Summary Of 2016: Looking Forward To 2017

Happy new year! The beginning of a new year is traditionally started here with a reflection on the past year and its accomplishments. I am surprised every year by the sheer number of sewing projects I complete. This year, I was more surprised by forgetting that some of these projects happened in the last year. They seem so far away already! So, without further introduction…

Projects I completed in 2016:

January: Elusive Blue 1899 (HSF #1)
February: 1880s Steam Molded Corset
March: Mr. Panniers
March: 1890s Skating Ensemble
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March: re-trimmed 1924 Robe de Style
April: Silly Aprons
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April: 1895 Herringbone Skirt
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April: Regency Shoe Bows
May: Kensingtons!
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May: 1885 Night Sky Fancy Dress
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May: 1770s Robe a la Francaise, worn at Versailles!
July: 1919 Ivory Eyelet (HSF #7)
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July: 1925 Swimsuit
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August: c. 1920 Bathing Boots
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September: Bubble Dot Skirt
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September: Henrietta Maria
October: 1899 Trained Skirt
October: Sophie, from 1861 (HSF #8)
October: Eleanor, from 1862 (HSF #10)
November: Winter Wool Skirt
December: 1832 Burgundy Velvet (HSF #12)

Other things of note from 2016 include my amazing trip to an 18th century evening at the palace of Versailles in May, a conclusion to all of my Vernet Project posts in December, and followers of the blog hitting 200 people. (I’m pretty sure that happened in 2016, though since I didn’t mark it with a post it’s hard to tell exactly.)

I participated in my fourth year of the Historical Sew Fortnightly/Monthly, completing 6 out of 12 challenges. As is usual, my sewing output did not always correspond to challenges and with so many projects already I find it nearly impossible to add projects just to complete a challenge and for no other reason.

I attended 10 balls, 15 other events (teas, picnics, outings etc.), and 3 vintage dance performances, for a total of 28 events. A busy year, but in keeping with the last few years of activities.

Looking at last year’s ‘definitely do’ list, I’m pleased to report that I met all of my goals! I made that list much shorter than in the past in order to accomplish it. Of the 8 things on the ‘maybe’ list, I completed 3 of them. Not bad.

And looking forward… Things on the ‘definitely do’ list:

  • A super sparkly 1920s evening dress
  • A new Regency evening dress
  • Resizing at least one older Regency evening dress
  • Restyling a 1930s evening gown made a few years ago

Things on the ‘maybe’ list:

  • Finishing an 1814 pelisse and matching hat
  • A 1900s blouse
  • A restyled 1980s does 1950s evening dress
  • Updating a pair of Edwardian bloomers
  • A modern hardcover book print dress
  • A modern autumn plaid dress
  • A modern black watch dress
  • Finishing a purple/orange/red floral modern dress started last year

I’m not sure what else will strike my fancy! There are no giant projects planned right now, leaving me open to whims of fancy. Uh oh! That could be bad… You’ll have to keep reading in 2017 to find out!

Here’s to some past and future memories of beautiful places and warm sun, even though it’s winter. I hope my 2017 is full of blessings and happiness, as is yours.


Summary Of 2015: Looking Forward To 2016

It’s that time of year, when I look back at what I’ve accomplished in the past year and share what I’m thinking of for the next year. As usual, I rather forget all that I’ve accomplished until I stop to think about it. When I put together pictures for this post it’s always amazing to see how many awesome projects I completed and how many special events I was able to be a part of in absolutely stunning places.

To start, projects I completed in 2015:

January: One of my favorite ever outfits to wear, 1895 Skating Ensemble (HSF/M #1)
February: Polka Dot Ice Skate Soakers
February: Completed 1811 UFO (HSF/M #2)
March: Turban Fillet
March: Flower Basket Fancy Dress
May: Modern Dotty Tap Pants (and a pair of jeans turned into capris that I wore all the time this summer but didn’t get pictures of)
June: 1924 Robe de Style
June: 1880s Steam Molded Corset (HSF/M #6)
July: 1880s Flower Pot Hat (HSF/M #7)
July: 1930s Beach Pajamas and Halter
August: 1885 Frills and Furbelows Dress



September: 1910 Dowager Countess Evening Gown (HSF/M #10)
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November: A serious accomplishment, my 1814 Vernet Ensemble! (Don’t worry,I’ll be posting details about this ensemble in 2016!)
November: Green Regency shawl (HSF/M #12)

Also in 2015:

I participated in the Historical Sew Monthly 2015 and completed 6 of the 12 challenges. As usual, many of things I was sewing did not line up with the challenges. I wasn’t sure if I was going to participate in 2016, as I tend to sew the things that I have an immediate opportunity to wear or that bring me joy without intentionally matching them up to a challenge, but I’ve decided to attempt it and see how I do.

