Saturday, May 13, 2017

May Showers

 

It's been a showery May in more ways than one! My best friend, Britt, is getting married this September and was home for a few days last week. She currently lives on the other side of the country (Canada is a big country!), so it was great to be able to actually see her again! Britt's bridal shower was held during the last day of her visit, which I of course knew deserved wearing a vintage dress for. I love my vintage dresses, but I only tend to wear real vintage for special occasions.

This 1960's dress does have a matching belt but I opted to wear a different vintage belt so as to match my bright blue tights. I accessorized with a brooch at the neck, some chunky pearl earrings, and a pair of comfy flats. 



The party had a Tiffany Blue colour scheme, so I mixed a couple nail polishes together to get the perfect shade (it ended up matching the exact colour of the decor!). 


I'm a little upset that, despite taking pictures, I ended up with no photos with the bride-to-be. I ended up taking a blurry screen shot from the video I made for her so that I would at least have one photo with the two of us. 


I knit Britt a super snuggly navy blue blanket as her shower gift. (I also made her the cutest little card with a paper doily wedding dress, which of course I forgot to take a picture of). I wrote the pattern for the blanket and am now offering it as a free pattern on Ravelry. It's called September Vows in honor of their upcoming wedding.


After all the excitement of last weekend, I'm enjoying just kicking back and having a rest this weekend! I hope everyone had a lovely week.

That's All.


Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Easter Colours


Just a quick post today with my Easter outfit. I didn't really plan to get dressed up for Easter, but the day-of I woke up and felt the need for crinolines and fancy hats. As no planning went into this outfit whatsoever, nothing matches. I just grabbed a bunch of "Easter coloured" garments and threw it all together. 

The dress is a me-made infinity dress. It's such a versatile piece! I love how the vintage crinoline is slightly longer than the dress and peaks out at the bottom. What's the point of a lovely hued crinoline if no one can see it?! The sweater and shoes are both store-bought pieces from a few years ago (before I stopped buying "new"). This may be the last time I wear these shoes. While cute, they are horribly uncomfortable... 



  My Easter hat was me-made a few years ago. I took a craft-store straw hat, unraveled it and then re-worked it into a straw boater. It's not a particularly fine attempt at millinery (there was hot glue involved...), but I've always loved it. The flowers are actually a flower crown I also made that just happens to fit the hat perfectly. This hat always strikes me as Edwardian-style and looks best when my hair is curly/poofy. However as I didn't plan ahead of time, my hair was a bit too straight and flat for my liking. Oh well... maybe next year...
Well, I suppose that's it for now. I'm fighting a cold and dealing with a moth invasion (insert horrified screams here), so a long post will have to wait. I may also not be able to post my planned youtube video this week as I've been too sick/busy to film anything for a while. I always keep a few "back-up" videos, but I've used them up already! Oh well. Moths and colds take priority.

I hope everyone had a good long weekend.

That's All. 

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Wardrobe Planning (chronically ill style)

I have an idea of what I would like my ideal wardrobe to look like. I would have authentic looking garments (both formal and casual) ranging from the 1830's through to the 1970's. There would be plenty of accessories to match each outfit, with a focus on fabulous over-the-top hats and antique-style shoes. Most days I would swish about in 1920's inspired gowns, full of beading, lace, and great gobs of fabric. For morning tea with friends, I would opt for soft and billowy Edwardian style tea-gowns. An evening out? A backless 1930's velvet gown, with some stunning necklace to accentuate its jewel tones. Then off to bed in a silk nightgown à la "Dinner at Eight". 


And now, back to reality....

My current wardrobe has gotten beyond sad. Some of my pajamas are so worn that I suspect the fabric is literally rotting away (ew!). My day-time clothing (on days when I have the energy to get dressed) is not a whole lot better. Everything is old (and not in a good way!), worn out, and not really my style. I've accumulate a lot of hand-me-downs over the past couple years which, although I appreciate them terribly, do not reflect my personal style. I've been wearing clothes just to not be naked, with the occasional "dress up" day in which I wear my "nice" clothing using vests/brooches/sweaters to cover up the holes and tears in the material.

