February 28, 2018

A Visit to Hale Farm + Ginny's Green Sheer Dress

Posting about the Ohio Regimental Ball last weekend reminded me that I never did share the pictures from the first, period adventure that Sarah and I went on, or Ginny's green sheer dress, which was made special for the outing...this must be rectified immediately!

Just a girl and her doll.

Last semester when I began at Kent State, I was welcomed by a lovely lady and fast friend, Sarah, whom I had met once before at the Genesee Country Village & Museum and befriended on Facebook.  We immediately hit it off over fancy coffee, sewing and all things historical clothing, and parted with the promise of future exploring and period events.  And, from that day forward, the rest is history as they say...As a side note, I must include a small story of coincidence.  When I moved to Pittsburgh, I was welcomed by another, fellow living historian, classic novel reader, and seamstress extraordinaire, who I had just so happened to meet at GCV and reconnected with through Facebook.  In fact, even more eerie, both Kaela's and Sarah's professions involve languages...moral of the story, I must have a type in friends haha!

Part I: A Visit to Hale Farm & Village

Celebrating 60 years at Hale Farm & Village
(Image via: Facebook)

When I saw that Hale Farm & Village was having their annual Harvest Festival, I asked Sarah if she'd be interested in joining me.  Not only did she agree, but we decided to attend in period attire, of course!

My well-dressed traveling companions - Sarah and Ginny -
in the Jonathan Goldsmith House. Love that yellow!

The three of us - Sarah, Ginny and me.

The site was beautiful, and having a personal tour guide made the day trip all the more memorable.  Hale Farm & Village was created to reflect a typical town in the Western Reserve, and the buildings collected and preserved represent a variety of architectural styles, built before or fitting with pre-1850 styles.  There, the historical trades, farming, gardens, lifestyles and stories of the families of early Ohio are brought to life daily by costumed interpreters and community events.  The village itself is made up of 34 historic structures and an array of guest facilities situated on over 100 acres, and entrusted to the care of the Western Reserve Historical Society.  

In short, I was very impressed with what I saw there - the interpreters were very knowledgeable and engaging, especially with the many families that day, and the restored buildings and artifacts were evidently well cared for.  In fact, several of the homes reminded me of ones at my museum.  The log cabin resembled Hetchler, the church, our Brooks Grove, and the stenciling in the study upstairs at the Jonathan Goldsmith House is similar to that at Hosmer's Inn! 

Stenciling in the upstairs study at the Jonathan Goldsmith House,
Hale Farm & Village. 

Stenciling in the upstairs ball room at Hosmer's Inn,
Genesee Country Village & Musuem

Of all the village attractions, my two favorite houses were probably the Jonathan Goldsmith House, mentioned above, and the Jagger House.  The latter had some of the prettiest wall stenciling I've seen yet!

Intricate wall stenciling in the Jagger House.

Ginny coordinated with the mint paint in the formal parlor.

Someday soon, I would very much like to go back for another event or just to walk around again...thanks so much for the wonderful day, Sarah!

Ginny putting her feet up after a long day of being carried around.
Being so popular and smiling for pictures wore her out ;)

Part II: Ginny's Green Sheer Dress

Ginny, the blog's official traveling doll, was greatly in need of another, exciting adventure and new dress!  So, she came along with us to the village where Sarah helped me pose her for pictures.  I was so happy to bring Ginny, as she ended up being very popular and had her likeliness taken by other visitors, several times.  In fact, since it was a family oriented event weekend, we had the chance to meet many other young friends and their AG dolls.

As for the new dress, it was inspired by an original sheer gown from the personal collection of K. Krewer.  While I would have loved a new dress of my own, creating garments in doll scale is much more practical, and presents its own challenges and rewards. 

Sheer gown from the K. Krewer Collection.

Sheer gown from the K. Krewer Collection.

My reproduction, 18" doll scale.

Construction:  The first step was to drape the bodice.  I wanted the front to have a half lining and "v" neckline like the original.

Draped bodice pieces. 

Next came assembling the bodice.  I chose to dart the fabric, rather than gather like the extant example.  Both the ends of the sleeves and top of the front lining were finished with small rolled hems, while the neckline was encased in a narrow bias binding.

Bodice ready for the skirt.

Bodice, interior view.

After adding a small waistband, I ripped and seamed two panels for the skirt.  I finished the hem with a wide facing, and gauged the top before attaching it to the waistband.  

Gauged skirt with hem facing.

Back, full view.

Finally, closures and ruched trim were stitched to the bodice and sleeves. 

Ruched bias cut trim at the center front.

Side and sleeve front detail.

Side and sleeve back detail.

Completed Project Shots: Please excuse the less than ideal background...

Styling her hair was so much fun!

