Get Organized: Utilizing the Airtable App for Living History and Costuming

The Spring Collection

If you follow us on Instagram then you’ve probably seen us talk about the app and website called Airtable. If you haven’t, Airtable is basically a spreadsheet that also works as a database, so not only can you input information into an easy to read platform, you can organize it in a bazillion different ways to make it work for you! I’m low key obsessed, ok maybe not so low key lol.

I was first introduced to Airtable last summer when working with Molly Cooper of the 1st WAC Separate BN, she’s the queen of organization! It wasn’t love at first sight, but I did see the usefulness of the program at the time. I started setting up my first database to help me plan out projects and stay on top of them – something my UFO pile would love me to do. I planned about three projects and then forgot about it. Between the holidays and the general feelings of meh after The Season I kind of just wasn’t feeling it and the Airtable app just wasn’t working for me with the magic and wonder that Molly insisted it had for her.

Fast forward to this January, I had a slew of projects lined up in my head in multiple time periods. Add on to that the normal day to day things I have to remember between keeping the children alive, schooled, and the house from catching on fire. I was mentally fried and project pieces and deadlines were beginning to slip through the cracks. Thanks mom brain. I decided to sit down and force myself to make this Airtable app work the way I wanted it to.

First I decided I needed a database just for my sewing projects, something where I could easily see all of my planned projects, which time period they were for, which stage they were in, and what their deadline and priority level was. I started using the “Simple Project Tracker” database template in the app and then began customizing the fields.

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Simple Project Tracker template
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The modified template for my sewing projects

I left the first column (name) the same, copied the ‘Stage’ column and used it to create the ‘Time Period’ column, changing the options to 18th century, early 19th century, mid 19th century, and WWII. I kept the ‘Deadline’, ‘Priority’, ‘Photos’, and ‘Notes’ sections the same, just shuffled them a bit more to my liking. I also kept the ‘Tasks’ column which is a neat little way to connect to another spreadsheet all within the same database. Above you can see what the database looked like as the Simple Project Tracker template and what mine looks like now. Since Hayley and I use the same database for all of our reenacting stuff I copied my customized spreadsheet and just updated the name to differentiate between them, it now sits as the second tab in the Sewing Projects database with the Tasks spreadsheet as the third tab. The ‘Tasks’ spreadsheet is linked to both of the individual tables for our projects. As we enter tasks into our entries they generate here in the table. Below you can see what the ‘Tasks’ spreadsheet looks like, I only changed a couple of things on this spreadsheet.

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The ‘Tasks’ spreadsheet

I love that I can easily track each stage of my projects – no more forgetting to order swatches for weeks at a time. I also love the option of being able to attach photos or other media which is great for tracking inspiration for costumes. I’ve also found that there’s something superbly satisfying about getting to check off a box while in the midst of a project. Things like gowns and jackets and kids clothes (basically anything that isn’t a cap) seem to take forever and I’m definitely an instant gratification kind of person.

 

Now the next database was even more fun to create! I started with the Camping Trip Planner template and quickly started to customize the fields in the first spreadsheet. You can see below how much I changed things! We wanted to use this database as an easy way to organize the events we were attending and keep track of what exactly we were doing at said events since we tend to switch things up a lot. We kept the first column the same but then added a ‘Date’, ‘Prior Attendance, and ‘Registration’ field. I handle all of the administrative stuff so not overbooking us, ensuring we’re registered before deadlines, and have a general idea of what the event is about is something is something that can make my life easier. The next fields handle ‘Interpretation’, ‘Persona’, ‘Research’, and ‘Gear Needed’. The ‘Gear Needed’ field links to the existing ‘Packing List’ spreadsheet which currently needs some work. The ‘Persona’ field is linked to another spreadsheet that details all of those important things you need to keep straight when you do first person interpretation. The ‘Research’ field utilized the existing ‘Link’ field and is where we attach any research or resources related to the event and our interpretation.

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Camping Trip Planning template
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Newly customized and ready to go!

