Saturday, July 31, 2010

If You Love the Fashions of the 1900's and 1910's ... or, Thank You Wilhelmina

I wasn't planning to write an inspiration post tonight but then I found that the wonderful Wilhelmina of Wilhelmina's Antique Fashion has posted a 1900's and 1910's post for me. This was such a sweet and unexpected little gift.

Please check out her blog if you haven't discovered it already. She chooses lovely photos and often includes detailed close-ups, which are great for research. BTW, she covers fashion from 1200 to 1959 so she has a little something for just about everyone intrested in vintage fashion and vintage sewing.

Wedding Gown c. 1907 from Wilhelmina's blog.

Inspired by the photos on her post, I want to share with you and her a few gowns I love from the Antique and Vintage Dress Gallery. They have many museum quality fashions and they include many detailed photos of each outfit.

This is just a little tease:

A Beer of Paris gown from 1905. This is one of two photos of the gown on the original owner. Notice that she is posing on a lion's hide rug. When you see the gown as it is now, notice how the sleeves have been altered and the bodice embellished a bit. Perhaps she had the dress "updated".

This gorgeous gown from 1910 was made for Madame de Bittencourt for a Regency Era costume ball. It's great to see the Edwardian interpretation. Please check out the embroidery and rhinestone embellishments.

<--- A pink assymetrical evening gown with beautiful lace and beading.

This La Femme Chic gown from 1917 is another gown inspired by a past era - "Celtic" or "Medievil." --->

There are many more beautiful fashions on this site, dating from as early as 1750, but I am tired and must get some sleep.

Sweet dreams.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

La Belle Epoque and Edwardian Era - The Luna Moth Dress by Dreamstress

For those who love these eras and who are not afraid to sew inspired gowns and outfits, please see The Dreamstress. I mentioned her dress in my last post on this era but I think she deserves her own post.

Not only has she created a beautiful gown, but she has posted her diary of its creation from inspiration to completion ... well, almost done.

Posts include (this is not the complete list):
Initial Inspiration
Initial Design Sketch
Draping the Fabric and the Toile
Under Support and Construction
The Beading
Almost Done

I do not know Leihomi Oakes but I love her blog and I am really grateful that she takes the time to outline the process. She also has great research links and photos of period gowns.

I'll definitely be using this diary as an inspiration and guide when I get the courage to tackle this era.

If you like this post, please take a look at my other posts on these eras.

Happy Sewing!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Past is Prologue or ... Everything Old Is New Again

I was going to make this part of an inspiration post but I am curious to see if anyone can accurately date this wonderful photo.

Note: If you know this celebrity, please wait to see if anyone can guess the era just from the photo.

It is posted here in black and white so that the colors and/or glitz will not give the era away?

What do you think? When was this taken?

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Inspirational Quotes ... Getting Started and Making Change

"The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming task into small manageable tasks, and then starting on the first one.

Mark Twain

Simple, but true.
What inspires you?

Monday, July 19, 2010

100 Days Challenge - Belief and Trust

Please Note: I started my 100 Days Challenge on May 25, 2010 but you can start any time. I hope you'll join me in working towards positive change. My original post on my 100 Days Challenge will explain what I am doing and how I chose my challenge.

Today is the 56th day, the end of the 8th week, of my challenge. I'm a little more than halfway through and I have practiced my new habit 47 days out of 56, a little less than six days out of seven. Not bad.

Well, I can say that I recommend this kind of challenge to anyone working to make changes in their life and struggling with it. Though this is still a challenge for me, -- no, because this is still challenge for me -- I am learning things about myself that I need to know.

I have learned about belief, my belief - or lack of - in myself and my ability to change. I have found that I do not believe I can make all of these changes for good in my life. Even though the proof is around me that change is possible; even though I know, intellectually, that I have not set my sights too high.

This was surprising to me. It came to me while working on my challenge. I had the thought that I would not improve my health, lose weight, etc. I can see improvement in my health and my strength since I started this challenge, even though it takes less than ten minutes out of my day. I've also been making other changes that will help me to achieve my goals. Yet, I still don't believe. What is this about?

It is about the past. I've worked to make change in the past. I've succeeded in making some changes and most people consider me successful but I have let myself down in many ways. So I have stopped believing. I no longer trust myself. there is a part of me that believes I will let myself down yet again.

