Toilet Envelope

This useful little project comes from Godey’s Lady’s Book, 1868. (Note: this is post war for those sticking to Civil War years.) This Nifty little folding case seems quite useful. But once again the short directions are as clear as mud.

Toilet envelope.

The object of this cover is to preserve the dressing table while combing the hair, and to keep the articles wanted in that operation, such as combs, brushes, etc. Fig. 1 shows the envelope folded; fig. 2 the same open. It is formed of piqué 22in square, and edged all round with a cross strip of piqué, 1 inch wide sewn with seam stitch. This strip hides the beginning of the Van Dyke’s which edge of the cover. These Vandykes are made of double piqué; each is made separately. On one side the cover has a smaller covering of cloth, which is bound with silk ribbon, and buttoned on the four corners. Tape is sewn for the strings, as can be seen from the illustration.

Published in: on April 22, 2019 at 6:00 am  Leave a Comment  

New Hat in the Shop

It has been a while since I made a shallow fashion hat. I do love this shape. There is something elegant, lean, and light about it. I decided to give this one a lightly rippled edge like one of the originals. I like how it came out. It is just the right subtle wave for the shallow lines of this hat.

Find this hat in my Etsy shop.

Published in: on April 19, 2019 at 10:13 am  Comments (3)  

Common Hat Shapes (CW Era)

Common hat shapes during the American Civil War era.

There are 2 main componants to a hat from this era: the crown and the brim. Both thd crown and brim were particularly shaped to reflect the styles of the time.

When selecting hat for an 1860-1865 impression, please keep in mind the situation you are in as well as your impression. In many cases hats had specific purposes and places. These include those for the seaside, watercures, the garden*, and recreation. There are seperate posts for these. I welcome you to explore these. There are also hats appropriate to those of poorer situations, institutionalized or previously so situations, and blockaded situations. (*note: a garden hat is different than one for gardening.)

common 1

common 2

common 3

common 4

This next style is called a “Mousquetaire” hat or a “Postilion” hat.
Mousquetaire hats have tapered crowns that rise about four to five inches, not quite double the height of other fashion hats of the early 1860s. The brim is shaped, with a curve dipping front and back. This brim is narrow, only a few inches wide. The decorations are primarily at the center front, reaching the height of the crown. A ribbon may or may not circle the crown with a bow or arrangement in the back.

Additional variations (I have yet to make graphics for):

  • Smaller hats including Torque and porkpie
Published in: on April 18, 2019 at 1:18 pm  Comments (1)  

New Hat in the Shop

Here is another classic fashionable shape for the CW years.

I am nearly out of straw for the week. So, tomorrow’s may be the last of Spring break, unless the new supply arrives.

Published in: on April 18, 2019 at 12:37 pm  Leave a Comment  

New Bonnet in the Shop

I just added a low brim straw bonnet to the shop. This bonnet has the nice spoon shape curve to the brim while keeping the top of the brim lower. This is a nice shape for those flattered by the closer brim. It would also make a nice bonnet for a teen.

You may have noticed I am posting more millinery than usual. I am on “spring break”, which gives me more time to sew and also happens to be mostly unpaid requiring me to sew more. Good thing I enjoy this. Originally, my goal was to make a few extra pieces. Then, the idea of being able to offer a new piece each day of break began to appeal. We shall see how it goes.

Published in: on April 16, 2019 at 9:46 am  Leave a Comment  

New Hat in the Shop

When I first saw the photo of a group of women posing with the croquet game and men, I squeeled in glee at the hats. I love these hats, both the shape and decoration. The cool thing about this dome shape is how it has great balance when you wear it.

You can find this hat, with its grape purple velvet ribbon points, in my shop.

You may have noticed I am posting more millinery than usual. I am on “spring break”, which gives me more time to sew and also happens to be mostly unpaid requiring me to sew more. Good thing I enjoy this. Originally, my goal was to make a few extra pieces. Then, the idea of being able to offer a new piece each day of break began to appeal. We shall see how it goes.

Published in: on April 15, 2019 at 5:57 pm  Comments (2)  

New Hats in the Shop

I just added two hats to my Etsy shop. I am going to be brief because a migraine is coming.