Ok so the last little bit I’m going to show you is a detail of the Clothing and Accessories spreadsheet. I kind of figured the Persona and Gear and Kit spreadsheets you could figure out on your own or eliminate entirely, but this one is neat. So I struggle with wanting to make a new outfit for every event. It’s just my thing and it needs to stop. I also struggle with remembering what all I have tucked away in storage, out of sight out of mind. So the weeks leading up to an event I inevitably forget what all I own and try to crank something out – enter this spreadsheet! This one tracks all of my outfits and the interchangeable pieces, like petticoats and caps, and all of those fun accessories. I can even go in and link an outfit to a persona so no more scrambling trying to remember if my cotton print gown is appropriate for a particular date/event or social class because its all right there! I can even electronically “pack” my clothing for an event by linking it right to the event spreadsheet! Voila! When I have 1000 other things to remember this one is going to save me from a mental breakdown and keep me in good graces with my hubby if I’m not buying fabric and sewing into the wee hours before an event. Below is an example of my fabulous table which is desperately in need of being updated – I meant to do it when I put all of my stuff away but you know, forgot.

clothing

 

So there you have it folks! This is just an overview of what I’ve done with the Airtable app and how it works for me. As a note all of the images are views from the Airtable website whereas the mobile app has a slightly different layout. If you want more pictures or details on how I set up the other spreadsheets just let me know and I’d be glad to help! I hope this inspires you to get organized and take control of that UFO pile – or at least organize it a little lol.

-Brittany

Historical Sew Monthly: March 2019

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I feel like I’m cheating with March’s challenge of  “Sewing Kit” but honestly my sewing kit is a bit sparse so there weren’t many tools to choose from. The challenge calls for you to make something with your favorite tool or gadget from your sewing kit or make something for your historical sewing kit, like a housewife or pinball. 9EC540EE-2833-4CB6-8497-2CC1E3143468Since I have my historical sewing kit in order already, I turned to my favorite tool: the Bohin needle, a French company in business since 1833 and manufacturing needles since 1860. In this day and age it can be difficult to find sewing tools and notions that are produced by manufacturers that are focused on quality and not quantity and cheap labor. I love these needles, they glide like through fabric like butter; yes even that tough K&P wool doesn’t stand a chance with these and I gladly pay to have these little fellows shipped to my door from Burnley & Trowbridge.

 

For this challenge I am entering my Barbara Johnson fine white muslin apron which was all completed by hand, using period techniques, and my favorite french needles. This post will be short and sweet since I’ve already detailed the project in this post here, so let’s get down to business.

The Challenge: Fine white ruffled apron

Material: Fine cotton muslin “mull”

Pattern: None, self drafted based partly on the American Duchess Guide to Sewing

Year: 1780s

Notions: Thread and beeswax

How historically accurate is it? Nothing will ever be 100% accurate so let’s put this at a close 95% accurate.

Hours to complete: Honestly not as long as I thought, I didn’t keep track very well because I was sick but realistically maybe 6-8 hours.

First worn: Hasn’t been worn yet but fingers crossed we’ll have a photo shoot in a couple of weeks. If the weather doesn’t cooperate then it will make its debut at the Crabill Homestead event the last weekend of April. 

Total cost: About $36 in fabric between the apron and the handkerchief

Historical Sew Monthly: January 2019

thedutchmilliners.wordpress.com

Ok, so I think by now we all understand how bad I am at keeping up with blogging. To be honest though, if I blogged as much as I wanted I probably wouldn’t get half as much sewing done as I’d like to. Vicious circle. Anyways, for the second year in a row I am casually participating in the Historical Sew Monthly challenge hosted by the lovely Dreamstress. If you’ve never heard of the HSM challenge definitely check it out, I love seeing all the cool projects people turn out to fit the challenge themes! This year I managed to inadvertently knock out the first two challenges with little effort as they fit right in with my  sewing plans. #score!

The first challenge of the year was “Dressed to the Nines” and costumers were encouraged to create something fancy to be “dressed to the nines” or create something from a year ending in 9 (like 1849), or incorporate the number 9 into the design elements, like 9 buttons. This was perfect as I need to whip together a dress for an event in February that was set in 1850.

I decided to start planning my project by perusing Pinterest for some inspiration. I was still really new to this period and learning exactly what shapes and details were appropriate was daunting, fortunately they had photography! During a random search I came across this dress and then this fashion plate and finally this dag.

