Monday, July 14, 2014

Mysterious Hat of the Blue Bows

I still feel like a relative newbie when it comes to wearing hats and I certainly don't wear them everyday. I don't have the confidence or the style to wear one like Jessica from Chronically Vintage (who has great taste and style for wearing hats), but I'm learning what I like and what works with my hair or how to wear my hair with a hat. I am wearing them more often this summer than ever before and more than just sun hats.

Much of my anxiety in the past about wearing hats has actually been less about worrying what others will think and more having to do with the fact that I didn't know what hat to wear where or how to fix my hair with them. Not to mention, that some of the most fabulous vintage hats call for a stupendous outfit and/or occasion for them and I don't have a lot of fancy clothes or fancy places to wear them. So, sometimes I would buy a hat that I just loved the looks of, but couldn't quite figure out how or where to wear them.
This cute blue bow hat was one of those, not necessarily super fancy, but definitely a hat that I couldn't quite figure out how or what to wear it with. To tell the truth, it was a mystery to me.  Well, whether it worked or not I finally wore it out of the house for the first time the other day and decided to take pictures and post about it.
I feel sure that when I can look outside of my maternity wardrobe I will find more outfits and opportunities to wear this hat and perhaps it will get more outings. I am so glad I gave this hat another chance. It was one of the first vintage hats I ever purchased and I was thrown off by what to do with the veil and the color. Yet, a change in my hair and a different positioning of the hat and veil, and I felt much better about the hat.
Do you ever have a hard time figuring out how to wear certain hats? Do you try wearing your hats different ways?

Friday, July 11, 2014

A Special Day For Papaw, Oh, and the 4th of July Girls


My Dad's birthday is the Fourth of July, which happens to be a national holiday here in the U.S. and is considered our nation's birthday. So, basically there's lots of outdoor fun, fireworks, and red, white, and blue. Every year we have a party/cookout for my Dad, and all the grandkids dress in red, white, and blue for their Papaw's special day.

My daughter really looks forward to picking out outfits in general. Yeah, I don't know wear she got that, lol. She also really likes for me to sew her up one of a kind special clothes. So, it was inevitable that I would try to sew her up something special for the Fourth of July/Papaw's Birthday. The only obstacle being that I started it three days before said event. Honestly I had forgotten she had chosen the fabric and all.

I did a quick search of my box of girl's patterns and found this size 6 little Advance version of the popular patio dress of the 1950s. Knowing that this kind of skirt and top would be a quick and easy sew, I got to work right away and hoped I could at least get the skirt done. The hardest part was getting the fabric chosen and cut out, and then a million gathers and pins later there was a skirt.

Although I didn't get the blouse finished for her, she was still delighted with her new skirt and she had something red, white, and blue to wear to Papaw's birthday party which is all she really wanted.

The day also gave me the opportunity to try a 1940s updo that I'd been wanting to try for a while. I'm not sure how often I will repeat the hairstyle as it came out looking a little like Aunt Bee, but it did keep me cool and looked better with a vintage 1940s straw hat. It was fun to wear 1940s hair with my blue 1940s pinafore dress, though, and the 4th of July always stirs up images of the 1940s patriotic propaganda.

Aunt Bee's Online Cookbook

I really do enjoy sewing for my kids and particularly for my daughter. There just aren't as many fun and cute options for little boys. Even with vintage boys patterns it's hard for me to get all fired up about it, and I usually sew things for them out of necessity, but for girls its super fun.

Only picture I got of two of the kids with me and of her skirt that wasn't a blurry running picture outside. 
Do you dress for holidays or in themes? Do your kids take some of their style from you?
The 4th of July Girls and doll Grace :

Monday, July 7, 2014

Seeing Dots: A Vintage Maternity Top

Simplicity 1174
Okay, okay, I know at the beginning of this pregnancy I said I would be sewing more separates this time. Yup, I ended up sewing more vintage dresses, but in my defense, they are just so easy to sew and cute to wear. Not to mention that I already had more modern separates that I had either bought and worn in previous pregnancies and that had been given to me. It seems like there is no shortage of modern separates for maternity in my wardrobe, but I did get around to sewing up a maternity top the other day and now wish I had more time to sew some more versions of this awesome top. Probably not going to happen, so don't hold your breath. I'm looking ahead to my post baby sewing queue and especially fall dressing. (Hey, thoughts of cool autumn mornings are helping me not to go crazy as I literally melt in all the heat and humidity here in the south.)

I really love the fun details of this design.

