My new obsession

Since joining the Seamstress Squadron page and starting to look at other costuming blogs I have been spending many happy hours looking at other people’s creations and the information available.

I am amazed, both with the dedication of the sewers and their beautiful creations but also at the level of detail and help available and just didn’t realise there was all this out there. I have also found some people who have used the same pattern as me and made wonderful things.

Look at this beautiful outfit below, I have forgotten which forum it came from but it is using this Butterick pattern that I have and they have altered the shape of the jacket and used the edge of the fabric in such a beautiful way. Isn’t it just stunning!

Butterick pattern 1Butterick pattern 2

Burda jacket pattern adapted - small

This level of information doesn’t really exist in the same way for the medieval re-enactment costumes, there are some people who we use as sources who are very good such as this history of fashion blog but there are some significant differences between what you can find out.

One of course is that there are still lots of Victorian clothes around in museums and even available for people to buy, books, patterns written at the time and lots of wonderful fashion plates from magazines and adverts, especially about the miracles of corsetry. There are even photos as well and Wearing History blog has a fantastic selection of these under her ‘What real people wore’, posts.

Victorian corset ad

 

The Delineator magazine, founded by Butterick in 1869 is mentioned a lot and this site has some scans of these magazines. Aren’t these gorgeous covers?

Delineator magazine 1

Delineator magazine 2

 

Another great blog is Historical Sewing, what this women doesn’t know about making 19th century garments probably isn’t worth knowing anyway.

The most we get for medieval is paintings and manuscripts, beautiful though they are it does leave you wondering how they made the garments and what they are made from. I use the Web Gallery of Art as a primary source.

The other  is of course the authenticity, since we work for English Heritage a lot we have to have a very high level of authenticity whereas many people who make costume do it for fun and for events such as balls and Steampunk so they are sharing their interpretations of things.

The other thing that I realised is that since I have such a wide circle of friends who make costume for re-enactment I have tended to go them for advice rather than the miracles of the internet. When I first started re-enacting I made a lot of kit and did do some research but that was a long time ago, 14 years, pre-blogging and pre- Facebook 😉 and there was not so much info out there so I have really stopped looking and use the same sources that I have come to trust.

This links in well to my doctoral research as I am looking at how people gain the skills and knowledge they need to make things for re-enactment so it is useful to reflect on myself as a beginning costume maker for a different era.

Ellie and I are thinking of taking some classes to help us adjust patterns. For our medieval garments we either have tried and trusted patterns or use existing garments as patterns so we have not much experience of fitting the more complex Victorian shapes.

I have been rapidly adding things to my new Steampunk Pinterest pages such as these amazing outfits below. I love the lilac dress in the background here.

Victorian outfit 1
Victorian outfit 2

And since I already have a black velvet jacket wouldn’t this skirt be lovely with it? Of course none of this may ever see the light of day as actual garments but it is fun researching!

I am off to Ellie’s tomorrow on the first leg of the journey to Caldicot Castle, please pray for fine weather for us as we really want the event to be a success!

I will be back next time with hopefully some more progress on the jacket, even if it is only a post about how hard the fitting is and am planning to devote the weekend to putting it together. Wish me luck!

Take care and thanks for visiting.

 

 

 

Advertisements

Plus difficile? Pattern matching with a difference

So today I made a start on the Steampunk jacket. My intention was just to iron the pattern, a top tip from the Seamstress Squadron forum,  then cut the pieces out and have a little think about how I might lay them out.

However I have ended up with a jacket all cut out and so far I am very pleased 🙂

I was a little daunted when I opened the pattern, I hadn’t looked too carefully at it when I bought it as it was late at night and it was on sale and well… there may have been wine involved 😉 I just thought, ‘ooh how pretty’ , and clicked.

The back of the packet did not inspire confidence with its, ‘plus difficile’, rating and when I looked at the instructions it felt a bit complicated. But I managed to make the wedding jacket for Amanda from a similarly complicated pattern, with a lining, so as I sorted the pieces and worked out how it all goes together I felt a bit more confident.

I am intending to alter the pattern a bit though, what I did not realise was that the front panel which is in the contrast dark blue on the illustration is cut like a facing then folded back and stitched onto the main front.

I am also not making the back longer and there will not be a bow. And I wanted to use these three tablecloths to make it, kindly held up by Jake, excuse the lack of light it, it has been raining here all day.

