let yourself go


I've been on an extreme '30s/Ginger Rogers/Myrna Loy/old movies kick lately {wow I'm such a sap}. Oh and guess what came in the mail yesterday {only I didn't realize it until today}? Major and the Minor, which recently {finally} came out on DVD. Love that movie. A total sappy feel-good movie all the way and I've seen it sooo so many times, but somehow never get tired of it. I watched that today while sewing. Yesterday I put in several Ginger Rogers & Fred Astaire movies as well. I love this scene from Follow the Fleet. I guess I'm a total sucker for the 1930s. And oh boy would I love to learn how to dance like that!

The rest of my weekend went splendidly. Nothing too exciting happened. In fact, I don't think I left the house once! Which was a good thing for me. I think I needed a break to clear the mind. Had a few bottles of some good Dutch beer I'd never tried before and lots and lots and lots of good old black and white films playing in the background while I sewed. {There's nothing quite like glorious black and white.}

Yesterday I mostly spent my time making a pattern off of one of my favorite vintage dresses. Then today I made a mock-up of it and only had to make a few minor adjustments. Making patterns off of garments is a lot harder than it looks! At least it took me longer this time than I thought it would. I thought this one would be easy because it's a pretty basic dress. But the dart gave me a few issues. Silly darts. At least everything worked out great and I've already started cutting out the fabric. I'm looking forward to having another summer dress to wear. Unfortunately, didn't get to the black dress yet. I'll have to work on that next weekend. Tomorrow {well technically today} I'm back to work. So much to catch up to, but I really needed that break to sew something a little different for a change. Well I hope everyone else had a satisfactory weekend!

sewing projects + spring cleaning



It's been busy around here lately. Chicago was great! We went shopping and fabric whoring and meeting of old friends...Really a grand time. Although since I took off last weekend for the Chicago jaunt, I decided to skip out on the living history event I was going to do this weekend in St. Louis. A little disappointed about that, but I'll get over it. There will be other times.

However...This weekend, starting tomorrow morning, I am going to sew crazy. Sometimes sewing for myself helps me get inspired about sewing again. I know right now I'm feeling a lack of enthusiasm, so taking off two days to sew anything I want should be tons of fun. The possibilities of what to sew are endless. Here's the list I made:

+ Little Black Dress
+ Sailor pants with linen I picked up in Chicago
+ Sailor shorts with brown sateen?? or tan linen? (could it possibly be I wear shorts again...hmm...have to think about that one. Shorts look nasty on me.)
+ Make pattern off of favorite vintage dress to make new dress out of pretty cotton printed voile!
+ 1930s summery tops
+ More summery tops in different designs...
+ '30s bathing suit

I'm leaning towards getting that Little Black Dress made, though. I know of at least one event to wear it to this summer and I've already started on the mock-up. So if all goes well, I might have a new dress by the end of the weekend.

::Pictures from Chicago jaunt found on my flickr.

:::Also doing a bit of spring cleaning and unloading my stuff on eBay. Not sure anything on there is of interest to my readers, but thought I would give you the heads-up nonetheless. I have lots more stuff to get rid of and will be adding as I get time. :) Have a lovely weekend!!

:::inspired by chicago in the '40s:::


I stumbled across these photographs by Charles Cushman and my goodness are these amazing! And in color! Can't you feel the hot sun beating down as you look at these images? I'm really taken by them. Plus you've gotta dig these awesome bathing suits. Some serious love going on over here. :)

chicago in the early '40s

chicago in the early '40s

chicago in the early '40s

chicago in the early '40s
::more images found on my flickr::

This will get me in the mood for waking up and getting on the road bright and early tomorrow; headed for Chicago! Should be fun, only now I really really want to make a vintage bathing suit.

Also, funny I didn't realize that my last post on here was my 100th. Here's to 101 blog posts! {This doesn't mean they are all well written posts by any means, but still...}

::thoughts on dress and your personal style


Lately I've been paying more attention when people talk about their likes and dislikes of fashion and style. It's funny how it's so easy for others to nitpick someone else's clothing because it may be a little different. Heaven forbid they look...dare I say...different. I live in the Midwest. Not a lot of individual style around here. At least I'm sure it's nothing like you will find in bigger cities where there is more diversity and it's easier to break out of the mold. Around here if you dress even slightly different, people look at you funny. Some of us look for approval from our loved ones and our friends. I'm learning to figure out my own individual tastes and I realize they differ from some of my friends and family. Though they may try to be supportive, sometimes they will find something particularly funny and won't have any problem telling me. It can hurt my feelings if I let it get to me, but why should we let those things get to us? If we're comfortable with the way we are dressing, why should we really care what others will say? Sometimes being "different" is a good thing. It's what sets you apart from the others, what makes you who you are.

