Etcetera 3/13/13


Manufacturing a big ol’ dress worthy of a Victorian-era ball is a time investment, to be sure. Take it from me. In my spare time, I worked a solid 11/2 months on one that could have graced the set of “Gone with the Wind.”

Nine yards of artichoke green synthetic iridescent silk, white inner sleeves and collar, silk outer bell-sleeves trimmed with black braid and black velvet, a multiple-paneled bodice for a trim fit and a hoop slip so large that walking down the hall in my 1960s-era home wedged me between the walls.

Dancing in that hoop slip revealed a significant flaw. With an elastic waistband, it bounced dangerously lower and lower on my hips to the point that it nearly slid to the floor. I’ll probably secure it to a chemise the next time it comes out to play and avert disaster. As it was I was forced to hold onto it with one hand.

All this as a lead-in to Kirkman House Museum’s Victorian Grand Ball at the Festival of Converging Histories Nov. 9.

Because it just won’t do if you want to go to the ball but don’t have an appropriate gown.

To remedy that, the museum will host a series of workshops that will help you be your own fairy godmother and produce the dress of your dreams.

Monthly costume creation workshops will be at the museum from 1-4 p.m. on the third Sunday of the month, beginning March 24.

Ladies and gentlemen are welcome to the free Cinderella Sewing Circles, said Rick Tuttle, president of the museum board. The first workshop will focus on defining and describing Victorian formal evening wear for men and women.

Ideas for adapting modern clothing will be shared and at subsequent workshops participants will assist each other in creating their costumes, he said.

Seamstresses willing to assist participants who may have more limited sewing skills will be enthusiastically received.

Find out more at the Festival of Converging Histories at

Sarita McCaw of Walla Walla, also known as the Queen of Toilet Paper, reports that a Walla Walla University student initiated a drive and collected 3,000 rolls to benefit the needy.

He challenged older people in his church, Sarita, 81, said, and was inundated with toilet paper. It fills more than a pallet.

While working at Helpline, which aids struggling families, Sarita discovered the need and has been collecting pallets of the stuff since.

Toilet paper is inarguably a basic necessity, but cannot be bought with food stamps.

Donation centers often have an insufficient supply and it’s surprisingly expensive.

Etcetera appears in daily and Sunday editions. Annie Charnley Eveland can be reached at or afternoons at 526-8313.


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