The Redcoats are Coming!

I’ve been working on redcoats the last couple months (in between everything else!), and they are coming along nicely. I have one complete and one that is only lacking the lace on the tails. I’m very excited to bring the number of completed coats up to two tomorrow! 

Time to blog!!!

It’s been a while, and a lot of things have been made. So. Many. Things. Makes my head spin!!! But we are coming up on Colonial Faire and Masquerade again, and will hopefully have some exciting new things to share! We are currently making new redcoats, and trying so hard to keep up on all of our clothing requirements and requests for and from staff. Whew!! So much going on!! Meanwhile, at my house, I’m sick, I have 12 chicks to take care of (and make a coop for….quickly out growing their brooder!), a sick kid, a healthy kid, two little dogs and a cat, a hubby who goes to bed early (and gets up early), food to prep for lunches, and jewelry to make for my side business and a frockcoat commission, and a stays workshop to prepare…and laundry, and dishes….oh boy!! Can we say overwhelmed? Haha! So hopefully….you will see all of this come to fruition soon!


So I started doing a month long thing on Facebook, that is to encourage more costume blogging. I kinda started on day six, but I will make an effort to do the challenge everyday and start getting more out there with my blogging. I am not the best writer, but hopefully with continued practice I will improve, and my style of writing will become smoother.

Today the prompt was write about a favorite resource. I have lots of favorite resources! My number one favorite resource is books….so many books! Unfortunately I don’t have a picture of all my books, and if I wait to get one, I won’t get my blog post for today finished. Some of my favorite books are:

Costume Close-up: Clothing Construction and Pattern, 1750-1790
Book by Florine Carr, John Watson, and Linda Baumgarten

Period Costume for Stage and Screen, by Jean Hunnisett                                                       Several books in this series. I have four or five and want the rest!

The Lady’s Guide to Plain Sewing 1 and 2, and The Workman’s Guide to Tailoring Stitches and Techniques by Kannik’s Korner.
I have many more favorites, but it’s late, and those are the ones that popped into my head first!
For patterns I love the ones from Larkin and Smith at The Sign of the Golden Scissors. They come with a full color instruction books with tons of pictures, and period correct techniques. I love that I can get a workshop in an envelope, out here on the west coast, without flying back east for classes (which I would love to do, but reallllly can’t afford!).
I also really like Truly Victorian patterns, they have so much fitting information and the pieces always match up, and make what the picture on the envelope says they will make! For all sizes, large and small!
Some shops I like to frequent are Burnley and Trowbridge, Wm. Booth Draper,, (great for gown pins!), Fugawee, American Duchess (so much to drool over!!!!!), Wearing History…the list goes on!
Those are my favorite resources, but definitely not an exhaustive list by any means. I’m too tired to think of any more, but at least I did a post!! Yay! 🙂


Ragtime was a fun play to costume, it was set in 1907 and it was a musical melodrama. We had a whole cast of colorful characters. Unfortunately I didn’t manage to get excellent pictures of all of them, but at least I got pictures of some!

This is Michelle, she played the mother of the Evil Plotting Twins. She herself was a kind, thoughtful lady. I was very pleased with the way her costumes came out. I used Truly Victorian patterns for the light blue costume, and for the dark blue skirt and jacket. I had Abi make the white blouse from a Wearing History pattern. The sweep of this circular skirt is spectacular, and I love the jacket so much, I need to make one for myself!

Next up is Erin, she played one of the Evil Plotting Twins.

I used Truly Victorian patterns for her Skirt and Jacket (which Abi made), and the same Wearing History blouse, but this time out of black lace with a low lining (which Abi also made). Erin is a very natural blonde, so they put this black wig on her an darkened her eyebrows quite a bit. We had a bit of a challenge with this costume, because it was planned before we learned that she was expecting. Thankfully I hadn’t started it yet! Instead of the normal hook and eye closure in the back, I decided to put a lacing placket, so that we could adjust as we went on. Her petticoat had the same lacing placket, and was made from the same pattern. She is still wearing a corset, but we were very careful with it every week to not overly tighten it. It had a shorter busk, and some lacing in the front, over the tummy, so we could adjust it in more places for comfort.

Evil Plotting Twin Number 2 was played by Adam. Unfortunately I don’t have any great stand alone pictures of Adam as Evil Plotting Twin number 2, but I do have these, in which he was the fellow they named the town after (he gets eaten by a bear!). A bit of a pompous dandy. After which he becomes Evil Plotting Twin Number 2,  dressed all in black with a wonderful caped cloak.


