When I found this vintage red dress I almost squealed. This is the kind of dress that you dream of finding but never do, or when you do, it’s badly damaged or costs hundreds of dollars! But this treasure, and a bunch of others that are equally as charming, found me about a month ago! There is a local thrift shop that changes its name so frequently I honestly don’t know what it’s currently called, but the proceeds all go to help women in the community! So it’s one of my favorite places to donate to and to source vintage clothes from!
When I saw it, I quickly prayed that it would be big enough to fit me! Then wheeled Ansel’s stroller right in to the dressing room! It was just a touch too big which is easy to fix! My mind started planning when I would get to wear it and I instantly knew it would be perfect for our birthday party that was coming up! Ansel was actually born on my birthday. I promise that when he gets older he can have his own parties but for now, he didn’t mind sharing his cake with me;) We planned a (sort of) over the top circus party for his birthday… but we wanted to celebrate making it through his first year and what a precious gift that he is to us. So we did!
Since it was a circus party, it was only right that Ansel get to be the ringmaster, so I made him a jacket out of a red baby dress shirt and a bow tie from ribbon that I had lying around! I took in my dress a little at the top and took a few inches off the bottom. There was no way I was changing this sweet dress other than a few fitting alterations! It was such a sweet piece and I couldn’t bring myself to hack it apart! When you see the after photos, you might have a hard time telling that it was even altered! Especially since the only full length picture we took that day was with my beautiful sisters!!
This vintage 1950’s high chair was a great find at the same thrift store! I have been planning *our* cake smash since I realized that I may never get my own birthday cake again! And part of my plan was a sweet highchair! I thought I would find a wooden one and paint it, but this metal chair was better than I could have ever imagined! It started out a very pale and rusted pink! But in the store, I promised Ansy that I would paint it for him! I was so happy with how it turned out!
Happy Birthday to my favorite tiny ringmaster!!
Also, can you even BELIEVE that CAKE!?!?!? Alyssa from Simply Sweet is BEYOND talented!! Thank you so much!!
I had different plans for this dress! This bad boy was going to be an infinity scarf! But there wasn’t enough fabric in easily accessible places! So I tried it on to see if I could repurpose it in another way! Keep in mind I was about 8 months pregnant in the before photos, so I was really trying to think of a way to turn it into something I could wear with a watermelon under my shirt. And a kimono style shirt is what I came up with! I actually wore it a couple of times during the end of my pregnancy but I never kept it on long enough to take any pictures of it! I was always just so hot!
Luckily, kimonos are sort of a one size fits all type of clothing! So non-pregnant me can still wear it! I got creative with this transformation and started with the dress on backwards. I decided on the length and chopped the bottom off. The I cut beside the zipper on both sides in the back all of the way down, removing the zipper completely. This gave me the shape I wanted and took about 5 minutes! I removed the waist ties and hemmed up all of my raw edges! It needed a good ironing but after that, it was good to go!
Brian and I traveled to Virginia last weekend for a wedding! It was GORGEOUS! But we weren’t really sure of any touristy type of things to do around town! We asked quite a few people! And got suggestions like, “there’s a bowling alley in town.” Haha! Which wasn’t really what we had in mind! And we couldn’t bear the thought of just sitting in our hotel so we drove to the ocean! We found a beach on our phone that looked promising. When we got there it was hilarious how busy it was! There was no parking for literally miles! Even if we would have found a spot I don’t think we would have gotten out! We rechecked the map on our phone and found a nature preserve a few miles north with a beach… and it was incredible!!! There was almost no one there and Brian and I just walked along the beach looking for sea glass and shells. (Real life translation: I ran around singing “I am Moana” from the disney movie far too many times, at the top of my lungs and Brian talked in great length about finding a burger place for dinner.) Very romantic.
Poor Brian, he never did find that burger place! We looked everywhere for one but found something even better!!
We drove past Krispy Kreme and their “hot donut” sign was on. Brian is a pretty careful driver…. but that man can swerve into a Krispy Kreme like it’s nobody’s business! And I love him even more for it!
I have mentioned before that Easter is a big time of year for us! This year was even more exciting! We were able to share the story of Easter with our sweet little boy, Ansel! Brian and I have a tradition of finding a matching outfit to wear to celebrate Easter Sunday! We knew we wanted to continue this tradition with Ansel, so I had to find a dress with enough fabric for two ties this year!
This is a strange story to share, but I remember when I was really little my mom would watch the movie Steel Magnolias with Julia Roberts. I’m pretty sure it was a sad movie but I never really paid attention until it was ending, because that meant my little brother and I could have the VCR back to watch Muppet’s Treasure Island again. Anyway, the last scene in that movie is the family celebrating Easter and the little boy is in a tiny blue suit! I think because of this, I have always pictured myself having a little boy and dressing him in a seersucker jacket for Easter! Actually, the dream was a matching shorts and jacket set with tall socks. But Brian stepped in and pointed out just how dorky our poor guy would look in that! So I settled for a jacket and bow tie made from my dress!
