Spring Projects of 2019

 

Hello Friends!!

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.

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Creating an 1850’s Bloomer Gown

 

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.

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My May Favorites

Summer is almost here!!  How do I know?  Well, apart from the increased sound of lawn mowers up and down the neighborhood, I can now leave the house without a jacket!  A wonderful change if you ask me!!

And since it is almost summer, and a new month, it is time to share with you my favorite list of things I am loving or wishing to try!

All links are below each image.

To start this month’s favorites list off, I have chosen the sweetest little romper. With my own little girl due next month, I am all about sweet, simple clothes to dress her in!! 🙂

Bailey Blossoms – Blueberry Pie Romper

Not only am I in love with the soft green of this gown, I am also on a 1890’s kick!  I love the 1700’s influence seen in the back fabric drape.

1890’s Tea Gown from the John Bright Collection

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!!

Jacket from Modcloth

This little thimble key chain is the perfect gift for a fellow sewing enthusiast or for yourself!

Thimble Key Chain from Gustav’s Dachshunds Shop

And with it being May 1st, I have to include these up-cycled May Day baskets….the perfect thing to brighten up those rainy days!

May Day Baskets from The Princess and the Frog Blog

Happy May 1st Everyone!!!


A Tribute to the Gibson Girl

With her wasp-waist, highly piled hair, perfectly pressed shirtwaist, and look of complete confidence, the Gibson Girl of the early 1900’s was truly a fashion icon.  So much so that she still inspires fashion today from lace details to loosely curled hair.  Named after the artist who made the look famous, the Gibson Girl is as much an ideal as she was a real person.  Therefore today’s post is all about the Gibson Girl and ways to channel her into your historical fashion wardrobe! 🙂

Links to featured items are in bold and below each image.

Let’s begin with the most famous Gibson Girl of all – Camille Clifford.  She was the European actress who won the Gibson Girl contest, and its not hard to see why!

Camille Clifford – The winner of the Gibson Girl Contest.  Learn more about her and see many lovely images by visiting the National Portrait Gallery.

Every proper Gibson Girl needs the proper shoe!  And these lovelies from the American Duchess are perfect!

“Gibson” Edwardian Shoes from American Duchess

The perfectly tailored and perfectly “blouse-y” shirtwaist was the hallmark of a Gibson Girl.  I mean, just take a look at these fabulous examples!

Wish to make a few of your own?  Here is a wonderful pattern – 

Edwardian Tucked Blouse from Past Patterns

Need nothing but pure visual inspiration?  I love this book which features a collection of all the Gibson Girl drawings done by Charles Dana Gibson.

The Gibson Girl and Her America: The Best Drawings of Charles Dana Gibson by Charles Dana Gibson – Available on Amazon

And once you have your outfit complete, top it all off with the perfect Gibson top knot!  The Seamstress of Avalon shows you how in this step by step tutorial – 

Gibson Girl Hair Tutorial by The Seamstress of Avalon

I hope you enjoyed this tribute to all things Gibson Girl!

 

 


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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Edwardian Hairstyles

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Some hairstyles in history are complicated.  Some hairstyles in history make you very happy that you didn’t live during that time period (i.e.1830’s).  Some seem so impossible to recreate that the hair must be fake, while others will continue to find rebirths in modern decades.  But one particular look, it seems no matter who you ask, tends to be an all time favorite.  Which look am I talking about?  The Edwardian look of the 1900-1920’s.  From the Gibson Girl pouf, to the delicate waves of low buns, Edwardian women knew how to make their hair work for them.  And while curling irons were just becoming more commonly used, many relied on tried and true techniques of their mothers to complete these heavenly creations.

I have gathered a wonderful sampling of these looks to drool over…and maybe recreate for yourself! 🙂

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I simply adore these looks, and it was one of the reasons I decided to go with an Edwardian image for my blog logo.  Grecian in style, with a sprinkling of Regency, and a dash of something completely unique, the hairstyles of the early 1900’s will forever, at least in my opinion, be some of the most romantic ever created!

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The June Bride

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One of my favorite songs from Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (which also happens to be one of my favorite movies) is the song “June Bride.”  It is extremely catchy and can pop into my head at random times…even when I haven’t watched the movie  in months!  If you haven’t seen/heard of this musical before, than close out this post and go find yourself a copy!!!  You won’t regret it! 🙂

In the meantime, feel free to click the link below to watch the song!

June Bride

And while getting married in June is not as common today (as I am a May bride), I still thought it would be fun to take a little look back at the do’s and don’ts of bridal wear!

