August 30, 2009


Here are some pictures from Rendezvous. After our work was done and the guests were eating we had an impromptu Virginia Reel complete with banjo player.

August 28, 2009

Green 40's Dress

I was cleaning out my closet yesterday, and my sister who joined in on the fun started trying on some of my dresses. She looked so good in them and most of them fit her better than they ever fit me!

This is a dress I made from Vintage Vogue 1043. It's a 1940's design, but the fabric reminds me of a 1930's flour sack so it is a mixed dress.

August 26, 2009

Collar and Cuffs

These are pictures of the collar and cuffs on the red polonaise. I had forgotton to download them from the camera yesterday. It also shows some detail of the buttons.

August 25, 2009

Silk 1880's Polonaise

Here is another dress I made for Linda. This one was especially for the yearly formal event called Rendezvous. She has worked at the Museum for years, and wanted to finally have a nice dress to wear instead of the work dresses we always wear out at the homestead.

The pattern again is TV904. It is made up in an incredible Italian silk that unfortunately doesn't photograph very well. The background is a lovely sky blue, with brown swirls all over. To get to sew on fabric like this was amazing, it took days until I was brave enough to cut it, and I would just gaze at it lovingly while it was spread out on the table!

Linda did most of the trimming herself, but I did some of the brown pleating around the neckline. We spent lots of time at the ironing board burning ourselves before we caved and bought a pleating attachment for the sewing machine. It will get tons of good use though because the ladies in 1880 were obsessed with pleats!
The skirt is also the same as the velvet one, TV 221. These pictures were taken earlier than the previous two so it doesn't have the velvet band attached yet. I had to hand stitch the pleats on because my needles wouldn't go through so many layers of silk. It bent into a "c" shape while sewing!

I have some pictures from Rendezvous to share soon!

Cotton 1880's Polonaise

This was an 1880's dress that I made for the Linda at the Museum where I volunteer. She and I worked together closely researching every detail. The red cotton print fabric is from Reproduction Fabrics, and the skirt is made from a plain, gold colored cotton velvet. The metal buttons are from Joann's.

The Polonaise pattern is Truly Victorian 904. We changed it into a high neck with collar, and square back "pouf" instead of curved. Sorry, it's hard to describe some of the parts of this dress! Unfortunately I would never recommend this pattern, it gave us so much grief. We did a lot of mock ups first, so now Linda has her own custom pattern for making this polonaise.

The pleated trim on the Polonaise was copied from a tiny, one inch square sketch from a Godey's Lady Book, and it certainly turned out dramatic!

The skirt is Truly Victorian 221. It is very narrow, fitted around the front then pleated in the back. It works well under the Polonaise, or an overskirt and accommodates a bustle well. For plain work dresses we usually use the slightly fuller TV 201.

We were considering doing a row of pleating around the bottom of the skirt because of its popularity in the 80's. It wasn't really exciting us though, but we happened to find this picture of an existing 1880's gown. We loved it, and I added it to the skirt, modifying it slightly.

Each piece is piped in the red cotton and it is placed lower on the skirt so it can be seen from under the polonaise. The horizontal band is sewn securely on, but the tabs are only attached at the top so they can dangle freely.

This is another dress that might be seen in the Jesse James movie, so keep your eyes peeled on November 16th!

August 23, 2009

Push Jacket

Early this year my sister went to see the movie Push, with Dakota Fanning and she came home raving about this jacket.

We found a front and back view of it on line and decided to copy it. We used wool flannel from Denver Fabrics, homemade black cotton bias tape, and extra large hooks and eyes. They are hard to see, but six of them run along the front edge for decoration.

It's been months since I finished it, but we finally had a photo shoot in an alley downtown.

August 22, 2009

A Guest

I have been very uninspired in the way of posts this week, so I decided to feature a guest seamstress - my sister!

She has been sewing most of her life, but isn't as obsessed as I am. Once in a while I have to share my space with her and she leaves pins all over the floor and uses up my bobbin thread.