Silk belt with doll-sized, vintage mother of pearl buckle.

And that's all...'till the next adventure, thanks for reading!

Ginny in the pumpkin patch.

February 25, 2018

Dear Me, Let Us Be Elegant or Die

"Meg's high-heeled slippers were very tight and hurt her, though she would not own it, 
and Jo's nineteen hairpins all seemed stuck straight into her head, 
which was not exactly comfortable, but, dear me, let us be elegant or die."
- Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

"Christopher Columbus. Aren't we elegant?" - Little Women (1949)
Dressed for the ball with my weekend companion.

Last weekend, I had the chance to attend the annual Ohio Regimental Military Ball with two good friends, Sarah and Calvin, and it was absolutely marvelous!  This year was especially so as it was both the 30th anniversary, and attended by over 200 people.  There were day workshops, dinner and dancing, and many dear and new friends to meet.  In this blog post, I'll be sharing the highlights of the event in hopes that you'll join us next time.  Make sure to visit their website here: Ohio Regimental Military Ball and Facebook group for more information and pictures from the weekend.  

Here was the official event flyer: 

And now, to begin the recap:  Several months ago, Sarah, my Ohio reenacting and sewing friend, mentioned this event and invited me to stay with Calvin and her.  Always eager to dress up and dance, I agreed and am so happy that I did!  

Originally, when the ball was still several weeks away, I had planned on making a new, pink dress suitable for Valentine's Day...but college and practicum responsibilities got in the way.  All I managed to finish was the bodice, but here's some in-progress shots: 

For the day, I ended up wearing the polka-dot dress and accessorizing with a new collar, hair ribbons and bow from Timely Tresses, and an antique shawl, which was a lucky thrift shop find.  

Outfit of the Day.
Showing off my new shoes, which totally coordinate!

Footwear close up.

In the lobby, there were maybe a dozen vendors set up, including Originals by Kay, Amazon Drygoods, and Barnyard Biddy among others.  I hadn't planned on anything beyond window shopping, but when I saw row after row of shoes(!) displayed so enticingly by Samantha of Amazon Drygoods...well, let's just say I couldn't pass up the opportunity.  These maroon side-lacers were the only pair of their kind, in my size too, and they matched my outfit so well.  It was meant to be!

And another picture, because I'm in love with these boots!

Speaking of new pretties, Sarah was a vision!  Dressed in a soft pink, striped dress, which she started and finished a mere night before, straw bonnet and cockade belt, her ensemble was perfection: 

While there were several, morning workshops I was interested in, I chose the most playful - Parlor Games.  We had such a fun time, and a great instructor too.  A minister's cat and blind man's buff, quick thinking and tongue twisters, and forfeits all around! 

The rest of the afternoon was spent socializing and shopping.  I met up with Jamie of BarnyardBiddy, who I had met before and was so surprised that she remembered me too.  She is so sweet, and had a lovely display.  Just look at those brilliant, hand-dyed silk yarns!  

This beauty was oh soo tempting, the picture just doesn't do it justice!

An incredible beaded miser purse!

I also made a new friend, Dana!

And finally met Janet, who had invited me to join the Pittsburgh Historical Costume Society a couple of years ago, in person: 

Michael Rhodes, photographer and case maker extraordinaire, was offering wet plate or tintypes.  Sarah sat several times: 

Then it was time to change for dinner and dancing.  Calvin, who had worked all day, joined us.  Sarah had another new gown, this time a colorful plaid silk: 

Tacking the bertha in place. 
What's period dressing without last minute stitching? ;)

Calvin and Sarah, the best dressed couple at the ball!

I wore my champagne ball gown again, and Sarah kindly styled my hair:

Obligatory hair shot!

Formal dinner and dancing commenced:  The ball room at the Mckinley Grand Hotel was certainly befitting the name "grand" with all of its elegant chandeliers.  Dinner featured lively conversation and anniversary cake.  In fact, we were seated with Annabel (I recognized her from the Civilian CW Closet!) and her husband, and a couple who have been attending the regimental balls since the very beginning.  

Dinner picture borrowed from the Facebook group.

We danced the night away!  Music was provided by the 73rd OVI Brass Band.  Favorites included the Spanish Waltz, Gay Gordon, Patticake Polka, and Haste to the Wedding...oh I love to dance :)

Everyone looked so regal in their finest!

Making more new friends (Erin, Vanessa, Holly, and more) and memories!  Hopefully I'll see them again next year or at other events in the meantime.  

Erin and Sarah.

The after-party included a discussion based on these fantastic cookies...kudos to whoever brought and frosted them:

And finally, my favorite picture from the evening.

A million thanks to everyone who worked so diligently to bring such a wonderful evening together!  Let us be elegant or die!