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.

The 30 for 30 Challange

I ran into this challenge sometime last winter. The basic premise is to take 30 pieced of clothing (tops, dresses, skirts, pants and shoes) and for 30 days make a different outfit. I had wanted to do this last spring, but Wisconsin had some funky weather in April, and I didn’t get into it.

So this is what I’m going to do for the next few weeks. I promise I won’t bore everyone with a post every week of those outfits. So what I’ll do is put up a separate page here and update my outfits as the days go on.

This is the jacket I wore on Day 1.

So, first up, I’ll give you a short run down of my separates for this challenge.

  1. Jeans. Because that’s all the pants I own (OK. I do own two pairs of dress pants, but they are the most uncomfortable pants I’ve ever worn in my life).
  2. Mostly black shoes, a pair of pink boots and these. They are pink and orange and crazy. And I love them.
  3. A little less than half the tops that I have are cardigans/sweaters or jackets. I have a jacket obsession.

Day 1: Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Day 1 jacket detail.

  • I wore a pair of dark jeans, a fuchsia sweater, a dark 3/4 sleeved jacket and Vera Wang pink and orange flats. I had to take the jacket off early in the day because it was far too warm in class rooms.

Day 2: Thursday, February 23, 2012

Day 2: A light blue beaded cardigan paired with skinny jeans and my plain black flats. No realy imgination went into this because I do wear this sometime. I just haven't worn the cardi in a while.

  • Thursday I wore a pair of dark blue skinny jeans (which are pretty uncomfortable), a blue beaded cardigan and my usual plain black flats. This isn’t a really original outfit for me, but I hadn’t worn this particular cardi in a while, so I decided to add it to the 30 for 30 Challenge stock pile. It’s a very spring-like top, so I think it’s appropriate.

Day 3: Friday, February 24, 2012

Day 3: Friday's I have little walking to do, so I don't have to worry about my feet hurting me in heels. Today I wore a pair of lighter jeans, with a white button down and black wingtip-esque heels.

  • It’s an actual full length photo! You can get the idea of the whole outfit! I like Fridays because I can wear whatever shoes I want to (within practicality regarding the weather). Today I wore a pair of light/medium (they’re as light as I will go on jeans) Levis, with a white button down shirt and my black wingtip-esque heels that I’ve had since I was 16.

Here's a close-up of the shirt I wore today. Nothing fancy.

This shirt might not look it, but it is exponentially comfortable. It’s super soft. Usually with button downs or other fancy shirt I switch to a Tee when I get home, but this one I can stick to all day.

So, that’s been the start of my challenge. I’ll try to update the page at least once a week with a little description of my outfit.

27 days left!

Keeping Creative

My mom once told me that she likes to do something creative once a day. I’ve been trying to follow that advice.

Some days it’s easier than others. I’m sort of glad that I have a major (well, mix of majors) that allow me to think creatively. I suppose you think that journalism doesn’t sound like a very creative thing to go into, but it is. I’m also involved in classes and clubs at school that help me stay creative.

But right now I feel like I’m not keeping that creative vibe. I have a studio photography assignment, and I have ideas, but I just can execute them. Or I don’t know if I can. And I haven’t been writing lately. That makes me sad.

This is my little jar for misc. sewing supplies. The little dress on the hanger is a key chain Anne made for me.

Writing is one thing that I really care about being creative about. It’s what I want to do with my life, and when I go for more than a few days without writing anything creative I go a little crazy. At least I have somethings that help me to stay sane on the creative side. I talked before about how I like to do fashion drawings. And obviously photography. I like to be creative with sewing.

I don’t sew very much (I blame the time I don’t ever seem to have), but when I do I like thinking up what colors to use for fabric, and then what trim to use. It’s fun.

Water color painting.

Finally, although I’m not very good at it, I really like water color painting. I mostly paint flowers (because they are easy).

Source: via saltykisses

I first found this 33 ways to stay creative last summer, and recently re-found. How do you keep creative?



