New Dress! Retro Butterick 5880!

Woohoo! I’ve got a new dress, and it’s gorgeous! In a continuation of my life being photographed in vintage and vintage-style dresses, here are the results of about 8 hours of sewing fun!

Here's the pattern, a vintage reprint from Butterick (B5880), and the crazy cotton fabric I found!

Here’s the pattern, a vintage reprint from Butterick (B5880), and the crazy blue cotton fabric I found!

As I’ve said, I love working with fun cotton fabric, because it tends to be less expensive and so easy to work with. This particular fabric was chosen due to the changing of the seasons. I thought it would be a lovely late winter/early spring print that would make the transition nicely. Also, I don’t have nearly enough blue things to wear!

Here's a close up of my fab hair (it did what I wanted it to do!!!), and the super neat neckline! It's got two little "v"s to keep things interesting.

Here’s a close up of my fab hair (it did what I wanted it to do!!!), and the super neat neckline! It’s got two little “v”s to keep things interesting.

It also works super well with my vintage blue starburst brooch! I did not plan this, however, one of the bursts in the fabric ended up in the perfect “brooch place” on the bodice! Splendid serendipity!

Here's the final product! Isn't it stunning?!

Here’s the final product! Isn’t it stunning?!

Another confession: The lovely swag across the front was *supposed* to be lined, and because I didn’t have quite enough fabric, I just hemmed the raw edge instead! It lies beautifully, however, since the fabric isn’t double-sided, I’ve got to be careful not to let the underside show. When I make another version (which I’d like to do immediately), I will probably choose a solid color, and add a contrasting fabric lining!

I'll also take this opportunity to introduce my pocket pup: Abe Lincoln!

I’ll also take this opportunity to introduce my pocket pup: Abe Lincoln!

Isn't he the cutest?!?!

Isn’t he the cutest?!?!

So, that’s the latest sewing project of mine! It was really special because it was my first dress at the smallest size I’ve ever sewn! I only made my standard adjustments to the waist (for petites) and the hem length (super petite!), and it fits so well! As many dresses as I’ve made, it still feels like a gamble with a new pattern, and I’m so glad this one is a success!

Are you working on a new dress pattern? What made you choose it? Which fabric(s) do you like working with?

Valentine’s Day Soirée!

Someone like myself, who prefers Halloween to all holidays, watching documentaries about diseases, sharks and/or massacres, as well as the generally macabre aspects of life, may not truly appreciate the saccharine, heart-shaped miasma that is Valentine’s Day. I do, however, love a good theme. One I can really run with, like the goddess Diana, through a beautiful forest of decorating possibilities!

Given this fact, and Valentine’s Day being on a Thursday last year, I decided to host a fabulous Valentine’s soirée! I thought it might be much more enjoyable than a “fancy” date night at some restaurant, surrounded by a bunch of desperate strangers, with outrageously high expectations, eating overpriced steak and mediocre desserts.

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So yummy!

Again, because I have doting parents who are willing to help me, and provide excessive amounts of table settings, decor and silver pieces, this party was an over-the-top success! Not to mention, the house lends itself extremely nicely to this color scheme, given the vintage pink linoleum covering the kitchen, pink curtains in the dining room, pink sectional sofa and dramatic peacock feathers in the foyer. I invited so many people that we had all three tables set up (one in the Library/Study, Dining Room and Breakfast Room). Each was set with a different combination of colors, all of which featured pink heavily.

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Fancy folks in the Dining/Cherub room!

The Breakfast Room! (My favorite table cloth, the vintage net and sequined felt!)

The Breakfast Room! (My favorite table cloth, the vintage net and sequined felt!)

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Sophisticated romance in the Study!

I served Mexican food, mostly because you can cook a lot of it at once without too much effort, and it has less staining properties than Italian fare. (Red sauce and white table cloths DO NOT mix.) So, I opted to make 40+ enchiladas, with chicken and veggie options! Never before attempted, but they were delicious! I bought rice and beans from Chuy’s (they were SUPER gracious about it), and a couple of my friends provided the (totally necessary) crock pot queso.

