Friday, November 28, 2014

Double the Skirt, Double the Fun

This skirt was something I whipped up kind of on a whim with no pattern or even a picture for inspiration. To be honest, it was born out of necessity and my love for both fabrics used.

Outfit Details:
Skirt: made by me
Shirt: Knit peasanty blouse from Old Navy ages ago
Hat: vintage ribbon hat from eBay
Bangles: vintage bakelite from various eBay sources and times
Earrings: vintage wire sunflower screwbacks from eBay this summer
Brooch: vintage bakelite 1930s/40s cowgirl from eBay maybe?
Purse: vintage 1950s tooled leather from local antique store no longer open
I also wore brown tights and some honey-colored lace-up oxford flats, but didn't get a picture. 

I've always like a nice simple gathered skirt, but also enjoy the occasional wrap skirt. A drindl or simple gathered skirt is really easy to make and wear, but can be a little blah. A wrap skirt is pretty and interesting to look at, but somehow I always end up on the wrong end of too big of a breeze in them. 

The answer: combine what I like about both of them. So, I made a feaux wrap drindle skirt! By lengthening the waistband at both ends I was able to make it close with a bow. 

It also is very practical post-abdominal surgery (no, not a tummy tuck, lol) due to it's adjustability and loose fit,'s completely reversible(saving closet space)! I'm sure you'll see an outfit post with it's other side later.

Having four small children can take a toll on you both physically and mentally, but that was increased for me after the birth of my third child and made worse after our fourth was born due to some physical and health issues I was experiencing. Anyone who has experienced any kind of ailment that is remotely debilitating will understand that it can be more than a little depressing to be unable to do what you want to do or even used to do simply because you're body won't cooperate.

I had surgery a few weeks back in order to get back some of the ability to do things I used to take pleasure in and to even be able to pick up my kids again and play with them in an active manner. 

The post-op recovery period for surgery can be just as, or more, debilitating than whatever the surgery was supposed to correct. Sewing up this skirt not only gave me something to do, but something I could comfortably wear while still sore and healing, and it made me feel just a little bit better about myself and pointed to the hope that somewhere down the road things would be better and easier. 

My daughter also wanted me to share with you something else we have been doing together while I was recovering. We've been able to spend some girly time just painting our nails and looking at amazing and crazy nail art on pinterest. Just being able to do something with her made me feel a little more normal, too.

Do you have any hobbies or interests that help you to cope with difficult situations? Would you wear a reversible skirt?

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving! And a Birthday Giveaway!

 Happy Thanksgiving to all the U.S. readers and I hope and pray that you have a very safe and blessed day full of thanks to God for all the many ways He cares for us through Jesus Christ His Son.
I was born on a Thanksgiving morning thirty-four years ago and I've always thought that was special, and it's made doubly special when my birthday happens to fall on Thanksgiving as it does this year. To celebrate, I am having a giveaway!

If you didn't already know, Betsy's Baby is NOT  a sponsored blog (I have thought of trying to get sponsors, but I don't know about that...) and I don't get any free stuff, so this giveaway will feature items from my own personal vintage collection. This giveaway will also include a choice of items to win. You can either choose two pairs of new-old-stock, still in the package, seamed stockings in size 9 & 1/2 or a vintage sewing pattern.
Simplicity 4905 in size 12 bust 32
Two unopened pairs of seamed stockings in a nice tan color.
 They are too long for me, so I hope they go to a good home and will gets lots of wear.

To enter:
1. Leave a comment below with your name and email and which you would prefer to win (stockings or pattern).

2. Earn extra entries by following Betsy's Baby on Bloglovin'.

3. Earn extra entries by posting about this giveaway somewhere else (i.e. social media or blogs).

4. Be sure to comment for each additional entry and leave a link for posts made elsewhere about this giveaway.

You have until Thursday, December 11, 2014 to enter (I hope this give it time to get there by Christmas!)  It's open to anyone in the world and a winner will be announced on Saturday, December 13, 2014.

Hope you win!

Morning view from my backporch.

"Enter His gates with thanksgiving, 
and His courts with praise!
Give thanks to Him; bless His name!

For the LORD is good; 
His steadfast love endures forever, 
and His faithfulness to all generations."
-Psalm 100:4-5

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Workbasket Wednesday: Vintage Ads Earn it!

Today's Workbasket Wednesday is a collection of ads. As I look through my old Workbasket magazine collection, I've often noticed that advertising has changed a lot in the last sixty to seventy years. One of the things that seems to be a steady theme in vintage magazine are ads not to buy products, but for you to sell them. Sure, you may see an ad here or there in a modern magazine for you to earn money selling something, but it seems like the amount in vintage magazines is much higher. I'm not really sure what that says about our consumerism culture, but it does make me wonder if maybe we're less likely today to want to earn extra money by working an extra "job". Maybe we're just less productive in general, but what ever it is, I hope you enjoy looking at some of the opportunities you could've had to earn some extra money in 1951.

