Sunday, October 18, 2009


Tis the season to be BUSY! I have been working like a mad woman to get my Baltimore Album quilt top finished and ready for quilting. I finished the sashings.... ahead of time, and thought, after 10 years, I was finally done with the top, only to stand back and say....'uh, nope...... not finished yet'. I have set it on point, so I had 4 corners and 12 half blocks on the sides that were back to stitching I went! I finished the sashings on the 21st of September, and set a goal to have all the additional applique finished by the end of October. I have just 4 more half blocks to go, so hopefully I will be able to get them done by then! Thankyou SO much to all who have emailed to see how it is coming on~ I say" Beautifully"
We took a little time out yesterday to carve pumpkins....what a mess! Our early Sept snow killed the vines, so the children's punkins they were babying along stopped growing and were still a bit green inside. Emma carved hers and somehow it ended up on her HEAD! I could hear muffled giggles and couldn't believe it when I saw her~ in all my life I have never once thought to put a real punkin on my head! Well, she liked it so much, that she took it off and carved an upside down face on the bottom of it, so she could see, and now, after months of tribulation and finally coming up with the Gothic vampire costume...she has thrown that aside and wants to wear her punkin head for her costume! (I would have appreciated this idea months ago)
Lil Pip would not be still from hopping up and down until she got to try on the punkin...its SO heavy tho, Emma is helping her hold it up

And when she let go, you can get an idea of how heavy it is! I love this picture tho, I may have to get it blown up for my studio....cause I can certainly see a dollye that needs a punkin head in my future!
Enjoy the Season!!!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

This October 15th....

Hope to see you there!!

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Corseting Tascha

18th and 19th century dolls were both plaything and teacher for little girls. Not only did they provide a friend to play with and hours of loving company, but they also taught little ones rules of fashionable dress and how to be a proper little ladye. As some modern dollys teach how to tie shoe laces, some early dolls taught how to tie up a corset or set of stays.

Tascha is an antique 1830 mache doll on milliner body with carved wood arms and legs. I dressed her as a fashionable ladye of the time, which required her to slip on her pantaloon and chemise first, before her new corset. To corset dolly, first I lay the corset, with back fully undone, over the front of her, where it is intended to fit

The top of the corset should come up to, bit not overlapping the shoulder plate. 1830 corsets were meant to compress and flatten everything, even the bust. Towards the latter 1830s, gussets were inserted to allow fullness in the breast, but still retaining the sleek flat lines

I then flip dolly over on her tummy, and hold the lace directly in the center. Each end is then thread onto a blunt eye tapestry needle, and the back of the corset is very loosely laced down both sides, from the top to the hips, going thru every other hole, just like a shoe is laced. At this point , we just want the laces to run thru each hole, with even amount at the excess of each side.
I flip dollye back over, and tie her shoulder straps in bows, tucking the excess lace ends into the corset under the arms. Women would usually just tie and knot these laces, and cut off the excess, as they would shimmy in and out of them without bothering to untie the shoulder straps.

Flipping dollye back around, you can see her corset fully laced, very loosely, with the ends hanging. For Tascha's little corset, her back lacing is over a yard long.

Starting at the top, and slipping your index finger under the first set of 2 laces, where they cross and make an "x", gently pull up and snug up the laces in pairs, to draw in both sides at the same time, and follow this down all the way to the bottom.

A properly fit corset will have a wide gap in the back. Once the fit suits the wearer, the laces are tied in a double bow at the bottom, the excess coiled and tucked up within the corset.

With her wide wooden busk running the full length of the corset, Tascha could never ever bend at the waist! The hips are well enclosed by it as well, making sitting a very uncomfortable affiar for a fashinable ladye of the time. Furniture of the period recognized this, and chairs were made differently for men and women. A ladyes chair was not as deep in the seat as a mans', and often had no arms, or arms that only extended half way to the edge of the seat, to afford her a little more comfort whilst trying to balance herself on the edge of it.

Friday, October 02, 2009

Stretching out for the Marathon......

I guess I am just plain going looney as I get older, as I have decided to make Marguarite up a' la 17th century..... embroidered jacket and all. I have been researching for several months now and am delving in deeper and deeper......kind of like stretching before a big Marathon run....I'm not a runner, so I don't know what the biggest Marathon on earth is, but I know the Boston is quite long, and embroidering this jacket for me, will be like running the Boston ten fold. And I don't run. Heck, some days walking is hard!

For months I have been following the "Embroiders Story", a magnificent blog detailing the reproduction of a 17th century embroidered jacket. It was started at Plymouth Plantation, and due to budget cuts, nearly was set aside. Dr Tricia Wilson Nguyen took the project over and has done such a marvelous job~ jacket is nearly finished now and SO much information has been gleened from this experience. I am looking foreword to her books to come out on it soon. So many hours and so many people have had a hand in it, its really an amazing story and I hope you will stop by the blog and read up on it here . You can immerse yourself in history at the Plimoth Plantation website here ~ they have lots of great fall programs that you wont want to miss if you are close by~ I wish I could take the children to see the Haunted Ship!

I am close to starting Marguerite's clothes, and thought you all may be interested in following along. I will start out as with all my dollys, from the nekkidness out. I would really love to do her jacket first, I am so very obsessed with the history and process of it all, but to get the proper fit, her underthings must be made first. You can follow her progress by clicking the 'Marguarite' tab on the sidebar. So get ready for Jacobean embroidery, hand stitching, little historical tidbits and lots of gorgeous pictures along the way to a complete 17th c wardrobe for my girl. In the means, do travel to the Thistle Threads website, where you can find history mingling and joining with modern technology to make for a fascinating ride of a lifetime!

***top photo of painted portrait of Margaret Laton, 1620 , kept in the Victoria & Albert Museum, London, along with the original embroidered jacket