I'm learning to be more confident in my tastes. The more I see, the more I realize what I cannot stand and what I adore. Or what looks good on me and what doesn't. That doesn't mean my opinion is above the average opinion. It just means that if I really want to wear something that someone else thinks "outlandish" well by gosh I'll wear it anyway. After all, it's only clothing. The world will not come to a screeching halt if I decide hot pink spandex is the new me. (Then again I have a feeling I'll never discover hot pink spandex as me.) I could pick apart people's outfits until I die, but then my life would be pretty dull. Instead I'm gonna wear what I like, maybe encourage a few people to break out of their own mold along the way. Who knows. But ultimately, I do it because it's just plain fun. It's something built in me I guess. I like clothing, I like hair, fabric, shoes...Or maybe I'm so drawn to this outer appearance 'cause I'm just a girl. Or utterly vain. :) Yeah, that could be it too. So if you're struggling with the opinions of others and scared you'll meet someone's disapproval; remind yourself that honestly, it really doesn't matter what anyone thinks. You know who you are. Trust yourself. Individuality is awesome. When you discover that, you are way ahead of the game. And then go out and have some fun already.

how to enjoy a beautiful day at the lake::

{unfortunately, this is just me daydreaming. if only i had the afternoon free today. the weather is absolutely marvelous.}

Pack a basket filled with:
1 bottle red wine
block of cheese + knife to cut it with
loaf of bread or crackers
1 cloth to wrap the cheese and bread in
1 plate
1 glass
1 "feel good" book

1 quilt
wear a cotton summer dress
1 sweater, if a bit chilly

Pack everything up and put it in the car. Drive out to the nearest lake. Spread the blanket. Take out the book. Proceed to pour one glass of wine. Indulge in the beauty which surrounds.

Note to self: don't drink too much wine. Must be capable of driving home.

various and sundry

playing in the park
{yep, still wearing these trousers.}

Not a lot happening around here lately, which is why it's been hard to think up something to write about. Last weekend my friend Deborah came to call a dance so I went for a bit to say hello to my friend and dance a few rounds. The next day we met up in town to do a bit of antiquing {or as Deborah calls it, "junking" which I think is a great way to describe it} and then headed out to a knitting/needlework shop on the other side of town. I'm sorry to say I'd never actually been there. And I *know* I've driven past it before. It's funny how sometimes it takes an out of town person to show the local around. They had some nice wool yarn and silk floss there as well. At least I've got a place to go now that my favorite yarn shop went out of business. I'm sad. {Although I took advantage of the sales and picked up 10 skeins of some nice chunky slate blue wool blend yarn, and for a blend it looks really nice. All for about $20, regularly would be around $80.} Deborah had to take off and go call a dance for some Lincoln look-alike convention. {For those of you who don't really know me, I have a rather strong distaste for Lincoln look-alikes. I don't know why. Maybe I find it mildly creepy. It's kind of like how some people strongly dislike clowns; I dislike Lincoln impersonators. But I'm sure the event was very interesting nonetheless.}

Finally the weather is changing and it's starting to warm up here in Iowa. I see green grass! The picture of me up top was taken yesterday in the park. I met up with my friend Annie who worked a split shift and as I had to run a few errands, we decided to meet up, get something to drink and head to the park. Sometimes it's nice to get out and enjoy the day. I work better at night anyway. :) I hope this nice weather lasts over the weekend. My sister and I are planning a trip to Chicago and I'm pretty excited about it. I'm especially looking forward to the fabric shopping. And since I've never seen Chicago except through the windows of the O'Hare airport, I feel it's about time I get out and take in the city.

Lots and lots of sewing projects in my head. One of the projects I've been planning out for myself is a "little black dress" made of black silk taffeta. I haven't gotten very far yet, but it's mostly because I've been working on other projects. I've got a lot of work to get done before the weekend and because the next week I'll be heading off to St. Louis, there won't be a lot of breathing time. I'm not stressed yet, but I have a feeling it will get that way if I let things go for too long. I'll be posting about my projects as I have more of them completed. Hope everyone is having a nice week so far. I'll probably be back with loads of pictures on my return.

as the rain pours


Don't you think this would make a lovely nightgown? Of course I am the type of person who wears old t-shirts and flannel pants to bed, but the thought of a pretty eyelet cotton tunic for sleep wear is quite appealing.

It is raining cats and dogs outside. I'm sitting here thinking of warm weather and listening to this lovely soothing music.

Drinking cold coffee left over from this morning. Deelish. I think I ground the coffee a little too fine today as there is quite a bit of grounds left at the bottom of my cup. But I don't mind. Oh sludge how I love thee. :)

the lace!

