Monday, December 27, 2010

recovering from the Holiday crazies.

Between gearing up for Christmas and trying to stay on top of the kids schooling, I have had zero time to sew my dress. Supposedly a friend of mine is going to lend me her serger, but maybe I shouldn't hold my breath on that one 'cause she's a busy gal. However, I did manage to break down and buy some ready-to-wear materntiy clothes before we headed to Georgia to spend Christmas at my husband's uncle's home.

I got this sweater (except in black, not pink):

this blouse (black and white AND gingham- doesn't get much more me than that)

and this plaid shirt dress-
All from Motherhood Maternity. I need to get some black tights go under the dress while I'm waiting for spring to roll around.

Christmas was great, but I'll do a separate post about all of that. Hope everyone had a happy holiday!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

knits- not for the faint of heart

Well, not for a beginner level sewer such as myself. I managed to get the green version of the dress cut out today and even though I opted to leave off the pockets and the fabric sash, it still took the better part of my day because I was trying to be oh so careful to not screw it up and make sure I did everything just right. Now, I'm 100% positive that I did NOT do everything just right, but isn't that what the beauty of knit fabrics is supposed to be? That you can fudge a little on the fit cause of the stretchy nature of the fabric? And whooo boy, does this fabric stretch! Not only is it a knit, but it's got 5% spandex in there, too.

Hopefully tomorrow I can get the markings all transferred. My husband's work is having some sort of holiday party tomorrow at 5pm and I need to set my hair and what not for that, so I'm not anticipating having too much time to start really sewing until Saturday or Sunday.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Upcoming projects

I can't wait for my vintage patterns to arrive, but I'd still like to take all this energy to sew and put it into something while I'm waiting. So today I headed to Joann (yes, that one) and picked up Vogue 1027 (awesome that Vogue patterns are on sale for $3.99 right now) and some delicious feeling rayon spandex in dove grey and a beautiful emerald green. I was inspired by Rachel at Boo Dogg and Me who is also preggers and used this pattern to make a comfy yet beautiful dress for herself. This dress will probably be a challenge for me since I don't own a serger and have NEVER sewn a knit in my life, but I'm willing to give it a shot.

Any tips for sewing knits on a regular sewing machine?

And just for the heck of it, a shot of the belly. (Excuse the mess.)

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

second trimester! thank goodness!

Whew! That first trimester was a doozy! There's certainly many a preggo that has had a worse time, but I'm still extremely grateful for the nausea and exhaustion to have gone by the wayside. I just hit the 14 week point this past Monday and true to my previous pregnancies I have rounded out early and it is getting near painful to squeeze into my pants even with them completely unzipped and with the aid of a bella band, and the majority of my shirts are totally out of the question. I'd looked and looked and looked online at maternity clothes and none of them are "me." Not only are the all quite modern, but they all seem to be quite trendy. I've been hard pressed to even find things I would deem as "classic." However, the other night I scored two vintage maternity patterns from the early 1950's on good ol' ebay.

I've never made a shirt before so I must admit that is quite intimidating, but the skirts look incredibly easy (not to mention comfortable!) I just need to start looking for fabric! Since I'm due at the end of May, it'd be nice if I had something that could take me from winter to spring. Perhaps I'll just make the blouse a solid white...nothing like a crisp, white blouse. So easy to dress up or dress down. Any ideas on fabric for the skirt? I'm torn between some grey suiting and a more casual cotton.

Friday, October 22, 2010

off the style wagon

Oh my, oh my have I fallen off the style wagon in the last month or so, but with a good excuse! I am expecting again!!! Atomik offsping #4 will be making an appearance late spring/early summer of next year and between the hormones, the exhaustion, the morning sickness, expanding waistline and all the regular stuff of being a wife and homemaker and homeschooling mother to three little boys.....keeping the retro of it all has not be very high on my priority list. After all, in between the constant fear of tossing your cookies and my own mother-fears that I will fail at teaching my children to read and thus set them up for a lifetime of failure that I will be personally responsible for (are all homeschooling moms as neurotic as I am, or is this the hormones talking?), I just haven't had it in me to wear much outside of yoga pants and pony tails.

However, now I'm in the place of recognizing the frumpy depths to which I have fallen and am resolving to find SOMETHING that fits my already round belly and get back to setting my hair. Undoubtedly I will have to make some adjustments to the wardrobe I sport, but something that fits no matter what your size are accessories!! My favorite being hair flowers and Belle Blossoms is currently having a giveaway!!!! Included in the booty is everything from flowers to feather, bow to cherries. Get on over there before the 31st and enter!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

where HAVE i been??