Hmm, look at all that blue changeable silk! Funny thing is I have an entire bolt of that very same fabric sitting in my sewing room – sometimes things are meant to be!

So with the fabric decided upon I began looking at elements I liked in these dresses, namely the tightly gathered bodice front and the tight sleeves, and chose the Truly Victorian pattern 454 German Day Dress to work with. I had heard many great things about the Truly Victorian patterns and figured I couldn’t go wrong with them especially when working in unfamiliar territory. I really enjoyed working with the TV pattern, but not going to lie the sizing chart was crazy. I might just be really unproportional but I had to fudge some numbers to get to a size that made sense. I really had my doubts about the fit when sewing up the mock-up but amazingly the crazy maths and head scratching worked! I had to make zero adjustments! Seriously when does that ever happen, especially on an unfamiliar pattern in a new time period? Truly Victorian patterns I AM SOLD!!

After whizzing through the mock-up I whipped together the bodice in no time – seriously flat lining is my new favorite thing, WHY AREN’T WE USING THIS MORE OFTEN???

With one week before the event all I had to do was gauge the skirts and attach them – cue terror and dread.

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Holy Crap I can gauge skirts!

Pleating skirts is second nature for me, when it comes to knife pleats that is, but throwing in a new technique like gauging (or cartridge pleating) and you have me shaking in my boots. I don’t do well with change. I think I spent more time researching how to gauge skirts than I did actually gauging them. Not even joking.

The week of the event and after 2 cups of coffee, 4 pep talks, and like 7 internet tutorials I finally bit the bullet and gauged the darn skirts. It took me approximately the entire season of BBC’s The Living and The Dead (I don’t suggest watching this before spending an evening in a dark and haunted Victorian home) to finish the skirts and attach them to the bodice, essentially making the thing.

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Ta-Da! Ignore my shrinking dress form, that girls got problems

The day of the event we met up early to do a mini photo shoot, because that’s what you do when you make a new thing you’re proud of right?

The event was focused on recreating some of the activities that would occur around a house during a winter evening in 1850. The 1850s girl gang decided to reenact a parlor scene by taking tea, reading and discussing current events. We took advantage of the gorgeous candlelight to snap a few haunting images. Overall the event and the gown were a huge success.

HSM challenge #1 = Accomplished!

The Challenge: “Dressed to the Nines” an 1849 day dress

Material: Blue and black changeable silk, black silk, and green cotton twill lining

Pattern: Truly Victorian #454 German Day Dress

Year: 1849

Notions: Metal hooks and eyes, beeswax, cotton cord, blue linen thread, and blue silk thread.

How historically accurate is it? The pattern is based off of an original tailors guide written c. 1843 and the fabric and styling matches extant gowns and those seen in fashion plates and daguerreotypes, however the gown is mostly machine sewn (its an antique machine if that helps recoup points), so I will call it 90% accurate.

Hours to complete: I’m terrible at tracking hours but from mock-up to finished product there is probably 24 hours of labor involved.

First worn: Saturday February 9th, for the Winter Evening event at Cobblestone Farm in Ann Arbor, MI.

Total cost: Less than $25, fabric and almost all notions came from stash. Pattern and cording were the only purchases.

From Book to Barbara Pt. II

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Things are beginning to take shape with Barbara Johnson’s “red and white chintz gown” based on the description from her album of swatches currently located at the V&A Museum. I worked with Jess, of Penny River Costumes, to come up with an idea of what type of gown  Barbara might have been describing in the early 1780s when she first pasted in this pretty printed swatch. 

 

Three fashion plates dating to 1781-1783.

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Is that a shaped sleeve I see?

Based on fashion plates and extant gowns dating approximately to the same decade, we think Barbara most likely had her mantua maker make her a robe a l’anglaise with a low cut “v” shaped back piece, sometimes referred to as an “Italian Gown” with a coordinating petticoat. Sleeve length during the decade seemed to vary and could be anywhere from the elbow to the wrist. They also could be trimmed, left plain, or with a set of fine white sleeve ruffles. The fashion plate Barbara carefully placed on the page accompanying her “red and white chintz” swatch appears to have a gown with sleeves just past the elbow, perhaps a shaped sleeve which had started to rise in popularity?

