Latest Posts

The Appeal of Floral Accessories

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The last few weeks of August are upon us and natures is in full bloom.  Flowers are large, bright, and overflowing.  The grass is full and green.  And every tree is leafed out in all its glory.  With sights such as these, it is easy to see how a person would want to carry a little bit of nature around with them.  And what better place than on one’s clothing!

Today’s post is all about the use of floral details which designers have been using to brighten up dresses for decades.  Whether placed at the neckline, the waist, or along the hem of a skirt, these lovely replicas of nature’s beauty certainly are worthy of admiration!

Here are a few of my favorites!

These two lovely 1850’s ball gowns have some lovely floral accents!

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This stunning 1870’s salmon pink gown has amazing pleated ruffles and embroidered rose detailing.

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I adore this gown!!  Such unique placement of the flowers!

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The 1920’s definitely knew the appeal of using flowers!

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I love Billie Holiday’s gown with the petal bodice!!

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This soft yellow 1950’s evening gown definitely evokes a warm summer evening!

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With so many colors, shapes, and textures to choose from, using these lovely decorations can truly add glamour to your next creation!

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Intro to Sewing Video Series: Using Patterns from Books

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This week we will complete the sewing patterns series by focusing on patterns one can create from books.  Once I began delving into this type of pattern creation and design, my sewing really began to flourish!  While it may seem daunting and a little confusing at first, with a little time, patience, and some discount fabric, pattern creation from books can be extremely rewarding!

In today’s video I will cover:

  • The differences between patterns from a book versus a ready made pattern
  • My favorite historical fashion books ( list and links will be under the video)
  • How to create and store your patterns
  • Pros and Cons of sewing from books
Alright, let’s get started!

My Favorite Historical Pattern Books

17th Century Women’s Dress Patterns Volume 2

Janet Arnold’s Patterns of Fashion Series

The Voice of Fashion: 79 Turn of the Century Patterns

The One Hour Dress – My Post on a Mockup of the One Hour Dress

Dress Cutting – 1930’s Patterns

Aimee’s Vintage Armoire: 1940-1950

Oh and those hooks I couldn’t think of….I meant Command hooks!:-)

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I hope you have enjoyed learning more about pattern drafting from books!
Feel free to share with me any creations you have or plan to make from any these books!  I would love to see them!:-)

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“Lunching by the Roadside” by Amy W. Osgood, 1923

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“Food for the inner man is just as important on a motor journey as agreeable traveling companions.  And stopping at a hotel for meals often consumes more time than one feels can be deducted from the journey.  Then it is that the roadside meal proves its worth.  It does not take long; it is satisfying, easy to eat, and attractive.

Of course bacon cooked in the open air, coffee made while you wait, and corn roasted on the ear in the embers of a bonfire are alluring, but they are time consuming, and it you wish to appear neat at the end of the journey, are not always recommended.  But there are roadside meals which are easy to prepare and easier to serve than a meal at home, for they are what one might call “one-plate roadside meals” as the following menu will suggest: roast chicken, potato ships, jelly sandwiches, egg sandwiches, fruit or a combination salad, pickles, olives, cake or cookies, fruit, cheese and coffee.  The coffee comes from the thermos bottle who’s twin carries ice water.  A quart-size, paraffin-treated, covered container, such as oysters are sold in, is used for the cream bottle, chopped ice surrounding the bottle.  A covered jar is used for the loaf sugar.  For each person, a paper fork, spoon, heavy paraffin drinking cup, and two paper napkins are provided.

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1920’s Picnic/Camping sets

Before leaving home, each individual’s roadside meal is prepared on a plate, as follows: In half-pint paraffin cartons, having covers, arrange individual fruit salads, lining the cartons first with lettuce, filling with fruit salad, and placing a crisp leaf of lettuce on top before adjusting the cover.  Place one of these filled cartons in the center of the each large sized paper plate.  Cut the roast chicken, which has been previously cooked in order to be cold, into convenient pieces for eating and divide into the desired number of portions.  Wrap each portion in paraffin paper, and place one on each plate.  Wrap individual serving of potato chips in paraffin paper, and also arrange on each plate.  Wrap three or four olives and sweet or sour pickles in individual packages for each plate.  Wrap the sandwiches in paraffin paper and arrange on each plate.

