Monday, August 19, 2013

A Timeless Staple Has Entered My Closet (Finally)

     Hello there, I have been having a lovely time recently (apart from brief moments of total panic, I leave for school in two days). Last Saturday I went on a long desired picnic, it was beautiful! We found a grassy spot next to a river, which happened to be in the middle of a tourist town. People were stopping to take pictures of us as they were obviously envious of our fearlessness (and the grand, quaint time we were having!) I unfortunately do not have a picture of us there but this was our picnic basket.
     In other news, say hello to my lovely new pencil skirt! I am thrilled with how this turned out. I used one of the most wonderful methods for lining a skirt ever created. Rather than treat the lining like another skirt I shortened it by approximately an inch and then sewed the hems of the skirt and lining together. Then I turned it up and joined the two at the waistband. This created a one inch hem on the underside. I slip stitched the lining to the zipper and the waistband over both lining and skirt. This makes for a very neat inside of a skirt without a seam showing. It makes me so happy to have something so perfectly completed.
Black Pencil Skirt - made by me
Blue Checked Blouse - made by me (from the same pattern as this blouse)
My Blue Suede Shoes - Target
Clip on earrings - Also Target
Blue Belt - Left over from softball, years ago . . .

     The black fabric was up-cycled from a skirt of my sister's. It is a lovely fabric with only the slightest of slight stretches. It also has a slightly fuzzy finish, rather like velvet (though I assure you that this is not velvet). All in all it makes me happy- sturdy fabrics always do- and it is going to be lovely for wintertime (it was rather too warm to wear today, though I didn't pay that fact any heed. I wore it to the museum anyway.)
     Now, I don't much care for hooks and eyes. They never seem to behave for me. I realize that I just need to sew these on again further from the edge, but seriously is this annoying or what?
The waistband pulls on them so that they show rather badly. My solution so far has been to wear a belt, but there may come a day when I am just not feeling a belt, but have no other option. This needs to be fixed. 
     Less melodramatically, I am working very diligently on my corset girdle and will hopefully be done very soon (I have only two days left and my whole room to pack, so hello late nights). I am very excited about how it is turning out. That may be my last sewing project for a very long time seeing as I am not bringing my sewing machine with me. I have tons of things I haven't shown you yet though, so never fear! 
I will hopefully be back soon with pics of my girdle!
Lots of love ya'll!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Blue Eyelet and Pin Curled Hair


 I am turning into quite a good little blogger, I have been remembering to take pictures of (almost) everything relatable. Therefore, coming soon (as soon as I finish it that is), is my lovely black pencil skirt with red lining. But that will wait. 
     Today I want to show you my Blue Eyelet dress. I have actually had this dress for a few years now, but I messed it up big time when I first made it. Let's just say that I have learnt a lot about sewing since then. To begin with it was gaping in the front, so what did I do? That's right I shortened the straps. I don't even know. Well this obviously caused a lot of problems. First it was too tight in the armholes and would rub on me. Since burn induced BO is not exactly attractive this was a huge deterrent from actually wearing the dress. Shortening the straps also meant that the waistline was up at my rib cage. Since my small waist is the only thing that keeps me from looking and feeling huge, this wasn't good either. Who wants a dress made out of gorgeous fabric from a beautiful pattern that makes you feel like garbage? Well, I also didn't realize that circle skirts have bias areas and therefore have to hang out, so the hem had as many dips and peaks as the Rockies. Not to mention that I didn't have a proper petticoat to fill it out. All of these combined problems meant that I barely ever wore this dress, though when I saw it on the hanger I couldn't remember why - I remembered when I tried to wear it. 
     About a year ago I looked at it and realized something, those straps where too short! So I picked out the seams and tried it on. I now knew that the bodice was too big. Since I wasn't about to take the whole dress apart I simply put a seam up the back, maybe half an inch wide, and it made it fit like a dream. I didn't re-hem the dress even then because let's face it, circle skirts go on forever! By the time that I finally got around to it I had fixed some other items in my closet so that I now had a standard length of 28". It makes life easier to have a set length for everything, because now if I make a petticoat or a slip I know exactly how long I should make it and know that it will work with everything in my closet that isn't store bought. 
Wearing: Muslin Petticoat made by me; 
Creamy Yellow Blouse made by me; 
Blue Eyelet Dress made by me from this pattern (Vogue 2902)
     I do promise you that I own shoes, I just don't wear them around the house and since the last two posts have been from days when I haven't gone anywhere I wasn't wearing any. To prove that I do own shoes I will show you a picture of my brand new, Blue Suede Shoes!
     They are darker in real life, but the flash lets you see the actual texture, so I decided that it was ok. Don't you love the little buttons? And they have a nice sturdy heel which will be wonderful for walking all over campus. I just adore these shoes. After buying them yesterday I kept putting them on with my jammy pants and dancing :) Having just finished watching Daddy Long Legs helps one feel like dancing you know.