I used two remnants of a quilting cotton with baby blue dots on a soft brown background and sewed up the sleeveless version. Not only was it a relatively fast and easy make, but it's insanely comfortable and I get lots of compliments every time I wear it. I seriously love this top and am contemplating sewing another version even though I'm getting into the home stretch of this pregnancy and might not get to wear it much. 
Trying to hold photobombing daughter still.
It's more comfortable than the usual stretchy maternity t-shirt or tank top and the swingy loose nature of the top makes it super cool for the hot and humid summer weather we're having. If you're expecting and can sew or know someone who would sew for you, I cannot recommend a loose fitting vintage maternity top enough. This will, God willing, be our fourth child and I can tell you from experience that  you will want to wear nothing tight fitting again while pregnant if you try one of these loose vintage styles. 

I even had enough fabric leftover to make a pair of cute shorts for my daughter (to be seen in a future post).
Youngest son was napping, but Sir J the Brave couldn't let the Fairy Princess Cowgirl have all the photobombing fun.
Since I'm getting a little burned out on making maternity clothing and I'm in the final weeks of this pregnancy, I'm thinking ahead to sewing for fall. I've been sewing a lot for the kids and trying to get into getting everything ready for the new baby. I don't think I'm "nesting" quite yet, but I am excited to plan out projects for the fall for everyone.

So, how do you plan out the coming season's wardrobe? Does it change your buying or sewing plans?

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

60s Mama Dress

I know it's been forever, literally, since I've posted, but since the last post there's been a lot going on. Not only am I in the last trimester and closer every day to having the baby, but I had a debilitating stomach virus, finished up our homeschool year, grades, and attendance for the spring as well as turning in my lesson plans for next fall, as well as finding out our oldest son is going to have to have surgery right away and I will have to have surgery sometime after the birth of this baby. Needless to say, blogging has been a priority, nor has there even been time for it, but I've missed it and am looking forward to getting back to more regular blogging again. 

This has turned out to be another favorite maternity dress. It's made of a nice breathable, but solid linen printed with all these large colorful flowers. It looks a little too dressy for everyday wear, so I save it for special occasions and have already worn it to a wedding. My husband really like this dress, so I'm thinking it would be great to wear if we ever get a date night before the baby comes. 
Simplicity 5271
I made it up in the exact size on the pattern and again had to do some fitting around the bust. Tent style dresses from the 1960s seem to run a little too large in that area for me, but a little dart adjustment and taking in of the side seams fixes it right up. That was the only altering I did to the pattern, but I tied it in front instead of on the sides, because even though I feel huge, I'm apparently not large enough yet to fill it out properly with the side ties. So, as baby and belly grow this last little bit, I will keep trying the side ties, but am not sure it will ever be very flattering since I am already huge here. 

It's slightly shorter than I usually wear, but no where near mini skirt length, plus the tent-like drapiness of the dress keeps things well covered when sitting down. I'm think this makes a great summer dress for when I want to be a little more polished and yet keep cool in the southern U.S. heat and humidity that is already come to stay. 

I wore a vintage rhinestone brooch that I got for extremely cheap while I was in high school, but don't wear enough now. (That will have to be soon remedied.) I also had another photobomber for these pictures in the form of my youngest son who is 22 months and the only redhead so far.

Outfit Details:
Dress-made by me from vintage Simplicity 5271
Bangles-vintage lucite and bakelite from various sources
Earrings-Vintage style rose earrings from Etsy
Brooch-Vintage Rhinestone flower purchased at local antique mall
(I wore shoes, but they weren't pictured, sorry.)

 I was the most fortunate recipient of a great compliment lately, when a reader remarked how elegant I made pregnancy look. I must confess I was taken aback and very flattered, possibly even blushing a little as I read it, because I certainly don't feel that way. I've incorporated some vintage into my wardrobe since I was about 12, but really it was after my oldest was born and even though I lost a lot of the baby weight, I never really felt like my old self in my post-baby body. I took up sewing garments more in an effort to find more flattering styles and fit. As I got more into collecting vintage patterns and wearing more vintage styles, I found them to be much more flattering than most things I could just buy at a store. Learning older techniques for makeup and hair soon made getting dressed up a lot of fun. I realized that I still didn't have to spend tons of time doing hair and makeup, but with a little effort I could avoid some of the frumpy mommy looks. I don't dress to the nines every day, but I do often wear dresses and if I throw on a couple of easy accessories and a dash of makeup I feel better, am more productive, and have a better day. That doesn't mean I never wear jeans and a t-shirt, but that it's just as easy to wear a cute skirt and a t-shirt or a dress or a nice blouse with jeans.
For me it's a way to celebrate motherhood and bearing children and to accept and even welcome the changes that come to a person's body as a result and to give thanks to God for it. I don't by any means feel perfect, but I can take what I have and be content. This to me is a pathway that leads to true beauty, the inner kind that lasts, and as a Christian it is a way I can praise God for making me just as I am in this moment.

