Friday, February 28, 2014

1920's Panniers for a Robe de Style


A few weeks ago I showed off my Robe de Style, with the promise of soon showcasing my side hoops that I wore to give the proper look to the historic gown.

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I've waited this long only because this is my entry for the HSF Challenge #4: Under it All.  Without these side hoops, the elegant Robe de Style loses its oompf. So here is my saga of trying to create the oompf!

First I did my research and found a lot of basic descriptions and teasers. Most of my sources agreed. The understructure required for the Robe de Style shape is a set of 18th century style panniers on a smaller scale than their predecessors.  Jean Lanvin, who designed the Robe de Style, hearkened back to the 18th century in creating this elegant gown that could be worn by any body shape of any age, to offset the popular flapper fashions best suited to a straightline figure. A common descriptor in my research was the word, "basket-like."

Here the various resources from my research:

A description of the side hoops with an illustration of a gown with the proper silhouette from DK Publishing

From the FDIM Museum blog, a description of the panniers with a gown properly modeled.

From the Fountainhead Antique Auto Museum, fashion plates of stylish Robe de Styles. They also have a gown on display with hoops, but the effect is far more subtle than the fashion plates.

A description from the Berg Companion to Fashion

Heileen's Pinterest Page (not mine) on Robe de Styles.  The key photo I wanted to share is almost towards the bottom. It shows a light blue Robe de Style gown, with what appears to be the bodice portion flipped up to reveal the side hoops as part of the structure of the skirt in the same fabric. Shown on the waistband is a Jean Lanvin label. I tried to access the original source of the photo but it immediately dead ended. While scrolling down you'll see numerous other Robe de Styles, in various array of fashion, some with panniers and some without. With some you can see the framing underneath the skirts.

However, none of that was enough information for me to figure out how to actually make the side hoops. I have never sewn side hoops before, not even for the 18th century. I fussed around a bit and created a basic shape. While wearing my gown, I measured from the top of the dropped waistline to the top of my knee. I guessed that should be the length. For the width, I measured how much length it would take to do a semi-circle next to my hips, to create the proper silhouette. All I want to ultimately do is extend my hip line.   From these measurements I cut out some fabric, so that when folded over they would be these dimensions.

I forget all the specific steps I took, but I did sew channels into the doubled fabric, into which I inserted leftover reed from my 18th century stays project. It wouldn't hold a semi-circle shape at all because there was no structure to keep the semi-circular shape. I wasn't sure how to do this. Then I recalled The Dreamstress' 18th century Panniers Sew Along.  After looking at her directions, I simply added fabric to the hoops, that forced it into a semi-circle.

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Here is the back. It's not as pretty as I had originally aimed.  At this point I was under a time crunch.

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Also when I tried them on with my gown, the silhouette didn't look right, so I added an additional hoop. Two pictures above I had 4 casings per each hoop, but only boned three of them.  In the photo below, I boned the other casings and was much more pleased with the resulting silhouette.

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You might see pin heads at the top of the hoops, on the far right in the photo above. That is where I would sew them to the skirts. However I was under a time crunch, so I merely pinned them and I was glad!  I didn't notice until I was all put together, that the weight of the hoops when pinned to the inside of my gown's waistline, pulled down my gown in a most unpleasing manner. (I unpinned the hoops from the gown and repinned them to the tops of my pantyhose.  The gown looked much better!)

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In the above photo, I tried to shoot down the tube, fromm the end that is pinned to the skirt. In the photo below, I am looking through the other end of the tube.

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Unfortunately I cannot put my gown on my dress form to lift up the skirts to show placement of the panniers. There is no opening to the bodice. As per the period pattern directions, the gown merely slips over my head, but not over my dressform. But I got this idea to pin the robe de style to the front of the dressform and going from there. You can tell the skirt kicks out to the side a wee bit.  It's better when wearing it.

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Here you  can see some of the "wire basket" through the fabric. If you check the pinterest link above, there is a photograph of a lady in the 1920's wearing a robe de style, where the "wire baskets" were quite obvious. While I was wearing my gown, the framing showed through a bit but wasn't too obvious. It seemed quite period correct from all my research.