It’s been a busy week. Monday I started a new semester, with 18 credits and an internship at the school newspaper, so it’s going to be a busy four months. Because this week has been so busy I really didn’t have time to think of a good post for this week. Instead, I’m going to give you a little inspiration board that I put together of all the things that have inspired me this week. Some of these looks I’ve been coveting for a while, actually, and I will continue to covet them. Direct links in the photos.

1. I really like the chalked hair look. I’ve seen it over on Pinterest and really have wanted to try it, but I could never get it to work. I figured that it could be that I just have really dark hair and it’s a look that only those with light hair can do. The Beauty Department has some nice tips for both light and dark hair, so I think this weekend I’ll be trying this out.


This illustration makes me happy. It’s so expressive and detailed. It almost reminds me of a writer in 1950s New York or Paris. I think what makes me also happy about this illustration is that it’s supposed to be a real person, but it looks as though he’s a character in a book, and that makes me want to write.


Valentine’s Day is nigh! I was never excited about Valentine’s before, usually because there’s always the stigma that you have to have a significant other during the holiday. But what is more fun than having a significant other during this holiday? Having friends to do crazy things with! The staff at the school newspaper are trading valentines, and since I have found any at Target that I like (other than Star Wars), I’m going to make my own. I thought that these book marks from The Cheese Thief were cute, and there’s a lot of origami over there, too.

4. Calivintage is a recent find of mine. Seeing as I love vintage and vintage-esque clothing I really like this site. I’m loving the stripes on that dress, mixed with the plaid shirt. This looks like an outfit I would want to wear during the fall. Fall…so much better than snow.

5. And finally, bright lipstick and blue lace. J’adore. Awhile back I bought possibly the brightest pink Covergirl lipstick. I’ve only worn it a couple of times, but there is no denying my love for it. I think the reason I don’t wear it more often is because I don’t know what to wear it with. This is how you do bright pink lipstick.

Historical Fashion Drawing

I like to pretend that I’m good a drawing.

From top: Home Course in Fashion Art (1939); Russell's Standard Fashions: 1915-1919; 20th Century Fashion; Fashion Drawings and Illustrations From "Harper's Bazar" (Erte); Fashion Drawing in Vogue

But I’m not very good a drawing most things. It’s still one of those things I like doing. Mostly my drawings are of clothes, historical clothes. Because I like to do this I’ve been trying to amass a good deal of books on historical clothing.

Some fashion drawings in "Home Course in Fashion Art". I think that the previous owner of this book colored in illustrations.

This is one that I found at an antique store when I was out shopping with Anne. It was one of those things that I found and I had to get, because where else would you get a 1930s fashion drawing book? It’s by no means the best, but it does have some interesting tips. This is one of those books that I think have gained a personality over the years.

Two of my favorite covers that Erte did for Harper's Bazaar.

Ah, Erté. I was introduced to him by my mom, who studied fashion and textile design when she was in college. This is a really nice book that I was given for Christmas 2009, and it’s filled with his fashion drawings and Harper’s Bazaar covers. The covers mostly date in the 1930s, but the fashions run from 1917 through the 1920s. My mom also owns a smaller book with plates of costumes Erté designed for productions like Folies-Bergère.

One of my favorite pages in "Fashion Drawing in Vogue".

My newest fashion drawing book Fashion Drawing in Vogue. I saw this book and knew that I needed it. I was right about needing it; it’s one of the most beautiful books that I own. I haven’t had much time to read it, but I’ve just looked at the pictures and I love it. It contains drawings from the early 1920s to the 1980s, but focuses more on the Vogue fashion drawings from 1925 through 1965.

With these books, it’s become less of a “oh, look at that, I wish we could still wear clothes like that” and more of an appreciation and then an understanding that the more I study the fashion of years gone by, I can see how our fashion is being influenced.

My own drawing.

Finally, a drawing I did of a costume that I designed for a play that I have yet to write. It’s somewhat based in early 1920s late ‘Teens dresses, but adapted for a stage.