The new cabinet cards are here! The new cabinet cards are here!

I went out the to mail today and glory be….some of the cards I have ordered are here!  So here is your first taste!

The bottom of the card says: Front Street Brock & Co Belleville

If you click on the photo you should see more detail.  This is an older woman…I would guess in her late 70s and her poor hands appear to be arthritic.  she is wearing a dress with pleats and bows along the bottom and an asymmetrical overskirt with a fringe.  The bodice is plain but has some ruffles on the cuff.  She is wearing a necklace and earrings.  The asymmetry of the skirt tells me this is likely from the 1880s.  I suspect she is wearing an older hair style that she wore when younger.

When I searched the photographer I found this site.  That had the follow to say about him:    Unproven: established in Belleville about 1882, moved to Brandon, Manitoba, about 1883. His next move took him to Vancouver around May 1886 where he ran J. A. Brock & Co. in partnership with H. T. Devine. Brock apparently returned to Brandon on August 17, 1886 where he ran his old studio until the late 1890s.

If this proves to be true then my photograph was taken in Belleville Ontario Canada in 1882-3.

Must have Tuesday a la 1885

Today’s dress, that I have been dying to try to make one day, is another Worth dress (surprise, surprise).

1885 Worth walking dress

When you enlarge the photo, you see that the “fuzzy bits on the bottom of the skirt are not actually fuzzy.  They are strips of cream fabric with little glass bangles running up one side and down the other.  These bangles also run along the edge of the sleeve and jacket opening and bottom edge.

1885 Worth walking dress side view and accessorized.

I love the asymmetrical sash on this!  To read up on this dress and see more photos of it, head on over to the Met site.

1880s Travel Outfit…bodice done.

I broke with my normal pattern (sewing the skirt first) and made the bodice.  I’m pleased with how it has come out.  Just wish I could try it on.  I’m still not attempting corsets after surgery.I chose to work with this Truly Victorian pattern.

A bustle, skirt and bodice from Truly Victorian.


I chose all cotton for the material as I imagine that travel, back in the day, was a messy affair and only the outrageously wealthy would risk fine silks.



I didn’t show the pleats at the back as they aren’t sitting right. I think they need thebustle and  skirt to sit on, and possibly another ironing.

View with accessories.

I made the hat for another costume that I had someone else make for me.  After I looked at that dress I decided that this Victorian costuming thing isn’t that hard and I could do it too.  Now I have no desire to wear that dress.  It is way more fun telling others that I made the dress myself!  I may dismantle the dress I had made for me and remake it into something that is all my own.

The bag was the one I had found when I was 16 and making my first dress.  I had a bag made from scraps left over from the dress and I had this one.  I can’t remember where I found it.

I had the bar pin in my stash…I think I found it at a garage sale and the “watch” is the faux watch I made for my 1850s dress.

This week I want to work on the bustle.



Kilts and pipes

200 years ago a group of Scotsmen sailed across the ocean blue and for some unknown reason plunked here…..

Photo of a photo…..

Every year for I don’t know how many years, the town of Selkirk (which is just north of Winnipeg) has a Highland Gathering.  I’m about 1/8th Scottish (that is my explanation for why I am one of the few that LOVES the bagpipes!) but I must fess up and say I have never been to this.  I decided to change that this year and I dragged Mr Victorian out.

The weather was touch and go but after 20 seconds of sunshine we decided to brave it. On the way to the park we saw this…

The Maritime Museum in Selkirk.

That was a surprise to me…I thought Maritime museums were in the….well….Maritimes.


How does that get started….

According to Wikipedia (ie take it with a grain of salt) it came from the need to toss logs across narrow chasms to cross them.

The next game we watched was the sheaf toss.

They toss the straw bag with a pitch fork. It obviously has farming roots.

As you can see from the clouds…the weather was getting nasty so we moved in doors.  That is where we saw the Border Collie trick show.  (Border Collies come from Scotland). So cute!

Dog on back


Dog on two feet.


Dog on one foot.

They did some frisbee stuff but it just went to fast to get a good photo of.

From there we moved to a Scottish beer for Mr Victorian and a glass of scotch whiskey and coke for me.  While enjoying our drinks they had the wind up of the pipe band contest.

I so want to learn to play the bag pipes!

Then off to supper.  After putting up with me and my pipes it is only fair to let the hubby have a restaurant that decorates in hockey memorabilia.

Ohhh ahhhh

How many of you are old enough to know what this is?

All in all, a nice day.


Victorian at Heart

Shirley and I are still talking about wanting to start a club of women who love to dress up in replicas of Victorian fashions.  We are still in the dreaming stage but we really would love to see it come to pass.  I am so jealous of the bloggers I read that talk about meeting with other costumers and how much fun they have together.  I have a blast with Shirley and our guests so I know it would be a case of the more the merrier.

We have decided to call it Victorian at Heart.  We have also been talking about having Victorian styled visitor cards with our contact information on it so we can hand it out if we meet any potential club members.  We have also talked about setting up a Facebook page for members so that we can share information and plans with members.  These two things seem fairly easy to do and shouldn’t cause too much cash out lay.

Then we talked about how we wanted our club to function.  It is one thing to have friends inviting friends.  There is an element of confidence that I have that Shirley will invite folks that will be a good mesh with us and vice versa.  When you start reaching out to strangers I feel the need to have some protective fences up.  (And so I start a blog and broad cast to the wild blue yonder…I admit it.  I’m a walking contradiction.)

