I didn't really have any sewing goals for the year, but just sewed what I needed to or felt like making, so it's interesting to see the variety of things I actually completed, and which ones ended up being the most useful and favorite.
One thing I've noticed in other vintage sewing blogs is that many times the seamstress will make variations of the same style of dress over and over, so that other than fabric and embellishment choices, many of their creations look the same to me. I was hoping to avoid that, and am pleased with the variety of silhouettes I made from three different decades this year. Though I am noticing I made more 1930s patterns than I'd thought, and less 1940s this year.
It looks like I made a nice variety of outfit types this year, both dresses and separates, and some 2 piece dresses for the first time - which I can wear as separates or together. I love that, and want to do some more!
In an overview of the year like this, you also get to see my own personal journey from glasses to contacts, and the difference losing another 15-20 pounds made. (Only as a result some of these outfits have to be altered or passed on because they are way too big for me!)
5 times this year I made the same pattern twice, something I usually don't do because I'm always excited to try a new one. But several of these were worth remaking, like this 1930s pattern - and of course, it makes it all the better when there are different variations in the pattern itself so you can make the 2nd version a little different.
I'm pleased with the range of fabrics I used, from linen to rayons of different weights, a few wool blends, and of course different kinds of cottons. I also used a variety of colors this past year, including uncommon ones for me, like green, pink, and brown.
Do I have sewing goals for this coming year? Yes! I want to sew more things I need, and most of all - sew from the stash! I have a huge amount of fabric and hope to get excited about fabric "shopping" on my own shelves. I'd like to continue the variety of silhouettes, fabrics, and colors implemented this year, and hopefully improve the photography, modeling, and historical faithfulness along the way.
I like the versatility of some of the pieces I made, from the mix-and-match outfits and separates, to dresses with removable bows and collars, multi-color accessorizing ability, or switch-out components. Though at the same time, some of my most worn dresses, especially for everyday, are the simple ones I can just button up and go.
So, for the 2016 countdown...that makes 12 1950s projects, 2 1940s, and 10 1930s. Plus a late '40s/early '50s project that fits in neither general decade's silhouette, and 2 transitional projects that are 1950s but can work for 1930s as well.
I also got a number of older projects photographed this year, which I enjoyed doing. Some of them I quite fell in love with again now that I've lost weight. Others, not so much - they used to fit me but now need altered or passed on. Sometimes a belt or sash can hide the too-big fit, but not when it's just too big all over.
It's fun to look back and see where I've improved this past year... which projects turned out better than expected, or were a bit of a disappointment for one reason or another...which ones I've ended up wearing most, or have gotten a lot of attention on the blog. And which photos are my favorites! Sometimes hair and makeup turn out perfectly - other times, it's more like, "What was I thinking??"
I already have my first 2017 project complete and am starting on my second one, this time to fill some gaps in my closet. I have a number of new patterns I'm dying to make, and some lovely fabric to use up, so pairing things in the stash and crossing off projects are already several things on my list that I'm working on. I'm so excited to see what takes shape this year - there's something magical about taking a flat piece of fabric and turning it into something shaped, expressive, and lovely.
After various delays, finally here are the proper photos from my wedding day! The snapshots I put up shortly after the wedding only captured a few glimpses of the day. Time to share all about the event, which is certainly one of the biggest days in my life. :-)
The sun came out bright and clear, after a torrent of rain the night before. Everything was soaked, but we'd still been able to do some of the setup the night before.
After working madly for hours wiping things off, setting the tables, bringing out the decorations, doing first aid on the bouquets, and food prep - the time drew close enough that it was time to start getting ready.
We may or may not have done some peeking out at the guests...
All sorts of pretty details were in readiness.
Being helped into my wedding dress. All those tiny buttons took a while to button up!
Mama helped me put on the Bride Pearls, and my veil...then I looked in the mirror and lo and behold, I was a bride!
Meanwhile in another part of the house, the guys were getting ready.
By this time guests were constantly arriving, and things were busy outside.
My talented bridesmaid Mikaela played such a beautiful prelude on my sister's harp.
We're almost ready to start! Everyone's waiting - the flower girl...
...and the groom!
(I'm upstairs pretty impressed by the fact that I'm not really nervous, and enjoying the harp music!)
Time to seat the families...
After seating his mother, Dustin joined the pastor up front. It's time!
The bridesmaids descended to Canon in D played by the brass group.
Now everyone's waiting on me. And I'm just realizing that I must be a little nervous after all because my knees are trembling as I'm ready to start down the steps.
I joined my father at the bottom of the steps and he escorted me to the front where he transferred his authority to Dustin.
The bridal party then was seated, for a short opening message on the glory of marriage.
One amusing thing that happened was that flies and bees were very interested in our bouquets. I was protected by my veil like a mosquito netting and the other girls were envious! :-)
My father gave the main sermon, addressing part to Dustin and part to myself, detailing our responsibilities and roles toward each other and before God. Then he called up the bridal party for the exchange of vows.
I thought I would cry, but somehow I didn't. Now it was time to exchange rings.
And we were pronounced Man and Wife, in a blessed, eternal, and life-changing bond.
After that, there was a short blessing and benediction, then we were presented as Mr. and Mrs. Dustin Clay, and retired to the strains of Mendelssohn, which is the recessional I'd wanted ever since the time years ago when I first saw It's a Wonderful Life.
The receiving line.
Meanwhile the guests not in line visited and mingled, and the bridal party and families stayed close by for photos to follow.
Hey look! We're wearing wedding rings!
My sisters took turns manning the guest book.
