Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Mid-century dining space for a cat

My dear readers, we're finally getting to the point where we're thinking about decorating projects in the house! I think we're settled in enough now (it'll be 4 months this week) that we can actually start to contemplate things like painting, curtains, and all the dozens of other little household projects around our 1955 ranch.

One issue that needs to be resolved in our kitchen is a place for our cat, Dinah, to eat. Her eating area has always been on the kitchen counter, both in the condo and now in our house. This drives me crazy. It's kind of gross, and also takes up a lot of counter space, but it's been necessary to keep it elevated away from our dog, Pia.

I've been searching and searching for ideas that could work and be vaguely mid-century or at the very least not horrible looking, and always coming up short. I thought a little vintage stool would work, something like kids use to step up to the sink, but they're just too small for food bowls and a cat butt.

{Source: frostline on Etsy}

It really needs to be something tall enough that Pia can't reach (so something like this is cute but not suitable), but big enough that Dinah can jump up on it and not knock over her dishes. I've been looking for months for ideas, and finally just decided I think I need to make my own! And if it's the right height, I may even be able to slide Pia's food dishes underneath it, for sort of a double decker pet dining area, which would mean we don't have to have two separate spaces devoted to that. That would be pretty nice as it's a small kitchen.

Here's my plan: decide what size table top I want. Cut a board to size, sand it, and attach hairpin legs of the appropriate height (I'm thinking at least 12" off the ground). Perhaps ordered from here, or I'll find a vintage set, like these:

{Source: CoMod on Etsy}

Then paint the top in a fun kitschy design and seal it. (More on that in a minute.)

So just where will this kitty dining area go? In the eat-in area of the kitchen. This may be one of your first real chances to see it as I'm not sure I've really photographed it before. Of course, this is completely without decoration so far.

And now an annotated version! You can see some of the plans we have for this space. What I didn't annotate below is to the right of the hutch on the wall will be a newly-acquired shelf for teacups and saucers (a new collection I've just started, squee!), and to the left on the wall will be a yet-to-be-acquired shelf for salt and pepper shakers.

You can see the cat dining area will be on the ground to the left of the hutch.

Do you like our ceiling fan? I hate that we need them but we desperately do since we get no cross-ventilation, so when my dad was visiting he replaced two of the ugly ones the house came with and added one in our bedroom. Yes, I'd rather look at an awesome mid-century chandelier, but I also want to be comfortable. :) I had to look at about 100 ceiling fans before finding this one, but in the end I think it's actually pretty nice above our dinette table. I think it helps that it has lighter blades than you usually see.

Oh wait, let's go on another tangent for a moment here... there's one more photo for you, which will definitely be the subject of discussion on the blog in the future. See our nice, light-colored baseboards and trim? (Though to clarify, what you're seeing as 'baseboards' on this wall is our crazy 50s baseboard diffuser for our heating system that no one else ever seems to have seen anywhere.) All the trim and baseboards are painted. That's right, that means it's wood... painted to look like wood.

(Don't mind the ugly dustbuster in the background, I need a less obtrusive place for it.)

We know some of the trim was painted white in the kitchen at some point in the past (they didn't bother to paint the baseboards behind the stove and fridge), and now it's painted to look like wood. I know, it's crazy! Stranger still, a few pieces of trim in the house are indeed stained wood in a similar tone, not painted. So I'm not sure if those are original or were replaced at some point in time.

It really is a conundrum for us. We're totally not going to strip all the trim in the entire house, but it definitely needs major touching up. And while I like it 'wood tone' I'm not sure I can in good conscious paint it... well, paint it tan-ish. Does anyone really do that (other than the previous homeowners)? So the discussion on whether or not to just paint it white will come up in the future (and of course will involve headaches like what to do about the back door, broom closet door and all the trim around the pocket door between the kitchen and hall). Stay tuned for more on that subject...

