Recreating Lizzie Bennet’s Brown Frolicking Frock

Recreating Lizzie Bennet’s Brown Frolicking Frock

“First, I must tell you how ardently I love this dress. From the moment I saw it, I never wished to be parted with it from that day on.”

If you’re as big a fan as I am of the 2005, Pride and Prejudice starring Keira Knightley and Matthew MacFadyen, you’ll recognize the above quote, though it is slightly altered. 🙂 There are a few films that I can play all the way through in my head, scene by scene and this is one of them. The other two are The Wiggles Magical Adventure, and The Apple Dumpling Gang. Take that information as you will.

Here’s my recreation of the opening title.

Fun Fact: the book Lizzie is reading as she walks in the opening scene is actually text from the last page of “First Impressions,” the original title Jane Austen put down for today’s Pride and Prejudice. The book I’m holding is a 1903 edition of Pride and Prejudice. I recently discovered that walking and reading at the same time is a skill yet to be acquired.

Keira Knightley, Pride and Prejudice, 2005.

Out of all the beautiful gowns in the film, this one is my favorite, and I instantly knew I had to make it for myself. After a LONG time researching and looking for the right materials (I went to so many fabric stores to find this exact fabric, and finally found it at a random Joann’s) I started to self-draft the pattern. As with any of my recreated film costumes, I always watch the movie it appears in as I sew. It’s a cool experience! Until the movie is over and there’s only half a bodice completed because Mr. Bingley is having a ball, Lydia has run away, and Charlotte Lucas is engaged to be married!

I looked at a LOT of still shots of Keira wearing this gown, and attempted to replicate (almost) every pleat, seam, and detail visible. The most important thing for me was getting the silhouette right. Long live trial and error. I also had the white blouse to figure out. I was about to start drafting a pattern when I realized that I already had a white blouse exactly like this. It even had the overlapping shoulder seams like the original. All I had to do was make a wider collar and hand sew it on, which I must admit, is already coming loose. That’s something I’ll have to fix.

A little disclaimer: this dress is not historically accurate to the era in which Pride and Prejudice occurs. It was designed by Jacqueline Durran, (who also designed the dreadfully inaccurate costumes for Little Women, 2019 which I despise and ranted about in this post. . . but let’s overlook that). As long as it is duly stated that this gown is not accurate to the regency times, we may continue. I may be a bit of a hypocrite, but I do believe Durran’s work in Pride and Prejudice proves much more historically accurate than in Little Women. Speaking as someone who has studied Victorian fashion, and not Regency.

This was absolutely the most fun day, running around in fields with my sister until sunset, playing the soundtrack to the film along the way, and saying almost every quote we could remember. I felt like I was in the movie. Although dressing like a fictional character from another century can definitely deliver you some odd looks, finger points, and quiet conversations as people walk away, it wasn’t as bad as I had predicted. Even in the mall afterwards, I didn’t seem to notice too many people questioning my attire, (yes, I went into a busy mall in this dress to pick up my other sister, and yes it was pretty fun).

A quick review of the opening scene.

I’m definitely not the first to recreate this design, nor the last. There are multiple YouTuber’s videos/tutorials out there that show the whole process of creating this gown, if you’re interested in making one of your own. Here are some of my tips for recreating this gown:

  1. Make sure your fabric is correct (I used a thin linen.) I’d also recommend buying it in person and not online. Photos and descriptions can be deceiving.

2. Make it a wrap dress. I’m not sure if this is specific to the original, but I think it’s a lot easier not only to make, but to put on and actually use as a functioning dress. I added ties to both the inside and outside flaps. The buttons aren’t really doing much.

3. Wear proper undergarments. I wore a cotton chemise, regency half-stays, and a white petticoat under the dress, but by all means you don’t HAVE to. (After all it’s not even a historically accurate dress). Putting on any ankle length skirt underneath should be good enough to fill out the dress properly and help with the flow of the fabric. But you definitely need something to help with the fullness of the skirt.

4. If you don’t feel comfortable drafting the pattern yourself or just hand draping it as you go, find some paper patterns that are similar to this design. Maybe you can find a separate one for the skirt, one for the bodice, and one for the blouse. Having a dress form really helped with draping; it’s nearly impossible to make a fitted garment without one.

