Blogging · Holidays · Musings

Farewell 2014, Hello 2015!

Happy New Year, everyone! I seemed to have fallen off the blogging bandwagon a bit towards the end of last year, but 2014 was such a monumental year in terms of sewing/crafting/personal stuff, that I thought it would be a good idea to take a trip down memory lane:











  • Finally, in December, I crafted and sewed a ton of Christmas stuff (I made both the wreath and all the stockings in the photo) , but ran out of time to share these with you all due to quite a few social engagements and an increasingly hectic work schedule.


So, what’s in store for me in 2015? A return to historic sewing, more cat-themed craziness, and traveling! I’ll be attending a historic women’s fashion conference in April (!), so there will be lots of sewing in preparation for that, and we may end up going to Europe this summer . I also want to focus on sewing more everyday, usable items for my modern wardrobe, and expand some of my vintage closet to be more useful as well (I have some fabulous dresses in there, but many I have only worn on a handful of occasions, or they were a one-off for a special event). 2015 promises to be a creative and crafty year, and I can’t wait!


Contemporary Pattern · Entertaining · Finished! · Holidays · Home Dec · Modern Sewing

A Shakespearean Halloween


Happy (Belated) Halloween, everyone! Peter and I threw our Halloween party the day-of, after having to postpone due to several unforeseen circumstances last weekend . First, the oven caught on fire Saturday morning while I was baking a cake (it sounds worse than it was – part of the protective coating on the heating element that sits on the bottom of the oven was exposed, and started sparking). Luckily, we caught it early so there wasn’t too much damage, but it was finally fixed on Thursday (Peter and I have both been working longer hours this week). Then on Saturday afternoon, Portland had a pretty bad windstorm and we lost power until early Sunday AM. We made the decision to postpone after the oven fire, and we were very glad we did when the power went out (although it would have added to the spooky element!).


Anyways, I love throwing parties and getting my Martha Stewart on, and this event was no exception. I don’t know how I originally conceived of the Shakespeare theme (there are a lot of spooky elements in his works, especially Macbeth), but once we had that as the theme, I ran with it. The food was so much fun to plan, and we named the dishes after puns on Shakespeare plays. We served:

  • Much Ado About Nutella Cookies
  • Hamlet and Cheese Tart
  • King Pear Cake with A Midsummer Night’s Cream
  • To Pea or Not to Pea Salad

I also made apple cider with shrunken apple heads, and we had a basket of Shakespearean insult cards guests could pull out and read to one another, which was super fun!


As for costumes, I originally was going to make reproduction Elizabethan clothing for both Peter and I, but I quickly realized the time and budget constraints we were working with, and scrapped that idea. Instead, Peter wore his “You Discussed Me” Shakespeare T-shirt, and I whipped up a hostess apron just in time. I saw this purple spider web fabric at Mill End last month, and loved it so much that I had to go back and buy a yard. I used one of my favorite apron patterns, McCall’s 6177, which is sadly out-of-print now and no longer on their website.


I also made an adorable witchy woman table runner to adorn the drinks table. I had so much fun putting this together, mainly because it was a super quick and easy project, and those striped witch legs with the point shoes amuse me to no end. The pattern I used was Simplicity 1343, “Autumn Table Accessories,” which also comes with patterns for other table runners, leaf placemats, and fabric pumpkins. Since my table is longer than the one on the pattern envelope, I ended up lengthening my pattern piece, which meant that I didn’t have enough fabric to do a backing (the main plaid fabric was from the stash and was originally supposed to be an 1860s pinner apron). This ended up being fine, as I just hemmed the raw edges. I also omitted the buckles on the shoes, preferring instead to do some faux socks using ruched trim (which is the same trim I used on the apron, as well!).

I’ve also been decorating for fall around the apartment, and thought I would share a few of my home dec pics, as I did a lot of DIY crafting!

Manle 1

The mantle is absolutely my favorite, I love having a fireplace to decorate this time of year. I made the “Happy Halloween sign” out of scrapbook paper, as well as the wreath. Originally, I was going to make this wreath from Martha Stewart using scrapbook paper instead of cutting up an old book (the horror!), but the paper I chose ended up being too blah. Luckily, I bought some faux leaves and those ended up being perfect to glue over the paper leaves British Boyfriend (TM) helped me cut out. I then glued these to a ready-made styrofoam wreath form that I had wrapped an autumnal ribbon around.

Front door

I also found the perfect wreath for our black front door. Isn’t it darling!? I love that it’s more a general fall wreath, so I can continue to use it throughout November.

Well, that’s it for now, kittens. I hope everyone had a happy (and safe!) Halloween!


