All The Purple Wool…

It’s everywhere. In my thoughts before bed. In my mind when I wake up. On my computer screen. When I talk to my mom. On my cutting table. On my dress form.


AHHHH!!! I can’t escape!

The title of this post should really be “1908 Gown Progress: Post 1” but I thought that was too boring. This week I did a pattern draft, mockup, and fitting for the gown I’m making my mom. The dress has to be finished by Jan 26th so I’m wasting no time working on it.


Secession portrait, around 1905. The portrayed: Bezdek Teréz. Photographer: Bergtraun Dezső. Losonc, Vasuti utca 10. Hungary (Today Slovakia, Lučenec)

The fabric was cut last night and will be hanging out” on the form for a couple days since most of the pattern is on the bias (at least that was the only way I could figure out how to drape it!) For your information: 5yards x60″ is juuuuussst the right amount for a princess line Edwardian gown IF you’re less than 5’4″…..the more you know!


The next step of this will be to sew up the gown, let it hang again, alter if needed then add the fancy bits- I’m doing my own decorative pattern since I suspect a lot of those motifs are relevant to something that I’m unaware of. My mom chose this lovely lilac soutache to go with the purple wool and I can’t wait to do up the design.


This gown has a few techniques I’ve never used before:
Soutache Braid.
Reinforced seams.
Super fitted.
A design I did not choose.
^^^ All of these could be my undoing. Wish me luck!

In other news, when y’all are looking at my instagram and see this:


This is also happening on the sidelines.


Don’t worry, she loves it in there.

Our house is slowly being taken over by large baby-related things! AHHH!


What’s up, 2018?

Gosh, it’s a new year again? Jeezy-Pete’s!

Every new year comes with some [sort of] resolutions. Honestly, I don’t like to call them that but that’s what they are! Last year my strugglebus was the “Must-Do” List, this year is… the Must-Do List. In addition to that, I also want to try to keep up with the Historical Sew Monthly; with the goal to be much more strategic and PLAN what I would like to do. This is also necessary when you have a baby, otherwise nothing– and I mean NOTHING– will get done……………………………So what’s the plan, Stan?

The Must-Do List of 2018 

Finish Yellow 19th Century Ball Gown ALREADY DONE HAHAHAHA
Add more trim to Green Check 19th Century Gown- Will post about this sometime soon!
Finish Regency Stays- Busk Pocket, add real straps
Add Buttons to Black Regency Gown- Literally just the buttons.
Fasten Straps to Regency Petticoat- I have to re-find the scraps for that one…
Re-Make Wool 18th Century Petticoat- Complete re-do
Trim White 18th Century Petticoat- I need a flounce to lengthen it!
Trim Pierrot Jacket- Just needs the ruffle on the hem
Hem Ian’s 19th Century Shirt

^^^These items are intended to be finished by the end of the year (sooner than later) and should be incorporated into my plans each month. I’ve already got a good start! The Yellow Ball Gown was finished just a couple days ago for a ball that just happened! Can’t wait to have pictures, though it didn’t turn out how I wanted was hoping it would.

What’s going on, 2018?

HSF Challenge: Mend, Re-Shape, Re-Fashion= I have a few in mind, and I really should check off something on my MDL (like the White Silk Petticoat) but I kind of want to do something with my yellow cotton bustle dress. I made it 4 years ago and would like to fit into it again/refashion it so it isn’t so bland!
6: JASNA Dayton Ball= Yellow Dress!
27: Ohio Historic Costumers Tea= 1908 ensemble for my mom 🙂 If you’re in Ohio and would like more information on this event- I’m the organizer! The event is private, so please message me for any questions or if you would like to go.


HSF Challenge: Under= Pocket Hoops. I plan to go to the Francaise Dinner in March, so I need to make up some hoops for that. I also need new stays, but I doubt that’ll happen before this.
Other projects: I may start working on a quilted petticoat to match Felicity’s! I would love it to be finished by the time I go to an 18th century event this year.


