Saturday, June 25, 2016

A Large Project!

Jeremiah and I have a new big project! We are building a house! OK, more of a cottage really. Or maybe a tiny house. Regardless, it is a place of our own! The plan is to make it of a size and sturdiness that will allow us to move it on a trailer when we get our own land. For the past few weekends we have been clearing a spot of land on Jeremiah's parents' place to put our little home. We have been blessed to have one of Jeremiah's friends help a lot with the clearing process. There was a lot of scrap metal to move, trees to cut down, and lots and lots of chipping to do. Thankfully we have easy access to a tractor, a chainsaw and a chipper! I've now got a nice pile of wood chips to turn to mulch.

Downed trees
Jeremiah and his friend cutting up a sweet gum tree

Me running the chipper

Then yesterday, another of Jeremiah's friends, who does construction, came over, and we started the building process. First we laid piers of concrete blocks and leveled them. Jeremiah's brother Jordan was instrumental in getting it all nicely done (you can find Jordan and his wife over at Home at Winshaw).
The first haul of materials

Blocks laid and shimmed
Then cedar beams that Jordan had sawn were laid as a base for the floor joists. We squared up the end joists (again, thank you Jordan for your awesome help with that!) and then next thing I know, all the joists are there!

Hubby fetching the beams
One beam laid
Floor joists on!
The last thing we did for the day was attach the sub flooring. Once that was on, it was pretty neat to be able to walk around and see what sorts of views I would have from my kitchen and such!

Oh look, the house ate Jeremiah!
The view from my future kitchen!
I am so thankful to the people that have helped us and will help us with this large project!

End of a long work day

Historic Mansker's Station & Circa 1796-1806 Lewis & Clark Era Front Closing Gown

The second week of April was an event at Historic Mankser's Station in Nashville, where my mother-in-law is a weaver sometimes. So clearly, I needed an outfit for the event. It just so happened that I had been sitting on a piece of fabric that my best friend gave me for my birthday a few years back and I knew exactly what I wanted to make. Enter Past Patterns #031. I loved the way the dress looked, and once I made it, I loved the way it fit. I had to make no adjustments at all to the bodice (!!). I hand sewed the entire thing in just 7 days! The fabric is a 100% cotton print from the Old Sturbridge Village collection by Marcus Fabrics and lined with muslin. It is sewn with 35/2 unbleached linen. The handkerchief is also muslin.

The only thing remotely tricky about this dress is the sleeves. You can see how they come to a point over the shoulder blade. As a result, it's a bit tricky. But hand sewing is by far easier to manipulate funky corners like that. And this wasn't really tricky, but somehow my shoulder straps didn't line up right in the fashion fabric and were too wide, so I turned under the extra and voila, it worked. I would definitely use this pattern again!

The event was two days long and bitterly cold (50 degrees but a constant biting wind), which was totally unexpected (I was assured I would be roasting to death!) Hence the polar fleece cloak from my childhood - it USED to be a floor length cloak! :)

Thusly I took about 1 hour when I got home and a few hours in the morning in the car and at the beginning of my day there to whip up the wool mitts made from the Kannik's Korner pattern. They went together so easily and were very warm. I am thankful my mother-in-law had the wool laying around!

A recreation of Mankser's Station

The drawstring front led to some minor gaping, but that's totally normal
Note the narrow diamond shaped back - talk about creative shaping!

A "Transition Stay" Fashionable Circa 1796-1806

I made Past Patterns #030 transition stays because they were designed to go with a dress by the same company I really wanted to make. I bought the kit from Past Patterns with the linen thread. I had some issues fitting them and I still don't think they fit properly. I ended up taking over 4 inches out of the bust to get the compression the pattern said is appropriate. However I still had issues with the bust slipping. They are made of 2 layers of a heavy weight linen, boned with reed, and 100% hand sewn with 35/2 linen thread. It took about 2 weeks of dedicated work to finish them. The pattern came with 3 different boning patterns for the front. I took the recommendation to do the fully boned one due to bust size. The back and sides are only half boned however. The stays are front lacing. The main issue with this style of stays is there are no tabs at the waist edge, so it digs in somewhat. However, I wore these for 2 days straight and it really wasn't that uncomfortable. I don't think I would make them again, however, they did serve their intended purpose, and it was a good exercise in hand sewing.

Stays while flat. Ignore the missing eyelets!

From the front. Note the spiral lacing - correct for the time. The actual lace itself, not so accurate.

From the side

One back angle

Another back angle. I am not sure why the big wrinkles on this side

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Women's Shift, 1790-1820

About 2 months ago (March), I finished an early 1800s shift. I used the Kannik's Korner pattern by the above name and completely hand sewed the entire garment. It is made of 3.7 oz linen and 60/2 linen thread from W.M. Booth, Draper. I'm not sure how long it took me to make because I worked on it in bits and pieces since last October. It's my first 100% handsewn garment and lemme tell ya! I'm hooked on hand sewing.


To make the shift front and back with gores, you cut out a wide rectangle and a narrow one, and sew them together, then lay it flat matching the seams and cut diagonally. that gives you two identical pieces and you haven't wasted any fabric!
The back has gores to conserve fabric.
As you can see in this photo, the sleeves are set on using gussets, a very common style. Every piece of this shift is either a square or a rectangle.
Another view of the back gores
I wore it for the first time at Historic Mansker's Station in April.