Monday, August 24, 2009

Hawaiian Dresses

  I would like to show some Hawaiian dresses from this site       The prices are $75 to $99. If you dont sew and want a cotton dress that can be worn daily and will withstand the wear and tear of the home, it is well worth the price. An apron worn at home can protect it. When you go out, just remove the apron. I love these dresses, and as a sewer, would certainly feel justified in charging these prices, for my time and effort. This cotton appears to be a higher quality than the kinds I am currently using for my home sewing, so if you do have to buy your clothes, this would be a very pretty, modest dress to have. 
Hawaiian Fashion Place has matching shirts and clothes for your husband and children, too.Little girls dresses are here
Before I found this site, I had cut out a dress similar to one of these, and bought piping for the neckline. I used that New Look pattern that has no zipper.  
Notice the hem line. This is thread drawn up to make gathers every few inches around the dress. A quilters fabric, 100% cotton, it is very soft, and does not need ironing .
For want of a photographer, I can't post a picture of me in the dress, yet.
 I certainly would have no hesitation in buying one of these gorgeous Hawaiian dresses. The fabrics are available here  and are $12.00 a yard. You need an average of 4 yards to make a dress, more or less. If you left off the ruffle it would eliminate a yard or more. 
For Hawaiian style sewing patterns, go here :   You could immitate the style with one of the 99c patterns that you can buy at the fabric store when they are on sale.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Sewing Simple Clothing

  Women Taking Tea
Allbert Lynch, 1851-1912  Peru, South America

Women Taking Tea

Giclee Print

Lynch, Albert

Buy at

A slideshow of Albert Lynch paintings:

More art from this artist

I have just attended a sewing day.  Women brought their unfinished sewing projects, sewing machines and iron boards, and helped each other complete their garments. One young woman had never used a pattern, and needed clothing right away. She took big squares of fabric and draped them around her, and then sewed them together at the shoulders and sides.  She then cut triangles of fabric from a burgundy curtain,  and inserted them in all the skirt. She made a wonderful dress that did not look at all unusual and yet was very long and elegant, and modest.  She is an active young woman who raises sheep and yet she wears these beautiful long dresses that she makes.. 

The dresses in the above painting, from the 1800's, look very simple, yet womanly and modest. Here again is an artists depiction of women's clothing, which shows the shorter length on the young girl, and the longer length on the older women.  Girls at that time wore short dresses and wore their hair down.  I have heard stories from my older relatives about girls begging their mothers to let them put their hair "up" and  let their hems down.  If mothers didn't want their girls to look too grown up too soon, they kept them in the girls clothing.  I think that is interesting, in contrast to the styles imposed on women today.

American women at home need clothing that does not catch on things. Pockets have to be placed so that they do not snag on the drawer handles in the kitchen or the door handles, as they walk past. Sleeves have to be roomy, but not too billowing that they snag on things in the home.  They work in the kitchen a lot, and cannot have ruffled cuffs that would get in the way.  Aprons over the dresses are a must.  American homemakers are hard workers. They do almost every thing themselves, and so their clothing has to be simple. Because embellishments and jewelry, scarves and accessories get in the way and cut down on efficiency, clothing worn for homemaking has to be beautiful in a different way. That is why the cottons in the fabric stores are so appealing. They come in endless colors and patterns. You can use a pattern that is very very plain, but use a wonderful color or print.

An American homemaker might plant a vegetable garden, water it by hand, weed it, and  pick the fruits of her labors to make a salad for lunch or a pie for dessert. These things take a lot of time and work, and the clothing has to be protective, as well as pretty. She does her own cleaning and often sews for the home. The American homemaker is trying to take care of her family and make a comfortable and peaceful home for them. Her clothing has to be something she really likes and enjoys wearing daily. If it is too fancy, she wont wear it every day at home. If it is too shoddy, she will not feel she can wear it outside the home. In this Painting-Inspired series, I have tried to show how a woman can work at home in a cotton dress and then go to the store or post office without changing. It looks good anywhere.

Clothing for the American homemaker has to be dignified and modest, yet a pleasure to wear. Beautiful dresses affect the mood.  If the day is cold and gloomy, the color of the clothes can make a difference.  If some jobs are difficult repetitive, having a variety of dresses to wear, can give her a lift. If there are great responsibilities, and monumental events in the family, the homemakers clothing can make every single day significant.  

