing process and there's nothing more relaxing than sitting and quilting by hand. I mostly make baby quilts these days, but have a goal of finishing a full size quilt in the next year or two. 


Monday, January 20, 2014

A Kind of Marilyn Housewife

 I thought I'd share an outfit and some pictures of a slightly different pin curl set and comb out. This time I left the curls a little tighter and went for more of a Marilyn Monroe inspired style. I called it a Marilyn Housewife, because obviously my style is a lot more subdued and less va-va-voom for an everyday look, not to mention this was how I wore it to church and that's the last place I would want to show any va-voom.

I also used this as an opportunity to wear my new favorite earrings! I just got them in the mail and I love them to pieces! They are a 1940s straw hat with flowers and ribbon. I know they're more of a springy/summery design, but I could not wait that long to wear them, and I thought the colors kind of matched my sweater.

The biggest qualm I have with wearing them is the thought of losing one somewhere. I feel this way about many of my vintage clip ons. Does anyone else have that fear, and if so, what can I do about it?

I also wore another one of my quirky vintage brooch collection. This time it was a vintage banjo pin worn in honor of my dad who has been a professional banjo player since he was about fifteen. I don't play a banjo, but can't help but love the instrument especially when played by my dad.

I wore what I suppose could be considered a vintage sweater, because it's about seventeen years old. I bought it while in high school, and it was a part of one of my first major clothing purchases on my own. Let me assure you it fits a little differently than it did at fourteen, lol. It also came with a kind of hippyish tie belt which I chose not to wear, hence the loops on either side of my waist.

It's amazing how vintage this sweater looks for a more modern piece. Because it was an awesome late 90s cropped sweater, I didn't even have to tuck it in. Just goes to show it pays not to get rid of everything and that you can find vintage-like pieces that can work to fill out your wardrobe anywhere.

Outfit Details:
Sweater-late 90s purchase from Delia's (a Junior clothing mail order company)
Skirt-yup, my me made navy circle skirt is getting a lot of wear, because it's fully lined and warm
Navy tights-who knows?
Earrings-vintage 1940s purchase from eBay
Brooch-vintage banjo brooch from either eBay or etsy
Shoes-my black, Tommy Hilfiger pumps purchased about ten years ago (picture here)

I like this setting, and so did my husband, but it is bordering on that old lady ball/bubble hairstyle, so I can see it has to be styled intentionally to not look too oldish. And there's not a lot about Marilyn Monroe that I could/would copy, but she did always have great hair.

Whose hair do you try to copy or look to for inspiration?

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Fluffy Indecisive Me

I'm feeling a bit fluffy since Christmas, and the dramatic change in hair length has become something I love/hate. Oddly, I think it's more to do with the reactions of others around me that has both surprised me and made me wonder if it's too short. I'm blessed that my husband likes it (or that's what he keeps telling me anyway), and it is easier in some ways than having such long hair.

I think though I need to find more options for how to style it for now. I've been doing a basic pin curl set and comb out, but that's it. So, I guess it's off to youtube, lol.

One thing that definitely comes with a middy haircut is that it commits you to a more vintage look even in modern clothes. So, it's actually better for your vintage wardrobe. At the same time, you do look more vintage or possibly costumey. Which I'm okay with, lol.

I realize I haven't posted any new sewing for a long time, but I promise I am still sewing and have lots of sewing plans for the new year in store for the blog. Up till Christmas, I was doing a lot of sewing for my kids and others and just didn't feel like posting and didn't have time to post much of it. (If that's something you'd like to see in the future, let me know.) Since Christmas I decided to tackle my mending/repair sewing pile, again nothing postworthy. But I'm hoping that will all change with a big announcement coming on the blog in February.

Outfit Details:
Skirt-made by me
Blouse-from Cato's years ago
Skirt-navy circle skirt made by me
Burgandy tights-Not sure
Necklace-vintage pearl necklace, wedding gift from my grandma
Earrings-vintage matching pearl earrings, wedding gift from my grandma
Shoes-black round-toe, Tommy Hilfiger pumps (sorry, not pictured)

All in all, I'm excited about what's in store for this year and I hope to jump back in with more sewing posts very soon. 

Do you want to see all sewing I do, or just the vintage sewing?

Weird Obsessions

I know everyone has certain things that for whatever reason, we just like. No rhyme or reason behind it, we just wish we had it.

Today I'm sharing with you something that has been on my eBay watch list for months as it gets relisted, I would simply add it again. It's completely frivolous and more expensive than I could/would ever be able to pay for it, but I still looked longingly at it from time to time. All with the hope that one day I could find it cheaper somewhere else or that the seller would drop the price and somehow I would be the only one who bids.