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Which did you experience first: the book or the movie (or the 90s series in which I do not find favor)?

Who’s your favorite P & P character?

When was the last time you ran around in a field? If it wasn’t yesterday, my sincere condolences.

YouTube Channels Thou Mayest Enjoy

There art many a thing in which I am interested; therefore, I have acquired a large range of different YouTube channels that I enjoy. I thought I might share some of them, this first day of twenty-twenty-two. (Happy New Year, might I add.)

Here are three categories, Fashion and Sewing, Writing, and Other. Let me know if you already follow any of these channels and tell me some of your favorite channels right now. I’d love to check them out!

Loepsie

I’ve been watching Lucy’s channel for a LONG time, and she always puts out something new and fun for us to watch. She lives in the Netherlands and creates videos on historical and vintage hairstyling, sewing, and beauty. They’re my absolute favorite videos to watch while I’m working on sewing projects. If you love calm and relaxing content, this is for you! Two of my favorite videos of hers are:

Rachel Maksy

Also known as the Hobbit Queen, Rachel has a personality the size of Texas (although she lives in Massachusetts). Her channel blooms with old fashion aesthetics, exciting sewing projects, and vintage beauty tutorials. She creates projects inspired by The Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, Pride and Prejudice, Spiderman. . . it would take me all day to list them all. She recently bought an old farmhouse with her husband and Frodo (their dog). Here are two videos from her channel:

(Quick forewarning: this channel contains some occasional language, unfortunately.)

Karolina Zebroski

Karolina aka “Meme Mom” (from Poland) is a unique mix of vintage fashion and comedy. Between her regular videos about historical oddities, myth busting, and fashion, she films skits set in history that will definitely deliver some laughs. Although I’d have to say I disagree with a few things she says (about femininity/masculinity), her channel is still inspiring and lighthearted. Here are two videos she did that I really enjoy:

(Another occasional language warning for this channel.)

Shirinatra

Shirin lives in Germany and has the most glorious vintage wardrobe. She recently began her own clothing line and designed four beautiful dresses inspired by the 1950s. Her favorite actress is Audrey Hepburn, and you can definitely tell from her style. Her channel is about everything Old-Hollywood and is very laid back. Here’s a wonderful video from her:

Abbie Emmons

Abbie is a published author who is passionate about helping others live out their dreams of becoming an author. She talks a lot about the psychology behind storytelling and making the stories that we write matter to the reader. I really enjoy watching her videos, they get me excited about writing. Even though I don’t usually follow the 3-act story structure, I have gotten so much advice from Abbie’s channel. She also has a writing podcast with her sister, Kate, that I listen to on Spotify while working around the barn. (P.S. Of course, every writer is different and won’t agree about everything, or what a good story is made up of, so just feel free to take the advice that you find most helpful. I personally don’t agree with what they say in their podcast about spirituality, but their passion for writing inspires me in my writing and hopefully it will for you too!) Here are two of Abbie’s videos:

Micarah Tewers

Ok, this girl is actually crazy, she said so herself. Micarah is a former homeschooler (which kind of makes sense now) from Ohio who makes historical costumes in very unusual ways, on purpose. Her sewing tutorials involve measuring fabric out in lengths of candy bars and matchbox cars, proving her point that if you want to sew but don’t know how, IT DOESN’T MATTER, YOU CAN DO IT ANYWAY! She talks lightning fast, so if utter chaos and costuming mixed together sounds interesting to you, then you might like Micarah’s channel. This video below is my absolute favorite!

Beth’s Days

This channel is relatively new, as of yet, there are five videos up. Beth lives in England and has an apartment in a gorgeous historic mansion in the countryside. Her filming skills are absolutely amazing, and every shot looks as though it came right out of a movie. They’re the most calming videos to just sit and watch with a cup of something warm, or while working on a project. They’re quite literally the opposite of Micarah’s videos, action wise.

