A Note from the Editor What an incredible winter we’ve had! We started the season off with a great trip to the Kimbell, and ended with the Jazz Age Picnic. February, which is usually one of our dead months, was packed full with teas, lectures, festivals, conventions, and tours. It was an amazing and busy month for our members! I’m excited for the months ahead and the events we have coming up. Our usually dead months of July and August will finally have activity, with the introduction of our first Summer Salon series, which this year will be focusing on 18th Century Underpinnings and Ensembles. We have some great Georgian events lined up for the Fall, so this will be a great way to get those outfits finished for the events ahead. (Look for our Fall Issue to be a special 18th Century Focused edition!) As always, we continue to look to our members for new and exciting content. If you’ve been to an event that you’d like to share with us, have a tutorial you’d like to contribute, or a costume article you think our readers would enjoy, please don’t hesitate to send an email!
Photo by: QQ Li on Flickr Currently Seeking: Tutorials – Pattern Reviews – Event Reports – Costume Articles Visit us at: DFWCG.ORG
25 Dressing the Rococo Our members gave a DFWCG Member Eryn dress talk over 18th Meeks tells us all about century fashion at the fabulous red dolman and Watauga Public Library! white bustle gown!
17 Costume Showcase
05 Monet at the Kimbell
29 Victorian Gowns at
Itâ€™s become somewhat of a yearly tradition to visit the Kimbell in January for a Victorian outing. This year, we visited for their exhibit of Monetâ€™s early works!
the Civil War Museum Our members were treated to a special private tour of the Victorian dress collection at the Texas Civil War Museum. Read all about this fantastic outing!
12 How to Make
Buttons Dorset buttons were popular for centuries and are a great addition to a variety of historical outfits, Learn to make them in this easy tutorial!
21 Valen-teens Tea Our members visited the Montgomery Street Antique Mall for a tea luncheon!
49 Jazz Age Sunday Social This annual favorite is a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon. Read all about this yearâ€™s highlights.
05 Calendar of Events 37 Little White Dress This quintessential Regency garment may seem a little plain, but our members prove that this stable is anything but boring!
47 Sam Bass Day Some of our members visited the historic Allen train station to enjoy their Sam Bass Day reenactment.
See what costume events we have planned in our Calendar of Events.
Monet at the Kimbell
It has become a bit of a tradition for the Guild to visit the Kimbell Museum in January for an Impressionist exhibit. For their winter exhibit this year, the Kimbell had curated a collection of Monetâ€™s earliest works, ranging from 1858 to 1872, which included scenes of the artistâ€™s family, life near the coast, and the first painting the artist presented to the public, View Near Rouelles. We arrived early, hoping to beat the inevitable crowd of people. Monet is always a popular attraction, and the exhibit was already starting to fill when we entered the galleries. We were lucky enough to get in before it was too crowded to see Luncheon on the Grass up close. The painting was absolutely massive, and, unexpectedly, had been cut into pieces, which were displayed next to each other to complete the whole. As we passed the painting, the galleries filled behind us.
As we passed the painting, the galleries filled behind us. There were sections dedicated to his works by the coast, to still-life paintings, and to paintings he completed while in Holland, which were an unexpected delight. Monetâ€™s popularity worked against us, though, as dense groups of audio tour listeners created human walls around paintings, making it impossible to see many of the works up close. The audio tour zombies shuffled along, sometimes blocking entire rooms, making progress through the galleries somewhat frustrating. By the time our group completed their amble through exhibition, the room was too packed to move in comfortably. We met back out in the lobby, where we took pictures in front of the museumâ€™s photo wall, where one of Monetâ€™s landscapes had been sized up to be used as a backdrop. Since many of us had made new gowns for the outing, it provided a great opportunity to get some nice photos of our new outfits.