HSF Challenge: Comfort at Home= Regency Peignoir. I have some lovely white ikat and want to make this peignoir, but I’m not sure I have enough! If not, I’ll make a shorter one in plain white.

V&A Peignoir

1812-1814 Ikat Peignoir, T.798-1913 V&A

17: Francaise Dinner. I’m going to be making up a lovely chine into a saque-back and if I’m lucky, have some fantastic fringe to add to it. I’m super excited about this project above all others this year, I think.

HSF Challenge: Buttons and Fastenings= 1920s dress. I really, really, really want to do a 1920’s ensemble with a ton of buttons. These are some of my inspirations:

21-22: 1803 Muster, Cincinnati
28: Great Greenbriar River Race (triathlon) I really want to do it this year!

HSF Challenge: Specific Time= Edwardian Lawn Dress. I’ve always wanted one and I feel like this year is the year!

HSF Challenge: Rebellion and Counter Culture= I’m kind of stumped on this one as to what I want to do. No decisions yet, but these are quite intriguing!


Paul Poiret – Robes sultanes d’intérieur – 1911

TBD: Edwardian Luncheon. I really REALLY REALLY want to host an Edwardian Luncheon somewhere in Ohio, complete with croquet and bocce. I’m currently working on finding a venue.

HSF Challenge: Sleeves= ?? This is the month I’m going be clamoring to get JAF ready. No plans as of yet.
13-15: Jane Austen Festival- Louisville KY. I’ll be at this event again with the Virgil’s Fine Goods store! No real plans for clothing as of yet, since I’ll be spending most of my time working on stock.

HSF Challenge: Extant Originals= Green Corded Bonnet. This has been on my to-do list and I’ve already made up the pattern and have the fabric- I’ve just gotta make  it 😉


“Bonnet ca 1800’s”, MFA Boston, 43.1585

HSF Challenge: Hands and Feet: 18th Century Baby Shoes- Anne will need some, after all!
1-2: Fair at New Boston. I’ll likely be focusing on items for Anne, rather than me. She’ll need a new regency dress, cap and bonnet!

HSF Challenge: Fabric Manipulation= Tambour Kerchief OR Block printed Bedgown. We’ll see!

6-7: Feast of the Hunter’s Moon. I would like to have a short cloak and bonnet by the time this one rolls around. I’ll also have to make sure Anne is warm in her 18th century stuff.

HSF Challenge: Purses and Bags= 18th Century Sewing Bag. I would like to make a fun sewing bag for events. I never have anything to put it away in!

HSF Challenge: Neglected/UFO= We’ll see what this one ends up. If I missed a challenge or need to finish something, this will be the time to do it!

The Must-Do List of 2017

My 2017 “Resolution” was to refrain from starting any new projects until I finished my UFO’s- aka THE MUST DO LIST. I did well on my quest, though I didn’t post much about it on here. I put a lot on instagram, but with a baby and tending my etsy shop I found it hard to find time to write! So here’s one big post with a run-down of my [semi] successful venture.

My must-do list had a lot of projects that were *almost* finished or ones that NEEDED to be made, based on what event was coming up. These are its successes:

Fix Blue Linen 18th Century Petti: This lovely p’cote was made and given to me by the Fat-Reenactress a few years ago before I had a full 18th century kit. I had worn it to death and the waistband started to ravel so it needed some re-vamping. SUCCESS!

Mend 18th Century Chintz Bedgown: Another item that received a LOT Of love over the years. I am notorious for ripping out the right bottom armscye of almost everything I have. As a result, this bedgown had been washed numerous times with the hole in it. I added a cute little patch to it which doubles as a gusset and I now have more room to move! Unfortunately, my post-baby body is a little too big for it anymore, so a new bedgown is on the list for 2018. Overall, SUCCESS!!


