To all who mourn in Israel, He will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the LORD has planted for his own glory. Isaiah 61:3

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

The MET Moire Mourning Dress is Complete!

When I first started "collecting" mourning dress images on my Pinterest board Mourning Fashion, I came across this dress that is housed in The MET.  It is made of black moire.  Mourning.  Moire.  Moire.  Mourning.  Can we say match made in heaven?  Loving all things mourning and loving moire, how could I resist recreating this dress?  Well, it is finally complete.  It took me a while to locate and purchase the fabric, which I ended up acquiring from Hobby Lobby, but acquire it I did!  Huzzah!  I am so happy this dress is complete.  I don't think I have ever had such an issue completing a bodice as I did with this one.  It was a colossal pain in the butt.  I almost didn't finish it, so frustrated with it did I become on several occasions.  But, I pushed through and happiness is the final outcome!

Also, an aspect of this project was a first for me.  The use of fringe.  I would like to take this opportunity to apologize to those who love/adore/appreciate fringe.  You see, they remind me of Halloween store flapper costumes and B-Western cowboy shirts.  There is nothing wrong with the previous items, but to see fringe on a lovely Victorian dress?  It has taken me quite a while to come to terms with this. I guess the fact that the Victorian dresses came before the 1920s flapper dresses and B-Western shirts helps quite a bit.  Wanting to stick with the spirit and originality of The MET dress, I chose to use fringe on mine as well.

The only thing I have to do to complete the entire project is to make a hand sewn eyelet lace collar and lengths of hand sewn eyelet lace for the under sleeves.  At this point I am totally procrastinating as I don't want to design it right now...

The Dress

Inspiration for my dress.  Source:  The MET

The fringe.  I am still sort of cringing at the fringe...

I had to make a separate peplum for the back of the bodice.  When the peplum was attached, the bodice refused to fit correctly.  It pulled and did all sorts of nasty things.  However, upon some research, I discovered that there were other bodices that had separate peplums!  Huzzah for that!

Bodice: Simplicity 4510
Sleeves: Simplicity 2887
Skirt:  me made

More Underwear

Because I needed more new underwear for this project, I also made a new petticoat trimmed with antique eyelet lace and cage crinoline.

Pattern:  Self drafted
Fabric:  Cotton

Beautiful antique eyelet lace trims the petticoat.

Cage Crinoline:
Fabrics:  cotton and gros grain ribbon

So now I get to design and make the eyelet lace bits.  I do have several inspiration images that will guide me, so that part is over...

I hope you all have a marvelous rest of your week!



Saturday, November 12, 2016

Fundraiser for Jessica!

As some of you may know (or may not), Jessica of Chronically Vintage and her husband Tony lost just about everything they owned in a house fire at the beginning of last month.  When I first started thinking I would like to do vintage, Jessica's blog was one of the first ones that I devoured.  She isn't just lovely on the outside, with her incredibly gorgeous outfits, make up and vintage styled hair, she is so very encouraging and lovely in her person.  I was sick to discover that she had lost everything...

Bonita of Lavender and Twill started a Facebook page Helping the Cangianos as a kick start to aiding this lovely vintage dresser and blogger.   Not knowing how to help, I decided that I had some vintage patterns that I could donate to be sold and contacted my lovely friend Lily of Mode de Lis and she thought it a fun idea!  Lily has done all the hard work of beautifully photographing the patterns and making sure all the pieces are in the envelopes!  She will even be mailing them...going to the post office causes me to break out in hives!!  Please check out her Etsy shop ModeDeLis and help us help the Cangianos!!

100% of the proceeds from the "Fundraiser for Jessica" category at Lily's store will go directly to Jessica. 25% of sales from the rest of the store ModeDeLis and her sister store SewingEmporiumCo from November 12-16 will also go to Jessica.

We have sold 7 so far!  Huzzaaaaaaah!!!!  Won't you join in the fun?

