A 1770’s Fashion Shoot

1770s

What better way to start off the new year than with a historical fashion shoot!  This particular shoot highlighted two new 1770’s gown I created last month.  Which was a miracle I was able to get any sewing done, since I spent quite a few weeks hugging the toilet….I’m four months pregnant just in case you missed last week’s post! 🙂

Anyways!!!  I am so happy to be feeling better and what better way to celebrate than with a wonderful snowy day and some wonderful photographs. So with a big thank you to my model Cassandra, here are a few of my favorite images from this fun photo adventure!

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Both gown are currently for sale on my Etsy Shop along with many new Regency custom order listings!  

Well, now I’m going to grab a snack and go work on a 1916 skirt….fingers crossed!! 

Have a fabulous Wednesday everyone!

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A 2016 Year End Review

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Well, we have made it to the end of 2016 and, boy, what a year!  Many highs, a few lows, and one big life change would sum up my past 12 months.  While I haven’t been able to post as much as I would like over the past few weeks, I plan on getting right back on track for the new year!

One of my most favorite posts to do at this time of year is the review of my favorite sewing projects.  I love looking back and seeing all the various creations I have made, and hopefully I will be able to notice a few improvements on my technique as well! 

So let’s take a look at a few of my favorite projects from this year!!

I loved creating this 1943 ruffled blouse!  Click this link to see how to make one of your own!

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This 1930’s beach wrap was created from scrap fabric which I got for $1 a yard!!  Love those kinds of savings!

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One major accomplishment this year was the publication of my very own vintage sewing pattern book!  Click HERE for more information!

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I designed this 1940’s salmon pink suit by taking inspiration from three separate designs!

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I returned to my roots, and began sewing Regency era gowns again and had great fun photographing them out in nature!

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…and in lovely historic settings.

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Now that my life has return to a more normal status, I can’t wait to get back into my sewing room and starting whipping up more creations!  My 2017 plans include some 1700’s clothing, 1910’s, and everything in between! 🙂

I wish you all a very happy and healthy end to 2016 and beginning of 2017!  

Cheers!!!!

Oh and that big life change I mentioned earlier???….it will be making it’s sweet debut June 2017!! 🙂

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An Eye (and Envy) for Detail

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Which came first for me? Learning to sew by hand or by machine?  I’m sitting here trying to remember….I think it was by hand first?  Maybe?  Regardless, when I did learn to sew by hand, I remember as a young girl, sitting as patiently as possible with some old scrap of calico, trying to get my stitches as even and neat as possible.  You know, like Laura Ingalls Wilder had to do when she was a child.  I remember really struggling with not bunching up the thread on the back side of the fabric, and trying to make sure knots didn’t form on the thread itself….it was a very stressful experience! 🙂  But, like so many things in life, the more practice and time I put in, the easier and better looking my hand sewing became.

This is why when I see any examples of hand sewing so stunning that one questions if a machine did it, it makes me simply giddy with envy and happiness.  Whoever that person was who created that magnificent item, valued and understood the importance of practice, practice, practice.  A needed skill and character trait that is so important when trying to better oneself.  I’ve collected four pictures of such garments that really show the skill and detail of really, I mean really, high quality hand sewing!

Let’s begin with this late 1700’s bodice.  I mean, look at all that hand detail!  The stitches, the curves, the ruffles….. absolutely gorgeous!! 

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These stays also show the skill and hand strength needed to create small, identical stitches through very stiff fabric and boning!

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The back of this bodice also shows the delicate hand stitching that can really take a garment up to the next level:

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And of course, the most amazing of all is this 1820’s bonnet, complete with tatting, that shows not only a person’s skill, but the needed height to accommodate the hairstyle of the period!

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Even in the age of computerized sewing machines, high quality hand sewing is still a much needed and much appreciated skill!

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A Regency Era Photoshoot

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What do you get when you take two friends, a plethora of historical gowns, and two large Pumpkin Spice Lattes?  A wonderfully fun time with some fabulous pictures to prove it!

 A few weeks ago I decided that I wanted to photograph a large portion of my historical gown stock using real life models.  So armed with a fully charged camera, my friend Cassandra and I braved the rainy and slightly chilly elements over the past two weekends to photograph some really stunning images!  And since there are so many pictures to see, I will just get right to it!!  