     My pin curl set turned out wonderfully, I was so happy (and still am). Several months ago I started to train my hair. I realized that it was nothing but a pain to wash it every day, and it isn't accurate for any time period but the present. I am up to three or four days without washing now. Today is my third day since setting my hair, and it is still curly. Here are some first day shots of it.

And now for my promised tip. I don't know if anyone else has had this idea before, but it just hit me all of a sudden. The problem with pin curling is that it is hard to get the hair rolled properly, and it hurts your arms to hold them up for so long. The problem with curling irons is the heat and lack of staying power. So I used an unheated curling iron to roll my curls up and then pinned them in place! You just have to be careful not to roll it too tightly or you will never get the curl off intact.
Ta-ta for now,
Lot's of love

Friday, August 9, 2013

Packing and Sewing and Leaving, Oh My!

    Well, it is busy for me right now. Not that I am keeping nearly as busy as I should, mind you. I think that the main issue is that I haven't actually come to terms with the fact that I am going to leave so soon. College; what a wonderful, scary, awful thing you are!
     This isn't my first semester (thank goodness), I spent my first year in college at a community college and lived at home. The idea of actually leaving is irksome, and I would rather not talk about it. However, I am rather engulfed with 'things to do before I leave' so there is no escaping it really. But, seeing as sewing is pleasant (even if rushing is not), here is my list or 'things to do' in order of their importance:
  • My corset girdle (I have just ordered two of its 'ingredients', so though it is important, it may be the last thing that I actually finish)
  • My creamy yellow blouse
  • A black pencil skirt - is it shocking that I don't own on?
  • A wonderful big apron that crosses in the back
  • Several frivolities that may or may not get done; keep in mind that I still have to pack everything, and I mean everything
     Well, I have now completed my lovely blouse. It is made of a gorgeous lightweight cotton blend fabric (I can't be completely certain what it is because I bought it pre-cut, and the label didn't say what it was) I thought it was pure cotton until I was ironing it, yeah it has a little bit of synthetic in there. Fortunately I didn't actually melt anything. I have very picky fingers, so the fact that I was wrong about its fiber content shows that it is a nice synthetic. My mom suggested that it might be rayon, and I believe that she is correct. Rayon is much less offensive to sensitive fingers than polyester.

     Here it is, my extremely versatile blouse. It will work all year long, and will go with just about anything. I am sure that this blouse will show itself on this blog many times in the future. It is made from this lovely vintage pattern.

     As you can see, it is from 1952. I love this pattern, I have now made two blouses with it. The first one I made is in heavy rotation in my closet and will appear soon I am sure. I found the pattern at a local antique store and paid $1 for it. That's my kind of deal! I only made minimal changes to it, and none of them were with the fit. I am blessed with a figure that matches up with patterns, though after I finish my corset girdle it'll be even better!

     I didn't get too many construction pictures, but I took some after it was finished. The above picture is of the center back. The pattern calls for a side zipper, but since I am out of zippers at the moment I decided to have it button up the back instead. I didn't plan far enough ahead to have a good interfacing, so I got creative. I used satin bias tape (made by myself and my mother a couple years ago) to make it stiff. First I finished the edges of the back with a zig-zag stitch, then I ironed (with a press cloth this time) the seam allowance. Next I inserted the bias tape into the little ditch and top stitched it all together. This gave me a nice base for making my buttonholes (which task is made easier by my wonderful buttonholer). The Peter Pan collar closes with a hook and eye, and there is a natural slit in the back. I decided to put buttons up to this point, rather than all the way up.

