Monday, December 21, 2009

Ice Skating on Secession Day!

A friend and I went ice skating to celebrate the anniversary of the beginning of Secession Winter, the day on which the first state (South Carolina) seceded from
 the Union on December 20, 1860. Can you believe how two years has flown?! ;)

The ice was 'synthetic ice'- plastic- and the music was anything but Christmas-y (heavy metal... yeah...), but I think we made the most of it! 
The entire outfit was made by me, with the exception of the blouse, which is an extant from the late 1850s (I believe about 1859).  

Secession pin on my left shoulder was bought from Drum Barracks Civil War Museum in Wilmington, CA.

Sweetheart's Promenade!



OHMAHLAWD SNOW! Okay, so it was fake bubble snow, but still exciting for California!

Look! We wandered into a tiny forest! :P

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

1942 Dress

I got this at American Vintage downtown- love! It's from 1942. It reminds me of Eva Braun. (Who is my favourite historical figure ever. And coming from me, that's commitment, that is. ^_^ ) 

Thursday, August 27, 2009


My sled inspiration pictures for Civil War Winter...
Victorian postcard. WIN.

The basic idea, but bigger because there will be two of us.

But I'm wondering if I should make it a) with sides/railed sides:
My logic for this is that not only might it be easier to hang on, but we shall have very large frocks on- it might be a good idea to make something to confine those.

B) Will skis on the bottom of the sled impede it's movement? I have a feeling it might just sink if the snow is too deep! I have always used saucers, and wonder if something like this would work better:

Only thing is, I've only seen Victorian sleds like the one up top (the one in the postcard and these):

The last one is a detail of a Victorian/Edwardian sled (I believe 1901) and how they were decorated. I just realized that one has handles to hold on to on the sides which also attach the blades. :P

What do you think? Help!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

To Do List and Civil War Fun!

Fie... so much to do, so little time!

-1911 Huntington Tea Dress
-1860s Sage Organdie Sheer
- All my medievalness...
-Turkey Red Regency
-Stuff for Civil War Winter *is excited!*

I think I'll take a little break from medieval things for a while- the event is Sunday- Thursday, so I'll just get my underdress done. Then I have to finish the sheer dress for Central Event... I'm in a VERY 1860s mood right now, and I haven't enough money to buy all the linen and wool that I need for anything medieval. Now cotton? That I can do. Besides, I have something like 15 Civil War projects ready to go, fabric and all... yeah... I'm a Victorian hoarder like that ahaha... I'll buy fabric for projects then keep buying fabric for projects heh... Good news is, I can BE in an 1860s mood because come December, I have Civil War Winter! Yaaaay! *Dances!* So I'll have to prepare in advance for that. 

Civil War Winter is set winter of '62- '63 (we compact Christmas and New Years into four or five days ahaha) somewhere in the South. Myself and my best friend (in the whole wide world!) are making a tradition of it!

We shall go up to the mountains in 1860s clothing and have a jolly good time! Have a little mini early (or belated) Civil War Christmas, then the New Year, too! Complete with period presents, of course... ;) I'm having my father build us a period sled- it's going to be AMAZING! He has also agreed to learn some period songs on his guitar, bless him! They have a pond for ice skating, and if anyone has not ice skated in a hoop skirt (or at least a big skirt!), I highly recommend it! We shall listen to period music and have a charming rendition of the Virginia Reel and other dances in the sitting room. By day we shall take walks, cook deliciousities, have snowball fights, build Frosty the 1860s Snowman, and get into other mischief! By night, we shall sew by the fire, and when we can no longer see by the dying light of it, we shall retreat up to our quilt-covered beds and whisper as not to wake my parents before falling asleep to the sound of the stream outside... and then start all over again! Oh, it shall be wond'rous!

So! The list! (I shall finish it all this time, I swear!)

Skivvies (I already have all the fabric for all of these):

-New chemise. My current one is FROM the 1860s, and every time I wear it I get more afraid that it shall get damaged!

- Another muslin petticoat to go over my current one.

-Flannel petticoat

- New drawers. Same problem as with the chemise.

-Flannel nightgown. Last time I went up there I made the mistake of thinking I could use my Renaissance linen chemise as a nightgown. In winter. 
...You can't. :P 
I mean, the design is fine, but linen wasn't that common for garments then, and flannel is... fuzzyyyy.... :]


-Quilted hood. Same fabric as the lining of my cloak- silk, grey/blue/white plaid...

