Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Using Shank Buttons on Historical Costumes

This website has a wonderful trick for using buttons with shanks.  These buttons often dangle and look strange on 18th and 19th century dresses and coats.  This trick is worth knowing when you make heavy garments and men's wear.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Book of Interest...Unvanquished: How the Women of the South Survived

(Kindle Edition)by Pippa Pralen

This digital book is available on Amazon and can be downloaded to be read on your tablet, phone, or computer for $1.99. It sounds like it would be an interesting read.

To purchase book.

Eyewitness accounts from over 50 diaries of southern women facing the hardships of the Civil War. Includes voices of slave women. As Yankee soldiers plundered, and starvation stalked the land, they hid food and heirlooms in wells and swamps. They watched Atlanta and Georgia burn and fed hungry children. Vivid accounts of women who witnessed the battles. Turned into food scavengers at the brink of starvation, southern women devised ways to feed their children. Genteel wives and southern aristocracy were catapulted out of their cozy worlds of privilege. They endured humiliation, terror and grief, yet prevailed. Authentic images and numerous diary entries. Includes frugal Civil War recipes: oatmeal pie, cabbage stew, "idiot's delight" cake, and Hoppin John. Their stories offer inspiration in resilience and determination.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Quilts That Saved a Village

Quilts are known for giving warmth and comfort, but in one instance, at least, they helped save the lives of a whole village of people. Here is the story of seven brave men and the quilts that carried them over a mountain.
Once upon a time (in 1863), a group of pioneers decided to settle in a pretty area about 20 miles northwest of what is now Bryce Canyon National Park.  They named their new town Fairview.  Fairview sat at an elevation of 6600 feet. What these brave pioneers didn’t realize was that the high altitude would result in cooler year-round temperatures and good crops were going to be hard to grow.
By Fairview’s second winter, the lack of food was making life hard, indeed. The wheat that they planted had not matured and was almost impossible to grind. The people tried boiling the wheat but it was mostly inedible. They tried hunting and fishing, but early, deep snowfalls made it nearly impossible to provide enough food for the whole community.
Fairview’s leaders, realizing that the prospect for the community surviving the winter was grim, came up with a plan for getting food. They decided to send two groups out for supplies. One party was to go north about 110 miles to Gunnison.  The other group would head 45 miles toward Parowan. Although the distance was less, the western route was over a high mountain pass.
The Gunnison bound party returned almost immediately. The passages to Gunnison were completely blocked with snow. All hopes were now with the seven men trying to make it over the mountain pass for Parowan.
Traveling by a wagon with two oxen the Parowan party made good progress at first, however the snow began to gradually deepen. It soon became apparent that they would have to finish the mountain crossing on foot.  The men struggled to make any headway at all as their legs plunged into the deep drifts of snow.
With hope of going any further gone, the men laid a quilt on the snow and knelt on it to pray for guidance and assistance. As the men prayed they realized that the quilt was supporting their weight on the snow.
quiltmanThe men took all the quilts that they had packed for warmth and began laying one quilt after another on the snow-packed ground. They walked on the quilts to keep from falling through the snow all the way across the high mountain pass.
Eventually the men reached Parowan where they got as many  sacks of flour as they could carry. Parowan settlers helped the group as far back up the mountain as was possible. Then the men began walking on their quilts again, this time while carrying heavy sacks of flour.  The men finally made it back to Fairview and saved the town from starvation.The trip is estimated to have taken fourteen days.
One of the men on the trip was named Alexander Matheson. He left this recounting of the journey: “We decided that if we had faith as big as a mustard seed, we could make it and bring flour to our starving families. So we began the quilt-laying in prayerful earnestness. The return trip was harder with the weight of the flour, but we finally made it to our wagon and oxen and on home with thankfulness to the Lord for his goodness. The whole settlement welcomed us, because we had been gone longer than expected. There had been prayers, tears, and fears which turned to rejoicing and cheers.”
The residents of Fairview and other neighboring towns were evacuated from the region for several years during conflicts with the Native America population. When they returned to the area in 1871 the town was renamed Panguitch.
walkquiltThe people of Panguitch, Utah hold an annual celebration of this quilt walk event and a memorial now stands in the center of town to honor the efforts of these original settlers.
The 2016 Quilt Walk Festival will be held June 8-11. The theme of the festival will be “Pecking Up the Pieces.” There will be lots of fun events including a chocolate fest, dinner theatre, pioneer home tour, quilt walk race, quilt classes, and much more. For details contact