That is one reason I am showing some of these beautiful paintings of the past centuries. Historically speaking, this clothing was not just an after- thought. The clothing was sewn by hand, with great care. One woman recently told me that stitches on the seams were done in a special way so that you could not see the seams on the outside of the garment.  That would require a lot of time.

The dresses in the paintings look like something that could be worn today. The garments in the painting would be good autumn dresses. The vivid leaves and the produce--pumpkins and squash in golds and browns and off-whites, and the burgundy colors, plus the darker greens, are good choices for autumn fabrics.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Sew Pink

A Ray of Sunlight, by Thomas Faed (Scotland) 1826-1900
Thomas Faed painted rural scenes of Scottish folk life in simple moments. It was said of him that "his works were always noble." The artist Robert Herdman was one of his students.

Weekend Games, by Consuelo Gamboa

Something More Than a Diversion, by Harrison Fisher (1875-1934)

During his painting career, Mr. Fisher popularized the look of the American girl, in pretty dresses, engaged in many different activities, with a look of good health and vitality.

The Bride, by John Faed (1859-1904)

John Faed was from Scotland. Some of his works can be viewed at the Glasgow Art Gallery.

The clothing of the 1800's shown in these paintings, was probably hand sewn, with a needle and thread. Shown here is a collection of paintings with women dressed in pink colored fabric. What I find most interesting is the length of a woman's dress. These paintings represent artists of several different countries, yet the women's clothing was long and beautiful.

Painting by Charles Soulacroix , French, 1825-1900
Charles Soulacroix was able to show the fine textures of silks and satins in his paintings. Some of his works are on display at the Lord Mayor's Collection in The Mansion House, London, England.

Pattern from Burda, 2009 costume selection.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Irish Artists of the Mid-1800's

The Tennis Party, by Sir John Lavery, 1856-1941

The Croquet Match by Sir John Lavery, 1856-1941

The Sonnet, by William Mulready, 1786-1863

Spring, by Sir John Lavery, 1856-1941

The Pride of Dijon, by William John Hennessy, 1839-1917

Posters of these paintings are available at allposters, online. These Irish paintings are so colorful and interesting. The art of the era reveals something about the women's clothing worn at different occasions, from recreation to relaxation. Nearly all these paintings have outdoor themes, and yet the women's clothing is long and soft looking.
"The Sonnet", above, by William Mulready, captures the pose of a young man, looking over his shoulder to see the reaction of the young lady as she reads what he has written for her.

In "The Pride of Dijon,"it looks as though the man is intensely interested in the opinion of the woman.
In the Victorian era, sports clothing was designed for women to be able to move and yet be modest. In general, people of that time believed in covering themselves so that they would not be offensive to anyone. Summer clothing was actually thinner fabrics, and although the styles had a defined waistline, where the garments were held to the body, many of the skirts and blouses were loose, yet very stylish. Not all of it was the same, either, as you can see by the paintings of the time, which I have posted throughout this series. There was a great deal of variety and freedom of design, at the time. I do not see the modern manufactured designs as "freedom" because they all look the same and are limited to what designs are promoted that year. When you sew, you dont have to be peer dependent anymore. The pretty fabrics bring out what is close to a woman's heart. The beauty of the flowers, sky and sea, on the sentimental little prints of fabrics, say something about how you view life.
Fabric is still as interesting today, if not more so. A trip to the fabric store or quilt store reveals a world of beauty that imitates nature. If you have a budding seamstress in your home, it is worth going to these stores just to browse and get an idea what fabric is available. If you find it too expensive, you can always get a small piece to take home and look at.
I am using up my buttons, and these matched the shape of the little white floral print on this fabric. The neckline is trimmed with white piping, a nice contrast on this fabric. Piping has to be sewn on the seam line before the facing or lining is attached.

This is all cotton, part of the Quilters Showcase collection. I added a piece on the hem and covered the seam with white bias tape.

This is another dress made from the pattern with no zipper. It ties in back, and can be loosened for comfort. The sleeves are puffed, and not easy to iron, so I just leave them looking wrinkled, which ends up looking more gathered. This pattern has two main pieces: front and back, and is very easy. It took only a little white to sew and it is so comfortable.
Copyright, Lydia Sherman. All Rights Reserved.