Crow’s Eye Production

This channel has a diverse range of content. Some videos are historical hair and makeup tutorials, some are photoshoot vlogs, and some are their most popular videos “Getting Dressed In. . .” where they explain the different styles and pieces to historical attire. They also released a WW1 drama series entitled, “Tell Them of Us” which I highly enjoyed! They do a fabulous job for being such a small production company. If history and amazing historical outfits are things you love, then you’ll probably love this channel, too.

Blimey Cow

Blimey Cow is a channel my family and I have watched for over a decade. The channel was created by two homeschooled brothers (Jordan and Josh Taylor) and their friends. Now fourteen years later, they’re both married, starting families, and able to support themselves very well with their YouTube channel. Every one of their videos are extremely relatable and just plain hilarious. Satire at its finest. They have a few different series like, Messy Mondays, Jordan’s Messages, Christian Meme Review, and Brother Brother Time. Good Christian content is hard to find, yet here it is:

Let me know if you enjoyed any of these videos. It would take a long time to watch them all, so it’s completely fine just to watch the ones most interesting to you.

What have been your favorite channels lately?

If you have a YouTube channel, put the link in the comment section so we can all check it out!

I Made Jo’s White Dress // Little Women 1994

I Made Jo’s White Dress // Little Women 1994

It was love at first sight. The glorious white dress worn by Winona Ryder (who, as we all know, played Jo March in the best film version of Little Women ever made) was clearly a moment of pure inspiration to my eyes. I strongly declared to myself, that one day, I would recreate it so that I might run through airy fields and wander in an ever deepening forest. And as of late, I am happily able to say that I’ve done all three of those things!

First, here are photos of the original dress, designed by Colleen Atwood:

Little Women, 1994. Costumes designed by Colleen Atwood.

If someone were to ask me how I made it, I would justifiably tell them, “I don’t really know.” I hand draped it piece by piece until it looked right, then sewed it together and voila! I didn’t use a pattern for any of the pieces (half because I couldn’t find any to use, the other half because I despise patterns). The sheer white fabric, I found on a four-foot roll at a thrift shop for $8. The under petticoat cotton was from Joann’s on sale for around $12. The blue ribbon was $4, and lastly the four buttons I used for the front closure and the cuffs, I already had. So in total, the entire dress cost was only $24 and about 10 hours of work. Some of the smaller areas, like the cuffs and front ruffles, I sewed by hand, but the rest was done by machine (except for the hem, because the sheer fabric is VERY thin and I didn’t want an ugly puckered line going around the bottom). I also purposely double hemmed it, making it too short so I wouldn’t get it dirty when I inevitably explored the countryside. If I ever want it longer, all I have to do is snip one thread and I easily gain two more inches at the bottom.

Once it was finally complete, I trekked to my favorite Civil War battlefield and lived out an entire day as Jo March. It was wonderful, until I realized the swarm of tics and crickets attached to my skirts! Nevertheless, such bothers can be quickly remedied. It was a magical day of seemingly endless joy and adventure. Sometimes it feels as though ordinary life is just the time we spend in between our last fairytale day and our next.

Carrying around my leather-bound copy of Charles Dickon’s Pickwick Papers made me feel like Jo all the more!

The dress was designed to mimic what we call a “chemise a la reine” or a “gaulle,” made popular by Marie Antoinette. So, give or take a few minor changes, this dress works for both the 18th and 19th centuries. Just change the ribbon, throw on an oversized straw hat with flowers and feathers, and you’re ready to step into another century! I’d say this style is a true classic in the category that is historical attire, with as much versatility as any other piece of clothing I can think of!

Of course, it’s not a perfect match and I don’t look much like Winona, but side by side, I’d like to say it’s a semi-good imitation of the dress! There will always be room for improvement, and my next project should be slightly better in both quality and resemblance (at least I hope).

The post would never be complete without a mandatory dress spinning shot.

Out of all the literary characters to exist in the world, I think that I connect with Jo March more than any other, even more than Anne Shirley or Lizzy Bennet, I’d say. Jo and I are both writers, we like to wear the same things, we have three other siblings, we’re both the second eldest, and we think very much alike. So, I’m glad that this dress was my first film recreation project, the first among many to come!

