Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Keep It Together Woman!!! My To-Do/Create List for 2014

Keep It Together Woman!

To keep sane with all the projects you plan on completing, follow this very important tip...
In between the big projects create small mini projects so you feel like you have completed something. Or you can break up a large detailed project into several small sections. i.e. the trim or ruffles on a skirt, petticoat, cockades for a hat, kid leather gloves, etc...

Working on too many large projects at one time will cause unneeded anxiety and self doubt. 

Below are some links to mini projects I've done or want to create. 

These are relatively simple sewing projects.

To Do Lists
I have a list of outfits I would like to make and I typically section it by era and type.
I also have a running list for my UFO's (unfinished objects). I try to list what the object or project is and what needs to be completed.


1905 Trumpet Skirt
  • add hook and eyes to waist
  • hem skirt 
1903 Shirtwaist
  • add buttons
  • complete collar
  • attach waistband
  • attach cuffs

When I check anything off of my list I feel an overwhelming sense of accomplishment. I think that has to do with having an infant and my time being limited (but this is a tip I've always used... )

I'm a list maker! 

Sewing time is usually late at night or at most a hour during the day if my little tyke is accommodating. 

That being said this is my list (ambitious I know)!

Costume To-Do List (2014)

Blue Floral Brocade Natural Form Outfit w/Two Bodices
Navy Blue Bustle Visiting Outfit
Navy Talma Jacket/Wrap
Two Chemises 
Two Corset Covers

All of the above outfits will be made with Truly Victorian patterns. 
My go to pattern company for my slightly dyslexic reading style on typical patterns.  

Edwardian/Belle Epoque
Tan Belle Epoque Traveling Suit (inspiration photo)

Purple Seersucker Trumpet Skirt and White Voile Shirtwaist
Edwardian Underwear

All of the above outfits will be made with Truly Victorian patterns.

Red and Beige Floral Robe à l’anglaise” Gown 
Blue Flower Robe à la Française 
Bold Red Caraco Jacket
Powder Blue Short Jacket

I will be using J.P. Ryan Patterns for the above dresses.

Blue Floral Day (long sleeve) Dress
Yellow Floral (short sleeve) Dress
Black & White Plaid Day Dress (w/detachable long sleeve) 
Work Apron
White Petticoat Dress

I will be using a combination of my Folkwear, Sense & Sensibility Patterns with references to Janet Arnold's Patterns of Fashion 1


If I have the fabric I name it with the fabric (as seen above), if I have the patterns I write that down as well.

Somewhere in the midst of all those projects I plan to make a Renaissance outfit for the Ren Faire here in Arizona.


Btw- this list was made way back in February!!! I apparently never schedule it to go out.... So here it is :)
My next post will be an updated list and status on completed items...
Cya soon! 


Friday, February 14, 2014

Colonial America for The First Africans

Colonial America


Some of my earliest memories in social studies or American history class are about the 13 colonies and the several major Native American Indian tribes located in the areas colonized by the newly arriving European settlers. One of the major and only African American names mentioned is Phillis Wheatley. Born in 1753, Phillis was a young Senegalese girl of 7 or 8 when she was kidnapped and shipped to the colonies; she was eventually sold to the Wheatley family in Boston. Purchased to be a companion or slave to Susanna the wife of John Wheatley, Phillis was given various opportunities that were not offered to many of her counterparts. Phillis apparently suffered from ailments (which kept her mistress Susanna from training her as a house servant) and prompted Susanna to teach Phillis reading, writing, theology, Greek and Latin. 
Phillis eventually published her first and only book of poems and was able to travel to England to promote them. Unfortunately, soon after her return to the colonies both Susanna and John died. Phillis was given her freedom upon John's death in 1778 and eventually married a freed black man. Tragically all three children they would have died in infancy and her husband spent time in prison for debt. Phillis would later take a job as a maid and eventually die herself in 1784 at the seemingly tender age of 31. 

Phillis Wheatley Monument in Boston 
Phillis obviously seems to be an exception to the rule (for not only black Americans of the time but also women) but many people do not know that most early Africans transported to the colonies arrived as indentured servants not slaves. In 1619 the first black Africans came to Virginia. With no slave laws in place, they were initially treated as indentured servants, and given the same opportunities for freedom dues as whites. "However, slave laws were soon passed – in Massachusetts in 1641 and Virginia in 1661 –and any small freedoms that might have existed for blacks were taken away. As demands for labor grew, so did the cost of indentured servants. Many landowners also felt threatened by newly freed servants demand for land." Phillis's abduction in 1753 coincided with the turn in ideology and treatment of Africans in the colonies. 
Still, freed blacks did live in the colonies and although they wouldn't have had the gorgeous robe a la francaise or anglaise we adore and see in museums across the world, a short jacket or a  caraco (passed down or of a plain fabric) would have been worn (made of linens or possibly cotton) as cotton production was getting under way in the south. 

Some Examples of Ladies  Jackets:

Pattern Used: J.P. Ryan

A Fine Collection of
Ladies' Jackets
for Undress Wear

This very special J. P. Ryan pattern contains 10 pattern pieces which may be combined to create an entire wardrobe of 18th century jackets.  Four views are given, each for a different time period.    Because all the pattern pieces, i.e. sleeves, cuffs, backs and front, were designed to fit together, you may create additional styles, based on your own personal research.

jacket2.jpg (189425 bytes) 

My work in progress: 

I still need to create a hem for the fichu and a cap for my hair. 
Items still on my to-do list.
Which reminds me I need to post my Costume To-Do List for 2014 and possibly The Historical Fortnightly Sew Along Details. 

