Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Corset Making Seminar reset for April 20, 3013

Corset Making Seminar

Victoria Davis is hosting a Corset-Making Seminar at Ft. Stanton on Saturday, Apr. 20. She will bring examples of corset styles from 1855 to 1910. Also provided will be patterns for an 1855-1865 corset, 1880s corset, and a 1909 corset that you can copy.


The focus of the seminar will be to cut out and properly fit a muslin model for your corset, supplies and techniques needed to build a good-fitting corset.


A good-fitting corset provides the proper foundation to support your outer garments and is a "Must" for the serious living history presenter (the only exception would be someone portraying either a Mexican (remember, this was part of Mexico until 1855) or a subsistence farmer.


Supplies for this seminar are simple: wax paper or parchment to copy your chosen corset, a yard of scrap cotton fabric or muslin, thread, and a portable sewing machine, if you have one to bring. There is no fee to attend this seminar. We will begin at 10:00 a.m.


If you are coming from out of town, the old nurses' quarters are available for us to stay in. Just bring your bedding (and cot). There are in-door plumbing facilities!!

Please RSVP to victoriadavis88310@yahoo.com so we can plan accordingly 

Ft. Stanton is located in Ft. Stanton, NM  http://fortstanton.org/ 




Frontier Women Living History Association Conference

Frontier Women Living History Association
9th Annual Conference
Fort Concho Historic Landmark, San Angelo, TX
March 8-10, 2012

The 9th annual Frontier Women'sLiving History conference was a great success.  There were about 26 ladies attending from such far away places as Kansas, New Mexico, Louisiana as well as Texas. We were thrilled that the Ft. Larned, Kansas,  and Uvalde, Texas ladies could be with us again this year.  We welcomed two new ladies, one from Alamagordo, New Mexico and
another from Fort Worth, Texas.  We were especially glad to welcome back, Joan from Louisiana, after a year's hiatus due to medical issues. It was wonderful to have all the ladies back together again for a great learning and fun experience.
 Friday evening featured an early meet and greet with a lace making
session taught by Arnie Graboski, our yarn expert. The annual bazzar came to life at this time, filling two rooms.  There were tea cups, shawls, wraps, and other needle work by Arnie.  Ann had sontags, woolen bonnets, leather journals and bags.  Kathy, Jo and Joan had beautiful period needlework, covers for water bottles, baby shoes, hairnets and other interesting things.  Jere had her carefully researched period earrings and other jewelry. Shopping was and proves to still be a popular pastime for ladies. 

 The next morning,  Mitch Baird presented an enlightening talk on the Texas Historical Commission plans for Living History events and information on the tax benefits for living history volunteers.  On Sunday, he also presented some historical documents from Ft. Griffin, including a newly acquired letter from a soldier stationed at Ft. Griffin to his family which was full of everyday frontier life chatter. 
Donna Hector instructed the ladies in the use of a beautiful handmade loom called by many names...spool knitter, knitting nobby, knitting Nellie.  Each lady got to take one of these lovely looms home with here.  Arnie lent us Lucets and showed us how to make a cord for lacing and tying.  In America, the technique dates back to the Colonial period when garments were laced rather than buttoned.  The next presentation was by Beverly Reeves who introduced us to ribbon embroidery.  Each lady made a needle case for those indispensable sewing tools.  Sally Wolfe of Ft. Concho entertained and informed us with information on tips, tricks and shortcuts of putting together a living history impression. Sally was a volunteer coordinator for the Ft. Bliss Museum and responsible for clothing and educating its many volunteers.  She amused us her stories and her hard-learned tricks.  Lunch was a delicious affair prepared by Sharon Baird with recipes from our Italian immigrant pioneers.  Before the tea, door prizes were chosen.  The door prizes, donated by the participants, included books of historical interest, a corn husk bride doll, antique metal items from Clyde Prince's collection, and lots of other interesting and beautiful items.  Each lady was thrilled with her prize.    Cheri Miller and Sara Reeves organized another delicious tea. 
All the ladies dressed in their finery and were served tea and delicious cookies made by the Uvalde ladies, the recipes of which were at least 125 years old.  One cookie recipe was made to accompany a long trip west because it remained good for several weeks.  (Do cookies remain in your house for more than a few days?  Not mine!) We hope to have the recipes and will post them here.

Sunday morning dawned bright and cheery with all clocks springing forward...some with more enthusiasm than others.  We meet for wonderful instruction on the use of period writing instruments and period penmanship by Sharon Baird.  We practiced our period penmanship copying from antique documents.  India ink stained fingers were the decoration of the day.  Finally, it was time to begin the long wagon rides to our respective forts and homes.  Another wonderful conference fades into history with friends and memories to be remembered with fondness.

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Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Technique for Sewing with Raw Silk

Making garments out of some types of woven garments is a challenge...especially with loosely woven raw silks.  Check out this page for information on how to stabilize the seams of these challenge fabrics whose threads unravel before you can even get them near the sewing machine.  http://www.threadsmagazine.com/item/30097/a-trick-for-working-with-raw-silk/page/all

From the article:
Recently, I purchased some raw silk for a spring jacket, even though I knew that it was problematic to sew. The issue with this kind of silk is with raveling – the seam allowances practically jump apart once you cut.
Here's an example of what I'm talking about. To demonstrate what happens, I just cut this piece out, and shook it gently for a few seconds. Look at the raveling! It's a nosebleed to sew!
I did a little experimenting before I began, and figured out this trick to keep the seam allowances intact. Know that this will use a little more fabric in cutting, but the results will be worth the fabric you'll waste in preparing the garment sections.
After placing your pattern onto the fabric, thread trace the cutting lines through both layers of fabric, leaving large thread loops above the fabric. Here's a close-up of the loops of the thread tracing.

See what to do next at