*Sigh* Maybe I'm crazy, but I think these are the most perfect pair of 1940s earrings I've ever seen and can imagine myself wearing them everywhere. Seriously can it get any cuter than little straw hats with flowers and ribbon on it?

 Alas, it's not meant to be at $45.95 plus $5.95 shipping and handling, but the seller did just change it to buy now or best offer. So.... I made a much lower offer, and it was accepted!!!!

Item picture

These amazing straw hat earrings are on their way to my house and I can't wait to wear them.

Do you get obsessed with certain things for no real reason? 

Thursday, January 16, 2014

My Middy: The First Vintage Set

I did my first pin curl set with my new middy cut, and boy was I nervous. It was a bit harder making wide pin curls with such short hair (wide, because I didn't want to look like Shirley Temple when it was dry.) Waiting for it to dry was so hard, and I was scared it would turn out weird the first time.

My main inspiration for why I wanted a middy cut in the first place and how I wanted to style my comes from Super Kawaii Mama. If you haven't seen her versions of a middy haircut, you really should click on the link. She makes it look so incredibly easy. *sigh*

So, without further awesome middy!!!!

I know, it's like you can't miss a vintage style with this cut! I am by no means great at pin curls or at combing out sets, but it's like even I couldn't mess it up. 

I followed Super Kawaii basic tips for setting a middy, rolling the curls down and using two fingers to make for wider curls. She has an awesome video on youtube with it, by the way. And the best part with this cut is that it took hardly any time to dry, like an hour or two!

Then I just combed it out with a comb and played with it until I liked what I saw. I did tease a little at the crown for a little more height and volume on top. It still only took about 10 minutes to set it this morning and about five to ten to style at most. I did finish with hairspray and these pictures were taken at the end of a day of homeschooling, diaper changing, ballet class, and errand running all with lots of little ones grabbing hair, wind blowing it, and in and out of cars. I think it held up really well.

Oh, and I wore a a vintage sweater for the first time that I had been repairing and restoring. It's a gorgeous cream color with copper and gold beading all over it. I had to re-sew some beads and sew up a few holes, but unfortunately can see from the picture that I need to stitch down some of the lining around the front.

Outfit Details:
Skirt-self drafted and made by me
T-shirt-Old Navy basic tee
Cardigan-vintage sweater from eBay
Tights- Navy (not pictured)
Shoes-gold ballet flats (not pictured)
Earrings-vinage lucite confetti from eBay or Etsy, I don't remember which

Overall, I am very surprised at how much I like this hair cut, and even more surprised how much my husband likes it. It's like so many vintage styles seem suddenly attainable. Even though it's a big commitment and a little on the short side from my normal lengths, I think it will grow out beautifully, and I am very tempted to maintain this length for a while. And I am quite sure you will be seeing more variations with my new middy here on the blog. 

What do you think, should I keep it short for a while? Have I convinced you to try a vintage cut?

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Workbasket Wednesday: Various Kinds of Hems

Today's Workbasket Wednesday is all about hems. Whether you're a great seamstress or not, everyone should know how to hem something. The below instructions are easy to follow and show both hand-stitched and machine-stitched hems and when to use different kinds. If you buy vintage clothing that's definitely some handy information for resetting hems that have come undone or for shortening or lengthening existing hems to make a vintage piece fit you perfectly. 


Monday, January 13, 2014

I Got A Middy! Styled Naturally

Well, I finally took the plunge, or um cut, so to speak, and I'm both terrified and excited all at once. Below are pictures from almost every angle of how my hair looked after leaving the salon with just a little gel put in and allowing it to air dry. I really wanted to show what the haircut would look like without vintage styling. I realize it will look different on non-curly hair, but it's actually a fairly modern looking cut overall. (I will warn you that if you have naturally curly hair, it can become very poofy and out of control quickly because it is a shorter cut.)

First, if you've been a vintage loving gal for very long, you've heard of the legendary middy haircut, and how that's the only way to get that classic 40s and 50s hair. You've probably also heard or read how difficult it can be to get a stylist to understand what it is and to actually commit to giving you the cut. I have to say I've admired many people on the web who have had cute middys for quite some time, but was scared to try it, as even the middy long is a shorter haircut by today's standards. However, I needed a change, and was hoping this would give me a chance to try more authentic vintage hairstyles. 

I have learned a few things already about a middy. First, if you sleep on it without a set in, it looks horrible, on me anyway. Second, it is short, really short, even the middy long is much shorter than the diagram looks like it would be. Third, you can and must avoid the bubble/ball effect of this potentially old lady looking haircut. Fourth, it's a medium to high maintenance cut for most people. In other words, you have to do something to it most of the time. I can already see though that once you get setting and combing it out down, it would/could actually take a lot less effort than many modern hairstyles. It just takes some planning ahead and practice.

