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.
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.
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.
Even though I am still rocking maternity clothes, I thought this jacket from Modcloth would still be a wonderful addition to both my maternity and regular wardrobe. Pair it with skinny jeans and a pair of flats…and maybe a mocha latte! Perfect!!
Whenever I watch a Jane Austen or Charlotte Bronte film, I always notice how many scenes have women sitting and embroidering. While embroidering has never been a skill I have any great comfort with, I so admire the patience that goes into creating such unique pieces. In addition to beauty, excellent embroidery (in the 18th and 19th century) was also a sign of your success at being a woman. From samplers, to large designs, to small decals on ribbons, creating lovely scenes through thread was a talent to be embraced and cultivated.
And when one looks back at gowns from the past two hundred years, the value placed upon such embroidered additions has not wavered. Even today, when I see an embroidered design, even on garments in modern department stores, I find it more beautiful and attractive…and often worth the extra penny it will cost to take it home. I am sure the same can be said of women a hundred years ago, as they painstakingly took the time to decorate their gowns with signs of accomplishment.
So what better way to honor these women, than to celebrate gowns with all types of embroidery and design. I had such a fun time looking and finding gowns, capes, and other accessories that it was very difficult to narrow the final selection down. I also noticed that certain time periods feature more embroidery than others. Notice the lack of 1850’s-1870’s gowns if you hop over to my Pinterest board. While there are so many to choose from in the early 1800’s and again at the end of the century and well into the 1950’s, the middle decades feature more fabric patterns than embroidered additions. Regardless, the design and appeal of these gowns can not be denied!
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.
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! 🙂
This 1850’s raspberry gown has been one of my favorites for years….I adore the vibrant color!
This 1870’s bustle gown is part technical amazingness and part mint-green amazingness…both parts are equally important!
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!
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!
Someday, I will have acquired enough skill to create this 1940’s dress..not today…but someday!
What has been your inspiration for sewing? Have you been able to recreate that inspiration?
Growing up, I always wanted to be known for something….specifically in appearance. I was well aware of the people who were known for a particular type of perfume, or a certain hairstyle, or a certain type of clothing. It wasn’t that they repeated themselves, it was that they had a specific style and look and were able to achieve that look everyday. And that’s what I wanted.
Like every other teenager in the world, growing up was difficult. It was tough to fit in, tough to be yourself, and tough to get noticed…without getting noticed too much. It might sound complicated, but I bet you all know what I mean! 🙂 I spent most evenings in junior high and high school practicing beauty techniques (and being a child of the 90’s, lets just say there was a LOT of glitter involved), hairstyles, and attempting to turn my meager wardrobe into something special and unique. You see, I was under the impression that signature looks were like nicknames. They came to you in some way and you hoped that you liked what people choose. And having had one pretty embarrassing nickname throughout high school, I was very concerned about the appearance aspect.
But as I have reach adulthood and entered into my thirties, I have discovered a few things. A few rules about life and fashion.
Never “save” and outfit for another day. If it’s cute and you like it, wear it!
Highlight your best features. We all have them. Don’t believe that you are the one creature on the planet that doesn’t….you do! Show it off! 🙂
Decide how you want to be noticed, and stick with it.
It’s the last one that I want to talk about today.
Decide how you want to be noticed…and stick with it.
Signature looks are not, I repeat, are not like nicknames. They just don’t happen upon you. They are carefully cultivated and nurtured out of a one’s likes and dislikes. To show you want I mean, I will use myself as an example:
It isn’t a surprise that I like vintage fashion, but in my everyday life I also like modern fashion. So I blend the two.
By choosing fabrics that are reminiscent of the more feminine fashion of the past, but with the more structure fabrics of today. I, like most women, am self conscious of my body and therefore will adjust and tweak to feel more comfortable. Loose, flowy blouses in soft patterns, colors, and textures paired with stiff leggings or structured trousers are my signature look. Meaning, I feel great in them, I feel confident in them, and I have a variety that are reminiscent of each other, but unique enough that each outfit feels special. And how do I know this is my look? Because I choose it. And I like it. And I feel put together and confident in it.
Are you ready to create your own signature look? Here a few ideas to get you started!
Light and Airy Fabrics
If you like the way fabrics wafts and floats around, then let that guide your wardrobe decisions.
I like my eyes, and therefore will focus the attention on them the majority of the time. But I feel that my eyes are a wee bit small, so a light coat of jet black eye liner slightly winged at the tip does the trick! While there are always exceptions to the rule, try to pick one main feature of your face and show it off in all it’s glory!
To see some examples of modern, vintage-inspired makeup , check out THIS POST
So take control, discover your look and find whatever makes you feel beautiful!
Remember, happiness is the best “signature look” of all!
“Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening.”
I am in the midst of finishing up an 1880’s Princess seam dress which has proven to be a bit more challenging than I originally thought. I have achieved a clean fit all over except the left lower portion of the gown…it just won’t hang nicely. Ugh! I am hoping that I can fix that soon and show pictures in my new light box I created! 🙂
But while I was researching for this particular gown, I came across this stunner. And looking at it…I wouldn’t even know where to start on it’s creation!