Tools & Trims Workshop 

When I planned the details of my latest Domestic Skills Symposium workshop, a drastic plummet to 20 degrees with frigid wind chill and snow were not on the list. Absolutely not. 
Thankfully, old man winter could not stop the fun and learning, not even with the ice frozen car doors and trunk. 

This year’s workshop took place in the nature center. We totally lucked out with this placement because we had modern heat, bathroms, and tea! 

All set up and ready:*

Tools & Trims focused on recreating fabric trims from the late eighteenth thru the nineteenth century. We started by looking at a slide show of original garments, mostly dresses and a few parasols. Next, attendees were able to try an assortment of pinking dies (which were a little cranky) and four antique pinking machines as well as two types of fluters. We also looked at how to mimic the look of some dies using common pinking scissors/shears. We practiced various ruching and pleating techniques found on originals and in period literature. In the end, all their samples went into handmade sample books. 
Everyone got so into their work, we forgot to stop for lunch until rather late. 

There were lots of busy hands… 

And busy machines 

Follow-up tid-bits:

The slub question – “Beyond the Slubs”

Dolls – Doll posts live on Don’t Paint the Cat. Milli the Milliner, my Peddler Doll, hasher own Facebook page. 

Published in: on November 10, 2017 at 9:36 pm  Comments (1)  

At Heart

This is one of those sensitive posts. I acknowledge it may cause me to lose some customers/clients and readers. Reading another writer’s post has convinced me to stick to my beliefs and hit the “publish” button.

I firmly believe spiritual, religious, and personal beliefs and ethics come before reenacting ideals, as do health needs. For me, this includes not eating meat or meat products, not wearing furs, and greatly minimizing the wearing of leather.  This can have additional or other meanings for friends and clients.

This stance manifests itself in a few ways those who attend events with me and those who are client, or potential clients, should be aware.

As a general rule, I will not use furs on my millinery pieces. This is especially true of any furs even possibly originating overseas. On the very, very rare chance, as in once in a thousand, I will consider the use of a fur I know the history of. As in I know who killed it, how it was killed, and how it was treated. At the same time, I will not use an inaccurate replacement for fur.

I will not use gelatin based sizing for my personal millinery nor the millinery of anyone I know keeps Kosher. I’ve been told the gelatin is vegetable based. But, I am just not taking any chances as I respect the beliefs of my clients. I invite anyone who is concerned about this for a particular piece to ask me.


~ I also have a difficult time selecting feathers. I have a small stash of those gifted to me that I will eventually use. When purchasing I can’t help but think about their giver’s care.

~ Yes, I acknowledge this is presentism.

Published in: on November 7, 2017 at 6:05 pm  Comments (6)  

Winter Hood Patterns Available

Do you know I have two winter hood patterns currently available in my Etsy Shop?

This winter hood pattern is drafted directly from an original wool and silk hood in my collection. The long drapey sided and deep brim are great for keeping the wind, rain and snow of your face.

This winter hood wears more like a soft bonnet. The quilted silk brim is shaped and wired to flatter the face as well as keep you warm. This pattern comes with two versions and a full direction booklet.

Don’t forget, Paisley, Plaid, and Purled as well as From Field to Fashion are available in my Etsy Shop.

Fanciful Utility can be purchase directly from the publisher ESC Publishing. Both the book and the projects inside make great gifts.


Published in: on November 2, 2017 at 9:00 pm  Leave a Comment  

This week’s Winter Millinery 

Have you been loving the shape of the hoods I’ve been making but want something warmer? Here you go. This hood has a soft ivory wool on the outside with black silk taffeta lining tufted to a warm wool batting. A maroon satin bow trims the back while black cotton sateen ribbons tie it. 

Find this hood and others in my Etsy shop

Published in: on November 2, 2017 at 6:31 pm  Leave a Comment  

Upgrade in Process

What does it say that just this week, this first of November, this 44th week of the year, I am finally getting around to last spring’s task of upgrading my blog. Simultaneously, I am attempting to sort some non-history posts, moving them to Don’t Paint the Cat*, firming up the future posts plan, and learning about the quirks of the new domain paralleling the old domain – .

WordPress tells me there will be some days of instability as the conversion stuff behind the scenes takes place. My understanding is that the links to pages with the original base url will auto-redirect to those with the new base url. Fingers crossed. I am really, really hoping this change doesn’t mess people’s links to my blog up.

*btw, if you don’t know about Don’t Paint the Cat, this is modern crafty blog and home of the doll projects.

Published in: on November 1, 2017 at 9:00 pm  Leave a Comment  

This Weekend’s Millinery 

I can’t post photos as I normally do. I am officially out of space. I can tell you I just added a on ivory wool hood with the prettiest pink plaid silk lining to my Etsy shop. It is available here.

 PS – There are two other winter hoods there as well. An emerald green jacquard lines with quilted gold taffeta and a gold and brown shot silk with a raised corded windowpane lined with black. Be sure to check those out too. 

Published in: on October 29, 2017 at 3:56 pm  Leave a Comment  

Please, Don’t

I respectfully request those who have purchased, or otherwise acquired,  any of my patterns Do Not make these pieces for sale.

You will notice each patterns has a copyright statement as well as a personal request regarding the proper use of my research and work.