I guess at this point I should just go ahead and come out with it-

I am not doing Self-Stitched September after all. I just couldn't manage to get enough things made. Such a bummer because I was so stoked about it, but I just haven't had the time/energy to work on too much.

Man, oh, man. I need to have a specified day to update this blog. Let's see.....the green plaid shirt dress was the last thing I was working on.

It still isn't finished.
Attempting to match up all those stripes was basically killing my will to sew anything ever again. I had to walk away from my machine for a good while. I'll get to it eventually, but this time I'm declaring it a designated house dress and will refuse to care about the matching of stripes any longer.

Right now, I'm working on one last sun dress of the year which shouldn't take too long to finish if I could ever find the time to sit down and do it. Between keeping the house, cooking the meals, and homeschooling the kids I feel like I'm doing good just to still be standing. The dress in progress is New Look 6457 view D.

I've been hoping to get the bodice finished the last couple of days, but just haven't had the time to work on it. Ideally I'd like to get it all finished tomorrow and wear it this weekend. The print of the fabric is pretty summer-y in my opinion, so even if I tossed a cardigan over it, I'm not sure that it would work for fall.

Be on the look-out for more posts!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Love in the Afternoon

I've always been an Audrey Hepburn fan. Always. In a time filled with blonde bombshells, she exuded glamour and charm and gave all us flat chested brunettes a shining ray of hope. One of my favorite quotes from her is from a 1989 interview with Barbara Walters in which she said,

"My look is attainable. Women can look like Audrey Hepburn by flipping out their hair, buying the large sunglasses, and the sleeveless dresses."

Though she was speaking more of her Breakfast at Tiffany's look, which is certainly iconic and stunning and yet also easy to emulate, I thought today I'd go for one of Hepburn's earlier looks. I've always loved her romantic looking pageboy bob from when she starred in Love in the Afternoon (1957) with Gary Cooper.

I didn't quite get all the bends since I used sponge rollers instead of pin curls, but I'm still pretty pleased with how it turned out.

shirt dress

I've slowly but surely been working on McCall's 4769 this past week and a half.

Due to silly me picking a pattern with a horizontal stripe in it, I've decided to make it sleeveless to preserve my current level of sanity. I've never made anything with any sort of stripe in it, so it's already a learning experience without the addition of sleeves. I'm really wanting a blue plaid dress for fall, but I will hunt for a different pattern, probably one with kimono style sleeves. Fewer seams to match = fewer headaches for me. Something like this dress pattern for sale on etsy right now would be perfect. (Bonus that it's in my size! Definitely saving that to my favorites.)

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

be still my heart

The other night I was browsing through some sewing blogs and came across a post about a traveling exhibit called, "The Golden Age of Couture: Paris and London 1947-1957" that is currently on view at the Frist Center for the Visual Arts in Nashville, TN through September 12. The most beautiful dresses and accessories from designers like Dior, Balenciaga, Givenchy, and Chanel as well as the foundation garments used to create the New Look silhouette will be on display for the public's viewing pleasure.

This gem is one of the many cocktail dresses in the exhibit.

Nashville is a tedious 9 hour drive away from where I live, but it's short enough to tackle in a day and because my husband loves me so much we are planning on making the trip as a family over the next long weekend we get, probably Labor Day. The Nashville viewing is the only U.S. stop on the exhibition's five city tour, otherwise you're going to have to go to the Victoria and Albert Museum in London where these pieces of wearable art call home.

Monday, July 19, 2010


Just playing a little catch-up on things I wore this weekend, as well as what I'm wearing today.


Just running some errands in my new skirt. My hair was pretty frizzy and wild, but I didn't really want to go out with rollers in my hair, and the errands couldn't wait.

headless housewife.
Friday night my husband and I had date night, so I had to kick it up a notch. I was in such a hurry to finish getting ready that I cut my head off and didn't have time to redo the picture. The blouse and jeans I got at Kohl's and the heels from Shoe Carnival. I didn't end up wearing the heels for the night though because they kept slipping off the back of my heel and the last thing you want when wearing 5 inch heels is compromised stability. I'm determined to put whatever little pads and grips I have to on these shoes to make them work though. They are too sassy not to find a way to make them wearable!


