Good Morning from the Millinery Shop

The weather was lovely as I arrived at the museum Saturday morning. It played out to be a very nice day, not getting too hot, with a nice breeze.

I had time to do a couple videos before people arrived.

Here is a second video looking at what I had in my sewing box.

Sunday looks like it may be damp or rainy or humid, despite a lower temperature. So, I won’t get to wear my V&A dress I love, becaus the block print does a bleading thing. I may just brave my black and red wool. Crazy?n

Published in: on July 21, 2018 at 8:10 pm  Leave a Comment  

This Is 20

Leaving my driveway today, I realized this is number 20. With a short hiatus while in NM, this is my 20th Civil War Event at the Genesee Country Village and Museum.

This deserved flowers.

The millinery shop is all set up for the weekend. Here is the before:

And after:

Published in: on July 20, 2018 at 9:47 pm  Leave a Comment  

Mid July Update

Wow has July been a busy month. I know I have oodles to say. I am just not sure I will remember it all.

Since my June update, I discovered my physical limits with some work stuff. I rewarded myself with a much needed massage, which is now officially a regular scheduled thing. Happier hands. Happier belly. Happier me.

My summer kicked off with the War of 1812 event at the museum. The photos from the weekend are a bit wonky because I had just (finally) picked out a new phone and tablet. Exhibit A to the right. It amazes me just how much of a hem difference I get as my abdomen swells like it can. This is with my short stays. Luckily, others took so e nice photos. Thanks Deanna.

I did get to make a feline friend. She was certain to make a thorough inspection during her morning rounds.

Getting ready for GCVM’S CW

The last couple of weeks has been all about GCVM Civil War event prep. I plan to have a nice assortment of styles and colors to display this year. This is part of what I made so far. There are others that will be part of a special announcement. I also have a couple other ideas for this year’s event I am hoping to pull off. Okay, I am cutting it close.


Staying on millinery, I would like to talk about blocks. When I first started working with straw, each shape was entirely by sight, from photo to hands. I used what I had on hand to get the shapes right. Mixing bowls were a go to. When I startex doing hats, I taught myself to carve foam blocks. This opened the curiosity door to hat blocks. Amazingly enough, wood lasts so much longer than foam. (sarcasm font) Then, I found Galaxy. That wooden bonnet block changed everything. Okay, well, what it really did was confirm to me that my shapes were there, my proportions were there…. and… it caused me to want more. Next, a dear set of angels transported Serenity and her companions across the country. This beautiful plaster block has been a dream to work with. Not long ago, little Merauder (sp?) told me there are more of these bonnet blocks to be found.

I found a lovely bonnet block recently along with a dream of a hat block. Well, I thought I did. There has been a good bit of disappointment in the attempted purchase of them. I won’t say much more until thay gets sorted out.

What I do want to say is, I am giving myself permission to get more blocks. Space is already tight. So, I will need to figure out safe storage. This will likely mean some fabric purging.

Products I love…. Aka: Let’s talk pomade

I have two hair products to tell you about. This first is Talbott’s Finest Hair Pomade. This is available from Talbott & Co. via Etsy. The easy to carry tin is filled with enough pomade to last easily a full season. Many more if you only do a few events. The lavender fragrance is nicely balanced, just enough without overwhelming. I actually think it saved me at my last event when I had quite the air pressure migraine coming on. Their pomade does a very nice job keeping my hair smooth and in place without being heavy or greasy. I did a multi-day experiment putting it in my hair for the laxt week of school work. It held well without getting gross. I actually found my hair felt softer and thicker in the days following.

Another hair product I want to share is this Queen Bee by Lush. While it isn’t marketed as a pomade, it essentially is. They sell as a hair smoother and moisturize. This is a bee’s wax and cocoa butter base with fragrance. Oh, does it smell good. It has a soft feel, which may just be the recent heat. The photo shows my hair down, one side with, one side with out. While I love it for everyday, I am going to be testing this out as a pomade as well.

Personal projects

After one decade old pair of drawers gave out during the 1812 event, I decided it was time to make new one. Three actually. I figure that can solidly replace dated and defunct drawers. I also happened upon a cotton that insists on being a tucked petticoat. I don’t know if I will have this done in time for the event since I have this crazy notion of hadpnd done tucks.the red striped plaid dress is on hold pending bodicd inspiration.

I think that is all. It is time for sleep.

Published in: on July 13, 2018 at 11:05 pm  Comments (2)  

Invisible Hair Nets

When looking at groups of 1860s photographs, we a significant number of women wore some type net net. Most frequently, this was a functional and/or invisible hair net.