Easter this year was cold and windy!! We took a few pictures outside but didn’t really get a good one of my dress to show you all! Then a very tiny human spilled carrots (very fitting for Easter) all over my dress. So it had to make it through a laundry cycle at the Simmermacher household… Which is why you are just now seeing the finished product! Crazy right?! But I try to choose snuggles and adventures over laundry! So new moms, if your laundry room is exploding, just buy some more underwear and get to it when you have a chance;)
Here are the before pictures of my Easter dress! (Ansy snuck in a few of them! Now that he is on the move, there’s no stopping him!)
It almost had a western feel to it with the fringe! This one lost the fringed collar, sleeves and a little length off the bottom! The bow ties were more of a challenge than usual. The flowers on the dress were pretty spread apart so I had to mindful when planning where to cut the pattern so there would be flowers on the actual bows of the ties!
Wishing you all a VERY belated Happy Easter! He is risen indeed!!
Pregnancy and that newborn stage were an extremely busy time for Brian and I! We closed on our old farmhouse the SAME week we found out I was pregnant with our son! And we renovated the entire inside before we was born! We gutted a lot of the home and didn’t leave a surface untouched! (Except the exterior! That’s still a work in progress!) We finished most of the projects about a week before I delivered! Since then, I have been spending as much time as humanly possible SOAKING up the baby cuddles…. and puke, if we are being honest. So so so much baby puke. That newborn stage about killed me. I have never experienced anything so wonderful or difficult! While I have missed working on RGC projects, I knew that I would never ever get my newborn back, so I had to get those snuggles while I could! And really, I just didn’t have the time! I know that babies sleep like 18 hours a day, but there is some crazy time warp that happens where you still don’t sleep or get anything done!
But now my favorite little creature likes to play by himself more and more. He’s currently trying to shove a plastic caterpillar into his diaper genie, and he doesn’t seem to need my help in the matter! So, it’s looking like I’ll be seeing more of my sewing machine and the internet will be seeing more of my vintage treasures!
Here are few projects that I’m working on right now!! You’ll be seeing the finished products very soon!!
This little gem is going to be my Easter dress this Sunday and I just finished making bow ties from the extra fabric for Brian and our sweet little guy! But that lace on the collar! Mmmmm!!!! 😉
These two dresses will be on the blog as soon as its nice enough the wear them outside! The photo the right was actually taken when I was 7 months pregnant and while we still didn’t have baseboards in our house! I’m so glad that project is done!!
I can’t wait to share the after photos of these peices with you!
At the beginning of this pregnancy our doctors told us there was very good chance that our little guy wouldn’t make it. We had an early ultrasound where they weren’t able to find a heartbeat. Later that week, I had all of the symptoms of a miscarriage. Brian and I spent that night praying and believing for a miracle. We had ultrasound the next day there was a heartbeat!!
Later that same week, I experienced those same symptoms of a miscarriage again. We started praying for another miracle. At the emergency room, the doctor did and exam and told me that I most likely had miscarried, but that they wanted to do an ultrasound to make sure. And praise God, that tiny little heartbeat was still there! Over the next few weeks, the doctors found other concerns that the baby just might not make it. Brian and I spent that time praying and acknowledging God’s goodness no matter the circumstance.
When I saw this dress I thought, “that’s my baby shower dress!” but I was so hesitant to buy it because “what if there wasn’t going to be a baby shower?” Just a few months before I had packed away maternity clothes because of loss and didn’t want to do that again and we had so many reasons to think that we wouldn’t get to meet this baby here. So I stood next to the rack of vintage dresses, probably looking a little insane, debating with myself over this dress. I knew that part of believing for our miracle was knowing that God is good no matter what. No matter what. So the dress came home with me. These before pictures were taken when I was about 30 weeks pregnant with our little boy:)
I didn’t start working on it until just before my shower because I knew that I would continue to grow right up until the day of the shower! I wanted to keep the collar but I was unsure of what else the dress needed. I started by taking up the waist a few inches. I wanted the elastic band to fit around the top of my baby belly. I also shortened the sleeves into cap sleeves and finished them off with white bias tape. I thought I would need to take a few inches off the hem but it actually just fell right where I wanted it to! I spent a few hours sewing pearl beads onto the collar to help give it a little more of an updated look. Lastly, I threw together a simple lining for the dress because it was completely see through!
I didn’t quite finish the dress in time to wear it for the shower that my mom and future sister-inlaw threw for me but I was able to get it done in time for my second shower that was thrown by my mother-inlaw at the church that Brian and I attend. Our little guy was completely spoiled at both of our showers and we feel so blessed that we will have him here in a couple of weeks!
