Apron: I couldn’t resist

A few weekends ago, the hubby and I checked out a few antique shops. We made a stop at The Old House Revival Company, which is a multiple vendor shop that has old house fixtures, furniture, knickknacks and clothing for sale.  I saw many things I wanted…many of which I could afford, but I couldn’t justify them.  Except for one thing.  An apron that was beautifully trimmed and starched to near cardboard crispness.  That I couldn’t resist!  IMG_20160807_121745

I will find a way to make this useful.  Perhaps, dear Victorian at Heart girls, I will host a costumed tea this winter.  You will come to my non-Victorian home and pretend you are my Victorian girlfriends come to tea and a hand sewing/knit session.  May be we will get really authentic and watch a Victorian themed movie!

Are there any apron experts that can tell me what the best time period would be for this apron and if there is anything I should do to make is more Victorian.  Did they have the neck strap or was the bib just pinned on?  IMG_20160807_115725766

Mosquitos and graves: Little Britain Church

I went on an outing this weekend with my good costuming bud, Shirley.  This time we went to a little church called Little Britain Church.00

Shirley wore her new 1886 Butter Scotch dress.  Great colors!14

I wore my 1873 Purple Polonaise.8

Will they let us in, do you think?11

The original church from the 1850’s is gone now.  The current building (which is still in use) was built in the 1870’s.20There are graves from the 1850’s up to today.2864

We walked along the river which was an infested breeding ground for mosquitos.  All the layers of clothes were a blessing except the only exposed flesh they could get at was our faces!53

Shirley and I seem to have a bit of a problem with staying in character!


And sometimes we are just silly!


HSF 2016: Challenge 7 Monochrome

Slowly catching up!  This one is only a month and a half late!  Technically it was done last week but late is late!  IMG_20160814_164503740

Challenge #7: Monochrome.

What the item is: Belt

Fabric/Materials: cotton

Pattern: self drafted

Year: mid to late Victorian

Notions: belt buckle

How historically accurate is it? The pattern is basically a waist band that is not attached to a skirt.  This seems like something a Victorian would do if they wanted a belt that went with a certain outfit.  The cloth is cotton, which is possible.  And plain black fabric was common.  I can’t judge the weave on its accuracy-not my area of expertise.  The long seams where machine sewn and the buckle was attached with hand sewing-all possible by the 1860’s.  The buckle is possibly late Victorian (I was given a few things at one point that were late Victorian to Edwardian).  The fact that the buckle is old makes it more “legit” than some of my other modern substitutes! The belt works with my middle class persona and is intended for day wear outfits.  IMG_20160814_164457398I give it 80-90% accuracy.

Hours to complete: 2

First worn: not yet

Total cost: $0 the fabric came from my scraps bin and the buckle was given to me.  If someone else were to make it, the cost would depend largely on the buckle.

Tomorrow’s post will be about a photo shoot with my good pal Shirley!

HSF 2016: #6 Travel

The Challenge: #6 Travel.  I made it for when I travel to a Dickens Festival this winter. (Unbeknownst to me when I started this project, I would be changing jobs and not likely traveling to the Festival this year because of starting back at square one with vacation time.)


Material: synthetic blend material likely intended for curtains

Pattern: TV242 Revered Skirt

Year: 1863

Notions: Lace, Ribbon, Buttons, Hook and eye


How historically accurate is it? The pattern is good.  Fiber content is not.  The floral pattern in the weave may be a bit too big.  The fibers seem a bit too thick as well.  The color is pretty good.  I machine sewed a lot and machines were around but not that common, certainly not in this part of Canada.  The notions are made of modern materials but look the part (if you don’t get too close).  This likely would be used for a visiting dress for an upper middle class woman.  The silhouette would be better if my hoops weren’t collapsing under the weight.  I’m going to have to invest in hoop steel.  The tubing from the hardware store is not cutting the mustard. 40-45% accurate.

Hours to complete: This skirt was supposed to be done in June but it took way longer.  It is the most work I’ve ever had to do on a skirt and it fought me all the way!  I have no idea how many hours it took.

