We have been sadly lacking the proper foundations for all our girls at the barn. We have some ill fitting stays at Colonial, but at least everyone has something. Stays are on the summer list.


This corset was made for Miss Lizzy, who requested a pretty corset (instead of a plain white utilitarian one). She picked her outer fabric, and I quite like the effect. The inner linings on all the corset are two layers of duck cloth or canvas.


Even though Lizzy runs the kitchen up at the barn, she has been very faithful in wearing her corset and historical clothing. The corset she had been wearing was sadly bent out of shape, with bones poking out and the whole thing just falling apart.


This one was for one of my store girls. I wish I had done a bit more fitting on it with her before it was too late to do anything. It’s not a perfect fit, but under her dress you can’t really tell.


This was the first time she had worn it, and I think she tightens it a bit more now, which also helps the bagginess in the front bosom area.


Miss Kaitlin! She loves her new corset! I had to tell her she can’t wear it instead of her stays when she works colonial though. Kaitlin is also wearing one of the new 1840’s chemises, made for our Gold Rush girls, by Abi.


These were all made from Truly Victorian, #TV110. I love the Silverado corset from Laughing Moon also, but the TV may have edged out ahead in my book.


This one is from Miss Victoria, who also works in the barn kitchen.


While corset did change from the years 1849-1880, we are sticking with the slightly later corset to use underneath all eras. As we get at least a basic corset on the girls we may go back and add in some earlier ones.


The last corset from the new batch, for the unnamed historian! A few of my girls are camera shy in their underware! She is also wearing one for the new 1840’s chemises Abi made. The necklines ended up being quite large (a problem we have had with our shifts also), so she decorated and fixed it all in one step with ribbon insertion lace.

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More corsets and underwear to come. We are not even halfway through our list, but the improvements are already starting to show!


Old Joe Dresses – Batch One





We have been trying to figure out what works best for our Old Joe girls, and have discovered that Past Patterns #903, Late 1880-92 Day Dress, is a great fit. We have made it for several size’s of woman now, and if fits all of them beautifully, with a minimum of fitting. We did make a toile (fitting muslin) for each one, and there was not much to fuss with. We have made two piece outfits for them in the past, but we really like the look of the dress for our everyday working girls. The whole theme of the barn area is 1880’s, so the girls in the store and the girls in the bakery wear 1880’s clothes, regardless of which tour is going on. Sometimes we have two different tours going on up there, so it would not work for them to dress according to tour anyway.

Miss Tori in her new tour dress. Abi made this one, I am very pleased with the way it came out. And the fabric Tori picked….I kind of want to steal it!




Miss Sofia in her new store dress. The collar on hers ended up being a slight bit wonky, but she folded it down and it looks darling! I am guilty of the slightly wonky collar…I made this one.  I’m really glad I added the trim, the dress was really plain without it.




A proper petticoat to go underneath. This one was for Tori I believe. The fabric is not super accurate (or accurate at all…), but we are still trying to use up our stash of inaccurate fabric in places it will not be seen. This petticoat if from Truly Victorian. The instructions are a tad bit confusing at first, in that there are four different eras of petticoats included, and the instructions are basically the same. Once you figure out how they are laid out however, they are super easy. This one is for the natural form era, which does not allow enough length for a bustle. Since the girls won’t be wearing bustles with their everyday dresses anyway, we didn’t want the petticoats dragging in the back.


There are rows of tucks in the back to help give the petticoat more body in the back. The front is smooth, so give a cleaner line.


Abi has made several petticoats, but she has a habit of giving them out before I get to take a picture!

Sherlock Holmes 2014, Part 3








I started this post about a month and a half ago….whoops! I keep thinking about blogging, but somehow haven’t found the time. It’s crunch time at work right now, our very busiest tour season, and we have been sewing like mad. Since these pictures are already loaded, we’ll finish up with Sherlock, and show you some of the new things we’ve been working on in the next post. I promise it won’t take a month and a half!

I am extremely proud of this coat. It took forever (the batting is quilted to the lining), and the trim is hand sewn and a bit fussy to place, but I love how it turned out! It was worth the time and effort!

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This hat went through much gnashing of teeth before I was happy with it. I had something particular in mind, and it took some finagling, and some help from Lizzy to get it right.

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Mr. Jon Harmon as the wealthy victim at the beginning of the show.


Miss Erin Keeney as a wealthy jewel aficionado.

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Miss Danielle Garcia as the maid, and the train waitress.

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Miss Lizzy Riley as the traveling writer.

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Mr. Eric Drazin as Sherlock Holmes himself.


Mr. Sean Villarreal as the bad guy…Colonel someone or other (Sorry, I can’t remember!).


Mr. Ron Adams as Inspector Lestrade.


Mr. Mike Coleman as the railroad conductor.


The entire cast and crew after the show!


Great job everyone, it was very well done!

Mitts and Dresses!

IMG_0459This week in the costume shop we have been making warm mitts for our Colonial girls. It has been quite frigid and we don’t have any in stock (except 1 pair of silk ones…). So I gathered up some short pieces of wool and ended up cutting out 19 pairs of mitts!


Here they are all prepped. I sewed the side seam and the thumb seam on the machine.


And here are a bunch of them done! The thumb is sewn on by hand. Much easier the trying to do that bit on the machine. I have 3 pairs that I’m still working on. 1 piece of wool ended up being a little bit ravely, so I had 4 pairs that needed the triangle flap lined and everything hemmed. Pictures of those when they are done (they are extra cute:).  The next batch will include some blue. I hadn’t realized I was missing such an important color, but several of the girls prefer it.


