Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Portrait in Blue, by Gabriel Nicolet, 1856-1921

To see a more detailed view, be sure to click on the picture.
Gabriel Emile-Edouard Nicolet was a Swiss painter, as far as I know. Other than that, I cannot find much about him, but you can probably tell from the painting that he painted the details of female dress, in this picture of a blue skirt.

Advertisement for a lawn mower in the 19th century, an era of invention. From the looks of these paintings, women of the past did a lot of things in the traditional garment called a dress.

Inspiration for a dress can be found anywhere, from the color of paint on a house, with the trims, to the blue sky on a clear day. Just look around you to get ideas for fabric selections. I often call this "mood dressing." This is a house from Sunset Magazine.

This outfit is made from the same skirt and blouse pattern mentioned in previous posts. The fabric was 100% cotton, with a metalic sheen on the stars. The white satin ribbon outlining the neckline gives it a sailor, beachwear look. If you had some fabric like this, and wanted to be more creative with it, you could choose star-shaped, silver or white buttons for it, to match the stars.Although this is blurry, you can see the white ribbon sewn on the cuff of the sleeve. Spools of this ribbon are often as low as 33 cents apiece. I buy a lot of them when I see them on sale.
The cotton fabric with the metallic sparkle in it, tends to be sturdier and wears better. The fabric is thicker and the "give" is not as great, so I sewed the bias skirt. This is a garment I can wear every day for homemaking, and gardening and still go to town, without having to change into something else.
I am still trying to get one of the pale pink (like the inside of a sea shell) dress finished, to show, with a painting. Hopefully, it will happen before next year.
The discussion about creating your own style, has been going on with family and friends for some time. My idea was to choose a pattern and make it in several different colors. Using the same pattern will familiarize you with the steps, so that you do not have to stop and read the instructions. Your sewing speed will then increase. If each woman would choose her own pattern and work out her own preferences in colors and trims, she could rise above the tacky clothing that the stores have in store for women today.
Americans have always been do-it-yourself-ers, especially the country people or those who were from hard working families who made their own way in life. In just the past 3 decades, many Americans decided that they could do a better job of teaching their own children, and decided to take the responsibility to do so. The home school movement is still growing.
Many Americans wanted to bake their own bread, just so they could personally monitor the ingredients that go into the food. Gardening is also on the rise, and food is so plentiful from these gardens that people hide when they see someone coming with free zucchini or lettuce. You know what I mean. Everyone wants to do it themselves. There are people around here who build their own cars and their own houses and just enjoy figuring out how things work and making something by themselves. There are even now a lot of little churches meeting in small buildings, or homes, where people have decided to go back to the way things were done in the 1st century.
American women understand the need to investigate ingredients in store bought food. They like to investigate the latest drug on the block and determine for themselves whether it is really necessary for the body, and they are ever more alert about protecting their families from the unwanted intrusion of media that runs down the family. There are more women learning the art of hair dressing, and taking care of their own family's hair, just because they want to do it themselves.
Women can understand things like the above, but we need to investigate more fully the garment industry, from the creation to the fruition, and see what is happening here. If we can teach our own children, cut our own hair, grow our own cucumbers, bake our own scones, and clean our own houses, then it might be time to make our own clothes and take control of several different things.
When you make your own clothes, or have them made for you, or order them from a catalog, or even buy them, you control the market. If you leave the junk on the shelf, the stores will no longer want to invest in it. If you make your own clothes, just like home schooling, you put the ingredients you really want in a dress or garment. If you decorate your own home, it seems like you could create your own fashion designs.
We understand what it means to take matters into our own hands when we want things done right. We need to go further and take control of the clothing industry, too, especially women's clothing. Does not it strike you that men's clothing is basically the same, consisting of jeans and shirts, but women's clothing just gets wackier and wackier, and women bare more and more of their flesh to the public, even if they are not fit and trim, and let the designers tell them it looks good.
I actually saw a fashion "expert" on a show, tell heavier, older women, that they would look younger and thinner if they wore skimpy outfits. She paraded her models on the stage, and to tell you the truth, they looked better in the "before" pictures. I am sure other people have observed this.
This painting-inspired dress series was designed to show you how exciting it can be to choose fabric or ready-made clothing based on beauty. Even if you do not sew, it is possible to find some things that are pretty.
We do need to stop allowing others to do our work for us, if it is something personal, like raising our children, or worshipping God. We need to also stop being so dependent upon the store-bought clothing and make clothes that are personalized. The home is more that just a place to stay. It is a place where creative ideas abound, if we will open our eyes to it and not be influenced by the designers of clothing.

