My goodness but it has been a long time since I’ve last posted. Please know that this is no indication that I am planning on closing or shutting down my blog….not at all! It is simply a reflection of going with the flow of life and my creative juices. But here on this slightly rainy and grey Saturday, I felt like writing and sharing a little of what I am into and planning this spring!
So lets start with some sewing…my favorite thing to talk about! 🙂 I have discovered a secret love of bustle gowns and completed my first just a few months ago! I most definitely feel a little late to the 1880’s party, but oh boy am I here to stay!! I relied heavily on Prior Attire’s Victorian Dressmaking book (link HERE) and have to say I am very pleased with my first attempt.
There comes a time when all business sewing needs to take a pause, and personal sewing needs to take over.
You see, I don’t often sew for myself.
I think the last time I created a gown just for me was at least a year ago. Most of the time, whenever I sew it is either for a client or to sell on my shop. But with a little more free time on my hands (thanks to longer naps by my little one), I wanted to try something new and different. …something for me! 🙂
After thinking about what I wished to create, I decided on an outfit to wear at next year’s French and Indian War Reenactment…in July. The tricky part about making a gown to wear in the summer while it is still winter is the fear that I am going to sweat like crazy! More about that later!
So, as always, whenever I begin a brand new decade or project apart from the norm, I begin with an inspiration board. This is where I gather images of actual gowns, paintings, or pieces of a gown I want to try and incorporate. The problem with this particular gown is I wanted to include WAAAAY to many aspects and techniques, so I had to really cut down.
Here is the inspiration board of this particular project:
Happy Thanksgiving week everyone!!
I can’t believe we are already at Thanksgiving! While I feel that the summer went by at a normal pace, this fall has simply flew!!
I have been very busy sewing these past days, not only getting ready for Black Friday and Cyber Monday on my shop (click HERE to see all the deals), but also with some fun projects just for the heck of it! One such project, was this 1810’s day gown in such a fun shade of coral-ly pink.
A few weeks ago, The New York State Museum reached out to me to acquire a Bloomer Gown I had created to display in their upcoming exhibit Votes for Women: Celebrating New York’s Suffrage Centennial which runs from November 4, 2017- May 13, 2018 in Albany, New York.
I was thrilled and honored to be apart of such a wonderful exhibit and celebration that I thought I would share a some details of not only the gown I made, but also the women who made the outfit popular.
To start with the Bloomer gown, as we know it, was not first worn by Amelia Bloomer but actually by Elizabeth Smith Miller of Geneva, New York. Elizabeth Miller, who advocated for dress reform using the Turkish style of pants, quickly caught the attention and support of Bloomer. With her newspaper, The Lily, which focused on women’s issues, Amelia popularized the look to the point where her name became associated with the gown.
It’s hard to believe that it was only six weeks ago when I became a mother for the first time. During those six weeks I have learned a lot about myself, my family, and my future. Parts have been harder than I could have imagined, and yet the experience as a whole has been the most rewarding experience of my life.
My last post, almost two months ago, highlighted how I had been in early labor for days, which eventually turned into weeks. Going through day after day of contractions and know I was on the cusp of something happening was a feeling and experience I will never forget. What felt like an eternity quickly vanished around two o’clock in the morning when, finally, my contractions began to take off. My husband and I arrived sleep deprived and nervous to the hospital around 6am, and twelve hours later, our beautiful baby girl, Clara Elizabeth, was born. She was healthy, beautiful, and a solid seven pounds.
From that point on, life was and never will be the same. You begin to realize your own limitations, and you also realize just how well (or not well) a person is able to function with little to no sleep. You know you are a new parent when the thought of five hours of straight sleep is enough to make you cry in excitement…side note – I’m still waiting for those five straight hours! You also realize the blessing it is to have a partner who is supportive and a team player when in comes to late night dirty diapers and never ending crying bouts from gas. Conversation at dinner begins to revolve around feeding patterns, anti-gas drops, and why I can’t stop crying for the tenth time that day. You learn that just being able to do one load of laundry a day is a big accomplishment and having enough time to take a shower is a major luxury.
And then there comes the point when you wonder why you aren’t as happy as you should be. Commercials on television depict happy moms lovingly taking care of their babies with their immaculate makeup and hair. Magazines show enthusiastic families laughing and smiling through those early weeks of a newborn’s life, and you wonder why those feelings don’t extend to you. I pondered over these thoughts and after four weeks of loving my baby yet feeling a very negative cloud of despair hover over my heart and spirit, I finally accepted the fact that I had postpartum depression. A death knell, or so I thought, to my happily ever after. I found myself waking up from precious naps in tears. I came to dread the evening hours as I was never sure if I was going to have a good night or another sleepless night with only minutes of sleep. I lost the desire to leave the house with the thought of “what’s the point?” My life seemed to be a never ending circle of feeding, changing diapers, sleepless days and nights, and the constant fight to keep loving my baby over the mountain of “mommy guilt” I was drowning in. Seems rather bleak huh? It was.
