GCV’s Civil War Event – Late War Millinery

IMG_4587This was my second year in the Dressmaker’s Shop at the Genesee Country Village for their Civil War Encampment. As you can see Saturday morning was pleasant and sunny. You can also see the soldiers struck camp right up to my back door. While I was thinking this might make for some fun interaction, after-all I was prepared to say all my firewood was stollen as well as my wooden head forms. But, in the end, they kept to themselves. Well, except for eating all the beautiful black raspberries I was eyeing the night before.

Rather than interpreting the pretty pink building as a dressmaker’s shop, I dressed it as a Millinery. The blue and rose print interior makes for such a pleasant place to work in. You can see the working table and display table. (Yes, we did put it right over the stove. No firewood, no need for a stove.)


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I wanted to bring a basic sampling of bonnets to show visitors. As I was working on a straw plait form, I would compare that to the woven straw in the middle, Vivian Murphy’s work. Then I would discuss the two finished fashion bonnets, left and right. We would also talk about the winter bonnet in the back and the sun bonnet just below. Many people asked about the veils. This was a good teaching point to explain the differences in the mourning veils and every day veils. (An interesting set-up/interpretation note – There was notably more touching this year than with with last year’s set up. This is good to know for determining what display pieces to bring and place where. The pink and grey was the most touched followed by Lily’s green when it sat on the empty stand.) Oh. Those wooden stands are the ones I made on Wed/Thursday last week. I’m rather pleased.

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Here are the faux spools of ribbon I have been working on. I was excited to see them on the shelf. They aren’t quiet where I want them look-wise. I need to come up with a better way of doing the ends with the labels. That is why they are all up on end. Each roll is faked by using only a short piece of ribbon, usually 5-6″ but as short as a 3″ trapezoid, around a roll of original or mocked paper. I’m also planning to take my original ribbons, reproduced on white silk ribbon via the printer and make faux rolls out of those. In the works as well are sample cards. I started a set, but was not happy with the look… at all. So, back to the drawing board on those.
Faux Rolls of Ribbon

This was the “home” area for the weekend. The little day bed is napping suitable. The large cabinet is truly ideal. It reminds me a lot of the cabinet Dad had stripped for me when I was little. Those cabinets hold everything. It made storing food, supplies, etc very easy. It was okay if visitors opened the top because everything was period containers. We really didn’t need to have food out on the table at all. It did help as a reminder to actually eat though. IMG_4581I am utterly lacking in actual impression photos, worse than usual. All I have of myself are these “selfies” I played around with while it was raining in the morning. The bonnet is a coarse straw, meant to represent those made cheaply, worn by poorer women or those institutionalized. This can also be the “last remnants” straw of late war.

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4 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. What a lovely display, and those ribbon spools are too cute!

  2. Wish I could have attended! Your shop and impression look perfect!

  3. I am just catching up (so sorry, and so behind!) but what a lovely shop! I particularly like your ribbon spools– so clever- and how well you have engaged the space.

  4. Thank you. Your compliments mean so much.


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