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Icing and Frosting:Inspiration from Winter

1/31/11

Today, much of the US is under a severe winter weather advisory. In St Louis, we're due for an inch of ice followed by a foot of snow. I love how the weather channel says that we will have a "wintery mix". That sounds like fun! A wintery mix of raining gumdrops, candy canes....and DEATH!

Even though the ice and "wintery mix" is yucky, once the sun comes out and shines on everything, it looks like diamonds. While the winter leaves me wanting bold colors and summer sun, I find a lot of fashion inspiration from these harsh, dark months. I hope you enjoy these vintage winter jewels. Stay safe and cozy, sweeties!
 
image from Joielala Photography  Couture Inspiration hair accessory by Rachel Larraine
 cashmere pom pom scarf  Sassi Holford White fur-trimmed boots by Salvatore Ferragamo


vogue knits

clear lucite purse from vintage martini 
handmade white wool cloche from yellowfield7 on etsy
clear lucite shoes image from http://www.twolia.com

When Vintage Fashion isn't Appropriate Attire

1/29/11

Have you ever had a moment when you felt a tad...over dressed? When wearing vintage clothes made you feel like a crazy person? It happened to me this morning...

last night, I had the most horrible lower back pain. I tried advil, yoga, a massage, a hot shower- NOTHING worked. Eventually, I got comfortable (or maybe just too tired) and fell asleep. 3:00am rolled around and I was wide awake with pain right over my left kidney and feeling quite ready to toss my cookies. I was good and called my doctor's 24 hour exchange and was directed to go to the hospital.
 It was 3am, I was in my undies and I hurt so bad, I could cry.  I grabbed the nearest, easy thing to wear which was that 1940's wrap dress I just made. As I was packing the diaper bag as quick as I could, I slipped into a pair of comfy flats (black maryjanes) and headed out the door with no coat. Luckily, I had a coat in the car. Unfortunately, it was a 1950's gorgeous green wool coat with a fur collar. So, There I was at 4am, in pain- in the hospital decked out like I was going dancing or something.  I felt completely ridiculous and have never been so happy to put on one of those fabulous hospital gowns!

 On the plus side, they say everything is just fine. Baby is a wiggle worm, I don't have a kidney problem and I probably pulled a muscle or baby hit a nerve. The doctor gave me a few percoset and sent me home.

 The percoset was...interesting. I have never tried acid or crack or anything like that but I imagine that 2 percoset is a lot like what it's like. I took them at the hospital and then Pj and I popped into Steak n' Shake for a much needed breakfast. Breakfast was uh-mazing but by 5am, I was in the Steak n Shake parking lot- nearly tossing my cookies, hanging half out my car in 30 degrees in my little wrap dress with my head feeling like it was made of jello. Not so nice!  Within an hour or so, the not-so-funhouse feeling wore off and I was human again. *sigh*  I'm happy to be back home...and I think I'll just stick with tylenol! :)

January Sewing Project: 1948 Wrap Dress

1/27/11


In an effort to sew more this year and to make things that I actually need, I've made a list of things I want to sew and when I plan to sew them. First, I'm starting with dresses with front openings. When the baby gets here, I'll need plenty of things that are easy to wear for nursing. If there are any other nursing mothers out there, do check out my post about Vintage Style for Nursing Mommas.


  The Pattern
 Even though its the end of January, it's not too late to whip up a quick dress to keep my sewing schedule on track. My first project was this 1948 robe, which I have altered to make a wrap dress. I love the flattering drape of a wrap dress. They're so comfortable, classic and wonderful to wear if you plan on going clothes shopping and will be in and out of the dressing room.This pattern is a Retro Butterick re-release and is available at your local fabric store up to size 24.











My Changes
I like the idea of this pattern but I wanted to make sure that it wouldn't come flying open at any moment like a robe would. So, I attached long ties to each opening at the front waist section. In my version, I split the side seam open at the waist about an inch and a half so that one tie goes through the hole, wraps around the back and ties in a bow at the side, like a normal wrap blouse or dress would. This simple adjustment really helps to keep everything in place where it should be and prevents any wardrobe malfunctions. I also shortened the skirt to just below the knee and left the frilly lace off of mine. I sewed a snap in the front to keep the "cleavage" area closed as well. With my alterations (and in a size 22) I used 3 1/2 yards of fabric. Oh, and here I am at 28 weeks! I'm not sure why there's no big belly in that first pic. I guess I was leaning forward or something? Very strange...