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Which film costume would you want to recreate most?

What film has your favorite costumes in it of all time?

Can you guess what costume project I’m working on next?!

Leave a comment!

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Megan Joy

Retro With a Chance of Flurries

Snow flurries! What can be better than snow flurries? Hot chocolate and a book by a warm fire, actually! But before you sip your steamy cocoa topped with marshmallows, you have to get outside and frolic in the snow a bit. So that’s exactly what I did.

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I was very excited to finally wear the new crinoline I ordered from Lindy Bop. It works perfectly with this skirt that I made last year. They have so many color choices of crinoline, but I chose classic white. Lindy Bop has a great vintage collection. If you love dressing vintage, wish to start, or just want to try it out, Lindy Bop is a great place to shop. I do suggest collecting all the things you want in your shopping cart, and then waiting for a sale because it’s definitely on the pricey side.

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My sister did my hair and added the bows. The whole day I felt like Minnie Mouse!

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While you may see me smiling in these photos, what you are not seeing is: me shivering nearly to death, my feet frozen in the snow, my hands turning red and numb, and me yelling, “It doesn’t matter if it’s in focus! Just take the picture so we can go inside!

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To match all the colors of my outfit, I wore my “I Like Ike” pin. I once wore it to the voting polls and the people in front of me thought it was funny. Comment below if you know what my pin means!

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Besides liking Ike, I also like this little snowflake, resting on my sweater, all by itself. It reminds me of that well-known fact that no two snowflakes are alike. Out of all the times it snows, and all the millions of snowflakes that make up a storm, none seem to be the same. Yes, this little snowflake is different, it doesn’t match another, and maybe it’s a little small among the countless other flakes, but it’s still beautiful. Just like us.

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skirt // made by me

sweater // target

shoes // old navy

crinoline // lindy bop

hair bows // (white) icing, red (christmas ornament)

pin // (i can’t remember)

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How much snow did you get this week?

What do you think about snowflakes being different?

Do you know what my pin means?

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Megan Joy

Diana of Avonlea // Victorian Outfit

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If you remember, in “Anne of Green Gables: The Sequel” Diana Berry wears something like this; a white blouse and a creamy off-white skirt. The outfit is plain and simple, yet glorious in all its splendor! I wanted to recreate the outfit, so I gathered some of my Victorian things to piece together.

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Diana wears another off-white dress in the cow scene!

Source

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I however, chose not to venture out into a muddy field for a photoshoot, so this will have to do!

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Anne also wears something like this in a scene with Gilbert.

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skirt // sewn by me

blouse // thrifted

shoes // thrifted

belt // sewn by me

underskirt // sewn by me

hat // thrifted

necklace // chicwish

parasol // civil war sutler

collar pin // thrifted

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Megan Joy

Quote of the Week // 33rd Week

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This quote is from the 1985 film, “Anne of Green Gables” (my all-time favorite movies!) and also from the book. If you remember, there is a scene where Anne and her school teacher, Miss Stacey are walking along the wooded road with books in hand. As they chat, Anne comes to the conclusion that, “Tomorrow is always fresh, with no mistakes in it.” In return, knowing of Anne’s past history, Miss Stacey answers: “Well, no mistakes in it yet.”

I found Anne’s quote to be so lovely and pleasant that I hand stitched it onto a piece of fabric. It hangs on my bedroom wall and I look at it every evening.

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After it had hung there for a day, I realized something about that quote. I realized that I had made a few mistakes in the stitching. Some letters were too big, others were crooked, and some of the flowers weren’t ideally perfect. I had made some mistakes and as I thought about it, those mistakes had carried over into the next day. The mistakes didn’t just fade with the sun, they continued to be mistakes throughout the days and soon, weeks. Was Anne incorrect in her assumption?

We all make mistakes, and unfortunately, they don’t just go away when the day is done. Sometimes we have to live with the consequences of our mistakes for days, months, or even years. But while I point this out, I must also include that I believe that what Anne said is actually true! There is a way that we can start over daily, a way to put the mistakes behind us, and carry on with a fresh view. All we have to do is ask the Lord to forgive us, to heal us, and to helps us continue on the right path. Lay your mistakes at the cross and He will give you strength to endure. There is no way to live a life without making mistakes, but there is a way to leave them behind and be renewed, with His help.