We ended the day with lunch at La Madeleine, where we spent a couple of good hours in conversation before adjourning for the afternoon. It was nice to end the day with good food and good friends, relaxing and enjoying the warmth of the indoors. Our next outing to the Kimbell is going to be during the heat of summer, so having a place to retreat to after the exhibit certainly makes for a pleasant end to the day!
How to Make
Dorset buttons are easy to make and add a great historical touch to all sorts of garments. Originally manufactured in the English county of Dorset, these buttons have been popular since the 1620s, and have changed very little since they were first created. The first Dorset buttons were known as “high tops”, and were as tall as they were wide, forming a knob. The flat “cartwheel” style of button came later, and remained popular until the 1850s. Traditional Dorset buttons were made on a disk or ring made from ram’s horn, the disks used for high top buttons. Yarn was wound around the horn to create woven patterns. These buttons were inexpensive and simple to produce at home, and button work could be contracted out to local farmers while they were not tending to their crops. Eventually, the horn ring was replaced with wire in commercial button manufacturing, and special rustresistant wires were created specifically for button making.
that these buttons can be a great addition to almost any historical ensemble. They look smart on everything from baroque shirts to lady’s drop-front Regency gowns. To make your own Dorset buttons, you’ll only need a few supplies: 1) Rings in the size you need. The curtain section of most notion aisles have solid plastic rings that work well for this, or you can purchase metal “chain mail” rings in the jewelry section. The metal rings tend to be open in order to attach them to other rings, which you’ll have to work around when making your button, so be aware of that when choosing your materials. You may want to practice on some large diameter rings first before moving on to the size you need for the buttons you will be using on your outfit.
The popularity of hand-made thread buttons began to decline with industrialization, when thread button machines began to show up in button manufacturing. By the 1840s, pressed metal buttons began replacing thread buttons, since they were cheaper, quicker, and more fashionable to produce.
2) Embroidery floss in the color that you want. Original Dorset buttons were of solid colors, usually in natural or white wool. Modern buttons that you see online often mix colors, but there is no evidence that this was done in period, so if you want a period impression, it’s best to stick to solid colors. You can also use pearl cotton, but regular floss will give a smoother look.
The longevity of the Dorset button industry means
3) A large-eyed needle
Step 1: You’ll need a large length of floss, since the buttons are made with one continuous length. Usually about 100 inches is enough. You can measure this easily as 4 times the length of your arm. I like to use three strands of embroidery floss, but if you are making a larger button, you may wish to use more. Thread one end of the floss through your needle by a few inches. The floss doesn’t have to be doubled completely. Place the other end against the ring, and hold it in place with your fingertips as you work. The end of the yarn should be on the underside of the ring, and the leading end should pass over it, like in the photo.
Step 2: Cover the entirety of the ring with blanket stitches. To do this, bring the needle up through the middle of the ring, pulling it through almost all the way, until you have a small loop of floss left, like in the photo. Pass the needle through the loop you’ve just created. Pull the yarn away from the ring to tighten the loop. Repeat step 2 and 3 until the entire ring is covered.
Step 3: When you’re close to finishing, cover the end of the thread that you left loose with blanket stitches to hide it. Finish covering the ring, and trim off the short tail left behind once you’re done.
Step 4: The ring now has a “seam” of stitches on the outside. Turn this to the inside of the ring, working carefully around the whole ring and making sure the stitches stay aligned in a row. What we’ve just done is called “slicking”, which is just the process of covering the ring with thread. The next step is called “laying”.
Step 5: We’re going to lay down the “spokes” for our cartwheel now. You’ll notice that after turning the seam to the inside of the ring, the floss is now facing inward toward the center of the ring. Take that leading end of the yarn and wrap it around the front of the ring down the dead center, around the opposite edge, and back to where the yarn originated from, like in the picture.
Step 6: Repeat this motion, only do it a quarter turn from where the first wrap was done.
Step 7: Repeat two more times, moving a quarter turn from each previous wrap. By the end, you’ll have four wraps, which form eight spokes that join up in the center of the ring.
