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Posts Tagged ‘Fashion’

Oh what a delightful Friday it was!

I sewed until my little fingers were numb, and my baby belly was sore (how that happens, I have NO idea). As I was finishing up for the day, my sweetheart brought up a package we’d gotten in the mail. Not expecting anything, I was quite excited. What is better than a Friday parcel…from a dear friend?

To my delight, this was inside.

A preciously sweet bib — how appropriate considering his debut yesterday — and a perfectly gorgeous handmade aqua and chocolate baby coverlet. I wish I could capture how sooooooft and cuddly this coverlet is! It has velour, flannel, and a few squares of [southern] seersucker. If the baby is a boy, he’s getting a pair of seersucker pants to match his father’s (and now, this beautiful coverlet!).

What a dear friend, and how tremendously kind to just whip up this charming [and oh-so-Mrs.T] gift. Such blessings of friendship, family, and now this precious baby are quite humbling. Mrs. T has much to be grateful for!

SP11 Dress Batch Update:
Cruising along, and enjoying the measurement minefields. I can’t wait to meet the women who will be wearing the dresses — all I have for some are a few inches scratched onto a piece of paper. The mystery is unfolding a bit each day. Another disobedient zipper is installed, and more hand-sewing piles up as linings and hems appear. The colorblocking (french with royal navy blue…oh la la) has an absolutely amazing effect on me. The bride selected it — little knowing it would be one of the hottest trends this summer. She’s a visionary, what can I say?



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Hello dear readers! I have been woefully negligent with providing updates on the projects and pursuits of the Elle Street Inn. I recently was traveling a bit, and then got a touch of the plague, or flu if you prefer. Have no fear, I’ve not forgotten — and will soon let you enjoy the “After” pictures of the Inn, or my baking list (bread, pasta, &c.).

In the meantime, here is a recent glorious find…

As I was again sniffing round my bookshelf for a tempting read I came upon two fascinating books:

1. Three Short Novels of Dostoevsky, The Double, Notes from the Underground, & The Eternal Husband
2. The Mode in Dress & Home, by Dulcie G. Donovan

The first book will provide some good evening reading, but the second book is a little treasure of a book copyrighted 1935 — and part of my maternal grandfather’s collection. This is a little textbook for high-school girls, on the proper mode of all things dress and home related. After glancing over the table of contents, I immediately realized there was much for me to learn from this little text. The activities have little checks and notes on them, so I imagine this may have belonged to one of my dear great-mama’s who taught school.

I started reading the first few chapters and was delighted to find very practical, yet timeless wisdom. So. I decided to share with you the true art of a clothing budget. In chapter 3, it instructs each girl to assess the total income of the family, divide by the number of the household, and create a budget based on her portion. Here is a sample of that page, note how one must account for clothing owned, needed &c. As well as the percentages allowed for each portion of clothing.

The book recommends that a family household ought to spend no more than 15% on clothing. This little fact provides some hard data to allow us to examine our own budgets. When I was single I spent roughly 6-7% of my net income on clothing (outer clothing, underclothing, footwear, and accessories). Thankfully many of those purchases were wise, and now my clothing expenditures are roughly less than 1% each month. Mind you! The standard of fabulous has not gone down, just the percentage of $$ going out 🙂 As the book recommends, and I do agree, it is vitally important to evaluate the amount of money one chooses to spend on clothing, as well as the types of clothing one is willing to buy.
“A well-planned clothing budget, if carried out successfully, will help you to have more and better clothes for the same amount of money.”

A few tips that aren’t in the book, but I’ve found to work well for me over the years:
1. Have the core staples in your closet, and be willing to spend a decent amount for these items. By staples, I mean something that will stay in style, fit and wear well for at least 2-3 years. For me, this refers to coats, light jackets, skirts, & dress shirts.
2. Spend a very little bit on those delightful trendy items that will be oh-so-fun, and that will steal the compliments at a party or event. For example, a cute shirt that is the seasons color, a scarf or accessory on sale. These are items, that can be easily given away after a season of enjoyment. These are also items that show little or no wear — like a scarf of a sassy pair of shades.

Next chapter is on shopping wisely! Periodically I’ll post a little tid-bit from each chapter.

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Well, my designer instincts have taken hold once more. I was in the process of making another little lawn skirt, like my other little creation…you may recall. But, I awoke one morning with the dashing idea to add a little buttoned-up-the-back sleeveless top, and make it into a dress. The fabric is so cheery and sweet, it just needed some little buttons or something more vintage than a skirt could afford (even if I did shower it with chiffon hem flowers). This is the fabric that spoke so sweetly early yesterday morning. The accent will literally be a snip and hair of a trim around the collar and cuffs.

Now, here are the updates to a similar dress I found on ModCloth. AND, while I’m at it, let me tell you: If you need anything lively and unique in the clothing dept (to spice up a winter wasteland wardrobe), I would check out MC before I hit up any other store. They have the most superb collection of beautiful clothing & precious decor. (& the store was founded by highschool sweethearts, awww!) Learn more? ModCloth.