I'm not suggesting everyone has to share my viewpoint on having kids or even on dressing, but that what we wear is deeper than just putting on clothes in the morning. They do say something about us and to us, and that is something that should be considered when we get dressed.

We see too many images and read too many articles or advertisements that are all about making us discontented with ourselves in every possible way. They scream to us that we are not enough, whether in looks or in personality or whatever we do, but if we remember and realize that is their function and aim, solely for the purpose of convincing us to spend our hard-earned money on whatever they're selling, this realization means they can lose their power. 

As a mom, I want desperately for my kids to know that they are enough. That I love them just as they are for no other reason than I love them. To me as a Christian, it's because that's the kind of love God, through Jesus Christ His Son, has shown me when I deserved nothing but anger and rejection.

The only not blurry picture I could get of him smiling. He's a mommy's boy.

I know everyone will not and does not have to agree with my views on dressing, parenting, or kids, and I'm okay with that. All this to say that my dressing this way, whether pregnant or not, is a part of the process for me of being who I am and a desire to be the best me I can be for my God, my husband, my family, and for me.

Do you see how you dress as more than just clothes? How has dressing vintage changed you?

Friday, June 20, 2014

My Last Maternity Dress....Maybe

Simplicity 4994
I've sewn up what will probably be my last maternity dress to sew, at least for this pregnancy (although I've been known to tackle huge sewing projects in the last few weeks, even if I only get to wear them once). It's been done for a while, but I just hadn't got a chance to post about it. Seeing as how I only have less than 10 weeks left before baby arrives, I can't bring myself to sew up another dress. I have sewn up a couple vintage tops and lots and lots of stuff for my kids, all of which I hope to blog about soon (if I can remember to take pictures!), but have no plans to sew another maternity dress. 

This is probably my favorite maternity dress to sew. It's fast and easy and totally flexible for your growing baby tummy, and I've already sung it's praises here and here before. So, I won't bore you with all the reasons I think Simplicity 4994 from the sixties is so amazing, just know that it really is.

This time I used a very, very, very, bright orange printed cotton and it's called the Big Orange dress, because I live in "Big Orange" country, a nickname due to our state football team. (I, however, know nothing whatsoever about football and my husband isn't a big sports fan either, so, yay!) So, I'm guessing no one can say they didn't see me coming in this dress, but that aside, if you've seen my blog at all, you know by now that I absolutely love really bright colors and prints. It's also really amazing how this pattern looks totally different with different colors and prints. 

I only changed one thing about the construction of this one, and used my own self made bias binding for the neck and sleeves. I cannot begin to say how much I love doing that since I figured out a really easy (think lazy and cheap) way to do my own. With the nearest fabric store carrying bias tape at least a 30+ minute drive from my house, I HATE having to do to the store to hope to find a bias tape that matches and then hope again I've purchased enough of it. Someday I will have to share here my easy way to make your own bias tape. 

Best picture I could get of my awesome orange lucite glittery starfish earrings. 
I'm still feeling okay, but am entering that uncomfortable last few weeks, the time when I'm already thinking to myself "How many weeks early could the baby be born and still be considered full term?", cause that's really my goal, but all my kids so far have went past their due date. Maybe I make it too comfortable on them in there? I don't know, but I do hate the heat and humidity we already have here and am not looking forward to July and August.

 I am also huge, and no I am not having twins and yes, I really am due in August. To all those who ever run into someone pregnant, just remember that she already feels like a beached whale, so never make any comment that could in any way be interpreted as you saying she's too big. Seriously, it should be illegal. When you're pregnant you have a hard enough time feeling good or remotely attractive, don't make it worse, not to mention your hormones are so out of whack that you assume the worst whatever anyone says. Hmm, maybe the safest thing to say is you look great, no matter what and keep any thoughts about size or how much she's swelling to yourself, then just talk about anything else.

So, I am so looking forward to this fall and cool weather and to fitting in anything but maternity clothing. I do have some health issues to deal with post pregnancy and eventually surgeries (Yuck!), but am still hopeful I can fit in some of my vintage clothes again (Can anyone say girdle?). I am trying to be satisfied and content with what's in store no matter what, but must confess I've only had two surgeries prior to these and one of these will be very major surgery(no, they are not cosmetic), and I am scared already. Prayers definitely appreciated.