Please keep commenting anonymously.


Anonymous said...

Another lovely ensemble! I am getting addicted to these posts. Ideas are spinning in my head. I would love to know the pattern make and number you are using for your skirt and blouse outfits.

Anonymous said...

Oh, I just scrolled down to search again, and noticed you had added the pattern details. Thanks!

Anonymous said...


Brilliant, yet again!!

have you had problems when using fabric with metalics incorporated into it with said metalics washing out?

Taking one pattern that works is what the TKD ladies have done for me; I liked the sound of the 'Gardening Dress', no fuss, no bother, and from there they made this up with different waistlines (some are empire, some are just above the hip) different sleeve lengths, some with ties, and some without; not to mention a huge range of fabrics. If I chose collars and buttons, the dresses would be still slightly different again, but in a style I love and that i know works for me. I feel confident when wearing this dress, and its easy to look after.

I think they sell the 'Gardening Dress' pattern on their site; its nice; they make with long or three-quarter sleeves for me, with cuffs, not elastic ruffles).

Oh me, after my feedback, your descriptions are even better!! you have a gift for this! Honestly, you do.

Anonymous said...

I sure am enjoying waking up each morning and find a new article on modest dressing. It's been a great start for each new day this week.
You look as fresh as a posy in that blue dress set with white trim.
I have 2-3 dress patterns that I use over and over, switching the bodices, sleeves and skirts for the look that I want.
I also use my old Sunday dresses for everyday when they start to get worn looking. Sometimes I modifie them, such as make the sleeves shorter or the dress length shorter so I can work in the garden.
And like you, I cut a new dress out the night before, and sew it up the next day. I just did one last week and wore it to church on Sunday. It was a sky blue linen dress which received many compliments from both dh and the ladies at church.

Keep up the interesting articles. I am seeing many ladies wearing dresses this summer. Maybe they are reading you.


Anonymous said...

Another lovely creation! This series has been a gift for me.

You and I think alike on a lot of issues. Thank you for continuing to put your ideas out there for fence sitters like me.

Anonymous said...

Dear Lady Lydia

Thank you for the very attractive posts on how to make dresses. I am blessed that my mother and grandmother were professionally-trained dressmakers, and sewing was simply assumed to be part of our lives. I have just begun a weekly sewing lesson with our 4-yr-old daughter.

Please, ladies, pass on your skills to your children! Home education allows for this. Yesterday we made delicious butter from extra-thick Jersey cream. I used the tips from an American cookbook called 'Farm Journal'. So, you can also learn something new alongside your children.

Regarding sleeveless dresses, I personally don't think they are automatically immodest, but Scripture tells us to seek God, and if you have a bad feeling about something, don't do it. It's a bit like the TV/no TV issue. We use our TV only to watch DVDs and videos, so that the children see only what fits Phil 4:8. Some families in our church have Sky or cable, but I am firmly "agin" it. It would be very very wrong, therefore, for *us* to have it, when I have such strong instinctive feelings warning me off it.

BTW, Lady Lydia, our children love love love the fine art in your recent posts. Thank you for taking the time to show us these uplifting paintings.

PS You can probably guess who I am!

Suzanne said...

Isnt' that blue skirt exquisite! Have you ever seen the movie Life With Father? YOu can catch clips on youtube? The dresses that Irene Dunn wears as the mother are beautiful--what I wouldn't give to have one:-)

Anonymous said...

