Friday, July 14, 2017

An Un-fancy Unlined Sacque

So, I made a sacque. This wasn't my first one. I made this purple sacque and petti outfit a long time ago. Five years ago, in fact (how is it that Anne is almost FIVE?!) but I never really liked it. It ended up being loved by another and I was glad it found a better home. But after five years I suddenly found myself wanting to make another sacque outfit, if it were doable to make one out of non-matching fabrics.

I had 4 yards of cotton striped in orangey-mustard and teal and four yards of orange and blue plaid cotton. After experiencing less than desirable weather at events so far this year I thought having a dark, plain, washable and durable outfit would be great. Something I could wear to work in, chase kids, cook, get dirty and not worry about ruining. Not having enough of either fabric for a dress the ideal solution was either a wrapper or a sacque and petticoat. I latched on to the idea of a sacque. 

It had been awhile since I researched these interesting little garments so I headed over to the Sewing Academy first and foremost and read all the threads about them. Then I tried to find as many photos of originals as I could. Then I asked about the possibility of a non-matching sacque and petticoat on the Civilian Civil War Closet FB group, because I still hadn't found an original example to go off of. A member mentioned genre paintings as sometimes depicting working class women in non matching sacques and petticoats. What a great resource! I was so glad she reminded me of that. I was super short on time to do a lot of indepth looking for paintings, but I did find a few that seemed to support the idea of non matching garments. The below images are all from the same artist, which probably accounts of the similarity of the womens garments. I couldn't find a date for some of these, but as the artist died in 1863 they are all before then and the general silhouette is mid-19th century.
1858 "The New Bonnet" by Francis Edmonds
from the Met
In this painting we see the young lady wear a basque bodice and a contrasting skirt. These are both fairly fashionable and made from nice materials, so that isn't what I'm looking for. But the older lady in the corner IS wearing what appears to be a green hip length bodice over a rust colored skirt or petticoat. She also has a large neckerchief, a cap and an apron so she is dressed for at home or for working activities. It's impossible to see the fit of the bodice from the painting but she does have narrow sleeves that are rolled up, another indication of a fairly unfashionable, made-for-work sort of garment. 
"Devotion" by Francis Edmonds
In this image the servant or enslaved woman is wearing a short skirted bodice over a contrasting petticoat. Like the old woman above, she is also wearing a neckerchief, an apron and has a kerchief on her head. 
"The Thirsty Drover" by Francis Edmonds
This working mama has the sleeves of her separate, contrasting bodice rolled up to reveal her short chemise sleeves and it appears her bodice is unfastened, also showing the chemise. She is wearing an apron and a bonnet of some kind. The length of her upper garment seems to be the same top-of-hip length as the women depicted above. 
"Dame in Kitchen" by Francis Edmonds
The girl in this picture is still young, judging by the length of her skirts that revel her stockings and boots. Her upper garment is very interesting to me as it almost appears to have a hood attached to the neckline. It is clearly loose in fit and is longer than the bodices worn in the above images. This may be a sacque, or it may be a jacket worn over a dress for warmth or as a protective garment. 

This cdv I found while browsing pinterest, so unfortunately do not know where to credit it. It does, however, show three versions of what may be a sacque and petticoat outfit. Two of the sacque-wearers are girls but one is wearing adult length skirts. I really liked the length of this sacque and how it opened at the lower center front to flare over the skirts. 
Pinterest Board

Here is a period illustration of a sacque, worn with a petticoat as a dressing gown, c. 1860, also from Pinterest.
Godey's 1859 Two Piece Working Dress
A practical example of a working dress with removable lower sleeves, separate bodice and skirts and a shorter length skirt for active wear.

With these images and the information I read floating in my mind I feverishly cut out a sacque of my own and sewed it up, all within a 24 hour period. To make this one I modified my basic bodice pattern, having thought it over and planned it out in my head the night before, instead of sleeping. My last sacque, the one I didn't really like, was also based on my basic bodice but flared out in both front and back, under the arms, to make an A shape. Totally period, but really NOT flattering. Which is the main reason I didn't like it.
Now, five years later, I don't really give a crap if its flattering or not. It's the 1860's. Seriously. Almost everything is unflattering. Like a recent FB body-positivity video said, your body is the same, no matter what you wear on it, so wear what you want! But, I did try a different style than last time, one based more on the fit of wrappers with a fitted or semi fitted back and a loose front that can be belted or drawn in with an apron. I think this was the right choice for me since I LOVE the finished garment!

I made it in my beloved stripey cotton and since I knew it would be hot, I made it unlined. All the seams are finished for sturdiness and washability and the front fastens with 7 tiny glass buttons (I had just 7!) I made a belt to "confine it round the waist", per the 1859 Godey's instructions, for times I want it to look fitted but I do love it just as much worn loose.

This was a wonderful, easy to wear, easy to move in outfit to wear this last weekend. I wore it over some underpetticoats and my regular corset/chemise/drawers and left off my hoop. It's just awesome. I want to wear it all the time. But then the neighbors would find me even more strange. So I will save it for events. But it's great. MAKE A SACQUE, PEOPLE!

And for fun, another fake wet plate picture I did in photoshop. I love, love, love how this one turned out!

