Smiling Bears And Happy Penguins

IMG_0678Just imagine my smile when I saw this fabric with polar bears and penguins on it…fun! You have to know that these are some of my most favorite animals–bears, especially of the polar variety, because they’re just cute, and penguins because they waddle, and animals that waddle amuse me a whole lot (also, bears waddle, too). Anyway, I saw these smiling bears and happy penguins and couldn’t resist. (Plus, there are baby bears–or, as I often call them, “little guys”!) Their cuteness combined with a thought I had of making a practical apron to use at home when doing the dishes or baking inspired me to purchase just enough of the cotton yardage to make an apron. I spent way longer than was really necessary looking for just the right fabric for contrast options. I looked at all sorts of blues and tans but found nothing right… so I settled on black and white. And it’s perfect!

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I used my refreshing apron as a general guide, though I made a few changes: less fullness in the skirt, a shorter length, and ties that tie at the neck and waist rather than crossing in back. After I had the project on the brain, I was using a lovely green print fabric to make some accessories for the house when I decided that I would need extra of it to make another apron! This one used small scraps of raspberry pink cotton as accents. It’s fun to have a reason to use this color pink and with the brocade style pattern on it, too.

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Both aprons required piecing the contrast bands to have enough fabric, but I did an incredibly meticulous job lining up the pattern repeats so they aren’t very noticeable (yes, I really care that much–can you spot any seams?). It’s also why the contrast bands are different widths from apron to apron–I just used what I had and made it work. It’s so satisfying to use up the last small bits of a fabric.

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Refreshing Proof (Chelmsford Regency Ball 2013)

What a day! It started with 1950s adventures: brunch at a 1950s diner, photos in the great outdoors, and roller skating. I was exhausted by the time I had changed into my red Regency ball gown and wrangled my super hair sprayed hair into a Regency style. But I did get photographic proof that I made good use of my new Refreshing Apron and that I was able to wear my new red and gold tiara.

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Refreshing in a tiara and apron.
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While preparing the refreshments someone realized we didn’t have a knife to cut the pound cake. That didn’t stop us for long, though, because it’s entirely normal for the men in our group to have swords in the car. All that was required was a quick walk out to the car to get one, and just like that we were back in business!
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One of the pretty cards labeling the refreshments.

The ball was a huge success. I think there were about 70 attendees, which quite filled up the room we were in. There was live music played on a piano, cello, and violin. People seemed to really enjoy themselves.

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A view of the crowded room.
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Dancing a country dance.
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I was so busy dealing with refreshments I didn’t get to dance much, which was a little sad, but this was one of the dances I was able to dance.
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Couples dancing a Regency waltz.
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More waltzing.
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People were very well dressed and it’s always fun to look at the clothing people who are new to one’s acquaintance.
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One of our friends made a new dress for herself as well as a friend who was visiting and attending the ball. So kind!
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And there were a surprising number of new faces. This group of young men requested a picture with us, and we obliged.
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I’ll leave you with this further, slightly artsy, proof of my new tiara being worn.

A Refreshing Apron

Rather more often than I would like, there are trying times in my well dressed historic life when I volunteer/am obliged to help with refreshments at an event after already being dressed in a fabulous ball gown. “Danger! Danger!” is the cry that should be shouted high and low, but, alas, in the past I have had to hope for the best without protection for my dress.

Granted, I’ve never had an awful accident happen. And though it’s possible I sound disgruntled, I’m quite willing to help with refreshments, even if I’m already dressed. There was a single incident a few months ago, however, when a small bit of unwanted refreshment related stain-age made its sneaky way onto my dress. I was super, super grumpy!!! And I decided, at that point, that I needed protection going forward!

I’ve finally acted upon my decision and sewed up a Refreshing Apron to wear over my dress when helping with refreshments! I’m quite pleased with it and excited to put it to use at some point in the future. I’ll have to get a picture when I’m wearing it over a dress, but for now, I’ve got pictures of the apron on Squishy.

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My new Refreshing Apron!
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And the back. Isn’t it so cute???

I wanted the apron to meet the following conditions: have a full skirt so it can work over everything from Regency to Civil War with maximum coverage, be easy to pattern and easy to sew, and be cute–I really wanted the crossed back. The apron is machine sewn everywhere, except for the ends of the ties and the buttonholes. Yes, the buttons and buttonholes are functional! Perfect for getting the apron on or off with large or elaborately styled hair!

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Hand sewn buttonholes and a close-up of the print.

The entire apron is made of rectangles. The skirt is 3 rectangles seamed together, the  bib is a rectangle, and each tie and strap is a rectangle. I used about 2 1/4 yds of printed cotton from my stash, and now I can’t seem to remember the width. 45″ sounds pretty plausible for a printed cotton.

The print is rather red up close, but from a distance it blends with the white background and looks more pinkish. I rather like the grown up pink look! I’m guessing I’ll have opportunities to wear this in October or November…