Monday, September 19, 2016

Talking Tejano History Webinar

These talks are worth your time and effort --- and they are a free history lesson! ________________________________________ Tuesday is our Texas Talks webinar! Title: Talking Tejano History Description: Learn more about Tejano history with Dr. Andrés Tijerina and Dr. Emilio Zamora during Hispanic Heritage Month Host: Dr. Andrés Tijerina, Austin Community College and Dr. Emilio Zamora, The University of Texas at Austin
Date: Tuesday, September 20, 2016Time: 7:00PM (Central Time)In 2 hours, the webinar you registered for is going to start. Please, click on the link below to view the webinar stream. This program is sponsored in part by the Texas Historical Foundation If you would like to chat with the moderator and other viewers during our live stream, you will need to log in to a Gmail account.
1. Click the "Watch and Interact" link below the TSHA video player 2. Click the "Sign in to chat" link on the right hand side of the page 3. Sign in to your Gmail account 4. If you do not have one, click "Add account" and then "Create account" 5. Once signed in, navigate back to the YouTube stream page to chat

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Great Period Needle Work Resources

If you are interested in historical needlework of all kinds, the Interweave store has CDs of Piecework magazine for sale for $5. Piecework is a magazine of historical patterns. This is an excellent opportunity to find beautiful patterns at an unbelievable price.  Hurry before they are all gone.

Monday, September 12, 2016

How to enlarge a sewing pattern with Powerpoint

How to enlarge a sewing pattern with Powerpoint

Step by step tutorial on how to enlarge any sewing pattern with Microsoft PowerPoint. Resize any image you find in a book, or the internet, in a few steps!

This is a great tutorial from the Costume Diary blog at

There are many republished Victorian patterns in books that you can do this with as well as great free original books like Godey's and Delineator full of patterns to make your own at

In addition, she has a number of tutorials and free patterns including corsets and dresses from many eras at

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Rendezvous Focuses on Women on the Santa Fe Trail September 22-24, Larned, Kansas

This information was found in the May 2016 Wagon Tracks. a publication of Santa Fe Trail Information.  I thought many of our readers would find it of interest. Certainly, a conference I would love to attend.  If anyone plans to attend from the West Texas area, please let me know.  (Ann Dixon)

"The goal of the Rendezvous history seminar is to raise awareness and foster an understanding of the different cultures along the Santa Fe Trail.  Through presentations, first person narratives, living history encounters, and article posted on the event website and Facebook page, attendees will learn the history of women who traveled, lived, and died on the historic trade route.  With notable exceptions, such as Susan Shelby Magoffin, the women of the Trail are often overshadowed by their male counterparts.  This seminar will bring their experiences into light.  For more information, call the Santa Fe Trail Center Museum at 620-285-2054 or email
Their website is  The conference information  and schedule is at"

I will update the post when I receive more information from the museum.

Presentations and Schedule


Susan Shelby Magoffin Marker Dedication
Join Dr. Leo Oliva and members of the Wet/Dry Routes Chapter as they dedicate a new marker at the Ash Creek Crossing where Magoffin’s carriage had an accident which eventually led to her miscarrying a child.  Due to limited parking, we suggest arranging with fellow attendees to carpool. 

First Person Narrative – Julia Archibald Holmes
Dr. Ann Birney holds a PhD in American Studies/Women’s Studies from the University of Kansas,  is co-director of Ride Into History, and has held workshops on first-person narrative, storytelling, and more.  Using Holmes’ letters, Birney will bring her to life as we learn about her adventures on the Santa Fe Trail and becoming the first white woman to climb Pike’s Peak.

