Thursday, December 24, 2015

A Confederate Girl's Diary

A Confederate Girl's Diary by Sarah Morgan Dawson is available in a free Kindle download on Amazon at  Take advantage of this soon as the price may change.
This is an excellent look into that time period. You can get the Kindle App for any tablet, smartphone or computer IOS. She even mentions a sewing machine.  Merry Christmas to all.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Spinning and Patriotism

If you English folks won’t give us the liberty we ask… I will try to gather a number of ladies armed with spinning wheels [along with men] who shall all learn to weave and keep sheep, and will retire beyond the reach of arbitrary power, clothed with the work of our hands, feeding on what the country affords… In short, we will found a new Arcadia.
Charity Clark, June 1769
Before the Declaration of Independence was adopted on July 4th, 1776, America was determined to show that she could survive without the British. That meant being frugal, drinking coffee instead of tea, and it meant spinning. Americans were boycotting British goods, especially British imported textiles. In an act of rebellion, women took to their spinning wheels, their knitting needles, and their looms. If you were a Patriot, you wore homemade clothes from homespun yarn.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

More on Pleats and Ruching

Pleats are amazing on period garments and add just the right touch.  But...oh, no...they require math!
Not with this lady's technique!  Watch this video on creating pleats the easy -- no math way.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Texas, a heritage too grand to not share

Enjoy this excellent video on Ft. Griffin and Ft. Chadbourne.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

A Sack Full of History

This is not an article about the pre-1900s but it is about women's lives on the Texas frontier during the Depression era.  Flour sacks were often used to stretch the family's clothing. This article from gives us an insight into the ingenuity and creativity of women during times of hardship. There are some wonderful pictures in the article of families clothed with feed sacks.
The children here are clothed with feed sack fabric but you would never know it. Think of the serious sewing skills involved.
Read the article at 

Do you have a picture of someone wearing feed sack fabric or a quilt of feed sack fabrics.  Please post a picture or a comment.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Knife and Box Pleats

Pleats are probably the most flattering way to gather the massive volume of fabric into a CW era dress waistband.  Cartridge pleats look lovely on teeny-tiny ladies but have a tendency to balloon on we ladies of substance.  ; ).  Box and knife pleats lay nicely at the waist and flair well at the hem.   This video covers an easy way to create pleats using template.  Another tip is to spray the pleats with water and vinegar before pressing.  It will hold the pleats much better.  On period dresses just press the first 5 or 6 inches of the pleat from the waistband.  Don't press all the way to the hem.  Hope you find this video helpful.  Please comment with your tips for the rest of us.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Create a Faux Daguerreotype

Daguerreotypes were the first type of photography; they were images printed onto polished silver so they are very reflective, like a mirror. This web page has a tutorial for creating a daguerreotype look alike.  It uses a craft film that can be printed on a computer and then adhered to a mirror giving it the impression of old photography.  Wouldn't it be fun to have a period picture of your own soldier or child at your display?  Use your own photo edited to sephia tone or b/w or look at The Graphics Fairy which has a good stock of vintage photos at

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Early Roads Head West

Route 66 is well known but Oklahoma's historic routes of commerce go back much further — from connections to the Spiro Mounds on the Arkansas River centuries ago to the 19th-century Texas Road, the Butterfield Overland mail route, the Chisholm Trail and the Western Trail.
 This article  tells of the early roads that helped settle the west and connected communities.  

Monday, August 3, 2015

New Mexico Portal of Information

For those Living Historians who reside in New Mexico, I have just completed assisting the Chama, NM library in developing a web presence.  As part of their site, there are a number of historic sites and specialized databases that will help your research.  To access the New Mexico El Portal you need to have a NM library card from your local library.
However, you can access the first link of the page, NM history and historical photos without a password.

Collections from the Palace of the Governors Photo Archives
  • The Palace of the Governors Photo Archives contains an estimated 1,000,000 items including historic photographic prints, cased photographs, glass plate negatives, film negatives, stereographs, photo postcards, panoramas, color transparencies, and lantern slides. This important collection includes material of regional and national significance, dating from approximately 1850 to the present, covering subject matter that focuses on the history and people of New Mexico and the expansion of the West; anthropology, archaeology, and ethnology of Hispanic and Native American cultures; and smaller collections documenting Europe, Latin America, the Far East, Oceana, and the Middle East.
Enjoy your research!

