Friday, February 28, 2014

Baby Bumps & Birdies

 Today is all about little baby bumps and birdies because I wore one of my maternity dresses sewn from Simplicity 4994, a vintage 1960s maternity pattern.
Simplicity 4994
 I love everything about this dress. The perfect black and white cotton bird print, the easiness of only two main pieces, gives a little shape to a disappearing waist, and......POCKETS!

 In my opinion all maternity should be this easy to make and wear. Pregnancy has a tendency to make even the most stylish of mamas feel a little sloppy. I think women of the past, who did spend more of their adult life pregnant than most today do, had a lot more sense when it came to maternity clothing.

Little birdies up close and personal like.
 I know a lot of people will not get this at all, but I actually like being pregnant for the most part. It's an amazing experience and different each time. Even my husband likes it when I'm pregnant. He says I'm never more beautiful. (I know I'm blessed to have him, ladies.)

When I think back on my grandmothers, I know that for at least one of them who had six children, a really big chunk of her adult life was spent either pregnant or nursing and she liked it that way. I come from a family with four kids and I loved the experience of growing up with my brothers and we are all still very close (three out of four of us even live on the same street). Family is an important part of your life, so don't be too hasty to eschew the idea of motherhood. 
Obligatory motherly bump rubbing shot.
I don't think it makes me less of a woman or makes me stupid or a slave to be an old fashioned stay at home mom. Sure, your body will change through motherhood, but that's not always a bad thing. I know that for a lot of women the idea is archaic and repressive, but I think it's only that way if you let it be. I certainly don't live the life of the nineteenth century housewife (although most middle class wives then had at least one servant!?!), but I don't have to climb a corporate ladder, maintain a supermodel physique, and go get drunk with my girlfriends and wake up with strangers to be a woman either. 

Whether you want to be a mother or not, you cannot deny that our world is a different one altogether from our grandmother's world and somehow the "liberated woman" has tossed aside most thoughts of motherhood and domesticity out the window as not good enough for this new breed of woman. May I suggest that true liberty and freedom isn't about eliminating a role, but being given the freedom to pursue it wholeheartedly without oppression, and that if you really want to shape the future for women there's no better way than to raise sons and daughters well.

The advertising world is full of women making other women feel bad about how they look, and the professional and academic world is full of women making other women feel bad about motherhood and domestic activities. I am not saying that all women should or have to be stay at home moms or live the way I choose to live, but what I am saying is we should as women reclaim the dignity that used to belong to the noble calling of motherhood. After all, good mothers produce a good next generation, and when we see such degradation, violence, laziness, and rudeness in young people, perhaps instead of simply blaming the anonymous culture as an excuse, we need to look at the role of parents. Viewing parenthood as something important and noble and as something each parent should give more seriousness to than their professional careers might just give us a better culture and future. 

The main reason I am a stay at home mom isn't because I couldn't do anything else, but because I realized that my children will go on after me and they will be a part of shaping the future for myself, themselves, and their children. I know I am responsible in a large part for how they turn out and therefore what that future will look like. I decided that was more important to me and to others than any full time job could be. They are only small once and highly impressionable at the youngest ages, why would I want to entrust that time to just anyone? My kids won't remember me with love when I'm gone because I looked perfect or had huge career success, I hope rather than they will remember how much fun we had and how much I loved them.

How do you view motherhood?

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Workbasket Wednesday: Open Star Medallion Tablecloth

Below is a pattern for a beautiful crocheted lace tablecloth. Oh how I wish I could make something so pretty and that I could eat at a gorgeously decadent table adorned with it. *Sigh* Maybe when the kids get older.


Monday, February 24, 2014

Sixties Plaid Maternity Dress

I still don't have a really perceptible bump, at least not to others than myself or my husband, but doggone it I'm wearing some of my favorite maternity dresses anyway. For one thing it is way more comfy when your belly starts expanding at all. I've never been a fan of tight maternity clothing especially anywhere near by belly. That is one reason I love vintage maternity clothing. They're always free flowing over the belly and make everything easy and comfortable and cool, which is essential when you get hot just sitting still outside in February. It's like you have a little heater inside. 