To make and sell pieces from a published, for sale pattern not only infringes on copyright and intellectual property rights, it takes money from the writer’s/milliner’s pocket. This is especially true when your knock-offs are being sold at a fraction of the price the writer/milliner is selling his or her pieces for.

btw – Regardless of how well or how poorly you sew, I can recognize pieces made from my pattern. In fact, most period milliners and pattern makers can recognize each other’s work.

**Please note that I absolutely hate that I have to post this.**


As a milliner, there are milliners and artisans I both respect and recommend. If I do not offer what you need, I suggest the following: (I may be forgetting some in my haste.)

  • Timely Tresses – Danielle offers a wide range of nineteenth century millinery, patterns and publications.
  • Pam Robles makes simple stunning pieces.
  • Vivian Murphy hand works her woven straw bonnets. These are available in a limited number each year.
  • Jamie Quick is making beautiful hoods based on original patterns. She has an eye for detail. Find her work on Etsy as barnyardbiddy
  • Holly Ray makes beautiful, detail focused evening headdresses. Find her work on Etsy as thedoctorsstitches
  • Kathey Kelly Hunt makes a variety of headwear with a focus on unique for era.
  • Knit hoods and headwear with sound research and techniques can be found on Etsy as RuedelaPaixRepros. I also like the knitting work of Deborah Hyland.
Published in: on October 25, 2017 at 12:01 pm  Leave a Comment  

There are days I feel like I’ve failed women in history, every-day women and exceptional women alike; days I feel like I’ve failed my interpretive goals. In a year so very light on functionality and event attendance, this is nearly every day.

Thank goodness there are women out there pushing us to re-examine how we interpret women of the past and how we view women today. Please take a moment to read these two post from my blog feed:

Kitty Calash’s “Clear and Present Danger” and Our Girl History’s “Women’s Voices”.

Published in: on October 24, 2017 at 1:57 pm  Leave a Comment  

Out of the Box Millinery

With the work-in-progress, Wintering Warmly, I have decided it is finally time to give you a sneak peek at some of the winter hoods and bonnets that may be appearing in the book.

A nice round dozen glimpses sounds good.

These are some of the winter hoods I purchased in the past couple months, a fraction of the pieces that I need to photograph fully. These photos are as they came out of their shipping boxes (or envelops as some of them arrived) of just before they went into their archival box for the first time. The book itself will cover 75 years of winter hoods, spanning from roughly 1825 through the end of the century, focusing on sewn hoods, ie quilted and wadded hoods.

*A portion of these were formerly the collection of another collector. I have the honor of now giving them a home. 

Published in: on October 24, 2017 at 6:00 am  Comments (1)  

Reflections on Personal Event Safety 

Much of this was written Saturday night in the midst of trying to touch base with friends at Cedar Creek.  I was trying really hard not to post my thoughts beyond current concern for people, some who I have known half my life, others only a short time.

This morning, Sunday, there are many more people talking about what happened with official and non-official accounts. There is also a great deal of anger and speculation. This post isn’t going to be about that. I have a couple groups of thoughts – personal safety,  event safety and a bit about finances.

I feel the aspects of personal and event safety apply to potential event emergencies, both those made by humans and mother nature. Any event, large or small, regional or local, can potentially face tornadoes, flash flood, fire, and other emergencies.

About personal safety – Several people have mentioned tonight how they do not have various essentials on them. I am now going to begin advocating wearing a separate pocket worn under the crinoline or petticoats containing non-period essentials. This adjustment is for personal safety in many kinds of emergencies, including sudden weather changes as well. (Another event this weekend faced a doozy of a storm.) Personal essentials could include:

  • Identification
  • Car keys
  • Medications
  • Emergency contact information
  • Medical reference form
  • A high protein snack
  • Cell phone for communication

Here is an old set of directions for making a pocket. They are ridiculously easy.

About event safety – I know you see some of us post about registering before an event and how it helps with planning. We get brushed off all too often. But, this right here is one of the other reasons why accurate registration numbers and records are so important. Coordinators need to know how many people are on site in case of an emergency,like this one. They need to be able to communicate this information to emergency response teams.
A couple things on finances – Please notice how this is going to effect the merchants who make this their livelihood or whose business is a notable portion of personal budget.

Each merchant/sutler that was at the event this weekend has lost significant sales from about 24 of heavy sales and orders time. While this may not seem like much, this can make or break some merchants. Going to large events is costly. Those in attendance I know of: Corner Clothiers with Timely Tresses, Button Baron, Civil War Lady, Mac)

In the coming months, sadly I suspect people will decide this hobby or field is not for them. (I do not wish to discuss personal choices here.) This will continue to effect the sales merchants will have. I expect to lose some quality merchants and artisans within the next year.

Please, consider supporting the merchants at the event and your favorite merchants through the winter.

Also about finances – This is about planning ahead more than speculation please. I expect there to be some changes in the cost of hosting and attending events, due to increasing insurance and security. This is understandable. The increased cost may influence the cancellation or significant changes in some events. I am aware of one small event that had to change from live interpretation to an inside presentation format. It may be advantageous to plan ahead both for a monetary increase in registration and a diversified presentation style.

Okay, that all said, my heart is heavy. So many friends, including long term friends, were potentially in danger ladt night. I am so grateful to those who worked through the night to ensure their safety. 

Published in: on October 15, 2017 at 9:25 am  Comments (2)