In terms of events, I participated in 25 in 2015: 6 balls, 11 other events (teas, picnics, outings etc.), and 8 vintage dance performances.

Sewing-wise, I completed many of the things on my 2014 “to make” list (many pictured above), including the 1895 skating ensemble, the 1811 elusive blue turban fillet, my 1814 Vernet fashion plate recreation, the 1910 dowager countess evening gown, the 1880s steam molded corset, the 1885 frills and furbelows day dress, and the 1924 robe de style. Plus, I also squeezed in some small things that weren’t on the list in 2014!

There were also things that didn’t get made, but those were all on the maybe list, so I don’t feel at all bad about not getting to them, especially when looking at all the other fabulous things I did get to making!

Looking forward, I’ve been thinking of my 2016 sewing plan for months… and already have a full sewing schedule to keep me busy through May! Beyond that, it’s a little hard to know what items will take priority without knowing what events might pop up on my calendar. Also, it’s nice to keep things a little flexible so that I can adjust my sewing level as needed throughout the year. But I can say that these projects are certain:

  • An 1899 evening gown with two skirts: one for dancing and one with a  train
  • An 1880s “Starry Night” or “Starlight” fancy dress evening gown (I haven’t decided on a name yet)
  • A 1780s robe a la francaise (with panniers and accessories)

These other things are on the maybe-sew list for 2016:

  • A modern dress made of black patterned rayon
  • An 1850s plaid ball gown and a new smaller set of hoops
  • A pair of modern black capris
  • Finishing a modern cotton dress I started in 2013
  • Finishing an 1814 pelisse and matching hat
  • A 1900s blouse
  • An 1890s daytime skirt
  • An 1830s evening gown
One thing in 2016 that will be incredibly special and exciting is that I’m going to make a garment from the fabric I set aside for the 18th Century Court Gown Sew Along in 2014. (It’s the pink silk in the middle… I love the colors in this picture!)

Last year, I was sad I hadn’t worked on the project very much and was hesitant to let it go… But in May, I will be attending an event at Versailles. Yup, that Versailles. In France. Yikes! And of course I need clothes! (And hair! And shoes! There will be blog posts about getting things together! It will be great to have a reason to decorate and wear the Kensingtons I’ve had since 2012, but which have never been worn!)

This event is perfect inspiration to complete my court gown… except that if I ever have need of another lovely 18th century gown for an event in the US, it would be much more practical to have a robe a la francaise in my closet instead of a court gown… Luckily for me, by the 1770s a robe a la francaise was allowed in the French court except at the most formal occasions (check out Leimomi’s post about court gown history to learn more). I’ll be making wide panniers instead of modest pocket hoops, because it is Versailles, after all, but I’m feeling better about my decision to spend all the time and materials making something that might actually be worn again. So, I’ll sort of be completing the Court Gown Sew Along. The gown will certainly count in my books, and that’s what counts, right?

Blessings to you in 2016. I’m looking forward to more fun, more historical clothing, and more adventures!

Honeymoon Pictures, Part II

Being in London, I was relatively so close to the Warner Bros. Studio Tour Harry Potter experience that it was very important to me that I made it for a visit! With some finagling, I managed to do it, and it was silly and fun and really quite amazing! Mr. Q and I actually split up for this day’s activities, because going was rather expensive and while he’s seen the movies once he doesn’t remember much about HP (sad, I know!). He had his own fun, though, that I wouldn’t have been interested in, so it worked out well. I took hundreds of pictures and had to comb through them to find the ones that made it to the blog.

I did the HP tour bus thing to get there. Easy and pretty darn eye catching.
In the line to enter… it’s the cupboard under the stairs!
After a short movie introducing things, there’s a spectacular event where the last image is the door to the great hall, then the screen rises… and the actual door to the great hall is waiting for you! These are the awesome knights outside the great hall.

I believe that part of my reason for liking HP so much is that there is such an immense amount of detail in the creation of the world in both the books and the movies. I love being able to step into such a well-developed reality.