I wore this dress to a back yard wedding ceremony. The bride made her own cake and supplied a tea menu with cucumber sandwiches, strawberries, and savory foods. The couple kept their wedding simple. We were the only guests.
Coyright, Lydia Sherman. All Rights Reserved.
The stairs in the bride's 1940's house. This dress will eventually be worn as an every day dress. These are short sleeves which I made a little larger at the cuff, for the hot weather. Most sleeves are too tight, and sewing your own clothes gives you the option of making things looser.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Franz Xavier Winterhalter (available from allposters) German painter, 1805-1873,

"Young Italian Woman at the Well"

This is an interesting garment from the 1800's, and the color is splendid. Many of the paintings of women in the past centuries are placed against exquisite natural backgrounds of flowers, rivers, skies and seas. Winterhalter was the artist hired by Queen Victoria's family, and his portraits are considered historical records. If you live in England, you might be able to find a gallery where his paintings are on display. They were in our country a few years ago, and many people who attended said they were just exquisite to behold up close. The photographs I use here are nothing, compared to the quality in reality.

These flowers from the garden have a similar color as the painting, above, and give me some good ideas for color combination in sewing. You can get inspiration all around you, and I believe that sewing your own clothing is 50 percent inspiration.

Here is a pattern in the costume section of the Butterick patterns, that shows the sleeve covers. These patterns will be going on sale soon, for $1.99 or 99c. I never buy a commercial pattern for more than that. I do buy speciality patterns made by private companies, like Sensibility or Smoke and Fire, or Wendy's at full price, but they are made of better paper and last much longer.

Sewing hint: Sew neat. As you cut out each piece, fold the pattern and put it away. I keep mine in a large zip lock plastic bag. Dispose of small scraps as you cut. Put larger scraps together and keep neatly near your machine. There is no need to clutter the entire home with a sewing project, if you neaten and clean as you sew. Each project should be small enough to put on a little folded table or tv tray near the sewing machine, or a basket, out of the way. Take a break after completing the cutting out portion of the project, to go to the main parts of the house and pick up clutter and straighten. Keeping surroundings orderly makes the sewing more relaxing.

Observe which sewn garments you tend to wear the most, and use that pattern often. This white one with the antique gathered cotton lace that a sweet friend sent me, seems to be the one I wear the most. It has the under dress; the slip with the sleeves, and it has no ties or waistline. I cannot recommend the slip, enough. Because of the slip with sleeves, the dress rarely needs to be laundered. That slip will prolong the life of all the dresses, and I would suggest you make one of them first, as a try-on model for a dress, from white muslin. That way, if it does not work out exactly as you like, you can still use it for a slip or night gown. The slip and pattern suggestion are on this post is the most comfortable dress, and does not stain easily. As long as it is, even with the added ruffle at the hem, it never touches the ground.

Do not duplicate photos anywhere. Copyright Lydia Sherman. All rights reserved

Do not duplicate these privately owned photos or place anywhere else on the web.

I have been reaching for this dress more than any other. It is made from Quilters Keepsake cotton; a flocked print with white hearts. Because the garment is fairly loose, it does not seem to wrinkle, and I have not had to iron it, so far. The under dress, or slip that I made to go with it, helps it to fit well.

I will be making more of these with different kinds of sleeves and necklines. I wore this dress to shop, to tea, and for a walk on the beach. I am enjoying the pattern, and would like to try different colors, sleeves and trims. This Keepsake Quilters flocked white fabric also can be dyed in whatever shade you like. Here I have tried a piece of it with a light rose fabric dye. It makes the print appear more distinctly.

Some viewers have inquired about lotions and creams for the face and hands. I recently sampled a product from a family business and would like to recommend it. I especially liked the spice scented hand lotion...mmmm. It smelled like cinnamon. It contains no mineral oils, no parabens, and no petroleum products. To order, go to I also have used other products and scents from this line, to great satisfaction.

This is an "anonymous only" blog, so please do not post your identity or your blog name. It protects your privacy and eliminates online identity theft.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

A Quiet Read, by George Goodwin Kilburne

Gathering Primroses by Annie Henniker

A Girl and Roses by August Toulmouche

A Pleasant Afternoon 1880 by Alfred Thomas Bricher

Promenade Park by Alfred Thomas Bricher

Prints of these paintings are available at, of which I am an affiliate.

