This Fall’s FanU Fabric Swaps

It is still a beautiful summer, but I know fall will be here sooner than I like. It is time to start thinking about this fall’s FanU Fabric Swaps!

I know swappers have enjoyed each of the swaps over the past year and a half. It is nice to receive pretty fabrics in the mailbox over the course of a week or so. It is fun to play with the fabrics and see who makes what. 

For this fall, I am thinking of a few fun themes:

  • “Fallen Leaves” – Period fabrics with a leaf motif
  • “All Lined Up in a Row” – Just like a garden, we’ll swap fabrics with motifs all lined up in a row.
  • “I Couldn’t Live Without It!” – We’ve all done it. We just had to have that fabric, it just had to come home with us. And, there it sat. Now, is the chance to swap that fabric. (Or, if somehow you don’t have that piece (or just can’t part with it), pick the “it is just too fabulous!” fabric from your fabric shop to swap.
  • Bonus Swap – The Greene Swap – For those of us with Susan Greene’s book, Wearable Prints, we will be swapping fabrics similar to those in the pages of her book. You do not have to own the book to participate. You can borrow from a friend or the library. There may also be a few helpful hints online.

For the winter swap, I’m toying with the idea of exploring period colors. What do you think?

Published in: on July 23, 2014 at 5:09 pm  Comments (4)  

Readings for Rural Life

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

July 23rd, 1864

Sensible Talk About Waltzing

Waltzing is a profane and vicious dance always. When it is prosecuted in the center of a great crowd, in a dusty hall, on a warm and summer day, it is also a disgusting dance. Night is its only appropriate time. The blinding, dazzling gas light throws a grateful glare over the salient points of its indecency, and blends the whole into a wild whirl that dizzies and doses one; but the uncompromising afternoon, pouring in through the manifold windows, tears away every illusion, and reveals the whole coarseness and commonness and all the repulsive details of this most alien and unmaidenly revel. The very pose of this dance is profanity.

Attitudes which are the instinctive expression of intimate emotions, glowing rosy red in the auroral time of tenderness and unabashed freedom only by a long and faithful habitude of unselfish devotion, are here openly, deliberately and carelessly assumed by the people who have but a casual and partial society acquaintance. This I reckon profanity. This is levity the most culpable. This is a guilty and wanton waste of delicacy. That it is practiced by good girls and tolerated by good mothers, does not prove that it is good. Custom blunts the edge of many perceptions. A good thing soiled may be redeemed by good people; but waltz as much as you may, spotless maidens, you will only smut yourselves, and not cleanse the waltz. It is itself unclean.

There is another thing which girls and their mothers do not seem to consider. The present mode of dress renders waltzing almost as objectionable in a large room as the boldest feats of a French ballet-dancer. Not to put too fine a point on it, I mean that these girls’ gyrations, in the center of their gyrating and centrifugal hoops, makes a most operatic drapery display. I saw scores and scores of public waltzing girls last summer, and among them I saw but one who understood the art, or, at any time, who practiced the art of avoiding an indecent exposure. In the glare and glamour of gas-light it is only flash and clouds and indistinctness. In the broad and honest daylight it is not. Do I shock ears polite? I trust so. If the saying of shocking things might prevent the doing of shocking things I should be well content. And is it an unpardonable thing for me to sit alone in my own room and write about what you go into a great hall, before hundreds of strange men and women, and to?

I do not speak thus about waltzing because I like to say it; but ye have compelled me. If one member suffers, all the members suffer with it. I respect and revere woman, and I can not see her destroying or debasing the impalpable fragrance and delicacy of her nature and without feeling the shame and shudder in my own heart. Great is my boldness of speech toward you, because great is my glory of you. My opinions may be rustic – they are at least honest; and may it not be that the first impressions of any unprejudiced observer are as likely to be natural or correct views as these which are the result of many after-thoughts, long use, and an experience of multifold fascinations, combined with the original producing cause? My opinions may be wrong, but they can do no harm; they penalty will rest alone on me; while if they are right they may serve as a nail or two, to be fastened by the masters of assemblies. At. Monthly.


