The Millinery, at GCVM

This was a long, let’s pretend elegantly beautiful, post about this past weekend. Really, there were two exceptional passages reflecting on the year and the people at the event. Then, my laptop went black and silent. I need, really need, to replace the battery.

This past weekend, I escaped the challenges of this year filled with ughs, pains, and headaches, by fully surrounding myself with nineteenth millinery and wonderful people. I had two lovely assistants, Elyse and Elizabeth, who were there just in case, but also provided excellent conversation and companionship.

Shop at GCVM CW 2017 b

IMG_0371A few of the millinery pieces found new homes. This coarse straw bonnet, meant for a laboring working class impression, was one I thought would be a long term display piece. Katie came in to say hi and the bonnet somehow ended up on her head. It was absolutely perfect for her and her impression.

I have hardly any photos of people. I have a bunch of photos of the millinery pieces. But, you see those all the time. So, I won’t share those other than to say these two just went up in the Etsy shop:

I did try to take some photos of myself Saturday morning before anyone arrived. Here are the not horribly blurry or excessively stern looking shots.

Published in: on July 17, 2017 at 3:13 pm  Comments (2)  

A Weekend in the Millinery 

If I was to give this event one word, it would be “relief”.

 This time last year I was in horrible pain, with the worst sun reaction and migraine i can recall, to the point where I was literally hitting my head against the wall and packing my head in ice packs. I was quite certain I might have to be done with historical events. The thought was horribly depressing. I spent the whole year with the fear that I might have a repeat physical event. 

As I stood at the mirror this morning, doing my hair, I almost cried. It was Sunday. I was good. I ended Saturday feeling great. I was good. I didnt even need to resort to my backup , can lace lighter dress. (Actually, I found I laced closed! Alterations coming.) I hoped into the sewing room and pulled out one of my favorite dresses, from a fabric a far away friend gave me. I was good. 

So, here I am. Proof I made it to Sunday. 

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 This weekend, I set the millinery up in the Insurance Office. A big thank you to Deanna and Melanie for arranging this space for me. It was close to Ward Hovey, just in case, and a shorter walk to the gallery for my talk. It has  a lovely breeze and nice shade. It also is right on the village square insuring lots of visitors. Saturday, I pretty much started talking at eleven and didn’t stop until six. (The morning was quite)

My little sister, Lily, helped out in the millinery the whole weekend. She talked with visitors while I was away at the gallery and while I was consulting on millinery questions. She did a very nice job. She also followed the small ice cream handed child around the room guarding the pieces. 



 A myriad of thoughts:

Our most unique visitors were either the well loved plush bunny or the real live rooster. 

All guests during the battle must be watered. Roosters included. 

While I wasn’t sure which project to bring, I ended up being busy wirh sewing the whole of Saturday and I to Sunday . 

I actually got to talk about the dynamics of women’s employment. 

Sunday, two young men had an excellent vignette on my porch. They were gambling, for stamps. As they played, they pulled visitors in. I know some expected me to shoo them off. But, it was such and excellent interaction , I just listened from inside. 

I never once got to do the story I developed behind my unfinished sign. But, I did determine i must have one. 

I got quarantined for a couple hours. Weirdness was theme

I got to see the most amazing original fichu and a lovely net needlework. 

I was gifted some wonderful surprises. I am grateful and blessed by each. Thank you. 

Now, sleep. There may be more added tomorrow 



























Milliner Shop

In a short hour or so, the Milliner Shop was set up, all ready for the Genesee Country Village’s Civil War event. A big thank you to Anneliese and Lily for their assistance. 

Let’s start with a fun “What’s wrong with this picture?”

In all the preparation for transforming an Insurance Office into a Millinery – bonnet stands , band boxes, appropriate paint, appropriate papers, ribbons, bonnets, hats, veils – somehow I did not think about sitting down …. in a cage… in these three lovely, matching chairs. 

Ooops. Slight problem, especially since each of my chairs were home awaiting their much needed tlc. 

Luckily, I got the okay to borrow two chairs from Hosmer’s . 

Much better.

This even gave us a chance to color check the paint colors. The hat stands are a shade lighter than the chair. Peter tells me Prussian blue had a range of shades, depending on how much white was added. So, mine just has more white. 

