Summer Sewing

One of my goals for this summer is to sew as much as possible. And since I am a terrible procrastinator, this hasn’t happened very much. I did, however, get a pair of shorts sewn.

First showing project in a long time. I feel so 50’s when I wear these!

Well, shorts are practical for about 3 months in Wisconsin.
I was out shopping with my mom and grandma when I had a whim to go to the fabric store. Lucky me found out that there was a sale on Simplicity Patterns. $1 each! So, knowing that a vintage reproduction pattern that I have been coveting is a Simplicity pattern, I snapped it up. Along with two other vintage reproduction patterns.

The three patterns that I picked up. The top two are 1940’s style, the bottom is 1960’s.

I’ve been working on the top pattern’s shirt for the past couple weeks. I’m not very good at sitting down and doing it all in one or two days. I figured this is OK, because it’s a 3/4 length sleeve that I won’t be wearing until this fall.

A better photo of the pattern I’m currently making. The fabric that I picked out is an embroidered batik, and it makes me feel like a fortune teller.

I’m actually really excited to learn how to do a lot more sewing techniques. So far with this blouse I have hand-stitched the neckline. I used to be horrible at hand stitching, so I avoided it as much as I could. I realize I do need to know how to hand stitch, and the only way I’m going to become better at it is by practicing.

I’m also becoming a fan of darts. I worked with them in the shorts I made last month, and now I’ve put in eight darts (all in the sleeves) for the blouse.

I think my next project will be a skirt. The other 1940’s pattern has a skirt that has a darling waistband that is scalloped. Hopefully by the time I finish the skirt, I’ll be ready to make some Katherine Hepburn-style trousers.

1910s Hairstyles: A Short Compendium

Last week I mentioned that a friend of mine would be hosting a 1912 Titanic themed murder mystery party at the end of July. Since I believe it’s never too early to start planning for themed murder mystery parties, I’ve already began to research hairstyles. It’s really best to start from the top.

A drawing by Charles Dana Gibson. This shows the basic hairstyle that the Gibson Girl wore. From Loyola University.

The first hairstyle that I am thinking of going with is a Gibson Girl hairstyle. The Gibson Girl was created in the late 1890s by Charles Dana Gibson, and embodied the ideal woman of the turn-of-the-century. Gibson called her ‘the American girl to all the world.” The Gibson Girl was supposedly based off of Evelyn Nesbit, a artists model and chorus girl from that time. Nesbit had quite the life, and rumor has it that L.M. Montgomery used her as an inspiration for Anne Shirley of Anne of Green Gables fame.

Evelyn Nesbit at age 17. Said to be the model and inspiration for the first Gibson Girl. From Wikipedia.

Since I’m not the best at figuring out how to do hair (and by “not the best”, I mean I wear my hair the same all year long), I found this lovely tutorial for a Gibson Girl hair style on Locks of Elegance.

I think this turned out well on my hair, despite it being my first time trying this tutorial. I don’t have the thickest hair, so it may be best if I gave my hair a little curl before trying it again. It’s a little messy, but I think it gives me a mischievous “first class – Nouveau Riche” look.

My first try doing a “Gibson Girl” hairstyle. I have very fine hair, so this look isn’t as full as a real Gibson Girl look.

An easier version of this hairstyle is from Simply Stardust. I’ve done this version many times before, and it’s a really easy, really nice hair-do. I think for dress-up parties it needs some dressing up itself, though.

I like to dress up the “Simple Gibson Tuck” with a bejeweled comb. Or you could choose flowers. Whatever suits your fancy.

Historical Hairstyles is a nice blog for looking at different hair from all eras. It doesn’t have very many tutorials, but it’s a good source for ideas.

Finally, here are too hairstyles that I think would look really nice and really unusual for a theme party.

Irene Castle, circa 1910. I really love that she was one of the first women to have a bob. This could be easily done on shorter hair with a curling iron, and longer hair with a few tricks and tucks. From Pinterest.

 

Wedding site BHLDN has a nice look-book with downloadable tutorials on how to create these hairstyles. This one is very romantic and could easily be modified (a ribbon around the head instead of a feather) to look Edwardian.

 

Summer Days

Now that summer may actually be in full swing for most people, I’d like to talk a little about my goals for this summer. I’m excited for this summer. Once I’m done with the mass media ethics class I’m taking I’m hoping on volunteering more at the local museum, where I mostly volunteer as a soda jerk. It’s lots of fun, but on slow days I have to make sure that I bring something to read or write.

