My Favorite Girls Night Movies

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Summer days are meant for staying up late and enjoying your friends and family as much as possible!  One of my favorite ways to spend a summer evening is by watching one of my favorite girly movies, making snacks, and cuddling up on the couch with loved ones for a fun time!  Last year, I shared my favorite summer vacation musicals, so this year, I thought I would share my favorite girl’s night movies….so here we go!
  1. Pride and Prejudice – 1995  While I adore the Kiera Knightly version, there is nothing better than being taken away by the BBC version with Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth.  Just make sure that you can set aside 6 hours…but trust me, it’s worth it!pride-and-prejudice-1995-restored-2010-x-250 460x300_prideprejudice
  2. You Were Never Lovelier – 1942  This very fun musical is a wonderful blend of dancing, singing, comedy, misunderstanding and Hollywood glamour!You_were_never_lovelierAnnex - Astaire, Fred (You Were Never Lovelier)_01
  3. Ever After – 1998   One of my absolute favorites, this sweet take on Cinderella is fun not only because of the characters, but because of the gowns as well!Everafterposterever-after-a-cinderella-story-gallery
  4. Becoming Jane – 2007  While perhaps not as classic as the stories written by the author, this fun little film on Jane Austen is sweet and empowering!becoming-jane.29468Jane_Tom_cricket
  5. Return to Me – 2000   This is one of my all-time, hands down, favorite movies!!  If you love comedy, unique plot twists, and the Rat Pack, you will love this film!51P1GWQZTCLimages
  6. Jane Eyre -1997  Alright, I know that there are many different film versions of this story, and everyone has their favorites.  While I can’t say a bad thing about any of them, if I only could choose one to watch, it would be this one.  p19714_d_v8_aa
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  7. Never Been Kissed -1999  While this movie isn’t really great for historical sewing, if you love 1980’s fashion, I think you will enjoy the flashbacks!  And with a message about being true to yourself….how can you go wrong?Never-Been-Kissed-Postertopshop
  8. Little Women -1994  The musical score in this film never fails to instantly calm and transport me back in time.  And the gowns…I mean….come on! 🙂Little_women_poster18-little-women.w1200.h630
  9. Sarah Plain and Tall – 1991  I adore this film!  It’s wholesome, sweet, and has such wonderful examples of 1910’s fashion!Sarah,_Plain_and_Tall_(film)198651033533611328_ANJNQEihSo there you have it!  My top nine favorite girls night films!  Now go pop some popcorn, gather up some friends, and have a wonderful night!signature
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The Gowns that have Inspired My Sewing…

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I have been sewing since I was a little girl and dabbled in the usual assortment of projects that new sewers try.  A few handbags, a dress or two, and perhaps a little quilting.  But there comes a time in every sewer’s journey when they begin to discover their particular niche.  While they still may sew a variety of things, they often find one particular style, or area, or system that is their most favorite.  And that is the beautiful thing about sewing.  Sewing is one of those rare hobbies that can be truly for enjoyment while still offering a wonderful service.  It will always be a needed talent and one that should be carefully and lovingly cultivated.

I went on my own little journey of sewing during my summer vacations of college.  This was of course in the days before Pinterest and my access to historical fashion was limited, but I was able to Google a lot of the various images.  Through this process, I began finding gowns that spoke to me and continue to inspire me today (over a decade later.)  They are the pieces that really pushed me into historical sewing without having any idea or knowledge on how to do any of it.  But like many things in life, sewing is a puzzle with various pieces that must be figured out so they, together, can create one overall picture.  So that is how my summer days were spent…figuring out how these gowns were created, how they went together, and how the heck I could do it on my own.  Of course all of this happened in between my summer jobs! 🙂

So as I now enter into my 15th year of historical/vintage sewing, I thought I would share with you the pieces that inspired it all…maybe they have inspired you as well!

This late 18th century gown is a true example of how a perfect fit can create a stunning creation.91ce968d0c5ffb4ba3efeb3639cd6a08

This Regency era gown was the first time where I looked at a picture and tried to recreate the best I could….it turned out alright! 🙂

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This 1850’s raspberry gown has been one of my favorites for years….I adore the vibrant color!