So. With the structured inspiration, here are my adaptations. The skirt is already cut and stitched, so I just have snip and whip up a bodice.

…and then of course stitch the two together. Wish me luck.
Oh, and dear friends. It’s only 14 days till Valentines Day! If you’d like to print and snip vintage valentines check back soon 🙂 OR, if you’d like some fabulous new Valentine’s Metro/Tube/Subway Art, check out Aunty’s mod take on it.

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As promised here are the shoes I’ve renovated. They all had lovely potential before, but just needed some true appreciation and zazz. So, they have each been given zazz and a bit of love. I’m off to find more shoes tomorrow to further invigorate.

These little Valentine’s Day set have such a sweet Victorian, I think they are the prettiest little things ever. Who doesn’t like a little cream grosgrain bow draping over the side of their red pump??

This camel pair, are quite delicate. Only fitting to use a simple chiffon ribbon to accentuate the petite nature of the shoe. Besides, I’m convinced every basic shoe needs just a bit of zip.

& then of course, there are the little Black Beauties which I’ve been crowing about for two months. Finally decided to go with the black silk instead of an accent of another broach. Just love these.

The detail of the bow, in case you were just dying to look a bit closer.

Today will be sewing more on another little romantic lawn skirt, making pasta (with my new pasta maker, thanks Mum!), and some shopping. Busy bee. Perhaps I’ll have something to report tomorrow if I don’t get too excited along the way (and fail to document appropriately).

Ps. 25 days or so till Valentine’s Day!! I can’t wait 🙂 Got this darling image from the Graphics Fairy. Ohhhh my! Just LOVE all the images she’s shared, for us all to enjoy!

The Graphics Fairy

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Aren’t these the most beautiful shoes you’ve ever seen? These are my favs from the current shoe offering. I must say, after reading blog after blog and seeing cute adorable little flats with precious little bows and flowers, who isn’t just dying to make some at home? In my little shop, I try to stick with the traditional and ever versatile bow. But, who can resist a little flower or bit of silk?

Here is a lovely tutorial from Ms. Jewel Box Ballerina on how to make it yourself. Enjoy! I’ll post pics of my endeavors tomorrow.

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I’m always eager to find others who snip, destroy, reinvent and lace up old clothing into new fabulous pieces. So here for your enjoyment, I found these delightful tutorials by Julia Barbee. She has a laid back way of explaining how to snip and sew. Love her boho, pieced together way of working.

This is a great sample of her tutorials. Check them all out for some expert advice!

And if sewing is a little beyond what your skill is, perhaps just snipping out some vintage paper dolls will give you that DIY fix. These really are too precious to resist. Wouldn’t you agree?

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Busy Tuesday! Barely had time to tweet! But the birds have been snipped (will be strung today!). Thanks to some sweet little pint-sized helpers. If those little felt birdies could talk, they would have many giggles to share.

In addition to snipping birds out of felt, one of my favorite, instant gratification projects, is to transform tired (but great conditioned) shoes into new visions of loveliness. Did you ever read the part in Little Women, where Amy paints her boots blue? Jo lets her secret out when they are visiting society friends. Amy just about died with mortification. These days its not so terrible to repaint and refinish shoes. But every time I do, I think of poor little Amy March.

Here is the before — after I removed the wretched gold squiggles.

And now, with little black satin bows, sewn neatly in place.

I really wouldn’t be able to resist these…but alas, not my size 😦

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Well ladies. It’s done 🙂 Here is a pretty snap of it’s fluffy loveliness:

The green is the most delicate sweet pattern, and the chiffon is a soft olive. Detail of the fabric:

I really must find a non-blue dress form someday. But for now, make do 🙂 I mentioned last time general steps for making this skirt, but here’s a more detailed tutorial on

“How to whip and snip a curtain into a fluffy little skirt”

1. Measure curtain to 1.5x around your waist (i.e. wrap fabric once around you, then wrap 1/2 around again).
2. Snip length.

(Leave in all casings, and seams)

Chiffon piece
3. Seal edges of chiffon by hair-spraying each edge. Wait to dry. Trim edges, so there are now lose treads &c.

4. Measure chiffon to the same length as skirt.
5. Fold chiffon as shown, and hem both tiers of the underlay.

6. Pin & sew to finished edge of curtain. Iron smooth.

7. Snip any unneeded material and bind seam.
8. Sew up the back (i.e. fold your skirt in half — right sides together — stitch up the unfinished seam). Be careful to sew all the way around the existing casing, so you don’t lose the home for your waistband.
9. Iron smooth.

10. Insert elastic through waistband casing. I usually measure the elastic by holding a piece snugly around my waist, and adding two inches.

11. Adjust elastic to be evenly smooth around skirt.
12. Stitch casing closed.
13. Primp, admire and adore.

This little sweet thing turned out great. For wearing out and about, I’d wear it with a little white tee, draping beads and throw a little vintage lace belt around it, or maybe a brown leather belt. Flats, wedges or boots. MmMmmm. Glam glam.

