The basics: Apple River Fort is located in Elizabeth, IL. It’s a little fort from the Black Hawk Wars. To welcome autumn, they have an intimate supper for the public (advanced ticket purchase necessary). The Ox Bow Tavern cooks the five course dinner. This year the menu was as follows:
1st course – pepper pot soup and pumpkin biscuits w/ jam
2nd course – cheshire pie and Jefferson’s mac ‘n cheese with sour dough bread
3r course – fish cakes and collards with wheat bread
4th course – sauer braten and spaetzel with red cabbage and dark bread
5th course – assorted pies, cookies, and cakes for dessert
It was really excellent to cook over a nice hearth. The other oddly delightful moment that was totally unexpected was being asked to serve at table and I was running back and forth from the house where we cooked and the block house where the diners were located. It was just like Downton Abbey!!! Only 1830s!!
Now for all the pictures!
Inside the cabin that served as the kitchen…
Cheshire pie = layer of fried smoked pork sprinkled with nutmeg, a layer of apples sprinkle with sugar, repeat. Add top pie crust. Bake in baking kettle.
Apple pudding (not on the menu; we made it for fun).
Setting the table for the guests…
(I think Mr. Carson would be proud!)
With our guests…
Normally, I’ve been sewing 18th century and early 19th century, but nothing past 1815. This was a perfect challenge for me because I literally did not have to think super hard about what to make because the plans had been laid for this dress.
Here is me at Apple River Fort! (You can tell it’s a fort because of the wooden palisade behind me).
Underneath: 2 petticoats: 1 plain and my new corded one. I think the corded one gave it the perfect poof! While I feel pretty girly in my 1780 – 1815 wardrobes because I portray women, I’m usually ripping meat apart with my hands and my apron is super dirty. But at this event, I did not have any cooking duties, so that, combined with my poofy skirt, made me feel ultra girly!!! Or maybe it was the sleeves? Or the brand new first worn American Duchess Gettysburg boots?!!!! Yeah it could have been those! (I totally forgot to take a picture at this event where I showed them off. Will need to do so in a photo shoot soon).
I really like this style of dress. It was extremely comfortable. The only part that felt a little odd were the shoulder/arm holes. I’m not exactly sure if they were too small or what. When I made the mock up, it fit perfectly. I was like oh yes, this is comfortable. Swell. Then when I actually attached the sleeves, I was like hmmm. Well too late now. I do have an extra one or one and a half yards left of the fabric. If needed to, I could redo the sleeves or add another panel to the skirt. I can’t decide which, if either of those, needs to be done.
Because I was on a huge time crunch to get this thing done (literally cranked it out in two weekends) I did not make a tutorial or anything. There are enough of those online already. Also if I were truly a lady of the 1830s, I don’t think I would have been showing my arms/wrists, however, I did not put on the cuffs on the sleeves because I did not have time. Woops!! But no one asked me why I had them rolled up, which I found odd because it’s not like I was scrubbing floors or anything.
What the item is (and why it was out of your comfort zone): early 1830s Day Dress. It is out of my comfort zone because I have never made anything in this time period that involves piping. I drool over the creations on other people’s blogs who produce gorgeous pelisse’s or spencers etc with perfect piping. Jealousy was a good motivator and I figured if they can do it, I can do it! I sewed the piping by hand and then found when I constructed the bodice, it was easier to feel where I should place stitches along the piping to get it to lay neatly and be uniform in how much of the piping is seen.
The Challenge: Out of my comfort zone
Fabric: 100% cotton with brown background a peachy/pinky/coral vine-y pattern to it. Up close I love it. Far away, it just looks brown like so much of my “day dresses” in my historic clothing wardrobe.
Here is a picture from Andoverfabrics.com Jo Morton’s collection:
Pattern: Period Impressions 1828 Day Dress
Year: 1828 (officially), but I dropped the waist line about 2 inches because I needed the dress to work for 1830s also and the waists dropped a bit.
Notions: Hooks and eyes from my friend’s stash
How historically accurate is it? 92% I think the neckline is supposed to be piped (it’s not); and I’m not exactly sure about the waistband. I know it’s how “it’s supposed to look,” but I would like to know the proper historical construction so I can do it correctly the second time around. Oh and I machine stitched all the seams you can’t see because I did not have that much time. But for the record, my piping was all made by hand – I did not use the machine for that.
