Finding the Perfect Fall Sweater

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Gearing up for the cooler months of fall requires a wide variety of layers.  These are the days when you leave the house with a cardigan on and come home wearing just the blouse underneath.  Because of this, it is one of my favorite times of the year, and one of my favorite fashion looks of the year as well!  The upcoming long Labor Day weekend is the perfect time to begin switching out the summer wardrobe for the fall one.  To begin this eventual transition, I have found five wonderful “end of summer-into fall” sweaters to inspire the switch!

I hope you enjoy!

I adore this purple/teal plaid wrap from Modcloth.  Perfect to wear out or around the house!

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Plaid Sweater from ModCloth

Not only is this a stunning color, but very appropriate for work or meeting friends for lunch.

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Cable Knit Cardigan from Talbots

I absolutely adore this wrap!  I would pair it with a long sleeve black shirt, skinny jeans, and my knee high boots!  Or for a different look, a long black pencil skirt…. 🙂

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Wrap by Vera Wang from Kohls

This is the perfect at home sweater.  Warm, chunky, and perfect for watching old movies on the couch with a hot mug of apple cider!

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Chunky Kimono Sweater from Loft

I love the fact that this sweater from Victorian Trading Co. features a light cable knit and elegant blouse front.  Simply stunning!

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Hepburn Cardigan from Victorian Trading Co.

I hope you have wonderful luck searching out the perfect transitional pieces!  🙂

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The Reasons Behind My Love for All Historical Sewing

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I remember times as a child that many people said an individual was either a cat person or a dog person.  Or that someone was either an early bird or a night owl.  A thinker versus a do-er, just a coffee or tea drinker….and the list goes on. I remember pondering this and waiting to see just what type of person I would become.  Well, years have gone by and I have learned that I am neither an early morning or late night person, I love both cats and dogs, can equally enjoy a cup of coffee or tea, and have been known to act on an idea within a split second of creating it.  So when it comes to my sewing, it is no surprise that I just can’t seem to settle myself down to one particular style.  

For a blog and a business that has the word “Victorian” in it, I often receive questions and comments about the topics and products I choose to discuss and sell.  “I would never have thought you would sell Regency era” or  “Isn’t a topic on 1950’s a little out of your genre?”  And if you didn’t know me, I would say those statements would be very accurate.  Yet, ask anyone who has known me since I was a young child and they would simply smile and nod stating that my tastes have been that wide and varied as long as they have known me.  You see, I find delight and joy in SO MANY things, that I could never just narrow myself down to just one way of doing things.  I like eggs cooked in all different ways, any fruit is more than welcome to make it’s way into a pie of mine, and any type of music is my type of music.  And the same can most definitely be said about my sewing.

Years ago when I was official registering my business, I struggled over what name to use.  I decided to use the word Victorian in the title with the thought that it would, by default, encompass a wide variety of decades.  Of course, that doesn’t mean that I don’t love to dabble before and after that time period! 🙂  I am most in love with cooking and decorating from the 1940’s and ’50s with a wide collection of cookbooks and home decor books to lay proof to this.  I love the skill and craft that goes into creating large crinoline gowns from the 1850’s-1860’s.  And nothing makes me ooze like seeing a elegantly designed Regency gown.  But the list doesn’t stop there.  Lace dripping creations from the turn of the century can be jaw dropping and seeing a well structured suit in an old black and white film evokes envy that those seam lines can be so crisp.  And anyone who can patiently insert dozens of pieces of boning into an 17th century bodice is to be admired and praised….a skill I can’t wait to improve.

You see, to be a well-rounded individual, one should feel free to explore and learn as many various subjects as they can.  And naturally, the same can be true for sewing.  By all means do and create that which you enjoy the most, but don’t be afraid to branch out and try new things!  

I know I sure will!!!

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The Appeal of Floral Accessories

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The last few weeks of August are upon us and natures is in full bloom.  Flowers are large, bright, and overflowing.  The grass is full and green.  And every tree is leafed out in all its glory.  With sights such as these, it is easy to see how a person would want to carry a little bit of nature around with them.  And what better place than on one’s clothing!

Today’s post is all about the use of floral details which designers have been using to brighten up dresses for decades.  Whether placed at the neckline, the waist, or along the hem of a skirt, these lovely replicas of nature’s beauty certainly are worthy of admiration!

