Thursday, January 12, 2017

2016 • Year in Review

To say "what a year" would be a very immense understatement.  The past month has been a whirlwind of stress, heartache, sorrow, and a bit of rejoicing.  On the 22nd of December, at about 2:30 AM, my father was taken to the hospital via ambulance, and would spend 16 days in the ICU as the sickest patient on the floor.  On January 6th, the day after my parents' 46th wedding anniversary, my dad passed away and went to be with the Lord, surrounded by his family and friends.  It was a long journey, but we never expected him to go so soon.  Much heartache and sorrowing has occurred, and will continue to occur, but we are rejoicing over the fact that he is in heaven and is pain-free, never to have another sorrow or pain.  Praise the Lord for that.

It has been such a short amount of time since it happened, and has been so incredibly busy and stressful that my mom and I really haven't had a chance for the truth of the situation to actually sink in yet.  It will soon though, I suppose, and that will not be an easy time.  In the mean time, we have enjoyed having family around us almost constantly, which has been such a huge blessing.  It has been a time of unification and closeness with my siblings, and that has been wonderful.  But nothing can or ever will fill the void that is so suddenly evident.

My dad worked from home for the past 30 years, up until he retired 3 years ago, and hence was always home (practically speaking).  My siblings and I were homeschooled, so those two facts combined made for a parent-child relationship like no other.  We were such a close family, and in the past years since my siblings left home, my parents and I were such a threesome, that it is going to be an unbelievable adjustment for Mom and I to suddenly find ourselves as a twosome.  God is so good and gives just the right amount of grace as we need it, but it is still an incredibly hard thing to realize and accept.

I'm so thankful that the Lord gave me the best dad I could ever imagine.  He was loving, supportive, thoughtful, encouraging, taught me how to work, how to write, and pretty much everything that I know.  I love him so much, and always will.  And I'm going to miss him so very much!!  <3  I love you, Dad!!!  I'll see you again someday.

(July 2016)

The rest of this post was written in early December, and I'll leave it as-is.

This year brought about the opening of a vintage shop, going to our first Civil War reenactment with Sarah (and all three of us winning awards for our outfits!), multiple weddings and bridal showers to work in/photograph, learning how to quilt, taking a couple of custom orders in my Etsy shop on top of good sales there this year, plus seeing the Lord work in marvelous ways in so many people's lives, including my own.  In short, the Lord is so good.  :)

Now on the blogging side of things; it seemed like I hadn't made very many things, and especially had not blogged about very many, but I was happily surprised when compiling my usual collage!  There are quite a few of them there!  The photos in the collage are of projects that I blogged about in 2016 (except for the last picture in row #3; that was a custom order in my Etsy shop).  All but 2 of them were made in 2016.  Shown in the collage are my mom's and Sarah's Civil War dresses; I did about 85% of the sewing on my mom's dress, and Sarah's was a joint effort between the three of us, so I went ahead and cobbed that for my picture too.  ;)

     first row: 1  2  3  4  5  6
second row: 1  2  3  4  5  6
    third row: 1  2  3  4  5  6
  fourth row: 1  2  3  4  5  6

Not shown in the collage are some aprons, baby and little girl's dresses, and 1860s undergarments
On top of all of these projects, I also made 7 dresses, 10 blouses, and 4 skirts that have not yet been photographed and/or blogged about, as well as 2 quilts, more UFOs than I would like to admit, and some other smaller projects.  So I guess it was quite a productive year after all!!  :) 

My mom sewed up a storm last year as well, but there is a sad lack of evidence thereof on my blog.  We are terrible about getting pictures of her outfits, so she doesn't appear on here as often as she should.  We'll have to remedy that in the coming year!!  :)

     first row:  1  2  3
second row:  1  2  3
    third row:  1  2  3

On top of these outfits, she made 7 dresses, 6 blouses, a quilt, aprons, various 1860s underpinnings, a few UFOs (she has a whole lot more perseverance than I, haha), as well as other random projects.

