Relating the Colors Worn to the Pigmentation of the Skin (1931)

The latest in a series of excerpts from “A Correct Costume Enhances the Wearer: Color and Line in Dress” by Laurine Hempstead, copyright 1931 – a delightful book on dressing to complement your figure with vintage tips that hold true today. Chapter V: Relating the Colors Worn to the Pigmentation of the Skin Although one may make general classification of colors suited to types, specific recommendations of colors becoming to individuals should be based upon analysis of their skin, hair, and eyes. Make-up   Powder should match background color – Powder should be used, not to change the color of the skin, but to improve its texture, remove shine, and veil imperfections. Hue of rouge should match skin – The color of rouge and lipstick has great influence upon the apparent coloring of the individual. In most instances, rouge and lipstick should match the hue found in the wearer’s skin. Make-up …

What’s On My Needles? (Too Many Projects!)

I thought I would give a glimpse at what projects are currently on my knitting needles. A little bit because I want to share and inspire. A lot a bit to shame myself into finishing some of these projects! This is a different colorway of my Baby’s First Fair Isle Sweater. All I have to do is cut the front steeks and knit the front ribbing, weave in the ends, and block it. I should be able to do this over the course of a couple of movies (how I measure knitting time). I just need to do it. This is Anjou from French Girl Knits. The body is done and I’m almost done with one sleeve. That leaves one sleeve, waistband, assembly, and blocking. It’s a surprisingly quick and easy knit that I’ve been leaving at work to knit during meetings. I’m happy with my speed and progress on this …

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My Hexagon Quilt is Quilted

I’m so very excited to share more progress on my Hexagon quilt. When it’s totally done, it will go on the back of my couch. After piecing the quilt, I sent it to my mom, a very talented quilter, who assembled and quilted the quilt. I told her that she had complete artistic control over the quilting. Upon receiving my quilt back, I was thrilled to find that the quilting is like nothing that I would have designed myself and I love it. One of the exciting things about collaborative projects is to create a product unlike what any individual would choose. For each of the hexagons, my mom quilted several concentric circles, alternating pattern and space. The designs in the innermost circles are all different. The quilting in the outermost circles are all matching feathers. She chose a slightly variegated thread in shades of purple that blends into the …

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Vintage Pink Samsonite Luggage Set

Accompanying me on my last two weeks of travel was the most delightful set of luggage that I have ever encountered. I actually cried at the vintage/antique store where I found it because I wanted it so bad. (Seriously, I teared up at the thought that I really should have walked away. I didn’t really have the money to buy them but they were so absolutely totally perfect for me that I couldn’t pass them up.) The set is a vintage Samsonite set in a delightful mottled pink and orange. It includes the large hard sided case, the small soft sided case, a train case, and a carry-on. I’m in love. Really and truly. The insides of the cases are in just as good condition as the outsides. I’ve bought many pieces of vintage samsonite before (at Goodwill by the pound in Portland, also known as The Bins). I always …

Things I Love About Portland: Coffee Culture and Good Beer

Things I love about Portland, Part III. Coffee Culture In Portland, coffee is plentiful. And it’s good coffee.  Readily found on almost every corner, the ubiquitous coffee shop not only proffers delightful drinks, it offers a comfortable space to hang out with your laptop. Unlike San Francisco, where you’re glared at for sitting around too long, Portland coffee shops offer a place to gather and work the day away as long as you don’t mind continuing to buy drinks, and trust me, I don’t mind! Beer In Portland, beer is plentiful. And it’s good beer.  Readily found on almost every corner, the ubiquitous pub not only proffers delightful drinks, it offers a comfortable space to hang out with your friends. Portland pubs offer a place to gather and hang out all evening as long as you don’t mind continuing to buy drinks, and trust me, I don’t mind!

Things I Love About Portland: Food Carts and Voodoo Donuts

Things I love about Portland Part II: Food Carts Portland does food carts like no other town. It’s fun to walk through downtown and see food carts lining the streets and people lining up for the food carts. Dozens of options, every type of cuisine imaginable, and good prices are hard to beat. Yesterday I ate breakfast, lunch, and dinner from the carts. Mmmmm…. Voodoo Doughnuts Okay, so Voodoo Doughnuts are not the best doughnuts in town. But they’re an institution. It’s fun to get such ridiculous treats as a Captain my Captain (captain crunch on a vanilla doughnut) and Tangfastic (tang on a doughnut). Their outside brick walls are covered in gold glitter and they are open 24/7. Good things do come in pink boxes and the magic is in the hole.

