Thursday, February 18, 2021

• My 1940s Wedding Dress •

 



Thought I'd share a bit about making my wedding dress today! Unfortunately, we had very few photos taken at our wedding, so there are no stunning, stylized bridal photos. But that's okay! Instead, you get the nitty-gritty of the designing process.  

I always knew I wanted a 1940s wedding dress. Long before my husband and I were together, I knew what dress I wanted to get married in one day. It was this dreamy chiffon number with the best details. 




I was going to edge the hem in satin, raise the lining neckline and change it to a more modest sleeve or at least standard sleeveless bodice underneath, and pair it with this veil. 




I looked and looked for a pattern to use as a base for the dress, and the closest thing I found was a pattern 4 sizes too small for a ridiculous amount of money that was somewhat similar. Also, the more I thought about working with chiffon, the less I liked the idea!! It is probably my most hated fabric to deal with, so....I really began to have second thoughts on that dress. 

Then my mind went to a dress I'd seen at an antique shop a few weeks before my man and I started dating - a satin, princess line dress with dramatic sleeves.




Gorgeous, right? But as I thought about the design, I realized how unlikely it was to be flattering on me with the focal point being at the empire waistline. 



Then....*then* I found THE dress. Full, amazing skirt, delicious satin, full yet fitted bodice, details but simplicity - it was just perfect. I loved the train, but knew I would forgo that since we were having an outdoor ceremony. 




I began looking for white rayon satin online, as I guessed that was what the original dress would have been made of. I finally found one site that sold it, and ordered a swatch. When it arrived, I was sorely disappointed; it was quite thin, and lacked body and that slippery, smooth feeling I wanted. A week or so later, my mom, future mom and sisters and I all went to the local fabric shop, where I was hoping to find just the right fabric. They didnt have an nice white satins at all, and I was quite disappointed. All they had was an ivory satin, which I didn't think I wanted, but the more I thought about it, the more the idea grew on me! It was actually a more pleasing color on me than a stark white, and the fabric had just the thick yet slippery, liquidy drape I wanted. I picked up tulle to match for my veil, some lace for trim, and walked away with it all for $99 and some change!! Can we just say yes to that dress price??! 




Meanwhile I was on the hunt for a pattern to base the dress off of, and found one very similar from EvaDress, so ordered it and a slip pattern to wear beneath! My plan was to make a wearable mockup of the dress in a day length out of emerald green satin to wear as we left the wedding. 





Just a month before the wedding, I started on the mockup. I made the multi-paneled skirt for the mockup dress, andnit was looking quite nice. As I gingerly pressed my seams one evening, suddenly I noticed these strange dark spots appearing in the fabric - it wasn't scorch marks, the iron wasn't leaking any water. We never could figure out what it was from, but nothing seemed to remove it. Thankfully I had extra fabric, so I quickly cut out my go-to bias skirt pattern that I knew would look lovely in satin. Then I began on the bodice, and got it partially assembled, only to find that it was one of the most ill-fitting things I'd ever tried on. In fact, it didn't fit at all!! The armholes were inches too high, the neckline was wide and gaped awkwardly, and the bodice lacked the fulness that the pattern illustration boasted. 





It looks somewhat nice all pinned onto poor Thelma Lou, but the fact that she lacks arms is part of that reason.....

I sat down very heavyhearted on the very hard floor of the sewing room until 2:30 AM that night, looking anywhere and everywhere for an idea, a pattern, anything that would inspire an idea of what to make. There was now less than a month until the wedding, and I had no dress and no idea of what sort to make. Eventually I gave up and went to bed, but the next morning my mom pulled several patterns from he stash that she thought I might like for a bodice. I was skeptical but picked one to try, as I really had no other options at that point. It was an elegant but simple 1940s blouse pattern from lady Marlowe. 





I started a mockup of it, and found I LOVED it!!!! It fit perfectly, and was so simple but had those subtle, elegant details. 





I was very happy to have found a pattern, but still didn't begin working on the actual dress until just 15 days before the wedding, thanks to a busy work schedule and trying to pack up my life's possessions....of which there were many (namely fabric and antiquities)! 