Anyway, back to the cat! I'm debating on what to paint on the top of the table. Overall, the kitchen colors will be aqua and red. The walls will be aqua, and eventually that part under the chair rail will feature a Bradbury and Bradbury wallpaper (though for the time being, it will probably be painted a darker shade of aqua than the upper walls... we may save the wallpaper for a year or so down the road when we do a bit of renovation and re-do our counter tops and the tile walls in the kitchen). There will be colorful cafe curtains on the big picture window, and lots of fun and colorful things on the walls.

Right now, I'm considering trying to reproduce something like one of the designs from vintage Dutch decals that I've been loving so much lately. I adore this girl in particular, although I know the table will be more of a rectangle shape, so it couldn't be this alone:

{Source: Tias listing, via Pinterest}

But then I've seen lots of great designs that have a mid-century vibe that are inspiring me, like this cat illustration I spied today on Pinterest via Ruth from No Pattern Required. (Incidentally, you should totally check out more of these on Orange You Lucky, her illustrations are fabulous!)

{Source: Orange You Lucky, via Pinterest}

I'm looking at works of mid-century illustrators I love like Mary Blair and Jim Flora, and finding new illustrators I'm enjoying like Jim Whittamore and Sol Linero. All to decorate a mid-century inspired dining area for our cat. Pretty funny!

I haven't bought the supplies yet for this project and need to think pretty seriously about the design, as it needs to be something simple enough that I can draw it onto the table in pencil and then paint it in, kind of like a paint-by-number, as I'm very detail-oriented but I'm not a natural painter.

What do you think? Crazy idea? Fun? Any suggestions to make the perfect mid-century dining space for Dinah? What would you do?

Monday, July 23, 2012

Twin purses

Hi everyone! Yes, it's been rather quiet around here. My mom and step-dad have been in town. We've had a full house pretty much all of July!

Yesterday, my mom and I worked on a sewing project together. Neither of us could even recall when was the last time we did that. I was probably in high school!

Here's a couple of snapshots she took of our work in the basement.

You can see our new dinette table that I'll be using in my craft area. They brought it all the way from Maryland with them. It used to be in the restaurant of family friends, who had a few in storage after expanding the space some years back, and they kindly allowed me to pick one for my very own! You'll see more when I get to the point of actually taking photos around the house... which will probably be after painting... which will probably be this autumn. ;) I'm not quite sure the era, I'm guessing 30s or 40s. It's definitely much older than our 50s dinette table that's our dining table.

My mom's description and photo setup, isn't she cute? The Guinnesses were not to drink, but to hold the purses open as we had to glue the frames on. We used the same outer fabric and different linings, and then swapped linings for our pockets. I know, I know, commence a big "Awwwwww" right now. My mom did most of the sewing, I cut the pieces and did a bit of basting, and we both attached our own purse to our own frame. They really are fabulous and I think it'll be a great purse for summer into autumn. For those of you interested, it's the Gracefully Kelly pattern.

I hope to get back on track with the blog world soon. Our best friends in Chicago are moving out of the country this week (though we'll now have friends to visit in Wales) and I haven't really been excited to document all the goings on in life lately. Though another thing that may keep me a bit more quiet than usual—as you know the Olympics start this Friday. What you don't know: I'm a huge, rabid Olympics fan (though much more winter than summer). I'll be participating in Ravelry's Ravellenic Games 2012, so I'll basically drop all crafty projects for 2 weeks except for a new project I'll be knitting specifically for the games. They will be fair isle legwarmers for autumn, which I think will look darling with some land girl-esque boots and 40s wool skirts (yes, it's going to be 100 out today and I'm already plotting my cooler weather wardrobe!). I'll be using a chart from a fair isle sweater pattern, with Shetland wool, and making up the legwarmer pattern on the fly. Hopefully I'll be able to complete them during the Olympics. In 2010 I was able to complete a sweater (albeit worsted weight) and fingerless gloves, so I set the bar rather high for myself! I'll definitely check in with at least one or two progress reports during the games. Let me know if you're participating, too!

I hope you are all doing well and enjoying yourselves!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Coronation Knits winner...

We have a winner for the Coronation Knits giveaway!

