Thursday, August 29, 2013

Becky: Maternity Corset Update

Hey ya'll! Im happily back into my sewing grove! Last week I attended a well needed visit to the sewing party that is hosted every week. I was selling my fabrics and had linen left over. I decided to start my corset then!

Im using Past Patterns 705, like Ive said before, which has three corsets in one pattern! View C is dated at 1890ish, but the author has stated that The Workwoman's Guide of 1830-40's has similar instructions as this corset.

This corset is different from any other corset Ive made before and if you can believe it, it stumped me! There is no lining because the fabric is folded already. This makes the bust gussets in the fold and makes finishing the edges a little more difficult. I've added some pictures on the hip gussets and how they are created.  

From other corsets patterns, such as Simplicity 9769, the pattern asks to interlock the gusset on top of the corset. For a visual, lay your fingers on top of each other, having your nails towards the palm of the other hand. Now make a "C" to both of your hands and then pull the opposite direction. This is the technology that I am used to.

However, this pattern in particular asks to fold the edges in, base stitch, then sandwich the gusset piece between the two layers.

But beware of this process. Take your time in sewing the sandwich together. As you can see here, theres a pocket made when the two layers are not aligned exactly. Just go back over the places you missed!

And as a little extra, I added floss to the corner of the facing. The reason that most corsets have this flossing is more to stop the fraying.

I hope next time I will have the corset done! Then I can start on the project that I really want to really work on! 

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Becky: A Personal Update

Good afternoon!

I was hoping to have a peaceful moment in writing this post, yet my brother had just barged into the door and is now slamming the microwave door, demanding food. :/

Im bursting with excitement to find another blogger who is also expecting the same week I am, but she hasnt announced the baby to the internet world yet! I feel as if I know a secret before anyone else knows! How exciting!

Well, here is my progress on making a small human. I am 15wks and 2 days today! It has been such a big journey already. I am blessed that I have had no morning sickness, but everyone around me can tell that my hormones have unwired themselves.

Our journey began in June. When we found that we were expecting, both of us were excited, but I would say Andy (BF) was more excited. The DR told us that we were 5 wks and the precious package would arrive February 13. I find that our due day is between Abraham Lincolon's birthday (2/12) and St. Valentines day (2/14); What a coincidence! Although this is the second ultrasound, this is a better picture of the pea.

12 Wks

I posted my first picture of my belly at 12 wks, yet I couldnt hold the secret in and told Facebook well in advance. Some of my friends caught the hint when I was asking about the benefits and concerns of bringing baby to events ;) It is advised to announce the baby's due date after the first trimester, since the health of the baby is very fragile during the first three months.

13 Wks

At 13 wks, most, if not all family members knew of our grand news and I was more than happy to officially share the news to Facebook. However happy we might be, our medical bills rolled in day by day, and the amount seemed to got higher and higher. Andy and I have compromised to go to a birthing center with the feel of a home birth and still have the hospital attached, yet I still believe that a home birth will be much cheaper. 

14 Wks

We have began planning the arrival of baby David James or Cynthia Grace well in advance to be better prepared, yet no one can be completely prepared for a new arrival. I guess I can say that I walked Andy through the baby stores gently. We first began at Target and Walmart, then graduated to the big baby store: Babies R Us. BOY! was THAT an experience! We, as new parents, were VERY overwhelmed with the place. Not only was there everything that we need, plenty of things that we didnt need, but as soon as we walked into the door, there were employees at hand left and right! We came out alive and Im proud that Andy did not bolt out of the door. I later did a registery online, yet we do have to go back, eventually, to redefine the list.
Together, we have also started cleaning out rooms for baby gear. We dont have much room in my room, but Andy has been looking for a house, hopefully before February! I fear that I will have to make 3 nurseries before the baby is 2! So, along with cleaning my room, Andy's family has a cottage in Canada. We plan to take the baby up there and make the nursery in Andy's old bedroom. And when we move, that would make 3 nurseries! Oh boy!


Talking about boys, I would love a boy. I hear that they are mamma's boys and would love to raise a little man!
This week I plan to work on the baby showers. Yes, Ill be having two showers! The first one will be a civil war shower in which I hope to get very useful civil war gear for baby. I think its planned the weekend before my birthday and will be held at a local old school house. Kris has been planning this and she has not told me a word about it!
The other shower will be a modern one, more towards family. It will be held, most likely in January. I plan to have a "shower" theme. I love the idea of an umbrella with rain drop streamers rolling off over the gift table and clouds over the tables. There will also be rubber ducky theme to go along, such as rubber duckies in the blue punch bowl and blue and yellow place settings.
I get to find out the sex of the baby at our next visit to the DR, yet I dont want to know. I hope Andy will make a good choice of revealing cake at the baby shower! There are streamers for baby showers, one saying: "Waddle it be?" with duckies on them, but the other streamer says boy/girl and the guests are to use clothes pins to vote on what they think the baby will be. There are so many cool ideas on Pinterest that I used! Here is my Pinterest broad with all the ideas!

