Thursday, January 19, 2017

2016 Year in Review

Looking back at 2016, I can see my sewing plans were rather ambitious, perhaps a little too ambitious to be perfectly honest. I love planning projects, looking through my patterns and selecting the perfect fabrics and notions, but as many of you know, sometimes life just gets in the way and many dream projects never come to be. However, looking through my list of completed projects this year I am pleasantly surprised at how much I DID sew even if many of those thing were not included on my original 2016 Sewing Wish List.

OK, so what had I planned to work on this year? 

2016 Sewing Wish List
ALL THE 1940s PANTS! - Smooth Sailing Wearing History trousers and Simplicity 1306
Late 1930s Ike style jacket
Another 1940s hoodie
1930s/40s White linen dress or play suit
1920s Bathing suit
1940s Matching hat and bag
18th century silk gown
Revamp 1860s plaid cotton dress
Finish green stripe Regency dress, started oh so looooong ago
Bathing boots

An ambitious dream list to be sure! I've been itching to get back into historical sewing, and still am, hence the last couple of items. But with so few historical events in those eras to attend these days, those projects quickly took a back seat to other sewing, different projects and life in general. I took a look at the historical/vintage events I knew I would be attending and decided to focus on making/finishing things I would need for those.

So what did I complete this year?

Finished 2016 Projects

1940s White blouse to wear with my WAVES uniform
1930s Dress Simplicity 1945
1940s Red reproduction print dress Du Barry 2413B
Wearing History beach separates (here and here)
1940s Blue pants Simplicity 1306
Late 1930s brown linen skirt and matching bolero (seen in this post)
Long sleeve 1940s blouse
1920s-ish Bathing suit

I also made some good progress on my UFO pile. Mostly adding buttons and button holes to a couple blouses (Du Barry 5172), adding straps to my Du Barry 5296 skirt, finishing my 1940s red striped pinafore (McCall 5014), and putting the finishing touches on a few reproduction items for my Etsy shop.

Favorite makes and outfits from 2016 - 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 & 7, 8, 9
I didn't get to blog about all my sewing projects and I haven't been able to get photos of them all. But that's OK, you will be seeing a some of them later on I'm sure.

Blogging and sewing-related highlights of 2016 include...

Starting a newsletter (You can sign up here!)
Creating my very own YouTube channel and posting my first couple of videos
I took part in the vintage Tea Cup Exchange
I got a vintage style hair cut for the very first time
I was a guest judge for 2 EvaDress Pattern sewing challenges (there is a new one starting in February)
I won $75 to Chronically Vintage's etsy shop
And to close out the year, my little blog was number 60 on the list of Top 100 Vintage Blogs!

Some of the vintage goodies I purchased from Chronically Vintage with my winnings.


This is completely unrelated to sewing but I started riding again and really look forward to riding more this spring when the weather warms up! Though riding in the snow is fun! This is Nicco, he's a 19 year Dutch warm blood. And at 18 hands, he's a big boy!

Well hello there!!
So what kind of things can you look forward to here in 2017? My main goal, other than more sewing of course, is to collaborate more with fellow bloggers. I already have a few things tentatively lined up but if you have ideas for guest posts, link swapping, etc. I would love to hear from you!

Monday, January 16, 2017

One Last Holiday Outfit

The last of the holiday decorations are finally packed away. I know Christmas was a few weeks ago but I wanted to share one last holiday outfit. I took these photos the same day as my last holiday outfit post. This is the sweater and pinafore I was wearing under the coat in those photos.

I had plans to make a special holiday dress but never got around to it. I actually pulled the fabric out a few days before Christmas and looked through my sewing patterns but felt completely uninspired. Does that ever happen to anyone else? Perhaps I'll revisit the fabric this summer and sew something then, we'll see.

I took a look through my vintage wardrobe and was surprised at the combination of Christmas-y outfits that could be created using the few red, white and green items I own! I have more red than I thought, lol! Anyway, as you can see I settled on my red and white striped 1940s pinafore and a green sweater. Add some green shoes and a few red and green accessories and voila! The pinafore looks a bit different then when I styled it with blue and white accessories as seen in this post.

Putting together this outfit made me realize how versatile a pinafore can be. I think I'm going to need to make another! Two things I really like about this particular pattern are the pockets and removable bib which attaches with buttons to the waistband.

This was also a good opportunity to wear my red retro seamed stocking from What Katie Did. They are a little more opaque and have much more stretch than my vintage ones. My one complaint is the little gap between the end of the seam and the colored point. I thought at first this was a manufacturing defect but my pink seamed stockings are the same way. Ah well, still love the pop of color!

As most kitties do, Miss Ava (also known as Miss Fuzzy Face) likes to be involved when there is something going on!

Outfit Details
Sweater - Gift
Pinafore - Made by Me
Stockings - What Katie Did
Shoes - Ebay
Lip color - Victory Red from Besame

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Part Two, Events Recap - Or What I Haven't Blogged About Until Now!

