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Monday, August 22, 2011

Stepping Back In Time

August 1861
Battle of Wilson's Creek
150th Anniversary Reenactment

As I sit here reflecting on the days activities
a sense of tremendous pride swells in my soul.
To witness this remarkable event 
was a chilling experience that will never be forgotten.

Like their brothers 150 years prior,
these brave reenactor's  not only fought each other,
but also the stifling heat of August.
Dressed  in  authentic attire, carrying pounds of equipment,
loading and shooting their black powder rifles, 
(one soldier told of shooting over 100 rounds)
 to honor our country's history.
A testament of love and remembrance for all  lives lost that day.
We shall never forget...............
 The heat did not detour the thousands of spectators

who traveled from various States to either watch
or partake in this great event.

Visiting and meeting  wonderful
people was a delight. 

We visited with this family from Illinois.
Supporting their Dutch heritage, they were here
to honor their Civil War ancestors.

These gracious ladies let me stand with them for a photo.
Note their period clothing, their camp site
and the camps in the background.
So authentic, period correct.
Mom wore a work day dress with apron, while the daughter
was dressed in a better day or tea dress for visiting..lovely.

 Another campfire site...
ladies finishing morning chores
They too let me snap a photo, thank you.

This fellow was part of the above campsite.
His gun was leaning against his leg.
The men were attending to their weapons.

Later in the day....smells mighty appealing.

Another family campsite
You can see the smoke from their campfire.

Greeting two young girls in their day dresses and cool straw hats.
The girl in green was wearing a watch fob and carrying a vintage hanky.
They wanted to take my picture but I said only if I can take yours....

Soldiers Quarters

A piece of canvas stretched between poles offers primitive shelter
from the blazing sun.
Note the bed covered with a vintage coverlet.

Tent outfitted for two soldiers.
A wood box used to store their gear. also used as a table
separated the cots
Note the rug in front of the entrance.

Horses, Mules and Wagons

 Mr B. posing with the mules  

Period wagons were used to carry supplies to the camps.

Marching Soldier's Unit
Note the soldier in the foreground carrying the black bag
He is a Doctor who attended the wounded on the battlefield.

The Sultry (vendors) 

Civil War Lady
A sultry for the ladies.
Dresses, hoop skirts, gloves, shoes, fans, 
fancy hats, plain bonnets,
such were the necessities found here.  
So much fun browsing,
I purchased a pair of brown leather lace up boots.

 Oh how I loved these gowns
Lots of drooling ....

The Photographer
Another popular tent were your photo was taken
and then made into a tin type. 

Fashion Show
The fashion show drew a large crowd.  
Many of the ladies modeled simple days dresses to fancy ball gowns
young and old alike participated.

Lovely brown dress with muted wine flowers.
Fabric was that of a  homespun texture.

The lady in the gray dress was the director.
Her knowledge of vintage clothing was amazing,
she looked our dresses over and gave a detailed
description of what style, fabric and trims were used.

Young girl in light blue with tiny white vine pattern.
Pagoda sleeves, straw hat. 

Skirt and blouse of different colors was the new look
for the younger women.
Gray/blue skirt with soft cream blouse with cuff, belt, brooch
over the shoulder flat haversak bag.
The blouse had rows of tucks down the front for a very soft feminine look.

Mother in fancy red dress with black lace trim.
Older daughter wore an off the shoulder ball gown 
but was too young to wear a hoop skirt.
The younger daughter was dressed in a cream cotton dress with
pink floral pinafore and cream pantaloons with tucks at the bottom
so they could be let down as the little girl grew.

Southern Belle in her "red" ball gown
trimmed with black ribbon .
Another fact:
The color red was a risque color prior to the Civil War,
was now acceptable for  younger ladies ball gowns.

Lovely blue/white plaid tea dress with gloves, fancy hat and parasol.

The comment made about this gown was the hoop skirt was correct
for her height and for the width of her skirt.
A fact I did not know,  the hoop width should compliment
your height and the width of your skirt
making for a clean straight line of appeal.  "wow"...

This lady was modeling a makeover dress.  
Ladies would take a dress and change it up a bit 
so as to be in style with the latest fashions.