Anthea of Sewing ♥ Vintage ♥ Knitting, congratulations, you're lucky number 25 and getting a copy of Susan Crawford's new book! Look for an email from me soon. And thanks to everyone for entering. Have a fabulous weekend!

Made and Making No. 4

Happy Friday! I know I never did post a Made and Making last Friday, but I was just too busy with my dad in town. So today's rendition wraps up a couple of weeks. There's a lot that went on in the Golly Ranch House that I'll talk about soon (small but important projects like replacing receptacles, and finding some interesting tidbits on prior wall treatments and tile in the house), but for now you'll get a couple of small tastes of what we've been up to.

{all images link to Flickr for full size}

Clockwise from upper left

1. New retro porch light. Oh good grief, was our light situation sad on our deck/porch. It was an old, rusted fixture with no globe and a bare light bulb under the covered portion (that I kind of think of as the porch), and then on the uncovered portion (that I think of as the deck, which is a couple of steps down), a huge honking fixture that was ugly. It looked like it could have been several decades old, until I looked closely inside and saw a tell-tale modern sticker. Its fate was then sealed when we saw the same one at Home Depot! Bye bye. So instead, we found this very cute, inexpensive light to replace the one on the porch and just ditched the ugly one. I'll show better photos later, but the upper edge is scalloped! What could be more 50s than that for our little ranch! And for only $20, it was a good deal, too.
2. Green skirt in the living room. I've really been wearing my bias-cut green skirt a ton. Here I've paired it with a Jitterbuggin blouse (same one in my blog header). I took a gamble recently and ordered some twill that had a bit of stretch to it to make a couple more versions, and it was a mistake. The stretch content is just all wrong for me. So I'll have to send it back and pick out something else. This is in our living room, which as you can see is still un-decorated. That rectangular white spot on the wall behind me is one of two glass block nooks in the living room.
3. Zinnia about to bloom. I decided way too late to plant the zinnia seeds that Mel's mom brought over this spring, but I had the seeds and a container so I went ahead. And they've been growing like crazy! They're now just about to bloom as you can see.
4. Freshly painted cold air return covers. Unexciting looking, yes. While my dad was here we were going to replace our cold air return covers, however the same size new ones actually ended up being about 3/4" too big, so it would have involved cutting the baseboards and base shoe. Instead of all that hassle, I scrubbed them down and sanded them to get rid of as much of the years of latex paint as I could, and spray painted them glossy white. They aren't perfect, but they look SO much better now.
5. Spiral cut hot dogs. While he was here, my dad saw a video on how to spiral cut hot dogs for the grill, so we had to try it. Fun! In this pic you can see a bit of our original 1950s half round display shelves in our kitchen, which are currently holding a bunch of my vintage Pyrex and my Juice-O-Mat. Eventually, we'll be swapping out these 90s/2000s counter tops for a more 50s look.
6. Red Queen sweater in progress. Yes, this is not my Unicorn and Lion sweater, but my Red Queen sweater. I mentioned it in my Coronation Knits blog tour post, and then suddenly had the urge to pick it up again after several months and I've been flying along.

Remember, this evening the Coronation Knits giveaway closes, so last call for entries!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Coronation Knits giveaway & interview with Susan Crawford!

Hello all! Sorry things have been so quiet on my end, as I mentioned in my last post my dad is in town visiting. He's wrapping up his visit soon and then my schedule will be a bit more normal... well, until my mom and step-dad come for a visit next week, ha ha! And after that it will be more normal. ;) In the meantime, thanks so much for all your wonderful comments on my apple picking dress!

As I announced early in June, I'm participating in the Coronation Knits blog tour for Susan Crawford's latest vintage knitting book, published this summer to correspond with the Queen's Diamond Jubilee. And today we've reached my spot in the tour. So sit back, grab a cup of tea, and enjoy! There's some knitting blathering by me, a wonderful interview with Susan, and a giveaway at the end!