Remember the Ladies 
Dr. Alice Anne Thompson has devoted much of her research to the history of women of the Central Plains, in particular the Santa Fe Trail. In addition to extensively lecturing on the subject, she is co-author of the book, Women of the Santa Fe Trail. Her presentation introduces the theme of this year’s Rendezvous seminar. It will include a collection of images of the diverse women who traveled and lived along the Santa Fe Trail. Attendees will also see illustrations, maps, and photos of women who were “casualties” of trail travel and portraits of the women who launched the initiative to mark and preserve the Santa Fe Trail in the twentieth century to the present.

Lives of Cheyenne Women During the Period of the Santa Fe Trail
Minoma Littlehawk-Sills holds an interdisciplinary degree in American Indian Studies, Art Education, and Park & Recreation.  In addition to previously working at Washita Battlefield National Historic Site and Little Bighorn National Monument, Littlehawk-Sills is an enrolled Cheyenne and a direct descendent of the Sand Creek Massacre, Washita Battle, and Little Bighorn.   Drawing from her experiences, Littlehawk-Sills will share the culture and language of the Cheyenne and explore how much things have changed in the last 100 years.  

Those Literate Women: Women Writing on the Santa Fe Trail
Dr. Michael Olsen has published extensively on the social, cultural and economic aspects of the Santa Fe Trail and trade. Using the published diaries and memoirs of women who traveled the trail over many decades, Olsen will assert that if it were not for these literate women, we would know a great deal less about the trail than we now do.

African-American Women on the Santa Fe Trail
Dr. Leo Oliva taught classes on American History at Fort Hays State University, was the editor for Wagon Tracks for 25 years, and is co-author of the book Women of the Santa Fe Trail. His presentation will look closely at the African-American women who traveled the trail, both free and slave. Some of these amazing women include Cathay Williams, who disguised herself as a male Buffalo Soldier; Mary Ann Wilson de Tevis, who operated a store in Taos; and Katie Bowen’s slave Margaret, who was eventually freed for her faithful service.

First Person Narrative – Kitty Hays
Kitty Frank is a trained and juried member of the Kansas Alliance of Professional Historical Performers.  Frank will portray the adopted daughter of Seth Hays, a successful trader, rancher and tavern owner on the Santa Fe Trail.  Through Kitty Hays’ eyes, Frank will contrast the wealthy lifestyles of investors in the heavy freighting business against the hardships of others who were impacted by the Trail, such as the Kanza tribal people.   

First Person Narrative – Cathay Williams
Donna Madison first learned of Cathay Williams, a woman who disguised herself as a male and enlisted as a Buffalo Soldier in order to survive after the Civil War, at the dedication of the Buffalo Soldier Monument at Fort Leavenworth in 1992.  She was so intrigued by Williams’ story that she began collecting every bit of research about her that she could.  Eventually Madison developed a first person portrayal of Williams as an old woman, sharing her experiences as a suddenly freed, illiterate black woman with no home, job or plans for a future. 

Why the DAR Saved the Santa Fe Trail
Shirley Coupal and Pat Traffas have both been members of the Daughters of the American Revolution for over 30 years, serving in numerous chapter, state and national offices, including as State Regents.  Using their vast combined research about the DAR markers along the Santa Fe Trail, Coupal and Traffas will delve into the history about the impressive DAR program to mark and preserve the heritage of the Trail. 

Panel of Modern Woman Preserving, Protecting, and Promoting the Santa Fe Trail
Moderated by Alexa Roberts, Superintendent of Bent’s Old Fort and Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Sites, this panel comprised of Roberts, Faye Gaines, Sharon Haun, and Carolyn Kern, will talk about the issues related to preserving the trail from various perspectives.