Inside the great hall. I couldn’t get a good shot of the whole thing (too big!), so you just get part of it.
This is so neat. You walk out of the great hall and into the general warehouse space and get to see the back sides of the set pieces. These are the supports of the great hall!
Hogwarts gate.

There was a special interest area devoted to the costumes and hair in the show, which of course was right in line with my interests. There was also an employee talking about the wigs and hair and answering questions, which was really interesting and informative. Even some of the every day hairstyles were wigs, so that the actors would always look the same for certain scenes, even if re-filming was necessary and they had cut their hair, etc.

This display had a Beauxbatons dress right next to the pattern for it on a dummy!
And a bit of distressing. Multiples of garments that are distressed is standard for film and it’s interesting to see multiple stages side by side.

There were also costumes on mannequins scattered throughout the tour, but I can’t show them all! Again, there is so much detail in the costumes. Such amazing fabrics, and construction, and details…

Wands obviously play a huge part in HP. This was a creative way to display lots of them. There is such attention to detail and character!
What do you see in the Mirror of Erised? I see me, at the HP studio!
Part of the Gryffindor common room. There is a painting of Minerva McGonagall in her younger days on the wall that I never noticed in the films. I rather like her outfit!
Part of the potions classroom.
The Weasley house–there were interactive objects that would “magically” move when the controls were activated. In this case, I’m causing the knife on the table to chop the carrots.
The iron also “magically” ironed the dress on the ironing board.
Magic is Might. Or not.
Platform 9 3/4!
See? There are about four of these in a line along a wall so the line doesn’t get too long for people who want to take pictures.
Yes, that’s me with the Hogwarts Express!
Just one of many cases full of the printed material from the films. I bet creating all the books and papers and letters and labels and everything was a fun job at times!
On the backlot–the triple decker Knight Bus. Turns out they stuck multiple buses together to create it. And they actually arranged to shut down very specific streets in London to film it. Why specific? Because it’s too tall to fit under bridges!
Next to the Knight Bus is Number 4, Privet Drive.
Or at least, the front of it! Right next to…
Bathilda Bagshot’s house.
The life size chess pieces are also in the back lot. They are really neat!
Then there’s a look into the creature studio.
And there’s Diagon Alley! So much detail, so many HP scenes… Gringotts was always in shadow, so no good pictures of that.









Then there is a whole area devoted to the designing and drafting of all of the elements in the films. It’s amazing to think that every little thing had to be designed down to the smallest detail!



And there’s also concept art…



And models of different sets. These have such detail in them, but were relatively small–this one is maybe four feet across?


There are paper owls in the Owlery nooks!
Then there is a model that tops it all…

It has it’s own room, with a ramp that circles around and slowly descends, so you can see the castle from every angle. This is what they used to shoot some of the outside scenes of the castle.




With people, for scale.
I firmly believe that those behind the scenes deserve credit, too, whether they make it into the credits or not.


Finally, you end up in the HP store. Mostly overpriced, in my opinion, and I really didn’t need stuff to take home with me. If I was going to be tempted by anything though, these were them.

Stuffed Hedwigs!
And stuffed Pygmy Puffs!

And there were so many other really awesome things I didn’t include pictures of! If you like HP and you’re in London, I highly suggest visiting. Of course, if you don’t like HP, I wouldn’t spend the money, because while you can still enjoy the attention to detail, if you don’t know what all the things are it wouldn’t be nearly as entertaining and fantastic.

Anyway, here’s the last picture–from the green screen broomstick experience!


Our Honeymoon Pictures, Part I

Back to wedding related things for a few quick posts, here are a a select number of pictures from our honeymoon! We went to Edinburgh, Conwy (Wales), and London and had a glorious time. There are so many things to see and do that we couldn’t take it all in. By the end we had been museum-ed out and were ready to go home, which was a nice feeling actually, because we weren’t lamenting the fact that we had to return to real life.

The hair flowers from the wedding day (photos here) traveled around with us and lasted a week into our honeymoon! Here they are on the plane on wedding day with super adorable salt and pepper shakers.
The weather in Scotland mostly looked like this.
Here’s some clouds over the castle, with the stands for the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo off to the right.

One of the highlights of our entire trip was getting day-of tickets to the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo. This amazing annual performance of military bands, music, and dancing from around the world brings together thousands of people and is televised in more than 40 countries! It was suggested to us by our local host and was downright jaw dropping! The performances take place literally outside the gate to the historic castle and involve, amongst other amazing performances, hundreds of bagpipes and bagpipers wearing so much tartan!

