Category Archives: Symposiums

New policies for 2016


Wow! We’ve had an amazing year! I feel like I say that at the end of every year, but 2015 really turned out to be one of our busiest of all time! I estimate over the course of the past 12 months, we stitched over 1200 yards of fabrics and completed over 300 garments! We lead 2 hands on workshops and gave 8 historical clothing presentations! What a year!

Looking ahead, we will be instituting a few new policies. As our markets and clientelle change, so must we. Effective January 1, 2016, we will be changing a few of our requirements. So here goes:

1. All film commissions will require payment in full at the time of order. Orders not paid in full within 10 days of order date will be subject to cancellation.

2. Effective January 1, 2016 a design fee will be added to production estimates for custom designed projects to cover the cost of pattern drafting, sizing, mock ups, and research (if applicable). Our design fee begins at $75.00 per design and is subject to change based upon individual projects (i.e. the more complicated the design, the higher the design cost).

3. Beginning in January, established clientelle will have priority completion dates. One of our biggest compliments is a returning customer and we would like to say thank you by offering priority scheduling.

4. Our reproduction fabric will now be dedicated exclusively to creating our custom historical garments. Any available yardage will be offered for immediate purchase on our IN STOCK page. -REVISED 2018- ALL FABRIC SALES ARE ACTIVE!

5. Our production calendar runs from January 2- May 31 and September 2- December 20. This allows us to spend our summer months conducting workshops, giving lectures, and attending conferences. All orders placed at the end of our production calendar will receive first priority at the beginning of the consecutive production season. We ship IN STOCK garments year round.

And just a gentle reminder:

All Maggie May Clothing images are protected under creative copyright and may not be shared or published in any way without written consent. This applies to our main website, our Etsy shop, and all affiliated social media sites.

Thanks and we look forward to another fabulous year of historical fashion!

Quilted Petticoat Workshop

On Friday, February 20, 2015 I’ll be leading a quilted petticoat workshop at Historic Burritt on the Mountain in Huntsville, Alabama. This sewing class is part of the preconference workshops for the regional meeting of the Association of Living History, Farm, and Agricultural Museums.


In June of 2012, ALHFAM awarded me a fellowship to attend their national conference at Hale Farm and Village in Ohio. It was an amazing experience and I felt very fortunate to have been a part of it! So, I am giving back the best way I know how by offering this MATERIALS FEE ONLY workshop at their upcoming Southeastern regional symposium.

It should be lots of fun and I am excited to have the opportunity to teach others how to sew! I hope this is just the first of many workshops to come!

For more information about this conference please contact Pat McMillion at Historic Burritt on the Mountain.

What to wear (Again!)

Another conference! Another decision!

What to wear?

Last time I attended an Association for Living History, Farm, and Agricultural Museum conference, I sported a lovely 1840s gown inspired by an original in the Met.

1847metgown  romanticgown

That conference was in the summer and the Northeastern Ohio weather was lovely! However, this upcoming conference is in the winter, and Southern winters are unpredictable- so I am thinking layers!

Initially I planned on wearing my Fall Harvest dress– as it is one of my favorites and I think would fit the venue perfectly! But after having a baby this summer, my current post-baby silhouette is a little wonky. It’s so strange how your body is in constant flux during that first year after childbirth. Not to worry though, as with my first bundle of joy, my body will return to its natural shape (just not in time for the conference!)

With that in mind, I’ve had this gorgeous c.1790s jacket and petticoat pinned on “Must sew” board for a few years now.


I am thinking this conference might be the perfect excuse to FINALLY make it! It will be adjustable so I can wear it again later with few alterations. I don’t have to worry too much with fussy undergarments. It is nursing friendly and should allow for lots of freedom of movement (in case I have two little kiddos in tow!)

So, this 1790s era ensemble it is! Here’s the plan:

In lieu of a simple strapped petticoat, I am going to make a full dress to wear underneath. The dress will have elbow length sleeves so it can be worn at a later date for evening wear. I am going to make it in round gown style from 100% semi sheer cotton with all over silver thread embroidery.



The Bodice (turned jacket) will have to be drafted. (It looks to be part caraco, part shortgown, part spencer. Whoo! Lots of parts to piece together there!)


I’ve stashed away some lovely medium weight cherry red silk. I also have a watermelon linen that might be nice too. We’ll see. The trim will have to be ordered. I’m going to use silver instead of gold. Here’s some possibilities-

LV-TL-6-915 LV-TL-24-915

LV-TL-123-915  LDM-526-925

I’m also going to make a few garments to donate to the silent auction.  With all this AND orders to fill, I better get sewing!

1880s era straw bonnet

This 1880s era straw bonnet was created as a silent auction donation item for the 2014 Costume Society of America’s Southeastern regional conference in Richmond, Virginia. It is trimmed in 100% silk taffeta, lace, and ribbon. The interior is fully lined in cotton muslin.


What was fun about this bonnet is when I began making it, I had absolutely no preset ideas as to how it should look when finished. I did have an idea of the general 1880s silhouette I wished to replicate but as for the rest, I just let the creative process take over!


This is what I love most about making reproduction historical clothing- the freedom to create. It often leads to surprisingly wonderful finished garments!

However, for the past several years the majority of my work has been precision- oriented with a specific final outcome that must be met. For many who recreate historical clothing, this is their forte. But for a creative free thinker, this process is laborious and can lead to major burn out! Therefore, I am striving to find more balance between the two this upcoming year.

Here’s to hoping this bonnet strikes someone’s fancy at the CSA’s silent auction!


