It’s getting a little weird around here!

New logo for a new website!

Times are a chang’in (even though our clothes are not!) and we are transitioning to a new, super snazzy mobile friendly, more interactive website! I guess it’s time to change the old c. 2000 static HTML based site. Sigh. (Historians don’t like change you know!)

We will be doing our best to keep the old site live until the new one is completely finished. But if you happen by chance to run into our new site- never fear. Just think of it as a sneak preview.

Also, remember the studio is currently closed for the summer. However, we are taking orders for our FALL production season which begins August 2. Just drop us an email! Be sure to get those orders in early as our calendar tends to fill up quickly!

Our shop is currently getting a fresh new coat of paint and solid cleaning. Be sure to check out Instagram #maggiemayfashions #maggiemayclothing and Facebook for pics of progress!

WWI US Motor Corps Uniform

Earlier this Spring we completed a WWI Era US Motor Corps Uniform for The State of TN. It was and EPIC project! From original buttons to sourcing “just the right shade of wool,” attention to detail was paramount. I completely drafted the pattern myself. Both the jacket and skirt are fully lined. The shirt and tie I picked up at a local second hand shop to use for the photo. I purchased the reproduction Sam Browne Belt on Ebay.

For more information about our WWI Era US Motor Corps Uniform or any of our custom designed historical clothing, please visit our website at www.maggiemayfashions.com

1875 serviceable dress

This 19th century day dress was designed for a house museum exhibit in Sterling Heights, Michigan. Inspired by an original gown in the Met, this cotton version is meant to celebrate the rural heritage of the now suburban community. A second gown in a later style is being designed to represent Sterling Height’s connection to urban Detroit. The two gowns will be exhibited side by side.

Original gown c. 1875 of wool and silk. Image courtesy The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

This gown has been carefully curated to accurately capture the heritage of this city. Original photographs of area families from the late 19th century were referenced and an overall look and feel of the exhibit was discussed. Together we settled upon this gown for its simplicity and practicality of style.

For more information about this custom designed gown or any of our historical  clothing, please visit our website at www.maggiemayfashions.com.

WWI American Red Cross Ward Uniform

We recently made one of our WWI era American Red Cross Ward nurse uniform with armband (not shown) for The American Museum in Britain’s exhibition entitled Side by Side: America in WWI running March 29- October 28, 2018.

This gown is part of an exhibit of a reconstructed hospital ward intended to give the audience a glimpse into early 20th century medicine and treatment in wartime Europe.

Image courtesy The American Museum in Britain

Our WWI era Ward uniform is based on photographs and written descriptions of the period. For more information about our WWI Ward uniform or any of our historical garments, please visit our website at www.maggiemayfashions.com

WWI Hello Girl Uniform

This WWI Era Hello Girl Uniform was meticulously researched for accuracy and authenticity as it was designed for exhibition at Alvin C. York State Park in Tennessee.

The Hello Girls, also known as the Signal Corps Female Telephone Operators Unit were an auxiliary unit of the US Army during WWI. Experienced, bilingual female telephone operators were recruited by the US Army and sent overseas to aid the failing communication lines of the Allies in wartime France. In 1917, over 7000 US women applied but only 450 were enlisted. This small group of skilled women paved the way for future generations and helped secure the role of women as vital assets in the US military.

Required to purchase their own uniforms, and being paid only $50 per month proved to be a barrier for many women. As they were required to wear their uniforms at all times (even on leave), two uniforms of the same style were devised. Winter uniforms were made of wool and summer uniforms of cotton sateen. However, purchasing two uniforms plus an overcoat, hat, and rank- designating insignias dwindled their measly earnings down to pennies. Therefore it can be surmised that most Hello Girls viewed their positions as patriotic rather than an income generating endeavor. While considered merely contract civilians by the US Army, the Hello Girls instead referred to themselves as the “first women’s combatant unit in the U.S. Army.”

Our replica WWI Hello Girl uniform is made from wool and is cut in the style of the original. The buttons are original eagle buttons as were worn by all WWI era serviceman (and women!).

For more information about our WWI Era Hello Girl Uniform or any of our custom designed historical garments, please visit our website at www.maggiemayfashions.com

Regency era chemise dress

This month we completed a regency era gown cut in the transitional style of the chemise dresses of the late 18th century. This gown is made from a period print cotton with a silk and tulle sash. This gown is headed to a client in Canada for a Regency era ball. This gown is a custom made Marie dress from a print chosen from our collection.

