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Wednesday, December 31, 2014

· Regency Sari Overdress ·

I talked about the construction of my dress and overgown before, but the Regency Christmas Ball we recently attended provided the perfect opportunity for some nice photos. :-)

This overdress was made from the leftover scraps of an antique sari- I absolutely love all the detail that went into this embroidery!!  It has copper thread interspersed throughout, adding depth and just a hint of glimmer. :-)

I'm quite pleased with the result, and it's fun to have a Regency outfit that is very a-typical. :-)  It's also a great way to add variety and interest to my white dress!  I like the dress, but change is a nice thing too. ;-)

Wearing rag curlers all day while traveling might not have been the most glamorous option, but having curls that were impervious to dancing was well worth it! ;-)

I was so excited to finally embellish my turban with wheat!  Ever since seeing this fashion plate, I knew I needed to try this out sometime. :-)
And I'm realizing that I needed to do a little more primping to the wheat next time- I always forget that while I'm sitting in the van it is getting squashed by the roof. :-P  Ah well.  Just imagine it in its pre-travel state- it looked remarkably like the fashion plate. ;-)

A bit of a funny story that I didn't share the first time- I was basing the overdress off a fashion plate that I had a poster of, but no details.  I wanted to share the original source on the blog with the fashion plate company name, year, etc., but had no way to start looking!

I tried looking for "Regency Overdress Fashion Plate".  No luck.  "Asymmetrical"?  No better.  "Green"? "Overgown"? "Turban"?  Nothing was helping.  I couldn't think of any technical terms to describe it, but then again- there wasn't any guarantee that the person linking to the image had any more of a technical knowledge than I did!

In frustration, I told Mom, "I'd probably be better off just searching for something like "Regency Drapey Bits"!!

Well, guess what?  That's all it took.  There, waiting near the top of my search was the fashion plate.

I have now officially given up on technical search terms.

The culprit- La Belle Assemblee, April 1811
Regency Drapey Bits

It's so easy to see the Grecian influences of the time period in this style!

The Warner Theater, although technically around 125 years too late for this outfit, was still a stunning location!  I'm looking forward to giving this outfit another outing this weekend!

· Photos by Kathryn ·

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

· Merry Christmas! ·

via Pinterest
Merry Christmas to all my readers!  I'm *hoping* for some snow today that might last through until Christmas Day (might as well dream big, right?), but even if it doesn't I'm looking forward to celebrating with family and then a trip to Williamsburg later this week. :-)

via Pinterest
I've been sucked into the black hole of 1950s Christmas cards lately and can't get enough!
Check out my Pinterest board for even more. :-)

via Pinterest
In the spirit of these adorable cards, may your Christmas fashions be full of full skirts, polka dots, candy stripes, big bows, and fluffy fur! :-)

via Pinterest
Merry Christmas!

What are your Christmas Eve/Christmas Day traditions?

Saturday, December 20, 2014

· Miss L Fire Shoes for Sale! ·

· Edited to add- These shoes are no longer available, thanks for all the interest! ·

Back when I got my Miss L Fire shoes, there was a mix-up with the sizing and I ended up getting a pair a size too large! :-(

Anyway, not all stories have to end poorly- so my loss can be your gain!

Before I even had the chance to wear them out of the house, it was clear they wouldn't fit.  I ended up getting another pair the correct size, but that means that I now have an extra pair.  I am going to list them on eBay in a month, but I wanted to offer them to all of you first, so you can get a better deal by skipping any bidding wars. :-)

Here are the details:

Miss L Fire shoes- "Mildred"
European size 39 (US size 8.5-9)
Worn only once, no damage (The only time they were worn were for taking these pictures.  I walked indoors for 2 minutes before realizing they were just too large)
Comes with all original packaging- box, cute tissue paper, and travel bag!

Sold out!
Shipping cost TBD (whatever it costs to ship to you! I'm happy to do international shipping as well)

To clarify once again, the shoes I'm selling are these pictured, NOT the pair I have been wearing all fall! :-)  The shoes for sale are NEW.

I'll be listing these on eBay in a month, so let me know ASAP if you're interested!  I have been so very pleased with my other pair- they are wonderful shoes!

