"Resign yourself, Catherine! Shops must be visited! Money must be spent! Do you think you could bear it?" - Northanger Abbey

Saturday, December 31, 2011

More embroidery

I've kinda got a bit obsessed with embroidery lately. I'm embelishing anything that doesn't move. lol! Think I need to seriously concentrate on improving my satinstitch as at the moment its a bit 'go with the flow' rather than planning before I start. 
Regency reticule

I've almost finished my reticule...although I may add some more decoration near the 'point' of the bag.
Lazy daisy and running stitch

I've gone a bit lazy daisy crazy...flowers everywhere.
Bunch of roses
 And am having fun with french knots.

Too small

Too big
The 'chicken scratch' on gingham I am finding it trickier than I thought it would be. Can't seem to get the scale right. Plus I'm not sure if I should do all tyhe double cross stitches first them fill in or just do both stitches as I go along.

Anyways I got pleanty of scrap material to practice on...what next...hmmm...I think thosse cushions need decorating. Mawhahahahahah!

Friday, December 30, 2011

clogs - a side note

Regular readers of my learning to clog blog know I love my clogs from Trefor Owen they are so comfortable to dance/step in. I find it so hard to find shoes that are comfortable. So a couple of months ago I ordered a pair of clogs for everyday wear. I chose the brogue 40's laceup style. But without  the patent. They arrived a little while a go but just got round to taking some photo's.

You can see the slightly higher heel.

Aren't they lovely?

Saturday, December 24, 2011

3 hour apron

I decided to make the apron yesterday...took me all afternoon even using the sewing machine to try to speed the process up. Half the problem was the crinkle cotton made it all really tricky to cut accurately.
I did my best folding it in half then half again to get it equal rather than wonkey on the corners. Then I cut out the hole for the neckline.

I then thought I'd like to add a peter pan collar. So used some scraps of blue and left over interfacing.
It didn't go quite according to plan. I couldn't figure out how to make the collar sit right.
Then sewed up the sides. Ta da!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Crinkle Cotton and Aprons

Now what to do with 3 metres of pale blue crinkle cotton?
Originally I was planning to use it for toiles, but once it arrived I saw that wasn't viable. Next I thought a circle skirt would be nice. But that seems is a bad idea.
Then I saw some aprons over at Hectic Eclectic and thought ooh, maybe I can try an apron. Its only gonna get covered in flour so if its a bit scruffy it won't matter.
There's a slip on apron pattern on antique pattern library from the 1920's which I think I might try.

"How hard can it be?"
If it works out I'll be using it for some baking...instead of covering myself in flour as usual.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Embroidery - some thoughts

I'm finding my preference for sewing by hand, making small items and strong sense of design plus the visual way in which I learn is suiting embroidery much more that clothesmaking. I'm enjoying making designs up from scratch and learning new types of stitching. I have found Stitch school blog an easy way to learn the stitches. I've even tried to mix embroidery and applique.
And just tried out as many stitches as possible. The crazy quilt has been great for practice.

Stitches wot I have sewn
The stitching on the reticule has been my neatest so far.

Which brings me on to....
To use an embroidery hoop or not to use an embroidery hoop...that is the question.
So far I've done fine without one, but wonder if there are advantages to using one I have yet to discover. Is it worth getting one and if so what size?

Monday, December 19, 2011

Bonnets and Bags -upcycled

I've been busying myself with some little projects while waiting to get some fabric to start my dress.
First off I did some upcycling. Turned a pocket, shirt tail and scraps from a sheet into a bonnet.

Its not quite finished as I need to quilt it. Have only wadded the brim edge so far.

Second item from scraps of a sheet and left over embroidery thread was...a reticule (Regency purse/bag).

Kept it simple
Still got to finish off. Sew two pieces together and add the ribbon handle.

Edit: Decided to do 2 more panels after my finger slipped and I accidentally ordered 72 skiens of embroidery thread. lol! Should keep me occupied for a while. Afterwards...got in mind a beret with some embroidery on the crown.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Transition Fashions - a slight ramble

My favorite fashions in history have always been the transition between eras and styles. When the fashionable silhouette is being defined and the differences aren't so extreme.

For example I'm preferring the 1790's-1800's period of fashion over the 1700's-1780's and 1810-1820 just simply because the earlier stuff seems cumbersome (although I do like the polonaise skirts - If I could incorporate that kinda skirt into a modern style  I would.) and the later stuff just doesn't suit me as the waistlines are too high.
I generally prefer clothes that sit on the natural waist...or close as possible to it.