Photo by Lily of Mode de Lis

Be blessed my friends!


Thursday, October 27, 2016

In Praise of Thrift Stores....

Hello everyone!  I hope this finds you all happy, healthy and very blessed!!  I am doing well as all the pressing matters of the past weeks and months are finally over and I actually feel like I can breathe without feeling like I'm drowning in quicksand!  This is such a wonderful feeling...that feeling that you don't have anything hanging over your head, waiting in the wings to be fulfilled.  I have nightmares that I will be late for a program that I have been hired for and the people who hired me are furious and I dissolve into tears...Yaaaaa...that's not a fun place to be!  The stressors with Colton's school and Cody's asthma are also going away, so that is also nice!  I feel very much at peace both in mind and body!!  Huzzaaaaaahhhh!!!!!

As I was in my costume/fabric room today picking out the fabric for my next project, I was struck once again by the very large amount of fabric that I have purchased from thrift stores.  That is what this post is going to be about.  Fabrics that have been acquired from places other than an actual fabric store.  You see, I am not what one would call a worldly goods or monetarily wealthy person.  I am a stay at home mom and housewife (by design and choice).  My fabulous husband is a self employed contractor and we are parents to two fabulous boys.  Not that there aren't crazy wealthy people in the same situation as us...this is just where we are!  And I wouldn't change it for the world.  Perfectly content am I!  But, being on a budget does make for interesting fabric and all-the-things-historical-fashion-creating acquisitioning... (I think the most I have ever spent on fabric was $14.00 a yard dupioni silk in the fabric district after Costume College in 2014.  I know that it totally stressed me out doing so, but I had been saving money for that trip specifically for the perfect shade of silk for the 1830s archery outfit I a still wanting to make.)  Now, if you have the resources to spend $14.00-$32.00 a yard on fabric, that is fabulous!!  Please know that this in no way is a guilt trip post, because it is NOT!!!  This is just me writing about my particular way of shopping for fabric, which brings me great joy!

I think it has something to do with the hunt.  I also get this thrill from finding a fabulous antique at a garage sale or antique store for a ridiculously low price.  It is just the knowing that I have purchased something worth great value for 90% less than market value (or however you should say that so that it makes sense mathematically).   That brings me an incredible thrill!! Case in point:  Victorian Kashmir Paisley Shawl.  So, it would stand to reason that finding 7 yards of 60" wide merlot colored wool for $18.00 for the lot, really makes me giddy with joy!  I am a regular shopper at many of my area thrift stores as it is just something I enjoy doing anyway, just to see what it has in "store" for me!  hahahahahahahaha!!!

Now, I do use a lot of dupioni silk in my costuming (along with some polyesters if they look incredible and can pass for a more natural fibers).  I don't belong to a group that strives for absolute historical correctness in their fabrics, I strive more for the accurate overall look and silhouette of the era.  When I do my programs, I explain that dupioni (or polyester) wasn't used in the Victorian era, that other silks would have been used.  But...I LOVE LOVE LOVE working with dupioni!!  It is incredible and behaves so beautifully.  The way it irons, stays put in a pleat, drapes, etc, etc, is a thing of loveliness!  So when I see dupioni silk drapery panels at a thrift store, I get a wee bit excited!  The other fabrics I find are linen and linen/poly blends, wool and wool/poly or wool/cotton blends, cottons, and velvets.  I also purchase white sheets for linings and sometimes even Victorian blouses!  A good washing either by me or the dry cleaners is all it takes to prep the fabrics.

For the purpose of this post, I have photographed a little selection of my fabrics from thrift stores, then also added pictures of past dresses that were made in whole or part using fabrics from thrift stores with a link to the original post.  Most of the fabrics you can tell just from the feel what they are, but I do a burn test on them all just to be 95% certain.  Again, I don't feel the pressure to have the fabrics 100% this or that with what I do....  