To contact me, please leave a comment with your email address- I moderate all comments before publishing, so I'll contact you through that and delete your comment instead of publishing.  Your email address will stay private.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

· Christmas Lights Dress ·

Everyone needs at least one silly, festive dress they can only wear one month of the year, right? ;-)

When I found this fabric last year, it was just too, too perfect not to buy!  I love how festive it is with the Christmas lights, but has a quirky retro feel and a broad color scheme that goes beyond the typical red and green.

As it turns out, this fabric has just the right colors to coordinate with the majority of my sweaters and hats!  It was hard to limit this post to just one form of accessorizing!

In fact, this sweater, which was really only made to go with one dress, matches smashingly!  Unexpected coordination is the best. :-D

It's a good thing this dress is so cute, because it caused me far more than its fair share of frustration on the construction front!

The fabric was a bit more expensive than I wanted it to be, so when I purchased it, I didn't want to get too much.  Yeah, you can already tell where this is going.... :-P  Anyway, the pattern book at the store called for 3 1/2 yards, so I added 1/2 yard to match up the design.  When I got home, I discovered that the pattern book had a typo.  I didn't need 3 1/2 yards, I needed 4 1/2!  Not good at all.  Hindsight being what it is.... I really should have realized that a flared skirt and 3/4 length kimono sleeves would take more than 3 1/2 yards.... but I didn't.

So there I was, with 4 yards when I needed 4 1/2- 5.  And then I discovered that the fabric design repeat that I assumed was 4" was really 13".  Really not good.

So I went back to the store in hopes of more fabric- but they were completely sold out.  Everywhere.

That was a bad day.

And yet, here I am with a success story!  I really don't know how on earth it all fit on to the fabric without an inch to spare.

Or how the pattern matched up everywhere.  It was just one of those "God was looking out for me and I'm blessed beyond measure" sorts of days.  So I guess you could even go to the extent of saying that this dress was Providential! ;-)

This dress was made using one of my favorite patterns- Butterick 5605.  I had to leave off the back skirt pleats due to the fabric issues, and I changed the neckline a bit and added a peter pan collar.

Not only could I barely fit the dress on, but I had *just* enough leftover to make a belt too!

Since my haircut, I've been able to wear lots of our hats that previously didn't work.  I was so, so pleased that I could wear this hat now and that it goes perfectly with this dress!!

The best part of the haircut has definitely been the ability to wear all of our vintage hats!  There were far too many fun ones that were languishing previously!

An unexpected aspect of the fabric issue was that I now needed a center front seam on the bodice.  There was no way to get the pattern to match, and I knew that just leaving it in a glaringly non-matched state was completely unacceptable.  I happened to think of putting on a faux placket with rick-rack trim, and it ended up being so much better than my original "plain jane" plan!  Turns out that it was best to not have enough fabric after all!  Positively Providential! :-)  I thought about adding buttons to the placket, but nothing added the right touch, or else it ended up limiting my accessorizing ability too much.

Since I can really only wear this dress from Black Friday through Twelfth Night, I try to make sure it gets as many outings as possible.  And given how much I love it- that's not hard to do! ;-)

· Thanks for the pictures, Kathryn! ·

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

· Yet another Simplicity 1587 ·

.....This time, for me!

This year, I've been stretching my concepts of my "normal" wardrobe a bit.  Just like my tastebuds change over the years, so does my fashion taste.  I feel like I'm in a bit of a transition period, so I'm trying to stretch my ideas, think outside my usual, and discover what my new normal is. :-)

Hence, purchasing plaid I used to hate.  And now, making a 1940s dress even though I used to dislike the decade.

This summer, I was making lots of dresses from Simplicity 1587- Kathryn got 2 dresses from it (seen here and here) and I made one for a customer as well!  I had always been partial to the interesting neckline, but after making 3 versions of it I got to the point where I could practically make it in my sleep.

Over the past year, I've become more accepting of 1940s fashion, so I was willing to give the decade a chance.  This dress seemed like a great chance to give it a whirl and see what happened. ;-)

I was desperately in need of several new church dresses, so this seemed like a good time to buy some new rayons to try stretching myself!

