Inspiration Board: Pink Gowns

No other color in my mind evokes spring better than pink.  I love pink during any time of the year, however, I find myself drawn to the soft hue more when tulips and hyacinths are in full bloom.  Between Easter dresses and nail polish color, pink just fits best!

With that in mind, this month’s color board  must of course, be pink!  And let me tell you, there are many examples in this tone.   Whether the wearer wished for a deep red and the dye didn’t take, or whether the color has lightened over time to a soft rose, the femininity of these historical gowns can’t be denied.

As fabric weaving and fabric dyeing grew in sophistication, so did the various types of pinks available to the home seamstress.  From double pinks to cinnamon pinks, rose pinks to hot pinks, one’s personal choice could easily find it’s perfect pink match.

Here are a few of my favorite historical pink gowns!

april pink gowns

To see more styles and pinks, feel free to visit my Pinterest page.

Enjoy the fresh spring air and the soft pastels of nature around you!


In the Craft Room: Scrapbook Notepads

I live my life by lists….and I love it!  Lists help me stay focused, reach goals and accomplishments, and help people think that I can do it all (whether that is true or not.)  What I also like are pretty things.  And pretty things that I can make lists on are the best of both worlds!

This very quick and very satisfying DIY will make your pattern planning, list making, gown designing sessions just that much more productive.

Supplies needed:

  • legal pads in any size
  • Scrapbook paper in coordinating shades
  • glue stick
  • pencil
  • scissors.


Now draw out the shape of the legal on the back of the scrapbook paper.  The goal is to have the paper cover the top part of the pad and go down almost half way the back.



Make as many shapes and you have notepads and cut out.


Apply glue to the top part of the notepad on the front and stick the edge of the paper.  Press firmly then turn over and crease over the top.  Add as much glue as will cover the area in which the paper will touch the note pad.  Press firmly.


And voila….custom made notepads!


I also thought I would share my custom-made, drafting pattern, graph paper!  Simply print out as many copies as needed and draft away.

graph paper

Happy planning!


From My Sewing Table: April

It has been rainy, cloudy, and chilly…which can only mean one thing – spring must be here!  While it may be too early for tulips and daffodils to be in full bloom, it isn’t too early for robins and returning geese…a sure sign that warmth is on it’s way!

April, and therefore spring, means the much needed spring cleaning which encompasses (at least in my household) the inside and the outside.  Organizing holiday decorations in the basement, cleaning out closets, and removing excess debris brought in by large snow drifts, are just many of the duties that need to be done.  This year I am planning on having a large yard sale, so I have extra motivation to pore through all those boxes and bins piled up in the hidden places of my house.

Of course this has led me to reflect on the origins of “spring cleaning” and the various parts of keeping one’s house clean and organized.  Therefore, all posts this month will focus on “keeping things tidy.”  From 19th century weekly cleaning schedules, to bathing routines, and house dresses over the years, April’s posts will hopefully serve to keep you motivated and encouraged as you tidy up your own little piece of heaven.

April is also the month we honor our world by celebrating Earth Day on April 22nd.  This also happens to be my birthday – and it’s the big 3-0 as well! 🙂  So for all you April birthdays out there here is a little poem taken from a 1900 Good Housekeeping article –

april babies poem

So as the bright rays of the sun slowly bring life and green to our world, I hope you find this month full of opportunities to renew and reenergize.

Best Wishes,


A few upcoming posts to watch out for this month:

  • 1940’s Hair Turban
  • Linen Laundry Bag Tutorial
  • 1928 Bathing Routine

april sewing table1


HSM #3 – Stash Busting: 1780’s Round Gown

I am actually shocked that this gown was completed this month.  There were many days when I thought I should just stop trying and quickly find something easier to make for this challenge.  But I persevered and finished it Tuesday night!

For this challenge I used some beautiful light blue fabric that had been left over from a custom order that didn’t go through, so I thought this would be a great use of the material.  Following the creation of the pattern and the extra difficulty of only being able to “shop” in my sewing room, the gown slowly but surely began to take shape.

All one piece, this gown features a false front skirt that ties about the waist and underneath the back portion of the skirt.  I struggled with the inner lacing as I was reduced to taking old ribbon and the small amount of boning I had to create the lacing panels.  I am not happy with them…at all.  But again, be creative was the theme!  The collar looked great before I turned it out and pressed it.  The points were no where near as clean as I have made in the past…so again, not the happiest.