I admit: I fully intended to knit a lovely sweater from the book and review the pattern, in time for this post. Didn't even come close. I was already giving myself a tight deadline, but then add in a wilting heat wave and having my dad in town, and I just had no desire or time to knit, unfortunately! I'm disappointed I couldn't include my finished pullover in this blog tour post, so alas, you'll just have to wait to see my knitting. But I can at least tell you what I'm working on (albeit slowly). It's the Lion and the Unicorn pullover, with bat wing sleeves and an intarsia rendition of the lion and unicorn from the royal coat of arms of England. Isn't it stunning? I'm just swapping the blue for red.

Copyright Susan Crawford

The original version of this pullover was featured in the 1953 special Coronation issue of Stitchcraft! Susan modernized the construction, which is ingenious—knit in one piece from the front bottom up, casting on for the sleeves outwards, knitting on up to the short-row shaped shoulders and neckline, then down the back to the bottom. It's been fun seeing the unusual shape unfold!

Copyright Susan Crawford

Of course, you know I'm a sucker for colorwork, and the next pattern I'm dying to knit is the Coronation Sleeveless Pullover. There are instructions to knit it in the round (my preference for stranded knitting as I can fly along at it) and knit it flat and seam the pieces (more original to most published patterns at the time). I love, love, love the crown motif! This was designed by Susan in the style of a 40s/50s men's pullover, but I think the design could easily transition into a woman's version, or be turned into a marvelous long-sleeved pullover or cardigan! 

Copyright Susan Crawford

Hmmm... it occurs to me I also have a 40s-inspired version of the Red Queen fair isle pullover (Ravelry link) on the needles, along with the Unicorn and Lion pullover, and I'm plotting that sleeveless pullover... I guess I've just been in a royal mood!

I was delighted to have the opportunity to interview Susan, as she is one of my all-time favorite knitwear designers. I hope you'll enjoy her responses as much as I have!

Q. I know Coronation Knits was partially inspired by your mother's interest in Queen Elizabeth's and her sister Margaret's early fashions. When you were putting this book together, was there one or two patterns in particular that really spoke to you as something the young Queen would have loved?
A. I think the young Queen Elizabeth would probably have worn the 'Princess Twinset' in her private time, in fact, I like to think its the sort of  pattern she would probably have knitted! I think she would also have liked to have worn 'Amies' on a slightly more formal occasion.

Princess Twin Set

Copyright Susan Crawford

Q. Do you have a favorite pattern in Coronation Knits (to wear, to design, the finished design, etc). Why does it stand out?
A. Ooh that's a tricky one. I love all the designs in the book for all different reasons. But if I was to choose a favourite pattern to fill each of the categories you mention I think I would choose 'Diamonds are Forever' to wear as it is the jumper I always wanted to design for myself. Its the perfect combination of the slightly more casual feel of the 1950s whilst still offering a well fitting and shapely garment. As a project to design I’m going to pick Crowning Glory as my favourite although this one really is a close run competition. But I’m going with this beret because of the perfect mixing of complexity of lace crown pattern with the simple beret construction which leaves you free when knitting to focus on the lace stitches. Again which would be my favourite finished design is also a very difficult one to choose but having had the opportunity to wear it will say the Princess Twinset Jumper. I love the front panel on the decolletage. It is so incredibly flattering, framing the face and directing the eyes upwards just as original 30s and 40s handknits did.

Diamonds are Forever
Crowning Glory

Copyright Susan Crawford

Q. Your books have such a wealth of historical information, knitting tips, not to mention the wonderful designs. Not just the Stitch in Time volumes, but your smaller publications as well like Coronation Knits and Vintage Gifts to Knit. It seems like there's a useful tip or fact everywhere I look. What inspires you to create such invaluable knitting resources?
A. I’ve always hoped that my books would be more than pattern books, although that is obviously their primary purpose. But I wanted to share the things I had learnt from working with vintage patterns over the years along with tips I had been given by my grandmothers, by other knitters I have talked to over the years and from the vintage magazines themselves. Also I am obsessed by the interaction of fashion and social history and writing these knitting books gives me the perfect excuse to talk about the periods the designs are from or are representative of and place them in their cultural and social setting. I’m very proud that people buy my books not just for the knitting patterns but also for the historical content and the authentic styling.

