How have I not seen this painting before? Preparing for a Walk, by Samuel Baldwin, adorns a speckling of blogs and book covers. Yet, I had not seen it before today.

It shows a wide brimmed, shallow crown, dark brown straw hat trimmed in a red ribbon from both the front and back thanks to the mirror.

I am going to need some dark brown straw.

Published in: on March 24, 2017 at 2:00 pm  Comments (2)  

Today’s Millinery – Chapeau Cloche

Want a hat with an oval shallow crown and a brim that is just a bit wider while it dips for a little more shapes? 

How about a Chapeau Cloche. 

This fashionable Civil War era hat has a wide brim that both curves down all around while dipping in front. It is meant for country or seaside wear. 

This hat will best fit someone who prefers an oval hat. The crown measures 20″ inside. (Average)

Visit my Etsy shop for this hat

Published in: on March 23, 2017 at 4:19 pm  Leave a Comment  

2017 Spring Sew Along – A Rolled Sewing Case – Information

Hollow sewing cases or housewives seem to appear during the mid-nineteenth century and continue through the beginning of the twentieth century. Today, we will look at different examples. Note: this is one item where there are few examples with images publicly available. I recommend looking at your local collections for additional pieces.

1To the right is a sampling trio of hollow sewing cases. The top is the accompanying illustration for a housewife published in Peterson’s Magazine in 1862, Arthur’s Home Magazine in December of 1863, August 1864, and Godey’s  Lady’s Book in 1864 (directions follow). The bottom left is an undated sewing case of similar construction that I suspect is late 19th century based on the sewing and accompanying advertisement. (The image in Pinterest links only to a Flicker account that I have not been able to find the original image or location in.) To the right is another broken Pinterest link. This one is noted as an early twentieth century example attributed to Shakers. The use of this material can be found earlier.  The seams appear to be hand sewn.


To the left are three examples attributed to Shakers from Willis Henry Auctions, sold in 2011. (Note the examples are not to scale.) Notice each is a single, solid color interior silk. The blue example is 9 1/2″ long. Just the very edge of the binding can be seen on the open tube center. This example has a single pocket, a scissors holder, and embroidered wool needle pages. The red one is 5 3/4″ long. This image allows us to see a spool inside the hollow tube. Note: I do not believe these scissors go with this case as it will not easily roll closed with those handles. Both of these appear to have had ribbon tie closures. The yellow example is a later piece. Notice the snap closure. This small case has three spools and needle pages. This one is 3 1/2″ wide.

Additional Examples:



Materials.—A piece of black cloth, eight and one-half inches long, five and one-half inches wide; a piece of toile  circe the same size; one and one-half yard of blue sarsnet ribbon; one skein of coarse black purse silk; a few needle-fuls of various colored silks; buttons, etc.

The stars are worked either of one or in several bright and varied colors; but out pattern is made in the latter style. The stars of the same color form slanting lines; those in a light shade are white; then two lines farther , yellow; the two intermediate lines are one red and the other blue; then after the yellow stars, one line of green, the other of lilac. When the embroidery is finished, line the cloth with toile cirle, and bind both the outside and inside together with sarsnet ribbon, stitching it neatly on. Cover each of the round pocket, or housewife with a round of crochet work in black silk. To do this, make a chain of four or five stitches , join the first to the last so that as to form a circle; take some fine cord, and over this cord work crochet 8 rounds, increasing here and there, so that the round may be a little convex. When finished, it should measure about two inches round. Sew these rounds on to each side of the embroidered cloth, beginning at one of the ends. The rounds form the sides of the pocket and the embroidery is sewn round them, leaving a space of about one inch for the opening. The handle consists of a piece of bright blue ribbon, 10 inches long, fastened on each side in the middle of each round, and finished with a small bow. Two buttons (see illustration) are then added, and at the edge of the work two button-holes made to shut the housewife. To make the house-wife . To make the house-wife still neater and more complete, a piece of ribbon may be stitched inside to hold scissors, bodkin or knife, without putting these things into the pocket loosely.



Published in: on March 22, 2017 at 1:00 am  Leave a Comment  

Tonight’s Millinery 

This is a sweet Civil War era hat with a narrower brim. The crown is flat on top with curved, tapered sides. The crown is 20″ around inside for an average size head. 

The accompanying illustration is from Peterson’s, August of 1864.

This hat is available in my shop. 

Published in: on March 16, 2017 at 6:34 pm  Comments (1)  

Tonight’s Millinery 

I have been working on a unique bonnet during this wild weather we’ve been having in Western New York. The inspiration for this piece is an 1882 bonnet in the MET collection. 

This bonnet has a crown that dips on the sides, causing the brim to curve significantly. This is a very different construction concept compared to the 1850s and 1860s hats I make. 

This bonnet is currently not available for sale. I want to decorate it for a contest. I just have to decide how closely I want to be to the original and how closely I can be considering the matching silk and ribbon. 

Published in: on March 15, 2017 at 7:36 pm  Comments (2)  

Wind Storm Hat, aka Tonight’s Millinery 

Wednesday we had quite the wind storm wreak havoc on our area. The hurricane force winds knocked out the power in homes throughout several countries. Here, our hundred year old trees held right while neighbors trees snap, power lines ripped from their homes and roofs crushed in. Our town and one adjacent were told not to go outside and banned from travel. I sewed by window light. 

Here is Windy, a Regency era hat with a tapered crown and narrow brim. The crown measures 21″ inside. Being round, it fits comfortably on my head in a couple different ways. Tilted further back, centered over a high bun feels very natural. The crown is 5 1/2″ tall. The brim 10″ across. 

I still need to get it up in the Etsy shop. This is one of those hats I both really like for myself and would enjoy decorating. Thus some delay. EDIT: Now available in the shop. 

Reference images:

On the far right, 1803


A bit taller. I think this is 1815. 

Published in: on March 10, 2017 at 10:38 pm  Comments (2)  

Beth’s Bobbins Reviews From Field to Fashion

Hop over to Beth’s Bobbins to read her Review of From Field to Fashion.

Thank you, Beth, for the review.

From Field to Fashion is available in my Etsy Shop.


Published in: on March 7, 2017 at 6:30 am  Leave a Comment  

Tonight’s Millinery 

This fashionable Civil War era straw hat is ideal for a promenade about town. 

The shallow, oval crown is favored by this with average to small head. The three inch wide brim dips forward and back.  

This hat is available in my Etsy shop.

Published in: on March 6, 2017 at 6:35 pm  Comments (4)  

Today’s Millinery 

This Civil War era bonnet is ideal for a working class impression. 

This bonnet will best fit an average to small head. The cheek tabs turns in slightly, and will hold the bonnet to your head at your neck like originals. 

As with my other straw millinery, this bonnet is entirely hand sewn. 

This bonnet is available in my Etsy shop. 

Published in: on March 5, 2017 at 10:30 am  Comments (2)  

A Couple More Bandeaus 

A red and black.

A couple quick shots of me wearing it.

An all red.

Published in: on February 27, 2017 at 9:20 pm  Comments (1)