Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Etsy Madness!

So in the past couple of months, some very special circumstances have arisen in my life, and I've found myself in a strange position.  You see, I need to go to England.  It's pretty sudden, and a little unexpected, but very important and very wonderful.  Also very expensive.  So what's a girl to do?

Sell fabric on Etsy, of course!  From now until the end of the year, all proceeds from my Etsy store will be going toward a trip to England, with hopefully more details forthcoming about reasons in the next few months.  Until then, though, shop away!

Katie Jacobs on Etsy

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Internet Etiquette, aka How Not To Be A Jerk

Hi all.  For those of you who have met me in person, this won't come as a surprise.  For those of you who may just be getting to know me online, you may want to sit down.  My name is Katie, and I say what everyone else is thinking.  I'm "That Friend."  You know, the one where your other friends say, "If you want to here things the way they really are, ask Katie."  I don't sugarcoat things, and I will always tell you the truth.  I honestly am not trying to be mean, and I always avoid being cruel as much as possible.  However, sometimes the truth hurts, and if you want to know how things really stand, feel free to ask.

That being said, one thing I absolutely do not consider myself is a prolific or popular blogger.  I'm not a big name in reenacting or costuming; I just kind of do my own thing and post pretty pictures when I have them.  That's cool.  I'm fine with that.  What I have been, though, is involved in internet communities in many different forms for almost fifteen years now.  I currently moderate a community of fiction writers, and have been part of many different TV and movie fandoms in varying genres, from anime to sci-fi.  I plopped myself into the costuming community about ten years ago, and in the past few years have transitioned more into reenacting--but reenacting vs. costuming is a totally different post, so we'll just leave that there for now.

One thing I have seen as a constant in every internet community that I have ever been a part of is this, though:  Copying is Not Okay.

I'm not talking about copyright infringement, intellectual property rights, or anything like that.  I'm talking about something much more amorphous and personal.  You know that saying "imitation is the sincerest form of flattery?"  That's what I mean.  And pretty much across the board, it's a bunch of bullshit.

The plain fact is, pretty much nobody likes being copied.  Especially in a community like this, where the people who are big names do a hell of a lot of work to produce original content with documentation and high-end craftsmanship.

And you know, I understand--I really do.  I started out at age teen-something and looked up to a lot of people in the hobby.  I bookmarked their websites (back then blogging was not a Thing) and visited them often for inspiration.  The urge to be just like your heroes is a strong one.  And to a certain extent, that's a good way to dip your toes into a new hobby.  But when you find yourself thinking, "Oh, that [insert project here] is gorgeous--I want one just like it..."



Think hard about your life choices.

Because in my experience, no matter how nice that person is when you post pictures of your own copycat project, inside they probably feel a little dead.

This is an outstandingly kind and welcoming community.  Costumers and reenactors are pretty much always glad to share their information and enthusiastic about it when someone else wants to join in the fun.  If you show up to the Oscars wearing the same dress, so to speak, the veteran costumer is most likely going to be very nice about it.  But you know what?  That's never a good feeling.  You watch someone else walking around in a copy of a garment that you spent hours researching and crafting to the best of your ability, and you kind of want to vomit a little bit.

Now admittedly, things get trickier when it comes to inspiration.  A lot of people do this thing where they find an example of something really cool in a museum and then go reproduce it.  And when something is really fantastic, sometimes more than one person wants to recreate it.  However, a lot of times, the way people find stuff on museum sites is by trawling through other blogs, stumbling across someone's entry linking to that museum object, and then they decide that the thing in question is so cool they have to have it.

In cases like that, the best thing to do is to be honest about how you found your inspiration.  Nobody's going to be mad at you for looking at their blog.  What they will get mad about is if you take credit for doing the work that they actually did.  Museum websites are no picnic--it can take patience and perseverance to find good information there, because often the sites are confusing or hard to navigate.  So, if you weren't the one that spent four hours combing through online collections to find that one outstanding picture, tell the truth.  Link back to the original researcher's blog. Maybe even email them personally.  In this case, is is not better to ask forgiveness than permission.  By the time you're asking forgiveness, you've already put a bad taste in that person's mouth.

The bald truth is that nobody enjoys feeling like they've been ripped off.  If you're going to use part or any of someone else's documentation, crediting them is vital.  The better practice, though, is to take what you've learned from that original person's work and build on it to do something of your own--something different, so that nobody feels like their toes are being squished.