The black under slip was added 
while the red over skirt was gathered in flounces.
The long sleeves were shortened, black trim was added.
This lady now has a fancy ball gown.
Her headpiece was small black lace veil with ribbon roses,
 black lace gloves and a matching cape completed the outfit.
I thought this lady was too "old" to be wearing the color red.

The Wounded Soldier

This is my favorite photo.
It chills my soul every time I view it.

After the battle, as we were walking thru the camps,
I saw this soldier sitting on this grassy embankment,
 his head tipped low clutching his leg.
Turning my head over my shoulder for another peak
I noticed the blood soaked rag wrapped around his leg.
At that moment my heart skipped a beat, 
I immediately  turned around and approached the soldier.

"Are you injured soldier?"
"Yes Mame"
"That was a fierce battle!"
"Yes Mame"
"Can I get you anything?"
"No Mame"
Can I take your picture"
"Yes Mame"
I whispered "Thank you"
"Thank You Mame"

Awesome, tender moment!

I slowly walked back up the hill, Mr B asked, what were you doing?
"Taking a memory home with me"

Thank you for visiting with me today. 
This honorable event exceeded all my expectations.

Standing On Hallowed Ground
A Civil War Tribute
Click on Wilson's Creek at the top of this page.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

1860's Here We Come

Yesterday I gave you all a sneak preview
of the 1860's Civil War Era Dress I made.
Tonight I will share close up pics
Final Fitting and Photo Shoot

Before we begin I have something dear to share.
As I sat and sewed, countless memories would fog my mind.
Flash backs, over and over of previous sewing projects.

A lot of time was spent wiping away the tears

Memories Of
Sewing doll clothes using Mom's Singer treadle machine
My sisters High School skort so she would get a passing grade
All the costumes for the drama club

Baby gowns for my first born...
they were never used, packed away in a special place,
a piece of my heart was lost the day he died.

My daughters First Communion dress
and later her Prom dress
Sister in law's wedding dress, so many tucks.

Daisy Kingdom dresses for the grand girls
 Vintage style clothing for the cabin.

My ambition to be a clothes designer...
Not an Accountant

 Years of precious memories stitched into this
1860's Commemorative Dress 
I will wear it proudly.

Handsome Mr B
Mr B has been so supportive of my latest project,
he loves history as much as I do,
I thank him for being a good sport and for putting up with me.

He looks so dashing in his duds.
I made his trousers, no zippers, button fly
black military stripes on the side.
He wanted to be neutral but I think he looks rather Northern
that is ok,  since we are from Wisconsin.

His shirt was a white linen flea market find for 1.50
took the buttons off, sewed up the front
to make it a pull over and left 3 buttons at the top.
Sewed down the collar inside the neckline to make it collarless.
Final process was to coffee dye it, looks quite vintage.
His Accessories:
Leather covered canteen
Leather Officers Haversack Map Bag
Both handmade by Mr B

Yards and Yards of Fabric

What style of dress should I make?
Working day dress or camp dress
Better day dress
Tea dress
Ball gown
Carriage dress (traveling)
Black mourning dress (not)

I would categorize my dress as a better day dress for
receiving company or maybe even a tea dress
for afternoons sipping tea with fine ladies. 
Since it is cotton and not taffeta or silk, probably a
Better Day Dress.....

Since I am a matron lady I chose a subdued color, chocolate brown
and added fancy trims to enhance it.
Baby blue cotton fabric trim was sewn into a tube then hand gathered
and stitched to the bodice front and outline of the pagoda sleeves.
Many dresses were trimmed with just plan fabric using decorative techniques.
Lace was not a luxury, it was quite expensive.
Pleated trim as well as ruffles or flat trim  were common.

Since I was a lady with funds I chose to ad some lace.
Flat crochet lace (coffee dyed to age)
was sewn around the outside of the blue trim
and burgundy braid trim was added on the inside.

3 inch flat crochet lace (coffee dyed)
was added to the bottom of the dress along with  burgundy braid trim.
The circumference of the hemline is almost 15 feet....
10 yards of fabric.....
 The bodice is darted for a fitted look
skirt has been hand pleated.

Handmade crochet collar
black scarf (belt) with vintage brown buckle
light blue and brown under sleeves completes the dress.

 By now you should know how muck I like to play dress up
the little girl in me.....will last forever.

We are ready to step back in time.
 150th Anniversary
Wilson's Creek Battle
Southern Missouri

May we always  Remember.... The Sacrifice