Hat…Better and last version

The hat for my Spanish inspired dress is done-for real.  Background info: I had considered a shape like a Spanish Flamenco dancer might wear, but couldn’t find any evidence that this would have been done so I opted for the cute little number I have been showing you.  I wasn’t happy with my first version and came up with a few ideas that might fix it.  I decided most of the ideas were too labor intensive for very little return and just went with the one glaring problem…the lace.  IMG_20160828_194855354

I didn’t like the sharp angle of the bend and decided a curve would be more effort but definitely nicer.img_20160829_093845227.jpg

I didn’t swap the flowers out for smaller ones (because I didn’t have any) but I did take the ones off of the back and went for a bow instead.img_20160829_093740191.jpg

I’ve decided I’m not young or dainty enough to pull off “cute” hats-the Flamenco style would have suited my face so much better-to bad I could find no evidence of this style of hat for women in the 1860’s.  Note to self, steer clear of cute inspirations and move towards dignified or dramatic! Leave cute to the dog!img_20160827_120941879.jpg

*This poor dog is in dire need of a groomer but her groomer takes the weekends off in summer and I have no way to take her during the week.  She still is cute to me!

The hat is done-not

The hat is done-or not.  Some how it isn’t as cute as the drawing. This outfit is resisting being made!




I may look at it again in a day or two and decide if the following changes need to happen.  Change 1) shave that corner off that sticks out over the ear and behind the tie.  In the drawing, the corner is hidden under the tie.  I could try moving the tie but then I think the hat will slip backwards on my head rather than pulling the hat down onto my head.

Change 2) change the lace so that it curves rather than bends where the tie attaches.

Change 3) I have the two layers in the brim but you can’t see the lower one in mine.  I think if I wire the top layer, the two layers would be more pronounced.IMG_20160828_194902688

Change 4) Smaller flowers.  Definitely, smaller flowers.

Project progress

I have three projects on the go.  I am knitting my Canadian cloud.  Lord knows when it will be finished.  Stupid things takes 45 minutes per row and each row progresses the thing 1/8 of an inch (3 mm).  It needs to be a yard long (just shy of a meter). It is small and piddly and so I struggle with my eyes getting tired, my mind getting bored or my time running out.  I am averaging 5 rows a week.  I may finish it next year!img_20160828_115754412.jpg

For the month of August, Historical Sew Monthly has a pattern challenge.  I’ve got 3 or 4 days to go…. and I’ve only got the thing cut out!img_20160828_115812715.jpg

My Spanish dress is done but it does need a hat before I wear it out next week.  This is my inspiration.1860hat2

I found a mans straw hat at a thrift store and I soaked it and chopped it to reshape it.  I should have taken a before picture but forgot/got too lazy to set up the camera.  It is a standard man’s hat that looked a lot like this one.



I tried to separate the strips by cutting just the sewing but some of the straw still broke and will be very rough so today I think I will be covering the edges in bias tape (and calling it a decorative choice rather than a necessity) and hopefully trimming it.

The hat project seems the best choice for today as I am stoned on my migraine medication and sewing or knitting would be a very bad choice indeed! Writing a blog post is likely a bad move too.  Tomorrow, I could be looking at it and thinking “this is gibberish!”

I now head to Netflix and commence sewing down my trim….

Fur and Feather Friday

There is a crisp nip in the air this morning.  Honestly, I’m not a fan of extreme heat and spend most of the summer moving from one air conditioner to another-a fact that has become more true since menopause became a fact of my life-so I am relieved.

As the summer heads to its end, I have been noticing that the Canadian geese have begun flight school for the young ones.  They fly in formation but not very high and not heading south so I assume it is just practice runs as they look for farmers fields with grain on the ground.  In a week or two, our man made lake will be loaded every evening with geese (and ducks) that are grouping up and getting ready to head south.  The geese head south.  I have no idea what the ducks do.  I guess they head south too because I sure don’t see them waddling around my yard in February.

This past spring, we had a momma duck and her babies in my flower bed.  She runs a tight ship!  Those babies stuck to her like glue!  So close that at first you can’t tell it is more than one bird.SAM_3662

But as she moves to get away from us, we got a glimpse of fluffy sweetness.


There they go….a few more feet and they are in the lake!SAM_3666

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….