Thursday, February 25, 2010

Ms. January

Inspired by one of my favorite sewing books, "The Complete Book of Sewing" by Constance Talbot published in 1943, I made a 2010 'accessories calendar'.  Complete with a new idea/accessory for each month. 

I'm a little bit behind but am really enjoying putting these together!  So, I am happy to present to you, Ms. January...

Ms. January has her initials embroidered onto a blouse in a color complimenting her skirt.

The inspiration for Ms. January is my grandmother, Marvel and a photo of her from high school in 1942 (she is still as beautiful today!):

Can you see her embroidered blouse?  So cute!  And don't you love her hair?  I must have her show me how she did it!
Here's my version (the embroidered letters are much smaller and my blouse is a darker color):

A close up of the blouse in color:
I found the blouse at a charity shop and then had a local shop in St. Andrews do the embroidery.  It is so great, I am hoping to get lots more blouses done!  
Here's a close-up of the hair with the crazy curls:

I followed this pin-curl set I found on the Beauty is a Thing of the Past blog.  It definitely made my hair very curly!  Though in the future, I probably won't include so much hair in the bang set (I ended up pinning half the bangs into the side rolls). 
And the whole outfit with the skirt I recently made:
Stay tuned for Ms. February and Ms. March (hopefully both in March!) :-)

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

New Haircut Day 2

How am feeling about my new haircut?  I'm loving it!!  Though, I must admit that it feels really strange to have such short hair.

There was still a lot of body left in my hair from the hot roller curls done at the salon so I put it up in two small rolls:

And here's a picture of the hair without any curl or styling:

You can definitely see all the many layers but it is pretty short!!

I'm trying a pincurl set tonight (sleepin' in a 'do rag) :-)  I just have to say that I have no idea how anyone can do straight rows of pincurls.  I feel very pincurl challenged because they are all over the place!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

My vintage inspired haircut!

I've been wanting to cut my hair for awhile--it's just gotten too long to do some of the vintage inspired hairstyles that I adore!

Today I went and got my haircut and styled at the fabulous Scott Robb Hairdressing in Falkland, Scotland.  Alex, my stylist did such an amazing job!!

Ok, here's a photo of my long locks before the cut:


I decided to get the "Middy" haircut.  The 1940's Hairstyles book gives directions for the cut and says it is... "a very versatile length, the hair is cut 4 inches long.  This length became popular during the war with women who refused to cut their hair too short but still wanted to show support for the war effort.  Considered a medium cut, this was the most popular length of the decade.  It offered the most flexibility in styling techniques and could easily be worn up or down without much effort."

Here's more details on the cut (again from the 1940's hairstyles book):


Alex did an amazing job styling my hair with two reverse rolls (joining as one) in the front and two rolls on the side and a couple in the back:

I can't wait to play around with pincurls and different 40's styles!!!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Perfect Day for the New Outfit

Today was an absolutely beautiful day for a photo shoot of the new outfit!  I made a bolero from the following pattern (Simplicity 3879):

The bolero was very easy to make and I definitely want to make more!  The only alteration I made was to shorten the sleeves so that the winged cuffs sit a bit higher on my arms.

I used this amazing cotton leaf-patterned fabric (the leaves are outlined in gold)...It's a busy fabric but absolutely gorgeous:


I'm also making the halter top from that pattern in the same purple fabric that I recently used to make a 1940's skirt.  I originally cut out the full skirt from the Simplicity pattern above but the more I thought about it, I realised I wanted more of a pencil skirt shape.  I searched through all my patterns to see if I had a skirt pattern that I could use with the already cut out material.  The only pattern I had that would fit was the skirt from this Butterick dress pattern (I used the slim skirt on the right):

I ended up using the original waistband that I had cut out from the Simplicity pattern and that worked really well to provide a thicker waistband (since the Butterick skirt didn't have one because it's really part of a dress and not a separate skirt pattern at all).  I also did not like the way the darts fit on this skirt so I ended up making two small pleats on each side of the skirt front.  I also ended up tapering the skirt as I sewed down so that it was a bit narrower at the hem.

Lastly, I was looking in one of my favorite stores, Monsoon, and came across a great gold blouse that they had on the clearance rack.  I think it looks perfect with the outfit!!

Here I am in the whole outfit and out and about in our wonderful small historic village in Scotland:



Love the winged tip cuffs!

The hair roll I learned to do from Casey's 40's hairstyle tutorial.  The lipstick is also new from Boots Pharmacy in the shade called "Retro"!


Lovely little lane in our town...

A close-up of the Monsoon blouse. Isn't it cute?  Reminds me of those keyhole blouses from the 40's.

The whole outfit.  Ah, I am so happy with the way it turned we just need some warm weather (it's about 40 degrees in these photos despite the sunshine!!!)


Saturday, February 20, 2010

Fit Issues: What do you think?

Remember the first dress I made?  I've been looking back at some of the pictures and realised there may be a fit issue (or several) but not quite sure how to remedy it.  I am hoping some of you with more sewing experience can help give me some advice!

Here's me in the dress without a belt:
Notice the wrinkles in the bodice?  Also how it is fairly low cut for a 40's/50's dress?  I am wondering if I need to take it in or take the bodice up at the shoulders??