Published in: on July 23, 2014 at 6:05 am  Leave a Comment  

Readings for Rural Life

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

July 23rd, 1864

Female Independence

In the present age of the world, as, indeed, in all ages, female self-dependence and independence, are very seldom constitutes of the female character – the lack of which no intellectual nor moral accomplishment can supply. The modern female born and reared the younger portion of her life, perhaps, in the home circle, and when she has attained a proper age, is transported to a fashionable boarding school, where she may expand her intellect to the supposed utmost limits – where she attains, in her opinion, to the highest degree of female excellence, and enters upon the cares and vicissitudes of life. But upon departing from the parental roof, how very seldom has she been found to possess the most substantial basis of female honor and respect, vis: Independence!

In is conclusively proved that the female mind, if left unchained and free from all common lady traits, is capable of as broad expansion, and as sound thoughts, as the opposite sex; and although they have been heretofore the subjects of ridicule, and sometimes of public amusement on account of their innumerable foolish weaknesses and foibles – yet, by self-culture and independence of mind to resist the tempting allurements of the fashionable worl, and obey the dictates of common sense and sound judgment, they may lay up a store of information and science, which they now can not appreciate, because of their fondness of novels and fictitious writings, which they can summon to their use at all times, and which will prove a passport through cultivated society, more reliable and more respected than mere external beauty.

How common a circumstance it is to see young and middle-aged female puffed up with price and self-exaltation, who have not independence sufficient to oppose public opinion, but are guided wholly by the opinions of others and prevailing fashion! And how many devoted mothers sacrifice the comforts and even the necessaries of life to educate and accomplish their daughters, in whom, perhaps, there is not the least hope of future usefulness. It is a lamentable fact that the majority of females at the present day, have no more exalted view or aim in life than their own personal gratification in the way of dress and food, and allow their minds to grow gradually weaker until they are entirely engrossed in idle gossip or the most trivial subjects of earth.

But it may be asked how can this defect in female character be remedied? By simply turning our attention from trifles, applying our energy and zeal to some purer mental and moral excellence than is generally stained by those who are termed ladies.

If this great, visible defect could be supplied in the female mind, the world would be freed of a vast amount of female gossip and dependence upon others, and their views of life would be exalted; they would strive to emulate those who are worthy, and ere long the great fact would illumine their dependent minds, that by a little exertion on their part, a little more genuine thought, they might release themselves from  the fetter of entire dependence on male intellect, and gain such a store of knowledge as will be their guide and support at all times without the overseeing hand of man.

It is to be hoped that before many generations shall pass, females will avail themselves of independent minds, and stand before the world in the highest sense, ladies. A. Aikin. Tekonsha, Mich., 1864


Published in: on July 23, 2014 at 6:00 am  Leave a Comment  

Revisiting – Why This is Good

Some time has passed since this post. I know how useful some people found it. So, I thought it would be a good time to revisit it.

“Why This is Good…. Looking at Clothing”

There are two files – A smaller printable version and a larger Power Point. Each are attached in as PDFs for easy viewing. (Though it looks like the notes for the PP are not visible.)

Why This is a Good Impression - Printable Version

Why This is Good Impression Visual Extended Power Point 

You will notice in the smaller file there are specific types of impressions I want to add when I have the right images. These will be added to the larger PP as well.

If you submitted an image you do not see, this doesn’t necessarily mean it wasn’t up to par. More likely I either haven’t done those slides yet or it duplicates something I’ve already covered. It does seem the more I cover, the more I still need to cover.

If you are in an image you did not submit, feel flattered because someone thought you had a really great impression. If you want it removed, let me know.

Published in: on July 22, 2014 at 1:00 pm  Leave a Comment  

New Millinery Folio

This is a little better than the version a couple weeks ago.

