Wednesday, January 26, 2011

This day in 1861

I thought I would share with you some excerpts of letters from my family that we have from the time of the Civil War. This is only meant to share with you all some of the thoughts and feelings of the people as they responded to what was going on around them. They were a family of 11 brothers and sisters, 3 boys and 8 girls, their father had died four years previous leaving his wife and two eldest sons to provide for the family. The eldest son John had been involved in starting up a mercantile in Bloomington, but has decided to sell out, thinking he will go to college and study law. Joel is the homebody content to tend the farm and raise sheep. The older girls, once they've finished their local schooling, move away from home, living with relatives and getting more education. They are a close family with many aunts, uncles, and cousins living in the area. In fact, two of their deceased father's brothers, twins, began to help the family after their father passed away.

This first letter is from John in Bloomington, Indiana just after he has sold out from the mercantile.

January 25, 1861

My Dear Brother Joel,

'I received your very welcome letter yesterday...I am sorry that you are a proslavery man but I am much more sorry that I have a brother who is a disunionist & if you are really in earnest in what you say in your letter you must be one. You say what has South Carolina done? Has she violated any laws of the U.S.? Yes sir she has. You surely have not posted yourself on your own side or you would not ask such a question. She has rebelled against the U.S. & declared herself out of the Union. She has refused to pay postal money due U.S. She fired upon the Star of the West that had the Stars & Stripes floating & was a ship belonging to the U.S. of itself sufficient cause to justify Old Buch in sending down an army strong enough to bring her back to her duty...Tell Martha and Mary [The two oldest girls] and Mother that they all owe me a letter and that I would be glad if they would write soon...Write soon and believe me as ever
Your Bro. J.C. Cox'

This excerpt was transcribed exactly as John wrote it so sentence structure etc. is his.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Civil War Quilts QAL

Texas Tears - Remembering Sam Houston, Governor of Texas and supporter of the Union

Catch Me If You Can - a block to remember the slaves that made the attempt to gain their freedom.

North Star - a block remembering the abolitionists that stood against slavery.

I've joined a Quilt Along (QAL) for the Civil War Sequicentennial with Barbara Brackman, Civil War Quilt Historian, author, and fabric designer. The name of the blog is Civil War Quilts. ( I want to add her button to my blog but haven't figured out how yet. If any of you can help me let me know.) Each week she shares an eight inch block pattern that represents a point in, or some history of the Civil War, or an actual block used at the time. At the end of the year we all should have completed fifty-two blocks that can be combined into a quilt. I just learned about this through a quilter in my little quilting bee this week and decided to take the challenge. I've started all four blocks and have finished three of them. The applique block will take a little longer as it has to be finished by hand, so it is "sitting" for now. Each of my blocks will be made from accurate CW reproduction fabric. Above are the three completed blocks.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Confederate Enlisted Frock Coat - lining

Sorry to my faithful readers, I have not been doing a whole lot on the computer lately due to much sewing and other duties. I finally finished the birthday presents for my nephews on the embroider machine - a whole nother story, a pair of culottes for a little girl at church, and got my brother's Frock lining ready to mail to him for a fitting.

I am using the Galla Rock Confederate Enlisted Frock Coat pattern that he chose. He was going to attempt to make it himself, but ran into fitting issues with it so chickened out. He had actually just cut out the wrong size, so I am fixing it for him. So far so good, though I haven't really done much. I am having a bit of trouble fitting the sleeves into the armscyes. There are no notches or marks to line anything up with, so where exactly does the sleeve seam line up on the front of the coat? This leads into how much ease will there be in the upper sleeve and the lower sleeve? So far, I've just basted the sleeves in for him to try them on and there are quite a few puckers. I'm a little concerned about actually stitiching them in.

Thought I'd let you know, since I haven't been here for a few days, that yes I did the tatting on my drawers myself. What an adventure. I do plan on doing some more of it, possibly on a new upcoming chemise, but it took quite a bit of fiddling. I used sz 100 tatting thread and a very fine tatting needle and just a basic picot lace edging. I do hope to get a book of period tatting patterns very soon.

Best of the day to you all, and happy sewing.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Tucked and Tatted Drawers

So here are my finshed drawers. I am so pleased with how they came out, though I am not wild about the fabrick they are done in. They were drafted to my measurements and cut out. I used a tightly woven muslin/cotton sheeting. They are quite sturdy which is historically accurate, but they aren't as soft as I would have liked. I really had trouble finding just the perfect muslin for these. They aren't uncomfortable by any means, but a little stiff and "rustly", this is the perfect fabric for tucked petticoats. (Pictures in a later post) I added free style waves of feather stitching between the tucks and a fine tatted edging with sz 100 tatting thread.
Drawers in the mid 19th century were meant as a serviceable garment, and didn't gain the lace and fancy stuff until later in the 1800's. Laundry was still quite a rough task and laces and flimsy fabrics just wouldn't have held up to the boiling, scrubbing, and soaps that were used. Our foremothers had a good dose of healthy economy and would not have added anything that would have just fallen apart after a washing or two. For those particular females that wanted a little feminine touch, white embroidery and tatting in cotton threads were the common and logical choice.