As I conclude my post, I think about the journey that I have experienced and the journey that I see walking through. There will be ups and downs, goods and bads, yet I know that it will be worth it. I have a loving boyfriend who will support me and carry me through the rough times and will place me on his shoulder in praise during the grand times. I couldnt have asked for anything better. We may have started things backwards, but I know that in a few years, we will be a family; wife, husband, and a house!

Drinking: Vanilla Chi Latte
Listening to: Dominican Sisters of Mary Mother of the Eucharist: Mater Eucharistiae
Feeling: Mixed feelings- Proud, Joy, Hope
Current Projects: Linen nursing corset

Monday, August 19, 2013

Becky: Some time away

I will be taking some time away from blogging, as if I havent given some time from my other posts...

I hope you are enjoying Kris' posts! They are great! But as for me, I need this precious time to be with my man and financially plan for baby!

Another reason why I havent blogged is because I havent touched any projects in a month! I hope one day, soon, Ill surprise you with a post!

Kristen: How to make 18th Century Stays

It has finally happened ladies and gentleman. I, Kristen, have decided to branch out into different eras of reenacting! I'm not quite sure how I was bitten by the bug, but I know the only cure is more clothing! To begin I decided to work on a pair of 18th century stays via JP Ryan.

It takes me a while to start a new project. I like to study the pattern and look for other blogs that have them. There are enough that I don't even need to mention them here! Overall I'd have to say the whole process was pretty easy. I will never claim to be a master seamstress, and I will certainly always make mistakes; being kind to yourself is the best way to learn.

How to make 18th century stays
1. Buy pattern, study!
2. Cut fabric-I used 3 layers. A blue linen, a lighter interlining, and a yellow cotton lining.
3. Baste together. Here I am only showing one half of the corset. The other side is a mirror. Note that I have a certain number of pins basting the linens together. I had to remember the pieces!

4. Sew pieces together. Now I have seen a few people put in the boning first. I wanted to put it together to make sure I was doing okay!
5. Prepare for boning. I used these reeds that Wm Booth Draper carries. Make sure to file down the edges so they don't tear your fabric later!

6. Start boning! Remember how we sewed those two fabrics together? You're going to now sew those together in tiny little channels just slightly bigger than your boning material, but be careful. Too big and they wiggle around. Too small and they won't fit!

7. I was lucky that my boning channels were the exact size of my sewing machine foot. I did not have an exact formula for the boning; I just looked for spots that needed support. When I cut the tabs, I tried to have at least 3 channels each. Also remember to have boning between the eyelets when it is laced together.
8. Trim boning where needed and sew shut. Attach your lining to the inside.

9. Finally, add eyelets and white cotton twill tape. on the edges. The eyelets have a pattern.

Finally, I could try it on! At least 4 yards of lacing is needed.

I certainly made mistakes during this process, but I am very happy it is finished. Many people will be afraid to cut into precious fabric or start a "difficult" project. Personally, I'd rather mess up and learn than to wait until I build up the courage! The whole thing only took a few days total.

Here is just a reminder-ladies, if you have the time and the opportunity, buy/make the undergarments! A period outfit is not complete without the proper undergarments! Don't ruin your hard work with the wrong silhouette. I think I'm beginning to fall in love with this whole cone shape thing anyway.

Thanks for reading! I have so many wonderful things coming up soon!


Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Kristen: Cheeseburger in Caseville (and history stuff)

As the summer slowly turns into fall gets sucker punched by an early autumn, I had the rare opportunity to enjoy a Michigan tradition: Cheeseburger in Caseville. Since the little town usually holds about 1,000 in the winter (including myself in high school), the sudden rush of 50,000 people can seem a bit...crowded.
Usually no cars or people

Beau in tow, we headed up to endure the festivities, and enjoy one of the 300,000 burgers sold over the 10 day festival (110,000 so far this year). We each enjoyed burgers of an excellent sort, and whilst munching away, I decided to take this Cheeseburger celebration with a bit of a twist; this year, I decided to be a tourist! I pulled out my camera to document a few of the things I love from my hometown. First stop: the stoic statue in the middle of town...of a Civil War soldier?

It wasn't until just a few years ago that I realized this was a Union soldier! Sometimes he gets a fun necklace for the festivities (I imagine he'd like to partake). Can't believe I missed that one! Next I moved on to the cutesy little gift shops in town. From Victorian plates to handmade soap, these little stores are a joyous relief!
 Do I spot a Greek key trim on that blanket, pretty lady?