I was, and have been some days, a little too lazy or crammed for time to set my hair, so au natural curls it is. I know I'm blessed that I can get away without doing a whole lot to my hair, especially with a middy cut.

Morning sickness is coming to an end, thank God, but I still have moments and even days where I'm nauseous. Thankfully I learned after my first pregnancy that if you eat little meals throughout the day of only things that sound appetizing to you, you can avoid a lot of the vomiting. Unfortunately, that means I am never one of those people who says I lost 15 pounds during the first few weeks and just can't gain any weight. No, I still eat well even if I'm throwing up, sorry if that's too much information, but that's how it is. Hence that's probably the reason why I always get big by the end, but my babies have been healthy and my pregnancies are relatively easy, and that's what really counts.

McCall's 6995
I tried to find the exact plaid pictured because I loved the look of that dress. The only alterations I made was to shorten the sleeves to a 3/4 length so it's more versatile, again I get hot, really hot when I'm pregnant. Oh, and I removed the cuffs because they just didn't look right at the shorter length, so it's just gathered. I wore it with a belt here, but made a tie belt out of the same fabric to wear with it. However, when I go maternity clothes out of storage I couldn't find the belt.

I like the comfort of free-flowing vintage maternity, but I often add ties or a belt so I feel less like I'm wear a muu muu dress. The tops don't bother me nearly so much as the dresses unbelted.

Outfit Details:
Maternity Dress- made by me
Belt-thrifted braided brown
Leggings-black maternity from Motherhood Maternity store
Bracelets-vintage carmel bakelite and chocolate brown, I know one was purchased on Etsy, can't remember where I got the other one
Earrings-vintage bakelite carmel button clip ons

What do you think of free flowing vintage maternity dresses?  Do they remind you a little of a muu muu, too without a belt or tie?

Friday, February 21, 2014

Why Mess With a Good Thing?

 My second son was born at the end of August and my due date this time is only three days earlier than his birthday. So, I will definitely be able to wear all the cute summer dresses I sewed last time.

Some of those dresses I love so much I literally almost wore them out, seriously some of the cotton is looking worn and faded in places on a couple of them.

Today I'm sharing some of my favorite vintage summer maternity patterns that I hope to remake this time.

Simplicity 1766
This first one I only made on version of and I wish I had made more, because it was really only a wearable muslin made out of really cheap cotton print. I made the dress and tie and really wore it a lot, because I was still nursing my second child through part of my third child's pregnancy, and this one could unbutton for easy access. 

This time I plan on making it from a little nicer cotton print or maybe a plain. I'm kind of afraid of using a solid as I don't want it to remotely resemble a hospital gown. My favorite features on this are the giant pockets with button details and the fact that you can wear this after you have the baby as well. Seriously, our grandmothers were way smarter than we give them credit. How many maternity clothes today can ever be worn after you have the baby without making you look pregnant?

Simplicity 4635
What's not to love about this vintage 1940s maternity pattern? It's made to be worn during and after pregnancy, uses a crazy small amount of material especially for a maternity dress, and is super flattering even when you're huge. 

I made both versions of this one. The ruffled one out of a rayonish blue and purple flower print and the other sleeved version out of a vintage green and white polka-dot rayon with white piping instead of the lace inset. The sleeveless version is still in relatively good shape, but the one I used vintage fabric for has a bad tear on the back, mostly due to the fact that the fabric was old and fragile. So, it will need repairs, but I loved these dresses so much that I want to make another one, especially of the sleeveless ruffled one. 

Simplicity 4994

This super easy 1960s maternity dress pattern has only two main pieces, and with the tie is super flattering. This has to be my favorite that I made last time for the shear reason I could cut it out and sew it up completely in a couple of hours! 

