November 11, 2009

Pilgrim Re-enactment

The Pilgrim Costumes were finished just in time for the Re-enactment! Pictured here is the entire Cook Family along with 3 other homeschooling familes.
Baby Abigail is being held by Mama in the back row. Ezra is standing in front of Noah. Anna is in the front in the dark green dress. Elijah is holding the bow and arrow in the front row. Nehemiah is standing behind Noah and Elijah. Joseph is in the back row in the gray wide-brimmed hat. Daniel is in the back row with the blue tam. Papa is standing in front of Mama, in the dark blue jacket. And I am standing beside Joseph in the back row. We enjoyed plenty of good old fashioned food. After dinner, the girls all made corn husk dolls and the boys enjoyed some target practice. It was a very enjoyable time with our friends, and we hope to gather again next year!

September 23, 2009

Medieval Faire

Here are photos from our family Medieval fair. I had to include the cake! Orange and blue with a Medieval twist?!
Two more medieval costumes are finished. I began sewing on Friday, and finished them Saturday! The felt lion was the most intricate part. It took the longest to precisely cut out, and then applique with a close ziz zag stitch, on the front of Elijah's outfit. There are four walking splits in each outfit, with a bar tack at the opening to help prevent tears from strenuous use!
Noah is "fencing" (posing). Nehemiah and Elijah with their matching outfits.

September 16, 2009

Progressing Pilgrim Costumes

I'm still plugging away at the old fashioned Pilgrim costumes. All the shifts are finished now, (the brothers have dubbed them "nightshirts"), and they look like long white flowy robes. Outer garments are next, and this week, I'm in the process of designing the men's jacket. All this work has been temporarily halted, because this Saturday, we are hosting a "Medeival Fair", and I am making outfits for Noah and Elijah that match Nehemiah's. I'm staying busy, and I'll post more about both projects later!

May 25, 2009

Knight Nehemiah

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Narnia Costume

I just finished Nehemiah's Narnia "Edmund" costume. It is bright red broadcloth, with a yellow felt lion appliqued on the front. There are four walking splits, front, back, and sides.

Knight Nehemiah made a matching shield to go with his outfit. Noah lent his Vision Forum sword for the pose.

Up close of the lion applique. He loves his costume!

May 10, 2009

Pilgrim Costumes!

I was just recently informed that this year we are getting together with two other homeschooling families to have an old-fashioned Thanksgiving. We will all be dressing up as Pilgrims, and cooking old-fashioned recipes. This (of course) means that we will all need costumes. And I (of course) gladly accepted the challenge. Drafting a pattern of a men's coat with a v-shaped peblum. (The link has a sketch of five ladies; the lady in the grey dress has a peblum style jacket). Daniel, Joseph, Nehemiah, Noah, Elijah, and Papa will have the v-shaped peblum jacket and knee-length breeches. The women's garments are somewhat easier, layers and layers of petticoats, and a straight waisted peblum top. They have a small cap and a large waist apron as well. Small children up to age 7 have to wear a little gown! This means Ezra and Anna will have little "dresses"! And contrary to common belief, the Pilgrims did not wear buckles, they did not dress in completely black, and not everyone wore the big fluffy white collars. They used buttons for decoration (lots of buttons!), and they used vegetable dyes and muted colors for their garments. Their outfits were basically a simplified version of the current English fashion. This is going to be a real sewing adventure! I'm glad I'm starting early. Sewing for 11 is not an easy task!

February 06, 2009

Front Fly Zippers

Front fly zippers in boys pants. Something that I still need practice with. From Walmart's 75% off fabric sale (when the fabric department went out), I bought about 20 yards of thick sturdy duck cloth for about $7. What a bargain! Now I was left with the problem of what to make with it. It is too coarse for formal dress coats, and too stiff for ladies' skirts or pants. It is a very good thing that I have 6 brothers, because all that duck cloth is being sewed into formal black dress pants for them. Hopefully, all the pants will be completed by Easter Sunday. Last Tuesday I cut out Elijah's pants. I did not have a regular pants pattern, so I used an elastic waist simple standard boys' pattern. Miss Heide showed me how to cut out a fly front, by drafting the length of the mock fly front of the pants. We cut on 4 inches to the waistline in order to put pleats in the front, and two darts in the back. The back of the pants has two welted pockets (that is a whole other post!), and the front, has double pleats and regular pockets. This Tuesday, Miss Heide showed me how to put a fly zipper in. It is not that difficult once you have done one. First of all, mens' and boys' clothes close left over right. Womens garments close right over left. This is an important sewing/fashion rule for all seamstresses. On the right hand side of the fly, the zipper is attached to the right front with a fly backing. I left a 1/8 inch margin for the zipper sled to slide down without catching the edge of the fabric. The left side of the pants is turned under to created a nice even fold. This fold is pinned in place over the zipper and is sewn on to the opposite side of the zipper upside down. I top stitched the fly next, being sure to pull the backing away from underneath. This is VERY important, because if you don't pull the fly backing away when you topstitch, you will sew the zipper closure shut! I then locked the fly down by backstitching 3 stitches up and down right at the end of the opening. (you can see this backstitch lock on any pair of regular jeans, right at the end of the zipper opening, there is usually some kind of sewing tack to strengthen the opening, since it is such a stress point. I know I have been promising pictures, and it just hasn't happened. Thanks for your patience! They will eventually appear.