A VERY well written article! Indeed, this country was built by the sweat of immigrants who worked hard and were homesteaders before we became industrialized. We, as a nation, have become fat, lazy, and greedy; not to mention rampantly impure and Godless. We do not appreciate what we own because many of us do not work hard to purchase it or take the time to make it.

Our clothing is our billboard - case in point: why would a fruit salesman advertise his fruit by using images of fish? That would not make sense! Then why do people, especially women, wear tight, short, revealing, and especially low cut clothing which show almost all of their breasts, which are considered as being,'fashionable', call themselves good and even modest?

If we would truly admit to ourselves why we wear what we do, we might improve not only what we wear, but improve what is inside of ourselves.

Your dresses are beautiful! You are very talented! May God Bless you and may you continue to be a holy and wholesome example to ladies everywhere.

Anonymous said...

Lady Lydia,

I like what you had to say about doing things ourselves. Did this all come from your background (ie have you always lived this way?), or is this something that you rediscovered for yourself?

Thanks for posting these entries! Very cute dress!!

Lydia said...

I will put up the pattern brand and numbers when I get time today.

My family and friends' recent discussions about clothing dependence brought out the idea that just as we have become dependent on others to take care of our children or bake our bread, we have allowed others to design our clothes. Who decided for me that the era I lived in would be so depressing in the clothing department? Who decided women could no longer wear the pretty clothes of the past centuries? Was it God, or was it the elitists who churn out these rags and ut them in the stores? If we can home school our children and do our own hair and bake our own bread, we can design and sew our own dresses. It is a mind set. We have been made to believe we cannot sew, as a nation.

My heritage is partly Cherokee. I know about the "tear" garments. Cherokee women sold their home made garments when they had no scissors to cut the cloth, so they just tore it into strips and sewed it together by hand. If they could do that, I do not know why women today cannot sew using a neele and thread. Most women have much more!

Anonymous said...

"Does not it strike you that men's clothing is basically the same, consisting of jeans and shirts, but women's clothing just gets wackier and wackier"

Now.. Amen to that! ;) Especially the 'dress clothes', for men they've been roughly the same for hundreds of years (they can easily still find a nice suit for church) - but somehow the whole idea that there are also women going to church who will need a dress has just disappeared.

Here in the Netherlands (well, almost entire europe!) you can't find a SINGLE dress in most stores. And when you finally do, it's either WAY above the knee, or just made from lycra; either way only 'fit' for summer and definately not for anyone who attends a church..

Greetings from the netherlands! ;)

Lydia said...

I hope to showcase another metallic cotton dress tomorrow. No, the sheen has not worn off and the dress gets softer with use and with washing. Those kinds of fabrics are hotter, however, and so, they get cooler to wear as they get older. Yet the sparkle still remains, from what I have seen so far.

Go to Lillibeth's site at the Pleasant times on the blogroll on the side and see if you can find the aprons she makes just by cutting off the back part of a worn dress. These do wear out fast but it sure is a help when you are in a hurry to have an apron and cannot buy one. Cotton is the key here, as it wont work with a synthetic. Synthetics, make of oils and plastics, trap heat and moisture and are not good for the body. That is why I use cotton. Linen is nice, but sometimes harder to sew and it is very hot, even the thinner linen, in my opiniion.

Ihope to do a short video clip about basic sewing preparation. In it I will stack three or four different colors of fabrics and cut them out all at once with one pattern. That is helpful if you are sewing a quick wardrobe for your daughter or grand daughter or mother or sister or someone who is desperately in need of clothing.

Then, you sew the seams as though you are quilting, backstitching at the end of every seam, but making a continuous seam to the next piece of the garment. Clip it all apart later. Saves a lot of time and thread--an old quilters trick.

Take inexpensive white muslin (no iron kind) and dye each 4 yard piece a different color with Rit dye. Dry, iron again, and lay out your pattern and you have dresses of the same design in different colors.