Kent State University Museum

This past summer while on an Association for Living History and Farm Museum conference in Akron, Ohio, I (along with other historical clothing professionals) was given the opportunity to get a behind the scenes tour of the Kent State University Museum’s fashion collection. While there, a presentation on collections management was given by Joanne Fenn- the registrar. We had the opportunity to chat with Jean Druesedow, and were given tips about mounting and display of historical textiles by Jim Williams- the museums exhibitions expert. Sara Hume was on hand to answer any curatorial questions, and Kevin Wolfgang let us have a hands on experience in recreating historical textiles.

ksu6Tour of tech lab with Kevin Wolfgang

Because we were a special group, we were allowed to visit the collection on a day that the museum is normally closed to the public. And we were allowed to take photographs! However, out of respect for the museum, the collection, and kindness of its curators, I will not be making those images public in their entirety. However, these clips should give you a glimpse into what we saw 🙂



Detail of Corded corset


Decorative flossing on late 19th century corset


Bodice detail on Regency Era gown

Hem Treatment on 1820s era gown


Decorative white work on 1850s era capksu8

Sleeve detail on mid 19th century gown

For more information about the collections at Kent State University, the curators and staff, or the fashion institute, follow these links below:


What to wear?

I cannot remember the last time I made myself a dress. Better yet, I cannot remember the last time  there was an occasion to wear one to. And now with the opportunity to attend the ALHFAM 2013 conference in my lap, I’ve got reason! The Presidential dinner will be hosted in a c.1917 ballroom and period dress is requested. All dressed attendees will be asked to participate in a period fashion parade! [Whoop-Whoop!] So what to wear? Regency? Bustle? Romantic? I would LOVE to whip up something 1840s style!

1840dinner earlyvicfashion



I just LOVE these American gowns from the Met collection!

However, I am unsure if I will be flying to the conference or driving. If I am flying, there is the issue of baggage. Is it feasible to pack a week’s worth of modern clothing plus all the foundation garments needed for a proper 1840s era silhouette AND meet the one checked bag rule? Hmmm. Not sure about that.

So, what about using the era of the ballroom as inspiration? Last year marked the anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic. And Downton Abbey is all the rage right now. So maybe a gown between 1910-1925 would be fun. The conference is in the middle of June. I’m thinking something light and feminine and summery.


1912a   1912b   1912c


How can one go wrong with a”Happiness” dress?

Jeanne Lanvin (FR) is one of my favorite 1920s designers. I am contemplating taking a leap and going WAY out of my comfort zone with one of the gowns below (gown at back by Jeanne Lanvin/ gown at front unknown maker). Lanvin is known for her ultra feminine style, her delicate embroidery work, and striking color combinations.


This is a period I have not had much chance to explore and is really unchartered territory. Oh, but what an opportunity to play with the color palette!

So it’s between the Lanvin gown above and the short sleeve 1847 Met dress. What to wear? What to wear? Thinking… Sketching…. Ideas formulating…..

To be continued…

A Fellowship!

To my absolute surprise and wonderment, I am excited to announce I have been awarded a fellowship from the Association for Living History, Farm and Agricultural Museums to attend their 2013 international conference at Hale Farm and Village in Bath, Ohio! I cannot wait to meet other museum professionals who share my passion for rural heritage! Awesome!

Picture 8

But even more exciting is I really do have a special place for Hale Farm and Village in my heart. Here is an excerpt from my application letter explaining why:

… I grew up in Northeastern Ohio- not far from Bath. My passion for history and living history was born from a childhood visit to Hale Farm and Village when I was six years old. It was a trip my mother took our Brownie girl scout troop on. I still remember the childhood excitement of getting to “visit the past” and all I knew was I really wanted to live on that farm too. I also remember the sadness I felt when we left and did not understand why we too could not keep livestock and dress like the interpreters. A few years later, our family moved from Ohio to Tennessee. However, my childhood experience at Hale Farm would serve as the cornerstone of a life long path.

And so for the first time in over 20 years, I’ll be headed to my old stomping grounds! I wonder just how Southern I have become? I’m sure I will find out!

In the meantime, have a look at these Cool conference going ons:

A behind the scenes tour of Kent State Museum’s costume collection

Getting up close and personal with dairy cows and the proper way to milk ’em!

18th century chocolate making- from roasting your own beans to creating creamy chocolaty confections!

19th century clothing construction techniques- both mens’ and women’s

Historic livestock breeds- including hands on sheep experiences

Historic gardening and recipes- including how to make cider

Amish History

Sidesaddle riding

And now off to work on orders so I can reserve a little time to stitch something up for myself to wear at the conference!

To learn more about ALHFAM, visit their website at

For the full conference line up:

A gown for The Costume Society of America

This past week I attended The Costume Society of America’s National Symposium in Atlanta! To support the organization, I made this mid 19th century reproduction lady’s dress as a donation item for their silent auction.

19th century Southern dress  19th century Southern dress

This gown in inspired by an extant 1850s-1860s gown in the McMinn County Heritage Museum in Athens, Tennessee.

McMinn County Living Heritage Museum

I chose this dress as my inspiration because I wanted to call attention to the importance of Southern textiles and bring attention to smaller dress collections around the South.

This reproduction gown has all the bells and whistles!- Included are a contrasting hem binding, a fully lined bodice, bound arm holes, and glass buttons. The fabric used for this gown is a documented 19th century reproduction from the University of Nebraska’s textile collection.

19th century dress  19th century dress details

  19th century calico glass buttons  19th century dress trim19th century dress hemline

The only modern sewing features in this gown are the machine made button holes.

19th century American South dress
Follow up:
This dress ended up at Historic Nash Farm in Texas! Don’t these interpreters look great!