I’ve got a trip with a long plane ride coming up, and I find that knitting is easier for me on planes than sewing is.

Which means it’s time to start working on my version of this sweater! (It appeared in an exhibit at the DAR Museum last year and was on loan to the DAR from Historic Northampton.)
DAR Museum Mid 1890s Sweater

I’m using a worsted wool, and I started with swatching on a mix of US 6 and US 7 needles. After blocking, this resulted in a nice fabric that should work.
Sweater Swatch

Then today I took measurements and started plotting out what the pattern should look like. I also am using as reference a 1902 pattern published by Butterick, which was suggested to me by Katherine.
Planning the pattern

Yesterday was the 8th Annual Pumpkin Tea, hosted by Stephanie. It was another great installment, full of laugher and delicious food. I wore my teal spencer for the first time, and topped off my outfit with a HUGE bonnet, made by Suzanne on Etsy. I quite like how the ensemble came out.

This year Stephanie encouraged any attendees who have their own craft businesses to bring some things to sell. I myself did a brisk business for In the Long Run Designs, plus I bought a roomy reticule from Very Victorian and tea from Regency Tea. Jean Masetti was also there selling some of her beautiful watercolors. I’m very happy with my purchases!

Additionally, I offloaded some craft supplies and fabric that I haven’t been able to use. I came in with two grocery bags full, and got rid of almost everything, all to good homes. Nice to de-stash some, instead of the other way around!

After tea, we all changed into street clothes or PJs (with tiaras!), and then settled in to watch Austenland. I had already seen that movie, but it’s still funny on repeated watchings. What a fun day!

Pumpkin Tea

Pumpkin Tea

Pumpkin Tea

Pumpkin Tea

Pumpkin Tea

Pumpkin Tea

Pumpkin Tea

Pumpkin Tea

Pumpkin Tea

Pumpkin Tea

Pumpkin Tea

Pumpkin Tea

Pumpkin Tea

Pumpkin Tea

Pumpkin Tea

Pumpkin Tea

Pumpkin Tea

All of my photos are here.

First try on today!

Outlander Jacket

Outlander Jacket

Patterning the stomacher
Outlander Jacket

The next day after the dinner, we gathered at the Winterthur museum to see their Downton Abbey exhibit. I had already seen the exhibit last spring, but it is worth seeing twice. Plus, there was also an exhibit of needlework, The Diligent Needle, which had some lovely pieces of embroidery and quilting. After touring the museum, we also wandered around the grounds, including the ever popular children’s garden. The weather was crisp but clear, which enabled us to walk outside for a couple hours. Overall, a very fun weekend!

DA Weekend

DA Weekend

DA Weekend

DA Weekend

DA Weekend

DA Weekend

DA Weekend

DA Weekend

DA Weekend

DA Weekend

DA Weekend

DA Weekend

DA Weekend

DA Weekend

DA Weekend

DA Weekend

DA Weekend

DA Weekend

DA Weekend

DA Weekend

DA Weekend

DA Weekend

All of my photos are here.

This past weekend I went to a birthday celebration for Vanessa‘s mother, Marilyn, who is a big fan of Downton Abbey. Marilyn wanted to come east to see the Downton Abbey exhibit at Winterthur. We kicked the weekend off with dinner at the Dandelion Pub. This is a cute restaurant/bar in the downtown Rittenhouse Square area of Philadelphia. The food was very tasty, upscale versions of traditional pub food. I had yummy fish and chips, plus I got to try bites of others’ desserts, which were divine. Thanks to Kat for helping to organize the dinner with the restaurant!

After dinner, we went across the street to the bar at Serafina for some drinks and more hanging out. We got a large booth where we could all fit, except for Mat and Steve, who elected to stand in their own guys’ corner. We had a lot of fun chatting and laughing into the late evening. After that it was bed time, because we had a long day at Winterthur ahead of us!

DA Weekend

DA Weekend

DA Weekend

DA Weekend

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DA Weekend

Photos from the day at Winterthur are next!

I have assembled a lot of my Outlander jacket. I had a hiccup where I sewed several pieces together, and then realized that I probably needed to interline the wool, since it’s pretty lightweight. After unpicking all my sewing and flatlining the wool to a cotton bottomweight twill, I then sewed everything back together. Second time is the charm?

Here is the bodice sewn together. It’s just two pattern pieces, mirrored on the left and the right, making only four pieces total.
Outlander Jacket

The front of the bodice
Outlander Jacket

Now with the peplum pieces attached
Outlander Jacket

Outlander Jacket

I finished my spencer last week. I had to search at three fabric stores for matching buttonhole twist (and I still only found something close, not quite matching), which held me up for a week or so. But now this is ready for the Pumpkin Tea.

Teal Spencer

Teal Spencer

Last night Mike and I went to the 2nd Annual Lit Up Ball, hosted by the Friends of the Arlington Public Library. Big thanks to Maggie and Jess for encouraging us to try out this event. It is a themed costume benefit ball on behalf of several early literacy initiatives. This year the theme was James Bond: From Russia with Love, and attendees were asked to wear 1950s attire.

