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Musings on Motherhood

It’s hard to believe that it was only six weeks ago when I became a mother for the first time.  During those six weeks I have learned a lot about myself, my family, and my future.  Parts have been harder than I could have imagined, and yet the experience as a whole has been the most rewarding experience of my life.  

 

My last post, almost two months ago, highlighted how I had been in early labor for days, which eventually turned into weeks.  Going through day after day of contractions and know I was on the cusp of something happening was a feeling and experience I will never forget.  What felt like an eternity quickly vanished around two o’clock in the morning when, finally, my contractions began to take off.  My husband and I arrived sleep deprived and nervous to the hospital around 6am, and twelve hours later, our beautiful baby girl, Clara Elizabeth, was born.   She was healthy, beautiful, and a solid seven pounds.

 

From that point on, life was and never will be the same.  You begin to realize your own limitations, and you also realize just how well (or not well) a person is able to function with little to no sleep.  You know you are a new parent when the thought of five hours of straight sleep is enough to make you cry in excitement…side note – I’m still waiting for those five straight hours!   You also realize the blessing it is to have a partner who is supportive and a team player when in comes to late night dirty diapers and never ending crying bouts from gas.  Conversation at dinner begins to revolve around feeding patterns, anti-gas drops, and why I can’t stop crying for the tenth time that day.  You learn that just being able to do one load of laundry a day is a big accomplishment and having enough time to take a shower is a major luxury.  

 

And then there comes the point when you wonder why you aren’t as happy as you should be.  Commercials on television depict happy moms lovingly taking care of their babies with their immaculate makeup and hair.  Magazines show enthusiastic families laughing and smiling through those early weeks of a newborn’s life, and you wonder why those feelings don’t extend to you.  I pondered over these thoughts and after four weeks of loving my baby yet feeling a very negative cloud of despair hover over my heart and spirit, I finally accepted the fact that I had postpartum depression.  A death knell, or so I thought, to my happily ever after.  I found myself waking up from precious naps in tears.  I came to dread the evening hours as I was never sure if I was going to have a good night or another sleepless night with only minutes of sleep.  I lost the desire to leave the house with the thought of “what’s the point?”  My life seemed to be a never ending circle of feeding, changing diapers, sleepless days and nights, and the constant fight to keep loving my baby over the mountain of “mommy guilt” I was drowning in.  Seems rather bleak huh? It was.  

 

It was on the eve of her first month “birthday”, when I did some research on “baby blues” from which I figured all these feelings stemmed.  But reading that these “blues” lessened after two weeks took the wind out of me.  Why was I still feeling lousy weeks later?  Enter the thought and acceptance of postpartum depression.  I read a list of symptoms and found myself relating to many of them.  But instead of feeling even more depressed about this revelation, I saw a crack of light in my dark tunnel.  These feelings weren’t really me.  The despair wasn’t real.  And I wasn’t “crazy.”

 

Well six weeks have past and a few days ago, I felt a fog lift off of me.  So much so that I didn’t realize how bad I felt until I started feeling better.  Life seemed hopeful.  I was able to relax and be more patience with myself, and the amazing bond with my little girl began to cement.  I still have my sad times, and so I have opened up to my family and doctor about my feelings.  Knowing that those dark emotions are not real has been freeing and I’m slowly starting to turn into the mother I always wanted to be.  I know it will take time to get back to feeling 100%, but I am allowing myself the freedom to not be perfect and embrace all aspects of my feelings.  

 

Being a mom is the most wonderful gift I have ever been given.  But being a perfect mom is now off the table.  Instead, being the best mom I can be, with all my faults and strengths, has become my new goal.  Postpartum depression is real and scary and should be taken seriously.  What it is not, however, is any indication on your success as a parent.  There should be no shame in acknowledging it whether you suffer from it yourself or see it in a friend.  Looks like my little peanut has already taught me my first important parenting lesson: unconditional love goes both ways – as I love her no matter what, she too loves me no matter what…even if I haven’t showered in a bit! 🙂

 

In the sewing world, I am going to slowly start getting back into the swing of things over the next few weeks.  While I am not giving myself a specific date to be “better” by, I am letting myself follow my creative mood.  I am not quite sure where this mood will take me, but I know it will be a fun ride!

 

So, my friends, it feels great to be back sharing with all of you!  

Here’s to accepting ourselves in whatever state we are in!

Cover Photo By Jesse Wilcox Smith

A Look Back at My Favorite Posts

Well, I am, and have been, in early labor for days.  