As promised here is part two of my 2016 events recap. (Read part one here.) In August, Cori and I traveled to Conneaut, Ohio for the big D-Day event. It's a loooooong drive for us but this event does not disappoint! The event has grown like crazy over the years, there approximately 1200 to 1500 reenactors from across the U.S. and Canada that attend. As a visitor you can tour both the Axis and Allied camps, listen to a number of different talks by veterans and other guest speakers, see demonstration and of course there are the battles, including the recreation of the Normandy landings on D-Day. If you are able to go you will want to catch a ride on one of the Higgins boats, the very same kind used during the landings. Talk about experiencing history first hand!

For a full schedule of events and guest speakers visit the D-Day Ohio website. Also, there are TONS of photos from this year and past years in the official gallery here. In case you need more incentive than my blog to go to this event. :)

Cori and I with WWII veteran Sm2c Clifford A. Goodall Sr. Cliff was a member of the 7th Naval Beach Battalion, a group of sailors responsible for helping the Allied landing craft make it to their landing sites on D-Day. He worked on Omaha Beach for nearly three months following the landings. 
One of the things I really enjoy about this event, other than the growing home front displays and visiting with my reeneacting friends I only see once or twice a year, is the fact that this event is really dedicated to the veterans themselves and services to honor them and the sacrifices they made. On Saturday there is a special parade and ceremony for the veterans. This year, as with last, part of the ceremony included bestowing the French Legion of Honor to several veterans. It's very moving. Each year there are fewer WWII veterans and every time I have the chance to meet one I consider it a great honor and privilege. One of the many reasons I pay such attention to details when creating my vintage looks is for those people who remember and lived through some of our country's darkest times. To have a veteran tell me, "you look just like my mother, aunt, sister, (or my personal favorite!) sweetheart did during the war" is a real thrill. I know that whatever I'm doing, even if I feel frumpy or my hair isn't quite right that day, that I'm doing something right. I've found it's a great way to get these gentlemen and their family members to open up and share their stories and experiences.

This year I wore my WAVES blues for Saturday morning and had the awesome opportunity for a photo shoot with Patrick Hurst from Canteen Cowboy two other WAVES. Lake Erie made for a gorgeous background. I look forward to spending more time with these ladies at future events.

These few photos are from my phone but be sure to check out the professional ones in the D-Day gallery starting here. My favorite is this one with the Higgins boat in the background. It was one of the hottest days of the summer and by noon I was ready to melt so I had to change.

Goofy selfie but I had to take one!

My new outfit for that weekend was a late 1930s brown linen skirt and matching bolero - made from the same fabric as my Simplicity pants - and paired with my Eagle print blouse, vintage hat and shoes. I used Simplicity 3738 for the skirt and New York 611 for the bolero. As you can see I had the usual kitty "help."

I didn't get the best photos of the finished outfit because we were so busy during the day. But I was very happy to change into linen after spending the morning in my wool uniform!

For the USO dance Saturday night I decided to wear a vintage dress and new bright red shoes from Royal Vintage Shoes. Cori wore his US Navy Dress blues. And yes, those are Army Paratrooper jump boots some of the guys are wearing with their blues. It's a strange look but there is documentation for a very specific impression of members of the 6th US Navy Beach Battalion wearing them in England prior to D-Day. I learned from the guys who did the research that there were some rather colorful exchanges between those sailors and some of the paratroopers that were also stationed in England. Apparently they took a real dislike to sailors wearing their boots!

Vintage 40s - Ebay 
Muff - Gift 
Felt flowers - from my wedding 
Bangles - found here and there 

U.S. and Canadian sailors enjoying a night on leave.
And finally, our last event of the year, the Battle for the Airfield at the Collings Foundation in Stow, Massachusetts. Saturday's weather was beautiful but it rained all night and all day Sunday so I only have the one photo to show you. I wore my "Red Dots" blouse with a pair of made-by-me 40s pants.

This year I finally took the leap and had my hair cut in a more vintage appropriate style. No layers this time, just the classic U shape. About a week before the Collings event I had my hair trimmed again and the result you see below was my first attempt at styling the new length. Still need to work on the frizz factor but if I'm going to be outside all day I'm not sure there is much I can do. I just remind myself that real women from the 1940s didn't look Hollywood perfect all the time and just roll with it. :) I'm actually working a a hair video for my YouTube channel and should have that ready soon.

Photo by Jim Gallagher. "Red Dots" blouse made from Du Barry 5172 and a 40s reproduction cotton print.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

A Christmas Outfit

Just a quick post today with some photos of an outfit I put together this past weekend. My camera wasn't working properly so I had to use my phone. Not the best quality but ah well.

I admit, I felt a little silly taking selfies in the driveway but that's what you have to do when you don't have anyone to take pictures for you!

