Saturday, January 5, 2013

First finished item of 2013: Big Cap of DOOM!

So I finally completed the Big Cap of DOOOOM that I started in the Costume College class Janea and Angela taught this summer.  I ripped out my lame hand-sewn stitches and machined most of the interior and did my machine's narrow hem on the cap edges. (Accuracy be damned, it looks SO much better now, I'm a terrible hand stitcher.) It's light and airy given it's silk organza and I wanted a BIG cap so I'd cut mine even bigger than the pattern.  And I got my wish, I have to say wearing this puppy makes me feel like Mrs. Miggins from Blackadder.

But there really WERE a lot of big honkin' caps out there in the 18th C so it's not totally out of the world of fantasy, here are some historic caps of DOOM:

So here's mine with the hedgehog styled "Lioness" wig:

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Colonial Williamsburg Symposiums

Burnley and Trowbridge mentioned these upcoming CW symposiums and I thought I'd pass the word along.   No more info on the Millinery symposium aside from the call for papers and the date but I'm intrigued! 

 October 20-22 2013

Symposium: Threads of Feeling Unraveled: The London Foundling Hospital's Textile Tokens

In association with Threads of Feeling, the loan exhibition of eighteenth-century textile tokens from the London Foundling Hospital that opens at the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum on May 25, 2013, Colonial Williamsburg is hosting a symposium that will explore these objects in context. When a mother left her infant at the Hospital during the mid-eighteenth century, she was asked for a token that was attached to the paper record, allowing her to later identify and reclaim her own child if her circumstances improved. Most of the tokens took the form of scraps of fabric, ribbons, or cuttings from the baby's own clothing, identified in the record by their period names. The textile swatches are an invaluable source for identifying everyday textiles and the clothing of infants. As part of the symposium, exhibit guest curator and noted author John Styles will present two lectures. His keynote lecture will give a "behind the scenes" look at the development of the Threads of Feeling exhibit that received rave reviews in London. Styles will also discuss the history of the Foundling Hospital, the London scene, what is known about the identity of the infants, and the various meanings that can be unraveled from the evocative tokens. Other lectures will discuss clothing for infants and children, what women wore during pregnancy, childhood and orphans in America, the use of similar textiles by adults in Britain and America, and the processes by which the textiles were created.
The Threads of Feeling exhibition was organized by the Foundling Museum in London and curated by John Styles. The artifacts are owned by Coram and stored at and cared for by the London Metropolitan Archives.
The Colonial Williamsburg exhibition of Threads of Feeling was supported in part by a grant from Mary and Clint Gilliland of Menlo Park, California, through the Turner-Gilliland Family Fund of the Silicon Valley Community Foundation.


March 16 - 19

Call for Papers: Millinery through Time

In 2014, Colonial Williamsburg’s Historic Trades Margaret Hunter Millinery Shop will celebrate its 60th anniversary. To mark this event, from March 16 through March 19, 2014, the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation will present a symposium highlighting Millinery through Time.
Throughout history, the millinery trade has changed, adapted, and thrived. Beginning as dealers of Milan wares, milliners evolved to encompass a business of a thousand things, and lately to specialize in a single product, hats. This symposium will explore the rich contribution that milliners and their trade have made to the past and present and look to future possibilities. Papers should address the people, fashion, merchandising, and trade work of the milliner from the 18th to the 21st centuries.
Researchers and designers are invited to submit 300-word abstract proposals for illustrated oral lectures 25 minutes in length. Paper proposals are due to Colonial Williamsburg for peer review by March 25, 2013; acceptances will be announced May 10, 2013. Those whose abstracts are selected for presentation will receive free symposium registration. Abstracts will be published in the symposium brochure.
Submit abstracts to:
Millinery Abstracts Attention: Janea Whitacre, Historic Trades Milliner Colonial Williamsburg Foundation P.O. Box 1776 Williamsburg, Virginia 23187 Or by email at
For general information about the symposium, contact Deb Chapman at 800-603-0948 or 757-220-7255 or via email at

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Historical Sew Fortnightly #0 - done!

#0 (the bonus challenge): Starting Simple – due 31 December. Finish a project, make a very simple garment, or something you have made before. I finished the bonus today! I got out the 18th C bonnet I'd started in Taylor's (of Dames a la Mode) class at Dress U and finished it today! I took some wide silk satin ribbon I had and pleated and tacked it to the bonnet as well as added a front bow to emmulate this sort of look of the top one on this research page of Taylor's as well as the hat Mrs. Dashwood wears in Sense and Sensibility. Here's what I ended up with, I had to try it on with my wig but stayed in my modern clothes so please excuse the black thermal shirt!!  LOL! taylorshat

Historical Sew Fortnightly Challenge

I've decided to join the Dreamstress' Historical Sew Fortnightly Challenge, it looks like such fun and will be a good nudge to sew and blog more. Here's the information on it:  

The Historical Sew Fortnightly

One year, a challenge every fortnight, and at the end of it, 26 fabulous historical garments.
The Historical Sew Fortnightly hosted by
How it works, and how you can participate.

The Challenges:

  • #0 (the bonus challenge): Starting Simple – due 31 December NZT.  Finish a project, make a very simple garment, or something you have made before.
  • #1: Bi/Tri/Quadri/Quin/Sex/Septi/Octo/Nona/Centennial – due 14 Jan.  Sew something from __13, whether it be 1913, 1613, or 13BC
  • #2: UFO - due Jan 28.  Let’s get something off our UFO pile! Use this opportunity to finish off something that’s never quite gotten done, or stalled halfway through.
  • #3: Under it all – due Feb 11.  Every great historical outfit starts with the right undergarments, and, just in time for Valentines day, here’s you’re excuse to make them. Chemises, corsets, corded petticoats, drawers, garters, stockings…if it goes under your garments, it qualifies.
  • #4: Embellish –  due Feb 25.  Decorations make the historical garment glorious. Whether you use embroidery, trim, pleating, lace, buttons, bows, applique, quilting, jewels, fringe, or any other form of embellishment, this challenge is all about decorative detail.
  • #5: Peasants & Pioneers – due March 11. As wonderful as making pretty, pretty princess dresses is, the vast majority of people have always been poor commoners, whether they were peasants working the land, servants in big houses, or (later), pioneers carving their own space in new lands. This fortnight let’s make something that celebrates the common man.
  • #6: Stripes - due March 25. The stripe is one of the oldest patterns, appearing in the earliest textile fragments and visual records of garments, and its never gone out of style since. Celebrate stripes with a striped garment. Will you go for grand baroque stripes, pastel rococo stripes, severe neoclassical stripes, elaborately pleated and bustled Victorian stripes, or something else entirely?
  • #7: Accessorize – due April 9.  Accessories add polish to your outfits, helping to create the perfect historical look. This week is all about bringing an outfit together. Trim a bonnet, paint a fan, crochet an evening bag, sew a shawl, or dye and decorate a pair of shoes to create the perfect period accessory for yourself.
I probably won't do all the challenges and I think I won't write what I'm doing for each challenge until we get to it because I have a way of following the costuming muse which means that plans often go out the window.  But for #0 I'm going to try to finish the 18th C bonnet I started in the class that  taught at Dress U.