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An Eye (and Envy) for Detail


Which came first for me? Learning to sew by hand or by machine?  I’m sitting here trying to remember….I think it was by hand first?  Maybe?  Regardless, when I did learn to sew by hand, I remember as a young girl, sitting as patiently as possible with some old scrap of calico, trying to get my stitches as even and neat as possible.  You know, like Laura Ingalls Wilder had to do when she was a child.  I remember really struggling with not bunching up the thread on the back side of the fabric, and trying to make sure knots didn’t form on the thread itself….it was a very stressful experience!🙂  But, like so many things in life, the more practice and time I put in, the easier and better looking my hand sewing became.

This is why when I see any examples of hand sewing so stunning that one questions if a machine did it, it makes me simply giddy with envy and happiness.  Whoever that person was who created that magnificent item, valued and understood the importance of practice, practice, practice.  A needed skill and character trait that is so important when trying to better oneself.  I’ve collected four pictures of such garments that really show the skill and detail of really, I mean really, high quality hand sewing!

Let’s begin with this late 1700’s bodice.  I mean, look at all that hand detail!  The stitches, the curves, the ruffles….. absolutely gorgeous!! 


These stays also show the skill and hand strength needed to create small, identical stitches through very stiff fabric and boning!


The back of this bodice also shows the delicate hand stitching that can really take a garment up to the next level:


And of course, the most amazing of all is this 1820’s bonnet, complete with tatting, that shows not only a person’s skill, but the needed height to accommodate the hairstyle of the period!


Even in the age of computerized sewing machines, high quality hand sewing is still a much needed and much appreciated skill!


Jacket Weather


Despite the unusually warm weather over the last few days, the air is beginning to take on a definite nip.  And with that comes the ability to wear my absolutely, most favorite type of clothing: jackets.  I love jackets!  All jackets…any jackets….it doesn’t matter.  They are all more than welcome to come make a home in my closet!

I love coats as well, but to me, there is a very big difference between coats and jackets.  Jackets are usually shorter, lighter weight, and come in a variety of shapes and colors.  This trend is not only visible in today’s fashion world, but it was also true of fashion from the past two hundred years.  For example, the Spencer jacket was a common piece of clothing for women during the Regency era.  Different than a pelisse, the Spencer was a short jacket with long sleeves and a fancy collar.  Like this example:


As fashions adapted over the next few decades, so did the jacket’s shape and length.  This 1860’s jacket, often referred to as a mantle, looks both warm and becoming.


Fast forward to the 1880’s and even though the name hasn’t changed, the shape of this mantle has narrowed quite a bit!


I absolutely adore the perfectly tailored style of the 1890’s and early 1900’s.  With never a hair or thread out of place, this young lady is the epitome of high fashion….with a stunning jacket to match!


Both fabric, shape, style, and color of this 1920’s jacket are stunning!  However, knowing me, I would want to wear it everyday….although I am sure such a fancy jacket would look a bit out of place at the grocery store.


Fashion took another turn towards restraint and rationing during the early 1940’s as this jacket and skirt combo shows.  But just because the fabric is rationed, that doesn’t mean the style has to be…I mean what a stunning belt!


Now after all this fashion talk, it is time for me to head off to the fabric store to pick up a few things!  Oh, better grab my jacket!🙂

Happy Friday my friends!


A Regency Era Photoshoot


What do you get when you take two friends, a plethora of historical gowns, and two large Pumpkin Spice Lattes?  A wonderfully fun time with some fabulous pictures to prove it!

 A few weeks ago I decided that I wanted to photograph a large portion of my historical gown stock using real life models.  So armed with a fully charged camera, my friend Cassandra and I braved the rainy and slightly chilly elements over the past two weekends to photograph some really stunning images!  And since there are so many pictures to see, I will just get right to it!!  

I hope you enjoy!!!

















Oh and one last picture of Cassandra discovering the most perfect fall leaf of all….lovingly named “Leif Erikson”


All of these gowns are available on my Etsy Shop!

