Friday, September 30, 2011

Learn How to Tie a Bow Tie with My Hunky Hubby

(super instructional video towards the end)

Trenton wears la bow tie...
A few weeks ago, I had a conversation with my husband that went something like this...

"You should wear a bow tie" (moi)
"I would wear a bow tie" (husband)
"You would?!?" (what the moi)
"Yeah, bow ties are cool" (awesome husband)

Vintage Wembley  Bow Tie ca 1950s
So, all excited I located my big ol' box of vintage bow ties, which I have been collecting over the years.  And by bow ties, I don't mean clip-on, or the kind that wrap around and hook, I mean real tie-em-yourself bow-ties

Don't get me wrong, I do have some clip and hook around the neck style bow ties, but I have an OCD issue where every time I see a bow tie in a thrift store I HAVE to buy them, especially the tie-yourself ones... so I have quite a collection.  This collection is mostly skinny bow ties from the 40s and 50s, but I do have a few large and floppy bow ties as well of the 70s-ish vintage.

Bond... James Bond
The actual tying of the bow tie seems to have become a lost art.  Ask a man to tie a necktie and they can do it easily, as most learned from their fathers who showed them how.  Ask these same people to tie a bow tie and they stare at you like you've asked them to shove a coconut up their nose.  Incidentally, the last show that I costumed for the theatre, which took place at the turn of the 19th century, I made the actorslearn to tie real bow ties and wear them onstage.  The dressing room bow-tie insanity was interesting to watch.  Seriously, the men had an easier and less stressful time applying their makeup. (But now they all know how to do it and don't let them tell you otherwise Cincy-area costumers!)

Okay, and back from that tangent... my husband asked me how to tie a bow tie.  I got out my printed charts that show how to tie one.  He attempted, and it was easy enough up to the point that you are told to "pinch" the bow, after which it became a bow-tying-nightmare.

In a nice bow tie picture... together :) Awww
So, I search the internet looking for an easier "video" alternative.  There are numerous videos that demonstrate how to tie a bow tie.  So we tried one.  Then we tried another.  And another. Then... jackpot.  I discovered what I have decided (with my vast bow tie expertise) is the best bow tie teacher on the internet.  I base this on the fact that he was the one that was able to teach a newbie how to successfully tie a bow tie with the least amount of discomfort and frustration and insanity.  

Now, I don't claim that this is the quick and easy method. No, actually this is the long and boring 10 minute educational demonstration way.  Most of the other videos were about two minutes in length and you end up completely lost 20 seconds in.  This video is the one that you need... a long and boring, yet fatherly (the way you learned to tie a necktie), thorough, educational and not trying to sell you something way... with a British accent and a pinky ring to boot.  This guy is a great teacher, you will be tying a bow tie and still (mostly) remember how the next day.  Just like my hubby who had zero bow-tying experience who is now a master bow-tier thanks to this dude. :)

So, Trent practiced and practiced with results which made him look mysterious, though, eh, perhaps less James Bond mysterious and slightly more Doctor Who mysterious...

So anyway, he comes home from work on his first bow tie day and tells me that some people laughed at him and poked fun of him.  I tell him they don't know what they are talking about because (as I'm sure you can see from the pictures that I tried so hard to get above and below as I begged him over and over for one good one) he looks hot.

I married him
So the next morning, he is getting ready for work and walks into the bedroom and grabs a different bow tie.  I had a conversation with him that went something like this...

What are you doing? (moi)
Getting a bow tie. (husband)
But I thought you got made fun of at work?!? (what the moi)
I did, that's why I am definitely wearing one again today! (super double awesome rock my world with a cherry on top sexy bow tie wearing husband!!!!)

My husband...
...the model.
For your extensive bow tie education, please find here a list of notable bow tie wearers.

Additionally, I discovered that the British gentleman also has a second video in his bow tie series which discusses the bow tie itself, in long 15 minute depth, if you are so inclined... (and hey, you get accidentally flipped off in the beginning, couldn't be more worth it!)



