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Things we plan to do

Orange Empire Railway Museum – May 16/17

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An old event we loved and sorely missed has been reestablished! The Orange Empire Railway Museum in Perris, CA has added a Civil War history event to their calendar, taking place May 16-17, 2015. One of the first times I wore a proper dress and attended a ladies tea was many years ago at OERM. This year, Mrs. Brewer’s Parlour and Marvel & Marshall Bookshop will be set up to demonstrate crafts, as well as have our period booklets available.

Booklets include original versions of popular fairy tales…did you know the Little Mermaid doesn’t get the boy at the end? Our modern day versions have been cleaned up to appeal to children, but these original versions appealed to children too! Is it possible children are able to accept some of the less pretty realities of being a Prince or Princess of history? Find out for yourself. Books also include works for gentlemen, such as baseball rules of 1860, and proper beard grooming techniques; works for women, such as recipes for preserves, a humorous tale of a young lady who just has “nothing to wear” to an upcoming party; and many works for children of all ages.

Click through to the OERM page for address and directions. Admission is reasonable, AND this will also be the weekend the steam trains will be running, so there will be plenty of really fun stuff for everyone. Click here for the Facebook event information if you are a living historian or enthusiast – you could attend in your period finery too!

To N. M. of CSU Dominguez Hills

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To N. M., a student at CSU Dominguez Hills,

You emailed us tonight, but your email address bounced upon reply. Please contact us again and be sure your email address is correct. We would be happy to help with your research.

Sincere regards,

Mrs Marvel & Past Periods Press

Finally, a definitive explanation for drawers, pantaloons, pantalettes, and knickers!

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I asked the question in a historical costuming group about drawers, specifically what is the difference between drawers, pantaloons, bloomers, pantalettes, and knickers as relates to the mid 19th century. The amazing Liz Clark, an historical researcher, reproduction clothing expert and textiles genius referred me to a post on Buns and Baskets, aka How To Dress Like A Pioneer.

I won’t copy and paste the information because it’s someone else’s blog (please click through to read), but suffice it to say that drawers is the correct terminology for underwear in 1860. Pantaloons were men’s pants, pantalettes were underwear from the 1820s, bloomers were outerwear, and knickers were a lesser used name.

So there you have it! No excuses to call those long pants-like things under your period dresses anything but what they are, which is drawers.

See you in a couple weeks at Prado Park!

Prado Park – 12th Annual Civil War Event

We are excitedly readying ourselves for the 12th Annual Civil War Reenactment at Prado Regional Park, sponsored by the SCCWA. This wonderful event kicks off the season for our group every year and really is a lot of fun! This is a Boy Scout and Girl Scout event, so please be sure to click through to SCCWA for Scout information, registration forms and more.

This year, for Girl Scouts who come and visit us in Mrs. Brewer’s Parlour, we will have a special swap for girls to create. It is based on a lost 19th century sentimental craft called a Victorian Charm String. The history tells us that during the 1860s, girls began trading and collecting unique buttons and stringing them together. Each button should be different, and carry some special meaning. In some traditions, a girl would collect 999 buttons, and when she added the 1000th one, she would meet her Prince Charming. In other traditions, they were a bit of a competition between girls, trying to out-do one another in finding the most brilliant, most unique and most beautiful buttons.

These unique and wonderful strings of buttons are rare these days, but museums and private collections reveal amazing collections of wonderful buttons spanning 100 years in some cases. Some have buttons representing memories, much like a charm bracelet, others carry the buttons from wedding dresses, ball gowns, and other important milestones. For the Girl Scout swap, we will be offering a mini charm string for girls to wear, trade, and maybe even be inspired. You could easily adapt this for modern girls who want to collect fun buttons and trade them with their friends. We hope we will see you there!

Further reading on charm strings

Victorian Charm Strings reprinted from Bead and Button, 1995, via

Charm Strings by Jay Bailey, via the Oklahoma Historical Society

Victorian Charm Strings via Wellington County Museum, Ontairo Canada – with great photos and descriptions

Further information on Prado Park 12th Annual Civil War Event

Southern California Civil War Association website

The Battle of the Old Woman’s Gun


We will be at this event on October 11/12. Come out to this California history event and learn about our early history, before statehood and before the Civil War.

Come play with us!

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Come play with us!

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Just a quick update to let you know we will be setting up at the Vista, CA event this weekend – March 8/9. The event takes place at the Antique Gas & Steam Engine Museum, 2040 N. Santa Fe Ave, Vista, CA. Call for directions 760/941-1791, or go to Gold Coast Festivals for more information! That link will take you directly to the Vista page. We are very excited to visit our friends, immerse ourselves in history, and teach doll making and home making to all visitors who stop by. Hopefully we will see you, too!

Mid Century Child’s Chemise

Mrs Marvel:

Here’s a little project I have taken on to create a period accurate suit of clothing for my 7 year old daughter. Check back for more as the project proceeds!

Originally posted on Notes from the Melody Maker:

I have finished the first installation of practice on the Mid Century Sewing Project as I referenced a couple posts back! The first item I decided to try was the child’s chemise from the Elizabeth Stewart Clark’s Historic Moments Girls Linens 1840-1865 pattern. While the pattern comes with a 30 page booklet, do not let this intimidate you, as it did me at first. It is packed full of helpful tips on making your garment as period correct as you want or can, plus complete instructions for three garments with a variety of options.

I am glad I made this as a practice run because I made a few mistakes and some decisions on construction about half way through the project. First off, I learned how to make the run and fell seam, an historic technique that encases raw edges inside a seam and adds greater strength to seams…

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