Saturday, August 29, 2015

French and Indian War Event at Crown Point

My living history hobby began in the 1860s but transitioned back to the 18th century. Then it suddenly jumped forward to the 1940s. Today I find myself attending more 20th century events but I always seem to find my way back to my favorite time period. I have a deep love for the mid 18th century for a number of reasons. I find the history fascinating, it's when America  as a country was really born after all. The clothing is intriguing and enjoyable to both wear and to create. But it was through 18th century living history that I met my husband Cori. We have both made so many life long friends through our crazy hobby.

Photos in this post photos courtesy of Kris Jarrett Photography and Media Production. Thanks Kris! (Kris is also the talented man who took out wedding photos which you can see here and here.)

And who doesn't love a man in a kilt? Cori's main impression for the French and Indian War period is a soldier of the 78th Frasier's Highlanders. This particular regiment, with an impressive record, was formed mostly of former Jacobites. They served with distinction at the Siege of Louisbourg in 1758 and again on the Plains of Abraham when the British finally captured Quebec in 1759.

This summer we had the chance to visit one of our favorite locations, Crown Point, for a French and Indian War event. It's right on the shore of Lake Champlain. We were only able to stay for the day but it's also one of our favorite places to camp. After visiting with friends we headed into the old fort for some photos.

Originally the site of the French built Fort St. Frederic, the area was taken over by the British who began building their own fortifications around 1759. The site served as a major base of operations for British forces for the remainder of the the French and Indian Wars. It was also the end point of the famous Crown Point Military Road, which was built through what is now Vermont. Crown Point was occupied by General John Burgoyne's army in 1777 after American forces evacuated Fort Ticonderoga to Mount Independence. The barracks are mostly in ruins today due to fire.

It's was very windy! You can see we needed to hold onto our hats!

I wore my favorite gown. I've posted a few times about this gown, here and here. I also wore my linen and yellow silk mitts.

 And a few silly ones. Because these describe us perfectly. :)

"I'm not touching you!"
Yup, this is us. :)

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Behind the Seams - 1920s Black Silk Robe de Style

As promised here the second, of what I hope to become many, Behind the Seams blog posts. This series of posts will examine in detail some of the vintage and antique items I have collected, or in some cases been gifted, over the years. My goal with these posts is to show you the nitty gritty details not often shown on other blogs or even museum website. How many times have you looked at an image of a vintage or antique garment and wondered "How did they make that?" "What does the back of the garment look like?" "What does the inside look like?" "How are the seams/hems etc. finished?"  I could go on!

One of the reasons I love "old stuff" is the attention to detail and the quality of the materials used. As a vintage sewing and historical costumer I know how difficult it can be to find just the right material for a project. Cost of course is a big road block. Many fabrics and trims, for example, that were common place 50, 100, or even 200 years ago are virtual unheard of now. Try finding calimanco at your local fabric store! Even the most simple garments were beautifully made because they were made to last too! Not something that can be said about most clothing sold today.

So here we go. Today's post is all about this black silk taffeta dress from the 1920s. The style is known as a "robe de style." I talked briefly about the robe de style in this post way back. Beautiful examples can be found in museums all over the world. (Ex. here, here and here.)

If you have not seen Katherine's stunning robe de style please do so! She also has a blog post here about making the small hoop to wear under the dress.

I've made two robe de style dresses using this pattern from the page Dress Making Research. The first is certainly nothing to brag about. It was an awfully poly thing made as a Halloween costume. It looks fine in pictures but I never really liked the look or feel of it. The second I helped make for a friend. We used cotton but did not include any kind of hoops or pockets. Those are something that can always be added.


Black Silk Taffete Robe de Style with Scallop Hem
The Details
Length shoulder to hem -
Across shoulders - and width between shoulder straps -
Under arm to under arm -
Under arm to drop waist -
Shoulder to drop waist -
Drop waist to hem -
Width at hem -
 10 Scallops at hem
7 rows of shirring at each hip
15 rows of cording, each cord is 1/8"
9 of snaps at side, and 2 at left shoulder

Simple design with nice details. It's made of silk taffeta and void of trim except cording and shirring. The cording appears to be cotton but it's very difficult to tell. No evidence of hoops or pockets but the dress most likely would have been worn with some kind of hoop underneath to give the skirt shape. The neck, arm holes, and scallop hem are all bound with strips of bias fabric. There is a single piece of piping at waist. The dress closes at the left side and shoulder with small metal snaps. Thread appears reddish brown in areas.

This dress does need a little repair work but nothing too major. 

Friday, August 14, 2015

Ready-Made Clothing - Future Plans Update

Earlier this spring I posted about my future sewing plans for Emily's Vintage Visions. There is still much to be done! I'm making progress, it's slow going, but progress none the less. I hope by this fall to have a small inventory of ready made items to list for sale on etsy. (Probably October or early November, stay tuned for updates!) I am continuing to work on my business plan while I work a some sample items using fabrics I already have in my stash. The second part of my clothing survey can be viewed here.