Abi got this dress done this week, along with a bunch of mending. I think it turned out darling!! It’s late 1880s, and for Michelle, one of our store girls. She has been suffering in a short sleeved, low necked gown of an indeterminate era (someone gave it to us), because it was the only thing we had on hand that fit her. The new dress is much more becoming, and it’s much more accurate, which makes me happy!!


It looks really cute with a white bibbed apron over it. Its made of a cotton reproduction print from

Meanwhile, I finished a dress for Brittany, one of our other store girls. She is expecting a baby in May, so she needed something that would accommodate her new figure.



I used a yoked blouse pattern, added in extra panels for fullness, and extended them to become dress length.


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It is made out of a tiny green and white cotton print. The trim on the collar and sleeves is 1/4″ twill tape, and the ‘belt’ is just a length of 1 1/4″ twill tape.

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Unbelted it just looks like a sack, but you can see how much fullness she’ll have to last her all the way through her pregnancy.

I went shopping yesterday to try and get everything else we needed for Sherlock, but came up a bit short. I’m going to order the rest online right now, and hope it all gets here in time!


Sherlock Holmes 2014, Part 1

We’ve already covered Irene Adler, so it is on to the rest of the cast. Sherlock and Watson are already costumed, they can wear the same thing every time, but the rest of the cast has to have things to fit their currant character. This week we’ve been busy with Elizabeth Adair and Mary Thumberlin (I might have totally remembered that name wrong…)!

Abi has been working hard on Elizabeth Adair, a well off lady that is quite an authority on jewelry. I think it’s coming along nicely, don’t you?




It’s three pieces, the skirt, the vest/overskirt combo, and the jacket. And the hat of course, so 4 pieces I guess! Abi designed this one, and did all the fittings and drafting to make it work. She has certainly grown as a costumer with this outfit!! It’s still not quite complete, it’s got a few more hooks/eyes and some trim left. Abi was able to do the final fitting with Erin today, so it should be done and ready for a photo shoot soon!


Meanwhile, I have been working on Mary Thumberlin. She is an author, higher middle-class, and apparently a bit of a snob. Here is my basic drawing for her, but the coat will have quite a bit of trimming, and the hat is going to be so much fun!!! She also gets to wear spectacles.


This gal is played by Lizzy Riley. I got the dress finished, and the coat mostly cut out. I might trim the dress, but we’ll see after the coat is done how much trim it needs. 



I haven’t made up the coat pattern I wanted to use before, so I made a practice one.



The inside…



the outside…




on Michelle, one of our store girls.



                              I just noticed that the plaid isn’t matched up in the back. Darn!                     This coat is meant to fit over a bustle, so we may need to give her some booty padding!



I think she likes it:)

This coat is supposed to have a layer of batting in it, but I didn’t have enough, so I put in a layer of wool (of a pattern we can’t really use). I didn’t have enough of the plaid to make the coat, so I pieced the red in to make it big enough. I’m pretty excited by how it turned out, and feeling good now about making the one for the play. I’m also excited to have a nice warm coat in the store, it gets really frigid in there!

Irene Adler, Part 3

 So we got it all done in time for the photo shoot! We were quite pleased with the results. Hannah ended up wearing heels here, but for the play she will have on flats, and that should fix the length to just about perfect.

We had fun with the photo shoot (Mallory Drazin took the official pictures, I just hung around and took some of my own! When she is done with hers she said she would send me the official ones to post:). We had some giggles and I can’t help but posting some of those too!

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We used a lobster tail bustle underneath this dress with one petticoat over it. She has on her chemise, corset and corded petticoat underneath. This is the first time any of us used a hat that had to be pinned into the hair with hatpins, so she is going to be experimenting with hairstyles that will work a little better. This is after a long day on tour and her hair had been up in a cap all day.

There are a few fitting issues around the bust/armpit, but we are going to play with her corset and maybe add some small pads to help fill out that spot.

Here is the hat up close:


I thought it looked like a pilgrim hat!


It’s a little better with the band on and the brim turned up…


And much better with the feathers!


Overall I’m pleased with the results and am looking forward to making more hats!

On another note, you may have noticed the length of the sleeves, and if you are not familiar with the era you may not realize that it’s a fairly common length. I was flipping through this book for inspiration while I was designing the dress (one of my favorite books)…


And found this one…


And this one…


with that length sleeve. I really liked it so I used it for the dress!

Abi has been designing a dress for one of the other characters today. Here is her sketch:

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As you can tell, she is a bit better at sketching then I am! The vest part is attached to the overskirt. The belt is part of the jacket, so it will help keep the jacket exactly where it is supposed to go. The jacket and underskirt will be of a dark camel, probably wool. The undervest/overskirt will be an amber color, a little bit lighter in weight then the camel. We still have to source the fabric, but that is the goal! The vest closes with frogs and buttons. We are going to try to find gold appliques for the decorated part. As least, I think that’s the plan!

Stay tuned for the Railway Conductor, the retired Army Colonel and another lady. Research commences today!

Irene Adler, Part 2



I remembered to take a picture of my sketch while I was at work! This was my basic plan for Irene Adler and it has varied only a little bit.

Here are the skirt and the overskirt that Abi made.

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Front and back



You can see the black trim she added to the bottom, it really makes the teal pop. The overskirt has a scalloped hem that she did by hand.

Here are the cuffs, all ready to sew on.


The jacket is almost done!! The cuffs are pinned on here.


I cut off the teal trim on the hem of the jacket since it turned out funny and Abi made new trim!! She put it on and I love it!!


My project for tonight is a hat. I started last night, but this is as far as I got.


Sorry the picture looks dark, the hat is black velvet and my table is dark so it didn’t show up very well. It’s almost all wired, so tonight I’m going to put it together and cover it. It has to be done in time for the photo shoot tomorrow, so wish me luck (and a little sleep!).