For a few years she participated in 4H and won countless awards. Her garments often won Grand Champion, and she received many prizes for modeling. She even had to model one year at State fair with her arm in a full cast!

My sis is also a fashionista. She can set the trends, which I believe is a skill. While cleaning out my Grandmothers house, she had a grand idea to use her old handkerchiefs and scarfs to make a skirt. Here is the result:

Great for twirling!
She wouldn't stand still for a picture so this is the best one I got, but I suppose it really shows her personality!
Now she is collecting men's ties for another unique skirt. Look for her designs on the runway someday.

August 18, 2009

Little Dorrit

I finished reading Little Dorrit last night, it was another off the large pile on my nightstand. The BBC adaptation that was on Masterpiece Theater this spring inspired me to read the book. Oh how I wish now that I had taped that series because they did such a wonderful job with it!
Dickens always amazes me with his writing. His settings, characters, and plots are amazing. Little Dorrit especially, was filled with intriguing characters--even 3/4 of the way through, new, and different people were being introduced. Someone, someday, should make a compilation of all his character sketches, it would make a very amusing read.
I especially like the description of Mr. F's Aunt, here are a few paragraphs that should entertain you.
"There was a fourth and most original figure, who also appeared before dinner. This was an amazing little old woman, with a a face like a staring wooden doll too cheap for expression, and a stiff yellow wig perched unevenly on the top of her head, as if the child who owned the doll had driven a tack through it anywhere, so that it only got fastened on. Another remarkable thing in this little old woman was, that the same child seemed to have damaged her face in two or three places with some blunt instrument in the nature of a spoon; her countenance, and particularly the tip of her nose, presenting the phenomena of several dints, generally answering to the bowl of that article. A further remarkable thing in this little old woman was, that she had no name but Mr. F's Aunt."
"The major characteristics discoverable by the stranger in Mr. F's Aunt, were extreme severity and grim taciturnity; sometimes interrupted by a propensity to offer remarks, in a deep warning voice, which, being totally uncalled for by anything said by anybody, and traceable to no association of ideas, confounded and terrified the mind."
"The Conversation still turned on the receipt of rents. Mr. F's Aunt, after regarding the company for ten minutes with a malevolent gaze, delivered the following fearful remark. 'When we lived at Henley, Barnes's gander was stole by tinkers.'"

Throughout the story Mr F's Aunt does not have a major part and could have just as easily been left out, but for some reason Dickens chose to give her a personality-no name-but character, and a very banged up face. I'm glad he did though, as it had me laughing for chapters afterward.

August 17, 2009

Baby Things

Our church is having a baby supply drive, and inspired by Amy Butler's Little Stitches for Little Ones I made some tiny baby booties.

It's such a fun way to use some of your favorite fabric scraps.

I had one little onesie left over from a gift I made years ago and I figured some baby would be very happy in it. Especially with a yummy pink cupcake on the front!

In my hope chest I also had this quilt for a little girl,
and this blanket for a little boy,

It's fun to make baby things for a change.

August 14, 2009

Jesse James - Part 1

Here are some pictures from the Jesse James movie I was in last week. It is a two hour documentary that will air on the History Channel on November 16th. It doesn't have an official title yet.

Most of the pictures are self explanatory, we shot a stagecoach robbery, a bank robbery, a jail scene, and various street scenes.

Here is Jesse James Himself

He looks pretty tough
But usually he's a nice guy

This is Jennifer. I think she's enjoying this.

This is Thor. I don't think he's enjoying it as much.

Now I think Jesse has met his match.

This is Linda. She is in control.

And this is me, having way to much fun.

It's time to board the Stage.

And we're off! The horse is called Harry.

Uh-oh, we're being surrounded.


Regrettably, the ensuing action was a little chaotic so I don't have pictures. Lots of great stuff was filmed though, I can't wait to see it!