When all the food has been placed on the plates, lay each plate in the center of a large paper napkin, and place another paper napkin over the top of it, twisting the opposite corners and thus entirely enclosing the plate.  Then pack these in a large basket, one plate on top of another, the salad container acting as a base for each plate place above it.  Wrap cookies and cake in individual parcels and serve when desired.  At meal time, drive the car under a tree, or up a side road, and it can instantly be converted into a dining room.  Trays, carried in a denim bag and packed under the basket, are passed, and the plates are served on them.  In this way, everyone is enjoying his luncheon in a very few minutes.”

By Amy W. Osgood, Good Housekeeping. Volume 77, Number 2. August, 1923

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Intro to Sewing Video Series: Intro to PDF Patterns

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Today’s topic may either instill excitement or dread: print-out-your-own PDF patterns!  Perhaps you have never tried, or perhaps you have had limited luck, or perhaps you are one of those lucky few who have had nothing but success.  Either way, today is all about helping you understand this wonderful sewing pattern option.

In today’s video I will discuss the following topics:

  • What are PDF or downloadable patterns
  • How to store these patterns
  • Digital patterns
  • Pros and Cons of PDF patterns

And just like last week, I will list out my favorite PDF/Digital pattern companies and their links below this video.

Enjoy!

My Favorite PDF/Digital Pattern Companies

Sensibility Patterns

Mrs. Depew

E Vintage Patterns

Wearing History E-Patterns

Aimee’s Victorian Armoire

Please remember to read out all the instructions of how to create the patterns BEFORE purchasing.  That way you can try to avoid an unhappy experience.

My Tricks of the Trade on How to Assemble and Work with PDF Patterns

  1. Read all instructions BEFORE printing out the pattern.
  2. Make sure you have plenty of ink and paper in your printer…..I am ashamed to say I have been surprised too many times by not properly checking the paper tray of my printer.
  3. Make sure all symbols or shapes line up before you tape!
  4. Use small pieces of tape first before you use larger pieces.  Sometimes using too large of a piece can cause the paper to twist or move.
  5. Recycle any papers that do not have a pattern shape on it.  Sometimes I can have 8-10 blank pieces and so I simply reuse them on the next pattern project.
  6. Fit the paper pattern to a dress form to check for fit and accuracy.
  7. Understand (and accept) that at least one mockup will be required to work out any kinks.
  8. Relax, have fun, and enjoy the extra savings!!!:-)

While creating with PDF patterns can have their negative moments, they are such a wonderful, affordable, and instant way to increase your sewing and historical/vintage wardrobe.

Happy Sewing!

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Next Week: Intro to Creating Patterns from Books

Creating a 1940’s Blouse from a Modern Pattern

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I am so excited to share today’s post with you, as it offers one of my favorite sewing cheats: taking an already created pattern and tweaking it into something completely new.  And today’s little tweak comes in the form of a 1940’s blouse.  I will show you the pattern I have chosen to use, but feel free to use any blouse pattern that you would like as the method to create this top doesn’t change too much!

Here we go!

I chose to use McCall’s Blouse Pattern #M6750 pictured below.

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Once you have chosen your pattern, take a look at the back of the envelope to find out how much fabric you will need along with the required notions.  Then, simply add an extra 1/4-1/3 yard of fabric to account for the ruffles.  Cut out the paper pieces, and follow this simple step to create the new pattern for the front of the bodice.

Now that the pattern is drafted, cut out your fabric and let’s construct the bodice.

The most time consuming part deals with the facing and trim.  But will a little time and patience, it will go together rather easily!

Time to talk about the sleeves!!

Now, finish the blouse according to the pattern instructions making sure to hem and add the appropriate closures.

And that’s it!! I have included many close ups of the two different blouses so you can see the various construction parts.

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I hope you have enjoyed this little tutorial!

