Monday, December 16, 2013

You are Now in Bedford Falls

It snowed this weekend! Actual, accumulating powder! I'm not a fan of the cold, but I LOVE the first snow of the season. (Although it helps that I don't have a driveway to shovel or a car to manage...) I was able to fully embrace the snow this weekend with some good old-fashioned mid-century Christmas cheer, including attending the Greater Boston Vintage Society Winter Formal. It was a lovely evening!

The Winter Formal was held at the Dane Estate, a beautiful 1891 mansion in Chestnut Hill. The dark wood and carved moldings were a perfect balance to the pretty holiday decorations.

The library was also perfect for dancing, and as two of the event sponsors were swing dance studios, we did!

guests in the library

In addition to dancing, there was a lovely dinner and a showing of It's A Wonderful Life on an original 1940s army movie projector. It was so cool! I'm not a huge fan of the movie, but watching the reels (including pauses to change them out) in a room full of other people reacting definitely added to the viewing.

The year for the evening was 1946, which is the year It's A Wonderful Life premiered. All of the event attendees looked great, and being surrounded by people in lovely 40s and 50s clothes was really fun. The organizers also did a great job building the atmosphere--little touches like hiding the iPod of dance music behind a vintage radio made the evening magical.

I was hoping to have a new dress done, but I got distracted...oops. So I wore the Butterick 4790 one-piece dress (which is the coolest pattern) I made a couple of years ago, and it was actually pretty perfect. The fabric has a tiny holly berry print, and there is a jingle-bell shaped decorative button on the front closure. I also (FINALLY) managed to get victory rolls that looked the way I wanted, so of the entire outfit I was most proud of my hair. The back is decorated with a sprig of (fake) holly and a blingy snowflake hairpin.

I also wore my 1940s mink cape, which has the iconic square 40s shoulders and is snuggly warm. (I would never buy new fur, but used vintage stuff I have no problem with.) 

It was a lovely evening celebrating the best part of winter (snow, vintage holiday goodness, and warm evenings with friends). Now all I need is to sing some carols!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

The Ballot Forever

This weekend I had a crazy adventure drinking tea and discussing women's suffrage at the America's Hometown Thanksgiving celebration in Plymouth. Part of the event is a "portal to the past" living history village, where visitors can explore what (mostly military) life was like from the 17th century to the 20th.

We were going to be an all-female group (our dudes are members of the Salem Trayned Band, so they were busy in the 1630s), so we decided to spend the weekend in the 20th century as 1914 suffragettes. We had tea, sang suffrage songs, and handed out yellow "votes for women" ribbons. It was so much fun (but a little chilly)!

our set-up in the living history village
I wore the jacket and "hobble skirt" I made last week, which turned out to be pretty cozy (yay wool!), a fur wrap I also made last week, and my Tavistock button boots from America Duchess. I bought them this summer, but hadn't had a chance to wear them, so I was super excited! I think the final silhouette was pretty authentic, and it was really different from what I normally wear. I need to finish the jacket, and maybe add a belt (I don't really like wearing the tube look), but in general this worked well and was quick to throw together.

I was also really excited to tromp out my Tavistocks, and Quinn and I took the opportunity to take some shoe pictures. I'm glad, because now the next time I have to psych myself up for the 10 minutes it will take to button all the buttons, I can look at this picture and remind myself how fabulous they are.

The one downside of the hobbled look is that it actually well...hobbles you. I had to take very small strides and couldn't actually move very fast or far without a lot of effort.  It meant that I ended up looking awfully dumb as I bopped along trying to keep up with everyone, and it was extra exhausting. I also ended up getting a couple of rides from the golf carts that were shuttling people to and from the event, and they were the best. Thank you, golf cart men.

technically this is the goofing off in between actual pictures, but we're all smiling! yay!
Actually, one of my favorite interactions of the day involved the golf cart man who drove our chairs, tables, tea equipment, and me to the site. When we were driving over this exchanged occurred:
GCM: Do you know where your spot is?
Me: no...we're somewhere in the 20th century, but that's all I know
GCM: drives into the park and stops in front of the map Find the 20th century!
Me: spots the 20th century area, and our spot I found it! The 20th century is over that little bridge, and then the suffragettes are the the left.
GCM: well, then off to the 20th century!

So with that, off to the 20th century we go!

1941 paratroopers across from us (in the 20th c)

this little footbridge in the park was totally darling, and connected the 20th c to the earlier periods

visitors learning about 1630s weaponry with the Salem Trayned Band

members of the New Plimmoth Guard

visitors learning about 17th c pike with the New Plimmoth Guard

Friday, November 22, 2013

Inner Monologue: TGIF

Every now and then I have one of those days where I wind up feeling frustrated, tired, and unaccomplished. I got into the habit of using bling as a mood boost in college, and even though technically I"m an adult now I still do it. Last Friday I came home from work much later than expected feeling awful, only to discover my new tiara had arrived several days early!