I used cotton prints last time and am toying with using a nicer fabric for a fancier dress this time, but novelty prints are a real weakness of mine, so who knows if I can withstand such temptation when this dress is so easy to make. The pattern also includes the top and a panties/bloomers pattern and I am sorely tempted to try this to make some cute pajamas for this summer. 

So, here are some of my sewing plans for the next several months. I'm hoping by starting some of this summer sewing early I will have it done to wear through both spring and summer when I get big. And not to worry, you will see all the dresses I originally made from these patterns, too. 

Do you have any plans to repeat favorites from your sewing or vintage wardrobe?

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Workbasket Wednesday: Too Much Chocolate?

Did you overindulge your love for chocolate this Valentines Day? Then why not massage it away the "modern" and "electric" way?

And while you're at it pull in that tummy with a magic panel girdle to make you once again look slim and youthful.

And if neither of those really do the trick, just go ahead and order a free style book from Lane Bryant, because if you're stout, you can still be stylish.

Monday, February 17, 2014

A 1940s Maternity How To

Found this and just had to share. Enjoy.

As someone who is pregnant for the 6th time and, Lord willing, preparing for the birth of baby #4, I can tell you that most of this advice still holds true today. Whether you wear vintage or modern maternity looks, there's a lot to be learned from our grandmothers and great-grandmothers about looking good while pregnant.

Disclaimer: I have no plans on wearing a maternity girdle to slim my shape, nor do I recommend one. 

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Blue, Green, and Pregnant

Help! I'm losing my waist!
Even though I felt like I was having a fairly good hair day here, I felt a little blah about the day, the outfit, and pretty much everything. Pregnancy hormones are fun like that, and if you've never experienced them, just imagine pms hormones minus the cramping for nine months. The only upside is you know an amazing little baby is at the end of it all. 

I wore my banjo pin again.
Part of why I felt a little meh was because I'm in my least favorite part of pregnancy. The part where you can kind of wear maternity clothes, but you're still not big enough, and you really just look like you've been eating a lot lately and forgot what exercise is. It doesn't help that I'm always at risk for a miscarriage within the first trimester and end up on pelvic rest for a while as well as not being able to really exercise. So, basically for all my pregnancies I feel like a cow until I get that definitve baby bump that makes it obvious I've not just become lazy and fat. *Sigh*

Simplicity 1026
I used a vintage pattern for the skirt, but it turned out a little more baggy than I would've liked, but I'm too lazy to take it in and really it's a maternity skirt, so comfort and wiggle room take priority over many things right now.

Outfit Details:
Sweater: navy v-neck maternity sweater given to me by friend
Skirt: green pencil skirt made by me out of green suiting material (unlined)
Tights: navy not pictured
Shoes: gold ballet flats
Earrings: small wide gold hoops clip ons from somewhere
Bracelet: large bangle with imitation ivory and gold carvings, again no idea where I got it I've had it so long
Brooch: vintage banjo pin purchased off eBay

I wish I had gotten better pictures that day, but I didn't even feel like messing with them. I am now entering the second trimester and have a lot more energy than when these pictures were taken, but pregnancy is still an up and down roller coaster ride until the climatic end drops you and a new little one off.

Do you still dress vintage on your "meh" days?

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Vintage Pattern Pledge

A Stitching Odyssey created a vintage pattern pledge for 2014 and all you have to do is pledge to use at least five of your vintage patterns sometime throughout the year.

If you're like me, and you have a ton of vintage patterns you've collected, they can often become just an obsessive collection and lay untouched and unused. But if you've purchased them because you wanted to eventually sew them up and you get easily distracted with other projects (ahem, kids clothing and gifts anyone?), then this pledge is for you, and there are no deadlines or restrictions. Gotta love that.

Take the pledge, I am.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Workbasket Wednesday:Mrs. Hansen's Ties

Meet Mrs. Hansen and her handpainted ties and cravats. I think it's interesting to read article from the past about regular people and the Workbasket magazine always had an article devoted to showing ordinary women using their skills in unique ways. 


