Friday, April 30

Friday's Find

This week, a little something to take my mind off the fact that I have to work all weekend. At least work will be interesting. Lots of stuff to move around.

But here's a little number that is for laying around. I should have pressed it before taking pics, I know, but sometimes one doesn't think of these things until later. It's also hard to get something this long into one shot when you can only stand 3 feet away. I'm learning.

As a rule, I do not buy underclothes second hand. Yuck. But lingerie is a different story. This is a vintage, handmade Yellow Nightie and Bed jacket. I say Handmade, because with close observation, one can see the care that was taken. But It's certainly not homemade. All the seams are finished beautifully. No, someone once bought this at a store. Maybe for a special night in? The bust is not really that wrinkly. It's deliberately crinkly with extra fullness that is soft and feminine.

Here's a back view of the top, which somehow looks orange, despite my tweaking it on photoshop. If I've leaned anything from this piece, it's how brilliant that little cross-over of the straps is. It has give and coverage at the same time. And check out that curved seam. Fit, people!

Finally, I somehow lost the pic of the whole jacket (typical)- but here's the amazing close-up of the jacket sleeve.
I only hope that someday I can run a zig-zag seam that cleanly. Gorgeous! Ladies back whenever this was made sure knew how to relax in Style!

The stats:
Found: Once again, my local Goodwill
Cost: $3.99
Modifications: None, but I should probably press it before I wear it. Or maybe just to soothe my mind.

Wednesday, April 28


This week I am inspired.

I'm inspired by so many wonderful blogs and sites. I'm also Tired, which not only rhymes with inspired, but it explains why I have been reading other people's stuff instead of writing my own. I feel guilty, but not that much. After all, I am tired because I am working hard! I am discovering that one of the main things I value is free time.

But today is my day off. Not only have I spent more than an hour reading some of the Fabulous, inspirational blogs and sites which I have linked in the sidebar for your convenience, but I now intend to go do some sewing! I am almost finished with the denim bag I've been making, and I have at least four other bag ideas to work on. I have got to stop getting inspired and actually Do something, or the pile of WIP (That's works-in-progress for you newbs) Will take over my sewing room!

But first, I must do three things:
1. Start some laundry. I am seriously running out of clean undies.
2. Clean the sewing room so I can get something accomplished in there.
3. Fix my hair in pin-curls. I have been thinking about curls all week, and now that I discovered Super Kawaii Mama's site, I have been pushed over the edge. Must. Curl. Hair.

The last time I tried pin curls I was in High school and I did something terribly, terribly wrong. I looked like a teased fright wig  that got surprised. I washed it out instantly. No evidence survives, thank God. So I am going to check out how Super Kawaii Mama does it, because she not only has awesome hair, she has tutorials.

After that, I am going to get some serious sewing done and make room in my brain for some new inspirations! I may even, at some point, get dressed. But don't hold your breath.

Monday, April 26

A little bragging

So, yesterday I wore this dress to church.

And I totally got at least seven compliments on it. Not that I was counting. Not bad for four bucks.

I love pretty dresses. Who'd have ever thought?

I went shopping with my Mom last week, and got 4 new work shirts. I know, I'm addicted. 

And in other news, my bizarre urge to make Tudor bodices is rip-roaring. Despite the fact that I made one for the other Elisabeth's Bridal shower last weekend. So I found a local Renaissance shoppe that will totally sell my stuff on consignment. Mwa-ha-ha!

I wish there was more time in the day to make stuff! Perhaps I should get an Etsy site? Then I could make a profit on stuff, instead of cluttering up my house with bodices and bags and bell bottoms.
On that alliterative note, I gotta get ready for work.

Friday, April 23

Friday's Find

This week, a selection  of great tops I have found to wear to work. And yesterday, I found four more. No pics as yet, but I am at least not whining about my wardrobe anymore. I don't actually remember the prices on these, but all were likely under $3. They all came from local Goodwills.
I have to admit that they all look better on than they do on the hanger. 