Things I Love About Portland: Vintage Clothing Stores and Powells Books

I’m on vacation in Portland this week. I went to college here, and I love this city. Adam and I decided that if we were orphans we would live here. (Since we’re both very close to our families, I want to live in Seattle and he wants to live in Santa Barbara. But if we didn’t have our families pulling us, we would choose Portland.) While I’m here for the week, I’m taking a break from my usual content and showing snippets of things that I love about this town. I hope you enjoy! If you haven’t been to Portland, you should check it out sometime. If you have, tell me what you love about it! Vintage Clothing Stores I love all the vintage clothing so readily available in Portland. And it’s so very much cheaper than in San Francisco. I went to several stores yesterday looking for the perfect …

Take Pride in Your Accomplishments: I Rode the STP!

I did it. I rode my bike from Seattle to Portland on the STP bike ride this weekend. 140 miles on Saturday. 71 miles on Sunday. This was my first major bike ride and my first time joining a group of my family and friends that have been doing this ride for several years. There were times when it was great fun. There were times when I wondered why the heck I was doing it. This creamsicle at mile 100 was pure bliss. While you may not think a gigantic bike ride has anything to do with crafting or sewing (and in fact, it seems to be the opposite as training for this ride took up the majority of my free time for the last couple of months leaving little time for other activities), I think it does. I think there are three important things that can apply directly to …

I’m Currently Riding My Bike from Seattle to Portland.

While you read this (or at least when this posts), I’ll be in the middle of riding my bike from Seattle to Portland. It’s 200 miles of riding over 2 days. We’ll do 120 miles on Saturday and 80 on Sunday. For the last couple of months I’ve been training. Which means that every Saturday and Sunday I’ve gone on bike rides. Bike rides that have gotten longer and longer. Our last big training ride was 83 miles with 5000 ft of elevation. It felt pretty significant. I’m really excited to be doing this ride. It’s my first big ride. I get to share it with friends and family that are important to me – my boyfriend, stepdad, neighbor, cousin, and her boyfriend are all riding together with me. My mom is driving sag wagon and is going to meet us for lunch on Saturday and for dinner and camping …

The Hat is the Background for the Face (Continued) (1931)

The latest in a series of excerpts from “A Correct Costume Enhances the Wearer: Color and Line in Dress” by Laurine Hempstead, copyright 1931 – a delightful book on dressing to complement your figure with vintage tips that hold true today. In this section, the author gives suggestions for problem features. She gives pretty brutally honest descriptions of facial “imperfections,” but at least I now know what sort of hat to wear to hide my big nose and embarrassing glasses! Chapter IV: The Hat is the Background for the Face (continued) Turned-up nose. – Hats that have an upward sweeping line at the front unduly emphasize the upward curving line of the nose that is politely termed retroussé. A curving brim that appears to repeat exactly the profile line of the nose may give a truly ridiculous effect.  A soft brim, one that droops rather than curves downward, shadows the face …

Baby’s First Fair Isle

I’m excited to announce that I have finished a new knitting pattern and listed it on Ravelry for sale – Baby’s First Fair Isle. I picked the palette of colors for my cousin Amilia who lives in rural New Mexico. Even though she lives in the desert, it’s high desert, so chilly nights still require snuggly sweaters. It’s a simply shaped cardigan, knit in the round, bottom up and includes a steeked front. Sleeves are knit in the round separately, joined to the body at the underarm, and the yoke is knit in the round with decrease stitches giving it a raglan-like fit. If you’ve never knit stranded knitting before, this isn’t the pattern for you, unless you’re willing to look elsewhere for support on new techniques. It assumes that you have prior experience with stranded knitting. There are many excellent resources out there to teach techniques, and this pattern …

Independence Day Fashion (1776 that is!)

