Friday, May 8, 2015

My Sewing Journey

I began sewing when I was very young... about 5 years old, and small for my age at that. I loved to take a needle and thread in my hands and CREATE something! Of course at that age the most important thing to sew was... doll clothes! My Barbies and Babies absolutely NEEDED sensible and fun clothes... so with my grandma's and my mother's help I learned to sew a simple doll skirt and shirt. I was too little for a machine so all of my first projects were hand sewn. I never could find patterns for the doll clothes I wanted so I began to design my dolls little skirts and such. Very simple, but creating the foundation I would need to change and design patterns for myself in the future. When I was 9 I finally got to use that tantalizing sewing machine. I loved the speed that it had! How quickly things went together!!! My first "real" projects were skirts for myself.

Then came the "Laura Ingalls Wilder" phase. I had discovered a love for history and with it the wonderful world of Historical Clothing! How I loved to study it and longed to make them. I ambitiously chose a "prairie" dress as my first project to follow skirts. What was I thinking?! Jumping right into sleeves and zippers ( I still had so much to learn about historical accuracy!) :D. How I laugh at my beginnings. I cried and rejoiced by turn through that project. The blue fabric I had was not quite enough... so I shortened the skirt and found some black material to add the extra length... and to add touches on the bodice. After I painstakingly cut it out, I discovered that the pattern was used, and the bottom of the bodice had been cut off... too late was the discovery made. The damage was done and I had no more blue material... 

The black fabric once again came to the rescue, and I added a built in belt of the black.

Here's the Dress- All finished, and completely worth the struggle to my young soul. :)
(I was a little on the dramatic side with my poses! :D)

I soon discovered the Renaissance Faire and Medieval Fantasy styles. I made myself the chemise, the 2 skirts, the apron, and the stays, that I thought were "authentic" Renaissance, and fairly reveled in the flowing lines of my "medieval" dress.

                        Renaissance Outfit                                 Medieval Dress                      Tying one of the many strings.

With my siblings and some friends, I put together a "Scottish Festival". I had read about William Wallace in school and thought Scotland's the greatest history ever at that moment... plus I loved plaid! One of my sisters, a friend, and I undertook to teach our other friends how to sew for that event and researched food and activities. We discovered English Country Dance, and sword fighting! Such excitement! 

It was a crazy year! I was turning 16, and working very hard to complete my high school work in 2, rather than 4 years. My oldest sister was getting married that year, and we had the festival too! I suddenly discovered the meaning of busy! :)

                  The girls found a convenient log on which to relax.                    My outfit for the Scottish Festival.

The next year we got our Homeschool group to join is in putting on a Medieval festival. We once again taught many people to sew and had a blast planning!

    Sword Fighting with Dad.                                                 Archery!              
The whole group

The year I turned 19 I was super excited to be involved in our local Christian High School's production of "Little Women". I played Marmee and made my own costume, as well as "Father's" and "Aunt March's". It was so much fun! Getting to act was a lifelong dream finally come true! :)

The Cast of Little Women

           Me surrounded by "My Girls" during practice.                    And reading a letter on stage.       

The next year I was unfortunately too old to act in the high school play, but I was asked to be one of 2 costumers for "Pride and Prejudice". I had never shopped for so much fabric or sewn so many costumes in such a short time! It was super fun and also a great learning and growing experience.
The cast of Pride and Prejudice

Dancing Scene in Pride and Prejudice

Little did I dream that 2 months later I would leave home for 4 months to work on a historical movie called "Beyond the Mask"! And what an amazing adventure it was! I met a wonderful group of people and learned a ton in those 4 months! 18th century was a favorite time period already and my interest in 1770's fashion only grew through the project. I was super excited that I was allowed to take home one of the gowns we made for the extras!

       Here it is! And with a new petticoat (skirt) I made recently for a Masquerade Ball. :)

Since Beyond the Mask was Set in the 18th Century we did a TON of hand stitching on the outfits to make them as accurate as possible. We would gather on the couch and stitch in company or sometimes we would pull out a movie and watch while we worked.

The Extras Costuming Team on the 4th of July. We dressed in some of the costumes we'd made and marched off to enjoy an evening of fun at the local park's Independence celebration. :)

Part of the Main Characters Costuming Team, Dressed in extras costumes... which still needed all of their "trimmings" :D

More of the costuming team. :) This is STILL not everyone together... it was hard to find a time when we were all there and available to take a picture! :D

Beyond the Mask taught me a ton about accurate historical clothing. I was inspired to do more research on many time periods. 2 1/2 years later I'm still learning and practicing to get those "just right" historical looks. I've grown to love Pinterest! The wealth of historical costume information there is nearly overwhelming at times!

Retro clothing has become my greatest sewing interest as I delve into creating clothing from the 1950's, 1930's, and 1940's. I am really interested in making some 1970's impressions someday too! :)

And now here I am, taking another plunge and starting a blog! I hope you all enjoy following my journeys! :)


  1. Yay!!!! Welcome to the blog-o-sphere! :-D

  2. What a lovely story to start your blog. I really enjoyed reading this, Shiloh. Love, Aunt Sue

    1. Thank you Aunt Sue! Glad you enjoyed it! :)