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In the above photo, you can see the green head of the pin that I used to pin the panniers to the underside of the skirt, at the waistline. In the photo below, the skirts are pulled up a bit to see how the panniers hang.

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I pulled back the skirts a bit more...

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I raised the skirts higher to see that they do pin at the waistline. 

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They hang well and do not flap around at all.  With the weight of the skirts surrounding them and the panniers pressing against my hips and legs, they stay in place quite well.  A wee bit of movement but I'm sure that's normal and to be expected. Nothing seemed odd while I wore my gown.  However while I was wearing my gown, I unpinned the panniers from the hemline because the weight was pulling my bodice down and it didn't look good at all. I repinned them to the waist of my panty hose and that was perfect.

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Now for the HSF details:

HSF 2014

The Challenge: #4 Under it All

Fabric: cotton

Pattern: self-drafted

Year:1920's

Notions: reed

How historically accurate is it? not sure but based on extant 1920's panniers

Hours to complete: 3

First worn: history presentation

Total cost: free, from stash

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Great Depression Perspectives

I asked my mom about how her family fared in the Great Depression. One family member worked for the CCC but didn't stay long. He eventually left that to work with other family members. Everyone in the family had jobs with meager incomes.  They basically worked hard and worked together to make ends meet. They were definitely difficult times, but I have never heard my grandparents or great aunts and uncles complain. They would simply tell stories of how they worked together to make ends meet.


However there is one Great Depression story which resulted in a family tradition. The story is that my grandmother read in the paper that for New Year's dinner, those who eat pork and sauerkraut would find prosperity the coming year.  (In fact there are many traditional New Year's Day dinners that "guarantee" prosperity for the coming year. I know the South's traditional dinner is black-eyed peas.) Anyway, Grandma served pork and sauerkraut for New Year's Day dinner and everyone in the immediate and extended family had jobs that year.  Today everyone in the family still eats this dinner. I always thought this was the traditional dinner because my mom's family is part French/ part German. Perhaps that is where that tradition came from?  Ultimately though, it is the Lord that provides, not the pork and sauerkraut. However it is a fun story!


We've been reading different autobiographies in school so it's been quite interesting hearing their take on the depression.


Charlie Duke


One famous person we are reading about is astronaut Charlie Duke, who walked on the moon in 1972. In his autobiography, Moonwalker, he writes that he was born in 1935 in Charlotte, North Carolina. Previous to that his parents had been living in South Carolina when the depression hit. His mom's father lost everything in the crash. She had to quit college to look for a job. Meanwhile, Duke's father was also in South Carolina. His dad's father, an insurance salesman, lost most of his business in the crash. Duke's father also ventured to New York City. While there, Duke's parents found jobs, met, and got married. His mom held one job and his dad held two, one by day and one by night.  Duke says, "They enjoyed their time there." (p23) When she found out she was pregnant, they moved south to Charlotte, North Carolina, where Charlie and his twin brother were born. "My mother had her hands full raising two rambunctious boys. She claims we never gave her a minute's trouble, but it was fourteen years before she had another child." (p23)


Norman Schwarzkopf


Another book we are reading is It Doesn't Take a Hero, the autobiography of General H. Norman Schwarzkopf, who led the troops in the Persian Gulf War.  (My family might laugh, but General Schwarzkopf has always reminded me of my dad, in looks, in speech, and in thought. They don't look exactly the same but I think they look more like brothers than my dad's brothers do! We'll see if I think the same at the end of the book.) Schwarzkopf grew up in the 1930's in New Jersey. His father was a graduate of West Point and served in WWII. Schwarzkopf was expected to also attend West Point and his father's honorary saber was set aside for him at an early age. Schwarzkopf tells numerous stories of all the radio shows they listened to, including those that used his father's voice! Each story is full of drama and leaves the reader at the edge of his seat. Schwarzkopf says, "Up to [WWII] I'd had a wonderful boyhood, filled with dogs, Christmases, birthdays, tree climbing and sled riding, and all kinds of friends. Despite the Depression, we had plenty of food on the table; the most we ever saw of hard times were the tramps who would show up at the back door. Mom would have our maid give them our lunch, but when they'd eaten, they had to leave immediately." (p2)