     I was so thrilled that I can reach all but the very top button! Of course I wasn't too concerned. I am going to be living in a dorm full of girls very soon, so I have top-button buttoners nearby!
     Because this fabric is so delicate I decided to flat fell all of the seams. The only seams not flat felled are the back and neck (which has facing, a collar, and is zig-zagged and trimmed). The armholes were slightly tricky, but I soldiered through.

     I didn't line the bodice so I can change the look by what I wear underneath. I wore it with a camisole based on the same pattern today.

     I am wearing it with a circle skirt and petticoat, both of which I made. The petticoat is made out of muslin instead of tulle or crinoline, so it is great for every day wear. 

     My hair is far from great in these pictures, but I am attempting to change my habits. Remember how I said that I used to be really bad about doing my hair? Well, I am still really bad. I have two main goals which I hope that writing this blog will help me with. The first is to get more pictures of myself (which I am bad about), and the second is to start pin curling my hair. I am sitting right now with my hair all up in a scarf, and hopefully it will turn out well!

     If it does, then I have a brilliant pin curling idea for all of you!
Lots of Love!

Monday, August 5, 2013

My Hair

 Hair. My hair has gone through some interesting transformations. To begin with, this is what it looked like from the time my mom cut off the last of my baby hair until I was 13 or so.
 I was extremely proud of my pretty long hair, and people commented on it all the time. But one day I was hit with a fit of madness, and I decided to chop it. I never do anything small, and this was the approximate result.
 Well, let's just say that I shocked everybody. I did donate 11" to Locks of Love, so it wasn't all bad. My love for short hair was rather short lived itself, but being young and under the influence of a mother who was paying for any haircuts; I somehow ended up cutting it again and again, all the while saying that I was growing it out and just needed a haircut that would grow out nicely. The sad part was that most of the haircuts looked horrible on me. This was due to two facts; firstly, I have very thick hair which most hair stylists tend to cut very poorly, and secondly I did not style my hair, especially back then.
 Well, my hair grew and got short and repeated itself for the next few years:

 Until I finally had my hair back to being long again:

And what do you think I did? That's right, I chopped it off again!

 You see, I was becoming decidedly vintage by this time and I realized that I was going to want to have at least one short vintage style cut in my life. Fortunately I had found a wonderful hair stylist by this time, and I never go to anyone else.

 Well, youth is restless. I wasn't quite satisfied that this cut was right (again because I was too lazy to style it) so I decided to get a pixie modeled after Audrey Hepburn's cut in Roman Holiday.

 I loved it; which probably makes this the first short hair cut that I have ever actually liked. Now, you see that pretty blonde? That is my sister, and she has a problem. She is a compulsive hair chopper. Granted, she looks adorable in pixie cuts, but she always says she wants to grow out her hair and then loses patience. So we made a deal. Neither of us is allowed to chop our hair till August 2014 (the deal was made August 2012). If she, I mean either of us, breaks this deal the other gets to choose what color the other must dye and keep their entire head for a month. Namely, puke green. We're growing out our hair!

 Well, here is my progress so far. One year in and doing great!

 Lots of love!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Wear It Like You Mean It

 It can be hard to keep up a vintage look, especially since some days it feels as though everybody is just staring at you asking, 'What in the world is that girl wearing?' But of course, there are also an abundance of jealous looks from girls who do not have the courage to wear what they actually like. My Mom's fashion rule through the years has always been 'wear it like you mean it', so I do. When I am feeling out of place I hold my head high and pretend like I don't notice the looks (of course, I usually hold my head high anyway, but it is a little more pronounced in these moments). I hope that this blog will be a place where us vintage gals can encourage and support one another.

 This picture is from my senior shoot, and I am reading the book "How to Dress for Success" by Edith Head, I adore her. My hair is considerably longer now than it was then, and I think that my next post will be the history of my hair.

Lots of love!