I hope everyone is having a delightful Fourth of July! I’m so excited to get a day off to work on projects. In honor of the holiday, I thought I would give a glimpse of what people were wearing around the time of the original Independence Day, July 4th, 1776. These sketches are all of European fashions because, at the time that America declared its independence, it didn’t really have its own fashions. The fashionable men and women were imitating the Europeans. (Some fashion historians argue that it wasn’t until after WWI that Americans stopped slavishly imitating European fashion!). From What People Wore by Douglas Gorsline: French Men from 1775. You’ll notice that their hair isn’t elaborate and obviously wigs. It was around this time that it became fashionable for men to wear their own hair tied at the nape of their neck and powdered as if it was a …

Can’t Stop Wearing My Jumpsuit!

I’ve been having so much fun wearing my romper, even in SF weather, that I had to make a cooler weather version – a jumpsuit. I gave a sneak peak of  it a while ago while it was a work-in-progress, but I must admit that I finished it a while ago and I’ve been wearing it incessantly since. Seriously, once (or even twice) a week. I feel like I’m wearing pajamas it’s so comfortable! I’m quite happy with my fabric and construction choices. I like that it looks a bit like workmans coveralls, but a fun and funky version. The grey is very versatile and all of the yellow contrast details (buttons, topstitching, and belt) really perk it up. I think the three-quarter sleeves and scoop neck keep me from drowning in grey fabric. I usually wear it without accessories (although it could use a big yellow bangle) and with …

The Hat is the Background for the Face (1931)

The latest in a series of excerpts from “A Correct Costume Enhances the Wearer: Color and Line in Dress” by Laurine Hempstead, copyright 1931 – a delightful book on dressing to complement your figure with vintage tips that hold true today. Chapter IV: The Hat is the Background for the Face The hat can probably do more to alter the contours of the face than any other item of wearing apparel. It may form a frame softening the outlines of the face. Lacking sufficient size to form a frame, it may reveal the features frankly, to their advantage, perhaps, if they are good, to their disadvantage, if they are not perfect enough to be thrown into relief. A small, close-fitting hat that is narrower than the widest part of the face fives the features undue prominence, making them seem large and out of proportion. A close-fitting hat should be slightly wider …

Toddler Activity Book

I sewed up my sample of my Toddler Activity Book and shipped it off to One Yard Wonders so it can be photographed for inclusion in their next book! They picked an adorable print from Free Spirit Fabrics that made me smile the whole time I was sewing it up. Edit: I am not currently selling the pattern individually. The pattern includes a cutting layout and 7 pages of step-by-step instructions, including 15 how-to illustrations. It includes instructions for snaps, buttons, a zipper, hook & eyes, a marble maze, a lace maze, buckles, and laces.

Curtain Panel Maxi Skirt

I’ve jumped on the maxi bandwagon. I’ve always been a fan of maxi skirts and dresses and as I’m quite tall, I think they work well on my figure. I whipped this skirt up out of an old curtain panel that a friend gave me (not the first time I’ve made a skirt out of old curtains). I wasn’t sure I was even going to wear it because I didn’t like the color at first. But I’ve already worn it a couple of times and I’m really enjoying it. The skirt is super simple construction. The skirt front and back are two rectangles gathered into the waistband. I drafted my own waistband on a slight curve and flat-lined the waistband with an off-white cotton. It has a knee-length lining of tee-shirt stretch-cotton so it’s super comfy. Here you can see how the sheer fabric looks over the lining when the …

Necklines Frame the Face (1931)

The latest in a series of excerpts from “A Correct Costume Enhances the Wearer: Color and Line in Dress” by Laurine Hempstead, copyright 1931 – a delightful book on dressing to complement your figure with vintage tips that hold true today. Chapter III: Necklines Frame the Face The frame for the face provided by necklines and collars greatly influences the apparent shape of the face. Necklines should be chosen carefully with consideration of their becomingness, their effect upon the contours of the face, for probably no other detail of a garment is so important in its effect upon the appearance of the wearer. A high, close collar covering the neck, or a scarf wrapped in high, close effect, shortens the face and thereby increases its apparent width. Horizontal lines leading the eye across the face and neck tend to increase their apparent width. The round neckline tends to carry the eye …