Step 8: Those wraps may look great on the front of the button, but they’ll probably look like a hot mess on the back side. Insert your needle between the two spokes closest to the ring. Pull the thread through and gently tug to move the spokes toward the center of the ring. You can use the needle to gently move the spokes into place. Once you are satisfied with their placement, secure the center with a quick stitch. This will help keep the spokes in place for the next steps.
Step 9: The final step in making these buttons is called “rounding”. This is the part where you can add variation to get different looks to the pattern in the center of your button. We’ll be doing the basic “Blandford Cartwheel” pattern that was most common. Bring your needle up through the button on the left side of the nearest spoke, and down on the right side. Pull the yarn so it’s snug. This wraps the spoke in the thread and creates the raised part of the pattern.
Step 10: Move to the next spoke on the left, and repeat. Work your way counterclockwise around the ring until the center is completely filled.
Step 11: Once youâ€™ve finished your fill pattern, turn the button over to the back. Pass the needle under the back of the weave to secure the floss, and snip off the excess.
And there you have it! This simple little button is fast and fun to create, and historically accurate for a number of different periods. To secure the buttons to your clothes, just stitch them on right through the center of the wheel.
Costume Showcase White Bustle Day Dress and Red Velvet Dolman Costumer: Eryn Meeks DFWCG member Eryn Meeks recently created a stunning white bustle ensemble and red dolman to wear to our Monet outing. We asked her to tell us a bit about creating this striking outfit.
TELL US A BIT ABOUT THE DRESS. This is a mid 1880s cotton bustle dress made from ten yards of cream cotton sateen from Jo-Ann's, gold braid trim and buttons from the Internet, and about four yards of rayon/silk velvet I dyed myself. A lot of trial and error went into the dolman pattern! I originally meant to wear the dolman with a plaid skirt I have, but realized that the cream would be a better way to show off that awesome color. I changed my mind about the dress underneath it about two weeks out from our museum outing, so I kept it
as simple as I could. I originally meant to trim the overskirt with lace, but I liked the clean look to it instead.
WHAT WAS YOUR INSPIRATION FOR THE DESIGN? My inspiration was this lovely red dolman from the Victoria and Albert Museum. I love the simplicity and elegance of the original design. The rest of the dress was designed so I wouldn't pass out while wearing it. Fortunately, it was a cold day at the museum!
HOW LONG DID IT TAKE TO COMPLETE THE GOWN? All together, including patterning, dyeing the velvet, messing around with mistakes, I probably spent fifty to sixty hours on this. At least, if not more.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE PART OF THE OUTFIT? My favorite parts of the outfit are the little pom-poms on the back of the skirt. Whoever designed the original piece was a genius. WHAT WAS THE MOST CHALLENGING ASPECT OF THE DESIGN? The hardest part of this entire ensemble was figuring out how to put the dolman together. There was only one blog post I could find with detailed information, and sadly, the blogger's host site has already dumped her photos so her instructions weren't complete. It was very straightforward after I figured it out, but it took quite a bit of effort to do so.
A 1910s themed winter outing
February is usually a bit of a dead month for us. It’s often too cold to plan anything for outdoors, but there’s also a serious lack of indoor activities for us to plan around, as well – museums are usually between exhibits, there are no festivals or shows, and theatre and music seasons are coming to an end. Thankfully, this year has turned out to be very different than those before. At the beginning of the month, one of our members rescued us from the winter blues by organizing a luncheon at the Montgomery Street Antique Mall to welcome the president of the Sheer Madness online costuming group to town as she made her way through an epic cross-country road trip, with many stops for fabric shopping and costumed events along the way.