I haven't read the book Cranford...yet. But this clip of the film (airing on PBS in May) definitely makes me want to read the book. Poor kitty.

thank you


{some buttons and a few broaches i picked up last week}

Just wanted to drop back on here to let you know that I appreciate all of your comments on my '30s trousers {here and on my flickr pages}. You guys are very encouraging! My idea to start making my own clothing began when I decided I'd really love to make a line of clothing that I'd actually wear. But since most of my time is spent making historical clothing for others, I didn't think I'd have enough time to put together a line. So I figured if I just start making things for myself whenever I get a little time here and there, maybe I can take what I've made and turn it into a small line. A few people asked if I had the trousers available for sale, but right now I'm not sure I'm ready to take on orders. I'm also planning to make another pair in a similar style, but alter it slightly (shorten the waist, drawstring, zip fly instead of buttons on either side, hem the legs shorter so they are more like mid-calf, made in linen). I also have several tops in mind that I want to make. This whole "line" will largely be influenced by the 1930s or thereabouts. I love the '30s so much {even more now that I whacked the hair off} and am finding that's really "my" style. It's what I feel the best in.

If you are ever interested in something I'm making, please feel free to drop me a line {gracefullady@gmail.com}. And depending on my work load, I might be tempted into making it for you. ::And I haven't forgotten about the leather bags. Still working on finding the right leather. In a few weeks I'm going to Chicago and a friend there said she wants to take me to a place that just might have some. So we'll see. {Not to mention the loads of fabric shopping we'll be doing...if only I had a larger wallet...}

On another note, I haven't had much to write about in the last few weeks, but I'd like to get better at blogging. I always enjoy it, but finding something to write about that is of any interest can sometimes be hard, especially when there's mostly just work and nothing exciting going on in my life. I think mostly I'm just overloaded with a lot of things so I haven't been able to really sit down with a clear mind. I'll be on here again before too long. I've got a 1940s dresser and vanity that Mom gave me and needs some TLC. So I'm thinking some before/after pictures are in order. :) And that chair I got last year which dearly needs new cushions made. Also have a vintage bike that needs help. badly. I want to do more biking as the weather gets nicer, so I need this bike in shape! If anyone knows of some DIY linkage on fixing old bikes, I'd love to hear about 'em. I'd like to try and do it myself, because that's the way I am. It was a cheap bike and cost me barely $8, but I'd like not to have to drop an arm and a leg fixing it up if at all possible.

Have a lovely week. As for me, back to sewing.

shirley temple::my childhood hero


Thought these would be fun to share. This is one of my favorite scenes in the movie, Baby Take a Bow [1934].

baby take a bow

baby take a bow

baby take a bow

baby take a bow

::completed::1930s inspired trousers

So here they are. Finally finished them today. Took several pictures. Only had me and my self-timer camera (not even a tripod 'cause my brother has it) so tried to get some that weren't too bad. Not sure they are the best, but it will give you an idea of what they look like anyway. I'm really happy with them! I'm still kind of going back and forth with what kind of shoes to wear with them, though. Being the shoes whore that I am, I saw these and thought they would work quite well for the summer with these trousers. But trying to not spend money so probably will back out on them this time.

1930s inspired trousers

1930s inspired trousers

::more pictures on my flickr
loving this music::

lucked out


Today I went out with my friend Elyssa to this tiny little town nearby that has the most amazing cafe with the best homemade fries I've ever eaten in my life. So good. We also went to some antique shops around the area and I totally lucked out. Picked up an original 1850s tintype of two gorgeous women. And the price tag: $8. Yeah, only eight buckos. I sure swiped that one. This never happens to me. Like ever. So you can imagine how happy I am. It's just an all around amazing image. Take a look...

My frickin' amazing 1850s tintype

And here's my outfit that I wore, because I like to take pictures of my outfits. hehe. I really love the 1930s and after getting my hair chopped, I've been really kickin' the '30s look these days. Need to try putting my hair in pin-curls one of these days to see what I'd look like in a true '30s do. Oh what a dork I am.

in a 1930's mood

and my friend Elyssa (who recently went and got herself engaged)

Another find I made the other day was at Goodwill. I decided to peruse the dress section quickly before heading out the door when I happened upon this apron. And to top it off? It happened to be tagged with green and green was on sale for .88 cents that day. So yeah, I pretty much ran out with that one too. I think I'm a hopelessly old fashioned. But what can I say? There was so much beauty in times past. I think we've lost a lot of it in our modern plastic world we live in.

vintage apron

On the "This is..." front. I'm going to have to play catch-up, 'cause I'm really getting behind here... ack.