On the Trail to Santa Fe - Performed by the St. George Elementary Honor Choir
Janet Armstead graduated from Kansas State University with a Master’s degree in Music Education. She recently retired after 41 years of teaching.  She is co-director of the Santa Fe Trail Youth Trips and is a life long member of the Santa Fe Trail Association.  On the Trail to Santa Fe, written by Armstead, is an elementary school musical that teaches children about the trail through word and song.

Prostitutes of the Santa Fe Trail
Jan MacKell Collins is a prolific writer who has published numerous articles and books on the topic of prostitution in the West.  She is the former director of the Cripple Creek District Museum and Old Homestead Museum, Colorado.  Collins’ presentation will highlight the women and bordellos which kept the trip down the Trail lively from beginning to end. 

Fashion Show – Ladies Clothing at Fort Larned 1859-1878
Fort Larned National Historic Site will treat attendees to a fashion show depicting the various clothes worn by women during the time the fort was an active military post.  

First Person Narrative – Black Women of the West
Angela Bates is the Executive Director of Nicodemus Historical Society & Museum and an historian of the African American experience in the West. Through her persona as Stage Coach Mary, Bates will explore the westward migration of African American women from the south, their employment opportunities, and the mark they left on the western frontier. 

Katie Bowen, Domestic Doyenne of the Santa Fe Trail and Fort Union, New Mexico Territory, 1851-1853
Susan Haug Ward is the Great great granddaughter of Katie Bowen, the wife of Army Captain Isaac Bowen.  After her husband was appointed Chief of the Commissary for the New Mexico Territories, Katie and her husband traveled the Trail to their new home.  Katie Bowen’s letters provide an intimate view of domestic life while on the Trail.  Ward will read excerpts from these letters, as well as passages from journals kept by both of her Great great grandparents

Rendezvous Moderator
Dr. Joyce Thierer, Professor of Social Sciences at Emporia State University, will serve as the moderator for the Rendezvous history seminar.  Thierer has almost 30 years’ experience with humanities programming through the Kansas Humanities Council.  She is also co-director of Ride into History, a historical performance touring troupe.  As moderator, Thierer will cultivate open discussion about the ideas and history that are presented in each presentation.


Thursday, September 22

(Santa Fe Trail Center)

      9:00 a.m.                      -     SFTA Board Meeting at SFTC (open to
                                                the public)
      2:00 – 6:00 p.m.            -     Rendezvous Registration at Santa Fe
                                                Trail Center
      5:30 p.m.                      -     Opening Event: Dedication of Susan
                                                Shelby Magoffin Marker (see
                                                “Rendezvous Locations” section for
      6:30 p.m.                      -     Dinner and Program at Santa Fe
                                                Trail Center Museum
                                                Dr. Ann Birney – Portraying Julia
                                                Archibald Holmes
Friday, September 23
(Larned Community Center)

      7:30 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.    -     Registration at Larned Community
      8:45 – 9:00 a.m.            -     Welcome and Introductions at the
                                                Larned Community Center
      9:00 – 9:45 a.m.            -     Presentation - Dr. Alice Anne
                                                Thompson – Remember the Ladies
                                                15 minutes for questions
      10:00 – 10:30 a.m.        -     Coffee Break
      10:30 – 11:15 a.m.        -     Presentation – Minoma Littlehawk-
                                                Sills – Lives of Cheyenne Women
                                                during the Period of the Santa Fe
                                                15 minutes for questions
      11:30 – 1:00 p.m.          -     Lunch at Community Center
      1:00 – 1:45 p.m.            -     Presentation – Dr. Michael Olsen –
                                                Those Literate Women: Women Writing
                                                on the Santa Fe Trail
                                                15 minutes for questions
      2:00 – 2:45 p.m.            -     Presentation – Dr. Leo Oliva –
                                                African-American Women on the
                                                Santa Fe Trail
                                                15 minutes for questions
      3:00 – 3:30 p.m.            -     Coffee Break
      3:30 – 4:15 p.m.            -     Presentation – Kitty Franks –
                                                Portraying Kitty Hays
                                                15 minutes for questions
      4:30 – 6:00 p.m.            -     On your own – Community Center
                                                will remain open. Things to do: Visit
                                                the Santa Fe Trail Center Museum
                                                (open until 6 p.m.), bid on SFTA
                                                Silent Auction books, or discover
                                                local DAR markers.
      6:00 p.m.                      -     Dinner and Program followed by
                                                SFTA Hall of Fame Inductions &
                                                SFTA Awards at Community Center
                                                Donna Madison – Portraying Cathay

