Saturday, October 26, 2013

A Find

Strip Quilt Top from my collection

I was looking at this old top the other day. It seems to have
been set in the early 20th century. The seamstress included some great
black neon prints, characteristic of the 1900-1920 period..
But a few blocks, like the red and green basket,
are probably older. Perhaps she added some of her
old blocks left over from earlier projects.

I was looking for prints that might make
good reproductions

And for the first time noticed this...

A Union print
from the Civil War.
I don't have any of this so I was thrilled to find it.

Quite a bit of it was printed and it often wound
up in clothing.

The dress pictured above, although very indistinct, might be the same print.
The Smithsonian has a child's dress made from it. 

Saturday, October 19, 2013

A Union Apron

Metropolitan Museum of Art
Gift of The Misses Faith and Delia Leavens, 1941

Here's another Union apron, this one in the collection of New York's Metropolitan Museum. We can't call it a Civil War apron as they attribute it to the late 1850s, before the war began.
See the whole apron here:

See my post on other patriotic aprons here:

Saturday, October 12, 2013

The Cage Crinoline

Civil War Jubilee prints from my Moda repro collection.

In looking at costume during the 1850-70 period to see how dress prints reproduced in this line were used, I found many portraits with the classic Civil War silhouette of a bell-shaped skirt supported by a cage crinoline.

Because dress silhouette is a good clue to the date of a photo I read a little about the phenomenon of the hoop skirt or cage crinoline
 a much-ridiculed fashion.

The fashion for wide, round skirts developed in the 1850s. Steel hoops were patented mid-decade as a response to the need for functional support for a nonfunctional look.

Empress Eugenie with husband 
Napoleon III of France

Some credit the Empress Eugenie with it's invention, although this is not true. She and the royalty of the era wore exaggerated wide skirts and did much to make them a fashion necessity.

Queen Victoria with her bell-shaped daughters
about 1861, by
John Jabez Edwin Mayall,
National Portrait Gallery

The English royal family were difficult to gather into one photograph because Queen Victoria and her many daughters wore them.

Queen Victoria's mother,
The Duchess of Kent.
The fashion for bell-shaped skirts
was probably at its most extreme about 1860, the year
before the Duchess died.

Queen Victoria's daughter-in-law Alexandra
at her engagement to the Prince of Wales, 1862

The point of all this width was to set the rich aristocrat above the woman who had to work,
whether the work was housework, child care or any other practical labor.

Humorists loved to make fun of the crinoline.
Here is a series of stereo-card photos
showing  preparations for an evening out.

The pictures are French.

The problem with the cage crinoline was that
it became an inexpensive manufactured item
available to any woman who had fashionable inclinations.

The upper classes developed a new silhouette about 1863,
a more elliptical silhouette, narrower at the sides, larger in back.

1868 Fashion Plate

So when you see the exaggerated round skirt, think about 1856 to 1865...more or less.

Carlotta and Maximilian
in 1857 before taking over the
short-lived Mexican empire.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art has quite a few cage crinolines in its costume collection:

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Dixie Diary 10: Shooting Stars

Dixie Diary 10
Shooting Stars
8" Version

The tenth block recalls the Bombardment of Fort Hudson, to which Sarah, her sisters and friends had a ringside seat.

Confederate Battery on a bluff over the Mississippi

Shooting Stars
A 12" version with a 1" frame, set on point
By Sandi Brothers

In the spring of 1863 the Union Navy tried to pass a Confederate battery dug in at Port Hudson on the Mississippi River. The Confederate troops held, despite a terrific cannon battle heard by Sarah Morgan and the women living at nearby Linwood.

The orange sunburst is the site of the Battle of Port Hudson.
The white square is Linwood Plantation

March 14, 1863, Linwood, East Feliciana Parish

"They are coming! The Yankees are coming at last! For four or five hours the sound of their cannon has assailed our ears. There! - that one shook my bed! Oh, they are coming! God grant us the victory! They are now within four miles of us, on the big road to Baton Rouge. …

[Sarah is mistaken here---what she was hearing was Confederate cannon firing at the Union ships, and some answering fire from the ships.]

Currier & Ives print
Admiral David Farragut led a fleet of 7 Union Ships
past the batteries on shore. Only two made it past the Confederates.
The battle was not a real victory for either side
but many prints glorified the Union Navy.

"It has come at last! What an awful sound! I thought I had heard a bombardment before; but Baton Rouge was child's play compared to this. ….We have all been in Mrs. Carter's room, from the last window of which we can see the incessant flash of the guns and the great shooting stars of flame, which must be the hot shot of the enemy. There is a burning house in the distance, the second one we have seen to-night....Gathered in a knot within and without the window, we six women up here watched in the faint starlight the flashes from the guns, and silently wondered which of our friends were lying stiff and dead….

March 15

To my unspeakable surprise, I waked up this morning and found myself alive."

The Battle of Port Hudson
from Frank Leslie's Weekly

Cutting a 12" Block

A Cut a light square and a dark square 7 1/4"  (7-3/16" if you use the 1/16th default). Cut each into 4 triangles with 2 cuts. You will only need 2 of each shade.

B Cut 2 light and 2 dark rectangles 13-1/4"   (13-3/16" if you use the 1/16th default) x 3 1/2". Trim a 45 degree angle off the end of each. You can do this before you piece, but it might be easier to trim to a triangle after piecing.

Cutting an 8" Block

A Cut a light square and a dark square 5 1/4" (5-3/16" if you use the 1/16th default). Cut each into 4 triangles with 2 cuts. You will only need 2 of each shade.

B Cut 2 light and 2 dark rectangles 9-1/4" (9-3/16" if you use the 1/16th default) x 2 1/2". Trim a 45 degree angle off the end of each. You can do this before you piece, but it might be easier to trim to a triangle after piecing.

Optional applique:
Applique a star after piecing. (I don't know why I put a heart!!!!)
Go back to the January 5, 2013 post to see a JPG with the heart and the star.

Read more about Port Hudson:

Painting of the battle by Edward Everand Arnold