For the most part, people on the internet are overwhelmingly generous about sharing their experiences, information, and research.  However, just because it's out there doesn't mean it's free for the taking.  Research, sourcing of materials, and experimentation with techniques are all hard work as well as a time investment, and it's important to everyone who does that sort of thing that their hard work be recognized and appreciated.  It's a double-edged sword--the internet lets us share our lives with so many great people, but it also makes it easy for less-than-great people to hurt us.  All it takes is one person peeing in the pool to ruin it for everyone.  Don't be that person.  Give credit where it's due, don't copy someone else's work, and don't be rude.  Really, that's the number one rule of any community, online or off.  Don't be rude, and we can all keep having fun together.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Greenfield Village Muster 2012

Occasionally you have a situation where you have really high hopes for an event, but when all's said and done it just didn't quite live up to the magic of your imagination.

This was NOT one of those events!

1st Regiment Volunteers, Muster 2012

I honestly can't think of anything negative to say about this past weekend at Greenfield Village.  The weather was perfect, the visitors were interested and enthusiastic, the event was wonderfully organized, the special presentations were outstanding...I could gush for hours.
Like a true butter churner.
One thing that's really great about the format of this event is that a militia muster would have been more than just a military gathering.  In this context, it's a community event and because of the Henry Ford's gracious involvement, we even had buildings we could use!

Having a chat in the parlor
While the more military types mustered, the civilians had a grand weekend catching up with old friends, demonstrating various historical arts, and just generally having a great time with the public and with each other.

Ericka teaches the secrets of fine needlework.
Sometimes, you go to an event and by the end of the weekend you're tired and ready to go home.  This past weekend, I can honestly say I never wanted it to end!  Thank you to The Henry Ford/Greenfield Village and the First Regiment for making it a wonderful time.  I can't wait for next year!

(For more pictures, feel free to visit my Flickr set!)

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Greenfield Village 1812 THIS WEEKEND!

I know.  It snuck up on me, too.  But if you're even remotely interested in seeing an 1812 reenactment, this is the one you do NOT want to miss!  Greenfield Village & The Henry Ford are pulling out all the stops for this weekend, and it's going to be unbelievable.

Militia Muster 2011
Last year was our maiden voyage with this event, so to speak, and it was a great success.  This year we have the full force of America's greatest history attraction behind us, and I can't even tell you how excited I am.

In addition to the great stuff from last year--the First Regiment turning out en force, live music by Fiddlesix, military and civilian demos, and the fashion show--the site is also pulling from their extensive collections to put together a display of c. 1812 artifacts and extant garments, and there will be a number of special presentations to round out the program.  You can find more information here; be sure to download the program so you don't miss anything!

Anyway, enough talk.  I can't possibly describe how awesome this event is going to be and the weather is supposed to be great, so clearly you should come out and visit us!

Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Chillicothe Shout-Out

From the Adena Mansion & Gardens website,

At the almost very last minute, I decided that I wanted to go to the Adena Mansion & Gardens in Chillicothe, OH, to join the First Regiment in celebrating the 200th anniversary of the raising of Brush's Company in the War of 1812.  I rode down with my friend Beth, and I think it's safe to say we had a blast!

My favorite room on the mansion tour.
The Adena Mansion & Gardens is a wonderful site, beautifully kept, and the staff and volunteers were so welcoming!  The tour of the mansion was well worth taking--it was over an hour, but so full of information that the time flew by.  It's been really nicely restored and what's exceptional about it is that the Ohio Historical Society and Adena still own a lot of things that belonged to the original family, the Worthingtons.  It seemed like every other room had a desk or table or dish that belonged to a member of the original home owners, and the OHS also has documents and correspondence from the Worthington family as well.
Fritz helps Craig fit a regimental.
The event itself was extremely relevant to the site, too.  Brush's Company was raised right there in Chillicothe, the same weekend in July 200 years ago.  It was really amazing to be a part of the commemoration, right there where it happened!  There are more pictures of the event as well as the Ross County Historical Society museum here on my flickr.

On top of everything, I really do love the First Regiment.  Everyone is just so great, and we have so much fun together, both with each other and also talking to the public.  There were awesome crafts for kids to do, civilian and military interpretation, and just generally something for everyone to enjoy.