Saturday Morning, September 24

(Larned Community Center)

      7:30 – 12:30 p.m.          -     Registration at Larned Community
      8:00 – 9:30 a.m.            -     SFTA Membership Meeting
      9:30 – 10:15 a.m.          -     Presentation – Shirley Coupal & Pat
                                                Traffas – Why the DAR Saved the
                                                Santa Fe Trail
                                                15 minutes for questions
      10:30 – 11:00 a.m.              Coffee Break
      11:00 – 12:00 p.m.              Panel Session – Alexa Roberts
                                                (Moderator), Faye Gaines, Sharon Haun,
                                                and Carolyn Kern – Modern Women
                                                Preserving, Protecting and Promoting
                                                the Santa Fe Trail
      12:00 – 12:30 p.m.        -     Performance – Janet Armstead – On
                                                the Trail to Santa Fe. Performed by the
                                                St. George Elementary Honor Choir
      12:30 – 2:00 p.m.          -     Lunch on your own – List of eating
                                                establishments available at registration

Saturday Afternoon, September 24
 (Fort Larned National Historic Site)

      2:00 – 2:45 p.m.            -     Presentation – Jan MacKell Collins –
                                                Prostitutes of the Santa Fe Trail
                                                15 minutes for questions
      3:00 – 3:30 p.m.            -     Break
      3:30 – 4:15 p.m.            -     Presentation – FLNHS – Ladies
                                                Clothing at Fort Larned 1859-1878
                                                15 minutes for questions
      4:30 – 5:15 p.m.            -     Presentation – Angela Bates – Black
                                                Woman of the West
                                                15 Minutes for questions
      6:00 p.m.                      -     FLNHS Retreat
      6:15 p.m.                      -     Dinner and Program – Susan Ward –
                                                Katie Bowen, Domestic Doyenne of the
                                                Santa Fe Trail and Fort Union, New
                                                Mexico Territory, 1851-1853                                                 
Duplicates and non-related books from the Harry C. Myers Collection will be offered for auction on Friday and Saturday of Rendezvous at the Larned Community Center. The silent bidding will be available on Friday from 7:30 a.m. – 6:30 p.m. On Saturday, bidding will be from 7:30 a.m. -11:00 a.m. The auction will not be open during speaker sessions. Winners please pick up and pay after the last morning session. Good luck to all!

Santa Fe Trail Center Museum – Two miles West of Larned on KS 156.

Ash Creek Crossing Marker – Due to limited parking please consider carpooling with fellow attendees.  The Trail Center may be used as a meeting site.  From the museum parking lot, turn East (right) onto Hwy 156 and travel 7.3 miles to R Road and turn West (left).  This is a gravel road. Travel two miles to reach the dedication site.  Some chairs will be available but seating is limited.  After the dedication, to return to the Trail Center, continue West on R Road, approximately one half mile past the Magoffin Marker.  At 100th Ave turn South (left) and travel 2.7 miles until you reach Hwy 156/56. Turn West (right) and travel 3.6 miles to reach the Trail Center.

Larned Community Center – From 4-way stop sign at US 56/KS 156 junction go one block East on US 56 and one block North on Toles Street (located behind the former National Guard Armory, now Heartland Irrigation).

Fort Larned NHS – Six miles West of Larned on KS 156.           

