Tag Archives: ALHFAM

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!

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:





ALHFAM dress

For the 2013 Association for Living History, Farm, and Agricultural Museums’ International conference in Akron, Ohio I decided to make a gown inspired by the c. 1847 cotton gown in the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s collection. Seen here:



Here is my version (sans petticoats):



I cut and stitched this dress just 24 hours before I was set to board the plane for the conference! To my luck, it went together swimmingly and I only had to make a few quick and dirty alterations to the bodice before I packed it into the suitcase.

I chose to make this a front closing gown because I needed it to be easy to get in and out of as I would be dressing myself. The bodice front closes with hook and eye at the yoke and waist only. The center of the bodice is free. The dress is longer in the back to accommodate a small bum pad often worn during this period. Other dress details include a wide hem band in contrasting fabric.

For the conference, I wore it over a heavily starched corded petticoat and one tucked petticoat. I also wore my corset and chemise. I had the bum pad on but took it off last minute. I felt I had enough “oomph” at the back for my liking. (I’m not much of a bustle person I suppose.) All in all, it was super comfortable and really easy to wear. I think I am going to experiment with this design more in the future.

Here’s a few pics of me wearing it at the historical fashion show:

alhfamdress2 alhfamdress3 alhfamdress4Showing off hem protector and petticoats


(Image snapped by Eileen Hook)

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…