Besides my class and my volunteer job, I have a lot planned that I want to do this summer. Should we start with my reading goals?

Here’s four books off of my reading list. I’ve managed to make it through two other books. Lots to go!

My big reading list book is Ulysses. I’ve read a lot of James Joyce’s short stories, but only read the first two pages of Ulysses before this. I think I may have grown into this book now, as opposed to when I was 17. Have any of you read Ulysses? What did you think?

I have a lot of mysteries on my reading list this summer. It’s one of my favorite genre of books. Elizabeth Peters and her Amelia Peabody series are great.

And then I have my sewing projects. I’m currently working on a pair of short. The pattern is from the 1970s, but I think they have a 1950s style to them.

The shorts pattern cover and fabric. I think this print is just great. Who else has shorts like that?

I’m currently just basting together the patterned fabric and the lining, but I’m hoping that this weekend I’ll be able to work some more on them.

My other sewing projects include a lovely 1952 blouse that I got at our gigantic antique store in Eau Claire. It looks simple enough to make, so I might be doing that once I get my shorts finished. I also have a 1912 themed party that I’ll be attending in late July, and even though I have a 1912 dinner dress that my mom made me a long time ago, I want sew up something for that party.

A mood board of what I’m thinking of sewing for a 1912 themed murder mystery party. 1 and 2 from OMG That Dress, 3 from Mothic Flights and Flutterings

I’m partial to the Irene Castle dress. It may be the fact that it looks so much more cooler and comfortable than the other two. I’m not sure if my friend has air conditioning at his house, so it might be in my best interest to go with something with not sleeves to stay cool. My guess is deciding on a costume will be a lot easier once I get my character.

I’m working as much as possible on my writing this summer.

And finally, there’s writing. I’m currently working on what is supposed to be my historical mystery novel. It’s chugging along better than I had planned, which makes me happy. Other than this, I do want to do some family research and interview my grandpa and grandma. I think a written family history would be great, especially with the stories that my grandparents tell. I also have a couple ideas for scripts floating around, so I might have to do some outlining of those this summer.

I’m excited for the rest of this summer, and even though I’d love to be back at UW-Eau Claire, I don’t want July and August to  go by too fast.

Recipes from 1929

I’ve had this little McCall’s magazine for about a year now. I really enjoy looking at magazines in general, and getting my hands on an old magazine is even better.

McCall’s magazine October 1929

McCall’s might be a pattern maker, but I think the company really likes to think about food, too. There’s at least a dozen recipe pages written for the magazine, and then another dozen or so advertisements that contain recipes one way or another.

A Calumet baking powder ad that contains a recipe for coconut cake. Yum!

I really think this recipe for a Coconut Cake sounds excellent. And the drawing is really charming.

Coconut Cake (3 eggs)

2 cups sifted Swans Down Cake flour

2 teaspoons Calumet Baking Powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

2/3 cup butter or other shortening

1 cup sugar

3 eggs, unbeaten

1/3 cup milk

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 can (1 1/2 cups) Baker’s Coconut, Southern Style

Sift flour once, measure, add baking powder and salt, and sift together three times. Cream butter throughly, add sugar gradually and cream after each addition. Add flour alternately with milk, a small amount at a time. Beat well after each addition. Add vanilla. Bake in two greased 9-inch layer pans, 25 to 30 minutes in moderate oven (375°F). Spread boiled frosting between layers and on top and side of cake. Sprinkle thickly with coconut while frosting is still soft. Double the recipe for three 10-inch layers.

A Crisco ad with recipes for different cakes (made with Crisco, of course).

This advertisement for Crisco has five different recipes (all made with Crisco!), but what really caught my attention is the descriptions before each recipe.

Try this on your husband

There’s at least one man in every family who thinks it isn’t masculine to like sweets. But a cake like this flavored with coffee and put together with Crisco, whose own pure flavor allows the taste of the coffee to predominate, is truly a “man’s cake”.

Perhaps Ramses II ate some of these

“The charming art of cake baking probably originated with the Egyptians,” says an old cook book called “The Pantropheon or the History of Food.” Gorgeously sweet and filled with spices were these Egyptian cakes. Can’t you imagine an old Egyptian cook puzzling out the hieroglyphs which meant Yum Yum Gems? And then hunting around for the spiciest spices, the sweetest honey and a delicate shortening. No hunting around for a delicate shortening now–for your corner grocer has Crisco with its fresh, sweet flavor, sealed in an air-tight can, a fresher, sweeter flavor than you ever imagined a shortening could have!

