You’re Invited . . .

October 3rd, 2011

Zoh and I are organizing a corset-making panel, with eight costumers, scholars, and designers each presenting one or two corsets. Most are historic reproductions, though there are also a few modern pieces, inspired by the rich history of the corset.

Corset Panel Invitation

We’re going to run it like an open mic, with Zoh playing emcee. Each presenter will show off their handiwork, talking about their research, inspiration, and construction. I just bought a 5-minute hourglass timer for the event — pun definitely intended. We’ll also be demonstrating the corsets, helping one another to lace. Afterwards, there will be time for the audience to meet the corsetieres and ask their advice on corset making. And of course, all this in an East Village bar!

Crochet Class

October 2nd, 2011

Yesterday afternoon, eight ladies and two gentlemen gathered in the basement of the Ottendorfer Library under the auspices of the New York Nineteenth Century Society to learn about crocheted lace. I was drafted to deliver the opening remarks, since I’ve been reading about crochet lately, thanks to my petticoat obsession project.

After my little speech, complete with a few gems culled straight from period sources (stay tuned for a full article on early crochet as soon as I get the time to put it together), everyone whipped out their hooks. We began making samples from the triangular looped 1855 pattern I found in Peterson’s and used for my recently completed petticoat.


Luckily, everyone there already knew how to crochet. I was just leading them a bit further down the primrose path to needlework insanity. They caught on quickly, producing impressive headers for their samples, and even getting so far as the first row of loops. The photo above shows one of our talented hand-work circle members in mid-double-crochet.

Audio MP3

Here’s an audio excerpt from the introduction I gave. Before you listen, a couple of possible errata. I call point lace an embroidered lace, but I think it would be more accurately termed a needle lace. Also, I say that Peterson’s is searchable on ProQuest. I don’t believe it is…but there is another major database that many research libraries do carry with Peterson’s, if I could only remember which one!


After I finished my little speech, everyone set to work. I wandered around helping as needed, and working on my own petticoat trim. To make it more portable, I wrapped it around my neck (as captured in this photograph by my handsome and talented father, who was in attendance).

Tickets Now on Sale

February 15th, 2011

Guess what I’m doing on March 23?

Workwoman's Guide Frontispiece

Wednesday, March 23, 7 p.m.
Lecture: Hand-Sewing in the 1850s — 60 Years before the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire
In participation with Remember the Triangle Fire Coalition’s 100th anniversary memorial
Before sewing machines and factories revolutionized clothing production in the second half of the 19th century, most garments were made entirely by hand. Learn about forgotten hand-sewing methods used at home and in dressmaker’s workshops during the mid-19th century in this “hands-on” presentation. $15, $10 Students & Seniors, Free for MHM Members.

I hope you’ll be there! You can purchase tickets by clicking here.