I'm noticing a transition in modern clothes even now. Couple of years ago all the smock tops were 'empire line'.
Over the past years the waistline is moving down. I'm even seeing the very first appearances of drop waist on tops and dresses. And am so pleased the midi skirt is being sold again. I am not a mini skirt person.


I've been watching the manor reborn.
And their approach to the refurbishment kinda reflects my approach to historical costume.

If an item was used in a practical way in the past its better to make it practical today (even if its not strictly accurate to the Nth degree) so it can be used rather than stuck behind glass/in the back of the wardrobe because its impossible to wear. Especially if a lot of work goes into it.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Patterns of Fashion - Half Robe wraparound - the toile

So I've made a start. I'm thinking I can't have been too far away from the original models size. As when I did paper pattern I added 2 inches...and once I made up the toile..silly me had forgot the paper pattern didn't include seam allowances which I *did* add to the fabric toile. I found I had to take about 1 1/2 inches off.

I wanted to try and avoid obvious darts. So I too in the 'curve' at the seams.
Close up

I wasn't sure if the 'lining' should just 'meet' or overlap. And by how much. At the moment it is overlapping quite a lot.

Ignore the darts I took them out once I added the darts at the seams.
You can see the overlap if you look carefully at above picture.

I then started on the 'wrapover' part. That went quite smoothly once I figured out which side seam it should be in line with.
Back - found it looked better attached to that seam rather than the other one.

Not the clearest picture. But shows front with wrapover over over lining.
Next step getting my head round how to attach the wrap around skirt.

Edit: A photo of the original
Makes a bit more sense now.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Patterns of Fashion 1

Been enjoying looking through and reading Janet Arnold's Patterns of Fashion 1&2.
(Great set of books recommended).

Now I got brave and scaled up the pattern.
The wrap-over half robe on page 44 of patterns of fashion.
(Haven't got round to the skirt bit yet.)
Now I found the front sat ok..but the back didn't. The centre back didn't reach to the 'centre back'. My instinct was to extend the last panel. I'm wondering if I should have extended it at different place.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Dresses, Patterns etc.

So my mock up of drawstring dress...lets just say it didn't turn out very flattering (pics later) so I will either unpick, adjust or use as petticoat.

On more positive note. Janet Arnold's Patterns of Fashion 1&2 arrived at the weekend...I've had my nose in them ever since. Wanted to try out some of the patterns but I have tried scaling up patterns before and its been a disaster. And being low on 'scrap' fabric. I decided to make them to the size of the pattern in the book. They might fit a doll. But I like that it would make them quick to put together to see how they looked.
Page 44
This all makes me what to scream. Why can't I get clothes to fit?!!!!!


I've calmed down now. It doesn't look so bad when I put a sash round it. But it does look like what it is and that's a dress made out of a sheet.



Back (Which is too wide forgot original pattern opened at the back so should have taken some of the width out.)


Sunday, November 27, 2011

And now for something completely different...

And now for something completely different, well not sewing related...some of my musical (I hope) squeezebox wrangling.


I loved a charming creature, such a very timid maid,
She can stand almost anything but of water she's afraid,
She'll have a tidy fortune when her uncle dies some day,
While on a voyage to Dover once, that girl to me did say.

Oh! Joe the boat's going over,
Oh! Joe you naughty man she cried,
Oh! Joe I wish you'd been in Dover,
Before you ever took me on the water for a ride.

The weind was blowing rather rough she clung so tight to me,
The boat began to pitch and toss, all on the briny sea,
She looked so wild she cried aloud in a frantic sort of way,
Her arms she flung around my neck and then to me did say-

I told Matilda don't be afraid now there's a dear,
With a smile she looked into my face, and gave me such a leer,
A kiss then on her cheek I stole, oh, she seemed rather shy,
And while I was kissing her, that girl to me did cry-

We landed safe in Dover, her uncle there we found,
He died two days after that, and left her eight hundred pounds.
I made Matilda my dear wife we're so happy night and day,
While sitting by her fireside sometimes she'll say-

A maid in Bedlam (I love my love because my love loves me) Lyrics
Abroad as I was walking, one evening in the spring,
I heard a maid in Bedlam so sweetly for to sing;
Her chains she rattled with her hands, and thus replied she:
"I love my love, because I know my love loves me!"

Oh! my cruel parents have been too unkind!
They've drove and banished me, and tortured my mind!
Although I'm ruined for his sake, contented will I be;
I love my love, because I know my love loves me.

Could I become a swallow, I'd ascend up in the air;
Then, if I lost my labour, and shouldn't find him there,
I quickly would become a fish, and search the flowing sea;
I love my love, because I know my love loves me.