The Juvenile, baby prints are the cutest things and you can make skirts and dresses with patterns on them that really delight children.

When we lived in Texas in the 1980's the women at First Monday in Canton were really crafty with their dresses and jumpers. They would choose a novelty print, like teddy bears, or cupcakes, and make a vest or skirt or jumper, over a white cotton blouse. Then, in the pocket of the jumper, they would make a little teddy bear or matching novelty item, and attach it with a ribbon, and put it in the pocket. They would also make garland type necklaces of little bears and dolls and hearts, by stuffing with fiberfill and sewing and attaching to ribbon to tie around the neck. It was all so innocent and sweet and yet very inspiring. You could show that you were a female and not be immodest.

They also used novelty buttons, such as Noah and the Ark, to match their Noah and the Ark prints on their dresses. The dresses were loose, and of high quality cotton.

Anonymous said...

I just wanted to say that if I am sewing 2 items that require the same color of thread, I will sew them at the "same time". For example, I have two blouses cut out right now that require brown thread. I'll sew up the darts on the front of one, then the darts on the other. THe side seams on one, then the side seems on the other and so on. I have no idea if it really saves time, though it feels like it does. Speaking of sewing, my little ones are finally down, so I need to get moving...

Lydia said...

That is a good tip which we use in our home also, when sewing.

Another time saver for busy women is to do the hardest parts first. One of them is the sleeves. Put your gathering stitch in the top of the header and then put on any trims on the cuffs, then do your seams. That way, they are ready when you get the bodice area sewn together. Do a lot of straight seems at the same time. Prepare a collar ahead of the garment.

Also , my hems are just machine sewn. They are so long, that I do not need to measure , and the more length for me (I'm 5 ft. 8in.) the better. Make the hems in dresses longer than if you are just doing skirts, because the dress will take up more slack when you sit down or bend over. Therefore it doesnt do any harm to have an ankle length dress. It wont actualy be that long by the time you wear it, sit in it, move in it.

Add wide trims to hems that are not long enough, if you have already finished a garment.

If you make a mistake or cut a hole in your garment, sew an applique over it, like a rose or a sailing ship. Yes, really. If you are just wearing them at home, you dont need perfection. If you wear them in public,they will be "one of a kind."

A facing is just a piece of fabric turned under to the inside of the garment. A waistband is a lot more trouble and adds an inch or two above the skirt, and most waistbands on patterns are not wide enough.

Anonymous said...

I have been making full aprons out of old dresses for a while now. Works pretty good!

Anonymous said...

Your dresses and skirt ensembles are giving me ideas! Love the cottons!

Anonymous said...

This "do it yourself" idea has really got me to thinking. Why do we have to be so dependent on others for everything?

Anonymous said...

As far as sleeveless being immodest: imo, it is not necessarily immodest in and of itself if you are slim and well- toned.

The late Jackie Kennedy, and our present First Lady are good examples of this. They are known for wearing sleveless dresses and blouses, but the women are thin and well-toned, and their slip and bra straps are NEVER poking out, nor are the armholes of their clothes gaping so that you can see underwear through them.

Also, both ladies are not large busted, so the style looks modest on them. Sleveless styles do call attention to the bust, so for well-endowed women, they do look immodest, imo.

Sleeveless is a style which looks pretty and modest on a thin, small-busted woman, as long as straps don't stick out, the armholes don't gape, and the woman is well groomed.

For older women with saggy arms, sleeveless simply looks bad.

You must also shave under your arms every single day if you are going to go sleeveless and avoid showing your armpits a lot, which are somewhat unsightly even when well-groomed, imo.

Lydia said...

My observvation is that we are dependent on agencies and "experts" to do our thinking and figuring out, for us. Many people now homeschool their children, instead of depending on the government to do it. WHy then, can we not home sew our clothing, instead of depending on designers and manufacturers. If you have to buy your husbands or sons clothing, which is expensive, you can afford it better if you sew your own.

Anonymous said...

