hello + faq's

Hello and welcome! My name is Casey and Casey Maura is a continuation of my previous online space: Elegant Musings. 

I'm a 30-something wife, mother, thrift store addict, coffee and tea drinker, vintage lover, sewer and pattern tinkerer, seasonal knitter, Christian, and dabbler in all things handcraft. I like to call myself a "Jane of All Trades" when it comes to handcrafts; I haven't tried everything, but that's on my bucket list!

You'll find a bit of everything here, though I focus mostly on handcrafts and sewing. I do hope you'll enjoy your visit and feel free to jump right in! If you have a question, you can contact me directly via email. I'm also on InstagramTwitterPinterestFacebookBurdaStyle and Ravelry.




What sewing machine do you use? What would you recommend for a beginner?
All of my primary sewing is done on a Kenmore from the 1990s. My mother-in-law kindly gave me this machine, and I love it. It's an early computerized model and does quite a few fancy things, as well as handling basic sewing. I also have a late 80s mechanical Singer (it was my mother's--she also sweetly gave me her older machine! I love that my machines are hand-me-downs from family!) that I use for heavy duty, basic sewing. 

I also advocate that if you're on a budget--and even if you're not--to give preowned/vintage machines a look. You will get a lot better quality machine than most of what you will find in the introductory level sewing machines now. I try to steer new sewers away from the "$99 special" machines at big box stores; those machines tend to have a lot of plastic components and break quickly. If you do a little digging, you can find a great preowned/vintage machine and get it tuned up for not much more than that. A good, metal-parts machine that is is sound working order (getting it tuned it essential!) will last for years. Check Craigslist, thrift stores, yard sales and send out the word to friends you are looking for a sewing machine. You'd be surprised how often someone has one hanging about in their attic or garage! 

If budget is no issue, I have heard nothing but praise about Bernina machines! Alas, I have not had the pleasure of working extensively with one, but the ones I've "test drove" at the dealer have been gorgeous pieces of machinery. 

What serger do you use?
I have owned a Brother 1034D for four years now. It's an introductory level serger (Amazon has it for around $200), and doesn't have the bells and whistles that some higher-priced sergers have. It is just a serger and does not do a coverstitch. I have had no problems with this machine for both sewing knits and finishing the seams of woven material. It works beautifully and is easy to thread. Although, I would again advocate that you check for preowned sergers if you have a little budget wiggle room. While I love my Brother and it does the job, I am finding that I'm ready to graduate to something else after four years of sewing (serging?) with it.

What are your favorite sources for vintage patterns?

Ebay, Etsy and lucky finds! I have had some amazing luck at thrift stores and estate sales, but I know those aren't always an option depending on where you live. I've also gotten some lovely gifts of vintage patterns from friends and family who know I collect and sew with them. (It never hurts to let people know that you are looking for older patterns!) Online has become one of the best ways to find a pattern if you're looking for a specific style. It may take some patience, but you will find it!

We're also lucky that so many patterns are being reproduced! Some of the companies are Decades of StyleEva DressMrs. Depew VintageNew Vintage LadyVPLL, and Wearing History. Many of the "big four" pattern companies are also reproducing styles from their vintage archives. The only caveat (or advantage; depending on your sewing style and what you're looking for) is that they are often redrafted from modern blocks rather than straight vintage reproductions like the indie companies. The upside is their multi-sized, the downsides are they often have too much ease and/or the shapes aren't entirely correct.

What is your sewing background?
Like many sewing bloggers, I have been largely self-taught.Though I did an internship with a seamstress/patternmaker when I was in my late teens and have taken several classes from well known sewing teachers. I have been fascinated with sewing since I was a child, and took up handsewing around age 6. My mom taught me the basics of machine sewing when I was a little older, and I took off from there! Pattern making and manipulation has held a particular fascination for me, and I started off drafting clothes for my dolls and eventually pieces for myself and family. 

I spent a lot of time reading older sewing books as a teenager (there wasn't a ton available in the 1990s, and I found the aesthetic of older books appealing!), and am particularly fascinated with "vintage" sewing techniques. I also find handsewing and couture techniques beautiful and appealing; though I often don't pursue those in my current sewing due to lack of sewing time.

I feel that one never stops learning when it comes to sewing. Though I've technically been sewing for over two decades now, I have so much I still want to learn, and am discovering new ways of doing things that I already know. It's a challenge and satisfies my creative urge! 

