April 15, 2015

A Fabric Haul & Internship Update

“When I have a little money, I buy [fabric]; 
and if I have any left, I buy food and clothes.” 
~ Erasmus

My life is a bit of a whirlwind at the moment!  Between college classes, increased responsibilities at my internship, the fast-approaching start of the new museum season demanding research and clothing to be made, and not to mention the BIG college question as Point Park has recently offered me both a generous scholarship and apprenticeship...I have a full schedule!  Right now, I just need a breather...and what usually helps is dreaming up and planning new clothes!  Cue the shopping spree and fabric haul...

Costuming needs for the season:  This season, I will be time traveling each week between three decades!  I have been assigned to the 1820s School House, 1830s Thomson's Tavern for children's games, Hosmer's Inn as one of the hostesses for the historic dinner program and the Foster-Tufts House, as well as returning to the 1850s Romulus Female Seminary.  I am so excited!  However, before the museum opens, I need to do a lot of research and would like to pull together the bare bones of wardrobes for all three decades - the beginning of a full-season long project.  My plan of attack is to focus on the 1830s throughout the rest of April and start of May where, so far, I have nothing!

1830s (Thomson, Hosmer & Foster Tufts)
  • (2-3) Early-style chemises
  • White tucked under petticoat - stash fabric
  • Light blue petticoat - stash fabric
  • Brown linen outer petticoat - I just placed an order for three yards of chocolate brown linen from Wm. Booth Draper & previously purchased several yards of chocolate brown, lightweight broadcloth which will be used for multiple linings and facings where needed
  • Red 1830s short gown
Purchased four yards of this reproduction fabric.

  • Striped linen half apron
Purchased 1 yard remnant from Jo-Anns.  100% linen.

  • (2) Neckerchiefs made from plain, white cotton & black silk 
  • Add cotton ties to patchwork pockets

1850s (Seminary)
  • Fix tucked petticoat with a new button extension
  • Attempt to starch petticoats if time...

Eventual Wants:  Projects hopefully to be completed throughout the spring & summer of the season...

1810s:  I really want a kit for 1812 weekend - classic white sheer gown with a slight train, a pop of color with a silk belt or under petticoat and a printed cotton day spencer jacket - however, I need to convince myself of the unrealistic nature of this desire.

1820s: (School House)
  • New strapped or bodiced petticoat that actually fits!
  • Red 1820s dress - perhaps I could stretch "Regency" and use this for 1812 weekend?
Purchased 7 1/2 yards of this reproduction fabric.

Still THE inspiration for my 20s dress.
Dress c.1825-1830, Snowshill Wade Costume Collection
(Image via: http://www.nationaltrustcollections.org.uk/object/1349130)

  • Navy dress with silk trim & pelerine (intended for Hosmer or Foster-Tufts)
Purchased 8 yards of this reproduction fabric.

  • Another short gown (intended for Thomson)
Perhaps from this fabric?

  • Finish that corded petticoat!

  • Day dress with a clean, darted bodice and double puffed sleeves (intended for the seminary)
Purchased 8 yards of this reproduction fabric as well!
Advertised as a plum color, the background actually turned out to be black.
Or as some have told me, a dark brown or blue...

  • Finish the chemise & pair of drawers half started
  • Basic mid-century work dress
Still debating on this fabric...

Impossible?  I don't think so.  Crazy?  Maybe... Ambitious?  Yes!  

Besides sewing clothing for the upcoming season at the museum, I am still busy stitching away at my internship!  So much has happened since, well really the beginning of March, when the Sophia Project was finished, as I may have mentioned before.  Aside from helping wherever I'm needed, I had the chance to model two dresses in a timeline fashion shoot - which was a lot of fun.  And, best of all, professional photos were taken of Sophia on a real, live model for the first time at that shoot!  (Post still pending for completed Sophia pictures).

Also, for the rest of March, I worked on the wool jean cloth (I found out) waistcoat that I had started over the summer.  I tried my hand at pad-stitching the collar, polished my prick-stitching skills on the collar lining and attached the fronts to the back at the shoulders.  Then, I became absorbed in my new project: costumes for the summer fairy school camp!

My first stab at pad stitching!

A long trapezoid ready for lining.

The finished collar!

It was so kind of Cheryl to finish the vest for me!  Not only did she attach the collar and finish all of the inside lining stitching, she did all of those neat buttons and button holes.  Cheryl is amazing!  What a unique and challenging experience in men's historic clothing:

Finished front of waistcoat & my first attempt at welt pockets.

Polished cotton back of waistcoat.

Speaking of fairy camp costumes, as the last and final project of my internship, I am responsible for a fairy queen outfit as well as a pattern and example each for the young girl and boy fairies in training!  At the moment, I am hard at work on the fairy queen's grand costume, which will eventually include a puffed sleeve chemise, embroidered corset, bedazzled stomacher, and petal and leaf skirt with a full tulle underskirt.  Wish me luck & thanks for reading!

Rough preliminary planning sketch & notes for the fairy queen costume.


  1. Good luck with all your sewing along with your other activities!! I am practically drooling over these fabric photos and look forward to seeing the finished products. Seeing your other work, I know you can finish them all!!

    1. Why thank you so much, Jill!! Your lovely comment is a much appreciated boost of confidence! I sure hope I can finish everything...ready, set, stitch!