-Brown cotton paletote, lined with flannel, trimmed with brown velvet. Need to get fabric, etc.

-Grey wool cape. I'm lining it with silk, but I haven't the money to right now, so it'll have to be unlined for CWW. I do however have the trim I need for it. (Black velvet and black braid trim with tassles.) I have the fabric for this.

- My horrid pink dress. A dress that should take at most a month I have been working on for an entire year now and it will NOT get done. I was so close to finishing it the other day, and then none of the stores near me had navy velvet trim. I died a little inside... :(

-My green wrapper. Yay! I have all the stuff for this- green cotton (printed and solid) lined in flannel. Like this, but green: 

- "Travelling" Wool Dress. Light grey wool. Loads of soutache... all yet to be purchased. I can tell this dress is going to drive me nuts, but it'll be worth it (the soutache on mine will different to the one shown, and none on the skirt I think...)-

-THIS. I mean, I literally cannot morally look at this and not make it! It's adorable! I have wool for it... somewhere... :P
I'm making it in brown, blue, and white for the back, brown for the back. (The super cute ribbon will be brown.)

-Finish trimming the blue cotton dress with the black velvet... it has some on the bottom of the basque, you can kind of see. It's going to be square doubled around the neckline, and castle-topped on the sleeves. There's a seam in the middle of the sleeve I'm covering up with trim, too- a double row of thinner black velvet. I like having cotton dresses in the mountains for activity days- if anyone's ever been up to the mountains, you know you come in a ski jacket and leave in a tank top from running around! Plus, I am wearing 3+ layers underneath... 
Sorry about the distance! 

The sleeves will end up being like this- plate below to the left, the top middle- plate on the right, right. 
It's a lot, but I can do it! I vow to start early this time, and not procrastinate as I usually do- this shall be the best winter break EVER! :D

Also, as a random side note, I need a ticking petticoat, a 'dirty dress' cotton work dress, and a new pin-up apron for camp-type stuff... I'd also like something else wool for CWW... I have a plate fore a Godey's '63 ADORABLE jacket, or perhaps another dress...

Wish me luck!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Oh... Hey There!

Between frantically sewing and driving for the past few days I have had about five minutes for the computer, so sorry about that! 

Need to see if I can get the sage check organdy sheer done for the HBCP Civil War Event... which wouldn't be hard, since it's in a month, but between then and now, I also need to finish my Early 14th c. Underdress (old one's gotten too small), Early 14th c. Dress Tunic (also good for riding), Early 14th c. Surcoat, Early 14th c. Overgown, and an Early 14th c. woman's 'gardecorps'... It's somewhere between a cloak and a houppelande. From a tapestry from 1298 there's a man's version and a positively charming woman's version in a 1325 painting .  My era in Middle Ages reenacting is late 1200s- early 1300s (fashion references like art and tapestries I'm allowed to follow can really be from all of the 13th and 14th centuries because fashion did take a rather noticeable and fast turn around 1300, so the older, looser styles of the 13th c. or the more fitted newer styles of the 14th c. would all work, however if asked the date I stick to "The Year of Our Lord Thirteen Hundred and Nine!" :D ). And I need all those done by, uh, the 22nd. :P

Medieval stuff is pretty simple, even though I hand-sew it, but it's the hand sewn eyelets that take forever. Cross-lacing didn't come in until the mid-Victorian era, and so cross lacing only needs staggered eyelets, but they need to be closer together not to buckle than does cross lacing.

////// (but lacing it underneath like I/\/\/\/\/I )



...going up the designated part of the dress. The underdress needs to get done first- because corsets (called 'bodies' or 'stays' up until the early/mid-1800s) weren't in style during that period in time, women tailored their clothes to hold everything in. A (usually white) linen underdress was created for this purpose- it's not that normal outerwear would not have held, but underdresses often served as sleeves under outerwear with short wider sleeves, cover beneath shorter hems, cover skin beneath wide eyelets or open lacing, or a nice outline above a low or wide neckline. This woman, even though she has hers hiked up (*gasp!*), can be seen utilizing her underdress for all four of the aforementioned purposes- if you look closely you can see the spiral lacing going from her left to right (your right to left). 