Chuck Yeager


For yet a different take on the Depression, is Chuck Yeager's autobiography simply titled, Yeager, which recounts the life of the man who was the first to break the sound barrier. Yeager also grew up in West Virginia in the 1930's, extremely poor. He writes, "The Great Depression began when I was eight, but it had no real impact when you were already so low on the income scale." His father was employed. When a neighbor's home was foreclosed, the bank offered to sell the house to the Yeager family. Yeager's father signed a loan and the family moved in to what they thought was luxery:  a two story four bedroom house. Yeager goes on to describe at great length how they ran the farm. Then he writes, "West Virginia still leads the country in unemployment and Lincoln County, where I was raised, remains one of the poorest counties in the state, but I never thought of myself as being poor or deprived in any way. Like most everyone else in town, we managed to scrape by. Kids learned self-sufficiency from their parents and made their own toys and invented their own fun. Life was basic and direct: people said what they meant and meant what they said." (p9) "Mom and Dad taught us by example. Mom worked as hard as any of the pioneer women, from dawn to dark, cooking and mending and cleaning. Dad got home late Friday and left on Sunday; in between he worked like a dog. They never complained. We country people had our own way of life. We didn't sit around worrying and were contented with the little we had. (p9)


How much we have to learn in our era of relative prosperity, to learn to work hard, to not complain, and to be content with that which we have. These are great examples set before us. No wonder these three men did big things later in life.  My family heritage is quite similar on a smaller scale and have always taught me the same principles. I know there are many more stories out there like this too.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Great Expectations Movie

I've been busy in my downtime uploading my blog to pinterest.  Then I had to reset the settings on each individual picture in flickr so that pictures would post. It's been quite a laborious process. Needless to say, my own personal great expectations of my blog on pinterest became a point of frustation.


Last night my husband was channel surfing and found "The Ghost and Mrs. Muir" on TCM.  I have heard of that but had never seen it until last night.  I only caught about half of it since I was busy on the laptop.  I have plenty of to-do piles around here and I was determined to conquer a few of them.  The movie intrigued (and moved) me enough to watch it again sometime.  My husband thought it was well written, so I think that would be a good movie to purchase.


The next movie on TCM was "Great Expectations!" We read th book (written in 1861 by Charles Dickens) last year! I'm glad I read the book first, or else I would have been quite confused in my half-attentive state. In fact I think the movie helped me understand the book better. I never really "got" the book and had no further interest in it. It was quite honestly a tortuous experience to read, although my kids did like it!  Although a movie had been recommended to me, I couldn't bring myself to take the time to hunt it down simply to watch a movie I wouldn't get. However this movie seemed perfect to me.


The movie characterized everyone the way I thought they would be, except Biddy. (Wasn't she Pip's age? I had Biddy and Pip romantically pegged while reading the book, so I was surprised by the age difference in the movie. Therefore in the movie, without giving anything away, I liked the ending much better. More on that below. Don't worry. No spoilers.)  I thought Mrs. Havisham was perfectly portrayed in her surroundings. The lawyer, Mr. Jaggers, was spot on.  Joe was great! The sister was unlikeable. I liked it!


Of course, being a 2 hour movie they had to whittle down some of the depth, yet they remained true to the book. Midway through I finally closed up the laptop and fell asleep.  (That's another reason why I do laptop work while movies are on...to stay awake!)  I got to see the ending and there were a couple of minor changes, I think to speed up the plot for the 2 hour movie. Again, it didn't really take away from the story. 


Even though the very end was definitely changed up, I think it was actually a better ending than Dickens himself wrote. In fact, our version of Great Expectations has two different endings that Dickens wrote, neither of which I was able to come to terms with, causing me to like the book even less.  The movie made more sense to me, causing me to like the movie a lot!