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Ignore the lumps and bubbles 😑

Now knowing what type of gown I needed to recreate it was time to begin drafting a pattern and creating a mock-up of the bodice. To create the pattern I decided to work from an existing gown that I finished earlier in the year that features the same deep “V” shape in the bodice back and fits perfectly over my false rump.

The blue silk Levite gown was franken-patterned using the Wingeo Levite pattern, the fashionable gown pattern from Larkin and Smith, and my standard bodice sloper. Combining these three patterns I was easily able to create that desirable 1780s back, having done it once already I’m hoping the mock up process will go quickly this time around.

First, I cut out my lining pieces for the bodice back and fronts using the Larkin and Smith Fashionable gown back and my bodice sloper. I’m always up for shortcuts so I’m going to use my lining as my mock up just to save some time. Even though I’ve made gowns from these particular pattern pieces countless times I always start with fitting my lining EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. no matter how many times I’ve made that particular gown. It never fails that if I skip this step something will go terribly wonky for some unexpected reason. 

1. Uncut side, too low at the waist and hips.

2. Center back nicely trimmed to fit over false rump without any wrinkling at the waist.

3. Detail of one side trimmed out over  rump at hips.

As you can see here I have my mock-up sewn together and mounted on the dressform with one side cut and pinned into the shape I’m looking for. Now I just have to do the same for the other side. Is this method historically accurate? Meh, I can’t vouch for that but it works for me and that’s all that matters right now. 

For the back, I added length to the Fashionable Gown back pattern piece, just guesstimating how much to add to make the dramatic point. I’ve trimmed it away a little starting at the center back point to gradually sit just over the hips at the side back, this smooths out any wrinkles at the waist. Once the back is cut and looks even

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Time to fix up the fronts!

I move onto the fronts. For this part I used my basic sloper for a center front closing bodice and cut the hips out slightly higher, just enough to accommodate the extra padding provided by the false rump. The center fronts are pinned closed and trimmed and then the bottom is shaped to meet with the cut-out sides. Once I’m done trimming I spin the form around to double check for any wrinkles or bubbles. What’s left should smooth out with the weight of the skirts and the extra stability of the fashion fabric. One of the curses of working with soft, buttery linens is its ability to wrinkle, bubble and stretch without that added foundation.

Now it’s time to try it on over my stays and fix any fitting issues! This process usually takes a couple tries so I was going to save this for another post but surprisingly enough it only took one fitting this time. I just need to trim a little under the arms to release just a bit of that wrinkling and it should be just about perfect!

Ps. Ignore the crappy fitting selfies, tiny bathrooms and stays making selfies difficult.

-Brittany

Day Three: Gifts From the Heart

I love surprises.

I am a twenty-eight year old woman, and if you mess with that couple seconds of unbridled joy as the wrapping paper comes off–you are dead to me.

Or at least, not my favorite gift giver.

Accordingly, gifts that have significant sentimental value will always win me over. I am about 75% sentiment anyway. This doesn’t release the giver from applying good taste, mind you! Which is where day three comes in: gifts from the heart. If you are looking for sentimental gifts that will hold up to the test of time, this is the post for you.

1. Hand Decorated Busks

Busks have much lore wrapped around them, and if you wish to read more, the always lovely and fabulous Julie has plenty of additional commentary here that I don’t have the space for in this line up. Suffice it to say that they are insanely practical for avoiding the dreaded sneeze-pop. If you are unfamiliar with the sneeze-pop, it’s that moment where you sneeze and your stays go, “pop!”

Fortunately, I haven’t had a pop turn into an actual crisis, but the busk keeps my piece of mind… and belly, right where they belong.

If you are a XXLCrafty™ sort, you can find a nice piece of wood, carve/cut/sand it to the size and length of your dearest’s needs, and decorate it to taste. This could be anything from carving to wood burning–even painting! Be advised that Dearest will be doing a considerable amount of sweating, so if you decide to paint it, seal it well with polyurethane or a similar sealant.

If you are only ModeratelyCrafty™, both William Booth Draper and Burnley & Trowbridge have simple, unadorned busks that can be wonderful starting points for a very sentimental gift. I find the B&T busk to be more appropriate for early 19th century, whereas the Wm. Booth Draper busk more accurately fits the later portion of the 18th century. Both would be easy enough to simply inscribe a simple message on, or even initials.

