Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Workbasket Wednesday: Dab Dishes

Today's Workbasket Wednesday is an article on practical tips for using up leftovers and other useful housekeeping ideas. Something every person must face, whether married or unmarried, male or female, is the problem of housekeeping. I don't care who you are or what you think or feel about who should be doing the housework and cooking, in the end it really has nothing to do with your sex and everything to do with not wanting to waste and to live in a home not full of filth. I understand that some people will see articles like this in magazines aimed at women in the past as sexist, but can't we just see it as useful tips and take it at that?


Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Sew for Victory: My Easter Dress!

Simplicity 2302

Whew! I did get everything sewed that I intended to sew up for Sew for Victory 2.0! I just didn't get the pictures posted until now, and I will warn you they were taken after Easter day festivities were over, so the dress is a little wrinkled and my hair a little wilted. *Sigh* That's what happens when you're me, oh, and if you participate in church, two giant family dinners, and two Easter egg hunts with three little ones. 

The dress was fairly easy to sew up, but I did have to re-cut the sleeves once and sew them in twice. I was trying to avoid the gathered look of poofy sleeves, but there was too much ease. It's a little better now, but still doesn't look like the picture. I have a little slope to my shoulders and apparently my shoulders and arms aren't like those they designed many vintage patterns for.

I did make a few changes to the original design. I tacked back the corners at the top to make a feaux collar, because it looked a little dowdy on me with the high and closed collar. I also left off the tie belt as I felt that it didn't go right with the rest of the dress on me, and no shoulder pads, but I may add them later just to see if it helps the shoulder area. I have an aversion to shoulder pads, I think because I was born in the eighties and saw too many shoulder pads gone wrong, but my love for vintage clothes may force me to admit that a little shoulder pad can be okay. We'll see...

I had a really cute bow belt that was exactly the same shade as the vintage buttons I used, but it literally broke on Easter morning. Guess I shouldn't expect much from a cheap $5 belt bought at one of those trendy boutiques. I only bought it because it matched so well, but I did know better. This one is okay and does match better in person, but oh well. 

I do like the side view of this design, but I think the color isn't the best for me. I used a very pale pink and green plaid patterned chemically made whatever type of fabric I purchased at our local Walmart years ago when they moved to town and put the two little local fabric shops out of business only to promptly get rid of their fabric and craft department immediately. Grrr. Yes, I did get a lot of fabric on the cheap, but hate Walmart just the same, and wish I hadn't even given them the satisfaction of purchasing the fabric now. But since I am trying, I really am trying, not to buy new fabric when there is so much in my stash and I thought the colors would be kinda matchy with the Easter clothes I made for the kids. I'm just not a pastel kind of girl usually.

I wore a new pair of vintage-esque earrings. They are made by on Etsy and are a wire basket with vintage fabric flowers in them and a pearl on top.  I love them and cannot wait to wear them again. 

I wore a new hat for Easter as well. It was purchased with this dress in mind, but I'm not sure it's the most flattering hat style for me now that I see it in the pictures, or it could be my wilted hair that I'm trying to grow out isn't doing it any favors. I like the hat just the same and will be looking for more outfits to wear it with. 

Overall, I'm pleased with the dress, for now. I don't think it's the most flattering or fun 1940s maternity dress I've worn or sewn, but it's growing on me. I think I may need to re-examine the way I fixed my hair and accessorized it. For now, it is what it is, and I did finish what I set out to accomplish for both Sew for Victory 2.0 and for our Easter outfits. So, I feel good about it at the moment.

Be sure to check out my other Sew for Victory/Easter sewing projects here and here.

What did you wear for Easter?

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Workbasket Wednesday: Crochet a Pekinese Dog

Today's Workbasket Wednesday is for a crocheted Pekinese dog and wouldn't it make a sweet gift for a little one. Perhaps I'll get ambitious and crochet one for our new baby. Hopefully, whether or not I make one, I hope you do and that it will bring joy to a child near you. 


Friday, April 18, 2014

A Casual Vintage Maternity Look

I wanted to post a more everyday outfit today. Not that I don't wear my homemade vintage maternity dresses for everyday stuff, because I do. I just wanted to show a very casual look that I wore to the store, because it's a mix up of modern and vintage clothes and is casual enough to be comfortable and to wear for just around the house.

I had to go to Walmart (Gag! I'm sorry I hate that place!), because when you live in a rural place the only stores open sometimes are Walmart or Walgreens. So, I threw on a vintage sweater (it was a little chilly), my Minetonka moccasins, and grabbed my little girl (the boys stayed with daddy) and down the road we went.