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My mother, and guests, were very helpful!

Not sure how I got away with not wearing an apron. (ALWAYS wear an apron!)

Not sure how I got away with not wearing an apron. (ALWAYS wear an apron!)

We also had a pink champagne punch (OBVS), with a frozen juice/blueberry-filled heart to keep it cool, and make my great grandmother’s punch bowl look even more fabulous!

Gorgeous in all the ways!

Gorgeous in all the ways!

For dessert (along with the many amazing guest contributions), I made what my family now calls “Strawberry Collapse Cake.” So named because of an incident in my childhood involving my mother, covered up to her elbows in pink, strawberry/coconut icing, weeping and babbling incoherently while what was once a layered cake slowly oozed sideways and simultaneously imploded. Being a relentless problem-solver, she decided to put the “cake” in an antique trifle bowl. Alternating cake, icing, sliced strawberries and cool whip, she created a beautiful dessert, and effectively masked it’s inherent instability.

*Somehow the desserts went unphotographed, however, if you have any pictures, please let me know!*

The decor for this party was absolutely incredible. Seriously. We’re talking gold lame swags, punctuated with my mother’s (seemingly endless) supply of heart-shaped candy boxes, in the living room. A silver epergne (pronounced: ay-pern), adorned with piles of hearts and cherubs, not to mention the ever-present pink cow hide rug, and pink and green sofa.

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So many golden swags! (It’s all one long piece, btw.)

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Silver epergne and pink cow hide rug. So classy!

Pink sofa! And the gorgeous flowers Boyfriend bought just for me!

Pink sofa! Plus, gorgeous flowers!

We added some hearts to my mother’s antique wall-o-drawers piece in the Breakfast Room, plus some hanging on her stick arrangements, for good measure.

My friend's camera had a color filter! We USED it!

My friend’s camera had a color filter! We USED it!

The cutest!

The cutest!

My father’s Study/Library was made more festive with two enormous Styrofoam hearts, on loan from my maternal grandmother. I used one of the three hearts as a background for the “photo booth” we set up in the entry way! This was also a big hit, especially for those who donned some of the “costumes” provided: feather boas, oversize pearls, ladylike fans, and the token mustache guy we inherited from my grandparents’ furniture store.

So demure!

So demure!

Perfect friends!

Perfect friends!

Also meant to be!

Also meant to be!

Or does Matt love this guy??

Or does Matt love this guy??

Nope. It's this pretty lady!

Nope. It’s this pretty lady!

Adorbs!

Adorbs!

So happy!

So happy!

My anti-Valentine's friends came too!

My anti-Valentine’s friends came too!

Since we are a pretty crafty group, I also set up my mother’s craft room as a place for people to make their own Valentine’s Day cards and/or paper bags to collect goodies! (Like the Spanish conversation hearts my mother managed to accidentally purchase!)

Te amo!

Te amo!

I collected some pre-made Valentine’s cards, along with paper, glue, scissors, stickers, GLITTER, doilies and so much more! Giving people something to do before and/or after dinner encourages creativity and conversation. Plus, if you haven’t put together gift bags, they have something to take home that will remind them of how much fun they had!

Brian was super excited about his Valentine's bag!

Brian was super excited about his Valentine’s bag!

Craftin!

Craftin!

And lookin' good!

And lookin’ good!

Also, for this event, I decided I needed to create an ensemble that would be memorable and gorgeous. Thankfully, my mother has a pattern collection that would rival that of Vogue or McCall’s, so I quickly found a pattern that NEEDED to be real.

Isn't everything about this incredible??

Isn’t everything about this incredible??

So, Mom also had this fab silky red fabric that happened to be a shade darker on the “wrong” side, which was PERFECT for this dress, and I didn’t have to line the peplum! It was one of my first attempts at dealing with boning (re: buy boning that hasn’t been wrapped in a circle for 20+ years), and sewing this particular pattern. It went pretty well, though, and the final product turned out to be quite the conversation piece!