Not enough to be admitted into the hospital, but enough where I am definitely feeling uncomfortable!  To cheer myself up and stay focused, I have had a wonderful afternoon looking though my vintage cookbooks, watching old movies, and planning new sewing projects…although I know that latter is very optimistic! 🙂

So in the spirit of looking through some oldies but goodies, I thought I would share some of my favorite blog posts from the past few years.  If they are new to you, I hope you enjoy them, and if they have been ones you have seen before, maybe some little part of them will re-inspire you!

Click on each title above the image to be taken to each specific post!

My Top Ten Vacation Themed Musicals

Visiting Your Local Farmer’s Market

Give Yourself a Manicure: 1940’s Style

Intro to Sewing Video Series: Paper Patterns

Inspiration Board: Traveling Outfits

Fingers crossed I go into labor soon!!! 😉

1940’s Blouse Pattern and Tutorial

This blouse is such a quick and easy way to take an extra yard of fabric and turn it into something special!  Add some pizzaz with different fabrics, contrasting colors, and trims!!  The possibilities are endless!

What you will need:

  •   1 yard of fabric*
  • 12″ of 1/2″ wide elastic
  • Thread

* To create a larger size, simply create a larger square – 40″ x 40″, 42″ x 42″, etc

This pattern can be created by simply measuring and cutting the actual fabric, however the pictures below are shown on a large piece of craft paper.  

The Process

  1. Fold a 36″ by 36″ piece of fabric (or paper) into a triangle.
  2. Mark the neck between the two end points.
  3. Measure 13-15″ from center of neck towards one point.  Mark this point.  The length will be the sleeve, so make it as long or as short as you would like.  Then cut off the triangle.  Repeat with the other side.
  4. Allow 8-10″ for armhole then stitch (right sides together) 4-5″ down from this point.  This line is shown as the dotted line on the paper pattern below.
  5. Take the cut off triangle pieces and attach them to the bottom of the triangle so the fold edge forms a side seam. Stitch to the bottom of the blouse, right sides together.
  6. Measure 4 1/2″ on each side of center neck point and gently cut out a scoop neckline.
  7. Make a 4″ slit in the center back of the neckline.
  8. Sew a 6″ piece of elastic, while it is stretched out, on each side of the waist line to create a shirred peplum.
  9. Hem all raw edges and add shoulder pads, if desired.
  10. OPTIONAL – Add a snap or hook to the center back neckline to close.

And that’s it!! Enjoy your new vintage inspired blouse!!!

 

Historical Patterns I’m Excited to Try!

I think I have drained my current pool of patterns.  I mean, I love many of them and will always use them…but, I’m am definitely feeling a little bored.   Especially with my due date coming closer and closer, I am trying to stay occupied with sewing…it’s sort of working! 🙂

So yesterday, with the warm sun on my face, I spent a little time looking up some new and different patterns to try.

 Here are a few of my favorites!!!  

Links to the patterns are below each image!

I love the unique and various caps in this particular pattern.  Especially the Round Eared Cap with double ruffle!!

1740-1820 Women and Girls Caps from Amazon Dry Goods

I am sure anyone wearing this amazingly beautiful, pleated mantle would feel elegant and very summery!  The only thing I’m not sure of is what fabric I would use…..

1863 Summer Mantle from Amazon Dry Goods

With a yardage requirement of 16 yards, this gown would definitely be a commitment, but I love all the ruffles and draping!  I would also want to use a polka dot fabric just like the sample photo below!

1873 Dress Pattern from Patterns of Time

One should have just as pretty undergarments as outwear, and this pattern has a wonderful range of options!!!

1912 Women’s Linen Collection from Patterns of Time

The front draping on this 1930’s dress is amazing!  I’m pretty sure I will have to redo it several times until it hangs just right, but its all in a day’s work! 🙂

1930’s Dress pattern from Pattern Treasury

Have you found any new historical patterns that you just adore?  

I would love to hear from you! 

On My Inspiration Board: Patterned Gowns

I decided to bring back an old post favorite which I haven’t done in a while: On My Inspiration Board!  For this post, I choose either a color, pattern, shape, or type of gown and collect my favorites to share from the years 1800-1950.  For today’s version, I decided to choose gowns made out a of patterned fabric.  Whether geometric, floral, or striped, these gowns are wonderful examples of fabric design and gown creation!

In my daily wardrobe, I don’t really wear a whole lot of patterns.  Yet when it comes to my sewing, I adore using patterns.  Any type of pattern using any type of colors.  I simply love it.  And based on all my research, I am not alone!  From morning gowns, to tea gowns, to evening gowns, patterns have been a favorite for decades.

This particular painting shows how embroidery create a lovely pattern on this elegant 1810’s court dress.  Perhaps not a gown to be worn by the average woman, bust still stunning!

