Tuesday, February 24, 2015

New Wrapper

Returning to the KayFig Wrapper Pattern with a new addition to the Ft. Nisqually dress-up station. Detachable collar from Simplicity 7212.

Friday, February 20, 2015

HFF #19: Something Borrowed, Something Blue

The Challenge: Make a dish that features a borrowed ingredient and/or a dish which is blue.

The Receipt: Batter Pudding (with blueberries) from Sarah Josepha Hale's The New Household Receipt-Book, page 531.

"Batter Pudding.-- Take six ounces of fine flour, a little salt, and three eggs; beat it up well with a little milk, added by degrees till the batter is quite smooth: make it the thickness of cream: put it into a buttered pie dish, and bake three quarters of an hour; or, in a buttered and floured basin, tied over tight with a cloth: boil one hour and a half or two hours.

Any kind of ripe fruit that you like may be added to the batter--only you must make the batter a little stiffer. Blue berries, or finely chopped apple, are most usually liked."

Region/Year: English, 1854

How Did You Make It: Beat 6 oz. flour, 1/8 tsp salt and 3 eggs together, added (about 1/4-1/2 cup) skim milk to desired consistency, stirred in blue berries (about 3 oz). Baked 350F for 45 min in a buttered pie tin.

Time to Complete: Less than an hour, including 45 min baking time.

Total Cost: $4 for blueberries (out of season); other ingredients to hand

How Successful Was It: Yes? It baked very nicely all through, winding up like a thick pancake or less-dense sponge cake. What's weird is the lack of sweetness; also, with so few ingredients, the egg flavor comes through a bit. I can't imagine making this without the optional fruit, and next time I would perhaps add extra for additional flavor and sweetness.

How Accurate Was It: Followed to a nicety, but did use an electric mixer.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

More blogging!

I'm now also blogging about the 4th US: sharing resources and information about American Civil War reenacting in the Pacific Northwest.

Regency/Empire Stays, part III

With the front panel complete, it's time to assemble the rest of the stays.1

Working from front to back, I "sandwiched" the completed section between each two new layers.  So, for the first in-seam gusset (cut in two layers to permit the sandwich), the outer layer of the gusset is laid right-sides-together with the outer front panel, and the lining layer is set right-sides-together on the front lining.  I then stitched the seam through all four layers (gusset shell/front shell+lining combo/gusset lining), and pressed the gusset out.  The front+gusset is now the completed section and is treated as one.  To add the side section, the side shell is laid right-to-right over the front+gusset, the lining is treated the same, and the process is repeated.  The hip gusset in the side piece was made in a single layer, and treated as the bust gussets in the front panel.  Boning channels were stitched between the shell and lining after the two were attached and pressed flat.

To make the back section, I joined the shoulder straps to the back pieces (L shell to L shell, R shell to R shell, R lining to R lining, L lining to L lining), and then joined each back piece to its lining, along the center back opening.  I did this to make a clean center back, without binding (leaving more space for the bones and eyelets).  Pressed the back pieces flat and stitched the back boning channels (butted into the CB seam, and another 1/4" away, leaving space for the eyelets in between.  Made the eyelet holes with an awl and applied 2-piece metal eyelets (size 00) with a setting anvil.  Following the method in Period Costumes for Stage and Screen, the eyelets are paired, but with an extra off-set at the eyelet at top and bottom for internal spiral lacing.  [My initial attempts to don the garment with spiral lacing were unsuccessful, so it's displayed below with cross-lacing.]

Made remaining back-boning channels as before.  I then joined the back and side+gusset pieces by sewing the shell only (usual right-to-right and open method).  The lining was folded over (to cover the raw edges) and topstitched.

The straighter boning channels (short slanted bones on the front, center back pairs, side hip) received 1/4" straight steel bones.  Curvier sections, particularly along the panel joins, used 1/4" spring steel.
(To see the difference, I've put up explanations of the different steels here).

Prepared bias edging of tightly-woven cotton (also used for some of the lining pieces), and attached it along the top edge--including both straps--and the bottom, encasing all remaining raw edges.  Added 8 thread eyelets to fasten straps (two per strap, and two at each side of the bust).

Finished stays, front

Finished Stays, side back

Finished stays, side front

1. For the record, I know that the French First Empire dates 1804-1814 and the English Regency period ran 1811-1820, but I am using the terms in the expanded sense, to cover the neo-classical fashion of dress which was popular approximately 1795-1830.  My apologies to anyone who is bothered by this construction.  I have been known to flip out over similar misuses of the term "Victorian" (1837-1901) to denote "pre-1920", "1870 or later", and/or "looks sort of old".

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Making a Regency Petticoat

The petticoat bodice combines the petticoat with a sort of short stays; but for use with my long stays and chemise, I need an actual petticoat.