Dramatic in red! (Look at my pink cheeks!)

Dramatic in red! (Look at my pink cheeks!)

Worn with my PEACOCK FEATHER BOA!

Worn with my PEACOCK FEATHER BOA!

This party was a wonderful way to spend Valentine’s Day! Everyone had a wonderful time, contributed so much, and were able to wallow in the evening’s romantic theme.

Have you been to a Valentine’s Day party? Do you and your other celebrate Val-D? Do you have an anti-Val-D tradition?

Vintage Hat & Modeling Brunch 2.0

As promised, here’s a gorgeous sampling of my fabulous models in these dresses I made! These are some super great lookin’ ladies, and I’ve tried to match up the original pattern pictures to give y’all an idea of how amazing these dresses look IRL!

Vogue 8489 - So low cut you'll be embarrased all day at the office!

Vogue 8489 – So low-cut you’ll be self concious all day!

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Laura looked so super hot in this dress I made her take it home!

McCall's 6462 - This is SUCH a fun pattern! It's super fun, flattering and crazy simple to make!

McCall’s 6462 – This is SUCH a fun pattern! It’s super fun, flattering and crazy simple to make!

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I love this dress, and I totally added pockets! Not that anyone could look at the dress when Catherine’s making the best face ever.

Butterick 5748 - I LOVE this dress so much I made it twice! Once in lovely black linen (with bow, and pockets, obvs!) and once with a white eyelet!

Butterick 5748 – I LOVE this dress so much because it’s simple, doesn’t take a huge amount of fabric, and is super flattering. I made it twice!

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This is the first version, made of black linen, with bow and added pockets!

Version #2 - Fabulous white eyelet! It's fully lined, and so easy to accessorize!

Version #2 – Fabulous white eyelet! It’s fully lined, and so easy to accessorize!

Butterick 5603 - Fabulous retro reprint pattern that's got several choices for different bodice styles!

Butterick 5603 – Fabulous retro reprint pattern that’s got several choices for different bodice styles!

This is such a great pattern, and I adore the fabric! It looks like a 1960s wallpaper: buckin' broncos and all! It's also perfect with my red petticoat!

This is such a great pattern, and I adore the fabric! It looks like a 1960s wallpaper: buckin’ broncos and all! It’s also perfect with my red petticoat!

Vintage Vogue 2960 - Requires lots of fabric, like all Vogue patterns, but it's a lovely dress, and totally worth it!

Vintage Vogue 2960 – Requires lots of fabric, like all Vogue patterns, but it’s a lovely dress and totally worth it!

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I made this dress out of a pretty pink linen, added pockets, and closed the front opening, despite the button-closure, upon the advice of another seamstress who made the pattern first. Pro tip – if you can make a pattern after someone else, and they can help you at all, take any notes they have to offer.

Butterick 5247 - A really simple pattern that I made when I was still in my early learning stage!

Butterick 5247 – A really simple pattern that I made when I was still in my early learning stage!

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I chose the “tunic” option, and it was really simple, as well as flattering! I made it out of a silky fabric with a super bold pattern. Next time, there will be pockets!

Vogue 8409 - With some prompting by the fabulous Gertie, I made this dress as a simple sheath to accessorize and wear to work!

Vogue 8409 – With some prompting by the fabulous Gertie, I made this dress as a simple sheath to accessorize and wear to work!

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The final product is stunning! I chose a pink jersey that is heavy enough to go un-lined, and light enough to be worn in any season!

Vintage Vogue 8812 - An early 1940s pattern, this is a great simple summer dress!

Vintage Vogue 8812 – An early 1940s pattern, this is a great simple summer dress!

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I chose a fun green print, with dark green accent for this dress! The bodice is flattering, and the length could be reduced depending on how much summer fun you plan to have! Or, it could be made into a cocktail dress with a slinky fabric!

Vintage Vogue 1171 - A lovely early 1950s reprint pattern, it's simple, but can be made with so many different fabrics!