Steampunk linen jacket 5 tablecloth

Steampunk linen jacket 6 tablecloth

Steampunk linen jacket 7 tablecloth

Add to that the fact that I am a bit spatially challenged anyway when it comes to layouts and what could possibly go wrong!

I tried all of the pattern pieces on all of the table cloths and eventually decided on a layout that I liked.

I could have left it there, it took me about two hours to pluck up the courage to cut into Amanda’s fabric but that was £40 a metre silk and the end of the roll and this was three tablecloths costing £12 in total so just thought why not go for it so I did.

Steampunk linen jacket 14 cut frontjpg

I am very pleased with the way it has turned out, there was plenty of fabric and I have managed to match motifs easily to the pieces. To my surprise the smallest tablecloth had enough for both front pieces.I will have to lose some of the design at the bottom though as it is too long at the moment but love the shoulder pieces.

Steampunk linen jacket 13 cut back

I am especially pleased with the back and the way I have been able to stagger the stitched motifs. Below is one of the sleeves, front and back piece. I like the trailing design for the arms.

Steampunk linen jacket 12 cut sleeves

I also love the way the three different designs go together, they have all been stitched with the same palette of threads and I think they work very well.

Steampunk linen jacket 15 cut layout

I was expecting less cohesion which would have been fine.

Steampunk linen jacket 16 cut layout closeup

The look I am going for is slightly bizarre anyway as this jacket will probably be accessorised with stitching charms etc and worn with the purple top hat but I think it is splendid so far.

Steampunk linen jacket 17 cut layout closeup 2

I will have to do some serious fitting though as had to cut out a size 24 to accommodate my generous bosom, luckily having made clothes from scratch before I know how strange the sizings can be and will have to do lots of cutting down of sleeves etc.

Will be a few days before I can do any more work on it and I need to underline it, have lots of cotton in my stash that I will use for that, some old curtains will do nicely!

I do really love the, ‘make do and mend’ attitude of the Seamstress Squadron, so many people making wonderful things out of old curtains and adapting charity shop clothes, it is perfect!

Until then take care and thanks for visiting.

The Seamstress and the Duchess

So I said I would share my costume musings with you and here I am. I did not really have much time this summer to make any costume for Steampunk due to making lots of bags and quite a bit of work stuff to do .

Anyway was a bit unsure of what I really wanted to make, what would really inspire me. The lace on the jacket and boots were a stopgap and both will be worn for everyday as well and the top hat has had plenty of wear since I made it.

I have been considering various options and have looked through all of my fabric stash and have finally decided on a make.

I have been inspired almost simultaneously by two sources, the Seamstress Squadron and a blog,  American Duchess and helped by a recent Ebay purchase or two as shown below!

 

 

Ebay tablecloth 1

Ebay tablecloth 2

Ebay tablecloth 3

The blog I discovered through Pinterest on the way to Ellie’s on the train and spent a happy hour looking at all the lfantastic costumes that they make.

I noticed that one of my costumed lovelies at Lincoln had a badge saying Seamstress Squadron which I thought was pretty cool, and was talking to the lovely lady Allison in the sewing themed dress later on and noticed that she had one too!

Seamstress Squadron patch

Turns out that this is a Facebook group of like minded people who share costume ideas and make wonderful things. They even had a couple of meet ups over the Lincoln weekend.Here is a picture of their sewing motif banner outside the cathedral.

Seamstress Squadron banner

I have joined the group and looking through all their lovely ideas made me realise that I do want to make something original, just for me rather than buy one of the many pretty outfits available.

So what would I make, what really sums up me and what I love fabric wise? Walking into my craft room the answer was obvious, I love vintage embroidery, linen , lace and crochet. Could I combine this into an outfit?

July bags and pouches 13

July extra pouches and bags 7

Once again Pinterest is my friend and inspiration here. I had thought of just putting patches on a garment like the lovely patches I have made for my bag below but then I remembered the tablecloths.

Vintage log cabin bag 1

I was going to cut out the motifs and use them for various things but actually think that there is enough fabric in these tablecloths to make shirt.It was Ellie that gave me the idea as I was talking about a black satin one and she suggested a white one to go with my new purple skirt.

Look at these gorgeous things, all made from tablecloths, doileys, lace and bits of crochet!

Tablecloth garment 1

Tablecloth garment 2

Tablecloth garment 3

Tablecloth garment 4

A quick Google search turned up this lovely pattern for a jacket and skirt set that can also be adapted to make a blouse, I got it half price in the sale as well 🙂 I think this may be the one Allison used to make her outfit as it does look similar.