So all in all, it was a great year sewing-wise, and I can't wait to see where it goes in the next year.  There are already plenty of sewing plans in the works, and fabrics in the stash that are just *begging* to be made into just the right things, so there will be no lack of sewing around here.  ;)

Lastly, thank you all for your wonderful support and sweet comments on here!  You don't know what an encouragement and delight you all are!!  I look forward to another year of blogging, Lord willing!  It is so much fun, and I hope that it provides some good inspiration for all of you, and especially those who are learning to sew their own clothing.  My whole mission in having this blog has always been to encourage those who are new in the realm to see that they too can sew anything their heart desires, with a little time, a little fabric, and a little patience.  :)

And moreover, I appreciate your prayers and thoughts for my mom and I as we begin this perilous journey without our husband/dad.  It's a new experience, and not an enjoyable one, but we are of course so thankful to have each other.  We're a team, we have an amazing family, and we have the Lord, so I know we can get through this.

<3  Thanks for stopping by, folks.
Follow Me on Pinterest

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

• Plaid in the Snow •

Ever since getting my marvelous boots, I've kind of been wanting to retake pictures with any and all outfits that they could possibly match.  Fortunately for you, that hasn't happened with all of them, but it did with this vintage '40s dress.  ;)  Back when I first blogged about it, we (of course) had no snow, so it made for about the lousiest Christmas dress pictures possible.  But this year we have snow, I have new boots, and therefore a new photo session was absolutely imperative.  ;)

This dress is such a pretty one, both because of the fabric and the design.  You can tell at a glance that it is vintage fabric, and it also has that "aged cotton," if I may call it that- feel to it.  There's nothing softer!  :)

My mom let me borrow her pretty black coat for these pictures, and I sort of stole her mittens for it too.  ;)   I still want to make a vintage coat, but have not happened upon any mountains of free wool coating with which to make one just yet.  And somehow it's way more fun to spend money on pretty dress fabrics........and boots.  ;)

This past summer I found this pretty velvet hat at an antique store; I can't even remember if it was local or out-of-town, but in any case, I really like the hat.  It didn't want to stay on in the frigid wind, but other than that it seems to do so quite well.  And since it is velvet, it matches my boots super-good!!  ;)

I've been on the hunt lately for some good cream-colored sweater tights; so far all the pairs I've tried have been dreadfully short and therefore totally unwearable.  They always say that they'll fit a 6' tall person, but when you try them on?  Hehe, let's just say that they don't.  At all.  So the hunt goes on.  In any case, these gray ones are my absolute favorite because, well, obviously, they're GRAY, and they also fit very well!  ;)

It's so much fun to be able to wear colored tights now that I have these boots; none of my other vintage shoes seemed to look decent when paired with them.

That pose doesn't look familiar or anything, now does it?  *cough*

My hands and pretty much my whole body was freezing while we took these pictures, but my feet sure weren't!  :)  Hurrah for warm boots!!


• Pictures by my wonderful mom, as always.  <3 •

Thank you so much for stopping by!!
Follow Me on Pinterest

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

• It's All About the Boots •

It's time for the big, exciting, amazing, and long-awaited shoe post.  :D

In short, I have new boots.  And to say that I love them is a definite understatement.

Last month, Royal Vintage Shoes announced that the Victoria Carriage Boots were no longer going to be available on the RVS website, and therefore were on sale.  Well, I have been mourning the lack of any winter-appropriate footwear in my "shoe wardrobe" for a long time, and these were so utterly tempting, I couldn't resist.

The boots are made of velveteen on the outside, with genuine mouton (soooo soft) fur trim, grosgrain ribbon ties, and a quilted sateen lining.  In short, they are the fuzziest, wuzziest, most wonderful boots I've ever owned, or will ever own.  And on top of that, they are gorgeous and oh-so-vintage, instead of looking like bedroom slippers!  ;)

Since the soles are made of leather, I took them in to our (amazing) local cobbler and had him put some thin rubber soles on the bottoms for both durability and traction.  He did an excellent job, and they are now ready for anything winter throws my direction!  I also gave them 4(!) coats of waterproofing/stain-repellant spray, which has worked wonders so far.  All the crunching through snow that I did in this and two other consecutive photo shoots left them dry as a bone; the snow didn't stick to them, and any moisture just beaded off.  Amazing!!!!!!!  :D

The boots are still available on the American Duchess website HERE, but only until the remaining sizes sell out, then they'll be gone forever.