PDF of Anna's Millinery Work

Published in: on July 22, 2014 at 8:00 am  Leave a Comment  

Yellow Silk Soft Crown Bonnet

???????????????????????????????When this silk arrived, it really wanted to be made up … It didn’t want to wait. So, I obliged.  This pale shade of yellow reminds me of the soft yellow of some blossoms, very light and delicate. ???????????????????????????????The brim is drawn on cane over buckram in the fashionable Marie Stuart shape, while the crown is soft draped over net with the center drawn on canes vertically. Inside the brim is a full organza frill that can be fluffed out as desired.  The decorative ties are wide regal blue satin while the functional ties are a white silk taffeta. ??????????????????????????????? Atop the brim, in the Marie Stuart dip is a cluster of purple flowers and a bow of the same ribbon as the ties, just in a narrower width. ??????????????????????????????? This bonnet had a new home even before it was finished. I understand it will meet the world at a special occasion.

Published in: on July 21, 2014 at 5:45 pm  Leave a Comment  

GCV’s Civil War Event – Late War Millinery

IMG_4587This was my second year in the Dressmaker’s Shop at the Genesee Country Village for their Civil War Encampment. As you can see Saturday morning was pleasant and sunny. You can also see the soldiers struck camp right up to my back door. While I was thinking this might make for some fun interaction, after-all I was prepared to say all my firewood was stollen as well as my wooden head forms. But, in the end, they kept to themselves. Well, except for eating all the beautiful black raspberries I was eyeing the night before.

Rather than interpreting the pretty pink building as a dressmaker’s shop, I dressed it as a Millinery. The blue and rose print interior makes for such a pleasant place to work in. You can see the working table and display table. (Yes, we did put it right over the stove. No firewood, no need for a stove.)


I wanted to bring a basic sampling of bonnets to show visitors. As I was working on a straw plait form, I would compare that to the woven straw in the middle, Vivian Murphy’s work. Then I would discuss the two finished fashion bonnets, left and right. We would also talk about the winter bonnet in the back and the sun bonnet just below. Many people asked about the veils. This was a good teaching point to explain the differences in the mourning veils and every day veils. (An interesting set-up/interpretation note – There was notably more touching this year than with with last year’s set up. This is good to know for determining what display pieces to bring and place where. The pink and grey was the most touched followed by Lily’s green when it sat on the empty stand.) Oh. Those wooden stands are the ones I made on Wed/Thursday last week. I’m rather pleased.


Here are the faux spools of ribbon I have been working on. I was excited to see them on the shelf. They aren’t quiet where I want them look-wise. I need to come up with a better way of doing the ends with the labels. That is why they are all up on end. Each roll is faked by using only a short piece of ribbon, usually 5-6″ but as short as a 3″ trapezoid, around a roll of original or mocked paper. I’m also planning to take my original ribbons, reproduced on white silk ribbon via the printer and make faux rolls out of those. In the works as well are sample cards. I started a set, but was not happy with the look… at all. So, back to the drawing board on those.
Faux Rolls of Ribbon

This was the “home” area for the weekend. The little day bed is napping suitable. The large cabinet is truly ideal. It reminds me a lot of the cabinet Dad had stripped for me when I was little. Those cabinets hold everything. It made storing food, supplies, etc very easy. It was okay if visitors opened the top because everything was period containers. We really didn’t need to have food out on the table at all. It did help as a reminder to actually eat though. IMG_4581I am utterly lacking in actual impression photos, worse than usual. All I have of myself are these “selfies” I played around with while it was raining in the morning. The bonnet is a coarse straw, meant to represent those made cheaply, worn by poorer women or those institutionalized. This can also be the “last remnants” straw of late war.


A Year in Millinery Fashion – 1864

Fig. 5 is an elegant bonnet of white silk edged with blue silk, and having a curtain and strings of the same. At the top, rather towards the left side, is a cockade of blue satin, with a mother of pearl centre and a few short white feathers. Blonde cap, having at the top a few bows of blue ribbon, with a rose and some buds. (Godey’s, July, 1864)


 Fig. 7 is a Mousquetaire hat drab straw, trimmed by two narrow bands of scarlet velvet, and having in front a plume of black and red feathers, and one large ostrich feather. (Godey’s, July, 1864)


Readings for Rural Life

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

July 16th, 1864

Woman’s Work Enlarged by the War.

