An Outing At The Lippitt House Museum

I’m quite slow in posting about this, but better late than never, right?

In 2019, a friend and I had the opportunity to visit the Lippitt House Museum in Providence, RI  in historical clothing. The historic house, completed in 1865, is the former home of Rhode Island Governor Henry Lippitt and his family. (You can learn more about the house and the family here, on the Preserve Rhode Island website.)

Neither of us had been to this particular location before, so it was all new and beautiful! We were given a tour of the house by knowledgable docents who were tickled to see us in our historical clothes and kindly let us take photos of ourselves in the spaces.

This incredible house boasts marvelous details, from the advanced heating and plumbing systems to the intricate wood floor patterns, painted ceilings, and jaw dropping wallpaper. There are so many bits to see and admire!

The exterior of the house and the garden area boast their own lovely views.

If you’re ever in Rhode Island and haven’t had the chance to visit, I highly suggest it! Tours in 2022 open in May.

If you’re not in the area, you can check out a mini virtual tour of the house on the website, here, and perhaps you’ll be inspired to visit or donate to a historic house in your own local area.

1837 Blue Cotton Print Dress #1

I was on a bit of a 1830s tear back in 2020, when I made my 1834 yellow print dress followed up with a coordinating 1838 yellow print bodice and 1836 chemisette. But in fact there was even more than that, because I also made an 1835-1840 (let’s just call is 1837) blue cotton print dress for friend at the same time!

You can spot this dress in the photos from my 1830s Woods Walk blog post from 2021. The fabric for was a bargain at the the local discount fabric shop–only $3 per yard! It’s not technically a reproduction historical print, but the colors, motifs, and details (such as little dots for texture in the design) have the right look to me.

In terms of a pattern, I used my 1834 yellow print bodice as a starting point for this new blue dress, so the two bodices are very similar aside from size. The skirt of the blue dress is made in exactly the same way as the yellow dress (I blogged about that construction process in detail here).

The big different is the sleeves!

After trying a few silly sleeve shapes, we settled on giant elbow height puffs that are set off at the top and bottom with pleats and feature a bit of embroidery and corded bands to hold the pleats in place.

Here’s a view of the pleats and corded bands at the top of the sleeve. This dress has similar pleats.

And here are the pleats at the sleeve cuffs. These are held in place with a subtle bit of embroidery. This extant dress has a similar treatment, as does this one (and it has a matching pelerine!).

The sleeve puffs are supported by separate interior puffs that tie in. I used the method outlined in my 1830s Sleeve Puff Tutorial to make them.

In addition to the base dress, we decided to go all in on the 1830s aesthetic and create a matching fabric pelerine for this ensemble.

I looked at images of pelerines to determine what the shape and edges should be. We decided on a simple but flattering shape (as much as a matching fabric piece can be!) without extra difficulty in the form of scalloped or dagged edges, ruffles, etc. This is the finished shape we decided on.

Cording helps to define the edge and a similarly colored grey/blue cotton lining finishes off all of the raw edges. This was great, as the pelerine could be almost entirely made by machine!

On our woods walk, my usual photographer friend (who blogs at Plaid Petticoats) enjoyed taking a few photos with her Petzval camera lens, which creates the swirled background in the next two photos (you can read more about the Petzval lens in this Plaid Petticoats blog post). I can’t decide whether I like the color or black and white version better, so I’m including both!

So why is the title of this post include the #1? Well… because I enjoyed the effect of the fabric so much that I purchased additional yardage for myself and started making an additional dress for myself, too! What an excellent excuse to try out further 1830s sleeve variations!

Blue dress #2 has been cut out for quite awhile (a year, I think?). However, I’ve been busy and other things have been a priority, so the dress is 0% done in terms of being assembled. Someday…!

 

DIY Weighted Pillow Doorstop Tutorial

In a departure from the usual clothing content on the blog, today I have a DIY weighted doorstop tutorial. The idea came about when I moved into a house whose doors were sometimes inclined to hit the wall.

There are hardware type solutions to the door-handle-hitting-the-wall problem, but those didn’t appeal to me. Instead, I looked around the internet for inspiration that had more character. I’m very amused by the idea of a llama doorstop and I really liked geometric shapes made from fabrics full of character in doorstops such as this and this. I decided that while the llama is amusing, in actual practice I wanted something with a little less character. And I have sewing skills and a lot of fabric, so why not make my own geometric doorstop?

