My current wish to-make list. It only seems challenging when it is to be finished by Thanksgiving.
As many of you know, I am working on a not so little project. I have been trying hard (really, really hard) to keep quiet about what I am doing and what I am finding. But, I am horrible at keeping my own secrets. I’ve slipped. I’ve hinted. I’ve nearly screamed out-loud, jumping up and down, “you’ve got to see this!”
This has very much become a project of “Yet.”
In a world where we look for common construction techniques and norms in materials, it is rather exciting to be working on something where all sorts of materials and construction techniques.
I really feel as though when I say “I have not seen that yet“, “yet” is truly a “I just might see that” or an “it wouldn’t surprise me if” or a “let me see it”, rather than a “that wasn’t common” or a “they really didn’t do that.”
How fun is this:Cotton batting/wadding… yep Wool batting/wadding ….yep TBD wadding… yep Paste-board… yep Paper… yep Woven straw… yep Cotton cording… yep Stiff paper cording… yep Silk…. yep Cotton… yep Wool… yep Fur …. yep Beads… yep Ribbon… yep Drawn… yep Gauged… yep Gathered…. yep Piecing… yep Selvages… yep
Now, this said, I am one who loves patterns, trends and tendencies. I would love to chart out the years, the regions, the urban to suburban, the age of maker/sewer, and anything else I can to get an even better understanding.
From Moore’s Rural New-Yorker in Rochester, NY
Oct 22nd, 1864
The Expression of Dress – Women are more like flowers than we think. In their dress and adornment they express their nature, as the flower do in their petals and colors. Some women are like the modest daisies and violets, they never look or feel better than when dressed in a morning wrapper. Others are not themselves unless they can flame out in gorgeous dyes, like the tulip of bush rose. Who has not seen women just like white lilies? We know several double marigolds and poppies. There are women fit only for velvets, like the dahlias; others are graceful and airy, like the azaleas. Now and then you see hollyhocks and sunflowers. Then women are free to dress as they like, uncontrolled by others, and not limited by their circumstances, they do not fail to express their true characters, and dress becomes a form of expression very genuine and useful. – Meredith.
Bonnet suitable for very light mourning. It is of eased black silk, with a full piece of white silk, edged with lace, laid on the bonnet from the crown to the front. A black feather is fastened at the side of the crown with a bow of white ribbon. The cape is of white silk, edged with black lace. This inside trimming is formed of violet and white velvet. (Godey’s, October, 1864)
Cuir-colored silk bonnet, with a cape of white crepe covered with rich blonde. The trimming is place on top of the bonnet, and is formed of bands of Solferino velvet and feathers. The inside trimming is tulle and Solferino flowers. (Godey’s, October, 1864)
Bonnet of white silk, with
puffed front and cap crown. The cape is very short, and raised on the right
side it display a rose and bud. A bunch of roses with leaves is placed over the
crown. Roses and black velvet with blonde are arranged as an inside trimming. (Godey’s,
Last night, E.T. shared Robert Dowling’s Breakfasting Out, Britain 1859 in one of the Fb groups discussing the tea drinking. My eyes went to the basket placed on top of a woman’s head, on top of what looked like a fashion bonnet via my little phone’s screen. All I could think is:
“I must be seeing this wrong.”
So, I had to see this close-up. Thank you National Gallery of Australia.
Not only was I seeing a basket on top of a fashion bonnet, but a straw bonnet. I…um…..???
With previous thoughts, I would have imagined holding a basket on top of a sunbonnet or a soft bonnet such as a hood. But, a structured bonnet? A straw bonnet? What about the straw? the flowers? Squash?
Okay, maybe the painting is showing us some damage to the bonnet – the slit on the lower edge of the tip and the maybe spot on the brim. Maybe these are just shadows. Okay, maybe this is a lower brim bonnet. Maybe she doesn’t have any flowers. Yes, it could be an older bonnet. Yes, it could be her form of a working bonnet. Yes, straw held a wide range of qualities.
We have a bonnet treated as a working bonnet with a fashionable curve to the brim. She seems to consider it durable enough to handle the weight of the basket and contents (which appear to be leafy greens and a cloth.)
The rest of her attire: Red plaid shawl wrapped around the shoulders and upper body. Possibly a two piece sacque & skirt combination is suggested by the fabric that falls to the hips over a different color skirt, likely wool. The bodice sleeves are rolled up, revealing a white lining. The skirt and apron appear to be pulled up in front. A hint of horizontal striping is under the lift of the skirt. This may be a work petticoat or a corded petticoat. Her boots are worn, very square in the two, with a low heel and off-center closure that I can’t quite identify as buttoning or lacing. Her stockings are light color, white and a bit slouched.
While I’m looking at this, I should also note the other two straw bonnets in the painting. The older woman is wearing a shape/style popular in the 40s with more width than height. The younger woman sipping her coffee has a smaller bonnet is a shape fashionable for the mid 50s with flowers placed primarily along the sides. She appears to either be traveling or shopping to me.
From Moore’s Rural New-Yorker in Rochester, NY
Oct 15th, 1864
Wine Versus Temperance
Physicians often recommend poisons for the cure of certain diseases. It is probably on the same principle that wine is said to be an antidote for intemperance. As fatal disorders in the physical system require harsh methods for relief, so, we are told, the great panacea for this malady of the social body is pure juice of the grape!
