I do not have any photos, but I made cookies/cake from scratch today at work. I rarely bake. Okay….I don’t really bake at all. Duncan Hines brownie mix is about as close as I get….oh and the cream cheese pie I make for the husband’s birthday that has a million cups of sugar in it. But besides those, baking is not something I enjoy on a regular basis. However, today I made “excellent drop cakes” at Four Mile. I think they are called drop cakes because the batter is more like cake batter than it is cookie dough. It’s kind of gloppy. Yes, it was a little time consuming to beat the eggs for 10 min and stir in the sugar gradually and then the milk and then 2.5 cups of flour gradually. But during that time, I was chatting with people and waiting for the oven to heat up. So it was not that long of a process. I followed the recipe and everything turned out quite well!!! The first batch kind of soaked up the butter from the pan (kind of like the first crepe that goes in the pan and is a dud), but they didn’t burn and they didn’t look inedible, and after that the next two batches turned out extremely well. I guess the title is correct!
Sauerbraten, bangers and porridge, bacon, hearty bread and cheese, chicken marengo; this was our menu at Years of Napoleon at Macktown in June. We had a full table for all our meals. People crowded and knocked elbows as they shoveled food into their mouths. It was a pleasure to serve everyone during the day time and I was pleased to see many return at night for the festivities. This time, we had outdoor seating on the little porch and on the grass below the porch. It was comforting to see the tables filled with smiling faces. Saturday evening began with a dance on the top of the hill. It was great fun to dance with gentleman and to see the women with such graceful, flowing gowns. Here are some pictures from our revelries!
Because school and forensics took over for the majority of the year, I was not on top of making anything for HSF up until now (literally). I just cranked out a new Regency Gown in 5 weekends. I’m quite pleased with it. However, I cannot figure out which of the challenges that have occurred so far it would fit into. Boo. I think, therefore, I’m planning ahead for HSF #21 Re-do.
Here is a picture of the gown:
Why I made it: I needed a middle class gown of dirt/grime color so that it would not show the dirt/grime too much when I walked through mud, dust, and accidentally carried a dirt pot against the front. There are zero trimmings or anything fancy because it is worn for work in a tavern.
Things to note: All but the parts that are gathered on the waist band are hand sewn. I’m a purist, but two double running stitches on the machine is so fast. The fabric is a lightweight striped linen. I wore it for the first time and one of the days was about 80 degrees or so and I found the entire ensemble to be comfortable.
Now that I wore the dress for two solid days, I realized some alterations need to occur. This is the first time I will be taking apart bits and pieces and slashing fabric to get rid of it. In the following pictures, I will note my modification plans.
1. The back
Problem: Because my underbust is so tiny (read: 31 inches), everything slips down, including the waist ties. For the picture, my photographer moved them up to where the *should* be, but within a a few minutes of moving/walking, the ties slide down a good three or more inches.
Solution: The updated pattern from Reconstructing History has added loops, two on either side, to help keep waist ties up at the proper height. (We were going to sew some this weekend, but never got around to it).
This is not really a problem, just something I noticed: the small bodice back piece sits much lower on me than the one on my other dress. I can’t figure out why. It’s not getting moved because overall, the top of this dress is very comfy.
2. The front
Overall, the proper silhouette is achieved. I like it a lot.
Problem 1: the bib piece is too large. The pattern piece is humongous!! And I cut my fabric much smaller than the original pattern piece too. Alas, as is obvious from the photo, the girls, are small. I’m wearing late 18th century transitional stays and while they lift, they also squash, making me even more flat chested.
Solution 1: I’m going to chop off the top and sides of the bib again. Or I could make little teeny pleats. I can’t decide. That was my original idea, but then I was like meh. So I’m still undecided. But I will definitely be cutting a good inch or two off the top so that when I pin it in place, it also raises where the waist band sits under my bust.
Problem 2: When I made my first Regency gown, I hemmed it well above the ground. Though when I made this one, I thought, no I want the skirt longer. However, looking at this photo, it looks too long. Grrrrr!!!!!!
