The new old….

With me and WordPress being on two different timezones I don’t know if I missed a day or not.  Let us just say I’m 12s later with my post than I usually am. 

While I was dealing with life two new old things showed up.  (What I mean by that is reproductions or new to me.)  First, my new corset arrived!  Yeah, I haven’t tried it on yet but that is the plan in the next couple of hours.  (Please God…let the girls fit in there!)

I ordered this beauty from UK Corsets and it arrived!

 Only difference is mine has polka dots.  It will remain to be seen if I dare taking a photo of me in it.  Perhaps, once I have all the proper undies sewn I will.

And I got this link from Truly Victorian sharing info on their new pattern for an 1861 evening gown.  I like it but I don’t know if my middle-aged arms could pull the little puff sleeves off.  I may have to just enjoy seeing it on younger slimmer girls!

Well, there’s my better late than never post.  I’ll be back later for my regularly scheduled post.  I’m hoping I will have had a good practice run with my old new buttonholer.


Finished my 1850s mitts

My project for the weekend was a set of mitts. I used the pattern from Butterick.  See the link for information.

I chose view A which is a fingerless mitt.  I followed the pattern exactly except I shortened them.  I seemed the pattern would make mitts that go half way up the arm and I wanted them to stop just past the wrist.

My material was a find at the second-hand store I mentioned yesterday. 

Lace doily and spools of ribbon and lace.


It is definitely synthetic fibers but I liked the weight and thickness better than any natural fiber laces I had seen.  So the next step was to cut out the pieces with the shortening I mentioned before.

The palm part before cutting the thumb gussets.


The thumbs cut out.

So then I sewed the pieces together and hemmed the top edges.  The bottom edge I left because I liked the scallops and they were not likely to fray.  It went together very easily!


 It was “done” but it wasn’t exciting.  The length up the arm was fine so my decision to shorten the pattern was good but the length from the thumb to the fingers was too short.  And dare I say the whole thing was boring.

That's better!

A little lace and ribbon and it is much better.  Ignore the non authentic blue finger nails! 

There is a chance I wont get here tomorrow.  Life….Anyway, don’t abandon me, my small group of followers…I will be back Tuesday. 


I love garage sales, flea markets and thrift shops. (Yet another joy I learned from my Grandma.)  Today I stopped off at one of my favorites because I needed a winter hat.  I found the hat and two shirts and I also scored some good costuming loot!  I was careful to only pick up what I needed for my current project…my 1850s Victoria Day Tea Dress.

About 6 meters of this material. It is going to become my shawl.

I have no idea of fiber content but it looks and feels right!

Some shiny sheer stuff that may or may not go into a cap.

Ribbon and lace for possible cap.

I haven’t decided about the cap.  In my mind, I am going to tea at someone elses home.  That means I would be dressing for the carriage ride to the other home.  Shawl, reticule, parasol and bonnet.  Once I got to the home those things would get taken by the butler or the maid.  Now what is on my head?  Would I put on a cap?  Would I have the cap under the bonnet…that doesn’t seem right.  Would it just be my hair with some ribbons?  Would a woman in the 1850s go to a tea with a shawl, reticule, parasol and CAP and no bonnet?  Anyone out there know for sure?  I’m thinking the correct thing for that type of occasion is a bonnet with hair done up with ribbons underneath.

Anyway I do know I’d have some little mitts at least.

Okay, so I didn't stick to my "only what I need" plan...

 When I saw this I thought what an awesome petticoat or under skirt that will be!  There isn’t enough for an 1850’s skirt but it would be for an 1890-1910 sized skirt.  I just saw all that embroidery and I had to have it!

And finally, I kind of need this but kind of don’t…

A buttonholer from the 50s

It looks like it has all its parts and the instruction book and original box came with it.  The original price is on there too…$11.00.   I paid $3.00.   I’m hoping that it will fit on my 1950s Singer and that it works.  (Crossing fingers).  You know I seem to remember using one of these before.  I bet dear old granny had one…or may be mom did.

Tonight, the plan is to start my mitts and read my instruction manual so that tomorrow I can either post on my new buttonholer or that I finished my mitts.

Viking village…

The dreamstress had a guest writer a few days ago who wrote about Viking women’s clothing.  This got me thinking about Gimli and their Icelandic festival.  Gimli is a small city in Canada that has a high concentration of folks who are of Icelandic decent.  (That is one of the cool things about Canada.  We call ourselves Canadian but we encourage each other to maintain culture identities from our family origins.)

Here are some photos I took while there.

My husband and son in front of the Gimli Statue.

We know the horns on the helmet were not authentic….

Some of the re-enacters allowed guests to try on some gear.

 He tried on the chain mail too.  Heavy!

There was a mock battle that was triggered by the taking of captives.

 I must admit I like the fitted bodices of the 1800’s better than this era!

And the battle...


They also had some demonstrations of skills like leather working, cooking excreta on display too.  But, my kid liked the battles!

Used book sale finds.

