Friday, January 31, 2014

Becky: Baby's First and Second Shirt

In my post about January, I wrote that I had finished some baby shirts. I was confused on why there would be two different types of under shirts for baby; an open shirt (split in the back) and a closed shirt (no openings).

I thought I should unearth my resource books and find out. My best recourse books were Workwoman's Guide (1838) and What Children Wore (Or Wished They Could) in the Era of the Hoop by Heidi Marsh which referenced Godey's Magazine often.

In the Workwoman's Guide by A Lady (1838) I found a recommended list for baby's wear:
Baby-Linen Inventory
Flannel Bands...........2-4
Flannel Caps.............2-3
Night Caps...............6-12
Day Caps.................3-6
Napkins (dozens of)..4-6
First Day-gowns........3-4
Night Flannels............3-4
Day Flannels..............3-4
Flannel Cloak............1-2
Flannel Shawl............2-3
Cloak or Pelisse........1

Both Workman's Guide and What Children Wore had provided the essential information to whomever would be making children's clothing. They stressed the importance of the child's health and comfort:
The first is, the health and comfort of her child - and this course is, and ought to be, a paramount consideration; the next is, that its clothes should be neatly and tastefully made, so that they may be contribute to the pleasing apperance of the wearer. (pg 151)- How to Cut and Contrive Children's Clothing Godey's Lady's Book and Magazine 1857

Along the lines of comfort and health you may want to keep these tips in mind: 
  • Every article of dress, for a newborn infant, should be white. White is easiest to clean!
  • Materials differ depending on family income; the low class could not afford the linen which upper class could easily use, Therefore keep in mind on the cost of material and the class you portray.
  • Some articles could be cheaper ready-made rather than making them at home.
Now onto the Shirts!
Open Shirts
I wish I could find the images to go along with the discriptions, but I have found pictures that may help to visualize:

What Children Wore (Or Wished They Could) in the Era of the Hoop by Heidi Marsh
Infant shirt- Material , fine cambric. The trimming consists of narrow frills of the same simply hemmed. The upper part has flaps which turn over, back and front. On the shoulders the flaps are shaped in points, which button down on the sleeves -Godey's 1862 (pg 114)
Slip for young infant. The sleeve cut out of the skirt, which is gathered into a neck band. Very simple and new. -Godey's 1860 (pg 116)
The first shirt- fine linen, such as French cambric is often used. Each is 23" X 11", therefore, one yard and seven-eighths makes six shirts without the sleeves. Sleeves are made in half-handkerchief form, joined at the shoulder and felled seamed (for open shirt).

Closed Shirts
Infant's Second or Closed shirt-" When infants are about nine months old, they generally leave off using the open or first shirt, and begin to wear the closed shirt until they reach the age of seven or eight years, when the usual shaped shirt or shift is worn."-The Workwoman's Guide by A Lady (1838)

At seven or eight months a leather shoe may be worn. ---The little shirt is now closed, and from seen in the engraving. It is made of the same shape for boys and girls.-What Children Wore (Or Wished They Could) in the Era of the Hoop by Heidi Marsh

Keep in mind the health, comfort and material you use when making children's clothing. You would like to have lightweight white cotton or linen depending on your persona. First shirts are open backed and may or may not have ties to keep them on baby.
Both open and closed shirts have flaps on front and back.
Closed shirts are for older children from seven (according to Heidi Marsh' research) to eight years old (according to The Workwoman's Guide).

I hope this information will help you on your next children's outfit! I dont plan to make so many items listed in the inventory, but it is a great reference!

Becky: January Recap

The new year started out proactive! I have finished two cotton shirts for the baby. One shirt is closed, and one was open. I will have a post later explaining the two different shirts, however, the shirts are similar to this one I found on Pinterest:

 And this one, Naomi Barnes is selling on Etsy:

I used Elizabeth Stewart Clarks' SA-100: Infant Linens. Her patterns are very accurate and well understood. I enjoyed making the shirts because they are simple and fast to make.

In the same week I had finished my baby's gown. There isnt a grand picture of it yet, but I was happy to show the finished project at the baby shower I hosted a few days after....