I have also, after four pregnancies, had to learn to cope with changing body shapes a lot. The things I dread most are not being able to wear all my vintage and sewn clothes right away, but that gives me something to work towards.

Do you find that dressing vintage helps you maintain a certain weight? Have you found it harder or easier to dress vintage when your body shape changes a lot, especially from circumstances you have no control over (i.e. pregnancy, illness, side effects of medication, etc.)?

Friday, May 23, 2014

The Little Black Maternity Dress

Is there such a thing as a little black dress when you're pregnant? Yes and no. This is my version of a little black dress which gives me something a little nice to wear for more formal events even when I feel huge. The good news is this dress kind of camouflages a big baby belly better than a lot of things, but the bad news is that you pretty much have no waist while pregnant and no dress can fix that. I just feel a little fancy in this and it's fun to pair it with a pair of cute (lower of course) heels. Sometimes just feeling pretty is priceless when you're pregnant. 

This pattern is from the 1960s and is McCall's 9747, but I think looks surprisingly modern, especially made up in this really groovy black polyestery knit. It was very simple to sew up, but was way too big on me even though my bust size is larger than what's listed on the pattern envelope. So, after taking it in what seemed like many inches, it now has a little more shape to it and I love it. I'd say it's safe to assume that many 1960s maternity dresses can become a giant tent regardless of the picture on the envelope showing a svelte woman in a loose, but not potato sack dress. Maybe it's just me and my body, but potato sack has never been a look I covet. 

It has a cute squared neckline, but it's the sleeves I think are really brilliant and make this dress super flattering. You see, when I'm pregnant, and even for a while afterwards, my arms swell. Yes, this makes me a little self-conscious about the whole thing, so a sleeveless sleeve is awesome in my opinion. I've found that most vintage "sleeveless" tops or dresses are much more flattering to my upper arms than any modern sleeveless garments have ever been. You'd think the constant lifting of kids would make me have the most defined upper arms ever, but alas, somehow it just doesn't work that way. *sigh*

 Being a mom of very young children doesn't afford my husband and I often with the opportunity to get out, let alone to get all dolled up for one another. So, any opportunity to put on something a little extra special can go a long, long, way, even if we take the kids with us. I won't say exactly where we went this night, but we all got dressed a little fancier than usual and it was a lot of fun to look a little special for my man.

I also wore a fun 1950s hat. It's a very tight and finely woven straw with a unique texture that kind of mimics linen and has a black velvet ribbon and bow at the back. Upon seeing the shape of the front of this hat, my three year old son said, "You look like a clam, Mommy!". Gotta love the honest opinions of kids, lol.

I must confess that I didn't wear the hat all evening, but only because the event we were attending was not about us and I didn't want to distract from the actual focus. I live in a rural area and knowing I would be the only person wearing a hat inside, I thought it best and most polite to remove it upon entering. I don't understand, and I assume most people today don't, the ins and outs of hat etiquette for women, but feel I would rather err on the side of caution rather than offend someone, especially those who invited us. 

Mini me and me. She usually wears glasses even, but her
18 month old brother had broken them when this picture was taken. 
I was also joined in this post by an infrequent photobomber, as my oldest joined me wearing a purple dress with ruffled layers made from a vintage 1980s pattern. She is wearing a blue t-shirt under it, but that's because she said she was afraid she would be uncomfortable without it underneath. She's my little mini-me in so many ways, and I love her that way. 

Outfit Details:
Dress-Made by me (McCall's 9747 purchased at local charity shop, The Shepherd's Center for 10 cents!)
Earrings-Vintage confetti from Etsy
Bracelets-vintage bakelite from various sources.
Brooch-Vintage purchased from the Homestead Shop (a local antique mall)
Shoes-Strappy gold shoes with chunky wooden heels and platform sole, had forever, can't remotely remember where I bought them. (Sorry, not pictured!)

I suppose that if you just read my blog you might get the impression that I "dress up" every day, and while I do wear something vintagey in style at least almost every day, I don't wear dresses like this every day. I also don't always have my hair fixed this nicely or wear full makeup. I did, however, years ago (seriously may have been before I was even wearing makeup, lol) hear Cindy Crawford say in an interview that your daily makeup should only take about five minutes to apply, and if it's taking you longer than that, you are wearing too much. I pretty much follow that rule and most days don't even take that long, especially if I'm not planning on going anywhere that day. But things like a tinted moisturizer, a little lipstick, and having an easy way to set your hair so it looks styled for a few days can be a real lifesaver for any busy lady.

