HSM 2015 #2: Apron

My second HSM #2 project was an apron modeled after Henry Walton’s The Market Girl. (I want to make her gown as well so if you happen to know of some good red and white striped linen please let me know!)

Henry Walton Market Girl

The Market Girl by Henry Walton. Retrieved from Wikimedia Commons.



Shoe Quatro Part 3: Gilded Leaves

Next up: 23Skidoos!

My inspiration was this pair of 1920s shoes from Shoe Icons. They were too cool to pass up.

I dyed the leather with Angelus leather dye in black and tidied it up with Angelus luster cream in black.

I then proceeded to go cross-eyed painting 8 leaves and the heel in gold and silver Angelus acrylic leather shoe paint. (I’m like a poster child for Angelus and American Duchess, but I’m too lazy to think outside the box and be creative with my paint/dye resources.) This paint is great but the silver and gold were a bit too translucent for this project and it took about 4 coats before the paint looked opaque enough to continue. I read after the fact (in the reviews) that it’s best to use an undercoat of mustard for the gold. It probably would have been an equally good idea to use grey under the silver.

Once it was painted to my satisfaction I used black paint for the veins on the leaves.

They’re definitely one of a kind!


Shoe Quatro Part 2: Regency Slippers

Next up for shoes: Highburys!

These were rather simple. I used International Professional Fabric Shoe Dye A162 to dye them and added 15mm double faced silk ribbon in silver.

The dye went on VERY easily and was a dream to work with. Apart from one teeny tiny spot it looks as if I bought the shoes dyed.

The slippers were inspired these slippers at the MET:

Vandervell Evening Slippers. Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of the Brooklyn Museum, 2009; Gift of Herman Delman, 1954. Accession number 2009.300.1468a, b

Vandervell Evening Slippers. Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of the Brooklyn Museum, 2009; Gift of Herman Delman, 1954. Accession number 2009.300.1468a, b

And now for the shoes.

Detail of Regency Slippers

Shoe Quatro Part 1: Many wrongs make a right

First up in my two-shoe decorating series: my Astorias.

My inspiration image was this pair of pink satin wedding shoes from Shoe Icons.

Pretty, right?

I bought “dusty rose” Angelus leather dye from American Duchess and white beaded trim from M&J Trims. I proceeded to dye them and ended up with this:

Now in their defense they are imperfects, I’m a sloppy dyer, and I had black dye on my hands that I hadn’t bothered to wash off. But hot pink? Really?

So at this point my options were

  • Over dye
  • Paint

I decided it was safer to go with paint.

Off I went to American Duchess again and bought Angelus acrylic leather paint in “pink” and “champagne”. The goal was to try and get a slightly brown based pink. I didn’t want it too pink or too tan. Apparently that’s not easy to do.

I mixed up a batch of what ended up being too brown and too watery paint and did the first coat. When I painted it on it looked like I was going to end up with nude shoes. It didn’t look pink at all.

By some miracle at the hands of the costuming gods after two coats I ended up with:

Pink Astorias Close Up Pink Astorias

I love them! The paint was thin enough that the hot pink shines through. You can see the champagne paint but it almost looks like a trick of the eye. I’m not sure if I’m going to end up putting the trim on or not. I rather like them the way they are and the trim detracts from the color.

Now I just need a shiny new Edwardian gown to wear with them.

~Complete side note: I’d like to try this accident with black dye and gold paint someday. I’m thinking that VERY thinned out gold paint would give it a shimmery gilded look?

Girls Love Shoes

I have a problem with shoes. Not modern shoes like any normal female. No, I have a problem with historical shoes.  Any time period is fair game, especially if they’re white and I can customize them.

I usually buy my shoes from American Duchess. I love the variety she offers and it is very easy to justify my purchases by explaining to everyone that I am doing what I can to help a small business stay alive, especially since it is a small business that we costumers/reenactors need. Telling people I simply WANTED the shoes would not do of course.

