Tuesday, January 13, 2015

What's Up Your Sleeve Workshops: Sleeve Ruffles

Join us this Saturday, January 17th, at the Golden Ball in Weston for a day of sleeves!  The second half of the day will be spent making a pair of simple muslin sleeve ruffles.

Ingenious in their construction and simple in their beauty -- This project will also give you a chance to perfect teeny-tiny hems and work on mastering your fine hand sewing skills, which will come in handy next time you make a cap or shift.

The fee for the course is $45 and includes all the materials you will need to create a lovely pair of sleeve ruffles.

To sign up, email us a hiveworkshops@gmail.com
for more info: http://www.thehiveonline.org/current-workshops.htm

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Sleeve Treatment Workshop - January 17th Details

During our morning workshop on sleeves we are going to learn how to make three common sleeve treatments, a cuff, a double sleeve flounce, and a puckered cuff. All three are common to the 1770's and are patterned from originals.

We'll start the class by looking at these three sleeve treatments as pictured in artwork and on original gowns.  In addition, we'll explore how these various sleeve adornments relate to the cuff of your shift and/or other accessories like sleeve ruffles.

You'll make each type, then learn how to attach them to your sleeve.  If you have a gown that you'd like add a sleeve treatment to, bring along some extra fabric and your gown so you can add the new detail to your gown.  In any case, bring your sewing kit.

The cost of the class is $30 and will run from 9:30 am - 12:30 at the Golden Ball Tavern in Weston, MA. If you'd like to sign up, email us at hiveworkshops@gmail.com

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Hive Book Club - January 18, 2015

The first Hive book club will be held the morning of the January 18th Hive.  Our first book will be, "The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman" by Laurence Sterne.  The discussion will be lead by today's guest blogger, Matthew Mees.  The book is available for free download at the Project Gutenberg website

Laurence Sterne wrote The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman from 1759 to 1767 in nine volumes. The book is episodic, digressive and includes some experiments with page layout and typography. Several chapters are written in Latin (with translation). Some parts of the story are described by squiggles on the page.

Tristram Shandy describes his life along with those of family members, family friends, servants and passerbys. Some characters describe the lives and events of people we never meet and there are a number of people introduced simply to illustrate a literary point.

There are several jokes in the book. For some of these, the punch line is obvious from the horizon; the Reader just does not know how the joke will be finally delivered. Some jokes sneak up on the reader; some are nearly lost within a maze of digressions; others seem puzzling.

There is bawdy and heartfelt sentiment as well as loving descriptions of absorbing "Hobbyhorse" interests.

John Adams, Voltaire and Goethe loved the book; Dr. Johnson said it was a passing fad and would soon be forgotten.

I read and reread this book because of the voices and narrative power. Sterne wrote to the reader, directly. The whole work is conversational and when reading, we can clearly hear the voices of people from many different walks of life. Sterne offers us an open door to his world, his world of family and village politics; love and economy;childbirth theories and fortifications; all to the tune of Lillabullero.

On the 18th, I plan to give examples to illustrate all of the above points and hope to produce several tableaux vivants, dramatizing striking events of the novel.

Please read the book, enlarge your family and see if it is indeed not full as well to have the curtain of the tennaile a straight line as a crooked one.


Matthew Mees

Saturday, December 13, 2014

February Hive
Sunday, February 15, 2015

Taking Needle to Fabric  

The Buzz -- 10 - 11:30

Book Club -- Book to be Announced

Sunday Morning at the Movies -- Barry Lyndon - Part 1

Lectures 12 - 1:30

The focus of this Hive will be to learn how to make good fabric choices, not only ones that are appropriate for the garment and time period but also fabrics that have the right feel, texture, etc.  The second part of this workshop will be to learn hand stitching techniques that will enhance the beauty of appropriate fabrics.

Fabrics of the 18th century -- Look at the wide range of fabrics that were available to the buyer of 1770 New England.  We’ll explore the advertisements, as well as the period swatch cards, and sources like Barbara Johnson’s journal.

Round Robin Breakout Sessions - Pick 2  1:30 - 3:30

“Touch This” - Sometimes what seems like a great buy turns out be a disaster to sew, especially when one shops on-line. You will learn the hallmarks of a good fabric by touch and feel.  You’ll quickly learn how to avoid the clunkers that don’t turn out to be the bargains you thought they were.

“Buttonholes” - As our dear Mr. Cooke always quips - "it’s the first thousand"!  Besides practice, there are some secrets to creating great buttonholes.  In this session, you’ll learn the basics as well as some of the tricks of the trade.

“Stroke Gathers” - A seemingly easy technique that requires a little skill and a lot of patience. Used to attach sleeve heads to the body of a shirt or shift, as well as attaching a cuff to a sleeve, a well done stroke gather is a thing of beauty.

