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!

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!



By Mary Johns IMG_2412  IMG_2413

We have been woefully behind the times in the barn area when it comes to aprons, and this week we have decided to remedy that. We had a huge Old Joe tour yesterday (even Abi and I were on tour, which only happens in emergencies these days, if that tells you anything;), and we have pretty much run out of all costumes for that era (1880’s). So…since we didn’t have time to make everyone a new costume, we decided a good way to up the visual authenticity of the costumes was to add good aprons! We have some, but seeing as its fall, and we have about 12 girls on BBQ line on Saturdays, we didn’t have any decent ones in stock. I’ve made a few really good ones recently for a project (Calico Ghost Town, Lane House and Museum), so I pulled out my notes and what not, and we got to work. Here are some details of the above apron, which was for the project.

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I was getting antsy, wanting to do more research, but at Abi said, “We don’t have time, get it done!”, which was very true. So here is what we were able to pull off in about 2 days.

1889 Kitchen Apron

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This one is the same as the one above, minus the bottom ruffle. I used almost every square inch of the fabric I had, and this apron was not destined to have a ruffle. I tried to make it more adjustable by just adding ties to the back instead of doing the belt that goes around to the front. I would be fine if we were making it for a specific person, but right now they need to fit many people. I don’t like the way it is more bunchy at the waist, and am wondering if its due to the fabric. The first one was out of a nice cotton shirting, and this one was out of homespun.

1868 Apron

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This one is a little early, 1868, but it had some of the same elements of one from 1878, so I went ahead and tried it out. It definitely needs some work for me to really like it. The earlier skirts are needed to help hold it out right, the back of it keep falling below Sarah’s skirts when she wore it. The bib is pinned, and I like the pockets.

1878 Apron

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This is the one from 1878. As you can see it has the pin up bib, with darts (which I love!), and it wraps around and buttons in the back, same as the one from 1868. This one needs a few adjustments, and it will be wearable. It needs a little more fullness for it to fit well. It gets some weird gapes on the back were it wraps around. I think if we add another panel to the skirts, or add some width to the existing panels, it will eliminate the problem. This one was made by Abi (glitches not her fault, using an original pattern!).


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Here is the same one again, but from the earlier project. I just noticed that Abi didn’t put a ruffle on the bottom, or lace around the bib. It was a working apron, and this one is more of a dress apron, but we may need to add some ruffles;) This one is out of fine white linen, with covered buttons from a cotton embroidered piece, the ruffle has an eyelet band on the bottom, and the eyelet is on the bib also.

1878 Apron


This one is from 1878. I looked at a drawing and made a pattern…I really like this one! I will admit, I made this one today, after the mad rush of costuming yesterdays tour. The waistband is very simple, and just buttons in the back, to size. It was for Lizzy, our kitchen manager at the barn, so I knew what size to make it. The bib pins on this one too. We have two of these in dark brown linen, but I think we will add pockets to them for a finishing touch.

Indicative of the era Apron


I like this one, it is one I designed using period elements for our BBQ line girls, but we always use white for them. This one is a tiny tan and white check. The waistband folds over on the sides and the straps are long, they crossover in the back, then feed through the little waistband casings and tie at the waist. I thought I was so original and then I read something somewhere (oh I wish I had the fabulous quote to insert here!) that talked about this very thing being done! But hey, at least I was thinking along the right lines! I did it this way so that the straps are adjustable for many sizes, and the waist is too. We do make bibs in several sizes, and the waist bands are not all the same size either, so if we get close to someones size they look pretty fitted. The only thing I really want to add is pockets. This one was made by Abi.

1909 Servants Apron, for 16 or 17 year old girl

1909 apron front  1909 back 1909 closeup  1909 back closeup

This apron was made a while ago, but I’m on a roll….;) And I used the bib to make for the next apron….

Mix-mash of many apron styles from the years 1880-1909

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This one is a bit of a conglomeration…I took everything I loved from all the aprons I’ve made recently and put them together, and I must say I really like the way it turned out! I used the pockets and the ruffle from the 1889 apron, and the bib from the 1909, and the rest is from the one I made up with the straps feeding through the little casing on the ends of the waistband.

I was going to do more apron research tonight, but this post took longer then expected! I have a feeling that the barn aprons are well on their way to a nice accurate mix of styles that will fit in nicely!