 For the fabric, I really wanted a pretty floral so I found this silky print at JoAnne fabrics. I originally fell in love with a cotton print but the feel and drape of this silky fabric won my heart. It doesn't wrinkle very easily too, which is a beautiful thing for a busy momma.
  I know, I said no more blue but I just had to have it. It has a hint of yellow and that bold red next to muted blue was so irresistible! Pj is always my voice of reason and he has agreed on my no blue rule since I mentioned it so I consulted him on the subject. He said "It's not blue, it's floral- that's different!" I love that guy!!

This was a super easy dress to make and the pattern instructions are very clear and easy to follow.  I cut it out yesterday morning and sewed it up within 4 hours. I did hand sew the hem of the sleeve and skirt, which wasn't calculated into that 4 hours.This will be a great spring/summer dress that I can dress up or down and wear long after my nursing days are over. I love it so much (and it was so fast to sew) I think I may have to whip up one or two more! The only thing I really didn't like about this outfit was my modern bra *yuck*! Next time, I'll be sure to wear one of my vintage bras to get a better 1940's shape.

Our Outing with Olivia



Today, we took Olivia out for date night with us and we had a BLAST!! We took her to McDonald's for dinner because they have a really cool salt water aquarium that I thought she would love...and of course, chicken nuggets with lots of ketchup! After dinner, we went to the book store across the street so she could pick out a new book. She loves to read and loves Sesame Street so she chose an Elmo book with a little Elmo puppet attached to it. We had a little bit of a hard time not pulling books on the shelf and tossing them on the floor but she was a good girl and helped pick them up and put them right back where she found them. Here we are, applauding her listening to mommy and putting the books away. Next step: teach her to put books away when we're at home! :)

A Rainbow of Fashion: How to Use The Color Wheel

I Love Color
As I mentioned in my New Year's Closet Resolutions post, I am on a mission to add more color to my wardrobe this year. My past outfits lean towards blue, brown, gray- all fabulous colors but I never paired them with the right things to make everything pop. When I was a baby, I used to sit on my mom's lap while she worked at her art table, never touching the art or her pencils but always very curious and in awe. To this day, I love to hang out in her studio with her while she works. My grandfather is an artist too so appreciation for color has always been a big part of my life.

The Science of Color
 Color can have a very intense impact on your mood and actions.Blue suppresses the appetite, yellow makes you feel energetic and restless, green is calming. I always feel very different when I wear a bold color than when I wear something bland. When I was a teenager, I used to dye my hair red or blue in the winter because the bright color seemed to make me feel better when I started feeling the winter blues. Now, I surround myself in color through my home decor, sewing projects and clothes and it really does seem to help. I always feel prettier and happier in a green dress than I do in a brown one, what about you?







Don't be afraid of color and remember to use neutrals
Color is scary to some people and that's understandable. You think "this dress has blue and yellow in it so I need to find a blue or yellow cardigan to wear over it." Have fun with color and think outside of the box. Refer to your color wheel to see what colors look good with that shade of blue or yellow. If in doubt, toss a neutral color in the mix. The Budget Fashionista hit the nail on the head with her advice to a reader about pairing colors and using neutrals:
The Budget Fashionista's Advice on Color Scheme
The Budget Fashionistas Neutral Colors Fashion advice


Get Inspired
Another great way to find inspiration for color combinations is through home decorating. Look through magazines, books and watch home decorating shows to see how the pros combine bold colors for high impact. Next time you're at your local hardware store, grab a few paint swatches of your favorite colors and make your own fashion color wheel to keep in your purse when you're out shopping.

Here are some of my very favorite combinations:

Red, Yellow and Aqua

Navy, Red-Orange and Grey (like my blog!)

Mint Green, Dark Gray and Lilac

Black, light pink and Cream

Book Review: 1940's Style Guide: The Complete Illustrated Guide to 1940's Fashion for Women

1/26/11


I was recently contacted by Debbie Wells, author of The 1940's Style Guide: A Complete Illustrated Guide to 1940's Fashion for Women to use an image of 1940's tap pants from mine and Amanda's etsy shop in her book. Of course, we said yes and eagerly awaited the completion of the book.

