A 2015 Year End Reflection

2015 year end reflection

The past few weeks have been very busy planning for January’ blog posts, as well as the rather long list of sewing projects I wish to create.

And it was during one of these planning sessions, that I began to reflect on the journey my blog and my sewing has taken over this past year. I have delved into various topics of writing, found a voice I didn’t know I had, explored new time periods of sewing, met some wonderful friends…and all through blogging! Sometimes it is easy to compare yourself with others and see how far you haven’t gone….and it is at those very moments that you must snap yourself out of it and be happy with what you have accomplished!

So as the last few days of December begin tick by, I thought I would take some time to reflect on those things of which I am most proud.

Let’s begin with some of my most favorite sewing projects:

My 1920’s Sheer Kimono was a very fun project although the silkiness of the fabric was a bit tricky at parts.

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My 1950’s Little Dress with a Big Bow proved to be a wonderful success and one of the favorites of this year’s projects.

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My One Yard Blouse and Cummberbund Skirt were fun creations I adapted from a 1950’s McCall’s magazine.

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This 1940’s Navy Blue Suit with Ruffled Blouse was inspired by an outfit Lucille Ball wore in one of my favorite movies Best Foot Forward.
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This 1919 Brown Plaid Dress with Faux Fur Trim was a fun adventure….if winding up at the eye doctors counts as a fun adventure! 😉

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A daunting project, this 1880 Navy Blue Princess Seam Gown with Train took over four weeks to complete!

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While I have many tips, tricks, and skills to improve upon, I am very pleased with my outfits from this year!

And now for my most favorite posts of the year!

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

Golden Age of Travel

The Art of Chicology

art of chicology

Color and You!

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Though grammar may still not be my strong suit, I have come a long way since my early days of blogging!

Tutorials and Accessories

1940’s Hat

1940's Hat Tutorial Cover

1930’s Scarf Tying Tutorials

May scarves

1940’s Manicure

August 1940's Manicure

New Friends

This year, I had the pleasure to work with Grey Dove and Isabelle from Les Belle Bouclettes.  Take a tour of their Farm “Ferme Bonne Mine” or visit their website to see a few of the wonderful goodies  that I was fortunate enough to test.  They also have added beautiful new knitting and crocheting patterns.  I was so honored to be able to name one of their creations (pictured below) which was designed by Nataliya Polyakov.  Grey Dove and Isabelle are currently in the testing stage and are looking for knitters to test the pattern with their handmade yarn available at a special rate.  If interested, please contact Grey Dove and Isabelle HERE.

The Jacqueline Ensemble

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Tanya Dawson from Vintorian Publications was kind enough to publish two of my articles in her premier edition of her magazine Vintorian as well as two articles on her blog.

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Jessica Cangiano from Chronically Vintage created  a seven rapid-fire-question interview with me that was featured on her blog!  It was a such a joy to work with her! 🙂

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I was honored this year to be nominated for The Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award by Erin and Sophia from Romancing the Sewn Blog.

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All in all 2015 has proved to be a wonderful year full of self-discovery, personal growth and plenty of pricked fingers! And I think 2016 will be even better ! 😉

I hope you all take time to reflect back on your accomplishments, big or small.  It’s isn’t bragging to be proud of what you have achieved….it’s valuing yourself and all the hard work you have put into being a more creative and more confident person.  

And that is a beautiful thing!

See you in in 2016!

~Aimee

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Cover Photo: From Paris with Love by Emile Vernon

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1924 Eggplant Purple Dress

purple pleated dress

This was one of those projects where everything goes really well…up to a point.  I had seen a gown similar in design to this in one of my Fashion Inspiration magazines and couldn’t wait to get started.  I patiently calculated out the extra material needed for the front pleats.  I mentally thought through the process in which the dress could close and hang neatly.  I created a scarf which draped rather nicely…it all was just going so well.

And then I added sleeves.  *Cue suspenseful music!*

My sleek dress turned into a monstrosity that wasn’t to far from this…

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Image from I Love Lucy

I had to walk away from the dress and those ridiculous sleeves that I had put in.  I had to think long and hard about what I needed to do.  So I ate a cookie and decided to head back down in search of my seam ripper! 🙂

Ten minutes later and with two sad sleeves lying heaped in the trash can, my elegant dress returned.

Moral of the story:  Don’t force the gown to be something it isn’t.  And if any of you sewers have gone through this process, you will understand what I mean.

So without further ado, here is the gown, as it wishes to be seen!

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Happy Sewing,

 Aimee


It’s a Survey!

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Well, I hope everyone had a wonderful and joyous Christmas!  

I know I certainly did!  I was overwhelmed and so grateful for the wonderful gifts I received, many of which were gorgeous books of vintage fashion!  I can’t wait to share them with you all!