Vintage Vogue 1171 – A lovely early 1950s reprint pattern, it’s simple, but can be made with so many different fabrics!

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I made this dress specifically for the 4th of July! It’s got red buttons with little anchors on them! It’s also perfect for picnics!

Vintage Vogue 2787 - A Lovely pattern, easy to work with, but it still includes some unique details!

Vintage Vogue 2787 – A Lovely pattern, easy to work with, but it still includes some unique details!

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If you recall, I made this particular dress not too long ago! I had to make a couple of simple adjustments, but it was a great way to jump back into garment sewing after a post-holiday break.

Simplicity 5403 - Despite, or perhaps because this is a costume pattern, I love it dearly! It's a handy circular skirt pattern, and I've made it twice - so far!

Simplicity 5403 – Despite, or perhaps because this is a costume pattern, I love it dearly! It’s a handy circular skirt pattern, and I’ve made it twice – so far!

This, the first version, was made out of black and white Elvis fabric! It's glorious, and somehow subtle. The second version is less so, and made out of giraffe print! To be worn exclusively with wooden and ivory jewelry.

This, the first version, was made out of black and white Elvis fabric! It’s glorious, and somehow subtle. The second version is less so, and made out of giraffe print! To be worn exclusively with wooden and ivory jewelry.

McCall's 6083 - So, I tried the pink version of this pattern and it was not awesome, but clearly the "blue" version is WAY better!

McCall’s 6083 – So, I tried the pink version of this pattern and it was not awesome, but clearly the “blue” version is WAY better!

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Obvs Lora knows how to rock the hell out of a jumpsuit! I made this out of a silky fabric so it would drape more ’70s-like, and because I have like 20 yards of that fabric. (Always use what you’ve got!)

I am completely in love with every single lady in these photos!!! Thanks for making my dresses look so fantastic, and thanks again for coming out and modeling! And another big thank you to our photographer, Walter! We’ll do it again soon, I promise, and hopefully even more fab ladies will be able to make it. It’s a wonderful incentive to sew more, and I cannot wait!

Do you have a favorite pattern? What made you pick it? Is there one you’d like to make? One you’ve already made?

Vintage Vogue 1940s Scissors Dress!

It has been too long since I sewed a dress! My patchwork Sally dress for Halloween took an enormous amount of effort, and then the holidays happened, so recently I decided to remedy this by making a simple pattern with a fun print!

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Vintage Vogue Pattern #2787! I found this great red/black scissor fabric on sale at Hancock’s and couldn’t pass it up!

So dramatic, Vogue! Obvs, I double checked on Pattern Review to make sure this fancy promo photo wasn't an impossible dream.

So dramatic, Vogue! Obvs, I double checked on Pattern Review to make sure this fancy promo photo wasn’t an impossible dream.

I have an armoire full of fabrics, but most of them are either insanely fancy (dupioni silks, and the like), or inappropriate for the season. So, in an effort to ease back into sewing clothing, I knew I would need a straightforward pattern, but not one I’d sewn before (there’s no adventure in that!), and fabric that’s not difficult to work with. This, to me, usually means cotton, because it tends to be inexpensive and/or on sale, plus the prints are fun and the fabric is super cooperative/non-stretchy.

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This is my final product! Although you can’t see it, there’s a closure in the black I framed with eight black jet buttons! It’s pretty darn cute!

As a general petite-person rule, I shortened the hemline by (an insane) 8 inches! Since this is a 1940s pattern, fashions dictated longer hemlines, however, as you can tell, it still comes to my knees. If you are on any kind of budget, make sure you have a working idea of where you prefer your hemline. (You’ll save enormous amounts of time, money and fabric this way!) If I hadn’t removed the extra length before cutting out my pattern pieces, I would have needed an additional yard of fabric! As it was, I managed to make this dress using only three yards (sans the suggested shoulder pads), and it is completely appropriate for work, or as a vintage-style cocktail dress!

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I opted for knee-high, black suede boots, and victory rolls to really punch up the 40s glam!