Adam is on the left, sorry it’s a bit fuzzy, I’m still getting the hang of our new camera!


We also had the stars of the show, Eric aka the Drifting Thief and Lockton aka the Redeemable Sidekick. Geoff played a the lovable By the Book Cop, who happens to love baseball, and they are playing an impromptu game in the pictures below. I was able to find these really cool newly made vintage style baseball hats for this scene.



Carissa played Adeline, the Sweet Country Girl Who Falls for the Redeemable Sidekick (I did say this was a melodrama, right?)

We had a Barbershop Quartet, and they sounded lovely. Manned by The Rickety Old Cop, The Redeemable Sidekick, Evil Plotting Twin Number 1 and Owner of the Pub. We have a pretty flexible cast!

This was a very enjoyable show, and I hope we see it’s return in a few years time!


Civil War Shawl

I started knitting this shawl the last time it was cold, and now that summer is almost over, it’s done! We have a couple of sontags I knitted, along with some plain woolen cloth shawls, and 2 coats, but sometimes we need more to keep the girls on tour warm. So I’ve been knitting this on and off, in odd hours, usually while waiting for my kids. Its knitted with two strands of wool yarn, and I went through almost 16 skeins of yarn.

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Its from a pattern in a book, that was based off of a shawl in Peterson’s magazine. I’m better with modern instructions though, as I don’t knit enough to feel comfortable trying to figure out a modern pattern. The book I used is Civil War Era Knit and Crochet Patterns, by DeAnn E. Upton.

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I probably won’t be knitting anything for a while, I have lots of stays that have been re-boned, but now need to be re-bound!

18th Century Faire at Riley’s Farm

This July we hosted an 18th Century Faire for the very first time! It was such an adventure, with guest numbers close to 400 3 of the 4 weeks. The other week was about 250, which was great, because we had downpours half the day! The first year we do an event is always a gamble, but this one was well attended, and people really seemed happy to be there and learn about all kinds of 18th Century things. I’m only going to show your our tent, because well, that’s mostly the only place I was! There was lots of other fun stuff going on, I just didn’t see much of it.

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When you come into our tent you are greeted with children’s clothes. We pulled out our stash so the kids could try on breeches and petticoats and whatnot. Next year we may try to have a rental service of some sort, because everyone wanted to keep their 18th Century clothes on and go explore, but we couldn’t let them leave the tent. There were some really cute kids running around in our tent though!

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To the left of the dress up area were some things for sale, pinned to the tent wall. Abi made us 6 bergere (straw) hats, 5 aprons, 3 ladies caps, and 3 men’s caps. We weren’t really a selling tent, but we wanted to have something to offer. We ended up selling 3 bergere (straw) hats and 1 cap on the last day. Everything else we can put into our stock for living historians. Yay for stock! In the middle of the tent we had our two work tables.

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On the end of Abi’s work table we laid out swatches from Burnley and Trowbridge, which had all kinds of 18th Century fabrics for people to touch and feel. There were linens, wools (worsted, melton, coating), cottons, silks, camlets, and some others I don’t remember the name of right now. We also had a project for people to help us with, and earn a slice of pie. We had Katrina Van Tassels gown for Sleepy Hollow ready, and we were hemming trim to add to it. Whoever helped us with hemming trim, got free pie! We also had a Tambour frame, which is a really fun type of embroidery. It’s sort of like crocheting on fabric. We’re hoping to do some pieces with it for plays and filming. On my table we had cockade and breastknot making. This cost one activity ticket, because you got to take it home.

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Behind the activity tables we had Katrina Van Tassels gown, and a banyan, for display. The banyan is one we made for a character in Courage, but we wanted to display some menswear too. This gown will not be worn with the green handkerchief, but I wanted the handkerchief to be seen (I got it for my birthday!). The gown will be trimmed with white organdy, a large flounce on the petticoat, and flatter puffed or pleated trim all around the neckline and down the fronts, and some on the sleeves too of course. Another post about the completed gown will be coming (as soon as it’s done, of course!).

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Behind Jack and Sloey (the dressforms), were our ‘museum’ tables. We decided to display underwear, because every one would see the outerwear on all the people manning the faire. We wanted to show what went underneath, and people tend to ask anyway. So we had another banyan, a man’s shirt, stock, cravat, cap, apron, stockings, and a ladies shift, two pairs of stays, mitts, bibbed apron, caps, pockets, hip rolls, a rump, pocket hoops, stockings.