How did it get in such a state? Well, a number of factors have contributed to this. The biggest issue has been my health. If you've read my blog for any period of time, you will know I've been struggling with a number of health issues for the past few years. This means I haven't had the energy to make garments for myself. Most of my sewing time goes into creating garments for my Etsy shop, which is my main source of income at the moment. (Because of my health, I've had to cut way back on tutoring, which was where most of my money was previously coming from.) I'm treading water for now, but it doesn't really leave money for "extras". 

I also have too many ethical problems with just going to a cheap mass-retailer and buying some new fast-fashion garments. Likely because I'm a seamstress myself, I have a hard time swallowing the low wages and poor working conditions that go into making such pieces. I know some retailers are better than others, but without a ton of research it's difficult to know the conditions in which a garment was produced. I don't want to have to feel guilty and uncomfortable in my clothing. What about thrift shopping for such pieces? Can't do that either. I'm allergic to most laundry detergents, and thus can't wear thrift store pieces without washing them 5 times, airing them out for a few months, and then only wearing them for a couple hours at a time until the smell has fully dissipated. That's just way too much work!

The solution? A well-thought out and achievable wardrobe plan! Here's what I have come up with:
First to consider are the medical related issues. One of my health problems is an autoimmune condition which affects the thyroid. I actually don't have any swelling or tenderness in my thyroid/neck area, but having garments that touch that area bothers me. It's all completely psychological but still something I want to avoid. As much as I love high-collared Victorian dresses, at this point in time I need to avoid anything with a snug or high neckline. Any garments I currently have but don't wear because of their necklines will be donated. No sense cluttering up the closet with pieces I can't wear!
I know I tend to be too tired to get dressed a lot of days (although this has been much better lately! yay!), so I need to up my game in terms of lounge-wear and sleepwear. Most of my current (super disgusting, worn beyond belief) sleepwear will be thrown out, with some of my older "day-wear" garments now becoming pajamas. This saves me the effort of more sewing, while still providing better sleepwear. The garments that are not appropriate for sleeping in will become loungewear. This will allow me to re-purpose many of the hand-me-downs that are still perfectly functional, but which I don't wish to wear in public. 

I may also treat myself to a new nightgown for my birthday. There is a local small business that has some stunning Victorian-style nightgowns that I have been lusting after for months. They are a touch expensive, but would be worth the price to perk me up on my "down" days. 

Another splurge will be a new corset. I adore my old one, but I've lost so much weight that it no longer fits. (My weight has fluctuated a lot since these health issues started, with it going up/down within about a 40 pound range.) I find a proper corset really helps with my neck/shoulder issues by improving my posture and also helps my energy levels when I'm out (it holds me upright and I don't have to put as much energy into sitting or standing). I'm waiting until June to order this one, with birthday money hopefully covering most of the cost. 

Ok, that covers around the house and structural support, but what about going out in public? When planning my outside clothing, I realized comfort and versatility was going to be key. Enter the house-dress. I've long loved the idea of house-dresses and even have a couple vintage ones in my collection. Not wanting to ruin a vintage house-dress, I decided sewing myself a couple was probably best. I designed a incredibly quick-to-sew pattern and have already made myself two in plain fabrics from my stash (one green, one mauve). The design is perfect in it's simplicity. I can wear it loose around the house when I want to be comfy, or pair it with a belt for going out. Just by changing a few accessories, I can make the dress work for most decades. Here is a quick sketch of the dress worn in a 1930s/1940s look, 1920s look, and a "modern vintage" look using accessories I already own:

Tilt hat, brooch, small belt, pink beads, brown heels = 1930's/1940s.
Cloche, long beaded necklace, low-waist sash, flapper-style shoes = 1920's
Extra wide belt, Victorian style boots, Buster Keaton Pendant = "Modern Vintage"
And this doesn't even start to cover the all possibilities! What about adding a sweater, vest, or corset? Add a shawl around the shoulders. Wear a skirt on top to turn the dress into a blouse. So many choices and options!

