Inspiration Board: Yellow Gowns

Following in the mood of Friday’s musical post, I thought I would share this lovely still from the musical Calamity Jane starring Doris Day.  What makes this scene so entrancing to me is that Doris, or should I say Calamity Jane, looks absolutely stunning in this buttery yellow gown!

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This exact scene proved to me that blondes could wear yellow…a self-imposed restriction I had long imposed upon my fashion sense was blown right out of the window!

Yellow is fresh, airy, the essence of summer, and a color that shows up everywhere in nature.  Canary, buttercream, marigold, or lemon are just a few of the plethora of shades in which yellow can appear and each one deserves a place in your wardrobe!

So go ahead and done nature’s most “sunny” color…I know I sure will!

~Aimee

Yellow Gown Collage

Visit my Pinterest Page to see more gowns in a variety of delicious shades!

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My Top Ten Vacation-Themed Musicals

Since I was a young child, I have absolutely loved musicals from “Old Hollywood.”  You know, the ones where only mild drama ensues, the boy always gets the girl, and the background characters always seem to “know” all the words and the choreography.  I started watching them with my grandfather and would always make him laugh when I showed him how I could recite the entire opening scene of The Music Man…at eight years old.

I have continued to enjoy these films and have found new delightful additions to my musical library.  In fact, whenever my mom comes to visit me, we pull out our favorites and get “taken away” to another time and place.

And since this month is all about “Going on Vacation” whether you stay at home or hit the road, I have decided to share with you my top ten favorite “vacation-themed” movies.

1. The Long, Long Trailer – 1953                         Starring Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz

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America’s sweethearts play the adorable newlywed couple, Nicky and Tacy, who decide to save money by buying a trailer as they head out to Colorado.  This film is full of slapstick comedy, silly stunts, and a fun song or two. The clothes, decoration, and scenery make this trip a must-see!

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2. Luxury Liner – 1948                Starring George Brent, Jane Powell, and Lauritz Melchior

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A young girl, played by Jane Powell, is anxious to become a famous singer, so she stows away on a star-studded ocean liner….of which her father is the captain.  Wonderful cameos of Xavier Cougart and the Pied Pipers add to this colorful ocean musical!

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3. Two Weeks with Love – 1950                    Starring Jane Powell, Ricardo Montalban

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Another of my favorites, this sweet coming-of-age story, stars Jane Powell (she is in many of my favorites) as a teenager joining her family for their yearly trip to the Catskills.  Set at the turn of the century, this movie is made even better by a young Debbie Reynolds who adds her usual spunk and energy!  With the caption “it’s my first big love affair” and the promise of amazing singing, this movie is timeless!

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4. Roman Holiday – 1953                  Starring Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck

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Need I say more?  This film is truly a classic.  Even though it may not be a musical, it’s artistic story of a bored princess who finds herself through the help of a news reporter, is as magical as the title..and it’s location!

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5.  A Royal Wedding – 1951                                  Starring Jane Powell and Fred Astaire

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Another Jane Powell classic made even better with the addition of Fred Astaire and the debonair Peter Lawford.  A dancing brother and sister team (Powell and Astaire) travel to England just in time for Queen Elizabeth II wedding.  Each find love in unusual places with the help of their singing and dancing!  Another interesting feature of this film is Winston Churchill’s daughter Sarah, who adds her own charm!

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Traveling in Style: An Overview of the Golden Ages of Modern Travel

“This is my first train trip you know….Which car do the spies usually ride in?”

                                            Lucy, “I Love Lucy”, Episode 132 “The Great Train Robbery”

Technology and travel are an intertwining relationship that has dramatically altered the interaction and movements of people and cultures.  If you look at today’s travel, it is interesting to note that, minus the stagecoach, all the major types of transportation from the past 150 years are still in active use…yet their moment in the sun has perhaps passed them by.  But what would it have been like to have traveled during the Golden Age of let’s say the railroad, or the airplane?  Join me as we find out together!

 To start our journey, we are going to take a ride back to the early 1800’s to learn about the stagecoach….

When I think of stagecoaches, I imagine those of the American Wild West, however, stagecoaches were the main form of travel for anyone who needed to cross long distances before the mass buildup of railways.  The most common stagecoach was built by the Downing Company in 1827 and was called the Concord Stagecoach.  This little beauty featured a wonderful invention of leather straps holding the coach versus metal springs.  How did this improve travel?….Well, it swung versus jostling the passengers as they traveled over those bumpy state roads.  Much desired when it would take days to cross a hundred miles.

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Hard to imagine eight people stuffed in that coach…

Need a break?  “Swing” stations, as they were called, were set up every 12 miles and allowed the cooped up occupants a brief ten minute stretch to use the outhouse or grab a drink.  “Home” stations, the country’s first major rest areas, were built 50 miles apart and often offered a place to sleep as well as a warm meal for the weary travelers.  Yet unlike more recent modes of travel, stagecoach etiquette was quite strict with a no smoking, no drinking, and definitely no-resting-of-one’s-head-on-a-fellow-passenger rule!  From 1830’s to the late 1860’s, the stagecoach was the way to travel.