I also still need to hem the dress (maybe up 2 inches or so??)
Also, I don't know if I did the collar right...Here's the original pattern:

The pattern says it's a 'stand-up' collar.  I am wondering if my interfacing is too heavy?  Or I didn't sew enough of the collar into the neck of the dress?  Or is it just an issue of ironing to roll a bit more?
Lastly, here is the back (note: I am wearing a belt):

Again, there is an issue fit with the bodice that I think is affecting both the front and the back.  What do you think?  Do I need to put a dart somewhere?  Take it in or up?
Also notice how the winged cuffs are a bit droopy...interface too heavy?  Thoughts on that?  Should I take the sleeves up a bit too so that the cuff sit higher up?
Thanks everyone!


Tuesday, February 16, 2010

My first homemade present

One of my resolutions this year is to make more homemade gifts for the people I love.  My sister had her birthday this last week and I was very excited to make her a present!  I found a great tutorial for making cloth coasters.  I was thinking of doing an applique as they did in the tutorial but instead I found some amazing fabric with beautiful flowers.  Each coaster features one of the flowers and they are in similar colors of white and blue:


Not too bad for my first homemade gift!  I learned a lot about sewing an invisible seam from the outside to finish off the coaster.  
Here they are all wrapped up:

There are two more birthdays in March that I am plotting and planning for :-)

I haven't forgotten about my new outfit post--I really want to take some pictures outside this time in our lovely little I promise it will be soon!

Happy sewing everyone!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day

Here's a sweet Valentine's card that my great aunt had:


Thursday, February 11, 2010

Sneak Peek

Sorry for the lack of posting this last week. Between feeling under the weather and having our camera break, it hasn't been a blog-friendly week!  But I am happy to say that we just got our new camera and I can't wait to take it out this weekend for a photo shoot to show you my new outfit!

For now a little sneak peak...

I've been working on a 1950's outfit with a bolero and matching skirt.  The bolero is from this pattern:

I didn't use the skirt from this pattern and instead used the skirt from another dress pattern--so it's more like a pencil skirt.  I made them both from this amazing cotton print fabric:

I absolutely love all the colors and the gold tone to the fabric!

That's just a sneak peek of what's brewing around here.  Can't wait to model it for you all!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Fashion Inspiration: 1938 Frocks

Not to sound like a broken record, but have I told you how much I love McCall patterns?  This week's fashion inspiration comes from the October 1938 McCall's magazine.


Check out these beauties!!  The one on the left is McCall 9918 and according to McCall's magazine: "Peacock is the new accessory color to use with black.  A little is smarter than a lot, and in the dress above we used only a little--to face its long narrow collar, cut in one with the yoke."

The dress in the middle (my favorite!!) is McCall 9896: "Tall panels of contrasting color make fall dresses look exciting.  Put the darker shade outside, as in the blue-and-wine frock, for slimmest effect.  This dress has the neckline for a pretty neck."

The last dress is McCall 9932:" Silk-and-tinsel brocades are lovelier than ever.  The brown-and-gold dress is made of this fabric.  After the fabric, the yoke is the most important point.  Everything has yokes this year."

Which is your favorite?


Thursday, February 4, 2010

Family Fun

My dad recently sent me a picture of our family taken in 1907.  This picture includes my Great Grandma and Grandpa and their friends.  Isn't it great?  I absolutely adore everything about this photo.  It looks like they were having a fun time together eating watermelon and enjoying the sunshine.....I love the woman on the left who is looking a bit sheepish and the guys on the right who are very dashing.  I need to find out exactly who everyone is in the photo.

I think it's a bit funny that the picture is crooked and the heads cut off--taking those type of pictures must be a family trait!  A few of the women are crouching down like they know the person taking the picture isn't a good photographer! hahaha.


Wednesday, February 3, 2010

I heart McCall

I think I'm in love....with vintage McCall patterns.  Turns out the McCall pattern company was founded in 1870.  The Cemetarian vintage pattern website had some interesting information on the history of the McCall company.  It was started by a Scottish guy named James McCall (I knew there was a reason I felt drawn to these patterns!).  Mr. McCall worked as a U.S. agent for the English pattern company 'The Royal Chart' in NYC.  I've never seen any of the Royal Chart patterns...have you?

Mr. McCall then began to design his own patterns and published a magazine called "The Queen" to promote and advertise the patterns.  James McCall passed away in 1884 but his company has continued to this day.  The magazine changed its name to "The Queen of Fashion" during this time period.  You can view pages from the June 1905 'The Queen of Fashion' magazine here.

What I especially love about the McCall patterns is that they are in beautiful color.  The McCall pattern company was one of the first that made colored covers for their patterns (in 1920's!) and they made printed patterns even before then (1919).  They are so lovely.  Here is a pattern from 1939 I got for my birthday that I can't wait to make up:

The other great thing about vintage McCall patterns?  They are almost all dated with the copyright year they were produced.  I find this really helpful in terms of dating fashions.  I've run across a few that are undated and I'm not sure if there is a rhyme or reason to this.  But as far as I know, they are the only pattern company to have consistently dated their patterns.

Lastly, I just love their designs.  They seem to fit my tastes really well. I wonder if there was a lot of brand loyalty with patterns back in the day?  I definitely consider myself a McCall gal.  Is there a vintage pattern company that you feel drawn to?
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