I couldn’t even get close to getting all the performers in one picture!
We took most of a day to walk/hike up Arthur’s Seat, an extinct volcano, right in Edinburgh. The orange speck on the rocks is Mr. Q.
After Edinburgh, we headed to northern Wales for a long weekend for some in-between-cities time. This is Conwy, the town we stayed in, with a castle from the end of the13th century.
We stayed at a bed and breakfast that backed right up to the town walls.


Conwy was lovely and small. We could walk across the town in about ten minutes, had a variety of really neat historic house and castle museums to visit without being overwhelmed, and even got to hang out on the wharf for a local Saturday festival with live music. And Wales was nice and green, reminding me very much of the Pacific Northwest, where I grew up. I highly recommend it!

Modern roads don’t quite fit under 13th century castle walls…
Also, Wales (well, and the UK in general) is full of sheep! We took the train between each destination and got to spend lots of time looking out the windows and exclaiming at the sheep! Plus, I got my tartan wool picnic blanket and scarf. Sheep!

It only took about a day and a half to see everything inside the town walls of Conwy, so we took a day for a little trip not far outside town to Bodnant Garden. It’s an amazing garden that’s been tended for over 150 years with plants from around the globe. There are all sorts of different types of gardens and forest areas to explore and it was easy to spend hours roaming around.


Look, it’s me!
Looking at a very tall, old tree!
It wouldn’t fit in the picture!
Similar trees, for scale.
Mr. Q, looking short next to other tall trees.
This was the closet we got to… sheep!
Formal garden within Bodnant Garden.

Our final stop was London, where we went to shows, got thoroughly drenched in rainstorms almost every day, went to many museums and sights (The British Museum, The Victoria and Albert, The National Gallery, Portobello Road, The Tower of London, Westminster Abbey, and St. Paul’s, to name a few), visited famous stores (Liberty of London and Fortnum and Mason, for example), and generally stayed super busy. We also discovered a super yummy vegetarian restaurant called Tibits in a lovely, quiet little alcove off of Regent Street, which was perfect for hanging out as the sun set and people watching while eating really amazing food. So amazing, in fact, that Mr. Q bought me their cookbook for a birthday present (with a hint from me, of course)! I haven’t had a chance to make anything from it yet, but I look forward to having the time!

The view from the top observation area at St. Paul’s.
The sun did come out at the very end of our stay and it was such a change from grey!

And I took a day while we were in London to have a special day trip that I haven’t mentioned yet… A Harry Potter day! I’ve got enough pictures to do a whole post just for that, though, so watch out. I’m really looking forward to some hang-around vacations vs. the go-do-everything style of our honeymoon, though I don’t regret getting to visit so many amazing things and places! It was quite a memorable trip.

Wedding Pictures!

I did my best to narrow down our wedding pictures to the best of the ones that most share the spirit of the day and the special details I spent countless hours working on. As it is, this is still going to be a long, picture-heavy post! (All but one of these photos was taken by our professional photographer. Please do not share these photos without a link back to the source.)

Photography: Kristen G., at Kristen Taylor and Co. Photography

Venue and Catering: Meadow Brook Hall

Hair and Makeup: Andrew Marke Salon

Flowers: Bellisario Florist

Cake: Sweet Dreams Bakery

Let me start by saying that I wanted an elegant wedding with a cozy feeling. I’m a unique person and I wanted our wedding day to be a mix of the traditional details I care about (and not those I don’t care about) and special unique details that express our personalities. I was also surprisingly pragmatic about what details were worth spending money on and how to achieve what I wanted without breaking the bank.

(No, I didn’t make my dress. I bought it on a super sale for just $99, which is pretty spectacular considering I only wore it for about 5 hours. It was rather an adventure to find my size and involved calling all over the country–my dress wound up being shipped to be from Utah, but it fit perfectly, with only a small hem and a slight alteration to the halter closure being necessary. Yay! A good curly haired friend was able to mark the alterations for me and then I did them myself. It was definitely a blessing to find a dress I liked that came under my hopeful $100 dress budget. A bride could so easily spend so much more! After the wedding it was whisked away to get cleaned and go to some other new home by one of my aunts, who I’m sure will make sure that some other bride is able to reuse it. Yes, I was surprised at myself for not feeling particularly attached to my dress, but the dress isn’t the important part to hold on to.)