 She forwarded the ebook to me to review a few weeks ago and I loved it so much, I wanted to share it with you!
  Let me start by noting that I am a complete fashion history nerd! Since high school, I've been studying various periods of fashion history from the 14th century to the early 1960's. The 1940's Style Guide is like a text book for wartime fashion enthusiasts. If you love to read reference books like I do, you will probably love it too! Of course, if you don't like text books, it's probably not the fashion book for you. 1940's Style Guide is an ebook so you can save it to your computer or print it out at home .My favorite aspect of this book is that, unlike many vintage fashion books, it contained more information than just pretty pictures.
Sample page from 1940's Style Guide
Content- Every variety of 1940's garment is covered in this book. As I mentioned in my review on her website, this book is a perfect resource for students, designers and admirers of vintage fashions. As a home seamstress, I was really thrilled to have all of the information on period construction available in one location. This book would be very helpful to both buyers and sellers in dating 1940's vintage clothing as well.

History- I love how the book explains the history behind 1940's style. Since wartime fashions were dictated by rations, this book explains what types of fabrics and trims were available as well as length allowed for skirts, sleeves, amount of pockets to be used and so on.

Organization- The book is very well organized according to garment type so its easy to find the information that you're looking for. Images of each garment are on the same page as the garment description.

Images- Each page of the book has several beautiful images of 1940's fashions. Some are full color, some are original black and white photos from the era. The images really help to explain the garment's style and construction.

Debbie mentioned that this book will be revised and updated in the future so I look forward to seeing what she comes up with. I really enjoyed the basic 40's hairstyles section and the jewelry and accessories section. I hope that the revised volumes elaborate more on those topics because I'm a big fan of accessories and hair tutorials! You can read more about 1940's Style Guide on the 1940's Style Guide Website. I hope everyone who reads it enjoys it as much as I did!

*Vintage Bloggers,  If you read and enjoy 1940's Style Guide, be sure to join the Affiliate Program*

Wartime Make Do and Mend Booklet Download

1/24/11


UPDATE: the blog that originally posted this booklets isn't available anymore. I found a website that does have it though, you can check it out at Archive.org



I don't know if any of my readers also read Cargo Cult Craft but if you don't, you really should! Susannah, the author is incredibly fashionable, crafty, inspiring and hilarious!
"The Sabotage Skirt" from Cargo Cult Craft

I am so sad that I just stumbled upon her blog today because her "Fashion on the Ration" challenge ended on Saturday! In this challenge, Susannah spent one year building her wardrobe on wartime rations imposed by the British government in 1941. She sewed a lot of 1940's garments, but of course, her fabric was rationed as well.


I'm really impressed (not only by her mad sewing skills) but by her commitment to this difficult challenge. Many of us vintage fashion enthusiasts today often forget what kind of life ladies had back then and I think a girl like Susannah makes us all think about how lucky we are to be living in 2011!


 Anyway, Susannah has kindly uploaded a -fabulous- copy of a wartime Make and Mend booklet. It's a wonderful book, detailing many 1940's crafts (sewing, crochet, knitting, hat-making, etc) with loads of patterns, instructions, 1940's illustrations and photos and much more. It also has a lot of great information on caring for your garments and making them last longer. For ladies who want to learn to sew, this book has instructions for basic clothing repairs and hand-sewing techniques. I particularly love the section on making a woman's suit from a man's suit. A home front gal could easily clothe herself and her kiddos in high style with this book.  Head over here to be directed to the two part, free download. Thank you, Susannah!!

A Craving for Springtime

1/21/11

vintage style maternity fashion via Va-Voom Vintage

vintage style maternity fashion via Va-Voom Vintage
 On Wednesday, every patch of snow had finally melted and I could see all of the green again. And then Wednesday night happened. The St. Louis area received between 8.5 and 12 inches of snow in one evening, which hasn't happened around here since before I was born!