Not that this is the best movie version of Great Expectations out there, but it was a good one for me to see.  Partway through my son walked in and after a minute or two he knew immediately which movie it was. (I think that is a good sign of a good movie.) He settled down and stayed up late to watch it. (Another good sign. I fell asleep but that had nothing to do with the movie.) Being based on a literature book, and since we don't have access to a DVD, I let him stay up to watch it. I was hoping my daughter would come up to notice it too, but she was swamped with college studies in the basement. 


In case I have you highly intrigued, I guess I should tell you which version this movie is? ;) It is the 1946 version starring John Mills as Pip! I didn't even make that connection until I looked the version up on imdb tonight!  John Mills is also the father in Walt Disney's, "Swiss Family Robinson," and is the father of Hayley Mills, who did a dual role in Disney's, "Parent Trap."  Pip's friend, Mr. Pocket, is none other than Alec Guinness, whom I better know as Obi-wan Kenobi from "Star Wars!" I want to see this movie again! This is going on the "to buy" list!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Celebrating General Washington's Birthday...Twice

I missed General Washington's February 11th birthday, according to the old calendar.  We did a colonial fried chicken dinner, posted below, for Presidents' Day.  At the last minute, I decided to do a little something for Washington's official dinner, on the current calendar, February 22. After a perusal of the pantry, I decided on:


Cream of Chicken Soup (from Dining with the Washingtons)
Tossed red leaf salad with lemon shrub in a bottle, purchased at Colonial Williamsburg
Sweet Potato Muffins (from The Colonial Willliamsburg Tavern Cookbook, via Christiana Campbell's Tavern). Washington's favorite tavern, while visiting Williamsburg, was Christiana Campbell's Tavern.  Today guests are always served delicious sweet potato muffins.  I thought they'd round out the meal well.


I think it will be fun to celebrate three times next February!

Friday, February 21, 2014

The End of the 2013 Snow Fort Era

Nine days after the storm, I found the snow fort had melted into a bridge...

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When we came home from errands two hours later, we discovered the end of the snow fort era...

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(sigh) The memories are great!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Fireside Chats with FDR

One of President Roosevelt's most agreed upon accomplishments are his Fireside Chats, which encouraged Americans through the Great Depression and then the horrors of WWII. When President Hoover ignored the pain felt by the unemployed at the onset of the depression, FDR purposely addressed it with a message of hope. This is an important model for any government official, to address the facts verbally to the country, instead of denying them.

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Photo taken on vacation at the FDR Presidential Museum


Here is;a link to side-by-side transcripts and audio files of FDR's Fireside Chats.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Great Depression WPA on San Antonio Riverwalk