Two Interesting Articles -- Industrial Corsetry & Riding Habits and Women's Rights

The Costume Collection of the Maryland Historical Society is a site the serious historian and costumer needs to spend time with.  I just read two articles that gave me information I had wondered about.  Industrial Corsetry  gives insight into the development of the manufacturing of that apparel prior to the development of the ready-made garment industry. There are several good pictures of different types of corset.

Industrial Corsetry --History
In the beginning of the 19th century, if a woman (or a man) wanted a new corset, she would either make it herself from a pattern or, if funds would allow, she would go to a small shop where the local master would custom make each corset from scratch. By the end of the century, however, these small shops found themselves in a market dominated by large manufacturing companies. While the vast majority of women’s wear continued to be produced by small businesses with un-integrated production models, corset makers chose vertically integrated, large volume production practices beginning in the 1870’s and on into the 20th century.

Riding Habits and Women's Rights
This article links the evolution of riding apparel to the push for women's rights and freedom from the restrictions of society's expectations and limitations for women
"Rather than changing to reflect the common fashion trends of the period, women’s riding gear embraced masculine styles as women demanded more liberty and freedom from restrictive societal expectations, marking equestrianism and riding wear as a symbol for women’s reform movements."
This site is a wealth of information.  Read more here:
 Read more here:

Also check out the main site of the Maryland Historical Society at

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Fort Garland, CO Living History Days 2015

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow

This event was held at Fort Garland, a lovely restored fort, in Fort Garland, Colorado.  The fort has an intriging history and was once commanded by Kit Carson.  The Mounted Color Guard from Ft. Carson Army Base attended and dazzled visitors with cavalry drills.  

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Upcoming Event at Ft. Garland, Colorado -- Memorial Day Weekend 2015

Ft. Garland, once commanded by Kit Carson, will have its annual Living History Event this Memorial Day weekend, May 23 and 24.  The fort will come alive with soldiers, civilians and visitors.  


Fort Garland

29477 Highway 159
Fort Garland, CO 81133

- See more at:

Civil War May Event at El Rancho De Las Golondrinas 2015

Picture from
Picture from
I received this information from Marsha of the New Mexico Ladies Congress:

"At the Glorieta event this year there was a professional photographer who handed some of us a slip of paper with the address of where to find his photos. Just in case you did not get a slip from him when you were there or in case you were not able to make it, here is the information. I just checked and he got some wonderful shots of the battles, the camps, and most if not all of our ladies. Of particular note is an adorable shot of Lucy and Alysia and a couple great ones of Madeleine and Marilyn. Check out all the pictures. They really catch the flavor of the event."

Las Golindrinas Website:
   A wonderful living history farm near Santa Fe, NM

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Museum Quality Chairs

The Friends of Fort Davis in partnership with the staff of Fort Davis NHS are in the process of having twelve 1878 barracks chair reproductions made for the North Ward of the 1876 Post Hospital. If you, your organization or anyone you know might be interested in obtaining a 150 year old museum quality historic chair for your collection; please have them visit The Friends of Fort Davis National Historic Site Facebook page for more information.  You can check out the specifications for these chairs on the facebook page.  

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Joining Lace Techniques

1848 Satin and Lace Wedding Dress
If you are working with lace on your latest dress, this link will give you a video on two techniques that will make your seams disappear.

Threads Magazine is a valuable resource for those couture techniques that developed by seamstresses that came before us.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

2015 Victorian Ladies' School at Ft. Concho

Frontier Women's Living History Association
2015 Victorian Ladies School
March 13-15, 2015
Click to play this Smilebox slideshow

These photos were taken by Jo Pope of Ft. Stanton, NM and shared with me because I was unable to attend. Enjoy!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Photo Detective -- Using Collars to Date Photos

I'm getting back into the family's genealogy search and I encountered this blog called Photo Detective which guides you to identifying the dates of photos.

I'm looking forward to reading the hints and ideas for dating photos and checking out the other aspects of the Family Tree Magazine for living history ideas.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Frontier Women -- School of the Victorian Lady

School of the Victorian Lady 2015
March 13-15, 2015
 Fort Concho National Historical Landmark San Angelo, TX

Click to access the information.

Registration Fees & Class Reservation Requirements

Our conference will be March 13-15 2015 at Fort Concho.
Fort Griffin has agreed to sponsor our conference, again this year.

After a decade of no change, we've made one small change:
  • Registration before 2-14-2015 is $40
  • Registration at the event: is $45

To expand the learning opportunities, we are offering more classes/presentations, but that means our classrooms are smaller with a smaller number of participants per class.


Email ARNie with your class reservations at: victorianladytx at yahoo dot
com, or send a PM through Facebook to ARNie (Angela Grabowski).