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This 1870’s bustle gown is part technical amazingness and part mint-green amazingness…both parts are equally important!

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This one you had to pull my chin off from the floor when I first saw it.  It’s all about the cut….simply, sleek, and exquisitely tailored!

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I am still in the process of trying to recreate a pattern for this 1930’s silk blouse…and when I do, I’ll be sure to let you know!

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Someday, I will have acquired enough skill to create this 1940’s dress..not today…but someday!

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What has been your inspiration for sewing?  Have you been able to recreate that inspiration?
I would love to hear about it in the comments! 🙂
Happy Monday!!!

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Cover Photo: The Ball Gown by Jules Trayer, 1860


A Salute to Women’s Pants

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I am so grateful that I am able to wear pants.  There, I’ve said it and I meant it.  I find myself most comfortable in pants, and while I will slip on a dress every once in a while, I still prefer pants.  Different lengths, widths, patterns, and fabric all add to the variety that these garments can bring to your wardrobe.  So it is only fitting to take a little journey back to see, not only the start, but the evolution women’s pants have undergone since the early 1900’s.

1910’s

Mostly meant for outdoor work, these adorable overalls look comfy yet very feminine.

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1920’s

The 1920’s saw women’s pants widen to create a faux skirt look.  Roomy, comfy, and very “sailor-esque”, these pants will see a rebirth in the 70’s.

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1930’s

Still very wide, women’s pants continued to be worn in casual environments and were created in more light, flowy fabrics.

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1940’s

More tailored, tapered, and refined, pants during the 1940’s continued to grow in popularity and were worn by both Hollywood and the average woman alike.

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1950’s

Drastically reducing in size, the pants in the 1950’s became the originally “skinny” pant with names such as pedal pusher, or cigarette.  Worn well into the 1960’s and popularized by Audrey Hepburn, these very slim pants were most often worn with ballet flats.

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I love the fact that these exact trends repeat in the following decades, and of course, will continue to do so!  So whether you call them pants or trousers, dress ’em up and wear ’em out!

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Visiting Your Local Farmers Market

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There is a feeling of “coming home” emerging in many parts of the country.  What do I mean by that?  I mean that there is this overwhelming urge to go back to the simpler things in life, appreciate good, hard work, and try to make our environment a little bit healthier and happier.  I like to call this “coming home.”  I have noticed it expand where I live, as people begin shopping in more local stores, embracing small backyard subsistence farming, and doing their best to get everyone they know involved.

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An early 1900’s Farmers Market

And one place where you will find a large population of such like-minded people is at the Farmers Market.  It is a joyous gathering of local crafters, farmers, florists, bakers, butchers, and other such folks who bring their preciously created wares to share with others.  Of course the idea of a farmers market has been around since Ancient Egypt, and has happily transplanted itself into other areas and cultures with growing enthusiasm.

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Two women in the 1940’s wheeling around their goodies.

Over the past several decades, the popularity of Farmers Markets has grown over 300% as many realize the value of finding a healthier product for not only their bodies, but for their local economy as well.  I have recently found one very close to my house that opens on Thursday evenings.  I love rushing over their as soon as it opens to peruse the day’s specials and (if I’m feeling brave) chat with the fine folks who run their booths.  While it is still early for a lot of the more common vegetables to make their appearance, their are still wonderful selections to be found.

More reasons (as if you need any more) to buy local!

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Ready to find a market near you?

Check out this list of every Farmers Market in America (or at least pretty darn close) created by the United States Department of Agriculture. It allows you to search by state or by zip code and links the majority of the markets to their individual websites.

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Now that you are well on your way to visiting your local market…what do you do with all that wonderful produce you have found?  Not to worry as I came across this link with 27 garden fresh recipes that will get those creative juices flowing after you bring home your bag of goodies!  Click the link below the picture to be taken to the gallery.

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27 Garden-Fresh Recipes from The Farmers Market

So get out their and support your local community, your health and happiness!  You will be surprised at the wonders it will do!

Welcome home everyone!

