Thursday, August 25, 2016

Strawberries, Sunflowers, & Straw Boater Hats

You know, until recently I didn't have many circle skirts, and my collection is still on the smaller side for a mid-century lover. This skirt I have on here however is my first vintage circle skirt! It was described as 80's does 50's, and judging by the more modern-ish zipper that is most likely the case, but I think it plays the part of a true mid-century skirt quite well! How was I supposed to resist the lovely colors and profusion of berries in the print?! I couldn't ;)

I paired the new-to-me skirt with a crisp white blouse with red stitching that I made last year as a bit of a Peggy Carter inspired make (she has a few with similar stitching on the show). Since I was wearing red I pulled out my Luxulite cherries brooch again, I love Luxulite! I really can't wait to snatch up some of their fall offerings this year <3 

It has actually already begun to cool down here in Colorado this week, I wore tights and a scarf yesterday! A little rain, a cool breeze...ahhhh I can smell the pumpkin spice already :)

Skirt, Hangbag, Belt, Hat, & Earrings: Vintage
Shoes: Bait (Modcloth)
Brooch: Luxulite
Blouse: Made by me

Monday, August 22, 2016

Summer Magnolia

The white flowers on this crisp rayon fabric remind me of magnolias, though sadly I have never seen any actual magnolia flowers here in Colorado. We had them back in California where I grew up, and seeing such large blossoms in a tree seems oddly surreal looking, and beautiful too.

This fabric was an Etsy find, and when it arrived I doubted it was truly rayon as the texture is very similar to linen. It had a rough crisp texture I don't associate with rayon, but as soon as I started to iron the fabric I knew it must truly be rayon indeed as no linen ever pressed so nicely and easily! This is the first dress I have made since setting up my mom's serger/overlocker to use and it was so wonderful to have the raw edges all finished before constructing the dress! No frayed seams for me! It will be nice to have an alternative to rayon seam binding for future projects as sometimes I am just too lazy to go that "couture" inside my projects.

I styled the new dress with cognac brown accessories including my beloved Gibson's from American Duchess footwear. Shoes that would really look even better with this outfit are Royal Vintage's new Peggy spectators, but as they don't ship till October (yes, of course I have pre-ordered the Peggy's in brown and white, they are the perfect shoe!) I'll just have to wait on those! I've snatched up two pairs from Lauren's new Royal Vintage 40's line so far, but I still remain tempted by others...thank goodness there are wonderful people out there recreating vintage shoes!

This necklace happens to be rather special too, it's a real Miriam Haskell! I found it for a complete bargain on Etsy and cant believe I got to add a Haskell to my collection. The beads are white milk glass interspersed with braided/woven straw beads, perfect to match all of my straw hats :)

Speaking of hats, I bought this straw hat last spring, but I'm not sure I'll be keeping it in my collection. As much as I like it, I feel like the crown is just a bit too tall for me. If I do decide to part with it it will end up in my Etsy shop with a few other hats I'll be letting go of soon. Trying to curate my hat collection isn't easy, but I cant keep all the hats to myself now can I? ;)

Dress: Made by me
Hat, Jewelry, Clutch: Vintage
Shoes: American Duchess
Belt: Target

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Sunday Spotlight: 30s & 40s Wrap Dresses

I have made a 1930s inspired wrap dress before, but as I found myself sewing another dress from the same pattern again this weekend, I thought today I'd show you all some of the vintage images that inspired my wrap dress pattern. It seems most 30s wrap dresses are meant to be house dresses, worn to look presentable at home but not really intended for wear outside the house other than perhaps a quick run to the grocery store. The popular name for these casual dresses was Hooverette, meant to keep a woman looking cute even while she was cleaning or cooking dinner. Since the 30s wrap dresses (and women) have luckily come a long way and are very common for any occasion now a days. I am more interested in actually day or evening dresses in the same style, but I still admire the more humble house dresses as they are certainly chic enough to wear out and about town now in 2016!

The patterns below seem less obviously labeled as "house" dresses and I'd like to assume they are wrap dresses for actual "dress" wear. The numbered 7417 dress below is very similar to my self drafted wrap dress pattern! (Though the lady in the solid dress does seem to be trimming a succulent or something, is this still housework?)

The difference between the house dresses and actual day-wear seems mostly to be in the fabric choice and addition of ruffles. The day-dresses seem to be made of silk instead of cotton. I have found 1 extant example of a 1930s wrap dress (on sale now at Adored Vintage) which is the dress pictured below.

My colorful dotted 30's wrap dress (see it here) has the look and drape of silk, though it is a nice polyester crepe, and therefore I feel fits the day-wear as opposed to house dress criteria. The new dress I'm working on is in a medium weight linen rayon blend and with the solid color (red) and lack of ruffles I fear it leans more casual in style than I'd like. To wear it feels more formal somehow to me, perhaps because of the solid color and nice weight of the dress, but we'll see what you all think of it soon ;)

The wrap dress continued as a "house" dress/house coat style into the 40s, though it seems easier to find day-wear versions of the wrap dress in the 40s.