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Thursday, September 29, 2011

Holy Manly Moose Fabric! We Like Moose!

As I have mentioned before, out family has a vacation home in beautiful Camden, Maine.  We love going there for a couple weeks every summer.

When we were up there last year we ventured up into New Brunswick, Canada from St. John to Fredericton, where my husband developed his fascination and love affair with... the Moose.

While having dinner at a Mexican Restaurant in Frederickton (is there a Canadian Cuisine?) he asked the waitress about the moose fences along the highway and how bad it would be to hit a moose.  In fact here's a little article which will scare the be-jesus out of my hubby. Moose fences need fixing: advocate

So anyway, the waitress looks at him and says, bluntly, "Oh, if you hit a moose you will die.  Their eyes don't glow in the dark like a deer's either.  No, you won't see them before you hit them."  Needless to say, Trent drove us back to Maine that night scared shitless.  Which scared me to death... of his driving.

Ever since, the Moose has become his hero.  So, last month when we returned from Maine, he came back with a "Moose on the Loose" sign, and a decorative Moose pillow, which he placed proudly in our living room.

About a week ago, he came home from work to see that the dogs had worked on his pillow as they had my knitting... though I have promised to attempt and try and fix it, I found a moose fabric print the other day and told him I would figure out something to make with it for him.

Back Country Moose Cream Back Country Moose Cream
Designed by The Paper Loft for Riley Blake Designs, this cotton print features a moose silhouette design. Colors include dark brown and green on a cream background. Use for quilting and craft projects.

So today I went back to the website to check out the fabric again, typed in "moose" and discovered that there is absolutely buttloads of Moose fabrics.  And for no other reason, other than I feel compelled by my OCD, I am going to share A FEW of my favorites here (there were tons more but I would be here all day if I posted them all. A lot of these they also have in different colors):

Wilderness Fleece Moose Blue/Brown Wilderness Fleece Moose Blue/Brown
This soft, warm and cozy fleece is medium weight, 235 gsm (grams per square meter), double-sided and anti-pill. Perfect for throws, blankets, jackets, hats, mittens, scarves, slippers, pillows, vests, pullovers and much more! Not intended for children's sleepwear.

North American Wildlife Moose Blue North American Wildlife Moose Blue
Designed for Elizabeth's Studio, this fabric features a design of grazing moose. The color palette includes brown, blue, tan, grey, black and green. Use for quilting and craft projects.

Into The North Packed Moose Light Blue/Brown Into The North Packed Moose Light Blue/Brown
Licensed by Ron Jenkins to South Sea Imports, this cotton print fabric features packed moose. Colors include brown, tan, blue, green and taupe. Use fabric for quilts, home décor accents, craft projects and apparel.

Fleece Moose Black/Pink Fleece Moose Black/Pink
This soft, warm and cozy fleece is medium weight, double-sided and anti-pill. Perfect for throws, blankets, jackets, hats, mittens, scarves, slippers, pillows, vests, pullovers and much more! Not intended for children's sleepwear.

Bringing Nature Home Scenic Earth Bringing Nature Home Scenic Earth
Designed by Al Agnew for Robert Kaufman Fabrics, this cotton print features wild animal scenes. Colors include grey, white, brown, taupe, blue and green. Use for quilting and craft projects.

Into The North Scenic Moose Blue/Green Into The North Scenic Moose Blue/Green
Licensed by Ron Jenkins to South Sea Imports, this cotton print fabric features roaming moose. Colors include shades of green, brown, tan, white, grey and blue. Use fabric for quilts, home décor accents, craft projects and apparel.

Back Country Dreamy Minky Moose Green Back Country Dreamy Minky Moose Green
Designed by The Paper Loft for Riley Blake Designs, this dreamy minky fabric has an extremely soft pile that is perfect for apparel, blankets, neck rolls, throws, pillows and stuffed animals. Colors include brown and green. Dreamy minky is Riley Blake Designs’ own brand of minky.