But with the growth of the railroad and train stations, travelers began to opt for the more comfortable, safer, and reliable method of steam or coal travel.  Think about all those period movies you have seen where the train gently chugs up to the platform, giving it’s customary whistle and hum, as passengers dot on and off picking up trunks, meeting friends, or desperately trying to catch a loved one from making a terrible mistake…an often idyllic scene  Whether the late 1880’s or the 1950’s, the passengers are well-dressed, well-manicured, and well-mannered, as they politely make their way to their seat, their berth, or the dining car.  With the popularity of train travel reaching it’s height around the turn of the century, designers began creating cars that reflected the ornate tastes of their Edwardian customers, all while promising a quick and efficient E.T.A.

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Although these pictures may be black and white, imagine the rich colored tapestries, gold trim, and rich mahogany paneling these late 1800’s train cars would boast.

Yet by the 1920’s and 30’s as the car and the airplane began to emerge on the travel scene, the railroads began to feel the loss as their upper-class patrons began migrating off.  In a last ditch effort, the 1950’s saw a brief climax as the Pullman Palace Car Company created lovely sleeper cars.

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This little train suite is adorable!

Yet as the Golden Age of the train seemed to come to a close…others were in full swing.

As soon as Henry Ford’s Model T rolled off the assembly line, the age of the automobile began.  What was once seen as a silly modern contraption called the “horseless carriage”, the car began to rapidly alter not only the areas in which many lived, but society itself.

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With more and more families purchasing cars, the notion of tourism took shape.  It became very popular to go on long Sunday drives, visit famous national landmarks, or head to a warmer location during the colder winter months.  As routes were built across the landscape, and small towns became bustling tourist “hot spots”, the car allowed even the most smallest of budgets access to a more luxurious life, even if it was only for a few days.

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Hmmm…I wonder where they are headed?

But hold on modern travelers…another advancement is on the horizon….

From the time when Charles Lindbergh and Amelia Earhart helped build commercial air flights in America, air travel became, and has remained, the fastest and most common form of international travel.

By the 1930’s, Pan American airlines began to fly upper class passengers across the Atlantic and the Pacific Oceans, giving these individuals access to diverse locations in record time.  Despite the high risk of death (risk of airplane failure was dramatically higher during the 1930’s-1960’s), tourists began to adapt and enjoy the newly termed “jet-set” lifestyle, where weekend vacations came in vogue.

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Shortest time to sunshine…and my toes in the sand! 🙂

Catering to a richer population during the 1950’s-1960’s, flying by plane was much more expensive than today’s ticket prices, but you would, of course, receive more with each purchase.  More leg space, cushier seats, unlimited alcohol, a no smoking ban, and in some cases, a flight attendant for every 5 people, were just a few of the “extras” flyers could enjoy.  One added bonus: each passenger would be handed a postcard as they entered the plane showing the proposed menu, along with an “activity” to keep one occupied during the long flight.

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Now that is a spread!

Flying is still the most common form of international travel, yet I feel as though some of the “sparkle” has gone out of it’s appeal.  Perhaps the reality of the world in which we live has played a larger impact on it or perhaps the “novelty” of air flight has worn off….yet there is one last mode of travel that has seen itself through all of the above technologies and stayed relevant: the ocean liner.

Long used as the most common way to travel from continent to continent, ocean travel has been used for exploration, invasion, and perhaps more recently, vacations.  With ocean liner tycoons catering to the upper crust following the 1890’s, these large ships began to be viewed as floating hotels, as well as symbols of national pride.

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Imagine being on the bow as this large ship steamed into port…

Traveling on these new floating islands secured your sign of social stature and allowed you to maintain a high standard of living without being cramped up next to a fellow passenger.  Boasting smoking rooms, drawing rooms, elegant tea rooms and large suites, traveling by water maintained popularity even through the rise of the airplane.  With owners wishing to maintain a healthy bottom line and compete against the speed of air travel, their companies promised that “You may arrive faster on an airplane, but you arrive happier on an ocean liner.”

 I would have to say that might just be true. 😉

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Even though the supposed “golden age” of many of these methods have come to an end, it is still fascinating to see how our parents, grandparents, or even great-grandparents found their way to more exotic places.

~Aimee

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The One-Yard Blouse: 1950’s Style

This is truly one of those patterns that can be made in a multitude of fabrics to accommodate a variety of events and climates.  You can wear it with a cardigan, by itself with a pair of cropped pants, or imagine one out of silk tucked into a pouffy circle skirt….the possibilities are truly endless.

All you need is one hour, one yard of fabric, and one great outfit is within your reach!

Happy Sewing!