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Was playing around with some tech yesterday to design outfits and pieces. This H&M “Fashion Studio” is pretty sweet. Was definitely enjoying playing dress up with the gorgeous brunette model, who definitely resembles Mrs. T 🙂 🙂

Here’s my outfit pick of the week. I love stripes and prints. Have for years, just ask my Mum.

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Fall 2010 is almost upon us, and I confess I’ve already started stroking my boot bin in EAGER anticipation for my favorite season of all. FALL.

This fall’s style can be defined as: Thrifty glam, or economic glitz.

Runways have been full the past few weeks with excitement and drama of the new season. Designers and models alike are touting their glam and luxe. New season, new spending budget, new quest for the ultimate fab-faux-drab.

Reminds me dramatically of the old English Fox hunts. All riders mount, the dogs are let loose, and the hunters begin their chase of that poor elusive and rather overrated sweet fox.

This season the fox is worth it.

Before you have the Mrs. T Fashion cheat sheet. Consider the general guidelines for this season.

A. Feathers, vintage jewelry (cluster 2-3 brooches or old earrings instead of one)

B. Light colors are trendy this year (also helps us use our summer shirts and skirts for the fall and winter — THANK YOU THRIFTY GLAM!). Use the Dec H&M Style Guide to help you. Here are my picks.

C. Boots boots boots. Any hight, color or style. Just wear ’em with anything. Esp your skinny jeans BUT NO JEGGINGS. If you google boots boots boots, this is what you get 🙂 boots boots boots May I highlight this fab 1970’s pic from Digilander
Beautiful Boots

D. Camel & gray, more than every this season. Both go with everything and together.

As promised there are 4.5 essentials to this new season.
We’ll start from the bottom up.

1. Booties — boots are the ones that come to the calf or higher. Booties are the little ones that hit your ankle at that beautiful cut that makes you look straight out of the 20s. Make sure they are classy. Booties look trashy if not done exactly right!

2. Maxi-Skirt — Lengths are coming back (I personally think its in response to the climate-change, go Snow Monster in DC this past winter. We need warm femme!). So grab a long skirt with a ruffle, pattern or anything. The trick with this cutting edge trend is to pair it with snaky flats or your adorable booties that you purchased above. You can do the vintage twist on this one by having the skirt be super full and paired with a wide belt and fitted blouse.

NOTE, always fitted blouse with long skirts — or like the pic, try a belted billow.

3. Chunky Knit Sweater — I still need to get mine (my sister has been working on a design for those of you that knit, check out her site here, ELEGANT ECONOMY), but find a knit sweater that hits mid to high thigh. Colors: Grey or Camel if you want versitatle. I’d go with a deep purple or teal if you want something more trendy and the SUPER trendy would be a deep sailor blue (this color will be more popular later winter).

4. Vintage Dress — This dress should have a small print and be paired with summer peep-toes or booties.

Use this dress with a heavy sweater and belt for a deep Autumn look.

4.5. Leopard. Although I still remain a faithful lover of all animal print (see collection below). Leopard is snag fab this season, so grab a little leopard wallet or flats to spice up your Autumn look. High fashion can use more animal, for us plebes, find a staple and keep it normal.

Items that you should already have in your wardrobe:

1. Little over the shoulder purse — forget the big bag ladies unless your hitting the tarmac. The little purse keeps you slim trim and mobile. I have a little black Dorney & Bourke one that makes me smile every time I throw it over my shoulder. The hot pink lining combined with the cattle faux leather mini clutch makes my heart sing a stanza of Melody Gardot’s.

2. Knee/calf high flat boots (blk or brown is great) — don’t feel the need to upgrade to grey or camel.

3. Military Jacket — as with EVERY fall the military styled buttons, stripes and stiches are a fall staple. You should have this jaket in your wardrobe from last year. Don’t buy another one if yours is remotely close.

4. Belts — by this point if you’ve purchased one or two belts per year, you should have at least two large chunky ones, at least one medium shiny one, and one skinny one. AND every woman should have the woven belt (I have mine in metallic bronze so I can wear it with anything). If you don’t have your belts up to snuff, I would invest in a medium width camel leather belt with a bronze or gun metal buckle. This should be worn over sweaters at the waist, with dresses at the waist or over that billowy large top — at the waist.

5. Scarves — You should have about 2-12 scarves in your closet at this point (averaging 1-3 per year since they became popular). The trick for this fall is to add a bit of flare and flow to the knit/heavy look. SO. When putting together your outfit consider putting a more romantic scarf (i.e. thinner, lighter colors, sheer, lacy etc.) with heavier knits. This will add that winter-wonderland look to ANY outfit.

6. Flats — Totally in, wear em all you like. To keep your tooties warm rifle through your stocking drawer and pull out those colorful tights or super light-weight ankle socks to wear with them.

Now for execution.

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