-1860s Sheer, Sage Organdy 
-Early 14th c. Underdress, White Linen 
-Early 14th c. Dress Tunic, Dark and Light Green Linen 
-Early 14th c. Surcoat, Red Linen 
-Early 14th c. Overgown, Blue Linen 
-Early 14th c. Woman's Gardecorps, Brown Wool

Fie, this is gonna be expensive...! :P

By the way, an excellent example of a woman's style gardecorps can be seen in the series "Legend of the Seeker". I know, a fantasy show having accurate stuff! *Gasp!* Check it out- of course the neckline would be higher and the cowl beginning a tad closer to the neckline and made of wool and with different closures in the front or even lacing, but fundamentally this is really a very well made gardecorps! It's basically a poncho, cut your arms out, sew up the sides and leave the open sleeves to shelter you like a cape but still leave your arms open. The version on the show was left open at the sides, whereas originals would have been left open near the armscye but sewn together at least at the waist. This would be in the style of the 14th c., more fitted and belted (in the 1325 version with the popular double-wrap belt). 

A painting of an original. This is the man's version, and from the 13th c., and as such is a loose, unbelted sack garment. There are of course many variations of the garment, but the man on the right wears one such example.  

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Early 1920s Gatsby Garden Party Dress- Help!

Part of me knows what I want, and yet part of me SO doesn't! Even though I'm certainly not unacquainted with the era, and I do adore their fashion, I haven't seen any extant dresses or patterns that have really popped out at me. You know, the dress where you just see it and all your papers and your sketchbook and pencils drop from your desk and the world seems to narrow down to you and the dress and hey look you realize you're drooling and the only thought in your head is YOU ARE MINE!

That kind of dress. :D

It's early '20s, so preferably '20-'24-ish. I have this great hat I picked up in Montepulciano in Tuscany that I simply MUST wear with it, and since the hat has orangey/rusty coloured flowers on it, I'm thinking maybe a white sheer with a bit of rustish-themed floral to it... I just need links or pics to do with summer day dresses, don't worry about the colour or anything. 

Friday, July 17, 2009

Say Hello To My Little Friend!

Just shipped. PSYCHED! Made of wood and brass, rotary dial and original internal ringer box for that awesome vintage ring!  XD I shall be taking MANY pictures with this, from the 1910s to the '40s (even though it seems a wee bit early for the '40s, the Bailey's phone in 'It's A Wonderful Life (1946) was a candlestick. I was pleasantly surprised to notice this!)

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Vintage Shopping WIN.

The last one I really love- I think might be the best picture I've ever taken of me ahaha!  I REALLY wanna dress in period dress to the airport, but we'll see if I get my dress done in time...

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Evelyn is ridiculously excited!!!!!!

And even though she knows it's illegal to buy from the uh, Black Market that is sometimes called Marks and Spencer (to protect its identity, you understand) , she just HAD to get these!!!-

Even though they're nylon. And we here in Germany only have Perlon... Was auch immer. 

So yeah... as a side note I can't believe I actually saw them in a store outside of the internet! FOR 8 EURO! *Dies!* They come in stocking and tights form.  


Monday, June 29, 2009

Hoorah For Vintage Shopping!

'30s/'40s Shoes- 12 Euro

Pleated blouses in blue, red, and green. The blue reminds me of the DRK uniform. :D


...Aaand this is me failing miserably to get away from the camera before it flashed.... fail....



I call this my "Frauen SS" pic. I dunno it just gives me that vibe lol.


Ahaha I actually didn't mean to take this... I was taking a picture and mum walked in, so I'm looking at her heh! I don't really like this picture of me, but I thought it looked like an ID pic, so I put it up anyway... 

Sunday, June 28, 2009

And So It Begins...

My 1930s/1940s sewing marathon!

Going to Tuscany on Friday, and I'm theming it WWII. I must say, I've quite fallen in love with the lower hem lines of the '30s... <3

 It's mostly going to be skirts (blue, green, and red) and peasant blouses (white w/ blue embroidery), the main summer fashion of the '40s, and a one-piece and two-piece bathing suit, blue with white polka-dots and red gingham, respectively.  Also two dresses if I can fit 'em in.

I get to be Evelyn Tiedt (WWII-ness) for the week. Yay! A little bit about her... Born in Bremen in 1921, her family was brought from the poverty of the Depression in 1933 with the change of government. She moved to Aachen in 1939 to become a Helferin im das Deutsches Rotes Kreuz (nurse in the German Red Cross) when the war broke out when she was 18.  