Why vintage? Where did your interest in it begin?
I grew up watching older movies; mostly from the 1940s and 50s. There is also a lifelong fascination with history--particularly early to mid 20th century history. It's not surprising my love of fashion, history and cinema came together! I am not someone who is into vintage from a purist sense, but I enjoy injecting a bit of mid century glamor into my daily outfits. I appreciate the "make do and mend" mentality of the 1940s, the sensibility of postwar 1940s American sportswear, and the glamor of the 1950s. 

I didn't realize that others shared this love of vintage fashions--and wore them--until I was in my mid teens (it correlated with getting internet access!). It took a handful of years, but eventually I started to wear more and more vintage styles on a daily basis. My family has always been supportive, which I appreciate because I know it's a bit eccentric! I find drawing inspiration from the past deeply satisfying, although it's waxed and waned at times in the past couple years since my daughter was born (out of necessity!). I always come back to the vintage look though, and find it is where I am most comfortable.

If I had to pick a favorite decade and designer it would be the 1940s and Claire McCardell! 

Do you ever receive criticism for your vintage look?

Very rarely, but yes I have. Most often it's in the guise of asking why I'd "want to dress like a grandmother?" or those who are uncomfortable with it (for whatever reason). But the vast majority of people are just curious and very pleasant and supportive that someone has an interest in older styles. I think it's very easy nowadays to wear vintage or a vintage inspired outfit!

Is this blog monetized?
Currently, no. If it ever is, or affiliate links are included in a post (currently I am not a part of any affiliate programs), I will clearly state that on the blog. I occasionally do reviews, but try to keep them within the purview of this blog.

Are you really a stay at home mom?
Yep! Not going to lie: it has it's good days and bad days--just like any job! :-)

Where do you live?
In Germany with my family (though I hail from the Washington, DC area originally). We move a lot though! I love being able to see new places and experience other regions (and possibly countries!) due to my husband's job. I grew up studying the articles in National Geographic closely, and exploring the country/globe is a dream come true!

If you have a question, please leave it as a comment below and I'll consider it for inclusion here!

6 comments :

  1. A gorgeous space you have here, Casey! I very much enjoyed reading your about page- call me nosey- and hope you enjoy your creative expression as it continues- I'm inspired already!

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  2. CASEY! I can't tell you how happy I am that you are back blogging again... and I love the new space! Can't wait to see all that you do. Also, I was home schooled K-12, and most importantly (of course) am a Christian too! I was SO happy to read your about page. :)
    xoxo Achaia

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  3. Casey! Your back! I can't wait to see how you grow in your new blog space! While I will deeply miss Elegant Musings, I can't wait to see what the Lord brings you in this next chapter of your life! I started reading your blog when I was only twelve, and I have learned so much from you! I loved reading your bio (I am home schooled and a Christian as well)!
    May the Lord bless this next chapter of your life! :-)
    xoxo Dominique

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  4. I hadn't read you for long before your daughter was born, but I am happy to see you back, too!!

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  5. Casey, I am so glad to see you are back! I've missed your blog, but I know, very well, the need to take a long break and reassess. I, too, am feeling the growing pains of being one person in my early twenties, and realizing I am someone very different in my late twenties. Good, yet bittersweet. Bravo, for being brave enough to publicly move forward, however you feel lead.

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  6. Are you Reformed or Christian Reformed? My husband grew up in a Christian Reformed Church and I went to a Dutch Christian Reformed/Reformed combo school from 2nd through 9th grade that was very Calvinistic. It is always interesting to learn about what denominations of Christianity people are because it shows how Christ molds us all together through His gospel! I am an Anabaptist myself and am a member of a New Order Mennonite church (no legalism and certainly not Amish at all haha).

    I am so glad you wrote an About Me page because I think that is what I love most about reading blogs, is getting to know people better and seeing how their hearts shine through rather than just seeing the pretty photos they might post, you know? I think because of how Jesus loves us and wants us to love our neighbors as ourselves, that it stems so much in me to want to KNOW people more deeply! I am glad that I have slightly been able to get to know you over the past few years through your blogs!
    +Victoria+

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Thank you so much for taking time to comment! I LOVE hearing feedback from readers. I welcome truly constructive and thoughtful critique and suggestions, but will not hesitate to delete spam or downright rude comments.