The copy writers for this Crisco advertisement probably had a lot of fun. And the ad worked on me! I stopped and read when I saw “Perhaps Ramses II ate some of these.”

“Who could resist dainty salads like these?” Made with canned asparagus. I actually could resist them, thank-you-very-much.

This is a less appetising advertisement. Asparagus is one of my favorite vegetables, but canned asparagus doesn’t look too good. But then maybe I’m just stuck on how good the cakes look.

A recipe for Uncooked Fondant. The colors on this drawing are very pretty. I’m wishing that I had some pink mixing bowls iwth purple stripes.

Where is the magical place where you can mail in for the recipe booklet 83 years later? Even though I’d most likely have thousands of dollars spent on mail in dress patterns, I sure would like to have some vintage recipe booklets.

Uncooked Fondant

Basic Recipe

1 1/4 cups sifted confectioner’s sugar

1/4 cup Eagle Brand Condensed Milk

Blend sifted confectioner’s sugar gradually into Condensed Milk, using a fork. During the mixing add desired flavoring—Vanilla, maple, peppermint, wintergreen, orange, coffee, cinnamon, etc.

From this Basic Fondant make Cream Mints…Nut Bonbons…French Fruit Slices…Stuffed Dates…Stuffed Prunes…Coconut Patties…Maple Wafers…and many others.

Campbell’s Soup, 1929 edition.

And, to round it all off, a Campbell’s soup advertisement. The yellow sun ray-esque background against the red tomato is really striking.

Let’s Ketchup!

I apologize for the pun. I couldn’t help myself.

I’m going to keep this post short, which seems like a rip-off, since I haven’t posted in a couple of weeks, but life (and EC) has just been so darn busy. I’ll leave you with some photos to let you see what I’ve been up to the past few weeks.

Better than Instagram! My grandpa had some filters for his old camera, and let me borrow them to experiment with. This is using a orange vignette filter with a six photo prism.

This is another filter photo. This time with just a plain vignette filter.

This is Pokey. He is my Human Sexual Biology professor’s tortoise. He visited my class one day and I’m pretty sure it’s unanimous that tortoises are about as cool an animal as there is.

Wednesday I went to a performance of “Viver Brasil:Feet on the Ground” to get pictures for the newspaper and to cover it for EC’s radio station. It was really exhilarating and fascinating. Of course, at the end they came into the audience and wanted us to dance, and I was sitting close to the stage and they got me to stand up…I’m not really the best dancer in the world.

This is my favorite image from Wednesday. It was defiantly a ‘decisive moment’ photograph.

Being a Bossypants

Can you tell what book I’m reading?

Yep! Tina Fey’s Bossypants. I’ve been wanting to read this book since it came out. Mostly because I’ve always identified with Tina Fey. Although I’m probably not as funny as her.

“Bossypants”

But as I get more into the book, the more I’m affirmed in my identification with Tina Fey. She talks about her child-size Colonial lady outfit. Had one of those. A college relationship with a guy that wanted to keep the relationship a secret. Had a highschool relationship like that. “I think it was closer to the truth that he was just a control freak…” she said. “Control freak” what an appropriate phrase (if you don’t believe me, ask Anne).

Those are just some examples. But let’s look at why I love Tina Fey in a different way. Her success. How many women are as acknowledged in the comedy world as she is? Not very many.  And she doesn’t write/act/whatever the silly dumb female characters. Partly because I believe she doesn’t think that’s what make female characters funny. Just because you’re smart doesn’t make you serious and unfunny. Just like if you like fashion it doesn’t make you dumb (but that’s a whole other megillah).

My love for Tina Fey isn’t something that’s new. It actually started at around 10, when I started watching Saturday Night Live, there was just something about the funny, smart lady doing the satrical news.

Changing Weather

I know. Anne knows. We haven’t posted for a couple weeks. Anne was on spring break for the past couple Tuesdays, and I’ve been super busy. Journalism takes a lot out of a girl.

But now it is spring break for me and I am happier than a bird with a french fry.

But it is ridiculously warm out. And even though I love it, it gets me worried. It’s March. And two weeks ago I was photographing this:

Pretty, Pretty icicles.

And now it was 80 degrees out today. And I believe it is going to thunderstorm tonight.

I don’t want to complain, because I’m sick of winter (and I love night thunderstorms), but it’s not going to be good when the trees start to bud and then it freezes.

It does make a nice day for walking and window browsing in downtown Eau Claire with your bestest friend, though. And taking nice, bright photos, to get a head-start on my photo club exhibit piece.

A little bird that makes me think of spring.