It’s been awhile. Too long perhaps, since last I traveled or made The Maker any new things.
The last long distance trip I took was to Chicago in 2018. Now that COVID-19 has become more nuisance than threat, I am breaking my travel-fast with a trip to Historic Colorado next month, you can see the initial plans for that excursion at Daveno Travels.
As I discovered during my trip to Morocco, “Dressing the Part, is Half the Fun…”
You will find posts about Cebolla and Gunnison on this site. My great grandparents, Harry Carpenter and Velma Eastman were married in Gunnison. Her wedding dress has been sitting in a plain cardboard box in the bottom of my closet, simply labeled “Velma Eastman, 1908.” The gown, along with a family history I am compiling, became the impetus for this trip. I booked a seat on a narrow gauge steam train running from Silverton to Durango, in one of the cars that had been restored to its original 1880s condition, and also booked rooms in historic hotels at either end. The train belongs to the same D&RG Line that ran in front of my family’s hunting and fishing lodge back in 1910. So how could I embark on this journey and not do so in period-inspired traveling clothes?
After Googling “Women’s Wear 1890-1910” I settled on the end of this time period so I could leave my bustle and corset at home. A search of my closet yielded a few pieces that loosely translated to the era, including a pleat-front blouse, and another with a lace collar and lace insets on the sleeves. I found a collarless pin-striped cotton shirt for $5 at a thrift store, and added new buttons and soutache to a vest I already had. I fashioned an undergarment from the top of a dress, whose skirt had already become hats awhile back. Boots, hats, a paisley shawl and jewelry were also waiting for me in my closet, along with a couple of other passable walking skirts not shown here.
I pulled the skirt to Velma’s wedding dress out of its box and found it was badly stained and torn. A piece was missing that I surmise may have become a child’s a christening gown. Upon removing the skirt from its waistband, I found a straight length of batiste with inset lace and pleating, instead of the gored pieces I was expecting. I spent a weekend repairing the pleats and the lace from two 100″ panels of this century-old textile.
This weekend, I stitched the lace to some grey wool from my recycled textiles stash, and added soutache between the pleats to tone down the high contrast between the white batiste and the darker wool and to further stabilize the wedding lace. I had intended to make a 1908 era walking skirt but ended up with more of a dirndl. The waist is elastic in a striped silk casing, and I ran lace along the inside of the hem because I’m fond of that additional detail. I also inset pockets because every traveling woman needs pockets.
But in an attempt to use the full length of lace, the skirt swamped me. So I removed a 16″ panel, which became a drawstring bag; a fun little side project that used up some decorative odds and ends. I’m all about finding a use for everything, even if it means my projects are over-ornamented both inside and out…
Next up – the rest of Velma’s wedding skirt, combined with a piece of shirt-weight pearl grey wool from my stash, reworked into a shirtwaist to match my 1908/dirndl skirt…