This pattern was definitely simple to sew, and although I did need to make some adjustments, they were all completely doable with a minimal amount of seam ripping! For my figure, that included taking larger darts (front and back), amending the curved front seam, as well as taking in the side seams between the sleeves and hips. All of these changes were made due to my “hourglass” shape, which requires making a larger size to accommodate my bust/hips and then making the necessary changes through the waist and shoulders.

So many curves!

So many curves!

Not only did I manage to create this dress with slightly less than the suggested yardage, but I have enough left over to make a matching hat! (When I do, no worries, I will absolutely post the final results/fab ensemble!) During one of my estate sale excursions I found, and immediately purchased, an un-covered hat form. It just so happens to be a lovely 40s-style, wide brim just aching to be covered in scissor fabric, with a contrasting black under-brim and ribbon! Also, I’m officially on the lookout for antique and/or vintage tiny scissors to help create the feathered accent piece! (It will double as a brooch for those rare occasions that aren’t hat-propriate.) If you see some, let me know!

Brimming with possibilities, isn't it??

Just brimming with possibilities, isn’t it?? (Ha!)

The brim is so perfect! It's off-center, so it is supposed to be worn atop an elaborate hairdo!

It is so perfect! It’s set off-center so it can be worn atop an elaborate hairdo!

For those rare occasions not requiring a hat, a fabulous 1940s inspired hairdo will definitely be an acceptable substitute! I know there are lots of tutorials, inspiration, and celebrity throwback styles to choose from! Some of these styles are easy to reproduce at home with some hot rollers and bobby pins, but obviously there are others that require finesse, four arms and extra eyes, so maybe go to a stylist. Here’s some vintage hair inspiration to help you decide!

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Betty Grable looking stunning in victory rolls that are glossy perfection! Don’t be fooled, during the process there’s a lot of teasing. It’s only smooth on the top!

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Rita Hayworth has iconic hair, and you can absolutely recreate that gorgeous wave! Even with shorter hair, just use smaller curlers!

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Veronica Lake created a sly, sexy persona with her deep part and lovely wave curls! Again, grab those curlers and this one’s an instant success!

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Diane Kruger’s modern interpretation, complete with beautiful flower fascinator, proves that a vintage style can be done with fine hair and still look stunning!

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Last, but never least, the fabulously coiffed Dita von Teese in all her 1940s glory! Everything about her is flawless.

See?? You could absolutely do that! If I can pull together a couple of victory rolls before 9:00AM with my unwashed, super fine hair, you too can recreate a glamorous vintage-inspired look! Besides, once you invest in a set of hot rollers (I bought these several years ago for $15 at Walgreens!), you can create almost any 40s-60s hairstyles. It all comes down to effort, brushing, and maybe some teasing. It’ll all be worth it when you look amazing and feel super confident! So, if you’ve got fun plans this weekend, try out a retro outfit and/or hairstyle and enjoy the compliments!

Do you wear vintage and/or vintage-style clothes from the 40s? What about hairstyles? Would you pair a vintage hairstyle with a modern/trendy look? Why or why not?

Fabulous Holiday Dresses!

It’s mid-December, folks, and that means you should at least be considering where you should have picked up the perfect, gorgeous holiday dress already! Seriously, why haven’t you stocked away several by now??

So sparkly! Plus, it’s custom made!

I have been seeing lots of fun articles and suggestions about getting and/or creating a holiday dress in the past few days, and they’re not wrong. If you are, like me, attending several events this holiday season, you will need to make a completely unique and beautiful fashion statement for each one. The Trashy Diva blog featured a wonderful collection of Sophia Loren-inspired clothes and accessories!

They have a couple of amazing dresses that would do just the trick!

They have a couple of amazing dresses that would do just the trick!

The wonderful and fabulous Gertie debuted her latest: a green chiffon dress based on vintage pattern Simplicity 4414.

I'd make it!

I’d make it!