I used to think our grandmothers must have spent forever getting ready everyday in order to look so put together, but soon realized after learning a few techniques that doing it daily took surprisingly little time each day to look like you didn't just roll out of bed. I think that's one of the things I love most about vintage since I became a mom and have little time for anything, let alone for fixing myself up.

Have you learned anything about dressing vintage that makes your life easier? Do you think it takes a lot of time to dress vintage on a daily basis?

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

My New-Old Glasses!!!

We interrupt our regular installment of Workbasket Wednesday for this more important post. Workbasket Wednesday will be back next week at the regularly scheduled time. That is all. 

I got vintage new old-stock cat's eye glasses! Woo Hoo!

Okay, so I know that this may be a slightly vain and glasses geeky post, so please forgive me ahead of time. I've just not been so excited about new glasses in a very long time, if ever.

It all started with our insurance company. Up until this year our insurance hadn't paid anything for new glasses, so I hadn't gotten new ones for about four or five years, even though my prescription had changed a little (I know, I know, but seriously it didn't change that noticeably). This year, for the first time, they would pay half for new lenses. Yippee!

I love how it changes everything about my face.
Well, I had thought I would just select a pair from the regular stock at my optometrists, but I just kept seeing all these cute vintage frames all over other vintage bloggers and pinterest. So, I went to the two places you go to to find unusual vintage stuff: ebay and Etsy.

I searched a surprisingly short time when I found these brand new old-stock (meaning they were never even worn) frames for $29.95 on ebay! I knew almost instantly that these would be the perfect pair of frames for me, and could not wait to get them fitted with my lenses.

I do have some tips for finding your own vintage frames on ebay or Etsy.

1. Be sure that you know the measurement of some frames that fit you and/or of your face. Sounds weird, but if you buy a pair and they don't fit, it would be horrible. Any legitimate seller on ebay or Etsy should be able to provide the measurements or already have them included in the item description.

2. Look at all the pictures, read the descriptions, and ask any questions you might have of the seller. This is sound advice for any purchase from ebay and Etsy. With vintage frames you'll need to look at things like condition of nose pieces, hinges, and any wear that might make the difference between you purchasing them or not. I chose to go with a pair of new old-stock frames specifically for this reason. I knew I would want to be wearing the frames for as long as they would last and on a daily basis, so I decided to go with what had the best chance for lasting a while.

3. Know that buying prescription lenses isn't necessarily cheap and whether or not your insurance will pay for new lenses when the frames were purchased elsewhere and without any insurance. To get an estimate of cost I called my optometrist before I got the frames and also checked out what or if insurance would cover any of the costs. I don't like surprises in cost.

4. Be prepared to wait. It takes longer to get vintage frames fitted with new lenses, even at the one-hour places. The frames usually have to be shipped off somewhere else because the lenses will have to be custom cut to fit the frames. Vintage frames are shaped differently than modern, so they won't keep any lenses in stock that could fit the frames.

5. You will have to sign away any liability for your vintage frames. Because vintage frames are pretty much irreplaceable and they have to have lenses especially cut down to fit them, you will have to sign a waiver saying they aren't responsible if they break your frames while trying to fit the lenses for them. I wasn't too worried because I knew my frames were pretty solid and in good shape. I did wonder though while they were gone whether or not they would be broken.

6. It's a big commitment. Now, if the vintage frames are not the only pair you will have, it won't be such a big deal, but if you plan on wearing your frames on a daily basis know that they will look very vintage, because they are. I mean that you won't have a totally modern look no matter what clothes you wear if you're wearing vintage frames. I knew I wanted a vintage look even for my more modern clothing, so again not a big deal to me, but definitely something to consider.

7. Choose a pair that closely matches frames that suit you already in basic shape and size. If you've worn glasses for any amount of time (I've had them since I was nine), you've probably tried on lots of different style frames. Even if you've never worn glasses before you can use a pair of sunglasses that flatter you for an idea. Think about the colors of the frames as well. Having an unflattering color on your face and so near your eyes could be a disaster. I chose frames that weren't too far from the shape, size, color and basic design of frames I've had in the past and currently wear. For example, I like the contrast of dark frames on my pale skin, so I looked for darker frames. I don't like nose pieces either, so I went for a pair of plastic frames that had no nose pieces. It's all about your personal preference, what flatters you, and what's most comfortable.

I hope this helps and if you're on the fence about vintage frames, I can't tell you how excited I am about mine, and encourage you to take the plunge for yourself. I absolutely love my new old frames!

Check out the awesome cut detail on the aluminum sides!
What do you think of vintage frames? Would you wear them with your daily style?