FanU Fallen Leaves Fabric Swap!!

Today is the day to sign-up for the FanU Fallen Leaves Swap!

For the Fallen Leaves Swap, Swappers will exchange early to mid nineteenth century appropriate cotton fabrics with leaf motifs. These can include organized leaves, leaves used in a stripe motif and others reproduced from the century. We will mail our fabrics on September 10th.

Please read all the details below. 

To Sign-up, simply comment below with your email and mailing address. (I’ll erase those before approving your comment, so the whole world doesn’t have that info.)

What is a Swap?

This is a chance for to exchange fabric with a small group of people. Each group will have 8 people exchanging pieces of fabric. All you need is a half yard of fabric and envelopes along with your copy of Fanciful Utility.

To Participate:

1: Sign Up Day!
On sign-up day, groups will be assigned on a first-in basis; the first eight will be the first swap group, second eight in the second group, etc. **Please be certain you will be able to fully participate by mailing your fabrics on the Mail-Out Date.**

“Fallen Leaves” Swap Sign-Up Day: September 1st
“All Lined Up in a Row” Swap Sign-Up Day: October 1st
“I Couldn’t Live Without It!” Sign-Up Day: November 1st

Bonus The Greene Swap Sign-Up Day: November 15th


2: Mail-Out Day:
Place a 9×9″ piece of fabric suited to the mid-19th century in envelopes for each of the 7 other people in your swap group, stamp them (be sure to double check at the post office, but the small 9×9″ pieces should mail in a regular envelope with a normal stamp), and send them off no later than the Mail-Out Day.

“Fallen Leaves” Swap Sign-Up Day: September 10th
“All Lined Up in a Row” Swap Sign-Up Day: October 10th
“I Couldn’t Live Without It!” Sign-Up Day: November 10th

Bonus The Greene Swap Sign-Up Day: December 1st


3: Get Fanciful!
Use your Fanciful Utility templates and techniques to make a project from the book, or copy your own from 19th century sources. We’ll all look forward to seeing your projects! You don’t have to sew right away, but don’t keep us waiting forever to see all the fun things!

(If you need a copy of Fanciful Utility, you can purchase them from the publisher at

Fabric Guidelines:

  1. For the cotton and silk categories, your fabric should be early to mid-nineteenth century appropriate. (If there is a want for an earlier or later group, we can do that.) Prints and motifs should reflect those available in the 1840s, 50s and 60s. Cotton should be 100% cotton. Silk should be 100% silk.
  2. To keep the swap and sewing possibilities interesting, please avoid solids as best we can.
  3. Fabrics that do not work well for sewing cases should not be swapped. These include sheers, gauzes, heavy, thick, easy-to-fray, slippery and stretch fabrics.
  4. For the “crazy swap” category, think crazy quilt in a sewing case. This could include satins, velvets, textured fabrics. Quality synthetic fabrics are invited.

Swapper Guidelines:

  1. Please be certain you can fully participate in the swap before you sign-up.
  2. If something arises after you sign-up that will effect the date you are mailing your fabrics, please email your group so everyone is aware.
  3. If you fail to fully participate in a swap, you will not be able to sign-up for future swaps. (We do understand medical and family emergencies. I need to be able to ensure swappers will receive fabrics when they send fabrics out.)


Yes, you can participate in 1, 2 or 3 of the swaps.

Yes, if we end up with multiple groups, you can participate in more than one group to swap more fabric. If you participate in 2 groups, you should swap 2 fabrics.

Yes, you can swap large and small scale prints.

Yes, you can swap now and sew later.

Yes, we would love to see what you’ve made with the swapped fabric.

Yes, you can use your own fabric in your swapped project.

Published in: on September 1, 2014 at 6:00 am  Leave a Comment  

A Year in Millinery Fashion – 1864

Bonnet of white chip, trimmed with a long white plume. The inside trimming is of Ophelia velvet. (Godey’s, September, 1864)


Bonnets – The capes of the bonnets have almost entirely disappeared. In fact, in Paris, not only the capes, but the crowns also, have disappeared. The bonnets there, during the past summer, have consisted of a straw or tulle front, profusely ornamented with flowers and lace, and only a half-handkerchief of lace falling over the hair at the back, this being trimmed with sprays of flowers – no crown, no cape. It will be seen that we are fast approaching thse models by one of our wood-cuts. Still, the apprehension of neuralgia will prevent us from adopting this style in full for the winter. A Paris authority says:

“The bonnet shape, as it now stands, is small in every respect, and is not intended to hide either hair or face; on the contrary, it seems rather to connive at showing both. The mass of hair at the back, the bandeaux in front, the ears and ear-rings are all left unconcealed. A vast quantity of both white and colored tulle is worn about the bonnets of the present day, which proves soft and vastly becoming, when brought in such close contact with the skin, and will be found advantageous to both old and young faces. Long tulle strings are very general; and tulle is frequently arranged in such away as to do away with the necassity of a cap at the sides. Instead of being placed as a scarf upon the outside of the front, it is placed upon the edge, thus falling half inside and half outside the bonnet; a quilling is then unnedassary, the plain tulle scarf providing equally as becoming, and not crushing so easily as the quilled blonde.” (Peterson’s, September, 1864)

Published in: on September 1, 2014 at 1:01 am  Leave a Comment  

Fetch My Veil

“I will be in my chamber. Will you be kind enough to fetch my veil” (Madame Vastra, Doctor Who, Series 8, Episode 1.)