Wardrobe Planning – Coordinating Separates

I’ve noticed that I have lots of individual pieces that I like in my closet, but it’s often hard to put together outfits out of separates, especially when I want to look respectable. When I was a kid, my mom would take me to Nordstrom every fall to buy a new back-to-school wardrobe. It was always a selection of coordinating separates and that shopping trip with my mom was one of my favorite events of the year. I figure if I get started now, I can sew a new fall wardrobe for myself of well made, coordinating separates that should be fun to wear and look nice too. (This time around with fewer turtlenecks and jumpers). I’m starting with bottoms. I’ve decided to  base the selection around this piece of wool blend that I bought at SewExpo this year. I’m not sure what it is about the print or colors, …

A Bachelorette Present – Silk Kimono Style Robe

For bachelorette presents, I’m not thrilled about giving the traditional raunchy gifts. Don’t misunderstand, it’s not from any overt modesty on my part. It’s more that I want to give a truly heartfelt present to my friend, something that conveys love, excitement, and best wishes for a new part of life. In my opinion, thong underwear just doesn’t express those sentiments. So, I sew a silk kimono-style robe. I think the robes are sexy and practical (I’d be happy to be described that way), likely to be worn a lot, and last a long time. Ok, so I’ve stretched the truth a little. This robe isn’t actually silk. It’s a nice quality synthetic, thick and with a tightly woven right and wrong side.  I decided to make the robe a little fun and funky by using three different colors of the same fabric – the body is off-white, the sleeves …

Guest Post: What is a Technical Designer by Maddie from Madalynne

Today I am super excited to feature a guest post by my friend Maddie from Madalynne. While quite proficient with how to make a garment for myself at home, I know very little about how garment construction works on an industrial level. Maddie does a great job at offering a peek into that world, through the lens of her day job as technical designer. I hope you enjoy her post! What is a Technical Designer? ­Hi, my name is Maddie Flanigan and I am the blogger behind Madalynne, a cool sewing, pattern making, and lifestyle blog (it ain’t your grandmother’s sewing blog. I promise). Erin and I started chatting a few months ago, in early spring to be exact, about a guest post I recently featured on my blog about sewing garments you’ll actually wear. It’s a curious subject, we all have our own tips, tricks, and methods to sewing …

Guest Post on Madalynne: How to find Sewing and Style Inspiration at Work

Today I’m super excited to have written a guest post for my friend Maddie of Madalynne. She writes a delicious style and sewing blog. My guest post is How to Find Sewing and Style Inspiration at Work. It starts: I work in a research laboratory. You wouldn’t think that I’d be able to find a lot of sewing or style inspiration in my workplace, but it’s totally possible. Here are a few things I do to keep myself inspired during the day. Go to Madalynne to read the rest!

More Romper

Recently, I made a romper. I’m in love with it. My first post extolling my love of the romper and sharing some construction details can be found here. I thought I would write another ode to the romper to show how I wear it in San Francisco. Because we don’t actually have nice weather here. So, I put it on over tights, toss a cardigan over it it, and pull on my leather boots. I think it works. And please don’t tell me if it doesn’t, because I’m so in love I’m going to keep wearing it anyway!

Earrings and Necklaces Change Apparent Contours of Face

The latest in a series of excerpts from “A Correct Costume Enhances the Wearer: Color and Line in Dress” by Laurine Hempstead, copyright 1931 – a delightful book on dressing to complement your figure with vintage tips that hold true today. Chapter II Earrings and Necklaces Change Apparent Contours of Face The lines that may be introduced into the costume by means of costume jewelry materially affect the apparent shape of the face. They should not be worn thoughtlessly, but only after careful study – before a mirror. All earrings tend to increase the apparent width of the face, leading the observer’s eye across the face from ear to ear rather than up and down. For this reason they are becoming to many women, especially those whose faces are too thin or too narrow in structure. A few longer strands of beads, one, two, or sometimes three, arranged so that …

A Correct Costume Enhances the Wearer: The Hairdress Shapes the Face

I just found the most wonderful vintage book on how to dress for your figure. A Correct Costume Enhances the Wearer: Color and Line in Dress by Laurine Hempstead with Sketches and Color Samples Copyright 1931 It starts with the face and discusses things like coloring, jewelry, and hair. It moves to the body offering tips for problems such as large hips and round shoulders. It then goes through ages from children, to “the miss in her ‘teens”, through to elderly women. I’m so in love with this book and I think it’s so wonderful that I’ll be sharing excerpts. The book has the most delightful vintage feel to it, beautiful illustrations, and genuinely good advice. I hope you love it as much as I do! It begins: Part I: Faces Any woman can approach beauty through manipulation of line and color to her advantage. A correct and becoming costume …

