So many ideas. So little time.

I saw this photograph….1860's dress day lilac tambour Glascow…on the American Duchess’ blog.

I thought, “Oooo, how pretty!  I want to make one of those”. As you do.

It is done in a tambour muslin.  “What is that?,” you may ask.  I had to ask the same question. Off to the world-wide web for the answer.  I found this photograph which summed it up nicely.

Tambouring1Basically, you pencil in a pattern on a fabric and punch a fine hook through the fabric, along the pattern line.  You hook the tread and pull it through.  You continue along, basically doing a crochet chain stitch through the fabric.  To get a dress like the one above, you’d be doing some major Netflix marathons!  The real trick would be to keep the stitches consistent.  The temptation would be to let the stitches get bigger and bigger so you could go faster and faster.

If I did a dress like this, I’d also like to add a detail like this one.  I can’t recall where I found this but it is quite pretty and looks more complicated than it is.12993497_1105828362808570_8115833867320330133_n


Tuesday’s treasure: the unknowns

Most Tuesdays I volunteer at the Costume Museum of Canada and I photograph some of my favorite finds to share here. This week’s feature is a group of pins that I think are Victorian/Edwardian but there is no official date for them.  So they are the pretty unknowns.unknowns a

Which one is your favorite? The one with the speckled stones?unknowns c

The one with the multi-colored stones ? (That makes me think it could be part of a plot for a Celtic mystical magic book. Each stone holds a special power and when combined on the pin, the holder has all the magic needed to become king.)unknowns dOr is it the one with the dangly chain?unknowns e

Or are you a big fan of purple?unknowns b

I can not tell a lie…I love the purple one best.

HSF 16: challenge 3 Gender Bender

I have been very productive this weekend.  I repaired a reticule that had loose trim and the chain kept snagging on my gloves and then breaking.  IMG_20160424_180510752

I tacked the beading down again and then wove a ribbon through the chain.  I hope the ribbon will provide strength to the chain and also help reduce the number of times it hooks on my gloves.

I also re-did the Garibaldi shirt I made earlier this year.  IMG_20160228_175348353The pattern called for the ribbon to go across the shoulders and on the cuffs.  I was good with that.  But the one down the front….  It bugged me a bit. A participant in the Facebook page for the Historical Sew Fortnightly commented on it.  She offered up another suggestion that involved more ribbon than I had but it was enough to get me to rethink the whole thing.  This is what I came up with. (Note to self: corset cover needs to be on my to do list!)IMG_20160424_180754926

I’m happier with this.  The best part is I got to use the antique buttons that I had originally bought for this project!IMG_20160424_180822882I also finished the bolero.  I posted about all the options I had for finishing it yesterday, but  I ended up using another suggestion I got on the Facebook page.IMG_20160424_183105110

This looks much better to me than yesterday’s incarnation!  See the before and after.

So here are the stats:

The Challenge: #3 Gender Bender. Boleros were inspired by the matador’s chaquetilla.

Material: Poly blend damask.  Likely intended for curtains.  Poly blend for lining.

Pattern: TV444

Year: 1864

Notions: trim (cotton machine lace, poly ribbon), clasp, hook and eye

How historically accurate is it?  The pattern is good.  The fiber content is not. The weave of the fabric…well that is beyond my expertise but I believe the color is plausible.  It was machine sewn which is possible for a wealthy home or seamstress.  The clasp is old but not likely as old as 1860’s (late Victorian/early Edwardian?)  I intend this to be a dress that I (a middle aged lady) will wear walking out and visiting.  If a real Victorian saw me in it I don’t believe they’d be shocked or confused by my appearance.  And they’d all want to know how come dirt comes out of my dress so easily and why it doesn’t fade in the wash! I will give it 80%.

Hours to complete: 12-15

First worn: It will be worn next December at a Dickens Festival.  No freak out sewing in the car on the way there for this girl!


Bolero progress: decisions

I made some progress on the bolero.  The second sleeve went on (no issues-yeah!) The lining went in and the arm hole edges were bound. I got almost all of the trim on.  I just need to do the cuffs and closure.  I didn’t finish the cuffs because I started playing around with options for the closure.  As a reminder, the shirt that goes under the bolero was finished with a brooch and ribbon.IMG_20160228_175348353

Once I put the bolero on and played with the closure ideas, I couldn’t decide if the brooch was too much.

Stay tuned to find out which option I went for.

Turn the page: Bar pin beauties

The next page in my cabinet card album features two women who both happen to be wearing bar pins.2a

The lady on the left seems to be a blond with a kind, round face and bright eyes.2b

Her photograph was taken in Buffalo NY by J.R. Potter2cPotter worked in Buffalo 1863-1908.  Sometimes he worked with others and sometimes he worked alone.  He was working alone at this address from 1882-91.2d

The other lady does not have any markings on her card to give clues to location or dates.2e

She seems considerably younger and she seems to have very short hair. She may have a bun at the back but she seems to have very short hair around her face.  She also has something on her head, either a small hat or ribbons.  If she is as young as she seems then ribbons would seem the correct thing on her head.