Since we have been studying the Great Depression, I purposely did a google search on WPA projects. I've known for years that the San Antonio Riverwalk was a WPA project, so what were some of the others across America? Here is an interesting site about the Works Progress Administration across America during the Great Depression which addresses that very question. The link provides a map showing where all the WPA projects occurred.  Also one can browse by a listing of states or by the map.  I found 16 from my home in San Antonio.
The most famous WPA from San Antonio, that most tourists travel to visit each year, is the San Antonio Riverwalk. However there is more to the story.
Once upon a time the San Antonio river was a source of refreshment for local Indian tribes and Spanish travelers in the 17th and 18th centuries. However over time the 19th century brought settlement...and by the 20th century there were industries.  
At the turn of the century, the river was little more than a messy trickle from nearby breweries. Unfortunately a heavy rainstorm flooded the river in 1921, putting the bordering Houston Street under 9 feet of water which killed fifty people and caused millions of dollars of damage. Heavy debates between city leaders and citizens led to the conclusion to turn the useless river into a storm sewer and pave over it.
However a group of ladies campaigned to save the river with a skit called, "The Goose that Laid the Golden Egg." Convinced, the city agreed to look into a commercial aspect of the river.
On June 28, 1929, Architect Robert H. Hugman presented to the city his vision of a Venitian experience on the river, including walkways and bridges with gondolas and gondaliers. However the stock market soon crashed. The dream ended.
Nevertheless undefeated souls organized the first ever river parade in 1936 entitled, "A Venetian Night." They were determined to convince the city to clean the river and bring it to life
In 1938 the tax rate was raised to provide funds in conjunction with the WPA to bring the dream into reality, with Hugman at the helm. Walkways and bridges were built and by March 1941, the Riverwalk opened along with another WPA project, La Villita. La Villita is the original town in the days when Spain owned Texas.
In a most timely manner, the riverwalk was opened by April 1941 when another river parade was held for the yearly Fiesta festivities. This time it was organized by the Texas Cavaliers. The parade became an annual tradition.  
Although the riverwalk is famous today for its numerous restaurants, the few that were there in the beginning faced the street with their back doors opening to the river. In 1946 Casa Rio was the first restaurant to open facing the river, a quintessential habit today which allows for much fine dining with scenic venues.Yet for many years, Casa Rio was alone in this venture.
By 1961 an engineering firm suggested expanding restaurants along the river to open a basement level facing the river to change the focal point. They further suggested on a Texas or Mexican theme of architecture to unify the buildings...which can be seen today.
Although  many tourists stay in beautiful hotels on the riverwalk, the first one was only opened in1962, El Tropicano.
The Mexican Christmas tradition of  Las Posadas is now an annual event on the riverwalk, begiinning in 1962. This is a reenactment of Mary and Joseph looking for an inn, originating in Spanish cultures. Hotels and restaurants serve as inns as the procession recreates the Christmas story.
Through it all, the riverwalk suffered ill repute until 1968 when Hemisfair changed the look of San Antonio. The nearby Hemisfair Tower and Hemisfair Plaza with monorail, including the Institute of Texan Cultures museum were rebuilt. Also, the riverwalk was revitalized with the addition of another hote, Palacio del Rio, and the convention center.
That Christmas, the first festival of lights, Fiesta de las luminarias, was held. This is where luminarias, little paper sacks that weighed with sand upon which a votive candle is placed, line the riverwalk. In 1971 Las Posadas was moved to weave among the luminarias along the river each Christmas with the hotels and restaurants providing the backdrop of "inns".
Tour boats taking tourists along the river began as gondolas but eventually developed into barges that give historic tours and provide dinner cruises. Although I've been on some of the historic tours on the barge, my favorite memory is from high school. Our foreign language club got to sing Christmas carols on one of the boats as we floated under candy  colored dripping lights that infamously light the riverwalk each Christmas.
More expansions in the 1980's with Rivercenter Mall to continued additions up to the present...it's become too much to keep up with. 11.5 million annual visitors can testify to that!

My husband and I used to go to the riverwalk all the time to see an art show, eat at Casa Rio, get an ice cream cone, see the Fiesta River Parade in April, see the river dyed green for St. Patrick's Day...or to simply walk and enjoy the lovely sights. Today a walk on the riverwalk is a step into entirely different world. Built below street level, the riverwalk is an oasis in the confusion of city noise.  Here are pictures from our last trip to the Riverwalk before we moved to Virginia. Incidentally, we were eating lunch at Casa Rio!
WPA projects were meant to provide jobs and training for future employment for those in deepest need. They were also designed to provide building projects of lasting value to a community. The San Antonio Riverwalk is indeed a value to San Antonio today.

For more of the history and development, check this link.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Presidents' Day at Home

Sadly we did not get to go to Colonial Williamsburg for President's Day weekend this year.  Sicne we've been deeply studying 20th century history, I had hoped to take my son for one last opportunity, before college starts, to discuss matters of most importance with Presidents Washington, Jefferson and Madison, as well as Patrick Henry. Oh, the more I study 20th century history, the more I think of Mr. Henry's warnings.  Even a few comments I've read of Winston Churchill's reminds me of Mr. Henry's rhetoric.  Alas, twas not to be this year. =(


However a traditional 18th century dinner was indeed in order.


The Menu:


Fried Chicken with a dusting of cinnamon and white pepper (spices from the 18th century) Far Eastern trade
Mac and Cheese-Thomas Jefferson style
green leaf salad with dressing made from olive oil and lemon shrub (purchased in Colonial Williamsburg)
Creamed Parsnips with Nutmeg (popular 18th century  spice)
Gingerbread-George Washington's mother reportedly served Lafayette her gingerbread. Afterwards the family dubbed the recipe, "Lafayette Gingerbread."