I rather liked the veil aspect of this Doctor Who episide. It made me giggle and reflect. Personally, I enjoy wearin veils with my bonnets. I did not think I would. I thought I would feel claustrophobic, as I do with other things, or have difficulty breathing. This is not the case with either of my silk gauze veils. Instead, I find them a comfortable relief from the brightness of the sun and irritation of dust. I also find people’s reactions to me or to the veil, I can not say for certain which it actually is, interesting. I find some people stear away from me, won’t talk to me or even won’t look at me as I walk by. This has its advantages and disadvantages in an interpretive setting. I get to the outhouse or office without delay. I also make people less comfortable, decreasing conversation. I need to initiate conversation.
Then came this excellent train of thought in the story-line. Happy me.
In the days following, I lost two online auctions for reseasrch items I Really wanted. Really, Really wanted in the very last seconds despite being the only watcher. Very unhappy me.
Sulking about, I stumbled across this piece being sold as antique lace yardage.
Now, I don’t know much about lace, but I know a veil when I see one. Mine. Happy me.
It arrived today. I am quiet pleased with my cheer-me-up purchase.


This is the lower edge motif:


The side photo didn’t come out as well:


The center (I would call this a field on a shawl) has dots and flowers:


The top is a tiny rolled hem:


I had figured the veil was drawn up (gathered) through the loops. Nope. I was estatic to see the tiny cord runing through the rolled hem:



As far as damage, these are the spots I found:



Not so bad for a cheer-me-up.

“When did you stop wearing your veil?”
“When you stopped seeing it.”

Published in: on August 30, 2014 at 7:16 pm  Comments (1)  

Readings for Rural Life

Anna Worden Bauersmith:

I am reblogging a few posts from earlier this year because there has been some recent discussion of working and domestic working attire.

Originally posted on If I Had My Own Blue Box::

From Moore’s Rural New-Yorker in Rochester, NY

August 6th, 1864

Dried Fruit for Soldiers

Mrs. E. J. Roberts, Secretary of the Soldiers Aid Society, New Haven, Mass., has issued the following circular:

Dried Fruit vs. Jellies. – As the time of fruits has again come round, we would remind our friends in town and country that the Sanitary Commission has expressed a decided preference for dried fruits, instead of jellies, for the army, on account of the waste and breakage from fermentation during the heat of the summer, and the difficulties of packaging. The high price of sugar is an additional recommendation to dried fruit. The following recipes are considered good:

Fruit dried with sugar, &c., – to a pound of currants put a quarter pound of sugar. Boil together for a minute – that is, let them just come to the boiling – spread them on plates…

View original 575 more words

Published in: on August 29, 2014 at 7:47 pm  Leave a Comment  

Readings for Rural Life

Anna Worden Bauersmith:

I am reblogging a few posts from earlier this year because there has been some recent discussion of working and domestic working attire.
(I just saw a mis-spelling. Oops)

Originally posted on If I Had My Own Blue Box::

From Moore’s Rural New-Yorker in Rochester, NY

April 30th, 1864

Wherewithal Shall We be Clothed

I was much pleased with an article in the Rural (March 26th,) on hook skirts, but I should have been more so if so sensible a person, as a writer evidently is, had told us what (in her opinion) woman should wear. I can not think the former custom of wearing a half dozen skirts to make a figure to come up to the fashionable standard, less objectionable as regards health. Then what are we to wear? There is certainly a great need of a revolution in ladies’ clothing, especially farmer’s wives and daughters; and I think it would have been effected long since, but that ladies of wealth and fashion have not felt it so much an encombrance as they would if they were mechanically employed, and, as Faith Wayne…

View original 549 more words

Published in: on August 29, 2014 at 7:45 pm  Leave a Comment  

Readings for Rural Life

Anna Worden Bauersmith:

I am reblogging a few posts from earlier this year because there has been some recent discussion of working and domestic working attire. Notice at the bottom of this post there are links to several additional articles.

Originally posted on If I Had My Own Blue Box::

From Moore’s Rural New-Yorker in Rochester, NY

April 23rd, 1864

Working Dresses.

It is not my province to dictate any particular form of dress; but when, as is often the case, I see wives and daughters doing their necessary housework with crinoline and long skirts, or in other words, in full dress, I am led to inquire why will they not use their good judgment in this as in other particulars, and accommodate their dress to their duties.