The Materials:

  • 1 yard fabric
  • 18-25″ double fold bias tape
  • 1  – 4″ zipper
  • 1 – 7″ zipper

The Pattern:

1950’s One Yard Blouse Pattern

**** Please note that the length of this blouse should be based off of your own measurements.  Use this pattern as a guide while drafting your own blouse.***

The Process:

1. Start by sewing the shoulder pieces to the bodice piece of the front and the back.

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**I have already snipped the back bodice piece in anticipation of the zipper. (See pattern)

2. Place the two bodice pieces on either your dress form or yourself to pin the darts.

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3. Stitch the darts and trim off excess fabric.

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4.  Go ahead and insert the 4″ zipper on the back bodice right below the neckline.

Stitch a portion of the side seam on the side you wish to have the longer zipper.  Make sure to leave 8″ to accommodate the zipper and a hem.  Insert the 7″ zipper.

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5.  Stitch the other side seam and the shoulder seams.

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6.  Make a hem on the bottom of the blouse and stitch.  Hem the armholes.

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7.  Run a gathering stitch along the neckline of the front piece.  Gather gently.

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8. Measure out enough bias tape for you neck along with 1/2″ to tuck under at the edges.  Pin to neckline gathering up the front of the bodice as needed.  Stitch making sure to catch the edges of the zipper tape in the bias tape for a clean look.

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And that is all you need to have a wonderful top to take on vacation, wear in the backyard or out shopping!

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Inspiration Board: Traveling Outfits

I have been found guilty of a crime.  A fashion crime, that in my heart, I know I shouldn’t break, but I do.  What is this self-imposed, guilty verdict about?…wearing what I will call “comfy” clothes when I travel.  You know, yoga pants and a very roomy, been-wearing-it-since-college, hoodie.  I have several reasons for this outfit choice (none of which frankly hold up in court):

  1. Comfort
  2. I don’t enjoy flying, so the more comfortable the better.
  3. The less complicated pieces I have on, the easier it is to remove them for security checks.

That’s it.  Flimsy excuses for voluntarily looking like I just rolled out of bed.  Maybe I’m not the only one, but I truly admire those women who look so put together and stylish as they stroll through the airport, pulling their polka-dot suitcase behind them…and frankly I’m sure they are comfortable as well!

The above described women used to be the norm.  Traveling meant pulling together your best looks and presenting a thoroughly chic presence to all those you met on your voyage.  It was the ultimate challenge to create outfits that were fashionable, elegant, and could hold up to whatever method of travel you were planning on taking.  Train rides required simple gowns that didn’t wrinkle easily and wouldn’t get caught on other passengers as you went through those narrow corridors.  Automobile rides in the early days demanded long, linen colored coats to keep the dust at bay, while those who took to the air, required ensembles that would stay politely in one’s own chair.  However, if you were one of those lucky few to travel by ocean liner, than the sky, or should I say the ocean, was the limit.

Here are a few samples of various types of outfits women would wear as they traveled for work, for family visits, or for fun!

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As always, feel free to hop over to my Pinterest page, for more delightful looks!

And I hope the next time you see me traveling, I will look as put together as these lovely ladies!

~Aimee


From My Sewing Table: July

I have many memories as a child of my older brother and I being packed up in our family minivan, with snacks, toys, and books, as the whole family set out on another summer vacation.  While the trips may not have gone as terrible as the Griswolds on their trip to Wally World, there are many instances I remember of car sickness, sibling fights, and that never ending question of “are we there yet?”  My dad always said (and he will more than likely chuckle when he reads this post) that family trips are like different types of metal: the planning is silver, the trip is lead, and the memories are golden.  While this saying may be true of many of our family trips (the lead part), these vacations are precious to me because we were all together, and heading somewhere sure to be fun.

Even though one can take vacations or holidays any time of the year, to me, none are more exciting than those taken in the heat of the summer.  But as I have grown older and become more and more of a homebody, “stay-cations” have become a beloved part of summer living.  Something about sitting out on my front porch or on the back deck, sipping an ice tea, for as long as I can take the heat just seems so “vacation-y.”

How many families of the past took “stay-cations” or saved up enough to take the family for the first time to the seaside?  Did they travel by train, on a large ocean liner, or brave that new-fangled contraption – the airplane?

I am a big believer in family vacations whether you take them overseas or you discover new places right out your back door.  Therefore this month’s theme (in case you haven’t already guessed) is all about “Going on Vacation.”  I have been busy researching, creating, and sewing up many delightful posts on vacationing from as far back as the 1850’s…with lots of delightful fashion advice.

So get ready to take a trip into the past, as you go on a vacation of your own, or like me, kick your feet up in your own backyard.

Happy Traveling,

Aimee

A few posts to watch for this month:

  • “Traveling in Style” An Overview of Traveling Over the Past Two Centuries
  • The One Yard Blouse
  • Hotel Etiquette for the 1860’s Traveling Lady
  • Hosting a Destination Themed Party

July Inspiration Board