06.17.12 | weekly inspiration

weekly visual moodboard | be sure to click on the image to view picture sources.

  • This tutorial from Steph on removing excess back-thigh fabric on pants is so helpful!
  • Beautiful shoe scans from 1939-1941. Drool worthy!
  • I love these easy, homemade pickles recipes (no canning required for those of us who don’t know how!).
  • A thoughtful discussion on the merits and pitfalls of .pdf sewing patterns.
  • Have I shared a link to Mid Century Menu with you yet? I think not. Go check it out. You won’t be disappointed!

weekly Instagram photos (my username is “elegantmusings”).

Hello, friends! Not a whole lot to talk about this week–it’s been a busy time for me! Happily busy, though. For which I am grateful. Now I’m just trying to get some sewing squeezed in before the new week really and truly starts. But so many ideas (and *ahem* deviations from my original summer plans…) are floating through my head right now. But my lack of serious sewing time this weekend really only has me to blame: SH and I have been spending a lot of time enjoying the sunshine and mild weather riding around on his motorcycle. (Hence the snapshot above of me with my new helmet!) But my summer clothes won’t sew themselves! hehe!

Have a lovely rest of the weekend!

June 17, 2012 · 10 lovely thoughts
posted in links · tags: ,

While I was planning on posting the updated Vintage Pattern Primer today, the revamped piece has become a bit of a monster (in a totally good way!), which means I’d like a bit more time to refine things and write up my thoughts. So stay tuned for that next week. Instead I’d like to show you something I made awhile ago. Have I ever shown you the dress variation I made for the BurdaStyle Sewing Handbook? I don’t think so!

I was approached by BurdaStyle a couple years ago as the book plan was being hatched, along with many other talented sewers from around the globe. The premise was to create a garment variation based off of one of the “base patterns” in the book. After a submission process, my dress variation was chosen to be included as a full-length tutorial in the book. Which meant I not only had to make the dress, but document all the steps as well as I modified the original pattern to fit my design. Anyone who has ever written sewing instructions may know that it is not an easy task to document a more complicated project and explain it in a way that will be understood when read. The project was a challenge, but one I enjoyed immensely!

Funnily enough, when I sent the dress off to New York to be photographed for the book and go on tour to sewing expos around the country, I didn’t like the dress at all. To me, the red and white looked like a soup can (you know which one!); I was very over the design. A year later when I saw the dress again, having gone to New York to film some videos for the digital version of the book, I wondered why I hadn’t liked the dress! I was completely smitten with it, and had plans to make another version for myself since the original wouldn’t be returned to be for many months.

In the meantime though, life happened and the second version didn’t get made. Eventually the original one was returned and I have been wearing it a lot now that the weather has warmed up! It’s charmingly classic color scheme and button details always make me smile. It’s the perfect summer dress!

  • Pattern: Dress Variation (by me!) as seen in the BurdaStyle Sewing Handbook.
  • Fabric: Lightweight  red and white /cotton twill. (And yes, I seem to be smitten with that color scheme!)
  • Alterations: The original pattern this was based on was heavily modified and is outlined in the BurdaStyle Sewing Handbook.
  • Techniques: This is fairly straight up sewing–not a lot of “new” techniques for sewers that have a couple garments under their belt!
  • Make Again? Maybe. One is enough for my wardrobe at the moment! I also would probably do a few things differently with another version–two years later and I have modified a few sewing processes to streamline things!

So what do you think? Too much like a soup can? hehe! I always feel so odd about posting so much of me on the blog between yesterday’s outfit post and today’s… But I hope no one minds! They’ll be more serious content next week!

Note: 40s reproduction Rita pump from Remix Vintage Shoes | estate sale belt | Target earrings.

June 15, 2012 · 64 lovely thoughts
posted in sewing · tags: , ,


top: thrifted | trousers: made by me | handbag: made by me | shoes: ASOS | belt: thrifted | bracelets: secondhand and gift | Navy sweetheart pin: vintage, gift | scarf: estate sale

(Apologies about the messy fireplace hearth… But it’s hard to keep the floor clean for more than 5 minutes with the puppy! lol.) Most of these pieces you’ve seen before on the ol’ blog, but to be honest lately I’ve been relying on many of my favorite pieces to get my summer wardrobe started. I’ve been wearing a lot of bright, poppy color combinations of late, and this outfit was a rest from all that color. (Though truth be told, I had to change later that day and picked something with a bit more vibrancy!) It’s simple, but fun with the scarf and record handbag–and was nice and cool to wear that day!

