1940’s Chestnut Brown Dress with Jacket

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Yeah…this one turned out wonderful!  🙂

 I am soooo in love with the color, the softness of the fabric, and the delicate way it hangs off the dress form!

I knew that I wanted to create a 1940’s dress for this month’s sewing post, however I wasn’t sure what to do.  I decided to create a simple dress but add in a few extra touches with the lace collar and small lace details on the sleeve.  I also used my 1930’s block pattern to create the simple jacket.

Here is the pattern that I created for the dress:

1940's Dress Pattern

While I did do some minor tweaking to the waist line, in addition to a gather, I was very pleased with the final product!

Here are a few pictures!

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I just now realized that the one sleeve is all wonky in this picture….sigh!!

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Happy end of November everyone!

See you all in December!!!  I can’t wait! 🙂

~Aimee

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Brown Fabric Samples 1800-1960

brown fabric

The best way to see the change in fashion, tone, and patterns over the past two centuries is often through looking at the fabric.  Black and white photographs can only help so much, so having the ability to see color fabric samples is a huge help to my sewing.   This is also true when I go shopping in modern fabric stores.   Being able to have a go-to guide on patterns, prints, and colors makes the search much easier!

Stemming off of this month’s color inspiration of brown, I wanted to share a few pages from one of my fabric dating books by Eileen Jahnke Trestain.  This encyclopedia of fabric samples gives overviews and colored pictures in a variety of tones from 1800-1960.

Enjoy!

1800-1830

Pre-1830's Brown

1830-1860

1830-1860's Brown

1860-1880

1860-1880's Brown

1880-1910

1880-1910's Brown

1910-1935

1910-1930's Brown

1935-1960

1930-1960's Brown

I hope these help inspire you for your next sewing project! 🙂

~Aimee

Source: Dating Fabrics: A Color Guide 1800-1960 by Eileen Jahnke Trestain, 1998


Poetry: “Thanksgiving” By Edgar Albert Guest (1881-1959)

Gettin’ together to smile an’ rejoice,
An’ eatin’ an’ laughin’ with folks of your choice;
An’ kissin’ the girls an’ declarin’ that they
Are growin’ more beautiful day after day;
Chattin’ an’ braggin’ a bit with the men,
Buildin’ the old family circle again;
Livin’ the wholesome an’ old-fashioned cheer,
Just for awhile at the end of the year.

Greetings fly fast as we crowd through the door
And under the old roof we gather once more
Just as we did when the youngsters were small;
Mother’s a little bit grayer, that’s all.
Father’s a little bit older, but still
Ready to romp an’ to laugh with a will.
Here we are back at the table again
Tellin’ our stories as women an’ men.

Bowed are our heads for a moment in prayer;
Oh, but we’re grateful an’ glad to be there.
Home from the east land an’ home from the west,
Home with the folks that are dearest an’ best.
Out of the sham of the cities afar
We’ve come for a time to be just what we are.
Here we can talk of ourselves an’ be frank,
Forgettin’ position an’ station an’ rank.

Give me the end of the year an’ its fun
When most of the plannin’ an’ toilin’ is done;
Bring all the wanderers home to the nest,
Let me sit down with the ones I love best,
Hear the old voices still ringin’ with song,
See the old faces unblemished by wrong,
See the old table with all of its chairs
An’ I’ll put soul in my Thanksgivin’ prayers.

Wishing you all a very Happy Thanksgiving!

~Aimee

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Dinner at Home

With this month’s theme of “Hearth and Home, ” I thought I would share with you some of the best ways to encourage a warm and welcoming environment through the evening meal.  Whether you are a family of two or twenty, dinner around the table is so important.

Mary Chambers in her book “Breakfasts, Luncheons and Dinners: How to Plan Them, How to Serve Them, How to Behave at Them” (1864) writes of the importance of dinner as a family.

“The home dinner should be the most enjoyable of all the meals.  Breakfast, at is best, is only a prelude to the work of the day; at luncheon only the stay-at-home members of the household are present; but dinner sees the family complete, and the stress of the day over and done with.  This should bring the feeling of leaser and freedom from care which makes for pleasant conversation and for lingering over the meal to listen to good stories and to contribute them.  To save up for diner-time all the good jokes, all the interesting incidents, should be made one of the family habits.  Enjoyment and laughter promote digestion and assimilation.

A well-planned family dinner provides something which is specially relished by everybody, and its menu should be considerate of every individual’s tastes, so that nobody may be able to say: “There is nothing I like!”  To provide for each and all in this way does not demand a great deal of variety; it demand only the thought and affectionate consideration which makes homemaking a labor of love, and one of the pleasantest tasks in the world.”

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But living in this, often, fast-paced world, one can experience challenges in creating a tasty and fun-filled dinner for the family every night.

So I did a bit of research of the subject and found some wonderful ideas and recipes!