Dear Lady Lydia

May I add to your points regarding self-suffiency? My Guyanese grandmother changed my life forever because when she saw what needed doing, she took charge. "Dis child should learn to read!" So she wrote a primer for me - yes, handwritten! "Dis child should go to church!" She had lost patience with my parents' inaction in this matter and took me off, with my sister, at the age of 6. Thanks to her, I heard the gospel and became familiar with the Bible. Thanks to her, I was set on course for a degree in English Literature. Even today, she influences me, as we use literature-based curriculum to home educate our children.

BTW The only dressed I remember from my girlhood are the ones my mother made for me.

Anonymous said...

Hi Lydia,
Like you, part of my heritage is Cheokee. Your comment prompted me to look around for some Native American fabrics and patterns, and I found this site that I wanted to share:
Beautiful fabrics,and very interesting skirt patterns. Thanks so much Lydia! Your posts are getting my creative juices flowing, and I am really excited about dressing more beautifully now! (From the tomboy who posted the other day!)

Anonymous said...

Suzanne, if you want to watch the entire movie "Life with Father" online for free, go here.

I watch a lot of old movies on this site. Rita

Anonymous said...

The only time I ever watched an Oprah episode--I think this was in 1988--she had someone doing makeovers on older women. I still remember that consultant shouting "Take off the bra!" to each and every one of her victims. Then they were paraded around onstage in their new resort-wear outfits, braless and sagging. Oy!

Anonymous said...

dear Lady Lydia:

Thank you for the posts on modest dress and all the lovely pictures and paintings! Your dresses look so very lovely.

I am not at all skilled in sewing, don't have money to pay for dresses to be made nor can I afford to throw out all my pants in favor of getting new(er) skirts/dresses. One solution (which may not work for everyone) I have come up with is to make my pants into skirts. This has been an easier way for me to learn some sewing skills without starting from scratch with a pattern. I am trying to work my way up to using a pattern, though.

Thanks again for the wonderful blog series!

Anonymous said...

Arg, Oprah! I used to watch it so much when I was younger. I vividly remember a make-over show where they were making fun of the dreaded mommy dress that had waist-ties to the back. I was so sad after that episode because that was my favorite kind of dress to wear - it made many of my "fitting issues" unnoticeable. From then on, I felt ashamed to wear one. I dutifully got rid of the ones I had. Wow, how much I needed some of those during my child-bearing years, but every time I went to wear one, I remembered that "anyone knows you don't wear such a thing any more". Now all I want is to sew a comfortable, feminine, long dress, with slightly high waist, and ties in the back! It took me a long time to realize that Oprah is not my friend, she is really a mocker of faithful, (dowdy?), mothers, even though she says her biggest mission is to help us moms out(by giving us all make-overs, I guess -that's everyone's answer to all problems).

Anonymous said...

I remember reading edgy fashion magazines in the 90's making fun of those "awful flowered dresses" and suggesting we get rid of them.

They also told readers to demand from clothing stores: shorter, edgier skirts and dresses instead of those long flowing ones that appealed to Southern belles. You can't listen to these people. We have to learn to wear what we want: what makes us feel pretty and modest and comfortable, and not like clowns.

I remember a family member making fun of my flowered dresses that were out of style, and I got rid of a couple, and now wish I hadn't. I found more at the Salvation Army, though, and added them to the ones I didn't get rid of!

Anonymous said...

Makeovers - ugh! I have seen so many of them where the women ended up looking terrible -hard, edgy and weird. They chop off the women's hair, dye it bizarre colours, then slap on some kind of trendy makeup that wouldn't look good on a runway model. They don't take age into account, and try to make over older ladies to look like teenagers. Worst of all are the clothes they put on them. There comes a time in every woman's life where skirts should go south, that the legs are not what they used to be, and should not be on display - but in most makeovers they try to make older ladies "youthful" by putting a miniskirt on them!