Solution 2: I’m going to put it one or two tucks. I like the way they look, but I’m just nervous about making them even and symmetrical all the way around. (I’m also a perfectionist when it comes to these little things).
Problem 3: Thought is it not too terribly visible in this photo because of how I have my arms positioned, my fabric is too wide on the top of the front panel. I have serious gathers and it goes well behind my arm pits when I wrap the waist ties around me. During the event on Saturday, we talked with Christina (see her blog here) and she showed us one of her in progress Regency gowns and our discussion about the construction was quite informative. I have renewed vigor with which to tackle my re-do project!
Solution 3: I will cut off more fabric on each side. What I can’t decide though is if I need to completely take out my side seams. I really really don’t want to because I’m kinda tall and each side seam is a good 45 inches. But this fix also involves detaching the waist band a ways on each side.
I started this dress in May and had it finished June 13. Now I want to make all these alterations in time for another event (this time War of 1812 in Prairie du Chien) on July 19. I’m only working three days a week this summer, so I think this goal is quite achievable.
What the items is: Regency under bust petticoat with straps
The Challenge: Under it all
Fabric: Heavy duty muslin bed sheet (vintage circa 1950)
Pattern: None (based on pictures)
Year: 1810 – ?
Notions: Cotton twill tape in white and off white, linen thread
How historically accurate is it? Fairly – There are some extant examples though they are all frilly and see through. However, I had to cheat and machine sew the pleats and back seam because the fabric is so darn sturdy that I would have put holes through my fingers if I had sewn by hand and yes, that would have happened with a thimble because that’s what happened last year.
Hours to complete: Maybe 5? I didn’t really keep track. I kinda whipped it together because I need it asap!
First worn: Will be worn in less than a week: June 13 – 15 at Years of Napoleon (pics to follow in upcoming posts).
Total cost: 0 – my mom picked up the box of sheets at a church white elephant sale about two years ago, the twill tape is left over from other projects. Score!
I needed fast photos so I’m not modeling it nor is the mannequin (Bartholomew as my husband has christened it), instead sadly it is just on the floor. Pardon the fold wrinkles….it probably won’t be ironed before I wear it because this is meant for my first person interpretation of the Ox Bow tavern keeper’s daughter. We are a middling class family who run a tavern, offering meals and beverages throughout the day to the weary living historian who happens upon the tavern in their daily work, travels, and life. Because we are constantly around the fire and what not, I wanted a heavy duty “I don’t care if this gets dirty and gross” type under garment. As much as I would have loved a froo-froo lacy petticoat, that was not going to happen.
There are no “in progress” photos because I was sewing as fast as possible; this is also another reason for the basic style/design. Overall, it goes together like a standard 18th century petticoat and here is what I did:
1. Cut rectangle of fabric. Salvaged edges will form the back seam. The bottom already had a hem so I used that as the bottom and I measure from just under my bust to the floor and added some because I knew I wanted tucks.
2. Pin tucks and sew. I don’t like how mine pulled on the machine, but I’m not complaining/worrying too much because this is going under my gown.
3. Double running stitch for side gathers. I like gathers on the side for my regency gowns/petticoats because it adds a nice fullness without being ridiculous and I keep the front straight. I don’t have an exact measurement, just to the sides of the bust (almost at the start of my armpit). However, I did not put quite enough gathers in so I have two pleats.
4. Bind waist band with twill tape. Because the fabric is so hard to puncture with a needle, I did a whip stitch on the front side of the twill tape first and then on the back. Across the front, where the fabric is not so thick, I did a back stitch to secure it. I’m really proud of myself because I re-used old twill tape from another petticoat. Hurray for upcycling!!!!
In this photo, at the edge of the opening, you can see where the waist band is only so long and I had to attach another piece. I’m a genius.
5. Measure and attach shoulder straps. These are genius for me because I have a super tiny under bust and everything slides down to the top of my hips (the widest part of my body at 40 inches; there is a 9 inch difference between my under bust and my hips).
6. Sew back seam. Leave enough of an opening so it can be pulled on.
Voila that’s it!!!!!
I will post more pics later once I attend the event.