Every once in a while I splurge while things are on sale (other times I just splurge) and set them aside until a later date when I have the time to decorate them just the way I want. Recently I pulled four (!) pairs of shoes out of their boxes.

Stay tuned for posts on my newly prettified Astorias, 23 Skidoos, Nankeens, and Highburys!

American Duchess 23 Skidoo shoes in white

American Duchess 23 Skidoo shoes in white

American Duchess Astoria shoes in white

American Duchess Astoria shoes in white







Highbury Slippers

American Duchess Highbury slippers

Nankeen Boots

American Duchess Nankeen boots




I’ve Moved!

To Alexandria VA that is. Two weeks ago. I did it somewhat on a whim but my reenactment group is located here and I was tired of driving the 3+ hours from Virginia Beach all the time. And I thought I could find a job easier in the DC area then where I was. Which I did. It’s not a high paying job but it’s a job. So we shall see. Hopefully I’ll be able to take part in things that were completely off the table before due to distance.

Speaking of which, the Mt. Vernon craft fair is this weekend so if you’re in the neighborhood DO come and visit! 1VA Regiment (my unit) is doing military demonstrations throughout the weekend.

And I finally won my battle with bonnets thanks to chip board from Dick Blick. I will never use buckram in a brim ever again. My sewing skills aren’t the best on this one but it’s totally usable. And my next one will be better!

A bonnet! A little later in the century than I prefer but it holds its shape!


Ha! I have a bonnet!

Thank you Kitty Calash for giving the right advice and that little push I needed to get over the hump. I finally finished it! I even LIKE it!

Pattern: my own
Fabric: Black silk Persian from Wm. Booth Draper lined with the same orange/purple shot silk taffeta I’m using for my riding habit.

I ended up with two layers of buckram in the brim and plenty of wire. The brim actually goes all the way around (tapers to an inch in the back) which I don’t think I’d do again but it worked. I’m also not sure if I’ll use the Persian silk. It is very silky, floppy fabric and definitely needed the taffeta to give it body. It was a little harder to sew because of its lack of body. BUT when the sun shines on it the orange shines through and gives it a gold sheen. Very pretty!

It’s a bit amateur (don’t look under the brim!) but darn it I did it!

Buckram brim

Covered brim



Trying to get the gold effect with my flash.

Where I attempt a black silk bonnet and learn the valuable lesson of using the right search engine.

I admit I used to be one of those people who insisted that the black bonnet look was a Regency concoction that had no business in reenacting. Much to my annoyance you have all managed to convince me otherwise. It is to my annoyance because in my unofficial quest to have every item of clothing ever made between the years 1720 and 1790 of course I realized that I needed one. And then I discovered that At the Sign of the Golden Scissors has documentation back to 1744 and if I made it right I could wear it for both wars. That completely clinched the deal.

So I pigheadedly forged ahead. I did my research of course, and looked at reproductions, and the prices some were selling for. I managed to convince myself that I could indeed make one and did not need to shell out the money to someone else. I must add here that my hat experience consists of buying blanks and then decorating them. I didn’t even know what to expect when I ordered a half a yard of something called “buckram”. I looked and looked via Bing (the default search engine on my computer) for some pattern to help me and found nothing so I just went with what I thought I knew.

I even made a full blown mockup with a cardboard brim and muslin caul and everything was hunky dory. I cut out the buckram and this beautiful Persian Black Silk from Wm. Booth Draper and sewed it all together and Oh. My. Goodness. I’ve never seen a floppier brim. So I added some good strong wire. Now it was just floppy with a wire. So I took it on vacation to stare at it for a week and figured I’d do one last internet search looking for a miracle. This time I used Google because that was the default on my phone. The third listing was  Fashions Revisited. And she has a pattern. I could have cried.

So now I don’t know what to do. I know that A Fashionable Frolick used two layers of buckram instead of one. I have half a mind to just take it apart and add the extra layer. Or I could save myself the headache, buy more fabric, buy the darn pattern, and do it right. Or I could just swallow my pride and my “I can do ANYTHING” attitude and buy one from someone who actually knows what they’re doing…