New Beginning or Different Course?

For you that stumble upon this here blog of mine, you may be entirely new to following me online, or perhaps have joined me on the path of (historical) sewing for years…. Literally, I’ve been teaching sewing since 2004 and been online with a blog since 2008.

Then there’s a few of you who’ve only recently found me in the last year or so through my popular blog, Historical Sewing, and are wondering why this? Why a new blog? Is this a sell-out? No.

I’m still here. And I still consider: SEWING IS MY PASSION.

You see, after trying and waiting for near 15 years, my husband and I delightfully welcomed a most-beloved daughter. Our first child. She is a miracle. The one that, after many years and a painful letting go process of the dream, God granted to us in a complete change to our 40-something lives.

I’ll admit, it’s been rough.

Postpartum depression is no laughing matter. Hormones after having a baby are intense. The biggest highs and the very lowest of lows. Life is great and life is painful all in the same day… or even the same hour.

It’s been nine months and I’m still trying to figure out what my life should look like. Or rather, how I WANT my life to look like.

So, as I’ve preached and encouraged others who’ve followed me over the years to FOLLOW YOUR HEART…. I’m now going to do that myself.

Not that I haven’t been doing that in my creative projects. It’s just that many, many years ago as a young teen I took up sewing because, well, besides the natural talent, I fell in love with all the pretty floral cotton calico fabrics.

Heh…. yep. 😀

Walking the walls & aisles of cotton prints at my local JoAnn’s or scanning the pages of the new prints at… Here is where I am a happy girl!

I’m not a fabric-holic. I simply like to look at those pretty prints and dream and ponder and devise and plan new skirts and tops and bags and cute dresses for myself (and now for my daughter).

So here I am…. on a new blog, basically starting over.

Following my heart.

Being the “Cotton Girl.”

But I’m bringing with me all the experience and tools and excitement for teaching. I still adore Victorian fashions. You will see me continue to re-create 1830s dresses with fun puff sleeves worn over corded petticoats. I’ll pursue late 1890s shirtwaists and full skirts. My heart lies in the 1870s so more bustle dresses are on the project list!

June 1875 afternoon dress, L’Élégance Parisienne

Yet I’ll be making these fashions with the pretty cotton prints I love – many in a fabric that’s NOT historically accurate. I don’t care that they won’t be “period appropriate.”

I’m a bit tired of “following the rules” when re-creating historical fashion (even though I’ve mentioned I do cheat at times). My heart is screaming for a break. To sew with that fun Paris print that keeps calling my name. Or the fabric with kittens all over it. hehe…

My talent lies in sewing construction. Therefore, I’ll be sewing with fun cottons but still using a lot of the period sewing techniques I’ve learned and taught over the past 17 years. But be prepared to see historical fashions in modern prints. And with my focus being on using cottons. Occasionally the silk dress will pop up – including the 1880 Chocolate Truffle Dress that’s been swirling in my mind for a while now…. if I can just find the silk satin I need. 😉

I also want to (finally) pursue my own line of sewing patterns. Yeah… that one I’ve been debating since I was learning pattern drafting at FIDM in 2000. I’ve tried to get it off the ground before with two different paths of focus. This time, the 3rd attempt, might be “the one.”

My daughter is the inspiration. So are pretty cotton print fabrics. The Emma Lily Designs pattern line will focus on Victorian- and Vintage-inspired children’s wear.

Le Moniteur de la Mode 1875

But bear with me, please. This New Mother phase is taking so much more of my time than expected. I have dozens of ideas to bring to life into sewing patterns that can be transformed into modern clothing as well as historically accurate reproductions “for those who dream of the past.”

My focus is still on sewing. I’m not going anywhere from that realm.

19th century fashion is within my heart. You’ll see a lot of that here. But you’ll also notice more modern projects. And a tendency to use “all the cotton fabrics” that I love.

I’m so glad you’re here with me! Let’s journey together. Let’s sew something beautiful and be a part of a wonderful Joyful Community.


<3 Jennifer

Le Moniteur de la Mode 1875

21 thoughts on “New Beginning or Different Course?

  1. Congratulations on your new blog and beautiful baby girl! You have been an inspiration and helped so many, and I know you will continue to bless everyone with your sewing talent. 🙂
    Let your imagination take wing! Can’t wait to see all the cute things you’ll make.

  2. Kari Gluski says:

    Hurray for you and your baby daughter! And best wishes for success and enjoyment in the new venture. I look forward to seeing what you share and remain deeply grateful for what you have taught me.

  3. Karen Helle says:

    Beautifully expressed Jennifer! I am so excited for you and so excited to see how your dreams unfold. You go girl!

  4. Trudi Schooley says:

    Oh joy another adventure, and you are letting us come along. I was thrilled to the top when you announced your pregnancy and have enjoyed all the baby pictures. Enjoyed your classes and know that I will enjoy your next step. Thanks to you I can know make my own corsets, and when you get to 1890’s I am on board.

    • Cheers Trudi! And I have thought about doing a class on a 1890s day ensemble – skirt and shirtwaist. I still have plans for more adult online classes. 🙂 And YAY for making your own corsets!

  5. Karen says:

    So many new things in your life. A new home, a new town, a new state, a new lifestyle, better health, and the biggest (or smallest) change your sweet daughter. Happy you’re finding your way to new adventures in sewing and following your heart. Can’t wait to see your new creations. Hugs

  6. Huzzaaaaaah for Emma Lily Designs!. Another joyful community! I can’t wait to see where this new path takes you and to see all the pretty cotton dresses you will make!! Yay for following your heart and relaxing the rules!! I am also anxious for your children’s clothing pattern line!!
    Blessings to you my friend!!

  7. Wendy Middleton says:

    I’m so happy for you! Being our authentic self, even if that means reinventing ourself when necessary is so important to one’s sanity! I look forward to joining you on this new ride.

  8. Christa Jennings says:

    Hooray! I have lots of pretty cottons, and a tiny granddaughter! And you know I got tired of HA too. I recently discovered another company that does baby and children’s patterns with a vintage feel, and I already have four cut and ready to sew! Can’t wait for yours! I’ve been contemplating a tiny bustle dress!

  9. What a great idea Jennifer! There is a sure niche for children’s wear, just waiting for you. I would be very interested to see the research as well. Looking forward to following your journey. “Emma Lily” sounds like a joyful giggle for a pattern line. Sending supportive vibes your way 🙂

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