Meadow Brook Hall, an elegant estate built by the Dodge family with an interesting history. The car connection reminds me of one of my grandfathers, who worked for Ford. (Yes, the car Dodges and the Ford car company. This is Michigan after all.)
Details: small tissue paper pomanders in wedding colors, purchased on Etsy but fluffed by me and various members of my family (great hang out time!) and African fabric made by women to support themselves, bought from Fabric of Life in my hometown.


Details: puzzles and games are a tradition in my family and after a visit to Hiroshima in fifth grade I spent a lot of time making origami paper cranes–I haven’t finished making 1,000, but my parents have still held onto the ones I did make as well as the paper, and the origami paper we provided for our “guest book” was part of that stash.

Our guests count was about 35 people from around the country and the world. We were blessed to have most of them join us the weekend before the wedding to hang out and get to know each other, which was a blast, but terribly exhausting! It made for a wonderful feel, though, for the guests to know each other ahead of the wedding day.


We were married on a Monday, at a morning ceremony followed immediately by a brunch reception. It was an early morning, with hair and makeup appointments starting at 6:30am after a long weekend without quite enough sleep each night, but after getting some breakfast I felt ready to take on the day.

Luckily, it was sunny and beautiful with no clouds as far as I can remember. In fact, it was hot! We were all sweating during the ceremony and trying not to fidget as the sweat rolled down… we got the occasional breeze, which was lovely, but it was nice to get inside and sit down for some brunch!




Proud parents of the bride. Yay, we all made it! They’ve been married for forty years–talk about inspiring role models!

The brunch reception was followed by a surprise tour of the venue, so that guests (and I plus the wedding party!) could learn about and appreciate the history of the venue. I picked it not only for its beauty, but also because of my love of history and beautiful historic places, and it was important for me to share that with the guests.



After some cake and toasts, it was time for us to make a grand exit to the airport to catch our honeymoon flight (amusingly, we took a car service to the airport, had some time before our plane left, and as we were nearing boarding were greeted by guests we had just left behind at the venue who were also arriving at the airport to catch flights, including my maid of honor!).

Simple, with flowers to match our bouquets.


If you’ve been reading the blog for awhile, you might remember that Mr. Q and I were competitive ballroom dance partners for about eight years, so instead of walking to the car we danced our way down the path! At the end of the path our guests waited with small bottles of bubbles to send us on our way.




Dancing together for years means we almost always walk in step with each other without realizing it. If you look back at the black and white picture of us right after the ceremony concluded you’ll see the same thing!

And of course, there were pictures of our very small bridal party: Mr. Q’s father was his best man (which was lovely, because Mr. Q’s grandfather had been his father’s best man at his wedding to Mr. Q’s mother) and my best friend of 25 years was my maid of honor. It was incredibly special to have both of them join us–they each travelled the farthest, from the Philippines and from France!



There were also gorgeous pictures of Mr. Q and I together as well as each of us alone, as you would expect from wedding pictures. Meadow Brook has three lovely gardens to choose from for a wedding ceremony: we picked the Pegasus Garden, which has the statue of pegasus in it, but there is also a rose garden and a lovely rock garden, where we were able to get pictures as well.















We purchased limited amounts of flowers to keep costs down. Corsages and boutonnieres for parents and grandparents, a boutonniere for the groom, and only two bouquets, one for me and one for my maid of honor. We repurposed the bouquets to decorate our head table so we could enjoy them and then we gifted them to my grandparents, who were local and able to enjoy the flowers hopefully long after we had flown off on our honeymoon. (Gosh, that bouquet was heavy! I didn’t realize it would weigh so much. But its was lovely. The colors fit perfectly with my wedding colors and I loved the mix of textures that our florist achieved with regular stock flower varieties.)




There were a few very small not-quite-perfect things on the day, but most things went smoothly and I have nothing of importance to complain about. It was a beautiful venue on a beautiful day that we were able to share with all the people who are most special to us and who had gone out of their way to make it to the wedding. What more could we have asked for?


Why So Quiet?

