Costume inspiration

The recent visit to Bankfield Museum gave us so many ideas for future Steampunk costume. There were some lovely fashion plates up the stairs and decorating the rooms and then some gorgeous Victorian gowns. I really love this purpley/grey one on the left here and Ellie would love to make the pink one below.

Costume Bankfield 3

Costume Bankfield 4

Costume Bankfield 11

The dress in the foreground of the picture above was originally purple and you can see that on the fringe and the mottling on the back of the dress. The one at the back is so elegant, I love the shaping on the jacket.

We also loved the fact that they  had dress up, and not just for children. These top pictures were really high quality reproductions of two of the Regency outfits they had on display, the embroidery on waistcoats from this period is always stunning.

There were also some displays of local textile production, including a lovely collection of hat pins, cuff links and buttons all made from casein which is actually milk protein! Fascinating to think that buttons can be made of milk.

It is so nice as well to see pictures of the women who made the hat pins. There was such a huge demand for them then. I think it is a great pity there is not more hat wearing, and I don’t just mean woolly ones in winter. Bring back hats for everyday wear!

Costume Bankfield 13

There was also the display of the gorgeous costumes from the Gentleman Jack TV series, part of which was filmed in Halifax, at Shibden Hall where Ann Lister lived. This is the fourth TV costume exhibition we have seen, the others being Victoria, Downton Abbey and a sneak peek at some of the Wolf Hall ones from before the exhibition . I really like seeing the clothes in detail, close up without the cases the museum pieces often have to be in. The sleeve silhouettes on these dresses are gorgeous and I love the lace shawls.

In the cases round the room there were also some fascinating needlework tools and accessories and samplers, I love seeing things like these, they really make you think about who was using them and what they were making and the skill level of these very young needlewomen.

One of the most interesting was this pincushion made from a shell. You can also see a walnut thimble case in one of the above pictures, next to the miniature sewing machine.

Costume Bankfield 32

I have started reading the Elm Creek Quilts book series again, I first read them all about 10 years ago and loved them so have the joy of re-reading all 20 books in the series and was very excited to learn that a new story is being published. It is definitely making me want to make more quilt blocks again after all the Yarndale stock is finished.

I am interspersing time in the craft room doing that with finishing off a knitted animal and then am going to work on some Christmas and birthday gifts. As well as more Barbie clothes I really want to make a quiet book. I have been doing some research and have found some gorgeous ideas. I particularly love the ones that are little doll houses like this one in this video. Look at the cuteness of the little cat and teddy and that wonderful wardrobe!

Quiet book doll houseSo many lovely things to make and luckily more time to do them! Jake is happily finding his feet in Japan, the doctorate is done ūüôā apart from the final proof read and printing off so I can indulge myself in all manner of crafty loveliness with all this free time I now have!

 

Hope that you are having a nice weekend as well. I will be back soon with some of the Lincoln Steampunk costumes.Take care and thanks for visiting.

Making do – the shirt transformation

I am well underway with all my lovely Make Do and Mend things for my display. I have not only been making things but also acquiring some really interesting things from Ebay. One of the lovely things about this period is that I can actually afford the real artifacts from the period, unlike medieval where they are all in museums or long gone.

I have so much to show you that I am splitting it up into several posts. This one is about one of the charity shop bargain shirts that I got for £1 that I have given a makeover. It did take me a little longer than the one hour they give them on the Sewing Bee but I really enjoyed the process and am very happy with the results.

MDaM -shirt 1

MDaM -shirt 13

I won’t actually wear this one as it is a little short for my taste but will do the same again with other finds as I loved the experimentation. I kept the collar as it was in the end but altered the buttons for some that had a more vintage feel, took in the sleeves and shortened them, added bust darts and shortened it, using the spare material for a cute frill.

I was going to use this piece of embroidered doily for a pocket and so I removed the pocket (thankfully very carefully), and cut it out of the doily but it did not look right so I just used some of the flower motifs for the pocket and collar. I also added some vintage lace to the sleeves.

MDaM -shirt 7

MDaM -shirt 8

MDaM -shirt 11

MDaM -shirt 10

MDaM -shirt 12

I was inspired by advice in the books that I had bought previously on Make do and Mend such as the one below on making new clothes out of worn ones.

MDaM -shirt 2

I have just finished reading the wonderful Stitching for Victory book as well which has lots of similar adverts for patterns and detail about all of the sewing during the war.This pattern uses very much the same idea as above and could be bought for 1 shilling from the Girl’s Own Paper.

MDaM - SfV book 1

They also had an advert for a pattern for lingerie, if you were lucky enough to get your hands on some parachute silk or old clothing that was suitable.