It's no wonder I've grown attracted to antiques/crafting. They're hidden in so many places! On our way out of town we decided to stop at the Caseville Historical Museum, run by the Huron County Historical Society. I couldn't help but pull out my camera again!

A group of older gentlemen (who knew my family) kindly directed us to different items, even pointing out details I'd missed. I should have taken more pictures, but I was a bit busy talking!

 On the way home I spotted a little garage sale. Since I was already spoiling myself...I spent about $3.50 for part of a set of dishes. Pretty pattern. I discovered that it was called "English Abbey," and while this particular set of transferware is from the 1920's, the print itself dates back to the 1850's. Nice find, Kristen.

One last thing...I was able to visit an old high school friend, who recently had a child! The little one was squirmy and adorable, and her house was amazing! She always had nice style in high school, and that skill manifested itself into a beautiful child/house. *Sigh* I was the messy one. I just had to make her little guy something too (perhaps my creativity is my saving grace?).
 Note the lack of creativity in a No-Sew blanket. At least I picked cute fabric!

Sadly, even the best of weekends must come to an end. I returned home slightly nauseous from greasy burgers and smelling of firepit, but it was all worth it! Sometimes acting like a tourist in your own town can unveil things you've never seen-if you're willing to look.


Friday, August 9, 2013

Kristen: Civil War Wrapper

While I might not have mentioned it here, during the Charlton Park reenactment I borrowed Becky's wrapper. I liked it, very very much. So in a blind fit of raging jealousy, I made my own.

I used the Laughing Moon #118, which you can order here through their website. I then searched through as many originals, looking for the colors that seemed "right." I really wanted red and blue with some sort of paisley, and I almost gave up until I found this:

Yes, I believe that Barbara Brackman is a genius of textiles. I have loved every single thing she has posted, and would gladly empty my wallet for a few more dress lengths. So far, I ordered 3 yards for $10.75 each, and did not use all of it. Then I purchased 7 yards of a plain blue cotton brocade, pre-washing everything. When I opened the pattern, I thought the hard part of this was over. Guess again.

While the picture is a bit fuzzy, it can't mask the fact that these "instructions" took up half of the floor! I was immediately overwhelmed and did something else for an hour. When I returned, I was prepared for battle. I pored over what appeared to be complicated drawings, and in reality, there are just a million ways to position the pattern pieces for cutting. I cut the pieces a bit larger, and figured it would fit together a bit like this:
At this point I stopped paying as close attention to the directions and started with instinct. Here was my main process.

1. Wash everything (this might seem like a "duh," but at one time I didn't do this)

2. Cut pieces (I only lined the back bodice to keep it light)

3. Make piping for armscye, neckline, and cuff.

4. Roll in bodice at waisteline.

5. Gauge skirt then attach to bodice.
6. Treat Bodice/skirt as one piece, attach side fronts to both sides (Open armscye more).

7. Attach piping.

8. Attach sleeves.

9. Put on contrasting print (I just put it over the blue, with a slight gap)
10. Voila! Dress

I made Stephanie model it for me at our Port Sanilac event. I wore it for a bit, but was nervous about the mud. Note the pretty little belt! I made that by folding over extra blue fabric and stitching a section of the paisley that I liked. It really popped!

As for my recommendations for this pattern (that worked for me):
1. Open up armscye. I like my things comfortable.
2. Raise waist a bit. It's a little long. 
3. Take a little off the total circumference of the hem (at the front piece).

So there you have it! After wearing my wrapper, I'm totally wondering why it took me so long to make one. The total time on this project was about 4 days, the cost about $40 + the pattern. If you're going to do this, totally buy the pattern. It worked for me.

Has anyone else tried this pattern? Did you need to make modifications? Do you like the colors I picked?


Thursday, August 8, 2013

Kristen: Engaged and Excited!

As is the habit of many young ladies, I have spent hours daydreaming of the man that I would marry. What would he look like? How would he propose? So many questions unanswered. When I joined the reenacting hobby, I came across many sources of young couples affected by the war. This research has fascinated me, to say the least!

The problems that these couples experienced were not unlike my own. Many were concerned about their significant other finding someone else. Green Berry Samuels, a Virginian, wrote to his future wife Kathleen Boone in April 1861; “Dont be so cruel as to fall in love with some of the nice young men about F. Royal whilst I am gone away to fight the battles of Va.” Would I be plagued by a beau who would be unfaithful?

Other concerns were of injury from the war. I found this story as well, about a man who lost a leg and suffered a facial wound. “He told Beers about his engagement to “one of the prettiest … girls in ‘Massissip’” and asked her to write a letter telling the young woman about his wounds. Beers eased the wounded man’s worries that he would have to “let her off” by relating “instances of women who only loved more because the object of their affection had been unfortunate.” She later regretted nurturing his hopes, for it was her “misfortune to read to him a very cold letter from his lady-love, who declined to marry ‘a cripple.’” Will my beau care about me, even if I am not perfect?

