Sunday, November 27, 2011

Sense and Sensibility Chemise

Today is the end of the long Thanksgiving weekend here in the US, and I thoroughly enjoyed every bit of it! We visited with family on Wednesday and Thursday, and on Friday Chris and I met up with friends to go see the Debbie Reynolds costume auction preview in Beverly Hills. (other) Chris from wacky tacky and Lauren from Wearing History did write-ups of our visit, so pop over to check those out!

In other news, I've been buckling down and starting to work on some Regency wear in earnest - the annual Jane Austen Evening is at the end of January, so it's time to get going!

This week I made a chemise from the Sense and Sensibility Underthings pattern. It was nice to work on such an easy-going garment - I tend to get wrapped up in fitting, make 3 mockups, and then burn out before getting to the real thing! I'm usually of the tank-top-is-good-enough opinion when it comes to undergarments that won't be seen, but someday I want to make a nice sheer white gown, so having a proper chemise is important. It was very easy to put together, and I even did the flat felled seams. Loose fit and cotton? I might have to make more clothing like that...

I only have 2 comments regarding this pattern:

1) Even though I technically fall into the Medium size category, I made the Small chemise. It's plenty big enough! On the next one I might even remove some of the fullness - I'd rather have a slimmer chemise and add more fullness with a petticoat, if necessary.

2) For the bias casing around the neckline, the instructions say to stitch the bias tape to the neck, then fold back 1/4" on the other side of the bias tape. That's insanely hard! Press back the 1/4" BEFORE you stitch the bias tape to the neckline and you'll be much happier.

Here some photos of Beatrice wearing my chemise over the Mantua Maker stays...the stays are basically done, but I'm not entirely happy with them and still want to tweak them. But that's for another post!

Blurry Photo - whoops! :o) I shortened the chemise hem length only about an inch, and probably shouldn't have even done that. It rides up a little with the stays on.

I really like the drawstring at the neckline - it's adjustable so you can raise or lower the neckline depending on your gown. The strings are on the inside, and you tie it at the front.

Obviously, the back neckline is adjustable too. :) (Re: the stays, yes I did cross-lacing instead of spiral. I think it would be nearly impossible to get dressed in rear opening spiral laced stays without a maid!) 

Side View illustrating how the stays only come halfway up the breast, and the chemise holds in the top - here's a great post about the proper fit of stays on the Oregon Regency Society blog.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

And the Winner Is...

Today's the drawing for the Campus Five album giveaway! Thanks to all who participated - it's fun having you play along, and I appreciate your feedback! Turns out everyone who entered is a sewist, so perhaps a pattern giveaway would be good for the future - maybe for the 1 year anniversary of this blog, which is next month!

And without further adieu...

the Winner is...

I'll be contacting you via Facebook, since you didn't leave your email (*ahem*)

Congrats and thanks for playing!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Dale Simons - Performing Live!

In an example of Great Minds Think Alike, last week my aunt Laurie and cousin Lauren edited a couple videos of grandpa's band, and my new Ebay purchase has already been put to great use. :) 

So here we present for your listening pleasure, Dale Simons and His Blue Denim Boys.


"Hi Diddle Di" - wedding song

And don't forget to enter my giveaway for a copy of a Jonathan Stout and His Campus Five album!

100 Followers...and a Musical Giveaway!

My blog has reached 100 followers on Blogger! And more than that on Google Reader/RSS feeds. Wowza! I want to give a big thank you to all my readers - due to other time-consuming but un-blog-worthy things happening lately I haven't been able to devote as much time to sewing, dancing and blogging as I'd like, so I really appreciate all of you that follow me. :)

To celebrate my readers, I'm holding a giveaway! Originally I considered giving away a vintage pattern or jewelry, but I didn't want to deal with international shipping. Plus, I have some awesome readers who don't sew etc. and it's hard to figure out a prize that appeals to different groups.

Then I thought about what I really love about this hobby of getting dressed up in funny clothes and going out. One of the things that makes the Los Angeles swing/vintage/historical scene really special and unique is the amount of LIVE MUSIC we have at events. Whether it's at a bar on a weeknight or a fancy ball, live music is featured frequently, and we have some a-MAZ-ing musicans in town. The traffic may be bad and the cost of living is high, but I love living in LA and getting to dance to awesome bands like Jonathan Stout, Dean Mora, The Lucky Stars, and Bonebrake Syncopators, just to name a few.

So to celebrate, I'm going to give away a digital download of an album from one of my favorite local bands, Jonathan Stout and his Campus Five, featuring Hilary Alexander. Together, Jonathan and Hilary run one of the premier swing bands, and are both swing dancers themselves. They have 3 albums, all available for purchase through their website or through iTunes:

That's pretty cool right? Cause who doesn't like good music. And it means I don't have to go to the post office at all! ;)

How to Enter:
1. Leave a comment on this post and let me know which topics you enjoy on my blog or what you want to read more of. It would be swell if you left your email address or another way to contact you, too.
2. For additional entries, post a link to this giveaway on Facebook, Twitter or your blog, then leave another comment letting me know (up to 4 entries total per person).
3. The giveaway closes on Friday, 11/18/11 at 10pm PST. The winner will be selected by random drawing and announced on Sunday 11/20/11.

Rules for the Giveaway:
1. Prize is for one (1) digital download of a Campus Five album through iTunes, album to be chosen by winner.
2. Winner must have a valid email address.
3. Winner must have a valid iTunes accounts and device to download album.
4. Giveaway is open to everyone, including my mother. You do not have to be a follower of my blog, but it would be nice. :)

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Dale Simons and His Blue Denim Boys

I arrived home tonight to find an exciting package in the mail today - it contained the below advertising card for "Dale Simons and His Blue Denim Boys". Why was this so exciting? Dale Simons was my grandfather!

I've been haunting ebay for months, hoping to find some sort of memorabilia from my grandpa's band. He had a dance band in the late 30's to the early 50's in the midwest (though interrupted by the war, which took the family to Washington state where my dad was born). They toured through many midwestern states, playing polkas and other dance tunes. My grandpa played cornet and sang. I think this postcard is probably post-WWII, because the family lived in Winona, Minnesota and operated a dance hall there until dance clubs became unprofitable in the mid-50's.

In this picture the band is wearing their signature overalls with a tie hanging out. There's a better quality version of this image hanging in my parents' hallway, and I remember looking at the row of funny smoking men on the bandstands a lot when I grew up.


Tuesday, November 8, 2011

HEIDI ROSENAU: vintage dancer, in 13 acts

Over the past week or so, my friend and fellow swing dancer Heidi Rosenau in New York has been the subject of a 13-day blog feature at She dresses in exquisite head-to-toe vintage daily, and shares some of her favorite outfits and the stories behind them. It's fascinating and inspirational! 

Here are a couple of my favorite outfits so far, click over to the blog for more info and to see the rest. I can't wait to see what she has lined up for the rest of the week!

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