Resources:
Dining with the Washingtons Edited by Stephen A. McLeod
Dining at Monticello Edited by Damon Lee Fowler
The Colonial Williamsburg Tavern Cookbook Edited by Charles Pierce


After dinner, what might the various presidents of the United States have read? I know a few of these are spot on! 

Sunday, February 16, 2014

From the Inside Out...of the Snow Fort

Sunday, Day 4 after Snowchi, Day 3 after the snow fort building and constant meltdown/rebuilding process.  Yesterday's rebuild and today's cloudy skies allowed for my first ever entry into a snow fort at the strong encouragement of my son. Of course I had to enter the snow fort to experience something cool and to support all the hard work my son has put into this project!


Proud engineer and builder...

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From the inside looking out to the bunny slope...

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Family photo!

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My husband stayed inside. He's from upstate New York so he probably thinks us Texans are crazy! ;)

Rebuilding the Snow Fort a la Patriotic Style

Thursday we received a foot of snow. Friday was the great meltdown, yet my kids built the Snow Fort of Doom, Indiana Jones style, in that the ceiling level creeps ever so slowly towards the ground. By Saturday afternoon the fort had considerably shrunk. With determination my son rebuilt it.

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Ta-da a la patriotic style!


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We finally have below freezing temperatures (in the 20's down to 17 tonight) for the first time since the snow fell.  (The night the storm ended the temperature had risen to 37 degrees by midnight.) My son is determined to get this to last as long as he can. He predicts Sunday it will melt away completely.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Snow Fort Night Time Glow

One day after Snowchi 2014 (a major snowstorm of a foot of snow that occurred during the winter Olympics in Russia) was sunny with fifty degree temperatures with rapidly melting snow! The kids ran outside after lunch to have a great sledding experience before it melted away. They haven't had this much great snow to play in in years.  First they repacked the snowy hill that had become quite trampled and bumpy for their sledding run on one side of the house.  Then they dug a snow fort on the other side of the house!

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It was sturdy enough for my daughter to stand on top while my son was inside. I missed taking pictures of that! Because of the rapid snow melt, I told the kids that they would most likely feel like they are in an Indiana Jones or National Treasure movie when the ceiling starts easing down on them!



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When my husband and I came home from dinner that night, we parked next to the fort. When we got out to enter the house, I saw that my son left the light on for us...inside the fort! He had set his flashlight in there on a one hour timer as a surprise!



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In the five hours since the kids had built the fort, the roof and top of the doorway had dropped 6"!  Amazingly fast snow melt!  My son got to work knocking out part of the ceiling so there would be more room to climb into it...



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...or perhaps crawl into it!

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On this side we could see a glow from within...

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This starts the batch of photos my son took...

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I also found these photos on my son's camera when I downloaded the pictures above. When my son scraped off the snow from the top of the van, he dug out this ledge...



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...which can be seen in this distance shot!

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They are predicting rain and snow tonight. I hope it's only snow.

Friday, February 14, 2014

18th Century Englishback Gown-Pink Frothiness for Valentine's Day

My daughter has outgrown her beloved first 18th century lavender gown. She's hinted that I can now make a new one for her from the pink and white striped fabric I bought a few years ago when Rebecca, of A Fashionable Frolick, found it for me on-line. Knowing that I was considering making a striped English back gown, Rebecca kindly found a yellow stripe for me and a pink stripe for my daughter, on-line.; I forget now which company I purchased it from, and I was leary of buying it, only because I prefer to touch and feel fabrics for drape before purchase. However I took a chance and was delightfully surprised! It's called heirloom cotton and has a lovely light and airy feel and drape. I sewed my yellow English back gown shortly after the purchase and have worn it on many a sweltering day in Colonial Williamsburg. One hot afternoon one of the good citizens of Williamsburg (a most wondereful costumed interperter) told me that I looked quite fresh and cool in my gown.  lol  I'm glad I looked fresh and cool because I did not feel fresh and cool! =) (One day I'll add trim to this gown...stay tuned for that.)