Hours to complete: Several weekends – two of which were 8+ hrs of sewing both Sat and Sun. I had the pattern drafted in Feb, but did not get around to it until later.
First worn: A few weekends ago for a new event where I *needed* to be in 1830s!!
Total cost: $50.00 for the fabric (I think).
The other thing I want to make to go with this outfit is a pretty white collar – one that is just coming into fashion in the 1830s. I also want to try my hand at white embroidery work for this project. I think it would really dress up the ensemble a lot. While I love my fichu that I have thrown over my shoulders, I feel like it hides the waist part of my dress and some of the sleeves. The next thing I’m debating about making are the under sleeve poufs of obnoxiousness. That may be one of those projects that looks simple but turns out to be a bit more complicated. We shall see.
Oh and the next 1830s dress I make will be pink. And maybe a green one. I don’t have anything green in my historic clothing wardrobe.
Just getting around to finally posting about the first challenge now that it’s, oh gee, the end of May. Woops!!
In preparation for some 1830s/1840s events I will be attending in the next year, I made my own corded petticoat. I hemmed (no pun intended. ha) and hawed about whether I should just buy one, but I already had fabric and the cording and I figured, how hard can this really be? It was time time consuming (like I had read on several blogs), but mine required more hand sewing because the fabric I used was a heavier duty muslin that once folded, is very difficult to push a needle through with bare fingers, thus requiring me to wear my leather quilter’s thimble (no I don’t quilt). This made it bearable. I used this information to guide me.
If I can (read: have the time), I usually prefer to hand sew everything for the time periods where a sewing machine was not around. But with school and coaching responsibilities, winter sew projects have a bit less time dedicated to them and I needed to wear the item Memorial Day weekend (the day I’m writing this), so I did what I needed to do to get it done on time and that meant hand sewing all the channels and the waist band, but machine sewing the side seam.
Also because of my time restraints, I have very few construction process photos and so this is not a tutorial. But here are some “making of” photos:
(I don’t know if anyone else experienced this when using cording, but my cat LOVED the smell/texture of the rope. She could not stop rolling all over it. I had to open up a separate package of cording and put it off to the side for her so she would not roll around on my fabric. However, white fabric and white cat works well…).
Just a few notes about my construction process:
1. All cords are sewn with a basic running stitch.
2. Fabric is 80 inches wide.
3. I sewed on the “right side” of the fabric and constantly folded my fabric over on itself to get the cording in nice and tight.
4. Not sure if this is period correct, but I had the fabric out flat while I was sewing in the cording. This actually lead to a boo boo. I left a few centimeters at each edge free of cording because I knew I would machine sew the side seam. I didn’t think my older machine could handle going through the thicker fabric plus the rope and the last thing I needed was for the needle to break because it’s my last one. So……really nice stiff cording all the way around except right along the side seam resulted in a collapsing side seam area. When I have it under my dress, it’s not super noticeable but when I first put on the finished petticoat and noticed this it was like a “awwwww oh no! (but too late now!)” moment. *sigh*. Redo.
5. The other thing I “messed up” was measuring my waist. I have wide hips which keeps things from sliding down. However, my waist is significantly smaller than my hips. I swear I measured the fit of the final waist size before I attached the waist band. However, it was at least 5 inches too big!!!! How did this hapen? NO IDEA! Grrrrr. When I recently wore it, it worked just fine and was in no danger of falling off. Now I’m debating whether to re-do part of the waist band or just add hooks and eyes and call it good.
Overall, I’m SUPER excited to have this kind of petticoat now!!! I can’t wait to make more 1830s/40s dresses to wear over it. I want one in ever color!
(Ignore the top thing on the dress form, it’s the mock-up for the 1830s dress).
Challenge #1 – Foundations
What the item is: corded petticoat
The challenge: foundations
Fabric: creamy off white muslin
Pattern: none, a rectangle, but based on these.
Historical Accuracy: 80% – all materials are cotton. Most of it is hand sewn. I’m not sure if laying it out flat and folding it up as I laid in the cording is historically accurate though. I machine sewed the double running stitch for gathering the waist band because I was not going to hand sew 80 inches twice.
Hours to complete: several weekends. One of those weekends resulted in two days of 8 hours of sewing (minimal half hour breaks in between to feed myself and change the load of wash).
First worn: Memorial Day Weekend at Apple River Fort
Total cost: aprox $10.00 for the cording; all other materials I had on hand
And just a few more photos!