Though she’s (apparently) also making a blue velvet gown for Christmas (which I cannot WAIT to see!), the green chiffon would be perfect for any holiday gathering, especially if paired with some vintage red jewelry and shoes! Less “traditional” holiday color schemes are a great way to be festive without being cliché or boring, so break out those bold colors and bright accessories!

She's the absolute cutest! Her dresses are expertly sewn, and it absolutely shows! The rhinestone trim is GLORIOUS!

She’s the absolute cutest! Her dresses are expertly sewn, and it absolutely shows! The rhinestone trim is GLORIOUS!

It's even got a cowl neck in the back! Extra glam!

It’s even got a cowl neck in the back! Extra glam!

Since I’m attending/participating in a friend’s wedding this weekend, I have a rehearsal dinner and a brunch to dress for, and because I’m in the wedding I’ve already got that outfit in the bag! (It’s literally been marinating in a dry cleaning bag for months.) One of my other friends got married in November, and although it was a bit warm, I chose a sweater dress for the occasion, mostly because it was just too cool not to wear!

Aren't we the most pretty?! I got this dress SUPER last minute, but it had such a retro vibe, and hugged my lady curves so well, I just had to get it!

Aren’t we the most pretty?! I got this dress SUPER last minute, but it had such a retro vibe, and hugged my lady curves so well, I just had to get it!

If you’re not involved with one (or more) weddings this season, there are still many possible, non-ugly sweater themed parties, to plan for: office party, networking events, happy hours, early gift exchanges, multi or extended family get-togethers, those fortunate Sagittarius or Capricorn birthdays, and any number of random, enjoyable outings that require you to wear more than just your pa-jim-jams!

When you’re not out, obvs, you should be doing THIS! Rock those jammies.

Usually Christmas day is spent with family, so I can put together a more relaxed (but equally adorable!) ensemble, however, I am definitely considering my outfit for New Year’s Eve! Last year I wore a super incredible, multi-colored, silk patchwork coat my mother and great grandmother created together. Mom originally made into a floor-length coat in the ’70s, then cut off, and it had been wasting away in a “to do project” box until we came across it, and I bargained hard in order to get her to finish it so I could show it off.

LOVE this jacket! It was a huge it, of course!

LOVE this jacket! It was a huge hit, of course!

This year I may or may not have time to create a dress, however, I was inspired last night by a huge, fabulous, rhinestone-studded, black velvet belt (that I can finally fit into), which was just waiting for me in my closet! It’s vintage, from Neiman Marcus! So, even if I create an ensemble from the existing items in my closet, I’m sure it’ll be fabulous! As long as you’ve got an inspiration piece, you’ll come up with something show-stopping. Plus, you will feel confident and enthusiastic, so everyone is guaranteed to be excited with you!

Do you have a holiday dress/ensemble picked out? Anything that you wear as a holiday tradition? Plans to do it up on NYE?

Vintage Sewing Pattern Extravaganza!

So, I was casually scrolling on the Facebook yesterday, and saw a post by We Sew Retro about a version of Simplicity 1795 done by Miss Allie Mass. Well, her version looked so nice, and the pattern seemed pretty simple/straightforward, so I immediately sought out a copy via Etsy.

Gorgeous! I want one, too!

Gorgeous! I want one, too!

As some of you may know, vintage patterns on Etsy are in pretty high demand, or at least the people selling them think they are, so the least expensive copy (which was a size 12) was about $20 including shipping! (I still have to buy the fabric and make the dress, geez.) Instead of paying monies, I thought to myself, I’ll look through Mom’s stash of older patterns and just see!

These patterns are mostly from the 40s and 50s, and belonged to either my Aunt Donna or Great-grandmother Wade.

These patterns are mostly from the 40s and 50s, and belonged to either my Aunt Donna or Great-grandmother Wade.

Quelle suprise! Turns out, we totally DO own it!

AND it's a 14! Success!

AND it’s a 14! Minimal re-sizing = Success!