1930s · Holidays · Outfit

Happy Independence Day!


For my US readers, Happy Independence Day! I whipped up some patriotic dessert (blueberry pound cake with strawberries, yum!) and introduced British Boyfriend (TM) to Pop-Its, something he’d never heard of nor used before (he also referred to America as “The Colonies” throughout the day, which was quite amusing).


I always try to dress vintage on 4th of July, and this year, decided to go for a 1930s casual vibe, as I’m working on a pair of reproduction beach pajamas for a vintage beach party I’m having next weekend (gah, so excited!!!). All of the clothing in this ensemble is modern, including the new red wedges I got from Modcloth (which, sadly, are no longer on their website).


I did a faux 1930s bob for my hair, which took a bit of time (it’s the same style I did for the 1930s murder mystery party I attended. Tutorial coming soon, I promise!), although the head scarf really helped with keeping it in place.


Hope everyone else had a fabulous 4th!

1850s sewing · Blogging · Contemporary Pattern · Finished! · Holidays · Modern Sewing · Musings · Pattern · Personal · Reenacting · Reenactments · Regency era costuming · Vintage

2012 – Sewing Year in Review

I thought it would be fun to do a sewing year in review, and when I saw the Top 5 of 2012 idea  on Kim-ing (who in turn got it from Crafting a Rainbow) I knew that would be a perfect way to reflect on my sewing projects from this year! So, here we go . . .

Top 5 Favorites

photo shoot 4

1. Red suspender skirt. I wore this one twice. Once at the 1938 picnic, and then again for my vintage photoshoot. I’ve always wanted a suspender skirt, and to have one in red that I made myself from a vintage pattern just puts a smile on my face.

Lauren 1

2. Graduation dress for Lauren. This was my first modern dress commission, and I’m so pleased with how it came out. Best of all, Lauren loves it and says she got so many compliments during her party, so yay!

Regency short stays

3. Regency short stays. So proud of myself for venturing into another era in terms of costuming, and I love that I used all natural, nerdy historic textiles for this one and made my own hand-made eyelets.


4. A frock for the end of summer. I love this little dress, and when I wore it downtown this past summer, I got so many lovely compliments.


5. My sheer-yoked Macaron. Love this cute little dress and I can’t wait to have another occasion to wear it to.

Top 5 Sewing Fails

1. Rachel Berry Halloween dress. You think I would have started this one sooner, but no. In my defense, I was still adjusting to working full-time.

DSCN4535 - Copy

2. Speaking of work, my next sewing fail is the skirt I made for work. I’ve only worn it once as the fabric has stretched (that’s what you get for using a cheap poly-blend that’s on sale).

corset laid out

3. Mid-19th century corset I made this past summer. I used cheap cotton sateen from Joanns and some of the bones were too long, so they kept popping out (despite the fact that I used cotton twill tape to bind it).

4. Not altering that red vintage dress in time to wear for my Christmas party. The bodice is a bit too big and will need a bit of work, so I wore a polka-dot dress instead.


5. My Regency dress for Bastille Day. I wore this one once and it looks like I’m being choked.

Top 5 Lessons Learned

1. I don’t need to have a new dress for every reenactment. This used to be a huge thing for me, and I would stress myself out the week before a reenactment to finish a new dress. I’ve learned this year that well put-together, historically accurate dresses (like my green wool fan-front) are worth the effort and will get more wear then something hastily thrown together.

2. You can’t care somebody into caring or love somebody loving. Not sewing related, I know, but it’s one of the huge lessons that I learned in 2012.

3. On a similar note, sometimes it’s best to let things go and do what’s best for you. I know that sounds selfish, and maybe it is, but, at the end of the day, you only get one life. I guess what I’m trying to say is: don’t give up your dreams for a boy. 😉

4. Ok, back to sewing now. I’ve also learned that I have too much fabric and will never have time to sew it all into fabulous things. I’ll probably be giving a lot of it away at some point . . .

5. Sorry! I can’t think of another lesson I’ve learned (I’ll blame it on the 3-day sinus headache I’ve had). If/when I do, I’ll add it to the comments, okay? Okay. 🙂

Top 5 Blogs/Bloggers that Inspire

1. The Fashionable Past by Katherine C-G. Katherine is an amazing costumer and I’m continually inspired by her productivity level!

2. Gertie’s New Blog For Better Sewing. Basically, this is my dream. Blog takes off and you get a book deal. Oh, and Gertie is also on sewing tv shows and wears fabulous repro vintage items that she’s sewn herself.

3. Vixen Vintage. I had the privelege of getting to meet Solanah this past summer at the 1938 picnic and she is every bit as fabulous in-person as she is on her blog. Solanah dresses vintage every day and she’s been one of my big style inspirations since I started getting into vintage style back in 2009.