Instead of feeling bad about this, I actually feel pretty good because I now understand something about myself that I didn't before. This is a problem I can work to solve. Trust has to be earned, even trust in self. I need to work to prove to myself that I can be trusted again, trusted to change my habits for the better and to actively and successfully pursue my goals. As I rebuild this trust in myself, I know I will rebuild the belief in myself as well. I'm feeling very grateful that I made this challenge 100 days; it really gives me time to prove to myself that I can stay committed and keep my word to myself.

To those who say, "the past is past, just leave it there", I envy you but I can't agree with you. Would you let someone into your home who had a habit of stealing something each time they visited you? Would you continue to patronize a gas station after you found out they had purposely mis-calibrated the gas meters in order to charge more? No, you probably wouldn't. You would use past behavior as your guide until the behavior changed and then you would use the new past behavior as a guide. That's what I do at least. Now I'm doing it to myself.

Sometimes the work comes before the inspiration.

Have you experienced anything like this? How did you or are you handling it?

I can do it! You can do it! We can do it!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Giveaways in Blogland ... Check these out!

I just found out a won my first giveaway from Lisette at What Would Nancy Drew Wear? It's such a great feeling and I'm really looking forward to receiving the two remnant pieces. I'm planning to use them to make accent pipining.

So, in the spirit of passing on the good fortune, here are some giveaways you should check out:

Long & Winding Bobbin - Vintage Patterns Giveaway
Miss Dandy - $25.00 gift certificate Giveaway
Fireflies & Jelly Beans - Jewelry Giveaway

Good Luck!

P.S. I know there are lots of great tutorials in cyberspace but I want to share three on piping that I like:

How to Make Your Own Piping from Warehouse Fabrics
Sewing 101: Piping from Design Sponge
How to Sew Piping Into Your Bag from U*Handbag

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

My First Fabric Haul (in years) Leads to the Beginning of a SWAP

Well, the fates have conspired ... not against me or for me ... just conspired. I've been organizing my sewing supplies and collecting the old fabric from sewing projects never sewn, determined not to buy more fabric until I get through some of the old stash.

But ... I took a left when I usually walk straight ... literally. I was working downtown this morning and things went faster and smoother than I expected. I had more time between appointments and I was walking my usual route when I decided to take a left instead of continuing down the street. And there, in the middle of the block, were two little fabric stores, side by side.

I had a little time. I haven't been in a fabric store in at least five years. I thought it would be nice to get a feel for things to come. Can you say "kid in a candy shop.?"

The first store was overwhelming: huge bolts of fabrics; a big barrel of vintage buttons and racks of new buttons, fasteners, notions; beads and yarn, trims and threads. The border fabrics and African prints had me dizzy with the possibilities. I took the store's card and manage to make it out the door with my wallet still in my bag.

Feeling confident, I walked into the second store to more of the same ...and beads. But I have plenty of beads. So, I began to walk through the rows of fabrics, daydreaming of a closet filled with my handmade clothes. They were just daydreams until ... I passed the rack of remnents ... 75% off. Oh my!

No, it didn't matter. After all, I have fabric at home and my first project is planned, a yellow stretch terry top.

And the fates stepped in again. You see, before leaving the house I had taken most of the money out of my wallet. With what I had planned for the day I knew I couldn't spend more than $20.00 on fabric and what would I find for $20.00 ... actually for $17.37?

Behold, clockwise from top left, 1 1/2 yards of 45" 100% cotton print, 4 yards of 60" wide 100% rayon challis floral print (in two pieces)and 2 yards of 45" wide poly/cotton rainbow striped fabric.

I say the fates stepped in again because if I hadn't taken that money out of my wallet, I would have spent it all. There was one other piece of the rayon challis and two of the poly/cotton blend. And there were so many other pieces I was just itching to pick up. But for $17.37 I feel pretty guilt-free.

I grabbed a quick lunch and finished my work day and rushed home. I couldn't wait to pick out patterns. I know, I'm getting ahead of myself ... or, I'm creating a SWAP. Oh, that sounds - I mean is - much better.

The early 1990's won the cotton print, McCall's 5372.

I have just enough for view E, the bottom left and middle views but I would love to add a short sleeve to that. We'll see.

The 1910's won the poly/cotton stripe, Mary Manton 9498.

I love this pattern and could make either view with the amount of fabric I have. But I think I will use a different fabric, perhaps a lace or border fabric for the square collar and cuffs. The best thing is that this is a larger size pattern which will make the alterations easier for me.