Do you do anything to earn extra money on the side? Is it harder now with the internet and easy at home shopping for individuals to sell products? Do you wish you could take advantage of any of the opportunities in these ads?

Friday, November 21, 2014

Fall Pastels

Goodness knows I am not what I think anyone would describe as "on trendy" or even very "fashionable", at least not for modern times. I have always dressed in a way described as "different" by most people who have ever known me. Oddly, even though my style has obviously evolved, the basic elements and style preferences I enjoy have not really changed much. I met my husband when we were both seventeen and he says the fact that I dressed my own way actually made me not only stand out, but attracted him to me. 

However, when I put this outfit together I later found out that pastels were on trend for this fall, lol. Not that it matters, but I thought it rather funny that I was accidently sort of trendy. Obviously I'm not wearing them in a trendy way though, lol. And clearly I don't look remotely like a model, which I'm actually kind of glad about, because I'd rather be me.

Even though I'm naturally very pale and some pastels can wash me out, I still love them and feel totally girly and very feminine when I wear them. I think pastel peaches, blues, and some lavenders look the best on me, and it's kind of fun to wear them in fall or winter when they are least expected, and they cheer me up. It's hard not to be a little happy when wearing pastels.

I wouldn't say that my style fits perfectly into a specific vintage period either, though, I guess I will never completely "fit in" as far as fashion trends, but I'm okay with that. After all, a big part of the reason I wear vintage clothing and styles is because I enjoy being a little unique and eclectic.

I have elements in this outfit from at least four different decades, but I think just like I'm not completely from one decade, neither is my clothing. It's amazing how everyone is made up of all the time, experiences, and elements from many years (unless you're a kid reading this, lol), yet if we look at pop culture or to the fashion world, we are supposed to forget everything we loved or wore ten years ago and follow whatever current fashion dictates regardless of whether we like it or whether it's flattering on us. If this logic were applied to any other part of our lives, we would laugh. I love that wearing vintage clothing and thrifted clothing allows people to show more of who they really are through what they wear. I've always been interested in older things, whether it be vintage clothing, antique furniture, antique cars, or traditional and older music styles. Why not let your clothing speak to who you truly are?

Outfit Details:
Skirt: drindl skirt made by me
Shirt: peachy turtleneck from who-knows-where because I've had it since college
Sweater: vintage 1980s, purchased from Brittany from Va-Voom Vintage's Etsy (Vintage Under 30) store this summer (Pssst! Here's a link to her new awesome new Etsy shop Wacky Tuna.)
blue leather belt: don't remember, but online somewhere
Earrings: vintage Niagara Falls souvenir clip-ons, because I'm touristy like that and that place is special to my husband and I.
I also wore gray tights and some black oxford ankle bootie flats, and yes, one day I will take pictures of my shoes! I'm just a germaphobe and do not wear shoes past my basement door at our house.

With the upcoming holiday of Thanksgiving here in the U.S., I'm sharing a big part of what, or rather who I am soooo thankful to God for right now. Above is a gratuitous cute baby picture with the girls, because I'm head over heels for  our sweet little girls. Can't believe I'm a mom of four and get to have TWO little girls! God has truly blessed our home and family with an unbelievable sweetness!

Do you wear pastels in fall or winter? What does your style say about you? What have you been blessed with lately?

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Work Basket Wednesday: Crocheted Bread Tray Doily

I haven't done a Workbasket Wednesday in a long time, but I've still got plenty of Workbasket magazines from the 40s and 50s, so I hope to continue posting them, and I hope you enjoy them, too.

I'm not the greatest crocheter. I can crochet simple things, but never really have tried to tackle anything very difficult. However, I actually have always had a soft spot for doilies. They're just so pretty. I've inherited many from both of my grandmothers and do occasionally use them in decorating (The past few years I've used a sort of snowflake patterned set to decorate at Christmas). This pattern doesn't look too hard, so maybe one day when patience and time are on my side I will attempt it.

I hope you enjoy!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Vintage Mama Monday: Shirtwaists and Breastfeeding

Vintage picture of woman breastfeeding in the 1950s
Where I found this picture, but not the ultimate source. I really found the contrast between
the nursing mom who looks tired and a bit tense next to the young woman with beautiful
hair and makeup seeming so happy very funny. Motherhood is more enjoyable when you feel good about how you look, but sometimes I look more like this lady nursing her baby.

