January 13, 2018

Poinsettia Skirt

Today's the last day of winter break, and I thought it fitting to share the one and only project I managed to complete over the holidays...a poinsettia skirt with a vintage vibe:

Poinsettia skirt paired with
a vintage cardigan, fur collar and velvet hat.

I know, it's not much, but it's done and has been worn three times - to dinner, at contra dance and to visit a friend!  I would have loved to share some other exciting projects, but sometimes life has other plans...family comes first.  Plus, there are always other opportunities to sew.  I have big plans for you, 2018!  



For this project, all of the materials came from the stash.  The novelty fabric has large poinsettias with tiny green houses, snow-covered evergreens and a split rail fence.  The combination, for some reason, reminded me of the classic holiday film, White Christmas (1954) - snow, snow, snow!  Even the zipper, which is vintage, probably from another garment as thread remains indicated, interfacing, thread and metal skirt closure were pulled from the stash.  Oh, and the project was stitched on my 1940s Singer featherweight machine.  


The construction could not have been simpler or more straight-forward.  I ripped three panels for volume, seamed and hemmed them.  Then, gathered the skirt onto the waistband, which was stiffened with interfacing.  


I installed the zipper with a lapped seam, then hand whip stitched the inside of the waistband closed.  Lastly, I found a metal skirt closure to finish off the project.

Lapped zipper, outside.
Just imagine that the skirt is closed,
it's slightly too small for the dressform.

Lapped zipper, inside.


Completed Project Shots

The completed skirt, front and back.



Again, I've already worn the skirt for three occasions, and it's definitely well suited for twirling!  Though, I suppose it's time to pack it away until next Christmas...perhaps I'll be able to convince the sister to take a few pictures then.  In the meantime, there are plenty of other projects to work on.  So, thanks for reading, and I hope you'll stop back for more sewing!   

January 9, 2018

Year in Review: Goodbye 2017, Hello 2018!

It's that time again!  Time to look back and reflect upon the past year's accomplishments, and forward to another twelve months of sewing and blogging.


While I may not have been able to post as frequently as I would have liked, it's certainly a pleasure to look back at all that did happen.  Between work at the museum and college classes, sewing projects, travels and other adventures...2017 was quite the year.  So, without further ado, let's start this year in review!


January - I began the year with a new shift, corset and sleeve puffs to go under an 1830s sky blue ball gown.




February - The big project this month was a new cap, half robe and caramel petticoat.




March - Spent a long weekend thanks to several snow days making a new, 1860s sacque coat with a quilted lining.  Also completed an 18th century bum pad and red petticoat, which was the beginnings of a cosplay costume...





April - Made a splash with a first attempt at trashion (trash + fashion), combining water pollution with early-19th century stays.


April also brought the trip of a lifetime with my friend, Kaela!  We went to Williamsburg (life dream come true!), Jamestown and Pittsburgh...met Samantha of The Couture Courtesan blog fame, who is every bit as personable as she is talented...Janea Whitacre(!) and Fiona of Ruffles Not Rifles in the Margaret Hunter Millinery Shop.  Spent time with our good friends - Matt and Megan, Elyse, Elizabeth and her family, and some former Point Park classmates...I still have trouble believing that it all happened!!



To top it all off, I became a member of the Association for Living History, Farm and Agricultural Museums (ALHFAM) and the Costume Society of America (CSA).


May - May always means the start of a new museum season!  I returned to my home away from home, the Genesee Country Village & Museum, for a fourth season with a new position as the Interpretation Office Assistant.  Though never fear, Hosmer Dinners and shenanigans with friends and fellow interpreters resumed as usual...

Not much sewing happened this month, but I did become both basic life support/first aid and food safety certified.  Oh, and I completed a lengthy, final art project of 50+ sketchbook pieces:


And, I graduated with an Associates Degree in Liberal Arts!  Certificates and medallions were awarded for cumulative 4.0s.  Here's to the class of 2017, we did it!

(Photograph via: Monroe Community College)


June - Hands down, the 2017 ALHFAM conference was the highlight of the month!  I met soo many new people...great to see some familiar faces too - Elyse, Matt and Megan, and Justin all came up.


June also brought one of my favorite village events, the War of 1812/Jane Austen weekend.  I finished my short stays just in time, and helped my good friend, Rhonda, the dressmaker, set up a really neat mourning display in her dress shop.



I believe that I finished the DNA dress and over-hoop petticoat this month...as well as this beribboned, frilly cap:





July - Fashion Fun Camp, year two, happened, and, like the first time, there is just nothing better than sharing the passion with the next generation!  (Or getting to play dress up every day ;)


Speaking of passions, thanks to Deanna and others at the museum, I had the opportunity to write about another passion - the Chinese soldiers of the American Civil War.  The article was published on the Genesee Country Village & Museum Blog, here: That These Dead Shall Not Have Died in Vain.

Corporal Joseph Pierce
(Photograph via: Public domain, Wikimedia Commons)


August - This month brought the honor of making the wedding veil for Allison and Stephen's wedding:


As well as two, other, fun projects...the online CoBloWriMo, which is 100 bloggers strong on Facebook.  And the other, well, it's still a secret, but here's a hint:

A secret project!
(Photograph courtesy of Ruby Foote,
GCV&M photographer)

My family and I finished the summer with a trip down to Memphis.  In our sightseeing, we explored several museums as well as Millionaire’s Row - definitely recommended!



September - Blogging sort of disappeared this month, but for good reason...I started school again at Kent State University!