Playing Dress Up: Pink Hair Extensions

On my lunch break yesterday (while working from home), I took a short walk and ended up popping into a new-ish hair salon that advertises hair extensions in their window. I wanted to see what colors they had and get some more info about it. The lady was super sweet and apparently a really great saleswoman, because next thing I knew she had me in the chair trying one just to see. And it looked cute. So I said to go ahead with the rest. I chose the pink and she tossed in a few blonde. I’ve done a lot of different things with my hair. A lot. I’ve been working hard to grow it out, grow my bangs out, and make it a (mostly) natural color. But after a while I get bored. And itch to do something else with it. I’m hoping these will stave off the itch …

Floral Paisley Sundress

My mom gave me the fabric for this dress. It was sitting on her shelf for years. It’s some mish-mash of floral and paisley and I thought it was one of the uglier prints I had ever seen. And then it sat on my shelf for a few years. And the longer it sat there, the more I liked it. Until it grew on me enough that I made a sundress, blouse, and hair kerchief out of it! The dress is totally A-line from the bust. This makes it super comfy in warm weather, albeit rather shapeless. I added a very gathered ruffle to the bottom of the skirt to give it some weight and swing.I think it turned out part hippie, part bohemian, and part muumuu. But I’m okay with that. Sometimes I’ll toss on a simple red ribbon belt. Adding a red belt, shoes, and purse helps to ground …

Dress Re-Make: From Scallops to Greece

I sewed my dress to wear to my step-sister’s wedding last year. The result was tolerable enough that I actually wore the dress, but it just didn’t come together in real life like it did in my head. (Side note: wasn’t my step-sister a beautiful bride!!) The color makes me look washed out. The scallops are uneven if you look too close. The length (just above the knee) seemed not right. And the slight gathers in the waist and the slightly-too-snug hips conspired to make my belly look very, very poochy. So, I cut it apart at the waist. I decided that the bottom of the dress was a lost cause and put it to scrap. I took a length of sage colored fabric from my stash (I believe they were once my mom’s curtains) to remake the skirt. The bodice of the dress ended up rather Grecian in my …

Sewing a New Picture for Our Dining Room

I just sewed us a new picture for our dining room. See it here above our beautiful credenza. The canvas has had a couple of different different lives. I painted it with a gigantic flower when I lived in my pink and green apartment. When Adam and I moved in together, he didn’t want our home to be painted pink and green (go figure!). So I painted over the canvas in a blown-up version of the purple twigged fabric. It looked okay, but it was pretty amateur and the black marker I had used to outline the flower leeched through the new layers of paint. I have grand ideas for a triptych that I want to embroider to go in that space, but it’s not at the top of my “To Make” list any time soon. I’m not sure where the inspiration struck me, but I realized that I could do …

Bringing Back the Romper!

I made a romper and I’m totally in love with it. I wore it into lab last week and got in a long conversation with a labmate about how ridiculous rompers are and how I want to single-handedly bring them back in fashion. Then I stopped by the bench of another friend of mine who immediately remarked “Awesome romper! I’ve been looking at one I really want from the Gap.” So, it turns out that rompers are fashionable right now. I didn’t know. I supposed I should have guessed, given the fact that I sewed the romper from a pattern that I recently bought. I rarely sew from patterns. But, I happened to pick up a few on 99 cent pattern sale. One of them was Simplicity 2222. (And apparently Suede is a well known designer. My mom pointed him out to me at Sew Expo but I didn’t put …

Toddler Activity Book

Edit: Pattern is not currently for sale. I recently posted a Toddler Activity Book pattern for sale on Craftsy. I had so much fun making the pattern. It was inspired by an idea I saw somewhere for making an enclosed marble maze as a part of the activity book. I built on the idea from there and raided my stash of notions to come up with zipper, snaps, buttons, hook & eye, buckles, holes maze, and laces. Of course the cute flannel fabric also came from my stash. I thought the little cacti were super cute and that flannel would be a nice fabric to feel for the kiddies and easy to wash for the parents. I’m looking forward to getting it in the hands of a little one, and even more excited to see others make more books!