A simple cotton dress for running errands and a trip to the park! I gotta say, it's a pain to iron all that skirt and a complicated bodice such as this, but so worth it. I knew the day promised to be hot and humid, so I back combed my hair at the crown and then put it in a pony tail with a leopard print scarf I made from scraps of fabric left over from making my leopard print pencil skirt.

Now, mind you I'm not always dressed to the nine's. So for a little balance of reality, my outfit du jour:

Well, there it is in all it's glory. House dress, slippers, hair in rollers and no make-up. Gotta keep it real.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

another F.O. and peach perfection

Yes, this is the third time I've made this pencil skirt, but I really just love it and I bought the denim to make this months ago and there's no time like the present to get it done since September is quickly approaching. I'm pretty jazzed about this for the simple fact that dark denim pencil skirts go with EVERYTHING! I've owned many in the past, and even during my last pregnancy my denim maternity pencil skirt was one of my items that got the most wear. (I had a knee length one with a secret fit belly from Motherhood Maternity, and I gotta say, that secret fit belly was AWESOME!!!! It's like a bella band attached to the top of the skirt and it truly did fit from my 2nd month through my 9th month and post partum and I'm not even one of those gals that barely looks pregnant at 9 months. I get HUGE and I look like I'm 9 months at 7 months easily.) Moving on from that little rabbit trail....

I also wanted to take the opportunity to show my June Blossom of the Month that I mentioned in an earlier post. Isn't it beautiful?

Monday, July 12, 2010

all for a day's work

Several months ago, I heard a story of a husband and wife who were going through marriage counseling. The husband was saying that on the days that his wife stayed home and didn't go anywhere she was always wearing ratty sweat pants and over-sized t-shirts and had her hair in a messy pony tail, but when she knew she'd be leaving the house to go to a meeting or get together, she'd put on something nice and fix her hair and make-up and that he wished he could come home to the put together woman more often. The wife replied that she didn't see the point in doing it on the days she didn't go anywhere because no one was going to see her.

Who was her husband? Was he "no one"? That story has really stuck in my mind and resonated with me. My husband and I have been together for seven years now and have three children- all boys. He has watched me give birth to all of them, two of them completely drug-free births to 9 pounders. Needless to say we are comfortable with each other and he has seen me at my most unglamorous. I know that I am his standard of beauty, but I still want to be the best that I can be, so every morning I get up and go to the gym. When I get home, I make lunch for the kids and I, and after lunch is over I make a point to clean myself up. For me that usually means rolling my hair, putting on some make-up, and changing into a dress or blouse/skirt combo. Don't get me wrong, I don't always look like I'm on my way to a cocktail party, but I am a big believer that you should never stop dating your spouse, and during the brief time that my husband and I were dating, I made sure I looked good.

This is what I'm wearing today. I made this skirt the day before Easter Sunday and it's probably one of my favorite things in my closet. It's red denim with an awesome cross hatching all over in white. It's flattering, it's comfortable, and can be worn just about anywhere. The apron is there to protect my outfit from the hazards of house cleaning. I saw this fabric online YEARS ago and just had to have something, anything in my wardrobe made out of it. It's boomerang barkcloth for crying out loud! How could I NOT be completely in love with it? Finally a few months back I was browsing through Boojiboo because I wanted another apron in my rotation, and I pounced on this one.

Now, I'm not saying that every wife needs to have on a pencil skirt, heels, and red lipstick when her husband comes home. I'm not saying that at all. What getting "cleaned up" looks like for me, may not be the same for you. Maybe you are more of a laid back, jeans and t-shirt gal. That's fine! Be who you are! This isn't about being something that you aren't, but about making the most with what you've got. This also isn't something that my husband or anyone else has pressured me into doing. No one has ever told me that I need to look a certain way when my husband comes home. This is just something I do because I want to do it. I want to look nice for my husband. Men are visual after all, so why not try to look my best? I don't do it because I want my husband to love me, but because he already loves me, even at my worst. But just because he's seen me at my worst, doesn't mean he needs to see the worst of me every day.

What exactly *have* I been up to?

Hello. My name is Dott, and I am a text-book procrastinator. Ugh. I do it every time, think over and over to myself, "I'm okay on that deadline. I've got plenty of time." Only to realize at the last minute, "Woah! No you don't! You don't have any time at ALL!!! Get your butt in gear!!! Everything has to be done now NOW NOW!!!!" Ahem. So, I didn't really do any sewing at all in the month of June. Yeah, that's right. I pretty much wasted an entire month. There's still the rest of July and August till Self-Stitched September kicks off, though, and I vow to make the most of the next six-ish weeks. Last week I finally sat down and sewed the Vogue dress I last posted about. For some reason I was really intimidated by this pattern. Maybe it was the princess seams? I'm not sure. It ended up going together extremely easily and then, as always happens, I felt silly for making a mountain out of a mole hill.

