My Vintage Pattern Collection Pt. 2 – 1960’s

Along with my love for 1930’s and 1940’s fashion, I absolutely adore the clean lines of 1960’s fashions also. Jackie O. dresses, skirts and jackets, late 60’s minidresses and a-line swing dresses are flattering on nearly every body type and easy to sew. Here are some of my favorites:

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This gorgeous dress or dress and jacket set from 1962 features a belt, edged sleeves and neckline and a knee-length straight skirt.

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McCall’s 5810 is a dress with two skirt variations from 1961. Both have a wide belt at the waist. One features sleeves a bit longer, while one variation offers a full skirt and the other a straight skirt.

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This pattern, obviously from the later 60’s (1967, to be exact), is an a-line minidress. There is a sleeveless option and one with short sleeves.

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McCall’s 6947 is a jumper-style dress with an optional belt. The skirt is straight, with a simple bodice as well.

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This gorgeous Vogue dress pattern from 1967 is a classic mod minidress with a variety of neckline and sleeve variations.

Which one of these classic 1960’s pattern is your favorite?

My Vintage Pattern Collection, Pt. 1 – 1930’s and 1940’s

Many many years ago, when I was in middle school, my mom signed me up for one of those craft classes at our local library that introduces you to sewing and using a sewing machine. I made a bag and a pair of sweatpants – crucial in the 80’s, I know. Later, when I was in high school, I took home economics, where I made another bag and learned how to hem and how to patch holes (quite important during the grunge era when everyone was making their own patched jeans).

Fast forward many years and, as a busy wife and mom of three, I realized I didn’t even own a sewing kit to stitch my sons’ scout badges and insignia on their uniforms. I watched the Spanish tv show “The Time in Between” (El tiempo entre costuras) on Netflix, which features a seamstress in Spain, Morocco and Germany in the leadup to World War II. This began my obsession with vintage clothing from this time period. Then my mom bought me a brand new sewing machine for Christmas last year, so I decided to dive back into sewing. But before I could sew, I needed some patterns.

I wanted to work on something simple at first, so I bought a classic straight skirt pattern and some fabric. While working on the skirt, I started researching historic patterns and discovered a whole world of fashion. My favorite time periods, the 1930’s and 1940’s, are full of gorgeous dresses, skirts, suites, blouses and coats. I quickly started amassing quite the collection of vintage patterns.

One of my favorite recent purchases was from Etsy: two reproduction issues of a vintage French fashion and pattern magazine from the 1930’s. The magazine was called Eclair-Coupe Paris, and was a system of dressmaking that involved using a measuring tape, sold separately, that matched your measurements, then sizing up the included patterns according to a system that is explained in the issue. I purchased the Fall and Spring 1935 issues, and the garments are absolutely gorgeous.

I plan to work on one of the straight skirts to see how well the pattern cutting method works before attempting one of the more complicated dresses or coats.

I bought three of Simplicity’s retro reproduction patterns from this time period, which combine the lines of the original garment with the assistance of clear modern instructions. Simplicity 8248 is a 1930’s pattern for a an afternoon or day dress with ruching at the bust, decorative pocket and collar details and puff sleeves. Simplicity 8463 is a 1940’s two-piece dress with a gathered peplum at the waist, and Simplicity 8242 is a 1940’s suit or two-piece dress with a double-button top or jacket with a waist peplum.

Next, I grabbed a few 1940’s vintage patterns from eBay and Etsy:

The first pattern is Hollywood Patterns 805. Hollywood Patterns was created by publishing giant Conde Nast in 1932 to mass-market patterns featuring popular movie and radio stars of the day. Pattern 805 features Brenda Marshall, the star of the Warner Bros. picture “Captains of the Clouds,” released in 1942. It’s a simple shirtdress, with or without pockets, with a belt and decorative neckline.

The second pattern, McCall’s 7204 (ca. 1948), is a simple and pretty cap sleeve dress with or without a belt, while the third is Simplicity 1425 – a one-piece belted dress, with or without a collar. I have not been able to locate a date of publication for this pattern, but it fits in with early to mid 40’s dresses.

My sewing role model is my grandmother, who passed away a few years ago. Growing up, she always had a sewing project going, and sewing makes me remember her and her passion for clothes. Besides sewing her own outfits, she also had a job working at one of Richmond’s downtown department stores in the 1940’s and 1950’s, so she was always wearing the latest styles. My holy grail would be to find a pattern that matches the dress she’s wearing here:

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I’ve seen a lot of peplum suit and dress patterns, but none with the three edges at the waist. If anyone comes across one, please reach out and let me know!

Holy Grail Moisturizer

As a product junkie and skincare fanatic, I’ve tried numerous skincare products and routines since my early teens. Moving into my 40’s, I’ve tried to change up my regimen to include a serum morning and night and a little bit heavier of a moisturizer, preferably with anti-aging benefits. I’d tried samples of some Perricone MD moisturizers before, but they were so tiny I could only try them for a day or two.

Thanks to Influenster, I was able to receive a recent VoxBox featuring Perricone MD’s Face Finishing & Firming Moisturizer. This lightly rose-scented cream is hydrating but not too rich. It smooths, plumps and firms skin and is perfect for daytime use. I’ve been using it now for over a week and I can definitely tell the difference. My skin is clear, moisturized and healthy-looking. Some of the fine lines around my eyes have been smoothed out and my face just feels soft and smooth.

If you’re looking for a good anti-aging moisturizer, definitely give this one by Dr. Perricone a try! You can find the product at Sephora, who currently has several excellent coupon codesfor some extra freebies.

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Welcome 2018!

“Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.”
― Robert Louis Stevenson

2017 ended with hosting a family holiday get-together in our new home, visiting my parents in their new home and watching the ball drop with our kids at home, ringing in 2018 with the people I love the most. 2017 was full of much transition – we moved into a new home, my oldest two kids left elementary school and moved on to middle school and my parents bought a new home. 2017 held much ugliness on the national stage. It beat down all of us who are dreamers and hopers and optimists. But the year ahead is a blank book waiting to be written, a plot of soil waiting to be planted.

In 2018, may we all sow seeds of all the things we’d like to see bloom in our world: love, compassion, empathy, diversity, knowledge. May we leave behind the ugliness and the division and the hate and the pessimism and bring our renewed hopes into this New Year.

This year, I will stand up for myself, for those I love, and for those who are marginalized. I will confront ignorance and hatred with as much grace as I can muster, and I will not be afraid to say no to things that do not serve my highest good. I will let go of those people and situations that need to be left behind. And I will be open to the magic of this world, and when I need to, I will create my own.

I wish you all a wonderful 2018.

Mid-Atlantic Fall Food Events

The weather is getting cooler, there’s pumpkin spice everywhere and I had to break out my hoodie the other day. Fall is on its way, and the cooler weather is a great time to attend some foodie events. Here’s what’s going on in the Mid-Atlantic region this fall:

  •  42nd Annual Virginia Wine Festival – Oct. 14 & 15, Oronoco Bay Park, Alexandria, VA – Taste the best Virginia wines and ciders at this long-running wine festival complete with a Virginia Oyster Pavilion. General admission and VIP admission both include a tasting glass and unlimited tastings of Virginia wines and ciders. Some of Virginia’s best wineries are represented, such as Barboursville, Chateau Morrisette, CrossKeys Vineyard, Horton Vineyards, Jefferson Vineyards and Prince Michel.
  • 5th Annual Craft Spirits Celebration – Sept. 14, Houston Hall, New York, NY – “The best spirits tasting event of the year” takes place this weekend in the West Village. Offering dozens of distillers, food pairings, live music and more, this event promises a good time.
  • New Kitchens on the Block (NKOTB) 3 at Mess Hall – Oct. 8, Mess Hall, Washington, DC – Try signature dishes from 11 of the District’s best new restaurants. Cocktails featuring Catoctin Creek, Green Hat and One Eight Distilling will be offered, and VIP guests receive swag bags with plenty of super secret stuff inside!
  • Virginia Craft Beer and Wine Festival – Sept. 16, Portsmouth Pavilion, Portsmouth, VA – Craft beer from breweries such as Starr Hill, Devil’s Backbone, Center of the Universe and South Street Brewing meets cider from Bold Rock and wine from The Williamsburg Winery, Lake Anna Winery and more. This waterfront event features delicious food and unlimited tastings of beer, wine and cider.
  • Virginia Spirits Festival – Sept. 30, The Passenger Bar, Washington, DC – Explore the distilleries of Virginia at this showcase. On-site sampling and purchasing enables you to buy what you try. Discover a new favorite spirit or cocktail!
  • 2nd Annual Craft Spirits Showcase – Sept. 16, Roanoke City Market Building, Roanoke VA – Master Distillers explain their craft and introduce you to their Virginia-made spirits at this second-year event. A Battle of the Bartenders pits bar staff from across the Commonwealth against each other in the fight for the best cocktail. Unlimited tastings of Virginia craft spirits are included.
  • Cocktail Classes at Barmini by Jose Andres – Sept. 27, Oct. 10, Nov. 1 and Dec. 16, Barmini, Washington, DC – Learn techniques and recipes for unique cocktails at acclaimed Barmini. Tickets for this interactive experience are extremely limited, so purchase early! Some sessions are already sold out.
  • Taste of DC – Oct. 7 & 8, The Festival Grounds at RFK Stadium, Washington, DC – This food, beer and wine festival literally has it all.  65+ of the region’s best restaurants, a wine walk, Oktoberfest, 3 stages of live music and culinary entertainment, the 7th Annual Ben’s Chili Bowl World Chili Eating Championship, the DC Chili Cookoff and a Kid Zone make for an action-packed weekend of the best food and drinks in the region. Various VIP options let you tailor-make your experience.

If you’re a foodie, there’s plenty to do this fall on the East Coast. Enjoy!

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A new look

2017 has been a year of change, and in that vein I’ve decided to make some changes to my blog. While my obsession with culinary history continues, I wanted to open this blog up to be more of a lifestyle blog reflecting who I am and the things I love, from food and recipes to music, movies, clothes, home decor and more.

It’s no secret that I’ve been drawn to a darker aesthetic since I was a teenager, but what happens when you’re goth af on the inside, but you’re married, have kids and a career and live in the ‘burbs?

From the Wikipedia: Southern gothic is “a subgenre of gothic fiction in American literature that takes place in the American South.” Themes that are typical in Southern Gothic literature “include deeply flawed, disturbing or eccentric characters who may or may not dabble in hoodoo,ambivalent gender roles, decayed or derelict settings, grotesque situations, and other sinister events relating to or stemming from poverty, alienation, crime, or violence.”

For me, the Southern Gothic aesthetic encompasses urban and rural decay, melancholy music, rustic industrial decor, antiques and found objects, the spectre of history looming large and, my favorite part, the note of eccentricity that’s the hallmark of people who don’t fit into boxes. Imagine walking down a deserted Southern country lane, the air heavy with humidity and the scent of magnolia, as you explore a roadside antique shop or graveyard.

Join me as I share my obsessions and explore the Southern Gothic aesthetic.

What’s on the horizon: the promised recap of my anniversary Europe trip with my husband, antiquing in the mountains of Virginia, music, favorite recipes and more.