MDaM - SfV book 3

Stitching for Victory is such an amazing book that I will have to do a whole post about it, one of the best books I have ever read about stitching history, so much wonderful detail. It is currently available on Amazon for less than ¬£3 so it is a real bargain as well. One of the very lovely things is that there are lots of quotes from the stitchers of the period, so often the makers’ voices get lost in museum exhibits and the history records so it is wonderful to have the words and pictures from all those wonderful people.

One of the other things that I am loving about this period is that I have so many techniques that I can use for my work. Medieval is wonderful but often I have not been able to do something as it does not fit the period whereas there are less restrictions with this so I am really enjoying that freedom, very much like Steampunk although it is lovely to do the research on the history as well and find authentic things for the period.

I wanted a banner for my table display and was trying to think of what I could do when I spotted an embroidery of ‘make do and mend’ on my craft room wall. It was one of Jenny of Elefantz’s designs that is waiting to be made up into something and it gave me the ideas to stitch the slogan onto something. I was looking for some vintage linen and came across this embroidered traycloth in my stash that made the perfect frame. I learnt to do chain stitch last year so embroidered the letters in the same colours as the original embroidery and am very pleased with it.

MDaM -banner 1

MDaM -banner 2

I am making a demonstration pair of slippers from some felt and scraps of Liberty for hexagons so I will show you those next time and I have just started making some gorgeous felt flowers.

I have a new hat that I ordered from Ebay that needed a little something. I remember seeing some 1940s brooches years ago on Hen House’s blog and thinking they were really lovely and I have come across lots of inspiration such as this diagram in the Stitching for Victory book so I am on with that at the moment.

MDaM - SfV book 5

I hope that you are all having a lovely creative time with whatever you are doing, take care and thanks for visiting.

Make do and mend

As you may have guessed I love history ūüôā most periods fascinate me but obviously I have my particular passions such as medieval and Tudor. One area that I have been very much interested in over the last few years is World War Two, partly inspired by reading but also as we have gone multiperiod events over the years I have loved visiting the camps of these re-enactors.

Some years ago I started re-purposing material in different ways, making pouches out of old jeans, quilting and patchwork and started to think more about that whole area of reusing things. I have also acquired lots of lovely textiles from the 40s and 50s through my charity shop finds.

So when Ellie said that Clumber were having a WW2 weekend this summer to pay homage to Clumber’s involvement with the making of a trench digging machine I really wanted to be involved somehow. I loved being a WW1 Land girl last summer so I have volunteered to put on a little display of the Make do and Mend campaign.

Make do and mend

For those of you who are not aware this was a government campaign linked to the introduction of rationing, specifically when clothing coupons were introduced and people were encouraged to use textiles they already had in creative ways.

I am basing my character on the lovely Nella Last who I mentioned in my last post. Nella wrote diaries for the Mass Observation Archive all throughout the war and beyond so we have a really detailed account of her life and she often mentions textile work. I loved both the books of her diaries and the film so have decided that I will portray a WI woman who is giving information and advice of the sort that Nella would have encountered. These pictures below show Nella with her son and husband, I love the embroidered top she is wearing in the picture with her son.

Nella Last and son

 

nellaandwilllast

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have got some wonderful reproductions of the advice leaflets, featuring Mrs Sew and Sew, I intend to separate these from their books for my table top display.

Mrs Sew and Sew

Make do and mend books 1

I have also been doing some research on fashion for me. I need to create an outfit suitable for a middle aged WI woman, a sensible flat shoed but still interested in fashion enough to want to wear nice things kind of person who is passionate about sewing and wants to pass on her skills.I have found this site, Vintage Dancer, very helpful. I have even found someone who made a dress out of tablecloths like my jacket!

Most of this will involve charity shop repurposing as I am good at that and using men’s garments to make women’s clothes was a great source of fabric so I am on the look out for suitable starting items. I also need a hat as I think my lady would have been a great hat wearer. Plus I love hats ūüôā

The event takes place in early June but we are going to an event a bit beforehand as well as visitors so need to have something sorted by mid May.So that will keep me out of mischief considering I am away for three weeks over Easter and only get back at the end of April. Thankfully WW2 things are a lot easier to make than medieval!

I have done very little crafting since I last posted, I have been so busy with a very hectic but lovely  week at work where we took the students out to do some activities and had a conference so there have been a lot of early bedtimes for me. I have managed another Barbie dress this Sunday and am still knitting. I will attempt some more finishing this weekend but I am working this Saturday again so time is limited.

