Marietta Civil War Field Day 2013

A couple weeks ago, I participated in an annual event put on by Campus Martius and The Castle. This event is much like the Civil War Days I used to participate in at my local Jr High; except this one is much bigger. Around 300 students were there throughout the course of the day.

The event calls in local schools to walk through a living history camp on the riverfront and each presenter talks to school groups about certain aspects of the American Civil War.

 I participated in the event with staff from the Athens County Historical Society and Museum. Curator, Jessica Cyders, and Administrator, Laura Farrell, also presented with me. Jessica is representing a Vivandiere, Laura a women for the Sanitary Commission, and I am in a state of "half-mourning."

Laura, Jessica, and myself

  Our presentations included information on women on the battlefield, women on the homefront, and the practice of mourning in mid-Victorian society. The students were very responsive and especially enjoyed the bloodied bandaged we handed out for them to wear during their drills that they participated in later in the day.

We really enjoyed ourselves and hope to do it again next year!

1885-1887 Corset is done!!

My corset turned out wonderfully and is by far the most comfortable corset I've worn. This corset was meant to be as close as possible to the original, but of course there are some compromises I had to make based on my budget and my location (where there are absolutely NO good fabric stores around)

Finding antique lace is always challenging, especially when you want to actually use the corset. I managed to pick up some pretty lace from a local vintage store called Athens Underground. It wasn't exactly what I was looking for, but it'll do until I find something closer.

So delicate!
The pieces were relatively easy to put together, the busk being the easiest part of all (I didn't believe it would be)

In progress pic: Busk just put in!
I added the binding to the edges and then lightly tacked the antique lace along the top of the corset. She's so comfortable!!

Specifics Please!

Total Cost: $ 45
Cost of Materials Breakdown:
                 $15 Busk
                 $15 Steel Boning
                 $ 7  Antique Lace
                 $ 4  Khakis
                 $ 3  Grommets
                 $ 1  Embroidery Thread
                 $ 0  Twine  (already in my stash)

Shown here with newly made chemise
More on that in a later post!

Measurements fully closed:
                Bust:      34.5''
                Waist:    23''  (was intended to be 19-20... more on that later)
                Hips:     35''

What was the hardest part of the project?
                 Using a pair of khakis as the only fabric proved difficult for cutting and caused a lot of stress.
I had also never put in a busk before, though it's far easier than it looks/sounds.

Look at dat bust curvature!
What needs improvement?
                Beings this is the first real corset I've made (the other ones I had another seamstress build for me) this project was a giant adventure. I knew the basic procedure but had never done it before.
                Seams: Because of all the fabric, I had a hard time sewing through the layers. Next time I will probably seam it on my treadle.
                Lacing: I forgot to put an extra layer of fabric in the grommeted panel, which has caused a couple of the grommets to loosen and fall out upon long-term wear. An extra strong layer of fabric would eliminate the problem.
                Measurements: If you examine my version versus the original, you'll notice the front panel is a little wider in mine. I believe that this, added with the general widging of fabrics during seaming, caused the waistline to expand from its intended measurement.
                General Laments: If you looked at my version, you can see that somehow the left side (our right) of the corset's front closure, at the busk, is longer on both the top and bottom. I have no clue how this happened. Secondly, the cups at the bust gently flare toward the top instead of cupping back in. This works fine for earlier (pre-1870s) corsets, but during this time period a very smooth, curved bustline was desired. Thirdly, I'd love to find a busk that has such wide set closures as the original. Lastly, I would probably add a lot of more cording, as in the original, than I did for my version. I stayed on the safe side instead of going with my gut.

Complete with a proper 1880s gut!

What do you like the most about it?
I love that it looks so close to the original. The embroidery was a stroke of luck to get it to match so well. Same with the khakis acting as the fabric. It's also an extremely comfortable corset. I have worn it for more than 8 hours at a time, and I was just as comfortable as when I put it on. My hope is to make another one, built for hard use rather than just being pretty. I want this one to actually close at a 19'' waist and have it lined in sturdy drill or coutil. I'll probably do embroidery for my practical one, too, because... why not?!

Close up of tambour-ish embroidery

I graduated!

I'm not sure how many of you still read my blog, since I've not been posting as of late... but the latest announcement in the Brooks' home is Devin and I have graduated from Ohio University!

hooray! to be graduated!!! (and isn't he cute???)
I am now on a search for proper employment. Until I find a job, I hope to update my blog with my latest projects and the new ones coming up. I hope to continue "Photo Fridays" but if anyone has any suggestions on post topics or  would like me to post on things you'd like to hear about, please comment! Feedback is nice :)

Thank you so much for those of you who have remained readers of my blog! I sincerely apologize but hope to do better now that I have time to do so!

Have a great day!!!!