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Through the Week in Feminine Dress!

Ladies ask me all the time if I "dress up" every day of the week. Finally, one young women issued a challenge: "Have a family member follow you around for one week, taking pictures as you go about your normal routine. We want to see what you wear!" Well, I felt a little funny, but I took up the challenge. I just want to encourage women in dressing femininely. Why should we wait for "special" occasions to dress beautifully? Every single day we are alive and draw breath is special! Our families deserve our "dressing up" more than anyone else, since they see us day-in and day-out, don't they? So here are some highlights from a week in my life. There's no way to show you every little thing done during each day, so I've just picked the "big" chores or projects for each day and shared photographs of what I'm wearing (particularly all my different aprons, since those are indispensable!). I hope this page is an encouragement; that's the main reason it is here. Our foremothers settled this land, built houses, planted gardens and tended animals in long skirts and beautiful dresses. Even their aprons were wonderful to behold! Surely in our day of microwaves, washing machines and vacuum cleaners, we can do our chores with as much feminine flair as they. Personally, I feel it is uplifting to the spirit to go through each day in womanly attire. Let's dignify our work by dressing appropriately and beautifully for it!

[Note: Picture quality isn't consistent throughout the week. Some pictures my mother took with her camera while visiting. They are clearer but smaller. My four-year-old son took some of the pictures after I decided he might be able to handle the camera while my husband was out of town! He did have fun, but you'll have to excuse the slightly blurry shots! ;-)]

Day One: Monday
(Yes, I realize Sunday is really the first day of the week,
but we started taking pictures on Monday!

On Monday I wore one of my tried-and-true housedresses, which I made from the versatile "Everyday Dresses" pattern by Cindy Taylor Oates (Taylor Made Designs, P.O. Box 31024, Phoenix, AZ 85026). This is a very basic dress with short sleeves and an A-line skirt. The button front bodice and collar give it a bit of style without being fussy. The fabric I used is a woven 100% cotton (woven fabrics are a bit heavier than lightweight cottons and wear well). I find that a basic, straightforward dress is easy to work in, since you don't have to worry about getting ruffles or full skirts dirty. This particular one won't fit me much longer, though, since I am expecting! The pattern does have an option for a gathered skirt, so I plan to make a couple of maternity versions soon. I tied a colorful blue floral scarf around my head as a feminine accent, since the dress is plain and just begs to be accessorized. ;-)

Ready to Mix!

Mixing the Bread

Preparing to Knead

Turning Out the Bread to Knead

Kneading the Bread

Rolling the Bread

Finishing Up!

In the first two pictures, you see me in the dress without an apron. Once I got to the kneading and rolling-out stage, I put on my white cheesecloth kitchen apron, which covers the entire front of the dress (and hides flour - LOL!). I got this apron in a box of vintage kitchen linens at an auction, and I just love it. It is very similar to the 1930s-style apron I designed for Vision Forum's Beautiful Girlhood Collection, so that is one source for these practical aprons (and Vision Forum's are prettier, to boot!).

Day Two: Tuesday

This dress came from Common Sense Designs, a company which is, unfortunately, no longer in business. I just loved the practical beauty of their designs, including nice touches like contrasting cuffs and squared necklines. Happily, you can now purchase patterns for all of the Common Sense designs from Modest Patterns. This dress is made of a heavier cotton (almost like a lightweight linen). The gathered skirt is perfect for maternity wear, but this dress also looks super when you're not expecting. It has back ties and darts in the bodice for a flatternig fit. Very comfortable and very feminine! In these pictures, you will see me wearing my heavy-duty work apron (made by my wonderful mother for my birthday!). The apron is made of khaki-colored denim and has two handy front pockets. It offers full coverage to prevent any staining--perfect for potting tomatoes! This is my favorite apron now for big chores like scrubbing bathrooms and working outside in the yard.

Sitting a spell
before planting tomatoes.

Working in the Dirt

Alex Helping Mama

In My Work Apron

Potting the Tomatoes

Watering the Pansies

Day Three: Wednesday

This was one of my birthday presents this year -- a lovely, deep blue rayon maternity dress from Motherhood. The dress is basically A-line but has inverted box pleats in the front with covered buttons above each one for accents. The neckline is piped, and there are ties for a nice fit. (I really love many of Motherhood's dresses, because they are feminine, modest and very inexpensive. However, they do have their share of just plain ugly outfits, so be forewarned!) Here I am heading off to run errands. I usually try to do this when my two youngest boys are napping (since my husband works at home, this works out nicely).

Off to town!

"Home Again, Home Again..."
The boys help me unload.

Baking for a Family Party

One of My "Secret Weapons!"
(See, I don't "do it all!")

In the "baking" picture, you see another one of my vintage-style kitchen aprons. This was one of the rejected prototypes for the Beautiful Girlhood Collection (just too fancy to be extremely practical, we thought), but I kept it, since my original (circa 1935) was destroyed in the reproduction process. I need to take a full-length picture of it, but I forgot this time. It's really very cute, and I like it because it covers the front of a dress nicely. I also had to show you my eldest son washing the dishes. He is my right-hand man and loves to help out around the house (especially with manly chores like "vacuum wrestling" -- LOL!).

On to Page Two!