Butterick pattern 1

Butterick pattern 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I am very pleased with my musings, hopefully I will be able to make something lovely and unique as I realised the things I loved most this weekend were the very quirky and individual ones and I can make the most of this sewing themed outfit. I will be able to use up some of my sewing charms as well and will be decorating this purple hat to go with my theme and making a bag.

Farmer Phils 14- Purple hat

And the great thing is that if it all does go terribly wrong I can still cut it up and make patchwork!

I am going to start this adventure in fabric next week as soon as the tablecloths and pattern arrive. I know Lincoln is not until next year but we will probably go to a couple of other events in Nov and Feb and if I leave the project until next year it may well get forgotten about like the new peasant dress I keep meaning to make every season 😉

Wish me luck and I will keep you updated on the progress!

Thanks as always for visiting and for your lovely comments.

Like mother, like daughter

I taught Ellie to sew when she was about 7, it took her about 6 months to finish her first piece, a cross stitch, and she then went on to make all sorts of things. She is very talented and I was so impressed with her outfit for this weekend.

Steampunk Ellie 2

She had taken inspiration from Belle from Beauty and the Beast and turned one of Kerry’s old medieval dresses into this fantastic costume. She removed the sleeves and neck trim and altered the lacing on the back.

Steampunk Ellie original dress

Steampunk Ellie original dress 2

She added all the little charms to it on the shoulder and the broach parts to the skirt to make it Steampunk and with the addition of a bought belt and cape has got herself an amazing outfit for very little money.

Steampunk Ellie 1

There are tea cup charms here and roses and clocks on the belt and she has a little purse with a rose petal in.

Steampunk Ellie 3

Steampunk Ellie 4

She also made the necklace, using bits of old jewelry and charms. The back features a train made from a sari she picked up at one of the medieval markets.

Steampunk Ellie 5

She even found a beast to dance with!

Steampunk Ellie 6

I am so glad that she enjoys being creative, she has already started work on not one but two outfits for next year!

I had added lace to my velvet jacket and boots, the jacket was a charity find and the boots I have had for about 10 years.

Steampunk Alison 1

Steampunk Alison 4

Steampunk Alison 3

With the addition of some more keys on my hat and another charity shop bargain bag I had an outfit for Saturday and wore an adaptation of this for Sunday with one my new hats from the festival and another lace chocker.

Alison Steampunk Lincoln 1

Steampunk Alison 2

Steampunk Alison 5

Steampunk Alison red hat

I also bought some fab new/old boots. the ones I wore on Saturday while gorgeous were not comfy so Sunday I started off in a pair of lacy flats until we passed an antique shop on the way in and I saw these beautiful shoes at a bargain price.

Steampunk Alison new boots 1

They are flamenco shoes so very appropriate for the amount of time I spend in Spain.Think they might need a little lace as well though!

Steampunk Alison new boots 2

I have been thinking a lot about my next make and have come up with a plan which I shall tell you all about in the next post. This was partly inspired by a conversation with this lovely lady.

Steampunk sewing fabric dress 1

You may recognise the fabric that she used for her jacket. I bought some of this at the Steampunk market here last year as I already had it in the grey and black colourway.

I have used mine for a bag for Yarndale and have bought some more fabric from the same range from this year’s market which I will show you later.

Steampunk sewing fabric dress 2

I love this outfit, she looks so fabulous! Thanks Allison for letting me take pictures of you and share them here.

Steampunk sewing fabric dress 3

As well as outfits people create and adapt some wonderful vehicles, this was an amazing VW camper, absolutely incredible the amount of detail that has gone into this by the creators, The Bucyrus Brothers.

Have been steadily working away at bags and pouches in between marking, enjoying the lull before the storm as term starts in a few weeks and I am teaching most Saturdays until mid November.

Will see you again in a few days when I shall share my musings with you.

Thanks for visiting and have a fun week.

Ladies from Lichtenstein and other delights

As we expected the Steampunk event at Lincoln was amazing, we were again in awe of all of the costumes and I have so many pictures to show you. I have come back with lots of ideas for new costumes for both Steampunk and festival wear.

There were a group from Lichtenstein who won the fashion show last year and they were there again this year, with new costumes. We loved these dresses as it just shows how varied things can be made from the same fabric.

These were their new outfits, how beautiful!

