Come Visit Egg Rock With Me

Early in August, I was able to attend two events that were part of Vintage Victorian’s Nahant Vintage Dance Weekend. The first was a lovely late 19th/early 20th century soiree at Egg Rock, a lovely historic house with beautiful furnishings built in 1864 right on the cliffs overlooking the ocean (the second was the Grand Ball, but I’ll save that for another post). The event was quite elegant and included catered food and drinks. I’d like to take you with me to wander around the house, if you’re inclined. (I apologize for the slightly blurry pictures, the phone camera didn’t like the lighting much.)

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A lovely staircase in the front hall greets us, as is is typical of a mid-19 century home.
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Beautiful architectural details grace all aspects of the house: see the lovely gold damask wallpaper and the decorative woodwork along the stair moulding?
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At the top of the stairs there is another split set of stairs leading up to a cute balcony and bedrooms overlooking the ocean.
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Standing at the top of the balcony we can look into the fabulous tall mirror down the stairs into the hallway below.
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Back downstairs in the entrance hall we can appreciate another lovely mirror, beautiful fireplace, and elegant grandfather clock.
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Off to the opposite side of the hall from the fireplace is a small ballroom with a distinctive wood floor. Dancers whirled in small circles here all evening to the tune of live music.
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The ballroom’s walls were adorned with large pastoral paintings which sadly were peeling and in need of conservation. There was also this elegant sofa on one side. I love that the colors in these dresses complement each other so well and that the attitudes of each person are so distinctive and pretty.
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And here I am, wearing my burgundy and gold 1912 evening gown, which harmonized beautifully with the colors in the entry hall. See that wallpaper? I love it!

I was rather undecided about attending this event until the last moment, so I did a reprise of my hair style from July using the beaded gold necklace as a headband, but did it hastily and without a curling iron, so the texture was my normal wavy frizz rather than defined waves and curls. I’m glad I attended, though, because I had a lovely time and really enjoyed the house. I hope you also enjoyed this short visit to Egg Rock!

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Waves, Curls, Earrings… And Dancing From The 1910s

It’s been over a month now, but back in July I attended a Ragtime ball that proved to be great fun. I wore my tried-and-true 1912 burgundy and gold evening gown (while it’s nice to have new things, it’s also nice to pull beautiful things out of the closet, too!). Despite wearing a dress I’ve worn before, I tried a new style with my hair, including a repurposed (and therefore new-feeling) accessory.

I was inspired by hairstyles like these from the early 1910s. There are more examples on my Hair: 1900-1920 Pinterest board as well, if you’re interested. What I took away from these images was the use of a headband of some sort, the rather large airy shape, and the defined waves and curls.

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c. 1912 Lily Elsie
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La coiffure française illustrée. (1910)

Of course, I decided to try this out the afternoon of the event so I hadn’t thought ahead in terms of what to use for a headband. After casting around a bit I thought of a bead necklace I’d purchased a few years ago that ties with a ribbon. Why not use that as a headband? In addition to the bead-necklace-as-headband, I wore my Downton Abbey Collection earrings, which are quite lovely and matched my dress very well in color and style.

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It took rather a lot of time to create the front waves with my curling iron. The back loopy curls were time consuming, too, though fun until my arms started to hurt from being held up for extended periods of time.
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I love how defined the curls came out, though, and while I do think there’s a slightly flat spot at the back of my head I generally think the silhouette is what I was aiming for.
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Waves, curls, and earrings!

And here is the dancing in action! People were very well dressed and enthusastic at this event and really seemed to have a good time. For most dances there was hardly anyone sitting out! That’s great, especially when the crowd is a mix of ages.

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1917 Waist Details

I finally put finishing touches on the navy crepe waist I made last November! A few weeks ago, I was inspired at the very last minute to attend an early 20th century picnic and decided to wear my 1917 outfit because it was still a little chilly out and I wanted to wear something practical for walking around. So, literally the night before the picnic, I embarked on buttons and buttonholes because despite the best of intentions I hadn’t actually sewn them in the months since November. I also added a yoke around the bottom of the waist to keep it from untucking itself while being worn. It untucked itself often when I wore it November, but it didn’t matter because I was wearing my 1917 sweater of Angorina over it. But for the picnic I expected to be wearing the waist without the sweater and I didn’t want to worry about it staying tucked in.

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Wearing the waist and coordinating ensemble in November 2013.
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Same ensemble without the sweater and fur accessories.