My hair was a two day old pin curl set and at home I only wore the t-shirt and capri pants, but throw on a cute sweater, lipstick, and a couple accessories and you don't look like you just stopped scrubbing the bathroom long enough to go to the store.

 I enjoy looking a little put together even to just go to the store. It makes me feel better, and I think it's respectful to others and my kids and husband. When I'm out in public I feel an even greater need now as a mom to dress decently. After all, not only will other people judge what kind of a mother and wife I am by how I look (seriously, we've all seen the frazzled mom and thought I hope I never look like that), but my kids are learning how they should look when out in public.

Almost 23 weeks here!
I do not let my kids go out in their pajamas, and it's really not that hard to keep them from it. I get them in the habit from the time they are born of changing out of their pajamas and into regular clothes when they first get up, even before eating breakfast. It's not really much more work for me as I do the same with myself and I simply do it for them while they're in diapers. They know the routine, wake up, potty, get dressed and comb your hair. It may sound old fashioned, but it makes going out unexpectedly and even planned appointments a lot easier to get ready for.

Add caption
Outfit Details:
Sweater-vintage from eBay
T-shirt-Maternity from Old Navy about six years ago
Capri pants-maternity gift from sister-in-law
Earrings-vintage bakelite from eBay
Bracelet-from Burlington Coat Factory

It doesn't have to be anything extravagant, I just don't go out in pajamas, sweats, or things with big stains, tears, or holes in them. Keep some easy to grab accessories and "Voila!" you look like you care, even if it's just a little effort. 

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Sewing for Easter: A Dress for My Daughter

Simplicity 1573 in size 6.
I could've titled this post Sewing for Easter: A Fancy Nancy 1940s Dress for My Daughter, but thought that was a little long and odd sounding.

The front.
So, in case you're wondering I did sew up an Easter dress for my daughter from a vintage 1940s pattern (another Sew for Victory project!), but in a definitely inaccurate fabric choice. Sure it's a cotton print, but of a beloved book character named Fancy Nancy whom my daughter adores.

Closer view of front bodice yoke and trim.
I didn't have much problem with the pattern aside from little duh moments, like sewing the bodice yoke to the bodice front upside down (don't ask how I didn't notice it for a long time, but I did). I also altered the pattern slightly and lengthened the skirt which is a great tip when sewing for kids, because they grow longer more quickly than wider so I always like to leave a generous hem when I can. I added about 4 inches in length. I also widened the skirt pieces by about 4 inches to make the skirt have more poof when gathered (my daughter loves lots of fluff and poofiness).
The back. 

At my daughter's suggestion we used a gross grain ribbon I had for a contrasting ruffle and sash. I'm glad I did, because I think it has a lot more body than most fabric would and it saved me time in finishing more edges.

More detailed view of fabric and back bodice yoke and trim.
I can see myself using this pattern again, but maybe the sleeveless version for next time. I actually found a bundle of 1940s girls patterns in her current exact size a couple years ago, so I'm hoping to use some more of them this year, too. And of course some of the perks to using wartime patterns is that they use the least amount of fabric and notions possible. I also love using vintage patterns in general for little girls, because I like for my daughter to look like a little girl while she's a little girl. I'm in no hurry for her to grow up or dress like a teenager, after all she's in kindergarten, but tell that to the main manufacturers and sellers of girl's clothing.

I know most people wouldn't sew this dress up in this material, or maybe just wouldn't let their kid pick what fabric to use, and would make a more traditionally frilly Easter dress, but not me. You see my mom sewed my Easter dresses (as well as much of my clothes) when I was a kid, and part of the fun of having a homemade dress or outfit was being able to choose the pattern and fabric I liked. After all, I'm not wearing my daughter's dress, she is, and I wouldn't want anyone else dictating to me what to wear, especially for a special day/occasion.

My daughter chose clear sparkly buttons. I like how the top one looks like Fancy Nancy is catching a ball.
I know moms who pick all of the children's clothing out daily and never let the kids have much say in what they wear, but as I've said before, I'm not that kind of mom. You have to pick your battles and why would I impose something on her that I don't conform to myself? Our rules are that her clothing has to be decent/modest (covering what should be covered) and appropriate (you have to wear something warm when it's cold out or vice versa). Other than that, we really try to let our kids express themselves in the way they choose to dress.