With seven classes, there wasn't much time for personal sewing :(  But, I did complete a muslin skirt for "Basic Costume Construction" -



October - Sarah (A new friend?  Technically we already met once in person at the village, and online, but now it's official haha!) and I explored Hale Farms on a much-needed 1860s adventure.  Ginny (our blog's traveling doll) received a new dress for the occasion:


As for school projects, I finished an Edwardian picture hat for the historical millinery class:



November - Lots of traveling this month, including making it to GCV&M's 4th annual Domestic Symposium and the "Undressed" exhibit at The Frick!  Class projects included finishing a pair of plaid pajamas and a 19-teens wool felt hat with an upturned brim.




December - Traveling seems to be the reoccurring theme this year...after the semester concluded, I spent some time with a dear friend, Lauren, in Pittsburgh before heading home.  Not before handing in several end of semester projects including a striped top, floral skort, "period bodice," and sampler of millinery trimmings:





The last sewing project for the year was a vintage style Christmas skirt, perfect for ringing in the New Year with family in Tennessee.  (Just for fun, we tallied our travels...in total, it was an 10 state year for me - NY, PA, OH, WV, MD, VA, NC, GA, TN & AR - yippee!)




And that concludes the 2017 year in review!  Shout out to you for making it all the way to the end ;)  I'd like to thank everyone, most dearly and sincerely, for reading and encouraging my sewing adventures.  Each and every "like," comment and follow here (and on Facebook) has meant so much to me – your continued support keeps me sewing!  May your needle always be sharp, and your fabric stash overflowing!

Cheers 2018, and may we make every minute count!

December 29, 2017

A Winter's Walk - 1860s(ish) Photoshoot

The air is silent save where stirs
A bugling breeze among the firs;
The virgin world in white array
Waits for the bridegroom kiss of day.


It is - too cold outside!  But Maria, the sister and photographer, and I bundled up to brave the cold, on Christmas Eve no less.  A little ways away there's a lovely, family-owned and operated Christmas tree farm: the Freckleton's Tree Farm that we stopped by for a winter's walk and photographs.  We chatted with the owner and retired professor, Mr. Freckleton, for a good half hour, and he could not have been more friendly and kind.  He even sent us on our way with a recommended reading list.  So, if you live in the area, make sure to visit them next year to pick out your perfect Christmas tree!  

If you've been following us on Facebook, you may also be wondering about the other Christmas project that I had been working on...It's been placed on hold for now (perhaps 'till next December?), and, instead, I had fun pulling together this outfit from the closet.  It's a combination of mid-19th century and vintage items with a maybe-not-so-period skirt - the "ish" in the title - but was warm and oh so fun to twirl in.  Also, it gave me the opportunity to wear my 1860s sacque coat for the first time.  Made from a forest green wool with a fully quilted, silk interior, and trimmed with black silk bias strips, you can read all about the past project here: Forest Green Sacque Coat.  


The Inspiration 

I blame the hat and this picture entirely: 

Ice Skating Attire, from the Palmetto Soldiers Relief Society
(Image via: Pinterest)

As soon as I laid eyes on those furry hats, I knew exactly what I'd wear!  I paired the forest green sacque coat (hiding a white body or shirt that I made years ago and will never see the camera!) with two 18th-century style petticoats (red fabric? and brown linen).  These were worn over a mid-19th century chemise, striped stockings, drawers, corset, under-petticoat, large bum roll, and red, flannel petticoat for warmth.  Then, the vintage fur collar, hat and hatpin, gloves, and me-made muff completed the historical skating inspired look.  [Please note: this outfit was historically inspired, and not intended to be historically accurate]

Winter walking ready!

Here are several other images that served as inspiration:

Detail from a painting
(Image via: Ruby Lane Vintage, Pinterest)



Winter fantasy featured on the Dreamstress' "Rate the Dress"
(Image via: The Dreamstress)
You'll notice in several of the pictures later that I draped a brown scarf over my hat to match the ice skater on the left (above).  

Skating ensemble, c.1863–67
(Image source: The MET)

Someday I'd love to make a proper skating ensemble...

Central Park, Winter - The Skating Pond, c.1862
 Painting by Charles Parsons, Lithographed by Lyman W. Atwater
(Image source: The MET)


Completed Project Shots

A million thanks to Maria, my sister and photographer, for all her time and talents.  Without her, and her willingness to freeze with me, none of these photo shoots would be possible. *All photographs courtesy of Maria M.* 


The air is silent save where stirs
A bugling breeze among the firs;
The virgin world in white array
Waits for the bridegroom kiss of day;
All heaven blooms rarely in the east
Where skies are silvery and fleeced,
And o'er the orient hills made glad
The morning comes in wonder clad;
Oh, 'tis a time most fit to see
How beautiful the dawn can be!










Wide, sparkling fields snow-vestured lie
Beneath a blue, unshadowed sky;
A glistening splendor crowns the woods
And bosky, whistling solitudes;
In hemlock glen and reedy mere
The tang of frost is sharp and clear;
Life hath a jollity and zest,
A poignancy made manifest;
Laughter and courage have their way
At noontide of a winter's day.








Faint music rings in wold and dell,
The tinkling of a distant bell,
Where homestead lights with friendly glow
Glimmer across the drifted snow;
Beyond a valley dim and far
Lit by an occidental star,
Tall pines the marge of day beset
Like many a slender minaret,
Whence priest-like winds on crystal air
Summon the reverent world to prayer.







Poem is "A Winter Day" by Lucy Maud Montgomery.


Bonus: Outtakes of me twirling around in the snow!



Happy Holidays!