As for the outfit, this skirt is a recent make of mine.  My dear sis Sarah sent me a "just because" package back in January, consisting of a vintage pattern and two different wools, one of them being this plaid and the other a solid brown, which I also recently made into a skirt.  I love wool fabric, plaid, and the color gray, so this was a total winner.  It is so good that I waited practically a year to make it into *just* the right garment!  ;)

I've been making quite a few skirts lately, and am having a blast wearing them.  Before I started making my own clothing, my wardrobe consisted of about 97% skirts and blouses with only about 3% dresses.  Now that I do sew my own clothing, however, the situation has just about reversed for whatever reason!  I am really enjoying adding more skirts and blouses to the mix though; they are so comfortable and very easy to customize for a dressier or more casual look.

For this one, I used a vintage '50s pattern in our stash for a medium-fullness, flared skirt.  I definitely wanted that chevron effect at the front and back seams, and shockingly enough, none of our modern repro patterns seemed to have that!  The pattern I used had the centers front and back directly on the bias, with the side seams being on the straight grain.  It was the perfect pattern for the fabric, because it fit on to the 2 yard piece just right!  :) 

The blouse is a make from earlier this year; you can read about the construction of it here.  

Although I love plaid, I tend to avoid making garments out of it like the plague, because I have so little faith in my matching skills (and rightly so!).  This one was a real confidence-booster though!!  It's always so fun when something comes out just the way you want it to.

Have I mentioned it yet?  I love these boots.  --->SO MUCH<---

Another super-exciting aspect about them is, they not only work great with my everyday vintage wardrobe, but also will work (even more so, if that's possible) beautifully with my historical dresses as well, since the original design dated from the 1860s-1920s.  I can't wait to pair them with a big, fluffy dress.  ;)

This is a pretty good photo to end with; it pretty much sums up the way I feel about my new shoes, and this skirt.  ;D

A big thank you to Sarah (<3) for my gorgeous wool, and also to Lauren and the crew at AD and RVS for the stunning boots!!  I would highly, highly recommend them to anyone looking for wintry vintage footwear; comfortable, incredibly high quality, and downright gorgeous.

My Etsy shop is having a Christmas sale right now!!  Save 20% off your purchase when you use the coupon code MERRYCHRISTMAS20, valid through Sunday, December 25th.  Stop by the shop and check it out!  :)
Follow Me on Pinterest

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

• 1845 Brown Dress, Finished at Last!!! •

This post may just be near the top of the list of my favorites for the whole year, so prepare yourself for an awful lot of photos.  ;)   After finishing a custom order and making a few skirts, I found myself in the mood for a nice, easy historical project!  Enter the 1845 brown dress, which I had started about a year and a half ago, and had the dress assembled except for attaching the bodice to the skirt.   I measured the bodice length of my blue floral 1860s dress and used it as a guide for this one, added piping, and sewed it together!  

Ever since I first started this dress, I wanted to get pictures of it in the winter, at a really nifty historical location.  Then this summer while at our county fair, I ended up going into this cute little cabin that they have on the fairgrounds, in which a lady was doing a loom presentation.  I knew right then that I had found my "nifty historical location," but still was unsure whether it would be accessible in the winter.  As it turns out, the drive into the fairgrounds was plowed, as was a path up to the cabin, but the snow around the cabin itself lay untouched and pristine.  With no people around (that deserves a definite hurrah!!!!!), it made for perfect pictures.  :D

My mom let me borrow her bonnet and cape, since hers are in burgundy tones rather than blue, like mine.  :)

When I originally got this fabric, I only had 6 yards.  Out of that I got the whole dress, including bias for all of the piping.  Since there was a shortage, I cut the skirt cross-wise on the fabric (one continuous piece), and it measures about 135" around.  Since I cut it that way, however, and was doing cartridge pleats which require a fold-over at the waist edge, I ended up making about a 3/8" seam at the hem when I sewed on the hem facing so that it would be long enough.  It may be a little bit shorter than your average 1840s dress, but apart from the historical correctness, or lack thereof, I really like the length!  Much easier to walk around in, and, well, it shows off my fabulous boots.  ;)

For the bodice, I used old faithful Simplicity 1818 (see other projects I've made from that pattern here), changing the front opening to a back one, and using Butterick 5831 for the sleeves, with a wide cuff.