However, when my daughter saw the fabric, she was not taken in by it at all. She much preferred her choice of non-period accurate florals, which the lavender gown was. However, it was my first English back gown made five years ago when I had no idea how to sew 18th century style at all, so I was quite content to sew from and make mistakes on fabric from my fabric stash.  After four years, she's starting to enjoy a few period fabrics, like stripes, more than before. Now she likes the pink fabric.; The stripes are quite narrow so that it reads as a solid from the distance, as does my gown.
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 She has a birthday coming in March. She is busy with school and has no time for draping.  Could I possibly make a secret English back gown for her, based off measurements from her more recent white floral on blue English back gown, which I made four years ago?  Why not?  At worse, I'll have to pick apart and redo and even piece, all of which is period accurate.  I knew I'd have more time now than waiting for later, so I decided to take the challenge!


Quite secretly I completed the entire gown.  Initially, I put her blue gown on my dress form to check for fit, so I could drape the pink gown on it based on placement of the blue gown. Also I tried the blue gown on myself for fit.  Although I'm taller than my daughter, we pretty much fit width-wise. For the sleeves, I kept trying on the pink bodice for direction after setting up the sleeves when the gown was on the dress form.  I also compared everything with measurements taken from the blue gown.  I did make a few mistakes that I tried to camouflage, but hopefully it will all work out. Even after having taken an incredible Burnley and Trowbridge class on draping English back gowns, I feel quite at a loss with my mistakes and everlasting puzzlements. Don't let me deter anyone from taking a class though because they are excellent. Everyone else in the class catches on quite quickly. Alas for me...I'm fearfully full of everpresent question marks, so my skill set in these gowns most definitely is not refined.


On my daughter's birthday I'll have her try it on to see if I need to make adjustments. At that time I'll cut off excesss fabric that I left inside the bodice, just in case I need to let some seams out. After any adjustments are made, I'll add trim. Stay tuned for the final result! Trim will definitely add forgiveness to my historical sewing mishaps.


Working with this fabric kept reminding me of pink sodalicious frothiness. Of course all the pink works for Valentines. I had thoughts of giving this to her for a Valentine's gift, but she has no opportunity to wear it until she is free from school for the summer in Colonial Williamsburg.  Oh well.

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The sleeves are set a bit differently from each other because no matter how often I ripped them out and repositioned them,, this was the only way they laid nicely and felt comfortable on me.  I wonder how it will work for my daughter.

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Now for the HSF details:

HSF 2014

The Challenge: #3 Pink

Fabric: cotton

Pattern: draped

Year: last quarter of the 18th century

Notions: thread

How historically accurate is it? highly accurate

Hours to complete: lots

First worn: next trip to Colonial Williamsburg

Total cost: $40

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Snowchi 2014 in NoVA

Capital Weather Gang facebook page (meteorologists from the Washington Post) suggested we name this storm, Snowchi. Funny thing is I think we have colder air and more snow than the balmy Sochi, Russia near the Black Sea. Something I miss about weather reports is the "why" to the story.  KENS 5 meteorologists from San Antonio, Texas always explained everything, which helped me to read the skies a bit.  Here in Washington DC, we are usually told the "what" (it's raining, it's hot, it's snowing-um, thanks for that bit of information).  This weather round I learned from Capital Weather Gang why we are getting this deluge of snow, like we did when we first moved here to temperate Virginia in 2010.  As I understand it, as opposed to snow systems that blow in from the west and north, the ones that are fueled by the Atlantic, especially when it originates from the gulf, fuels more snow. That is what happened in 2010. The photo below was actually taken on 12-20-09, with many more similar snowstorms to follow in the early months of 2010. 

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It happened again last night.  It think we got over a foot of snow, though my husband measured 10" while he was shoveling.  Our snow arrived as a dry powder, which blew away, then what was left got compacted by the sleet and freezing rain to which we awoke early this morning.  Either way, it's enough to make us stranded in our neighborhood.


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Frozen ice droplets stuck on the windows...

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So that's the end of round one. Expecting more this afternoon, with more Saturday morning. We'll see...