I've now had four children and have breastfed three successfully for a year or more and hope to do the same with our youngest. I absolutely love breastfeeding. I love, the closeness, the ease of always having her food with me, the health benefits for us both, and being in awe of God's incredible design for mothers and feeding their babies. I say all this not to make anyone who does not or cannot breastfeed feel badly, because it's okay. 
1930s Cotton Dress / XL Laundry Day Dress / 30s
1930s with a great print and colors and pintucks on the shoulders.
Find it here. Oh, and this is actually an XL if you're interested.
While I am passionate about breastfeeding, I find it next to impossible to be as passionate about how it changes my wardrobe. Things like nursing bras, huge breasts and cleavage, and everything needing to have easy access for feeding. It means almost no dresses for most women, as well. But let me just let you in on a little secret, breastfeeding is, I think, a little easier for the vintage wearing mama and her wardrobe, depending on which era of clothing she prefers to wear.

Vintage 1940s Shirtwaist Dress Shaped Shoulder Yokes Flared Skirt Round Pocket 1942 Advance 2752 Bust 32
Grab up a 1940s version for a totally different look.
Find it here.
We have the advantage of the quintessential, the amazing, shirtwaist dress. There's nothing like being able to put on a cute dress and still being able to feed and take care of your baby. I love that it makes looking and feeling a little more put together so much easier than trying to match up or find separates that still fit. Put on a shirtwaist, grab a few accessories and you're out the door a whole lot faster. 
1950s Vintage Sewing Pattern Shirtwaist Dress Bust 34 UNCUT Butterick 6710 Full Skirt, Wing Collar, Tab Accent Day or Evening Dress
What a great change up from the standard shirtwaist.
Find this 1950s pattern here.
I love that shirtwaists came in a variety of prints and colors and were made with easy care materials. I love that they are relatively easy to find in vintage or to purchase a vintage pattern and sew. You can even find many modern shirtwaist dresses that look vintage. 
NOS 1960s shirtwaist dress. Peter Pan collar short sleeves. June Cleaver. Button front dress. Jeune Liegue by Cherberg. Toile look dress.
Awesome rooster toile print. Get it here
Some tips for planing your postpartum and breastfeeding wardrobe are things like looking for looser fitting ones on top, because well, you're gonna be bigger. Also look for elastic waistbands, yes, some vintage shirtwaists had them, definitely makes your fluctuating size a whole lot easier to deal with. A great source for cheaper priced shirtwaists often with elastic waistbands is to look for 70s and 80s vintage shirtwaists. (A little tip that I do to keep elastic waist 80s shirtwaists from looking too much like 80s and not enough 40s or 50s is to buy them to fit me with the elastic stretched almost as far as it will go. It's still comfy, but looks a little more fitted at the waist, something that may mean a lot to you after 9 months of no waist.)
1970's japanese pink aqua blue floral vintage dress,Floral dress,Pink dress,Shirtwaist dress,autumn winter dress,art deco dress,tea dress
Look how crazy cute this vintage 70s shirtwaist is, but it ain't cheap.
Find it here. 
I think all us vintage mamas probably all have an appreciation for the shirtwaist dress, but when you're sleep deprived, need to wash your hair, and carrying a ton of supplies for baby everywhere you go, the shirtwaist dress just makes one more step a little bit easier. 
Shirt Dress, Red Dress, Floral Print, Vintage 1980s Size Medium
1980s red shirtwaist dress available here. 
Hope this encouraged and helped you to feel a little better in a season of life where feeling good about your appearance can be a daily struggle. And if you're expecting and think you might breastfeed, I would suggest that you start planing and thinking about your postpartum wardrobe and what you need to add if anything. It just makes that time a little less hectic and depressing. 
Modern "shirt dress" here.  I just pefer a vintage version because
you get more length and usually a little more design details than with modern,
but modern versions are pretty easy to find and fairly affordable.

What was your go to wardrobe staples postpartum or while breastfeeding? Do you love a good shirtwaist dress or shirt dress? 

Friday, November 14, 2014

Help! Birthday/Thanksgiving Dress Decisions

Okay, so here's the deal. Every year for my birthday, I think to myself, "I'm going to sew an amazing birthday dress." Some years it has happened, but most years, not so much, or at least not in time for my actual birthday. This year is very special because my birthday happens to also be Thanksgiving and I was actually born on Thanksgiving. This only happens every so many years and this would mean that I would actually have somewhere to wear a special birthday dress for my birthday (my husband and I don't always get to go out for or on my birthday, kids you know).

This year I really have been thinking of late 1930s and 1940s dresses, but I also need something fast and easy and I want to use this crazy bright and patterned fabric if possible. No, I'm not asking too much, am I? Oh, and I want a pattern that's super cute and doesn't require a lot of modification to fit me, because, well, there's not much time left to make it. All this, hence the cry for.....HELP!