While I was at it, I gently dug through the rest of the box to see what other delightful patterns I could find, and treasure resulted! There were lots of fun, simple patterns with unique neck lines:

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Love the subtle triangles!

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Such a pretty, feminine scalloped edge!

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A contrasting interwoven ribbon?! Yes, please!

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This one is a particular favorite of mine! The sleeves and the collar are so pointy!

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Some subtle tucks at the neckline make this simple dress more fabulous!

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This is an earlier, 1940s pattern, and is clearly a day dress, however, the triangular accent on the neckline adds pizzazz and uniqueness!

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This dress has an angled, button front! SO COOL!

Fun and interesting necklines aside, there were also some neat skirts:

I will have a dress like this!

I will have a dress like this, since essentially having two skirts is even better than a peplum!

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Suspender-skirt is ADORBS! Plus, a classic circular skirt, with some super cute (and slimming) bow accents!

Delightful 1940s nighties and day dresses:

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Cannot wait to elegantly lounge in this!

Plus, just in time, CAPES:

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YES!

Last, but not least, these fabulous hat and hood patterns:

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We’re having a hat making party, y’all!!!

To wrap it up, two of my favorites, the first because it’s hilarious, and the second because it couldn’t be more fabulous!

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We’re gonna need to schedule a tupperware party ASAP.

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The lauded “shelf bust” dress! When I make it, I’m going to look just like Liz Taylor! *Dreams coming true*

One of my favorite activities is going through vintage patterns for inspiration, and this Sunday was a complete success without even leaving my house! I am hoping to maintain this excitement into actually producing several of these dresses. Despite the insane amount of time and fabric some of these patterns require, I think the final products will be amazing! Plus, even when I work on a simple pattern, odds are that I’ll be learning at least one new technique. There may be time between now and New Year’s Eve to make one! Here’s hoping!

Any suggestions about which one I should start with?? Which is your favorite? Do you like vintage sewing patterns? From which decade/era? Do you have a collection? Where’s your favorite place to purchase?

Re-purposing A China Cabinet for Jewelry Display!

Happy Friday!!!

Let's get this sexy weekend started!

Let’s get this sexy weekend started!

Among my many crafty projects is one I’ve recently undertaken to become more efficient, as well as more fabulous! I re-purposed my grandmother’s China cabinet from its latest incarnation (basically a liquor cabinet, sorry MeeMaw), into a lovely display case for (most of) my jewelry, and some other pretty things!

Here she stands, with as much excess removed as possible, ready to be transformed!

Here she stands, with as much excess removed as possible, ready to be transformed! (Ovbs, this was taken closer to Halloween, since my vultures and display legs are hanging out.)

My maternal grandmother sort of started this family trend, by having an outrageous collection of jewelry built up over the years due to a preference for shiny things, and extensive world travels. Hers is truly glorious, and the cabinet is a sublime slice of the ’70s. It sits in a corner of her master suit/”love oasis” of a shared bathing area. Seriously, the secret to being happily married for 60+ years is an enormous, turquoise bathtub.

Pretty great, right?? They've had to move downstairs, plus Christmas, so things are a little hectic.

Pretty great, right?? They’ve had to move downstairs, plus Christmas, so things are a little hectic, but you can tell how sizeable this cabinet is.

See?? They built their custom house in 1973, and two separate vanities, two closets and an enormous bathtub is what they decided. LOVE this. It was super fun as a kid, too!

See?? They built their custom house in 1973, and two separate vanities, two closets, and an enormous bathtub is what they decided. Brilliant! (The shower curtain is a recent development.) I LOVE this. It was super fun as a kid, too!

Now my mother also has a jewelry cabinet, as do at least two of my cousins! So, with the limited space I have, and the diminished necessity of displaying pint glasses, I decided I would make one, too! I have documented my process, which may or may not help those of you out there who’ve outgrown your jewelry boxes, and are looking for a way to exhibit your ever-expanding jewelry collection. This would be a great display for any small to medium-sized collection, really. It is also a super effective way to utilize inherited furniture!