I'm not complaining that he likes the Moose.  It is a beautiful majestic creature.  And it's a good manly brute animal to like.  And I am okay with it... as long as it is limited to pillows and small decorations and I never have a massive moose head hanging over my fireplace.  As long as my house decor doesn't get taken over to the point that I feel like I'm walking into someone's hunting cabin in the mightly manly wilderness.  And as long as we don't hit one and die.

So anyway, I have fabric choices and now I have to choose and decide what exactly to make.  Perhaps some manly 1950s moose pajamas or boxers.  I believe I have patterns for both of those.  LOL!  I am also open to other ideas as always!


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Aimée's Collection: Vintage 1940s Dance Dress Sewing Pattern

Butterick Pattern Number 4576, Circa 1948

11 Pattern Pieces

Pattern Description:

Misses' Dance Dress:  Off-Shoulder Neckline - (A) The off-shoulder neckline of the basque-bodiced dance dress is encircled by a ruffled fichu.  Two rows of ruffles sweep around the hem of the full, flared skirt. (B) Ankle length version of (A). (C) Self frills outline shoulders and hem.

Suggested Fabrics:  View A - Taffeta, faille, satin, rayon crepe, lace edging.  View B - Linen, pique, taffeta, purchased shirred ruffling..  View C - Cotton prints, organdy, taffeta.

My Comments:

Oh my friggin Scarlet O'Hara I love this dress!  Obviously, somebody needs to take me to a dance.  Unfortunately I don't see that happening anytime soon, but I would love to own this dress.  Another one for the future "make" list.  I love playing with my vintage patterns!


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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Beautiful Bella Finally Gets Her Dog Bed!

This past Sunday, Bella received delivery of her new bed!

If you remember from my previous posts, I recently finished making a customized bed for Bella, a greyhound who sleeps in her favorite closet corner at night.  I delivered it this past Sunday and am happy to say that it fit the space perfectly and she loved it.

I am going to have to agree with Stephanie's (Bella's mama) comment about her being a good model.  She's so much better than mine at beautiful and graceful poses.  Long and slender... she's built like a model.  Yeah... slightly more suited to the job than my pug.

The right side of the bed couldn't have fit more perfectly into the cove of the closet.  Perhaps it would be more correct to refer to it as "Bella's den."

This bed is made out of very durable canvas fabric in navy blue, with a contrasting off-white canvas bottom.  The bedding material inside is thick 4" cushion foam wrapped with fluffy crib batting.  She should be quite comfy!

I'm very happy that she's happy.  What's more, Bella's owners, Stephanie and Charles, had Trent and I over for a wonderful dinner the night that we delivered the bed.  It doesn't get much better than a fun sewing project, greyhounds, and dinner with friends! Thank you Stephanie & Charles!

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Aimée's Collection: 1950s Vintage Housecoat/Housedress Sewing Pattern

Simplicity Pattern Number 4497, Copyright 1953

13 Pattern Pieces

Pattern Description:

Misses & Women's Housecoat and Housedress:  Collar and revers are cut in one with front.  Gored skirt has shaped patch pocket.  Bodice and skirt are joined to inset belt.  View 1, housecoat, has three-quarter length sleeves with cuffs.  Belt is top stitched and has tie ends.  Housedress, View 2, has short sleeves.  Bias binding trims bodice and pocket edges and bows on pockets.  Buttons fasten dress.

My Comments:

I think this is adorable.  Every time I think of a housecoat or housedress it always makes me think of "I Love Lucy"; she was always wearing one in her apartment!

I have a original vintage housecoat from about the 1940s... gorgeous.  It has to be worn with heels though, which always makes me feel like I'm going to trip on it and fall on my face.  I have worn it the occasional Christmas morning though :)

I'm definitely putting this pattern on my list of future vintage patterns to make.