Psalms 55:22a says, “Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and He shall sustain thee:” KJV

1   Peter 5:7 says, “Casting all your care upon Him; for He careth for you.” KJV

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What are your thoughts on mistakes?

Do you like needlepoint/hand stitching?

Do you remember that scene from “Anne of Green Gables?”

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Megan Joy

SIY (Sew It Yourself) // Garden Dress

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I made this dress last summer for gardening. It was one of the easiest sewing projects I’ve ever done! The top quarter is elastic to make it stretchy, and you can find this kind of fabric at JoAnns or any fabric store for around $8 a yard, which is great because you only need 1.5 yards.

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I finally weeded my flower bed that I let overgrow for too long. The weeds choked all my flowers and only one bloomed this year. That’s what happens when I don’t keep up with the weeds. But next year will be better. . . I hope!

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P.S. Last week I wrote a post about my vintage key collection. I had asked if anyone could guess or count how many keys were in one of the photos and then put your answer in the comments! The winner is. . .

T.R. Noble over at Inside Cup! She guessed 68 keys and she was right!

Second place goes to Margaret from The Word, she guessed 69, just one away!

Don’t forget to check out their lovely blogs!

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Do you like gardening?

Did your flower/vegetable garden do well this year?

Do you like quick and easy sewing projects, too?

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Megan Joy

Sunday Bests // Nifty 50s

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What, another polka dot post?! Yes, indeed. You can never have too many polka dots. This 1950s outfit reminds me so much of “I Love Lucy,” my all-time favorite TV show!

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My Ginger Rogers moment, dancing atop a picnic table.

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Last night, I whipped up a crinoline to wear underneath the dress to make it fluffy. I still have to add a few more layers of tulle to make it puffier.

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dress // gift from my cousin

jacket // gift

shoes // payless

clutch purse // thrifted

dress crinoline // made by me

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What do you like about 50s styles?

Have you ever worn a crinoline under a skirt before?

Do you like “I Love Lucy?”

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Megan Joy

Starlight Blogger Award

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Hello again! I’m really excited to share the Starlight Blogger Award. It is passed between bloggers who wish to inspire others and who are a light to their readers. I actually hadn’t ever heard of this award before Megan, from Invisible World nominated me! She has such an inspiring blog filled with fictional writings and is even about to begin a writing challenge called “Flash Fiction!” Go check out her blog!

For this award, the first three questions to answer are passed along with the award, and the last three questions are made up by the nominator. On to the questions:

1) If you could describe or picture your inner soul, how would you describe it?

What a difficult question! I would say that if I could describe my inner soul, the words I would use would be: old fashioned, kindred spirit, dreaming enthusiast, and just simply me.

2) What are you working on right now?

At the moment, I have a few projects going. I am in the midst of writing a Medieval novel, knitting a scarf, renovating an old chicken coop into a writing space/movie set, creating a homeschool portfolio to sum up my last year of high school, and searching for the perfect summer job.

3) What is your creative dream project?

One of my creative dream projects is to make an hour-long movie of some sort, and send it to a film contest. Two other dreams of mine are to sew the perfect 1860s ballgown and to publish at least 10 books in my lifetime.

4) What activities or places inspire you?

The activities that inspire me are; writing, walking, reading, playing a musical instrument, people watching, car rides, and baking. The places that inspire me are; windows, parks, forests, big cities, beaches, attics, and old buildings.

5) If you could go anywhere in the world for free, where would you go?

If I could go anywhere in the world for free, I think the first place I would go would be Ireland. The second place would be Japan, and the third, South Africa.

6) Has a book/movie ever moved you so deeply that you carry a piece of it with you? (You had an epiphany while reading/watching or the theme seemed to encapsulate your life.)

