HSM #8: Heirlooms and Heritage.

It is said there’s no rest for the wicked, so I’m diving straight into HSM #8.

The Challenge. Heirlooms & HeritageRe-create a garment one of your ancestors wore or would have worn, or use an heirloom sewing supply to create a new heirloom to pass down to the next generations.

I don’t have any “next generations” to specifically pass anything on to, so I’ll be making an Edwardian Summer Dress for SITU-Seattle’s “Dunnton Abbey” Picnic, which is on August 8th. SIX DAYS. Best get myself moving.

As you may recall, I’d thought about the dress long before so I know where I’m headed early on – a bit of a refreshing change for me.

The fabric:

My lovely rose-striped fabric

My lovely rose-striped fabric

The result of playing with rough draping:

Roughly draped concept check.

Roughly draped concept check.

The inspirations:

1912 (Montana Historical Society)

1912 (Montana Historical Society)

1912 (Augusta Auctions)

1912 (Augusta Auctions)

The pattern I’m using as the base to get the drape and proportions correct:

Butterick B6190

Butterick B6190

The goal:

I haven’t made a real dress for quite a while and I’m looking forward to it. Now it’s time to lay the thing out and start cutting. Since time is short, I’ll start with a basic dress. Then I’ll dress up the lower part of the skirt and the sleeves – after the picnic. Unless a minor miracle happens and I whip through this more quickly than I think I will.


Here’s a information about the event, gleaned from the SITU-Seattle member’s website:

It’s the Centennial Garden Party, the one held out on the great lawn behind the manor.  You’ve probably been invited in the past to the annual gatherings, but this year you simply MUST come to this grand event!  The who’s who of society will be there to play a game of croquet, maybe join in a bocce match too, old boy.

Dunn Gardens, Seattle, WA

Dunn Gardens, Seattle, WA

What is this garden party you say?  Why, it’s “Dunnton Abbey,” of course!  Together with the prestigious Dunn Gardens of Seattle, SITU will be participating in a charity fund-raiser at the gardens.  They are located in north Seattle, just northwest of Northgate and near Carkeek Park.  The gardens are just stellar!

The plan is to have all of us sign up in advance so the organizers know exactly how many people are attending.  We, as SITU members, are allowed to bring in our usual picnic supplies (chairs, tables, hampers, etc.) as we will be creating a colorful and charming vignettes amidst the backdrop of the gardens. The rest of the participants will be paying substantial amount of money for the entry fee.  (Note: this is a fundraiser, so the entry fee is $65.)

Professional milliners will be on hand for those who would like to top their crowning glory with a pretty chapeau.  There will also be a Parade of Fashions for the participants, by some of our member volunteers.  There will be Edwardian florists on site demonstrating with their items for sale. There will be a “cake walk”, vintage cars, and more!

 Sir Harry will set up bocce and the Croquet Club is bringing in croquet, so people can play a lively game or two or their favorite pastime.

 If you do not wish to plan your own picnic menu, there will be prepared box lunches available for an $11 purchase. They will be prepared by Il Fornil Bakery. You will need to have pre-paid this so the organizers can order enough lunches in advance.  We understand that a private reserve wine will also be made available for purchase on-site.  The bottle price has not yet been disclosed, but will certainly be a collectible!

Picnic basket – oh yeah – it’s around here somewhere…


HSM #7 – The Edwardian Summer Hat is Done. This Time for Sure!

I should be banned from having bright ideas at the last minute because they usually cause nothing but trouble. This one certainly did, but I think taking time to cover the coarsely woven brim with vintage lace made all the difference. So I’m a couple of day late…but it was worth it.

"Shades of 1912" Edwardian style summer hat, right side view.

“Shades of 1912” Edwardian style summer hat, right side view.

The Challenge: Accessorize – The final touch of the right accessory creates the perfect period look.  Bring an outfit together by creating an accessory to go with your historical wardrobe.

The Project: 1912 Edwardian Summer Hat (for SITU-Seattle’s rapidly approaching “Dunnton Abbey” Picnic)

Title: Shades of 1912

Fabric: none

Pattern: none

Year: 1912

Notions: White straw hat from thrift shop, satin blanket binding, fabric flowers and leaves, needle and thread, FrayCheck and permanent glue, dyed ostrich feather, millinery wire, vintage crocheted lace for the brim.