Here are a few of my favorites!

These two lovely 1850’s ball gowns have some lovely floral accents!

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This stunning 1870’s salmon pink gown has amazing pleated ruffles and embroidered rose detailing.

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I adore this gown!!  Such unique placement of the flowers!

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The 1920’s definitely knew the appeal of using flowers!

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I love Billie Holiday’s gown with the petal bodice!!

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This soft yellow 1950’s evening gown definitely evokes a warm summer evening!

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With so many colors, shapes, and textures to choose from, using these lovely decorations can truly add glamour to your next creation!

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Intro to Sewing Video Series: Using Patterns from Books

book pattern

This week we will complete the sewing patterns series by focusing on patterns one can create from books.  Once I began delving into this type of pattern creation and design, my sewing really began to flourish!  While it may seem daunting and a little confusing at first, with a little time, patience, and some discount fabric, pattern creation from books can be extremely rewarding!

In today’s video I will cover:

  • The differences between patterns from a book versus a ready made pattern
  • My favorite historical fashion books ( list and links will be under the video)
  • How to create and store your patterns
  • Pros and Cons of sewing from books
Alright, let’s get started!

My Favorite Historical Pattern Books

17th Century Women’s Dress Patterns Volume 2

Janet Arnold’s Patterns of Fashion Series

The Voice of Fashion: 79 Turn of the Century Patterns

The One Hour Dress – My Post on a Mockup of the One Hour Dress

Dress Cutting – 1930’s Patterns

Aimee’s Vintage Armoire: 1940-1950

Oh and those hooks I couldn’t think of….I meant Command hooks! 🙂

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I hope you have enjoyed learning more about pattern drafting from books!
Feel free to share with me any creations you have or plan to make from any these books!  I would love to see them! 🙂

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“Lunching by the Roadside” by Amy W. Osgood, 1923

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“Food for the inner man is just as important on a motor journey as agreeable traveling companions.  And stopping at a hotel for meals often consumes more time than one feels can be deducted from the journey.  Then it is that the roadside meal proves its worth.  It does not take long; it is satisfying, easy to eat, and attractive.

Of course bacon cooked in the open air, coffee made while you wait, and corn roasted on the ear in the embers of a bonfire are alluring, but they are time consuming, and it you wish to appear neat at the end of the journey, are not always recommended.  But there are roadside meals which are easy to prepare and easier to serve than a meal at home, for they are what one might call “one-plate roadside meals” as the following menu will suggest: roast chicken, potato ships, jelly sandwiches, egg sandwiches, fruit or a combination salad, pickles, olives, cake or cookies, fruit, cheese and coffee.  The coffee comes from the thermos bottle who’s twin carries ice water.  A quart-size, paraffin-treated, covered container, such as oysters are sold in, is used for the cream bottle, chopped ice surrounding the bottle.  A covered jar is used for the loaf sugar.  For each person, a paper fork, spoon, heavy paraffin drinking cup, and two paper napkins are provided.

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1920’s Picnic/Camping sets

Before leaving home, each individual’s roadside meal is prepared on a plate, as follows: In half-pint paraffin cartons, having covers, arrange individual fruit salads, lining the cartons first with lettuce, filling with fruit salad, and placing a crisp leaf of lettuce on top before adjusting the cover.  Place one of these filled cartons in the center of the each large sized paper plate.  Cut the roast chicken, which has been previously cooked in order to be cold, into convenient pieces for eating and divide into the desired number of portions.  Wrap each portion in paraffin paper, and place one on each plate.  Wrap individual serving of potato chips in paraffin paper, and also arrange on each plate.  Wrap three or four olives and sweet or sour pickles in individual packages for each plate.  Wrap the sandwiches in paraffin paper and arrange on each plate.

When all the food has been placed on the plates, lay each plate in the center of a large paper napkin, and place another paper napkin over the top of it, twisting the opposite corners and thus entirely enclosing the plate.  Then pack these in a large basket, one plate on top of another, the salad container acting as a base for each plate place above it.  Wrap cookies and cake in individual parcels and serve when desired.  At meal time, drive the car under a tree, or up a side road, and it can instantly be converted into a dining room.  Trays, carried in a denim bag and packed under the basket, are passed, and the plates are served on them.  In this way, everyone is enjoying his luncheon in a very few minutes.”