I cannot wait for spring to get here so I pulled something fun and colorful out of my closet to brighten the day. This cardigan isn't quite finished yet but I love the color and feel of it so I wore it anyway. It's inspired by a cardigan tutorial that was recently featured on Grosgrain. Also, I'm really loving the maryjanes and socks! I've seen it done all over the place but never tried it. It keeps my feet warm, helps shoes to be more comfy and I love the fun, little girl feel of them. Expect many more cute socks in the future!

Thursday is date night for Pj and I so we dropped Olivia off at his mom's house and headed out in the snow for dinner and window shopping. The restaurant manager gave us free desert for coming in during inclement weather so we picked chocolate ravioli. It's a puff pastry full of melty chocolate with a warm chocolate sauce drizzled on top and whipped cream. YUM!

After dinner, we cruised around town and enjoyed the non-crowded mall and great parking spots since no one else was out and about in the cold. In our travels, I found the perfect fabric for a 1940's wrap dress that I'll be making soon! :)

We stopped at a video game store so Pj could check out what kind of games he can get for his new Wii and I met a 3 year old little girl who was fascinated by my watering can purse. She invited me over to her house so I can help her water her mommy's garden. She said that she has a little watering can that really works and I can use it! :)

vintage style maternity fashion via Va-Voom Vintage
Outfit
70's Red and White Butterfly print Pinafore dress- estate sale?
cardiagn-thirfted, embellished by me
red and blue V for Victory bird pins- thirfted (FISH St Charles)
blueberry beret- Christmas gift from my mom
black maryjanes- thirfted, Salvation Army
Red Belt- The Vintage Haberdashery, St Louis
Red and butterscotch bakelite bangles- various thirft stores (thick red one, Christmas gift from Amanda)
Watering Can Purse- Gift from Grandma





Free Patterns for All!

1/20/11


60+ free vintage sewing, knitting and crochet patterns


Hello, everyone!
  Lately, I've been finding a lot of beautiful vintage sewing, knitting and crochet patterns for free so I wanted to share all of them with you. I added a bunch of free sewing and crochet patterns this morning as well as some sewing tutorials. I will be adding many more patterns in the very near future so please check back frequently on my Free Patterns page.

If you have a link for a free pattern that you would like to share, please leave the link in a comment on the Free Patterns page. Also, if you are looking for a particular type of pattern, just ask- I may have one floating around or I may know where you can find it!

    I hope everyone can take advantage of all of the lovely free patterns. Here are a few pics of my favorites, which are currently listed on the Free Patterns page:


sleeveless 1950's couture summer dress
sailor pants, shorts or skirt

crochet cross strap shoes
crochet play shoes

 

New Look, Vintage Look

1/19/11

One of my favorite blouse patterns is missing a few pieces so I popped online tonight to see if I could still find it. It's a modern simplicity pattern and it's still available! *yay* While I was searching, I noticed an ad for New Look vintage style patterns on Simplicity's website. I don't know if these are new or if they've been around for a while but they're new to me!
I love New Look patterns because they are always affordable, come in my size and are more realistic than a lot of those crazy vintage Vogue patterns that I love so much. They're not authentic vintage patterns but they provide some of the basics needed in any wardrobe. For those who want a vintage inspired look without looking too costume-like, New Look patterns are a great option. Here are some of my favorites- just $2.99 each! :) You can check out the whole vintage inspired collection here

 


I've been a bit sewing obsessed lately. My sewing machine is broken and I'm going to have to replace it. :( Being without my machine feels like I've lost my right arm. In the mean time, I've been dreaming of things to make and re-sizing too small patterns to keep myself occupied. I hope I get my new machine soon!!

Don't Shoot the Photographer

As some of you may know, my husband Pj is my blog photographer. He has a great eye for it and is very patient with me when it's cold, raining or scorching hot outside and I say "oh, just one more shot!"
  Last night, after we got home from a few errands, I wanted to take some outfit pics. I really want to start taking more pictures of my outfits since I spend so much time shopping, sewing, and putting ensembles together.

