Wednesday, May 18, 2016

A New Arrival - The Winners

Thank you everybody who submitted names to my contest! There were several great options, and it took me a while to decide upon one.

But, at long last, I finally chosen the winning name. My doll shall be called: Lucinda!


Thanks to Jean for suggesting it! Jean is the winner of the silk pincushion.



And now, the winner of the doll-sized sewing bag is.........

Jan Coon!!! 

Jean and Jan, please contact me to talk about details of sending you your prizes. 


Thank you all again, and make sure you visit the sutlery this summer to meet Lucinda in person!

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

A New Arrival!

I'd like to introduce to you the newest arrival to my sutlery!


I spent many months this winter and spring carefully handsewing her, based on instructions from the 1850's. I'm so glad she's finally ready to present to the world!


The only trouble is, she doesn't have a name; and that's where YOU come in! I am holding a naming contest, and here's how it works:

Everyone who suggests a name to me by commenting on this blog post will be entered into a drawing to win this fully-stocked, doll-sized sewing bag.


This beautiful bag was generously made and donated by Anna Bauersmith , and is filled with two spools of thread, a reversible silk pincushion, scissors, and four fabric squares ready to be made into a quilt block.


You can gain another entry by sharing this contest, via your own blog, Facebook, or other social media site. Just post a link to your share in your comment below, along with your name suggestion!

Lastly, I'll choose Dolly's name next Wednesday, the 18th. Whoever suggested the winning name will receive a handsewn silk pincushion!


So, again, please comment below with your name suggestions, and leave a link to where you've shared this for an extra entry! And, check back next Wednesday to find the winner!

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

{My Work} - 1840's Brown Plaid Vest

If you've been following my Facebook page, you've seen the teaser pictures I've been posting recently of an 1840's plaid vest. Well, it was completed and photographed this week, so here's the finished product!


The wool for this vest is absolutely wonderful. It's a vintage wool that I found on Etsy, and it turned out to be so soft and a perfect medium weight. And plaid, of course, is always a favorite of mine.


The collar is the focal point for this vest - I was asked to make sure that it had a tall shawl collar, and that the plaid be on the bias. I was only too happy to do that =)



The back and lining are made of polished cotton, a common choice for the 1800's. The buttons are also covered in the cotton.


I also highlighted the pockets by turning the direction of the plaid and featuring the dark brown stripes on the welt.


This vest was entirely sewn by hand, and took between 15 and 20 hours to complete. Although I've done a lot of hand sewing in the past, I feel like I really started to perfect some the historically correct sewing and tailoring techniques on this vest. It definitely met and exceeded my expectations!


Tuesday, February 16, 2016

{My Work} Silk Ball Gown

My first project of the year is completed, and it was a fantastic one! A stunning mid-1850's to early 1860's ball gown.


When my friend first approached me about making this ballgown for her, I was only too glad to oblige. The catch, though, was that I only had about a month to make it, as it was needed for a ball last Saturday. But, always eager for a challenge, I accepted. 

My friend didn't have any ideas in mind when she came to me, so we had tons of fun looking through fashion plates and pictures of original garments, and brainstorming the perfect dress for her. Here is my sketch, after colors were decided upon. 

With only two weeks left till the ball, the silk and notions arrived and I started on the dress. Although I had worked with silk for small projects, this was my first full dress made of silk, and it was a dream! 

I worked on a lot of small, disjointed parts of this dress, from the sleeves one day to the skirt the next, without being able to put them all together until the last few days. When it finally did come together, I was thrilled! 

One of my favorite parts of this dress is the pointed waistline with piping detail. Both the center front and center back are pointed, giving such a nice shape to the hip!



The pleated bertha was bit tedious and challenging to make, but I love the finished result!



Best of all, my friend was also thrilled, and she looked absolutely marvelous in it at the dance! A big thanks to her for letting me use her photos to show off the finished dress!