So, all that to say that a Fancy Nancy Easter dress is totally cool around here, even if it does make my mother-in-law cringe a bit (which I actually find quite funny when this happens, as we have very different tastes in clothing, and other things, for both kids and adults).

I also have a really amazing vintage hat for her to wear on Easter Sunday and will try to post pictures of her in her complete outfit afterwards. I'm so excited to see her in it!

How do you feel about letting kids dress how they like? Would you impose a dress code on your kids when you don't want anyone imposing one on you? Are there guidelines in your house or for yourself for how to dress?

Workbasket Wednesday Junior: Make a Chick and An Egg Race

Today's Workbasket Wednesday is a Junior edition and just in time for Easter a chick to make and an egg race game. 


Monday, April 14, 2014

Easter Sewing: For the Boys

I love little collared shirts for little boys!
So far I've completed the shirts I had planned on making my boys for Easter. Yes, they're matching, but since they are ages 3 and 1 and will likely never let me do this for much longer, I'm going for it while I can still get pictures of such cuteness.

I also used two patterns that would totally fit in for Sew for Victory, so whenever I get the time and take the effort, I'll be posting them there, too.

Simplicity 2049 in a size 4 for the 3 year old son.
These shirts were oh so easy and quick to make that I already have plans for a few more possibly matching shirts for my boys. I didn't really alter anything, except for leaving out some of the topstitching, and I like how they don't look modern nor do they look vintage. It's amazing how styles for boys don't really change as much as girls do.
Advance 5881 in size 2 for the 18 month old son. 
I also have barely enough material to possibly squeeze out a matching shirt for my husband, but I'm not sure whether or not I'll have the time or bravery. Something about sewing clothes for my husband terrifies me.
Side by side, won't they be cute?

I've also started sewing on my daughter's Easter dress, which also happens to come from a 1940s pattern, so yay for Sew for Victory! And I have my Easter/Sew for Victory dress cut out and it will be coming up for sewing next.

Plaids almost line up completely. *Sigh*
Now whether I get all of these things sewn up before Easter is another question, but since I've got until April 30th to finish up for Sew for Victory I'm hopeful I will at least meet that deadline. I think sometimes I do better with a deadline for finishing things.

Until then, I'll be sewing, sewing, sewing, and then sewing some more in a mad dash to finish everything by Easter Sunday without making crazy-in-a-hurry mistakes along the way! *Scream!*

In some ways I'm amazed at how I do under pressure with crazy deadlines, but during the insanity, I'm just stressed about finishing on time.

Are you more productive with a deadline or do they just stress you out? 

Friday, April 11, 2014

Blue Skies And Teardrops

Blue skies and teardrops got me down,
As the weeks draw in the wind keeps blowing 'round and 'round.

The title for this post is taken from one of my favorite songs from my teenage years. The version I particularly loved was by Lynn Morris. The weather we've had lately definitely reminds me of this, but I would replace "teardrops" with raindrops, as that would be more accurate for our weather. 

However, today was at the very least sunny with blue skies by the afternoon, even though the cold wind blew right through me at times. I think I'm really starting to get spring fever now.

I took the opportunity of going to church to wear a new spring hat I'd purchased off of eBay. It's a light golden straw beret with a velvet green bow in the back. I used a fairly substantial hat pin, but it was still prone to slide off my head, which reminds me that I need to learn how to better secure a hat with a hat pin. Right now I'm kind of willy nilly about the whole thing and am hit or miss as to effectiveness.

Outfit Details:
Hat-vintage purchase off eBay
Earrings-purchased from an Etsy seller that makes vintage inspired jewelry made to order.
Blouse-Maternity top purchased at Burlington Coat Factory two pregnancies ago
Skirt-Made by me and seen before here
Brooch-vintage dogwood blossom brooch from the Haggle Shop
Sweater-Old Navy purchase about five years ago
Shoes-Brown suede pumps I've had for years

I am officially halfway through this pregnancy and long for it to hurry along a little faster, and yet am nervous and feeling a little daunted at the prospect of being a mother of four. (That still sounds crazy to me!)For one thing, it makes me feel really old to know that I have four kids, and yet I wouldn't have it any other way.

My middy is also growing out, which is good and bad. Good, because I like the thought of having longer hair again. Bad, because I'm entering that netherworld of growing out a haircut, sort of a twilight zone where every day is an iffy hair day. So, I suppose I will need to start experimenting again with what will work now. I just don't like how my pin curl sets have been turning out, but then it could have a lot to do with the fact that no matter how it looked initially, it will look different after walking the four feet from my house to the car. *Sigh*

Do you have any tips for growing out a cut? 