A brown ribbed T that's long enough even over hip huggers and layers nicely with everything from tanks to sweaters.
A light green Eyelet T, pretty and sweet. 

A pretty Yellow peasant Blouse.

And finally, a Lightweight Grey sweater by Converse One-Star. Albeit wrinkly.

See. I have a lot of clothes.

Thursday, April 22

New Shoes

I have had an ethical dillema this week.
You see, you just can't get good shoes second hand. You can get cute shoes. If you wear a 6 1/2, there's a pair of black Steve Madden Patent leather pumps at my local Goodwill right now. Pristine.

But, I cannot get the shoes I need second hand. I not only wear a 9 1/2, I have back and foot problems and a really high arch, and I work on my feet all day. I need not just comfortable shoes, I need really good shoes. Last year I found a fantastic pair on clearance and I have loved them all year. Every day at work. On my feet. And they are not nearly as lovable as they once were. In fact, they are downright painful!

Hence my ethical dilemma. What do you do if you are a green- clothes blogger and you need new shoes?!? Buy good shoes and lie about it? Suffer through uncomfortable shoes? Fortunately, neither.

I got a fantastic new pair at the place I never go- Walmart. (To be specific, my mom got them for me. Thanks, Mama.)  They are super comfy, have lovely arches and flexible soles, and get this- They're recycled. At least partly.

They're the Danskin NOW Lynne Sneaker, and they have a spiffy little tag explaining which parts are recycled. The lining fabric is 100% recycled, and the sole is up to 70% recycled, a lot of it from plastic bottles. They're brown, which I like because they won't look dirty. And they look groovy with Bell-bottoms.

Ethical dilemma solved. Sore feet solved. Now if I could just get someone to pay me for my shameless plug of their merchandise.

Tuesday, April 20

Too many, or not enough?

Along they lines of personal style, I have been reflecting that I really may have too many clothes. Not that I've done an actual count, or anything. I have five large drawers, six medium drawers and a closet. And If I amazingly get it all clean at once, It doesn't all fit where it goes. But Most of it is second hand! So that means it is okay to have more, right?
One year in College, I waited until the neighbor girls moved out, and then moved my clothes into their empty room for packing. My clothes took up one whole side of the room. To this day I don't know how I got it all in the drawers and tiny closet at school.
In Junior High, My dad made us some really big drawers because the dressers we had didn't accommodate everything. So I guess this problem goes way back. It's probably my mom's fault. I will probably need years of therapy if I want to get over this. And I would definitely rather have tons of cheap clothes that years of expensive therapy. I mean, they're just clothes!
As I sit here typing, though, It occurs to me that I probably don't have too many clothes, I just don't have as many places to wear the nice ones. As I mentioned on Friday, it's mostly jeans and casual tops for me. When I was a librarian, I had Lots of chances to wear lots of other things. I wore skirts all the time and got compliments on my fantastic blouses and necklaces every day. I got a chance to display my somewhat unconventional personality through my outfit every day. And I bemoaned that I couldn't wear my jeans to work. Sigh. I guess I can't be satisfied.
Maybe I just need some more casual tops?

Monday, April 19

Style Shifts

When I first got married, a whole lot of my friends and acquaintances were also getting married. And I remember telling Adam that I was not going to start wearing Khakis just because we were married. I think he was surprised by this, as guys do not generally change how they dress for decades, but releived, since I only wore khakis when the Choir director made me. It would have been weird for me to suddenly change my style.

However, most of the girls I knew acquired a subtle shift in their outfits once they became Mrs. Not too unusual, as we ladies have a tendency to dress for the occasion, and all occasions feel a little different after such a big life change. But I noticed a positive swath of khakis! And there was just some kind of re-arranging that made the same old clothes they had before look somehow more wifey. I reiterate that these were mostly my friends. I had nothing against anyone, just a sudden desire to make sure I still dressed the same once I got married.

