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Wednesday, July 20, 2016

In Love With Clema W.

Wearing my "So Betty" Clema W. Dress 

I was recently contacted by Erin of Clema W. , on Instagram asking if I would represent her company and help promote via my blog and other social media accounts, and after checking out her web site and spotting the beauty above, how could I say no?! Erin helped me figure out sizing, and we determined I would size up and then have my local alterations place take in the upper half for me as I was between sizes, this is not unusual for me and as I was receiving the dress as a gift for promotion it for her, paying out a small fee to get a custom fit, was not a problem.  It was not too long after I received the beautiful dress... I was instantly impressed.

I receive clothing on a pretty regular basis, for promotional purposes, and some, well some, are not nearly the quality as the dresses that Erin creates. The fabric is of a beautiful weight, and to top it off she goes so far as to line the dresses, a nice added touch. It zips up the back, which I prefer to the under the arm zipper, so I could step right into it and it was low enough I could zip it myself. Because I sized up, it was roomy, but not too much in the waist and the skirt being a bit fuller cut ( as her slogan says " Retro Inspired, Modern Fit" ) it fit nicely through my hips.That being said, the skirts line is a bit more narrow than the full circle skirts I typically wear, being a bit more late 1950's to early 1960's in style. It still very much falls into my style pocket, so that was ok with me.    The length was modest, as a retro dress should be, but not too long. The first day I wore it, I actually fit in a petticoat, but it was not needed...I just wanted to try it out. The stitching was perfection, nice and even as was the bottom line of the skirt. The darts and pleats added really nice detail to a basic fuller skirt shift dress. I really liked the waist band as well which helped create a bit of a blousing effect to the bodice. The best part?? Well, yes, the print, but the dress, as all Clema W. dresses have, is the pockets! Who does not like pockets??  Like I said overall I was very impressed and given the chance I would be happy to purchase another one of her creations. Erin has plenty of fabric choices and though all the dresses are similar in style, the fabrics really change the look and feel of each one. From kitschy to classic there is a print for everyone, and you do not have to be a retro gal like myself to enjoy wearing one of her creations. 

The weight of the fabric is heavier, but not so much that it weighs you down,
even lined, but heavy enough that it gives a lovely drape. 

The "So Betty" print, running dangerously low

I asked Erin to give me a brief bio/background about herself and her company, but she is a bit shy, preferring to stay behind the scenes and the sewing machine, so she in her own words, " paid...ok begged" her friend Kate to do it for her. That made me giggle, as my middle daughter, the creator/artist and true owner of Housewife Chic By Ruby also enjoys being the "wizard behind the curtain", so find below the brief below, then I shall share all the fun photos I took on location at Big Trees National Park. 

"Although there’s nothing Erin won’t try her hand at sewing — past projects include countless ice-skating costumes, RV curtains and cushions, Halloween costumes and a travel surfboard bag — the Clema W. dress line recalls her roots as a seamstress. The original Clema was Erin’s grandmother — and her inspiration.
Erin learned to sew in grade school, starting with Barbie clothes. By the time she entered high school, she was sewing her own clothes and, as a sophomore, she took her first commissioned job and hasn’t stopped since. Then, she shared one sewing machine with her mother and her sister. Now, she owns five that she doesn’t have to share with anyone, and she uses them to sew each Clema W. original dress.
Clema W. dresses project a fun attitude, with a retro, rockabilly flair in both their design and their fabric. The original patterns are designed to be crisp, clean and simple — and the whimsical fabrics compliment that style.
The Juliee is waisted pattern, gathered at the bust and available in standard sizes from 2 to 14. The Shannon, with its solid front, is available in standard sizes from 2 to 22. Both dresses have wonderful deep pockets that are necessity for all dresses in Erin’s opinion."

Now The Photos....
Even with this view, the Clema W. dress
stands out! 

Scoping out good photo locations 

Big Trees National Park is the perfect place to spend a Summer day, and this dress from Clema W. is the perfect dress to wear while doing so! 

Helping some "tourists" Just like Clema W.'s slogan of "retro meets modern..".
the same is true for this photo.

Just to show what it looks like with a petticoat....

My Current Favorite Fabrics on Clema W.
subject to change as some sell out and others become available.

Time for lemonaid

Vintage Garden

You can find Clema W. on FB ...Click HERE.
and Instagram...HERE
Photos of dresses where I am not wearing them and Logo are all property and used with permission of Clema W.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Topping It Off ~ Hats!

all hats and photo rights belong to Morgana Creely and Hats by Morgana 

I have been taking some time off to spend quality time with my family and to celebrate my 50th birthday. Knowing this I asked a few friends to send me guest blog posts all through July and the latest is from a lovely lady Morgana who lives in Australia and just so happens to also be the very talented milliner that created the "Ruby Hat" that I did a blog about a few months ago...she also supports me via technical help on my You Tube Ruby's Musings channel! 

The Ruby hat by Morgana of Hats by Morgana 

Hats That Match Your Style and Era ....