The group started out as a small gathering, but it quickly grew to quite a large group. We met at the antique mall at 11 for brunch and tea. Since we had to wait for the restaurant to open, we had a chance to admire each other’s outfits. We discovered that three of our attendees had used the same Butterick pattern to create their dresses! Each dress looked so different, and it was fun to see how many styling options were included in that single pattern. The restaurant had a nice variety sandwiches, and acold pastas to choose from on the menu, as well as a healthy selection ofofdelicious teas.soups, We spent good pastas to choose from onmall theand amount of time eating, chatting, and drinking tea, before taking a turn through the antique menu, as well as a healthy getting in a bit of shopping. selection of delicious teas. We After brunch, we walked over to the Botanical Gardens, which are right antique spentbehind a goodthe amount of mall, time for a stroll around the park. The weather was brisk but not unpleasant,eating, but wechatting, kept a quick so we and pace drinking wouldn’t get too chilly. We made our way through the newly completed “threetaking springs” section of tea, before a turn through the gardens, which has a collection of boardwalks, stairways, and scenic paths tomall wander through. the antique and getting in a Even though nothing was in bloom, it was still a relaxing and pleasant walk to take after a large meal. bit of shopping.
Two years ago, the Heritage Farmstead in Plano contacted us and asked us to do a dressing demonstration for their Christmas event, illustrating to their festival attendees all the intricate layers and support garments of Victorian clothing. We could never have anticipated the huge success of that event, but every show was packed, and the audience came armed with dozens of questions and tons of interest in our clothing. Since that first smash success, weâ€™ve been contacted by several other local institutions to do similar dressing demos. The Public Library in Watauga has come to us twice now, once for a Victorian demo for their Sherlock event. They were so pleased with the success of that lecture that they asked us to return and give a talk over 18th Century clothing. Of course, we couldnâ€™t say no. We set up a half hour early and waited while the audience slowly grew. By the time the lecture started, nearly every seat was taken, and several of those were filled as a few late-comers made their way in. There were several Outlander fans in the audience, and they were excited to see clothing that
started, nearly every seat was taken, and several of those were filled as a few latecomers made their way in. There were several Outlander fans in the audience, and they were excited to see clothing that could be in their favorite show right there in front of them. We took them through each layer of dressing, starting in the shift and stays and slowly dressing and explaining each layer. The audience had a lot of questions, and I let them ask as we went and allowing the audienceâ€™s interest to steer the direction of the talk. Since there were two of us, we could illustrate the difference in styles over a course of thirty or so years, and we also had a robe a la francaise on display, which we used to discuss the difference between different styles of popular gowns.
The demonstration lasted a half-hour longer than scheduled thanks to all the great questions and the excitement of the audience. Afterward, they were allowed to come up and get a closer look at some of the extra skirts, gowns, and undergarments that were on display, and they took a closer look at what we were wearing and how it all went together on the body.
Both us and the library agreed that it was a resounding success, and we were already brainstorming ideas for the next lecture. The Watauga library took great care of us, setting us up in a great area with a table and backdrop and plenty of seating, and making sure we had everything we needed. I look forward to working with them again!
Special thanks to the Watauga Public Library for the photos.
Private Tour of the Judy Richey Victorian Dress Collection Sometimes there is an event that surpasses all expectations and really dazzles all those that attend it. When we first started planning the trip to the Civil War Museum to tour the dress collection, I thought we would be shown through the collection, learn some things about the history of the clothes on display, and have a very pleasant afternoon looking at some extant gowns. What we got, though, was far better than I could have ever hoped for. We met at the museum as they opened their doors. The owner of the dress collection, Judy Richey, greeted us and gave us some time to wait for stragglers before showing us into the museum. We started with a short film about the role Texas and its inhabitants played during the Civil War. The film was very well done and a lot of fun to watch.
