1861 Kansas Statehood Ball

We went down to the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve on New Years day to photograph the bison herd in the snow. I got some nice video (will show you soon, I promise!) and Harland some great pics of scenery and the bison. While there we ate lunch at the Emma Chase cafe in Cottonwood Falls, and Sue, the owner, who spearheads a lot of touristy projects in Cottonwood Falls mentioned that their annual Statehood ball was coming up and did we want to attend.
Hmmm…let’s see….
  • we get to wear 1861 period appropriate attire
  • dancing to a string quartet in an historic building with native limestone walls and original wood floor in lovely little Cottonwood Falls with that wonderful courthouse on a brick street
  • a chance to dance with my hubby (we haven’t danced since our wedding almost 5 years ago!)
It sounded magical, and so for the last few days I’ve been brainstorming, researching the internet for period appropriate 1861 clothing, and ordering:
  • a period appropriate corset (I ordered it from a shop on Etsy and a seamstress will be making it based on my measurements this week)
  • chemise
  • bloomers
  • hoopskirt
  • petticoat for under the hoop skirt
  • petticoat for over the hoop skirt
  • a fan
  • a pattern to make an 1861 ballgown
  • dress fabric
 For Harland we’ve bought:
  • a pair of wool pants from the thriftstore that need to be hemmed
  • a cotton shirt from the thriftstore that I removed the collar from which makes it look like a mid 19th century shirt
  • a period appropriate vest made from cotton duck that I ordered online
 I’m like a little kid I’m so excited! I love history and have always wanted to dress up like a lady from the 19th century. And now all I have to do(I make it sound so easy, HA!) is make a dress.
Here’s the look I’m shooting for:
The fabric I’ve purchased is  light light brown with tiny little pink and mauve roses all over it. And I also bought some cotton lace for the neckline and sleeves.
The ball is Jan 26, so I need to get hopping on the dress, but I can’t start it until I have all my underclothes because I’ll have to fit the bodice with the underclothes on, and they won’t be here until early next week. The clock is ticking down….
So, that’s what I’m up to – the usual craziness.
Pictures to follow as our outfits come together….


Cattle, corn, wheat, beans, mud, snow, ice, and drought. Plenty of fresh air and quiet. Our life is sometimes heartbreaking, sometimes joyous, but never boring.

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14 Responses

  1. Tina says:

    Sounds wonderful and lots of fun!! What are you doing for shoes? Jan 26th? OMG I would be in a panic….by the way I love the dress it is beautiful.

  2. Rebecca says:

    I LOVE THIS!!! I want to go to the ball 🙁
    You are going to have so much fun! I envy you all the prep work! I am so excited for you!!!
    Looking forward to more postings!
    PS–If you need more ringlets for your hair…remember there are faux hair pieces that are priced cheap!

  3. Rebecca says:


  4. Chester's Mom says:

    That’s so exciting! Dressing up is always fun. Any pics of what Harland’ s attire will look like? How are you going to do your hair?

    • Suzanne says:

      Will have pics of Harland’s attire too. And I plan on curling my hair into ringlets and then pulling it back, and maybe some flowers woven into it.

  5. Hallee says:

    SO FUN!!! I can’t wait to see the final outfits and photos from the event!

  6. Kathy S. says:

    This is the chance of a lifetime! So excited for you! Can’t wait to see it all come together. Yikes! January 26 is close. I’d be a nervous wreck trying to get everything.

  7. Wow, sounds like a fun time, especially since Harlan will do this with you. No way in heck that DH would agree. Exciting and challenging to get the dress made in time! Have fun. And take pictures!!!!!

  8. Alica says:

    I’m excited just reading about this…can’t wait to see pictures!!

  9. Lynda M O says:

    You will have so so s o much fun. What a super neat chance to be a part of something so extraordinary. Eagerly awaiting pics of the handsome husband’s outfit too.

  10. Patty H. says:

    Oh what fun! I would like to be one of the “poor farmers wife that gets to watch all the grand ladies enter”. Yes, please. Lots of pictures.

  11. Dixie says:

    And I thought I was Crazy …. I always do my best work under pressure… Wow! 19 Days until the Ball !! Sew and Sew Fast !!! That will be an Awesome site to see everyone dressed in 1800’s attire. Have fun and I hope Harland likes Wool !!!!!

  12. O how fun! Well, not the sewing in a hurry part… Just the dressing up part. Can’t wait to see.

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