On Friday morning, I (aided and abetted by my husband) made a very last minute decision to attend the Roaring Twenties Lawn Party at the Crane Estate. There was just one problem – I generally dress in 40s and 50s styles and had nothing to wear. My husband picked up the tickets online, and I ran to the nearest fabric store on my lunch break and texted pictures of every likely print to a friend. I eventually settled on a nearly-empty bolt of an umbrella print and some solid blue to pair it with. I had a 1930s pajama pattern and I figured that with a few tweaks and a daywear fabric I could make them into passable beach pajamas.
The pajamas said that I needed just shy of 4 yards of 36” fabric, plus optionally a yard for the contrast. There were 2 yards of the umbrella print fabric left, and somehow in my hunger- and panic-addled state I decided that I only needed two yards of the coordinating blue fabric.
When I returned home in the evening, fabric in hand, I threw everything in the wash and got out my pattern to trace. This is where I hit the first snag – it turned out that the pants pieces were no longer in the envelope! After a moment of panic, I remembered that print-at-home patterns were a thing and headed to Etsy.
I settled on the Wearing History Chic Ahoy culotte pattern, which I figured would be close enough, and got to work printing and taping. I made a few modifications to the pattern – I shortened the waistband to the natural waist, omitted the ties, and left out the pockets – and crossed my fingers. Of course, at this point I realized that there was no way I was getting an entire pair of pants out of my umbrella fabric – it had a one-way nap, and there just wasn’t room. I swapped the main pants pieces to my solid fabric and cut 10-inch hem extensions from the umbrellas instead, hoping to recreate the look of the pants in the original pajama pattern.
Satisfied that the pants would come together, I went to bed and planned to resume sewing in the morning.
Continuing our non-chronological trek through my photo backlog, today’s outfit features a bit of a mending trick.
You see, I bought this dress from FabGabs when she was having a bit of a clearance sale and although the dress fit like a glove, there was no way that my arms were going to fit in the sleeves.
I’ve been putting off sharing photos from last summer and fall all winter — I’m not sure why, it’s not like any of you are reading a vintage fashion blog to discover hot new trends for Spring/Summer 2018 or so you can go out and buy whatever dress I’m reviewing on the blog. All my style choices are at least 50 years out of date and most of the dresses you couldn’t buy even if you wanted to. So really, what does it matter if I’m behind or ahead of the seasons a bit?
I probably could wear this outfit right now if I wanted to, but the scenery wouldn’t be nearly as green and lovely.
The highlight here, of course, is this absurd hat. My friend Hannah (@giltriddengal) was selling it and obviously it’s right up my alley. I knew this novelty print dress would be a perfect match for it, and I’ll definitely be wearing this combination again.
This post has been sitting in my drafts since December, and the events happened even longer ago than that, but since it is late March and just keeps snowing, I think it seems as good a time as any to recap the second leg of our California honeymoon trip – a visit to Disneyland!
We both grew up in California, but while Doug got to go to Disneyland with some regularity, it was a very rare treat for me. We figured that there was no better way to kick off our official adulthood phase of life than by going and enjoying a few days with absolutely no responsibilities at all.
While we’re on the topic of sewing, I realized I never shared this novelty cotton dress I made last summer and so a post was quite overdue.
I’ve wanted some sort of fish or fishing themed dress for quite a while, since fishing at the lake was one of the high points of every childhood summer – and it still is a high point of summers as an adult! Unfortunately, I’ve had some difficulty finding a print I liked. Many fishing prints, no matter how colorful, are on a cream background, which I absolutely hate on myself.
I’m not the most keen on brown either, but when I saw this fishing lure print fabric I figured it was worth a shot.
At the beginning of February, one of the vintage sellers I follow posted a garment badly in need of a rescue. Now, I’m not usually one to want to alter vintage clothing – if it survived this long, I shouldn’t be the person to change it! But I do make an exception for things that just aren’t wearable in their current state.
The seller in question was One Sweet Thread and the piece was a sweet 50s housecoat that had seen better days. One sleeve had lost its elastic, the magenta piping was badly frayed, and several buttons were missing. The fabric had definitely been through a lot, but it seemed like there was still some life in it, so I carefully took it apart on the seams, gave it a good soak and a press, and started digging through my patterns.
Right before I broke my foot, I had started daydreaming of knitting a vintage fingering weight colorwork sweater. Not the quickest of projects, to be sure, but it seemed like it would be a great way to get through the long winter evenings. And then I broke my foot and suddenly I was faced with a lot of sitting time and knitting a sweater went from good idea to great idea. I paged around Etsy and Ravelry for a while before settling on Montrose, and after a bit of searching found the pattern in this booklet on Etsy.
I wasn’t entirely sold on the irises across the yoke of the sweater, though. I couldn’t come up with a color combination that I loved and that would do them justice, and I couldn’t help feel like the flowers were hard to recognize in a limited color palette. So I started looking around the internet for other charts that were the same height. I was expecting to find some other sort of flower, perhaps a snowflake, or something nautical. Instead, I ended up with dragons.
More in the theme of “Frances dresses like cardinal in the wintertime”, an outfit from a rather snowy day.
I have more California pictures to share, and indeed many more summer and fall pictures to share, but it was 3°F this morning and I found myself rather resenting the ice-free photos. And honestly, I didn’t have a lot to say about them. “In this picture here, it is a reasonable temperature. I was warm. It was nice.” So instead, I figured I ought to share a few more timely posts of what I’m wearing now.
As it turns out, when the mercury drops I take most of my dressing cues from the birds — Cardinals do the brightest and cheeriest job at dressing for the winter, and I do my best to copy them.
It’s well and truly November, cold and dark and leafless outside, so it seemed like now was as good a time as any to catch up with some pictures of our visit to sunny California back in (yikes) May. Doug and I made the trip for our honeymoon, and got a chance to do lots of sight-seeing as well as catch up with some relatives who hadn’t been able to make it out for our wedding.
We went hiking at Point Reyes National Seashore on the Tomales Point Trail the day after we got in, and although I don’t have any good pictures of Doug and I in our hiking gear, I did at least snap a couple pictures of the stunning scenery.