As wrap dresses are so easy to wear I'd love to make a more 40s version next. The style is easy to make, and requires no zipper (yippee!), so I expect I'll make a 40's one soon. Perhaps in a nice wool with a good drape for fall! How do you feel about vintage wrap dresses? Are they too casual? Let me know in the comments :)

Friday, August 19, 2016

Making a Brimmed Hat: Covering The Brim

Back to our ongoing hat project, did you miss the usual post on Wednesday? I took a bit of a break over the weekend so I had some catching up to do this week! Now that we have the separate pieces of the hat (the crown and brim) constructed, it's time to cover each with fabric before we can attach them together!

I have explained how to cover the crown portion of a hat a few times here on the blog, so check out those posts here and here. Today I'll be showing you how I usually go about covering the brims of my hats, which involves using a bias strip around the brim edge for a nice smooth finish :)

Of course the first step in covering the hat brim is to cut out the two pieces, the top and the underside. I simply trace the hat brim onto the back of my chosen fabric. A note on fabrics though- something too thin is hard to make look perfectly smooth and something too thick is really hard to wrangle. I have used thin silks before but they will show more "flaws" or texture through them so your hat base underneath has to be pretty perfect under the silk to make everything look pretty in the end. For this hat I am using a ribbed faux moire finished polyester fabric (left over from a corset project from ages ago) that has a nice grosgrain ribbon-ish weight. I cut out the two circles for the top and underside of my brim, plus a 2" wide strip of bias for finishing the edge of the brim. I don't just cut bias for the fashion fabric though, I also cut 1" wide strips of bias from a lightweight fusible interfacing!

I like using fusible interfacing strips like these to further smooth and finish the wired edges of my buckram pieces. Below you can see how I pull it around the outside edge of the brim and iron/steam it into place.

I also add interfacing to the edge of the crown stretching it smooth as I iron it or steam it in place. This step really helps to smooth raw buckram edges into something both sturdy and pretty. I use a wadded up piece of muslin in my hand to support the "corner" of the crown while I steam and iron, which also helps protect my hand--no burns please!

Pieces ready for pretty fabrics!

I cut a smaller than crown sized opening out of the brim pieces and then center them in place. Here for this post I am doing one side at a time so I can show you two methods of sewing these pieces to the buckram brim, but there is nothing stopping you from pinning both top and underside on at once (sandwiching the buckram layer). The first way to sew this step is by machine, and I'd recommend a more open presser foot like a zipper foot but you can see in the photo below I just used my regular presser foot while doing this. Take your time guiding the brim edge around under the needle and make sure to stay about 1/4" away from the edge and thick wire (as that wire will definitely break your needle if not more were you to hit it!).

The other way to sew this area in place is by hand of course, and to do this I use a basic back-stitch.

Once your brim is essentially covered, trim any excess fabric sticking out beyond the wired edge and iron your 2" bias strip into double fold bias tape. Pin this bias strip around the brim edge stretching it a bit to get a nice rounded finish.

Slip stitch this bias into place on both sides individually. You could sew this with the machine, either by sewing the top side with the bias cut edge and wired edge together and then folding the bias over and under after and hand stitching the underside (a very pretty finish!) or by sewing through both layers with it pinned the same as above.

Once you have this bias trim sewn around the edge your brim is covered! I snip the inside to the inside crown wire on both the top and underside to prepare for attaching the crown to the brim.

This isn't the only way to cover a hat brim of course, but it is my favorite way currently as it creates such a pretty and smooth finish. I also like the design possibilities inherent in this technique, a solid colored hat with the edge bias in pretty stripes or a contrasting color perhaps for example. I have made hats by cutting the underside brim piece larger (1/2" around the outer edge larger) and folding the excess over the edge and sewing it down first, then sewing the top brim piece along the edge with a slip stitch for a seam that runs along the edge. I just find this bias trimmed method easier and when I'll be adding trimmings to the hat anyway I don't mind what the plain hat underneath looks like much anyway!

I hope you all are enjoying watching this hat come together, next it will be time to stitch the covered crow and brim together and put in the lining!

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Thistle and Weeds

You will just have to take my word for it that there are wild thistles growing here in Colorado since I didn't snap any photos of them this time, but there certainly are a lot of weeds in these photos. 

Just a simple summer outfit for a quick walk around the wetlands area of the local botanic garden. The weather was perfect, the sunlight beautiful, and the landscape serene. I wore a tropical print dress I made last year (and wore to the zoo last summer) with taupe and ivory accessories. The necklace and earrings set was something I picked up on Etsy over spring as I couldn't resist the bamboo shaped beads! The skirt of this dress doesn't have the most even hem sadly, the fabric is loosely woven and so it has stretched a bit oddly after being washed. Luckily you can't really tell right? right...

Though it will soon be time to store my tropical prints and pull out the plaids (okay fall is still a while away...) I am already looking forward to it! Perhaps I am just tired of being hot all the time, I find it very disagreeable! 

Dress: Made by me
Handbag, Belt, & Jewelry: Vintage
Shoes: Bait (Modcloth)
Sunglasses: Sunglasses Museum (Etsy)

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