December 23, 2015

Not All Those Who Wander Are Lost

"'It is required of every man,' the Ghost returned, 'that the spirit within him should walk abroad among his fellowmen, and travel far and wide; and if that spirit goes not forth in life, it is condemned to do so after death. It is doomed to wander through the world -- oh, woe is me! -- and witness what it cannot share, but might have shared on earth, and turned to happiness!'"  
~ Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol

At last, the Yuletide photo shoot is here!  Though the last weekend of the GCV&M’s Yuletide Theatrical Tours (which I blogged about here) took an interesting turn, despite sickness, the show went on!  I ended up switching to the role of Mary Shannon, the Irish maid of the family who ends up professing her love to John MacKay Jr., much to the distress of Jeannette…long story.  

Anyways, for the longest time now, I had wanted to shoot on the beautiful grounds at Penfield’s Oakwood Cemetery (the same location of the annual ghost walk I had participated in for two years previously).  And sporting my Jeanette dress, which I blogged about here, and ruffly cap, details here, we did – enjoy! 

Completed Project Shots

Though it was cool, crisp - one might even say downright cold - and quite windy, Maria, my sister and loyal photographer, and I braved the wintery conditions at Oakwood Cemetery for the perfect shots.  Do not let the green fool you, within a few hours of leaving, Penfield’s landmark was coated in a light dusting of snow.

The photo shoot lasted nearly an hour, with several breaks to thaw our pink hands in a warm car and the bribe of Starbucks directly afterwards.  We maintained companionable silence and straight faces – with the occasional grimace when the wind picked up - out of respect and quiet reflection on the hallowed grounds.  (All photographs courtesy of and many thanks to Maria M. – what would I ever do without you, sister?! :)

Series the First: A Walk Among the Tombstones

Oakwood Cemetery is the largest graveyard in the Town of Penfield with the oldest, official burial record dating back to 1837.  (Naturally, we set our photo shoot in the oldest section of the cemetery.)  In fact, the oldest tombstone, dated September 8, 1812,  marks the final resting place of John Strowger.  The Oakwood Cemetery Association has made over 15,600 burial records available online to the public for genealogical research here.

Series the Second: In Quiet and Still Reflection 

For fellow Sherlock fans out there, I found the tombstone of what appears to be "John Watson..."

A shot from beneath the protective canopy of what locals know as the "Lincoln Tree," my favorite location in Oakwood Cemetery:

Series the Third: Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep 

Oakwood Cemetery also has a mausoleum.  It's corroded doors, protecting a sleeping multitude, served as an unusually beautiful backdrop.


Historical Sew Monthly December Challenge: Re-Do

Since the dress & cap were finished within the perimeters of the challenge, I am happy to enter my mid-century Yuletide outfit as my last and final entry in the 2015 Historical Sew Monthly, hosted by The Dreamstress!

The Challenge:  #12 Re-Do - It’s the last challenge of the year, so let’s keep things simple by re-doing any of the previous 11 challenges.
  1. The dress qualifies as a re-do of Challenge #6 - Out of Your Comfort Zone because it is my first experience sewing a mid-century day dress & attempting double puffed sleeves.
  2. The red silk accessories qualify as a re-do of Challenge #7 - Accessorize as they add that final touch to create the perfect period look and bring the entire outfit together. 
  3. The cap qualifies as a re-do of Challenge #8 - Heirlooms & Heritage because I used an heirloom sewing supply - vintage/antique lace - to create my new heirloom to pass down to the next generation!

Fabric:  8 yards of a "cat-eyed" reproduction fabric, white muslin for linings, brown broadcloth for facing, red silk, cotton lawn

Pattern:  Multiple, cobbled together from several sources.

Year:  Mid-19th century, specifically late 1850s to early 1860s 

Notions:  Matching threads, hooks & eyes, twill tape, vintage/antique lace, large mother of pearl buckle 

How historically accurate is it?  Very, 90-95%, though I still need to make those under sleeves or cuffs...please see my previous blogposts on the dress (here) & the cap (here) for all of my construction notes & historical inspirations.

THE inspiration.
(Image via: Pinterest)
Hours to complete:  Did not keep track, though I know it is a whole lot of hours!  The cap alone took 40+ hours to complete.  

First worn:  For Yuletide dressed rehearsal. 

Total cost:  Again, did not keep track...estimation: at least $150 in materials & resources...



  1. I LOVE LOVE LOVE this photo shoot! You know me, I adore old cemeteries!! Your Oakwood Cemetery is glorious! Our Boise cemeteries are not so old, so yours is particularly lovely! Your dress works perfectly with the dark, somber, reflective colors of the atmosphere! Job very well done! And John Watson? Brilliant! What fun! This was fabulous!
    Blessings to you!

    1. Thank you so much, Gina!! You always have the kindest words to say! After seeing all of your fantastic cemetery photo shoots, I just knew that I had to do one of my own!

      Thanks again! Anneliese :)

      P.S. Oh and I'm so happy you picked up on the Sherlock humor! I just couldn't resist...

  2. Those sleeves are wonderful! I have a new dress length that I'm making into a basic late 1840s dress and I needed a sleeve inspiration. Can you tell me which pattern the sleeves are made from? Or at least the upper sleeve shape?

    1. Thank you, Mrs. Talbott! Double puffed sleeves are so much fun! I ended up using the directions in the Dressmaker's Guide by Elizabeth Stewart Clark to draft the straight sleeve base. As well as a tutorial called "Making Double-Puff Sleeves" by Sarah Jane of Romantic History for the puffs. (You can see my in-progress pictures & resource links here: Best of luck on those sleeves & the new 1840s dress!

      Anneliese :)