Can I use Grandma’s bonnet?

There has been progress on the Atessa dress.  In fact, just the hooks and eyes left to do now. I hope to have those on and pictures done so that I can do my HSF post tomorrow.

I really want to honor my grandmother by using the bonnet she made some 40 years ago with this dress.  The colors are perfect!img_20160908_095927506_hdr.jpg

(Ignore the way the crown of the bonnet poofs out…It is the wig Trudy is wearing.  Not at all authentic looking!)

The hundred dollar question is: Would this be remotely plausible? The dark print cotton could imply more of a work dress so a cotton bonnet or sun bonnet would work in terms of class and use.  But the bonnet was definitely of the “Little House on the Prairie” style, which I typically think of as more 1880’s. Did they use bonnets like this in the 1840’s.  I searched the Met and here is what I found….61-141-41_cp2

They did have cotton sun bonnets in the 1840s.  But this one is corded, mine is not.  This one has a long neck cover.  Mine does not. The shape of the brim is not quite right.0415

This hat is from Augusta Auctions. It is dated 1850-90.  That is a bit old for my dress but being middle aged, I can get away with more…”Just an old fashioned girl who likes dress styles that are a bit dated.” The brim is right but the neck drape is not.ci60-23-33_s

The drape is a bit shorter on this one but still too long.  And it shows that they used more than check patterns.  It is dated 1838.  Again, that middle aged thing works for me and the slight discrepancy in dates is okay.  The straw stuff is a bit odd isn’t it….

Just as I was beginning to despair that I could use this I found more that were closer matches. This one is 1838 and has the shorter drape.  It is also quilted and mine is not but that would be an easy fix. ci59-48-4

So what do you think? Close enough and I can just go with it? Not close but not any worse than some of my other choices and adaptations? Just wrong-use the left over fabric from the dress and make something more suited to the “Little House on the Prairie” hat…like 1880’s?


Green velvet

Pintrest is a wonderful thing.  This morning I discovered a new museum with a digital collection.  I found a pile of dreamy dresses there.  Here is the first that caught my

Velvet AND green.  I wonder if it is the deadly kind of green. (Most of you likely know that some of the old green dyes were actually toxic and it was absorbed through the skin.)  I bet this beauty would have  been warm!  search-b

A darker green and this would be the perfect Christmas gown!

Oh no she di’n’t!

Actually, “she” did make several silly mistakes! The sleeves were a little bit evil.  I took great care to keep all the pieces organized so that left stayed with left and right with right.  But, alas, I spent too much time keeping that straight and I made a dumb mistake that was only caught after I joined the inner and outer sleeves together.  It seems I put the piping on the wrong side for both sleeves.img_20160905_133936851.jpg

I discovered my error when I sewed the layers together and flipped them right way out…the piping was not visible…it was totally hidden inside the sleeve.

I took them apart and reattached the piping to the correct side and proceeded forward- making another big mistake.  Oh, the piping showed just fine but I couldn’t get the top lined up for basting together.img_20160905_132454141.jpg

That would be because the inner and outer layer were bending in opposite directions!  More stitch ripping.  My stitch ripper got a good work out!

Once I got past this nonsense I made good progress.img_20160905_143808762.jpg

The sleeves are attached.  The neck line has been piped and tacked down.  The bottom edge is piped and the boning is in.  Nothing left to do with the bodice except the closure and I wont do that until the skirt is attached.

During this process, I have learned that I still hate boning but I actually like piping.  (I went a bit crazy with the piping on this bodice!) Boning is a necessary evil.  I find it a time consuming bore.  I have avoided piping in past projects because I thought it would be a time consuming bore as well, and an unnecessary one at that.  But, this time I made a mile of the stuff before I started sewing and I found that having it there when it was time to put it in made me enjoy the process.  I didn’t feel like I was stopping progress to make it.  And I really like the effect of piping.  I wish pre-making boning would have the same effect.