Till Later.. ta ta!  

Source Material
Phillis Wheatley. [Internet]. 2014. The Biography Channel website. Available from:http://www.biography.com/people/phillis-wheatley-9528784 [Accessed 08 Feb 2014].


Sunday, February 9, 2014

Georgian Stays.... Oh Stays! And the Deborah Sampson Dress

The Fire (Enthusiasm) of Costume College Burns Bright

So upon my return from costume college I was all fired up!
My partner in crime, Anne of the Library fueled my fire with her medieval creations and theater costuming. Talking with Anne of the Library, we decided maybe a workshop of sorts should be scheduled...

But who in the would is going to come all the way to Alaska for a workshop?
Wouldn't it be super expensive just to bring the instructor up and house them in a hotel?
Oh and wait, we have to pay them for the class!!

Wheels a-turning I said 'it won't hurt to try' and an email went out to the  amazing Feather Tippetts whom I had met at CoCo. Pricing and availability was discussed and seemed a real workshop seemed possible (she also was agreeable to staying at a students home). 
Emails went out and posters were developed and put all over town at the few sewing and craft stores Anchorage boast. Return emails and calls trickled in and we finally had the mandatory 12 participants to make the class happen (at a reasonable price). The Georgian Workshop was scheduled for the 2nd weekend of December.

It was arranged as a four day work shop in which we created a pair of stays (corset of the day) and a dress (robe a l'anglaise or robe ala francaise) or short jacket (two days for each item). We were provided with directions for sewing our chemises in advance and we counted down to December of 2012.

As mentioned in my previous post, my husband and I had a little girl in July of 2013. Upon my 6th week of pregnancy (mid November 2012), thankfully after our return from the gorgeous island of Honolulu, Hawaii (a paid for trip from my husbands job, yay!!!); I became ill with horrendous morning sickness. Ack!

Anyway, although I had planned the workshop and all speaking events to the hilt. I could not carry out some of the much needed errand running or troubleshooting. Anne of the Library stepped in and was my savior and Abby of the Plains was my chauffeur and best buddy during my bouts of sickness which kept me nauseous (either on the floor or in the bathroom) during down time at the workshops and events.  

Below is a pic of the speaking event at the local Library; 
What Our Fore-mothers Wore (A show and tell)

Sorry about the graininess and distance of the photo. I put my husband in charge of taking pictures and this was the best of the three he happened to take!

Despite all of the sickness (I was later diagnosed with Hyperemesis Gravidarum) I was able to sew 90% of both my stays and my robe ala francaise gown.

Both the stays, gown and side hoops have sat in my UFO pile until recently.

Honestly, the hardest part of the stays was cutting the reed to go in the channels. I will be creating a new pair slightly smaller as I lost the baby weight and my current stays are to big. 

I'm still working on the Gown and petticoat.

The fabric from this dress inspired me.

Dress: ca. 1760-1790, copperplate printed linen in a floral pattern. Shown with fichu and engageantes. Worn by Deborah Sampson (Gannett), (1760-1827), possibly as her wedding dress.

 I adored Deborah Sampson as a child; a young woman who dressed as a man and served in the revolutionary army! These are the stories that helped me fall in love with history and the little stories that get passed over and or forgotten!

Below are the in progress photos (ignore the time date my camera is screwy):

I still need to finish the hem, stomacher and trim on both the dress and petticoat. 

  The Patterns used for both the stays, gown, and hoops were J.P. Ryans:



Strapless stays, designed for comfort, give a cylindrical shape to the torso and allow full freedom of movement of the arms and shoulders. One size per pattern. Fully illustrated directions included for any necessary alterations required to fit your figure. Comes in sizes 6 through 24 for bust sizes 32-50
Robe a la Francaise

Pet-en-l'air or
Robe à la Française

The pet-en-l'air has a fitted torso without front waist seam, and a pleated sack back that extends from neckline to hem. The fit of the bodice is controlled by the lining; it has an under stomacher that laces closed in the front and ties to adjust the back. Pattern is for pet-en-l'air, three sleeve flounces and stomacher only. Instructions are included for extending the pet-en-l'air into a gown and for constructing a shaped petticoat which will hang evenly over pocket hoops. Available in sizes 6-8 through 22-24. 


Pocket Hoops

Boned hanging pockets which tie around the waist. One size fits all. Ideal for ball gowns. Hoops collapse for ease of movement and storage.  

Georgian or Colonial isn't really my favorite era but the clothing was quite beautiful. 


Food for thought...Until Later Toodles!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Costume College 2012 Or CoCo12

Okay, so these are just a few pictures of the amazing people (and the amazing outfits) I met while at Costume College 2012!

Until Later!! Bye bye :)

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

My Victorian Corset

This is the corset I made while at CoCo 2012.
Work in Progress

Its from the Laughing Moon Silverado Corset.

It was completed in one day limited class at Costume College (about 8-10 hours).

I would like to make another in a lavender or black coutil.

The instructors name was Barbara and she has a workshop business. If I lived in the LA Area I would totally take another couple classes. She explained the steps in such an easy fashion. 

Can I replicate it? 

I'm not sure but I am willing to try!

Bye for now!