If you are NeverCraftsLLC, you will find that either busk above combined with a sweet note is still a very sentimental gift that hearkens back to lovelorn couples from centuries ago.

busk
Busk, 18th century French, metal; [no dimensions available] The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Gift of Mrs. Edward S. Harkness, 1930 (30.135.36) http://www.metmuseum.org/Collections/search-the-collections/85408

Keep it simple or go crazy! It’s the individuality of this gift that makes it special!

I definitely want one with a mermaid on it. Heck, if you’re into casting metal, give it a go! Whale bone is not advised.

2. A Portrait

Now, you’re going to have to stick with me through this one. We, interpreters/nerds/buffs/costumers are an interesting bunch. If we wanted something fast and easy, this wouldn’t be the hobby to find it in. In keeping with that, it’s only appropriate that I include one gift option that’s just a little bit extra.

I dug around, trying to find portrait painters, but even if I had found one that had serious acclaim, they would be out of the financial reach of 90% of the people reading this post. If you can afford that, you’re not reading this blog for gift ideas! So, I’ve ultimately settled on suggesting a few, slightly more realistic options.

Firstly, find an artist you like! One only has to peruse Instagram for a few moments before you can dig up a full spectrum of artists. If you want something that can be utilised in your interpretation or persona, commission a watercolor miniature or an oil painting.

Secondly, having a piece done in your historical duds, but with a more modern style can be a fun way to incorporate your hobby/career into your personal decorating. Some of my favorite artists on Instagram right now are Chelsea Dawn Leopold, Elena Corradino (not so much for portraits, but her abstract/mixed media is really cool, and incorporates historical elements), and Gemmy Woud-Binnendijk–these photos… I mean, they are unreal. I have no idea what her waiting list is like, but if I had some $$$ to spare, you can bet she would be doing some Flemish inspired sesh’s on me ASAP.

Thirdly, if you are fortunate enough to dabble in an era where photos were historically possible, a daguerreotype or vintage photo shoot can be a great way to freeze a memory with a little twist As mentioned earlier, these images can be a great asset to your persona as well! To give and keep on giving, consider shopping around places like thrift stores, antique stores, Ebay, and Etsy to find a vintage or antique camera that still works!

3. Bespoke Jewelry

This can seem like a tall order. However, custom jewelry doesn’t have to break the bank!

All the women in the historical jewelry community that I have interacted with are so obliging and sweet! K. Walters could turn your freshly painted miniature into a beautiful piece of jewelry. (P.S. you’re going to want to follow that link).

For that matter, the jewelry doesn’t have to bespoke. Dames a la Mode has some of my FAVORITE rings. She keeps a steady collection of antique conversion pieces in stock as well. Who knows, maybe she could make a ring with some locks of a loved one’s hair?

I have mentioned in passing on multiple occasions that I am not the biggest fan of the Victorians and their copious amounts of fabric. But guys.

GUYS.

Lady Detalle's Black Victorian Hand Earrings
Lady Detalle’s Black Victorian Hand Earrings

I would wear these earrings every. single. day.

If you desire simplicity, (I mean, I guess hands aren’t for everybody.) Fleur de Lys Originals has beautiful, real gemstone options. I have never been a huge fan of my birthstone, but if someone were to gift me this Citrine necklace, it would hit me right in all the sentimental feels.

Remember that men all throughout history have loved to accessorize as much as any fairer heart, (puka shell necklaces, anyone?) But let’s leave the pukas for our descendants to dig up and offer our gentlemen some shiny, new sleeve buttons. I love the oval versions from Wm. Booth Draper. I honestly would buy one of each design if I could!

4. Little Bits

I find that little tokens sometimes have the biggest sentiment pay-off. There’s something special about an understated, “I’m thinking of you.” versus a more grandiose offering.

I do still realise I am the same ninny who suggested commissioning a portrait two options ago.

But if funds are tight, or you’re looking for a sweet and simple way to show you care, these little tidbits might just fit the bill. They might even fit in the bill. Garters are barely there, but boy do they impact your stockings’ ability to stay up! I suffered lived in obstinacy without garters for two whole seasons before I finally gave in and just bought the darn, wool tape. Praise be.