This is a candid shot, not posed, but I like how thoughtful it is, especially with the natural light filtered by the cloudy sky. You can see the collar with its interesting points which follow the diamond shapes on the lace, as well as the turn back points on the cuffs, which also follow the diamond shapes on the lace. If you look really closely you can also see the buttons down the front, clustered in groups of three rather than being evenly spaced (a detail I pulled from this 1916 image). (Oh, and I added little extensions to the back of my gaiters so that they would stop popping up over the back of my shoes! I didn’t get a picture, but the change made a huge difference in terms of ease of wearing!)

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The points on the collar continue around the back neck, a detail which I love, because it makes an otherwise boring collar much more interesting! Also, my hair was surprisingly cooperative that day, and the natural highlights really stood out in the muted lighting!

The waist was made using Past Patterns #9025, which was originally published by The New Idea Pattern Company. “Waist” is the word that was used in the early 20th century to describe the garment we would now call a blouse. Past Patterns lists the date as c. 1915, but the pattern actually has a specific date stamp on it: ” Nov. 19, 1917.” How cool is that? It’s perfect for my 1917 outfit! You can see that I mixed and matched elements from both pattern views, and that I adapted the collar shape to suit the lace that I used for it. The pattern is intended for at 36″ bust (which I am) but it’s pretty roomy. I wouldn’t mind the front being a little bit less full if I decided to make another similar garment one day.

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Past Patterns #9025: Ladies’ Waist c. 1915

As a bonus, here are some other picturesque images from the picnic.

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As usual, playing croquet caused lots of onlookers to stop and watch our fabulous picturesque-ness. I suppose I might stop, too, if I was totally unused to seeing us…
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We couldn’t resist taking this perfectly un-posed shot!
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Bunny ears! Hee hee hee…

The skirt isn’t quite finished yet, as I still have closures and some decorative buttons to sew on. So for now I’ll leave off posting details about it. Hopefully, I’ll finish it soon and get pictures… sometime? It’s going to be too warm to wear a wool skirt soon!

HSF #25: Spat-Boots, Or Gaiters

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Spat-boots! WIth my 1917 ensemble.

It’s time for the details about my entry for HSF challenge #25: One Metre. I prefer saying I’m wearing “spat-boots” though the actual items I’m really wearing are shoes and “gaiters.” Spat-boots has more of a ring to it, I think.

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Close up of my spat-boot look.

The gaiters very effectively turn my sort-of-1910s-but-more-1920s American Duchess Gibsons into very 19-teens spat-boots! If you look at the first black and white image of suffragists in this previous post you can clearly see some similar spat-boot styles. And if you look at the images on my Sewing Project: 1917 Blouse and Accessories Pinterest board you can see multiple examples of the spat-boot style. Some boots, like these from 1917 at the Met, were made in two different colors of leather. That’s the look I was trying to imitate, except that I was doing it with a separate garment rather than as a part of my shoe. The Met actually has quite a number of early 20th century gaiters, made out of leather and cotton. If you’d like to see these examples, I’ve pinned many of them to my Early 20th Century Accessories Pinterest board.

The facts, you ask?

Fabric: Scraps of heavy unbleached cotton.

Pattern: Created by me.

Year: 1917.

Notions: Thread, black elastic, cotton twill tape in various widths, and plastic buttons.

How historically accurate?: 90%. The look is right but the materials are a mix and match of right and modern.

Hours to complete: 6-8? Took a few fittings to get them ready to sew. Then finishing and sewing on buttons took awhile.

First worn: At a Thanksgiving event in Plymouth.

Total cost: None. The fabric was left over from a grad school mock up and the notions were all from my stash. (See that odd marking in the middle of the center piece? That’s blue sharpie that soaked onto this part of the fabric from notes I wrote on the mock up… There was a lot of blue sharpie, and I couldn’t cut around it and still have enough fabric. Doesn’t show on the outside though!)

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Here’s an inside view of one of the gaiters. You can see that I’ve used three different kinds of twill tape to bind the seams and the edges. All of the sewing was done by machine except sewing on the buttons.

