Sunday, September 28, 2014

Gibson Girl

As you all know I own an antique sock knitting machine.  Next October I will be doing a presentation for the local museum and had the crazy idea of doing the presentation in period clothes.  This has been only a concept for about 2 years (or slightly more).  My machine was made in 1908 which puts me in the Edwardian Era (1900-1910).  The Gibson Girl was the personification of feminine beauty of the time.  Here is my attempt and journey at creating a Gibson Girl.  Read below and you will see all of the layers a woman of the era donned everyday.  I took a picture at every stage so you can see the progression.

 The first layer would be a chemise and drawers.  I have yet to make these garments (or even buy the pattern).  In the meantime I used a camisole and bike shorts.  Not very attractive...
Mom and Dad were visiting today.  Mom did a Gibson Girl updo for me.

I have learned the hard way that I must put on my stockings and boots BEFORE putting on a corset.  Hmmm....Can't bend very well once the corset is on.  These are silk stockings I bought.  These have elastic at the top.  In the day they didn't.  They used ribbons to hold their stockings up.  My shoes are just Danskos.  They are close enough to what was worn then and honestly no one will see my feet.

Here's the corset.  It was actually probably the first thing I purchased.  I should have ordered a smaller size.  It is cinched down as far as it can go.

I made my garments out of order.  I actually made the skirt first, then the petticoat and then the corset cover.  Here I am wearing the petticoat (slip) and corset cover.  To be true to the time I need to make another petticoat as they would frequently wear two to help the skirt hold it's shape.  The corset does not have the buttons on yet.  I didn't know how to make button holes.  When I made the corset cover I didn't have the corset on to check for size so it is a bit big.  Mom cinched it down with her hands later and it looked much better.  I don't know if I will go back and take it in.  The petticoat wasn't that bad to make.  Uncle Erik (Joel's brother) saw the progression of me making it when he had visited one weekend.  The ruffle on the other hand was a bugger!

Here's the skirt and shirtwaist.  The skirt has a black on black pattern, but it is not noticeable until one is close up.
My SIL on the Green side graciously made the shirtwaist (shirt) and gave it to me 2 years ago for Christmas.  Meanwhile, I took my time and looked for a pattern for the skirt and for the corset cover & petticoat (slip).  I finally found one and purchased it.  I was excited when the pattern arrived, but soon became disheartened when I saw how complex it was.  My sewing skills are at a beginner level. I've made some quilts, drawstring bags and other similar small items.  I put the pattern away and it sat for a very long time.  In the meantime I learned to sew aprons and enjoyed trying different patterns.
I figured I had some sewing experience under my belt so I thought I would try the skirt pattern.  I opened the skirt pattern and OMG!  There was no way I was going to be able to do this!  I had no idea how to cut the pattern out.  I waited until Amber (SIL) came for a visit and she showed me how to cut the pattern and lay it out on the material.  We did a mock up first in muslin and it turned out great!  Now it was time for me to find and order the fabric.  I did and I made the skirt, which is fully lined, in one weekend.

 Finally, here I am all decked out complete with a hat and gloves.  The hat I found at an antique store up in Eagle River, Wisconsin three summers ago.  The hat should perch on top of the hair not the head.  Here it is sitting more on my head.  Mom tried styling my hair without the hair rats in.
Grandma Virginia, my adopted grandma from my old job, had given me a hat pin to help hold the hat on.  Yesterday, Saturday, I played around with my hair and the hat.  I quickly realized one hat pin would not do.  I went to the antique store and bought four more.  At this point if I would have taken my hair down it would have been a poofy, frizzy, teased mess.  I left the hat on, shimmied into a dress (couldn't get it over my hat/head) and went to church.  A little over dressed (:

The gloves I already had.

Here's some goofy pictures of me showing off my creation!
keep scrolling down to see the apron.

 I also made a apron to wear when I actually do the demonstration.  I don't want the oil from the machine to get on my clothes.  It's quite the matronly apron.  I don't think I'd wear this in real life (I do like to wear aprons).

 After Mom finished taking photos we went inside, pulled out the sewing machine and manual and figured out how to make the button holes for the corset cover.  I did make the buttonholes and started sewing on the buttons.  Mom also played around with my hair again.  I had made some home made fake hair rats, but was having trouble with them.  Mom was able to mostly put them in my hair.  I need to make them smaller and that should work.

I figured I have put this much time, effort and money into this costume that I will wear it for halloween this year.  I might as well get as much wear out of it as I can.

Mom, thanks for all that you did with me today.  I REALLY had a fun day with you!!!

Thanks for looking!