I am a huge fan of hats and very rarely leave the house without one. However it wasn’t always that way, and it took me a little while to find hats that fit both my own personal style, and my vintage era.

I have always loved Dior’s New Look (1). Launched in 1947, it was all pleated swirling skirts, accentuated waists, tailored jackets and beautiful hats. Ah those hats! Large stylish saucers and beautiful coolies (2).

My standard wardrobe is full circle skirts and petticoats; I have bright hair and colourful ink. Yet I was quite timid and self-conscious when I started wears hats in public. When I first started wearing hats I didn’t have the confidence (or the budget) to wear big statement pieces,  so started small with pillbox hats, and then moving on to lovely smaller 1950s headpieces.
I dreamt (and still do) of owning a New Look style saucer (owning the real thing is just too much to contemplate!) A couple of months ago I saw a beautiful example in amazing condition on an online auction site. I wanted this hat so badly and bid as high as I dared, but it wasn’t to be. For some reason this particular hat spurred me on. “Damn it” I thought, “if I can’t have this one I will find another one just as amazing!” In hindsight the odds really should have been against me, and yet in the tradition of the best fairy tales, unbelievably I did!

A beautiful blue 1940s hat with a gorgeous pleated front brim – in really great condition; for an affordable price and the international postage wasn’t a deal breaker! Surely this was meant to be!
This hat was a really important addition to my hat collection, because it was the very first “big” hat that I felt comfortable in. I’d tried large sun hats, Dutch bonnets and other large hats but I felt swamped, overwhelmed, and more than a little silly. Somehow the beautiful styles from the 1940s were different.

I will never stop wearing the lovely little mid-century hats that I love so much, and it’s really great to have a couple of general day to day hats I can grab at a moment’s notice. But I am really cherishing growing into the lovely larger hats, as my style and my confidence both grow.
It’s not just about the shape and size of the hat that suits you; it’s your comfort level and confidence too. Don’t be afraid to start small and see where it takes you. 

Me having Fun with Hats.....
I wish I had brought this one home....

This one was so unusual and fun, but I passed it up....
Hubby ended up getting it for me for my birthday! 


I recently was accepted as a Honey Bee affiliate of  the retro clothing company Heart Of Haute! I in all honestly only own one of their dresses. I have yet to have a chance to wear it, but plan a photo shoot very soon. I do however swoon over most of their offerings. I have never tried to monetize this blog but when the chance came to support this company and spread the word and maybe, just maybe get a little cash towards purchasing another one of their creations I decided to jump at it.  IF you want to check them out and choose to make a purchase by following this link that could happen... so thank you ahead of time. 

click HERE

Thursday, June 23, 2016

50's Princess for a Day ~ Tale of a Special Skirt

Introducing Sarah .......

You ever have one of those days, perhaps weeks? It has been that way for me for a couple of months. I am not sure what has caused the malaise, even venture to say indifference to a lot of things in my life at the moment and even myself. I would prefer to stay in PJs most days. They are cute but not very fashionable, even tho I have plenty of pretty clothing, none of it was singing to me recently. and then a sweet doll who goes by the name "Pink Macaroon" on Instagram contacted me and asked if I would be open to receiving one of her skirts to help her launch her new business making them for others. I first off never turn down kind offers of free clothing ( what woman would?) , but when I found out that it was not going to be just another circle or gathered skirt, but something truly special that would be created with a touch of hand stitching, how could I not leap at the chance. 

Sarah, that is her real name, Sarah Bennett as a matter of fact, told me that she was going to be making skirts with pockets made from squares of fabric that she had found, that were hand embroidery floral designs, and sent me a photo of a selection of choices. She told me to pick my favorite and tell her what color I would like my skirt to be to go along with the pocket square. I will not lie, it was very hard, the greedy girl in me wanted each and every one!! Each one was so very pretty and well done, and reminded me of the embroidery that my Grandmother once did and that for a time, as a young girl, I did myself ( only not nearly as good) ; I finally did choose one however. My choice? A lovely Lupine bloom, which was the most divine shade of dark purple with tiny details of yellow and white and deep, rich green leaves...memories of growing up on the family farm as a child playing among fields of just such flowers was the clincher for me. I then decided on the most pale, yummy shade of buttery yellow to be the skirt fabric of choice and once details were discussed, it was time to wait for the creation to arrive. It was so very hard to wait, I was quite excited. Just as I waited to see the skirt, I am going to make you wait a little bit while Sarah shares a bit about herself and her new business. 

Sarah, would you share how you got into vintage/retro....

I've always loved the 1940s/50s. My fascination with bygone eras started as a child; I would look at photos of my grandma wearing gorgeous clothes in NYC in the 1940s... she had such a fantastic wardrobe! I also remember seeing portions of Singing in the Rain and White Christmas on TV and thinking that the clothes and music were just fabulous.

I began sewing vintage reproduction dresses for myself after I finished grad school so that I could dress in a vintage style... back then, vintage and retro were not as popular as they are now, and buying and selling vintage on Etsy didn't even exist (if it did I didn't know about it!) 