I know this looks like a bright and crazy print, and well, it is, but I really love it, what can I say?
This fabric was actually a birthday gift for me last year, so I would really like to use it. 
Some plainish black, red, and tan striped fabric. Very serviceable, but not very exciting. 
This kitschy kids picking apples print fabric just screams to become a 1940s dress,
but I'm not sure it's birthday-dress-exciting enough. 

This first option is literally the kind of dress I dream about wearing, but I'm not sure it's right for the pattern on this material or if I could wear it without a lot of modifying to make it breastfeeding friendly. (If you have any ideas how I could easily adapt it to nursing friendly, please let me know!)

This next one is super cute, too. I would have to size it up a little and I'm not sure how I would like it in the long-sleeved version, but I'm cool with making it short-sleeved. The only hesitation I have is that unbelievably long zipper, which would make it very nursing friendly, but oh, the logistics of finding such a zipper and then having to put it in! Hmmmm.....

This next one is a pretty straightforward 1940s shirtwaist. I'm not sure that the design of the dress wouldn't get lost in this print and all those button holes would take a while to sew. However I wouldn't have to do any sizing up or modifying to make this one work.

Logistically, I kinda know this one is probably the safest bet, because the design is simple enough for a busy print, the size is right, and I think it would be a fairly quick sew-up.

So, please help me! I will not promise to do what you say, but I will definitely take any advice into consideration before I cut any of the fabric. I'm open to short or long sleeves, but the big thing is it has to be easily accessible for breastfeeding. 

Which pattern would you choose? Which fabric? What should I do?

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Stripes Ahoy!

This was an outfit that I wore about a month ago, but I wanted to share it because not everyone lives somewhere that requires continuous covering of your arms and legs. Here in Tennessee the weather is as unpredictable as imaginable throughout the year. We've literally had Christmas day with tons of snow and below zero temperatures some years and sunny and 70 degrees other years. This means that I may be wearing a short-sleeved dressed with bare legs in the fall or winter. As I type this it's really cold outside and tomorrow is supposed to be the coldest day we've had this fall/winter so far. So, I honestly feel a little weird looking at these pictures. But I digress.

My absolute favorite color is yellow, and although I don't wear a lot of just plain yellow because I don't think many shades of yellow look so good on me, I love pairing it with my outfits for a pop of color or contrast. Blue is probably my second favorite color, so this was a winning combination in my book.

Love my yellow guitar brooch!
This dress is extremely versatile as well. The coloring and medium weight of the fabric make it able to be worn in spring and summer as is, but also to be worn with a cardigan or sweater/jumper and tights or stockings. It's great for the post partum nursing mom, too, with the buttons on top and elastic waistband.  

But this is what I think is the best part of this dress: it's a vintage 1980s dress! So, it was under $10 in cost! If you don't know by now, I'm notorious for not wanting to spend much on my wardrobe (I would rather spend more on fabric and vintage sewing patterns, ironically), so this dress that cheap makes me really happy. 

Outfit Details:
Dress-1980s Vintage eBay find
Bracelets-Vintage lucite from various sources
Belt-from vintage 1950s yellow swiss dotted dress I own
Brooch-vintage plastic guitar brooch from eBay
How do you stretch your wardrobe to transition through the seasons? Would you buy a 1980s dress and actually wear it?


Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Bad Blogger!

I've been a very bad blogger the last few months. Not only do I keep coming back and promising to post more regularly, but then don't, I wasn't even that concerned about my false promises and absence.

I really and truly am sorry for that, but just to let you know kind of what's been going on I'm posting today along with some previews of posts to come.

Well, I was seriously busy after the birth of our fourth child, but I've also had some continuing health issues that started after the birth of my third child two years ago. I knew that some of it could be helped with some physical therapy, but the biggest issue would require eventual surgery.

Well, that surgery wasn't as eventual as I had hoped. I ended up having some severely and physically restricting pain that led to me having the surgery a few weeks back. I'm doing well, and just got clearance from my doctor to lift the baby again (Hooray!!! That was the hardest for me.) and I will have about a 4-5" scar, but hey, now things should get back to normal again around here.....just in time for holiday madness, lol. I am so glad to be done with the surgery and now am just trying to focus on healing and savoring every moment with my family.

I have some new series and topics for upcoming posts and have several posts in the works already. So, look forward to some holiday surprises coming up and more sewing, vintage mama posts, and a birthday giveaway set up for later this month. 

The girls and me! Sweet baby Emeline Joy and my oldest daughter. 
Thanks for sticking with me in spite of my absence and I can't wait to jump back into the blogging world again!