I think that, for me, what I wear is so demonstrative of how I feel and who I am that to change it at all seemed like some kind of betrayal of self. Let alone the guy who liked my weird outfits enough to marry me the way I was. I felt unspoken pressure to conform to an unwritten rule that wives dress a little differently. It was probably all in my head. But it got to me.

Recently I've been noticing moms. I see a lot of them where I work (at a major retailer). And I have noticed two styles of moms: Those who have given up on style and are wearing baggy yoga pants and ponytails, and those who seem to be over-compensating for momdom by having their hair, nails, clothes and face primped and polished to the extreme. (To be fair, I know a lot of moms personally who don't share in these two extremes. But what's life without a little wild generalization?) And I caught myself thinking, "I don't want to change how I dress in order to be a mom, either. (No, there are no big revelations coming up. cool it.) And I realized that I am probably going to be one of those hippie moms I knew when I was a kid that didn't fit in with the other moms in their denim jumpers. These days it's not denim jumpers, but you get the idea.

As a friend and I discussed yesterday, personal style changes with time and circumstances. I didn't make any changes to my wardrobe when I got married because I truly felt more like myself, married, than I did before. I'm sure when I am a mom, I will make style changes to reflect not only what clothes are necessary, but also the different way I'll feel. But the essentials that make up who I am will still be the underlying factor in what I wear.

Because I am really comfortable with my style. I feel like myself in my clothes. One of the perks of spending so many years married without kids is that I've had time to really decide what my style is. It's relaxed, a little retro, and recycled. So there.

Friday, April 16

Friday's Find

So it is once again Friday.
Despite good news about a raise yesterday, I am all at once regretting working full time. Don't get me wrong. I like eating and paying my bills. But it is rainy out. And this house smells like Lilacs. And there is only one kind of outfit to wear to work: jeans and a t-shirt. Blah. Not what I am in the mood for at all.
So for today's find, here's what I wish I was wearing:

This gorgeous white satin polka-dot blouse was an amazing find this winter as it still had the tags on! I wish I had kept them. It's flowy and looks lovely with bell-bottoms. One could even wear it with leggings. If one does not have my butt. And this is what I want today: a pretty, poetic outfit and a good book. Because it's raining out.

The stats:
Found at : Goodwill
Cost: $3.49

Thursday, April 15

Bell Bottoms, Blossoms and Another Book

We went up to the old house today, and I cut whole bunch of Lilac blossoms. I have them in a big purple bowl. Mmmmmm. Lovely.

I feel extra committed to recycling my clothes this week, and the Library is egging me on.
I got another fantastic book this week:
99 Ways to Cut, Sew & Deck Out Your Denim 99 Ways to Cut, Sew & Deck Out Your Denim99 Ways To Cut, Sew, and Deck Out Your Denim- by Faith Blakeney, Justina Blakeney and Ellen Schultz.

It was a fun compendium of ideas for things to do with Jeans! There were projects for every style and skill level, from dog collars to blazers, pillows to gauchos. Every project has an indication of how difficult it is, and a lot of them are very easy.
And an amazing thing happened. I used project #76 jennifer: super tight jeans. But never fear! My hips are still in proportion with my feet. I had some old bell bottoms that fit great at the top, but were too loose in the legs. I used their plans for making skinny jeans and just took in the part between the knees and the crotch. Ta daa! New, well-fitting jeans, no shopping needed. I said Fit, People! And if you're not into bell-bottoms, you can actually make skinny jeans and they're really easy.

Next I may try making a bolero or blazer. After I finish the bags I was making last week. And they have a couple other books as well, about t-shirts and scarves! I may need to go do some ILL. And renew. I am in recycled jeans heaven!

Wednesday, April 14

If the Slip Fits

Ahh phone service. Nice to have you back again.

So this week I have noticed something: the invention of stretchy fabrics has destroyed the understanding of Fit.

Hear me out.

