Monday, March 17, 2014

Period Film Game {1} Answers and Scores

I'm afraid that I didn't explain things very well last week. So, not many people joined in the game. But I'll be posting another soon so that those who weren't sure can come back and join in. It's so much fun!!!

Below are the individual answers and at the bottom are the individual scores :)

The Young Victoria (2009)

My Fair Lady (1964)

Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1954)

Jane Eyre (2011)

Pride and Prejudice (1995)

Emma (1996)

Little Dorrit (2008)

The Help (2011)

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (2011)

Sense and Sensibility (1996)

The Scores

Paige-90 pts.
Heidi P.-80 pts.

Sorry if it seemed like that Sherlock Holmes cap was a wild-card. But I do enjoy doling out challenges!!! I hope you will participate next time and let your other period-film junkies know, too!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

HSF '14: Challenge #5-Bodice

I'm sure rumors have been spreading, but I did, in fact, finish HSF Challenge #4, though it was late and completely different than the original plan :P Yeah, it was kind of a disaster. I had planned on making, at the very least, a chemise and a pair of Georgian stays but I made my stays all wrong and didn't even get to the chemise at all. Soooo, I just ended up replacing the straps on a vintage 1930s cotton slip I had in the ole' mending mountain, a day late and didn't end up posting about it at all. Thus, my plans to create a 1760s bodice and begin building my Georgian wardrobe completely fell apart...

I went onto the fabulous HSF Facebook page and asked my fellow HSF-ers if they knew of a good place to get 1930s patterns. I got overwhelming responses and found some incredible pattern suppliers that I had never heard of! But I ended up buying from Etsy (which I didn't expect, at all). Enter "Mrs. Depew" and her fabulous Etsy shop. Her beautiful French 1930s draft-at-home blouse pattern was exactly what I was looking for! And it was nicely priced, too.

Mrs. Depew's patterns seem extremely confusing at first. The French method of drafting in the 1930s that the pattern uses seemed, at first glance, to be cruel and unusual, but once I got the hang of it, everything made sense. It's quite ingenious, actually.

I constructed a toile first and foremost. That would be the biggest tip I would give to anyone using Mrs. Depew's patterns. Human error accounts for most of the mistakes I made (it was only my first experience with the system) and I'm so glad that I made a mock-up first. That was made of red calico with tiny white polka-dots. I trimmed it with red gingham ribbon. I did finish it completely but it's not my favorite. Marley took some pictures for me but I modeled it with a khaki skirt that is now too big for me (which is both exciting and annoying because now I have to alter it). Also, the shoulders ended up being way too wide and since the back was shorter than the front, I decided to chop the front even and add a waistband. The waistband was too long and small so it really doesn't fit very well right now and it's certainly not flattering so I'll only include one small picture below for the curious ones.

I didn't include the crossing straps
This blouse is one of the first items I've made that I am absolutely in love with! The fit is perfect and I feel so elegant and ladylike in it. I made it out of a $2 vintage, pleated skirt I thrifted. I couldn't even believe that I got almost 2 yards out of it! But I barely had a single scrap left. Use the whole buffalo, says I! 

I did make a few modifications to the pattern. After I had the sleeves basted on, I decided that I wanted the shoulder to be narrower to accomodate my narrowish shoulders. The predominating look of the 1930s was wide shoulders (usually padded), a narrow waist and an overall elongated, graceful figure. I didn't want to lose that essence with the shoulders but I didn't want to look goofy and clownish either. So, I let the drop-shoulder remain but dialed it back a few notches :)

The only other problem I ran into was that again, the back ended up being shorter than the front. I agonized over this problem longer than I should have, but eventually decided to create this little peplum to make up for the 3" difference. And I love the result! Way better than just a plain old straight seam!!! And, instead of drafting a sleeve band, I did a single box pleat and just turned the hem under, so it's still puffy.

In the end, I was so excited, I almost squealed! I love the fitted almost-princess seams that I have dubbed "diamond-seams", because the shape they create is a diamond, in essence. And the crossed bands in the front add such a nice touch of elegance to an otherwise simple and plain design.

I also made the gray skirt, but that was a month or two ago and not challenge-specific.

 The Challenge: #5-Bodice

Fabric: 2 Yards (give or take) Knit Rayon?
Pattern: Mrs. Depew 1049
Year: 1933
Notions: Thread
How historically accurate is it?: 100%!
Hours to complete: 3 or 4ish
First worn: Today's Photoshoot
Total cost: $2 for the skirt and $7.50 for the pattern=$9.50
Crossies!!! ;)

I hope you enjoy it as much as I do! Have a lovely evening!!!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Playing Up Neutrals+Book of the Week

It's my first outfit post! Yaaay!!! I have been inspired by so many lovely modest fashion blogs lately, that I thought it was high time, after 5 years of blogging, I join in the fun and share my style :) And with today's outfit post, I'm also starting a new tradition: BOOK OF THE WEEK! 
But first, the outfit...