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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Aimée's Collection: Vintage 1940s Vogue Skirt & Stole Sewing Pattern

Vogue Pattern Number 6552, Circa 1948

6 Pattern Pieces

Pattern Description:

Four-piece skirt with inverted pleat at centre-front and centre-back.  Two welt pockets.  Straight stole with or without fringe. (Stole is also suitable for fur fabric)

My Comments:

Wonderful warm Vogue pattern in very good condition.  With winter approaching I am very attracted to the thickness and warmth of the tweedy skirt and stole on the left.


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Sunday, September 25, 2011

Today's Vintage Fashion News: Please Don't Cut Up Antique Clothing!

I was checking out recent news in Vintage Fashion and stumbled across this article:

Mantra of Palm Harbor Fashion Designer: Reuse, Recycle, Renew

This actually hurts my heart. 

Basically, the story is that this fashion designer creates her own new designs, as the article states, by "seeking out sparkly, elegant, 100+ year-old Victorian era clothing, then cutting it up and making it into something else entirely. And hipster fashionistas are snapping it up."

I followed the links and checked out the designers garments, and some of it is pretty damned cool, but I can't help but wonder, "weren't they pretty before?!"

I have no problem whatsoever from taking and remaking an old garment from say, oh... the 80s or 90s (recent vintage, the thrift stores are overloaded with this stuff) or even vintage garments that are destroyed beyond repair where salvaging the remainder is the only option.  I love that kind of design.  Done it myself.

But personally, I feel that when the garment is from the Victorian Era, it no longer qualifies as "vintage" it rather qualifies as "antique."  I just would not have the heart to look at a 100 year old beautiful dress, and then hack at it with scissors.  Generally, the only garments that still remain from that era remain for a good reason; mainly, they had meaning to someone who kept and took care of them - wedding dress, a honeymoon garment, etc.  

Artists are supposed to look for inspiration.  And, I think the Victorian Era is a beautiful era to be inspired by!  Victorian Fashion was gorgeous (and still is when it's intact!) I believe in having a collection of what you love and what you are inspired by. I looked at the garments that this designer has created and think, they are nice designs, but would they have been any less so if the fabric had been new... rather, "vintage inspired" rather than what is, in my opinion, destructive to history and a gimmick.

It's just my personal opinion, but ouch.

Aimée's Collection: Vintage Advance Jumper & Blouse Pattern Early 1950s

Advance Pattern Number 5683, Circa 1951

13 Pattern Pieces

There isn't an actual pattern description but the back says that the pattern includes, a long-sleeve blouse, a short-sleeve blouse, street-length jumper (self belt), and a long-length jumper (ribbon tie belt)

Fabric suggestions include:
Blouse - cotton broadcloth, silk or rayon crepe, organdie, chambray
Jumper - Velveteen, taffeta, satin, faille, gingham, light woolens

My Comments:

This pattern is pretty straightforward.  Of the three version of how this dress can be worn, I love the more formal version in the "long-length."  Though I love how the other versions are referred to as "street length"!

And seriously, I cannot help but to wonder what the heck is going on with the lady in yellow.  She seems to be looking at a card, wearing a corsage, and picking her nose...

I have been recently scanning the patterns in rather than photographing them with my phone.  It's not as easy to get them transferred to my computer and uploaded, but I find the quality to be much better.

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Saturday, September 24, 2011

Aimée's Collection: Vogue One Piece Dress Pattern with Full Skirt 1950s

Vogue Pattern Number 8731, Copyright 1956

Pattern Description:

12 Pattern Pieces

"All around gathered skirt joins the blouse at waistline.  Pockets in side seams.  Blouse buttons below the collar which is joined to a neckband.  Straight back yoke.  Long sleeves joined to link-buttoned Frenchcuffs and short sleeves with link buttoned cuffs.  Novelty belt."

Fabric suggestions include cotton broadcloth, chambray, gingham, pique, linen, percale, cotton tweed, thin flannel, worsted wool jersey, wool crepe, faille crepe, surah, shantung, and crepe.

