Monday, March 31, 2014

Apple A Day Dress

 This is one of the brightest dresses I think I've ever sewn for myself. When my husband first saw the material, he was actually a little shocked and said, "Wow, it's so bright." These pictures don't show just how bright the colors really are. It's a combination of the brightest red and a vivid chartreuse, and all with a faint design of flowers and tendrils in the background.
I made this during my last pregnancy, and only got the chance to wear it a couple of times, but I've always loved the brightness, the cheeriness, and slightly wackiness of the fabric. It's a printed quilting cotton, which I tend to use a lot for sewing, and I made a matching dress for my little girl at the time. I hope it still fits her, but if it's too short it can always be a summer top.
I used a vintage 1950s housedress mailorder pattern, Marian Martin 9052.  It's a simple design with a yoke with a sqare neckline and ruffled edging and flutter sleeves.

It has a ruffle on the bottom edge and was made to be worn either belted or loose, but loose it looks way too much like a muu muu, especially when worn as maternity wear. Not to mention I am losing my waist for a while, so I need all the belted help I can get right now. Also because it was never designed or made to be a maternity dress, it's totally acceptable to wear it after the baby's born. However, I didn't actually wear it after the last baby, mostly because I was ready to have a definitive waist again. Maybe I will wear it more this time, who knows? 

I've never been one to try to hide that I'm pregnant and I suppose I usually dress in a way that stands out just a little, but I have to admit this dress really stands out more than most of my maternity wear and I love it that way. After all, why let pregnancy go uncelebrated in your wardrobe? Why not let the joy of a new life growing inside be celebrated even in the way you dress that growing belly?

I don't like the whole wear tight t-shirts and jeans or yoga pants throughout your pregnancy look. I never have. But much prefer to wear quirky, bright, vintagey, clothing even while pregnant. I have noticed that others either seem to love or hate this look, but at a time when I feel awkward about my body, it makes me feel better to dress in a way that makes me happy and bright.

What do you think of bright quirky maternity wear? 

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Scarves And Windy Days: Yea or Nay?

As it is the beginnings of spring now, and where I live that means lots of rain showers and windy days. While these are both good for growing things and flying kites (my kids actually like this weather), it's hard on your beautiful hairstyles. How annoying is it to find a great way to set your hair and plaster it with hairspray so every strand looks perfect only to walk to your car and have it blown everywhere?This just happened to me. Yesterday the wind was blowing so hard I couldn't go from my house to my car through a parking lot without my hair looking crazy afterwards. Today, it was a little windy and kind of that misty sprinkly rain going on.
This is something I've been thinking more and more about, and as I often do, I've looked to my grandmothers and the women of the past to how they solved this problem.

1930s fashion magazine cover

Well, one solution is scarves. Why did we quit wearing scarves to protect our hair? And how do you wear one with style and without looking like you're a follower of a certain religion? (Unless of course you do wear one for religious purposes.)
Headscarf scarf fashion Street style
A beautiful scarf tied over one's hair just seems like the perfect springtime accessory to protect your hairstyle and to add beauty and glamour to any outfit.

I suppose we quit wearing scarves on our heads for the same reasons we quit wearing hats and girdles and stockings and many other items that used to be an integral part of women's wardrobes, but now is seen as ridiculous. But hey, they won't think it's so ridiculous when your hair looks great after walking through a parking lot or even a park in the wind.
audrey hepburn

A beautiful scarf tied over one's hair just seems like the perfect springtime accessory to protect your hairstyle and to add beauty and glamour to any outfit. 

Wearing head scarf-4
The above picture is how I want to look when I put on a scarf to protect my hair from the wind (except I would be wearing a top, lol). But....
Queen Elizabeth II wears vintage Hermes #headscarf. Hurt Wilderbeast oddly silent. #Islamophobia #LadiesFashions
source fear is that I will end up looking like this! No offense to her majesty, and I'm sure her hair looked great because of the scarf. She wears them a lot, and being that she's queen and has more options than I do for keeping her hairstyle looking great, perhaps she's wiser than I give her credit for being. 
Also, when do you take off the scarf? If I'm going to the grocery store, do I take it off as soon as I enter? How about in the car? I don't drive a convertible, so should I tie one one after I arrive? Also, how do I tie it so it doesn't flatten and ruin the hairstyle I was trying to protect? Will it keep out some of the dampness and humidity so my hair isn't so frizzy?

