Sunday, March 31, 2013

Victorious! Sew for Victory Sew Along

I decided a few weeks ago that I would join the Sew for Victory Sew Along hosted by Rochelle at Lucky Lucille (check out the button on the right). It's a 1940's themed sew along and I just love that era. I used a 1948 Simplicity pattern to make my dress. Here it is all finished!

Simplicty 2486

Simplicty 2486

Simplicty 2486

I also needed a slip under the dress because the fabric was semi-sheer. My only (modern) full slip was way too short so I ended up making one from a 1940's Advance pattern. Here it is:

Advance 6333

Advance 6333

Advance 6333

My inspiration:  
Wedding Day 1938 Aaron Nester Wavie Nester
My paternal grandparents on their wedding day. June, 1938
My paternal grandmother, a woman who I often considered to be a mother more than a grandmother, was one that would never waste anything. She was born in 1920 and remembered the Great Depression. She spent her days in the 1940s keeping up a farmhouse and raising 4 of her 5 kids (the 5th came in the next decade). One of those 4 children was my father, who was born in 1946, so he was one of the first of the Baby Boom generation. I can imagine her wearing comfortable, simple, but kind of pretty house dresses. She'd have her wedding ring on and pretty much no other jewelry. Baubles were reserved for when she left the house. She'd have on her perfume but not have makeup on in the house. If she was going shopping she would never leave without her lipstick on. That's pretty much all she ever wore. She never fussed with all that other stuff. She'd use her Oil of Olay moisturizer and maybe a little blush, but she'd wear vibrant lip color. Usually some sort of coral or red. She was a natural beauty and really didn't need a lot of makeup to look stunning. During that time she had very dark hair, nearly black, and crystal blue eyes.

A little tidbit:
Grandma's baby brother died in WWII. He was an Army Private that was in the group who stormed Normandy Beach. He barely made it to land before he was hit and killed by the Germans. Grandma had his Army picture hanging in her living room and when I was a little girl I asked her when Daddy had been in the Army. My dad looked a lot like her baby brother. She told me who it was in the picture and his story. I hope I never forget that memory.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Advance 6333 Throwing Darts at Gathers

So, after a really good sleep I came back to my progress on Advance 6333 and realized that I was just not loving the cup of the bodice. I am very busty and my bust is fullest at the bottom. Adding lots of gathered fabric where my bust is fullest really wasn't looking good. I decided to pinch out those gathers into darts. I added a side dart and three under bust darts.

Advance 6333
With Darts
Advance 6333
With Gathers
Advance 6333
With Darts
Look at that profile! Hotness!!

Advance 6333
With Gathers
Looks so much better on me! Heck, it looks much better on Mathilda, too!  Making this sort of design change really affects the finished slip. It is going to be much more fitted now, so I'll need to add a zipper to the side to get in and out of it. I'll need to redraw the cup to incorporate my changes and to give more length to the bottom side to compensate for the dart. Also, I have decided to use bias binding instead of self fabric like the pattern calls for. Just easier that way and I want to add a little contrast. If I have enough of my binding left over I'll just use it for my straps. If not I'll just use the sky blue cotton.

I also got the back worked on today and had to make a slight adjustment to the top because I have narrow shoulders. I also need to move the attachment point for the straps over about 1/2 inch towards the center. The back really did almost fit perfectly right from the pattern.

I cut out the skirt pieces and have basted together the back of the skirt. I'm sure I'll need to add probably 2 inches to the back and maybe more for the front. I hope to have the entire bodice finished tomorrow and then get started on skirt fitting.

Sidetracked Sewing

After making 4 muslins to work out the fit on my Mad Men dress (yes, 4!!) I really needed to just step away from that project. I'm still not totally happy with the fit and I'm going to start from scratch with tissue fitting. I've recently gotten the book Fit for Real People and I now have a sewing bible! I'm going to incorporate the techniques from that book in my restart. In the meantime I've been impatiently waiting for a sunny day that doesn't feel like winter to photograph my Sew for Victory dress outside. So far one of those hasn't really happened. I realized when I completed the dress that I really need to wear a full slip with it as it is made of slightly sheer fabric. I came across this pattern on eBay and I won it. It's perfect for the dress!