When wearing neutrals, it's important to include a splash or two of color to keep from looking drab. Oftentimes, even a tasteful, nicely pressed outfit can take on a frumpy tone if there is lack of color. Today, the basis of my outfit is a beige sweater with a denim-style linen maxi skirt. That's the "cake". The "frosting", or accessories, are a multi-animal-print scarf and a belt. The color to play up all these neutrals comes courtesy of rusty-red wedges (I know they look like flats; the wedge is only about an inch tall). 

 ::Outfit Specs::
:Beige Sweater-Old Navy (Thrifted):
:Linen Maxi Skirt-Saint Tropez West (Thrifted):
:Scarf-Flower Factory:
:Shoes-Wanted (Thrifted):

And the book of the week is "Mother" by Kathleen Norris. This is one of my favorite books of all time! You may remember that I mentioned it for the Literary Heroine Blog Party . I have read this book three or four times over the past several years and still can't get enough! The sweet redemptive story of this potently pro-life book written in 1911 touches my heart again and again. 

"Mother" recounts several years of Margaret Paget's life in the early 20th Century and her introduction into secular society, away from the small town and large family she grew up in. As the personal secretary of the famous Mrs. Carr-Boldt in New York City, Margaret flourishes, feeling that her talents are finally getting the recognition they deserve. But all around, her morals and beliefs are questioned and everything her Mother taught her is brushed aside by society, considered "old-fashioned notions". They say children are a neusance, husbands should be kept in their place and a woman should not be expected to drudge her existence away as a housewife. Margaret must learn the hard way that though "society" has rejected the Biblical model of womanhood, the principles that her Mother taught her will always stand firm.

I recommend it for girls ages 12 and up. The language in the book is antiquated (which may make it difficult to grasp for younger readers, though it's certainly not Shakespeare!) and the subject matter may be a bit mature for young girls (the question is raised "how many children are too many?" and, as many of the secular, feministic viewpoints of our bereaved culture are discussed, it may confuse young girls). It would be a refreshing and encouraging read for mothers, especially young mothers who are adjusting to their new role in the sphere of the home.

What do you, dear readers, think of my outfit? Have you read "Mother"? Should I continue with "Book of the Week"? Do we really need the color chartreuse? Did you look that word up in the dictionary? Let me know what you think and comment below! Or email me at missmckennaray[at]gmail[dot]com. Have a beautiful day!

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Period Film Game {1}

I have had so much fun participating in Old-Fashioned Charm's Period Drama games, I decided to bring the fun here!

Here's how the game works. Below are a selection of screen-caps from period drama/action films. The goal is to correctly name as many of the films as possible. Comment with your answers. You can earn 10 points for every answer you give correctly!

Get it? Excellent! For this first round, I'm going to make it easy. Remember, you can earn 10 points for each correct answer for a possible 100 points! I will post the answers alongside the scores next week. Ready. Set. Go!











Have fun and leave feedback!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Book Review: "Ellen" by Heidi Peterson

“As the young wife of a sea captain, Ellen lives cheerfully and faithfully. Then tragedy strikes and all that she has–and is–is put through testing fire. Bound up with her story is that of Pierre–an urchin off the streets of a far-distant city shipping out on a great adventure–and also that of his captain–a man seeking to snatch safety for his men whatever the cost to himself.”

Ellen is the newest addition to my library and I am proud to place it among my beloved family of books. Just like the members of a family, all books have different personalities. Different stories; lives of their own. I don't judge books by covers. If I did, my dilapidated copies of Little Women and An Old Fashioned Boy might not have made it to the place of honor they hold on my shelves. On the outset, Ellen might seem like just another shoddy attempt to remake Jane Austen but it most certainly isn't. 

 An instant classic, this skillfully crafted story of a young woman living in 19th Century England, captured my heart and encouraged my Spirit. I have read "Christian" books that tell an otherwise secular story and slap a few Bible verses and some nice sayings on the top like an afterthought. Refreshingly, Ellen starts with sound Biblical principles and builds a story to support it. 

I have little to gripe about. I'm no Simon Cowell but I will speak the truth, though I haven't much of anything ill to say. The main flaw I found with the story is that the principal characters seemed a bit too perfect. Thus, the main flaw is no flaws. Though the main characters are relatable and were created, I think, with the intent to be an example of excellence, only one of them had any of his personal faults exposed and he was a child in need of guidance. Also, though the book stands on the legs of a solid story, I felt that some of the details were not expounded upon as they had the potential to be. 

However, a book should not be defined by its faults. I think that, like a food critic, though the plating gets points, the flavor of the dish is what should be the focus. The flavor (the plot) of this dish (book) is delicious, nourishing and satisfying, though the plating (minor details) could have been improved. I hope that made sense. Overall, Ellen is a charming, encouraging and inspiring story. I recommend it for girls ages 12 and above, as it deals with some mature concepts like grief, pregnancy and deprivation but it serves as a lovely introduction to antiquated language as well. I hope that you snatch up an opportunity to read this book! I know I'm so glad that I did.

Heidi Peterson is a daughter and sister living at home with her family in the American mid-west. As such-and among other things-she enjoys gardening, photography, fiddling, ethnic cookery, history, literature and word craftsmanship. Visit her website at