As you can see, it ended up snowing on the day of our photoshoot, so pictures of just the short-sleeved dress didn't sound very pleasant. ;-)

I'm not sure I'm still terribly fond of the dress, but I do rather like it with these accessories, so it seemed like a good compromise anyway!

I'll share more detail shots of the dress in the spring when it's a bit more weather-appropriate!

My ADORABLE Miss L Fire shoes!!!  I love them sooooo much!  (And they're so comfortable! Bonus! ;-))

All in all, I think the dress was a mild success, even if it wasn't a rousing one.  I like it when paired with the sweater and it filled my need for slightly dressy clothing!

· Photos by Kathryn ·

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

· Hair Cut! ·

Well, this post has been 3 months in the writing, but it's finally here. ;-)

I got my hair cut!!!

I've been toying with the idea of getting a vintage cut for almost 2 years now, and through the influence of my mom, my sister, and Call the Midwife, I finally made the plunge!  It's been almost 3 months since I did it, and I'm still thrilled that I finally worked up the courage to do this!

Before and after on the day of the cut!

I've had long hair for over 15 years, and in the last 8, I've worn it "up" almost exclusively.  This was my first time getting my hair layered, and I used a vintage cutting diagram for a "middy plus"- getting it cut just like the diagram with the exception of making the layers 6" long.  Let me tell you- it's sooooo much different!  Actually, it's kind of funny to think back to how different it felt, because it already seems so normal. ;-)

Since this was my first time doing a drastic haircut like this, I really wasn't sure what I wanted so we just went with the straight-up diagram.  Now that I've lived with it for a while, I think I might do it a bit differently next time.  It's just sooooo layered in the back!  The top layers seem too short to me, so I think I'll do those longer next time.  Also, 6 inches seems so long for the front!  It doesn't help that I started at about 18" before, but I do think it's a bit limiting.  That's the benefit to hair growth though, it only gets longer! ;-)

One of my reasons for putting this off so long was because I wasn't sure I'd really be able to commit to pin-curling my hair every night.  I knew I wanted it short enough that I wasn't tempted to do my typical rolled hairstyle as an easier fall-back, so with the exception of a handful of times, I've pin-curled it every single night.  And it's a lot less arduous than I was fearing. ;-)  I've got it down to 15 minutes, and the muscle memory has kicked in and helps immensely!!

Over the last 3 months, I've been able to figure out what works and what doesn't, so now I know that my hair holds curl *really* well after pin-curling, but ONLY in dry weather.  The humidity of September was rather discouraging, but I'm loving November and December!!  I start with dry hair and slightly dampen with setting lotion on the first night, and all subsequent nights just use water for dampening.  I haven't played around with many setting patterns yet, but I feel like I've finally almost conquered this set.

Back in the humidity when the curl didn't hold as well as I'd like, I took to wearing an invisible hairnet.  It worked really well, and I loved it!  But these pictures mark a momentous occasion- my first week to successfully not wear the hairnet!  I have some OCD tendencies at times, and I've been trying to break myself of some of the odder ones.  Like wearing sandals- I do.not. like the feel of anything on my bare feet except for socks.  It takes great effort to not wear socks year-round, but I felt like that was something I needed to let go.  So too, wearing my hair down.  Ugh, I really hate not having every hair *just so*.  I don't like the unpredictability that comes with wind, grabbing babies, rain, bad hair days, etc.  And the feel of hair on my neck/shoulders/face....!  AGH!  But I also really hate being limited by this silly obsession.  Enter: Hair cut.  I'll just force myself to get over it. ;-D  The hairnet was also a great transition step, since it was technically down, but also completely contained and mostly impervious to messing up.  The hairnet still works well for bad hair days, but as long as this dry weather lasts and good hair days allow, I'll be stretching my comfort zone. ;-)

One of the things I've been most excited about is finally being able to wear all of our vintage hats!  My previous style worked well for most of them, but there were several (this furry confection included!) that just didn't work before.  Problem solved. :-)

All in all, I'm so glad I finally did this!  I still have so far to go, but I'm excited to be on the way to reaching my goals!

· Photos by Kathryn! ·

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