I haven't come up with the patterns for the rayon challis. At first I thought I would make a simple shell and cardigan but then I unfolded the pattern and it made me think of postcards of Southern California and Hawaii before WWII. It drapes so beautifully. A 1930's dress? A 1940's dress? skirt and top?

I welcome your suggestions and please don't forget to vote on the pattern for my second - which may become my third - project here. I'm trying to break the tie.

Happy Sewing!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Edwardian Era and La Belle Epoque - Sewing Inspiration

Though I'm a long way from tackling an outfit from this wonderful era, it is hot and rainy today and I need a little inspiration. So off I go into cysperspace, circa 1910's ...

Beaded Cotton Gauze Dress, c. 1914 - 1916. This was posted at the Past Perfect Vintage Blog. As I was searching for inspiration, I saw that this post from 2008, which happened to be posted on the day after a rainy day.

Gowns of Queen Maud of Norway, c. 1910 - 1913.

Dr. Charlotte Hawkins Brown on her wedding day, 1912. I found this photo and a brief bio of this wonderful woman on the Mulatto Diaries blog.

Olga Nicolaevna Romanov, c. 1913. -->

Tea Gown, c. 1910's from The Great Basin Costume Society blog.

A 1912 Ball Gown also shown on The Great Basin Costume Society blog.

Irene Castle in a Tea Gown, c. 1914.

The Tunic Dress, c. 1912. You can see more photos and a detailed description of this dress at the FIDM Museum Blog.

<-- Worth Gown, c. 1907 - 1910.

The wonderful Dreamstress posted these on her blog from the Brooklyn Museum Collection. Click on the link to see the other great photos she has posted.

Worth Gown, c. 1910.-->

Actually, the Dreamstress is the perfect conclusion to my search for inspiration on a rainy day. If you love this era, you should check out the making of her Luna Moth Gown, inspired by this era.

I hope you've enjoyed this little stroll into vintage wonderland. These are only a handful of the beautiful fashions from this era. I do feel inspired and have set a new goal for myself:

To sew a gown inspired by this era to wear on New Year's Eve 2011.

That gives me a little less than a year-and-a-half to develop the skills to make the gown and to develop enough socials skills to be invited to the kind of party where I can wear it. (hehehe)

For now, it's time to back up my computer and do some house work.

I'd love to see your inspiration photos or your sewing projects.

Happy Sewing!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Making Time for Sewing - Stretch Knit and Bias Tape Tutorials

My organizing is taking longer than I thought, though I have managed to organize my notions. That was a real treat. I had no idea how much I have. At this point, the only things I may need to buy for my stretch knit top are needles.

It looks like I will not be ready to sew until next weekend, so I thought I'd take a little time to search out tutorials, which may be useful to me in making my stretch knit top. I am treating myself as a beginner since it has been so long since I have made anything. Through my search, my respect for the online sewing community has expanded enormously. I am so grateful to the many seamstresses and home sewers who are sharing their knowledge.

Here are the tutorials I found:

A Primer on Sewing Knits from Threads Magazine

Sewing with Knits from Patterns by Figgy's

From -
Sewing with Knit Fabrics
Cutting out a Pattern Using Knit Fabric
Shoulder Seams
Knit Neckline - Sewing "In-the-Round"
Inserting Arms using Knit Fabrics
Finishing Knit Top

Tips for Working with Knits & Mock-Coverstitch Tutorial from Sew, Mama Sew!

Knit Neckline from The Sewing Divas

How to Make Bias Tape from Collette Patterns

From Amanda's Adventures in Sewing
Bias Seam Tutorial
Bias Tape Covered Seam Tutorial
Bias Tape Finish for Necklines and Armholes

Sew Your Own Ribbing Fabric from The Sewing Divas

I hope you find these helpful too. And, please stop by these sites and blogs to see what they are up to now.

Happy Sewing!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Sewing Pattern Giveaway - Retro 30's - 40s - 50's - 60's - 70's

I hope that all in the USA had a wonderful July 4th and to those in the rest of the world, I hope you had a great weekend.

I'll be posting later this week but, in the mean time, I wanted to tell you about a great pattern giveaway at My Happy Sewing Place.

Debi, who has a great blog, is giving away one pattern from each decade between the 1930's and the 1970's. Check out the rules here to enter. I've included two photos but there are five patterns up for the giveaway. Don't wait. The deadline is tomorrow night.

Happy Sewing!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Inspirational Quotes ...Positive Thinking

"It takes but one positive thought when given a chance to survive and thrive to overpower an entire army of negative thoughts."
Robert H. Schuller