Monday, December 28, 2015

1910s Skirt & Blouse

I finished my blouse before finishing my skirt, and it was so thrilling to finally be able to wear them together. The blouse pattern, as I believe I said in a previous post, I got from the lovely Wearing History, and the skirt pattern was an e-pattern I found on Etsy from The Fashion Archaeologist. For an e-pattern, it went together fairly well. I first started using e-patterns when I lived in Glasgow and I didn't want to pay for shipping, but in a way they can be more trouble than they're worth! Paper patterns are so nice. 

I used blouses seen in Downton Abbey and Testament of Youth as inspiration for my 1910s blouse. I had a little trouble with the sleeves - which are often tricky, but the blouse pattern went together quite well. 

Some of the inspiration stills I used.

Trying on my blouse with my corset.

The skirt and blouse together:

I first wore my ensemble on 1st of November.

I had so much trouble with the hem! If my sister Heather hadn't been there to help me, I wouldn't have been able to finish my skirt properly!

Playing badminton with my nieces. I like to tell people that anything is possible in a corset. 

The back of the skirt showing the hidden buttons. 
I had a lot of trouble deciding where to place my buttons, and used this as my inspiration.

Then I narrowed it down to one of these three. 

Covering the buttons in the same fabric as the skirt.

A couple of weeks later I decided where to put the decorative buttons!

The biggest challenge for me with this skirt was the fact that I had to flat-line the material, as the wool/ cotton blend was very thin. I had never done flat-lining before and was afraid that I would ruin the skirt. But luckily it worked out well. It took me much longer to make than I was expecting - as usual - but it went together pretty well and I have been so thrilled with it ever since, and wear it on several occasions. I need a few more blouses now to go with the skirt! 

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Cemetery Tour & Mount Vernon!

I'll write a quick note about the lovely cemetery tour we were able to take in Frederick, Maryland. It was not done for any spooky or scare factor, but as a sort-of history lesson. It was very fascinating and informative. This was the cemetery, as well, where Francis Scott Key was buried. 

I love the ship on this stone!

Shadows cast by the statues on the Francis Scott Key grave. 

There were some wild stories, and some touching ones from the Civil War, where a row of Confederate Soldiers is buried in the back of the cemetery. 

Our next big day out was Mount Vernon! It was so lovely, I was thrilled that we were going. It is a beautiful house, and the famous green room does not disappoint! The furnishings were very nice in all the rooms. The gardens, however, were even more thrilling, and made me wish that I didn't have whatever is opposite of a green thumb! 

A side-view of the house. 

They wer also doing a bit of archaeology while we were there. It was exciting to see the work they were doing - I really wanted to grab a trowel and jump right in. The soil layers were easily visible, and Sarah and I were speculating what they could mean - as it was a garden area, it could be a number of things! 

See that section and the soil layers? 

A friendly sheep - I think he wanted us to feed him! 

We helped him to some plants he couldn't quite reach.

After years of study & forensics they came up with an idea of how George Washington really looked. This is him as a young man. 

Washington at Valley Forge

Washington at his Inauguration 

Tuesday, December 15, 2015


It was exciting to be able to visit Gettysburg while I was staying with Sarah. A quick favourite story of mine: When I was living in Glasgow, my friend Laura and I went to a lecture on three women who had worked at collecting and distributing Gaelic song. One woman was from America - from Gettysburg, in fact. But the lecturer, being Scottish, pronounced it Gettys-burugh, as they would pronounce Edinburgh. It tickled me pink! So I always think of that now when anyone so much as mentions Gettysburg. 

Our first stop was a fabric store: Needle & Thread. Sarah had assured me that it was an incredible shop, but I was incredulous until I walked inside. Oh. My. Goodness!!! It truly is the most amazing fabric shop you could even hope to imagine. They had row upon row of reproduction cotton prints, as well as homespun, velvet ribbons (just go to your ubiquitous JoAnn's and try to find velvet ribbon!), historical patterns, gorgeous silks & a fine selection of wools as well (which is my new love). It truly is a place where one is spoiled for choice! I did buy some fine cotton to cover a bonnet I'd bought in an antique store (it was almost like silk it was so soft!) and I bought some remnant cotton print for another 1910s blouse. We tore ourselves away with great difficulty to visit a bit of the town as well.

It was *such* a bright day! This was our attempted selfie - trying not to blind ourselves. Sadly I'd forgotten my sunglasses in Utah!

No, I'm not trying to prevent that I can't see. Sun? What sun?

Little Round Top, of Gettysburg Battle fame.

The autumn colours were stunning!

I thought wearing my half-mourning dress was befitting to such a location.

Devil's Den. I know it was a scene of many deaths, but as a natural site it was stunningly beautiful, and I was sad that it had such bloody associations. 

It was fascinating to visit Gettysburg, which is such a large site dedicated to the memory of one battle. In Scotland, one of the controversies of archaeology is what sites should be preserved for posterity, and how much of that site as well. To see such a vast area in Gettysburg enshrined in this way was incredible.