Jacket Weather

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Despite the unusually warm weather over the last few days, the air is beginning to take on a definite nip.  And with that comes the ability to wear my absolutely, most favorite type of clothing: jackets.  I love jackets!  All jackets…any jackets….it doesn’t matter.  They are all more than welcome to come make a home in my closet!

I love coats as well, but to me, there is a very big difference between coats and jackets.  Jackets are usually shorter, lighter weight, and come in a variety of shapes and colors.  This trend is not only visible in today’s fashion world, but it was also true of fashion from the past two hundred years.  For example, the Spencer jacket was a common piece of clothing for women during the Regency era.  Different than a pelisse, the Spencer was a short jacket with long sleeves and a fancy collar.  Like this example:

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As fashions adapted over the next few decades, so did the jacket’s shape and length.  This 1860’s jacket, often referred to as a mantle, looks both warm and becoming.

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Fast forward to the 1880’s and even though the name hasn’t changed, the shape of this mantle has narrowed quite a bit!

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I absolutely adore the perfectly tailored style of the 1890’s and early 1900’s.  With never a hair or thread out of place, this young lady is the epitome of high fashion….with a stunning jacket to match!

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Both fabric, shape, style, and color of this 1920’s jacket are stunning!  However, knowing me, I would want to wear it everyday….although I am sure such a fancy jacket would look a bit out of place at the grocery store.

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Fashion took another turn towards restraint and rationing during the early 1940’s as this jacket and skirt combo shows.  But just because the fabric is rationed, that doesn’t mean the style has to be…I mean what a stunning belt!

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Now after all this fashion talk, it is time for me to head off to the fabric store to pick up a few things!  Oh, better grab my jacket! 🙂

Happy Friday my friends!

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The Timeless Appeal of Velvet….

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I am going to a wedding this weekend and, of course, when a major event requires you to dress up….you suddenly have “nothing to wear.”  Well, let me be the first to say that I have plenty  to wear in my closet.  And I am sure if I dug deep enough, I would have found something that would have done a passably good job.  But this is a very good friend’s wedding and, well, do I want to look just passably good?  Heck no!  So, off I went to the mall this past week in search for the perfect dress.  Now, normally when a person is determined to find a certain item, it always turns out that you can’t find anything.  But not this time!!  The fashion gods were beaming their good graces down upon me and dress upon dress was looking and feeling great.  But it wasn’t until I slipped on a wild card that the bells of discovery clanged loudly!

This out of the box, never thought it would work, item was a emerald green velvet dress.  This very one in fact:

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Dress from Lord and Taylor

Now, I haven’t worn velvet since I was seven years old.  Strangely enough it was also an emerald green velvet dress that was two sizes too big…but when you’re seven, you don’t get caught up on those types of details.  Anyway, I was nervous about this particular dress.  Could I pull off such a classy and fitted style?  I know that velvet is fabric that never goes out of style…but that doesn’t mean that it was something I should snap up right away without giving it a good thought.  So I did…and well, its currently hanging up in my closet! 🙂

It is easy to think that fabric is just fabric.  That as long as it forms the shape you need, it is forgettable.  I disagree.  Some fabric has a life and a character all its own…and has the power to secure a fond memory somewhere in your brain.  Velvet is such a fabric.  I have worn many Easter dresses in my time….but I will always remember the one when I was seven, because , well, it was velvet.  And I am most certain that our foremothers felt the same way.  I mean, take a look at these stunning, green velvet creations from the 1880’s-1890’s

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I am sure the lucky women who were able to wear these gowns thought back on them with fondness…and I hope I am able to do the same! 🙂

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From My Sewing Table: October

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Yesterday I put out the last, finishing detail of my fall decorations: pumpkins!  Pumpkins have to be one of the most diverse vegetables out there.  They come in different colors, shape, sizes, textures, and looks.  And the more various types pumpkins you display, the more colorful and decorated your house appears.  I am especially excited about the pumpkins I purchased this year, and hope that we are still a few weeks away from frost so I can enjoy them!