Also, I met so many people who follow my blog!  (Hi everyone!)  It was really touching and special when people would come up and ask, "Are you Katie Jacobs?" and tell me they read this ol' thing!  I really appreciate it, and I just think it's so cool that the internet connects us like that.  When you contrast that with the scads of letters and diaries that the Worthington family produced, that have been meticulously saved and preserved all these years, how amazing is it that we know people all over the world and can communicate like this?   I dunno, I just think it's pretty darn cool.

I also know I gave out a lot of business cards over the weekend, so for anyone who received one and is looking for information I mentioned, I have a list of resources linked over to the right side of the page and feel free to email me!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Corded Ruffles: A Tutorial

So, corded ruffles.  Specifically, ruffles with little cords in their wee little hems.  I've seen them on several original garments from various eras...not so much on reproductions.  My (admittedly brief) research on Google Images seems to indicate that corded ruffles have become something used on odd looking draperies and clothes worn by fashion-forward women with small breasts and long necks.

To be fair, most of the corded ruffles I've seen on extant garments aren't nearly so...exuberant.  They're usually cute little things, and the cording keeps them perky and cheerful-looking even after decades of disuse.  The dress from Bradfield's Costume in Detail that I'm using for my current project inspiration has two ruffles at the hem, edged with a cord.  Grudgingly, I decided to try it.

Why grudingly?  Because I'm going to be hand-hemming miles of bias-cut worsted wool, that's why!  Do I look crazy to you?  (Don't answer that.)  On the other hand, it's a really cool detail that you don't see done very often, and it's actually really easy.  If you're going to be hemming your ruffle by hand anyway, it's not any more complicated to cord the hemmed edge as you go.

Prep your ruffle pieces however you need--in my case, I had to piece the length of it and I actually sewed it into a big tube before I started hemming.  Once you've got everything assembled how you want it, press your hem edge folded over once to the inside, twice as wide as you want your finished hem to be--this is somewhat determined by the thickness of your cord.  I wanted my finished hem to be about 1/8" and I'm using Sugar & Cream crochet cotton for my cording, so I pressed my hem edge over about 1/4".

Hem edge pressed to the inside 1/4", plus Sugar & Cream cotton for cording.
For me, it's fastest to sew seams and hems with the hem edge held in my left hand, facing left, and stitch moving away from my body with my right hand.  For some people, that's not the case, so just set yourself up to sew some loooong hems, whichever way is most comfortable for you.  Then, you sew.

Center your cording in the hem.  I didn't pin this, just worked a few inches at a time and held the cord in place with my fingers.  Take a tiny stitch above the hem, through just the main fabric of your ruffle (above the cording & folded edge), then catch the folded edge with your next stitch.  Don't pull it tight yet.  Take another little stitch above the cording, then the folded edge again.

Do this three or four more times, leaving your stitches loose until you get a few in a row.  Take one more stitch above the cording, then pull your thread tight.  The folded edge will curl around the cord, et voila!

Now, you'll notice in the video that I'm sewing with the ruffle held perpendicularly to my body, so I'm actually stitching from right to left.  If that doesn't work for you, try holding the ruffle horizontally, so the folded edge points up and away from your body with the fold pointing down and towards you.  That's usually how I do rolled hems, but because I needed to use my left hand to hold the cord in place, I found it easier to switch things up.  Keep in mind, though--do what's comfortable for you!  While a lot of things have a "right" and "wrong" way to do them, how you hold your sewing is a matter of personal choice.  And remember to sit up straight...your back will thank you later!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Horse Sense

It's been cotton-pickin' hot here, but that hasn't stopped me from spending time with Jackson.  He just had a tooth removed about a week ago and seems to be feeling better by the day.  Below, you can see us together doing nothing particularly interesting.  It was hot, what can I say?

I didn't get pictures, but the tooth that came out was pretty nasty.  It was split all the way down to the root and rotten inside, so the poor fellow had to deal with the split portion wiggling whenever he would chew.  I'm curious to see if he'll put on some weight now that the tooth is out, since he was pretty skinny when he came to us.