There was a horrible snow storm the day of my shower. The snow and ice prevented half of the expected guests to stay home. Snow, notwithstanding, I had an amazing turn out. I was so happy to see everyone that could make it and I hoped that they enjoyed it as much as I did!

Here is a picture of the table set up. I had amazing help from close friends and family, I only gave out ideas and they set up the whole place! I had Hot coco mix in mason jars topped with cupcake paper as favors, all ideas from pinterest. The duck theme was also a pinterest idea.

There wasnt much that I didnt get ideas from pinterest... Can you tell I love that site?!
Here is our cake reveal...

It's a GIRL!

It was a crazy week because the day before the shower was the 21st's annual Christmas Party. Here is Rosie, Carrie and I just before dinner.

The fiance and I started childbirth classes the next week. We will be delivering at the ABC here in MI. The ABC is Alternative Birthing Center where the nurses try to keep the experience as natural as possible. They honor your birth plan as long as baby and mother are safe and also shy away from epidurals and c-sections.

The "Center" which is only three rooms on the far end of the L&D wing, has full-queen size bed, yoga ball, and even a water tub, if any mother wanted to have a water birth, which I do not. It is very much like a home-birth, but if there was anything to happen, the L&D is right behind the door. 

If you are unaware of what is happening in the North of America at this time, Im not sure what Id say to you. January has given us some crazy weather. As in crazy, I mean, for a few weeks we have been negative temperatures and heavy snow falls.

This is Michigan as of two days ago:

I have the link I used here.

The two "Polar Vortex"s that North America has been blessed with allowed us to break a recorded of fallen snow in one month. We have acceded near 40" of snow!

With this Andy, the boyfriend, has been working non-stop since Christmas in December. The days he does get off, he is recovering lost sleep. However we were able to go to the cottage in Canada the other day. Was it a great surprise for us to find that the piped were frozen? We had no water that night, but I came up with the brilliant idea of using melted snow as rinse water. Why not? Snow was EVERYWHERE!

It was a great way to end the month!

P.S. I hope February isnt this harsh! The baby is due in 10 days!

Monday, January 20, 2014

Kristen: Jane Austen at A Night at the Museum

Reenacting often involves educating others-it comes with the territory! I've heard great things about the Plymouth Historical Museum, though this was my first visit. Also, I pretended to be Jane Austen! Please check out this awesome thing that you can do with your children here!
***All awesome photos in the post by Patrick Currie

Those of you with children, please pay attention. This is completely awesome and should happen for your child at least once! The Plymouth Historical Museum offers an amazing opportunity for children to literally see history "come alive" right in the middle of the museum. Here is a bit from their website:

"Kids begin the delightful evening in the lower level meeting room, where they gather and socialize before sitting down for a dinner of pizza or subs and drinks while watching one of the "Night at the Museum" movies. When the show ends, a reenactor meets them and their magical journey begins. They are greeted on the pretense of touring the Museum, but when presented with a personalized "Tablet of Akmenrah," they discover that not all is as it seems. This tablet is a recreation of the Egyptian tablet used in the movies that brings the Museum characters to life, which the children soon realize seemingly works in this Museum as well."

I would have literally given up my book collection for something like this (that's saying a lot for a bibliophile like myself). My fellow reenactors all took different roles, and the children were enthralled by every one!

For my presentation, I pretended to be Jane Austen reading, stuck on the same page for over 100 years! When I came alive the first thing I had to do was turn the page...
I explained to the children my love of stories! Also, that my nieces and nephews were absolute darlings that loved to used their imagination. So we concocted a play to act on the spot! I let the children simply call out ideas, and they were woven into the story. Somehow we ended up with 4 ghosts scaring the needles off of Christmas trees, and a dragon that set everything right. That one was a bit of a stretch, even for my overactive mind...

Of course in the end the Christmas trees regained their needles, and an impromptu dance party commenced. I reminded the children that telling stories was the most important thing that they could do. Unfortunately by that time I grew a little stiff, as the magic was wearing off! I hurried to sit down, but held my book upside down, another tragedy for 100 years more...until a sly little boy turned it right side up for me!