I really love the way it turned out. I had to take it in a bit in the bust, but I pretty much have to take EVERYTHING in in the bust. Still though, I'm quite pleased with it.

I'm wearing the July Blossom of the Month from Belle Blossoms. Last month the B.O.M. was a rose and I received a beautiful peach colored rose. This month it is all about the orchid, and I could not be happier with it. Both blooms are incredibly realistic looking. They look as if you could bruise the petals. Orchids are some of my favorite flowers (I had green cymbidium orchids as one of the flowers in my bouquet and centerpieces when my husband and I renewed our vows back in May.) and the tropical flower is a great accessory for my Hawaiian inspired dress.

I'm not sure what I'm going to sew next, but I figure that I need to make at least one item a week from here on out to have a decent amount of self-stitched inventory. I'm thinking separates is probably the way to go.

Monday, June 7, 2010

SSS 2010 prep

In the works in the sewing department is Vogue 8184 view E. (The dress on the bottom right.)

I found some cotton in the clearance bin awhile back that was a pretty Hawaiin looking floral on a blue background and just HAD to have a dress made out of it.

As a stay at home mom, I really love dresses. They make getting ready in the mornings so simple and quick. It's nice to have something that you can just throw on and know that you will look great. It reminds me of that scene in It's a Wonderful Life when upon receiving a compliment from a group of gentlemen, the girl flips her hair and says with a twinkling in her eye, "Oh, this old thing? Why I only wear it when I don't care how I look!" Every woman needs an old-stand by like that that she can throw on when she doesn't feel like putting a ton of effort into getting ready that day. (Or if you are like me, you might need a few of those dresses.)

I haven't gotten much done on it in the last week because my husband had an unexpected four day weekend last week, so we took a spontaneous camping trip to the beach last weekend and now I'm trying to play catch up on the laundry and housework. You know how it is. I've got it all cut out, so hopefully today or tomorrow though I can start plugging away on it.

Friday, June 4, 2010

FO: leopard pencil skirt

Being the procrastinator that I am, I waited until two days before the show to start any actual sewing of this skirt and then had to rush to get it done that day because I knew that was the only time I had. As is the case in those situations, the skirt is far from perfect. You do NOT want to see the zipper or hem up close, let me assure you. Thanks to the print, though, you don't really notice the imperfections unless you are looking for them.


I'm not sure if I sewed the seam allowances a little bigger than last time, or if I've gained a few pounds (which would not surprise me at all with the way I've been eating lately), but the skirt is pretty snug in the waist. We had a two hour drive to get to the show and I had to unzip a bit just to be comfortable and less concerned about popping a seam! (File that under: You know you're wearing a wiggle skirt when...) My husband said I was setting myself up for failure with a skirt I couldn't really sit in and shoes that hurt my feet (mental note: get ball of the foot pads for these pronto!) but hey- I felt cute and that was all I really cared about. I'm going to have to spend a little more time at the gym before this skirt goes into my regular rotation of clothes, but it's worth it I think.

glasses- Vintageous
camisole- Express
skirt- Vogue 8604
shoes- Lucky Lou

Monday, May 31, 2010

Introduction and Project.

Hello world. My name is Dott. I am a wife, a mother, and a fan of all things retro, specifically from the 1940's up through the atomic era. I love the juxtaposition of the glamor along with simplicity. That I can create my own homemade glitz is certainly appealing as a stay at home mom to three spirited little boys under the age of 6. Why, at this very moment I am sitting here typing as I cold set my hair in sponge rollers. This year is the year that (at my husband's urging) I have decided to fully embrace a more classically glamorous, retro lifestyle and here is where I will document it all.

A current project I have decided to jump in on, is Self-Stitched September 2010. I read about this on the Sew Retro blog (and again, at my husband's gentle nudging) have decided to participate! This will be quite the challenge for me since I just recently got back into sewing clothes after many years of doing nothing in the way of creating for my own personal use. However, I had been wanting to sew a new pencil skirt to wear to go see Reverend Horton Heat play on Thursday, so it seems the perfect kick-off to start getting more handmade duds in my wardrobe. I think it will be a lot of fun and also a great learning experience, so, let the September prep-work begin!!!!