Elizabeth Stewart Clark & Company

Hunt Hill Wrapped Up!

My, oh, my! What a great weekend! Just got back from the Hunt Hill Sewing Academy Retreat, hosted by the Living History Society of Minnesota, and already looking for a future date to do it all again!

Do you remember watching Hailey Mills in “The Parent Trap”, and feeling a bit more than pea-green with envy over that classic sleep-away camp? Hunt Hill was full of Hailey Moments for me. And when I have Hailey Moments, I get parenthetical, so be fore-warned…

In the gorgeous gloaming... image by E. Connolly

In the gorgeous gloaming looking from Long Dorm toward the main house, dining hall, and library… image by E. Connolly

We were lodged comfortably in Long Dorm–which was far better than any dorm I’ve slept in! Rooms with two twin beds (cute-and-sturdy vintage metal bedsteads, comfy modern mattress), desk and chair, dresser and mirror, and plentiful closet space… real hardwood floors throughout, charming tongue-and-groove ceilings, and the style of window that made me dredge up my How To Wind Rope On A Cleat training, from back when I was The Worst Campfire Girl in the History of Ever. (Seriously. I was very bad at it. But I remember the ropes thing!)

Shared modern cold-water bathrooms inside the dorm, plus a spacious shower house (with great hot water! Midnight cell-phone-“candle”-lit shower bliss!), verdant green spaces outdoors (ten miles of hiking trails! botany! wildlife!), a gorgeous lake, classic camp dining hall (cloth napkin cubbies! endless lemonade! oilcloth on the tables! real chairs!), fantastic meals catered in (just… unnph… good), and loads of time to work and visit… it was a grand weekend.

In among telling scandalous stories and terrible jokes and some pretty high-quality harmonized singing to our working soundtrack (seriously, we were very good!) and full-moon canoe tours and late night campfires (with s’mores, of course!) we also got a lot of work done:

  • SEVEN corsets fitted, cut, and constructed, plus boning schemes plotted and grommets set, and almost all by ladies with no previous corset-making experiences
  • SIX bodice drapings and testing, plus sleeve style testing–and the difference between a made-for-you pattern and a generic pattern is simply delightful!
  • TWO sets slippers patterned, tested, and started (choosing the embellishments was the hard part!)
  • TWO chemises drafted, cut, and constructed
  • ONE pair drawers ditto
  • ONE ballgown bertha designed, draped, and constructed (gorgeous bias pleats in silk… yum!)
  • Multiple small UFOs finished up and checked off the project list (with accompanying applause!)
  • Copious belly-rubs and ear-scritches for the resident Canine Sewing Academy Mascot, Idgie (who is a sweetie, and had nice things to say about everyone there).

The opportunity to brainstorm with so many like-minded living history enthusiasts was a delight, and with a few newbies in the mix, too, off to a grand start in their history adventures.

As one who was indeed The Worst Campfire Girl in the History of Ever, I have to say it was my best camp experience of my life, so far… to be topped only by the next Retreat at Hunt Hill!

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About The Sewing Academy
With a focus on the 1840-1865 era, The Sewing Academy is your home on the (internet) range for resources to help you meet your living history goals!

Elizabeth Stewart Clark has been absorbed by the mid-19th century for over 20 years. She makes her home in the Rocky Mountains with her husband, four children (from wee to not-so-wee), far too many musical instruments, and five amusing hens.

Email Elizabeth Or call 208-523-3673 (10am to 8pm Mountain time zone, Monday through Saturday)
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