For more information about our Marie dress or any of our custom made historical clothing, please visit our website at www.maggiemayfashions.com

2017 in review and looking ahead to 2018

Whew! Where did 2017 go?

I think I know! After a whirlwind of costuming madness, our year- end custom commissions tally comes to a whopping 155 garments over a 9 month production season! In addition, I led 2 professional development workshops and participated in an 8 week Arts leadership institute. What an amazing year!

In celebration , here are a few pictoral highlights from our year of costuming!

Favorite garment of 2017!

Runner up for Favorite Garment of 2017!

In March, I traveled to Historic Traveller’s Rest in Nashville, Tennessee for ALHFAM’s Southeastern Region’s annual meeting. It was lovely to see old friends and meet new! Attending these conferences always brings a breath of fresh air and keeps me in touch with the needs and interests of my open air museum colleagues. While there, I conducted a one hour workshop entitled “Basic pattern alteration for historical costumers.”

In July, I traveled to Historic Exchange Place in Kingsport, Tennessee to give a full day workshop on the sartorial heritage of Southern Appalachia and lead a hands on workshop in basic sewing. The Junior Apprentices (ages 10-18) each took home a hand stitched half apron or winter cap.

In the Fall, I was selected as one of 30 candidates to attend an Arts Leadership Institute in Chattanooga. We met once a week at different arts based locations around the city and learned the importance the Arts have played in the revitalization and rebranding of the Scenic City. This was an exceptionally meaningful experience as I had the chance to increase my repertoire in Arts Advocacy and fraternize with Arts professionals and supporters across the region. This too, brought great inspiration as the conversations and collaborations from this Institute generated ideas for much needed expansions (as outlined at the bottom of this post.)

Images from the Holmberg Arts Leadership Institute

Back where it all started! When I was 12, I attended a summer drama camp at the Chattanooga Theater Center! One of the sessions involved the a costume design session. It was at that moment, I knew what I wanted to do for the rest of my life!

Listening to a variety of Chattanooga- based Arts professionals speaking about the barriers, challenges, and opportunities of being an artist in the South. It was at this meeting I had an “a-ha moment.” For the first time in 20+ years, I realized just how far I had come.

A visit to Sculpture Fields on the Southside of Chattanooga where large scale sculpture artist John Henry et al. was instrumental in converting what was once a city garbage dump turned abandoned ball fields into world class outdoor museum. 

Our Institute traveled to Nashville to meet with the directors and staff of The Tennessee Arts Commission! I was excited to meet the Director of Folklife- a new program aimed at preserving the cultural heritage of our state through financial support, archival work, and apprenticeship programs! We also spent the afternoon at the Frist and toured their exhibition on WWI. Our tour guide was a retired MI6 officer.

And after 2 months- we all graduated! A mixed group ranging from independent musicians, lawyers, bankers, realtors, veterinarians, Emmy award wining designers, and entreprenuers! We all had one thing in common though- a commitment to strengthening the support and recognition of the Arts and Artists of the Southeast!

And finally, in December, my family volunteered as a Victorian Era family at the Craven’s House Christmas Carol (NPS) on Lookout Mountain. This was special for us as there are limited programming opportunities in our area. My children loved it! My daughter really got into her impression! My little boy (3) even got into “pretending!” I hope to find more interpretation and education events in the future!

!!!!! NEW FOR 2018 !!!!!

And now looking ahead, it is with great excitement we announce we will be expanding our services in 2018 to include a collection of high- end, authentic rental garments and props for photography projects, museum exhibitions, short term interpretation and educational events, and other limited engagements! We will also be increasing our selection of ready made and one- of- a- kind garments.  We will be extending our catalog to include 18th century clothing. And, we will be REESTABLISHING our sales of historical fabric by the yard. We will also be retiring some of our older designs and introducing new! Please be sure to check our website frequently to keep up with the exciting new additions we have planned for this year!

Here’s to another fabulous year of historical costuming!

Cheers!

-SJ and the team at Maggie May Clothing Co.

1850s era denim jacket

This reproduction women’s denim jacket is a custom designed/custom commissioned 1850s era piece based on this original in the collection of FIT.

Working with the client, we decided upon a darker denim and a full quilted cotton lining.

The jacket features wooden buttons and lots of hand- stitched details. I chose to use a bright, white thread to showcase the stitching.

You can view the jacket in action here!

Our Historic Farmer tells us about Gulf Coast Sheep.

Posted by Historic Brattonsville on Friday, December 29, 2017

For more information about this jacket or any of our custom commissions, please visit our website at www.maggiemayfashions.com