Tuesday, December 8, 2015

{My Work} - Quilted Winter Hood

     I haven't been doing a ton of historical sewing recently, what with family happenings and holiday preparations. I mean, when a niece is born, and Thanksgiving rolls around, and there are Christmas presents to make, and lots of holiday plans, you just gotta step back and enjoy life! But, a few projects have sneaked through the cracks, such as several men's shirts, a second Confederate military vest, and this quilted silk hood! 



     I just barely eked it out of cravat-making scraps, and I'm so glad that I did. The changeable blue/brown silk is so striking, and really takes this hood from being just "a winter hat" to a fashionable accessory. The fur was salvaged from an old coat, and was actually my original inspiration for making the hood. It just screamed "silk winter hood!" from the minute I got it. I've never been a huge fan of fur on clothing, but this hood is a good start to changing my mind!



     The curtain was one piece that got entirely altered from the pattern due to lack of fabric. But, I think I'll end up making all of my hood curtains this way from now on, as I truly love the way the pleating looks. 



     Thankfully, I didn't have to sacrifice warmth for beauty with this hood. The silk itself is warm, but I also lined it with a layer of batting and soft wool flannel. It really does do a fantastic job of keeping out the cold winter winds!

     I hope you all are having a wonderful Christmas season, and finding your own ways to keep toasty warm!

Friday, September 11, 2015

{My Work} - 1830's Baby-Linens

I have been dying to share this project with all of you, but had to wait for the items to be delivered to the customer, and then had to wait for a free day with time enough to sit down and write a blog post. And that day has finally arrived!

I was so thrilled when a lovely lady, who also happens to be a friend from work, asked me to make a christening gown for her first-born. Ask my room mate - I squealed and did a little dance when I got the request! Baby clothes are so much fun, and I rarely get an opportunity to make them.

My customer also wanted the gown do double duty, and be usable when she worked at our local living history village, so I turned to inspiration from historic gowns, mainly the 1830's. After some searching around for original garments, it suddenly dawned on me that the Workwoman's Guide was published in 1838. Perfect!

This book really is amazing; diagrams and instructions for nearly everything one needs in an early Victorian household! Though, it can be a bit of a challenge, with vauge or oddly worded descriptions.






After some hemming and hawing, I decided to use basic handkerchief-weight linen. It washes well, gets softer with use, and is cool enough for warm days. I'm so glad I did choose linen! It was such a pleasure to work with! One neat thing about working with linen is that you can pull warp and weft threads to measure out any straight on-grain edges on the garment pieces.

The first piece I made was a petticoat. I chose long sleeves as the little man will be wearing these clothes in cool weather to begin with. Plus, linen long sleeves would still be okay in warmer weather. The petticoat is very simple, with drawstring at the waist and neckline. I pleated the skirt to reduce bulk.






Next, I made the frock to go over the petticoat. This has short, puffy sleeves, and two decorative tucks near the hem. I also gauged the skirt to add a nice fullness to it. Otherwise, it's very similar to the petticoat.






Lastly, I made a little day cap. This may have been my favorite part! It was so tiny and delicate! Plus, the construction was ingenious; it's cut out as one piece, but then split, gathered, and re-sewn in the back to create the crown shape! The three rows of cording on the brim add a lovely interest without making it too frilly.






Eeeeee!!! Posting these pictures makes me want to squeal all over again; I love baby clothes!

Anyway, for all three pieces, I did inside seams by machine, and all visable seams by hand. I really wanted to make these clothes super special for my friend and the little man! Now, I just can't wait to see him wearing them!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Sisterhood of the World Blogger's Award!



Last weekend, a lovely friend of mine nominated me for the Sisterhood of the World Blogger's Award! Thank you, Anneliese! If you've never checked out The Young Sewphisticate, you really should. She does beautiful work, and she's just so darn sweet!