These hair nets are an excellent addition to a reenactor’s or interpreter’s hair kit. This simple, correct accessory can greatly improve an impression or just help with a bad hair day. **Please remember these were worn over dressed hair.

Please pardon Clara’s guest appearance at the end.

I welcome you to learn more about hair nets by reading To Net, Or Not to Net, available through my Etsy store.

Published in: on July 6, 2018 at 4:52 pm  Comments (3)  

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. I will be adding a post looking coarse straw and the use of palm and other make-do fibers. (*note: a gsrden hat is different than one for gardening.)

common 1

common 2

common 3

common 4

Leaen more about this style here

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 to be covered soon:

  • Smaller hats (Fashion)
  • Torque (High fashion without brim) and porkpie (High fashion with little upturned brims)

Please read these hat related posts as well:

Published in: on July 5, 2018 at 6:30 pm  Leave a Comment  

Lonely hat

I was surprised when this hat didn’t sell quickly yesterday. In the past few years this style sold in moments. Then, I realized I probably haven’t given this style much attention lately.

This hat is all about the brim with its flaring sides and fashionable curve dipping in the front. The shallow crown is meant to sit higher on the head with the dome almost cupping the crown of your head.

Here is a sampling of images showing how this hat was worn and finished. You will see this hat sits high on the head, right at the top of the hairline in some cases.

Published in: on July 3, 2018 at 11:09 am  Comments (5)  

Capote de Paille??

Nearly two years ago to today I was looking into a bonnet shape a woman called a “capote”. Last night, while sharing the black straw piece I made, I was asked what a capote is.

During the Regency era, the capote seems to be a petite bonnet that hugs the head. Sometimes it stops close to the face. Sometimes it extends just beyond. Most often capotes are described as silk or another soft material. Occasionally we see a ” Capote de Paille” or a capote of straw. Here is a lovely example of a Capote de Paille.

Google translate likes to translate “capote” as “hood.” Visually, this sorta works for the Regency era pieces. But, is doesn’t quite work when we proceed into the century when pieces are clearly bonnets. In the upper right corner we see two 1840s-50s bonnets called capotes, translated as hoods.

Here are several examples of the shape requested two years back.

I have made a few of these since they were requested. Note: The black straw is currently available in my shop.

Here is another take on the Capote.

Published in: on July 3, 2018 at 11:00 am  Leave a Comment  

Today’s Millinery-2 Hats

I have two CW era hats to offer you today. Both are now in my shop.

This first one has a tapered crown and fashionable brim. It is for an average size head.

Next is a shallow dome crown with a fashionable shaped brim. This is worn high on an average to small head.

Published in: on July 2, 2018 at 5:10 pm  Comments (1)  

Today’s Millinery

I added striking black stripes to this natural straw spoon bonnet. This fashionable Civil War era bonnet will suit an average to small head. I kept these cheektabs short.

I’ve just added this bonnet to my Etsy shop.

Published in: on June 29, 2018 at 1:15 pm  Comments (2)  

GCVM’s War of 1812 – Part 1 The Millinery

I have so much I want to say about this past weekend. It is easiest to start with the millinery.

I decided months ago I wanted to feature my tapered crown block and the beautiful block my friend, Julie’s husband made for me last year. I got started on my display pieces much later than it planned due to some work stuff, aka test exhaustion. But, when i finally got going, I really got going. The result was the biggest bonnet I have made. (first attempt at uploading a video)

I love this piece. The block let me make these beautifully straight sides on the crown that rises 5″ in front and 6″ in back. The brim has this great curve to frame the face. The back of the brim is shaped with layering the plait in on itself. I just love the look of straw as it makes those lines. Okay, so, as I am writing this I am second guessing selling it. It is up on Etsy at this moment. I may take it down. If it does sell, it will have to ship in a Big box.

Next is the piece with the tapered crown. This piece is going to a good friend. It is much like my own chapeaux, just with a wider brim. This brim is very flattering. The piece is also very easy and comfortable to wear.

This third piece is one I made last year for this event just before I went into the hospital. This has a shallow, wide crown with deep curves supporting the shapped brim. This one is not up on Etsy yet because I am considering decorating it.

Of course, there is the piece I worked on during my demonstration. This black straw may got have been the easiest choice given the overcast sky not givong optimal light. None the less, I finished the entire capote type bonnet, including the pretty braided plait that flares at the edge of the brim. (Yes, this in the shop)

Published in: on June 26, 2018 at 5:55 pm  Comments (1)