Ca. Gold Rush Dresses: Batch One





Our girls at the barn area have been sadly neglected long enough! The tours we cover at the barn are Ca. Gold Rush, Civil War and Old Joe. Old Joe is based in the 1880’s, when Joe Wilshire acquired the farm. The story goes he bought it for something like a saddle, a jug of whiskey and some chickens. It’s been a while since I heard the particulars though.


We do have some Civil War dresses and underwear that look pretty good, but we haven’t had any really good accurate Gold Rush dresses yet.


We started with Tori. She hasn’t had anything that actually fit her properly since she started working at the farm, and this is her second season. We have decided to make things we are desperate for on an as needed basis, but focus as possible on one historian at a time to get their whole wardrobe squared away. We are picking people that have been with us at least one season, and are planning on staying with us.

Tori now has a properly fitted corset, chemises, a corded petticoat and two tucked petticoats. Somehow I didn’t get a picture of anything except the corded petticoat. Darn corded petticoats take forever, but they are worth it! She isn’t wearing the petticoats in the above pictures. We made her corset and her dress first. Abi did a lovely job on this dress! It’s from a Laughing Moon pattern.  The waist is a bit bulky, so the bottom button wouldn’t button. We put a skirt hook there, and it works just fine! The corset is a Truly Victorian pattern. The corded petticoat and the tucked ones are from Elizabeth Stewart Clarks book.


Miss Jessica was next on the dress list. I used the new pleated wrapper pattern from Laughing Moon. She’ll be getting the proper underpinnings as time allows.


I love having the girls come in and pick their fabrics, if I’m making something for a  specific person I like to make them something they will love. It shows through when the feel good in their costume and they like it.



Miss Alison was next!


She said she wanted blue, I didn’t have a lot of just blue fabrics, but with the apron and the pleating on the bodice there is a fair amount of blue. She was happy with it, and that is what I was going for! Miss Alison is also on the list for proper underpinnings. She is the next historian we are focusing on.


Next, but certainly not last, is Miss Jasmine.

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She picked the dark brown initially, but there wasn’t enough for a whole dress. We found the lighter brown and just made a two toned dress. She loves it, and it really fits her personality and style. All the other historians keep telling her it looks like her.


Another historian who needs petticoats, but at least she has a corset! With her apron it draws in at the waist a little bit more. I used Laughing Moons other wrapper pattern for this one. We have plenty more Gold Rush dresses coming, but so far I am pleased with the improvement in our historians wardrobes!


Christmas Carol 2013, Part 1

By Mary Johns

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Abi has been hard at work making an evening gown for this years Christmas Carol play at the Old Packing Shed. She is playing Kitty, nephew Fred’s wife. This fabric is a mystery fabric, but it’s a play, so it works! The bodice is flat lined with horsehair, then lined with polished cotton. It has the lining set in and stitched by hand on all edges. We have previously set the play sometime in the 1830’s, but this year we decided to make anything new in the 1850’s, so this gown is 1850’s-ish.

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Here is Abi working hard on the flounced skirt. It’s turning out lovely!


We are re-using Christmas Past, with some minor alterations. This is a gorgous silk fabric that I love so much! I made this about 4 years ago, and even though I draped it on the girl that played Christmas Past that year, it has fit all 4 of the girls that played her with just a little taking in and out here and there. It has a skirt set on a waistband, then the front is set onto the waistband, overlapping in the front and wrapping towards the back. It then goes up over the shoulders and drapes down in the back. It has a hook to hold the two panels together, then 5 snaps under the hook. I used the hook at the top so that it can’t just pop open.

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I am making a regency ensemble for Fair Young Girl (Young Scrooge’s Fiance) to wear. Fair Young Girl is played by Lizzy Riley this year. We don’t have a whole lot of regency clothing, so I started from the inside out. Here is the chemise, front and back. Just out of some plain cotton.

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Here are the short stays. They are made with three layers. The outside layer is a somewhat stretchy embroidered cotton/something blend (I know, not strictly accurate, but it looks great, and if anyone is close enough to know, then there is a problem!), the interlining is a sturdy linen canvas, and the lining is a plain white cotton. It has bones in the center front, on either side of the eyelets, the two bones at an angle next to the bust, and one bone in the side. It has two gussets at the bust, and is quilted right under the gussets to help keep it flat there. It has a drawstring at the bottom to help snug everything into place.

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IMG_3051 - Copy  I love the blue eyelets!

This is the bodiced petticoat. The bodice on this helps smooth the stay line, and also keeps the petticoat from slipping. It is just the dress pattern without sleeves. I used the Sense and Sensibility Patterns for this set of regency wear. I’m hoping the neckline isn’t too high on this, but I’m doing a crossover bodice on the dress, so I think it will be ok.

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Stay tuned for progress! We have done the fittings for the other evening gown (teal taffeta), and for Mrs. Cratchet (blue cotton reproduction print), and we still have the regency gown (of yummy burgundy and cream striped cotton) and spencer (green wool). I have also loaded all the pictures to start the tutorial for the frock coat, so that will be coming soon too!