Category Archives: Misc

Historical Clothing related fun!

QV Tea- About the Venue

We are just ONE MONTH away from our authentic Victorian Era British tea and I though it might be nice to chat a little more about our venue!

Legion Hall c. 1920s
The Legion Hall fully restored today!

The American Legion Hall in South Pittsburg, Tennessee was built in the mid 1920s at a cost of $20,000.00. It is a Sears and Roebuck catalog building purchased in Chattanooga and is in the Egyptian style. It was erected to honor the local men and women who served during WWI. Tennessee and Marion County had a large number of men who enlisted during this war and sadly many did not return home. This building pays homage not only to their service but the service all of those who have since come after them.

Volunteers from the US Air Force help restore the Hall. Image courtesy The Chattanooga Times.

The first event was held at Post 62 on November 11, 1926. Armistice Day events were then held there annually. In 1940, the local Girl Reserves hosted a mother- daughter tea with over 200 in attendance. A May 23 edition of the local newspaper records the event. “A Russian Tea was served from a beautifully appointed table with lace cloth and artistic arrangement of columbine in the center.”

The Legion Hall serves as a modern wedding venue. Image courtesy Facebook.

In 2016, a group of local preservation- minded citizens formed a nonprofit to restore the Hall. The goals of the project were to: 1. preserve the historical integrity of the structure (including the interior) as it was in the 1920s. 2. To provide a gathering place for all veterans (as it was originally intended) and 3. To make the Hall self sustaining through rentals.

Getting ready for the local Chamber of Commerce Breakfast. Image courtesy Facebook.

And oh what a marvelous job they have done! Not only do the proceeds from this Tea benefit our selected charity- Angel Gowns of the South but also helps contribute to the historic preservation of this gorgeous landmark structure!

Decorating the great foyer for the Holidays! Image courtesy Facebook.

Looking forward to seeing you on May 25, 2019 for our 200th birthday celebration! About the event.

Girl’s mid century try- on clothing

These two mid 19th century yoked front dresses were made for a museum in Arkansas for their children’s hands on exhibit. This style of dress was popular from about 1840 through the 1860s and was prominent in the American South. These two dresses are made from period reproduction cotton prints and are suitable for girls ages 4-13. They open all the way down the back to accommodate ease of trying on and close with buttons.

Girl’s mid century yoked dress sized for girls ages 10-13.
The pinner aprons is removable and is attached to the dress with snaps to make on and off as easy as possible.
Sweet summer dress of floral calico sized for girls ages 10-13.

We also made this close fitting straw bonnet to accompany this collection. This style bonnet was worn by girls from the 1840s through the 1860s. We constructed it in an easy to clean, durable way (without ties) to allow multiple young visitors to try on this darling little bonnet while at the museum.

Mid century straw bonnet without ties to keep little heads clean and tidy!

For more information about these custom designed historical children’s clothing or any of our historical fashions, please visit our website at www.maggiemayfashions.com

Girl’s 1830s-1840s dresses

These 1830s-1840s era dresses were designed for a museum in Arkansas for their children’s interpretive center. These dresses open all the way down the back for ease of getting on and off and have small snaps on the bodice to attach the pinner aprons for a mix and match look. These dresses are made in 100% reproduction cotton prints and have button closures at the back.

Bright turkey red calico suitable for a girl age 5-7. Turkey red was a popular color in the 1830s!
Yellow calico cotton dress with 1830s gigot sleeves. Dress suitable for girls ages 7-10.
Dress with pinner apron.
Girl’s 1840s era dress of period reproduction cotton print. Suitable for girls ages 5-7.
1840s era dress with apron. Perhaps my FAVORITE from this collection!
Bold print 1840s era dress suitable for girls ages 7-10.
1840s era girl’s dress shown with pinner apron.
1840s era dress detail. Sweet little ribbon and lace adorn with 3/4 length close fitting sleeve.