Monday, February 10, 2014

Liebster Award!!!

I was nominated for a Liebster Award from Kaitlyn at Kaitlyn's Simply Vintage! Thank you, Kaitlyn!

Liebster is German for dearest, and the award is meant to be given to bloggers whom you think deserve more recognition. 
Here are the rules:
  1. You must answer the 11 questions set by the blogger who nominated you.
  2. You yourself then pick 11 blogs who in turn have under 200 followers.
  3. You must then think of 11 questions for the blogs you have picked and also tell them.
  4. You must link back to the blog that nominated you.
  5. Write 11 facts about yourself
So, let's get started!

1. Why did you start blogging?
 Hmm. I'm not sure. Part of it was to document my sewing projects and partly to get to know other people in both the sewing and vintage communities. Living in a small rural town and being a homeschooling, stay at home mom, doesn't mean I meet a lot of people with similar interests. But I must say I'm blessed with a husband who loves to see me dress vintage and for me to sew for myself and the family.

2. What is your favourite piece of music? 
Does it have to be just one?!? I actually spent most of my life playing music and performing on stage. While I was still in elementary school, along with my brothers and father, we toured the country for the National Endowment for the Arts. I signed my first recording contract when I was ten. I haven't been touring or performing much in recent years due to my father's health, then my grandparents health decline and passing, and just being overwhelmed with the joy of being a mommy. But I am thinking of getting back into it a little more. 
Hmm, let me throw you for a curve. I love so many different styles of music and songs, but will have to pick on of my all time favorite songs written and performed by one of my favorite songwriters: "Gentle on My Mind" by John Hartford. 

3. Do you thrift shop? If so, what's the purchase you are most proud of?
Oh yes! Probably a vintage sweater in near perfect condition about twelve years ago. I still wear it a lot.

4. Tea or coffee?
Depends on my mood...and the night before, lol. If I'm sleep deprived, definitely coffee. Otherwise I love hot green tea, and being from the south I love cold sweet tea, too. 

5. What colour are the walls in your bedroom?
Plain old white. We've lived here about seven years and just never gotten around to painting them. Maybe one day....

6. What is the best piece of advice your parents ever gave you?
I'll give you one from my mom and one from my dad, to be fair. 
My mom told me not to date anyone I wouldn't want to marry. If you really think about this one, it would save a lot of people a lot of heartache. So, when I finally took her advice, I met my husband at seventeen and we've never looked back. I'm more in love with him now than ever before, and he is the greatest husband and father imaginable, thanks be to God.
My dad was our main music instructor, even though our mom's a great pianist, and he always said to not play over your head. What he meant by that was to not try to play things you weren't ready to play or that were at the time beyond your abilities. It's so tempting, especially as a young player, to want to play beyond what you're ready for, but it never benefits anyone. It never sounds good to those listening and you just come across as an amatuer. My dad really emphasized our playing and focusing on what we were good at when performing and saving what we weren't ready for yet to be worked on during practice time. It sounds like common sense, but I assure you a lot of young musicians fall into the temptation of trying to be what they aren't and end up unemployed and unsuccessful. I think that's a good lesson for us all, to be satisfied with where we are, and yet that doesn't mean you don't try to improve yourself or your situation, it just means enjoying and celebrating where you are in the moment. 

7. What would your dream house be?
An old renovated farm house with a working old fashioned farm. It's what my husband and I've always dreamed of, but land is so expensive and renovating an old home is expensive, so we haven't quite gotten there yet, but we still hope maybe one day we will.

8. What creative pursuits do you follow?
I play and write music, I enjoy cooking and especially baking, cross stitch, embroidery, quilting, sewing, and just crafty stuff in general and reading, I love to read and learn. 

9. Are you a morning person?
I used to think I was, then I had kids, lol. So, even though I'm often up by no later than 5:30, it's very begrudgingly and only because I wouldn't get a shower, exercise or anything by myself otherwise. I HATE mornings now, lol. 