Advance 6333

It's in mint condition! I got it for $12. I feel like I got a great deal! I'm making it in a sky blue cotton poplin that has 2% spandex for a little stretch. I got like 10 yards of it on sale a couple years ago and I use it as muslin for slightly stretchy projects.
I'm really not the size of the pattern, so I'm going to be making some adjustments. So far I have almost finished the bust. I ended up cutting the piece as is, then cut it into quarters and spread it over me. I filled in the gaps with scraps of the fabric and then cut a new, re-sized piece. I'm so proud of myself for not sticking my breast with a pin when I was doing that! I need to add about a half inch of length from the side seam tapered to the center of the bust. Here's Mathilda modeling what I've done so far:

Advance 6333 FBA

When I finish the bust I'll be tweaking the back just a bit. It almost fits perfectly as is. I think it will need a little shifting of the center, so it will need to be a little narrower. I hope to get the fit worked out of the entire slip later today.  The skirt is all princess seamed panels. Super easy to fix! It will be an easy sew once the fit is taken care of. Crossing fingers that I can get it done and the Victory dress photographed this week. The deadline for that sew along is April 1, 2013. I'm technically done, but I want a modeled photo for the deadline.

So, that's how I'm distracting myself from the little mess the Mad Men dress is.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Something's Fishy Here

I'm a day late with my food post, so I'm going to make it up to you with offering two recipes today.

I've been craving salmon for a couple weeks, but since I was sick those weeks I had no energy to really cook much. I'm finally 100% back to normal, normal for me that is, and I'm back to cooking. I decided tonight would be fish night. I had some frozen wild salmon on hand and lots of fresh veggies so I came up with a glaze for the salmon and whipped up a salad. Here's what it looked like all done:

paleo salmon, paleo salad 

The glaze is a mixture of butter, Dijon mustard, honey and dill weed. The salad is a basic spinach salad drizzled with an Italian vinaigrette. It was delicious!

If you would like to make it yourself, here's the recipes for the salmon and the salad.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Mad Men Challenge 2 - I'm In!

I've been bit by the sew along bug in the best sort of way. I've just finished a 1940s style dress for the Sew for Victory sew along (post to come as soon as there is a sunny day for photos). Now that is out of the way I'm on to my dress for the Mad Men Challenge 2 hosted by Julia Bobbin. I hated that I missed out on the first one. I was thrilled that she decided to do it again!  For my dress I'm going to recreate this amazing number that Joan (Christina Hendricks) is modelling in this Season 5 cast photo:

Mad Men Season 5 Cast Photo
Image belongs to AMC.
The actual dress she is wearing is emerald green and it looks like a jacquard fabric.I hunted and hunted at my local Hancock's but couldn't find an emerald or even an olive green fabric that I felt would justify a cocktail dress. However, I did come across some really pretty chocolate poly shantung.

poly shantung cotton broadcloth

I wish it were silk, but my local store had no silk at all. I was not impressed. Next time I'll go to JoAnn's that's further down the road. I picked a cotton broadcloth in orange for lining. I prefer to have natural fibers against my skin.

I'm using McCall's 2401, View C with longer (3/4 length) sleeves. I got it on sale for $0.99 when I got my fabric.