I got A new Black slip a couple weeks ago when I was Thrifting with the other Elisabeth. And this Sunday, I wore it under the new black dress. And here's the thing I didn't realize in the dressing room:
This simple nylon slip has the most exquisite tailoring. Gathers! Tucks! Curved seams! It was so pretty I wanted to just wear it. But that is not my kind of exhibitionism. So I put on the dress, too. But I did point out the details to Adam, who murmured appreciatively.

And I got to thinking that none of my "new" slips have that kind of attention to detail. They are just made of spandex and that covers it.

I've always loved vintage and even antique clothes and patterns, partly because of the loving attention to detail. But I suddenly realized that it was more than just careful technique for technique sake. Their fabric didn't stretch. (!) They had to craft perfect pieces, pleats, and tucks to get the fit right. No wonder proper corsets are so hard to make!

But I've also realized this: stuff that fits without stretching is hard to make, but It looks so amazing on! I mean, that's the thing about good jeans, right? they Fit. and we all love that.

I'm not going to give up my t-shirts or anything, but This new idea of clothes that fit is intriguing.

Monday, April 5

A Good Read

So, I did wear that lime-green dress for Easter. And in keeping with it, the trees budding, the grass popping up, and my general trend of thriftyness, let's stay on a Green theme all week! First up, a book review.

This week I picked up Sewing Green by Betz White from the New rack at my local library. I love my library. They always have good stuff, it's always free, and there's even a little coffee shop in there. But I digress.

I loved Sewing Green! It has a short section explaining how she got her Ideas, and why she feels it's important to re-purpose material. Then the rest of the book Is plans for projects to make! There is even a pocket in the back with pull-out patterns for many of the projects. It's an easy read, and the instructions were very clear. Even I, a resourceful and crafty thrifter, was impressed.

I was so inspired by a her ideas for making stuff out of other stuff. My eyes were opened and I realized that I can use thrift store stuff for so many other things! She suggests buying items just for the fabric and cutting them up. I already do this with wool sweaters, but I never thought how many other things I could do that with. Linens! Dresses! Leather skirts!

I think I am unlikely ever to make a skirt out of a pillowcase, since I have so many awesome skirts. But I have already cut out the pieces for one of the other projects: A groovy shopping bag made from a denim skirt. I didn't have a skirt, but I have a lot of old jeans, so I made a pair into a skirt, first. I'm also adding a lining cut from a Fabulous retro dress that I got from my Cousin Rachel way-back-when. It hasn't fit me in at least a decade, but I kept it because the floral pattern fabric was so cool. I already snatched the zipper to use in something else, so It was totally not heart braking to chop up the skirt. When I finish it, I'll get pics up, even though it's not clothes, It will be stylish!

Even if you're not much for sewing, I recommend the read to open your eyes for re-using all kinds of textiles! Even a non-sewer could make some cloth napkins with glued-on edges. Or fashion a scarf from old sweaters. The possibilities are endless!

Friday, April 2

Friday's Find

I am a bad blogger. I apologize. It won't happen again. Really, I will post next week everyday. But for now, them most Eastery thing I can find. The springlike weather here is delightful, and If I don't get my Easter dress finished, I may just wear this on Sunday. I haven't worn it since my friend Rachel's wedding. Which was at least 5 years ago. But a dress like this you don't wear everyday!

This is a Lime green vintage dress,lace over taffeta, probably early 60's. It's pretty tiny, as many vintage gowns are. But what was not tiny about it was that bow. It was at least twice that big when I got the dress. Even for my flamboyant taste, It was too much poofy bow. So, I did what I never do and chopped up a vintage gown. I took off the bow, cut out most of the middle of the fabric, sewed the ends back together, and made it into a smaller bow. Then I took the leftovers and made a pillbox hat, which Rachel's grandma said fondly reminded her of Jackie O. (Sidenote- she was not the only person to ever wear pillbox hats, people! Everyone was wearing them.) And I still have a hunk of fabric leftover.
The stats for this are approximate, as I bought this dress, oh, before I was married sometime. Pre-historical, in other words.

Found at: ARC, Denver, CO
Cost: $6.99
Modifications: Downsized that bow.