   I'm 27 weeks pregnant now, almost to the third trimester so a lot of my clothes are getting too snug or too short! I found this 60's dress from Absolute Vintage in Columbia. It's pretty big on me but I love the wrinkle-free fabric, the fun print and colors and the detail at the collar. I only have one other orange item in my closet so I was thrilled to find something else for fall. It's super comfy with the baby bump and once he's born, I plan on taking it in and having a really killer bombshell of a dress! I belted it under the bust with a black ribbon and wore comfy t-strap flats with it. Oh, my earrings are also from our Columbia trip, which I bought especially to match the dress! :)


 It started snowing as soon as we got outside. It was cold, windy and the camera was not cooperating at all!! Most of my pictures turned out fuzzy and odd-looking and I was seriously not happy with my photographer after I uploaded them to the computer last night. I tried taking a few shots of Olivia playing today and soon realized that my camera sucks, NOT my photographer and I think I need to replace it. Honestly, it was the cheapest camera that I could find at walmart. I bought it over a year ago and have managed to not drop it and break it (unlike our past 2 cameras) so I think it may be time to upgrade to a grown-up camera. With the little dude on the way, I want something to capture all of his little giggles and drools anyway!


 I did a little bit of camera research today, since I don't even know what a megapixel is! My mom has a lot of camera knowledge so hopefully she can point me in the direction of a decent quality, affordable camera. I kind of have my eye on a Canon Powershot A3000-IS.
 I found one online for just over $100. I'm loving it because it has an optical image stabilizer (which helps with action shots) and can take good pictures in low light, which is a wonderful thing for fashion bloggers.

dress- Absolute Vintage, Columbia MO
vintage clip Earrings-The Market Place Antiques, Columbia MO
green hair bow- handmade by me with vintage ribbon and button
t-strap flats- Charlotte Russe

Vintage Lingerie Obsession

1/18/11



Lingerie by Angela Friedman




















I've always loved the look of lace and silky undies. They're romantic, sexy and ultra feminine. I've wanted to sew my own frilly lingerie for ages and now I have the patterns to get started! Best of all, we've decided to stay in our current home for another year so I have to get rid of some of my fabric stash to make room for the baby and what better way to do it than to use it up!
   A gal I used to work with gave me a ton of vintage satin, silk and lace in every color that you can imagine. Okay, maybe not "vintage" but it's from the 60's-70's so that's vintage enough for me.  The best thing about sewing your own lingerie is that it doesn't use a lot of material so if I only have one yard of fabric, I can make a pair of bloomers or pretty camisole. Here are some of my inspirations (scroll to the bottom to see my patterns!)

Cherie Teddy by Kiss Me Deadly




                

Deco-inspired Lingerie By Madame V

Jolie Lingerie By Kiss Me Deadly


Catherine Kimono and Knicker by Ayten Gasson
Elizabeth Plum Bra by Ayten Gasson

Elizabeth Plum Teddy by Ayten Gasson
Elizabeth Olive Teddy By Ayten Gasson


Lady M Teddy By Ayten Gasson
Matilda Knicker and Bra by Ayten Gasson

Vintage Bed Jacket


If any of you gals ever wanted to try to sew your own pretty unmentionables, here are a few super easy patterns to get you started. I love these patterns because they are so basic that they can be embellished or adapted to make something really amazing.

Free Madeline mini bloomers pattern from Colette Patterns  
I love the modern feel of these old-fashioned bloomers, I think I have a -bit- more of a butt (okay, a lot more of a butt) than these bloomers call for so mine will have a slightly higher waist and maybe longer legs.

 80's Butterick pattern 5740- yeah, I'm not a fan of the 80's but these pieces are classic! I found this pattern on etsy from La Prairie Lady. 
The teddy on the left reminded me of something from the 20's. If you add a few gores to the skirt of the full slip, it would be perfect with your favorite vintage dress. 

Burdastyle "Jane" camisole and shorts #7997B ($2.50 on Burdastyle.com)

1920's chemise-inspired top by Casey's Elegant Musings
Last night, I made a teddy pattern using the 80's pattern above and the bust section of my favorite slip, so when it's done I hope it looks like some of those gorgeous vintage inspired teddies above. I made a muslin, which I'm sewing today so I hope it works!!

I'm also going to attempt to make a bunch of vintage inspired nursing bras. I love the comfort and support of my vintage bras. Nursing bras are very comfortable but they really don't do anything for my shape. I made a pattern last night using my favorite bullet bra so we'll see how that works!
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