Then, we were escorted into the dress collection, a dimly lit room full of row after row of glass cases, filled with exquisite extant gowns. The earliest was a beautiful brown embroidered gown from 1858, with a tiered skirt and delicious detailing. You moved chronologically through the collection, ending at about 1900. There were gowns on display that we had only seen online or in books, like a fantastic black gown with embroidered stripes from the 1880s, and a purple 1870s gown that was so vibrant that it looked new. The collection included not only gowns, but underpinnings, accessories, and jewelry. There was a soft-bodied child’s corset, an array of both soft and hard bustles, an entire case dedicated to hats, and even a large selection of mourning and hair jewelry. A special surprise was that she had the original hat that Scarlett O’hara wore with the curtain dress in Gone with the Wind, the only film costume piece on display. It was clear that this collection was the accumulation of a lifetime’s passion for antique fashion, and Judy was excited to show us her favorite pieces and talk about the things in her collection. After we had exhausted the dresses on display, we were led through the museum to the back room, where the rest of Judy’s extensive collection was held. There was a staggering number of gowns, all neatly packed in conservation boxes, and a large collection of hats and accessories. We got a sneak peek at a wedding dress that was being prepped for an upcoming exhibit of Victorian wedding gowns, before she let us look through her large assortment of antique hats. It was a real treat to be able to examine these hats and bonnets close up, seeing the details of their construction and the choices for embellishment that were often rather whimsical, like a burr acorn.
Just before we left, she let us look through her collection of Victorian “housewives”, portable sewing kits that often included space for spools of thread, an assortment of needles, and thimbles. There were several made of plain brown leather that opened to reveal brightly colored silk linings. A simple cotton one was made from the skirts of a man’s wife and daughters, which he carried with him through the Civil War. Another had the tiniest pair of stork scissors I had ever seen. When we finally tore ourselves away from the back room, we made our way back out through the remainder of the museum’s extensive collection. Besides the array of cannons and artillery, there was an impressive number of uniforms, with case after case featuring uniforms from different regiments and occupations. The entire museum was extremely impressive, and will definitely be getting another visit in the future.
By the time we left the museum, we had spent three hours digging through the dress collection, and we were famished. We ended the day with lunch at Ginger Brownâ€™s restaurant in Lake Worth, an old fashioned diner with juke boxes on the booths and the Andrews Sisters playing overhead. As first-time customers, many of us got free cinnamon rolls, the restaurantâ€™s claim to fame, and one of us even got a free meal because it was her birthday! The entire day was a fantastic outing that other events are going to have a hard time beating.
Special thanks to Judy Richey for taking us through her fabulous collection, and to our member Tereasa Cotter, who provided the introduction that allowed us to schedule this fantastic event.
Little White Dress IF THERE WAS ANY STYLE THAT DEFINED AN ERA LIKE THE REGENCY, IT WAS THE LITTLE WHITE DRESS. THIS UBIQUITOUS GARMENT WAS WORN BY EVERYONE, FROM EMPRESSES TO COMMONERS. BUT WHILE SIMPLE, THESE DRESSES WERE ANYTHING BUT BORING.
The Little White Dress became popular at the end of the 18th century with the advent of the Chemise a la Reine. This simple, unfitted garment introduced to the world by the style icon Marie Antoinette was markedly different from the other fashions of the day. This comfortable alternative to the restrictive court fashions quickly gained popularity with other members of the court, and the fashion spread across Europe to become one of the most recognizable fashions of the end of the century. This simple garment evolved into the high-waisted fashions of the Regency. The beginning of the period favoured simple, clean lines that mimicked the fashions of Greek and Roman sculpture. As time progressed more embellishments were added, like ruffles, lace, puffings, and other decorative elements. But the white dress never lost its versatility. A plain white muslin dress made a perfect canvas for accessories. With the addition of a few well chosen extras these dresses could carry the wearer from day into night.
Jen accessorizes her sheer striped 1810 Little White Dress with a grey velvet turban and pearl jewelry.
Ginger wears her Little White Dress over a coral underdress to add a hint of color. She accessorizes with coral and ruby jewelry and long gloves for an evening look.
Jen adds drama to the Little White Dress with a striking blue spencer and fur turban and stole.