One of the few vintage coats I own, this 1950s princess coat is great for cooler weather. I love the longer length. I have a fur collar that can easily be added to dress it up if I want. The bright red hat was a purchase this fall from Mode de Lis during her hat sale. I thought the bright red color would be perfect for a Christmas-y outfit. The veil is in rough shape so at some point I will remove it, not sure if I will replace it or leave the hat plain. Thoughts?

Because I was going with a Christmas theme, I decide to try my Victory Red lipstick from Besame. I'm not totally sold on the color, which in person seam a little more pink on me. And it is bright! If you are looking for a super bright red you might like it but personally I like the Red Velvet better. It also doesn't stain your lips as much as the Victory Red does. It must have something to do with the formula because I don't have that problem with any other colors.

I also wore some red gloves, a plaid scarf that matches my bag and a big shiny rhinestone pin. All thrift store finds from over the years. Under my coat I wore my red and white 1940s pinafore. My red Bakelite earrings came from Brighter Bakelite on Etsy.

The boots I'm wearing are actually overshoes! They are trimmed with fur and are so much fun to wear. Some of you might remember them from this winter post.

That's for now! I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas and that Santa brought you some lovely new vintage to enjoy! Watch for the second half of my 2016 events recap post this week.

Outfit Details
Hate - Mode de Lis
Gloves, pin, purse - Thrifted
Earrings - Brighter Bakelite
Over shoes - Ebay

Monday, December 19, 2016

2016 Events Recap - Or What I Haven't Blogged About Until Now! Part 1

This week's posts are going to be a bit of catching up. Warning, there will be LOTS of photos!! Originally I thought of writing just one big post but quickly realized it was going to be just too big. So two posts! The last few months my blog has taken a backseat between ordinary life, lower back issues, and well, a lack of motivation to sit and write. I normally try and write a couple posts at a time and schedule them to appear on a certain day, as I had been doing with my Sunday Shoe Spectacle series. But lately it's been a struggle to do that. I have so many things I want to blog about, but thinking and doing are too different things. These things happen to the best of us as I'm sure many of you have experienced from time to time.

I've already blogged about the GBVS's Art Deco Weekend and Roaring 20s Lawn Party but have not blogged about the other events I attended this year. So that's what I will be doing in this two part post.

For the third year in a row, Cori and I attended the Mid Atlantic Air Museum's WWII Weekend. (read about past years here.) This year we camped with our reenacting unit. They portray U.S. Marines and Navy pilots on Wake Island prior to the Japanese attack in 1941. We invested in a period wall tent last year and the expense has been more than worth it! I love being able to stay over night on site when we go to living history events. The early mornings when the camp is just waking up and the public has yet to arrive is my favorite time.

This event is three full days including two USO style dances Friday and Saturday nights so a few changes of clothes are required. This year I wore a few pieces that have become staples in my vintage wardrobe, namely my brown linen pants (Simplicity 1306) two new blouses made from my go to pattern, Du Barry 5172 and my Red Birds dress. All my blouses mix and match really well with the pants and skirt. The peach colored blouse you see below was made from vintage 1940s fabric that I found on Etsy and vintage buttons from my stash. The fabric has little eagle on it, I love it!

This spring a took the leap and decided to try a vintage style hair cut. No layers at this time but I asked the stylist cut my hair in that classic 40s U shape. What a difference it has made this year when trying out vintage up-dos!  This particular up-do was a 30s/40s inspired look that I first attempted at the Art Deco Weekend. I think it came out a little better this time around. The style still needs some work by I'm pretty happy with it. The hairnet, which you can hardly see, really helped keep everything in place and tidy during the day.

After Emileigh of Flashback Summer posted about her super cute suspender skirt, I instantly wanted something similar. Instead of making a whole new skirt I simply added straps to my blue linen skirt (Du Barry 5276) They fasten with snaps to the inside of the waistband so they are easily removable to create different looks! 

I really wanted to make a matching bolero but didn't have enough blue fabric left over. I wore the updated skirt with my "Red Dots" blouse, (another version of Du Barry 5172) a new to me vintage hat and Victory pins. It's basically the same outfit as this one but with different accessories. :)

Photo by Neal Howland, please do not copy
Close up of two of my new-ish Victory pins. Photo by Neal Howland, please do not copy
I wore my Red Birds dress again which is still one of my all time vintage makes. It's all cotton so it's cool and comfortable even in hot weather.

My WAVES dress blues and new white blouse made their debut at this event. I chose to wear them for the dances during the evening because it was too hot for a wool uniform during the day. I was kind of nervous about wearing an original uniform but I really enjoyed it. I'll be blogging more about the uniform later on and my feelings about wearing it.

My WAVES impression is of an aviation mechanic. The rate on my sleeve is for a Petty Officer First Class. These photos were inspired by original images of WAVES at work.

On Sunday, the last day of the event I wore my WAVES aviation mechanics working attire. My friend Sara of the Canteen Cowboy snapped this photo of me.

In all the photos I'm wearing my favorite go to lip color, Red Velvet from Besame. I'm already planning outfits for next year's WWII weekend!!

Well, that's all for this post. Stay tuned for more this week.
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