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.


  1. Oh I love Ginny's dress! I credit AG dolls with my interest in historical clothing and recreating it :) Doll clothes are just so much fun fo make! Reading this makes me want to make some doll clothes again, as my AG dolls have been sorely neglected in the wardrobe department in the last few years.

    1. Thank you, Alyssa! How sweet, I wish I had discovered the fun of sewing for dolls when I was younger...but it's never to late to start, right? ;) And, do it! Sew all of the doll clothes (with pictures on your blog)!