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The Lipstick of Summer: Coral

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I have exactly one tube of coral lipstick.  I wear it maybe once or twice a summer and only on occasions when I am feeling bold or adventurous.  I am not sure where the hesitation comes from, but I find coral to be a brighter color to wear than red.  Sometimes I feel the need to talk myself up to slathering on a layer….a problem I never have when it comes to wearing hot pink?

But apart from my own oddities, coral truly is the happiest of colors to wear during the summer months.  It speaks of sun, health, and (in my case) courage!  But just like many colors, not every shade of coral works on every skin shade.  You have to play around a bit to find that perfect blend which adds to your overall glow… not the other way around.

To help you on your search, I have found four lovely shades of coral in differing color tones, finishes, and prices!  I hope they encourage you (as they have me) to embrace this happy, “beachy” color!

Maybeline Coral Ambition   $8

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Maybeline Color Whisper – Coral Ambition

 

MAC Ablaze     $17

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MAC Ablaze Bright Apricot Cream Matte

Rich and Famous  Coral Lombard     $26

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Rich and Famous Coral Lombard

 

Besame Cosmetics  Carmine $22

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Carmine Lipstick

So go and let your lips match the wonderful summer fun around you!

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Pattern Ad


The June Bride

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One of my favorite songs from Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (which also happens to be one of my favorite movies) is the song “June Bride.”  It is extremely catchy and can pop into my head at random times…even when I haven’t watched the movie  in months!  If you haven’t seen/heard of this musical before, than close out this post and go find yourself a copy!!!  You won’t regret it! 🙂

In the meantime, feel free to click the link below to watch the song!

June Bride

And while getting married in June is not as common today (as I am a May bride), I still thought it would be fun to take a little look back at the do’s and don’ts of bridal wear!

One of my good friends is getting married, and watching her go through the fun of finding a wedding dress makes me feel just as excited as if it were for my own wedding (well, almost!)  She finally found a dress through Alfred Angelo after much debate and what seemed like an endless stream of gowns.  But she did it!  And as I was researching for this post, I came across this wonderful advertisement for Alfred Angelo gowns from the 1950’s.  After viewing this gown, I thought about how much wedding gown designs have changed…and not changed, as I feel like I saw this gown on display….just maybe not as fluffy!

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But one thing that that hasn’t change too much over time is the color of the gown.  This excerpt from a book written in the 1870’s explains what goes into a proper bridal ensemble…and it seems like quite a bit!  And just in case you are interested, all sources quoted are listed at the bottom of this post.

“The dress for a bride will admit of such immense variety in materials, style, expense, and fashion, that it is difficult to give general directions.  Yet from the millionaire’s daughter to the mechanic’s child, there is always one rule, that the dress must be white throughout.  Dress, veil, gloves, slippers, wrapper, or bonnet all must be pure white for a full bridal dress.  The material varies; moire antique, alpaca, muslin, or fine bishop’s lawn, are all suitable for the wedding-dress.  The veil may be of illusion, lace, or very fine tulle, but should be long, very full, and fine.  It is fastened by the wreath, but whether to fall over the face or not, is a matter left to Fashion.  

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The slippers should be of white satin, and the gloves of white kid, trimmed with white lace or white satin ribbon.

No jewelry is suitable for a bride, excepting diamonds or pearls.  

The same variety of selection of material, quality, and quantity, that applies to the wedding-dress, is equally applicable to the trousseau, but for a person in moderate circumstances, we give the usual quantity, which may be varied indefinitely, according to the purse or taste of the fair bride, or her parents.” (1)

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Here is a 1920’s chart on bridal wear as created by Mary Brook Pickens.  I adore this chart as it gives instructions on what to wear based on location and time of day!  Fascinating!! (2)00000231-s

Taking inspiration from the chart, one can see the changes in these two 1920’s gown pairings based on location and time of day!

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And while many brides look back with pride on their wedding day and the choices they have made…one has to wonder if the other members of the bridal party feel the same way.  Like this florally group:

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To all you brides out there planning your wedding, no matter what month it happens to be in, I wish you happiness and great gown choices!