1950s pink coat + headscarf love. #vintage #pink #coat #headscarf #fashion #1950s
There's so much to think about! But first thing's first, I will have to invest in some beautiful vintage scarves. I have a chiffon black small scarf, but that's pretty much it, so scarves are going to be something I'll be on the lookout for.

Would you consider wearing a head scarf like this? Do you think it could make a difference on windy or wet days?

Friday, March 28, 2014

A Little Red Belly

Simplicity 6061
I didn't realize how odd the title of this post is until just now, but I was thinking it was a play on the blues guitarist Lead Belly, lol.

A practical maternity pencil skirt for this spring. I made it from a black and white tweed and it's perfect for those not quite cold, but not really warm spring days we're having lately. 

One of the neatest features of this maternity skirt is the panel options. I chose the u-shaped belly option and it's actually very comfortable. I just cut up an old black t-shirt for the panel. The only thing is you can't tuck in a shirt, but really when you're pregnant you don't do that anyway. I chose this panel because I felt like the panel that went all the way around would be more likely to show under a top, too.  Interestingly I have some maternity patterns that are just a couple years earlier that have the same u-shaped hole cut out, but with nothing but a kind of "maternity belt" (what it's actually called on the patterns). I imagine this would be really cool and comfortable, especially when it's hot out and you're belly is gigantic, but I would never feel comfortable just letting it all hang out there, lol. 

I wore one of my favorite vintage brooches of Mary and her little lamb, because I've got a little lamb coming, and I can't resist anything cute and kitschy. 

It's amazing how a part of me still is in shock that I am pregnant again, but as the belly grows and grows it's getting harder to ignore.  

Outfit Details:
Blouse-Motherhood Maternity hand-me-down from a friend
Pencil skirt-Made by me
Brooch-Vintage purchase from eBay
Earrings-Vintage bakelite from Etsy

I love having pencil skirts to wear while pregnant. There so easy to dress up or down and keep you cool, although I doubt I'll be wearing this one this summer, so I may have to make one up in a neutral color and in a much lighter weight fabric. Which is fine with me because, well, I only have one pair of black maternity tights and hate wearing them, so I'm looking forward to never having to wear anything on my legs in the warmer weather. It's also a bit depressing that I can't wear any of my vintage stockings while pregnant, because I have no garter belt that will fit and no desire to try out a vintage maternity girdle at this point.

The days are growing longer and warmer and I'm hoping to tackle more separates as it heats up, but am also looking forward to sewing up more maternity dresses. They're just so easy to wear for a summer pregnancy.

What are you looking forward to wearing/sewing for the warmer weather?

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Workbasket Wednesday: Crochet a Classic Beret

Today's Workbasket Wednesday comes from the March 1951 issue and is for a simple beret to crochet. Since most of us still have a little cold chill in the air a beret crocheted out of a lighter weight yarn would be the perfect topper for a vintage look this spring. And since I do know how to crochet I may have to look for some yarn and make my own.


Monday, March 24, 2014

Sewing for Victory Maternity Style

Rochelle from Lucky Lucille is hosting another Sew for Victory sew along! And I am so excited!

You see, I missed out on the first one and wished I had done it ever since. I love 1940s fashions and I've sewn a few of my vintage 1940s patterns up, but the real reason I'm so excited is because I have some awesome vintage 40s maternity patterns that I've been dying to sew up.

You can use any vintage pattern from the 1940s to the early 1950s or reproduction and modern patterns that can adequately recreate a style from that era. Rochelle also has some links and coupon codes for savings on patterns that fit the sew along on her blog here.

I LOVE 1940s maternity wear! Not only are the designs often as stylish as the non-maternity fashions of the day, but they're usually made to be worn after you give birth as well. Everyone wears at least one item of maternity clothing even after they have the baby, but these are all designed to not look like maternity for afterwards. Wish modern maternity were so pretty and practical.