One of my good friends is getting married, and watching her go through the fun of finding a wedding dress makes me feel just as excited as if it were for my own wedding (well, almost!)  She finally found a dress through Alfred Angelo after much debate and what seemed like an endless stream of gowns.  But she did it!  And as I was researching for this post, I came across this wonderful advertisement for Alfred Angelo gowns from the 1950’s.  After viewing this gown, I thought about how much wedding gown designs have changed…and not changed, as I feel like I saw this gown on display….just maybe not as fluffy!

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But one thing that that hasn’t change too much over time is the color of the gown.  This excerpt from a book written in the 1870’s explains what goes into a proper bridal ensemble…and it seems like quite a bit!  And just in case you are interested, all sources quoted are listed at the bottom of this post.

“The dress for a bride will admit of such immense variety in materials, style, expense, and fashion, that it is difficult to give general directions.  Yet from the millionaire’s daughter to the mechanic’s child, there is always one rule, that the dress must be white throughout.  Dress, veil, gloves, slippers, wrapper, or bonnet all must be pure white for a full bridal dress.  The material varies; moire antique, alpaca, muslin, or fine bishop’s lawn, are all suitable for the wedding-dress.  The veil may be of illusion, lace, or very fine tulle, but should be long, very full, and fine.  It is fastened by the wreath, but whether to fall over the face or not, is a matter left to Fashion.  

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The slippers should be of white satin, and the gloves of white kid, trimmed with white lace or white satin ribbon.

No jewelry is suitable for a bride, excepting diamonds or pearls.  

The same variety of selection of material, quality, and quantity, that applies to the wedding-dress, is equally applicable to the trousseau, but for a person in moderate circumstances, we give the usual quantity, which may be varied indefinitely, according to the purse or taste of the fair bride, or her parents.” (1)

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Here is a 1920’s chart on bridal wear as created by Mary Brook Pickens.  I adore this chart as it gives instructions on what to wear based on location and time of day!  Fascinating!! (2)00000231-s

Taking inspiration from the chart, one can see the changes in these two 1920’s gown pairings based on location and time of day!

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And while many brides look back with pride on their wedding day and the choices they have made…one has to wonder if the other members of the bridal party feel the same way.  Like this florally group:

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To all you brides out there planning your wedding, no matter what month it happens to be in, I wish you happiness and great gown choices!

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Sources:

(1)The Art of Dressing Well: A Complete Guide to Economy, Style, and Propriety of Costume by Annie S. Frost, 1870

(2)Guide to Correct Dress for the Bride: Harmony in Dress by Mary Brooks Picken, 1925

 

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From My Sewing Table: June

june table

Is there anything better than a warm June day where the sky is a soft cobalt and the trees are fully leafed out in their glory?  If you ask anyone in my neighborhood, they would be in solid agreement that there is nothing better.  I always find it comical to look outside of my window on days such as these and see so many people out and about… people who I don’t think I have seen since last October.  Sidewalks become crowded as power walkers, joggers, and energetic dogs and children take to the great outdoors!  Ahhhh….summer is here at last!

I have had one of the best and worst months in a very long time and am optimistic that June will stick with being just one of the best.  Perhaps many of you know what I am talking about.  Those days when you have so many wonderful things happen, yet they get bashed away with so much negative.  Keeping a positive attitude takes work, patience, and a healthy dose of sunshine and BBQ!

With the warm weather comes wonderful afternoons spent in the air conditioning sewing away.  And gracious do I have some wonderful projects planned!  I have really been blessed with the ever flowing juices of creativity and I am eager to hang on for as long as possible.  I have some new patterns I have developed that I can’t wait to share with you along with a few fun articles that really capture the essence of summer!

As many of you may know from my posts last summer, my most favorite place to write is on my front porch.  Well, it currently is out of commission right now getting a whole new face lift, and I can’t wait to be able to get back out there and watch the world go by!  Some people have a hammock or swing, but me?  I have my front porch!

My inspiration board this month is full of wonderful colors, patterns, and a few cooking adventures that I can’t wait to start and share.

june board

And as I patiently wait for my writing oasis to reappear from the contractor’s desert, I am eager to continue to share and write posts that are enjoyable to me and you!  So with that said, I have created a little survey with a few questions to help me understand more of what you all like to read and learn more about.  So if you have a few minutes, I hope you don’t mind spending a few of them helping me to focus and improve my blog!

Click HERE to take survey.

Have a wonderful day!

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June’s Highlight Posts
  • The June Bride: 1860
  • Loving Your Local Farmer’s Market
  • Striped Historical Gowns

 

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