Before Photoshop magical magicky stuff

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Heritage Village Civil War Weekend 2017

It's been a while since I posted here. Summer has been so full, so busy, but so pleasant so far. It is bittersweet for me since my kids are growing older and I know that these golden years will be the ones I look back on when they are grown. My oldest boys are around the 10 year mark. How fast the next 10 will go by! It takes my breath away and pulls on my heart a little. It's such a great thing to witness my babies growing into strong, independent and unique human beings full of so many different ideas and interests but it's a little sad to experience how fast this time goes by.

When I had my oldest son I was only 20 (ohmygosh that seems so incredibly young to me now) and really didn't think farther ahead than cuddling my newborn baby in my arms. But now I know that the role of a parent is so heavily based on learning to let go, and giving your kids the foundation to be compassionate, strong, happy adults; to survive and thrive. And it's so SO SO a 24/7 job. And it's exhausting and challenging (in good and bad ways! haha) and pulls every bit of you out and stretches you in a million directions. So, less time for both sewing and blogging. I kinda feel like I need to apologize but I know that everyone understands this! So here's some new pictures, anyway!

This past weekend we attended the Civil War weekend at Heritage Village. My oldest son is currently visiting his grandma so I had just five of the children with me. I wasn't sure at first if I would camp since the village is so close to our home but decided, what the heck, let's do this. And I'm so glad we did. It was the first overnight camp the two littlest remember and they were absolutely brilliant.
Judah, Saturday morning before the gates opened.
Confederate soldiers marching to drill on the lawn across the street from us.
We brought 2 A-frames. This one was for the girls and I.
I was pretty happy with how nice it was!
Sweet Rosie watching the soldiers drill.
Union troops across the street. That's our friend Scott in the background!
Union troops lined up for quinine call early Saturday morning. We had a really
great medical staff this year.
Rose and Anne at the train depot. We took a photo in this same spot last year!
Benjamin had so much fun playing in the trees behind camp.
Judah and Malachi had a tournament game scheduled for Saturday so I thought
I'd have to leave the event for a little while to take them. It was cancelled due to rain the day
before, though, but they still got to play baseball! The Cincinnati Red Stockings (post
war team) and the Cincinnati Buckeyes (pre war club team) had a more pleasant battle
on Saturday morning. One of my sons played for one team and one for the other. Truly brother against
brother. I cheered for both. ;) Definitely a highlight of the weekend!
Judah up at bat.
Medical camp detail. I was up late the night before the event making
labels for their "whiskey" (diluted tea). I copied these from an 1859
whiskey label from the Library of Congress. Still need to refine the design a bit but
it's close to the original, minus the flourishes and embellishments surrounding
the text that the original had. (It was midnight, I was tired, and felt like plain labels
would suffice for one event!)
Malachi sharing pretzels with Rose. She is passionate about food.
Anne taking time to stop and smell the flowers.

Doing some laundry Saturday afternoon. This was Rose's favorite activity, because it combines two of her
favorite things: cleaning and water!
Judah playing with a Jacobs ladder while visiting at the field hospital.
Federal troops on the road just beyond our camp.
Talking over war matters.
Confederate infantry during the Saturday battle.

Our brave boys in blue!
Scott, very much looking the part.
David, Shawn and Anthony, the core of our great medical staff. 
The field hospital and camp across the road from ours.

Saturday nap time!
Judah and Rose on Saturday evening, on the porch of the house behind camp.
My two last babies. I loved wearing this sacque and petti outfit on Saturday!
I will be posting about this outfit soon! 
Federal camp across the way.

She was delighted to discover my chap stick. It quickly became
Rose's chap stick, instead of Mommy's.
Flowers along the picket fence.
On the way to dinner.
Yes, it was 11 o'clock and  yes, they were still awake playing with their dollies.
Judah and I sat outside at the table til the babies were asleep. Malachi campaigned
it with the medical staff and slept under the stars with the guys. "It's quite fun, actually." He told me that night,
as he grabbed a blanket before heading out. He's definitely got passion for this.
Melting wax is fun. It really is.
Sleepy boy early Sunday morning.
She vowed she wasn't tired as she ate her favorite part of a hard
boiled egg, the yolk. 
Anne was up early to play with her new friends from our neighboring
Officers call early Sunday morning.
Mandy feeding the chickens. She let Benjamin help, which delighted his heart greatly.

Judah and Benjamin visit with the chickens.
They were very friendly.
This kid!
Rose preferred seeing the chickens from afar.

On our way to church.
Church. Rose played quietly with her doll for a little while before deciding she
greatly enjoyed the acoustics of the building and started screaming happily.

Rev. Powell delivers a sermon that was actually preached during the Civil War in Cincinnati.
Anthony later offered a prayer from the Soldier's Prayer Book.
He disappeared with his friend Ethan most of the day on Sunday. I came across him every once in a while!
Judah and Benjamin just before the battle.
Anne and her new friend, Harrison.
Confederate troops on Sunday.

Oblivious to the wounded and dead.

Anne and Ethan watching the battle. Ethan kept looking for his dad on the field.
Our boys!

Brent, looking weary with war.

Jefferson Davis, visiting with us a bit during the battle. He was
so kind to all of us, I felt bad I could not in good conscience call
him "Mr. President". 
Benjamin looking very delighted with the card Mr. Davis gave
to him.
Anne plays her friend Arden after the battle.
And Malachi! 
A huge thank you to all the volunteers and staff at Heritage Village for making this event happen. We can't wait til next year!