Q. When you're designing (or re-constructing) a vintage pattern, what makes the design process unique from modern patterns?
A. When I’m designing a vintage inspired pattern the design process isn’t particularly dissimilar than if I was designing a non-vintage inspired design. Where the differences really come in are when I am reconstructing or writing a pattern from a vintage pattern or garment. Often the construction is done in several separate pieces and is nearly always written for only one size. That one size is usually 30-32 inch chest and for a height of about 5 foot 2 inches. The language and terminology can often be quite differnet and sometimes abbreviations which now mean one thing have been used to represent something else. If I was writing a pattern from scratch I would choose my yarn, do a swatch and find out what tension I’m working to. The pattern would then be written based on that tension. With a vintage pattern, I swatch with different yarns and different needles until I can find a combination that gives me a tension as close to the original pattern as possible. I then knit a sample from the original pattern so that the sizing can be determined and any errors or flaws in the design can be clearly identified. Its not until this original pattern has been finalized that I then ‘grade’ the pattern. This means I then do the maths to add as many additional sizes to the pattern as the pattern will allow. Many vintage patterns use beautiful stitch patterns with large pattern repeats which can make it very difficult to introduce too many sizes without making huge leaps between sizes. It is also very important to me to keep the same shaping and fit for each size as in the original and a lot of work has to go into the sizing to ensure that each subsequent size fits as well as possible. One of the biggest issues with the fit of vintage patterns is shoulders. They need to end in just the right place on the body for any vintage knit to still have an authentic look to it. Our shoulders however do not usually increase by the same number of inches as our busts tend to grow, so this area of any vintage re-write has to be done with a significant amount of care.  Without a doubt re-working an original vintage pattern usually means much more work than creating a design from scratch, but there is a feeling of great satisfaction when you can make a really tricky pattern that was never intended for more than that one size, to work in 6 or 7 sizes - including mine!

Q. Is there one decade that you love the most in knitwear fashion, and why?
A. That's a real toughy. Depending on my mood I veer between the 30s and the 40s, although my personal body shape suits the 40s/50s best. There is something about the total freedom of expression in the amazing designs of the 1930s that can’t be beaten, but I adore the creativity during the early 1940s de-spite there being so many restrictions being placed on design. So I don’t think I can do it be honest. I will have to hover between the 30s and the 40s as I love them both so much.

Q. I practically jumped out of my seat with excitement when I read that one of your next projects is an upcoming book on vintage Shetland knits. What drew you to the knitting traditions of Shetland?
A. I think if you enjoy knitting from vintage patterns the chances are you have done some colour work knitting. I have loved doing stranded and intarsia knitting since I was a teenager so have long been interested in Shetland knitting. Add to that the joys of using Shetland wool for colour work and you have a match made in heaven. However, I had always been a little disappointed by what I found in ‘traditional’ Fair Isle pattern books. They didn’t seem to reflect what I saw in magazines of the 1920s onwards or in knitting patterns I had in my collection also from the first half of the twentieth century. I have been visiting Shetland for about the last four years and have got to know the islands quite well. I have also spent alot of my time there visiting the museum and studying the garments on display. All of which have so much style and shape and individuality and seem so different to the ‘norm’. So over two years ago now I started working with the Museum on identifying a number of items from their archive that represented what Shetland knitting was really about between the 1920s and the 1950s. None of these garments have written patterns. So I have been creating patterns from the garments themselves and am now up to the point of beginning to knit the samples. As a a keen social historian I couldn’t leave it at that and have also researched each piece to find out more about the knitter behind each garment and these stories will also be in the book. Its proving quite a lengthy project but I hope a very worthwhile one.