Looking at the results of my clothing first survey, (which is still available here) many of you want to see more separates like blouses and skirts that can be mixed and matched. I totally agree! So I will be starting with some 1930s and 1940s blouses first. Dresses are great, and I WILL be making some :), but having items that can be worn multiple ways just makes sense. Our mothers and grandmothers did that so why not us? Here is a peak at some of the patterns I plan to use. I've made several of these for myself, some like Du Barry 5172, Hollywood 1530, and Mail Order 2588 I've sewn more then once. I used Simplicity 1782 for my Spring for Cotton project.

Here are a few of my favorite and easy to sew dress patterns. I'm working on Advance 4199 in a lovely purple and white print for the shop now. You can see more of my patterns here.

McCall 3306 was my 2014 Sew for Victory Dress. I listed this one on Etsy.

See version of dress here

See Simplicity 1668 one made up here.

Good news for the larger size vintage loving ladies! With the help of some amazing friends I've been increasing my stash of vintage patterns with bust sizes 38 to 44! If anyone has vintage patterns they would like to sell or trade for please let me know.

This suit is divine!
Survey results
The results of my survey so far have been extremely helpful! Some of the feedback matches what I expected to see but some of it was pleasantly surprising too. 1940s clothing seems to be leading the way with the 1930s and 1950s in a close second. You should have been able to select more then one option for this first question but for some reason that didn't work. However, most people have been good about leaving a comment with their additional wished for decade(s). Over 90% of you who have taken the survey said you were looking for vintage style clothing to wear everyday or just for fun. Just under 50% said they wanted items for vintage inspired events or for dancing.

For colors, blue was by far the most popular with green not far behind. In the comment section of this question the most popular colors suggested were red, purples (including lilac and eggplant), yellow or gold and grey. The number of suggestions for grey surprised me but it makes sense as it's a color that can be paired with so many others.

It looks like prints are in high demand too.

Here is a look at some of the fabrics I plan to use or have already made sample garments from. If you follow me on Facebook you will know that the cherry print has been made into a 1940s pinafore. The eagle print is true 40s vintage, others are reproductions! I will try to get more of the Scottie dog print. I also have some of it in red.

I also posted some other possibilities for reproduction prints such as this one, or this one, or this one on Facebook. Thank you to everyone who has commented on which color(s) they like best. There are so many options out there! I know what colors and prints I like best but it's important that I offer things that you will like and buy. :)

Some of my fabrics in the stash.

Some purple and pink prints in the stash! I have some of the Scottie Dogs in red too.

There are literally TONS of places online to buy fabric and I have several brick and mortar options near by too. My local quilt shop has, no lie, a WALL of 1930s/40s reproduction cotton prints!! They are a little pricey but I have been able to find a few of the prints they offer for sale at other location for a bit less. Which is great because the less I have to spend on materials up front the more you will be able to save on my finished clothing! Hooray! However, I know I will need to take the time spent sewing each garment into consideration when figuring out a price. This is one of the areas where having a good business plan will really help.

Some of the comments on my survey about pricing that I've found very helpful are ...

  •  "I LOVE reproductions, but don't like to wear originals or things made with original fabric." 
  • "I realize that it can cost more than that to produce a garment, I'm just stating my realistic budget for spending money on a garment."
  • "It would really depend on the fabric and the details. $100 for a very plain cotton dress to over two hundred for wool or silk dress with special touches of buttons or trim."
  • "For a nice dress I can save and spend this range, but I am most likely to buy lower priced items that can be mixed/matched, like blouses or skirts in the 70-100 range."
  • "Would prefer less-costly historically similar textile & finishings to more-costly actually-historic textile/finishing." 
Other helpful comments included:
  • "Specifically with INTERESTING details like fun collars or sleeves!"
  • "It would be great to see prints based on actual vintage."
  • "Separates are always very nice - cute blouses and skirts."
  • "Trousers, suits, things that can be purchased and help build classic mix and match wardrobes."
And a few that made me smile!
  • "I would love a beautiful wool suit!"
  • "For church, and especially everyday, since my wardrobe is all made of vintage-inspired clothing."
  • "Red! I look excellent in red."
  • "Anything . So long as it catches my eye, the colours compliment each other and me and is a standout from the crowd sort of fabric"
In addition to  blouses and skirts I want to offer some light jackets. LOOK at this pattern I scored on the evil bay! Can't you envision a line of cute cotton print bolero jackets? Or lace? Oh the possibilities are endless!

Depending on how well things sell, I eventually want to expand my selection to offer play suits and outerwear. But that will be a ways down the road. I need to start small with just a few items at a time and see how well they sell. But it's so much to fun to think about all the possibilities. ;)

I would love to hear your thoughts! If you have not taken my survey please do. The second part is here! (Or at the upper right of my blog.) Also, please feel free to leave a comment on this post or feel free to send me an email at vintagevisions27(at)gmail(dot)com.
Thanks everyone!
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