30 May 2012

Ready, Set, Sew

This floral cotton fabric has been sitting in my closet for over two years. It's time to make a new gown! 

It's one of the Windham Fabric cotton prints reproduced from Colonial Williamsburg's collections that are available at the Mary Dickenson Shop to purchase by the yard. (There's free shipping!)

 I really love the red flowers...

   ...and this blue sprig!

I made a new bodice pattern, which should fit well over my new stays. I attached the shoulder strap so it's continuous with the bodice. There's an example of a gown with a shoulder strap like this in Janet Arnold's Patterns of Fashion on p39 (National Trust Inventory Number 1348724). To reflect the 1780s fashion, the bodice is front closing and the shoulder strap is fairly skinny.

My deadline to complete this gown, and a new petticoat: Fourth of July. Ready, set, sew!

26 May 2012

18th Century eBooks

For Mother's Day, I was the lucky recipient of the Nook e-reader. Besides the obvious benefit of now owning a tablet, (and having children's apps to entertain my toddler while waiting in public,) I've been scheming to turn this modern device into an 18th century resource.

While this seems straightforward, the primary sources I'm primarily searching for are not easily found in e-reader format. Many hard to find/out of print titles are available through Google Books, which can be downloaded to the Nook, they read as if they're written in Latin. However some titles have been "translated" and can help build a colonial e-library...

Primary Sources

Bradford's History of Plimoth Plantation

Diary of Sally Wister's Journal: A True Narrative Being a Quaker Maiden's Account of Her Experience With Officers From the Continental Army, 1777-1778 

Diary of Anna Green Winslow, a Boston School Girl of 1771 

Johnson's English Dictionary: A Complete and Unabridged Edition of A Dictionary of the English Language by Samuel Johnson

The Lady's Magazine; Or Entertaining Companion For The Fair Sex, Appropriated Solely To Their Use and Amusement 

Pamela, or Virtue Rewarded, by Samuel Richardson.

History Books

A Manuel of 18th Century Textile Dyeing: A Collection of Original 18th Century Dye Recipes, with Modern Instructions  

At Home: A Short History of Private Life

Children in Colonial America

Defining the World: The Extraordinary Story of D. Johnson's Dictionary 

Georgiana: Duchess of Devonshire

Politics of Fashion In 18th Century America 

Privilege and Scandal: The Remarkable Life of Harriet Spencer, Sister of Georgiana

The Age of Homespun: Objects and Stories in the Creation of an American Myth

The Gentleman's Daughter: Women's Lives in Georgian England
This is unfortunately the only Amanda Vickery Nook book that's currently available

Those Damned Rebels: The American Revolution As Seen Through British Eyes

*        *        * 

I discovered the author Lucinda Brandt through Pinterest and have found a bit of a guilty pleasure in her novels.

What's your favorite eBook? Any titles suggestions...or suggestions of titles to avoid?

20 May 2012

Spring Cleaning & Etsy Sale

I've been spring cleaning and preparing for moving later this year. I've opened an Etsy shop and I'm selling some 18th century items such as...

Brown Linen Gown Size 8 ($115)

Pink Cotton Gown Size 8 ($115)

For a little history on spring cleaning, this post from The Still Room discusses a 1762 tip.

This post from the Rhode Island Historical Society's blog talks about cleaning their house museum 18th century style.

19 May 2012

Giveaway Winners

Tami C. and Annmarie are the winners of the Pay It Forward Handmade giveaway! Ladies, email me your mailing addresses (sew18thcentury @ gmail.com).

Congratulations and happy May!

14 May 2012

May Giveaway

Mrs. C at The Hectic Eclectic recently hosted a pay it forward crafty contest. I also love the idea of a crafty giveaway and so I'm hosting a May Giveaway.

Leave a comment below for a chance to win this black and white toile plastic bag holder. If the comment feature below isn't working, leave a comment on my facebook page.

Made from 100% cotton, this Waverly Fabrics toile is commonly found in commercial fabric stores like Joann's. (It would be easy to match the fabric if you're inspired to make kitchen accessories.)

The deadline to comment is this Friday, 18 May 2012; the winner will be announced this weekend. Cheers!