Thus we debated rules.  We have decided the club will be for fun so non-authentic decisions like machine sewing dresses prior to the 1880s will be OK.  Synthetic fibers are OK but they must be believable fakes of the authentic fibers.  As I said to Shirley, John Deere print fabric would be out.  This decision is because of money mainly.  For myself, I can’t afford to be cranking out dozens of silk taffeta dress and I’m not likely to find many ultra low-priced bolts of the stuff in thrift shops.  It happened once.  I’m not counting on that being common!  But, we also decided that we wanted the dresses to be hand-made.  They did not have to be made by the wearer but they must not have come from a costume rental place or from the Halloween rack in a box store.  And if a members first dress sucks the big one…that is OK.  The more of us who gather together, the more information we give and receive.

We have decided that we will allow on-line publication of photographs but only of members who have signed a release and they must agree to not using real names.  This was our one and only touchy subject.  One would hope that folks not interested in having their photos on social media sites and blogs would choose not join the club.  Then again, I’m not interested in getting sued.

Then we decided that, at first, we would aim for a minimum of 4 costumed events per year and members must attend one per year to maintain their membership (reasonable exception to the rule apply).  Membership would be free.

Its fun/exciting to dream about starting a club.  I feel a bit like a kid again.  I wonder where it will be in 10 years.  A dusty idea that Shirley and I will laugh about or will there be 20 or more members who meet 4 or more times a year for fun and photos.  Will people be looking at my blog and saying “Gee I wish there was a club in my area that did this”?  Even better…I’d love it if I found out that someone followed Shirley and my steps and started their own club!

Dreams are wonderful things…..


Canadian Costume Museum, 1840s wedding dress.

Time for the next installment of  wedding dresses from the Canadian Costume Museum.  I have no idea if this post is going to be a whirl wind of stimulating facts or not.  I had an email from a woman about the Victorian club Shirley and I are interested in starting.  This poor woman asked two questions and I spent an hour and a half composing an essay in response.  Hope I didn’t scare her off.  And I hope I’m not all “writtinged out” before I even start this post!

So here is the dress….

The photo is a bit dark so I hope you can see it.

If you click on the photo you can see the nice little ruching detail on the arms and the elongated shape of the dots in the fabric.

I like!

Those dots really surprised me…they looked so modern.  I loved the waist detail!

Tiny gathering pleats at the waist….

Back view.The neat thing about this dress was how it was altered for use later on.  The waist band was altered to a expand for pregnancy and the front bodice seams were opened up for breast-feeding.

For the display, we draped an older shawl on it…We called it her something old.

Hours and hours of prep work and nothing to show for it.

Normally, on Wednesdays I like to show a cabinet card from my collection.  Unfortunately, I’ve come to the end of it.  I have been working on expanding the collection, though.  I’ve been on Ebay searching and bidding and have several that are paid for and on their way.  But, they are not here yet so I have nothing to show you.  In lieu of a cabinet card, I’d like to show you my sewing progress.

I’ve started on the bodice of my 1880s Travel Outfit.  Do you know how long it takes to cut out 46 pieces and to flat line 1/3 of those said pieces to another piece?  Hours!  It is a bit disconcerting to work on something that long and have it look like a pile of chopped up material!  Again, nothing to show for it.

Sooooo, I have nothing for you.  You will just have to wait until tomorrow and see if I have something to say for myself! I will leave you with just a random piece of crawfish…..

Pretty color. I’d like a dress that color….


Must have….well every dress Worth ever made.

I “must have” every dress Worth ever made (I wonder if the Canadian Costume Museum has one) but we will focus on 1870s and that divine color purple.


This little doll is from the Met.  I love the two different fabrics in matching color.  I even like the fringe though I know a lot of folks hate them.  There is a lovely ruffle on the train and bows on the elbows.  The neck line seems a little on the plunging side for my tastes and seems a bit edgy for an afternoon dress so I’m thinking something was intended to be tucked in there.

And, low, Wanda spoke and there was coverage….

Unfortunately, there are not to many colored views of this dress on the web site.  I wonder if there is some damage or stain to the back of it.

We loose the color in this photo but we do get the grandness of that train!


1895 Summer Ensemble is done!

I finished the blouse today and mostly I am pleased.  As a reminder, this was my inspiration picture.

I have no idea where I got this from. I hope I’m not infringing on anyones rights.


The fabric for the blouse is a bit too synthetic looking but it was the best weight and color for the outfit and it was in my price range so I don’t hate it.

I’m on the edge about the tassels. I tacked them on because I had them in my stash and the color matched. I’m mildly concerned that they may make people think of a dancer in a topless bar….

I found the pin when I was going through my box of souvenirs.  It was the one I used on my very first costume from my teen years.

I’m also a bit worried that the color of the blouse may not do much for me.  Oh well.  It is a costume after all.

Here is the back view.

And the full ensemble (minus the Japanese Parasol that is stashed in my basement right now.)

It will be awhile before I can try this outfit on…I couldn’t stand a corset at this point.   And the event it was planned for will be in late August/early September so basically it goes back on the back burner for now.  Tomorrow I’m starting on my 1880s travel outfit.