A few years ago, I joined the Instagram community and began following many vintage sellers. I became intrigued by the idea of hunting down vintage pieces myself and opened my own Etsy shop, CarlaSue Vintage. I sell both vintage as well as my vintage inspired handmade pieces.

Tell us more about your handmade clothing....

I love creating one of a kind pieces! I always feel more inspired when I have a specific "muse" in mind. I use vintage construction techniques such as hand sewn hems, lapped zippers, and pinked seam finishes in my pieces. I often use vintage buttons, zippers, thread, and even vintage fabric. It's a great way to recycle and helps to give my pieces that almost "magical" quality that I love about vintage clothes.

So before I share the photos, that I hope do justice to your beautiful creation tell my readers about the skirt you created for me.....

I found a collection of beautifully embroidered vintage squares some time back and thought that they would make marvelous skirt pockets. When an opportunity came up to collaborate with Ruby's Musings, I knew that this was the perfect opportunity to make my vision come to life! I have several more squares available and am taking custom orders for these one of a kind skirts. 

Well I am very honored! Truly.... Where can others contact you about getting their own skirts and your other designs? 

                                    They can always contact me via Etsy CarlaSue Vintage

A Very Special Skirt.....

Final Thoughts...

From the moment I opened the package and took a close look at the skirt I noticed that it was the highest quality of creations that I have received to date. The stitching was so fine, so perfect, the details from the adjustable waist ( a personal request) to the little touches like the tiny snap closures, and a perfect yellow button, the even and carefully done hem, and the fullness just right and the carefully stitched pocket...all of it just ever so lovingly done with care. When I slipped it on, it fit like a Malco Modes Ivory petticoat was a perfect match!  I happened to have a cute blouse that I had purchased at a local thrift shop that was a close enough to match the flowers on the pocket, and when paired with white shoes, gloves and belt it just all came together. I added a pop of green in my vintage leather handbag and a golden touch to my ears in the form of antique pearl earrings, and tied it all together with my Housewife Chic wine brooch....ready to face the day. 

I felt like a pretty 1950's princess and as it soon turned out, others saw it as well as it soon became a regular comment to say that I looked like Snow White! I did not mind and I knew that in the future this would be my outfit for when I go to Disneyland in September, and I have Sarah to thank for that and the occasional posting of a "will collaborate" image on my Instagram feed. I hope that opportunities will come up again to work with Sarah in the future, at the very least own a few more purchased creations from her skilled hands and self proclaimed perfectionist eye. Thank you Sarah for making me feel like a pretty 50s princess for a day! 

Photos taken at the Amadore Flower Farm in Plymouth Ca. 

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Picnic Under the Stars

“Mishap at the Picnic” by Harry Ekman c. 1950s

This past Saturday night hubby and myself decided to have a dinner picnic under the stars. This was not a random decision. It so happens that a local winery, Peirano Estate in Acampo Ca. was having a showing of the 1959/1960 classic version of Little Shop of Horrors on the grounds of their winery and tasting room. An evening under the stars, among the grape vines, sipping fine wine , eating our yummy picnic meal and snacking on fresh popped butter pop corn. What could be better ? 

Ready for a lovely picnic under the stars ...wearing
my The Bonnit to protect my hair from the breeze
Of course I wore a Housewife Chic Little Shop brooch....available by special order.

Promises of things to come....
Beautiful and peaceful grounds greet visitors at Peirano 


Always a good sign.....
Skirt by Kitschy Kitty"s Clothing Shop 
Blouse by Moisellea Moureux 

close up of skirt fabric 

We were greeted by the jazz band Symposium 

Our supper, a version of Chicken and Waffles, made with a extra thin wheat pancake, not quite crepe, not as thick as a pancake, a marscapone and maple spread and crunchy chicken fillet.
The grounds at Peirano Estate are breath taking

Lord Blood Rah of Nerve Wrackin Theater fame was our host for the movie. 
Of course I had to have a photo taken with the Lord of ceremonies 

A glass of fine wine among the vines

Date Nite 
Taking time to enjoy the view .....

As the sun sets a natural retro filter occurs.....

Extra Extra ..... Review .....

 Recently a company out of Canada by the name of The Bonnit  offered me a pack of their rain bonnets..I had already ordered a set, but they were nice enough to send me an extra set in another print from what I had ordered. I was excited to get them. I had for so very long been searching for a good rain bonnet like what my Grandma used to have and so when I started spotting many of the retro ladies I follow on Instagram sporting these little gems, I knew I had to have them. 
In each package you get a clear bonnit trimmed out in black and then a cute print on the other and they come packaged two to a little carry pouch. I now have both a leopard as well as the one with the stars on it, seen above. They are well constructed, fit perfectly over a variety of hair styles...and as I found out they not only protect your hair from rain, but wind as well....of course not meant for really hot and sunny days...but this one served in a pinch and did not smoosh my hair as a normal scarf or hat would do. They are reasonably priced, even with the conversion difference and shipping costs from Canada. You can count it as Ruby's Musings Approved.