My Comments:

So cute... I love dresses with full skirts! Full skirts and crinolines are one of my very favorite of the 40s and 50s fashions.  They are so elegant and feminine.  But I have to say, in general I prefer dresses with short sleeves.  If it's cold add a sweater, but you can always remove the sweater if it gets too warm.  BUT, in this case, I think I would definitely make the long sleeve version because of the French cuffs.  French cuffs are so very classy, in my opinion.  I have a cufflink collection of my own for this very reason.  I love to wear cufflinks!  More cufflinks should be worn!!!

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Friday, September 23, 2011

My Two Dogs are Rude "Knit Wits" (Insert Growling)

A few weeks ago, I decided it was time that I learn how to knit.  But my friend Jen had asked me recently if I knit or crochet; and though I know how to crochet, I had always wanted to learn to knit... something that I always associated with old ladies.  So I thought it was time to expand my skills, so there I was at a yarn shop in Camden, Maine, buying books, knitting needles, and alpaca wool yarn for the 20 hour ride home.

Trent & I had decided that eventually we want to live on a farm one day, but we haven't been sure what kind.  After visiting the Maine Blueberry Festival this August, and seeing all the cute furry Alpacas, we decided Alpaca farming would be the way to go.  So it would have to follow that I should learn to knit (and later spin & dye :) anyway.

Originally, I had got it into my head to make a scarf.  Always an easy good way to learn anything.  A scarf.  It's how I learned to crochet, since it's only a rectangle.  I worked on it on the way home, and screwed it up royally.

I was going to start over by the time I got home, but later I changed my mind.  It's getting colder here in the 'Nati, and my little Twister puppy needs new winter clothes for his second winter (he just turned 1 a couple of weeks ago!).  So in deciding to challenge myself I found the cutest dog speater that said it was at an easier level that I knew my little Boo-Bear would look adorable in:

This pattern is available, FREE, from Lion Brand Yarn

This is one of the darned cutest dog sweaters ever, and I got really excited.  And this is mostly garter stitch and without all that rude backwards purling that aggrivates me so.  Well, everynight before bed... I knitted, and I knitted, and I knitted until I finally had a decent chunk of the middle done.  And I took this photo to share with the world:

This was great I thought!  Maybe I can make this an ongoing blog thing and people can learn to knit with me.  We can all knit together!  I didn't even screw up that bad!

Notice Twister's little foot in the corner?  I showed him, "look what mommy's making for you!" There was lots of love, and hugging, and nuzzling.  I love him, so much in fact, that my husband quite often rolls his eyes and asks me to "please stop making out with the dog."

Awwwww... aren't they sweet? *sigh*:

Timber (left) & Twister (right)

Do not for one darned tootin' moment let yourself be fooled! They are tricksters. They are rowdy and rebellious teenagers!!!

I got home from work last night, got some stuff done.  Then later went to finally sit down on the couch in front of the tv to get some work done.  As I go to sit down, Trent the Husband goes, "uhhhh, wait.  You need to see something."

Oh no.

"Just look under the towel"

Okay, now I'm freaked out..., "what is it?"

"You're going to be upset.  Just look under the towel"

Prefacing it that way makes it sooooo-ho-ho much better.  And this is what I found:

Oh... yes. they. did.

So my husband says to me kindly and quietly, "I'm sure we can rewind it.  I will help you."

Which is really really really sweet. 

But how the hell are we supposed to wind that rats nest back up into a normal ball?  It's a big friggin knot! I put in all this work, and this, THIS, is how I am repayed for all that I do for them?!

So.  I have been thinking about this.  Now I basically have a knitted rectangle and a ginormous pom-pom.  I am thinking to just sew the pom-pom onto the knitting and strap it to his head.  He can be Twister the Muppet-Head.  Keep his ears warm through the cold winter.  Serves him right.  Paybacks are hell little boy.



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