4. Elegant Musings. I just adore Casey (in a fellow seamstress, vintage-enthusiast way).

5. And, finally, My Friends Are Married. Not necessarily a sewing blog (ok, it’s not at all a sewing blog), but it’s so hysterical and makes me not feel so bad about being single. 😉

Top 5 Goals for the New Year

1. Finish my UFOs! This includes the Rachel Berry Halloween dress, which is currently still in pieces.

2. Host a giveaway.

3. Wear more vintage and sew more with vintage patterns. I sorta got my feet wet (so to speak) with the suspender skirt, but I have a plethora of vintage patterns in my stash that I would love to use.

4. Write/film more tutorials. I have a ton of ideas for hair tutorials, which I’m really hoping to get filmed in 2013.

5. Move out of my parents house! 😉

Finally, this will be my last post of 2012 (fitting, don’t ya think?), as I’ll be taking a bit of a blogging break. If all goes to plan, I should be back next year (which is also coincidentally next week) with a giveaway! Until then, Happy New Year!

1850s · Holidays · Reenacting · Reenactments

Candlelight Christmas, 1859

Stringing popcorn!
Stringing popcorn!

Yesterday evening was my last reenactment of the year, Christmas at Fort Steilacoom. This event was a “candlelight” one, meaning that it took place at night, was solely 1st person (so, we stayed in character), and the audience was ignored. Not in a rude way, of course! The purpose in that is to make the audience feel as if they have actually time-travelled and are glimpsing upon the past.

Anyways, I wore my red wool basque (along with several other layers of wool), and green plaid shawl.


I had a really lovely time, playing the Colonel’s engaged daughter. We spent the evening lighting the Christmas tree (with real candles!), singing carols, and reading a letter from my fake fiancee. Oh, and after the event was over and all the spectators had left, we had an impromptu dance party. Yep, that’s how us reenactors roll.

I finally got my arse in gear and got my gits made (I ran out of time to complete them for last weekend’s Christmas event). I made both homemade gingerbread loaves using this recipe (the packaging is also Martha Stewart he hee) and Victorian needlebooks using the instructions in Fanciful Utility.


Speaking of Victorian needlebooks, head on over to The Sewing Academy if you’re interested in either making your own or winning one in a giveaway!

Also, in a random little note, this is my 100th post here on anna in technicolor! I’m thinking a giveaway may be in order. 😉

Holidays · Reenacting · Reenactments

A 19th-century Christmas


Yesterday was this year’s last event at Fort Nisqually, 19th century Christmas. This event is always one of my favorites, as everyone dresses up in their best 1850s garb (can you say plaid wool dresses!?) and the Fort is so beautifully decorated. That being said, this year’s Christmas event was bittersweet as it was the last one for our event coordinator, so there was a lovely little farewell party after the event.

Anyways, onto the costumes! I wore my green plaid fan-front dress, but embellished it with a bow I made from red silk taffeta. Also, the food was wonderful. Not only did I get apple pie . . . .


. . .  but there was also homemade mincemeat pie (with rum butter!) . . .


. . . and a Christmas pudding!

Our amazing cook setting the pudding ablaze for the ladies.
Our amazing cook setting the pudding ablaze for the ladies.

Anyways, I have another Christmas reenactment next weekend, although I’ll be doing 1859 this time! Hope everyone had a lovely weekend!

Holidays · Musings · Vintage

Why I won’t be making my Christmas party dress this year . . .

. . .  aka, why is it so hard to find red fabric without spandex!?

So, I’m having another Christmas party this year! Luckily, I have a co-hostess this time, so it should be a bit less work. With the activities planned out and food in the works, I started planning the most an important part of the event, which is my outift. I had high hopes of a red lace dress, like the one Chuck wears in the Pushing Daisies promos:

Luckily, Gertie has recreated this look, so I read through some of her posts about the process, which were incredibly helpful, especially this one about sewing with lace fabric.

Unfortunately, $150/yard red chantilly lace really isn’t in my budget right now (I would like to eventually move out of my parents house), so I started looking for alternatives after all of the affordable lace I could find was white, black, or cream. At first I thought I would do a vintage-inspired velvet wiggle dress, but all of the red velvet I found had spandex or something else stretchy in it. So, then I thought red wool, but that only comes in maroon or with some orange mixed in it, so there went my Joan Holloway plan:


Basically, I spent an hour looking at fabric and at the end wanted to rip my hair out.