Now that football season is upon us, I have been looking for a sewing project that I can work on while sitting on the couch.  As many of you may know, when you do garment sewing, you are tied to your sewing machine.  And if your sewing machine is in another room, or on a another floor, it becomes tricky (and inconvenient) to move it about.  So, after some thinking, I decided to work on a quilted jacket.  A simply, mindless project that allows me to sit comfortably on the couch with everyone, yet still feel like I’m not wasting a day that could be spent sewing! 🙂  Here are a few examples of some quilted pieces that one can do:

A late 1700’s quilted petticoat

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A Regency Era Redingote

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A 1930’s quilted Lame Jacket

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I decided to create a 1810’s quilted Spencer jacket.  So the past few weekends have been spent quilting each individual pattern piece.  Working on this jacket has been great fun and I am excited to see how the finished product turns out!

October is one of my favorite months as the cooler weather brings with it a renewed sense of energy and excitement.  It is a time to enjoy a warm cup of apple cider while watching the leaves change to the brightest shades of gold, red, and orange.
Enjoy my friends!

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How to Create a Skirt Placket

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Knowing how to create a skirt placket is a very easy, yet very vital skill when it comes to sewing.  Whether you sew historical pieces, vintage or modern, a properly sewn placket adds a crisp and tailored look!

Begin by taking a 4 inch wide piece of fabric and cut it as as long as you need. I usually cut my plackets 4″ x 10″, but it is up to you. Then press down the top of one long side.

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Now this part is the key to a properly constructed placket!  Take your skirt and identify where you want the placket: center back, side, front.  Cut the skirt half the measurement of the placket. For example, I will have my cut go down 5″.  Then pin the placket to the edge of this cut, right sides together.   Line up the raw edges until around 2″ on either side of the middle of the cut, then begin to pin the placket 1/4″ above the skirt.  See the pictures below…the skirt is on top of the placket.

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This is what will allow the placket to hang properly.  Go ahead and stitch a 1/4″ seam along the entire placket – however, note that the skirt will barely have any seam allowance the closer you get to the center of the skirt.

Now, press the placket in half towards the inside and stitch the folded edge over the raw edge of the skirt.

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Then, fold the skirt right sides together and stitch a diagonal line across the bottom of the folded placket.

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And that’s it!  

Notice how the placket naturally falls with one side laying over the other.  Baste the side that lays on top of the other placket down along the top and continue your skirt as desired!

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Hope you enjoyed this little tutorial!

Have a wonderful day!

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Is it a Match? 1910’s Jewelry and their Modern Counterparts

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How many times have you wanted something and just couldn’t have it?  If you are anything like me it has happened only about a million times.  And when you realize that you are one of those individuals that can trace some ancestry to a raccoon (as I too love shiny, sparkly things), than you may have to embrace a strategy I like to call “finding an alternative.”  If I can’t find it, I will try to make it.  If I can’t afford it, I will try to find a really good look alike.  And if I can’t have anything but the original, than I will save and wait patiently until I can.  The last option doesn’t happen all that often.

So when it comes to trying to find reproduction pieces, it can be rather tricky to locate an affordable and suitable option.  But with a little bit of time and energy, you too can make all your sparkly dreams come true.

So with that in mind, I decided I wanted to write a post on late Edwardian jewelry and some modern alternatives.  Edwardian fashion is such a wonderful dichotomy of simplicity with traces of its Victorian heritage, but not quite the art deco that will replace it.  So, I have found three of my most favorite examples of this simplistic style with some lovely adaptations that all seem to hover around the $35 mark.  So, if you love all things Downtown Abbey but can’t afford the real deal….than this post is for you!

To start with is a lovely young lady wearing a modesty brooch.  I found a stunning example through Overstock.

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Silver Brooch from Overstock  – $34

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This stunning necklace features a large medallion on a long black cord.  While difficult to find an exact replica, I believe I found one that is the essence of the style.