I *love* piping!!  Not so much the sewing with it (hehe), but definitely the finished look of it.  Perhaps that is one of the benefits of creating a UFO an then finishing it; you forget all the painful details that went into it at first!  ;)

The cuffs close with hooks and eyes at the wrist. 

This is my first official garment featuring cartridge pleats!!!  In the past I have been highly skeptical of them, and just always pictured the dress coming apart the first time I wore it, but I'm beginning to think they might just be a safe option after all.  ;)  Since the skirt is not super full, the pleats don't look quite as full as they could, but I still absolutely love them.  Naturally, when I first started the dress, I used (ready for this?) plain cotton sewing thread to make the cartridge pleats.  Hehehe.  Only after I finished making them did I read that you MUST use button & craft thread or a suitable alternative. Proof of that was when I tried the skirt on for the first time and heard a very suspicious "snap."  Needless to say, I bought button & craft thread and proceeded to re-do my pleats.  ;)

Now for the best part of the whole outfit!!!!!!  The pelerine!!!!!!!!!  ;D

The bodice of the dress is not necessarily quite perfect for the 1840s; I need to do some more research, but for the great majority of the time, dresses of that period had fan-front bodices.  But since I started this before I knew much at all about the period, I can forget that just fine.  ;)

Ever since the start, I pictured making "one of those pelerine things" with ruched trim on it to go over this dress.  Well, after I finished my dress, I decided that it just needed that "pelerine thing" to make it complete, so whipped one up the day before we took these pictures.

This fabric went on clearance a few months back, so I was able to purchase some more for a pelerine.  I used the dress bodice pattern as a pattern for it, and just made it to the shape and length that I wanted.  It worked quite well, and I love how it looks.  :D

The ruched trim consists of 4 widths of fabric cut 3.25" wide, with the raw edges turned under .5", and gathered up with one basting line on each edge.  After pinning it on for ages and getting the sorest back of my life, it was ready to sew.  Since I was in a hurry, I just went ahead and machine-stitched the trim on.  The rest of the dress was machine-stitched on the inside, but all visible sewing was done by hand. 

The pelerine is lined with self-fabric, and so far has just been pinned together at the front neck edge.  Eventually I'll sew a hook and eye onto the neck edge, but for the time being I've had my fill of said occupation.  ;)

My "evening project" last week was sewing hooks and eyes onto this dress for the back opening and the cuffs.  

There are something like 14 hooks and 14 eyes on the back of the dress, plus two of each on each sleeve, and the hooks had to be sewn on super neatly because they would show on the outside.  As a result, it took a dreadful amount of time to do each one, but it was quite definitely worth it.  :)  Can't even see them on there now!!

I think I might just move into this little cabin.  Perfect house for a historical seamstress to live in, right?  ;)

The sleeve seams, cuffs, side seams, shoulder seams and back seams are all piped, and the waist edge is piped with a double piping.  I have not yet tried piping a neckline yet, but need to for sure!

The hem of the dress is faced with a separate facing, as I stated earlier.  I used plain white muslin, and cut it to be a finished width of 12".

Back on with the cape!  :)  I am not sure yet if these mittens are quite period-correct, but they may just be.  I made them several years back, with no pattern!!!!!!!!  I have no idea how I did that, and even less idea how I managed to make two of them end up the same size, but I love them anyhow.  ;)

Beneath the dress are my 1860s underpinnings, with a total of four gathered (three of them also corded) petticoats.  They are sadly not starched at present, so aren't as fluffy as they could be, but still were decently fluffy.   And they provided a very nice barrier from the cold temperatures outside!!  The fun part was, unlike any time wearing historical garments in the past, I didn't get overheated one single time when wearing this outfit.  THAT is worth getting excited about.  ;D

The most necessary boot picture.  ;)  They are Renoirs from American Duchess, and I love them *SO* much.  So comfortable and durable, and downright beautiful.

And lastly, my attempt at a daguerreotype, which resulted in not much other than blurring out my face.  Oh well.  Perhaps that is a benefit, eh?  ;)

Thanks so much for stopping by!!
Follow Me on Pinterest