I hope you are having a lovely week so far, time seems to really be flying this year, can’t believe we are only 3 weeks away from the end of term and the little matter of a large amount of doctorate needing to be submitted ūüėģ

Take care whatever you are doing and thanks for visiting.

Thinking ahead

I always like to have a little think at this time of year what I am going to try and get done next year craft wise. I did the same thing in early Jan last year when I had a little review of what I had made and the plans for the year ahead.

Some of it I have achieved like more pouches and bags of different sorts including how to make Dresdens. I have made some really lovely ones this year that I am very pleased with. Must do some more of these with crochet and vintage embroidery.

 

I have also done a lot of cross stitching in the last few months, still hoping to do more including some more lovely snowflake inspired things for next Christmas.At least if I start them in Jan I will not have the frantic finishing rush that I have had this year.

Progress with some of the larger items will be ongoing such as the hexagon quilt. I have made all 60 of the hexagons, am now on the slightly less glamorous job of removing all of the papers then I have to applique them to background squares and then hand quilt and put together.

Hexi stack 2

I need to finish the Steampunk jacket made from the vintage tablecloths which has been on hold, it is not needed until August but you know how time flies! There is the hat to decorate to go with that and I need some festival clothes for August as well.

There will have to be new stuff of course! I am still so tempted by all of Lori Holt’s lovely work and really want to make some applique things based on her designs. Probably not the full quilt but look at all the lovely things in her latest Bee Happy Quilt. I love that car and caravan!

Bee Happy Quilt

Then there are always Jenny’s designs. I did finish the sampler block this year, that just needs making into a hanging. I also have a couple of other ones of hers completed but not made into anything that I will share when finished.

I would love to do some more of her Christmas designs from this year’s Stitchery Club for next year. Picture from Jenny’s blog.

ELEFANTZ Christmas stitching

I also need to make some things from my birthday book, Happy Flower Quilts. I intended to include some of these designs for pouches but did not have time so would like to do some of these as gifts.

I would love to be able to paper piece as well like Charise does, she has some beautiful designs and it is just the sort of fiddly work that appeals to me. Isn’t this just gorgeous, picture from her blog.

Charise Apple bag

I am looking forward to the last weekend of stitching before Christmas, have still got one more ornament to make and then two to finish off before I can pack them all up to send off. Teaching has finished now so apart from a huge load of marking I can relax and get into the festive spirit.

Mum arrives this week then we will be going down to Ellie’s and then to meet my great niece Ava for the first time, really looking forward to that and to spending lots of time with Mum, my sister and the kids playing games and relaxing. We are going to be at Clumber a couple of times so will hopefully have some lovely pictures of that for you.

Will pop in next week to wish you all Merry Christmas, don’t forget to like this or any other post to enter my giveaway.

Take care and thanks for visiting.

 

 

 

 

 

A little Christmas finish

Thankfully my arm was less painful yesterday so I managed to do some machining, finishing off a couple of Christmas versions of the cottages I made at the end of last year.

Christmas Cottages 1

The tutorial for these can be found here at Retro Mama’s site, I originally found this idea on Pinterest and made nine of these in floral fabric which I gave away to friends at knitting as pincushions.They are so cute I had to try some Christmas versions.

The charms I got from Ebay from Rhinoobead and they are so cute. I thought it would be nice to have a tree outside the window and a wreath on the door.I might add some beads to the trim on the roof as well.

I do love making these little houses and obviously so do lots of other people, there are lots of lovely ones on Pinterest including these beautiful examples by one of my favourite bloggers Charise who creates amazing paper pieced designs. I love the way that she has fussy cut the fabric to put people, flowers and animals in the windows and doors, she is so clever!

Cottages - Charise Creates

She has a book coming out soon called Super Cute Paper Piecing which will be on my wish list, I have not really done any of this type of piecing before but since I love my English Paper Piecing would like to have a go at some of these.Her fabric combinations are always gorgeous. She has lots of information about the contents of the book on her blog so do go and have a look.

Super Cute Paper Piecing Book

I am getting on well with the cross stitched snowflake that I started this week, thankfully finger movement has been lots easier as well so I am much happier.I hate sitting watching TV without doing something productive, seems such a waste of time.

The sky is a beautiful blue here and it is sunny but very cold so I am planning a lovely day of stitching, very much a slow stitching Sunday, this has been my first weekend in three weeks where I have not been working Saturday so have been really enjoying it.

Hope you are having a good weekend whatever you are doing, take care and thanks for visiting and for all the good wishes about my poorly arm, your thoughts and prayers have obviously worked!

 

 

 

Happy reading, happy making!