1. Moms Who Think has a great system of weekly menus that provide a variety of options at various skill levels.

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Image from Moms Who Think

2. If the above article from 1864 didn’t convince you of the importance of eating together as a family, check out The Family Dinner Project.  It also gives plenty of ideas for conversations and fun!FamilyDinnerProjectWebsite

3. Want to get the family more involved?  Try having “themed” dinners.  Choose a time period, a culture, or a place and create a meal that is unique and one-of a kind.  Check out The Food Network for some fun ideas!

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Happy eating everyone!

~Aimee


An 1850’s Guide to Dressmaking: The Skirt

“General facts and rules to be remembered:

Some few things are true about the making of all skirts, through every change of fashion, and whether the dress be of the courser stuff or the richest satin.

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  1. In cutting off the breadths, be careful to have them all of precisely equal length; also see that regard is paid to the figure running up or down, when the breadths are being basted, previous to running them.  This is a matter that is frequently overlooked, even by experienced dressmakers.  
  2. The breadths should be basted or pinned securely while running them, because a puckered skirt will spoil the appearance of the most elegant dress.
  3.  Commence running each breadth at the bottom, first measuring off a length of silk sufficient to prevent the necessity of making any breaks of any sort in the seam.  Not one backstitch can be permitted , as it will show distinctly on the right side, especial if the material be stiff silk.  

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The fastenings of the dress should be sewed with great care, so that they may last as long as the dress itself.

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 Whalebones should be smoothly pared on the edges and ends, to prevent them from slipping out after wearing holes in the waist-lining.”

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Source: The Lady’s Guide to Perfect Gentility… by Emily Thornwell, 1856

Looking to create your own 1850’s skirt?  Here are a few great patterns to get you started:

Past Patterns has a wonderful pattern for a skirt and bodice.

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This pattern for a petticoat can be made of a variety of materials for under or outer wear…and the price is great!

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Happy sewing!
~Aimee

 


Vintage-Inspired Thanksgiving Table Settings

I love setting the table for a special party or dinner!  

It started when I was a child and my mom and I would always plan out the look and design for all holiday dinners complete with handmade place cards.  While I, at times,  struggle with hosting a party (I don’t do well in groups 🙂 ) I love the organizing and planning that goes in to it!

I recently ordered a copy of the Better Homes and Garden’s book on Table Settings to further expand my repertoire and knowledge of setting the perfect table.

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While it is very short, it gives wonderful ideas for setting and organizing the dinner table.

So in the spirit of all this planning, I thought I would share some of the research I have done for this upcoming holiday season.

Lets start with the vintage ideas:

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I think this one may be too fancy for my little house!

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I love the simple design of the china…perfect for layering of textures and other colors.

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Again…maybe a little too extravagant!

And here are a few modern ideas…with a vintage flair:

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Rustic and charming!

Image from Mod Vintage Life

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This is enchanting and might be my choice for this year!

Image from Stone Gable

I hope this gives you some inspiration to create your own unique Thanksgiving (or any special meal) table!

~Aimee


Tips for Calming Your Nerves

With Thanksgiving a little over a week away, it is possible that you are experiencing a slightly heighten state of stress.  With house cleaning, prepping for family, thawing the turkey, and mentally preparing for the enormous amount of calories you will be intaking, it is easy to let the stress make its way to your neck, head, and back.

To help combat this yearly onslaught, here are a few tips to help relieve the pressure!

“If you believe that you are overworking, lie down for at least fifteen minutes after every meal,  Or get home in the afternoon in time to lie down for an hour before dinner.

Lie flat on your back and withdraw every bit of resistance and strain from your body.  Relax your arms and legs and let down your back til you lie all soft and fluid, melting into the matters or couch.

If you can drop off to sleep, so much the better. But don’t fuss if sleep refuses to come.

If you find your mind working overtime, pick up a magazine and read a story that has a wholesome bit of humor or pathos, the entertaining sort that is light but agreeable reading.

Nerves are best relieve by vigorous, stimulating exercise that transfers the activity to your muscles. Plan to be out-of-doors two to three hours every day if you can.

If you play golf or tennis, play to win.

Drink a glass of milk in the mid-afternoon and at bedtime.  Have the bedtime glass warmed if you can drink it that way.  It will help you rest better.”

So take a deep breath and drop off the stress!  Thanksgiving will turn out perfectly…it always does! 🙂

~Aimee

Source: Tips for Calming Your Nerves During the Holiday Season by Barbara Ellison, Fashion Service, 1927

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Sewing Tip Saturday: Ways to Hem/Edge a Dress

Hemming a garment is something that has to be done if you want to avoid that strange stringy feeling twisted around your legs.

 The process itself is rather straightforward.  Fold up the desired amount, fold it again, pin, and stitch.  This skill can be applied to the bottoms of dresses, skirts, sleeves, blouses, scarves, jackets…..you get the idea.

But, when it comes to sewing hems, there are so many ways to do it that it can become a unique and attractive aspect of the final creation.

Here are a few ways to hem/edge your next historical dress:

Sewing Tip hems

 

Looking for other helpful sewing tips?  Feel free to check out my Sewing Tip Saturday Page!