Today was Museum Day in Austin. Museums in Austin are offer free admission for the day. For the last few years I have been volunteering at the Neill Cochran House. This house was built in 1855 by Abner Cook who also designed the Texas Governor's Mansion and several other important historic buildings around Austin. After the Civil War the house served as a Union hospital. A couple of friends and I sit in one of the parlors, sew, greet the visitors and answer questions about the house and, mostly, about what we are doing and our clothes. A couple of gentlemen are in another parlor and discuss the soldier's role and Civil War medicine. The gentlemen are from a the 173rd New York. A few pictures are here and more will be put up on the museum's Facebook page.
The dining room
One of two parlors
These two crazy quilts are so cool. The smaller one on the right has small mirrors sewn into it.
This dress is a little after the time I usually study, but it's gorgeous. The lacing and shirring up the front of the skirt are wonderful!
The only real trim on this dress is on the sleeves. I found some great silk ribbon in the perfect shade of red. I looked through my copy of Marge Harding's Victoria's Trims: Victorian Ribbon Trims and Embellishments with Illustrations and Instructions. I wanted something fairly simple as the dress is simple. I chose the raised single box pleat. Here are the results:
When I make my dresses, I usually cannibalize patterns. I have a pattern block and if I don't have a pattern close to what I want I will make one; but I have little patience for it so I prefer to use pieces I have already used that I know will fit with minimal adjustment.
So for the red check I am using the bodice front from Fig Leaf 201. I used this pattern for the blue check homespun. I will use my pieced bodice block for the back as the 201 back is one piece and gathered. I am using Simplicity 1818 for the sleeve; not sure how it will work as I've not used it but the shape is about right and I can adjust it much easier than drafting a whole pattern.