There are a few things that I would change consider changing if I made these again in some other reality. #1: Having my buttons spaced closer together, as the extant gaiters and boots do. But in this case I only had a limited number of buttons to work with! #2: Potentially putting a strap with a buckle to go under the foot rather than elastic, since the buckle method is what extant gaiters have. But the elastic worked so well and you really couldn’t see it… so I probably wouldn’t actually change this, especially since I don’t have the right sort of buckles in my stash. #3: Making the back part that comes down over my heel longer. I was aiming for a nice swoop up from the part held down by the elastic, but the back of the gaiters kept popping up over the edge of my shoes, which was a little uncomfortable. I spent a lot of time during the day I wore these pulling the back of the gaiters down.

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Like a flamengo, I’m standing on one leg and pulling down the back of my gaiter, which had popped up over the back of my shoe.
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Overall, I’m super pleased. These were quite successful. You should try some yourself!
Product links in this post contain an affiliate code, which provides a small benefit to my shoe fund. This does not affect my impressions and reviews of this product.

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HSF #24: 1917 Fur Hat (And Revised Muff)

The theme of this HSF challenge is Re-Do, in which you re-do a previous challenge for a second time or you re-do a challenge you didn’t complete the first time around.

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The muff and hat are super soft. In addition to keeping my hands in the muff, I also spent a fair amount of time hugging and patting it.

I’m using my recently completed 1917 fur hat and recently revised matching muff as my entry for this challenge. I think the hat and muff best qualify for a re-do of Challenge #20: Outerwear, which I did complete with my 1822 Walking Dress (so this would be a re-do of a challenge I already completed). So, the facts:

Fabric: About 1/4 yd of faux fur and about 1/4 yd cotton flannel.

Pattern: Created by me.

Year: 1917.

Notions: Thread, polyester batting.

How historically accurate?: 90%. Tall round hats of this sort were popular in 1917, though they were likely made of real fur rather than faux fur. The revised muff has a great shape for lots of periods, including this one, and is pretty accurate, aside from the fact that it is also faux fur. Oh, and neither hats nor muffs were insulated with poly batting… but it is so warm! And no one will know except me, and those of you reading this!

Hours to complete: Unknown. I was pretty tired while working on the hat, so I know it took longer than it should have. The muff was quick (like 2 hours) but that’s just the revision. I don’t remember how long it took to make it originally.

First worn: At a Thanksgiving event in Plymouth.

Total cost: None, since I bought the fur and the flannel specifically for the muff over two years ago I count it as a stash project.

Here’s my inspiration for the hat. I was aiming for the exaggerated shape on the right. I don’t think I quite achieved that, unfortunately. I did actually spend a lot of time patterning the hat so it would look right sitting at an angle rather than straight. I think I was so cold when I was wearing it that I pulled it down to cover more of my head and thus pulled it off of its angle. Sad! But also, the thick fur rather obscures the shape anyway. I chose not to do the sticky-up bit, partly because I ran out of time, and partly because I just didn’t know what to make it out of, since the hat was already fur. Oh well. I really like that middle hat, too…

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1915. In the collection of the NYPL.

I originally made the muff for an 1860s event a few years ago. I had a plan to use gathered silk for the two ends, but it turns out it looked cooler in my head than when I executed the plan. Also, the muff was a little longer than I liked, so I decided that for this event I would shorten the muff by taking off the silk ends and folding the fur over to cover the ends. Here’s my Pinterest board of inspiration for this project. You’ll see that there are various shapes and sizes of muffs c. 1917. Mine is somewhere in the middle in terms of size and shape.

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This is sort of what I was envisioning with the silk on the ends, but it is a little underwhelming. You can see the cotton flannel lining in the middle. It holds body heat, so it doesn’t feel cold when you put your hands in!
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This is the other side. It’s pretty twisty and sad.

But as I said, I took the silk off, folded the fur down over the ends, and sewed it directly to the flannel. (I have plans to use the silk for a Regency reticule at some point in the future… yay recycling!) You can see the results in these next few pictures. I’m quite happy with the results! The muff is about 3″ shorter and I like the look of the fur on the sides.

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See the fur on the sides? That used to be the silk part.
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This was our silly shot and it shows off the new muff end well.
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Another silly shot, just for fun. I think maybe I was trying to keep my face warm?

Thankful For Suffrage

If you saw my last post, you were left guessing as to what event I was furiously sewing for. I think most you guessed that it had to do with women’s suffrage… Yay you! The entire event wasn’t really about suffrage, but suffrage was a part of it. We went down to Plymouth, MA to be a part of a historic village event that was linked to the main Thanksgiving parade in town.

