Monday, July 15, 2013

Of Unfinished Projects and Summertime Goals

I was just thinking the other day, it has been a terribly long time since I posted anything 18th century! I've been so caught up in all things vintage, as well as attending fewer 18th century events, that many projects have slipped to the bottom of the "to do" pile. A new cap, linen mitts that I started last spring, and my purple and white cotton gown just to name a few. Not to mention the worsted mustard colored wool I bought when I visited Gettysburg in March for yet another gown. (I couldn't resist it!) I have so many things I want to work on but as I only went to a handful of events last summer, and have yet to go to one this summer (oh the horror!), I found myself lacking the motivation to finish, let alone start new, projects for this time period. But that is changing. There are a couple events coming up later this summer that are just the motivation I need.

Cotton check jacket, linen check apron, and linen petticoat all hand sewn. 2011 visit to Colonial Williamsburg.
I have recently learned that a reunion of sorts is being planned for those of us who took a shoemaking workshop with Brett Walker. I posted about the amazing location for the 2011 workshop here. Due to a busy work schedule at my day job, I'm not sure yet if I will be able to attend. So I'm making plans to spend at least one day with Mr. Walker while he is at Fort Ticonderoga this weekend. The fort is an easy day trip for me and I'm very much looking forward to going. I haven't worn any of my 18th century clothing since last fall! :O Those of you who are new to my blog may not know, but the mid 18th century has been a big focus of mine for a long time. It's only been the last few years that I've begun sewing more vintage and vintage style clothing.

One of the unfinished shoes. Made of blue worsted wool, lined in leather and bound with black silk tape.
The news of the Crispen reunion has got me thinking about my shoes again as well as my many unfinished projects. At least those that are 18th century related, lets not go overboard here. ;) I am one of the world's worst procrastinators. I also have a very bad habit of starting one project then moving on to an another without finishing the first. Just when I think the "to do" pile is getting smaller, something gets added to it. Bad, bad, me. :( But with this pair of shoes it's a little different I promise! This is a project I simply can not complete without the help and guidance of my instructor. Making shoes requires a whole different set of skills. There is some sewing of course, but I've had to learn a variety of new things too; making threads for sewing, working with leather and wood, sharping knives and other tools, etc. It's been a great experience and I can't wait to share more with you. Until then, a couple pictures to peak your interest. :)

Layers of leather are used to build up the instep. Tacks hold them in place while the glue dries. - Shoemaking workshop, summer 2011
Leather toe cap cut and smoothed. After the instep is dry the tacks are removed and it is cut back and smoothed out to match the measurements of my foot. A layer of whittaw is used to cover the dark leather and help protect the fabric of the uppers while on the last. The toe cap is covered as well. - Shoemaking workshop, summer 2011
The other events coming up that have renewed my historic sewing interests are Redcoats and Rebels at Old Sturbridge Village, and the Hive's Challenge Event. I've never been to the OSV event and I missed the challenge event last summer. There is also the possibility of a dressy event in October which is just what I need to get motivated and finally finish updating the trim on my green silk sacque.

So here are a few of my 18th sewing goals for the remainder of the summer.

Things to finish:
- 18th century linen mitts. I really have no excuse here, one is finished and has been for some time now, the other is about 1/2 done. If I bring these to an event I could have them totally done in an hour or two.
- Purple and white cotton gown. It's about 3/4 of the way finished. The skirts need a little work, hemming mainly and the gown needs robings and a piece at the back of the neck. It's soooo close..... My hope is to have this finished for the Challenge event.
- Finish the trim on my green silk sacque.
- Line my 1770s stays. I hate to admit this but I've been wearing my stays for about 3 years now and have yet to put the lining in them, so yeah....
- Create blog posts showing construction details on projects like my ivory silk gown and my gown based on "The Oyster Seller". I posted a little about them here but didn't go into construction details.
- And last but not least, my shoes.


  1. Good gracious! I'm really impressed with your goals AND your shoes. The purple and white gown is a particular favorite, too. I think I started reading your blog the day that you posted about buying the fabric! Don't feel bad about the stays... a lady of my acquaintance has been wearing her unbound, unlined stays for EIGHT years. You gotta do what you gotta do.

  2. I love your 2011 ensemble! It's taken me a while to see the beauty and fun in less aristocratic 18th century clothing, but I really love seeing how other people put together outfits and accessories!

  3. Thanks ladies!
    Annabelle, The jacket was made using JP Ryan's jacket pattern but I followed the sewing directions for the chinz jacket in "Costume Close-Up". What you can't see in the picture is that the jacket has A LOT of piecing, especially in the sleeves and cuffs. There was just barely enough fabric to make the jacket and what was left over were little scraps. Piecing is very period correct and as I made this as a working class jacket, I figure that makes it even better. I think more re-enactors should wear mustard yellow, it such a great color :)

  4. I totally understand the allure of the fabric I find in Gettysburg. A mustard-colored wool! That sounds lovely! I live only an hour away and find myself on frequent visits to Needle & Thread because I just have to see if that silk I saw last time will work for my bonnet or some other silly errand! haha!
    Are your shoes finished? I'd love to see how they turned out. Their color is lovely.


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