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Long Cord Necklace with Medallion from MarKi Jewelry  – $34

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I adore this necklace and love the dress that goes with it.  Sigh…..  The necklace I found features more beads than the original but I feel would be a perfect piece to wear with this dress.

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Three Strand Hampton Necklace from Shoptiques  – $38

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So whether you are looking to accessorize a 1910’s outfit, or simply to bring a little nostalgia into your modern life, these pieces would fit like a glove!

Happy Hunting!

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Did you know that Aimee’s Victorian Armoire Shop now features several instant downloadable patterns?  Click HERE to see the current options available.


My Favorite 1860’s Sewing Patterns and Finished Projects

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Today’s post has been a blast to put together!  I wanted to share some of my favorite sewing patterns, but I wasn’t sure which ones I wanted to share.  So as I was looking back at some of my sewing projects, I decided to do a true throwback and share my favorite 1860’s patterns.  Plus, with reenactment season almost in full swing, this could be the perfect time for all you re-enactors to whip up something new!

If you have been following my blog since its beginning, you might have noticed that over the last year  I have expanded my sewing focus from mid 19th century to include more recent decades.  The reasons for this are numerous but the overarching one is passion.  I have learned, the hard way at times, to let my creativity go where it wants to.  If I restrict it to simply one area (decade, century…) I will get burnt out rather quickly and will end up with large droughts of uninspired nothingness.  This is why I choose to let my creative soul lead the way!

But that still doesn’t mean I can’t look back fondly on some of my most favorite creations!  And with that said, I feel the need to list a few fun things I noticed and remember about the following pictures:

  1. I photographed all of these on a black background…I don’t know why…but I did.
  2. I hand-hemmed every one one of these dresses..including the cover photo…and I developed a pretty impressive callous as a result.

So without further ado, let’s get started.  Each pattern I feature can be reached by clicking the underlined link below the pattern picture!

Enjoy!

1860’s Garibaldi Blouse by Past Patterns

This lovely blouse is great for beginners as it doesn’t require any darts or fitting.  The only thing you need to have patience for is sewing all the buttonholes.  Below you will see one of the blouses I made in a royal blue.

 

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Garibaldi Blouse Pattern

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1860’s Day Dress by Peachtree Mercantile

This pattern is probably one of my favorites and most made pieces.  I could make it with my eyes closed…or at least without looking at the instructions.  The wonderful thing about this pattern is the fabulous instruction booklet that comes with it.  Unfortunately it is rather tricky to track down and the only size I could find is the 18-28 size on Etsy, however one of my lovely readers found the smaller patterns size available on Amazon Dry Goods.     Also, below is one of my favorite versions of this gown!

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Peach Tree Mercantile Pattern

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Period Impression Day/Camp Dress

Okay, this pattern is in some ways my favorite and in others, not so much.   The dress itself is rather awkward to make as it has a gored skirt with a front closure….it looks awkward and it wear awkward….at least in my opinion.  However, I adore the bodice of it and have found it to be one of the best for basic 1860’s dresses.  I will most often make just the bodice and pair it with a basic 5 yard skirt.  The picture below shows such a combination….

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Period Impressions Camp/Day Dress

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Period Impression 1860’s Tea Bodice

Another one of my favorites, this bodice features as basque and small pagoda sleeves.  I love using fun trims and contrasting colors to create a truly unique day dress.  I have received many compliments when I have worn a bodice like this…plus, it is surprisingly easy to make!  Below is one of my favorite versions made out of fabric purchased from www.reproductionfabrics.com…although, I am not sure if this particular fabric is still available.

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Period Impressions Day Bodice

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Do you have a favorite 1860’s pattern you would like to share?  Or have you created a piece from any of the patterns listed?  Let’s share by commenting below!

Have a wonderful weekend my friends!

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HAVE YOU HEARD THE NEWS?????