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Workbasket Wednesday: Molding Candles & A Tatted Cross

 Today's Workbasket Wednesday is an article interviewing a housewife named Mrs. Gilbert Brown who handmade beautifully intricate molded candles to sell and a bonus tatting pattern to make a small cross bookmark.

I do understand the plea of feminists from the 1950s for women to be more than a mere housewife, especially as a modern day stay at home mom. After all, it's not exactly the most respected or praised role for a women in today's world. But I think there have been a lot of things lost through some people's radical refusal of all things domestic. 

I once asked my mother why her generation didn't pass on many of the homemaking, sewing, baking, knitting, and basic crafting skills that seemed so prevalent with their mothers generation. My mom knew many of these skills learned from her mother, but didn't really teach me anything I didn't specifically ask her to or pursue for myself. I did learn much more than many of my friends and peers, but still look at my own mother in awe at the beautiful things she can create from seemingly nothing. Her explanation as to why the baby boomer kids didn't pass on what they had learned was that they expected to be professionals and for their daughters to be as well and that they didn't need such knowledge to pursue a career. 

Unfortunately, I have a friend that when she moved out on her own didn't even know how to clean her own toilet or literally boil water. I'm not saying everyone has to be a housewife or even a stay at home mom, but we have lost a lot of skills by assuming that all women have to have a career outside of their homes and they don't need to know anything save what their career requires.  Seriously, male or female, everyone needs to know basic cleaning and cooking, and my sons will learn these as well as my daughter. 

I read about someone like Mrs. Brown and see how free she was to pursue her art and craft. Many women I know would love the opportunity to leave their outside jobs and pursue a creative passion like this. Sure, she was a housewife, too, but that doesn't equate drudgery or slavery(I've found that has a lot more to do with who your husband is and how you use your time), and the freedom to have such a creative outlet and the ability to pursue it is way more than many of us who have worked for large corporations can boast. After all, when she succeeded, she directly benefited from the success. When I worked for a large corporation, the main beneficiary was the corporation itself, and I didn't see the direct results of it. Not to mention when I left, I had nothing to show for it save the experience itself. 

Just an opinion, but I think true feminism is allowing women the freedom and choice to pursue what they love without neglecting responsibilities (i.e. if you have kids, you will have to be responsible for them, regardless of your career choice). I think in some ways our modern society has forced the idea of a woman's working outside the home as the only responsible and logical choice to the point that women are pressured into that lifestyle regardless of their true desires. Is that any different than women being forced into marriage as a career 80 years ago without any other really desirable options?

Sorry for the soapbox, lol. It could just be the pregnancy hormones talking, but take it for what it is, an opinion. ;)

Monday, April 7, 2014

The Flower Garden Maternity Dress

This maternity dress was sewn from a vintage 1950s maternity dress pattern and again it's just so incredibly comfortable to wear! Seriously, why does modern maternity have to be so bland, and I assure you the waistbands on pants or skirts are NEVER in the right place for comfort. This is my fourth pregnancy and I can tell you that everything is always either too high, ending up in the middle of the bump, or too low, pushing on the bottom of your uterus. Meanwhile, all vintage maternity is either a super high waist (above the bump) or free flowing, so the ultimate in comfort. They also keep all your curves a little more under cover, which is also comforting to me. I've never been a fan of the my t-shirt is so tight that you can see the complete outline of my weirdly stretched out belly button, or worse my popped completely out protruding belly button look.

The dress has a button placket down the entire center front of the dress, and like much maternity from the 1950s is shown worn either belted or loose and flowing. For obvious reasons, I always belt it. This time I wore a skinny green belt I got from Hannah Jane Boutique when they were having a crazy awesome sale on all their belts. Oh, and this dress has pockets! And our newly three year old boy decided to pop in for a few of the pictures.

I wore some vintage bakelite bangles and vintage green sunburst earrings. I realize I wear a lot of the same accessories, but that's because I actually have a limited amount of accessories. In some ways I figure that gives me more of a connection with the everyday women of the past who had to make do with whatever accessories they had with all their clothes. Don't get me wrong, there's nothing wrong with having more accessories, I just don't, and I thoroughly enjoy getting to see others enviable  collections of vintage accessories online. 