There are those who urge that a plentiful supply of unadulterated grape wine would have a tendency to throw out of use the poor whisky with which the market is flooded. This may be so, but it seems to us that the temperance cause will not be very materially advanced by the change. We cannot see why a man who drink to excess would not be just as wiling to get drunk upon pure sweet wine, as upon the poisonous product of the still, provided he could get one as easily and cheaply as the other. We cannot but think that those who recommend the extensive manufacture of wine are advocating an experiment that is fraught with the greatest danger.
Just at this time, when the temperance reform is again attracting attention, and the pledge of total abstinence being circulated, it seems somewhat startling to hear prominent members of horticultural societies say that they cannot recommend any grape for general cultivation unless it will make a good wine.
Fermented grape juice is admitted to be alcoholic, if alcoholic then it is intoxicating, and if it is intoxicating and becomes plenty and cheap, then it is dangerous. No true friend of the temperance movement can refure to take the pledge of total abstinence. If he does that, he excludes from the list of his indulgences, wine. The whole fraternity, then, of temperance men is committed against this beverage. This being the case it seems a strange anomaly that persons of influence and distinction, persist in advocating the extensive manufacture of wine, and urge as their strongest plea that it will be a death-blow to intemperance! They tell us that among the vine-clad hills of Italy, and upon the vineyard-skirted banks of the Rhine, where wine is almost as free and plenty as water, intemperance is nearly unknown. This may be true and yet not destroy our position. American character and society are essentially different from either Italian, German or French. What is a blessing there, might prove to be a curse to us.
The ancient wise man, when he said “strong drink is raging,” did not refer to whisky or beer. They are products of a later age than his. Distilleries were not among the institutions of the ancient Jews. His words of condemnation were uttered against wine, sparkling, innocent wine! Let us have grapes, simple and fresh, and be satisfied with them. Let them be as plenty and cheap as we can make them. Let the people eat and be contented. Grapes are healthy, “Wine is a mocker.” W.S.F. Verona, Oneida Co., N.Y., 1864
A white silk bonnet, with soft crown of plaid velvet. In the front is a piece of plaid velvet and a tuft of white feathers. Inside is a white tulle cap and scarlet velvet flowers. (Godey’s, October, 1864)
The front is composed of black silkased. The crown is soft, and made of plaid silk, so also is the cape. A bunch of variegated flowers is on the left side the inside is a ruching of white tulle, bright flowers, and grasses. (Godey’s, October, 1864)
Bonnet for light mourning. The front is of black silk, with a fall of chenille fringe drooping over the front. The crown and cape are of white silk, trimmed with a chenille fanchon. The inside trimming is white roses, black grass, and white tulle. (Godey’s, October, 1864)
From Moore’s Rural New-Yorker in Rochester, NY
October 8th, 1864
I have a slate hanging in my pantry with a pencil attached, upon which we are accustomed to write down such domestic concerns as need attention. For instance, upon one side of it is now written, “Send for corn-meal, starch and lamp chimney.” “Examine butter firkin.” “Engage onions of Mr. Allen to-morrow.” These are for my own attention, while upon the other side the girl is reminded to “Brown coffee; gather beans for drying.” “Scald the bread box.” “Wash cellar shelves.” Whenever I find any little item that needs attention either from myself of the girl, I trust it to my slate, and find it much safer than to run the risk of remembering it at the right time. You often hear housekeepers exclaiming “There, I forgot entirely to send for such a thing – or do such a thing, and now it is too late.” Try the slate.
Another – Beside the slate hangs a small blank book, also furnished with a pencil, in which I keep an account of my household expenses. The pages are variously headed “Flour,” “Sugar,” “Meat,” “Butter,” &c., with an extra page, above, I put the amount which I have decided by careful estimate is all we can afford to spend monthly, or yearly, (I have tired both ways) for the article designated. Then I enter every purchase made under its appropriate head, giving date, quantity, price and amount. At the close of each month it is easy to see whether we live within our income or not. You farmer’s wives may think this neither possible nor useful for you, but I assure you if you would once try it you would find a satisfaction from it that would abundantly repay the trouble. I recommend it most earnestly, however, for the wives of salaried men, and mechanics whose income is fixed, and who purchased the staples for their family consumption. E.H.M.
White silk bonnet, with a double cape of Eugenie blue silk. The bonnet is bound with blue silk, and the puffings are also of blue silk. Black and white grasses with a few scarlet berries are arranged on the outside of the bonnet, and also form part of the inside trimming. (Godey’s, October, 1864)
A white silk drawn bonnet, edged with black velvet and white drop buttons. The trimming is composed of crimson tulips and white feathers. (Godey’s, October, 1864)
A black Neapolitan bonnet, with a white crepe cape covered with white blonde. The trimming of the bonnet is black lace, black ribbon, and salmon-colored flowers. (Godey’s, October, 1864)
Bonnets still continue very small, with scarcely any curtain at the back. Quantities of tulle are used, and this is a most becoming style. (Peterson’s, October, 1864)
My hands are pretty cold. So, these might be short descriptions…
This is mom’s soap. It is a lavender.
This is mom’s butter. Plain. Hand-churned in one of the churns.
This is Mom’s pickled beets.
Um, I know this I mom’s. But, I’m not sure what other than sweet pickles.
Mom’s corn bread. There were several entries.
Here are Lily’s entries. I’m pretty sure I missed 2 photos.
This was a favorite. The cows really stand out in person. Nice!
Here is Lily’s pocket, like mine.
Lily’s apple and cranberry pie with crumb topping.
Lily’s white bread.
Here are two of her other photos. I need to get her out for the blooming spring colors.