Month: September 2016

Three Unusual Portraits

Sometimes, on my researching adventures, I come across paintings or photographs of individuals that stop my wandering eyes in an instant.  Whether it is something about their pose, or their outfit, or the fact that I feel like I can connect with their personality, images like the ones in today’s post just fascinate me.   This first one features the wonderful giggliness of a young girl from the 1850’s! What a sweetheart!!!  And a wonderful example of children’s fashion.   This next painting I found to be a fantastic example of late 1700’s styling and fashion.  The smile, the gown, THAT HAT….its all absolutely beautiful! Portrait Of E. N. Arsenyeva By Vladimir Borovikovsky, 1796 This last portrait (c. 1860) caught my eye as the riding gown this woman is wearing has the most amazing placement of tucks.  I can just envision her riding a horse with that long, flowy skirt fluttering behind her! Such beautiful examples of fashion, creativity, and personality! I see images of individuals from various time periods everyday…hundreds of pictures, drawings, paintings….and yet, only a few cause …

September Favorites

Last night was the first time in months where I woke up freezing.  In fact, around 3am I stumbled to the living room to grab another throw blanket to keep me warm until it was time to roll out of bed.  Even at 7am the chill was enough to send my searching for slippers.  In January, I would never let the house get so cold, but in September….I’m savoring every chilly bit of it! Today’s post is all about favorites.  Some new, some old, but all 100% drool worthy!  To start with, I am in love with this magazine cover from Good Housekeeping.  I have several print outs of from this publication that hang up in my sewing studio…and I may just have to add this one to the mix! A few weeks ago, my husband and I went on a little vacation and found a place with an amazing collection of fiestaware!  With these cheery dishes still on my mind, I came across this vintage ad where you can get a table setting for 8 for a …

How to Create a Skirt Placket

Knowing how to create a skirt placket is a very easy, yet very vital skill when it comes to sewing.  Whether you sew historical pieces, vintage or modern, a properly sewn placket adds a crisp and tailored look! Begin by taking a 4 inch wide piece of fabric and cut it as as long as you need. I usually cut my plackets 4″ x 10″, but it is up to you. Then press down the top of one long side. Now this part is the key to a properly constructed placket!  Take your skirt and identify where you want the placket: center back, side, front.  Cut the skirt half the measurement of the placket. For example, I will have my cut go down 5″.  Then pin the placket to the edge of this cut, right sides together.   Line up the raw edges until around 2″ on either side of the middle of the cut, then begin to pin the placket 1/4″ above the skirt.  See the pictures below…the skirt is on top of the placket. …

Seaside Bungalows and Forest Retreats

I think everyone can agree that if you are looking for a place to relax, heading to the mountains or the ocean is a good idea.  I know those two locations tend to be my go to! 🙂  Many others who, perhaps, can’t escape the city life all that often, try to create a mini retreat right in their own home.  This is a wonderful idea for anyone looking for a calming and “vacation-y” space to come home to each night. Of course, heading away to a beautiful spot is not an unusual or brand new idea.  People for decades have been craving space to relax in, and many are fortunate enough to own a little piece of land right along the shore line or tree line.  This trend really began to build around the end of the 19th century with the rising middle class, and books were written specifically to help these new summer vacationers build their homes just right. Henry Saylor wrote Bungalows: Their Design, Construction, and Furnishing: With Suggestions for Camps, Summer Homes, and …

A Photography Session in the Woods…

After a solid week of sewing for 12 hours a day, I was able to meet my goal of sewing seven Regency Era pieces!  It was a big accomplishment and one not likely to be tried again…at least for a few weeks! 🙂   After finishing all these pieces, I really wanted to take their pictures outside.  Up to this point, all pictures of my gowns have been taken in my sewing studio, but this time, I wanted something different.  Not to far from my house is a little park that I knew would be the perfect place.  So early one morning, I loaded up my car and took off for a little adventure.  Despite the fact I really should have worn boots (mud galore), the overall experience was wonderful, and I am very pleased with my first attempt at outdoor photography! I hope you enjoy! Have a wonderful day everyone!!  

On My Inspiration Board: Camel Gowns

I have learned several things in preparation of today’s post. The camel color stems from the use of camel hair as a fabric which has been used for centuries. The term cameline describes a knock off the above mentioned fabric of camel hair. The color camel is very subjective from decade to decade and person to person. Is it going out on a limb to say that camel looks good on everyone?  I think that it does.  In finding images for my board, I noticed that people of all ages and colors looked great in this warm tan tone.  I personally love camel and have several pieces of it in my wardrobe.  As neutral as navy, brown, or black, camel offers a more sophisticated look.  And designers have made a fortune launching this color into high fashion. But what about historical fashion?  Well, this was a bit tricky.  I was able to find a few examples of camel colored gowns, however there appeared to be a large gap from 1830-1860.  In between these decades, brown seems …

War of 1812 Reenactment

Last weekend, I attended a War of 1812 Reenactment at Old Fort Niagara in New York State.  I absolutely adore this fort, not only for its history, but its beauty and amazing views.  While the fort did have some involvement with the conflict known as the War of 1812, its importance spans back towards early colonial days.  With strategic value, the fort was consistently vied for by the French, English, and Americans.  Even after losing its appeal following the construction of the Erie Canal in 1825, the fort has not lost its importance to the New York area…even spending a brief time as a POW camp during World War II. While my favorite reenactment Fort Niagara hosts is for the French and Indian War, I was very excited to experience a time period that often gets overlooked in the reenacting world…at least around these parts. So with a camera in one hand, and an ice cream cone in the other (I know, not very accurate, but hey, I was a tourist for the day), I …

“Let’s Eat Outdoors”

For many Americans (especially those up north) today marks the end of summer.  Even though the actual day may still be a few weeks away, Labor Day seems to be the “unofficial, official” end.  With school starting this week, along with football season, the overwhelming desire to put out pumpkins, mums, and bales of hay can become very strong.  However, Labor Day weekend is the last hurrah where families get together for one last outdoor BBQ.  At this particular meal, everyone is very careful to avoid mentioning the leaves changing, or that they brought out their winter sweaters from storage…and above all, no one, I mean NO ONE is to dare breath a word indicating that a school bus will be showing up at one’s house tomorrow morning.  It is sort of an unspoken code of honor between parents and students ….eh…I mean, children! So even though tomorrow means fall, school, and sweaters….today is all about summer picnic eating!  To celebrate, I have collected some of my favorite vintage images of picnics, camping, and BBQ’s.  So after you …