I hope you enjoyed these photos as they were an absolute delight to take!

Have a fabulous Monday!!




Warm and Cozy Pajamas!!


As I sit here writing this post, I am very comfortably snuggled up in my pajamas.  A little too early perhaps, but as long as no one rings my doorbell, I am free to lounge around in my pjs until bedtime!🙂  It’s funny how clothes that have specific “jobs” can often make a person feel as if they are cheating or will be judged for wearing them at the wrong time.  It is also very freeing to spend the day at home in the same clothes you woke up….very freeing indeed!

And of course as the weather begins to take a chilly turn, warm and cozy pajamas are a must.  Nothing feels as comfy and relaxing as hopping into a cute pair of pajamas then spending the last evening hours on the couch with a book…assuming, of course, you don’t sack out within in 15 minutes!🙂  While a good pair of pajamas can be tricky to come by, one can always whip up a pair!  So with that in mind….

Here are a few of my favorite vintage pajama patterns:

I love the yoked top of these pajamas!


These lounging pajamas could almost be worn in public!


The pajamas on the right remind my of ones Lucille Ball wore in the early seasons of I Love Lucy!


The quilted jacket looks like the perfect thing to wear on a chilly weekend morning.  All this is missing is a steaming hot mug of coffee! :-0


And for something a little more modern, I love all the pieces of this pajama set from Simplicity Patterns.


Now its time to grab a cozy blanket and take my pajama-clad self into the living room to finish my book!
Have a fabulous weekend!





The Timeless Appeal of Velvet….


I am going to a wedding this weekend and, of course, when a major event requires you to dress up….you suddenly have “nothing to wear.”  Well, let me be the first to say that I have plenty  to wear in my closet.  And I am sure if I dug deep enough, I would have found something that would have done a passably good job.  But this is a very good friend’s wedding and, well, do I want to look just passably good?  Heck no!  So, off I went to the mall this past week in search for the perfect dress.  Now, normally when a person is determined to find a certain item, it always turns out that you can’t find anything.  But not this time!!  The fashion gods were beaming their good graces down upon me and dress upon dress was looking and feeling great.  But it wasn’t until I slipped on a wild card that the bells of discovery clanged loudly!

This out of the box, never thought it would work, item was a emerald green velvet dress.  This very one in fact:


Dress from Lord and Taylor

Now, I haven’t worn velvet since I was seven years old.  Strangely enough it was also an emerald green velvet dress that was two sizes too big…but when you’re seven, you don’t get caught up on those types of details.  Anyway, I was nervous about this particular dress.  Could I pull off such a classy and fitted style?  I know that velvet is fabric that never goes out of style…but that doesn’t mean that it was something I should snap up right away without giving it a good thought.  So I did…and well, its currently hanging up in my closet!🙂

It is easy to think that fabric is just fabric.  That as long as it forms the shape you need, it is forgettable.  I disagree.  Some fabric has a life and a character all its own…and has the power to secure a fond memory somewhere in your brain.  Velvet is such a fabric.  I have worn many Easter dresses in my time….but I will always remember the one when I was seven, because , well, it was velvet.  And I am most certain that our foremothers felt the same way.  I mean, take a look at these stunning, green velvet creations from the 1880’s-1890’s




I am sure the lucky women who were able to wear these gowns thought back on them with fondness…and I hope I am able to do the same!🙂


All Things Apple Pie


I think I have eaten apple pie at least once a week for the past month and a half….I can’t get enough of it!  I love every warm, soft, gooey, delicious bite.  So nothing would do but take some time to fully appreciate all things apple pie!