I am very inspired by Katherine’s multiple garter projects–and honestly, if you have a hand for a needle and a good handle on Youtube, you could have your own custom set done in no time. If you have no needle nor time–just buy the darn, wool tape.

If you want the embroidery without the fuss, Penny River Costumes always makes life easier. I think these lizard stockings give the perfect example of how much meaning a simple gift can hold. Honestly, Jess’s stockings are some of my favorite accessories on the market right now!

Speaking of Little Bits, how fun is this rose scented ink from LBCC?! Nothing defines sentiment better than a letter scented by the sender. It’s the perfect way to leave a unique calling card on all the gifts you give this season.

AND FINALLY….

Number Five

So many of my favorite stories growing up included a moment where the heroine receives a pretty package from Paris, (or anywhere chic) but mostly Paris, and she excitedly tears into and finds the prettiest, most perfect, immaculately fitting gown that could be procured for her. Call it the patriarchy, but I love the final stitches when a gown comes together and you stand connected to a moment that’s been shared for generations. We want to help create that moment.

The Dutch Milliners accept a limited number of bespoke gowns per year, and we still have some spots open! Let us help you give a gift from the heart.

-H

Our Big Fat Announcement

So those of you who follow us on Facebook and Instagram may have caught our livestream Friday night in which we shared some great news with our followers. If you didn’t catch that now’s the chance for y’all to be in on our, not so little, secret!

So as you may know we are in the Midwest region of the US, specifically Ohio, which is kind of a black hole for Rev War and 18th Century events. We have a few here and there that are sort of close and meh, nothing to get too excited about and definitely nothing close to the scale of events our East coast neighbors tend to put on. We had the opportunity to attend an event put on by both the NWTA and BAR last summer at the historic 1812 fort located in northwest Ohio called Fort Meigs. The event drew some big name vendors including Wm. Booth, Draper and Samson Historical, as well as a number of units and individual participants. The site itself is beautiful and it’s staff and volunteers are amazing, we truly had a wonderful experience. The event however, needs a little umph, a little something to help it grow and become the kind of event everyone has on their schedule. It has so much potential! We saw it immediately and started chatting up some of the staff about the possibility of hosting some workshops and activities there. So that brings us to our announcement…

We want to make the Fort Meigs event AWESOME! We have so many ideas for activities, presentations, and new content for the public – like we’re bursting with excitement and ideas. But, BUT we can’t do this alone. Which is where you guys come into play. You see we’re all in this hobby for a reason, and what better reason to help grow and improve the hobby than to join us in our new venture? After all we’re just two people. So we have created a Facebook group called “Revolution on the Ohio Frontier: Fort Meigs Planning/Support Group” and we’d love it if you would join and help us out, even if you can’t make it there physically we’d love your support and opinions through the planning process.

Right now we need a solid team to help pull this off. We’d like to get together a group of people who can help us achieve our goal, have some rock solid planning in place and then take it to Fort Meigs, the BAR and the NWTA ultimately for their approval of adding these events to the schedule. So are you in?

The Great Project List of 2018

The Great Project List 2018

As I mentioned in yesterday’s post I’m going to try really hard to be more organized with my projects and a big part of that is thoroughly planning out a project before I even think about cutting out fabric. You’ll notice this year my list includes a lot more “fun” projects and in a few other time periods as well, all a part of my goal to have more fun this year and really enjoy myself and my sewing. As an added bonus the majority of my planned projects fit nicely with many of the themes for this years Historical Sew Monthly challenge.

  1. 1780s Blush Pink Silk Pierrot Jacket with White Silk Quilted Petticoat
  2. Regency Underthings: Stays, Bodiced Petticoat, and Corded Petticoat
  3. 1770s/1780s Chintz Italian Gown
  4. Early 1800s Roller Print Muslin Bib Front Gown
  5. 1810s Green Polka Dot Over Gown with Brown Bodiced Petticoat
  6. 1790s La Femme du Sans Culottes
  7. 1830s Roller Print Day Dress
  8. 1760s/1770s Gold Embroidered Navy Silk Pet en L’air
  9. 1780s Dutch Silk Mitts
  10. 1790s Hand Painted Leopard Print Muslin Round Gown