“Basic Stitchery”  - You might know the basics but may not know the techniques to create secure and consistent stitching.  In this session we’ll cover: running stitch, combination stitch, back stitch (several variations), underhand hem stitch, whip gathers, and eyelets. You’ll also experiment with different size needles to find the right tool for the job.  Bring your sewing kit. 

Location: Minuteman Technical High School, Lexington, MA

Coffee and tea are available and as always, snacks to share are always welcome.

The Hive is free to the local living history community and is brought to you by the Hive volunteers, Minute Man National Historical Park and the generosity of Minuteman Tech for the use of their facilty.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

The Hive -- January 2015

Sunday, January 18, 2015  Interpreting Battle Road

Sponsored by McAlpins Corp

The Buzz....

9:30 - 11:30 -- Come for the morning, get some sewing done, discuss a book, watch a movie or all three!

*   Hive Book Club -- Read and Discuss   -- The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman by Laurence Sterne.  Discussion lead by Matthew Mees

*   Sunday Morning Movie -- "The School for Scandal" by Richard Brinsley Sheridan (A Great Performances: Theatre in America production)

Lectures: Interpreting Battle Road

12:00 -12:30 Interpreting Hartwell Taverm
Park Ranger Jim Hollister will lead a discussion of topics and issues surrounding the interpretation of Hartwell Tavern: the family, the house, tavern operation and the Revolution.

12:30 - 1:00  Meet the Smiths
In 2014, the Lincoln Minute Men, after receiving a generous donation from the family of long-time member Wayne Mount, contacted Minute Man NHP about using the money towards furnishing the Captain William Smith House. You'll hear about this amazing project, why particular items were chosen and how we can use them to interpret this wonderful house and the fascinating family that occupied it.

1:15 - 2:00 Battle Road Combat and the Bloody Angle
The Bloody Angle, a curved stretch of road in Lincoln, MA is one of the best preserved and documented battle sites within the bounds of Minute Man NHP. Why did one of the sharpest actions on April 19, 1775 occur here? How do we know what really happened? We'll look at primary sources related to this action, discuss how the opposing forces engaged one another, and how the landscape may have played a key role.

Clinics: Fine Tune Your Impression

2:15 - 3:30

Newbie Clinic for Women - Whether you are just starting out or need to make some updates, we'll look at what you need to interpret New England early 1770's - the good, better, and best.

Refit your breeches -- Do your breeches look more like bloomers? Are your kneebands more like shinbands?  Time to get your breeches refit!  You will learn some tricks for getting your breeches to fit in a more 18th century manner.  Bring your breeches and sewing kit.

Replace or rework the collar on your shirt -- Collars wear out and most collars on ready-made reenactor's shirts are too short.  Take it off and replace it with one that fits properly.  We'll also take a look at how to properly wear your neck covering.  Bring your shirt and sewing kit and some extra linen (we'll have some for sale if you don't have any).

Pinking -- We'll look at pinking as a technique for finishing silk trim for a gown.  Try your hand at several pinking techniques using a pinking iron and other tools.


Location: Minuteman Technical High School, Lexington, MA
As always, there will be coffee and tea available, but snacks to share are always welcome!

Sunday Hives are free of charge and are brought to you by The Hive volunteers, Minute Man National Historical Park and the generosity of Minuteman Tech for the use of their space.

Questions?  Contact: hiveworkshops@gmail.com

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Do you need a little diversion after the holidays. Forget the mani-pedi. Take a workshop!!! Get your gown ready for the Regimental Party & Dance Season with an adornment and accessory.  Join us for one or both workshops at the Golden Ball Tavern in Weston.

Saturday, January 17, 2014
Something Up Your Sleeve Workshops

9:30 – 12:30
Cuff & Sleeve Flounces
Dress up your gowns with a sleeve treatment.  In this class you’ll learn how to make sleeve flounces and cuffs.  Gussy up your silk gown with a pair of sleeve flounces or perhaps add some style to your chintz gown with a pair of cuffs.  Bring the left over fabric from your gown and make up one or both sleeve treatments.  Maybe you have a gown in your future – learn how to make and correctly attach these lovely adornments.

Cost: $30

1:00 – 4:00
Muslin Sleeve Ruffles
In the workshop you will make a pair of muslin sleeve ruffles patterned from an original 18th century pair.  You can wear these with a fancy gown or use them to dress up your chintz gown.  This workshop includes all the materials you need to make a pair of muslin sleeve ruffles.

Cost: $45

Location: Golden Ball Tavern – Weston, MA
For questions or to sign up – email hiveworkshops@gmail.com

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

OSV Clothing AAR

The Rebels & Redcoats Event at Old Sturbridge Village and Battle Road have become my bellwether on where we stand on our pursuit of greater accuracy of impression.  OSV is always interesting since the standards are "suggested" rather than actually enforced by inspection and there are groups in attendance for which Battle Road standards would be a real stretch, though some of these units have made real progress.