For more information about our custom made historical children’s clothing or any of our historical fashions, please visit our website at www.maggiemayfashions.com

April 1! 10 Honest Answers to 10 Honest Questions

It’s April’s Fool’s Day! In honor of this silly day, I decided to conduct an “interview” and give honest answers to honest questions! Warning: you might find out more than you want to know! So here goes!

Q: Why do you make historical clothing?

A: Because I do not like teaching. Wait- isn’t that supposed to be the other way around? You know, those who can’t- teach? So cliche. But seriously, I was a visual arts teacher for a while. I loved working with kids but found the educational system most frustrating. I was the only creative in the building and that was a very lonely feeling.

Q: What is your favorite time period to design from?

A: Hmm. That’s a tough one. I love the understated elegance of the Regency Period. But I also love the over-the-top styles of the Bustle Era. I am not a big fan of the 1860s/early 1870s. I guess hoops just aren’t my thing anymore.

Q: What do you love most about your job?

A: The diversity! Checking emails is like playing the lottery! Today you might be stitching together a couple stock petticoats and tomorrow you might be working for Spike Lee! (True story! Although they called instead of emailing.)

Q: What do you dislike most about your job?

A: Deadlines.

Q: I see you are celebrating 25 years in business! That’s a long time! If you could go back and change one thing from the last quarter decade, what would it be?

A: I would have taken more time off when my second child was born. Literally, the day after he came home, I brought the sewing machine in from my studio and set up a mini sewing station in my kitchen. Why? Because I had deadlines.

Q: What do you think of social media? You know because it didn’t exist 25 years ago!

A: Short Answer: Overrated. Long Answer: I think social media can be a useful way to disseminate information and share ideas with people who have common interests. But somewhere along the lines, social media has become all about money and manipulation and while I do like money, I am not willing to let the social media giants be puppeteers over my life and business. Are you?

Q: Are you hot in those clothes?

A: Why yes. I am “hot” in these clothes. Thank you for the compliment but I am happily married.

Q: Do you dress like this everyday?

A: See photo below.

Q: What advice could you give people just getting started in this field?

A: Follow your passion. Ask yourself: What makes you happy Marie Kondo? What type of lifestyle do you want to live? What are you passionate about? Now what can you do for a living (You know- because you need money to live people!) that allows you to live the life you want? Get a plan and get to it! But be prepared! Success is measured in a variety of ways. Money is NOT happiness and nothing ever happens overnight!

Q: Where do you get your design inspiration?

A: Lots of places! I look at photographs of original garments. I read books (like ones with paper…) because context is important. And, sometimes I even have the chance to get up close and personal with original collections (thank you Costume Society of America!) It might be the overall silhouette I am drawn to or simply a small detail. Sometimes I make up characters or events in my mind. Then I just work up a design in my imagination and go from there! But I always try NOT to copy other creatives’ designs and I do NOT LIKE IT when others copy mine. (Yeah, you know who you are…..)

Q: After 25 years, what keeps you going?

A: I ask myself this question EVERY DAY and even more so when I am at an ebb in my workflow. I always try to focus on the positives. I practice thankfulness- like I am thankful I do not have to sit through a one hour staff meeting in some concrete building; or I am thankful I do not have to miss my daughter’s field trip because the boss would not let me have the day off. I love getting to meet people from all over the world who share the same passions about historical fashion. I thrive on creative collaboration! In short, I am grateful I have been given a skill and talent that allows me to live the life I really want.

Business Bevies: Royalties and why you should charge them

Let’s face it. After being in the creative business for over 25 years, I’ve seen it all. Nothing really surprises me anymore. Recently, I saw a conversation on a social media network geared toward historic costume professionals who design, create, and/or provide research and garments for large companies. The issue was they never received credit for their work and did not know why.

Sadly, this is a pretty common practice and there are a variety of reasons for it. Unions are a large factor. Unions are powerful conglomerates that protect their members by advocating for fair wages and universal working conditions. In addition, unions advocate for companies to only hire union members. This is not necessarily a bad thing except annual membership fees are ridiculously high. And being a member of a union does not guarantee you get hired on for a project.