I hope you enjoy!!!

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Oh and one last picture of Cassandra discovering the most perfect fall leaf of all….lovingly named “Leif Erikson”

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All of these gowns are available on my Etsy Shop!

I hope you enjoyed these photos as they were an absolute delight to take!

Have a fabulous Monday!!

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A Photography Session in the Woods…

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After a solid week of sewing for 12 hours a day, I was able to meet my goal of sewing seven Regency Era pieces!  It was a big accomplishment and one not likely to be tried again…at least for a few weeks! 🙂  

After finishing all these pieces, I really wanted to take their pictures outside.  Up to this point, all pictures of my gowns have been taken in my sewing studio, but this time, I wanted something different.  Not to far from my house is a little park that I knew would be the perfect place.  So early one morning, I loaded up my car and took off for a little adventure.  Despite the fact I really should have worn boots (mud galore), the overall experience was wonderful, and I am very pleased with my first attempt at outdoor photography!

I hope you enjoy!

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Have a wonderful day everyone!!

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Buttons, Buttonholes, and lots of Stress

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There are (and probably always will be) two sewing skills that I will struggle with for my entire sewing career.  I may have become much better at executing this skills, however, I don’t think I will ever get over the stress associated with them.  What are these most painful parts of my sewing? Well, they are zippers and buttonholes.  I don’t like them.  I don’t enjoy them.  And they most definitely are something that I wish I could avoid.  However, I can’t and I have come to a tentative peace agreement with them, and am working hard to gain more confidence.  So in a step to get over my fear, I have decided to create a whole post on one of these areas….the buttonhole.

Despite my personal feelings about them, buttonholes have longed been used to add interest to gowns in addition to their more practical use of closing up the garment.  When I first began sewing, and began my struggle with buttonholes on the machine, I thought it would be easier to learn to hand sew them.  While it was a bit less stressful, it was a painfully long process and only looked appropriate on gowns that were pre-sewing machine (1850’s and back.)  So when I upgraded to my current machine, I was delighted to find that it came with a button foot that mechanically inserted the buttonhole.  While I was no longer left to keep an eye on the length and width of the stitch, I still found it tricky to keep the foot from not bunching up the fabric or going sideways.  Practice and time has solved most of these issues, and I am happier with the finished product…mostly! 🙂

Last year, I put my newly found confidence to work when I created an 1880’s blue gown which featured velvet buttons down the front.  I think I sweated through that process for a good 40 minutes!

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Despite my short comings, I still love the look of buttons in different shapes and sizes!

 Here are some of my favorite examples!

I love the graduated size of the buttons down the front of this 1860’s gown.

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I can’t imagine the time that went in to creating this front panel with all the buttons.  I can’t quite tell if the buttons are just sewn on, or there they are poking out through buttonholes.  Either way, this 1870’s gown is awesome!

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Another example of various button sizes on the bottom half of this 1880’s gown.

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I adore the brown gown with the buttons that go all the way down one side.

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While not as daunting as the above example, I love the bling these buttons add this this evening gown from the 1900’s.

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This pattern for a 1930’s dress, shows the appeal of buttons and angles.

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I love every single thing about this 1950’s dress!! Every single piece!!!

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This 1950’s wrap gets an extra helping of fun from the unique placement of buttons!

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So whether you are a buttonhole master, or, like me, working your way to apprenticeship, I hope you appreciate the appeal they can offer!

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1940’s Salmon Pink Suit

1940's salmon suit

This was such a fun outfit to make!  I mean, like super fun!  I was browsing through one of my 1940’s pattern reference books and came across a suit which featured three waist darts which had been top stitched.  I thought it was such a feminine take on a blazer jacket and went to work creating a pattern and putting it together.

Well several 1950’s musicals and one DVD of I Love Lucy Season 5 later, I was done!  I paired the suit with a light cream blouse I already owned, and put with the gored skirt….well my little heart just about palpitated out of my chest! 🙂

And while I absolutely adore this creation, I ended up creating it a little too big for myself….so I put it up for sale on my Etsy Shop for someone else to love and enjoy!

In addition, I also wanted to share with you all some lovely closeups of this very fun little project!

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Enjoy your Wednesday!

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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