I'm certain the children had an excellent time! After our presentations I went downstairs to eat pizza and cake. They were all so excited-of course I had to stay in character the whole time! Seriously, ask an 8 year old to explain television, their answers are priceless. I hope I gave this little girl a birthday to remember! (And maybe created a few future Austenites...hehehe...)


Saturday, January 18, 2014

Kristen: Charity Preview Event

It was awesome!

So I ended up very quickly having my hair, makeup, and nails done before I made it to my Dad's. At about 4:30, the newest model of Ford Fusion arrived to take us to our destination! We left a little early, so we stopped at Astoria and bought our driver, Mercede, and myself sweets. She had a chocolate dipped cannoli, I devoured a pistachio baklava dipped in chocolate. The perfect start to the night! 
We pulled up to the curb at Cobo hall and were met by a cameraman! He taped us getting out of the car, and followed us around for part of the night. It was rather intimidating; he had to keep telling my Dad to stop looking at the camera! We were too occupied by our surroundings to worry for too long. There were so many singers and dancers!

Also, at some point I saw a woman wearing my dress...

And then another...

 And then there were three! Turns out we all rented our dresses from, which I strongly recommend if you like stylish dresses but don't have the space to keep them all. A man in a bow tie *insisted* that we be interviewed by Fox 2. I made my infamous "BAM" comment about my dress, one that you can see here on the second page. I will never EVER live that down...

 I've never been to the Auto Show before, so it was all quite new. The cars were gorgeous! I also met that very pretty pregnant product specialist that was on the news. I just had to take a picture with her! There were so many cars that I only took pictures of my favorite ones...and then I asked my Dad to buy them for me! Everyone loved the cars...

...but the people were by far more interesting! It was a mingling of the wealthy, car fanatics, and those who just want to be seen. There were so many gorgeous ensembles that my disco-ball glitter dress wasn't the brightest!

 At some point in the night I also did an interview with Ford, as they sponsored this event for us. We will always be a Ford family; my Grandpa and various uncles have ensured that! Who knew that taking one chance with that contest entry would turn into all this?

Finally at the end of the night (by which point my feet were on fire from wearing heels for several hours) we watched Sheryl Crow rock out Cobo Hall. I couldn't get very close, but I did listen to her fantastic voice. She is still gorgeous AND a good singer!

We were both exhausted by the time we returned home. It was such an amazing experience! I would recommend everyone to go to the car show at least once in their lives, just to see it all. It was awesome to spend time with my Dad too! (Which was funny, because people kept thinking I was his trophy wife...I told him I make him look good either way!) Just spectacular, all of it!

 I know I keep saying this, but how can this life get better???


Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Kristen: Ford Rent the Runway

My excitement is just beyond anything right now. How can I even put this into words? My more observant readers will remember that I live in Michigan. Home of Detroit, also home of the auto industry. Home of the North American International Auto Show.
I swear this will make sense in a minute

So Ford runs big promotional events for the car show. An my family LOVES Ford. My Grandpa and a ton of Uncles have worked for them. I drive a 2006 Ford Escape, having driven a Ford Taurus in the future. My Dad won't let anything that's not American-made in the get the idea...
So is a news website that reports on all things Detroit. I noticed they were running a promotion for Rent The Runway, a company that lets customers rent dresses for big events. They asked for a picture in my best style and explanation of my love of cars; I talked about how I work on them with my dad! I was chosen with 9 other women for a stylist consultation at Cobo Hall.

I arrived to find food, dresses, and a million shiny things. Oh, and a car.

I tried on a ton of dresses. I didn't really think I would win the big prize-4 of the women would win tickets to the Charity Preview for the Auto Show ($350 each), basically the red carpet event of the season. I did NOT think that I would win.

Drumroll please....and I won! I'm taking my Dad (that guy who taught me to work on cars) to the Charity Preview in an absolutely gorgeous rented dress and accessories, chauffeured in the newest Ford Fusion, and money for dinner. Sheryl Crow is playing at the concert. You know it's serious when my Dad orders a tux.

How can I wait until Friday??


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,...