I'm reminded of the time after Vatican II, when the Catholic church changed the rules for nun's habits, and advocated more modern dress. It turned out that many older nuns were made absolutely miserable by suddenly having to don knee length skirts when they had spent decades covered to the ground. It brought to light the fact that many of them had varicose veins, swollen ankles, other signs of ageing. Suddenly these nuns were painfully aware of their flaws, and felt self conscious, where before, their long habits had covered all and given them the body privacy they needed to concentrate on their higher calling!

Why anyone would think that a grandmother would look good with her hair chopped into an assymetrical style, dyed magenta, with orangey lipstick and a slinky, low necked, minidress, I can't say, but apparently those people who do makeovers think that's the answer to everything.

Anonymous said...

This is just a general comment.

I want to thank you for doing this blog. I have been going through a tough time lately, as many others are as well. It is nice to come here and read your good advice and see the pretty pictures. There is so much working against homemakers these days, and very little encouragement. The inspiration here for is so encouraging to me.

I really have not had the benefit of role models like you in life so your advice has been priceless. You have pointed out things here my own mother never told me. In fact, I was encouraged from an early age to "show off my shape" -taken shopping for the shortest of miniskirts by age 14. I was even encouraged by my mother to severely limit my food intake to maintain my thinness and developed disordered eating habits that haunt me to this day. I have been hungry more days of my life than not, including childhood, due to the pressure to be thin. Now, my doctors say they have to start watching me for osteoporosis and have prescribed a number of vitamins to help me maintain my health. Nearing 40, I can't tell you how much better I feel in the long skirts and dresses. The harm done by the "immodest" clothing is as bad as you say it is, trust me. I have a little girl and thanks largely to your good advice, I know better how to raise her right. You have impacted our lives profoundly for the better. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

I'm in my early 30's and a mother. Last summer I picked up two really cute dresses at a yard sale for a dollar each. They are the best dresses I've ever owned and thanks to a previous commenter and Oprah, I now know that they are "Mommy dresses." They fit my body type so well. The waist isn't Empire style, but it's slightly higher than my natural waist. With these dresses, my hips and backside are in no way accentuated; thanks to a no button front, there are no unsightly gaps; and the dresses are loose enough for housework and fun with my child, but thanks to the ties they don't look formless.

I've searched for similar patterns to make my own, but have decided to first buy some really inexpensive fabric and try cutting and sewing a dress from an existing dress.

For years, I've been buying my clothing at thrift stores and yard sales, simply because I cannot find anything affordable and my style in the stores, but while in the thrift store last week, a thought came to me. These dresses I've been buying are from 10 - 15 years ago. What am I going to do when they are all gone????? I knew then I'd better get my act together with sewing, because who knows what will litter the racks 10 years from now......even at the thrift store.

Thanks Lady Lydia for the inspiration.

Anonymous said...

Maybe we need a club for ladies who love long flowing flowered dresses! I agree, too much listening to the media can make you feel very dowdy. All the ladies seem to look the same after their tv makeovers. Many of the outfits look more suited to life in the big city, not small town or rural living. Plus I can't see most moms being very comfortable in a 150.00 top matched with 200.00 pants to wear to the grocery store. It is hard to resist the pressure to be "in style" as that is what many of us were brought up with.

Lydia said...

While it is possible to use a favorite dress for a pattern for future sewing, you need not necessarily take it apart. Just fold the dress in half in the front and lay it on the folded fabric,leaving 5/8 approximate seam allowance on the seam areas, and cut around it til you get to the shoulder and armhole. roll back the back part and cut around the armhole and shoulder. fold the back of the dress in half and lay it on the selvage edges or on fold, and cut around it. Fold the sleeve area in half and lay on fold twice. Try this on a piece of white muslin first. Sew it up and try it on. If it turns out okay, unpick it and use as a pattern.