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Sources:

(1)The Art of Dressing Well: A Complete Guide to Economy, Style, and Propriety of Costume by Annie S. Frost, 1870

(2)Guide to Correct Dress for the Bride: Harmony in Dress by Mary Brooks Picken, 1925

 

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A 1950’s Sleeveless Jacket or Sleeveless Dress

1950's jacket and dress

This little number is part coat, part dress, and part chic!

This is a very simple design which can easily include sleeves, a collar, or a fun belt as seen in the picture above.  The other fun thing about this pattern is that it is fully lined!  How luxurious! 🙂

Materials Needed

1 1/2 yard each of outer fabric and lining

6 large buttons

Pattern Guide

1950's jacket pattern 1

Front – Cut 2 from both fabrics but cut lining shorter that outer fabric

A, B – 1/4 of neck plus 3″

B, C – Shoulder length plus 2″

E, D – 1/4 of bust plus 3″

C, D – Armhole Curve

Back (Cut on fold) Cut 1 of each fabric

A, B – 1/4 of neck plus 1″

B, C – Shoulder length

E, D – 1/4 of bust plus 2-3″

C, D – Armhole Curve

To show you how to create this pattern, I have added a video outlining each step.  

Sorry about the wavy lines in the video….I’m still new to the whole movie making thing! 🙂  But I will get better!!

Process

Lining – 

  1. Stitch shoulder and side darts on wrong side of lining.
  2. Stitch shoulder and side seams, right sides together.

Outer  – 

  1. Stitch shoulder and side darts on wrong side.
  2. Stitch shoulder and side seams, right sides together.
  3. Stitch lining to outer pieces, right sides together, along neckline.  Turn right side out and press along neckline making sure that lining cannot be seen from the outside.  Stitch along the neckline to secure.
  4. Trim excess fabric (if needed) around armhole, then hem armhole by folding a double hem on the inside of the jacket. Make sure the lining lays flat and smooth.
  5. Fold excess center front outer fabric over the lining creating a very wide hem on the inside.  Pin and then stitch.
  6. Do the same to the bottom hem, making sure to catch the lining ends.  Stitch.
  7. Mark and sew buttonholes.  Stitch buttons to the opposite side.

Note* As I mentioned in the video, this process of drafting is all about being flexible and adjusting as needed.  To prove that, I noticed that the back neckline was too wide, so I gave a cute little pleat to it.  Not wanting the same for the lining, I made sure to take in the neckline before I cut it out!

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Official Photos

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Happy sewing!!

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Creating a Summer Arrangement

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During Memorial weekend I was inspired to create a new centerpiece for my kitchen table.  I wasn’t quite sure what I wanted to do, but I felt that I needed something sweet and colorful.  I visited my local Michael’s craft store and was delighted to find a great sale on silk flowers…so I picked up anything that I thought would look nice.  However, the one thing I couldn’t figure out was what vase to use.  Well, next door to our Michael’s was a Pier 1, and after some very fun browsing, I found two glasses that I thought could work.  A list of the some of the tools and supplies I used are listed below.

So I took everything I purchased, including a bottle of clear gel for the bottom of the vase, and laid it all out!

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I debated what was the best vase (as I found some more around my house) to use for quite a while until I settled on the two clear tumblers I purchased at Pier I.  Since I wanted to use the clear gel in the bottom of the vases,I began heating it up to liquefy the gel.  This is a painfully slow process which requires you to heat the bottle up in a pot of simmering water for about 30 minutes.  Oh, and if possible, use an old pot!

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In the meantime, I practiced arranging the flowers in the glasses.  Once I was happy, I took a picture so I would remember how they looked when I stuck them into the gel.

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After enough time for the gel to become soft and pour-able, I divided the bottle up between the two glasses.  Then I stuck the glasses back into the simmering water for another 35-40 minutes to eliminate bubbles.

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Once the vases had “cooked” long enough, I dried them off and inserted the flowers using the picture I had taken as a guide.  Once I was done, I let the vases sit undisturbed for several hours.  As a finishing touch, I wrapped some rafia around the vases and placed them on the table with pride.

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So if you feel the need for a centerpiece change, let the happy colors of summer lead you on the path to decorated happiness!

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Products Used:

Glassware from Pier 1

Clear Water Gel from Walmart