One trick of the trade is for union costumers to contract or buy from non-union creatives and treat the transaction as if one is buying supplies. This works well for creatives who are just getting started, use the industry as an auxillary form of employment, want to build connections in the field, or simply do not want to join a union. However, the trade off is your work goes uncredited as you now become a vendor rather than a creative or designer. Under no circumstances does a buyer even have to acknowledge you.

More unscrupulous creatives can also pass your work off as their own. While this is ethically alarming, legally it is not. This is because creative property laws are vague and are inconsistent on an international level. Creative property laws rarely protect “articles of everyday use” such as clothing, furniture, pottery, some textiles, etc. The legal water becomes even muddier when one sells his/her work to a buyer. Does the buyer now own just the object as is? Has the buyer purchased the object with the ability to deconstruct it and replicate it? Does the buyer now own the idea behind the object? US laws are weak on these topics and as a creative, one must always assume the answer is “Yes.”

So what can you as a creative/or designer do?

Charge a royalty.

Royalties are a form of payment paid to an established brand or designer for the use of their work. The key here is ESTABLISHED BRAND or NAME. Royalties are a “right to use” fee and typically pertain to intellectual property (works that can be trademarked, patented, or copyrighted). Royalties protect both the buyer and the seller from claims of improper use. One could possibly argue that an object created under a trademark could be eligible for a royalty.*

The benefit of charging a royalty here is you are financially compensated for your ideas. Even though they are not written down in pen and ink, your “article of everyday use” is indeed a product of your intellect, talent, and skill. And for this, you should be compensated. Writers, composers, fine artists, and graphic designers receive royalties all the time. Why shouldn’t you?

But I am not an attorney nor do I pretend to be one. I am a business owner and a creative. I understand the rules of the free market. But I also know the value of my work. By charging a royalty, you send a clear and concise message to the industry that you feel your work has merit, you demand creative respect, and there is more to what you do than just “sell stuff.”

However, it is up to you as a creative whether or not you feel the need to require a royalty and whether or not you are willing to let clients to pass you by if they are not willing to pay it.

*All comments are my opinion and not meant to be interpreted as legal advice. For more information about royalties, licensing, trademarks, and unions please visit your local creative property rights attorney or small business administration.

Queen Victoria’s 200th Birthday Menu

For your dining pleasure- We are proud to share our menu for Queen Victoria’s 200th Birthday Tea!

Please join us on Saturday, May 25, 2019 at 2:00pm CST as we will be turning back the clocks to Victorian Era England! Join us for a fun afternoon of light refreshment, music, merriment, and of course TEA! in the historic Victorian era town of South Pittsburg, Tennessee. Event to benefit 2 selected children’s charities.

Food historians note Queen Victoria had a well versed palette and a distinct love for both the sweet and the savory. Mutton, potatoes, and Beef were most commonly seen on her menus as well as a variety of fish and an assortment of breads. Her favorite sweets consisted of sponges, wafers, biscuits (or shortbread cookies), drop cakes, Scottish tablet (a dulche de leche-type fudge), petit fours, pralines, almond sweets, pies, and berry tars (specifically cranberry) with creme. But perhaps my favorite of hers are the Langues de Chat (or Cat Tongues) which is an elongated shortbread dipped in chocolate.

I imagine the royal kitchen was a very busy place! And the royal garden diverse! The Queen advocated for fresh foods and discouraged ingredients out of season. The exception was pineapple- for which the Queen had a passion- and was thus grown year round in the Royal hothouses.

More fun facts and information about Queen Victoria can be found on on our blog. More about our event can be found here.


Romantic Era straw bonnet

This lovely Romantic Era straw bonnet is headed to a museum in Pennsylvania as part of a larger commission. This straw bonnet features gingham ribbon, paper flowers, and silk ties.

For more information about this style bonnet or any of our custom millinery, please visit our website at www.maggiemayfashions.com