It was a scary moment, but I finally cut into the fabric and started sewing, and it turned out to be a very easy pattern and thankfully went together without any hitches! 




(I wondered why the needle didn't want to go through the fabric....usually tapestry needles don't like to pass through satin.....)

Initially I was going to add a peplum as the pattern depicts, but after making several different shapes of them, finally decided that it just didn't suit me. 

The skirt is comprised of four identical panels, cut to fit the waist at the top, flaring out to the width of the fabric at the hem, making the circumference right around 240"!! I loved the subtle fulness of it!





The neck opening was large enough that I didn't need a keyhole or other back closure, the sleeve hems were perfectly fitted without needing buttons, the bodice didn't need to be lined - all of which made my corner-cutting heart VERY happy. I added a hand-picked zipper at the side and called it a day! 

The dress was structurally finished about a week in advance, but true to form for any seamstress (although I was rather ahead of schedule, really!!), I hemmed the dress just two days before the wedding. I've cut it much closer than that before, so it wasn't too bad, really!! It is always nerve-wracking trying to hem something so long, but I was delighted to see the perfectly even hem just skimming above the ground in our wedding photos. 




I was very finicky about what veil I wanted, and didn't like most styles that I saw, but finally found I loved a basic drop veil. I had no clue what I was doing to design one, so the morning that I was supposed to go stitch it together at a friend's house, I draped a tablecloth over my head and with my mom's assistance, decided what length I liked and approximately how it should be cut. I cut it the length, folded it in fourths, and snipped off the corners until they were decently curved, and drove off - not to my friends house, but to the fabric store to *hopefully* find an appropriate lace to edge it with! Who plans this stuff out in advance, anyway?!! 

Miraculously, they had just the right lace, and enough of it, so I purchased it, and my friend and I had a blast sewing it together and making memories. 





So that, my friends, is the long and crazy story of how my wedding dress came to be!! I forgot to mention the slip I made...which I accidentally forgot to add the *optional* side opening to, so I had to pack a scissors for when I changed out of it after the ceremony.....RIP wedding slip.

It was a crazy journey, but I absolutely loved my dress, and even better than that - my dear husband was amazed and impressed when he saw me in it 😊. 




It was a frigid, blustery, crazy wedding day, but we got hitched, and we'll never forget all the memories we made!! 

Thanks for reading!! Have a lovely weekend!

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Monday, February 15, 2021

• Great is Thy Faithfulness •

It’s nearly time for my yearly blog post, don't you think??  It has been quite a while...and for good reason!!!  For many people, 2020 was a terrible, heartbreaking year, and while it still had its many trials and tribulations, it was truly the best one of my life.  It started out with heartaches and transitions, but soon brought healing, unity and peace.  The Lord blessed me with a new job that was truly an answer to prayer...meanwhile the Lord was working things out such that a certain strikingly handsome, incredibly wonderful man was finding his way into my heart right at the same time.  Fast-forward to October, where we found ourselves getting married on a blustery fall day, surrounded by close friends and family.  What a year, what a whirlwind of blessings and what an amazing, merciful God and Heavenly Father!!!!  

I won’t be sharing wedding pictures publicly, but I will add a few snapshots from the day, as well as some other photos of what I’ve been up to since the last post.  

The Lord has blessed my dear husband and I so much, and I am living my lifelong dream of being a homemaker and LOVING it.  God is truly so, so good.  ❤️








I made my dress...just 12 days or so before the wedding!!!!  I'll share more photos of my dress in a separate post, but for now, here's one taken just before it was hemmed! 

 



Now for a few throwback photos....



Back in March, we attended an Eastern Front reenactment with a Russian civilian impression. 






We also got chickens that month....



And I sewed an apron for that purpose, patterned after an original in our collection. 


The first egg “harvest”


The new coop!


Potato planting



Made lefse for the first time on my own!


Also finished a UFO pinafore...and sold it.


1940s blouse for me...


A late ‘30s zipper front frock...still one of my favorite dresses to wear!





Made donuts from my vintage cookbook!


They were quite tasty indeed!


My ruffly housecoat and leftover good hair...



