Friday, January 22, 2016

A Snapshot in Time - 1930s Signature Quilt

Ruby's Signature Quilt ca. 1931 
Photo courtesy of Katherine N.
I am so excited to share with you some of the fabrics from this fabulous 1931 signature quilt owned by my long-time best friend Katherine. The quilt originally belonged to her grandmother, Ruby, who was from Kansas, where the quilt was made. The quilt was made for Ruby's 16th birthday, possibly her graduation, and includes embroidered signatures of brothers, sisters, parents, school teachers, and friends of Ruby. It's a wonderful piece of family history for Katherine's family.

What I love about this quilt, besides all the cool, embroidered signatures, are the fabric prints - which are what I wanted to showcase. What a great snapshot of fabric from the time! When I want to learn about the fashions of a particular time period, I think the hardest part is wrapping your head around what was in style for the types of fabric and prints, and understanding the ebb and flow of fashion through the decades. It's hard keeping it all straight! I am so happy Katherine agreed to let me share these wonderful fabrics from her heirloom quilt.

I think there are about 45 different fabrics used in the quilt, and I show most of them down below except for a few gingham checks which are pretty basic and still around today. You'll see I used a penny on each fabric to give a good sense of the size of the prints.

This yellow, green, and red one is my absolute favorite!



Aren't these amazing? There are so many delicious prints. From these examples here, we can see that the late 1920s to early 1930s cotton prints were characterized by small sized prints, florals, geometric designs, foreground shapes with different textured backgrounds, and a softer color palette. Red is about the brightest color, and many of these are earth tones. Collectively, these are a great way to study what was popular at the time.

Quilts & fabrics in general are a great way to preserve history. I talked with an owner of a lovely antique mall in Ellicott City, Maryland, who told me of her mother's quilt that she made at the start of WWII. For every new thing that happened in the war she made a new square, so the whole quilt is a fabric documentation of the war! Isn't that fabulous! I would love to be able to see it.

I hope you enjoyed this snapshot in time for 1930s cotton prints. A big thanks to Katherine for her willingness to share her incredible heirloom quilt!

Monday, January 18, 2016

Historical Sewing Challenge #1: 18th Century Boy's Shirt

He's so cute! And the shirt looks great with his fall front
breeches. I'm going to be making him a brown linen waistcoat soon.

I finally finished my son's 18th century work shirt! We are both really excited. I actually can't believe I finished it - and it was all hand-sewn! As soon as it was done I told myself that I won't be doing that again for some time. I do love my sewing machine! I know it's not accurate, but all of my own 18th century clothes will be done on my sewing machine. Kids' clothing aren't as bad as they're a lot smaller, but I don't think my fingers could take hand-sewing adult-sized clothing.

Anyway, this was a great learning experience! I used a pattern company I'd never used before. Their patterns are very well-researched, but I think this particular shirt pattern is more complicated than some. It's a very nice one, though, and the shirt is very sturdy.

Here's all the info:

The Challenge: January - Procrastination

Material: 100% checked linen

Pattern: Kannik's Korner 2nd half 18th century boy's work shirt

Year: late 18th century

Notions: cotton thread, shell buttons

How historically accurate is it? 95% I'm not sure if they used a lot of cotton thread back then. I didn't have any linen thread that was fine enough. And I think they only used 1 or 2-holed buttons, as the ones I used have 4 holes. It is entirely hand-sewn, and the pattern has some excellent research.

Hours to complete: approx. 20+ hours

First worn: Made for the 18th Century Market Fair at Ft. Frederick, MD in April 2016

Total cost: about $25

Friday, January 8, 2016

Author Update

After posting the latest Author Highlight on Temple Bailey, I discovered a short autobiography she wrote of herself in the back of her book Peacock Feathers. We didn't want to leave out the nuggets of information gold in there, so my friend Mairi and I updated the post a bit. Check it out here!

Sunday, January 3, 2016

WWII Ration Recipe - Peach Surprise Dumplings

Peach Surprise Dumplings
Today I was excited to finally delve more into my ration cookbook Cooking on a Ration. A while ago, I posted about all the recipes I wanted to try from this neat little book, but haven't tried any of them until today!

Peach Surprise Dumplings is the one that caught my eye. The recipe is very basic, and to me, is such a classic example of ration cooking cleverness. It uses pie crust, canned peaches, and a spoonful of orange marmalade for the surprise! Then for the sauce, it uses the syrup from the peaches, a bit of sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice, and butter. Simple, frugal, and time-savvy. Oh. And they taste divine!

Peach Surprise Dumplings from Cooking on a Ration by Marjorie Mills
I love her mantra that "Food Is Still Fun!"

The only change I made was to cook the dumplings in glass dishes because I didn't have English muffin rings like the recipe called for. (Who does??) The glass dishes worked great, though. Oh, and I used sliced peaches since I didn't have peach halves.

The recipe used nearly all the peaches in a large can (24 or 32 oz.?) and used all of the peach juice I got from draining the peaches for 10 minutes prior.

My four glass individual portion size dishes set on a shallow pan

Peaches inside the pie crust with a dollop of orange marmalade!

Close up the pastry over the peaches
I have to say that this recipe was awesome!! It was so simple, and yet it had a huge wow factor in looks and taste. The orange marmalade added a lovely citrusy floral note, and the peach sauce added some needed tartness. In all, this recipe was absolutely brilliant.

Plus, it was just fancy without a whole lot of effort, which in my book, is amazing. My whole family loved it. We ate it with dollops of vanilla ice cream along with the zingy sauce, and it was just perfect. I can't recommend this recipe highly enough!

Do yourself a favor and try this one. And if you serve it to guests, trust me. They will love you for it!
(I would recommend letting them cool 15-20 minutes before serving though. We ate ours straight out of the oven and there was a lot of huffing and puffing just to take one bite! It helped us savor it a bit, I suppose. haha!)

Friday, January 1, 2016

Happy New Year!

I'm starting off this new year on my blog with two exciting bits of news.

The first one is: I just hit 20,000 views to my blog! That's pretty amazing! Thank you to all those who have come and who continue to visit here to read and learn a little bit about History.

The second bit of news is: a while back, I mentioned how sad I was that I lost some of my museum pictures I took when we went to my home state Indiana. Well, my awesome husband did some file recovery magic on my camera's SD card and he recovered them all! So thrilling! I will be posting about the most awesome museum we went to in Indiana in two parts coming soon.

Here's wishing you all a Happy 2016!