Just like Christmas

The Costume Museum of Canada, where I volunteer, has been sorting through boxes of hundreds of shoes.  Some times random things-non shoe things-end up in the boxes and I have the fun of finding them.  In one pair of man’s button boots I found this.button hook

Cool.  I had seen them in photographs and from a distance in museums.  I’ve seen replicas up close.  This is the first one I have ever held in my hot little gloved hands!  Well those button boots happened to be unbuttoned and so for the sake of preservation of those shoes I buttoned them with the hook.  Had a blast.  Learned the hard way it is best to button from the bottom up and not top down.  I can be a hands on learner for sure!

Later on, I found two lumps wrapped in tissue that were not shoe shaped.  I thought they were books.

They turned out to be cases.  Both looked like this one.

They turned out to be cases. Both looked like this one.

Inside one….

3 packets of needles.  2 bodkins.  2 button hooks...one long and one short.  1 crochet hook and 1 tapestry needle.  A few items seemed to be missing.

3 packets of needles. 2 bodkins. 2 button hooks…one long and one short. 1 crochet hook and 1 tapestry needle. A few items seemed to be missing from this “sewing kit”.

If I were to guess, I’d think that scissors would be missing.  The second case seemed to be missing several items as well.

This one had a shoe horn, tweezers and a cuticle cutter.  Would this be a grooming kit?

This one had a shoe horn, tweezers and a cuticle cutter. Would this be a grooming kit for a man?

It seems to be missing a pair of scissors, a button hook and 3 other items.

Completed project…really ugly squirrel costume!

It was National Squirrel Appreciation day on the 21st and at the nursing home, we did a trivia event for the occasion.  I dressed as a grey squirrel.  A really, really big grey squirrel.  Those sweat pants do nothing for me!photo

The tail was made out of brushed out wool tied to a braided strip of wool.  The ears were cut from a strip off of an old fur coat.  The face make up was a grey pallet of eye shadow that I bought myself but ended up not liking on my eyes.  The teeth, which are hidden in the shadows are my own 🙂

 

Oh, the glare!

My blog is on automatic pilot now as I am currently flying to Mexico.  (Hope the plane isn’t on automatic pilot.)  Any time now I will be squinting into the glare of that long forgotten sky-thing which, if memory serves, is called the sun.  Perhaps you’d care for some glare too.SAM_2523

Ackk! My eyes.  I swear that photograph of a photograph didn’t look that bad on the screen of my camera!  If you put on your sunglasses, you can see a nice BIG family of 4 children, a mom and a dad with a killer ‘stash! My guess is early 1900’s as she has a bit of a Gibson girl hair style but smaller, more fitted sleeves.

My wrists are bigger than…

I was looking at some lovely button boots from the 1910’s and thinking, “wouldn’t it be nice if I could buy a pair and put them on”.  I won’t bother stating the obvious about the narrowness of the Victorian foot compared to a modern foot.  We walk around bare foot.  We like comfortable runners and sandles.  Our feet haven’t been squished every moment of our waking day so they are WIDE.  But did you know that our ankles are likely an issue as well.  Apparently they are for me at least!

My wrist is wider!

My wrist is wider!

They also have the heel sticking out so far behind the ankle part.boot 2

Still pretty.  I saw two pairs of 1910’s boots that were virtually unworn.boot 1

The second pair was stretchy in the ankle part.boot 4

Evil Sleevil next

I got a ton of hand sewing done this past weekend!  Bodice is all done except for the sleeves.  The faux shirt had to be hand sewn in and all the buttons-16-in all needed to be put on.  Kept me busy for a couple of movies.photo

What am I gonna call this dress? 1872 Lilac…um…Lovely Lilac….no….Lily’s Lilac….no….ah….Lilac Bush….GADS NO!  1872 Lilac Dream.  Sure why not Lilac Dream it is.

Cool services provided

This cabinet card in my collection appears to be from the 1880’s.  I really like the buttons up both sides of the bodice.  Nice touch.