10. What is your ideal fashion item?
Shirtwaist dresses, from the 30s to the early 60s. I love every style of them, and wish I had one for every day. 

11. Do you collect anything? My mom and husband would say that I collect vintage sewing patterns and fabric, lol. I seriously have hundreds of vintage sewing patterns dating from the 30s to the 80s and have enough fabric to clothe our family for a long time, lol. I don't see myself as collecting either though, because I buy them all only ever with the intention of actually making something with them. But I will have to admit, I have felt like I'm rescuing them from our local charity shop, and have bought some patterns there that's it was questionable whether or not I would ever actually use them, but I tell myself that maybe it will be more my daughter's style. 

Okay I did cheat and list some blogs that have a few more than 200 followers, but still don't have a lot, because I wanted to show blogs I honestly read and follow myself.
So here's my nominated blogs: 

The Vintage Home Sewist - This blog is a great mix of vintage, sewing, homesteading, and motherhood. 
The 50s Project - A blog with historical context for those who wish they could live a 50s kind of life. 
Willow Homestead - Did you ever have one of those blogs you have to read everything they post, because it just draws you in? This blog is one of those for me. Again, what's not to like, farming, vintage, sewing, motherhood. Do you see a pattern here?
A Bobbin Winding Mama - As a mom who loves to sew for my family and myself, I'm always excited and inspired to see what other mamas are able to accomplish. This blog is a great place to see lots of practical sewing for your kids. 
A Frolic Through Time - I love following her historical sewing and she is a wealth of knowledge about true historical context and methods as well as creating beautiful pieces and tutorials.
Butterflies and Hurricanes - A great mix of sewing and vintage that everyone will enjoy.
Jill's Home Remedies - Exactly what it sounds like. A resource to all things herbal and tips for do it yourself cleansing and detoxing. I know I am one of those people, lol. (She has tons of followers, sorry, I just really like her blog and wanted to share.)
Erika Made It - A really nice and fun sewing blog. She makes beautiful clothes and has a really fun sense of style.
Ladylike Delicacy - Beautiful vintage style and sewing from a beautiful Finnish lady, and she translates her posts into English.
La Couturiere Diamanche - A beautiful vintage sewing blog and she's a new mama!
Little Farm In The Big City - A fun urban farming blog. Yep, cause my dream is to have a farm one day.

And here are my questions:
1. Where did you get the name of your blog?
2. Why do you blog?
3. What's something we couldn't know about you from just reading your blog?
4. What is a blogging goal you have?
5. Where are you from?
6. Who or what inspires you?
7. If you could live anywhere, where would you live?
8. What do you hope most for your future?
9. How has blogging changed you?
10. What color is your kitchen?
11. What do you see out your window?

There it be, hope you find some new reading and enjoyed learning a little bit more about me. 

Friday, February 7, 2014

Maternity Sewing: Some Things to Do

(Warning: Cute baby pictures ahead, if you have an aversion to babies, better stop reading now.)

Maternity clothes, you either love them or hate them. Unfortunately, I fall into the latter category. With my first pregnancy I was still working at a hospital part time, so scrubs were easy. I also toured with a band that summer, so I had a few dressier things. Mostly though, my maternity wardrobe consisted of jeans, shorts, and t-shirts (baby was due Oct. 31, but born Nov.2). I didn't really like most of what I wore, but for some reason didn't see any other options. Even the modern maternity sewing patterns bored me.
Oldest daughter as a newborn.
Fast forward to my second pregnancy, due in March. Since I had mostly summery things, I knew I'd need some more winter appropriate maternity. I did go and buy a few things at a Motherhood Maternity store, but they are really expensive even on sale, and I had a few friends who were "done" having children and gave me their maternity wardrobes (for some reason a lot of people I know are "done" having kids and feel the need to give me their old clothes, lol). Again, I was less than excited. At this point I had some vintage sewing patterns, but it had never dawned on me to look for vintage maternity patterns until now. Immediately I started searching and bought some form eBay and Etsy. I felt so much better about how I looked after I was able to sew a few things that actually fit, had style, and flattered me.
Our first son as a newborn.
My third pregnancy was due in August, but I wasn't about to wear just the same old shorts and t-shirts. So, again I went to eBay and Etsy and our local charity thrift store and stocked up on vintage summery maternity patterns. I sewed a lot of summer dresses during that pregnancy.