Here are some of my options and I may even use one for my Easter dress and kill two birds with one stone, so to speak.
Simplicity 2459
I'm thinking I would like to have the sleeveless version of Simplicity 2459 made up for this summer, but it's still a little cool for that now and I don't think it's really special enough for an Easter dress. Maybe in a buttery yellow color with ric rac trim or a tiny plaid print in summery bright colors.

Simplicity 3453
Simplicity 3453 and the next two are the main front runners for Easter dress options and I really like the option of a matching jacket. This one however, would be better suited to a thinner material than the one I've selected, so though I definitely want to sew it up in something like a rayon slightly sheer fabric, it may have to wait until Easter is passed.

Simplicity 2302
Simplicity 2302 is a definite front runner, probably tied with the next one to be the Easter dress. I love again the jacket option provided, but don't know if I can squeeze out enough of the fabric to line it, but I would surely try if I use this pattern. My only reservation with this one is that my fabric has a small plaid pattern and I wonder how it would drape and hang in the skirt. What do you think?

Advance 5561
This is the only Advance pattern that I have that would work. I didn't realize I had such an affinity for Simplicity maternity patterns, but I've noticed a majority of my maternity patterns are Simplicity. Advance 5561 is a little later date than the other patterns, but I'm thinking would go maybe a little better with the fabric weight and pattern than the above.

Simplicity 4635
I've made Simplicity 4635 up twice during my last pregnancy, one sleeveless with ruffles and one with sleeves and piping instead of lace. I cannot say how much I love those dresses, and want so much to make one for this time in a cutesy cotton print I've got. Keep watching for that one. 

Simplicity 2303
Simplicity 2303 is not a dress, but instead a "materinity or hospital gown". I definitely would not want to wear anything this nice during or after labor in the hospital as giving birth can be a bit on the messy side, and I'd rather ruin the cheap hospital gowns provided than something of my own, especially one as pretty as the blue one. But I really, really, really, am tempted to make one just like the blue to wear at home.

Thhe material I will be using for my Easter dress is a pale pink and green plaid in a slightly thick synthetic, and yes, I've already got a hat to match it, so, we'll see what happens. 

These are all patterns which I would like to make sometime during this pregnancy, but I'd like you're opinion. Which would you choose?

Oh, and be sure and join the sew along, you have until April 30, 2014 to complete your sewing!

Friday, March 21, 2014

In Your Easter Bonnet...5 Things I've Learned About Wearing Vintage Hats

I realize the title to this post is more than a little cliche, but I'm using it, because I think it's almost impossible for me to type a post about wearing hats in the spring and summer this close to Easter without the phrase "Easter bonnet" somewhere in it.

I have done a little better about wearing my vintage hats this fall and winter, but the few sunny days we've had have me itching to purchase and wear all the straw and flowery concoctions that are vintage hats for spring and summer, and I have purchased my Easter hat and cannot wait to wear it, that is if I can finish my dress and the kids outfits in time. Yes, I put too much on myself at times, I know, but it will be so cute if I can get them all done.
I have to admit I have a harder time making myself wear hats in the warmer weather for a couple of reasons. First, it's just so hot and humid where we live in the summer that the thought of much on my head sounds horrifying. Secondly, I don't go very many places fancy enough to wear the cute little cocktail hats. Thirdly, it's a little more daunting, because when it's cold out you do at least assume everyone just thinks you're keeping your head warm, and you don't stand out as much as others wear hats in winter, too.

I do wear sun hats, and have for quite some time as I am extremely pale and have very sensitive skin and am paranoid about lots of chemicals found in most sun screens. That being said, there's only so many places or occasions to wear a giant sun hat, and you look silly wearing them indoors.

So, this year I am going to endeavor to wear more hats in the spring and summer, even if it's just on Sundays, and I think I've figured out a few things about myself and hats by wearing them more this year.

1. Not all hats are suited to me. It was a depressing revelation to make, but there it is. Everyone has a different shaped face and hairstyles and basic clothing style. All of which can affect whether or not a hat suits you. For example, if you wear a lot of late 1930s clothing, you probably won't look right in a 1960s bucket hat. Also if your face is round and full for example you don't want to wear a hat that exaggerates that. It sounds like common sense, but just like most of us had to find what style of clothing does or doesn't work for your body or your shades of makeup, you have to find what shapes of hats work for your face.

