Holidays · Personal · Vintage

A Vintage Bird Beret and Small Business Saturday

First off, Happy Thanksgiving to all my US readers (and for non-US readers, hope you had a lovely Thursday!). I spent the day relaxing with family, doing just the right amount of cooking (I was responsible for the cranberry sauce and pumpkin cheesecake), and watching Skyfall (which made me miss London like crazy). Of course, I had to get dolled up, so I wore my red shirtdress, new black peacoat, and the latest addition to my wardrobe, my grey bird beret!

Bird hats are one of those quirky vintage style things that I love (Solanah even has a blog devoted to this very topic!), and when I found this hat last weekend while antiquing, I just had to have it. The birdie is made of beads, and there’s a little feather sticking out of the back.

Of course, I had to let Marshy try the hat on:

On a somewhat related note, as we enter the biggest shopping season of the year, I would just like to encourage you to support your local vintage and antique businesses and participate in Small Business Saturday! Part of the reason I’m able to continue with my passion for vintage is due to fabulous local stores that embrace the past.

Finally, I want to extend a huge apology for my lack of posting lately. I realize it’s not very becoming of a sewing blogger to post about their Halloween costume project, and then not blog again until Thanksgiving. To that, I can only say I am genuinely and sincerely sorry. I was almost at the end of finishing the Rachel Berry dress when I tried it on and realized that the waistline was not at my natural waistline, but an inch or so below a la the 1920s. So, the dress is currently in pieces. Besides that, I’ve been dealing with some stressful personal things lately (namely, I’m in the process of moving again for the 2nd time in the past 5 months) and have just not been motivated to sew. I’m hoping this picks up with all the holiday stuff I have planned to sew. 😉

Holidays · Modern Sewing · Musings · Personal

Another Rachel Berry Halloween Dress

First off, my sincerest apologies for such a long absence! Life has been crazy, made more so recently by the fact that my southern grandma has moved in. She’s an amazing woman, who was was born on a farm in Louisiana during the 1920s, grew up during the Great Depression, became a Rosie the Riveter during WWII and settled down and raised a family during the 50s and 60s. She’s basically experienced all of 20th century history and is such a priceless antique! 🙂

Anyways, Halloween is around the corner, and I’m finally starting on my dress. I’ve decided to go as Rachel Berry again this year (you may recall, I was her last year, as well), after seeing this little number:

I mean, she’s wearing a witch’s hat, how could I not!?

Anyways, after searching for quite a while for the perfect black and white striped fabric (most of them are home-dec weight), I finally found this! I just ordered it yesterday, and am hoping to get it in the mail soon!  In the mean time, I mocked up the bodice using Vogue 8723. I was very fortunate that it mostly fit (I just had to take some width out of the bodice). It’s a pretty standard, boring bodice mock-up, so no photos of that. 😉

What about you, readers? Anyone sewing their own Halloween costume?

Holidays · Modern Sewing · Refashion

Happy 4th!

For my US readers out there, happy 4th of July! I had a pretty relaxed day spent with the family, but I did get a chance to do some sewing in the morning. Anyways, I always try to dress both patriotic AND vintage on the 4th, and this year I wanted to wear pedal pushers. Even though I have the Colette Clover, I have so many historic sewing commissions I’m working on for other people that sewing time for me is a rare luxury. Since they really don’t sell pedal pushers these days (and vintage reproduction capris are *so* expensive), I decided to refashion a pair of cropped pants from Banana Republic that I thrifted last week for $4. It was so quick and easy to do, and an hour later, I had a cute new pair of pants!

Don’t worry, I’ll have a tutorial on how to do this up by Friday. 😉

Here are some more snapshots from the day:

My sister, the photographer:

My shoes are just too cute not to show. 😉

I picked some strawberries from my mom’s garden . . .

. . .  to eat with the strawberry shortcakes I made! Strawberry shortcake is one of my favorite desserts, and after trying numerous recipes, thisis definitely my favorite.

Hope everybody else had a lovely day!

Holidays · Modern Sewing · Tutorial

Tutorial: DIY Quilted Coasters (plus Happy Mother’s Day!)

For my US and UK readers, Happy Mother’s Day! Unfortunately, I’m not able to celebrate with my mom today, with how busy school has been (3 more weeks! Gah, I can’t wait to be done!), but I will see her tomorrow, so I whipped up these quilted coasters to give to her (she actually does need coasters, so yay for practical gifts!). They are *so* easy to put together, so I thought I would write a little tutorial for you all. Not only are they a really quick project (I made a set of 4 in less than an hour), they also are a great way to use up your scraps, since you don’t need that much fabric. So, with that in mind, on to the tutorial!