Second son as a newborn.
Here I am on my fourth pregnancy, and no I don't know if it will be my last or not, but since I'm not too old to have kids yet, I don't feel the need to even think about it yet. And again I'm anxious to both start wearing the things I made previously and to fill in some modern maternity hand-me-downs with cute vintage sewn ones. I'm hoping to have a complete sewn vintage maternity or vintage inspired wardrobe, but I know that's not very likely, and donate the modern maternity clothes to someone who would really want and use them.

So, what are these gaps? Well, I have a lot of modern maternity tops, but have none that I have sewn from vintage patterns, so I'm hoping to sew some of them up as well as some pants, capris, or shorts. And here are some options from my bigger than should be allowed vintage pattern collection.
Simplicity 6024
I really like the sailor collar on this pattern and it includes the pants and shorts patterns, too. And I so want to make the dress for this summer!
Simplicity 1472
I simply adore the collars and pleats of this pattern and the sleeveless version would be perfect for this summer.
Simplicity 1174
Again, this pattern includes the patterns for both tops and bottoms, so very practical. These look really breezy and cool for the hot and humid southern august I'll be pregnant through.

Simplicity 7852
Another great loose summery top. I really like the peachy colored one.
Simplicity 6061
A perfect patterns for bottoms. I think I would like to make the pants version shortened to be capri length.

Okay, so the only problem I see with some of the vintage maternity patterns for tops is that I don't really fit in them yet, but that just gives me plenty of time to sew them up!

What do you think of vintage maternity clothes? Are they cuter than modern ones?

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Workbasket Wednesday: With the Cooks

Today's Workbasket Wednesday is for some recipes for peaches and sandwich fillings. I should warn you that I wrote this post while in the midst of morning sickness and especially reading some of the sandwich fillings was hard (peanut butter, catsup, and bacon?!?). So, while I'm not brave enough, or have a strong enough stomach at this time, to attempt these recipes, I'm sure some of them are surprisingly good.  If I get weird pregnancy cravings for them later I'll let you know, and be sure and let me know if you try them.


Tuesday, February 4, 2014

1970s Fantabulous

Why fantabulous? Because the 1970s were such an, um, weird decade for fashion hits and misses that it deserves it's own made up adjective to describe the sartorial schizophrenia. This dress, I think, is an example of one of the better fashion moments from the decade that brought us spandex hot pants. (Seriously, spandex never looks good on anyone. Just don't do it, no matter how fit and skinny you are, we don't want to know the details of your lower body's anatomy.)

I used Butterick 5572 for this dress which is made from a really soft cotton knit. It is quite literally one of the most comfortable things I've ever made. I did alter it to have 3/4 sleeves, because I thought it would make it more versatile. 

It has an empire drawstring waist and a cool cowl neck collar that I paired with a large beaded necklace that I've had for a long time, but perfectly matched my bakelite button earrings and bangle. 

I also wore a looser, more seventy-ish wave in my hair with a two day old set brushed out a little more. 

This may not be the most amazing dress in your opinion, but I have a very special reason for wearing it. It's a maternity dress, that's right, baby #4 is on the way and due at the end of this summer. So, maybe you'll understand why I haven't been posting as much lately, or sewing as much lately, or wearing a lot of my vintage wardrobe lately. However, be assured there will be lots of vintage maternity themed posts in the coming months and I'll be showing vintage maternity clothes that I have sewn up, both in previous pregnancies and hopefully for this one. 

Gratuitous "bump" shot. I will warn you, I'm not a cute tiny pregnant person, so beware for upcoming pictures.
Has anything ever drastically made you change your wardrobe or sewing plans?