Portrayed here are a few more artists of the 18th and 19th century and the women's clothing. Since I am sewing up any pink fabric I have, I was interested in the pink garments in these paintings. The artist biographies , dates, names and nationalities will be posted later.

Sewing hints: When you arise in the morning, get dressed as though you are ready for business, fix your hair and put on real shoes. Put a huge container of wonderful stew or soup on the stove and some kind of bread in the oven, as well as a big salad in the fridge. That way, meal times are easier and you can sew, uninterrupted for the day. Clean up the house in the cool of the morning or in the evening before bedtime, and leaves the major part of the day more free for sewing.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Fret Not

Still Life With Roses, by Abbott Fuller Graves (mid 1800's)
The perfect solution for stress and uncertainty is found in this Psalm. Notice the things it gives you to do, and notice who will take care of the rest! This is quite applicable to any homemaker or any do-it-yourselfer. There is a poem called "Somebody said it couldnt be done," and it told how there is always someone to tell you it can't be done. I think the verses are very positive in their approach.

Psalm 37

A Psalm of David

Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity.

For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb.

Trust in the LORD, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed.

Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.

Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.

And he shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgment as the noonday.

Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass.

Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not thyself in any wise to do evil.

For evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait upon the LORD, they shall inherit the earth.

For yet a little while, and the wicked shall not be: yea, thou shalt diligently consider his place, and it shall not be.

But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.

The wicked plotteth against the just, and gnasheth upon him with his teeth.

The Lord shall laugh at him: for he seeth that his day is coming.

The wicked have drawn out the sword, and have bent their bow, to cast down the poor and needy, and to slay such as be of upright conversation.

Their sword shall enter into their own heart, and their bows shall be broken.

A little that a righteous man hath is better than the riches of many wicked.

For the arms of the wicked shall be broken: but the LORD upholdeth the righteous.

The LORD knoweth the days of the upright: and their inheritance shall be for ever.

They shall not be ashamed in the evil time: and in the days of famine they shall be satisfied.

But the wicked shall perish, and the enemies of the LORD shall be as the fat of lambs: they shall consume; into smoke shall they consume away.

The wicked borroweth, and payeth not again: but the righteous sheweth mercy, and giveth.

For such as be blessed of him shall inherit the earth; and they that be cursed of him shall be cut off.

The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way.

Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the LORD upholdeth him with his hand.

I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.

He is ever merciful, and lendeth; and his seed is blessed.

Depart from evil, and do good; and dwell for evermore.

For the LORD loveth judgment, and forsaketh not his saints; they are preserved for ever: but the seed of the wicked shall be cut off.

The righteous shall inherit the land, and dwell therein for ever.

The mouth of the righteous speaketh wisdom, and his tongue talketh of judgment.

The law of his God is in his heart; none of his steps shall slide.

The wicked watcheth the righteous, and seeketh to slay him.

The LORD will not leave him in his hand, nor condemn him when he is judged.

Wait on the LORD, and keep his way, and he shall exalt thee to inherit the land: when the wicked are cut off, thou shalt see it.

I have seen the wicked in great power, and spreading himself like a green bay tree.

Yet he passed away, and, lo, he was not: yea, I sought him, but he could not be found.

Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright: for the end of that man is peace.

But the transgressors shall be destroyed together: the end of the wicked shall be cut off.

But the salvation of the righteous is of the LORD: he is their strength in the time of trouble.

And the LORD shall help them, and deliver them: he shall deliver them from the wicked, and save them, because they trust in him.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Fourth Generation, by Melinda Byers

In Her Loving Arms, by Melinda Byers

Words of Wisdom, by Melinda Byers

Three Generations, by Melinda Byers

Please put on some music, make a cup of tea, and add these beautiful paintings by a contemporary artist to your picture viewer slide show on your computer. I am busy getting a few more sewing projects finished.

Remember the "Anonymous Only" comments, for your protection and privacy.

Sunday Conversation, by Lonnie Ollivierre

Garden Brunch by Consuelo Gamboa

My Secret Arbor 2 by Consuelo Gamboa

Swans Picnic by Consuelo GamboaSummer Manor by Consuelo Gamboa


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...