With straw I'll make a garland, and dress it very fine,
I'll mix the same with roses, lily, pink, and thyme,
I will preserve it for my love when he returns from sea;
I love my love, became I know my love loves me.

Just as she was sat weeping, her love came on the land,
Hearing she was in Bedlam, he ran straight out of hand,
And, as he entered in the gates he heard her sigh and say,
"I love my love, because I know my love loves me!"

He stood and gazed on her, hearing his love complain,
He could not stand any longer, he bled in every vein;
He flew into her snowy-white arms, and replied he:
"I love my love, because I know my love loves me."

She said, "My love, don't frighten me; are you my love, or no?"
"Oh yes, my dearest Nancy, I am your love, also
I am returned to make amends for all your injury;
I love my love, because I know my love loves me."

So now they are married, and may they happy be,
Like turtle-doves together, in love and unity.
All pretty maids with patience wait, that have got loves at sea;
I love my love, because I know my love loves me.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Regency Dress for Jane Austen Festival

I have finally decided on an outfit.
Dress. I am going make...
This one.
See link
Although will make the spencer longsleeved.
So, last night I decided to try to see if I could do a drawstring dress using the S&S pattern as my base and using the 'moulage template' to compare and adjust so I knew how deep I needed to go to fit (see I can work some stuff out myself). Oh and I made sure I added ample fabric to top and bottom of bodice just in case. I can get it over my head, the armholes don't feel like the are too far forward. Got to put the drawstring in and see how it feels next.
Now I get how to add the drawstring about the neck.
I'm confused how to add it on the waist? Trying to figure out of I should slightly gather the bodice first attach to skirt pieces then add the drawstring like on my modern clothes is like little loops the string goes through. Or is there something that needs to be done on the bodice first? Or do I just use a sash?
Haven't got enough spare fabric to do a long skirt so might do a shorter one so I can experiment.
My aim is to have a dress I can pull over my head rather than struggle to do up with a back opening. Don't want 'snaps' as they might undo. Buttons I avoid not having buttonhole option on my machine. Hook and eye again its the coming undone problem.

I'm thinking about doing this for my hair/head dress.
But having turban/hair wrap in pink and white instead of blue and white.

Quick Update
I'm wondering if I should now change design as my mock up drawstring isn't really suiting me. Plus I really aught to use the material I bought originally.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Regency Dress - getting it to fit

My 'pattern' for bodice (ignore the darts-I moved those later)

I was really struggling with getting the bought pattern to fit me correctly. So at the advice of the lady from this blog. I made my own pattern using two rectangles to make a lose 'tunic' which I then pinned and cut and drew on while wearing to create the shape I wanted. Still need to tweak the back. Lower the collar a little and add in the curved seams but I just wanted to put it together quickly to get the 'fit' right. And when it comes to it I may cut the collar front a little lower. When it came to the darts in the final toile I used the 50's dress I had made as reference.

I used an old oversize shirt I'd got for the bargain price of £1 a couple of years ago. (I'm quite liking the plaid with cream look on the dress. lol!) Now I know if I like the fabric on an oversize blokes shirt I can buy it and turn it into my bodice material.

Next step is the skirt...which definitely needs another panel or two in it to make it wide/full enough.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Some regency dress designs

"Can you make me a cambric shirt?
Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme
Without a seam or needlework
Then you shall be a true lover of mine."

Here are some I drew out quickly....got a few more I need to scan in. I have a shirtdress at home I find really comfy...and it just happens to be empireline. Quite tempted to use the top part as a 'template'.
I also have a smock top I like the top and sleeves for.

Well anyway here is some sketches color will be added later.
The bodice would be a solid green and the skirt a white with yellow and green flowers. Trimmed with olive green ribbon.
I like the dress on the right

Dress on the Left has top based on the photo at bottom of page. The right is simple drawstring would be done in faded pastel pink or white cambric with floral braid trim.

Dress on the left is 'nautical' inspired (would be in blue & white). Dress on Right white petticoat with crossover pellise in a solid colour.

Spotted this dress on another blog. I think it would suit me.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Regency Dress part 2

So I'm having an argument with my toile at the moment. It just doesn't fit or flatter with or without the appropriate foundation garments.


Inside Back
 I ended up for some reason with the bodice being bigger than the skirt. So Instead of pleating the skirt had to gather the top more. So plan A has failed.

Plan B is to try and make my own pattern (with help-if a certain person doesn't decide she's got more important things to do)

My plan C is to buy a modern maxi dress, put it with my chemise and have a shawl or spencer jacket.
Example of the kind of look
Of course the model there is 8 inches too tall (can you believe it only £5.99!?). I'd have to take the length up. But you get the idea.

I'm only going to get to do the saturday anyway.:(