once again into the fray

despite all appearances, i’ve been quite busy!  i’ve started volunteering at Bennett Place in durham, in addition to the duke homestead.

i decided i needed a new dress, and i have to say, i’m quite pleased with this one.  i finally (!) have a properly fitted bodice. of course, i used the wrong bodice pattern to make my collar, so it’s too wide at the front.  oops!

it’s got slightly fancier sleeves.  never again, they took forever!  they’re a double puff upper with a bishop lower (also need some cuffs).  the fabric is a nice cotton shirting, technically also correct for half mourning.  i just wanted something that wouldn’t show dirt.


Little Bit also got a new dress (well 2, but the second isn’t quite finished yet).  despite all appearances, she does enjoy dressing up with me (not so much the photos).


the front bodice fashion fabric is on the bias, the lining is on the straight.  the skirt is gauged, which i had to do twice since i did it tightly the first time.


i’m currently working on my new dress for the duke homestead.  just today i realized that i need a difference bustle.  i made up tv101 last year, but i need the hem support of tv108, so the pattern is now on it’s way to me.

this was my original inspiration.  it’s so lovely!  the scalloped bits, the simplicity.  i just love it.  however, i’ve come to realize that it’s more 1875-1880 than 1870.


this is my new inspiration.  it’s frilly and fluffy like the early 1870’s, but it’s not quite so over the top as a lot of others.


i do have my petticoat finished, complete with the ruffle of doom.  i might make another, without the huge ruffle, after i finish my new bustle.


my new 1870 dress will get it’s own blog post.  until then!


hey, it’s 2017!

so yeah… blogging is obviously not my strong suit.  ha!

i’ve been relatively busy.  homeschooling, volunteering, sewing, learning to knit (finally!), and just general life.

we’ve started volunteering at bennett place, in addition to the duke homestead.


my husband and i finally went on our honeymoon.  quebec city.  it was gorgeous.  and amazing.  we’re taking the kids next year.  it only took 14 years lol!

this was actually on ile d’orleans.  i highly recommend it!

we’ve really enjoyed north carolina.  i’m going to be super sad to leave next year!



there’s just so much to do and see here!  so much history, the area is beautiful, and my kids like it.  anyway, that’s the last year+ in a nutshell.  there’s been so much more {disney world!} but it’s late and i’m tired.






i have no idea how long it’s been since i’ve last blogged.  maybe, i should check on that?  meh.

so… news!  we’ve been through another deployment.  dh came home from the 2nd just 364 days after the first, 1 day shy of a full year.  and then he went tdy and then…

we moved!  we are currently in north carolina, until 2018-ish.  dh is in a new gig playing with the army.

and because the schools here aren’t what i’d like, we’re now homeschooling.

lots of changes.  so far i’m really enjoying NC.  there are so many trees!  it really looks like the mountains back in california, i sometimes have to remind myself we’re not 5,000+ ft up lol!  there’s so much history!  we’re close to tons of stuff!  it’s not oklahoma!

i wore my 1770’s ensemble for halloween, a possible blog post on that later {if anyone is even remotely interested}.  i hand sewed everything, except my stays {because i’m just not that crazy}.  i have 2 petticoats and an english gown, plus my shift.

i discovered that they do a dicken’s type fair thing every year here, so of course i need a new outfit!  plus, i’m hoping to volunteer at some historic sites, and the main one is set in 1852, and thankfully my unders from the 40’s or the 60’s should work for that.  though honestly, i haven’t started corset research for the 50’s.

for the 1840’s i’m going to be making corded stays, corded petticoat, 1 or 2 new plain petticoats, a fan front dress, bonnet and shoes {hopefully!}.  my kids will be a mish-mash of late 40’s-early 50’s.  i haven’t gotten quite that far, though i do know i’m going to be making corded petticoats for my girls.  they’ve both been wanting hoops, and i think that’ll be a nice compromise for now.

my corded stays are past patterns #001, i can already tell i’m going to have to make some adjustments, so look for posts on that soon!  thankfully, a lot of what i have planned for this next year falls in line with the historical sew monthly {which i totally quit this year with dh being gone and the move and everything else.  it was just too much.}.


An 18th century petticoat

i finished the first of my 2 18th century petticoats the other day.  It’s 100% hand sewn!

They’re not difficult to make, and there’s a few tutorials online. 

I used a blanket stitch to hold the pleats in place and used 1/2″ linen tape for the binding and 1/4″ linen tape for the ties.  The tape is sewn on using a spaced back stitch. 

My underpinnings are quite finished yet (my ugly puffer needs the front gathered and I *hate* gathering stitches). I’m hoping it’ll be level once all of that is done lol. Otherwise I’ll have to rebalance the back side. 

I do quite enjoy the way the pleats look and I’ve learnt a few things for the next one (in blue). 


18th century cap

It’s  finished!  I still have no idea how to do my hair or how I’m supposed to wear it, but it’s finished!

I used a precut kit from atthesignofthegoldenscissors.com. It was really quite easy, if a bit time consuming.  Altogether, I think it took around 10 hours, a really large portion of that was hemming every edge of every piece. 

If anyone has any simple hair tips, I’m all ears. I just want something super simple like This. More specifically, the 7th photo. My hair is really long (30+ inches) and I just don’t know how to do that! 

18th Century

1770-1780’s shift

I started on my shift last week and I’ve been sewing a couple of hours here and there. I’ve decided to do my 18th century sewing by hand (aside from the aforementioned stays that were machined). 

I’m working from pattern A at http://www.marquise.de/en/1700/howto/frauen/18chemise.shtml.  

Because my shift pieces didn’t quite work out the way they show on the diagram, I ended up figuring out my own size for the under arm gussets. They ended up being 15cmx15cm. 

I ordered my linen from  http://www.burnleyandtrowbridge.com and it is amazing!  It is so much softer than the IL019 from fabric-store. 

All seams are flat-felled. 

This is where the shoulder seam  and the underarm gusset meet, right side of fabric.   

I honestly have no idea how period correct this is, but since I’m working in the years between the really full shift sleeves of the early 18th century and the very narrow sleeve of the 1790’s, I’ve made mine with just a few gathers at the upper middle. 


Some of them went a bit wonky so they’re not exactly stroke gathers.  I’m still working out what size to make the stitches for the sleeve edge. They’ll be gathered into a cuff and closed with ribbon. 

I also still have to cutout my neckline, which will be its own post. I’m hoping to get to it this week. 

18th Century

18th century stays, part 3

they’re almost done!

I’ve finished adding the boning and stitched the binding down. 

They are wearable as is, so I’m taking a break from them and have started on my shift (which will have its own post). 

In a week or so I’ll cut out the lining pieces and whip stitch them in! 

18th Century

18th century stays, part 2

today I finished seeing the boning channels and started inserting the boning. 

The boning comes coiled, I’ve read something about soaking them and pressing them under heavy books to straighten them. 

So far, I’m using the pieces that curl inwards, since I’m using 2, the pressure keeps them straight. Eventually I’ll have to do the soaking for the pieces that curl backwards. 

After measuring the pieces and cutting them, I’m using an emory board to round the edges. 

Tons of work, I hope it’s worth it!