It seems like good quality, affordable red fabric (without spandex!) is almost impossible to find these days. Which is really sad, because red is my favorite color. It could also just be that I’m shopping too early for red fabric and that come December more of it will be in stock. But, considering how long it’s taking me to complete sewing projects, that’s not really a risk I’m willing to take right now. 😉

Anyways, this story has a happy ending as, in the end, I turned to Etsy for a vintage Christmas dress, and I now have this little number on its way to me! The best part is that there’s lace on the bottom of the skirt, just like the original dress I wanted to make.

I went to the post office after work today, eagerly hoping it would be there for me to try on, but it wasn’t. Of course, my mother gave me the “do-you-really-expect-a-package-that-was-mailed-yesterday-to-be-here-today” look. So, maybe tomorrow. 😉

Holidays · Personal · Vintage

A Vintage Bird Beret and Small Business Saturday

First off, Happy Thanksgiving to all my US readers (and for non-US readers, hope you had a lovely Thursday!). I spent the day relaxing with family, doing just the right amount of cooking (I was responsible for the cranberry sauce and pumpkin cheesecake), and watching Skyfall (which made me miss London like crazy). Of course, I had to get dolled up, so I wore my red shirtdress, new black peacoat, and the latest addition to my wardrobe, my grey bird beret!

Bird hats are one of those quirky vintage style things that I love (Solanah even has a blog devoted to this very topic!), and when I found this hat last weekend while antiquing, I just had to have it. The birdie is made of beads, and there’s a little feather sticking out of the back.

Of course, I had to let Marshy try the hat on:

On a somewhat related note, as we enter the biggest shopping season of the year, I would just like to encourage you to support your local vintage and antique businesses and participate in Small Business Saturday! Part of the reason I’m able to continue with my passion for vintage is due to fabulous local stores that embrace the past.

Finally, I want to extend a huge apology for my lack of posting lately. I realize it’s not very becoming of a sewing blogger to post about their Halloween costume project, and then not blog again until Thanksgiving. To that, I can only say I am genuinely and sincerely sorry. I was almost at the end of finishing the Rachel Berry dress when I tried it on and realized that the waistline was not at my natural waistline, but an inch or so below a la the 1920s. So, the dress is currently in pieces. Besides that, I’ve been dealing with some stressful personal things lately (namely, I’m in the process of moving again for the 2nd time in the past 5 months) and have just not been motivated to sew. I’m hoping this picks up with all the holiday stuff I have planned to sew. 😉

Holidays · Modern Sewing · Musings · Personal

Another Rachel Berry Halloween Dress

First off, my sincerest apologies for such a long absence! Life has been crazy, made more so recently by the fact that my southern grandma has moved in. She’s an amazing woman, who was was born on a farm in Louisiana during the 1920s, grew up during the Great Depression, became a Rosie the Riveter during WWII and settled down and raised a family during the 50s and 60s. She’s basically experienced all of 20th century history and is such a priceless antique! 🙂

Anyways, Halloween is around the corner, and I’m finally starting on my dress. I’ve decided to go as Rachel Berry again this year (you may recall, I was her last year, as well), after seeing this little number:

I mean, she’s wearing a witch’s hat, how could I not!?

Anyways, after searching for quite a while for the perfect black and white striped fabric (most of them are home-dec weight), I finally found this! I just ordered it yesterday, and am hoping to get it in the mail soon!  In the mean time, I mocked up the bodice using Vogue 8723. I was very fortunate that it mostly fit (I just had to take some width out of the bodice). It’s a pretty standard, boring bodice mock-up, so no photos of that. 😉

What about you, readers? Anyone sewing their own Halloween costume?

Holidays · Modern Sewing · Refashion

Happy 4th!

For my US readers out there, happy 4th of July! I had a pretty relaxed day spent with the family, but I did get a chance to do some sewing in the morning. Anyways, I always try to dress both patriotic AND vintage on the 4th, and this year I wanted to wear pedal pushers. Even though I have the Colette Clover, I have so many historic sewing commissions I’m working on for other people that sewing time for me is a rare luxury. Since they really don’t sell pedal pushers these days (and vintage reproduction capris are *so* expensive), I decided to refashion a pair of cropped pants from Banana Republic that I thrifted last week for $4. It was so quick and easy to do, and an hour later, I had a cute new pair of pants!

Don’t worry, I’ll have a tutorial on how to do this up by Friday. 😉

Here are some more snapshots from the day:

My sister, the photographer:

My shoes are just too cute not to show. 😉

I picked some strawberries from my mom’s garden . . .

. . .  to eat with the strawberry shortcakes I made! Strawberry shortcake is one of my favorite desserts, and after trying numerous recipes, thisis definitely my favorite.

Hope everybody else had a lovely day!