Horse whiskers!
His appetite certainly hasn't been negatively impacted by his surgery, as you can see by the green gunk in his mouth above.  To the left of the gunk, you can see a couple of his stitches.  I will say, he seems much more cheerful about life than I did after having my wisdom teeth removed!  I did nothing but lie around in misery and woe for a week.  Jackson seems full of pep and ready to go, even moreso than usual.  Also, he was very sweet about me sticking my fingers in his mouth in order to take pictures.  He shook his head at me a couple times but seemed content to let me take pictures as long as I didn't try to prod any further into his mouth than you can see above.

No bit here!
Because of the location of his stitches, Jackson can't wear a bit for the next few weeks.  And rightly so!  Because of this, I've been riding him with a hackamore, a bitless bridle, for about a week.  When Sarah, my teacher and Jackson's owner!mom told me about it, I was hesitant and intrigued.  I figured it had the potential to be a total disaster, but we'd try it and see how it went.  At the very least I'd have something to tell my friends about, right?

Nothing bit-shaped here, either.
In actuality, nothing happened.  It isn't very different from riding with a bit at all.  Maybe it's because Jackson is a total sweetheart and tries super hard, maybe it's because he was really well trained, or maybe it's just easier than it sounds.  Either way, I actually haven't noticed much of a difference.  The only lingering question I have is: does he naturally just drool a lot, or is he slobbery because of his tooth situation?

Ha ha, no, just kidding.

...Seriously though.  He really does enjoy drooling on my shirts.

Friday, June 29, 2012

A Pair of Corded Stays c. 1800-1820

An embarrassingly long time ago, I started talking about a new pair of stays for 1812 events.  I actually finished them in March, but I never got pictures of them!

As I posted before, I really wanted a pair of supportive stays that didn't dig into my legs when I sat down.  As you can see, I contoured the bottom edge to allow more room over my thighs and hips, modeling them after a number of period illustrations and an extant pair of riding stays.  I'm happy to report that I've worn these several times now and even driven in them with no signs of dig-in-itis!  Not a bruise to be seen.

I used Past Patterns #001 as a base and modified it to suit my needs.  The original pattern didn't come anywhere near large enough to go around my giant ribs and abundant endowments, so I added several inches to the body piece.  The hip and bust gores are unaltered except for the bottom edge.

The stays are made of three layers--the cording is sandwiched between an outer layer of cotton sateen and an interlining of cotton drill.  The lining is cotton sateen, and the bones sit between the lining and interlining so that they don't show through.  I used spiral steel boning for the body, which would have showed grey through the top layer of sateen.  The cording, being white, didn't matter if it showed or not.

The center back is boned with spring steel, though as you can see it still has quite a bit of flex to it.  As you can also see, my barrel-shaped rib cage affects how the stays close quite a bit.  The grommets are enamel coated metal, though it wasn't uncommon to see little bone "wheels" set into the fabric for lacing, as I discussed in a previous post.  The binding is just normal herringbone-weave cotton tape, as is the drawstring in the top edge over the bust and the ties for the busk pocket.

Normally, I avoid embroidery like the plague and have often said that I despise it with the fire of a thousand suns.  However, I figured since I was doing so much fiddly work with all the cording and decorative stitching, that it wouldn't kill me to do a little bit of simple embroidery.  There are tons of surviving examples with varying amounts of embroidery, and mine actually turned out looking pretty nice (if I do say so myself).  I only say that because I was pleasantly surprise!

And because I'm darn proud of the embroidery, have one more closeup!  The construction and topstitching were done by machine (because I wanted to be able to wear these sometime this century) with glazed cotton quilting thread and the embroidery was done by hand with #8 Pearl Cotton.  The cording is Sugar & Cream cotton yarn.

Last but not least, don't forget the busk!  I'm wearing my "test" busk, which I made out of a length of poplar from Lowe's.  My lady mother, who is much more confident with power tools than I, sawed it to size and roughly into shape, and my dad helped me rasp, sand, and drill it to refine the final shape.  I also got a book on chip carving out of the library, but it looked like a really good way for me to lose a finger or two so I'll have to live with having an undecorated busk for the time being!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Genesee Country Village 2012

Up until last year, I'd never even heard of the Genesee Country Village & Museum in Mumford, NY.  Little did I know that this was a serious and vital gap in my knowledge.  The village is my absolute favorite open air museum site, and their 1812 event is one that I look forward to all year.