Steampunk Lichenstein new 1

Steampunk Lichenstein new 2

Steampunk Lichenstein new 3

The loveliest thing is chatting to people about their outfits and the pride that people take in having made things themselves. I talked the lady in purple about her fab, and very comfy, shoes and to the lady in the pink hat who told us how she made it. She did a fantastic job and it looked amazing.

There are lots of people dressed in things they have bought and they look wonderful but I really love meeting the people with the more quirky outfits and will develop that for my future outfits.

This lady I met last year with a gorgeous cross stitched butterfly dress and this year she had based her outfit on the nursery rhyme, ‘Mary, Mary quite contrary, how does your garden grow’.The work that had gone into this was incredible and I loved the grass background fabric, inspired!

Another lovely one was this outfit based on crazy patchwork, I talked to the woman who had made it all herself and she said that the ribbon embroidery square was her favourite one.

Steampunk patchwork 5

Another wonderful quirky one was this patchwork of knitting and buttons, with peacock feathers and a wig and a fab top hat, just love it!

Then there were the absolutely stunning ones like these dragon and dragon egg costumes.

Steampunk costumes 4

This lady was there last year in a peacock dress and her new dress with wings was amazing. Her bodyguard also looked stunning.

I will return with another post with our outfits once I get a ,’before’, picture from Ellie as she transformed a dress of Kerry’s into her outfit. I was pleased with mine, not as fantastic as some of the others but I felt good and had my picture taken quite a few times which was a nice complement.

Take care and thanks for visiting.

 

 

Natural beauty

Ellie and I have just come back from our long weekend camping in North Wales. Originally we were booked into a re-enactment at Conwy but our group had to cancel so we thought we would make the most of the opportunity for a visit to some of the National Trust properties in the area.We stayed at  Conwy Touring Park which was a lovely site with great views.

Since it was nice weather for most of the time we not only got to visit several properties but also go for a walk in the mountains in Snowdonia. We saw such beautiful places so I thought I would share some of them with you.

First we visited Erddig , which is a house that dates from the early 1700s and it has been beautifully restored after falling into a ruinous state in the 1960s. The formal gardens were gorgeous and I particularly loved the less formal borders with thistles, poppies and lilies.

Erddig 2

Erddig 3

Erddig 4

Erddig 1

On Saturday we drove into the Snowdonia National Park to an area known as Cwm Idwal which is also owned by the Trust.

Cwm Idwal 1

Cwm Idwal 2

It was a perfect day for walking, cloudy but not wet and the clouds added to the dramatic scenery. We had a brilliant walk round the lake and then a picnic by a waterfall, just perfect!

Cwm Idwal 3

Cwm Idwal 4

Cwm Idwal 5

In the afternoon the sun came out which made the wonderful Bodnant Gardens look fantastic. The house is still in private ownership and the gardens that surround it are just gorgeous with the most beautiful views towards Snowdonia.

Bodnant 1

Bodnant 2

Bodnant 12

Bodnant 13

We really loved the hydrangea bushes, the heads were all at different stages of flowering and it was amazing to see the colours develop on these blue ones, so beautiful!

Bodnant 10

Bodnant 9

Bodnant 11

A great weekend and I will be back later in the week with some of the lovely interiors from these and the other places we visited.

Meanwhile I am working on some more Steampunk stuff as I want to update my outfit. We have been dressing up in the evenings at events and here is a picture taken by my lovely friend Silke at Tatton.

Alison Steampunk - Tatton - small

I love my top hat and am awaiting a new skirt, gloves and choker that will be delivered this week.I am decorating a pair of boots and velvet jacket with lace to add to my collection of outfits.

Take care and thanks for visiting.

 

 

The internet is broken!

Hello everyone, luckily not the whole of the internet or we would be in trouble but my little bit is very poorly. I have had a whole week of very slow speeds, caused by a broken copper cable that is hopefully going to be fixed tomorrow so have not even been able to load WordPress for the last few days hence my lack of posting.

So have had no chance to tell you about the lovely knitted mouse I have just completed or the pincushions I made. Will not be around for the next couple of weeks either as Mum is coming on Friday and we leave for Budapest next Sunday, on our return we go down South for a visit to Ellie, then to my sister.

So will be back in a couple of weeks with pictures of lovely Budapest, really looking forward to it as it has been on my  wishlist for a long time.

In the meantime here is a pic of lovely daughter Ellie at a Steampunk Festival this weekend, she has made new jewelry.Beautiful and talented, not that I am at all biased!

ellie-steampunk

Thanks for visiting and see you all in a few weeks.