To start with, here is one of my go-to recipes from my 1950’s Betty Crocker Cookbook:

1 recipe for Double-Crust Pastry
1/3 to 1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup Gold Medal™ all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon salt
8 cups thinly sliced peeled tart apples (8 medium)
2 tablespoons butter or margarine

1 Heat oven to 425ºF. Prepare Double-Crust Pastry.
2 Mix sugar, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in large bowl. Stir in apples. Turn into pastry-lined pie plate. Dot with butter. Trim overhanging edge of pastry 1/2 inch from rim of plate.
3 Roll other round of pastry. Fold into fourths and cut slits so steam can escape. Unfold top pastry over filling; trim overhanging edge 1 inch from rim of plate. Fold and roll top edge under lower edge, pressing on rim to seal; flute as desired. Cover edge with 3-inch strip of aluminum foil to prevent excessive browning. Remove foil during last 15 minutes of baking.
4 Bake 40 to 50 minutes or until crust is brown and juice begins to bubble through slits in crust. Serve warm if desired.

Now that you have the perfect recipe, you need the perfect accessories!  

Every good pie deserves a careful companion to ensure a deliciously flaky crust…and that perfect buddy comes in the form of a pie bird.  This one is sold by Le Creuset and is simply adorable!


And any fall pie would look even more appetizing on an autumn themed plate like this:


Plates from William and Sonoma

But if all else fails, you can always enjoy the scent of an apple pie from a lovely candle like this:


Apple Pie Candle from Candlelit Desserts

I hope you are able to take advantage of fall’s delicious bounty…in the form a pie!🙂


From My Sewing Table: October


Yesterday I put out the last, finishing detail of my fall decorations: pumpkins!  Pumpkins have to be one of the most diverse vegetables out there.  They come in different colors, shape, sizes, textures, and looks.  And the more various types pumpkins you display, the more colorful and decorated your house appears.  I am especially excited about the pumpkins I purchased this year, and hope that we are still a few weeks away from frost so I can enjoy them!

Now that football season is upon us, I have been looking for a sewing project that I can work on while sitting on the couch.  As many of you may know, when you do garment sewing, you are tied to your sewing machine.  And if your sewing machine is in another room, or on a another floor, it becomes tricky (and inconvenient) to move it about.  So, after some thinking, I decided to work on a quilted jacket.  A simply, mindless project that allows me to sit comfortably on the couch with everyone, yet still feel like I’m not wasting a day that could be spent sewing!🙂  Here are a few examples of some quilted pieces that one can do:

A late 1700’s quilted petticoat


A Regency Era Redingote


A 1930’s quilted Lame Jacket


I decided to create a 1810’s quilted Spencer jacket.  So the past few weekends have been spent quilting each individual pattern piece.  Working on this jacket has been great fun and I am excited to see how the finished product turns out!

October is one of my favorite months as the cooler weather brings with it a renewed sense of energy and excitement.  It is a time to enjoy a warm cup of apple cider while watching the leaves change to the brightest shades of gold, red, and orange.
Enjoy my friends!



Three Unusual Portraits


Sometimes, on my researching adventures, I come across paintings or photographs of individuals that stop my wandering eyes in an instant.  Whether it is something about their pose, or their outfit, or the fact that I feel like I can connect with their personality, images like the ones in today’s post just fascinate me.  

This first one features the wonderful giggliness of a young girl from the 1850’s! What a sweetheart!!!  And a wonderful example of children’s fashion.  


This next painting I found to be a fantastic example of late 1700’s styling and fashion.  The smile, the gown, THAT HAT….its all absolutely beautiful!


Portrait Of E. N. Arsenyeva
By Vladimir Borovikovsky, 1796

This last portrait (c. 1860) caught my eye as the riding gown this woman is wearing has the most amazing placement of tucks.  I can just envision her riding a horse with that long, flowy skirt fluttering behind her!


Such beautiful examples of fashion, creativity, and personality!

I see images of individuals from various time periods everyday…hundreds of pictures, drawings, paintings….and yet, only a few cause me to stop and admire. I like to think that it is something from their spirit reaching out to me.  I also like to think that if these individuals were around today, I bet they would be close friends!

And then I also wonder, if in a hundred years or so, someone like myself will come across my picture.  Someone who has an interest in historical fashion and I wonder if they will think my picture, my outfit, my smile may be worthy of a second glance…….🙂