I can't really even begin to describe how beautiful and idyllic the village was.  I fell in love with it last year, and this year was even better.  There were a lot more people in period dress, and nearly everyone I saw was in good period dress, which is something I really appreciate.  More than once I looked out the window of the building where I was stationed and saw a picture-perfect gentleman out for a stroll with his lady, or a mother and child carrying parcels or water back to their home.  It was like being part of a living painting.

Julie styles a dancer's hair early in the day.
Julie, a few other ladies from the unit, and I were stationed in the Romulus Female Seminary, demonstrating hair styles of the period.  In some cases that meant rag rolling little girls' hair so they would have curls later when they took them out.  In other cases we just did a pretty hairstyle and let the little victim little girl pick a ribbon color to put in it.  In all cases, the kids we coiffed left with beaming smiles and pretty hair.  They may or may not have made the connection between the fashion plates we had on display and their own hairdos, but they left happy and felt beautiful, so in that sense it was a resounding success.

Ava & Julie relaxing after a long day of hair styling
Saturday evening after the visitors left, our unit had a potluck supper together.  It was a great time to chat with far-away friends, meet new people, and of course the food was excellent.

The turkey needed a little help thawing
Day two was a little warmer than Saturday, but the weather was still just as lovely (minus a couple raindrops in the afternoon).  Our unit dedicated a new flag, which was painted by our commanding officer--in his other life, he's an amazing artist and graphic designer.  Our fifer received his new musician's coat, made by the inimitable Ericka, so now our young musicians are both smartly attired.  

New flag dedicated as the ladies of the regiment look on
Since Julie and I both traveled light for this weekend, we took the opportunity after closing time on Sunday to take a few pictures around the village.  We didn't see even close to all of it, but we'd been so busy that we all had to rotate shifts for lunch and bathroom breaks, so it still felt like we had a full weekend even though we didn't get out of our assigned building much.  Next year we might stay an extra day and pay admission so we can wander the museum & village at our leisure, though!

Predictably, I found the closest four-footed being and tried to make friends.

I did succeed in befriending the baby oxen, but only by dint of bribery.

Julie taking a turn in the gardens, no oxen in sight.

More civilized strolling

Old dress, new accessories
I was very content with my decision to not finish the new dress for this weekend.  Pretty much as soon as I had posted about it here, and made it known I wasn't going to finish, I felt so relieved.  I slept like a baby the night before the trip, I didn't feel pressured to ask Julie to drive so I could sew (actually I drove quite a bit and she read to me, which was wonderful), and I just generally felt a lot better about life without the looming deadline.  Even though I work well under pressure, it was nice to have a backup plan.

To dress up "this old thing," I paired it with a printed neckerchief from Anokhi USA.  They're not a historical retailer and not all of their designs are appropriate for my purposes, but they had a good selection that were appropriate, online ordering, and fast shipping.  I received the scarves only a few days after I ordered them!  The Silly Sisters also carries printed kerchiefs, as does Burnley and Trowbridge.

The bonnet is also new, and courtesy of my loving mother.  I had the silk in my stash with a bonnet in mind, but I'm terrible with millinery and was still working on a deadline, so she jumped in and tried her hand at bonnet-making.  It turned out beautifully and was pretty much exactly what I had in mind.  Thanks, mom!  Maybe you can come with us next year. (Hint...hint...)

They were just really cute, okay?
So in conclusion, if you haven't been to Genesee Country Village & Museum, you should go.  And if you're at all interested in 1812 events, you should plan to come visit us there next year!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Better Part of Valor

You know how they say, "Discretion is the better part of valor?"  Well, it's actually a misquote.

To die is to be a counterfeit, for he is but the counterfeit of
a man who hath not the life of a man; but to counterfeit dying,
when a man thereby liveth, is to be no counterfeit, but the true
and perfect image of life indeed. The better part of valor is
discretion, in the which better part I have sav'd my life.
Henry The Fourth, Part 1 Act 5, scene 4, 115–121

So basically, Falstaff is saying, "Hey guys, I totes pretended to be dead, now I'm not really dead because the dude who wanted to fight me thought I was dead and didn't kill me!  It's cool, right?  That's good life choices, not cowardice, bitches."