I was off getting married to Mr. Q! Final planning and execution rather dominated my life for a bit and then it was off for our honeymoon. Settling back into regular life didn’t take too long, but opening gifts, writing thank you cards, life errands, catching up on reading other people’s blog posts, and starting new sewing projects (because of course that didn’t take me long!) has delayed my return to posting. Don’t worry, when I have pictures of the wedding I will share, but in the meantime I have exciting pictures of the usual historical clothing variety to share, partly because I was busy with historically clothed events right up until less than a week before the wedding and partly because I’m already back to sewing more things and attending more events. Regularly-topic-ed posts will return soon!

Thanks For Blog Awards!

Thanks to Susan, of the blog Threading Through Time, for a nomination for the Liebster Blog Award! And thanks also to Anneliese of the blog The Young Sewphisticate as well as Erin and Sophia of the blog Romancing The Sewn for nominations for the Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award! I’m pretty behind on thanking people for these awards, but better late than never, right?



As usual, these awards request that information be shared and the award passed on to others. I’ve done this in the past, so this time I’m going to reiterate the hearty thanks and share just a portion of the information requested by Susan, Anneliese, Erin, and Sophia. (Some of the questions are hard! I just don’t have an answer sometimes because I can’t narrow down the possibilities.)

From Susan:

What do you enjoy most about writing your blog? The connection to the knowledgeable, encouraging, international community of like-minded people as well as the chance to document the events I attend and the clothing I build.

If you could travel to anyplace in the world, where would it be? Antarctica. I’d really like to poke an emperor penguin in the tummy. Wouldn’t you?


What is the best thing about where you are in life at this moment? Knowing that there are lots of exciting and fulfilling times ahead and enjoying the wonderful adventures I’ve had so far.

What is the one as-of-yet-nonexistent invention you wish you could get your hands on now? A tele-porter, at the very least to get from here to there, though I suppose time travel might be fun, too.

What is your favorite color combination? Jewel tone shades of pink, purple, and teal, probably.

From Anneliese:

What do you find more exciting: the designing or the sewing process for your costumes? I love the creation of new clothing. While I enjoy research and looking at images, I don’t usually find myself designing things so much as being inspired by designs that were already created in the past. It’s really the manipulation of flat fabric to become a tangible, realized, dimensional piece of clothing that brings me joy.

Which do you prefer more: mornings or evenings? Why? I am absolutely not a morning person. I prefer to be asleep in the morning. In the evening, I usually feel productive and often get a second wind even after a tiring day.

What do you hope to accomplish this year? I have an 1880s dress for August to finish. I hope to make a new 1910s dress for September, a new 1900s dress for October, possibly a new 1850s dress for November, and maybe a new 1820s dress for December, plus I still need to finish my secret Vernet project by the end of the year. Oh, and I have some modern sewing I’d like to complete, too! That’s a pretty ambitious schedule and I’m pretty confident I won’t be able to make it all happen, but if we’re only talking about hoping…

Who or what sparked your interest in costuming? I had an amazing mentor in college when I was first learning to sew clothing and costumes. She allowed me to take an independent study with her to build an 1860s dress (Belle, my first historic dress). A few years later I made friends with and then became a member of The Commonwealth Vintage Dancers, who provide great company and amazing opportunities to wear clothing from a variety of periods, which is definitely an encouragement to keep creating historic clothing!

What is your all-time favorite period drama? Gone With The Wind, of course. It’s what sparked my interest in the 1860s.


From Erin and Sophia:

What is your favorite classic movie (pre 1970)? I really love Busby Berkley movies. I watched them with my dad when I was young, so they bring back lots of happy memories when I think of them. Footlight Parade is one of my favorites!


What is usually the starting point for your projects? Where do you get inspiration? I’m usually inspired by an extant garment, fashion plate, or pattern. I use these same sources primarily as resources as I work through a project. Fabrics and colors usually come after my first inspiration, though I do buy fabric without knowing what project it will be for if I love it enough or have ideas.

If you had an extra day in the week, what would you do with it? Probably sleep in and have a Quinn-day of not leaving the house and either catching up on life (boring) or relaxing (way more fun!). It’s also possible that I would use it to sew things…

What’s your favorite day-off ritual? Sleeping in. I pretty much always do unless I have some specific reason to get up earlier than 10am.

What inspires you to continue creating and blogging when there are so many other things competing for your time every day? Connecting with other lovely people who appreciate my hard work, encourage me in my unique hobby, and enjoy my adventures and pictures as much as I do. I also really enjoy chronicling of my adventures and projects. I’m able to record happy memories in both words and pictures.