Obligatory puppy shot! He was being particularly wild and fidgety that day, so the fact that I even got this slightly-blurry picture was a miracle. Maverick has gotten so big–over 45 pounds! Hard to believe he still can do a lot of growing since he’s just coming up on 6 months old. He’s pretty inseparable when SH or I are home; and honestly I can’t imagine not having him around at this point!

June 14, 2012 · 38 lovely thoughts
posted in outfits + wardrobe · tags: , ,

If you follow me on Facebook, you probably saw my little note about Gina’s post last week. If not, let me give some background on this sewing swap and project we’re working on in tandem. Several weeks ago I emailed Gina about some vintage patterns, and we ended up sending each other a few both to keep and borrow. I love doing these sorts of swaps with my fellow sewing friends; it’s just as neat to put together a package for someone whose blog I read as it is to get one! Gina was kind enough to lend me the cheongsam-inspired blouse pattern I’ve admired for so long (still trying to decide on fabric for this one–but I need to make it!), and send me a couple others in exchange as well. Aren’t they lovely?

But this little swap doesn’t end with patterns! We both decided we were going to make up one of the patterns we sent each other as a little joint “sew-along” of sorts. It was a hard decision, but I ended up going with the McCalls #7248 because it reminds me a bit of my wedding dress (which is vintage and dates to around the same time as the pattern). I loved wearing that dress on my wedding day, and have often thought I’d like a daywear version. So here’s my chance! Only instead of white linen as my wedding gown was, I’m opting for a fun, tropical print linen I have in my stash. (Yes, I realize half my summer sewing incorporates tropical prints–I blame living in Florida for three years where they were so plentiful!) I have some gorgeous red buttons that Jen gave me, and I think it’s going to make a fun, summer frock!

I’m hoping to share a few bits and pieces as I go along! So stay tuned for those snippets as well as the big reveal in about a month! In the meantime though, I’ve been finishing up my 1940s playsuit project, and hope to share the results of that with you soon! It’s so nice to spend some quality time with my machine again… hehe!

Thank you again, Gina, for sending me these! If you haven’t already, be sure to drop by her delightful blog!

June 11, 2012 · 20 lovely thoughts
posted in sewing · tags: , ,

06.10.12 | weekly inspiration

weekly visual moodboard | be sure to click on the image to view picture sources.

  • Ever want to try hemstitching? There is a great tutorial from the Coletterie blog.
  • A lovely example of a WWII era dress sporting a propaganda print.
  • I’m really quite happy it’s summer right now (all my favorite sundresses can be worn!), but this cute outfit with it’s autumny colors and cape is making me wish just a tiny bit it were fall!
  • I love this collection of 1940s summer snapshots. So many gorgeous vintage looks to inspire this summer!
  • Faced with rain? Take some inspiration on classy vintage rainwear looks over at Couture Allure.

06.10.12 | the week in snapshots

weekly Instagram photos (my username is “elegantmusings”).

Hello, friends! Seems I disappeared again toward the end of the week, eh? Right smack in the middle of the week I developed some weird ailment, that while it didn’t have me totally down, meant I had to take a trip to the doctor’s (not my favorite thing to do) and found myself really sleepy for a few days. I seem to be on the mend though from this Mystery Illness (yay!)–just in time for the weekend and spending some time with SH at some local events, soaking up the sunshine.

I want to say a big thank you regarding your enthusiastic response to the launch of the Pattern Grading 101 series! I am so excited many of you are curious about this and are eager to learn more. The first technical post won’t be up until next week, but I can’ wait to share some of the tips and tricks I’ve picked up over the years. I think LBC put it best about how pattern grading can revolutionize your sewing toolkit: “. I don’t want to sound hyperbolic, but it has honestly been one of the most empowering things I’ve learned in the past . . . I don’t know how long.” I was fortunate enough to learn about grading just as I was beginning to seriously sew with vintage patterns (about age 17/18), and it opened my world to a lot of new possibilities as I was no longer tied to the numbers on the pattern envelope! Which might be a bad thing considering how many vintage patterns I have… *ahem*

Enough rambling about pattern grading… I have a feeling that I shall do plenty of that in the next month over the course of the series! Hope y’all are having a lovely, sun-filled weekend!

June 10, 2012 · 17 lovely thoughts
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