Period Petticoats:
 Petticoat, c. 1820-1825, MFA

Petticoat, early 19th century, janeausten.co.uk, also featured on The Oregon Regency Society, but an original post with context has not been found.  

The petticoat is basically a skirt.  Given that the stylish "waist" of the period falls at the underbust, the petticoat may have shoulder straps to hold it in place, or even an abbreviated sort of bodice.  The two (admittedly not closely-dated) examples with back views show significantly more gathering at the back of the petticoat than at the front, with what may be a drawstring or tie fastening the center back.  The description of the MFA (bodiced) petticoat mentions waist and neckline drawstrings and a tie closure at the back.

For my petticoat, I cut a rectangle of white cotton 45" x 90"; sewed it into a tube, leaving a 12" opening at the top back; and hemmed the bottom (1.5" doubled).  I then gathered upper edge by hand, prepared a waistband to my underbust measurement (measured over the corset), and enclosed the raw edge of skirt in the waistband.  While doing so, I concentrated the gathers towards the back, as with the bodiced petticoat--ie, half of the skirt gathered to the back quarter of the waistband.  Twill tape ties fasten the center back; this seemed easier than a button closure for dressing oneself.  Shoulder straps of twill tape are attached to the waistband.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

HFF #18: Descriptive Foods

The Challenge: Prepare a food that has an evocative name.

The RecipeTipsy Cake from Mrs. Beeton. [Ok, I confess that I made this up a couple days early, ie. on Thursday, because I was having a party and wanted to share it with guests.  Birthday prerogative.]

Date and Region: 1861, British

How Did You Make It: Day 1: Prepared #1782 Savoy Cake.  Separate 7 eggs; beat the whites until fluffy.  In another bowl, mix the egg yokes with 8.5 oz (weight of 4 eggs) powdered sugar and 1 tsp almond extract--the flavor was a little strong; would try 1/2 - 3/4 tsp next time.   Mix in egg whites, slowly add 15 oz. (weight of 7 eggs) flour, and beat a further ten minutes. Baked for about 50 minutes at 350 F in two small, buttered tins--I used two, so that resulting cakes are small enough to fit into the available serving plates.

Day 2: Let the cake age.  Receipt called for a 3-4 day old cake.

Day 3: Poured 1 bottle wine and 6 Tbsp brandy over cakes and allow to sit for about 2 hours. Prepared #1423 Boiled Custard: warmed 1 pint skim milk, 3 oz. granulated sugar, and 1 tsp. vanilla extract in a saucepan; mixture was brought to a boil, then strained and allowed to cool. Beat eight eggs and stirred into the cooled/cooling milk mixture.  Put it all into a hot water bath on the stove, stirring until thick (about 40 minutes...possibly this was not quite enough), without allowing the mixture to boil, Removed from heat and stirred in 1 tsp. brandy.  Drained excess liquor from cakes, sprinkled blanched, slivered almonds over them, and poured the custard over all.  Grated some nutmeg over the custard.

Time to Complete: Three days.

Total Cost: Mostly based on the cost of eggs.  There's 15 of them, after all.

How Successful Was It: Not. The cake needed longer to soak, and would have benefited from a deeper dish.  Also, I think I'd try a sweeter wine next time (not a generic white).  All of the excess liquor needs to be poured off or permitted to absorb into the cake, else the custard will have...problems.  I'd also be tempted to try the alternate presentation in which the ingredients are layered with cream as a 'trifle'.

How Accurate Was It: Fairly good in ingredients.  Specific tins/pans could be more helpful.

Mmm, cake.
Boozy Cake
With custard; narrower, deeper dishes would be helpful.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

HFF #17: Revolutionary Food

The Challenge: Prepare a food that is revolutionary in some way, or dates from a revolutionary time.

The Recipe: Ginger sprigs from The lady's assistant for regulating and supplying her table by Mrs. Charlotte Mason (page 379)

Date and Region: British, 1777 (I believe there was some rather revolutionary activity going on some of the British colonies at that time...)

How Did You Make It: With precious little assistance from the instructions...

"To make Ginger Sprigs after the West Indian Manner. TAKE three eggs, a pound of sugar, a pound of flower, a little ginger, two spoonsuls of rose water mix them to a paste "

Presumably, one then bakes this paste.  I took this as a sort of biscuit/cookie, and went for 350F about 12-13 minutes. (I used 1 Tbsp of ginger and 2 Tbsp of rose water.)

Time to Complete: About 75 minutes to mix up and bake 4 pans.

Total Cost: Ingredients were all to hand.

How Successful Was It: Successful.  Tasty enough, rather dense.  The rosewater flavor predominated, so I'd want to experiment with using a little more ginger.  The two flavors worked together surprisingly well.

How Accurate Was It: Having no description, shaping, or baking instructions, it's hard to say.  I couldn't find any other references to "sprigs" in other sources, so I just make them as drop cookies.