Non-dress days? Well I'm adding one grey-wool skirt to my wardrobe. This will also be me-made and fairly simple. I opted for a half-circle skirt, as this works well for styles ranging from the 1910's through to the 1940's. I can wear blouses tucked in for a high-waisted look, or overtop if I fancy a different waistline. This sort of piece is also very versatile and should match most of the pieces I already own.

I don't have any current plans for sewing any blouses. I would like some button-up blouses, but have opted to buy new if I come across any suitable tops. They just take too long to sew and that's time better spent working on other projects. To lessen my "new clothing" guilt, I will be trying to only shop at small, local businesses.

And that's about it. A simple, adaptable wardrobe that is easy to care for and easy to wear. I've already started putting my plan into action and am pleased with the results so far. There may have to be some minor changes or compromises as the need arises, but I'm pretty confident that such a plan is achievable regardless of what life throws my way.

 And if all else fails, I can always just buy some faux fur and wrap myself up like a Garbo Burrito.

That's All.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Another 3-Hour Sweater


Thank you so much to everyone for your kind comments on my last post. Your kindness and support really means the world to me, and has made the last few crummy weeks seem a lot easier to deal with. 

Overall, I've been doing a bit better lately health-wise. Being able to knit again (yay!!!) is also helping me better cope on the "bad days". I can't sew when I'm fatigued and suffering from brain-fog, but I am able to knit which satisfies my need to be productive. It also satisfies my creative urge (I go positively batty if I am unable to make/create something everyday). 

In need of a quick project, I made another "3 hour sweater". This makes four of these I've knit and this one is by far my favourite. I made a few modifications on this one: added a collar, used a different stitch pattern on the body, and extended the ribbing. I would have liked to have made the grey part just a tad longer, but I completely ran out of the (discontinued) grey yarn. Oh well, I'm pretty sure it will stretch out after a couple washes. For more detailed notes, here is a link to my Ravelry project page  (Feel free to add me as a friend on Ravelry if you are on there! I love checking out other peoples projects and favouites for inspiration). 




I think my favourite thing about this sweater is now I have something to wear this hat with! It's a 1930's pattern (just like the 3-hour sweater), which I made a couple years ago. While I love it, I've never had anything that matched the colour/style. I had just enough yarn leftover to use for the sweater ribbing (the 3-hour sweater is very economical in it's yarn usage!) and am just chuffed to finally be able to get some wear out of this adorable little hat. Makes a nice change to the black beret I wear almost every day. 

This project used approx 500m of yarn (which is pretty good for a sweater!) and I may have to make a few more to use up the random balls of yarn I have in my stash. The yarn stash is rather large at the moment (a combination of being unable to knit and a yarn addiction), so more projects like this will be needed to whittle it down a bit. I have a lot of single skeins of discontinued yarn, so if anyone has any pattern suggestions for sweaters that are either economical in their yarn usage, or combine several yarns in one pattern, let me know!


In my effort to destash, I've also been going back to some old "hibernating" projects which have languished at the back of the project pile for far too long. After about 5 years, I finally finished this 1920's workbag:


Not sure why it took so long or why exactly I initially abandoned this project, but I am very pleased for it to finally be done. I used a pair of thrifted handles and scrap fabric for the lining. It's my new project bag for when my best friend moves back home this summer and we resume our weekly knitting/coffee meet-up. 

I have a few other projects on the needles, which hopefully I will be able to share before too long. I've been working on a WW1 era sweater for ages and am finally starting to see some progress. I've also started a simple 1920's beaded bag. It's on tiny little needles, so it's going to take a while before that one is done but it looks good so far!  

I hope everyone had a good weekend.