TurkeyRed Early 19th Century Shortgown: A while back I made an adorable lower-class ensemble of turkey-red fabric for my 19thcentury/regency adventures. The fit was great, it was ridiculously sweet, and very adjustable!…. but I made it with lined, long sleeves. -Not great for wearing year-round-  I had a little bit of fabric left over from the project, so I pieced together a matching 3/4 length sleeve version. I ended up wearing this while pregnant at the Kalamazoo History Show and on Friday at the Jane Austen Festival (shortly after I had the baby). It’s very comfortable and cute, to boot! SUCCESS!!!

Patrick’s 19th Century Shirt: Sooooooo, a lonnnnnng lonnnnnng time ago I had told Patrick that I would make him a shirt since I was starting to prototype men’s shirts for the Virgil’s store. That project got pushed back again. And again. And again. I can’t tell you how many times that project was literally on my worktable and then I’d get an order, thinking “I’ll do that RIGHT after this order.” Hhahahahahahahahahahaha. Can you guess what happened? Anyways, I just said “screw all that” one week and finished that puppy. FINALLY SUCCESS!!!!

Binding Ian’s 19th Century Top Hat: I’m a novice at pulling hats, but when I initially pulled Ian’s top hat last year, I was really proud of myself. I didn’t have time to bind it when it needed to be worn. I finally finished it! YAY! Not the prettiest, but I’m not at all practiced. I plan to take a class on it so I can get better and maybe even carry them in my shop! Overall, SUCCESS!!!!



Anne’s 18th Century Stays: I did up this project while the in-laws were in town on New Years day. Easy peasy, kept me busy, and they ended up fitting when Anne was 4 months old! Full Post Here. SUCCESS!!!!!!


18th Century Gestational Stays: I was fortunate enough to go to the Textile Conference in Colonial Williamsburg last year and had to make SOMETHING that would enable me to wear my 18th century stuff. Luckily, this were a quick whip (the binding was a different story) and turned out pretty well. Full post here. I’ll be sure to post about fit sometime soon- I promise! SUCCESS!!!!!!!



Alter Ian’s 19th Century Breeches: Had to move the buttons from one side to the other. and lengthen the strap. SUCCESS!!!!!!!

Finish the Paintings: Blog Posts about these paintings are here. But, this was a collaborative project started well over 2 years ago and I kept procrastinating. Well, they’re done now. SO. DONE. We framed them for Christmas and so happy about it! WE plan to offer prints of these to sell- stay tuned for the official announcement! SUCCESS!!!!!!!


Basic Silk Kerchief: Found an amazingly light vintage silk in exactly a 36×36″ square. I had hemmed one side, and then tucked it away somewhere. Fast forward to 5 months later when I used it as a travel project! YAY! It’s fantastic for keeping you warm without added bulk. Hooray! SUCCESS!!!!!!!!!



These are the fails of my list- the items I never got around to, to my shame!

Finish Yellow 19th Century Ball Gown: Didn’t do.
Add more trim to Green Check 19th Century Gown: Nope!
Finish Regency Stays: Hahaha
Add Buttons to Black Regency Gown: Nada.
Fasten Straps to Regency Petticoat: Still safety pinned.
Re-Make Wool 18th Century Petticoat: Hasn’t even been unfolded!


Other Items, not on the list, were made as well. Here’s a few of them!


Hope you all had a Happy New Year and can’t wait to see what next year holds!


Late 18th Century Gestational Stays

I finally did it! I finished my pregnancy stays- just 6 months late!


I was interested in this project because not many people have talked about their maternity experiences while being in period costume. Also, because I’ve not seen this particular style of stays reproduced. So onto the deets!

Medium Weight Linen (Yellow scraps from my husband’s waistcoat)
2 Layers Heavy Weight Linen (white, canvas- more scraps from another project!)

These stays are based on the pair in the Jill Salen Corsets book for 1780-1785 (pgs 18-21). They lace up the back and have lacings on the sides as well to accommodate your growing bump. These stays are interesting because they do not have a lacing in the centerfront- whereas a few other examples do have that feature. I found that the general measurements (waist length and bust measurement) were very close to my own to begin with. The scariest part of this is to gauge some measurements since you’re to grow throughout pregnancy. Being my first pregnancy and having no idea what to expect, I made the decision to have the closed waist measurement an inch larger than my red wool pair of stays.