By Amy W. Osgood, Good Housekeeping. Volume 77, Number 2. August, 1923

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Intro to Sewing Video Series: Intro to PDF Patterns

pdf patterns

Today’s topic may either instill excitement or dread: print-out-your-own PDF patterns!  Perhaps you have never tried, or perhaps you have had limited luck, or perhaps you are one of those lucky few who have had nothing but success.  Either way, today is all about helping you understand this wonderful sewing pattern option.

In today’s video I will discuss the following topics:

  • What are PDF or downloadable patterns
  • How to store these patterns
  • Digital patterns
  • Pros and Cons of PDF patterns

And just like last week, I will list out my favorite PDF/Digital pattern companies and their links below this video.

Enjoy!

My Favorite PDF/Digital Pattern Companies

Sensibility Patterns

Mrs. Depew

E Vintage Patterns

Wearing History E-Patterns

Aimee’s Victorian Armoire

Please remember to read out all the instructions of how to create the patterns BEFORE purchasing.  That way you can try to avoid an unhappy experience.

My Tricks of the Trade on How to Assemble and Work with PDF Patterns

  1. Read all instructions BEFORE printing out the pattern.
  2. Make sure you have plenty of ink and paper in your printer…..I am ashamed to say I have been surprised too many times by not properly checking the paper tray of my printer.
  3. Make sure all symbols or shapes line up before you tape!
  4. Use small pieces of tape first before you use larger pieces.  Sometimes using too large of a piece can cause the paper to twist or move.
  5. Recycle any papers that do not have a pattern shape on it.  Sometimes I can have 8-10 blank pieces and so I simply reuse them on the next pattern project.
  6. Fit the paper pattern to a dress form to check for fit and accuracy.
  7. Understand (and accept) that at least one mockup will be required to work out any kinks.
  8. Relax, have fun, and enjoy the extra savings!!! 🙂

While creating with PDF patterns can have their negative moments, they are such a wonderful, affordable, and instant way to increase your sewing and historical/vintage wardrobe.

Happy Sewing!

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Next Week: Intro to Creating Patterns from Books


Creating a 1940’s Blouse from a Modern Pattern

1940's blouse

I am so excited to share today’s post with you, as it offers one of my favorite sewing cheats: taking an already created pattern and tweaking it into something completely new.  And today’s little tweak comes in the form of a 1940’s blouse.  I will show you the pattern I have chosen to use, but feel free to use any blouse pattern that you would like as the method to create this top doesn’t change too much!

Here we go!

I chose to use McCall’s Blouse Pattern #M6750 pictured below.

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Once you have chosen your pattern, take a look at the back of the envelope to find out how much fabric you will need along with the required notions.  Then, simply add an extra 1/4-1/3 yard of fabric to account for the ruffles.  Cut out the paper pieces, and follow this simple step to create the new pattern for the front of the bodice.

Now that the pattern is drafted, cut out your fabric and let’s construct the bodice.

The most time consuming part deals with the facing and trim.  But will a little time and patience, it will go together rather easily!

Time to talk about the sleeves!!

Now, finish the blouse according to the pattern instructions making sure to hem and add the appropriate closures.

And that’s it!! I have included many close ups of the two different blouses so you can see the various construction parts.

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I hope you have enjoyed this little tutorial!

Happy Sewing!

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Intro to Sewing Video Series: Paper Patterns

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Hello my friends!

Today we start the first part of a three part series focusing on the many ways to find, create, understand, and store sewing patterns.  In this ten minute video, I will focus on the following topics:

  • How to read the back of commercial sewing patterns
  • How to care for and store commercial sewing patterns
  • How to read and store historical sewing patterns from specialized pattern companies
  • Tips to remember when working with vintage patterns
  • The Pros and Cons for purchasing, working with, and storing paper patterns

My favorite paper pattern companies are listed below this video!

Commercial Patterns

Simplicity Patterns

McCalls Patterns

Butterick Patterns

Vogue Patterns

Historical Sewing Patterns

Period Impressions

Past Patterns

Sense and Sensibility Patterns

Laughing Moon Mercantile

I hope this has helped you understand the major differences and similarities of paper patterns, along with a few different ways to keep track of everything! 🙂

Next Friday’s video, will focus on downloadable PDF sewing patterns!

Have a wonderful day!

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