In all honesty, I took all these photos and made my doorstops four years ago! They’ve been sitting and waiting for me to publish a blog post since then. My recent inspiration to write this up came from the fact that I decided to make another doorstop for friends. Looking at my notes and photos pushed me to want to finish off this idea by getting it up on the blog.

DIY Weighted Pillow Doorstop: Supplies Needed

Fabric (at least 28″ x 8″)
Thread
Weighted filling (I used small rocks from the hardware store)
Scraps of fabric
Batting (optional)

DIY Weighted Pillow Doorstop: Tutorial

Step 1: Cut fabric exterior to be 28″ x 8″ (this includes seam allowance).

Step 2: Press under 1 ½” on each short side of the exterior fabric rectangle.

Step 3: Fold the fabric the short way across the fabric. With right sides together, stitch the long sides of the rectangle with ½” seam allowances (keeping the pressed under short sides folded back towards the wrong side). Clip the corners closest to the fold.

Step 4: Turn the rectangle right side out.

Step 5: Fill a Ziploc bag with your weighted filling. Wrap the bag with scraps of fabric (I used old sheets, but old clothes or scraps from projects would work, too). Place the wrapped bag inside of the fabric exterior, then use batting to fill around the wrapped bag (you could also just fill your pillow with fabric scraps if you have a lot of them). This creates a soft pillow that has enough weight to stay in place while a door hits it regularly.

Step 6: Sew the opening of the pillow closed. I used a whip stitch with double thread. Ta da! A finished doorstop!

A few notes:

  • I thought of using rice or dry beans as a weight in the pillows, but thought better of that idea since it might attract unwanted critters over time.
  • If you use something as a weight that you want to be able to replace, you could sew velcro onto the short side opening so that the interior is more easily accessible.

Here is a completed doorstop in place. It has enough depth to keep the door handle from hitting the wall, is heavy enough not to move around, and is super durable. The doorstops are somewhat subtle in the grey fabric I used, though if you wanted to make more of a statement out of them you could use more exciting fabric.

Yay for using sewing skills for an everyday purpose!

On The Rocks

One of the highlights of Gatsby On The Isles for me last year was running around in my new 1928 green dress and having adventures. That includes playing tennis as well as a lengthy walk and clamber on the rocky back side of the island (photos of tennis are in the Gatsby On The Isles blog post linked above).

This post is going to focus on the rocky ramble part of the adventure. The goal was to document our new clothes (that shouldn’t be surprising!), but it was also just a stunning area to explore and enjoy.

There are many great photos! There are also photos of us taking photos, which is a great behind-the-scenes look, too!

We found this pool high up on the rocks and I found the very angular features of these rocks to be so interesting. As a dabbler in geology, I wonder what process and types of rocks made such angular features.

The pool was a neat place for photos. And photos of the photographer!

I love a good shoe shot. I mentioned this in an earlier post as well, but my American Duchess shoes held up admirably to all of my clambering about on rocks and playing tennis!

Next is one of my favorite silly photos, followed by a more subdued photo in the same location.

To finish things off, here are a few more photos that capture the rock expanse we were exploring as well as all our group in both photographer and sitter action. Thanks for enjoying the adventure with me!

Gatsby On The Isles Adventure (2021)

It was super exciting to be able to attend Gatsby On The Isles again last year! There haven’t been many multi-day historical adventures of late, so that made this one extra needed and appreciated!

I’ve loved wearing my 1930s Beach Pajamas to this event over multiple years. They are super comfy and don’t show wrinkles (great for long car and boat rides!). I opted for them again this year but wanted to change them up to create a new outfit. After a look through my closet I decided to try wearing my 1922 silk blouse tucked into the pants for a new take on these old favorites.

I added a decorative head scarf for a bit of a jaunty flair and finished off the bottom of the outfit with my American Duchess Ginger shoes. The scarf is one I’ve had for over 20 years. I used to wear it in the belt loops of my jeans as a decorative belt, I think… I haven’t used it for anything in probably 10 years or so, but I held on to it, thinking that the dusty pink color and gold sheen would be useful for something someday… and it was! I like how it blends the bold color of the pants with the bright white of the blouse.