It was on the eve of her first month “birthday”, when I did some research on “baby blues” from which I figured all these feelings stemmed. But reading that these “blues” lessened after two weeks took the wind out of me. Why was I still feeling lousy weeks later? Enter the thought and acceptance of postpartum depression. I read a list of symptoms and found myself relating to many of them. But instead of feeling even more depressed about this revelation, I saw a crack of light in my dark tunnel. These feelings weren’t really me. The despair wasn’t real. And I wasn’t “crazy.”
Well six weeks have past and a few days ago, I felt a fog lift off of me. So much so that I didn’t realize how bad I felt until I started feeling better. Life seemed hopeful. I was able to relax and be more patience with myself, and the amazing bond with my little girl began to cement. I still have my sad times, and so I have opened up to my family and doctor about my feelings. Knowing that those dark emotions are not real has been freeing and I’m slowly starting to turn into the mother I always wanted to be. I know it will take time to get back to feeling 100%, but I am allowing myself the freedom to not be perfect and embrace all aspects of my feelings.
Being a mom is the most wonderful gift I have ever been given. But being a perfect mom is now off the table. Instead, being the best mom I can be, with all my faults and strengths, has become my new goal. Postpartum depression is real and scary and should be taken seriously. What it is not, however, is any indication on your success as a parent. There should be no shame in acknowledging it whether you suffer from it yourself or see it in a friend. Looks like my little peanut has already taught me my first important parenting lesson: unconditional love goes both ways – as I love her no matter what, she too loves me no matter what…even if I haven’t showered in a bit! 🙂
In the sewing world, I am going to slowly start getting back into the swing of things over the next few weeks. While I am not giving myself a specific date to be “better” by, I am letting myself follow my creative mood. I am not quite sure where this mood will take me, but I know it will be a fun ride!
So, my friends, it feels great to be back sharing with all of you!
Here’s to accepting ourselves in whatever state we are in!
Cover Photo By Jesse Wilcox Smith
Well, I am, and have been, in early labor for days.
Not enough to be admitted into the hospital, but enough where I am definitely feeling uncomfortable! To cheer myself up and stay focused, I have had a wonderful afternoon looking though my vintage cookbooks, watching old movies, and planning new sewing projects…although I know that latter is very optimistic! 🙂
So in the spirit of looking through some oldies but goodies, I thought I would share some of my favorite blog posts from the past few years. If they are new to you, I hope you enjoy them, and if they have been ones you have seen before, maybe some little part of them will re-inspire you!
Click on each title above the image to be taken to each specific post!
Fingers crossed I go into labor soon!!! 😉
This blouse is such a quick and easy way to take an extra yard of fabric and turn it into something special! Add some pizzaz with different fabrics, contrasting colors, and trims!! The possibilities are endless!
What you will need:
- 1 yard of fabric*
- 12″ of 1/2″ wide elastic
* To create a larger size, simply create a larger square – 40″ x 40″, 42″ x 42″, etc
This pattern can be created by simply measuring and cutting the actual fabric, however the pictures below are shown on a large piece of craft paper.
- Fold a 36″ by 36″ piece of fabric (or paper) into a triangle.
- Mark the neck between the two end points.
- Measure 13-15″ from center of neck towards one point. Mark this point. The length will be the sleeve, so make it as long or as short as you would like. Then cut off the triangle. Repeat with the other side.
- Allow 8-10″ for armhole then stitch (right sides together) 4-5″ down from this point. This line is shown as the dotted line on the paper pattern below.
- Take the cut off triangle pieces and attach them to the bottom of the triangle so the fold edge forms a side seam. Stitch to the bottom of the blouse, right sides together.
- Measure 4 1/2″ on each side of center neck point and gently cut out a scoop neckline.
- Make a 4″ slit in the center back of the neckline.
- Sew a 6″ piece of elastic, while it is stretched out, on each side of the waist line to create a shirred peplum.
- Hem all raw edges and add shoulder pads, if desired.
- OPTIONAL – Add a snap or hook to the center back neckline to close.
And that’s it!! Enjoy your new vintage inspired blouse!!!