Once everyone was through the receiving line, it was time for formal photos, which we kept as short as possible because the reception was waiting.
With our parents...
With our families...
With the bridal party...
And of course, with each other!
The fall colors were so beautiful, and the yard had so many pretty spots.
It's going to be a real trial choosing which ones to frame!
Photos over, we headed back to the upper lawn to be presented and seated at the bridal table.
My brother (dapper, isn't he?) was the emcee, and he also had put together a playlist of fun favorite love songs of all types, from country to vintage big band, to play while we ate and visited.
Our servers were very capable and kept bringing us plates of yummy things!
We cut the cake, and Mama brought us the top tier to keep in the freezer for our first anniversary.
Things were winding down. We visited and hugged folks and signed the marriage certificate; one of my sisters collected my things from the house and put them in the getaway car, where we took more photos (shown in the earlier post)...
Then it was time to try not to cry as I hugged my family and mother goodbye. This time I was truly not nervous - just at peace - when I left, alone with my new husband...our whole lives ahead of us.
More than two months later, we're still on our honeymoon...and I'm still the most blessed bride in the world!
Dustin is the most considerate and kindest of husbands, and so perfect for me. I can never thank God enough for bringing us together in such a marvelous way.
Ooooh, but it felt so good to get back to sewing! My last sewing project months ago was my wedding dress. Since then I've been far too busy after the wedding with moving and settling in to do any sewing. I was afraid this year I wouldn't get a new Christmas dress, but it all came together a few days before Christmas. :-)
At JoAnn's during a big sale, I was tempted as always by their rack of Christmas prints. But the problem with a specifically Christmas print is that I can only wear it during one short season in the whole year. Last year I made a 1950s suit, which of course is suitable for fall and winter wear. I couldn't justify spending a chunk of money on fabric that I can only wear once or twice a year. This year I managed to be both Christmassy and practical when I found this gorgeous big poppy print instead.
It's in the Christmas colors, but since it's not a specifically Christmas print, I think I can get more wear out of it. Obviously when worn with a red belt, green velvet hat, and gold accessories, it will look holiday-ish, but I think when paired with a pair of straw & red heels I have and a shady straw hat, it will be fine for summer as well! The cool cotton and cap sleeves lend themselves to warmer weather.
I bought 5 yards, since the print was one way and just shouted "1950s" at me, and took it home. The next thing was deciding which pattern to use. I had some specifics in mind, which made it harder to narrow down to a suitable pattern. I wanted something simple, so the print could shine, with the front bodice cut in one piece, so I didn't have to match the print in the front, and either wide gores or no gores for the skirt. I haven't done much sewing with large prints, so I did some Pinterest searching for 1950s dresses for ideas. I debated over several of my patterns in my collection, but wasn't completely satisfied with any of them and went with a different one altogether when I took a closer look and realized it met all my criteria.
I'm glad I did, because this dress pattern was quite enjoyable to make. I had to cut it down quite a bit, and adjust the neck height, which necessitated a muslin and some fiddling with the front darts. But otherwise, I made it exactly as called for, even to the skirt length and hem depth - something I rarely do, since vintage patterns are often too short for my preference.
It was a breeze. Just enough detail in the shoulder and neck to make it interesting, but nothing difficult. I really had no problems at all, the cotton was wonderful to work with, and it went together so nicely in just a short time.
The back and sleeves are cut in one piece. The sleeve is gathered into a top-stitched, pointed front piece. I double top stitched it, just for fun, and to help it lay right.
The print I had made sure was centered on the bodice and each skirt gore. Too late I realized that the back hadn't made the matchy goal, but it's not too bad.
My gold clutch adds some holiday sparkle. I can also see this dress paired with black velvet accessories.
This 1950s style is not my favorite silhouette on myself, but this dress is helping improve it in my regard. I wore this dress with my biggest crinoline, and it had plenty of poof, though it wasn't a circle skirt.
I like the fact that the red print has two shades of red, so I can accent with either a dark or a cherry red and it will still coordinate.
So now my sewing queue is up and running again, though my sewing room is still not quite set up. I've found a great lack of winter dresses and blouses in my closet, so while winter remains, I'm hoping to fix that problem in the coming year. It's wonderful to be back at the sewing machine, and to have such an enjoyable first project in my new home.
I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas, and will start out with a happy New Year!
Some days you just don't have time to set your hair. Or you do set it, and the layers don't lay right, no matter how much you brush. When I don't have time to curl my hair (other than a few pin curls at the top), I find this twist on a 1940s up-do is my go to hairstyle.
It definitely has a 1940s flair to it, though it's a far cry from the elegant beauty-salon-created up-dos movie stars of that era wore. It was mainly invented in an effort to contain my layered ends in a way that just pulling it back can't do, and also keep the face-framing style I definitely prefer.
It can be tricky to get the rolls even, and to stay put, but practice has helped me become quicker. Plus, the rolls make a perfect base for hair flowers or other hair accessories!
Besides hair flowers, I can also vary the arrangement by what I do with my curled front hair and by using various hair clips and bows. I have yet to find a hat that fits this hairstyle, but then that makes it a perfect style for formal evenings - like during the holidays!
In the back, I can put a barrette at the top instead of the bottom as is here shown, or if I'm not going for a super Period look, just use hair grip clips for a more secure hold. (Tight, long bobby pins are a must for this hairstyle to be successful.)
I may have to figure out an up-do that I like, that is less fiddly and time consuming, but until then, I'm glad I've found a way to keep that aspect of vintage style in my daily dress, for the times a proper vintage curl set can't happen!