January 17, 2009


I have added a section for various sewing links I frequent. Lavolta Press has some great costume pattern books! I would love to add any of those to my collection, eventually :) Sewing Mamas has free simple easy sewing patterns. Harper's House has many many lists of many historical costuming patterns. Sew Much More Info has a good "Sewopaedia" dictionary for any sewing terms. There are several other great sewing websites out there on the internet, and so I will be most likely updating my list. If any of my readers know of any really good sewing websites, please let me know!

January 13, 2009

The Would-Be Christmas Dress

Today Miss Heide came over and we finished up some past sewing projects. I worked on my would-be Christmas dress. This was a project I had begun before Christmas with the thought that if I got it finished before Anna’s purple dress, it might be nice to have a new dress for Christmas. But since she was priority, and since I had to have a matching outfit for our Christmas program, that went on standby. This dress is a medium burgundy with a tight pattern of the light burgundy vines and leaves. I’m using an Advance Pattern 8007, size 16. I’m pretty sure this pattern is from the 1940s. (Size 16 had a 27 inch waist.) The lining is a light peach, very thin, and easy to tear when I’m ripping out my stitches! There are seven gores, with a angled fitted waistline and a small walking split in the back. The neck is a wide boat neck with a little V-dip. I raised the neckline on the pattern by 1 ½ inches, since I don’t like to wear extremely low necked garments. The dress is slightly longer than knee length on me, and only because the amount of fabric I had wouldn’t allow for any more length. I am taking the minimum hem allowance to conserve fabric, and facing it out with bias tape. The sleeves are small cap sleeves. I still have to put in the zipper, hem with the bias tape, overcast the seams, secure the lining, and then this dress will be finished. (And the family camera is now charged, and so I am in the process of photo shooting my projects.)

January 10, 2009

Recovering Chairs

The word “recovering” is defined in this post as “to restore or repair the upholstery or padding on a piece of furniture”. I am recovering the two seats in my room, a rectangular sewing bench, and my desk chair. For the last several years, a muted red, white, and blue striped fabric with thin green and yellow stripes running throughout has adorned my bedroom seats. I recently decided to recover them for two reasons; one, because it struck me that the fabric was not at all pretty; and two, because the covers were worn and the straps were torn. I use straps to tie my upholstery projects onto the furniture, since I don’t have any upholstery tools. . .yet. I found some really pretty fabric at Wal-Mart’s sewing-department-going-out-of-business-sale. It is slightly lighter than a royal blue, with embellished interwoven flowers of the same color. I set to work during the last part of Christmas break, and I am finishing up the project this week. To make these covers, I used the old seat padding as a pattern. I cut the seat covers out leaving the standard 5/8 inch seam allowance. My sewing bench was easy to cut, since it’s a rectangle. My desk chair, however, was a little more difficult, being a warped trapezoid shape. I also cut 16 straps, 8 for each chair. I then went to sew the 8 separate thin straps for my sewing bench seat cover. (For some reason, I sit more often at my sewing bench, and therefore that was of more importance than the desk chair cover.) Once I sewed these straps, I had to turn them. Since the straps are more like cords, I tried to use my turner tool. It kept poking through my stitching since it was very thin. I then opened my sewing bin and selected my first turning tool, a slightly thicker stick of metal. I acquired this when one day I noticed the boys playing with an interesting piece of metal. I do not know where it came from or what it used to be a piece of, but it is about 1/8 of an inch wide, 10 inches long, rather flat, and rounded at one end. I spied that metal and thought, “Hm, that would be a perfect tool for turning small sewing projects”. After they were done playing with it, I obtained it and stashed it in my sewing bin for future use. I have had this stick of metal for over 3 years now and it has worked well on many occasions! Using this tool, it was much easier to turn the straps. I attached two of these straps to each corner of the seat cover. I decided to save the old covers as extra padding so once I had the straps sewn to each corner, I then sewed the outer layer on, creating a big pocket, and inserted my old seat cover into it. I then ran a close topstitch around the whole cover, and tied it on to my sewing bench. My sewing bench chair does not have many places to tie things to, so I take a few thumbtacks, and mash them through the straps into the wooden bench from underneath, where it doesn’t show, and that holds it on the chair better. Now I am off to finish sewing my desk chair cover.