Sunday, March 27, 2011


Last night we had a Spring Fling swing dance in the dorm. It was such a blast! Normally we have only a few girls and men who are all regular swing dancers, but this particular dance yielded quite a few new faces, as well as helped me to get to know others in a much more intimate way. I like to refer to the swing dancers of my generation as the "counterculture" of our school, and after seeing these pictures, I'm sure you'll see why!

The first is a photo of us playing "The Charleston Game", and the second is a silly picture that my dear friend Jason and I posed for to imitate the la
dies modeling my dress on the pattern envelope. (Yes, this is the new swing dancing dress that I made with my new sewing machine over spring break!) My friends Jillian and Alexa also made their dresses from vintage patterns, so we were really playing up the retro look last night :-)

Sunday, March 20, 2011

New Dresses!

Last week I experienced the wonderful holiday known to most college students as Spring Break. But instead of spending the days lounging on the sunny beaches of Cancun, I stayed put in New Hampshire and went home to 3 feet of snow still on the ground.

As much as I would have enjoyed the sun and sands, I spent my time engaged in classic New England winter activities such as sewing, baking, snowshoeing, and starting seeds for the garden. My latest sewing projects were a Regency-style dress for an event at school, a new swing dancing dress, and crinolines. With so much to do, it gave me a great excuse to get acquainted with my new sewing machine!

My Regency dress was a bit of a challenge (it took about 2 days to finish) because I created the dress design from a 1795 fashion plate and used the dimensions of a circa 1800 shift as the basic pattern from which to work. I wish I had been able to make a kerchief and cap to go with it, but I realized that not everyone cared about historical accuracy as much as me, and anyway, I didn't have any more white linen.

As for the new swing dancing dress, I am exceedingly proud of it. Two of my dear school friends (who are also history majors and swing dancers) recently bought vintage patterns from the 1940's to make new dresses. When they showed me the patterns, I couldn't help but think how wonderful it would be if we all had 40's dresses. Alas, I didn't have enough money to buy a vintage pattern or enough time to create my own from scratch, so I compromised and bought a reproduction pattern made by Simplicity. The pattern was originally from 1950, and I used forest-green brushed silk with a silver nylon lining. Not a complicated pattern, but lots of steps!

I'm so excited to wear my new dresses!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011


So I'm finally 21. I had a wonderful birthday full of family, friends, and surprises! For the past few years I haven't been able to go home for my birthday due to previous obligations, but I finally had my chance. It was wonderful. There was a big dinner with all of our family friends, and we served spaghetti with Cincinnati chili, homemade baguettes, and vanilla cake with four layers of whipped toffee frosting. And if an entire weekend with my favorite people wasn't enough, my family surprised me with my very own sewing machine! What a wonderful way to celebrate my twenty-first year.