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Ft. McKavett Webinar by Texas State Historical Association (TSHA)

This notice came through email.  This month's webinar will be on
 Life at Ft. McKavett with Cody Mobley.  If you register, you will 
receive a reminder before the webinar and information on
 upcoming programs.  These programs are streamed live and
allow interaction with the speaker if you participate in the live

 Mark your calendars for 7 PM, August 15, 2016.

Dear Texas History Lover,

Have you heard about the new Texas Talks series?

Texas Talks are live webinars that occur throughout the year and
allow TSHA members to listen to, learn from, and engage with notable
Texas history scholars and experts in an interactive platform, ideal
for audiences on the go who love Texas history.

For a limited time, we are opening registration to everyone for FREE.

This exclusive opportunity is made possible by the continued support
from our dedicated members who help us bring Texas history to life.
Free registration is now open for the following upcoming Texas Talks:
  • Monday, August 15th 2016 @ 7 PM: Texas Talks on the Changing Faces of Fort McKavett.
    Learn more about this fascinating
    western fort that was home to both
    black and white infantry and cavalry
    troops and their families
  • Texas Talks with Dr. Frank de la Teja. Understanding Spanish
     Texas through the Life of Fray Margil
  • Texas Talks with Dr. Rick McCaslin. Mending Fences: The
    Marques de Rubi in 1767 and the Spanish in Texas
  • Texas Talks with Dr. Caroline Castillo Crimm - November
    2015. Bernardo de Galvez and the Impact of the American
    Revolution on Texas
  • Texas Talks with Dr. Caroline Castillo Crimm - December 2015. Contrasting Cultures: Patricia de Leon and Petra Vela
  • Texas Talks with Dr. Gregg Dimmick. Come and Take It!
  • Texas Talks with Debra Winegarten. Colonel Oveta Culp
  • Texas Talks with Dr. Jean Stuntz from the Panhandle-Plains
    Historical Museum. From San Antonio to the Panhandle:
    Texas Pioneer Women
  • Texas Talks with Dr. Gregg Cantrell. Stephen F. Austin:
    Empresario of Texas
  • Texas Talks with the State Historian of Texas Bill O'Neal.
    Gunslingers in Texas
  • Texas Talks with the State Historian of Texas Bill O'Neal
    - June 2016. From the Alamo to San Jacinto: Spectacular
     Victory from the Ashes of Defeat

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

An Exciting Offer from Texas Historical Association on Texas Women

Discover Women Who Made Texas History in
Our Newest eBook Series

The contributions of Texas women to the state’s history are as wide-ranging and diverse as the land itself. In examining the Lone Star State’s past from any vantage point, women are an integral part of the timeline. Be they ancient or contemporary, provincial or worldly, as individuals or groups, Texas women make Texas history.
Join TSHA in recognizing the varied ways women have shaped the state’s history at home, across the state, nationally, and abroad.
On June 28, 2016, TSHA celebrates the 97th anniversary of Texas having ratified the Nineteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, which was a major step in providing women the right to vote nationwide when it became law the following year.
TSHA presents the first in a new series of free eBooks Women Across Texas History that highlights important contributions women have made to the history of the Lone Star State.
This first FREE eBook of the Women Across Texas History series, Volume 1: Nineteenth Century and Before, features biographies of women who represented women’s public and private roles including:

  •  First Nation Indian woman, guide, and interpreter, Angelina.
  •  Free woman, former slave, and Texian landowner, Tamar Morgan.
  •  Texian matriarch, landowner, and Stephen F. Austin’s sister, Emily Austin Bryan Perry.
  •  Tejana ranch owner and businesswoman, Salomé Ballí Young.
  •  Physician, inventor, and early woman’s voting rights activist, Ellen Lawson Dabbs.
  •  Thirty-seven entries from the Handbook of Texas and three articles from the Southwestern Historical Quarterly that feature a number of diverse ways women have contributed to Texas history.
  •  More than 100 pages by historians that note the influence of women prior to and throughout nineteenth century Texas.
  •  Plus much more...