And that, my friends, is what I am doing.  I've been working late nights and long hours on a dress for this weekend, and I've reached the decision that it's just not going to be done.  It's been a long time since I called a retreat on a project like this, but this morning at two a.m. I put the sleeves on and realized that I hated them. I had to make a choice.  I could get the dress into wearable condition and debut it this weekend "as is," if I worked on it tonight (in addition to picking up groceries, cleaning out my car, and packing.)  If I did that, I'd be using the sleeves that I hated, there wouldn't be any trim, and it'd be pinned shut in the back.

Or, I could cut myself a little slack, re-pattern the sleeves, do a few mockups, and get a design that I really like.  I could take time to trim the dress as I intended, an then wear it in July or August at Chilicothe or Greenfield 1812.  I know I'll be a lot  happier with the dress overall if I do that.

Plus, I'd really like to actually sleep at some point tonight.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Sturdy Closure Edges

Over the past week, I've been kind of kicking myself that I didn't take any construction photos of making Matt's clothes. We were in a big time crunch, but there were still some really neat techniques we used, specifically in the building of the waistcoat. I was super happy with how that turned out, so I decided to use a few of those methods while assembling my latest project.

I'm working on an 1812 dress with a back closure and since I liked the interfacing and stay tape method we used for Matt's vest closure so much, I decided to use it on my center back opening. The dress is a gorgeous worsted wool from Wm. Booth, Draper, and I used 3.5 oz handkerchief linen and cotton twill tape for the reinforcement layers.

First, I prepared the neck edge.  I'm using piping on mine, but normally I'd just press the edge over and possibly baste it.  Then I marked the center back where I wanted the finished edge to be.  Since it's inside and the fabric isn't sheer at all, I just used a ballpoint pen.

I cut the strip of linen on-grain, about an inch and a half wide--enough to allow space for button holes if I decide to do them.  The linen should butt right up to the center back edge, but not go into the seam allowances.  I wound up cutting it long and then trimming it later.

Baste it in.  It doesn't have to be pretty.  It just has to keep the linen from sliding around while you do your thing.  As you can see, my basting is pretty huge, but that means it'll be easier to take out later.  Also, you'll save yourself a lot of headache if you don't knot your thread.  Just stitch a few times in the same place to secure the end.

Use a little tiny catch stitch or whip stitch to secure the edge of the linen that does not touch the center back edge.  When you stitch through your fashion fabric, only catch one or two threads.  You don't want this to show on the outside, so use a matching color and be careful where you stitch.  A little concentration now will pay off.

Next, the stay tape.  This is what gives you a nice, solid edge, so make it a nice, straight one!  This goes on top of the linen, flush with the center back edge.

More catch stitching...I used a z configuration instead of an x to save thread and time, but the same idea applies.  If you stitch all the way through, make sure you only catch a thread or two of your fashion fabric.

I had a lot of extra fabric in my center back, so I trimmed it off to reduce bulk.  I like a 5/8" seam allowance because of reasons, but you could do as little as a quarter of an inch.  Just remember, when you fold it over it has a little extra thickness to cover, what with the interfacing and stay tape, so account for that wee bit of extra bulk-especially if your fabric is prone to fraying.  You don't want to lose that nice clean edge because your fabric decided to shred right out from under you.

I basted my seam allowance in place just for ease of handling, but you could just as well pin it.  Fold your lining edge over, and attach!  I like a fell stich for that, but a whip stitch or whatever you fancy would work just as well.

And that's it!  A beautiful, stable edge that won't bag, stretch, flop, or rip.  Can't go wrong with that!

Friday, June 15, 2012

And now for something completely different...


This is Jackson...I've been riding him in lessons for a month or so now, and just signed a partial lease so I get to ride him two extra days a week. He's a total sweetheart; the other family who's also leasing him calls him their "golden retriever in a horse's body"


This is his other side--notice that he has one blue and one brown eye. He's my little lopsided cutie! He's a paint, though as you can see he's mostly white. His story is a little sad--he's been out at my teacher's dad's property for three years, not being ridden or used except for a couple times a year. His owner couldn't afford to keep him, so she just kind of left him there three years ago. Now he's at our barn, taking the place of my teacher's horse (who is having summer break from lessons) and I adore him.