The social condition of woman is being influenced by our civil, war, to a larger extent than is generally supposed. Silently and imperceptibly, and also rapidly and surely, a revolution is being effected which seems destined to accomplish the work of years in a few months, and produce an important and lasting change in all the relations of society. The withdrawal during the last three years of a million and a half of men from industrial pursuits, has produced a deficiency in the labor market which for some time past, has been opened to them which have been hitherto closed. The change is also hastened by the various trades combinations and the increase of wages, which makes it the interest of employers to seek other sources to supply the demand for laborers.


Published in: on July 16, 2014 at 6:00 am  Leave a Comment  

A Year in Millinery Fashion – 1864

Buff and salmon are very much used for the trimming of both bonnets and hats. On many of the bonnets a single flower is arranged on the outside. For instance, a water-lily, the leaves glistening with dew-drops. Or the bright tinted tulip. Of the latter flower we have seen many elegant specimens. Feathery, silvery, pearl, and silk grasses enter largely into the composition of moutures for bonents and headdresses. Upon examining the elegant, wavering grasses, we found the hundreds of little spikelets to be formed of mother-of-pearl and steel; but so tiny and delicate, that the least breath would set them in motion; and the various lights thrown on them caused them to glitter almost like jewels.

Large, fancy wheat ears in salmon or buff crepe, with long silky beards, form a very stylish trimming for a black horse-hair bonnet.

Much artistic skill is displayed in the arrangement of headdresses, though there is but little change in the style; nor will there be, until there is a decided change in the arrangement of the hair.

Sprays of pink coral, scarcely to be detected from the real article, arranged with grasses and shells, form a charming coiffure. Marie Antoinette tufts of the rarest flowers, and of the most graceful coloring, are to be found at Mme. Tilman’s. Of the tufts and half wreaths of which we have spoken in a previous article, we shall shortly give illustrations. Many other beautiful fantasies we could mention; but we must also speak of children’s hats.

For information we visited Mr. Genin’s establishment, 513 Broadway, New York. Among the newest and most becoming styles, are Arion, Casquet, and Armenia. The former has the crown tapering in front, and rounding at the back. The brim is narrow in front, runs to a point behind, and the edges are curled. The Casquet resembles the Arion, only that the brim is narrower and not curled. The Armenia has a high straight crown, narrow brim, which forms a curve both front and back, the sides being perfectly straight. In some of the models, the brim at the side consists merely of a tiny of velvet.

Besides the above mentioned styles there are many others; but the three we have named seem to be the favorites, and are to be had in all sizes from ladies to infants.

Some of the dress hats have a brim entirely covered with velvet. The principal timmings for ladies and misses are feathers and velvet. All kinds of feathers are brought to requisition – peacock’s, heron, king fisher’s, cock’s, and even eagle plumes.

For children, silk flowers, shells, wheat ears, and ribbons, are the accepted trimmings. Straw ribbons and tassels arranged with high colored velvets, are very dressy.

For school hats, the different shades of gray or cuir, and the mixed straws, are the most suitable both for misses and boys. The turban and Scotch styles, though old, are very much adopted, and with the mask veil and the hair arranged en Grecque, present quite a jaunty and pretty appearance. They are suitable, however, only for misses.

Where ribbon is used, it generally terminates in long streamers at the back. Frequently, however, narrow ribbon velvet is laid in deep points round the crown fastening underneath, a tuft of feathers or flowers in front.

A drawn rosette of salmon-colored crepe lisse, with a scarf of the same, edged with a delicate straw fringe, forms a very light and pretty trimming for a hat.

For little boys, there are numerous; some have a round crown, with rolled brim. These are generally of a plain colored straw, trimmed with a band of blue or brown ribbon, fastened at the side with a pearl clasp. More fanciful shapes are trimmed with an aigrette, consisting of a small rosette of peacock’s feathers, from which spring three straight feathers or a wing. The sailor-shaped hat is also fashionable.

Infants’ hats are generally of white straw, bound with velvet, either a bright blue, lilac, or cherry. Narrow bands of the same encircle the crown, and, in front, a short white plume is caught with a bow of white ribbon. For a boy the plume passes over the crown, for a girl it falls at the side. (Godey’s, July, 1864)


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