Monday, August 15, 2016

Goldfield Days

Between Reno and Las Vegas is Goldfield, Nevada. The first weekend of August is Goldfield Days. We traveled up from Costume College and opened our historic building, The John S. Cook Bank Building, for the weekend. Opening the building for Goldfield Days is our building's biggest fundraiser for restoration all year. This is the first time we have dressed for the occasion. It was a blast! I don't think we will ever not dress up for it again. The guests loved it and I think we added to spirit of the event.

Our building was built in 1907. We went for early teens again. I copied a period dress I bought on eBay. It has to be one of my very favorite dresses I've made.

In front of the Bank Building before
opening up shop of the day.

I manned the store, selling not so period mugs and
t-shirts. If you're ever up for Goldfield Days,
come sign our registration book!

The building has two vaults. The doors are fantastic!

Lots of people dress up for the weekend. These guys looked great enjoying our bar!

Here's a picture of the original garment. I patterned my dress after this. I used lightweight cotton eyelet from B and J fabrics. I have used the same fabric before for an 1860's petticoat front.

For being a very simple dress it has some interesting details. The skirt is rectangular, with darts, which are sewn down, radiating down from the waistband to hip. It has a box pleat along the center back opening of the skirt and the bodice closes diagonally, using the asymmetrical lines of the embroidery edge to close the bodice.  I copied all these elements in the replica. 

An interesting side note: the original dress shows evidence of it being remade from a bodice that buttoned in the back, to hooks and eyes. 

Something I added, that wasn't in the original was disks of fabric under the hooks and eyes. Though it does add stability, I added them more for a cosmetic purpose. The silver hooks were showing through the eyelet holes in the fabric. 

Another problem with the eyelets was the silver corset hardware showing through. The princess slip I mentioned in the gala post came in absolutely essential here. And it's pretty :)

I used the 1912 Princess Slip pattern from the Vintage Pattern Lending Library. I moved the closure from the center back to the side, so I could dress myself, which was helpful, but I still needed help fastening up the actual dress.

Millions of buttons!


I accessorized with a parasol, hat, bag and American Duchess shoes. For the shoes, I changed out the shoe string for silk ribbon. For the hat, I took a a straw hat, steamed the brim into shape and added figured silk fabric into a bow. 

The parasol is a period piece that I recovered with a leno stripe linen. The fabric was in bad shape, but the rest of the piece was still beautiful.


...and after!

The bag is a leather Brighton bag I found on eBay. The clasp was great. All I did was shorten the shoulder strap.

My husband's outfit is definitely worth addressing, too. He bought the suit back in 2010. It was a special, hundred year edition suit, where the designer replicated fabric and cut (kind of) of their suits back in 1910. The tie is modern, though looks the part. The shirt is from Gentlemen's Emporium. He accessorized with a bowler, antique watch, chain and fob, and a period tie pin I found in England on one of our trips. 

These outfits will be making a reprise next month for a 1912 garden party, though I am going to need a more airplane-friendly hat. Any ideas??


  1. I love your dress! Simple elegance, good fit, and so summery. The original has to die for whitework, too.

    1. Doesn't it, though? I tried to find the closest fabric I could. And thank you! It was fun to wear!

  2. How lovely! You guys look so genteel yet comfy. I think I remember you posting a while back that you and your husband actually bought that building, right? It doesn't get any more fabulous than not only playing 'dress-up' but also being able to do it in your very OWN historical building.

    1. Thanks! Oh my gosh it was so fun. And owning the building totally legitimizes playing dress up haha. I will be finding more opportunities to bring out costumes "for the building's sake." :)

    2. I'm not gonna lie, I fantasize about building a rough 18th century French cottage in back of my house so I can potter around in it all day in my peasant clothes. It's not nearly so satisfying to load the dishwasher in my bedgown and petticoat :(

    3. Well if Marie Antoinette can do it lol! Love it! Though I do wear my bedgown as a bathrobe sometimes... :)

  3. Hello Caroline,

    May I ask, which brand of corset are you wearing ? Is it the underbust styling? If so, Did you use a modern bra?