Sunday, June 29, 2008

Secret Sale and Pig on Vacation

Hi all!

I've been recuperating from my frantic sewing on the 1876 Gown, taking Ginny, the Guinea Pig, on vacation to Walt Disney World and preparing for Costume College.

My I'm busy! And that's AFTER the major sewing project.

I was indeed surprised at the product sale that Sara ran at Cloak & Corset while I was away. I honestly knew nothing about it! Many of you took advantage of that sale. I hope you are enjoying your reports. If you have ANY questions on our products, please email us and we will be happy to clarify.

Ginny had a ball on her vacation to Florida! I'm so glad she took me and Jeff along to enjoy it as well. She missed the 6-course French dinner but thoroughly enjoyed the morning at the spa.

And seeing Darth Vader was fun too (at Hollywood Studios).

Here she is in the Mexico pavilion in Epcot.

Her favorite princess was Belle who wore a bright yellow gown modeled after styles in the 1850s and '60s. Although the trim on the dress was fabulous, Ginny thought another color of lace or ribbon would add depth to the design. (How presumptuous of Ginny to give design opinions on a Disney princess!)

Now that I'm back, a new list of sewing and writing projects are waiting to take over my time again. Stay tuned for more posts and my eBook!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Sara's England Trip (May 2-23, 2008)

What an amazing trip! We had so much fun and couldn't believe how quickly it went by. We did so much it's hard to summarize it. But I will do my best and give you some of the highlights with some good pictures.

We started in London for about a week, staying with some friends. Then we headed to Wincester and Bath and into Southern Wales. We went all throughout Wales and spent two nights in Northern Wales before headed back into England and the Lake District. We spent 4 nights in the Lake District at the Bible college by husband attending for a year. Then we made the trip up to Edinburgh and Loch Ness. After 4 nights in Scotland, we came back to the Lake District for a night, headed down to Oxford for 1 night, and then back to London for our last 2 nights. Overall, we drove over 2,000 miles! It was a lot of driving but we got to see a lot of sights.

Here are some pictures to give you a clue:

Sara's first time in the Underground (at Heathrow Airport)

Playing dress-up at Queen Elizabeth's Hunting Lodge.

Tower Bridge -
We first saw this on our boat ride down the River Thames from Parliament

Tower of London -
Amazing! This is a must see and you must go on the Beefeater tour.

Fun inside the tower :)

Kensington Gardens

Me and Queen Victoria at Kensington Palace

Me on the lion at Trafalgar Square

Natural History Museum in London

Big Ben / Parliament

Jane Austen's House


The Roman Baths

Iron Ore Mine (in Southern Wales)


Arthur's Seat (Edinburgh)

Edinburugh Castle

Hairy Cow in Drumnadrochit

Nessie and Me!

Windsor Castle

If you want to hear all the nitty gritty details of this trip - a day-by-day detailed account - go to my personal blog at

Back View of 1876 Skirt

My friend Violet snapped this photo of me in my skirt as we were getting ready for the ball.

You can see the side points in this picture. And notice that the top of the sash is not there as it is sewn to the back of the bodice.

When sewing trim, don't be afraid to "piece" it. Think of your trim in 3-D to help you make it "organic" looking as you stitch it to your garment. Your design can also dictate where you need to slash your trim to help it lay better or just for ease of construction.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

1876 Evening Gown Completed!

The finished gown:

Since I ran out of time (not surprising), all the roses are safety pinned. But I did manage to get the leaves hand tacked on. I put in 194 hours! And that's not counting the time to find and purchase materials.

Sewing Note: flower and leaf trim should be strongly sewn on if the garment is to be worn while dancing. I only lost one little set of leaves, and they all drooped a little by night's end.

The 9 in our party had a grand time at the Social Daunce Irregulars Victorian Summer Ball.

We had a fabulous Italian dinner beforehand with several guesses as to what kind of party we were. "You must be theater people. What play are you folks in?" That one was funny. Then, "Is this a wedding?" Since I was sitting at the head of the table in my mostly white dress with the rest dressed in their finery, I can imagine why this question came up.

I had more photos taken of the gown, so keep your eye out for new ones on the blog and website. I will also be putting together the total yardage and cost of this gown for reference. Look for more details in an upcoming special member note.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Nearly Finished!

This was the dress as of last Sunday the 8th.
The skirt is still in the same state of done-ness. The bodice now has 13 bones, all edges finished with hand eyelets for lacing on the center back and lace on the hem and neckline edges.

Today I started measuring and cutting out the sash. This will really add to the finished look - not to mention bring in more pink color. With so much white fabric, I feel like I've been working on a wedding gown!

The roses and leaves are the last thing to go on. The velvet leaves from Hats by Leko (see our Resources page) are a great moss green that will really make the dress "pop!"

Final photos of the dress will be posted after the Ball on Saturday! Stay tuned.

Thank you for all your comments regarding this current project! I've taken lots of pictures while sewing it to include in the upcoming eBook.

If you have read any step on this 1876 Evening Gown project that you are confused on, loved or would like more information about, please email me or post a comment. I would love to hear your ideas and feedback!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

New Feature - Resources Page

We have just added a Resources Page to our Website!

In an effort to give you even MORE information, we have started a new Resources Page that lists some vendors and helpful sites that we have used.

Go check it out here:

There is even a box at the bottom to submit your own resource that you find useful. Please let us know what you use so we can check it out too!

This page is a work-in-progress so it will be updated with new sites, descriptions, and comments whenever we can so check back to view the changes.

Do you have a pattern or a book that you would like an opinion on? Perhaps you aren't sure if it would be useful for your next project and would like a professional opinion on it. Then submit it and we'll take a look and let you know.

Let us know what you think of this new edition!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Birthday Time!

Happy Birthday to me -Jennifer!

Connie, the owner of the store where I work, was so nice to bring in a delicious cake from the local Smith's Bakery. Another designer here, Kathleen, also has her birthday today so we made it a party.

Today I reviewed my goals for 2008:
I want to learn embroidery this year. I have some wonderful period patterns from my library of Godey's Lady's Book and Peterson's to work on.

And I also want to make a pie from scratch. Those that know me know I can't cook to save my life, but I love to bake. I would, at some point, want to learn to bake a pie in a cast iron Dutch oven while on Oak Street at a Civil War event.

Anyone have any great recipes for a Dutch oven pie?

Keep your eyes out for our June Guinea Pig! She looks as delightful as my birthday cake! But her white organza is topped off with pink not red and a hand-made accessory accompanies it.

**Remember to frequently wash your hands while hand sewing.