I hope this encourages any new costumers or costumers on a budget to search outside the "fabric store" box for fabrics.   Start "haunting" your local thrift stores!  You never know what you will find!

Silks: L to R
Striped silk satin (1850s dress):  8 yards of 60" for $8.99
Embroidered dupioni (something 1890s...I have a fashion plate that will be perfect!!):  7+ yards of 60" for $7.99
2 Green Dupioni Drapery Panesl:  2.5 yards each of 45" for $5.99 a piece
Blue with gold thread Sari:  Usual sari dimensions $3.99

Linen and Linen Looks:  L to R

Green Linen/Poly Blend:  6+ yards of 60" for $4.99
Tan Rayon/Poly Blend:  5 yards of 65" for $4.99
Plaid Linen:  6 yards of 36" for $5.99
Blue Linen:  4 yards of 65" for $2.99

Wool and Wool Blends:  L to R

Brown Plaid Wool/Cotton Blend:  5 yards of 45" for $3.99
Blue/Brown Plaid Wool/Cotton Blend:  2.5 yards of 60 " for $4.89
Brown Wool:  3+ yards of 60" for $2.99
Blue Wool:  2 yards of 60" for $1.99

Moire Fabrics because I adore Moire....

Green Cotton/Poly Blend:  8.5 yards of 60" for $4.99
Blue Cotton/Poly Blend:  4 yards of 60" for $2.99

Dresses and Outfits Made from Thrifted Fabrics

Fabric for shirt came from the 10 yard bolt of duck/canvas from Goodwill.

Bubble gum pink linen from Savers.  This was dyed with tea to calm the "in your face" pink!

That has since been remade into an NFE tea gown....
Purple satin and printed velvet both from Savers.

The jacket was made using fabric from a 10 yard bolt of duck/canvas like fabric from Goodwill.

Red wool and black and ivory stripe fabric, I think from Savers...

Black raw silk fabric for blouse found at Savers.  I think the red silk was also a thrift store find...can't remember what one though...

Blue and Gold sari fabric from Savers.

Merlot colored wool found at Idaho Youth Ranch.

The pink fabric is a poly blend and the white buttons and trim came from a white Linens and Things silk drapery panel, both found at Savers.

The gold silk came from JCPenney dupioni silk drapes found at Idaho Youth Ranch.

All of that cranberry colored dupioni silk was one HUGE Pottery Barn drapery panel found at The Idaho Youth Ranch!

Off White dupioni silk drapery panels from St. Vincent de Paul.

Brown Dupioni silk drapery panel from Idaho Youth Ranch.

Orange wool for jacket and Ivory silk for blouse both from thrift stores.

Fabulous fabric found at Goodwill

Deep green wool from the Pendleton Wool Factory found at a thrift store still on the "Pendleton Wool" bolt.  I had petted the exact same wool at the factory outlet in Pendleton a couple of years ago, so this was an exciting find from Goodwill!

Another thing I love about thrift store shopping and finding fabrics that I can use, is the fact that for whatever reason someone cast these things aside  and now I get to use them for something lovely.  The name of my blog "Beauty From Ashes" hints at this...taking something that someone just doesn't want any more (Ashes) and making something of value out of it (Beauty).  It is very much like what God does for us...He takes something broken, cast aside or unwanted and makes something lovely, beautiful and worthwhile out of it!!  How cool is that!!??

Well, I hope you all have a most wonderfully blessed rest of your week and weekend!  I know I will!


Monday, October 17, 2016

Late 1850s Corset, Embroidered Chemise and 1860s Elliptical Hoops!

Good Monday to you all!  I hope you are all doing more than wonderful!  I am well, but life has become a little more busy than I like.  Fall means school and school means teaching, or making sure Colton gets his school work completed (as stated in my previous post, Colton is in a new homeschool co-op where "we" go to school all day Wednesdays then Mondays and Fridays for math...). This means earlier mornings (I'm a night owl, usually going to sleep at 1:30 a.m.) and sluggish feeling days.  All this translates into fewer sewing projects, which is just how it is going to be for a while!