Books make me so happy, I love reading and I am always buying more of them. Mostly from charity shops and often find real bargains, especially in the lovely National Trust second hand books shops.

I also love buying craft books that are either published by bloggers or promoted by them as then you know that you are getting something really well worth it and that you are helping someone who is really dedicated to what they do.

My birthday present book was one that was recommended by Sedef of Down Grapevine Lane  a while ago and I added it straight away to my wish list.

It is called Happy Flower Quilts by Atsuko Matsuyama¬†¬†and it is very much a ‘me’ sort of book. So much cuteness and use of little flowery prints!

Happy Flower Quilts 1

I would have bought the book just on the strength of the Dresden pincushion pattern as I have still not got over how cute they are but there are so many other lovely ideas in here, especially for a person with lots of small female relatives! I love the sewing case with its spool patchwork designs.

I really like the 3D flower applique on this little purse and the Honey Bee block would be lovely as a bag design as well. The book comes with full size templates for everything and I can’t wait to have time to play with some of these designs.

I have finished all of my steampunk outfit and am off to Tewkesbury Medieval Festival this coming weekend where as well as enjoying dressing up I will be doing lots of research for my doctorate as it is the biggest event in Europe so I am planning to do lots of videoing of the wonderful things that people are doing.

Take care and thanks for visiting.

More light entertainment

I have been doing lots of lovely hand stitching over the last few weeks accompanied by some very interesting TV series that I thought I would share with you in case you. Both have been on UK channels recently but I have watched them on Netflix and DVD.

The first is inspired by a book I read some time ago called Jambusters¬†by Julie Summers¬† which is about the work of the Women’s Institute. It was about the contribution made by women to the war effort though their preserving and other activities, particularly in rural areas.

The TV series is called Home Fires and was an excellent piece of drama with a great cast.Sadly the series was cancelled after two seasons but you can get it on Netflix and there are to be a series of books continuing the story which I shall definitely read.

Being interested in all things historical I loved looking at the 40s fashions, there were some great Fair Isle jumpers and beautiful tailored clothes as well as some fab floral pinnies!

HOME_FIRES_Fashions

Julie Summers has written a blog post about the fashions and also a book, Fashion on a Ration linked to an exhibition at the Imperial War Museum.

This vintage clothing blog has also got some more great pictures of the cast in costume. I also found a lovely Vintage Pattern blog that has links to free patterns for jumpers like these gorgeous ones below.

HomeFires Patterns

The other TV series was one my lovely daughter mentioned to me and then very kindly bought for me, I loved it and watched the whole thing in a day and a half. It is called Brief Encounters and is the story of women who work for Ann Summers selling, ‘exotic lingerie,’ and ,’marital aids’, in Sheffield in the early 1980s. Again a fabulous cast and the soundtrack was brilliant, a real blast from the past as 1982 was the year I left home and started college so I danced to all of those tunes many times!

Not quite such fabulous fashions in the 1980s, there was some very big hair in the series and a few really loud outfits but a great comedy with some very important storylines about love and family.

A CPL production for ITV.

Pictured: 

This image is the copyright of ITV and must only be used in relation to Brief Encounters.

What I loved about both series are the storylines of women fighting to overcome their barriers, many things that we take for granted now, to be able to go out to work, earn their own money, contribute to the family and generally have a say in how their lives were led. Even though 40 years separate the two series some of the things that happen in the later one are sadly no different.

I have also been reading an excellent series of books. I was told about them by a friend many years ago who knew I liked history and recommended them. The series is called the Moorland Dynasty by Cynthia Harrod-Eagles.

They trace the story of one family from the 1400s to the present day. I bought the first 3 books some years ago and rediscovered them in my bookcase and got hooked, only to find that there are now 36 in the series! I am currently enjoying book 16 which is set in the Regency in the 1800s.

They are again full of descriptions of the fashions as well as filling in all my history knowledge gaps. I am loving the details of ladies fashions such as this one below.

Regency Fashion

The family have a lot of strong female characters, most of which who defy convention by doing such scandalous things as running away to sea, nursing soldiers after the battle of Waterloo and refusing to marry the, ‘right man’.

I do love a good book and a great TV series. There is nothing nicer than spending the evening with a bit of stitching and some great stuff to watch, it makes me very happy. What have you been watching or reading lately, anything good?

I am off to the lovely Simply Solids this weekend for a class,my first visit to their new shop so I am very excited! I am going to be making some Scrappy Trip Along blocks for a quilt like this one.

Scrappy Trip Along quilt

We then have a Wool and Wine craft evening at a friend’s house so that will be a lovely day. Hope you have a good weekend and thanks for visiting.