Friday, February 24, 2012

New Fabric. Happy Me.

I went to the thrift shop last week and found five yards of a lovely, heavy, creamy satin in a particular shade of seafoam green that I particularly love. And in a reckless mood of "I'm-going-to-do-what-I-want-and-no-one-can-say-me-nay" I looked through my 1920's/30's inspiration folder like a child stealthily slipping a hand into the cookie jar. And I decided the seafoam green satin would make a lovely nightdress, and this is the style it will be:
I don't think this is originally intended as a nightdress,  but the style will work just as well for nightwear as evening wear, and no one will laugh at the sight of a pregnant woman in a bias cut, slinky dress. The only one to be horrified will be my husband and he will just have to deal with it. 
Here is the fabric. I think it definitely wants to be a 1920's/30's-ish nightdress. Don't you?

And then I was thinking about Civil War reenacting this year. I decided I hate most of the dresses I already have and that I need a new wool dress. A wool dress is just such a practical thing to have. You can wear it almost anywhere. So I got this wool from

It arrived  yesterday and although the color is more gray-green-blue in real life than the bright green and blue it appeared to be on the computer screen, I still love it. And I love plaid. It will become a dress similar in style to this one from Time Travelers Antiques:
A pretty basic dress, but I love the sleeve style. 

Then I went to Jo Anns last weekend and their red tag fabric section was 50% off. In the middle of the piles of heavy home dec fabric, sleazy polyester knits and faux leather I found a bolt of this very springy cotton print.

I bought some to make a little girls dress, because my mother in law gave me this pattern last week and I think it is so adorable. In all liklihood this dress will become the subject of a giveaway post in the not-too-distant future. Having no little girls, size 2, of my own the horizon must be expanded and a little girl must be found who can fit this dress!

And no fabric for this project yet, but soon some must be found. For the boys, this 1950's shirt and trouser pattern will be just perfect for Easter, I think. I will have to size it up a bit for the older boys but that shouldn't be too difficult. I just love vintage patterns for little boys!


Friday, February 3, 2012

Refashioned Maternity Top

With February full upon us I must confess that I can foresee no interesting historic gowns in my near future. Oh there are plenty I want to make - a late 19-teens dress inspired by the film War Horse, a late 1830's style dress cut down from my blue 1860's dress, a new regency gown, my 18th century brown stripedy jacket (although I am despairing of getting that done before my bump gets too big). Stuff. But I have to focus on Blake's clothes for Shiloh 150 and so, no getting sidetracked!

But I did find time this afternoon to makeover one of David's shirts into a maternity top. I have a weakness for plaid button up shirts and this shirt was just too big for him. He is very tall and broad shouldered but he isn't really fat, so this 3XLT mans shirt was just sitting around, not getting used. Wow, there's a lotta fabric there. 

I recently came across the wonderful site diymaternity. It's an amazing resource. I wish I had known about this stuff when I was pregnant with my other three. I used their shirred tunic top tutorial to create this shirt and I am really pleased with how it came out! 

I pretty much followed the instructions given on the site, although I did change a few things. First, since the armholes on the shirt I was using were absolutely huge I narrowed the entire shirt, cut new armholes and then reattached the shortened, narrowed sleeves. I didn't have elastic thread to sew with so I used a flat piece of elastic instead and just stretched and sewed it to the area I was shirring. 

I also added a shirred area to the back of the shirt, since the back was totally unfitted and kind of unflattering.  

I also put in a triangular gore at each side seam from the hem to the underbust to give extra flare and room there. 

It is one of the most comfortable shirts I have and I think I will be able to get at least a few months out of this before I need to make a larger one. Yay for roomy shirts that don't look like tents!

There are lots and lots of other cute tutorials on the diymaternity site, as well as some super cute patterns. I think I will have lots to work on in odd afternoons here and there for the next few months!


Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Festival of Maidens ~ Feast and Dance

For your enlightenment, David looks far, far more happy here than he really was about having to don his "fake reenacting" clothes to go to the festival. Once he was there he did end up having a good time, though. 
The Festival of Maidens, held on campus at the University of Illinois, has been one I have wanted to attend for a while. Last year we were unfortunately unable to attend due to David's work schedule but this year the weekend of the festival happened to fall on a weekend had had off work. Since Christmas, this has been the event I have been looking forward to the most!
Me and Peter. We have been calling each other brother and sister for a while, but here we really *do* look uncannily alike. Which is weird since our parents look NOTHING alike!

The weekend was planned to be filled with tournaments, classes, talks and Saturday evening would culminate in a middle-eastern inspired feast and a dance. Of course, we did not arrive until almost 5 o clock in the evening on Saturday. It seems the more people you have to get ready to go somewhere and the more stops you have to make along the way, the later you will be. 
Here is Petey-Boy in his new doublet. His refusal of hose and his claim that the brown leather boots we found him have the "arch in a weird place" resulted in a semi-historic-inspired look. But, that is who he is. 

We had to: 1. Pick up Peter (David did this). 2. Get take out pizza for lunch (which David picked up on his way back from picking up Peter 3. Get pulled over by a police officer (unplanned, but fortunate no ticket was involved) 4. Get the two oldest packed and ready to go visit their grand-mama. 5. Pack everyone into the van and go 6. Stop at Grand-mama's to drop off children 7. Stop at the accountants to drop off our tax documents 8. Stop at Dollar General to get chap stick 9. Drive to our destination 10. Spend a half hour looking for a parking place and consequently walk several blocks to arrive at the hall. But, at last, we arrived. 
Peter and another gentleman from our barony converse in front of the hall

We made it just in time for court and were able to witness the engagement of a beautiful lady to a dashingly handsome gentleman. I didn't get any photos during court since I was focusing on holding Malachi in my lap and watching all that went on. It was a beautiful ceremony and in such a gorgeous room - this place is really a wonderfully mood-setting location for anything and everything medieval!
After court, by the stairs, with Malachi. And yes. It is a very lame picture of both of us but it is the only one I have of the inside of the hall.
After court we walked to the church where the feast and dance were to be held. It was likewise a very appropriate and beautiful setting. My dear friend Jackie met us there and we spent the remainder of the evening in the pleasant company of her and her lovely mother, Joanne.
Malachi and his beloved Aunt Jackie!
David and Peter
Peter, Jackie, and I. Best buds forever!
Peter in a contemplative mood.
The light fixture above our table
A hungry, tired child who was prejudiced against the prospect of a middle eastern dinner. (i.e. if it ain't chicken or beef, it ain't food)
Yogurt cheese and hummus - which were, by the way, extremely good - 
David spreads hummus on a piece of herbed flat bread

Malachi tentatively surveys the food on his plate.
Two of the lovely dancers who graced us with their performance 
We were also graced with several sung tales from this highly skilled and  inspiring gentleman. Photo courtesy of Jackie!
The musicians gear up for an evening of dance! It was such a blessing to have live, period style music! Photo courtesy of Jackie.
Malachi gave way to sleep half way through dinner. We folded up a woolen blanket and made him a small bed beneath a table and there he slept in peace and comfort for the remainder of the night. 
Dancers! Photo courtesy of Jackie
And more dancers! Photo courtesy of Jackie

And yet more dancers. This dance was not even comparable to the last one we went to (the ill fated Civil War dance after Thanksgiving). It was a marvelous time.