Finally, I have wondered about the truth of his words. William F. Testerman to Miss Jane Davis: “The thought of your sweet smiles is all the company I have. I trust that you are sincere in what you have wrote to me.” Will my beau be honest and true to his word?

Fortunately, I no longer have to wait. My dear beau proposed to me as we visited our Alma matter, the University of Michigan. No longer must I wait to answer all of these questions. It turns out he is wonderful!

Certainly there is no such thing as perfection. We will still argue and disagree about our favorite zombie defense methods or the best way to load a dishwasher. Yet at that end of the day, we know that we belong to each other, and there is no other person I'd have by my aside (though we've agreed that my dog Rambo can be there too).

Thank you all for sharing our joy!


Cumming Journal of Hospital Life. :117.Beers Fannie A. Memories: A Record of Personal Experience and Adventure during Four Years of War. Philadelphia: 1889. pp. 205–6

Carrie Esther Samuels Spencer, editor. A Civil War Marriage in Virginia: Reminiscences and Letters. Boyce, Va.: 1956. Green Berry Samuels to Kathleen Boone Samuels, April 24, 1861, and May 6, 1861; p. 82.p. 88

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Kristen: Port Sanilac, Married and (nearly) Buried

We all wear many hats at reenactments, but I can say without a doubt, that this past weekend at the Port Sanilac reenactment, I wore the most.

First, let's start with the rain. After a quick setup, I sat back to relax and enjoy the night it rained horrifically, soaking everything outside of my tent. Instead of sewing, I got to bail water into my brand new tub! I filled it close to 15 times of water pooling under my tent fly.

I was so worried that my carpets would be ruined! I laid down hay, but occasional water would seep through the entire weekend. The night was colder, and I slept with 6 wool blankets folded over twice each. I awoke to our lovely little village stirring, and the unfortunate fact that I would be married.
Have you heard? Miss Nellie has gone and done it again...

Last year I had a shotgun wedding with a young confederate named Marty. This year, a Zouave named Scott was picked from the crowd, and we were dragged to the church by my angry father Red and a cheeky preacher.
 What do you mean "Pick him out"? I don't remember his name!
Pa no! I don't want to get married...again... 
My "beloved" tried to make a run for it!
Married at last!

Usually this is the end of the game for poor Nellie and her unfortunate husband. However, this time included a twist-my old husband Marty showed up! I could have sworn he was dead; I read it in the paper! My second marriage was annulled, but alas the two men could not resolve the issue.
 My second husband shot by the first!
 Then my Pa Red shot both Marty and I!
Dear friends carried me away. My injury to my reputation was the worst!

Having been married and nearly buried on one day surely built up an unlady-like appetite, and I was lucky to have camped with Sofia, the great provider of all things tasty. My corset did not appreciate these meals!
I also had the opportunity to play Nellie Auginbaugh as well, administering aid to the wounded soldiers during battle with my bloodied apron. Mr. Giorlando wrote an excellent post here that went more in-depth about the townspeople. I would just like to add that I held bloody bandages, hauled a body, and chased down Red with a shovel when he stole my jewelry. Altogether perfect!

 My mother (Mrs. Paladino) and our neighbor Sally kept watch against greedy Rebs!
Though we cheered and passed out nourishment when our own boys came to town!
A bloody sight no proper young lady should witness. Note the blood!

Part of the reason I love the Port Sanilac reenactment so much is the opportunity to just hang out and explore the buildings. All in attendance were good company, and many a laugh could be heard throughout the camp.

Miss Stephanie shows off her lovely rosettes
Never an idle hand!
 Elizabeth Thorn, so great with child!
 A bit of fashion from a sutler!
 Mrs. Jones and Mrs. Cook practice music and sketching!
 A beautiful dress in the house
 I found a hair wreath! That house had everything!
  Finally, I was able to show off one of my surprise projects! I made a quick wrapper for myself but didn't have time to wear it. Stephanie borrowed it for a bit, so I just had to snap a few pictures!
Sadly, my the reenactment did have to end. To make a list of all of my accomplishments of the weekend: water bailer, seamstress, tarnished woman, married woman, nearly murdered woman, nurse, body collector, Nellie Auginbaugh, public speaker, fighter of rebels, and at the last hour, a domestic!
I hiked my skirts into my cage to keep from tripping.

I don't know how it is possibly, but somehow each reenactment gets better and better. Perhaps my enjoyment of the people and surroundings has improved. Whatever it is, I can't wait for the next!

On My Bookshelf: December

December has been a really rough month. Between what happened in Oxford (not far from where I live...) and just the general pandemic issues,...