The historic village contained various groups from the early 17th century, groups from the 18th century, Marines from 1812, a unit from the Civil War, my usual dancing friends and I representing women’s suffrage c. 1914, and paratroopers from the 1940s. The parade was…a parade. There were historic groups in it (including some of the military groups I just mentioned), there were marching bands, there were floats, there were unicycles, and there were horses doing various things.

And I’ve got pictures! To start, here are some images of the parade:

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Happy Thanksgiving! The giant inflatable turkey was pretty amusing, especially when he had to slightly deflate to get his head under the power lines!
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Often these guys are dancing with us, but at this event they were hanging out in the 1630s as the Salem Trayned Band.
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Some of our other friends: 1812 Marines.
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8 beautiful (and large!) Budweiser Clydesdales.
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4 spirited horses pulling…
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A fancy Wells Fargo stage coach!
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A super snazzy green car, with bright green trim!
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Red, white, and blue confetti in the cold, clear air near the end of the parade route.

Next, here are some images of our representation of Suffragists and our setup in the historic village:

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Setting up our tea table. Other setups included tents and smoking fires (it had rained the day before and everything was damp and mushy, so the fires didn’t really work…).
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Yes, we really did drink tea. In china cups. It actually was very nice to have hot beverages throughout the day given how cold it was outside!
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See, we’re drinking our tea!
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We didn’t march in the parade or parade around the historic village, but we did serenade the ducks in the creek behind us (and visitors walking by) with suffrage songs.
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Here we are making “serious suffrage” faces.
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Ok, smile for the camera.

The best part is that in addition to sharing a little bit about history with the public and getting to watch the Thanksgiving parade in all its glory, I was able to use this opportunity to build and wear an outfit showing off my recently completed 1917 Knitted Sweater of Angorina. I had to plan for cold weather, but I didn’t want to cover up my sweater! So I planned a faux fur hat to match an existing muff, a wool skirt, a polyester crepe blouse (in this case, the polyester was a great choice, because the fact that it wouldn’t breathe would help me stay warm and use up a random bit of fabric in my stash that had no other project in its future!), and did a mostly unnoticeable revamp on my 1860s/can-look-like-other-decades fur muff (which was essential, it turned out, for keeping my hands warm!). And to look stylish, I made gaiters to turn my 1920s American Duchess Gibsons into 19-teens looking spat-boots. And all of the fabrics were from my stash! The gaiters might just be my favorite part of the outfit, and both they and my fur hat will qualify for the next two HSF challenges, so you’ll see more detailed information on those soon! All in all, I managed to stay warm, except for my feet! I wore thick tights, but I didn’t think to wear extra socks, and my toes and feet were SO cold! Note to self: wear thick socks next time an all day outside event in the cold is on the horizon…

And here is my brand new 1917 outfit:

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Yay! New hat, revised muff, new blouse, hand knit sweater, new skirt, and new gaiters, worn with my Gibsons, my modern cashmere lined leather gloves, my 1913 petticoat pinned up to shorten its length, and a golden yellow ribbon in support of women’s suffrage. I was able to completely finish my accessories, but the blouse and skirt didn’t get as far as closures. You can’t tell of course, but safety pins are great sometimes. These two garments now live in the “need to be finished” section of my sewing list.
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One of the only back views. The blouse has neat collar details (see those cute points?) and neat cuff details you obviously can’t see. When I eventually finish the blouse and skirt I’ll post more details about their design and construction.

Despite last minute sewing for all of us, we all looked good and had fun wearing clothes from the 1910s while sharing a bit of important history with the public:

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Brown wool suit with fur trim.
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A wool plaid hobble skirt and jacket and a lovely black wool coat with fur collar.

The 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote in the US, was ratified in 1920, after over 70 years of struggle. I think it’s fitting that Thanksgiving and women’s suffrage were related events for us ladies this year. In addition to many other things, we’re thankful for those who fought to get women the right to vote!

Product links in this post contain an affiliate code, which provides a small benefit to my shoe fund. This does not affect my impressions and reviews of this product.

A Little Visual Teaser

I’m sewing away furiously on an outfit for an event tomorrow. My head and feet accessories are complete, but I still need the important things like a skirt and blouse… So while I don’t have time for sewing pictures or completed garment pictures today, I thought I’d share a bit of visual research related to the event tomorrow. It’s up to you to imagine what sort of event I might be attending, and what sort of clothes I might be wearing…

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Suffragists “march in October 1917, displaying placards containing the signatures of over one million New York women demanding to vote.” Source