Mike and I wore stuff from the closet for this outing. I chose a vintage-style dress by Lindy Bop, which I accessorized with a small pillbox hat that I trimmed and some simple pearl jewelry. Mike wore one of his suits, topped off with a black fedora.

There was wonderful live music and dancing, along with an array of yummy desserts. Plus before the ball we all had dinner together at Heavy Seas Alehouse, which was quite tasty. Throughout the night we worked on a fun “spy game” that the organizers had set up, where we solved word scrambles given to us by various volunteers in order to catch a thief who had “stolen” a letter from the Arlington Library.

Lit Up Ball

Lit Up Ball

Lit Up Ball

Lit Up Ball

Lit Up Ball

Lit Up Ball

Lit Up Ball

Lit Up Ball

Lit Up Ball

Lit Up Ball

All of our photos are here.

I’ll admit that I enjoyed the first season (half season?) of Outlander. There were certainly a number of cheesy elements to the show, but it was beautifully shot and well acted. The costuming was up and down: some things looked great, and others were more head-scratchers. Definitely more “historically inspired” than truly accurate. But I’m okay with that. The costumes captured the mood well and fit with the characters, which is the most important thing.

Anyway, after watching several episodes, I decided I wanted an outfit based on the show. Not an exact film-accurate recreation, though, because I rarely stick 100% to my inspiration material. My initial inspiration was that I wanted a knit cowl like Claire wears, since I thought that would look nice with just street clothes. (BTW, I’m pretty sure there would not have been chunky knits like that in the 1740s, based on what I’ve seen about American and English pieces in the 18th C. I don’t know about Scottish regional dress, but I still highly doubt it.) So I dove into my yarn stash and found an appropriate heathered brown New Zealand heavy worsted wool. Knit up with two strands on US 50 (that’s right, Five-Zero!!) needles, it worked nicely.

Here was my initial gauge swatching. I started with US 15 needles, then US 19, then US 50. 50 was the only size that gave the open weave I needed.
Outlander Project

The finished product is just a small tube.
Outlander Project

But it looks nice when worn.
Outlander Project

Once I had knit a cowl, I decided I wanted a whole outfit. This involves a jacket and petticoat, like this reference photo. I thought this would be great for a winter costume event, like a Christmas party (and I’m proposing that idea for the Christmas Tea this year–who’s interested?!).
Outlander Jacket

Looking at photos from the show, it appears that the jackets are a blend between 1740s patterns (for the front) and 1780s patterns (for the back). And many jackets appear to have an extra seam in the front, which I don’t think is that common. It’s almost a princess seam. I decided to be more true to the 1740s, so I looked at the 1735-1740 jacket diagram that appears in Patterns of Fashion by Janet Arnold. In PoF, the peplum is cut entirely separate from the body of the jacket (whereas on the show, the front peplum/skirt of the jacket is cut separately, but it looks like the back is in one piece with the bodice). Also in PoF, the back of the bodice is 2 pieces, while on the show it is more like 4 or even 6 pieces.

Here is the pattern I came up with. In the 1740s it probably would have had winged cuffs, but in a nod to the show I’ve decided to forgo those for now. (I have enough fabric to add them later, though.) Other than that change, I’ve tried to stay close to PoF. (Though I lengthened the sleeves a little.) I only sewed one side of the peplum on for this mockup.
Outlander Project

Outlander Project

Here are my fabrics. Brown wool for the jacket, and a subtle plaid for the petticoat.
Outlander Project

Here is my cutting layout. The two pieces to the bottom right are the skirts of the jacket.
Outlander Project

Now I’ve got the fashion fabric and lining pieces cut out, and have started sewing.

I have been having a lot of ADD with respect to projects this past couple weeks. I keep flitting from one thing to another. But despite that I have finished some stuff.

First, I made a new overskirt for a 1910s evening dress that I wore back at the first Dress U. Maggie suggested that I give this dress a makeover, since I was only lukewarm about it (thanks for the encouragement Maggie!). Last time around I used some sheer organza, which was the only thing I had on hand, although it was not really the ideal choice. This time I used a vintage net dupatta that had a lot of metallic embroidery on it (purchased from Vintage Haat on Etsy). I’ve always felt like this dress has fought me, mostly because the brocaded silk fabric I used was slippery and shred very easily. But I like it better with the new overskirt.
1910s Dress

Here is the back. The dupatta wasn’t wide enough to really make a full overskirt without leaving a gap in the back. I left a gap and filled the top of it with tails made of the same embroidered ribbon I used for the waistband of the overskirt.
1910s Dress

This is what it used to look like.
1910s Evening Gown

I also made a little pillbox hat/fascinator to wear to the Arlington Library Lit Up Ball in a couple weeks. This event is a 1950s/James Bond-themed dance.
Pillbox Hat

Pillbox Hat

In jewelry-making news, I figured out how to make a Queen Ann pendant (which was a common style in the 18th C). It was a struggle working out how to attach the various settings to each other, but it worked in the end!
Queen Ann Pendant

And in other randomness, I finished a purse out of Star Wars fabric that I bought a few weeks ago while on a shopping trip with Isabella. I realized that I had cut out the pattern for this purse years ago (maybe 2009?), but never actually sewed one up. I had to fix that situation, once I saw this great Star Wars print.
Star Wars Purse

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