These beautiful dresses, sometimes make with lovely novelty prints or roses, were worn by many women, but as the slinky styles came on the scene, people learned to mock the floral prints and the loose dresses. It was so that women would feel intimidated and self conscious and be shamed out of wearing them.

butterick 6931 is such a pattern, slightly above the waist, but extremely flattering. It is out of print but it is possible to find similar patterns. Add a tie at the waist and you can pull it closer to the body. As I said before, every woman has ups and downs in weight throught the month, and so clothes have to be adjustable. This is a pretty dress when sewn in colors and prints that you like.

Anonymous said...

I liked this series very much! I am getting back to doing more of my own sewing, after taking a break of about 10 years. It's very satisfying, even when my results aren't perfect.

Lydia, if you have an inclincation, I'd like to see what you can recommend regarding full aprons. We are country dwellers and I get my clothes so dirty with all the different tasks I do each day, from gardening, cleaning, cooking. I've got a pattern for a utility type apron, with lots of pockets, which is great. But I'd like to feminize it and add ruffles, trim, etc. I have a couple aprons I tie around my waist, but that doesn't protect the top part of me.

I like your comments about how American women approach challenges and how we like to be do-it-yourelfers. We lived in Germany in the early '80s and i remember seeing TV programs and news articles about, I believe, Russians that were standing in long lines to get baked goods. Apparently due to their political atmosphere, no one except bakers knew how to bake bread and there was somehow a shortage of bread. We saw exhausted people standing in long lines after working all day to hopefully bring home a couple loaves. I decided right then that I would do the best I could to never be at the mercy of someone else to provide just the basics of food and clothing to my family, and that I'd train my daughter to be prepared to do the same.

Lydia said...

Simlicity 5201 totally wraps around, and the apron features the fabric more than the feminine design.When you have something that is more utility, just sew it in the prettiest fabric you can find, and add a cotton eyelet ruffle all around it.

Anonymous said...

I just made myself my first modest dress, just finished it up yesterday. I was wondering if it was okay to wear leggings underneath it? Or would that defeat the purpose of a modest dress?

Anonymous said...

To the lady who commented on the social pressure against homemakers:
I saw this start in the early 70's when I was a young wife and mother. Phil Donahue had a talk show like Oprah and didn't miss an opportunity to sneer at any woman in a traditional role. I felt the pressure greatly as my own parents devalued my work at home and pronounce it as something anyone with a brain would not do! Just this week my 95 year old mother told me I had wasted my life! Also every friend I had in the church left her children for work by the time they were 5 years old, so there was no support there. The amount of money you can bring home is the measure of every human being in this culture.
What a sad state of affairs this has caused, with unbroken homes and long marriages the exception. I have reached the age of 60 and no longer care what society thinks-
I had a husband of almost 40 years and two lovely grown daughters and well-behaved granchildren. I think this speaks for itself and the value of homemaking.

I also thank you for the encouragement you give in your blog. I only wish I had access to something like that in earlier times.
You've also encouraged me to start sewing again and I just finished a 2 piece dress in a lovely blue flowered cotton. I took to heart what you said about anything made at home will look better than what is available out there, even if there are imperfections.

Anonymous said...

I rediscovered your blog and have been inspired to make my own nice flower dress :)

Anonymous said...

You might consider relocating to Wordpress - they make it easy to export your blog, and and they have akismet for spam and anti-virus, etc. Just a thought - you make beautiful dresses! I Love dresses and am trying to loose a few pounds (actually, a LOT!) so it will be easier to fit myself again!

God Bless you and keep up the beautiful, modest dresses.

Anonymous said...

To the lady curious about wearing leggings:

I wear tight shorts under all my dresses, I just don't feel comfortable without something "tight" across my midsection and thighs. Ladies for many years wore bloomers under all their clothes, so I don't think leggings should concern anyone. I think it would probably look more feminine if they didn't show, but that it entirely personal preference!

Anonymous said...

To the lady asking about leggings, I wear leggings under all my dresses; long and warm for winter, and 'Petti Pants' (like wide bermuda shorts but in calico with an elastic waist) for summer. over these a slip (or petiblouse if wearing a skirt) and I'm set for the day. It doesn't defeat the purpose, but just ensures a little more modesty and a lot of comfort.