I might have been slightly distracted from drinking my tea at the clifftop gazebo by the opportunity to take photos (or be in them)… Some with a stereoscope!

Croquet the following morning was also well documented.

The weekend included other opportunities for fun photos, as well. The evening dance had a masquerade theme, for which I turned my 1926 Silver Robe De Style into a star-themed fancy dress outfit. There’s a whole post about the fancy dress inspiration that you can read here.

We also ‘played’ tennis! Or at least, we batted a ball around a bit.

I had no trouble running around in my heels. It was quite fun, actually! I felt very sporty in my Gingers and new 1928 dress!

In addition to playing tennis, we also wandered around the rocky back side of the island in pursuit of stunning photo settings.

We achieved great photos, some alone and some in groups. These are just a few of them… There are are so many fun ones that I’m going to do another post just to share rocky background photos!

My shoes had no trouble on the rocks! I did tread carefully, for safety and so I didn’t bang up my shoes unnecessarily, but I enjoyed proving to myself (as I have before) that one can clamber even in fabulous historical shoes.

It was so nice to have a getaway! And see people! And wear historical clothing!

Summary Of 2021: Looking Forward To 2022

2021 didn’t necessarily go as I had hoped, though I still have many things to be thankful for. Compared to other years, the following list of completed projects seems short, but for a year of continued turmoil, few events, and other things occupying much of my time I think it’s a reasonable pile of accomplishments.

Projects I completed in 2021

January: Vintage Inspired Black Wool ¾ Circle Skirt

January: Gaiter Masks From Old T Shirts

February: 1950s Lady’s Raglan Cardigan

March: 1884 Plaid Wool Dress

April: 1885 Wool Mantle & Accessories (HSM #5)

May: New Grey SweatpantsJune: 1880s Blush Duchess Satin Corset

September: 1836 Chemisette (HSM #3)

September: 1838 Bodice (HSM #4)

November: 1928 Egyptomania Inspired Green & Teal Dress (HSM #2)

December: 1920s Star Fancy Dress

General Blog News

In September, I published my 500th post on the blog, which shared details about about my 1836 chemisette. That’s quite a bit of writing over the years!

I participated in the Historical Sew Monthly for the ninth year. This year I completed 4 out of 12 challenges. That’s certainly not my most participation over the years, but given that I made fewer things this year it makes sense.

Additional Opportunities 

This year I featured one of my commissions here on the blog. The commission, from the Massachusetts Chapter of the National Society of the Colonial Dames of America (NSCDA-MA), was for two dresses: one from about 1810 and one from about 1845. You can read my post about the dresses here.

Event Recap

We all know that events are still few and far between. (Oh, how I wish that wasn’t still the case! But, we carry on…) Given that, the year contained only 1 dance (not quite fancy enough to be a ball, though it did have live music and I did get to dance) and 6 other events (a mix of picnics, outdoor trekking, watching 1860s baseball, and volunteering to interpret quilting).

To Do Lists

Last year’s modest to do list is entirely complete! I love the results of my 1885 plaid ensemble. The 1838 yellow bodice is also wonderfully detailed and enjoyable. I guess it pays to be a bit reserved in the goals if you want to complete them!

I also completed a few modern items, including my black wool skirt, 1950s raglan cardigan, and grey sweatpants.

I don’t really have ‘definitely do’ list for this year. There’s nothing needed for any particular event that I know of and I have many life commitments on my plate that are likely to take up a lot of my free time. Instead, I’ll list my ‘maybe’ to do items, some of which are carry-overs from last year:

  • The replacement of the 1790s stays I started in the winter of 2018 and have since decided are a failure (the new stays are super close to being done… I just need to finish the binding and add a lining)
  • 1790s petticoat
  • 1790s dress
  • 1836 blue print cotton day dress (this is all cut out and ready to be assembled)
  • Modern dresses, pants, and skirts

Despite this year’s challenges and sorrows, I still have so many things to be grateful for. The lower number of events has allowed me to spend a lot more time trying to be active in modern ways, including hiking, biking, and rock climbing. While not in historical clothes, the exercise is great and it’s quite neat to be able to watch the seasons change and see the beauty of the outdoors at all times of the year.