How historically accurate is it? Pretty close. I modeled it after images of extant 1912 hats. However, the flowers and leaves are all contemporary. I used some permanent glue, although not a hot glue gun, for the larger pieces. I used FrayCheck to keep the cut ends of the crocheted lace from fraying. But the bulk of the items were hand-wired into place. The vintage crocheted lace around the brim was initially secured with glue dots, then hand sewn.

Hours to complete: I didn’t keep a close eye on the clock, but I’d say approximately 22-24 hours.

First worn: Will be worn for the first time on August 8th at SITU-Seattle’s “Dunnton Abbey” Picnic.

Total cost: $8 for the hat, $4 for the satin blanket binding (for the hat band), $4 for the millinery wire and about $30 for the flowers and leaves. Glue, thread and feather already in the millinery stash. So just under $50…if I don’t count my time.

Note: the mannequin’s head circumference is 21 inches, whereas the circumference of my head is 23.25 inches. As a result, even with a skein of knitting yarn tucked into the crown the hat sits a bit oddly and looks wildly disproportionate. It looks better on, and I’ll be posting photos of the hat and the dress (from HSM#8) in action after the upcoming Edwardian Picnic event.

Left side front.

Left side front.

Left side.

Left side.





Your Weekend Wow!

mmp1Marjorie Merriweather Post wore this dark red three-piece traveling suit to Hot Springs, Virginia, for her honeymoon in 1905. The photos and information are from the Hillwood Estate Museum. The ensemble was donated to the museum, by bequest of Marjorie Merriweather Post, in 1973.

Here’s some background information from the Hillwood Estate website: Marjorie Merriweather Post bought Hillwood in 1955 and soon decided her home would be a museum that would inspire and educate the public. Her northwest Washington, D.C. estate endowed the country with the most comprehensive collection of Russian imperial art outside of Russia, a distinguished 18th-century French decorative art collection, and twenty-five acres of serene landscaped gardens and natural woodlands for all to enjoy. Opened as a public institution in 1977, today Hillwood’s allure stems from the equally fascinating parts that make up the whole. From the captivating life of Marjorie Post to the exquisitely maintained Mansion and Gardens, the experience of Hillwood outshines even the Fabergé Eggs.

Unfortunately, all of the photos on the museum website come out teeny tiny for me, even when I viewed them as full-page images.

I’ve scavenged the web for larger images because it is a knockout suit. I love the color, the waist, the kabillion covered buttons and the matching boots. I wouldn’t mind a turn or two in it myself.

The blouse is composed of three different styles of ivory colored decorative lace supported by an inner, lightweight boned foundation. It has a 2-1/2″ boned collar and is trimmed with wine colored satin ribbon at sleeve, center front and waist yoke. Freeformed ribbon overlaid with soutache is also used to trim the blouse.



The gored wool skirt, simple in line, is distinguished only by double crescent shaped designs with velvet covered buttons at hem. The skirt has been relined with acetate. The same crescent shaped details are used on the midlength jacket at hem, waist and pockets. The jacket is heavily trimmed with lace, flat pleated ribbon, flat braid cording, velvet cording and decorative gold thread embroidery. The jacket alone contains 60 velvet covered buttons.



There is evidence that the garment was shortened at time of purchase. The stand collar has been removed, and poly organza was used to stabilize the garment for display. The collar no longer exists, nor are there any historical photographs showing the garment in its original state.

The garments’ dimensions were available on the museum’s site but very difficult to read. Here they are in an easier format, with both inches and centimeters.

Blouse: height from shoulder to waist front – 15 inches (38.10 cm), from shoulder to waist back – 14 inches (35.56 cm), and waist diameter of 23 1/2 inches 59.69 cm).

Skirt: Length from waist to hem front – 40 inches (101.60 cm), from waist to hem back 41 1/2 inches (105.41 cm), and hem circumference of 145 inches 368.30 cm). The skirt is constructed to accommodate a bustle pad.