1845 German Day dress

I have started my next dress.  I am using Truly Victorian’s 1845 German Day Dress pattern (TV454).  My usual routine is to name my dresses and since a nice German girl is about to join my family, I will name it after her-the Atessa dress. (I know that is not a common German name.)

This dress is being made from fabric I bought at the Dickens Festival I went to last December. There it is, in the bag in front of Shirley.39

The dress will be made from the same pattern as the one I used to make the dress I was wearing when I bought the fabric-only the gathered option.12310673_751583061612213_145770062943216842_n

I am pleased to say that it is coming together with far less hassle than the Spanish Dress did.  The bodice is together and the sleeves are started.

With any luck, I will have the sleeves assembled and in by the end of the day. (Please be sleeves and not sleevils.) This is doable because it is a stat holiday here in Canada (Happy Labor Day!) If I am REALLY productive, I will get the boning in and the neck line piped as well.

Then the plan is the get the skirt panels together and carriage pleated during the work week so I can attach it to the dress next weekend.  In my dream world, I also have it hemmed and the closers put in next weekend!

Turn the page: lady and gentlemen

Its been ages since I’ve done one of these.  For those you just popping by for a visit, a quick explanation.  Last year, the Hubby bought me a cabinet card album for our anniversary and I have been sharing the pages, one by one, with you good folks.  We are near the end of the book now, which typically, has carte de visites. IMG_20160724_183532849

I don’t have the energy to deal with all 8 of these in one sitting so we will focus on the left page.  The first is a bearded gentleman.IMG_20160724_184605

Full beard, not so full head of hair.  He is sporting a comb over.  Not the worse one I have seen!  There is some sort of cord around his neck.  I wonder what that is.  Anyone have any thoughts on that?

The back of the card has some writing that I think says J Little Photo Peterboro… Ont.


I’m taking a direct quote from this web site regarding the photographer:

James Little (1830-1910) and his wife Jane (nee Darling) (1840-1905) lived in Peterborough for about a dozen years, from 1874 to 1886. Little is one of the best-known Peterborough photographers because of his spectacular 1875 shots from the top of St. John’s Church and from the top of the Bradburn Opera building. He dominated the photographic exhibits at the Peterborough fairs in 1878, 1879 and 1880. James Little took over the photography shop that had been Robert Thompson’s, in the two-storey building on the east side of George just north of Simcoe Street. He was listed in the Ontario Gazeteer for 1885 as a photographer on George Street.

It appears that James Little and his wife returned to her family roots, and they farmed in Dummer Township.

And according to the above quote, the picture was taken between 1874 and 1886.

The next subject on the page is a woman.IMG_20160724_184706

I associate bangs with the 1880’s but the hair piled on top and trailing down the back seems more 1870’s.  Oval pictures were popular in the 70’s.  There is no further information on who this woman was or where she came from.

The third person is another male.IMG_20160724_184744There is print on the back of this one.IMG_20160724_184757 A quote from this site:

…the photographer John Palmer Clarke who was based at 7 Angel Hill & 31 Abbeygate St Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk. …He was in business in Bury St Edmunds from 1868 to 1903. He was an assistant to his father from 1868 until approximately  1891 . His father John W Clarke had retired to Felixstowe and he took over the family business.

Since the carte has the initials JP and not JW, I assume it was taken after JP took over the business in 1891 and before he left it in 1903.

The last gentleman on the page is this fellow.  And this is a tin type and not a carte de visite.IMG_20160724_184818

It is wonderfully clear.  This technique was popular in the 1860’s-70’s but was not unheard of into the 1900’s.  Perhaps someone with greater knowledge of men’s fashions can hazard a guess on the date for me.



Sugar bowl sweetness

I have shared with you my interest in a vintage dish set called Home Pastures by Alfred Meakin.

I also shared with you my success in finding and buying a creamer and my angst that I may not find the sugar bowl.

I recently did find the sugar bowl!  Lid intact!  I nearly jumped out of my seat with joy when I found it!  And the shipping was not out of this world!IMG_20160822_093341855

I don’t have enough dishes for a small dinner party but I can have a small tea party!IMG_20160822_093331108