Started a simple patchwork quilt made from scraps of previous projects! 


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I'll share more pics in part 2 of this post in the coming weeks....

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Saturday, February 22, 2020

• Very Overdue, Very Random Post •


Well now, it's only been about half a year since I last blogged.  That's not very long, is it?

It's been a whirlwind of a fall and winter, with plenty of drama, plenty of fun, and plenty of blessings.  I'm thankful for where the Lord has brought us in past months, and wouldn't change a thing.  This year is going to be a good one!

I apologize in advance for the extremely varying sizes and shapes of these photos you're about to see - they are all gathered from my phone from varying sources.  Enjoy!  :)



Back in August, we were able to attend and participate in D-Day Ohio, and that was just an amazing experience.  We sewed up day dresses for day one, and went in uniform the other two days.


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Mom was an American Red Cross Gray Lady, and I was a Pharmacist's Mate in the USN WAVES.  Emily Stringham of Emily's Vintage Visions has done an amazing job gathering a (growing) group of ladies to represent WAVES at D-Day, and her WAVES display as well as her leadership of the group is amazing.  I am so excited for this year's reenactment!




Can't forget to add this -- we welcomed two little kittens into our family in October.  They are mischievous little rascals but we love them so <3 





A dear friend had a western-themed graduation party, so I planned to make a western shirt to wear to that.  I decided to procrastinate until the night before to finish it, so I sewed the last button on at 2:30 in the morning.  Sure was fun to wear though!  :)





We attended Mississinewa 1812 once again this year, and per usual I was dying of the worst cold ever.  I felt just exactly like death, and literally that entire basket you see in the picture was filled with Kleenexes.  But we went, and we conquered.




There is a really amazing antique market that has sales once each month, and one of the amazing things we found there was this box full of vintage fabric pieces and quilt blocks.  I could sit and look at them for hours!!!





In December, we were blessed to be able to participate in a choir society's production of Handel's Messiah.  The practice sessions each week beforehand and the nights of singing were some of my favorite moments of the year.  Such wonderful fellowship and the words - the beautiful, Biblical, Christ-honoring words were and are so moving.  Lord willing, we'll be participating again later this year!  

We needed black and white outfits to wear for the concerts, so......





....I made a 1930s and a 1950s ensemble, one for each night.  Once again, I had planned to make these outfits far in advance, but ended up waiting until less than 2 weeks before the concert.  Lots of evening sewing after work, and I got them both done!  And I sewed a blouse from rayon....everyone congratulate me.  That experience once again confirmed what I already knew, which is that I really, deeply detest sewing with rayon.





1930s for me, 1940s for Mom.






1950s ensembles.




At the concert!





Here you can see both of the adorable fluffballs :)







We took a trip to Minnesota also in early winter, seeing dear loved ones along the way.  This picture was taken in my grandma's very wallpapered bathroom, wearing a blouse with a very complicated history......

It was a UFO for quite some time, and I finally decided to finish it for our MN trip.  I had just finished sewing the last button on and went downstairs to iron it so it was ready to go.  We had purchased some cheapy iron in the summer, and we knew it always ran a little on the hot side.  I turned it on to an extremely low setting, lower even than normal, and proceeded to iron the blouse.  Right as I am ironing the front of the blouse, I notice that the fabric is strangely scorched-looking.  To my horror, I realize that the iron has literally scorched two large spots on the center front of my brand-new blouse, and not just minor scorch marks, but orange-y, horrible, awful scorching.

In my great distress and anguish, I took the little old iron upstairs, informed my mother of what I was about to do, at which time she proclaimed that the garbage man was coming the next morning, but I insisted that that was not good enough.  I marched outside in my jammies in the moonlight and chucked that iron over a 15' cliff at the back of our property.

That is what happens to naughty irons at our house.

End of story.




Mom got this beautiful coat from Stephanie <3, and it looks amazing on her.  Soft, fuzzy green 1950s loveliness!  We had just arrived in our favorite place (Duluth), and were marching out to watch a ship come in the harbor.





I scored this Dale of Norway sweater on Ebay in the late fall, and it has definitely gotten plenty of wear.  It's very heavy and warm, so it was perfect for traipsing through Duluth in the chilly gales!





