June 6, 2016

2016 Summer Plans

With summer here today and gone tomorrow, I felt like writing my plans down on paper, or sharing them on the blog!

Comtesse de Ceres (sleeve detail, reverse image),
Elisabeth-Louise Vigee-LeBrun, 1784
(Image via: Pinterest

Number One - Work at the Genesee Country Village & Museum

My Goals for the 2016 Season:

(1) Research, research, research!  With all of the new buildings that I have been regularly scheduled in, being well read - not just on the buildings themselves and family biographies, but on the history of the furniture, clothing and crafts associated - is key to developing successful interpretations.  There is nothing more exciting than being able to answer just about any question thrown at you by a visitor.

In fact, I've barely been sewing this summer as I've been having so much fun compiling research (from a combination of the provided housebooks and independent findings) into interpretation binders:

I have compiled all of my interpretation notes & articles into 2" binders!
Volume 3 is entirely devoted to19th Century Fashion...

 Each building - which totals ten so far - receives its own colored divider, and then multiple tabbed sections that differ depending on the themes of that building's interpretation.  I have also started a separate binder for 19th century fashions...Devoting my days off and late nights to the quest for knowledge, I have no idea how many hours I have spent researching thus far...I may be a little very obsessed!

Yes, in case you were wondering, each page is double sided!

(2) Historical Hairstyle How-tos - In addition to the clothing, getting the hair just right is important to the look.  I don't consider myself particularly talented at hair dressing, so I'd like to work on developing better historical hair styling skills.

Here are some examples from this season:  How am I doing so far?

1800s-1820s: Part hair into two sections.  Form a high sitting ponytail with the top section (this should be fuller than the bottom section), braid it and pin into a bun.  Braid the lower section into a low, side braid, and wrap around the top section bun for a nice twisted effect.  (Also great for capturing those fly aways!  Though for my hair, it's a hopeless cause...)  Add ringlets to the front.

Here you can sort of see the low braid that trails up into the high bun...

1870s:  I've done this before for GCV's Victorian fashion show!  High braided bun with a large coronet braid (wish I also had a front view to show how high the braid stands...)  Layers of ringlets.  Some flowers or ribbons might be a nice addition to explore.

1870s-1880s:  Practically the reversal of the previous style!  I've been told the style makes me look more mature, maybe I should give full bangs a try...anyways, mid-height braided bun (should be placed higher?) with coronet braid and ringlet bangs.  

(3) And finally, to have fun & enjoy the company of my friends and co-workers!  A definite must! 

Number Two - Straw Millinery Apprenticeship TBD 

This is a secret that I've been keeping for a while...and I will not be elaborating at this time much beyond that I've always been intrigued with the craft.  How milliners of the past and present fashion straw, buckram and other natural fibers into wearable forms of art and cultural expression.  Having the chance to learn from an expert in the craft would be a dream come true, and certainly a unique skill to bring to my historical/theatre/film costume studies!  

Paris millinery shop, John James Chalon, 1822.
(Image via: Wikipedia, media file)

Number Three - Personal Sewing Growth 

An on-going goal for, let's face it, forever!  I doubt that my "to sew someday" list will ever cease to exist haha!  It's already about four pages long...

The Gold Embroideress, Vasily Tropinin, 1826.
(Image via: Pinterest

This summer I need to focus not just on dresses, but on undergarments and accessories, which will be imperative to the fashion camp that I will be teaching in July.  (More on this to follow)  Practice makes perfect!

The latest and greatest additions to my bookshelf
thanks to the prize money I received from a costume contest.

Number Four - Catching up on Blogging 

Another on-going goal...some posts to look forward to include a series on the costumes from Drowsy Chaperone, wrapping up some more Pittsburgh highlights (Art is Flowers, Flowers is Art - visiting the Phipps Conservatory), as well as a new series of posts featuring historical extant garments, TBA.

Duchesse de Talleyrand, Henri-Francois Riesener (1767-1828)
(Image via: Pinterest

And, if I ever take a break from that researching, some actual sewing should also make it on the blog!  

Cheers to a great summer all! 


  1. Looks like you are going to be very busy this summer! I love all of your goals and I know you will meet them all! Your hair is fabulous so I think you can totally check that off your list! Can't wait to see what comes from your sewing room this summer!!! Have fun!

    1. Thank you, Gina!! It sure is busy here; but with the job, my goals and sewing, there's never a dull moment! Hope you're summer is off to a great start as well!! Happy sewing :D