McCall's 2401 
I cut it to a sort of size 18 but I've had to alter it to death to fit me. It has 3 pattern pieces since I'm not using the facings the pattern comes with due to lining it and I've had to make adjustments for being shortwaisted, and having a very full bust, narrow shoulders, and a swayback.  I have to say, though, that the neckline is laying perfectly on me. I'm so happy about that. I tend to shy away from square necks because they gap with my narrow shoulders and full bust. I'm working on my 3rd muslin now, but here's the second one on Mathilda:

McCall's 2401 

It looks a whole lot better on me than it does on Mathilda. She's too rigid to really pull off a wiggle dress. I'm hoping to be done with tweaking after the 3rd one, but I might need a 4th for fine tuning. Then I'll have to work on the sleeves. Luckily I have just over a month before the deadline. It's going to be, hopefully, an amazing cocktail dress when I'm done. I want the fit to be impeccable.

I'm loving the process of working out my fitting issues with this pattern. I think it will be a TNT by the time I'm done. Are you doing this challenge? Leave me a comment with a link to your posts about it.

Julia Bobbin, Mad Men Dress Challenge 2

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Missing in Action and How to Track Me

I apologize for not posting in a week. I spent the past two weeks sick. First I had a cold and a sinus infection sneaked in right at the tail end of it. Had to cancel the pot luck last weekend because I had a fever of 102 and ended up going to Patient First. The antibiotics are doing their job really well and I'm feeling almost completely normal now. Nothing beats better living through chemistry sometimes.

I also found out this week that Google's blog reader service is going away this summer. Bah! Just when I got one follower! What a shame. I do have my blog over at bloglovin. I really do love that service for keeping up with blogs I follow. I'd be honored if you'd go follow me there. You can do so by clicking this link. Also, the b♥ icon over on the right of the page links to my blog at bloglovin.

I'll be back tomorrow with a sewing post. And probably on Monday with a St. Patty's Day craft post. The kids and I made really cute stuff for tomorrow in homeschool this week.

Thursday, March 07, 2013

Correcting False Starts

This is a slightly personal (and long) post. I won't be doing these often but I wanted to actually share something I had sewn that I wore today for a special reason. I had a meeting (kind of an informal interview) for a job today! I wore a skirt I had drafted a pattern for myself:

Outfit Details: Top - Talbots, Skirt - Made by Me, Shoes - Dansko Harlow, Tights/Belt/Scarf/Earrings - Target
On top of being a domestic goddess I am also a registered nurse. I am a kind of new nurse, too. How I became a nurse is one heck of a story. I had wanted to be a nurse since I was 3 years old. See:

Yep, that's me on my 3rd birthday taking good care of my doll. Three years later I ended up being hospitalized overnight for croup. Basically it's a respiratory issue that creates a barking cough due to swelling around the vocal chords. It caused me to cough so much I could barely breathe. Scary stuff for a little kid. The nurse that took care of me that night was one of the kindest, friendliest people I have ever met in my life. She made me feel less afraid of what was going on with me. I knew for sure, then and there, that I wanted to be able to do that for others when I grew up. Over the years I sometimes thought maybe I would rather be a doctor, but I kept coming back to nursing.

After high school I started nursing school but ended up dropping out. False start #1. Due to personal reasons I was not ready for college right out of high school. I worked for a year, moved, and went back to school for business to get myself from waiting tables into secretarial work. I temped for years and ended up in a great engineering firm. I'd pretty much given up on becoming a nurse by then. As luck would have it I became a mom and after I was home with my babies for a couple years I had the opportunity to go back to college. I jumped on it! Thirty years after the picture above I actually became a nurse!

That's me hugging my mom at my college graduation and we are both crying tears of joy. It had been a LONG time coming! Well, graduating was just the first hurdle to being what I am today. I also had to pass a license exam called the NCLEX. I was so nervous the first time that I failed. Yep. I failed it. Just barely. Literally if I had gotten one or two more questions right I would have passed and I had maxed out the number of questions on the exam. Just barely failing really sucked. I kicked myself for being so scared because I knew that is what made me fail. I threw myself a pity party for a few months while I waited to be able to take it again. When I took it again I only got the minimum number of questions and I passed it with flying colors. So 6 months after graduation I was finally a licensed registered nurse! Then I had to go about getting a job...