No visit to Duluth is complete without a picture "next to" Split Rock Lighthouse :D





While we were visiting with my grandpa, I knitted up my first rendition of this "pixie hood," based on this picture from the '40s.








I didn't do a swatch, so it came out a little bigger than intended, so I just cuffed the front edge and went with it.  It made for very good elf-walks-on-waterfall pictures.






Mom looking amazing in her '40s lumberjack-vibes ensemble.










I didn't end up making most of the planned vacation outfits, but I did get this dreamy '50s skirt done.  Back when I first got into vintage sewing, I found this fabric on Etsy and saved it for just the right project.  I pleated it up, put pockets in the side seams (they're invisible!!), and finally got it finished!  I didn't have time to make the blouse I wanted, so my amazing mom made me this beautiful red '50s number.  It is one of my favorite patterns, and you might recognize it as the same style as my "Messiah" blouse.




Since it was practically balmy on Christmas Day, we dressed accordingly......
(minus one cat that didn't want her photo taken, apparently)




We added a whole bunch of Pendleton skirts to our wardrobes this year, and I am not sorry about it!  This Christmassy number is one of my absolute favorites, and it pairs very well with my favorite red 49er.




I also found this to-die-for collegiate sweater on Ebay, and it is just tooooo perfect.




We took our usual weekend down to southern Indiana in early January, touring gorgeous Madison, IN with its beautiful historic homes and doing plenty of antiquing, as you'll see here in a minute.




We had matching sweaters here, but no one will ever know....haha!




Matching Pendleton skirts as we trekked through what I'm quite sure is THE largest antique store anywhere in the world.  It is so enormous that you become quite fatigued only a quarter of the way through it, but it's worth it.  Ohio River Valley Antiques or some such.





The haul.  Or at least, part of it.  There was more than would fit in one picture.  :D




Another Pendleton skirt, paired with my favorite new RVS boots.





We've been enjoying beautiful concerts with the FW Phil this winter, the highlight of which has been Valentina Lisitsa playing her "Love Story" themes.  I never get tired of her playing!




One of my most recent (and favorite) projects is this 1940s housecoat!  I joined the Sew A Dress Each Month challenge for 2020, so this was my January project.  It is a literal dream and I put it on pretty much every evening when I come home from work, and some mornings as well.  It's got the dreamiest ruffles on the pockets, and it is soooo comfortable yet elegant to wear.




We also started working on a feedsack repro quilt in recent weeks.  It has gotten put on the back burner recently with preparations for a reenactment, but we're still so excited to work on it.




Just living the dream in my housecoat and mom-made ruffly apron.





This is version 2 of my Pixie Hood, this one fitting much better than the first!  Now that I completed it, we're not getting any cold weather, but maybe there's still hope before Spring comes marching in....




We did get a few flakes of snow, however, so I grabbed the opportunity to get pictures of my amaaaaazzzzzing new 1940s coat.  I still can't believe I have a piece like this!  It's in absolutely perfect condition - the best blue wool with a quilted lining and fur for days.




I also wanted pictures of my freshly-completed snowflake hood!  I started to knit one by hand, but not only am I not cut out for fairisle knitting (ugh), but I also was using much too large of yarn for the size it needed.  (No swatch again, naughty naughty...)  I decided to give it a whirl on the knitting machine, which I did, and it came out fairly decently! 




I did the body of it on the knitting machine and ribbed it by hand, which went fairly quickly.




I'm hoping to knit up a bunch of these and offer them for sale this coming fall and winter....




Another one of those projects that just makes you feel good....only 8 years after remodelling my bathroom, I finally made curtains to match.  Slightly overdue, but VERY satisfying.  Found a home for this gorgeous antique pitcher, too.





Lastly....just me being "me" with my loopy braids.  Growing my hair out again, and enjoying the benefits of that!

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If you made it to this point, I'll be shocked, but if you did, thanks for reading, and I hope you are all doing well!  I post regularly on my Instagram account, so head over and follow me there if you'd like.  Have a fantastic weekend, friends!
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