Wednesday, November 26, 2014

"One man's trash...," they say. Or, why is corset busk in the middle of the desert?


In the middle of nowhere, miles even from the nearest ghost town, guess what I see on the desert floor? A corset busk!

And a button.



Why are these things here? Well, I've mentioned Goldfield before. It was a big deal city in Nevada during the mining boom in the early 1900's. The city was massive, and then it was basically leveled by fires in the 20's. 

Between a major flood in 1913, the fires in the 20's, subsequent rain and water flow, wind and the elements, and general dumping of garbage, during the period, the surrounding desert is scattered with 100 year old trash. And it's fascinating.


Owing to the remoteness of the location and the lack of population, the surrounding desert has been left untouched for a century. Over the years, as it rains, and things that were buried work their way to the surface, it's truly amazing what can be seen. 

And so why were we in Goldfield again? Well, we bought a historic building!!!


My husband and I are so jazzed to have the honor of restoring this gem and contributing to the history of this town, which we have so fallen for.


Below are some early pictures that were given to us by the former owner. It shows the building though some of it's incarnations. It was a bank and pharmacy, with office spaces on the upper floors.  Later it was a restaurant and bar. 

It was actually partially destroyed in a fire, in 1924, which shows in the photo below, and then rebuilt promptly after. In some of the upper rooms, charring from the fire can still be seen when you lift the windows and look within the framing!





We might even be inheriting a ghost! Legend says that Claudia haunts the building, after an untimely death in the 1920's. We shall see!

Can't wait to start this adventure! Happy Thanksgiving, all!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

A bit more on the sontag and dotted sheer.

Front, flat.

Just a few more close up's of the dress and accessories from my last post.

The sontag is done up in navy blue wool yarn, in a garter stitch. As I had mentioned, a knitting instructor cobbled me up a pattern, I believe from Ravelry patterns. I added the loops and ties and tassels. The loops and ties were done by knitting two stitches over and over again, slipping to the opposite needle before each pass, so instead of knitting two stitches back and forth, they create a little square cable. Very handy to learn.

From the back.

I added a yarn-covered button to the center back, to anchor the loops. I can't remember if I had seen this on originals, or if it was in the pattern, or if it just made sense.

I'd really like to add some trim to this piece. Maybe soon!


And a close up of my jewelry accessories. I didn't add a picture of the belt, as I have worn it plenty before. The brooch is micro mosaic. I could't get a close enough picture to be clear, but it is amazing to see all the little bits of material that make up the flower motif.


And some pictures of details on the dress. Nothing terribly exciting. I used the same Truly Victorian pattern as my last sheer dress. The bodice is basically the same, except I substituted pagoda sleeves for the bishop style in the pattern, to match the original dress, which lives at the Centraal Museum in Utrecht.


For the trim on the sleeves, I gathered strips onto cord, stitched them down and then removed the cord. I did the same for the ruffles on the skirt.

To finish off the hems of the sleeves, I faced them with self-fabric. I think the extra layer added a bit of stability to the otherwise floppy sleeves.

Inside the sleeve hem.

The waistband was done the same as the pattern, with gathering at the center back and finished off with piping along the waist. The skirt was gauged to a separate skirt waistband.


A bit of piping at the armscye.


The neckline is piped and finished to the inside. The shoulder seams are pressed toward the back, which I have seen on an original.

The inner lining is done to the pattern specifications. I fastened the waist with hooks and eyes and left the rest of the front free. The neckline closes with a brooch.


The skirt has a large ruffle at the hem, that covers the foundation skirt and hem tape. Two smaller ruffles overlap it. Third to come!


The under sleeves are two large tubes of spotted cotton organdy, gathered to a wristband, and fastened with little china buttons.



And to add to the fun of the weekend, the reenactment was in the Sunday paper and my dress made an appearance! How fun! 

Hope everyone else had a lovely weekend. Cheers to a great November ahead!

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Accommodating the weather, 1860's style.


Well today was fun. It's the first chance I've gotten, in months, to cinch up the corset and engage in a little time traveling.

It's usually sunny and hot for the reenactment here in town, so I planned a new sheer dress, based on this pretty thing at the Centraal Museum in Utrecht. Do forgive the hem. The grass is quite high and messy, but on level ground, it hangs nicely all around. 


I used a white semi-sheer cotton, dotted with lilac. I'm usually not a huge fan of purple, but this fabric, I just had such a thing for.

Eventually it will have three ruffles on the skirt, but I ran out of time. The last one is still on my sewing table waiting to be applied. One of my favorite details of the dress is the ruching on the sleeves, that match the skirt, which can be seen on the top photo. Another detail I like, is that the hem that one sees is actually a large ruffle. This is nice, because the skirt remains frothy and light after the hem tape is added to the foundation skirt. I noticed this with special thanks to the zoom feature on the website.


Little did I know, when I laid out my summery sheer, the night before, that the weather was going to go crazy. Apparently it poured rain through the night. By the time I went to park, it was windy like crazy, mixed with bouts of blazing sun. The sontag and shawl went on and off and on and off. Thank you, easy layers.

Actually I was very comfortable all day. I'm always so surprised how accommodating to the weather historical clothing is. Even the under sleeves help with wind and sun and cold. I was never too cold, and the only part of me that was bothered was my face, which got nicely wind-burned. By the time I got home I was pink!


I made the sontag last year, from a mix of patterns on Ravelry. I'm not sure which ones. I asked for help on it at a knitting class and the teacher wrote me up something easy to follow. It's all garter stitch, so it was super beginner friendly.

It was so nice to have with me today. Very, very warm and cozy, and such a nice accessory, as well.

Ooo ominous clouds...


I love this one! Some guests asked for us to pose for a photo, so my mom (who was lovely and surprised me with much needed coffee), snapped one, too. Can I be a little jazzed I got to take a picture with Mr. Lincoln? His hat. So awesome!


This little nugget was an eBay find. I think it's 1850's. The wind took a little bite out of my hair, but I was pretty proud of it, just the same. No hairpieces! Woot!


And a very special guest came to visit me today! My darling little puppy surprised me, bringing my husband along, too ;)

Hope everyone had a happy Halloween yesterday, too!