BUT!!!  I have managed to complete a few things.  The hoops have been done for about 2 weeks, the same for the chemise.  The corset is a newer project.   Because of the way I have been feeling physically and other things that have been happening in my life causing me to want to hibernate, it has taken me this long to do a photo shoot with all the new items.  You know when you just feel off plumb and don't really feel like doing anything but sleeping and sitting on the couch, binge watching "Call the Midwife" and eating potato chips?  Yaaaaaaaaaaa....That's how I have been feeling lately.  I know that things will get smoother and I'll be back to my usual self, and I sooooo cannot wait for that!
So, on with the pictures of the new underwear items!

Elliptical Hoops

At some point in the hopefully near future, I really want to make two 1860s elliptical dresses....This one and This one.  I had in mind to make the half mourning one for my annual "All Hallow's Eve" mourning dress, but my mind changed itself for me and I will be making another instead.  In any case, the hoops are already made!  Huzzah!!

I thought it would be fun to make a colored cage, but in the end, white won out....

Late 1850s, Early 1860s Corset

I've been wanting a black corset for a very, very long time and since I will be doing the "Dressing the Victorian Lady in Mourning" at The Bishops House this coming Saturday, I thought I would make the corset for the event.  Well, plans fell through for the making of a new dress (oh how did God rescue me from a week of crazy,  out of my mind, working 24/7 on the new project! Thank you Lord for talking some sense into my crazy, OCD brain!!!)  I plan now on dressing in my 1840s Wool Mourning Dress and feel it will be a better thing to do anyway, so huzzah for simpler, non "are you out of your mind?" plans!!!

But again, I now have a new corset for when I do get my newest mourning dress made!

I really love this new corset and think it fits really well.  And....I did flossing on it!  I have never done any flossing except on the tips of the gussets for stability, and am super pleased with how the "tear drops" turned out!  You can't really see very well the color of the flossing, but it is a lovely robin's egg blue!

Pattern:  Simplicity 7215 (shortened by 1 1/4")
Fabrics: Dupioni silk
Cotton canvas

Love my new American Duchess Balmoral boots!

I'm one of those wear your chemise outside of your drawers kind a gal.  I have tried to wear the chemise inside the drawers and the feeling is just too uncomfortable.  I know that there are those who wear it in and more power to ya!  But this chick...chemise out!  

Embroidered Chemise

Ok, so I am super pleased with this chemise and really liked the embroidering so very much that I would like to make a set of drawers and corset cover that has been hand embroidered! Don't know if that will actually happen, but a girl can dream right?  

Fabric: Cotton 

The edge of the top looks puckered...I ended up having to take a full 6 strands of the embroidery floss and thread it on the underside of the scallops to "tighten" the top of the chemise up.  Without that tightening floss, it fell way down my shoulders and I really didn't like how it looked.  Also, I wish I hadn't added the buttons as it throws the "center" off a wee bit.  But, the pattern called for it and on one of the extant examples, it was the same way so....there ya go! 

Looking at these pictures, it's hard to believe that I actually embroidered all of that!  
Especially those teeny tiny eyelets!  ACK!!!

The sleeves are even embroidered...

Well, that's all for now....For the next two weeks, I will be slowly working on my mourning dress...This Glorious Work of Beautiful Art!!!!!!!!!!! 

 I hope you are enjoying the fall weather if you are a place where the weather is actually changing!  This is my favorite time of year and I LOVE the colors of the leaves on the trees, especially the bright crimsons!  

Have a wonderfully blessed week my friends!


Tuesday, September 27, 2016

My Insanity Knows No Bounds....

It appears with this new project that I am working on, I have taken leave of my senses.  Let's just say one thing up front.  I hate hand sewing.  Like, with a grand and glorious passion.  So, why I decided that embroidering a demi suite of 1860s underwear would be a good and happy thing to tackle, is well beyond the realm of my understanding.

