28 January 2015

2014 Year In Review VLOG: Mount Sew-More

Sorry in advance for the finger tapping and mouse-clicking noises! Must remember not to do that next time.


Top 5 Hits

Top 5 Misses

Top 5 Highlights
1. Chicago w/ Megan
2. Europe Trip
3. China Trip
4. Adopting Honey Bee

Top 5 Reflections

Top 5 Goals
1. Whip those WIPs into shape
2. Stashbust, stashbust, stashbust - both sewing and knitting
3. Go back to school!
4. Be more eco-conscious in both sewing and life
5. Get in shape!

20 January 2015

Completed: Wool Doggy Union Suits

Prepare yourselves for cuteness overload...I got a new dog! And then I sewed them both pajamas for our annual New Year's camping trip, of course! Paisley got red, her signature color, and Miss Honey Bee got aqua.

The tail/bum gap cracks me up every time they turn around!

Pattern: Kwik Sew 3076 $14.05
Size: XL and L
Rating: 4/5  
Fabric, etc.: 100% wool rib knit from Nature's Fabrics, in Red and Malacite $65.35
Cost: $79.40
Needle/Tension/Stitch Length: Size 11 Ballpoint/3/3
Time: 4 hours per pajama
  •  This pattern won out over all others because it was the only one that came in sizes large enough for Paisley.
  • The pattern originally called for fleece and rib knit but since these were intended as cabin wear and there is always the chance of a runaway spark from the fire, I opted for all wool, which is generally flame retardant. WOOL FOR THE WIN! I will never understand buying  pajamas coated in toxic flame retardant chemicals when you could just use wool.
  • I tightened the cuffs by using a 1/2" seam allowance in them.
  • For the most part, the fit is okay. I didn't stretch Paisley's neck hole enough when sewing the ribbing, so it feels a bit snug. With Honey Bee's I stretched too much (see top photo for comparison). 
  • On the other hand, Honey Bee's chest area fit well, which is odd because her little pibble chest is usually too broad for everything and Paisley's was all bunched up weird.
  • As they moved around it all tended to pull to the back until their paws were halfway up the back pant leg, and they were trodding around on them awkwardly. It felt as though I was pulling up the back ends every few minutes. At first I thought this was maybe because the legs were too long (they look pretty saggy) or I had made the wrong size. I tried HB's on Paisley to see, since it was one size smaller, but there is no way I could have gotten it all the way on, the torso length was much too short. I've come to the conclusion that having the body made from rib knit was not the smartest idea and that it stretched out in the legs. So if you use rib knit for the body, shorten the legs (there is even a shorten or lengthen line there), maybe even make them a bit tighter.

16 January 2015

Dressing Vintage For the Deep Freeze: A Long Commentary With Lots Of Delicious Images

 Storm Janus, NYC 1947
Stephanie did a post today on vintage patterns that lend themselves well to winter garments that reminded me of a pinterest board I'd made and had been meaning to share (any images with no source mentioned are on the board and you can reach the source page through it). Basically I get really fed up trying to dress vintage because it is hard to source images showing what people really wore when winter cracked down hard. You usually end up with this:
This is certainly lovely, but I'll bet your average young lady of 26 could not afford fur (I certainly can't) and unless you've got a heckuva snappy secretarial career going, you're not parading around in a velvet suit every day. I want to know what folks were wearing when they shoveled their drive, went sledding or just traipsed out to the grocery for some eggnog because I know it was not a velvet suit with mink muff!

And how many of these cute skating costume patterns do we all look at with longing? At least they've got long sleeves and a bonnet and maybe gloves, but brrr! No tights? If it is warm enough that you're not wearing tights with that short of a skirt, then that ice isn't safe enough to skate on.  And don't even get me started on those elf hats - Betty Grable wore one in How To Marry A Millionaire in Maine in the middle of winter and it didn't even cover her ears - cute, but not practical!
Source: Vintage Pattern Wiki
I won't lie, though, I want this pattern just to know how to make the earmuffs.

So what did ladies wear? Let's start from the bottom up. Finding evidence of winter footwear was a bit harder than I'd expected, so I was really pleased to see the boots on the woman in the photo at the top of the boot. You see, most of the ads for boots still had heels on them. Those up top, if we didn't know better, could even be a pair of Uggs.