That's All.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Ugh

.... It's been a tough few weeks. Not really sure where to start this entry. 

(I will be punctuating this post with pretty pictures of Victorian flowers to bring a bit of light to what is going to be a bit of a depressing post)

I suppose I shall start a few weeks ago when I was at the doctors and told I have an autoimmune condition, which is why my thyroid and other levels have been so out of whack. Of course the doctor didn't really tell me anything else (what type of autoimmune condition, what I should or shouldn't be doing/eating/etc, any possible treatments, what the hell is going on...), and he only told me that much because I asked ("Why are my levels so high?" "Hmm? Oh, you have an autoimmune condition"). I should have asked more questions, but at that point I was so stressed I was starting to get dizzy. So I got out of there as quickly as I could, but still managed to almost pass out in the reception area while making my next appointment (if there hadn't of been a chair there I would have been on the floor). I've now been on edge for almost two months waiting for my next appointment. I need answers but am scared about getting so stressed again. I've never had a fainting spell like that before and it scared the living daylights out of me. I think I need to find a new endocrinologist. I've been going there 2 years and feel like the only thing I've gained from the appointments is a hell of a lot of stress.


I've also been sick, grumpy, and bored over those last 2 months. I'm finally starting to feel a bit better though and have even been doing some sewing! I'm putting together a bunch of new "spring" items for my Etsy shop and hope to be able to post them in the next couple weeks. I may also film a short little promo for them and post on my youtube channel.


Speaking of which, people on the internet are mean. I've actually had to shut down the comments on one of my videos because it was causing me so much stress. I prefer to deal with inappropriate comments directly but it was having a negative impact on my health. The chemicals released during stress are supposed to worsen autoimmune conditions, so I've been trying to avoid anything that could trigger that stress response (I've even stopped watching some tv shows I really like because they triggered a stress response). Which meant I was forced to shut down the comments section of my pomade video after receiving one too many comments such as "how about you show us your tits", "she's hot for a chunky girl", "your pomade is crap. I haven't tried this recipe, but I tried another and it didn't work", "shut up chubs", "i like her booobs" (typo was included), and so forth. (There were some much worse ones, but they got removed and I don't remember them clearly enough to rewrite them here). The video was about hair pomade, and most of these comments have literally nothing to do with the video or recipe I shared. It takes a lot of work to make a well researched video, and to have this crap spewed all over it is incredibly frustrating. 

I don't actually get personally offended by the content of any of these comments. I get offended by the intent behind them which is either to sexually objectively me or other malicious intent such as trying to make me feel insecure/worthless. I hate that women still have to deal with this crap all the time and that these people (ok let's be honest, it's mostly guys) don't see anything wrong with these comments. When I call  them out on their bad behavior, I'm told to "calm down and take it as a compliment" despite the fact it obviously wasn't intended as one. They also usually turn to worse insults when I explain to them their comments are inappropriate and not appreciated. And I shouldn't even have to. This is not that highly viewed of a video and it's about Edwardian hair pomade for goodness sake! Not exactly controversial. I have so much sympathy for women who are trying to say something more important, as I know they are met with far worse then this. 

Computers allow both the commentor to be anonymous and for the receiver to have to deal with this filth from within their homes. Getting a comment like that while sitting in your bedroom feels somehow violating, like this person has invaded your personal sanctuary and there's nothing you can do about it and no where you can go. The whole thing (especially when combined with all the other terrible stuff going on in the world right now) has left me terribly sad for humanity at large. I had plans to try some men's vintage product recipes on my channel (mustache wax, a different pomade just for men, mens colonge, etc), but I'm holding off for now. 


After that rant, I feel the need to say most people who leave comments on my other videos are not like this. My actual subscribers are lovely people and leave such sweet comments. I love conversing with viewers and other youtubers, and most of the time the conversations are kind, helpful, informative, and enjoyable. It's just there's few bad eggs out there that seem to scream that loudest and which try to ruin it for the rest of us. I'm going to continue with my video making regardless of what anyone says, because I enjoy it. If I need to block comments for a while on a few specific videos, then that's what I will do so I can continue to share my work with those who actually appreciate it.