SAM_2512After a quick Google search, I can say that this photographer was at that address in the early 1880’s.

I like the extra services this guy does.  The instant photograph for children.  I’ve seen enough blurry photographs of children who were not able to hold still for the old slow exposure photograph that was in use at the time.  The fire-proof vault is a nice touch.  I wonder how common that was?

SAM_2513

 

The best is the option to enlarge to life-size.  Probably just a face…not the whole body.  Wouldn’t that be awesome…to have a full body portrait!  Imagine the top photograph in life-size!  Love it!

 

1899-1900 dress

I have a back log of dresses that I’ve photographed from displays that were set up for the Costume Museum of Canada.  The dress I will show you today is likely an evening or dinner gown dated 1899-1900.  It is pretty conservative so I’d say it is for an older woman or perhaps a woman in the later stages of mourning.

Front view.  Notice the two black strips on the front of the gown.  I like that!

Front view. Notice the two black strips on the front of the gown. I like that

The strips are held on with snaps.

The strips are held on with snaps.

The above photo also shows the Battenberg lace on the bodice.

Beading detail on the strips.

Beading detail on the strips.

The belt buckle is cut steel...and I just happened to have some of those in my stash.  They were donated!  Gears are turning....

The belt buckle is cut steel…and I just happened to have some of those in my stash. They were donated! Gears are turning….

Nice grey floral print on the black fabric.

Nice grey floral print on the black fabric.

Basic look for the back.

Basic look for the back.

A couple of layers of pleated netting on the bottom of the skirt.  They add a hint of whispiness and probably helped the skirt hold its shape.

A couple of layers of pleated netting on the bottom of the skirt. They add a hint of “wispy” and probably helped the skirt hold its shape.

HSF 15: #1 Foundations

I hope my sewing this year will fit into one of five goals.  One is to sew things that will make my current Victorian wardrobe more useful.  An example of this is I have an 1870’s mantle that doesn’t really go with anything.  That makes it useless.  I hope to fix that this year.

The second goal is to blast through some of those stashes (fabric and wool). If you sew then you know….

Third goal is  making something for others and I have a few ideas for my son that I’d like to work on.

Fourth goal is the UFO pile which hasn’t gotten out of hand but I’d like to keep it that way.  Okay, okay, I lied.  My sewing pile isn’t too bad but the knitting pile is moving into a hoarding kind of scenario.

The fifth goal is to keep my wardrobe from growing to much…really, there is only so many places I can wear this stuff.  So instead of growing my wardrobe I’d like to enhance the things that I have.  Add some trim, lace, beads…. what have you.  If you look at authentic Victorian clothes…at least the museum pieces…they have trim on their trim.  This goal will also help with the stash busting.

My first submission for Challenge one is going to meet the challenge and my fifth goal.  I took my bustle, which is a foundation garment, and I fixed the broken hook, shortened it because I keep stepping on it when I wear my flatter heeled shoes and I added lace because it was simply a bare bones garment.  Victorians would pretty up even their undies. (Oh that bodice on Trudy is one of those UFOs).

photo

 

The Challenge: #1 Foundations

Fabric: cotton

Pattern: TV 101 wired bustle

Year: 1870-80

Notions: lace and ribbon

How historically accurate is it? The pattern and fabric are fine. The lace is a poly something and I’m not sure they would have put lace there. I’ve seen ruffles. It is plausible enough. So 70%

Hours to complete: As I said the bustle was made previously but it needed a repair on the hook and eye, needed to be shortened and was too plain so I added the lace. That took about 3 hours.

First worn: Can’t remember first time I wore it in its original incarnation. Summer 2013? I haven’t worn it since it has been updated.

Total cost: Can’t remember what original cost was. To do the repair, alteration and update $0. (Unless you count the thread…the lace was all given to me.)

 

So I have some plans similar to this entry where I can meet my goals, participate in the challenges for Historical Sew Fortnightly and not kill myself with deadlines that become less of a motivator and more of a burden. Wish me luck!