I love this question! The answer is definitely yes! The Anne of Green Gables books and the 1980s movies have seemed to capture my heart from the first time I saw them. I have actually memorized the opening scene of the first movie by heart, which is the reading of Lord Tennyson’s “The Lady of Shallot.” I would recite it now for you but it would take much too long. Also, Little Women, and the 1994 movie will forever dwell in a special place in my heart. Both Anne of Green Gables and Little Women are just the two most wondrous things in my mind. They can make one forget their own troubles for a little while and invest in the character’s and create an imagery full of everything lovely!

Here are the rules for this award:

1.     Thank the nominator and add a link to their blog in your post.

2.     Answer Caroline’s 3 original questions as well as the three new questions your nominator has given you.

3.     Choose your 6 favorite bloggers and notify them of their nomination! When choosing your nominees, think of “the light emanating from the stars” – the blogger who truly touches your soul with their work, the ones who are a light to you – a true Starlight Blogger.

4) Include the logo of the award in your blog post. Also, never alter the logo photo or change the three original questions.

Starlight Blogger Award 05/30/2015

The Nominees:

Ruffles and Grace

Minnie Muse

Reveries

Scattered Journal Pages

Lauren’s Notebook

A Farm Girl’s Life

Questions to Answer:

Original Questions

1) If you could describe or picture your inner soul, how would you describe it?

2) What are you working on right now?

3) What is your creative dream project?

My questions for you:

4) If you were designing the perfect house, what would it look like?

5) Would you rather be inspired or be inspiring?

6) What is the most inspirational food to you?

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I’d love to hear anyone’s answers to these questions in the comments!

Megan Joy

Sunday Bests // Red, White, Blue, and Red

Hello friends! It’s the dawn of a fresh new week and time for Sunday Bests.

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This outfit turned out to be too much fun to wear. It’s the first time I’ve worn it because I just finished sewing it the night before! Yes, you heard me, I finally completed a sewing project! I say it like this because I’ve been known to start multiple sewing projects and then set them aside to finish later, which almost never happens. But this time I did it and am happy with the way it turned out.

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The blue denim fabric was once my Great Aunt’s. When it was given to me, I knew exactly what I wanted to make – this skirt.  The entire outfit was comprised of a red hat, white sweater, blue skirt, and red shoes (hence the post title).

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I used a vintage skirt pattern, added the two straps, and made them cross in the back, reminding me of a 1940s school uniform.

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Here are my newest shoes. They’re almost identical to my blue ones!

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I ran into many problems making this skirt. I messed up the cutting three times, miscalculated the amount of fabric I had and ran out, and had to resew many pieces for the lack of noticing that the bobbin had run out of thread. But now that it’s finished and wearable, I can’t help but to be proud of it. Sewing is remarkable to me. To hold a piece of fabric and then create an article of clothing to wear is quite satisfying; almost like after finishing a painting to display on the wall, performing a hard dance step, or reaching a high vocal note in a choir. I’ve noticed that the satisfaction of accomplishing our personal goals can let us forget the hardships we confronted on our way up to victory.

The many mistakes I made in the process of sewing this skirt were indeed my own fault, but I’m not sorry I continued to sew and eventually finish the skirt. I shouldn’t dwell on the mistakes I’ve made, nor be forever ashamed of them. This applies to more than just sewing. We can relate it to our lives.

Dwelling on the mistakes we’ve made in the past is a sure way to dampen our daily attitude and make us feel shameful, but there is something that can free us of feeling this way. Isaiah 43:18 says “Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old.” KJV. This verse tells us to stop worrying about the past and to forget about our mistakes. Now this doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t learn from our mistakes nor acknowledge them. It does mean that we should stop worrying about the things past us and look to the future. We need to remember the victories and goals that God has helped us accomplish throughout our lives.

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Just like I made mistakes while sewing this skirt, I make mistakes in life. We must all choose to first learn from our mistakes, and then let them go. God is a forgiving God, and His Word tells us to be relieved of our burdens of guilt from the past. We can feel free and new. 2nd Corinthians 5:17 says “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” KJV

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Skirt // sewn by me

Sweater // thrifted

Shoes // Old Navy (clearance)

Hat // thrifted

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“Do you like sewing things to wear, too?”

“Is there a mistake from the past that is worrying you?”

“What helps you to forget the past?”

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Megan Joy