To end on a happier note, my wrists/hands have been feeling a lot better of late. I bought a TENS machine and it's actually helped quite a bit. The pain isn't gone, but I am able to use my hands for things like reading and knitting again! I'm actually almost done a new 3-hour sweater  with some interesting modifications and can't wait to do an outfit post in a couple weeks (when the weather gets warmer and I can do outside photos again!).  

I hope everyone else is doing ok. Sorry if this post was a little darker then my normal stuff, but I just couldn't go back to fluffy fashion posts without having a bit of a vent first. Don't worry, overall I'm doing ok and plan on getting back to doing a lot of things I enjoy now that I'm feeling a bit better. Fingers crossed for sunny days ahead!

That's All.

Friday, February 3, 2017

1920's Valentines Day Inspiration


While my plans for Valentines day involve sitting at home with my cat watching Columbo, I must admit a certain love of the occasion. I don't know that I've ever spent the day with a romantic date. Instead, I always think of it as a way to remind people close to us how much we care. My best friends always get a homemade card and I've held Valentines Day tea-parties in previous years. 

This year, my health doesn't permit any big plans, but I may have to get dressed up (even if Aggie is the only one who sees it!). While looking for inspiration, I came across these adorable 1920's Valentine costumes! The illustrations are from a couple of Dennison's books, and the costumes would have been made from (usually crepe) paper. Wouldn't it be amazing to go to a Valentines Day party with everyone in such costumes?! 

I've actually made myself a headband to resemble the one above-left. With just a few scraps of felt and a piece of red ribbon, it was super simple and an inexpensive way to add a bit of Valentines flare to my wardrobe.

The tablescapes below make me wish I could have a tea-party again this year! Aren't they fun?


If you wish to peruse the original publications, I've embedded a copy below. There are some really fun sounding party games, as well as ideas for other Spring holidays (such as Easter, St. Patrick's Day, May Day, etc) 

That's All.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

The Holidays

Hey everyone! Long time, no blog.

I suppose that's mainly due to the fact I haven't really had much to blog about. I wore myself into the ground trying to get ready for Christmas (Christmas is over, and I actually still haven't finished some gifts!) and didn't have time for many fun adventures during the month of December. Also, the weather has been too cold to take outfit photos outside and there is just no suitable location inside my home for outfit shots. No outfit shots + no adventures = nothing to blog about :(

I've been fairly active over on youtube recently, which I must admit is currently my medium of choice for computer stuff. With some of my health issues, reading can be difficult (I can have problems focusing both my eyes and my mind when I get over-tired). Videos can be watched while knitting and seem to take less mental effort to consume, so I've been spending a lot of my online time over there. 

I'm by no means done blogging! I just haven't much to say at the moment, so blog posts might be less frequent for a while. However, videos on my youtube channel are now going to be posted every Thursday (plus a new vintage perfume DIY video the second Monday of each month).

For now, here are a few photos from the holiday season:

My Christmas morning outfit (a gift from my bestie):


I had to cat-proof the Christmas tree this year, so it was a small tree decorated with unbreakable ornaments (rather than the beautiful vintage glass ones I normally use). To make it special, I took old family Christmas photos and printed them on printable fabric. I then sewed them into cute little ornaments (which Aggie did end up throwing all over the room...). 

Santa Claws:


My paper winter village also had to be cat-proofed. It was on the mantle last year, but Catzilla ravaged the village pretty badly. This year, it was safely tucked on some shelves.

I added some new pieces this year, including a few airplanes, cars, and more people (all from vintage printables).

To help with those New Years resolutions, here is a healthy vintage "candy" recipe: 


I started this year off with two hairstyles on my best friend, Britt (who was home for the holidays!). One was a failure and one a success:


Hope everyone is having a good year so far!

That's All.