Friday, August 9, 2013

1911 corset

I'm working on a new project! (not like the bots that hit up my blog care, but I do have two whole followers and no one else to talk to about these things)

  1. It's August, so it's boiling hot.
  2. I live in sundresses. I have lots of them. I have sundresses for the dog park, I have sundresses for slumming around the house, I have sundresses for weekends, I have sundresses for work.
  3. I am so sick of half of them that I wouldn't even wear them to the DOG PARK, so I'm thinning out my collection. 
  4. I have yards and yards of super cute fabric from thrift stores, that I bought to make myself more sundresses to replace the ones that are going to Goodwill.
  5. I have a super cute dress pattern that would also make me confront my fear of setting zippers, enabling me to add a key skill to my repertoire. 

So can you guess what I'm making?

An Edwardian corset, of course! (practicality is not one of my strong points)

This is actually a continuation of Project... 2? I think? The one for the corset sew-along that Jo from Bridges on the Body did a while back. I want to up my sewing game and for that I need to start sewing more complicated things. My sewing friend (who I admire and adore) from the Internet gave me this advice:

"You need the Patterns of Fashion books. Google them and then look at images. Museum garments. Pick one and do it from scratch, from drafting the pattern to fitting a muslin to embroidery and you will be an expert. The books are worth the price."

And THEN she sent me a gift card so I could buy one! Those books have been on my wish list for years but I've always been too intimidated to try anything from them. But no one ever accomplished anything by avoiding challenges so I'm going to try my very best to make my friend (and me) proud.

Since I already have everything I need for the corset, I decided to get Patterns of Fashion 2 so I can make an Edwardian outfit to go along with it.

I finished sewing the corset panels together last night. Here they are, beautifully displayed on the top of my dog's crate:

Left and right side laid flat...

This would be the front...

And this would be the back...

For the dress, I think I'm going to make this one. It's kind of boring, but looks pretty straightforward. Maybe I can jazz it up.

It was originally made of linen, and I have about 5 yds of tan linen that I got at Savers. The weave might be too coarse compared to the original, but I wouldn't know. Not like I have anywhere to wear it anyway, unless I throw a Halloween party. And if I do ever find an event where I can wear a 1908 summer day dress, well, real historical costumers love having farbs like me to laugh at, so it would have some entertainment value at least.

EDIT: While choosing labels for this post, it came to my attention that the 1911 corset is a POST-Edwardian corset. But it would still work for this dress, right? Right??

Monday, August 5, 2013

Old letters: Lizzie writes to her mother, 1890

In this edition of special posts, Lizzie writes to her mother. She refers to a preacher coming from New Market, but I don't know where that is, and of a funeral in Stringtown, which was in Hays County between San Marcos and New Braunfels.

In the letter, Lizzie refers to an Eva, and also a Mrs. Mercer. My previous old letter post (letter dated August 1912) was from Mrs. D. Mashias to Mrs. Eva Mercer, and Mrs. D. Mashias refers to Eva as "sister" in that letter. Is Lizzie Mrs. D. Mashias? Did Eva marry Mrs. Mercer's son?

I like Lizzie. I get the impression that she was a bit sassy and opinionated and fun to be around.

I just noticed the imprint of the fist holding lightening bolts at the top left corner of the first page. I wonder what that means?

Since there aren't any paragraph breaks in the letter, I split it up below according to the pages of the letter to make it easier to read.

[FROM: Lizzie TO: Mother / October 26, 1890]

Oct. 26th 1890
Sabbath-eve at home

Dear Mother,

When you get this you will have Eva's letter which she wrote yesterday telling you how anxious we are to hear from you so it would be jolly to repeat. We were out to Sabbath School had an attendance of 66. Mr. George preached his last sermon last S_____ and we are to have another man. There was one from New Market here last Tuesday night. He is trying to form a new circuit and have our class belong to that. His name was Mr. Garry. I don't think he will suit us at all, for he dident act nor talk like

any of the Methodist preachers I ever saw. I move that they stop some where else for it gets to be an old time. He came here about the middle of the afternoon & did not come in the house till about dark. I did not know who he was thought he must be some peddler or a grub [?], but nevertheless he turned out to be a preacher. I did not make any extra fuss just let him take what the rest of us did. He went away the next morning, and I was most awful glad of it for I did not want to stay at home and get dinner, as I was going to Mr. Baker's funeral. Mrs. Mercer, Kate, Dora, Eva, Fay & I went in the buggy. Mr. Baker died Monday night between 9 & 10 o'clock 

was buried at Stringtown. I guess she was left in destitute circumstances. Mr. Barr took sick Saturday about noon with congestion of the kidneys. Got so bad that they sent for Jennie and McCluney, but they said today he was getting better so he was able to walk around. Ella said that Winfields intend to go home in about two weeks if he can not get any work before that time. Mr. Woods is here now came last wk. some time. I should think John would want them to quit coming for they had about all they could accommodate before. Well I begin to feel sleepy but know you won't wonder much when I tell you I was out three nights last week 

Tuesday to Straits to a party Thursday to Mercers for a party and Friday to Singing School, but did not stay late any night. Don't know of any party this week that I will go to so I can stay at home this week and make up for last week. Jake wants us to have one but I told him I could not for you was gone. I am going to make my dress this week or that is the calculation now. Got a good color of it I think. Now mother as this is the third or fourth letter to your one I will stop and give you a chance. Write immediately. Love to all from your forgotten daughter Lizzie.