Q. Last but not least, why does vintage inspire you?
A. I have been fascinated by vintage since I was about 15 years of age and didn’t actually even realize at this point that I was. I would sit and watch old films with my grandmother soaking up all the beautiful costumes and wanting to dress in the same way. My two grandmother’s taught me to knit, sew, crochet and embroider using patterns they had gathered over the years and most of these were already very old, so again without even knowing it, I was already interpreting vintage patterns. As time passed it also became about the history behind the clothes and the stories behind something as simple as a knitting pattern and I think that this is what has continued to fuel my interest. I think there is so much to learn from both original vintage garments and  vintage knitting and sewing patterns about fit, shaping, small details that turn a garment into something very special, the use of pattern to distract from less flattering parts of the body and draw attention to the right bits. The beautiful fabrics used in original vintage garments are almost impossible to replicate but the finishing touches suggested in patterns such as embroidery, hand made buttons and facings enable us all to have a ‘couture’ vintage wardrobe at the fraction of the cost. As both a knitter and a dressmaker I have always liked things to be well made and its only really in vintage or hand made that you can be guaranteed of this.
Its also worth remembering that when I first began wearing vintage in the late 1980s it was considered a really odd thing to do, in fact, non-conforming was not encouraged at all. I can even remember acquaintances of my parents crossing the road to avoid me, tutting and shaking their heads as they did so! I think we now find ourselves in a great place where we can basically dress however we like without (too much) criticism and in many ways the huge popularity of vintage has helped this happen. And when an 80 year old great grandmother and a 20 year old student both want to knit one of my patterns I feel all that 1980s angst and pain was worthwhile!

Would you like to win your own copy of Coronation Knits? Here's your chance!

How to enter:
  1. Be a follower of this blog, anywhere on the planet.
  2. Leave a comment on this post. 
  3. Want an extra entry? Post about this giveaway on your blog, Twitter, or Facebook. Just post a separate comment on this post with a link to where you mentioned it so you get counted twice.
  4. Don't forget to leave a way to contact you if your blog or profile doesn't have your email address.
The giveaway ends this Friday evening, July 13th. Winner will be pulled at random. And if you don't win of course, you can purchase your own copy of Coronation Knits from Susan at her online store!

The next blogger up on the tour is the talented Tom of Holland, on July 14th, so be sure to check it out. Tom knit the gorgeous stole featured on the cover!
June 12th  More Yarn Will Do The Trick - Jean Moss
June 16th  JenACKnitwear  - Jen Arnall Culliford
June 18th  The Icelandic Knitter - Helene Magnusson
June 20th  Knitting Institute - Knitting Magazine
June 24th  Ingrid Murnane Investigates - Ingrid Murnane
June 28th  Domestic Soundscape - Felicity Ford
June 29th  Sheep To Shawl - Donna Druchunas
July 7th     Fourth Edition - Karie
July 2nd    The Making Spot - Simply Knitting 
July 6th     rock+purl - Ruth Garcia-Alcantud
July 10th   By gum, by golly! - Tasha    (me!)
July 14th   tomofholland - Tom Van Deijnen
July 18th   Woolly Wormhead - Woolly
July 22nd  Crinoline Robot - Mim
July 25th - Sarah Wilson
Hope you've enjoyed this stop on the blog tour, and thanks so much to Susan Crawford for asking me to participate! Now, on with the coronation knitting!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Finished project: 1944 Apple picking dress

While my dad is in town, I lined up this post. My apologies if I'm a little scarce while he's here, I'm not going to be online much this week!

Now, let's go apple picking! After all, I have the most perfectly applelicious dress for it.

Can you tell I'm a little excited by my overzealous grin up there? (And yikes, what's with the 5 pounds of luggage under my eyes?) Yes, I'm pleased as punch with this dress. Apple punch.

This was sewn using a vintage pattern from 1944, Simplicity 2074. I think the pattern is just darling, as are both the main versions on the pattern envelope. Don't you think this would be fabulous with stripes?

View 1 and 2 are essentially the same, except 2 lays out vertically-striped fabric sideways, and 1 has a tie belt and two rows of saddle stitching around the neckline and pockets. I nixed the saddle stitching and the belt, figuring my fabric was too busy. I went with a solid vintage belt to break things up.