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Recipe: Corn Pudding

This coming Saturday I'll be hosting a potluck. Cooking for a crowd is something I love to do. I will be covering the entrees for this event, however, when I'm going somewhere else and have to bring food one of my family recipes is often requested. That recipe is my family's version of corn pudding. The recipe is one my mother made when I was a child, and she still does for social functions. This is a custard style corn pudding, and it is really sweet. It's not meant to be healthy. It's meant to be jaw-dropping delicious.  It is deceptively simple to make. I hope you will give it a try and that you enjoy it.

Note: This recipe is easily halved to make a more reasonable family dinner size in case you are not cooking for a huge crowd.

This photo is of a half batch prepared.
Corn Pudding
8-12 Servings

  • ½ cup butter (margarine will affect this dish's consistency, please use the real thing)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 cans (14.5 oz.) cream style corn (I prefer Del Monte Brand)
  • 2 cans (12 oz.) evaporated milk
  • Enough water to make 4 cups of milk
  • 6 Tablespoons Cornstarch
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 Teaspoons Vanilla (You can use imitation if you do not have pure vanilla.)
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Place stick of butter in a 9”x13” baking dish and melt in preheated oven.
  3. Mix evaporated milk, water and corn starch until the cornstarch is dissolved.
  4. Mix all other ingredients together in a bowl.
  5. Add milk mixture to bowl and blend well.
  6. Pour mixture into melted butter in baking dish.
  7. Bake for 40 minutes.

    Printable Recipe

Sunday, March 03, 2013

Welcoming Spring: Craft 2-fer (Part 2)

In my fervor to decorate for spring I wanted to make a wreath for the door that would work with the oval glass inset's proportions. Here is what I came up with.

spring wreath

I took a grapevine wreath that I got at a thrift store for $2 I think, and wrapped it in sheer green ribbon purchased at Dollar Tree for $1. I didn't glue the ribbon as I wanted the option to easily remove it if I wanted, so I just tied it to secure it once it was wrapped around the wreath. I then took Dollar Tree flowers and put them in by wedging them into the wreath, under the ribbon. They are nice and secure and totally removable so I can customize it anytime. The flowers probably cost me $3 total for the three colors. I had some vintage (or possibly antique) lace that I wove around the wreath. It was just long enough to wrap as you see and I tucked the ends in behind the peach flowers. The lace was a remnant from a top I made a few years ago. Grand total for this wreath is $6! It's so cheerful and perfect for spring. Oh, the hanger I got at Dollar Tree, too, for $1 around Christmas.

Here's how it looks from outside:

spring wreath

And how it looks when people come up to the door: 

spring wreath

I actually had all of these supplies on hand because I made my first spring wreath with them last year. Here is that one:

spring wreath

At the time we were living in another home and it had a very boring and very white front door. It was begging for a ridiculous amount of color.

I need to make another wreath for our other entrance that gets used a lot. With any luck I can get to that soon.

I hope you enjoyed the Spring Decor 2-fer!

Welcoming Spring: Craft 2-Fer (Part 1)

In meteorological terms, February 28th was the last day of winter, according to my local news. I was hit with a little spring fever that day, appropriately enough it seems. I took down all the winter decorations and started putting out the spring items. I set out one of my favorite DIY decor items, these lovely hurricanes:

I made them 2 years ago and I've used them every spring since. My inspiration to make them was a tutorial at Decor Chick.

Here's what I used for all 3. All purchased items were bought at Dollar Tree 2 years ago.

Vases - $3
Candlesticks - $3
Gorilla Glue - $0 - had this on hand
Mini River Rocks - $1
Jumbo River Rocks - $1
Faux Moss Covered Rocks - $2 (used 3 per hurricane)
Artificial Baby's Breath - $1
Ivory Satin Ribbon -$0 - had this on hand
Total for 3: $11

These look like something from a housewares store that would sell for a LOT more. They are so pretty! If you try these out for yourself please let me know. I'd love to hear how they turned out for you.