Overall, I am pleased that I finished the gown and am really looking forward to my plan for next month!!

Here is the info:

The Challenge: # 3 – Stash Busting

Fabric: 8 yds light blue cotton blend, 1 yard white muslin

Pattern: Based on an 1780 round gown as seen in Janet Arnold’s book

Year: 1780’s

Notions: 5 yards of cording, 1 yard wide ribbon, 1 yard boning, thread, snap tape, and twill tape

How Historically Accurate is it?: Fairly accurate, although due to only using items from my current stash, not all the notions used would be appropriate

Hours to Complete: 25 Hours

First Worn: Not yet…hopefully soon!

Total Cost: $0



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The Elegance of The Nightgown

Whether flannel, linen, cotton, or silk, no other garment can evoke a feeling of femininity and comfort quite like a nightgown.  Following a long, hot soak in a bathtub, slipping on a clean nightgown is the completion of a wonderful relaxing ritual.  Although, in my experience, the use of a nightgown for actual sleeping over the years is not as common, nonetheless, the appeal remains.

With its simple start as the shift or chemise worn under one’s day clothes, the nightgown has evolved into a complete garment of its own.  With frills and lace more popular during certain times than others, examples are as varied as day gowns.  And as these gowns grew in popularity, so did the advertisements, evoking all the grace and charm many women desired.





Even though I am unable to sleep in a nightgown without it ending up around my neck by morning, the attraction of these elegant shifts still draw me.


From My Sewing Table: March


Welcome to a new monthly post entitled “From My Sewing Table.”  This written reflection will not only focus on what I am currently working on in my sewing room, but on other unique areas of historical living.  As you may have noticed, I have added several new categories to the header of my blog homepage.   These new categories reflect the new style and content of material to be featured in upcoming posts.  From 1600-1950, I look forward to sharing fun, interesting, and creative topics with you.  To see a brief description of each category, along with the posting schedule, please visit my About Page.

For all my international friends, please pardon me if my weather complaints seem minor, but my, has it been cold!  So cold in fact, that it has made me long for spring with unusual intensity.  Originally from the southern portion of the United States, I was comfortably used to mild winters and long springs.  In fact, March was usually the signal to the start of my favorite season.  Not so in the north!  March usually means “hang on, you’re almost through…almost.”  So I must content myself with store bought tulips and the promise of the warmth to come.

My Inspiration Board has been filled recently with pictures of 1780’s gowns…round gowns to be exact.  Work has already begun on a powered blue, round gown with a large collar.  On the opposite end of the historic timeline, I have also been pining over any 1920’s house wear.  Simple, densely patterned shifts and aprons dripping in rickrack…..heavenly!

With the purchase of Voices of Fashion, which many have encouraged me of it’s fairly easy construction, I am excited to start unlocking the design of the early 1900’s – and possibly recreate several Gibson Girl inspired hairstyles.  We will just have to see!

So let March, wherever you are, be a month of dreaming, planning, and enjoying any little shot of color Mother Nature may share!

Happy Creating,


A Few of the Many Upcoming Posts to Look for This Month:

  • How to Make a Mini Sewing Crate
  • 1920’s House Apron (a one yard wonder)
  • Folding a Gown the 1840’s Way


march inspiration

A little dose of Cranberry…

Well, I completed my 1930’s day dress, which consists of a skirt, blouse, and belt.  The block pattern that I created worked out very well, for the most part, and I think I like it!  I have, however, learned several things during the project that I would now like to share with you!

Things I learned while sewing a 1930’s outfit:

1. It is amazing how fast one can complete a 20th century outfit when one is so used to a 19th century outfit which literally takes ten times longer.

2.After three hours and the project is done, it is not uncommon for one to  sit and stare puzzled thinking “Did I miss a step?”

3.  When the book tells you there is very little extra width in the skirt pattern…they really mean it.  (Again, not a thought when you are used to five yards per skirt.)

4.  I need better practice at putting in zippers…

So the question begs to be asked…will I try another one?  Yes!  But hopefully with a much better zipper!

Here are the pictures!



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