Holy Week and Easter Sunday are a very important time for my husband and I to celebrate! We try to recognize the new life that we have in Christ everyday but there is something really special about taking time to remember the sacrifice that Jesus made for us with other believers! And let me tell you, celebrating Christ’s resurrection on Easter is really exciting for us! It’s also a busy time for us! Brian is always busy with preparing for Holy Week services and he is currently advocating that church staff gets Easter Monday off. I’ll let you know if he is successful;)
One little Easter tradition that we have is to wear matching outfits on Easter. It started the year we were engaged. I barely knew how to sew but I had an obnoxiously yellow dress that I planned to wear to church. Brian and I drove all over Saginaw to find a tie to match but couldn’t find one! Brian decided that I should make one for him. I will never forget trying to finagle that thing together! He wore it though! Actually, he wore a vest over it… so who knows how he really felt about it! Since that year we have really enjoyed finding a fun outfit to wear on Easter! This year proved to be a little more difficult because all of the dresses that I planned to wear ended up not fitting over my ever growing baby belly! I was 30 weeks this past Monday and really starting to show! I decided that I would make one last attempt at finding a dress to recreate. And I’m so happy I did because this might be one of my favorite finds ever!
The sleeves…. The sleeves… The sleeves! A sweet lady from our church said it best, “Those are Praise The Lord Sleeves.” And she is correct!! I was so excited when it zipped up all of the way and had more than enough room for the belly!
(Our old farmhouse is still being renovated! So excuse the missing baseboards but you can rest easy, there is eight inch trim, basically my dream come true, just waiting to be installed!)
I didn’t actually have to do as much to this dress as some of my other projects because the fit was almost perfect! I cut off about 18 inches from the bottom and gave it a new hem. Then I trimmed the lace off the neckline and started working on those priceless sleeves! First, I used my seam ripper to remove the cuffs from the sleeves. Next, I turned the dress inside out and pinned the sleeves where I wanted to the new seams to be. I sewed up each side to make them narrower and much less winged. I cut off the extra fabric and gave the wrists a new hem. I debated over and over if I should make it short sleeved once I had finished. My wonderful sister-in-law Emily talked me into the long sleeves! Thanks Em, I would be a mess with out you;)
With the extra fabric from the bottom of the dress I made a tie for Brian. He was super pumped about how it turned out! He is a graphic designer and loves vintage prints so this tie will probably be a regular for him!
Personally, I think this guy could be a tie model, but I may be a little biased! I sure hope our little guy gets his dad’s good looks though;)
And here’s one with Brian and I together and a special throwback to Easter 2012 with the yellow dress that I mentioned before… note that Brian’s vest did in fact cover up most of his tie that year!
I hope you all had a wonderful Easter! HE IS RISEN! 🙂
The print of this dress might just be my favorite that I have worked with. It reminds me so much of fabric that my grandma would have had in her quilting pile.
I didn’t do much to this dress. It really needed to be ironed after it came out of my dryer though! So I spent some time ironing it before I started cutting and sewing. I took a few inches off the bottom of the dress and few inches off of the sleeves and gave both a new hem. The shoulder pads had to go! I debated to keep the collar how it was or to simplify it. I ended up deciding to remove the bottom layer so it was a little less overwhelming and I’m happy that I did!
Is there anything better than a thick sweater in the Fall in Michigan? Maybe. The world is an incredible place so I don’t doubt that there is. But seriously, when it’s sweater weather in Michigan it truly is a wonderful time! Now the tricky part is that it actually has to be sweater weather! I know I can’t be the only one that has jumped the gun when it was a fairly chilly September morning. You get so excited, put on your riding boots, thick sweater and infinity scarf and all is well for about an hour. Then all of a sudden, your pushing your grocery cart across the Kroger parking lot and it’s 78 degrees and your sweating buckets! Seriously, this happens at least a few times to me every September. Someday I will learn!
When I found this sweater I knew I could save him! I wasn’t sure how but I knew that he would get a second chance!
I really wanted to keep this piece a sweater but I knew there was a good chance that I wouldn’t be happy with it once it was done. I convinced myself that I had to try and if that I did mess it up then I could always make a pair of mittens out of it. Then I started thinking about these hypothetical mittens and fell in love with the idea. Part of me hoped the the sweater completely bombed! But in the end the sweater stayed a sweater! At least for today!
I started off by taking in the sleeves. Good golly those sleeves did not match the size of the rest of the sweater! I would love to meet the person with arms ripped enough to fill those sleeves! I put the sweater on, inside out, and pinned where I wanted the new seam to be. I sewed them up and that helped out a ton! Then I just had to tackle that half turtle neck! I just trimmed about a quarter of an inch in from where I wanted the new neckline and gave that a new seam. I had to cut off the original tag in the back of the sweater and after I did so, it’s impossible to tell the front from the back until you put it on. Once it’s on it’s pretty obvious but it’s trial and error to find the front now! I feel like if that’s its biggest problem, it’s doing much better than it did during its half turtle neck days!