Thursday, July 13, 2017

Cottage Days

I recently returned from a lovely few days up at the family cottage. There was lot of swimming, yarn shopping, and coffee sipping, and it was glorious. It was a surprisingly busy and exhausting week but somehow it managed to be refreshing as well. 

I didn't really take any outfit shots while I was up there, but I did have to take some photos of my new bathing suit. Yup... I now have an Edwardian-style swimsuit. I knew I needed a new swimsuit this year and opted to make something a little more covered up than my previous 1940's bikini. The reason? Well, mainly because the lake is always freezing plus I think Victorian/Edwardian bathing suits are adorable. I had a friend who used to always wear a wet suit to go swimming in the lake, so I figured this is just a cuter version of that. 

The material has a great texture and looks a bit like wool on one side, but it actually very similar to modern swimsuit material. It's super comfy and stretchy enough to make movement easy. I did plan on doing some real swimming in this thing so I worked hard to make sure it was a functional garment. I didn't actually wear the tights or ribbon belt for swimming, but the rest of it made for an excellent swimming costume. The only downside is that it takes forever to dry out.

I researched a lot of historical suits styles before designing mine. In the end, I opted for an Edwardian  suit rather than Victorian (it seemed a little more practical). Most suits also seemed to have a sailor collar, so I felt that detail was a must-have on my suit. While most of the original suits were not black, this fabric was on a very good sale so I opted to add in colour with the trim instead. My main inspiration was the swim costume top-left in the below image:

I'm sure I looked quite a sight floating around in a giant swan in my Edwardian bathing costume...

You may have already seen part of my Canada Day outfit on instagram, but I thought I would repost the uncropped versions here. I wore this the day we left for the cottage and snapped a few quick pictures after loading up the car. I was hot, grumpy, and tired when these photos were taken, but hopefully it doesn't show too much. 

I hope everyone is having an enjoyable summer so far!

That's All. 

Friday, June 23, 2017


Monday this week was my 27th birthday. I found this birthday more difficult than most since my health has had me in a bit of a slump lately. My thyroid issues are actually a lot better, but my cfs/me has been bad lately and left me with very little energy for fun. Luckily, I managed to get out and have an enjoyable (low-key) birthday. We went to my fav. small town for coffee and a wander in the afternoon, followed by takeout from a local restaurant and a relaxing family dinner at home. 

Of course I needed a special birthday outfit. It was rather tricky picking something out this year though. The heat/humidity was a major concern, plus I have lost some weight (yay, thyroid!) and a lot of my clothes don't fit quite right. I finally decided on this skirt, which is an old favourite but which hasn't fit in a long time. The plaid print is very similar to the Gordon tartan (part of my family originally emigrated from Scotland and that was their clan), which makes it extra special. The skirt was me-made a long time ago and has a matching cape (which I was not going to wear in this heat!). The blouse was bought many years ago from a store that no longer exists, and the hat was purchased as one of my first forays into vintage fashion. It's not actually vintage but I've always thought it looks rather 1930s.  

And below we have a picture of my homemade Birthday Cake. It's a grain-free, gelatin-free, refined-sugar-free cheesecake, sweetened with fruit (blueberries, strawberries, and cherries) and a just a spoonful or two of local honey. The crust is made from almonds, pecans, coconut, and some cacao powder. I also made three fruit whipped creams to match the swirls of fruit in the cheesecake and decorated with an edible flower. It was delicious.

I recieved lots of lovely gifts from my family, most of which I've photographed below:

In other news, I just completed my first short film and have posted it over on my YouTube channel. It's completely different than what I normally do, but it was a lot of fun to make:

If you prefer my regular content, this week's video was a Colleen Moore makeup tutorial:

I have also finally made an Instagram account! I don't have a cell-phone and up until recently was not able to use all the features using their computer interface. However, they just updated it and I am now able to use all the features I was missing before. I haven't quite decided how I'm going to use it yet. It won't replace my blog, but I'll likely use it to post things that seem out of place on here (such as photos from old magazines, what I'm reading, maybe some works in progress for the shop, etc). My account is thelonghairedflapper (same name as my youtube channel) and I've added to link to the bar at the top of my blog.

I'll admit I was hesitant to join. I don't need one more thing to keep track of and Instagram seems to have less substance than blogs. While I like pretty pictures, I do also like reading and learning about people and various historical topics. However, over the past year or two it seems like more and more of the vintage community has stopped blogging and switched to Instagram. I understand it's appeal but I do miss the deeper conversations/connections that blogging gives. I'm going to give it a go and try to use it in a way that feels right for me.
As I just signed up, I'm not following many people yet so if you have an account let me know!

I hope everyone had a great week.

That's All. 

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Changing Seasons

It seems the summer weather has suddenly arrived. I'm not ready!! I'm not a big fan of summer or it's clothing. The days are too warm for my liking and I prefer spring/fall fashions to those of the hot sticky months ahead. I also came to the startling realization the other day that I have very little actual summer wear in my wardrobe, at least for the very high temp days. When I made my wardrobe plan, I somehow missed the fact that I had hardly any light clothing (denial perhaps?). So now I'm scrambling to get a few pieces ready before the humidity reaches oppressive proportions. 

Speaking of sewing: I just finished my new grey wool skirt... just in time for summer.... Ok, perhaps not the best timed piece but I still love this skirt! I'm trying to eke out as much wear as possible for now by combining it with the few lightweight tops I own. This skirt is such a versatile piece and works well with a variety of styles and decades. I paired it the other day with a cotton gingham 1940's/1950's style me-made top and my Victorian style boots. This sort of outfit has a vintage-vibe without being too fussy for going out for coffee and a few errands. I wore my hair (almost)down since it was just re-hennaed and it seemed a shame to tuck it up or hid it under a hat. 

I've been getting a lot of knitting done lately including a long-sleeve Edwardian Pullover and a new pair of Edwardian socks (again, perhaps not the best timing). I haven't finished sewing all the sweater pieces together quite yet, but the socks are completely done. I must admit, I'm not a big fan of these socks. The pattern seemed interesting but the final sock fits oddly. The toe area is snug and the top-of-foot/heel area is way too loose (even on my rather large feet). It was an interesting project to work on, but I couldn't recommend the pattern. 

Don't they look odd when not on a foot?! It's actually surprising they fit at all.

I hope everyone is having a great weekend.

That's All.

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.