Sunday, March 29, 2015

The 101 Ranch Hat

Back around Christmas, in our shopping travels, my husband and I happened upon Colorado Mountain Hats, a custom hat maker. I probably would have never considered having a hat made (they did mostly cowboy hats), but my husband has wanted a hat like Wyatt Earp wears in Tombstone for ages, so we stopped.

Well, once I saw how the hat maker fitted you, I had to join in on the fun!

They start out with this fantastic machine that looks like something out of Jules Verne. It's a 19th century head measuring device. They still use the original because, like with so many things, the old way is just best!

A paper gets placed on the top of the device, then the top is closed (the cork piece) to hold it in place. The device gets placed on your head and the shape of your head displaces moving pieces inside the "hat," pushing corresponding pins through the paper into the cork.

Et voilĂ ! The paper becomes your head pattern, which the hat maker then uses to recreate your head in his shop, to fit your hat to. I think he said they use a second antique machine to "read" the paper.

So what did I pick? Well, he had a lovely assortment of historical styles to chose from. I ended up picking a style copied from photos of the 101 Ranch Girls, who, in short, were performing cowgirls, from the 101 Ranch in Oklahoma. The 101 Ranch was a working ranch that did a show, much like Buffalo Bill's, around 1905. What with Edwardian cowgirls being a bit of a passion of mine, I thought this style was perfect!

And so we waited and waited for our fabulous hats to come, and they arrived this week! And, of course, it fits like a glove!

I can't wait to have an excuse to don my split riding skirt, some big Gibson girl hair, maybe a horse or two, and take some awesome pictures! :)

For a look at the 101 Ranch girls, and other inspiration for the hat, take a peek at my dedicated Pinterest board. 

Friday, March 27, 2015

Stitch, stitch, stitch... Ahh...

What a nice feeling. I missed sewing!

My husband and I have been fixing up a house and we've been staying there for about a month now. It's been totally fun, but I started to really, really miss my sewing room. I finally went and got some UFO's to work on.

Most of last year was spent in the 19th and 20th centuries, so, it's been a while since I've been in the 1700's, and I really missed it!

I took some time today to get moving on my chintz dress remake. It's coming along!

The sleeves are pinned and ready to be attached and the shoulders fitted. The fronts are basted and ready to be stitched, and the skirt panels are hemmed, ready to be stitched to the bodice. They still have the pleats from before, so hopefully I can easily adjust them to fit the remade bodice. 

Is it bad that I kind of hate the fabric now? It's a little too... bold? I dunno... I will finish it, though!

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Sometimes the sewing gods smile upon you...

With the Jane Austen ball outfit behind me, I thought I would start my next project: a 1905-ish ensemble, in the spirit of the historical building my husband and I purchased last year. I found a period photograph from the town, showing ladies dressed for day, and I've been planning to copy one of the outfits.

As per usual, I thought I'd start from the inside out. I went into the stash, to look for fabric for a petticoat, but I didn't have any. I was about to go to the store, but thought I should check the petticoats I have first, just to see if anything would work.

Major face palm!

At some point last year, I already made the petticoat! How I forgot, I have no idea, but here it is!

The skirt I'm planning is fairly narrow, so I'll have to see if it needs a second petticoat, or if the chemise and drawers will add enough heft under there.

Yay! One down. Now on to the rest of the outfit.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Costume de Bal

I was lucky enough to get tickets again this year for Pasadena's Jane Austen Evening. It really is a lovely event. A nice mix of people. Dancers and costumers and those that do both. I was lucky enough to finally meet some ladies I have only met online, and also see some fantastic costumes. I must say, I think the most gorgeous outfit was an 1820's ensemble. Perfect hair, perfect dress. I wish I had thought to take a picture!

But isn't that just what happens when you're having fun? I totally forget about the camera. I wish I had gotten some better pictures of myself, too, but here is what I have. 

Friday, January 30, 2015

Slowly but surely, a sweater is appearing.

Slowly, slowly, as I find time to fit in some knitting, the 1900's cycling sweater is coming along! Can you believe that huge piece is the sleeve? Holy mutton! I just started on the second one. So, I'm nearly there.

Just keep ribbing, just keep ribbing...

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

The Ten Minute Tea Cozy

This has absolutely no historical value, whatsoever. I can't even pretend. But it was so cute and easy, I had to share!

Lately, Ive been on a tea kick, and I've been using a sad little towel to keep my teapot warm. This morning, I was pinning all these darling knit tea cozy patterns, planning to make one, but then I was at Target today and saw this darling little knit hat and lightbulb!

I opened up the hat's seam a few inches, on one side, for the spout. On the other side, for the handle, I machine stitched a rectangle between the ribbing, sliced up it, turned the selvages to the inside and button hole stitched, with yarn, around the slit, to tidy it up. This side can be seen in the photo below. Basically, it's a giant buttonhole.

And now, I have hot tea to fuel me up for some real sewing. Cheers!

Sunday, January 4, 2015

The 40's Dress

While I don't love this one on me, It was quite fun to sew. I got to explore new things, like bound button holes. And wow, these little dresses happen so fast. I'm so used to yards and yards for gowns, so this was like poof! A dress!

I made it up because I was supposed to serve pancakes, WWII-attired, at a fundraiser for Honor Flights. I ended up not going, because I had to stay home with my injured pup.

Poor thing. She had a horrible accident, but she's ok now. It was a rough go, though. Two months I stayed home with her and gave her medicine around the clock. Whew. So glad that's over. She looks pretty good now and is back to her old self, albeit with one working eye. I liken her to Princess Ana de Mendoza. She's still pretty!

But anyway, back to the dress! It was McCall 3230, done up in a cranberry on white, checked shirting. It was fairly simple, but had some pretty details. It was the first time I had a reason to do bound buttonholes. Surprisingly simple, if a little fiddly, but so neat and tidy looking.

And so, there it is. I ordered a belt kit, so maybe soon I will finish that up, too.