First worn: not yet

Total cost: I’m guessing here…it has been awhile…about $80.  I have to sacrifice in the accuracy department to save money (and time.)

I think it is done but there is a possibility I will add some black ribbon to the lace layer to tie it in a bit more to the rest of the trim or perhaps another more ruffled layer of lace.  The harsh edge of the salvage bothers me.  ( I think an actual hem would bother me more.)  That whole lace layer is bugging me a bit.  The lace layer on my inspiration fashion plate (the dress on the left), matches the main color of the dress, not the trim.  But the dress on the right has some contrast.  It is done for now.  I will wear it a time or two and see if I feel inspired to “fix” it.tv242colorfin

5 costumes, regular clothes, 2 suit cases

Yes it can be done!  A reader asked how I managed to get all my crap to Coco.19

All that fits into one suit case, one carry one bag and one purse.

All the credit goes to a knock off version of these!Space-Bag-Suitcase_Gallery_1_2X_new

With the air squished out, the mountain reduces to this.18

Which fits into this.17

The checked luggage was full but well under the weight restrictions.  There was still a bit of room in the carry on, but it was heavy…dragging it from one end of the Vancouver airport to the other nearly killed me…next time I invest in a carry on with wheels.

I was careful to chose costumes that could share elements (petticoats, bustles, jewelry, corsets…) to save space.  With it being summer, my regular clothes didn’t take up much space.  This left me room for snacks, and things to do on the plane.  Hope that answers your question.

I hope my next post will be a completed project but the dang thing has been fighting me.  I hope I can finish today….

Coco shopping

I scored some good stuff while at Coco.  While on the FIDM tour, we made a pit stop in the scholarship store and low and behold, the last Friday of the month is 50% off day!

The first score is about 5 yards of very wide fabric.  It feels very linen like and in fact, I’m sure it must be linen.  The photograph got the color right.  So the color,feel and amount of the fabric says some sort of walking suit-in the later years, probably 1890’s.  I’m playing with the idea of dying it.  But I’ve never dyed that much fabric before.  I also got a couple of lace yokes that I think could work as collars.  And there is some lace ribbon too.  If I keep the color of the fabric the same, I may tea stain the lace to take some of the stark white out.  It feels too harsh a contrast.


I bought two pieces of leather that I think are big enough to try my hand at glove making.  Every other pair of gloves I have picked up have either looked far to modern or far too small.  Leather stretches some but lets face it, they wont go from pencil thin to sausage thick!  I will definitely need to do a mock up to make sure my glove pattern will fit me because there is no wiggle room for mistakes!  I also need to do some research on how to cut and sew leather as I have never done this before!


The above bits cost me $17.  I was torn between laughing and crying with joy when I heard the price.  I’d NEVER in a million years find that kind of deal at home!

Next, I went to the FIDM student book store.  I found these French Curves for $7.  My local fabric store has them for a much higher cost.  I couldn’t justify the expense.


When I went to the market at Coco, I found these metal buttons and figured they would be a wonderful addition to the costume kit I am building.


I also found some coutiel, which I can’t find in my local fabric store. I have wanted to take another run at corset making and knew my biggest problem with my first attempt was not coutiel-my corset stretched on first wearing.  I snapped this package up because it saves me the cost of shipping.   I also prefer shopping in person to on line shopping.  I like to see and feel what I am buying.147

I got a pretty good haul at the bargain basement.  I got some random trim that I have no plans for yet but I know one day….

I picked up some plaid because I have been wanting to try working with that again.


One of the plaids and another plain fabric seemed like they may make good contrasts fabrics for my linen suit kit. I also picked up some plain buttons that may work as well.198

So my sewing line up is: finish my Spanish inspired gown (Just need to finish the waist band and make the belt), sew the paisley I bought last December into an 1840’s dress, then the gloves, the corset and then the walking suit.  I also have two or three knitting projects in the line up as well.  Whew!  I need to retire so I can have more time!