Monday, April 27, 2009

Making a Civil War Dress ~ Part 2

My latest custom order civil war dress is finished and on its way to its new owner. Now for part 2 of Making a Civil War Dress.

Here is an up close shot of the fabric I promised. The little swirls are called paisleys. Paisley fabric was popular during the Civil War era.
This is the front, back, and side back of the bodice cut out and ready to be sewn. All bodices were lined during the civil war era so I have two layers of fabric for each piece. For civil war era dress the lining fabric and the fashion fabric where based together before sewing the pieces together. Today the lining fabric is sewn separate as well as the fashion fabric then they are sewn together. All the seams are show in the civil war era dress which made the dresses easy to alter whereas modern day dresses the seams would be in between the two layers of fabric and not accessible.

Here are the bodice pieces stitched together and ready to be connected. The front bodice which are the two pieces on the top have two darts on each side. It is often referred to as double darted.

Here is the bodice on my dress form all ready to have the sleeves added.
The final part of Making a Civil War Dress, I will show the finished dress as well as the detailing.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Making a Civil War Dress Part 1

I finally got my camera out while making a dress. The dress that I'm working on is a Custom Order Civil War Day Dress like the one I sell in my Etsy store Victorian Times. I plan to post the Making a Civil War Dress in three parts. So please make sure you come back to see the next two post.

I like to use a dress form. I can watch the dress take shape while I'm sewing. Although the lady who order the dress did not order any of my civil war undergarments I still like to put those on my dress form before I begin sewing. In the above picture you can see my corset and corded petticoat. My corded petticoat need a good starching to hold the cords out better. Women wore corded petticoats rather than hoops when they needed to work. The corded petticoat gives the dress a bell like shape without the bulkiness caused by the hoops. As reenactors, women where corded petticoats under their "Camp" Dress / Work dress. When cooking by the fire you need to be able to get close and a corded petticoat make that possible. When I'm sewing a Civil War Day dress I usually put my hoop on the dress form instead of the corded petticoat. Unfortunately, my hoop is still pack and I can't seem to find it! Hopefully, I be about to find it for the final picture of the dress.
In the picture above I have my petticoat over the corded petticoat. This will give the skirt more fullness. My petticoat can also fit over a four bone hoop.

Above is picture of the fabric I am using for the dress. It is a soft blue with a white paisley design. I'll post a close up picture in part two. In this picture I'm getting ready to cut out the panels for the skirt. I use four panels for a Day Dress, it gives the dress 180" in circumference.

Next, I sew the panels together and pleat the waist. The picture above is the skirt. I like to make the skirt first because I makes me feel as if the dress is mostly finished, even though I still have a lot of work to do. This skirt is wide enough to fit over a four, five, or six bone hoop! In part three I'll post a picture with the dress over a hoop. Part two will focus on the bodice and sleeves. Part three will be on the finishing of the dress.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Cameos and More

Today I would like to feature another Etsy Store as well as a Blog that I follow, and that is The Ebon Swan. At The Ebon Swan you can find beautiful cameos. Pictured below are examples of cameos currently listed in The Ebon Swan store. I love cameos. Probably because it was the jewelry my Grandmother gave to me as my inheritance. (I will be posting pictures of my Grandmothers cameos in a later post). Cameos are a nice accent to any living history impression.

If you are not up for Cameos, the Ebon Swan also sells beautiful earrings and other jewelry. I just love the earrings below!

Shards of Shadow Simple Black Glass Point Earrings

Feeling creative? You can pick up cameo and other jewelry supplies at the Swan's Nest, another The Ebon Swan store.

Carnelian and Cream Profile Cameos

Single Goldplate Decorated Locket with Bail

To find out more about The Ebon Swan as well as some wonderful information on Civil War reenacting you can read The Ebon Swan's blog In the Swan's Shadow. Pictures are owned by The Ebon Swan and where used with permission. To go to The Ebon Swan Etsy store just click on any of the above pictures.

Monday, April 13, 2009

I'm On Twitter!

I just got on Twitter. It looks like a great way to keep up with all my customers as well as blog friends. You can find me at .

Here are some more pictures of my new house.

This is a before shot of our dinning room.

We darkened the green and accented with brown. We will be decorating with a somewhat primitive theme so the colors suit better than what was their. We love antiques so they will find a welcome place in our home!

My husband added this T.V. cabinet. Our HDTV fits nicely inside. The doors slide in when opened. We have two civil war reproduction candle lanterns on each side of the plant. With the TV room in the basement we wanted to brighten it up with a dusty yellow color for the walls.

This is one of my favorite additions to the house. It was just a hole in the wall where the previous owners stripped out the fireplace when they moved. There was a lot of damage to the drywall that my husband repaired before putting our new fireplace in. I love to decorate with books. On top of the fireplace you will find some of my pre civil war (1830s) books on the left as well as a civil war Bible and CDV Album. Although the fire place is gas only I still like the looks of the brass log holder and fireplace tools.

Now you may begin to see why I've been so busy to post the last couple of months. I hope now that we have finished most of the work on our house that I can get back into a regular posting schedule. Thank you for all the kind comments and encouragement!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

A Look Back In Time

It is a lot of fun dressing up my little boys in their Civil War reenactment clothing. It is even more fun watching them play with all the civil war period (reproduction) items laying around. It really sets the mood when we are civil war camping. My oldest boy gets a lot of photos taken of him when we our out on the field. When we are not too busy we get a couple of shots of him as well. These are two of my favorite photos of him. The photo on the left I call "Collecting Water" and the photo on the Right I call "A Look Back In Time"

The outfits my son is wearing I made for him. The shirt on the left was copied from an original in my collection. The outfit he has on in the right picture is a miniature outfit that matches his dad's. That's Dad's hat on of course!

Children wore dresses or long gowns during the civil war until they were potty trained. And it was not unusual to see a four year old boy or even older in a gown! Boy, haven't times changed. Both of my baby boys looked more like boys in their clothing rather than babies when they were newborn! Their outfits where complete with baby baseball caps, and even soft sold tennis shoes. Yet when we start pulling out our reenactment gear my three year old waits in eager expectation for his turn to play dress up!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Back To Work

It's been so hard to get back into the work mode. But I do love to sew and create as well as make a little money that I've decided to offer custom order dresses for this month. I posted a listing in my Victorian Times Etsy store as well as on eBay. We will see if I have any takers. In the mean time I intend to unpack my sewing machine and make a few ready made dresses.

I'm keeping my eye open for some 100% cotton organdy. I'd love to make some sheer dresses this year. Below is a picture of an original CDV of a lady with a sheer dress on. I always wondered how the women survived the heat of the summer months in all their layers of clothing, but when I learned that some of the dresses were made with sheer fabric it made more since to me. I think I can bear the heat of summer with a sheer dress, seeing how I wore a flannel dress to an August reenactment event!! Boy was that hot!

The following pictures are a before and after shot of our library in our new house. It is amazing what a little paint can do.



I love having a library in our house. The built in book shelves where a very nice feature! When I post next, I show another before and after shot, as well as one of my newly inherited treasures. (The horse drawing on the wall in my library was drawn by my very talented sister in law who has an Etsy store called Pintogirl. She plans to stock her store with her artwork as well as western wear that she designs and creates.