As far as having trouble finding a stylist to give the cut, I was really blessed in that area. You see, I only get a real haircut about once or twice a year and spend the rest of the time in between growing out cuts. That said, I've had the same woman cutting my hair since my first haircut as a kid. However, she did not give me this haircut. The salon is a tiny one in our nearby tiny town and is owned and operated by three old ladies of whom the youngest in her 60s. The lady who cut my hair is close to 80 and spent the late 50s and early 60s at big salons in Chicago and Detroit. So, she knew exactly how to cut a middy and I think was a little excited to do it. The whole time she cut, she told me her life story, which I love hearing older people do that, and it was a wonderful experience through and through.

Lots of people online have written about how the new techniques for cutting hair are so different from the old that it's next to impossible to find someone who knows what they are doing for cutting a middy. Might I suggest you look to some of the older stylists in your area? Many of them are still working part time and love the opportunity to meet new people. Be aware that they are probably not working at the cool salons and may only have old ladies for customers usually, but age doesn't equate inability in all areas. Not to mention that they may be able to work you faster and charge less, because they may not be as much in demand. (My cut cost $15!) 

The salon I go to is called Main Street Beauty Shop and although it's not the first place most people would think to go, I can't imagine going anywhere else, and every time I have I've regretted it. There's just such a charm about an old fashioned beauty shop and the conversation between the older ladies is half the fun. An hour spent there is just fun, and really makes you feel girly and nostalgic.  

 Outfit Details:
Dress-vintage NOS found on eBay
Cardigan-Old Navy
Raspberry stockings-either eBay or Amazon a couple years ago
Bangle bracelets-vintage bakelite from eBay
Brooch-vintage Mariachi man from eBay
Shoes-brown suede round toe pumps I've had for years (No picture in this post, but you can see them here.)
Earrings-small gold hoops, clip-on

Overall, I'm happy, but am looking forward to posting what the middy looks like styled vintage! 

So, what has been your experience with vintage haircuts? Are you willing to take the leap?

Friday, January 10, 2014

I Need a New Do

I really am getting tired of my hair. I know I need a haircut, and quite frankly, I know that with my curly hair it will require a certain kind of cut. But it's getting too long and I just feel like it's kind of weighing me down.

I've been looking into getting a vintage cut, but DO NOT want to go too short. I have to be able to do a ponytail, lol. And with such a rounded face (Baby face!), I know that it needs to have the longest layer no shorter than chin-length.

Here are some of the styles I'm considering.
I like this length, and think some layers with this could be really versatile.

Right now my hair is about halfway down my back, and if I keep it on the
longish side with long layers. I can pincurl again and do styles more like this. 
I like the thought of a vintage bob, but am afraid it would require a
lot of styling daily to keep from having a Shirley Temple look on me. 
The Middy is something I'm considering, buy am a little afraid of,
and would love to hear from someone who's actually had one.

So, I'm seeking advice. If you know anything about cutting hair, or if you've gotten a vintage cut you love, let me know what you think. Because I seriously can't continue with this hairstyle, lol.

What do you think? I'm open to suggestions :)

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Hello, again!

Well, I didn't actually fall off the face of the earth, but it has kind of felt that way. I didn't mean to take a long break from blogging, but there have been some things happening here that just made me feel like not blogging. I'm not going to go into to details right now, but I will write about it eventually. I hope you will hang in there with me anyway, and I've got more posts coming up in the near future.

This is not the most inspiring outfit and I have no idea why the only shot I took of it is of me with my mouth open, but bear with me please. That's kind of how I've been feeling of late. 

I had a sweater that I liked the style for the most part, but it was really long. Seriously could've been a mini dress (I have never been a mini dress kind of girl, lol). And for some reason it kind looked like maternity. So, I tucked it into a basic a-line skirt, and I still feel meh about it. I don't like tucking in thick sweaters either, because they can make your waist, and in this case your hips (it's so long!), look bulkier than it really is, and can make your waistband a little tight. The sweater was a gift, but may not get much wear in the long run and may even end up in the giveaway box. 

I also did a winged liner on my upper eyelids. I don't often do this for a couple of reasons. My eyes are really sensitive to most eye makeup (it makes my eyes water, burn, and itch) and I don't always have  the time to do it before we leave for somewhere. I am not able or willing to put on eyeliner while driving.  So, I thought I would take a picture and get your opinion of it. I'm not the best at doing it, so be merciful in your assessment. I think since I'm not used to seeing myself this way, I don't feel very confident of the look on me though. 

Without glasses.
I don't know. I've been in a kind of blah mood about things since Christmas, and that may have been partly because I've not felt the greatest either. 

What do you think about winged liner? What do you do to pick yourself up when you're feeling a little blah about things?