Now, just take some of those long dresses that have become faded at the bottom and in front, take out the front breadths, leaving about five, tear off the bottom leaving the skirt long enough to come half way from the knees to ankle joints, use the parts taken out for pants, prepare skirts to suit the length of the dress, running “shurs” in one for three or four hoops…

View original 403 more words

Published in: on August 29, 2014 at 7:41 pm  Leave a Comment  

Black & White on Straw

???????????????????????????????I’ve been delayed in sharing this bonnet. I actually thought I had.

This straw for a local client who was inspired by the black and white drawn bonnet.






The straw form is made of the French plait I’ve come to like so much. It has a flattering brim height and shape. The bonnet’s shape and size fit her perfectly.

Inside the brim is an organza frill and colorful assortment of flowers.

This bonnet took a whole lot’a ribbon. The bavolet is pieced bias cut sections of the ribbon. The fashion ties are a full yard long each. Then a full, four loop bow decorates the exterior. ??????????????????????????????? ??????????????????????????????? ???????????????????????????????


Published in: on August 28, 2014 at 2:15 pm  Comments (2)  

Readings for Rural Life

From Moore’s Rural New-Yorker in Rochester, NY

Aug 27th 1864

Dried Fruits for Soldiers

The following letter from a lady to the New York Tribune, who has been an army nurse needs no endorsement – it needs only to be read.

“I noticed with pleasure to-day your remarks calling attention to those living in the country to a simple way of drying currants, &c., for the use of the soldiers, both sick and well. This matter should receive wide attention – acid fruit being a necessity for those who live on the unvarying “ration” in a warm climate, also counteract the brackish water they are often obliged to drink. Currants, raspberries, blackberries, gooseberries, whortleberries, grapes, plums and pie-plant, cut into pieces and stewed in its own juice, are all equally good saved in this way, and more desired than jellies and preserves, besides being easier made and cheaper now, considering the price of sugar, so that there is every reason why all our good women should take hold of this work.

“When dried, the fruit is saved in strong paper bags, or those made of old muslin. A little of the dried fruit put in his tin cup and hot water poured on, with a trifle more sugar, makes a home-like relish for the hard tack to the weary and worn soldier after hard service in the field of on picket. Would that all “the boys” laying in the trenches before Petersburg could have a supply of what they so much need for health, and which every woman would gladly prepare where the idea suggested to her. In neighborhoods where a profusion of the small fruits can be had for the picking, not a quart of them should be allowed to go to waste while this war lasts. Thousands of valuable lives would be saved could the men have what they so greatly crave, “something sour.”

The good ladies in Orange county also prepare a refreshing drink from currant juice, which is a next to lemons in value. To one quart of currant juice add one pound of sugar, and boil and skim; this keeps all the year in bottles or kegs. Other acid juice, also, could be prepared with little trouble, and raspberry vinegar is eagerly asked for by female nurses for their wounded patients in Southern hospitals.


Published in: on August 27, 2014 at 6:01 am  Leave a Comment  

A Summer I’m Rather Fond Of

I hope you all don’t mind a more personal post.
With school starting back up next week, my summer season is wrapping up. I can’t help but reflect fondly.
This summer, I……
– got my groove back. I felt wholy me, myself more than I have in a long, long time.
– enjoyed every moment I could with my husband. This was truly a delightful, fun and playful summer for us. (I think this is why I most do not want the summer to end.
– sewed until 1 am, woke in the mornings and napped in the afternoons.
– made 18 bonnets (the goal was 1 a week) that went near and far.
– let a little research project explode into a big huge research project with a life of its own.
– enjoyed sunshine, corn I could eat, neighborhood cats and squirrel friends, train rides, and parks.
– had a blast in a little shop surrounded by color and texture and people.
We didn’t get to do everything we wanted; not everything turned out as we thought. But, it has been such a good summer; such a summer to be fond of.

Published in: on August 25, 2014 at 4:51 pm  Comments (1)  

A Year in Millinery Fashion – 1864

In bonnets, bombazine, crape Maretz silk covered with crape, and all crape with crape ruche inside, are the only styles admissible for deep mourning.

There is no dress that requires more discretion in the choice and arrangement than that called second mourning, but it is one of the most elegant, when well selected.

For half mourning at this season of the year, Mme. Demorest is making black grenadine richly trimmed with flutings and silk, or ribbon quilled and laid on in various designs, while an endless variety of chine grenadines, lustiness, crapes, and Mozambiques, in black, gray, and lavender, give ample scope for a display of taste in all the gradations of mourning dress.

Some very beautiful designs in shawls have been exhibited this summer, in black grenadine with a border composed of white and violet stripes edged with a heavy silk fringe.

Basquines and circulars made in lusterless silk, and without trimming, are in light mourning.

For a half mourning bonnet black tulle puffed and trimmed with violet; or, for full dress, white crape covered with black lace and trimmed with violet flowers and violet strings; the latter is very much admired as a reception bonnet.

One of the most elegant bonnets we have seen this season was composed of a new material having the appearance of fine Tarleton and velvet woven together to form small diamonds; the bonnet was covered plain with the material, while a simple, trailing vine of black ivy leaves, veined with white, fell over the crown and cape inside; white and black flowers and white strings. (Godey’s, August, 1864)




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