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.

 

 

 

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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.

Productivity

Well I surprised even myself with the amount I got completed this weekend.Look at all this bag and pouch loveliness!

July bags and pouches 1

I have had the makings of most of this ready for a while. I have been working on the embroidery with sayings over the last few months and have made a large pile of the vintage embroidery blocks for use in lots of things but I was really on a roll this weekend.

July bags and pouches 3

It helped that I started first thing in the morning and just kept going, alternating cutting out with machining as my sciatica does not enjoy long stretches at the machine.

July bags and pouches 5

July bags and pouches 6

I used the bag tutorial from Emkie Designs as before, I am getting  quite proficient with these now and don’t even need to look at the instructions any more.I think this one is my favourite, if it doesn’t sell that is fine, if it does will have to make one for me!

I like using the lacy zips as well as that is a lot quicker than adding zipper tabs. I have ordered a few more zips from Buddly Crafts to top up my stockpile.

July bags and pouches 10

July bags and pouches 11

The basket is the One Hour Basket tutorial again, I zig zag appliqued the vintage embroidery blocks on before construction.

The Liberty fabric handles were a happy accident, I cut the original handles too narrow and was wondering what to do when I had the bright idea of putting some patterned fabric for the top. I think it looks really good 🙂

July bags and pouches 14

July bags and pouches 16

This one is a gift for one of my cousin’s little girl who I am going to see when I go to Spain next week. I have used one of hexagons my friend Helen gifted me a while ago, I do like the contrast of it against the dark blue linen.

July bags and pouches 2

I have two more pouches in construction, using Dresdens and some vintage crochet and then I shall have to think about how many more I can make before mid Sept. Would love to do more of the sheep embroidery ones but they take a while to stitch.

I know mid Sept seems a long time away but I luckily do not have a free weekend until then. I am away at Peveril Castle for an event this weekend, then off to Spain for 10 days (I shall be mainly standing in a pool as it is about 40 degrees there at the moment!) and then off to a festival with my sister. Excellent amount of lovely things to look forward to, I am a very lucky girl 🙂

So I shall see you all in a couple of weeks when I get back, have fun whatever you are doing and thanks for visiting.

 

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.

Family Heirlooms

During our recent craft evening at Rosemari’s house I was able to take some pictures of the things that she has been working on and with. She has inherited her grandmother’s sewing box containing a lot of unfinished items so for the last year has been working on this hexagon quilt which is now completed.

Rosemari's quilt

This is a Grandmother’s Flower Garden pattern with smaller flowers in between the flowers, a very apt pattern for an inherited quilt! This Pinterest page has lots more pictures of this type of pattern, they are so pretty and were really popular as a quilt pattern. There is some more information on the pattern and links to instructions here at Patterns from History.

The quilt is a fascinating mixture of fabrics and many of them had the backing cards still in them, I love vintage things like these, not just for the item but for the social history aspect of them as well. It has been really lovely to see the progress on this quilt.

Rosemari has now decided to make a patchwork back to the quilt in the colours that will suit her bedroom decor so that it can be used which means she will have a great combination of her work and her grandmother’s.

The other thing she has are some embroidery cases containing stitching thread. The threads are not vintage but the cases are. This one is made of linen with beautiful embroidered flowers that are very similar in design to some of the ones I have on tablecloths and other vintage stash.

Rosemari's stitching roll 2

These embroideries were probably sold as transfers or given away free in magazines which explains why there are so many similar ones. With some of the ones that I have just been using for my log cabin blocks you can still see the blue outline of the transfer.

If you want to have a look at some more vintage motifs there are lots of sites that offer them for free, this one French Knots   has over 300 motifs to print off. The brilliant NeedlenThread site also has a vintage embroidery page with links. This site also has lots of other beautiful free embroidery patterns to print off.

Rosemari's stitching roll 3

Rosemari's stitching roll 4

Rosemari is now working on one of the embroideries that were left as well, it is about half completed and as you can see she has all the threads she needs for that and any more she wants to do.

Rosemari's stitching roll 1

It is lovely that she is able to carry on, not only the tradition of stitching but also her grandmother’s actual work. It makes them very special pieces.

I have been doing lots of embroidery myself over the weekend and have been having a lovely relaxing time, hope that you have had a nice weekend as well and thanks for visiting.

Vintage and useful

One of the reasons that I collect vintage embroidery is that I can’t bear the thought of someone’s work not being appreciated. All those women who have sat over the centuries doing their, ‘work’, for it to languish unloved in the corner of a charity shop is so sad.So I have to rescue them.

Some of the things I have rescued have been turned into little ornaments and pincushions but this is the first time that I have made something large and very useful with them.

So here is the lovely vintage log cabin bag!

Vintage log cabin bag 1

As modelled by my lovely son Jake, four of the blocks were stitched together for the front. I decided against sashing, partly as I was short of fabric, the denim is from one of his old shirts so the bag is 50% recycled.

The bottom of the bag is boxed out using two inch cut outs, using the same technique that I have been using for the pouches. There are also long handles sewn to the top edge before the lining was stitched over them and a small closing flap with a magnetic clasp.

Vintage log cabin bag 5

I did but new fabric for the lining from Simply Solids as I needed half a metre and did not have that much in my stash, this is Dashwood fabric but am not sure of the name of it.

Vintage log cabin bag 3

I put in two pockets and even managed to work out how to trim them with some more of that lovely Liberty print that is in all of the blocks.There is a patch pocket at the back as well.

All my own design cobbled together from various bag ideas and some of the tote bags I already have in my craftroom. I love it and will be using it lots this summer 🙂

Vintage log cabin bag 2

I have just got some more Liberty from Alice Caroline as have decided to make more of these blocks, they are very soothing to do and so quick to put together that I shall do these when I have a spare half an hour here and there.

This is my favourite Liberty supplier, I love her website, look at that banner! I would love someone to buy me all these prints, what a rainbow of loveliness.

Alice Caroline Banner

I have got lots of other ideas for using my vintage stash on Pinterest, here are some of my favourites.

Vintage Crinoline Lady cushion

This lovely cushion features the crinoline lady, I have a few of those in my stash and is from Nostalgia at the Stone House blog. Nikki the owner of the blog makes beautiful dolls as well out of vintage fabrics and lace.

Vintage hexagons

And look at these gorgeous hexagons from Brodibidouillages  , I did make some like these a while ago as shown  below but had trouble with the edging so must dig them out and try again.

bee quilt progress

There are some beautiful things on this blog Isa Creative Musings as well, so much inspiration!

We are off to Ashby de la Zouche castle this weekend again for our annual show there, praying for fine weather. It has been so hot for the last two days here while I have been inside marking but the forecast is for rain Sunday and Monday. Typical Bank Holiday weather!

Hope you have a nice weekend planned whatever you are doing 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.