So it's 1939 and thank God we're allied with Italy because DAMN that's a great vacationing spot... ;) 

Will update with pretty picsies regularly. :D

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Hand-Knotted Carpets, Killybegs, Co. Donegal

Wow. I just got back from being able to work on the largest loom in the world. (62 meters, about 186 feet, if I remember correctly) It was amazing! It's fascinating how much work by so many people can go into one carpet. There's probably a few dozen gals at the loom, and the process is fascinating as well! While I found the knotting quite easy, I think it would take me quite some time to attain the speed that those girls got to! The factory was closed in 1987 and re-opened in 1999. If anyone's ever in Killybegs, forget the fishing, this is a definite must-see! 

Friday, June 26, 2009

Wonderful Handwoven Donegal Wool and Tweed!

If anyone needs any handwoven wool or tweed or even a rug made of it, etc., go to Eddie Doherty! Based in Ardara, Co. Donegal, he's been doing it for years. A really great way to get it like they would've had it- hand woven, every inch of it! If you want full garments, you can get those as well- his wife sews what he weaves. Anything from caps to vests to capes (at right) to even nightgowns! Went to see him myself, and was thoroughly impressed! Also very personable man- told me to drop by again and he'd give me free lessons on his loom (which, I might add, is from 1908). Bought a lovely rug!  He gave me a fiver back for luck. :]

You can reach him at 


Welcome to my blog! 

Come join me in having a grand old time living in the past! It's a bit like reenacting, only full time. 

Here you can find tips on pretty much anything to do with history- reenacting, crafts from the past, historical sites and places, whatever. Most of it will be inhabited by updates on various historical sewing projects, reenactment events (and accounts thereof), random diary-ish stuff, "Getting-the-Look" Tutorials, probably a bit of poetry and literature and other stuff about anything historical and, well, me. That sounds selfish, yes, but hey, it's my blog. :]

So! A little about me. (As it pertains to history... which is pretty much everything...)

I love history! (Yeah, nice one, Captain Obvious.) I do have limits- nothing after 1963. Could never quite get over the culture shock heh. :P I'm married to the Middle Ages but am currently having a passionate affair with the rest of history.

My favourite historical person EVER (and that is like, a bigger commitment than marriage) is Eva Braun. Fascinating woman, and dear lord what ever would I do without her home videos?! Not just the footage but the CLOTHES... *drool*.  Albert Speer once said that she would disappoint historians. Well then, he can go die in a hole. :D 

I sew (all by hand unless the age dictates otherwise- i.e. 1940s things are more accurate when done on a machine, what with 'Make Do and Mend'). I'm also a relatively new practitioner of other fabric arts- spinning, weaving, natural dyeing, a wee bit of Donegal carpet knotting, knitting (to the extent where I can make a fair scarf ahaha!), and I can do pretty much anything around a farm (spend most my summers on 'em!), livestock or crops. I horseback ride, and practice really old sports- think archery and wielding other medieval weapons like the longsword. :D 

I speak a LOT of languages, ummm... all four ages of English (Old, Middle, Early Modern "Elizabethan", and obviously modern. They're all very different. Trust me. Or try learning them and you'll see what I mean!), a good bit of Welsh, Irish Gaelic, used to know more Russian than I do now, but I've lost a good bit... Spanish in school, teaching myself German... uh... yup. 

I listen to historical music, as well as German and Irish folk. In fact, the song playing right now is Night Song- "Who are you me pretty fair maid, to who are you me honey? Who are you me pretty fair maid, to who are you me honey? She answered me most modestly 'I am my mother's darlin'- agus tooraya, fadadiddleda, rightbefall da diddle derey-o!"

I reenact the Middle Ages, American Civil War, and am just getting started on WWII. I hope someday to also join reenacting with American Revolutionary War, War for Irish Independence, WWI, French Revolution, Crimean War, and I'm sure there are others I can't think of presently... :P  However, I can be seen on a daily basis in 1940s-ness. (it's easier to pull off day-to-day than is wearing a hoop skirt around town... not that I haven't already done that...) Whatever impression, I try to make it as accurate as possible. It's really no fun unless you do it right!

I'm a horrid one for playing Devil's Advocate, especially when it comes to history. (WWII Axis, ACW Confederate Reb, holla! ). I think it's important to look at all sides of the story- it's an insult to those who lived it to forget any part of history, good or bad. It would be just as terrible for the world to forget the atrocities of the Holocaust as it would be to forget that Hitler visited soldiers in hospital on his birthday every year. I don't think people are necessarily 'good' or 'bad'- I think there are just people and their actions. (Example- Eamon DeValera. Fights for freedom for his country: WIN. Orders friend's ultimate death: FAIL.) 

So that's all I can think of to say at present... see thee anon!