12 May 2012

18th Century Mamas

Here's a celebration of 18th century mamas and their kiddos for Mother's Day...

Princess Augusta Charlotte, Duchess of Brunswick-Wolfenbuttell, 1767
National Portrait Gallery (UK) Accession Number NPG D33048

Catherine Countess of Egmont and Charles George Perceval, Second Baron Arden, 1765
National Portrait Gallery (UK) Accession Number D1829

Georgiana Spencer, Duchess of Devonshire
National Portrait Gallery (UK) Accession Number NPG D9192

 Portrait of Lady Elizabeth Pennyman with her daughter
Publish'd 11 June 1772

Charlotte Sophia of Mecklenburg-Strelitz and Princess Royal Charlotte Augusta Matilda, 1770
National Portrait Gallery (UK) Accession Number NPG D33076

Lady Mary van Dyck (died 1645) 
Published by John Boydell in 1770, who was discussed in this post last year.
National Portrait Gallery (UK) Accession Number NPG D28482

Mrs. Green and Child, 16 October 1770
A similar print is also in the collections at the National Portrait Gallery (NPG D34903)

Marian Hastings with Baroness von Imhoff, 1700
National Portrait Gallery (UK) Accession Number NPG D36438

Christian Banister and Son by Gilbert Stuart, 1774/75
Redwood Library and Athanaeum Special Collections
Christian Stelle Banister, daughter of Capt. Issac Stelle of Newport, RI married John Banister in 1768. She is shown with her only child, John Banister Jr. who lived and died in Newport and left no descendants.

Mother and Child in White c.1790
Provenance: New Haven, CT
National Gallery of Art, Washington DC Accession Number 1980.62.39

Countess of Walgrave Laura Elizabeth and Maria Duchess of Gloucester and Edinburgh, late 18th century
National Portrait Gallery (UK) Accession Number NPG D 10800

05 May 2012

Apron Strings

Earlier this year I was the lucky winner of The Hectic Eclectic's apron giveaway (many thanks Mrs. C!) which inspired the following research regarding 18th century apron strings.

I've specifically been looking for examples where ladies have tied their apron strings in the front. Is it a knot with the strings hanging? It is a bow? Is it centered or off center? Did ladies with embroidered aprons tie them in the front or is this a lower class trait? Here are some sources, listed in chron order, that begin to answer these questions.
Detail from William Hogarth's The Enraged Musician, 1741
Strings tied in front in a small bow; it looks like the apron dips, which Hallie described in a post earlier this year.

Detail from The Enraged Macaroni, 1773
Lewis Walpole Library Accession Number 773.
Strings also tied in front and again it looks like there's a small dip in the apron.

Detail from A Girl Buying a Ballad, Henry Walton c.1778
Tate Gallery T07594
It looks like the strings are tied in front. Unfortunately I can't tell if the apron dips or if its worn beneath her gown's bodice. 
A Market Girl Holding A Mallard Duck, 1787 by John Russell
Strings tied in a bow. (I love that bonnet!) 

Detail from At the Inn Door, fourth quarter 18th century by Henry Singleton
V&A Accession Number 1834-1900
Strings tied in a small bow.

Detail from the print Spring and Winter, from A Collection of Drolleries 1770-1797
Lewis Walpole Library Accession Number 785.10.9.1
Strings tied in a small bow.

Detail from Free Women of Color with Their Children and Servants in a Landscape by Agostino Brunias, Brooklyn Museum Accession Number 2010.59
The museum dates this painting as c.1764-1796.
Judging by the high crown of the ladies' hats in the center and the high waist of the short gowns on the left, I would guess this painting probably dates from the 1790s.
Another example of an apron tied in front that dips and has a bow with short strings.

While this is a very light survey of 18th century artwork with aprons, there's enough evidence to suggest that tying apron strings in the front with a small bow is a good choice for someone reenacting the second half of the 18th century who's focusing on a working class impression.  

So when cutting linen/cotton tape for apron strings, how long should the strings be so they're not too long or too short? For someone my size (medium) the tape could be approximately 88 inches long. This means I need to trim a few inches from my apron strings.