These are lovely wedges and some modern companies make very similar styles. I had to crack up at the comment someone left saying they remembered wearing these and how badly their shins would get chapped.

There's a similar pair in the lower left with rather impractical high heels. I particularly like that the boots offered in this ad are themed. And aren't they clunky looking? The Campus Cowgirl has a serious cankle going on.

Many styles were intended to be worn over your regular shoes. This ad even refers to the style as velveteen "Overs". I prefer the more utilitarian lace-up boots made of elk, and how they've paired them with a fairly chic suit.

This ad is one of my favorites because I had a pair of red rubber rainboots that I always wore with vintage looks when the weather was inclement. Again, the names are a hoot - "Buckaroo", "Gossamer Kwik" and "Grenadier" - for children of course!

Are we starting to see styles repeated?

If you're a more outdoorsy type of woman, you know, with your own horse and hunting dog, as they put it "the ranch woman or hiker" you might have picked up a pair of these. How cool is it that there were options for lady hikers in the 1939 Sears-Roebuck catalog!?

Speaking of hikers, we come to my favorite theme on the board: winter sportswear. I am just giddy over this LIFE photo showing a bunch of real skiiers hiking about. Ladies wearing pants and sunglasses! It does look sunny so they get a pass for not wearing hats or heavy coats. I'd like to know why all the women have white sweaters tied about their waists though.

Ski wear for men and women, according to ads, seemed to consist of a sweater and wool pants, possibly with matching gloves and cap or a full on wool ski suit. I'm going to go out on a limb and assume everyone had some sort of long john woolies underneath. I've seen patterns for knitted teddies for women in the 40s and 50s, but let me know if you've seen anything that would be more practical.

This one from a Vogue in 1940 looks warm, but she needs some ear muffs and a better scarf! It is no fun racing down a mountain with the winter wind ripping at your ears and nose.

I adore the pockets on this one and the fact that it has a hood. Very practical. And look! Ski goggles! For those of you who don't speak french, the name indicates that the pants are stirrup style.

One could wear this under the previous ski suit and be quite toasty. It is a ski sweater with a hood from the 1950s.

Don't like hoods? Knit a bonnet for you and ear muffs for you hunky boyfriend. Then go the extra mile and make matching turtlenecks and mittens. You'll have that ring on your finger in no time!
Hunting cap? Very warm. But a fur bomber jacket? Now we're talking! I think in reality land though, most of us would have owned the pumpkin jacket or the blue one with the turtleneck.

If only we could tell if she were wearing tights.

This image is wonderful, because not only does it show a cute and practical ski/snow suit, the everyday outfits actually look practical. The woman on the left has a nice long coat over a turtleneck sweater and long skirt AND some really nifty socks or stockings that don't otherwise match her business-like outfit. From the illustration they look like fair isle. You now have permission to wear fun socks with your vintage outfits! The woman in the middle also has an unusual pairing - a bomber style jacket with a casual, but long, skirt. Of course, everything matches in her outfit though, including the plaid at the seams.

To the modern eye, this might seem like maternity-ski chic. I'm not sure why she would want such a wide jacket for outdoor pursuits - it is just going to let all that cold wind up into it, but otherwise it looks well suited to her cross-country skiing.

I'm thinking "lady rancher/hiker" again when I see that overall ensemble. Note the tucked in pant leg - it was either that or have a drawstring about your ankle it seems according to other patterns. I would kill for a copy of the pattern including those "Lumber-jackets".

It isn't easy to find a photo of a woman sledding from the midcentury, but this was the best I got. Definitely wearing pants tucked into boots and some very furry mittens, the rest of the details are hard to see.

With the exception of his boots, Dad here looks like he just got off the commuter train.

Last but not least, some great images of casual day wear, outerwear and accessories for the midcentury everywoman. My brain has run low on commentary, so please leave your own!

So I will briefly mention here that I know a woman who grew up in the 50s and remembers wearing pants under dresses just like this as a young girl.

Or we could all just snuggle up in our robes under an afghan. You can now thank me for giving you permission to be this slobby in your vintage and not feel guilty. But your hair and makeup better still be perfect!
What do you think? What might you attempt in the future as a vintage winter fashion? What would you have been bold enough to wear back then? Any lady ranchers out there?

Folks Serv