I am pleased to report that the ladies pretty much aced it!  Lots of gowns, stays, good fabrics, appropriate hats, bonnets and caps and the vast majority had good repro shoes.  Now, that's not to say there weren't the usual offenders -- the sleeveless bodices, cabbage rose petticoats, Simplicity gowns worn without stays, but I am happy to say that the numbers were fewer and were overshadowed by the good impressions.  Ladies - I couldn't be prouder - you rock!  And your humble beeness was busting with pride every time one of you introduced a newbie and asked when the next Hive was because your friend was eager to start work on her first pair of stays.  Yes, leading by example works -- it takes time, but our Hivettes are making a difference.  Oh, and by the way, thank you for putting forth the effort to make your daughters look good too.  That was the icing on the cake.

However…..what is up with you men????? Some of you look like you were dressed to attend a "Colonial Bum Convention".  And this applies to the militia types AND men in uniform on both sides.  Grading on a curve, I give you a C-. The major problem was sloppiness of impression.  Franky, neither George would have been pleased with the appearance of their armies.  This is not to say that there weren't great impressions, there were, and we'll always cut some slack for the newbie in the loaner clothes.  However, the overall attention to detail, or lack thereof, brought down the level of accuracy of the entire event.  And reason this writer has her stay cord in a knot about this, is that these are issues that are relatively easy to fix and ones that we have addressed at the Hive on numerous occasions.

Here are some of the major issues……

1. Ill-fitting clothing was the biggest problem.  So many pairs of breeches looked more like bloomers and countless coats just hung like rags on their wearers' bodies.  No doubt they are pretty comfy, but not period correct.  Bad fit looks slovenly and extremely un-18th century.  And this wasn't just the case of the newbie in borrowed clothes - people who have been in the hobby since the beginning of time were some of the worst offenders here.  We've run clinics on clothing fit multiple times at the Hive -- there is help available, you just have to show up.  Oh yeah, and some of you still don't seem to own a sleeved outer garment.  And please explain how a certain CL unit shows up to battle with nary a coat on one of the mildest days this summer?

2.  Shoes!  Ok, I get it, repro shoes aren't cheap.  Oh, I know, you have bad feet.  Leather soles are slippery on the battlefield.  But black sneakers? Really?  When did black Nikes become de rigeur for reenacting? And if you insist on forgoing a decent pair of repro shoes, how about you at least cover up those clodhoppers with a pair of gaiters that fit and are appropriate for your impression.  Gaiters that flop around over your modern shoes just bring more attention to the fact that your shoes look really bad.  And I just love the photo posted on Facebook that shows a kneeling solider. What is front and center -- a great view of the waffle sole of his modern hiking boot.  Don't let anyone kid you -- people notice your shoes!

Detail from "The Recruiting Sergeant" 1769

3. Proper Neckwear.  One of the easiest things - but so few get it right.  Neck cloths, bandanos, neck stocks --get that neck covered and close up those top buttons of your shirt.  In addition, if you are wearing neck covering, make sure that it is actually covering your neck.  Almost every group had a problem with this - and many of them were people whose kits are otherwise pretty good.  We did a program on neckwear at the last Hive -- I'll share parts of that presentation on this blog in the near future.  Easy fix, low cost.  There is tons of artwork out there showing how neckwear of all varieties is worn. Take a stroll through the Lewis Walpole library website sometime, you'll be enlightened. 

Note: I'm going to stay out of the facial hair wars.  It's an issue that only peer pressure or enforcement of standards will fix.  So boys - that's your battle and you need to keep waging it!

4. Finally, here's one that doesn't cost a sou to fix -- POSTURE! It was most obvious when I watched the men march off to battle. For heaven sake, stand up straight, you look like a pack of Neanderthals rather than the a formidable 18th century fighting force.  In the 18th century, posture said almost as much about you as did your clothing. How you moved, how you stood, was hugely important.  Just refer to your manual of arms - it starts off by telling you how to stand.  No cost, no sewing skills needed, no purchase required -- work on your posture.  It's such a little thing that makes a huge impact.

From Von Steuben's Manual of Arms

He is to stand straight

And firm upon his legs

With the head turned to the right

So far as to bring the left eye

Over the waistcoat buttons;
The heels two inches part;
The toes turned out;
The belly drawn in a little,
But without constraint;
The breast a little projected;
The shoulders square to the front, and kept back;
And the hands hanging down the sides,
With the palms close to the thighs.

So gentlemen, get yourselves to the Hive this winter.  We're planning a whole lot of things just for you.  Yeah, you can stay home and surf the Internet but you will learn so much more by showing up in person, learning from others and being part of a community.

Maybe plan a day to inspect everyone in your regiment and address some of these issues.  Just because your kit was great ten years ago, doesn't mean that it's up to snuff now.  Everyone's impression can use a fine tuning every now and then. And the meantime, listen to your mother, "Stand up straight!"

P.S. Ladies keep up the good work.