2. Some hats are harder for everyone to wear. The more exotic and avant garde a hat style is, the harder it is to wear it, but don't let that put you off, because with some experimentation you can sometimes make it work. And sometimes it's just a matter of wearing the appropriate hat with the right outfit to the right place. For example, if I'm going to the grocery store I don't want to wear a cocktail hat. Many smaller hats and fascinators were meant to be worn to evening occasions and they will look more appropriate worn that way. Also, be a little courteous, no big hats in the theatre or at church or basically anywhere that they might impede someone's view.

3. I have to feel comfortable both in how the hat looks with what I'm wearing, where I'm going, and whether or not I feel like it's falling off all the time. No matter how beautiful the hat if I can't wear it with confidence, I'm better off not wearing it, and securing them to your head is essential for most vintage hats. Oh, and angles can change everything about how you feel about a hat, so switch it up.

4. The one thing that holds me back from wearing hats more is my own fear of what others will think or say, but once you wear a few vintage hats whether with vintage clothes or mixed with modern, you'll find more people are complimentary than laughing at you.

5. It's just plain fun to wear hats! They're fun to buy, look at, and feel, and so much fun to add to an outfit. I definitely want to wear them more often.

So, what could hold me back from wearing hats this summer? I'm pregnant, and I'm wondering what having a big belly will do to my proportions while wearing hats.

What tips do you have for wearing vintage hats? Do you think being pregnant could change how I look in hats or what hats will look good on someone? 

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Oh Spring, Oh Spring!

I feel like it's been forever since I blogged anything, and I want to say, I'm so sorry for that. However part of it has been due to circumstances out of my control. My computer has been acting finicky again and not working all the time properly (It tends to be a little moody.), I've been seriously potty training our oldest son, we've, myself included, have had two nasty bouts of a stomach virus, which is no picnic when you're pregnant and prone to nausea already, and I've been too tired *ahem* lazy to get up early and write as that was my usual time for doing so. 

So, with the clouds seeming to clear away a little bit and the hope of sunshine in the future, I'm looking forward to more regular posting for a while. However, it seems that the only constant around here is often unpredictability. 

The title for this post comes from a poem my dad wrote. He's actually a published poet, and despite the obvious nature of the title, the actual poem is quite humorous. Unfortunately I can't recall all the words to it at present. But I can tell you that spring is fighting it's way in here. We have one day of sunshiny warmth and goodness and then you'll wake up to snow the next morning. We can't complain much though, because we have relatively mild weather here and it's allowing me to occasionally wear some more sunny weather outfits. 

I'm wearing a version of Simplicity 4994 that I made this time in a very bright and flowery cotton print. It's comfy and cool and the colors make me happy. Again, there couldn't be an easier maternity pattern I don't think, and there may be another version in my future. 

You'll have to forgive me for not matching the pattern on the dress front, but I am trying very hard not to buy any more new fabric until I use a substantial part of my existing fabric stash, so I had to make to with barely enough yardage as it was. 

Life is perpetually a little chaotic around here, but I have done some sewing here and there that I hope to get posted soon. A couple dresses for my little girl and some vintage pajamas for my brave Sir J for his birthday. 
I am starting to get back some energy in the second trimester without having to go to bed at 8:30, so that's good and I'm starting to get back into our normal schedule and routine with both school and housework. I'm not yet nesting, but just tired of things not getting done, and finally have the slightest energy to do them.
Pregnancy is such a strange and wonderful time and it's different every time, sometimes every day. Yet somehow there's something peaceful and calming about being able to at least dress in a comfortable outfit that you enjoy. I think sometimes I'm having a "bad" day because I haven't either had the time or taken the time to enjoy being me and expressing myself in some creative way.

What one wears is an easy way to do that. As someone who's always been a little different in how I dress and who enjoys anything remotely creative, how I dress can make a huge difference in my day. I don't propose that I am the best dressed or that anyone else may even like what I wear at all, but I do, and that's what counts. My husband has even said that my dressing differently is one thing he always found attractive about me. Confidence and liking how you look goes a long, long, way with how we behave and carry ourselves, and with how others perceive us.

What do you do to make yourself have a better day? Any tips on how to brighten up a dull day?