First, gather your supplies:

Next, cut your fabric and batting. I did 4.5″ squares for the fabric and 4″ squares for the batting, but you can change these proportions depending on what size you want for your coasters. For every coaster, you will need 2 squares of fabric, and 1 square of batting.

With right sides together, pin 2 squares together. Stitch on 3 sides using a 1/4″ seam allowance, leaving one side open. Clip corners.  Press, and turn right-side-out. Use a point turner to make crisp corners, and press again.

On the unsewn end, fold the raw edges 1/4″ to the inside. Put one of the squares of batting inside (trim if necessary to get the batting to lay flat inside), getting it as snug into the corners as you can.

Pin the edge closed. Stitch 1/8″ away from the edge and all around the edges of the coaster. Clip threads. Stitch 1/4″ away from the first line of stitching. Clip threads and press.

Repeat for however many coasters you want!

1850s · Holidays · Reenactments

1859 Valentine’s Day Tea

First off, I want to say a big “thank you!” to all my readers out there for being patient while I’ve been absent from here and dealing with some icky personal things. I finally feel like I’m getting back to some semblance of normalcy, even if it is a new normal.

So, today is Valentine’s Day, and instead of a post about how I’m spending Single’s Awareness Day this year (which, for those curious, will probably involve copious amounts of ice cream eating with my good friends Ben & Jerry accompanied by watching Glee and then New Girl), I thought I would post about this past weekend’s reenactment, the 1859 Valentine’s Day Tea!

So, every February at Fort Steilacoom we have a tea fundraiser, and this year, the organizers decided to go with a Valentine’s Day theme, since the day of the tea and the holiday are so close together.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get any photos of the event itself, as it’s a first-person event and I was running a bit late in helping the other gals get ready upstairs. But, I did get a few photos after the event on the porch.

For this event, I wore my Neopolitan plaid wool dress, since it has pink in it and I thought that was fitting for Valentine’s Day. I portrayed Susanna Kincaid Thompson, an American settler from Kentucky who was married to a local businessman who owned 3 hotels in the area. Fortunately, I only had one slip-up during the event, which happened when the event organizer came up to the table that I was at (each reenactor sits with members of the public during the event as part of the socializing during the tea) and asked me how my “daughter” was. Being a single, childless woman in the 21st century, I was shocked a bit at first, but then remembered that Susanna had a 2 year-old daughter in 1860, meaning that she had a 1 year-old daughter in 1859. Silly me forgot to do the math on that one. Ooops. 😉

My bestie, Nona, was able to make it up from school down in Oregon to attend.

All in all, it was a fabulous reenactment that involved lots of tea-drinking, dessert-eating, and socializing, and that resulted in some really neat developments that I hope to talk about here soon (I don’t want to jinx it!).  

Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone!

Commission · Holidays

Happy New Year!

Happy 2012 readers! I realize that we’re 6 days into a new year already, but after flying home from New York this past weekend followed by starting up school again, life has been a bit hectic this past week, and I finally feel that I’m settling back into a routine.

Right, so New York. I had a fabulous time there, seeing the handsome manfriend, even if it was only for a week.

On the boardwalk in Staten Island. Yeah, he's cute . . . .

While we didn’t make it to Mood, we still did fabulous things like visiting Times Square and seeing a Broadway Show (we saw Avenue Q, which I had never heard of before but which I highly, highly recommend! It was hysterical, although *ahem* a bit more for mature audiences, if you catch my drift).

So, what does 2012 hold for me? Lots of sewing, of course! I’m also interning at the living history museum that I volunteer at and am working on an exhibit about women in the fur trade. Oh, and I graduate in June and then get to enter the adult world and try to find a full-time job. Scary!

Wing It On Dress, image from ModCloth

Oh, and since this is a sewing blog, I should probably talk about that. Currently, I’m working on making a repro of a Modcloth dress for a gal that I went to HS with. She does professional photography and in exchange for making her the dress has agreed to take photos of me in my sewing creations for my portfolio. Needless to say, I am so stoked about collaborating in this way with her! Also, I have the ladies tea next month, and I may try to make another late 1850s dress, but we’ll see how that goes. 😉

Anyways, best wishes to you and yours in 2012! Oh, and happy sewing! I can’t wait to see all the fabulous creations that everyone comes up with this year!