Speaking of fashion and sewing, I am moving closer and closer towards my goal of publishing a vintage pattern book, but I need your help!  My biggest question right now is what format would be the best.  Digital? Hard Copy? Or do you have another idea?

 If you have three minutes to spare, would you be willing to take a completely anonymous survey?   Just click “Take Survey Now” below.  I would be so grateful! 🙂

TAKE SURVEY NOW

Have a wonderful weekend my friends! 

~Aimee


Poetry: The Holly and The Ivy

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One of my most favorite Christmas Carols, The Holy and The Ivy blends the beauty of nature with the story of Christmas.  My most favorite version of this carol is my Loreena McKennitt, who is also one of my most favorite artists.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hFLHWzPcwlQ

On this wonderful Christmas day, I hope you are able to reflect on the beauty of the holiday and the world around you!

The Holly and The Ivy

The holly and the ivy,
When they are both full grown
Of all the trees that are in the wood
The holly bears the crown
O the rising of the sun
And the running of the deer
The playing of the merry organ
Sweet singing of the choir

The holly bears a blossom
As white as lily flower
And Mary bore sweet Jesus Christ
To be our sweet Saviour
O the rising of the sun
And the running of the deer
The playing of the merry organ
Sweet singing of the choir

The holly bears a berry
As red as any blood
And Mary bore sweet Jesus Christ
To do poor sinners good
O the rising of the sun
And the running of the deer
The playing of the merry organ
Sweet singing of the choir

The holly bears a prickle
As sharp as any thorn;
And Mary bore sweet Jesus Christ
On Christmas Day in the morn.
O the rising of the sun
And the running of the deer
The playing of the merry organ
Sweet singing of the choir

The holly bears a bark
As bitter as any gall;
And Mary bore sweet Jesus Christ
For to redeem us all.
O the rising of the sun
And the running of the deer
The playing of the merry organ
Sweet singing of the choir

Source: From the Sans Day Carol


The Joy of Christmas Calories

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“Between the hours of two and eight on Christmas Day, several million people will either forget, or check outside the dining room, their diet and weight-reducing rules and eat with utter abandon.  

And why not surrender on this occasion and eat your fill?  Just think of the wear and tear on your system as you try to resist the appeal of the roast turkey with its crackling brown skin; savory and thick giblet gravy; snowy-white mashed potatoes as smooth and luscious-looking as ice cream; golden Hubbard squash so compelling with its seasonings of butter, salt, and pepper; tender white onions submerged in a mellow cream sauce; icy-crisp celery; sprightly cranberry sauce; fragrant mince or spicy pumpkin pie, or that other famous dessert, plum pudding, which in spite of its individual richness demands a fragrant hot vanilla sauce and creamy topping of hard sauce.  What if you do pick up an extra pound by enjoying these good things?  You can quickly lose it by finding something to worry about, or immediately after Christmas dinner you can go back to your Spartan rules which keep you slim and hungry.

However you are the judge regarding what you yourself should eat.  And if you see fit to keep your appetite in check, you can at least have the satisfaction of serving old-fashioned calories dishes and watching your family revel in them.  Here are a few suggestions:

Sausage Stuffing

8 c. coarse, soft breadcrumbs                        2 tbsp parsley 

1 c. diced celery                                                1 lb fresh sausage meat

2 small onions                                                 Salt and Pepper

In a large bowl, put in your breadcrumbs, finely minced celery, onion, parsley, and the sausage meat.  Season lightly as sausage meat usually has enough salt and pepper.  This stuffing is sufficient for an 8-kb turkey.

Now if your gamily has a craving for roast beed of Christmas Day instead of turkey or chicken, here’s a way to roast it that is rather unusual and very tasty.  I call it Slow-Cooked Roast Beef.  They type of roast I’d recumbent is the standing rib variety, and here’s the recipe:

Slow-Cooked Roast Beef

1 standing rib roast- 5 1/2 lbs                   2 tsp. paprika

2 tsps dry mustard                                       2 tsp granulated sugar

1/2 c. boiling water

Start your oven at 325 degrees and while it is being heated, mix the mustard, paprika, sugar, and salt in a saucer.  Rub the entire surface of the roast – bones and all – with this mixtures until you use it all up. Then place the roast in an uncovered pan – bones down – so that both surfaces of the meat are exposed in a vatical position.  Place in the oven without adding water and roast in the oven for 1 hour and 11 minutes without basting.  The reason basting is unnecessary is that the layers of suet on top of the meat melts during the roasting process and trickles down over the meat.  At the end of 1 hour and 11 minutes at this low heat you will notice that the roast is browning beautifully.  This is due to the sugar which, when used as directed, caramelizes instead of sweetens the meat.  At this point you can add a little water, say 1/2 c., to the pan and continue roasting for 45 minutes.  If you are a devotees of a rare roast of geek, let the meat stay in the oven for 2 hours and 4 minutes.  Serves 8. “

So go ahead and enjoy those cherished recipes and the calories that come with them!  You can always start fresh on December 26th! 😉

I also hope that you take some time to hop over to the new blog created by Tanya Dawson of  Vintorian Publications to see a special article I wrote.   The article is titled A Lady’s Accomplishment: Outdated or Reimagined, and is a wonderfully informative piece about the 19th century “accomplished woman” in connection with the women of today. 