I started by measuring the width and height of the bottom two shelves. I wanted to cover the base and back of each one, so I also measured depth.

I started by measuring the width and height of the bottom two shelves. (Measure everything! They were slightly different.) I wanted to cover the base and back of each one, so I also measured the depth.

I have some lovely red satin fabric, and since it looks so nice with the dark wood (plus I had enough of it), I decided to use it to cover the heavy paper I “borrowed” from my brother (he’s an architecture student). Since the shelves in my China cabinet cannot be removed, I had to come up with a way to insert these covers, in order to protect the wood and also aid in the display process (hanging necklaces or pinning brooches, for example).  The simplest way to do that was to find a material that was sturdy, but flexible, and this thick paper (heavier than card stock, but thinner than cardboard) was ideal, at least for the bottom of the shelves. I cut the paper into two strips that would fit onto the base/bottom of each shelf, cut two pieces of fabric at least 3″ wider/longer than the paper, then simply folded the fabric over and hot glued the edges down to the back of the paper.

Unique Item - Pants stretchers! (Living with a hoarder can be really handy sometimes.)

Unique Item – Vintage pants stretchers! (Living with a hoarder can be really handy sometimes.)

For the back of the shelves, I needed something even more flexible to be able to fit into the small, one door opening, and stronger to actually hold the weight of the jewelry. Mom to the rescue! She managed to round up (in, like, 10 minutes) two vintage pant stretchers! Random, I know, but completely perfect for this particular project. They extend (height-wise, for my purposes), were the just the right width, and are bendy enough to get through the opening without too much trouble. I wish I had pictures of that process, but it involved both of my hands, one of my legs, and some effort with my chin. (Worth it!)

I basically created a lined sleeve to slip the pants extenders into, using the measurements of the shelves height and width.

I basically created a lined sleeve to slip the pants extenders into, using the measurements of the shelves’ height and width. Making them longer than necessary, I left the ends open and simply folded them back for a clean edge once they were in place inside the cabinet.

Here's the view of the inside of the sleeve before I slid in the pants extender.

Here’s the view of the inside of the sleeve, after turning, but before I slid in the pants extender. THAT took some doing. It was a snug fit, but that is exactly what I needed for extra support.

Close up of the lined shelves!

Close up of the lined shelves! The red makes everything pop so nicely!

I decided to keep some of my non-jewelry things in the cabinet, partially because I currently have an effective storage space for my necklaces, so I didn’t need to, and partially because they’re just so pretty! It was either this or a box, and I thought incorporation would be better. Adding loveliness and variation is always a good decision!

See all my earrings, drops, and bracelets!? Me too! Now I won't forget I have them!

See all my earrings, drops, fancy headbands, giant rings, and bracelets!? Me too! Now I won’t forget I have them!

Another organization hack out of Sylvia’s playbook, I used one of those tins that Valentine’s candies come in to organize my non-hook earrings! Since I love vintage stuff, I have lots of screw-on, clip on, and stud earrings that I wasn’t able to display, but now I can easily see them (plus they’re color-coded!), and I definitely wear them more often! I used my milk glass compote to hold my bracelets, and have my fancy headbands and hat pin in a well-deserved place of prominence!

The "finished" product!

The “finished” product! So lovely!

This is still a project in progress. I would like to add my brooches, a couple of smaller frames with wire for the hook earrings, and display some of my more ornate necklaces, but putting it together was extremely fulfilling and I wanted to share! Although I know some people do not have the space, or the jewelry collection, to display like this, being able to view the gorgeous things I already own makes me feel grateful and fortunate every day. Any prized collection should be seen and appreciated daily, if possible, otherwise these lovely items get forgotten so easily, only to become under-utilized and under-valued. Don’t let this happen to you! Proudly display your beautiful and/or unique things, and let them be an encouraging reminder of how incredible you are for having such awesome taste!

How do you display your jewelry? Any great organizational tips to share?? Do you have lots more of any particular item (necklaces, rings, brooches, etc.)? Do you have another prized collection on display in your home? Please share!