So I did what I always do: I baked in my new tiara. So enjoy this lovely Friday (while I'm scrambling to finish sewing for tomorrow!), and this goofy picture of me...

Baking in Captain America sweatpants, a tiara, and pearls
Keep it classy!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Ragtime Inspiration

Between moving and my machine needing repairs, I haven't done any serious sewing in the past couple of months, but I'm eager to get back into the swing of things! First on my list is a 1914 outfit with come pretty plaid wool I picked up this fall--yay, outerwear! I've been amassing ragtime inspiration lately because it's time to start prepping for the centennial of the beginning of WWI. In case you've had other things on your mind this month besides Archduke Ferdinand's upcoming assassination anniversary, here's a brief reminder courtesy of the TV show BlackAdder.

Ok, so it didn't happen quite like that, but you get the idea. What I've actually been most drawn to for sewing is the juxtaposition in 19-teens silhouettes made popular by French designer Poiret: drapey, fabulous coats (often trimmed in fur) above narrow, sleek skirts. I'm planning a coat/skirt combo as my next sewing project, to be worn in a few weeks in Plymouth.

French fashion plate, c.1913

Mine won't be quite as dramatic (or drapey) as the French fashion plates, because I'm not a Parisian fashionista and it'll be cold in late November. But I am aiming for the narrow-skirted shape that was so popular at the time. It's a truly distinctive look, and one that's quite different from a lot of the clothes I'm used to wearing. It'll be an adventure to see if I can make it through the day without ripping a seam!

cartoon, 19-teens
Here are some of my inspiration images. I'm excited to start sewing!

fashions, 1914
Fournier, 1914


women in Paris 1914
I have cream and plaid wool, brown's time for some modern fashions! (well, modern for me...)

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Moments from the Regency

After the super adventures day in the 1950s we popped off to the Regency era for a lovely ball at the Chelmsford Center for the Arts, who were int he midst of a Jane Austen weekend.

By the time we hit the evening I was feeling pretty exhausted and not very inspired to take pictures. However, I did end up taking a few shots I liked. They all remind me of freeze frames from a movie, so imagine your favorite Austen adaptation and enjoy!

Our cake is cut by swordsman before the ball--this doesn't always happen...but it was so cool!

this reminds me of the Bennet sisters at the Netherfield ball

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Rock Around the Roller Rink

This summer I found some pretty fabulous bright, stripey cotton while browsing for lining material. Around the same time, my friends and I decided it would be a ton of fun to plan a 1950s outing, because everything is more fun in period-appropriate clothes!

I always try to hit JoAnn Fabrics during their dollar pattern sales to check out the reprinted retro patterns, so when we decided to do a 1950s day, I already had what I needed. I ended up using B5748 and that stripey fabric I'd found.

Butterick Retro B5748
Because our  my schedule has been insane this fall (I worked every weekend in September, thus the radio silence in adventure/blog-land), we weren't able to actually have our 1950s day until this past weekend. In the meantime, I had made my dress but never finished it because at the time it was too hot to iron. I had a whirlwind evening the night before, and the dress still isn't actually finished, but by the time I hit the roller rink on Saturday it was wearable. We had so much fun!

We started the day at Comet's Diner, a 50s-themed diner my mom and I go to whenever we can because they have real shredded hashbrowns, which we both love. I've wanted to go there in 50s clothes basically since the first time I walked in the door, and now I finally have. Yay!

strawberry frappe!

checking out the jukebox

coke glasses!

of course, the frappe had to get passed around for posing--it was so perfect with Quinn's dress!
this was not my brunch, but it looked delicious anyway

After brunch, it was too early to head to the roller rink (it's only open in the afternoon), so we ended up heading to Savers (our favorite charity store) to kill some time. On the way there was this really New England-y pile of logs among the fall foliage at the side of the road, so I got everyone to pull over and take some pictures. Art!

I was totally not kidding about the "Art" thing.
What we ended up with was basically the album cover shoot for a hipster/indie band. We named ourselves Queens of Rock.

seriousness break!

(as a side note, New England in the Fall is my favorite thing)

We finally headed to the roller rink, and even though I'm a speed demon (or at least, I used to be) on roller blades, we all rented roller skates to match our 50s dresses. It's a totally different experience, and I was a little shaky, but I was doing pretty well by then end. We all were--no major injuries and no death. WIN.

putting on skates under the blacklight

Quinn kept insisting this is how she skated...

but it was actually way more graceful!

It was a truly wonderful day, and by the end of it we were all pretty tired. It was a ton of fun to have an adventure, go some new places, and hang out in a different period for a while. We'll definitely have to do it again!