My plant is mixed up…so am I

I happened to notice that my Christmas Cactus seems to think that it is Christmas time!img_20160419_183241852.jpg

Odd little fella.  Or is he?  Lately, I have been working on projects that will be worn this December at the Dickens’ Festival in Carlyle.  Perhaps Mr. Cactus is just getting in the spirit of things around here.  So lets follow along, shall we?

When we think Christmas and Dickens, we think “A Christmas Story” which is about Scrooge who is a miser.  So let us check out a couple of miser’s purses (nice segue, eh).

1870 miser purse CMC a

The right side is showing the correct side and the left is showing the back.  Both sides are, in fact, the same.


It is a crochet and beaded bag from 1870’s and is from the Costume Museum of Canada’s collection.

1870 miser purse CMC b

The ends are beaded

Honestly, I must have been brain dead the day I took these photographs because I could not figure out how to get in it.  Now that I look at the photographs, it is obvious.  The top layer is a flap that you would lift to reach into the pocket. Gosh, I am so dim sometimes!

1870 miser purse CMC d

The two pockets are joined by braided strand that are knotted in the middle. (Yes we noticed the broken bead section and the loose beads and the poor thing was safely packaged up in an envelope to await some conservation work.

1870 miser purse CMC c

The rings are attached to the knot.  The end ring is covered in a stitch that I have done when doing Dorset buttons.  That ring could attach to a chatelaine of some type or be worn on a finger.

I think I have another project to try some day!

Before I start another miser purse, I should pull the one I have started, out of the UFO pile. This is as far as I got… Bah, humbug.Miser 3

It has been so long since I have looked at it, I will have to figure out how to do it again.  I can’t even remember what my plan was for the bead pattern.

May be this bag from the 1890’s (also from the Costume Museum of Canada’s collection) will inspire me.IMG_20160405_180209855

1890 miser purse CMC a

Happy Christmas in May and a Bah Humbug to you and yours.

Sewing in the dungeon: round 2

I have made some more progress on the bolero.  My first session (Saturday) got me this far.IMG_20160416_170523409

And Sunday I made some headway on assembling the trim (it is a combination of 3 elements) and creating the “lapel” that is in my inspiration.  I also got the sleevils assembled with only one glitch (I made two right sleeves with the lining-doh!) and trimmed one and attached it.IMG_20160417_161044452a

Just for fun, I took “Paint” and doctored the photograph to show where I will add more of the trim.IMG_20160417_161044452

I wish the ribbon that I wove into the lace showed up better.  Hmmm.  Am I over thinking things again?

FYI: I asked the Facebook Historical Sew Fortnightly members their opinion on whether this pattern would work sleeveless.  Consensus is yes based on this picture.13047957_1085913514803791_6468210391760382875_o

The face in the above drawing is a very young one but I’m hoping that I could make a sleeveless one and not be a mutton dressed as a lamb.  Youth fashions looked a lot like adult fashion with shorter skirts and lighter colors, right?

I also found another inspiration fashion plate.  I need a contrasting skirt….petersons1865aug244x450…as well as a matching one.tv242colorfin

Progress Report-sewing in the dungeon

My son moved back home (yeah!) but I lost my sewing room (boo).  I did not wish to go back to the days where all my stuff was scattered all through the house and sewing days meant no family meals because my table was occupied.  So I cleared some crap out of the laundry room and set up head quarters there.  Today was the inaugural launching of sewing in the dungeon and it went well.  I have been working on TV444 which is a Spanish Jacket.  The inspiration is the black dress on the left.tv242colorfin

Since my version will be in red, it is obvious that the goal is “general impression”.IMG_20160416_170523409

Bodice and sleeves are assembled as well as the lining.  I’ve stopped here to consider how I will trim this because there is a good possibility that trimming will be easier at this stage.  I’m also considering relaxing those darts a bit.  The added bulk of the shirt seems to be making, what should be a loose item, seem a bit snug.  But it may not be needed as I am squishier than Trudy.  Lets just say there is more “give” in the strategic spots.

As a quick side note, I am thrilled at the latest addition to my Home Pastures dishware set.  It has been ages since I found a piece at a decent price!IMG_20160415_054559738




Turn the page: family

The next set of pages in my Victorian photo album features a lady and a family.


The family photograph has three women, 6 men and 4 children.  So one can assume it is either a group of friends or extended family.  There are no photographers marks on this card to help with location or date.  The photograph seems to be taken in front of a house so is this an amateur photographer?1b

When I zoomed in on the photograph I thought the fellow on the right in the front looked familiar.

1b (2)

I think he looks a lot like this fellow…. (also from the album).  What do you think?  Same guy?SAM_3263

This is the lady on the other page.1c

The St. Mary’s, likely refers to St. Mary’s Ontario.  There was a photographer there by that name who was working 1878-96.  I am wondering if this is a reprint of an older photograph.  Her style of clothing seems more 1860’s to me.  Very pretty lady.