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At the far end we had a display of cosmetics and beauty products. On the shelves we had a pitcher and basin, with a sponge of course, and towels I made for this display. We featured products from LBCC Historical, because I had seen them several times, and wanted to do this display. They come with lovely period looking labels, and when we got to play with them we were not disappointed. They are lovely products! They smell really good, and she used period recipes to make them. We had lots of people stop in this area to inspect all the goodies. There was face scrub (located by the pitcher and basin of course!), cold cream, lip tint, lip balm, face salve, burnt cloves (for darkening the eyebrows), rouge, body powder…. I also had hair powder and pomatum from Heirloom Haircare. I had my hair pomaded and powdered the entire month of July. I took a class at Costume College about it (from the lady who runs Heirloom Haircare), and apparently I wasn’t using nearly enough pomade or powder. I also wasn’t that itchy before though!

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The products were so cute displayed! I loved that my chatelaine ended up in the mirror when I took this picture. Sneaky little thing!

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Abi and I decided that we needed pictures of our costumes too! We had made them specially for this faire, since most of the time we are in the workshop, and not seen! We both have really old working class outfits that we wear if we are on tour, or we snag something from stock. But for faire, since we were representing fashion, we though we should be a little more in style! I made a pet en lair, or short sack back jacket, worn with a matelasse petticoat I had snagged some time ago off the Courage set. I love this petticoat so much, I didn’t want anyone else to get a hold of it and ruin it….at least that’s my story, and if we need it for filming, I’ll give it back!  Worn with my American Duchess shoes of course, and new stockings (for my birthday! My sisters sure know what I like!).

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Abi made a gown from 1780. It came out really well, and I’ll see if I can get her to do a blog post about it. I think this is the first costume she’s really made for herself, with proper fittings and all. I’m sorry the butt bow is squished in the pictures, but we forgot to fluff it up. She also made a lovely bergere, which I’ll ask her to show in her post. Sorry this is such a long post, but Faire took up most of June to prep, and a lot of July! It was a very fun experience, and I’m sure next year it will be even better!

Sherlock Holmes 2015


This character was played by Carissa Burns. The character was a young woman, applying for help to Sherlock Holmes, to find her fiancee. Her parents did not approve!

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Abi made this dress, it was created out of cotton. It is two pieces, plus the belt. The hat is a boater we used in last years Prohibition, and will be using in this years Prohibition as well. I have also used it with my Gibson Girl Golf outfit. We have gotten a lot of use out of this hat!

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The cape was used at the beginning, and taken off when she got to 221B Baker St. It is velvet, and was originally made for Dickens Christmas Carol, many years ago.

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Nelly did a wonderful job on the hair for this production. It really tied the characters together with the costumes, and made them complete.

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Erin Drazin played Tilly Bristol, the spitfire young women who was bent on making Sherlock pay for sending her brother to prison.

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This outfit consists of three pieces. The blouse, the skirt (attached to a under bodice) and the jacket. It is a tennis outfit, I drafted it out of a book (Authentic Victorian Fashion Patterns: A Complete Lady’s Wardrobe). It was meant to be a bit looser, so you could actually play tennis in it, but the waist was ridiculously large, and we added some darts to the back of the blouse. The blouse was made of linen, and the rest of the suit was silk. Maybe not the best choice for a sports suit, but we had to stick with what was in our stash. I made the hat out of velvet, with the really crazy organza bows, but her hair kind of blended with the bows and tamed the whole thing down.

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Lizzy Riley played the mother, Imogene Scott. And she was right to distrust the fiancee, as he ended up being the murderer! This outfit is a walking gown, it’s made of silver figured silk, and plum (I’m not sure what, but I know it’s not) silk. I was mostly pleased with this outfit. The vest is part of the jacket, so the whole thing is only two pieces. I did not like the gaping in the front with the hooks and eyes, and the skirt needed a touch more fullness in the front to hang properly. I modified the sleeves, as the actress hates the huge leg o mutton (which were included with this pattern). This one has a nice puff without being so ginormous!

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The hat is made of buckram and wire, and covered in silk. I wasn’t going to add flowers to the back, but the little riser to make the hat tip forward needed something!


Inspector Lestrade, inspecting one of our Revolutionary War guys that came up to check out the play.WIN_20150307_171534We didn’t get to many pictures of the gentlemen, because we didn’t spend nearly as much time on their outfits. We mostly just put things together out of what we had, and ordered a few things like coats and hats online. The ladies stuff had to be fitted, and we make nearly all our ladies clothing in house. Next time, we are hoping to take character pictures of everybody!