Girl’s Own Annual

You know you have an addiction (in my case Victorian fashions) when your boss knows all about it.  You can’t keep it hidden any more.  My boss showed Shirley and I a book that she had called Girl’s Own Annual.  It was a compilation of a years worth of weekly journals, intended for young girls, starting October 5, 1901.  In exchange for borrowing it, I have lent her my 1860s medical book (she being a nurse would surely appreciate it!)

Queen Victoria died January 22, 1901.  These journals were published just weeks after her death.  That makes this an Edwardian book but I still like it.  Here are some highlights.  The cover.  I think the woman is Princess Mary.  See here and here.SAM_1067

Note to the giftee from the gifter.


I think it says Ethel 1902. With Uncle’s love….signiture.  There was this lovely picture.


The caption reads…


Nice photos.


This one is pretty cool.  I didn’t read the article but I think it is a reference to King Edwards coronation.


And this is why I can’t use real silk…

I’m making good progress on my 1840 copper penny dress.  The skirt has been attached with lovely little cartridge pleats.  It is a painful process but they look so lovely! The hem was finished yesterday and I was 1/4 way through putting on the hooks and eyes when I dumped my coke on it!

And there is the culprit

And there is the culprit

If it had been silk, the dress-that I’ve never worn, that I need badly for mother’s day and that I’ve worked hours on would have been RUINED!  I don’t even want to think about how much money that would have been.  But my mystery fabric looks like it will look fine after a quick rinse under the tap.  I have to wait until it dries to finish the hooks and eyes, give it its final press and then try it on.

Planning ahead (dreaming ahead?)

I’ve been thinking about the Flora and Fauna challenge for Historical Sew Fortnightly.  It is challenge number 9 (and likely one I will not be able to pull off because of other deadlines fast approaching).  But if I could pull it off it will be this pattern.

Truly Victorian's 1870s Polonaise.

Truly Victorian’s 1873s Polonaise.

I’d like the fabric to be a floral but if I didn’t find one I liked, I’d go for a cotton material I do like so that it would fit the criteria.  I’ve been thinking about this “shape” of bodice ever since I got this cabinet card.SAM_0970

I really like the bow feature and would like to do something like that on the polonaise.  I also like this pattern because I could do the skirt part for the next challenge: literature.  The reference would be to Little House on the Prairie Series, the reading of which triggered my love of history. In 1873, Laura would have been still a young child and likely her mother was wearing pioneer type clothes for day wear but perhaps Ma had something like this for church.  Or the family saw it on town ladies or in ladies magazines.  Yup.  Definitely a loose match to the guidelines for the challenge.  I don’t mind the loose definition because the odds are good that I will be skipping these two challenges anyway as I can’t crank out an outfit a month and still hold a full-time job!

Hello Emily Binks

I have a cabinet card to share with you today.  Sorry about the flash glare.  I took the photo to late in the day and had to use a flash.  All that is missing from the photo is her hand.SAM_1062

The hair and the bustle say 1880s to me!  The skirt is SOOOOOO wonderful…it is alternating layers of fabric and matching lace!  There is this sparkly buckle like piece at the hip with a ribbon dangling from it.  I want this so bad I can taste it!  The bodice is plain…just a pin at the throat.  She is also wearing earrings.

At the bottom of the card there is a name.  Emily Soutwell Binks.  I googled her name and got this site.

The important bit is this:

On May 28, 1887 Robert Binks married Emily Southwell.  They were both “operatives” at the time of their marriage (perhaps they met on the job).  He was born in England as was Emily.  (Did they meet on the job and strike up a conversation because of the familiar accent?)  They got married in Franklin NH.

The last bit has convinced me that I have the right Emily.  When I googled her name, I did not google the photographers name (Welcome…isn’t that awesome!) or address, which happens to be Franklin NH.  I was thinking that the place, and years seem to jive.  Maybe this was her wedding photograph.  It is a wildly wonderful dress that would be a great wedding dress!

Another google search revealed that Emily and Robert (aka Bob) had at least 3 children. If you scroll down to “Date 09”  in the section for the month of February, you will see that Bob and Emily had a daughter on Feb 9, 1891.  That is 3 kids in 4 years.  Bob was still working as a mill operative.