Jay wore her Little White Dress with a festive chintz spencer and yellow turban for a fun daytime look.
Jen paired her 1790s white roundgown with a blue ikat printed open robe and red turban.
Megan added detachable long sleeves and a pink turban to create a daytime look from a short-sleeved dress.
Christi wore a brightly colored spencer and straw bonnet with her checked white dress.
Sam Bass Day
DFWCG member Coleen Swafford and her family visited Allenâ€™s historical train station for their Sam Bass Day Reenactment. Thank you to Coleen for writing about the event and sharing her photos!
The first train robbery in Texas happened in Allen and the bandit was Sam Bass. Maybe that is why the Historical society of Allen holds an annual Sam Bass Day. It is held at the restored train station where the robbery occurred. There are artifacts and photos on display, activities for the kids, a costume contest, and 2 reenactments. The local high school theater department reenacts the robbery then a local cowboy group reenacts the shootout near Round Rock Texas where Sam Bass was captured.
Jazz Age Sunday Social
This springtime favorite takes us back to the early Jazz Age with great vintage music from a live band, playful costumes, antique cars, and great food. Take a look at this yearâ€™s highlights!
Calendar of Events
Victorian Eggstravaganza Plano Heritage Farmstead
An Edwardian Day Out
Thistle Hill, Fort Worth, TX
The 1812 Picnic Fort Worth Botanical Gardens
Summer Salon: 18thC Ensembles Joann Fabrics, Hurst, TX
July Summer Salon: Georgian Undies Joann Fabrics, Hurst, TX
Sep 16 Casanova: Art & Seduction Kimbell Art Museum, Fort Worth, TX
We would like to thank all of our readers for their support We look forward to bringing you our Spring Issue in April
A Note from the Editor
Events are added to our calendar as we Megan Martin learn of them, and so the list in DFWCG Eryn Meeks magazine may not reflect the entire list Coleen Swafford of upcoming events for the DFW area. If I am so excited about this issue of theyou magazine. Since illustrious are hosting oryour know of an event thatwe youdidn’t would likeatosummer see listed in our editor was overseas during the summer, have Upcoming please issue of the magazine this year. This means thatEvents for thecalendar, fall, you’re email firstname.lastname@example.org. getting a special double issue! This volume of the magazine will cover For the most up to date information on everything from our April events up until now, and we have some Guild events, and other costume events fantastic tutorials and costume articles to share withvisit you.our website at in DFW, please DFWCG.org. We’re gearing up for one of our busiest seasons, as the weather cools and the events start to power up again. We have a great collection of Costume Showcase Contributing to DFWCG Magazine tutorials that will help you build up your fall costume wardrobe for all those fabulous events that are right around corner. Our Costume Showcase is designed We arethe always seeking contributors to to celebrate excellence in costuming our Guild’s magazine! If you a sewing or I’m also excited because August marked official 10thhave Birthday. displayed by the members of our costuming tutorial, an event report, a We have a special look back at the Guild through the years, which Guild. If you are a member of the costuming research article, costume was a fun way to see how the Guild has changed andorgrown sincecostume its DFW Costumers Guild and would like movie review, any other to havebeginnings. your costume considered for related content that you would like to our Costume Showcase, please email see included in an upcoming issue of email@example.com with a the magazine, please email us! clear full-length color photograph of Submissions can be sent as Microsoft your costume and a short description Word documents or PDF files, and will of the inspiration, materials, and be formatted to best fit into the construction process. If you costume magazine. For tutorials, please include is chosen for the Showcase, we will a clear color photo of each step that contact you for a more in-depth you have written in your article. interview.
DFWCG Dec. ?
Dallas-Fort Lantern Light Worth Costumers Event Title Dec. ? Guild Magazine
Plano Heritage Farmstead â€“ Plano,TX
The Spring Issue of Dallas-Fort Worth Costumers Guild Magazine Newsletter