Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Song of the Needle

Methinks it is a token of healthy and gentle characteristics, when women of high thoughts and accomplishments love to sew; especially as they are never more at home with their own hearts than while so occupied. ~Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Marble Faun, 1859

After an 8 month hiatus I have returned to the sewing machine. It all started innocently enough, I was thinking about Zoar and who will be there this year and then I thought about the daguerreotype that we had taken of Asa and Katie. And then I thought about having another taken this year to commemorate him turning 2 and became more and more enthralled with the idea of childhood milestones marked by wet plate images. However, having a wet plate image of all of the children really, really appealed to me and now boom! I'm back sewing. We had our own version of The Great Try-On and I found that Aleks and Levi have trowsers and vests, but no shirts and Micah has nothing. Katie is all set but the other 4 girls need dresses as does Asa. I've ordered Asa's fabric and will begin on his when it arrives but in the meantime I've begun a gown for Abigail.
I had the bodice and sleeves already cut for somebody, but I can't remember who. Elisabethe maybe? So I rewashed the pieces and trimmed some bodice length off for Abbie. I finished the neckline this afternoon and want to cut new sleeves out this evening. Hopefully it will be finished before the new fabric arrives. It feels good to have a needle in my hand again, I think I must have missed it. I have approximately three and a half months to get everybody ready and that seems somewhat daunting, but I keep thinking of the image that will preserve the memory. I'm thinking a full plate will be necessary, maybe a 3/4 plate? I don't know, that's nine people to fit in. I'm full of anticipation.


  1. That's beautiful fabric. I love your idea of a wet plate image of your family. How fun! I can't wait to see it all come together. Is the approximate year in the late 50s? 40s?

  2. Amy, Zoar reenactment is 1860s but we're not reenacting per se so I can do what I want. I did toss around doing 1840s clothes for everyone, but got scared off by the work involved in that. I still need to sew a lot to get everybody ready for 1860s but not nearly as much as I would have had to with another era. We'll see, my machine was doing pretty good but now it won't gather at all so I'm stuck. :-(

  3. Do you use patterns for your sewing or just measurements?? I always have to use a pattern so am in awe of those that don't need them.

  4. For historic sewing I use Elizabeth Stewart Clark's patterns. I can tweak and adjust patterns but I'm not very good at drafting. I'm in awe too of those that are thus talented. :D
    Mrs. G


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