One of CCM’s oldest dress

A few weekends ago, Shirley and I were helping out at the Canadian Costume Museum.  Shirley stumbled on a pre Victorian gem.  We didn’t have time to take it out of the box so I will show you a photo from the web site.  Half way down from the link, you will see the photos of the dress on a mannequin.          21_photogallery1_2196109541_52A030A

“Open Robe Gown with matching shoes, English, c.1780; silk and metallic thread brocade. Made in England of french fabric (c.1720) for Aleda Riddell Tucker, descendant of the first governor of Bermuda.”
Here is what we saw….the shoes.
Close up of the shoes.
The fichu….
…with the white on white embroidery.
Laying under that was the dress itself.
It is obviously blue with silver threads.
I thought the lace on the sleeves was divine!
I was also strangely pleased by the economy of using other fabrics in the parts that wouldn’t be seen.
Special thanks to Shirley for being my Vanna White!

A good day revives the soul!

I had a good day yesterday.  I did lots of lounging which is always good for a body.  I got some knitting done.  I got the skirt for my copper penny dress cut out and I got some laughs in while doing it!SAM_1059I don’t know how people get anything done living with a cat.  This guy is laying half on my lap top and half on me at this moment.  He is messing up my typing.   He goes back to his home tomorrow and I’m half relieved and half missing him already!  I will be relieved that the half of him that is laying on my keyboard is gone but I will miss the half that is keeping my tummy warm (it is snowing again here….Grrrr)

Anyway, I was able to run a couple of errands (get those off my to-do list) and then go out with a really good buddy.  We had our favorite soup at a local restaurant and then went to play bingo.  We ate icecream while we played…yum….  Then she won $100 and I won $123!  So we had to go out for a drink afterwards to celebrate.  I feel wonderfully relaxed!

Historical Sew Fortnightly:8 By the Sea

I had dreams…ok, ok delusions… that I was going to get an entire swim suit with accessories done for this challenge but I had to rethink that idea with so little time and so many dead lines looming!  I narrowed it down to one of the smaller details but also one of the more interesting ones.  I made the swimming slippers I will need for my Victorian swim suit.SAM_1055I should have made the laces longer.  I’m not sure how much luck I’m going to have keeping them there BELOW the widest part of my calf!  I may have to go out and buy more of the ribbon and do some sort of splicing job….

The Challenge: 8 By the sea

Fabric: Outer shell cotton twill. Lined with cotton/poly broad cloth

Pattern: Ageless Patterns Bathing Slipper

Year: 1877 (but I made it more 1890s by changing the ties

Notions: cork inner sole, gros grain ribbon, bias tape

How historically accurate is it? Close…90%…it’s that synthetic fiber thing again…

Hours to complete: @10

First worn: not yet

Total cost: The ribbon was the expensive thing. May be about $20

Time! Time! Never enough time!

I joined the Historical Sew Fortnightly challenge because I needed goals to push me out of a state of inertia I was in.  Right now though, I find a have too many goals and I’m feeling a bit swamped!  We are having a Victorian fashion show and tea for Mother’s Day at work and I have one dress for sure that I need to finish (it needs the skirt).  I’d also like to finish the bodice and hat for a second dress (but it is not mandatory).  That dress may get put on the back burner.  I was hoping to get an entire swim suit done for the Challenge but that wont happen.  I’ve reassessed and decided to just try to get the swim shoes done for the By the Sea Challenge.  One needs to make one’s goals manageable, after all.  I did get all the material for the entire swim suit today.SAM_1045

I went with traditional colors.  I didn’t go for wool, which is often found in museum pieces because it is just TO HOT here in the summer to wear wool!  I figure that swim suits worn in hot climates were possibly made of cotton, but they just didn’t survive to make it to a museum.  The bulk of the fabric is 100% cotton but some of the lining and trims needed to be blends because I couldn’t find pure cottons in the color I needed.  Hey, there were some synthetic fibers in the 1890s….may be not the exact ones I bought but they did have them.  I have basically one big chain store to choose from for fabric buying so I’m constrained by my own budget and what they have to offer.  Now lets see if I can get this thing done before the snow starts flying again!