I hope that you are also able to find joy and express gratitude in your life.

1920s Star Fancy Dress

The theme recommendation for the evening soiree at Gatsby On The Isles earlier this year was a masquerade. I took that to heart and decided to adapt an existing dress in my closet to make it fancy dress. (It turns out that the majority of people who attended didn’t adhere to the guidelines, so I was a bit out of place, but I enjoyed my fancy dress regardless!)

My requirements for this outfit were: to use a dress as a base that was already in my closet, to not cost much, to not take much time, and to have the elements of fancy dress be easily reversible.

I looked through my 20th Century Fancy Dress Pinterest board and settled on the image below as my inspiration. (Unfortunately, I can’t find a source for the image that isn’t Pinterest. If anyone has information, please share.)

I thought the idea of stars would work well with my 1926 Silver Lace Robe de Style. I briefly considered creating the stars myself and then I remembered that I didn’t want this too take too much time and I started researching purchasable stars. I wanted something nice looking but not costly, remember, and I also wanted to stay away from glitter–the shedding! Ugh! While considering various metallic and cardboard style stars I realized that: 1- those may not travel well (I didn’t want bent stars!) and 2- they probably wouldn’t be comfortable to wear. So I started researching felt stars!

I decided on these felt stars. They were a good size, I liked the color, and they weren’t supposed to be too stiff. Not being stiff would be more comfortable to wear and also easier to sew through! I’d considered making garlands of the stars but I figured they would get tangled, so instead I opted to sew the stars directly onto the lace.

I started by placing the stars in a line diagonally across the top of the dress. The goal was to capture the feeling of my inspiration but didn’t feel the need to add as many stars as the drawing has, so I stopped with the one line. I liked the stars hanging from the hem, so I did those next–one star per each dip in the pattern of the lace.

After that I didn’t have many stars left! I used a scrap of metallic knit fabric to make a veil and put a star on each corner. The veil is a square, with one corner turned under, gathered, and stitched to a hair comb.

I also used some black felt scraps to cut a few stars by hand to accent the star at the waist. I thought this might tie in the metallic knit veil and also draw attention to the grey stars on the grey dress!

I added some sparkly shoe clips, pearl bracelets, and sparkly stars for my hair (reused from my 1885 Night Sky Fancy Dress) and the outfit was complete! It pays off to reuse themes for fancy dress, I guess!

1928 Egyptomania Inspired Green & Teal Dress (HSM #2)

I was inspired to make a dress! That seems like quite an accomplishment these days as I’ve been so busy with other things that I haven’t made much for myself this year.

It was summer, you see, and I knew that Gatsby On The Isles was coming up. (I’ve attended in the past, check out the past posts from 2019, 2018, and 2016.)

I have plenty of dresses (and let’s be honest, not many of them have been worn in the last two years or so), but I also had fabric that was waiting to be turned into a dress… So it didn’t take too much self-convincing to decide that the fabric ought to be turned into a dress, right now!

My first idea was to create something like the dress on the bottom right (#2346) in next image, but after making a mockup I realized that I didn’t have enough yardage of my proposed fabric.

Needlework Magazine, March, 1925

I’d bought the fabric thinking I’d make a rather simple 1920s dress, but the dress I’d been pursuing wasn’t quite that–and the length was longer than I had yardage for. So it was back to Pinterest to find another idea. I settled on using the green dress below, another one I’d been eyeing for years, as my inspiration.

1928

I’d purchased the green and teal accent fabrics in 2021 and thought they would work well for this second design idea.

My bodice pattern was adapted from my 1925 Blue Coral Dress, to get the general size, in combination with my late 18th century shift, to get the cut on sleeves. The skirt is just a tube made from what was leftover after that. I wanted to get two full widths of 45″ but didn’t have enough, so the skirt is one full width and two additional sections.

I wanted to match the pattern perfectly at the seams, but that ate up too many inches of my circumference so I settled on not matching them–and frankly, you can’t tell! I spent a lot of time making perfect pleats (the print on the fabric makes that pretty easy, actually), but of course they smoothed out as soon as I wore the dress. Oh well!

The dress qualifies for the Historical Sew Monthly Challenge #2

The Roaring 20s: Make something from the 20s (any century) or that somehow incorporates a number in the 20s. .