I've also included a couple shots of a pin curl set now that my middy is growing out some. I just realized that all of the outfit posts I have done for a while have has my hair unset in them, although I have set my hair, I just didn't take outfit pictures with it. There are some drawbacks to letting my middy grow out and one is that the hair is getting a little heavy to hold some of the pin curl sets that used to work so easily. I won't say the temptation to maintain the length hasn't caused me to almost get a trim, but I really like having longer hair, and I miss things like ponytails and buns for when I'm exercising or just plain hot. I simply hate having hair on my neck all the time, too. But don't worry, I'm super fickle about my hair, and will undoubtedly cut it short again in the coming year or two. 

Please excuse some of the messy counter view and things like art easel and handvac and bananas.
I just couldn't bear to cut out this little guy from the picture. 
 My photobomber showed up a lot today, but I wanted to share a belly shot as I am 20 weeks in this picture which means I'm halfway through this pregnancy!!! Bring on August already!

One thing I really admire about the style of women in the past is the fact that motherhood was embraced, but personal style and appearance were expected to remain. My grandmothers both changed clothes before they went out anywhere and would change back as soon as they got home usually. This kept their nice clothes looking nice and ensured they looked put together and "respectable" when out in public. This is something that I'm trying to adopt for myself, and I'm hopeful that after this baby I can get back to sewing and collecting a very practical vintage wardrobe that includes the fancies, but also things I can wear around the house and clean in. Sure, I still go out in a modern t-shirt and jeans sometimes, but my vintage is a work in progress and I'm moving towards my goal of a complete vintage wardrobe, one item at a time. And honestly, I think it's more fun that way, because I get to enjoy and savor every piece I purchase or sew.

What's something you enjoy about collecting/wearing vintage styles?

Friday, April 4, 2014

Art Nouveau Maternity Maxi Dres

I don't know why, but when pregnant, I have a real affinity for late 1960s and 1970s maternity styles, giant collars and all. This maxi dress is super comfy and especially in later pregnancy is essential for covering up any swelling in your legs or ankles. 

I chose a vivid printed cotton from M'Liss a few years ago and I love how it's swirls and natural motifs remind me of art nouveau designs, which I love.

I purchased this pattern at a local charity thrift store for about 10 cents. A great deal, but it was missing the facing for the back of the neck and the collar. I think it turned out okay, but it was hard to get the collar to lay right and if you flip it up, you can look like The Count from Sesame Street.

 It was raining and a little cool when I wore this, but I didn't care too much, because it's what I felt like wearing that day. Do you ever feel like that?

I paired it with an old jean jacket, a couple bangles, and some vintage green clip on earrings.

Outfit Details:
Dress-Made by me from vintage 1970s maternity sewing pattern
Jean jacket- I've had for about twelve years, so I've no idea where I got it
Bracelets- One is a vintage green bakelite and the other is a cheap fake I bought years ago
Earrings - vintage purchased from eBay.

I think I could get away with wearing this after the baby is born, but I probably won't even try it. I know that since I have been pregnant fairly regularly in the last few years (sons born in 2011 and 2012 and now), I'm not in a hurry to look remotely like I'm wearing maternity clothes if I'm not pregnant.  The first think I want to do when I have any waist at all again is to define it.

Wearing your regular jackets with maternity clothes, I think does give you a little more definition of some kind of shape, even though you can't button them. So, that's something I will commonly do and this time around this jean jacket is getting a lot of wear. It's like I have pregnancy cravings for certain clothes.
The Mister giving baby belly a kiss <3
I so want to get busy with sewing up Easter clothes, but have only cut out one of the boys shirts so far. I'm hoping I'll have more to show on that front fairly soon. Until then I plan on taking some pictures of some dresses I've sewn up for my daughter and some vintage pajamas I made for my oldest son's 3rd birthday.

Do you go through "cravings" in your wardrobe where certain pieces are more appealing at certain times?

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Workbasket Wednesday: Crocheted Basket

Today's Workbasket Wednesday is for making a crocheted basket.

I've never crocheted anything like this, as most of my crochet experience has been limited to hats, scarves, afgans/blankets, and simple motifs, but my mom assures me I would be capable of such crocheting feats. I keep saying we'll see if I ever finish one of the sweaters I keep starting, lol.

But in all seriousness, I think this would be a really cute Easter gift for someone. Sure, maybe you don't give out gifts for Easter, but I think it would cheer anyone up at any time of year. And if you gave them flowers or some treats in the basket, I think it would be nice to have the basket as a gift for when the flowers die or the treats have been eaten.

I hope you make it with more confidence than I. Enjoy!