Happy Sewing!

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Intro to Sewing Video Series: Paper Patterns

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Hello my friends!

Today we start the first part of a three part series focusing on the many ways to find, create, understand, and store sewing patterns.  In this ten minute video, I will focus on the following topics:

  • How to read the back of commercial sewing patterns
  • How to care for and store commercial sewing patterns
  • How to read and store historical sewing patterns from specialized pattern companies
  • Tips to remember when working with vintage patterns
  • The Pros and Cons for purchasing, working with, and storing paper patterns

My favorite paper pattern companies are listed below this video!

Commercial Patterns

Simplicity Patterns

McCalls Patterns

Butterick Patterns

Vogue Patterns

Historical Sewing Patterns

Period Impressions

Past Patterns

Sense and Sensibility Patterns

Laughing Moon Mercantile

I hope this has helped you understand the major differences and similarities of paper patterns, along with a few different ways to keep track of everything!:-)

Next Friday’s video, will focus on downloadable PDF sewing patterns!

Have a wonderful day!

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From My Sewing Table: August

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The last hurrah of summer has begun!  Even if the calendar didn’t give away the truth, the local fair starts in one week and that has always been a sign that summer is almost over.  Of course, that just means one must enjoy every last drop of sun and warmth!  Something I most definitely plan on doing!   And with that said, construction on my house is coming to an end and I couldn’t be happier.  I am looking forward to enjoying the last bright days sipping iced tea on my front porch.  Gives me chills just thinking about it.  :-)

My kitchen has been quite a busy little spot as I have just finished canning dill pickles and salsa!  Yum!! All I have left to do is can tomatoes in a few weeks and my pantry will be stuffed to the gills.  If any of you haven’y tried canning yet, I highly recommend it as it gives such a sense of accomplishment.  Just make sure not to do it all in one day….it can be a little too overwhelming.

I have also finished recording a three part sewing series that will start this week!  It was very fun to create and I plan to make more as time goes on.  If you have any ideas or skills that you would like to see, please let me know in the comments.  I am also in the beginning stages of developing online sewing lessons focusing on vintage and historical sewing.  More details to come in the future!

In my historical sewing world, I have had fun for the past two weeks getting back into Regency sewing.  While nothing replaces the passion I have for sewing vintage, it was such a thrill to delve back into a style I haven’t done much with in a few years.  Here are few pictures of my latest creations:

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Many of these are now available for custom order on my Etsy shop!:-)

I do, however, want to take this opportunity to let you know that there will be one new change coming to my blog starting today.  I have decided to go down from posting three times a week to two times a week.  This is by no means a sign that I am going to stop blogging or that I am going to become inconsistent with my blogging, it is simply a way to create better, more content rich posts for you.  I am eager to begin offering more historical/vintage sewing videos and tutorials and since these take more time, having a slightly smaller posting schedule will allow me the extra time I need.  So, instead of Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, I will be posting Monday and Friday.  I hope you understand and are just excited as I am for the new sewing posts to come!

I wish you all a wonderful start to August!  See you Friday!:-)

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Edwardian Hairstyles

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Some hairstyles in history are complicated.  Some hairstyles in history make you very happy that you didn’t live during that time period (i.e.1830’s).  Some seem so impossible to recreate that the hair must be fake, while others will continue to find rebirths in modern decades.  But one particular look, it seems no matter who you ask, tends to be an all time favorite.  Which look am I talking about?  The Edwardian look of the 1900-1920’s.  From the Gibson Girl pouf, to the delicate waves of low buns, Edwardian women knew how to make their hair work for them.  And while curling irons were just becoming more commonly used, many relied on tried and true techniques of their mothers to complete these heavenly creations.

I have gathered a wonderful sampling of these looks to drool over…and maybe recreate for yourself!:-)

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I simply adore these looks, and it was one of the reasons I decided to go with an Edwardian image for my blog logo.  Grecian in style, with a sprinkling of Regency, and a dash of something completely unique, the hairstyles of the early 1900’s will forever, at least in my opinion, be some of the most romantic ever created!

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