 

1780s Blush Pink Silk Pierrot Jacket
IMG_2873As part of my resolutions for 2018 I wanted to have more fun and go to some social events rather than focusing strictly on living history. I did some digging and joined the Ohio Historic Costumers, which is a group of like minded individuals who basically get together to wear all their fun costumes they make. The first organized event of the year is high tea at the Asterisk Supper Club in Columbus. Obviously, I needed a new outfit to wear, because goodness knows I can’t wear the same boring pretty gown over and over. Where’s the fun in that? I mulled over my stash not wanting to spend too much extra and figured a jacket could be made out of something I had laying around. I found a silk slip, which I had unfortunately outgrown, that was made for one of my early 1930s gowns and figured that’d be the perfect material for a new little jacket. I’ve been busy working on the construction but it’s been a slow process, for which I will save all the details of for another post! But check out these inspiration photos and my progress.

 

Regency Underthings: Stays, Bodiced Petticoat, and Corded Petticoat
This year I’ve decided to take part in a couple events that take place during my favorite time period, the early 19th century. I’ve been dying to go to the Jane Austen Festival at Historic Locust Grove in Louisville, KY for years and this will be the year I go! Naturally new undies will be required and since both of these regency events will be during the early summer I need to get to sewing on them soon. I’ve decided to go with a set of long stays to help smooth out my fluffiness and better support the girls. I’ve worn them before and much prefer them to short stays or the weird wrap bra/stays thing from the Kyoto collection. I need to whip up a bodiced petticoat in chocolate to go with another project and then a white corded bodiced petticoat to wear underneath the chocolate one as well as the round gown I’m planning towards the end of the year and the bib front roller print gown. More details on these undies coming soon!

1770s/1780s Chintz Italian Gown

Our big family event this year is shaping up to be Mount Vernon. Our eldest son ha been begging to go for about eight months now so we decided to add it to our calendar and see what happens. Turns out the fabulous Eliza of Sass and Silk will be in attendance as well, so yet again I obvs need a new gown (or three) to wear for the weekend! I’m planning on taking my silk jacket ensemble but I need a new gown, preferably using my huge length of Ljusöga cotton print from IKEA.

To be honest I’m not quite sold on the idea of an Italian gown, I just bought the new American Duchess Guide to 18th Century Dressmaking and their Italian gown is very pretty and made with a very similar print to my fabric but I don’t know if it’s fabulous enough to wear when out with Miss Eliza, the Queen of 18th Century Fashion. My second thought was how about a robe a la’francaise? I’ve seen a handful of extant examples of pretty cotton prints and chintz done up as sacque backs and they just look so feminine and pretty. So right now I guess you’d say my third project is still undergoing planning but I’d love to hear your opinion, so in the comments vote for Italian gown or Robe a la ’Francaise!

Early 1800s Roller Print Cotton Bob Front Gown
My first Regency era gown of the year is going to be my rendition of this extant bib front gown. I’m not sure exactly how it happened but I’ve had this fabric in my stash for over a decade and somehow, while perusing Pinterest, found this gown and the similarities were so striking I knew I had to make it! I’ve actually done quite a bit of planning for this project and I’m going to use the pattern from Janet Arnold’s Patterns of Fashion, which will also be my first attempt at scaling up a gridded pattern that is more involved than a cap or simple bedgown. This will also be one of the gowns I plan to wear at the Jane Austen Festival!

1810s Green Polka Dot Over Gown with Chocolate Bodiced Petticoat
So this outfit is one that I am pretty excited about and is probably the most simple and only working class outfit on my project list thus far. In July we’ll be headed to the Historic Daniel Boone Home in Missouri for their Independence Day Weekend event to join up with the Ox Bow Tavern for some fun dabbling in early 19th century interpretation. Mr. Frederick will be working in the woodworking shop as a carpenter and I’ll be spending my time helping in the bakery. I’m still working out the cap she’s wearing but overall this should be an easy and quick project. B1C9B324-A190-4589-AABF-4CF02CC5C814

We’re going to stop here for today and wrap up the rest of my “Great Project List of 2018” next week. So until then, let us know what projects you have in the works and whether I should choose the Italian gown or the Sacque back gown.

Brittany