Just the facts:

Fabric/Materials: 2 yds green cotton and 1 yd of teal cotton.

Pattern: Created by me.

Year: 1928.

Notions: Thread.

How historically accurate is it?: 95%. The pattern and construction methods are quite good. The fabrics are a bit stiffer than those that I think would have been used 90 years ago.

Hours to complete: Perhaps 12? I didn’t keep track.

First worn: August 2021.

Total cost: Approximately $9.

This dress is mostly machine sewn. The goal was to entirely machine sew the dress, including attaching and top stitching the trim, but then as I was reaching the end of the sewing process I realized there were a few things that would look nicer with a bit of hand sewing.

Why is this Egyptomaina inspired?

Well, ancient Egypt was all the rage in Europe and America in the 1920s, particularly after Howard Carter and Lord Carnarvon discovered the tomb of the Pharaoh Tutankhamun in 1922. Egyptian motifs were used in Art Deco design elements for furnishings, jewelry, and clothing. So, while not exactly Egyptian… the colors and patterns in my fabrics remind me of Egyptian things: the Nile river, lapis lazuli, the Egyptian lotus flower, and the tops of many ancient Egyptian columns, for example.

Obelisks were often erected in pairs at the entrances to ancient Egyptian temples, so given the Egyptian association of my dress, I wanted to try and get a photo of my dress with the obelisk on the island. The photo is not quite just me and the obelisk, but it will do. (The problem is that the obelisk is so tall that if you’re close to it you can’t tell what it is… but being far enough away to get the full height means that other elements make their way into the photo, too!)

There are lots of additional photos from tromping around looking for good photo opportunities for this dress, so you’ll be seeing more of it and my accompanying adventures in more posts soon!

1930s Holyhead Harpies Adventure

Some of my friends decided to make 1930s quidditch uniforms for the Holyhead Harpies team (these are all Harry Potter references, in case that sentence makes no sense to you!). I didn’t have the time to join them in that particular endeavor, but I did have a 1933 dress in my closet in the team colors (green and gold) and we decided it would be fun for me to tag along on the quidditch adventure. One could call me team manager, or a fan, or… take your pick!

My role might depend on which photo you’re looking at… I brought along a wand and my time turner and made sure to run the team through their drills!

Our initial photos were fun, but the backgrounds weren’t great, so we decided to do an autumnal outdoor photo shoot, which we combined with regular photos of my dress, too. The non-Holyhead Harpy photos of the dress can be seen here in a previous post.

You can’t really see the detail of the pennant in the last photo (but look at that gorgeous tree!), so below is a closer photo. One of my friends had great fun making the felt pennants!

We had fun taking action shots, too!

Who says quidditch brooms aren’t real?

Quidditch champions!

Sometimes a bit of silly is good for you. Certainly it brings smiles! To read more about the idea to make 1930s quidditch uniforms, check out this post about it on Plaid Petticoats.

An Autumn Outing For The 1933 Green & Gold Dress

It’s autumn! I think this is my favorite season. Chilly air mixed with sunshine… The return of wool sweaters and skirts… Crisp apples and fresh cider… Yum!

I thought I’d set the season by sharing a few photos from an autumn photo shoot that haven’t made it onto the blog yet. They are so wonderfully autumnal that I’ve been saving them until the perfect time of year!

The story behind the photo shoot is that back in 2017 I made a bias cut 1933 dress. It is green with a small windowpane woven in gold and features gold taffeta accents as well as a gold tilt hat remade from a vintage velour cloche-shaped hat. Construction details and the original photo shoot were blogged about here.

At the time I made the dress I had no particular plans for it, but I’m pleased to say that I have put it to use a few times in the last few years. Most recently, I wore it on this gorgeous autumn day in order to get updated photos of it and to join friends as we photographed them in 1930s-style Holyhead Harpy quidditch uniforms (this is a reference to Harry Potter… more on that in a future post!).

I loved the idea of the gold accents in harmony with the changing leaves, though I think it’s possible the leaves mostly stole the show!

It was such a beautiful day! With or without leaves the trees looked striking against the brilliant blue sky.

In addition to getting photos, we had a picnic followed by a lovely walk as we took in the trees, sunshine, and fresh air. Autumn is only just starting so there’s plenty of time to get some more of that, too!