Summary of 2014: Looking Forward To 2015

Ahh! It’s halfway through January and I feel rather behind on posting my 2014 summary. It seems like everyone else is so much more on the ball with that than I am this year. Well, without further ado…

Completed projects in 2014:

January: The Make Do Shift (HSF #1)
February: A Pink Regency Belt Style Sash (HSF #3)
March: ca. 1860 Corset For Me! (HSF #4)
March: New Annabelle hair wreath
April: 1811 Elusive Blue Regency Dress (well, mostly finished)
April: Red/Gold Regency Reticule (HSF #5)
Robe with slip (1)
May/June: Anne Adams Dress
Robe with slip
May/June: Round Regency Reticule
July: Georgina Evening Bodice and Hair Crescent (HSF #13)
IMG_1075 (1 of 1)
July: Orange Parasol
IMG_9688 (1 of 1)
July: 1850s Collar
IMG_0122 (1 of 1)
August: 1920s Sinamay Hat (HSF #15)
November: 1917 Cranberry Red Scarf (HSF #23)
November: Our Apartment Redecoration Project
December: 1950 Baroness Dress

Looking forward to 2015, I’m planning the following for certain:

  • 1890s skating ensemble
  • New Regency hair decoration/turban/thingy
  • A secret Vernet ensemble

Other projects might include:

  • A modern dress made of black patterned rayon
  • An 1850s plaid ball gown
  • A 1910s “tango” corset
  • A new 1910s evening gown
  • An 1880s corset
  • Modern capris
  • Modern tops
  • Finishing a modern cotton dress I started last year
  • Finishing a 1910s evening dress I started last year
  • Finishing an 1880s day dress I started in 2013
  • A 1900s evening gown
  • An 1830s evening gown
  • Knitted red gloves
  • A robe de style
  • A late 1910s day dress
  • Finishing an 1814 pelisse and day dress I started at some point

Of course, I have lots of other ideas in mind, too! A lot of it depends on how busy I am, how much time I have to sew, and what events pop up.

As usual, I completed some things on my looking forward to 2014 list and some things just totally fell by the wayside. In particular, while I started panniers for the court gown project, I didn’t finish them, nor did I start any other part of that ensemble. I’m a bit sad that I didn’t work on this project very much. I’m pondering whether to leave it on my list of things to do or to reallocate the fabrics for some other project. I was so excited to participate, but I have so many other things to make that I can actually wear to events… and I wasn’t boosted along in my enthusiasm by the general blogging world because it seems lots of other excited people were busy last year also. Alas, life takes up so much time!

I did exceed 100 followers and 200,000 views on the blog this year. And I announced my engagement (and to be fair, planning a wedding is definitely something that is keeping me busy in my spare time!). I was also awarded the Liebster Blog Award for the second time. This time by Susan, of the blog Threading Through Time.

I participated in the Historical Sew Fortnightly 2014, but only completed 7 challenges out of 24. I think I was mostly busy with life or busy with other projects that didn’t line up with the HSF for most of the year. I will likely participate in the HSF 2015 this year, though as in the past two years I won’t go super out of my way to make projects just to satisfy challenges if they’re not also being made for another purpose.

And in terms of events… 22 for 2014: 9 balls, 8 other events (teas, picnics, outings etc.), and 5 performances.

We spent the beginning of this month vacationing in the Caribbean. As we continue to sail along on our life adventure, I hope to create many more fond memories and retain the relaxation from our Caribbean escape. I hope your year is full of the same!

Returning From Silence

This past month was absolutely busy! So busy, in fact, that something in my life had to give. Unfortunately, the thing that gave was my time spent sewing historic clothing and documenting it here on the blog. I say this by way of apologizing for my unintended and unannounced silence. I’m sure you understand how busy life can be and that you’ll forgive me!

While I was away, I was kindly awarded the Liebster Blog Award by Asa at Fashion Through History blog. Here is a rather belated “thank you!” I’ve actually been nominated for this award once before, and in turn nominated other blogs, so I’m going to skip that this time and just take some time to answer the 10 questions that Asa has asked as part of the nomination.

#1: When and how did you get into sewing?

My grandmother taught me how to quilt when I was in elementary school, but I didn’t really learn how to sew clothing or use a sewing machine until part way through my undergraduate studies when I took a Costume Construction course.

#2: What was your very first garment (historical or other)? And what did you learned from it?