Very soon I will be sharing some exciting details about the official release date for my vintage pattern book entitled Aimee’s Vintage Armoire: 1940’s-1950’s AND information about my new vintage fashion line inspired by the patterns featured in the book!

With a fun giveaway and sneak peeks to be featured both on my blog AND my newsletter, you won’t want to miss out!

Thank you all for your support and love….none of this would be possible without you!


On My Inspiration Board: Calico Gowns

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It is hard to believe that a fabric which evokes simplicity, homey-ness, and (if you are me) Little House on the Prairie, has a very fascinating and international history.  Originating from Calicut, India, the fabric we know as calico gained popularity from it’s early 11th century birth and well into our modern age.  Known for a sold color on which a simply design repeats all over, calico has become a much used piece of fabric.

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An example of an early calico fabric

Long used for a variety of sewing projects which ranged from dresses to quilts to kitchen linens, calico is easily one of the most widely used and widely appreciated fabrics around.  The other wonderful thing about calico is it’s very affordable price tag.  I love picking up yards of happy calico, even if I don’t have a particular project in mind, because of its versatility.  While not exactly known for it’s luxury, there are many examples of gowns constructed from calico.  In fact, Hollywood has some wonderfully fun samples of calico dresses, even if they aren’t completely accurate:

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Little House on the Prairie

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Jane Eyre, 2014

So with all these wonderful choices, I had a very fun time creating this month’s inspiration board!  I hope you enjoy!

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Click HERE to visit my Pinterest Page for more examples.

Have a wonderful Monday,

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What to Wear in the Morning…or Dream versus Reality

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My morning routine…..well, I must say I am a creature of habit, but it isn’t exactly a pretty picture.  My alarm goes off at 5, and I stumble to take my shower.  Once clean, I shuffle off to the kitchen to brew a cup of coffee and turn on the Hallmark channel so I can listen to I Love Lucy as I try to get some blogging done.  Then I begin the 45 minute procedure of preparing myself to go out into the world.  And up until that moment of when I put on my street clothes, I am wearing a very warm, very comfortable, but not very flattering, purple flannel robe.  I have tried to switch to something a bit nicer, but after a few days of flying powder dust, wildly applied hairspray, and coffee dribbles, I end up back in something a bit more durable.  Of course, this doesn’t stop me from continuing to hunt for a robe thats both comfy and more attractive.

I know I am not alone in this dilemma of comfort versus beauty.  And in discussions with fellow friends, I was comforted to realize that while many of us want to feel more attractive in the early morning hours, removing oneself from a warm bed to put on some lacy, thin thing isn’t very appealing…especially during the winter months.  And as I further mulled over the morning ritual, I began to search for examples of past robes or morning gowns to see what women in the past would have put on during their morning routines.  And based on my findings, there are quite a few I would love to wear!

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Known as wrappers during the 1840’s-1860’s, these robe-like gowns were often worn over all a woman’s undergarments (hoop skirt included).  While I love the idea of a loose, flowy gown, still having to have on your corset isn’t always my ideal.  However, the pattern on this example is simply stunning.

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Another example of a morning gown or wrapper, this particular one has a lovely royal blue contrast with tassel tie.

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1900

So, this is absolutely, positively, without a doubt, gorgeous!!  The lace, the color, the ribbon tie…..sheer perfection….and a little too chilly for me in the mornings.  I love it, but I personally wouldn’t wear it.

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1920

The Kimono robe, and the robe as we know it today, began to emerge in the late 1910’s to 1920’s.  While I would struggle keeping the long sleeves clean, this is exactly the sort of thing I would love to slip on and wear around the house.  I probably wouldn’t get much accomplished, but I sure would look and feel great while wearing it!

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1930

While these 1930’s options are not exactly robes, they are morning dresses and would be lovely to wear around the house.  While I  still feel like it would require quite a few wardrobe changes throughout the day, the look is adorable.

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1940

Now this is something right up my alley!  I love the quilted versions of these robes along with their tailored construction.

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So let your morning routine be beautified by a lovely (and comfortable) robe! 

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