Year: 1780-1785

1/2″ linen tape from Burnley and Trowbridge (B&T)
Linen Thread from B&T
Cane/Reed for boning

How historically accurate is it?
I tried to make them as close to the original as possible- made of linen and bound with linen tape. I used cane/reed for the boning; which is merely what I had on hand. I wanted to use ash splint, but didn’t want to spend a ton of money for a pair of stays that will only have a little bit of wear. They’re entirely hand-stitched and I made them in a week (other than the binding on the tabs… that took me 6 months to get back to.)


Backstitch, backstitch…

Hours to complete: 35ish
I should have kept track, but being in the “get it done” mode, I didn’t bother. I know I spent at least 3 work days, a few evenings and around 3 hours in the car on the way to a conference. So the above is an estimate.


In progress, channels stitched and boned, pieces ready to whip together!

First worn:
I wore this pair for the first time March 2017 at the Printed Textiles Conference held at Colonial Williamsburg this past spring. It was really great to be able to wear them around, albeit late in pregnancy, to compare with my everyday comfort. More on that later…

Total cost: around $25
Being a person of somewhat small stature, I’m always delighted when a  fabric scrap will more than adequately be what I need for a project like this!



Overall I’m happy with the way they turned out and they are VERY comfortable and I can easily wear them while not in maternity mode. One of the biggest complaints among pregnant women is that bras are uncomfortable with a growing bust. With this pair, I had no problems with extra movement, underbust sweat, or shoulder strap pain with these like you do modern undergarments- WHILE PREGNANT. However, post-baby, I found that the measurements are no longer the most optimal- I can still wear them pretty comfortably- but I’ll definitely need a new pair to look and feel my best… but I’ll post about the post-baby-fit sometime soon!


1810’s Baby Dress


Little Anne with her rattle.

Life with a baby has been great! Anne is an amazing sleeper, so I can’t complain about not getting a night’s sleep because of her. However, sometimes, I just can’t sleep! This little number was the result of one of those nights.

I made this dress from a small piece of fabric in my stash and about 4 hours of time. It is based on an infant’s dress at The Met that I had fallen in love with. The only major difference is the original has an a-line skirt, rather than the straight sides I used. I made it as a basic square with sleeves with the sleeves having a tiny vandyke fine hem… that part took the longest of the entire thing!

The major hallmark of baby clothes from the 1790s-1810’s is a drawstring waist, which is easy and fast to produce. This one also has a gathered neckline. That part stumped me for a bit, but I made an executive decision to attempt to get as much wear out of this garment as possible. Children grow a lot, and I’d like for her to wear it next year, too!

Since the drawstring neckline in the extant doesn’t extend through the shoulder seams to the back, I had to figure out a way to make it not only look the same as the original, but also function as a way to get more longevity. I left one side of the front drawstring casing open and tacked the cotton tape to the selvage of the sleeve while the other side is closed and fixed in place. I’ll be able to get another 1 1/2 inches out of the front neckline which coincides with typical 12-18 month baby measurements. (see photos below)

The vandyking of the sleeves has got to be the best part about this garment. They’re very tiny- only 1/2 inch from cut to cut. Since the inside of the vandying was raw at the top, I ended up tucking the edge up about 1/16inch to conceal the raw edges and hopefully make it launder without it fraying. (Edit: Since originally writing out this post I had hand laundered the dress with rigorous effort and am happy to mention that the tuck seems to have done the trick!)

Ultimately, I’m extremely happy with how this turned out. Anne got to wear it for the first time to a fashion show, and again at the Fair at New Boston. She seemed to have a good time at both. She looked cute if nothing else!

If there’s interest, I’ll be doing a pattern or kit in the Virgil’s store for those who would like to make their own. Let me know if that’s something you’re interesting in!

Thanks for reading and I hope this post helps those of you clothing your little ones in the early 19th century!