Tuesday, December 29, 2009

2010 Dress Giveaway!

I'm kicking off my first giveaway of the New Year a little early. I really debated about what to do with this dress and finally decided it should find a new home where it would get worn. It was started for Abby, but by the time I finished it she had grown too big for it. It is about a size 2/3, has a pleated skirt of 80"-84", piped bateau neckline, hand hemmed (sleeves and skirt), bodice length of 7.5", and waist 21".
It is made of 1850's reproduction fabric and is unlined. Perfect for the miniature reenactress or history lovin' little girl! If you'd like to enter please leave a comment and mention it on your blog, if you don't have a blog but would still like to enter please drop me a line at: yankeeingenuity1860@yahoo.com

Good luck!

Monday, December 21, 2009

1830's Dress

I finally finished my 1820's/30's gown this weekend and I'm so pleased with it! That in itself is a pretty big deal for me as I generally hate the way I look in anything I sew. It's either too long waisted or the waistband hangs wonky or the sleeves look stupid or any one of a hundred things that make me disappointed and disillusioned with sewing for myself. However, this dress behaved itself and turned out well! I used the Past Patterns 1830's dress pattern as a base and modified it to suit what I had in mind. I shored up the neckline quite a bit because I don't wear it with period underpinnings, but rather modern ones and they would show in a lower neckline. I had in mind something along the lines of this painting below for the sleeves.
So, the dress is completed and I'm all excited to blog about it and I have to be confounded by owning the junkiest camera on the planet and being the most unphotogenic person alive. :-/ So bear with the stupid faces and lame camera. :-)
The neckline and armscyes are piped, the next time I make a dress with this pattern I want to make actual cuffs and pipe them. There is a dress in the Victoria and Albert Museum that has sleeves like that and I really love the look. The pattern calls for a skirt width of 100" which seemed really skimpy to me so I made mine around 130", it has a nice amount of "swoosh" but doesn't seem overly wide. I debated about what closures to use and finally opted for hooks and thread loops. I've never made thread loops before but they were easy and really look nice and seem "oh so period", I'm so happy that I chose to go that route! I darted the bodice which I think looks better, I can't make a gathered front look well on me, it always looks like I'm wearing something way too big for me. I left the skirt fairly long for this era, but it is cosier for Winter this way and since it is an "everyday" dress that seemed best. I really need a wool flannel petticoat now or even just another regular petticoat or two, multiple petticoats were the standard for this era and I don't have enough to really make the skirt look as it should.

I think this style looks good for modern use and (to me at least) doesn't seem "costumey". I want to tear apart my gathered front gown that I could not make hang right and refashion it into another gown like this one.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Christ tide

Preparations are in full swing here for the coming holiday, there's excitement in the air that's irresistible! I really love Christmas, I feel sorry for those who find it any other way than a time of rest and reflection and joy. I think the running and shopping and commercialism really wear people out and it's so sad. We aren't out much and most of the stores that we do go to aren't playing canned music anyway, so I don't tire of the sounds of the season. There are sleigh bells on our door and I love the sound that they make when rung, it's such a festive noise!
I have always wanted to have the gifts wrapped in brown paper and tied with twine and this year I'm actually doing it! Ah, so much to make my heart glad! We have "real" ornaments for the tree and some years we use them, however some years we make gingerbread ornaments and string popcorn and that's what we're doing this year. When we're ready to undecorate we will remove the angel and then take the tree out, edible ornaments and all for a celebration in the barnyard. The turkeys and chickens and ducks will enjoy their treat!

Aleks brought home the Christmas goose this afternoon so plans were quickly changed in order to prepare the bird for the table. We will have ham in addition to goose, also on the table will be homemade cranberry sauce. To make this delectable side dish you place one 12 ounce bag of cranberries in a pot with 1 can of white grape juice and 1 cup sugar, add 3 shredded baking apples and cook on medium heat until berries explode and sauce thickens. Place in pretty glass dish and allow to cool. It is tart and sweet and very different from the canned variety. Also will be homemade pumpkin pie, to make this you bake a pie pumpkin in the oven until flesh is soft, remove flesh (about 2-2.5 cups) and combine with 1.5 cups of cream, 3 eggs, 1-2 cups sugar (preferably brown), 1.5 teaspoons cinnamon, one eighth teaspoon cloves, .5 teaspoon nutmeg, .5 teaspoon ginger and three fourths teaspoon salt. Bake for 10 minutes at 400 and then 45 minutes on 350.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

A Trio of New Dresses

I've been keeping busy lately with holiday plans and checking items off of my "Sewing To Do" list. Katie and I worked together on Elisabethe and Abigail's matching "sister dresses", I wanted them done in time for Thanksgiving and they were, barely! I finished up the final hem late on Wednesday evening and these pictures were taken Thanksgiving Day.

I got this trim idea from Heidi Hollister, a gal from the Sewing Academy. The gown she sewed was a lot more elaborate, but I'm happy with how the trim turned out on these. Interestingly, the fabric isn't blue at all. It took me a while to realize it but the checks are purple and green, however, your eye reads them as blue. Abby is looking somewhat dazed in this picture, holidays are tiring for children. :-)
Next on the list was a gown for Asa. I saw this gown in Godey's from an 1861 issue. It is a "Plain Morning Slip", what that translates as is a loose gown worn in the morning before donning the more fitted gowns that were fashionable. What it translates for me is: a loose gown that looks comfortable and that he won't easily outgrow!

The gown has 10 one inch tucks across the front and 6 one inch tucks in the back, they are eight inches long and release just above his tummy. I debated using the same style trim on his gown as I had on the girls' dresses but Mr. G liked this trim idea better. It seems so martial!
The fabric is a design from the Colonial Williamsburg Delft collection that I've had for a little while. The skirt is 60" at the hem and buttons up the back with 3 china buttons.

One last picture. He finds everything just hilarious, his smile makes him quite the Lady's Man! :-)