This was my first time doing side seam pockets. Can I say how much I love them? I know we all agree on the pocket love. I can slip an iPhone in here and no one's the wiser. Though I have to say, how the pattern has you sew together the inside seams of the rectangular pocket seemed a little overly complicated. There's got to be an easier way.

There's a lapped zipper in there too.

It took me a minute to wrap my head around how to do this, and of course the pattern didn't specify, but I managed to get it all to work. I wouldn't say this zipper insertion is my finest work, but I'm still pleased (I did this one before I changed techniques to what I used on my green skirt). By the way, this 9" zipper was the reason I couldn't get this on my dress form after I put the bodice and skirt together. Next time, I'm hemming the skirt before assembling, just like Sunni.

I didn't do a muslin, but I took up about 1" in the bodice pieces for my short waist and sewed up the bodice side seam an extra 1" at the armhole edge so my slip didn't show. That coupled with narrow shoulders means the extended shoulder falls into a nice little cap sleeve. I was going to make shoulder pads to make it stick more straight out like the original pattern, but I decided I like how it looks, and I'd have had to have cut out quite a bit of the shoulder piece to get that shape anyway (like maybe half!). So it's just as well, because I kind of prefer to have that bit of extra coverage on my shoulders... looks less like I'm wearing a jumper that's supposed to have a blouse underneath.

Speaking of slips, the only thing I should have changed is the neckline. If I make another version, I'll raise it 1" because my slip keeps peaking out at the corners. You can just barely see it on the bottom right corner of the below photo but it's actually worse when I move around (see the first photo). Of course, I could just wear a skirt slip and call it a day.

There's not usually wrinkles in the center of my chest, by the way. Not sure what's happening there. But I'm happy these photos came out decent at all, because it was pouring rain (the first time in weeks).

The below photo reminded me that we still have the "Welcome" sign hanging in our back window left by the previous homeowner, along with the ugly welcome mat which I moved out of the photo (hence the line between clean and dusty on the deck). When we moved in, I said I'd leave the sign in the window until I did... something. I can't remember what, though! Maybe get a new welcome mat? (We did after these photos were taken.) Put curtains in that window? I don't know. But since I can't remember, I haven't taken it down yet.

Another feature I like about this dress is the center front pleat. Although as you can see above, I'm not really sure if I'm supposed to press it all the way down to the hem, so I didn't. I don't think you're supposed to though, because the fabric splays out when you sit.

I shared a sneak peak of this Friday on Twitter, and Karen of Did You Make That? asked me about the fabric. She read my mind, because I was planning to talk about it. This is a Japanese cotton I purchased last year from Here's the exact fabric—Kei Japan, Eden Chocolate (though the selvage said Yuwa Live Life Collection). It's technically a quilting cotton. But while it's medium-weight, this stuff is awesome. Super soft, a nice drape yet crisp at the same time so perfect for a casual dress, the weave is lovely, and the wrong side looks just like the wrong side of my 40s and 50s cotton dresses, if that makes sense (i.e. not stark white). Seriously, it's closer to rivaling my coveted vintage cottons than almost any modern cotton I've seen. I'm tempted to look for more by this maker and see if it's equally as wonderful. How fabulous would this stripe of theirs be in the same dress pattern?? I kind of love that idea.

Outfit details: me-made dress, red vintage belt from Etsy, 50s West German earrings from Atomicrox, 40s mary jane pumps

I just realized this means I sewed 3 garments in June! I think I only sewed 7 all last year, most of which I don't wear (a few things I do). It's too early to tell, but I think perhaps the sewing tides have turned for me, and I'm hoping for good! June was a great confidence-building month. I have dedicated sewing space for the first time, I feel positive, my head is full of ideas for my wardrobe and those ideas are just starting to come together. I think I'm finally learning what I want to sew and want to wear, and what I don't want to sew (and don't want to wear). Good timing too, because hopefully I'll be into a routine before it cools down this autumn and I'm splitting way more of my time with knitting.

Here's hoping July will continue this new sewing trend!
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