I know that I am behind.  The truth is that I have two (2!) dresses that I should have posted by now.  I just haven't felt very camera ready.  I blame the stupid drizzly weather and dark evenings.  They make me grumpy and tired.

Thanks to my trusty dress form, I did manage to post something this month.  It was an apron theme.  Which is kinda like a dress.  Better than nothing!  Here's the "I Love the 80s" Apron
I haven’t been able to make a whole lot of time for sewing lately, but aprons are just so easy - which made this challenge was hard to pass up. In addition, I have been wanting to try a tiered, ruffled apron for quite some time. I went through my stash to find a trio of fabrics that would go together and wouldn’t you know it . . . I had three that fit into an 80s theme. (The fabrics were left over from the Great Hot Pad Holder Christmas Present Project of 2011.) Pac-Man, Space Invaders, and mix tapes: Together at last.

I used red cotton for the apron backing, waistband, and tie. To simplify things, I used red bias tape to edge the side seams. I am a firm believer that aprons should have pockets – just not this one. I wasn’t sure about placement. Inadequacies aside, I think it’s pretty cute. And I cleared out some scraps.

The Facts
Fabric: Cotton scraps in my collection
Pattern: None. It’s just a bunch of rectangles!
Year: Right now.
Notions: Binding tape – also from stash.
Time to complete: 1 1/2 hours
First worn: Just to fit the tie.
Wear again? I think this might be a gift for someone.
Total price: $0

You can find this post at The Sew Weekly - with typos!  I was rushed, ok?  And having internet problems.  Pauvre de moi.

Say what you will about Andrew Jackson, the man loved his wife.  Rachel, unfortunately died unexpectedly two weeks after Jackson won the presidency and two months before he took office in 1829.  Sarah Yorke Jackson (July 16, 1803 – August 23, 1887), the daughter-in-law of Andrew Jackson, and Jackson’s niece, Emily Donelson (June 1, 1807 – December 19, 1836), served as co-hostesses and unofficial First Ladies of the White House during Jackson’s tenure. Sarah and her husband, Andrew Jackson, Jr., lived, with their two children, in the White house from 1834 to 1837.  Sarah’s wedding dress is pictured at left.  She wore this dress at a reception and dinner shortly after her arrival to the White House.

Emily served as hostess until her health declined and she ultimately died in 1836, but not before wreaking all manner of havoc in what became known as the Petticoat Affair.  Well!  Since you asked!  Emily refused to receive Peggy Eaton, new wife of Secretary of War, John Henry Eaton due to allegations that the two had had an extramarital affair that culminated in Peggy’s first husband’s suicide.  SCANDAL!  The snub split the cabinet (and their wives) and caused a rift between Emily and her uncle.

FUN FACT:  Jackson blamed John Quincy Adams for his beloved wife's death because of repeated episodes of ridicule targeted at Rachel.  You see, in 1791, Rachel thought she was divorced from her first husband and went ahead and married Mr. Jackson.  Turns out this was not the case.  The two married again legally in 1794.  Whether intentional or not, it was common knowledge among politicos that Rachel was a bigamist. 

Louisa Adams was born in London, England - the only First Lady to hold the distinction of being born outside the U.S.  In fact, John Quincy Adams (my favorite Twitterbug), wooed and married Louisa in London in 1797.  John Adams (who was President at the time) wasn’t happy about his son marrying a non-American, but he eventually came around.

After continued stints in Europe, JQ moved his family to Washington to serve as Secretary of State under James Monroe.  Apparently Louisa’s drawing room became a hot gathering spot for diplomats and the politically elite.  

John and Louisa moved into the White House in 1825 in the midst of bitter political climate.  Louisa already suffered from depression and she became a bit of a recluse.  Despite all, she managed to pull off elegant events and act the gracious hostess when such duties were required.

"Our union has not been without its trials," John Quincy Adams wrote.  But, "she always has been a faithful and affectionate wife, and a careful, tender, indulgent, and watchful mother to our children."

FUN FACT:  If JQ’s diary is to be believed Louisa raised silkworms to collect the silk . . . in the White House.  Everyone needs a hobby!

Well educated and from a wealthy Kentucky family, Mary Todd Lincoln met her future president in Springfield, IL.  Abraham was 10 years her senior.  The two married in 1842.  They had four children, only one of whom survived Mary.  

Mary was a staunch supporter of her husband's goals to save the Union.  Despite some of her family's Confederate leanings, she was exceedingly loyal to Abe and his political ideology. 

Lincoln was regarded as the first "western" president, and while they lived in the White House Mary's manners were often criticized as coarse and pretentious.  She did not have an easy time as First Lady.  It probably didn't help that (based on evidence of mood swings, outbursts, excessive spending, and migraines) Mary most likely suffered from bi-polar disorder.  

FUN FACT:  Mary Todd totally dated (or whatever they did in the 1840s) Stephen Douglas before she married Abraham Lincoln.  Stephen Douglas was Abe’s contentious and outspoken political presidential rival.

The only thing I love more the Presidents, are First Ladies.  On this Election Day, I vote we take a moment to remember some of these interesting women.
Martha Washington (June 2, 1744 – May 22, 1802) was known as “Lady Washington” because the phrase First Lady of the United States hadn’t yet been coined.  Regardless, as the wife of George Washington, she is considered the first First lady.

At the age of 25, she was left widowed (and rich) with four children.  George and Martha married two years later in 1759.  They were both in their late 20s, but didn’t have children together.  They did, however, raise two of Martha’s grandchildren whose father died during the Revolutionary War.

FUN FACT:  Martha was opposed to her husband serving as President of the U.S. and refused to attend his inauguration.

Abigail Adams (November 22 1744 – October 28, 1818) was married to John Adams, second President of the United States.  She is, of course, best known for the letters she wrote to her husband during the Continental Congresses.  Born into a liberal family, and despite being a sickly child, Abigail was taught to read and write.  She read profusely.

John and Abigail were third cousins and knew each other from childhood.  The couple married in 1764 when John as 28 and Abigail 19.  They had six children in ten years.

During the Adams administration, the capital was moved to the wilderness of Washington.  Abigail and John were the first presidential couple to preside over the White House (then known as the President's Palace (monarchy alert!) or Executive Mansion), which was still under construction when they moved in.

FUN FACT:  Abigail was a strong advocate for women’s property rights and for more opportunities for women, particularly in the field of education.

Dolley Madison (May 20, 1768 – July 12, 1849) was the wife of fourth President of the United States, James Madison.  She helped shape the role of First Lady and was renowned for her social graces and hospitality.  It is thought that she heavily contributed to her husband’s popularity as president by being so lovely.  Dolley had occasionally filled in the ceremonial functions of First Lady for the previous administration of widower, Thomas Jefferson.  

Dolley lost her first husband and infant son to yellow fever in 1793.  The following year, Dolley met James Madison, a forty-three year old bachelor, in Philadelphia.  Madison asked his pal, Aaron Burr for an introduction.  They were married after a brief courtship.  Dolley brought a surviving son to the marriage.  Dolley and James had no children together.

FUN FACT:  A Quaker, Dolley Madison was expelled from the Society of Friends when she married non-Quaker, James Madison.

Images taken from my new favorite book:  Brown, Margaret W. Dresses of the First Ladies of the White House (1952). Smithosonian Institution Publication, Washington.