Every summer, a local children’s’ hospital collects used books and puts them up for sale to raise funds.  I like to read and I can have a mini anxiety attack if I don’t have anything to read.  This has led to a bit of hoarding on my part.  I walked by the sale repeating my mantra, “You can’t buy any more books until you have read at least 90% of what you already have.”  I was in trouble when my non-reading husband decided to look for anything on hockey and hockey cards.  Crap.  What was a girl to do?  Stand on the edge looking into this sea of books?  No, I decided to “just look, not buy.”  That is like an alcoholic that says “I will just pour the drink and smell it.  I wont drink it.”  I walked out with all the sequels to a book I enjoyed…I didn’t even know there were sequels!  But the score of the century was three books on subjects related to Victorian dress.  Sigh!  And for only a dollar a piece!

The first book…

The cover photo caught my eye. Look at the sleeves of the lady on the right!

The author writes about going to a flea market (all ready I like this guy) and he finds boxes of glass photography negatives.  He develops the pictures and gets some real gems. The author does not just print the photos and publish them.  He does some detective work and finds out the photographers name, Alfred William Atkinson.  From there he gets the names of some of the subjects and even meets some of them (much older of course).  I’d love to show you some photos that I really love in this book but thanks to some copyright tips for bloggers from Trystan I’m going to forgo and avoid a potential law suit!

The second book was very sweet with photos of thousands of buttons.  It made me think about the days my brother and I would play with grandma’s button jar.  The book even had a couple of techniques I want to try some day.



This is actually a day planner.

 It is full of fashion plate type pictures and some interesting little tid bits about a Victorian Ladies day.  I would love to have a different one of these each year! 

Wow, Trystan’s blog post about copyrights have me worried about posting pictures of book covers.  I’m hoping that since I am not showing the content of the books and I am recommending them the authors will take it as free advertising.  Yikes this blogging stuff is harder than you might think. 


Baby, it’s cold outside!

Winter has set in with all its glory.  Brrrr!  I hate this time of year.  For the next 6-8 weeks I can look forward to freezing within minutes of stepping out of my home.

Typical winter scene….

For those of you who live in warmer climes I will explain something.  It is so cold that our cars come with built-in heaters that must be plugged into an electrical source if the car is not going to be running for a while.  My employer has provided plug-ins in the parking lot.  But this convenience only works if you remember to use it and only if you remember to unplug the car before you drive away thus avoiding ripping the cord to pieces.  I usually do each of the above dumb bum moves once per winter season.  Today was the forget to plug it in day.  After 8 hours of sitting in the cold my car refused to go when I was ready to go.  I can’t say that I blame her.  So my hubby had to come and jump-start my car.  I nearly froze to death sitting in his car waiting for him to finish rescuing me….

I have had enough of the cold and choose to think back to the golden days of summer.  Last summer I had what I refered to as a staycation.  I could not afford to go anywhere so I decided to be a tourist in my own home town.  My focus was mainly on our historical sites.  Sometimes I was able to convince one family member or another to go with me, sometimes not.  I’m past the age that I will forego something I enjoy if no one will go with me so sometimes I went alone.

One of the places I went was called Riel House.

Riel House

The original house of Mr. Riel.  His body laid in this house prior to his funeral.

A brief description of the man.

My tour guide talking about spinning and knitting wool.

I was quite obsessed with the clothing displays….

These little bits of undies were displayed on the bed…

Louis’ mother was aboriginal and she lived with Louis and his family so it was appropriate that there be some aboriginal items in the home.

A lovely beaded bag

And for the men…

woven sash

The sash was very popular amoung the French Voyagers in this area.

So what became of the man…Well, you can read about it in the last paragraph in the next picture.  It is a big fuzzy but I believe legible.

I think tomorrow I will post about some books I found at a used book sale….

I play with paper dolls

Well, not really.  I play a modern version of it though.  What I have started doing is “collecting” images from museums with on-line collections.  (I’m picking away at the Met because it is the biggest I’ve found but I will eventually get to the others.)  I save the photograph with the date and any relevant comments.  Then I group all the photographs by year and from there I play.  I would take a photograph of a dress I like….

1860-69 dress

 I love a purple dress.   Now I need to guess on the occasion it would have been worn…and sometimes the season and who would have worn it.  I’m thinking the colors are too vibrant for a single, young virgin so likely a married lady.  There is too much sleeve and neck for an evening number and the waist is too cinched for a morning or tea gown.  So my guess is an afternoon gown.  Now I imagine my “paper doll” would wear it out to make calls to her friends.  So what would she accessorize with….?

1860-69 parasol ivory and lace

 She would also need a hat…

1865 bonnet

 Now this sweet little bonnet is a nice complementary color to the dress but sometimes I can’t find the right color so I have to edit the photograph in my mind and imagine the right color.  Now for a shawl….  I’m picturing early spring so nothing to heavy.

The Met has this dated as 1800-1933. I'm guessing 1860-69 is closer.

 What about a reticule?

1865 coin purse

 Now isn’t that cute!  A painted sea shell!

1860 collar

 The above is the collar with matching cuffs (use your imagination for the cuffs) and a pin to hold the collar in place.

1868 Tiffany brooch

Now shoes….

1865-85 shoes

 I wish the dating was more specific but KACHING! aren’t these shoes awesome!  I have been known to go so far as to pick the ladies undies and bustle cages but I’ll spare you…you get the idea.  I feel like a kid again dressing my dolls!  Really, wasn’t putting the clothes on more fun than  imagining what they might say and do in them?  At least it was for me.