~Aimee

Source: Don’t Deny Yourself the Joy of Christmas Calories by Byron MacFadyen, Good Housekeeping: Volume 95, Number 6, December 1932

*** These recipes are taken from a historical source where the instructions in meat handling and cooking may not be the same as today.  Caution and personal judgement should be taken when preparing these recipes.


Christmas Outfits through the Decades

Christmas outfits

Easter, the first day of school, and Christmas are all examples of days in which a new outfit is required!  With Christmas only days away, it isn’t too late to run out amongst the last of the holiday shoppers and find a little something small for yourself!

And to get those shopping juices flowing, I have collected my most favorite holiday outfits from the past two centuries.

1800

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The holiday trims on both these white dresses give wonderful contrast.

1810

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Burgundy fabric with puffy white trim says dancing at Christmas like nothing else!

1820

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I adore the gold gown with the black tassels.  What an easy and unique way to add details to sleeves.

1830

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Add a lovely wool cape and you are all set to walk into town for afternoon tea.

1840

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The shoulder details on both of these gowns add such elegance and femininity.

1850

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Whether for holiday shopping or for writing Christmas cards, either of these outfits will do splendidly!

1860

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Christmas Ball anyone?

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That red swiss waist is stunning!

1870

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Hosting a holiday party?  What a perfect hostess gown!

1880

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A lovely blend of red and green.

1890

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Velvet trim on a gown? I say, yes please!

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Pretty spectacular!  Sleeves would be a little tricky to maneuver in, but who caress when you are wearing this ensemble!

1900

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Two great examples of outdoor holiday wear for you and the kiddos!

1910

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A trio of gowns in lovely shades of holiday green!

1920

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A classy and ladylike way to wear a Santa outfit!

1930

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Again, gold for a holiday gown is pure magic!

1940

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Plaid is a perfect choice for an evening look.

1950

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A cheery, cardinal red coat is perfect for those last minute trips before Christmas!

Happy Wardrobe Planning!

~Aimee


A Very Vintage Christmas

Christmas Decor cover

Is there anything better than prepping one’s house for the holiday season?  Not in my book!

Decorating calls for extra special snacks to be placed out in easy reach, one’s most favorite Christmas music or movie gently playing in the background, and an excitement to place out all one’s purchased and handmade ornaments.  It is, at least in my house, the one time all year when the whole house gets completely decked out for the season.  The bathroom becomes an icy sparkly wonderland.  The bedrooms evoke a warmth and coziness of a magical wood where cardinals are seen darting about.  The kitchen is bright, colorful, and is the perfect place to add all those colored lights.  And the living room, my absolute favorite room in the house, is soft, warm, and peppered with silver and gold.  Add a few lit candles and time seems to fall away!

Looking to create or add to your own Christmas abode?  Let the following ideas spark that vintage imagination!!

Vintage Christmas Decorations for Around the House

Vintage Christmas Decorations

Vintage Tree Ornament Ideas

vintage ornament ideas

Vintage Christmas Table Settings

Vintage Christmas Table Settings

Two more weeks til Christmas!
I can’t wait! 🙂

~Aimee

 


On My Inspiration Board: Silver Gowns

Silver is one of those colors that can come in a range of hues and descriptions.  Icy tones, glowing metal, and can even merge into those wonderful shades of grey with that magic hint of glitter.  Silver gowns are a luxury and therefore make the perfect party dress…no matter the century.  The weight of the fabric and the details in which you put on it, all add to the uniqueness of each dress.

Check out this 1920’s silver dress…perfect for a party!

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I chose to use silver as this month’s color choice for the simple reason that it is not as often used doing the month of December.  Gold, warms hues of red, and hunter greens dominate the scene, yet silver is and should be as much of a color of the holidays as the previous three.  I find that combining all the colors throughout one’s house decorations, outfits, and table settings, can reap a rich lushness.

Silver isn’t just a cold metal, it, like the icicles forming in the winter air, is all colors blinking and shining together.  Just place some silver in the sunlight and you will see what I mean! 😉

Silver Gowns

~Aimee

To see more, please visit my Pinterest Page.