Sew Feminine and Frugal for Every Day

The week before last for the online Zion Finishing School we talked about feminine dressing, in terms of Helen Andelin’s Fascinating Womanhood words. I invited my girlfriend Leah who is Helen Andelin’s great-niece, to come share her perspective. Leah used to teach Fascinating Womanhood classes in her first life, before she started homeschooling, when she had a life of her own. (Just kidding! You can still have a life when homeschooling, it just looks different.)

 

A cheery print for a fall/Thanksgiving apron.

 

What I figured out from my whole preparation of the class was

1. That it’s time to get a bunch of cheap knit tops (long sleeved, for winter) at D.I. and then add feminine frills to them. Then pair them with skirts or capris (not so bad in winter, I’ve decided), which look more feminine than your basic jeans. That is the frugal answer to my wardrobe dilemma of how to update my every day clothes in a feminine, stylish way and not break the bank.

 

We also got into the cache of lace. Maybe this will be my Sunday apron.

 

2. It’s time to make some sassy aprons to cover up these new knit tops when I am at home.  Hopefully they won’t get stained like all my other knit tops mysteriously have. I am really not a sloppy eater but in the line of mothering duty they get stained I guess. These photos show some fabrics with feminine prints I got from raiding my sis-in-law’s fabric warehouse she inherited from her mother, a quilter. I wouldn’t wear these prints as tops but I would as aprons, or skirts. I can’t wait to whip these up using the links to patterns that TOLM network member Rhonda shared in an earlier blog post.

 

Won’t this make a lovely Christmas apron? Or tablecloth, or skirt (with a ruffle), I can’t decide which!

 

So I got out the sewing machine, which i have not done in about 12 years (it always seemed so hard with little kids around to sew, plus I have bad memories of having to sew in jr. high and high school on a terrible machine that always had problems) and I sewed! It felt so good! I bought a used Bernina 13 years ago and it still sews like a dream. I haven’t felt that much of a domestic goddess  in a looong time. The photo at the top of this blog post shows the ruffles I added to a basic knit top by cutting up a close-match of a green top that was all stained mysteriously. As I saw those ruffles ruffle up a lovely sensation came over me as I delighted in their  feminine look.

 

I found a bunch of blog posts on different feminine frills you can add to basic knit tops.

 

I followed the directions at this blog post to add ruffles (as seen at the very top) but I wanted a symmetrical look, so I added another ruffle on the left side. http://www.pinklemonade-blog.com/2011/03/j-crew-inspired-ruffle-shirt-tutorial.html. The finished product has the ruffles a little off center, unfortunately. Since it’s been 12 years since I sewed I made that mistake and I accidentally sewed through to the back because I forgot to keep checking to make sure the back layer of fabric was underneath the arm of the sewing machine. So then I had to pick out that seam and it left some small holes in the fabric. So I won’t be able to wear the top with my hair up. Ooops! I feel like breaking out into some Brite music, “I maaaade a mistake, but that doesn’t make me bad., a little mistake!” Oh well!

 

I really like this idea posted here, it makes a shirt look so much more feminine! It’s called the T-shirt twist, http://jonag.typepad.com/stop_staring_and_start_se/2009/06/tshirt-twist.html

 

Then I found another blog post on how to turn grosgrain ribbon into ruffles to trim the edges of sleeves and necklines.  I am going to do that  to add to this plain top. But for the life of me I can’t find that blog now. So I will wing it. How hard can ruffling a ribbon be? I might do the T-shirt twist idea on this top too.

 

Then here’s an idea on how to take your basic ric rac, which can look rather cheesy if just used plain, and turn it into elegant flowers!

 

A rosette, here http://thecraftingchicks.com/2011/03/rick-rack-rosettes.html

and more here http://wildrosevintage.blogspot.com/2011/11/rick-rack-roses.html, It’s amazing how you can create elegance from ric rac! Who would have thought? I am not sure where to wear them but they sure are gorgeous! Maybe in my hair or on a neckline, hmmm. I am not really into big rings.

 

and a dahlia here, http://madewithlovebyhannah.com/WordPress/?p=80

I think I would leave off the pompoms in the center, they look funny, and then just have a plain center, like how dahlias really are. Then maybe pin on my dress coat or use in my hair when I am feeling very bold or playful.

 

I would love to hear your ideas for creating feminine clothes for every day on a budget. Please feel free to share below.

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