I hope you like this first one. I made the hat just for the feather pads that I ordered. It is so soft and delicate.

This striped hatwas very tempting to keep.

Published in: on April 14, 2019 at 11:44 am  Leave a Comment  

Straw Sewing Demo

Today was the Genesee Country Village and Museum’s annual Antique Show & Sale featuring a special sneak peak of Victoria’s Closet, display original garments and accessories from the 1850s. I was invited to demonstrate sewing straw bonnets and hats for guests.

My hands did get tired around one o’clock. I took a walk around with the camera to show you the exhibit.

Here are just a few of the beautiful pieces on display for the exhibit:

When I saw the photos of this mourning display, I immediately thought of the purple ribbon that just arrived. I wanted to see how close the color was. I find, in person under the gallery lights, mine is a touch more blue.

*note: Ive decided I hate my collar. I should have taken a friend up on the offer to make one. But, no, I did this in a rush, badly. As I rolled the hem, I stretched the edge creating flying hem. Then as I basted it on, I did something to draw up the neck edge poorly. Lesson learned: Do what I do well. Let others do what they do well.

Published in: on April 13, 2019 at 5:48 pm  Comments (1)  

Velvet Ribbon Hairnets

I have found I have an over abundance of narrow velvet ribbon left from last November’s workshop. I figure, I can either make a bunch of the headdresses with the side poofs or a bunch of ribbon hairnets… Or a few of each.

Way back in 2007, I wrote up some quick directions for the Sewing Academy Forum. I know several people have used these directions over the years, writing about them on their blogs or other social media. But, I realized I hadn’t ever put them here. So, here you are…

Ribbon Hairnet Directions ala 2007:
A quick 7 am modern method of making an easy ribbon net….. Let’s see if I can make any sense this morning.
This is for a simple, basic ribbon net with no decorations, made with silk or velvet ribbon cut while woven. There is a way to do it with one long piece of ribbon. I don’t think I am awake enough to describe that clearly. It really is better with pictures.
You are going to want a surface to work on, either something to pin the ribbons to or to hold the ribbon ends. For the first ribbon net I made, I used a large 12 or 14 inch embroidery hoop. A large pillow will work nicely as will a piece of cardboard. Draw a circle 12 to 14 inches in diameter depending on the size of your head and the amount of hair you have when done up. Use a compass or a dinner plate. Now decide how close you want your ribbons to sit. If you have 1/2″ wide ribbon, 1/4″ space is good. If you have 3/4″ ribbon 1/4″ to 1/2″ is good.
Cut two ribbons 2 inches longer than you circle is wide (14″ or 16″). Center them in a + on your circle. Pin each end at the edge of the circle. This marks the center of your net. If you need to mark out a grid for your ribbon placement, just measure your spaces and ribbon width away from center on all 4 sides. Or, you can just eye it. Measure 4 lengths of ribbon for above, below, right and left of the center +. Cut them and lay them down in place, the decided distance from the previous ribbons. Repeat in sets of 4 until you reach the edge of the circle.
Weave the ribbons over & under each other as you would a basket bottom. I like to work from the center out. Adjust your ribbons so they are set your chosen distance apart. Pin each end on the circle. With a matching thread, tack each + point with thread. When all the + points are stitched, work on the edges. Unpin one ribbon end. Turn the end under creating a half inch loop. Stitch the loop securely. Repeat this for every ribbon end.
When all the ends are looped, take a length of ribbon or plain elastic and run it through all of the loops. The elastic will need to be roughly 3 times the diameter (less than the real circle’s circumference) to bring the sides of the net in once the elastic is tied. The ribbon can be 3 to 4 times the width depending on how much ribbon you want to tie the net with.
That would be so much better with pictures.

Published in: on April 12, 2019 at 7:41 pm  Leave a Comment  

Larger Size Hat in the Shop!

I made a larger size black straw hat in a fashionable Civil War era shape. I know there are some ladies looking for a larger size hat. This one has a 22.5″ crown.

Find it in my Etsy shop now.

Published in: on April 7, 2019 at 11:41 am  Leave a Comment