Steampunk for the 2021 season

Almost a year age, on Jan 18th, in a land before Covid, when we could roam freely and do non-essential shopping 🙂 I wrote about our trip to Bombay Stores in Bradford, and the wonderful fabric we bought on that trip. I was able to make the peacock inspired outfit for the picnic in August, but as there were no other events did not do anything with the beautiful gold fabric.

This was to have been a coat made from the lovely Simplicity pattern below but a little lack of motivation, and overwhelmingly busy time over the summer getting to grips with online learning, meant that it has been left on the ‘someday’ pile in the craft room since then.

However, I am determined to make some new outfits this year. We may not have any events, though I am very hopeful for Whitby and Lincoln. They are in late July and late August, and are outdoors, so we may be lucky enough to be able to go to those. The success of the picnic at Kelham Hall hopefully means that something can happen later this year, even if it is a much smaller scale event. If not I will be very well set up for 2022!

I was thinking about a Russian empress theme for the gold fabric and yesterday this wonderful set of pictures popped up on my Facebook feed. I am sure sometimes the internet is reading my mind. These are from the Romanovs’ last ball in 1903 and there are the most wonderful array of over the top costumes. The photos have been colourised from the original black and white and the costumes are just amazing.

I am particularly attracted to this head dress, there is no name on the photograph so I don’t know who she was but I really love this.

I was thinking maybe that I could make a version from some of my vintage crochet, using the Powertex stiffener that I used for the crochet base to the tea party hat. That I painted silver over the dark brown of the Powertex colour, but as it comes in yellow, white and transparent and can be easily painted I think it might work well.

The other alternative would be a tiara. I love tiaras, as well as flower headbands, and wish my life had far more opportunities for wearing them. When I retire maybe I will wear them far more out and about, befitting my new Bohemian lifestyle 🙂 I had already found a number of beautiful ones on Ebay so may buy one of those as well.

Another outfit I am going to be working on, starting next week when Ellen comes up for a sewing weekend, is inspired by a photo shared in a costume group on Facebook. I have no idea where this piece is but it is clearly in a museum from the way the photo is shot.

I have had some beautiful lightweight patterned fabric in pale blue and cream my stash for about 14 years now, bought as a bargain bundle for possible medieval costume but never used, so this would be just perfect. I am planning to use this pattern, which is the one that I adapted for the tablecloth jacket. I think it is a really good match to the original outfit, as it has a very similar back which I just need to extend for the train.

I will probably make it fitted with buttons, though that is something I usually avoid due to my lack of skill in this area, but I think that it would look better with the front overskirt if it was fitted. For the hat I was thinking of a pale top hat, similar to those below. I do have a wedding hat that a friend gave me that I could cover but think that might be a little too Edwardian in style.

I do need to find a theme for the outfit though, I am thinking maybe just going with flowers and butterflies as so many of the fashion plates from this era feature women in gardens. I will of course need a beautiful lacy parasol to go with my outfit!

I have been working a little bit this weekend, but have most of it to play with fabric so will also be choosing fabric for some more Barbie couture, and making knitted shoes for little animals. All while watching the last few episodes of the amazing Bridgerton. I have been rationing myself as it is so wonderful, I only have 3 episodes left now but then will be doing lots more research on the costumes as I keep seeing things I want to make versions of.

I hope that you are having a good weekend, we had more snow this week, so yesterday Marsden looking gorgeous and sparkly in the sun but we are back to grey skies and rain today, perfect weather for snuggling under a fleece and knitting.

Take care, stay safe and thanks for visiting.

A Christmas Miracle

Well dear reader, you may have realised from the lack of recent posts that I made it to Spain! It was indeed a Christmas miracle as I landed, with my lovely negative test certificate, the day before Spain stopped letting people from the UK in, and came back just before the UK started asking for the same tests on return. Phew! I am now safely ensconced in a snowy Marsden, self-isolating for the next two weeks.

As we are now online only at work and likely to be so for the foreseeable future I may not leave the house again for many months! Although I am determined to try and get out and do some exercise once the weather improves (and the pavements are less slippery) as I have had a very lovely time in Spain walking and even doing some cycling 🙂

I have not used my bike in Spain for about 4 years, since I started having more joint and back problems. My fitness has declined so badly during last year due to lockdown and working from home that I really wanted to do something to try and improve things. I started doing an online fitness programme a few weeks before I left, based on Salsa dancing, and really enjoyed it. So I got Rosie Raleigh out of my Mum’s basement and we had some fun adventures together.

I was determined to do as much walking as I could while I was in Spain as it is one of my favourite things to do. I started off with just an hour an evening to go and watch the amazing sunsets. I was later able to take the bike out a few times, culminating in cycling all the way to the beach, about 6km in total, there and back.

I was so pleased. Not only was it really lovely to be out in the sunshine and have the freedom to roam around some of my favourite cycle paths but it also gives me the independence that I need for when I move there full time. My relatives are very helpful with driving me places but I want to be able to travel myself as well and my plans for passing my driving test have been on hold since May and are no nearer completion.

I had great fun exploring some of the areas of the urbanisation that I have not visited before, including some of the smaller squares of older properties. They have lovely little green areas in the middle with palms and bougainvillea decorating the houses. There are also quite a few more refurbishments, and makeovers of the older properties into the newer white modern style are in evidence all over the area.

On one of my rides I went out towards the mountains. There are a number of paths alongside the irrigation canals that have been designated as cycle paths and the views were beautiful as always, especially with the sun shining through the rushes that grow at the sides of the water.

I also spent a lot of time on my terrace. Mum gave me some more money for plants for Christmas so I redid all the pots which gave me something pretty to look at while I was admiring the blue sky and the lovely sunrises. I also added a couple of beautiful ceramics to the wall. I am looking forward to having more tiling done when I am there full-time as I love Spanish tiles.

I also spent quite a few evenings sitting on the terrace reading as well, wrapped up in a fleecy blanket with all of my candles lit and solar lights. It was so peaceful and relaxing.

My Mum had her little candle tree up with all of the ornaments I have made over the years, all but the green tree at the top and the cross stitch to the left of that are ones that I have made for her. This is also useful for checking what I have already made for her for planning future creations.

The flight back was lovely though I was very sad to be leaving. It was raining when we left Spain but we flew over the Pyrenees in sunshine so I was able to get some shots of the mountains in the snow, I do love mountains!

So it is back to life in lockdown for the next few weeks, however I have plenty to keep me occupied. I am not working many weekends this term (hurrah) so am planning some more Barbie couture as my younger relatives loved their Christmas gifts and still have bunny knitting to finish. I have also been watching the wonderful Bridgerton and am taking inspiration from the amazing costumes there for more Steampunk plans for the future.

I hope that life is ok for you all at the moment, it does seem like a long time until brighter days, as it often does in January, but hopefully things will get better very soon and we can have some return to that wonderful weather we had last Spring. I have been so lucky to be able to enjoy the sun in Spain and will stay warm and await it’s return here. At least Marsden looks very pretty in the snow.

Take care, stay safe and thanks for visiting.