Well, I “made” things for playing dress up when I was young, but I don’t think those quite count. So, let’s call the first garments those I made in that first Costume Construction class. They were almost entirely failures, in the sense that I would never wear them in public despite the fact that they were finished garments. I learned that fabric choice makes a huge difference in having a garment that’s wearable! Also, you learn and practice skills with every garment, even if it isn’t one you are happy with, so there’s those things, too.

#3: Do you have a dream project? And what it is? (Picture?)

I have a lot of dream projects! There’s so many I really can’t pick one, or even a few! They’re mostly dresses, but also include accessories, outerwear, and occasionally separates. Here are links to some of my pinterest boards of “future project” ideas: 1820-1850, 1851-1869, 1870-1899, 1900-1929, and 1930-1960.

#4: Which of your costumes are your favorite and why? (Picture?)

Favorites are hard…

I do really like my 1815 Tree Gown, because it is super comfy to wear, has a fantastic silhouette, and the fabric is just so perfect and fabulous!


My 1819 spencer is pretty fabulous, too. It’s got such fun details and fits well!


Evie, my ball gown from 1864 is a favorite because she’s entirely hand sewn and stunning.


I really love my outfit from 1917. The style is actually quite flattering, I’m impressed that I knitted my own sweater, I love my spat boots, and my fur accessories are just so pet-able! (Plus, my blouse has neat lace details on the collar and cuffs.)


If I only allow myself one more favorite, it’s my 1953 dot dress. It’s grown up polka dots in shades of pink! And it’s super cute and comfortable.

#5: What will be your next big project?

Hopefully, working on my 18th century court gown for Kendra’s sew along over the next few months.

#6: What part of costuming do you enjoy the most (the planning, patternmaking, sewing, details etc.)?

Oh, I do love the planning… Picking out an inspiration image is just so fun! I also absolutely enjoy sewing and adding details.

#7: And what part would you rather not do?

I have to be in the right mood to enjoy patterning. Sometimes it’s just drudgery! And I really don’t enjoy cutting.

#8: Do you have a costuming role model or muse (historical, fellow blogger or other)?

No, can’t say that I have a singular role model or muse. There are lots people I find to be inspiring out there, though, whom have completed amazing and lovely projects.

#9: What’s the reason you decided to start your costuming blog?

I was trying to figure out who I am and what I do in terms of my interest in historic costume research, construction, and wearing. I was encouraged to share that with others and a blog was one way to do that.

#10: What is your best advice for anyone wanting to get into historical costuming?

Get involved with local groups so you have a place to wear your clothes and people who love the hobby and will encourage you. It can be hard to find those groups, sometimes, though, so reading the blogs of people in your area might clue you in as to what they are. Don’t be afraid to comment on blogs, too! You’re invisible until you comment!


I’ve been holding out on you. Big news, and I haven’t shared it yet! (Though I did rather give it away with the title of this post…)

So many of you dear readers feel like close friends, whether I’ve met you in person or not. And I know you’ll be very excited to hear about my engagement!

IMG_0702The question itself wasn’t a surprise (after eight years we’ve discussed these things in the open quite often), but he did manage to utterly surprise me by showing up at my parents house the weekend after Christmas (3,000 miles from where we live near Boston) after we’d determined that he wouldn’t be able to make it this year. It’s the first holiday he’s been able to come home, and it turned out that he’d decided on Thursday that week that he was going to come and showed up on Friday! He’d told my parents and they were super excited, not only because he was coming, but because he told them his extra little secret: that he was bringing a ring. But they didn’t breathe a word of it to me (and they assisted him in his surprise plan), and as I said, I was absolutely floored when he showed up in the living room!

The answer was also expected, though I did wait to give it for maybe a minute. Hee hee hee! I had to have my fun, too, and he knew the answer, despite me not saying the word. The ring is custom designed: a tanzanite with a diamond on either side set in white gold. I was almost a geology minor in college and I have always liked the idea of a colored gem stone that complements my normal clothing palette of mostly jewel tones. He was quite determined that I needed a modern style ring without a lot of (to him) fussy details, so this is a nice blend between our two styles. Awww…

It’s exciting, but I’m a bit daunted by the actual wedding planning part. There are so many details and so much research to do… and I really just want to skip to picking out color schemes and trying on dresses! Yes, yes, I absolutely have the skills to make my own dress… but do I have the patience to put up with myself? That is the question!