He's so different to ride than Molly, the beautiful little bay quarter horse I've been on for the last six months. And I still love her to bits. She's really sweet, and always comes to say hi when I'm there. Today I actually got Mollysnot on my face because she wanted kisses on her nose when I was done hosing Jackson down after our ride. But Molly is...Molly. I hesitated on leasing her because I felt like I'd reached the limits of her abilities. She was trained to do western, so walking and trotting mostly worked fine, but she's pissy about things like cantering and dressage, she's awful at jumping, and she's just kind of...Molly.


Then Jackson came along, and I could do everything on him. He's not used to being worked, but he was well-trained in his youth and he knows all sorts of fancy stuff that I haven't even learned yet. He's really eager to please, and I can tell he's improving already after just a month doing lessons, as am I. For example, cantering on Molly was not only a battle of wills, but it was terrifying because I never knew when she was going to try to dump me off, and she's just...really wiggly. Jackson is like riding a cloud in comparison, seriously.


I also really like his pretty blue eye.

Anyway, so far Jackson and I seem to be getting along pretty well, so hopefully you'll be seeing more of him in the future!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Helping the Huebners

Hey, it's pre-event panic time again! What do you know? Genesee Country Village & Museum's 1812 Bicentennial Weekend is coming up on June 23-24, and a certain ginger-haired family needs some clothing!

Ashlyn helping with linen and twill tape.
I panicked at the beginning of the weekend after making a list of all the stuff we needed to get done, so my mother graciously stepped in and helped me with some of the prep work.  I cut out all the pattern pieces on Saturday, and Sunday morning cut the pieces for Matt's trousers.  While I cut out his waistcoat, my mom put together the basic pieces of the trousers so Matt could try them on when I went over to the Huebners' to sew that afternoon.

Hard at work, phew!
Sunday afternoon became sewing bootcamp at the Huebner house.  Matt had control of the machine, since he had some work to finish on his shirt-his very first sewing project!-and Erinn and I started work on the waistcoat.  We used the Kannik's Korner Man's Waistcoat pattern and followed the directions pretty much as-written, using linen from

Hey Ashlyn, where's your belly?
Between the two of us, Erinn and I knocked out the waistcoat in one evening, by hand, minus buttons & holes.  Not too shabby, especially since our little helper (as seen above) tended to be kind of...distracting.  Super cute, though!  Once the waistcoat got to a point where only one person could work on it and Matt's shirt was done but for buttons, I started work on finishing the trousers.  There aren't any pictures of those yet, though, since unfinished pants tend to be a bit sketchy in terms of coverage.

Lookin' good!
By the end of the night, we had a waistcoat ready for finishing work and a pair of trousers that just need some hand finishing and shaping in the legs.  I'm really happy with the work we did today, and it seemed like we all had a good time.  I'm ridiculously pleased with how everything is turning out, and sewing with the Huebners is such a good time.  They may be new to the hobby, but they're smart cookies and eager to learn!  And don't tell anyone, but Erinn's handsewing looks way better than mine--shh!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Greenfield Village Civil War Remembrance 2012

So, I'm just going to say up front that I'm getting worse at taking photos every time I go to an event. It's kind of a problem. For example, I met the lovely Katherine this weekend, and her mom, Ingrid, and I meant to get a picture with them. I all but wrote it on my hand. And then when I saw them, I was too busy talking and laughing with them to remember that I had my camera in my reticule! Ugh, so, no pictures of Katherine and Ingrid...but they were sweet and wonderful and I met them Saturday in plainclothes and then they came back the next day in 1860s outfits and it was phenomenal. :)

There are a few pictures of when I wasn't busy having a brain fart, though, so enjoy!

This is my Julie

This was Julie's first 1860s event in period clothes; she's visited us at Greenfield Village every year since we started going, but always in shorts and a tee shirt! I absolutely love the outfit she put together. Her dress is a spotted cotton lawn, made up like a sheer with a half-high lining. She's an amazing seamstress, but she doesn't like computers so she doesn't really put her stuff online. I guess I'll just have to put pictures up instead!


My mom got a chance to wear her plaid dress's really cute, she keeps asking me if she can make modifications to it, and I keep telling her it's her dress so she can do whatever she wants! It's truly served both of us well at this point.


This pretty much sums up my role in the proceedings all weekend. My mom and Julie were elegant, accomplished ladies. I was full of derp. Yep. Also, this is my favorite outfit of JJ's. (Katherine...maybe this will make you glad I didn't actually take a picture with you!) ;)

Okay, okay fine. Here's an more dignified photo.