Anonymous said...

Leggings under a dress are the sensible way to cope with cold weather, and it certainly is far more modest should the wind lift your skirt up! There are also directions and patterns for longer ladies' underwear online, everything from bloomers to more form fitting garments.

Regarding talk shows that denigrate mothers and women in traditional roles - it did, indeed, all start with Phil Donohue. If you think Oprah is obnoxious, she is as nothing compared to the old Donohue show. He had makeovers all the time, and he continually rode down any woman who wasn't working - and he would fire up the audience to the point where they were screaming and yelling abuse. At that point, he would run out into the audience with a microphone and let the people there have their say, which was almost invariably ugly and outright cruel.

I saw one Donohue show where he had heavy women who had come to terms with their weight and were advocating dressing their bodies gracefully and with dignity - and the things that he allowed the audience members to say were some of the most cruel remarks I've ever heard, including speculations about the sex lives of these women who had come on the show to talk about being a large woman with dignity. It was humiliating to those women, and Phil Donohue did everything he could to pump up an atmosphere of hatred and prejudice from the audience.

I don't cry easily, but that day, I cried. I never watched that show again - and now I don't watch TV at all.

Phil Donohue also had the celebrity hairstylist, Jose Eber, on all the time, doing hair makeovers. He would take a woman with beautiful long hair, who could have used some advice about styling it becomingly - and he would butcher it all right off, frequently cutting her hair shorter than men were wearing theirs at the time, cooing about how the long hair wasn't feminine, but a short cut WAS feminine! All the while, his own hair, in a three foot long golden braid, was in plain view, hanging down his back! There were women who broke down and cried after what Jose Eber did to their beautiful hair, chopping it off and then saying that it made them look more feminine!

These "talk" shows are nothing but a soapbox for such as Oprah, billionaires who have made their fortunes in the entertainment industry, flexing their power and using their influence to push their personal agendas. They do this under the guise of "helping" people - but after all is said and done, it's all about them, and their narcissism. I've known people who said they felt infinitely better when they stopped watching Oprah for good, because they were no longer being told that the way they looked, thought, lived, was wrong!

I can't believe these shows are good for anyone - and think of all the things you could do in the time you're spending listening to Oprah spout her cause of the week or to "experts" telling you to wear a miniskirt and take off your bra? People always ask me how I find the time to sew my own clothing, cook from scratch, run a business, paint and write books - it's because I don't waste time watching television! Plenty of time when you're not doing that.

Anonymous said...

It's really refreshing to read all these comments about the Oprah influence. I came to believe, a few years ago, that the anti-Christ would be someone like her. She's very influential, very likeable, and very misleading. Her influence on fashion is so ubiquitous now. If you look around, you see it - fitted v-neck sweater with a white t-shirt peaking out underneath the neckline, and dark denim jeans, tight, low-waisted, too long, and worn with heels. I bet you saw this new Oprah-approved mom look today.

It's bugged me so much recently that I patently reject that look. I do wear jeans, but I won't wear that look.

Anonymous said...

To the lady who wants a full apron, I have McCalls pattern M5358. You could add to the length to make it longer. It's really pretty.

Anonymous said...

You are right about having a sturdy, easy-fitting dress to use for outside work. I have a couple of preferred skirts for gardening, etc., here at home & they've caused me no problem. Down on my knees weeding, planting flowers, raking leaves & debris...never a problem. Though, for my paid work (I am talking about production gardening here... strange landscaping, sometimes unsafe hillsides, heavy brush, construction zones) I would not dream of wearing anything but jeans or another heavy cloth pants. Everything about my "uniform" is heavy, actually. Sigh. It's not attractive (well, okay, my sunhat is kind of cute), but it all serves me well...& keeps me from getting hurt.

About the pretty rose print fabric I mentioned coming across in an earlier comment: not even for a dress :o( but I have hopes now of perhaps a blouse. We'll see!

Thanks again for the beautiful artwork.