Here are the official rules for this award:
  1. Thank the blogger who nominated you, linking back to their site
  2. Put the Award logo on your blog.
  3. Answer the ten questions sent to you.
  4. Make up ten new questions for your nominees to answer
  5. Nominate ten blogs.
So, to answer the questions she left me:

#1 - Why did you begin blogging? Because my older sister had a blog. And I always wanted to be just like her!

#2 - Who or what sparked your interest in costuming? The English Country Dance troupe that I joined in 2009 went to Genesee Country Village to put on a dance demo for their War of 1812 weekend. Any participants who came in costume got in for free! And then, I fell in love with the historical world.

#3 - What do you find more exciting: the designing or the sewing process for your costumes? Both! I have a great imagination and can visual things really well, so it's fun and relatively easy for me to design new outfits, but it's also so rewarding to see that idea actually coming to life!

#4 - What is your all-time favorite period drama? There's no way I can pick just one!!! So, Jane Eyre (2006 AND 2011), The Young Victoria, and Pride and Prejudice (A&E, 1995).

#5 - If you could travel anywhere in the world for a week (all expenses paid), where would you go?  Man, oh man........um, probably to the British Isles. Probably. Or maybe France. Or Morocco. Or Germany. Or.....never mind. Anywhere. Take me anywhere.

#6 - If you could have a conversation with anyone from the past, who would you choose & what would you ask them? Right now I would want to talk to an average woman from around the 1850's who owned and/or ran a shop (dry goods, fancy goods, seamstress, etc.) in New York. I would ask her about the legal aspects, what her job entails, how she manages a business and a home, and so much more!

#7 - Which do you prefer more: mornings or evenings?  Why? Mornings! I love the feeling of freshness of a new day, the stillness in the early morning, and bright light pouring in the windows. Funnily enough, though, I really despise the actual process of waking up and getting out of bed. A lot of that could be due to my obnoxiously beeping alarm, though.

#8 - What accomplishment(s) in the past year made you the proudest? I set up as a sutler at my first Civil War event! And, all thanks to my amazing partner, Stephen!

#9 - What do you hope to accomplish this year? Um....A lot. We're hoping to set up as sutlers at two more events, and I've got a few dream projects that I'd love to sew. But, gosh, the year is almost half over! :/

#10 - What is on your sewing list? Ha. Funny question. Well, I just finished three shirts and a pair of trousers. Next up is another pair of trousers, two vests, a Regency era shirt and chemise, several cravats, and several wheel caps. And that's just for other people! For myself, I have one chemise that needs the yoke taken in, another chemise to finish embroidering and then sew together, a corded petticoat that has been sadly neglected, a 1940's sailor-ish dress, and......oh, did I mention that I'm also knitting myself a nightcap? 

Phew, okay. Here are ten questions for my nominees:

#1 - Who has inspired you most in following your passions (whether that be historical costuming, art, writing, etc.)?

#2 - What is your favorite decade from the 1800's, and from the 1900's, and why?

#3 - When you're having a hard time feeling motivated, what gets you going?

#4 - Do you play any musical instruments?

#5 - Do you prefer writing with pens or pencils?

#6 - What's one really fantastic book (fiction or non-fiction) that you think everybody should read?

#7 - What is one household chore that you really love, and one that you really hate?

#8 - If you were given $100 right now, what would you do with it?

#9 - What's one place and time in history that you'd love to travel back to?

#10 - What's your favorite outdoor activity (hiking, biking, sledding, etc)?

Now, to nominate! Eeek.....I'm not sure I have ten people, but I'll try. 

#1 - Michaela from The Farming Daughter
#2 - Emily from Taking Dictation
#3 - Emily from Entirely Bonkers
#4 - Lily from Mode de Lis
#5 - Tara from A Lass of Yesteryear
#6 - Kiley from Always Come Home
#7 - Lyida from The Girl Out of Time
#8 - Frances from Polka Polish

Well, eight is close enough, right? Have fun, ladies!