Looking around the room:

Here are the three fashionable bonnets on display. Each is one one of the new stands. The one one the left is the batwing soft crown with the blue and plaid silk. The one on the right is my personal bonnet, a soft crown with sheer check organza. Below is a bonnet with a decorative brim using antique straw threads. In the basket below are my slippers and a box of fabric scraps that would make some cute doll clothes or such. I plan not to bring that box back home. 

To the right, is a stack of my recovered band boxes, and my personal bonnet box. This one came from a local stationary shop. It is perfect for holding my bonnet. Atop the boxes is one of my yardsale find stands holding a wide brim hat. This hat is appropriate for a recreational scenario or a dress reform impression. Draped on the hat is an antique lace that may or may not be considered a veil. (Digging deeper into this.) 

In the corner, is a little table filled with assorted bonnets and hats. As we were setting up, I started to think I should have brought my second table and more stands. The top most, on the boxes is a cottage bonnet draped in my newest veil, one I made with silk net and lace. (Coming soon, I will have a post comparing the light control of different veils.) In the center is a coarse straw bonnet that would be worn by a poorer or institutionalized woman. On the left is my example of a woven straw bonnet, by Vivian ! Murphy. The two hats on the stands are children size. The one resting on the table is a large crown fashion bonnet. The top box is the one I made, sewing a heavy pasteboard. The other two are recovered. 

I am tickled that the ribbons filled this mantle. I think it looks pretty”in use” rather than just display. Lily did a nice job. Can you tell which rolls are real and which are fake? 

I forgot to get a photo of the sign. As the lettering was a fail, and despite sanding off the black paint, the tracing depressions show through the new ground coats, it looks very much like the “work in progress” it is. I’ve decided to say the young man who was painting it for me took off to enlist as the trips came near. But, as we expect this fighting to be over by the end of the summer, he can finish it soon enough. 

When you stumble across yourself

You know those moments when you stumble across yourself on the vastness we call the web?

Lily and I some years ago. No, I am not sleeping. I’m working on sewing a sewing case. I think this was just before or just after the Sunday shower.

Here is one of those moments. Given how often I lament about not seeing the photos I hear or seeing being taken, I should be happy to see these. But, goodness, can’t I have a pleasant expression when people take photos?¬† (Just do not try to look at the other photos from which I took these.)

This is at a tiny local event some years ago. We attended on the invitation and encouragement of Barb, who you can see in the lower photo on the left. She has put together a nice Widows and Orphans Relief Society impression, which is a nice platform for teaching. Knowing there would be a canopy of trees, we skipped the canvas and followed the shade through the day. We really did develop a bi-hourly routine of picking up the table and inching further into the shade. As such, I started the day with my bonnet. As the day progressed, the tree took ownership of the bonnet.

From left to right, Barb, Gail, myself and someone who joined us for a short while.


For us this was a demo and teaching event. I brought sewing cases to work on. Lily demonstrated writing with pen and ink. Gail brought her drop-spindle and wool. Each demo was one that could easily become hands on to the many children in attendance. People were fascinated by Lily’s writing. Actually, there were moments when fascinated simply was not a strong enough description. Through the day others joined us with sewing projects of their own.

Published in: on January 22, 2015 at 4:00 pm  Leave a Comment  

The Tear-Drop Tip

One of my more recent collection additions has an elagant tear-drop shaped tip surrounded by tightly gathered stripe silk and a fluffy puffing of wool.  It is on of those construction componants that just catches you with “how did she do that?”
It is also one of those things that just call to me, from the other room, “make me”… “figure me out.”
The original tip is made of layers about a third the weight/thickness of pasteboard. Theses layers are also wrinkled and crushed inside the layer of silk on the outside and lining on the inside. The best I can tell (for want of one of those probe cameras) there is a gathering of silk between the layers of almost pasteboard, but it isn’t enough material to be the gatherings from the body of the hood. (I think I figured out what she did with that bulk. Rather nifty.) The teardrop is piped with a thick silk covered cord. I went from thinking “that is going to be a pain” to “ah, that takes care of that.”
I’ll get around to doing the photos of this piece soonish.
Now, my creation of the week was all about figuring out this tip. The rest of the hood is just a basic wadded construction.




Published in: on January 17, 2015 at 2:47 pm  Leave a Comment