Duchess Talleyrand-Périgord, Princess Dorothea by Joseph Chabord

This gown from the late 1800’s is a wonderful example of the striking impact a good pattern can create!  Not only does the cut of the gown highlight the pattern, but the black and white stripe is absolutely eye catching!

While there are so many options out there, I did my best to select a variety of gowns from a variety of time periods.  So, without further ado, here is this month’s Inspiration Board!

To see more gowns, feel free to visit my Pinterest Board!

Happy Tuesday!

My May Favorites

Summer is almost here!!  How do I know?  Well, apart from the increased sound of lawn mowers up and down the neighborhood, I can now leave the house without a jacket!  A wonderful change if you ask me!!

And since it is almost summer, and a new month, it is time to share with you my favorite list of things I am loving or wishing to try!

All links are below each image.

To start this month’s favorites list off, I have chosen the sweetest little romper. With my own little girl due next month, I am all about sweet, simple clothes to dress her in!! 🙂

Bailey Blossoms – Blueberry Pie Romper

Not only am I in love with the soft green of this gown, I am also on a 1890’s kick!  I love the 1700’s influence seen in the back fabric drape.

1890’s Tea Gown from the John Bright Collection

Even though I am still rocking maternity clothes, I thought this jacket from Modcloth would still be a wonderful addition to both my maternity and regular wardrobe.  Pair it with skinny jeans and a pair of flats…and maybe a mocha latte! Perfect!!

Jacket from Modcloth

This little thimble key chain is the perfect gift for a fellow sewing enthusiast or for yourself!

Thimble Key Chain from Gustav’s Dachshunds Shop

And with it being May 1st, I have to include these up-cycled May Day baskets….the perfect thing to brighten up those rainy days!

May Day Baskets from The Princess and the Frog Blog

Happy May 1st Everyone!!!

A Tribute to the Gibson Girl

With her wasp-waist, highly piled hair, perfectly pressed shirtwaist, and look of complete confidence, the Gibson Girl of the early 1900’s was truly a fashion icon.  So much so that she still inspires fashion today from lace details to loosely curled hair.  Named after the artist who made the look famous, the Gibson Girl is as much an ideal as she was a real person.  Therefore today’s post is all about the Gibson Girl and ways to channel her into your historical fashion wardrobe! 🙂

Links to featured items are in bold and below each image.

Let’s begin with the most famous Gibson Girl of all – Camille Clifford.  She was the European actress who won the Gibson Girl contest, and its not hard to see why!

Camille Clifford – The winner of the Gibson Girl Contest.  Learn more about her and see many lovely images by visiting the National Portrait Gallery.

Every proper Gibson Girl needs the proper shoe!  And these lovelies from the American Duchess are perfect!

“Gibson” Edwardian Shoes from American Duchess

The perfectly tailored and perfectly “blouse-y” shirtwaist was the hallmark of a Gibson Girl.  I mean, just take a look at these fabulous examples!

Wish to make a few of your own?  Here is a wonderful pattern – 

Edwardian Tucked Blouse from Past Patterns

Need nothing but pure visual inspiration?  I love this book which features a collection of all the Gibson Girl drawings done by Charles Dana Gibson.

The Gibson Girl and Her America: The Best Drawings of Charles Dana Gibson by Charles Dana Gibson – Available on Amazon

And once you have your outfit complete, top it all off with the perfect Gibson top knot!  The Seamstress of Avalon shows you how in this step by step tutorial – 

Gibson Girl Hair Tutorial by The Seamstress of Avalon

I hope you enjoyed this tribute to all things Gibson Girl!

 

 

Historical Fashion Shoot at The Buffalo Niagara Heritage Village

Last Saturday, I had the extreme privilege of being allowed special access to photograph my gowns in and around the historic buildings belonging to the Buffalo Niagara Heritage Village.    This museum not only features many wonderful exhibits for both young and old, but they also have twelve historical buildings that have been painstakingly and lovingly returned to historical accuracy.  A truly wonderful place for the whole family where you can take a step back in time!

Here are a few outside pictures of the buildings apart of this wonderful village!

Aren’t they stunning!?  Sigh….

Anyways!  This past Saturday, I loaded up a a variety of gowns, two great friends, and spent a fabulous afternoon enjoying the warm sunshine and all things historical!!

Enjoy!!

 

A big thank you to Buffalo Niagara Heritage Village for opening up their doors!  We all had a great time and I think the buildings did too! 🙂

 

Many of these gowns are available for purchase on my Etsy Shop!

 

Have you joined my Facebook Group Inside Aimee’s Armoire?  Join now to connect with other historical fashion enthusiasts!

Click image to join!