vintage inspiration

Hello, friends! Firstly: thank you for all the fantastic entries for the pattern giveaway last week. A winner was randomly selected and has been contacted. Keep your eyes open for another pattern giveaway in the near future–I think maybe one of these a month would be fun, don’t you?

I’m in the middle of a little sewing marathon (well, naptime sewing marathons! lol.), and have been a bit obsessed about dreaming up vintage ensembles. One of my favorite sources for inspiration (besides vintage magazines and old Hollywood photos!) is paper dolls. I picked up these lovely ladies a couple years ago on Etsy, and although they were obviously played with and loved, they have some pretty swell fashion! I’d love to, if I ever have time, to digitally repair these and print them on new cardstock for Audrey to play with when she’s a bit older!

Aren’t these cute outfits though? The 1940s really had the best paper dolls, in my opinion (I might just be biased though since I tend to favor fashion from that decade!). I especially love the winter snow ensemble! If I had something that cute to wear out in the snow, I might not mind it so much… hehe!

And check out those overalls (dungarees to some of you) ! I have a soft spot for 40s overalls, though I’m not sure I could pull the look off. But patterns like this one from Wearing History always tempt me. I do have an actual 40s pattern for overalls in my collection… Seems like it’d be a cute look for doing chores around the house or gardening (though who am I kidding?! I have a black thumb and can’t grow anything! lol.).

If you’d like to see more paper doll fashion, check out this post last year about the Hedy Lamar paper dolls I thrifted last year!

July 9, 2013 · 32 lovely thoughts
posted in vintage inspiration · tags: ,


I was recently able to go through the stash of vintage patterns I raided at my grandfather’s a couple years ago again. I ended up taking a neat little bundle–including a few I wondered why I hadn’t snatched up in the first place! I was especially delighted to find a handful of vintage girl’s patterns–one day perhaps Audrey will wear a few garments made from these! Ah the sewing possibilities… My imagination is running wild with all of these!

I have to admit: I have an awfully hard time keeping something this good to myself! Which is why I think it’s high time for a giveaway–don’t you agree? To spread some of the pattern bounty I’ll be giving away a little duo of patterns (shown below): McCalls 6312 (a cute, Mad Men era sheath dress and a proportioned pattern) and Vogue 7916 (which I think would make a cute wrap to wear with McCalls 6312). The Vogue pattern is one size, while the McCalls dress is for a bust 32″. But have no fear if you’re not those measurements–there are lots of handy hints on resizing patterns.


To enter:
1. You must be 18 years or older, or have a parent’s/guardian’s permission to enter since I will need to collect your mailing information.
2. This giveaway is open to readers around the globe!
3. Leave a comment in this post telling me where you’d wear this ensemble, and what fabrics you’d use.
4. The contest will be closed to entries on July 5 at 12pm EST. One lucky winner will be drawn at random and contacted directly.

Best of luck to everyone!

I also want to wish all my fellow American readers a happy and safe Fourth of July! We’ve got plans for a good, old fashioned cookout and soaking up some sunshine. Don’t think we’re going to take in fireworks this year though–Miss Audrey’s bedtime is far too early! :) (Ah the joys of being a new parent! lol.)

July 3, 2013 · 123 lovely thoughts
posted in vintage inspiration · tags: , ,


[ source ]

Circle skirts seem to be following me home lately! I found a modern taken on a 50s style circle skirt at Goodwill last week, and another in the treasure trove of vintage and antique goodies at my grandfather’s (he and my grandmother were antiques dealers for a number of years). Coupled with the three I already own, it seems like my closet has a little trend going on… I’m finding they are perfect for pairing with tank tops as well, making them mom-friendly (for me at least!) and great statement pieces (without being fussy) for the sticky, hot weather we’re having. Of course this means my thoughts have also been turning to sewing another (make it an even half-dozen to populate my closet!), especially as they are quite easy to whip up!

I’d been going back through the Circle Skirt Sew Along I hosted here a couple years ago to refresh my memory, and in the process found some new inspiration I thought I’d share with you! I have several yards of a gorgeous, textured black cotton I think I’m going to use to make myself a circle skirt. But of course I’m itching to fancy it up a bit with some sort of embellishment! The question is: what sort? There is applique, ric rac, lace, embroidery, palettes… So many possibilities!


[ source ]


[ source ]


[ source ]


[ source ]


[ source ]

June 28, 2013 · 27 lovely thoughts
posted in sewing,vintage inspiration · tags: , , ,

Sewing. That activity I have had precious little time for in the past two months; aside from a few things I’ve whipped up for Audrey and lots of clothing alterations for me. But this hasn’t stopped me from dreaming a bit about what I could sew (if only the house would clean itself and maybe I could get an extra hour or two of sleep! lol.). I took advantage of morning naptime last week to dig through my vintage pattern stash and pick out a few patterns that caught my eye. I dare say these are entirely overambitious, considering everything else vying for my attention these days, but a girl can dream!


Who doesn’t love a good circle skirt? Did you know you can also make variations of fullness; a 3/4 or 1/2 circle skirt are popular (though I’ve seen 1/4 in some of my pattern drafting books). Simple–and super easy to make! | I’m also loving button front dresses, for the obvious reason that nursing Miss A. makes it necessary to wear things that can open (or easily be pulled down). I love the idea of contrasting yoke and hem sections on this Advance pattern!


I adore this blouse–it looks like a halter neckline but isn’t! The pattern is going to need some serious grading (it’s a tiny 32″ bust, I believe), but this style looks like it might be a good wardrobe staple. | I need to make the tiered view of this Simplicity pattern! Preferably in red with black trim, because I’m susceptible to color scheme suggestions.


I’m slowly wiggling back into my pre-pregnancy shorts, but the ol’ waist still isn’t there. I’d love to make the pleated view up in a soft cotton/linen blend (perhaps in Kelly green?). | This later McCalls pattern caught my eye because again it sports a front opening. I love the playsuit view! Maybe made in a matching fabric to go with that 1/2 circle skirt for a complete ensemble?


I also have a little sewing tip for you! I’ve used large, flat metal washers from the hardware store for years as pattern weights. But have found with some fabrics (like knits or tissue weight silks) that they are just too lightweight to really hold the pattern paper in place. I recently picked up a handful of 3/4″ hex nuts at the hardware store, and have found those to be far more useful (and heavy) than the flat washers. These are a great alternative to the more expensive weights marketed specifically as “pattern weights” from sewing suppliers; I think each hex nut cost $0.50. So for about $6 you could have a dozen pattern weights–which are extremely handy to have in your sewing toolbox!

I hope y’all have a lovely weekend–and maybe have some time to sew! (I know I’m hoping I will!)

June 14, 2013 · 25 lovely thoughts
posted in sewing · tags: , ,

I had another post planned today, but decided to post this instead. I was very sad to hear that Esther Williams passed away yesterday. I always loved watching her movies when they were on TCM and have collected pictures of her over the years. She truly had a classy style, and you can’t beat those fancy swimsuits she got to wear in her movies in the 40s and 50s! I always get a bit sad when another icon of Hollywood’s Golden Era passes. I grew up watching mostly movies from the 1930s-60s, so in many ways I’m far more familiar with the movie stars of my grandparent’s day than mine! :) I hope you’ll enjoy these pictures I pulled from my files…

{ click here to continue reading this post }

June 7, 2013 · 20 lovely thoughts
posted in vintage inspiration · tags: , ,