On October 22nd, Mama and I will be doing another fund raiser for The Bishops House titled Dressing the Victorian Lady in Mourning.  I thought it would be fun to make a new corset for the event (it will be a black silk one even though I know they didn't have underwear that was black specifically for mourning purposes...) and thought, "Heck!  Why not make a whole new set of white frillies and just for the craziness factor, let's make them all hand embroidered! Because we like to do all the hard, time consuming things a month before the event!"  Actually, what made me decide to do things that are hand embroidered was Colton's new school.  This year we chose to put him in a Homeschool Co-op that is classical education in style.  He is taking theology, biblical theology, logic, rhetoric, philosophy, classical literature and math.  I will be sitting in on his classes until he/we get a handle on this new school format and then math two days a week away from home will give me ample time to do some sewing away from my sewing machine.  Therefore....hand embroidered underwear!!  

I have completed some on the chemise which includes the scalloping along the neck line and am currently working on the eyelets...five sections of three small eyelets takes about an hour to complete, so that part is going sloooooowly.  And my hands are quite grouchy with me.  But, I think it will be very worth it when it's all complete!

Scallops are complete and the eyelets are one their way to being completed!  Now I remember why I hate hand sewing so much... The fabric looks like it is blue, but that is just the light and camera working their weird sort of magic.

Working with Past Patterns 1860-1870 embroidered chemise pattern.  I also would like to make an embroidered pair of drawers and corset cover.

The Inspiration

While searching for inspiration for the chemise, I came across this gorgeous set of underwear from The Philadelphia Museum of Art.  I am so loving the moire corset and have located some fabric that would totally work for making a reproduction!  For my birthday gift this year, I have asked for money to purchase the narrow gauge wire cage crinoline from The Wooden Hamlet!  Can't wait to get it!!!

I love the beauty of this chemise!  I can't wait until mine is completed!!

A New Treasure!

Today, I was so happy to discover this wedding dress from 1903 at a place called The Yard Sale Place.  It is a fabulous place that is a consignment store selling yard sale like items for people.  I have found many incredible deals there and today didn't disappoint!  The fun thing is that if items are not sold in good time, they get reduced 30% then 60%.  Well, this wedding dress had not sold so was at 60% today!  I was beyond giddy with happiness as I paid a grand total of $27.35 for it!!  Huzzah!!!

It is made of a very fine cotton lawn, cotton and lace.  The tag that was pinned to the inside of the dress reads, "Wedding dress of my great-great-grandmother's married on June 11, 1903".  I sure would love to know Great-Great-Grandmother's name.  The dress is home made on a sewing machine with two of the front darts hand sewn after the dress was made.  I haven't steamed it yet, don't know if I will as I'm afraid that the steaming would damage the fibers...will have to do some research on that!  

Not sure if the bodice was tucked into the skirt or not.  I am thinking it was not tucked in because of the front vertical ruffle cascading down the bodice.

Tucks and ruffles and lace, oh my!!

Almost pouter pigeon front...but not quite there yet.

You can see through the sheer cotton, the eyelet lace at the top of the inner bodice!  

Inner bodice that takes the stress off of the outer lawn layer.  Closes with hooks and eyes.

And a Birthday Boy!

19 years ago today, I had this sweet baby boy whom I instantly and completely fell head over heals in love with!  We named him Dakota and he has been my sweet boy ever since!  We celebrated with a party on Sunday, and had a very nice time.  I can't wait to see where life and God take this young man.  I can wait for him to move out and be out of our daily lives, so I am happy that his plans to move out have not come to fruition... (two room mates that he was planning on moving out with had things happen).  I love having him home and dread the day when he strikes out on his own.  We are good buddies and friends and he delights my heart!!  

Happy Birthday Cody!

I hope you all have a truly blessed rest of you week!  For me, it will be hand sewing craziness and starting a new corset!

Be Blessed!!