The line between weird and cool

I had absolutely no inspiration for a blog post today until I read another bloggers post.  The gist of it was her experience with two groups of costumers, those who would live in their costumes and feel as comfortable in them as they do modern clothes and those who are slow to get into them and quick to get out of them.  The idea of going to a modern venue still in costume or the idea of walking down a modern street ALONE in costume is uncomfortable. It was a well written post-the best feature being it was non-judgmental about either stance.

I think I fall a bit in the middle.  I have no problem going to a modern place in costume.  But I need to be with at least one other person in costume.  It is the idea of STANDING ALONE that freaks me out.  The idea I am not part of a recognizable group makes me feel weird. In the States, Reenactors are fairly common.  It is almost unheard of here in my part of Canada.  So a woman walking in period clothes alone would garner the same kind of stares as a person who chose to wear a wet suit and tutu down the street.  We would not be part of a recognizable group so we might be dangerously insane. If you see a person in punk clothing, you may not trust them because of their counter culture stance but you do not wonder if they will be unpredictably unbalanced. They have conformed to the standards of a recognizable group and therefore capable of predictable social behaviors. Wet suit and tutu guy…not so much.

The other considerations for the “I’d live in my costumes if I could” stance, is I actually am more comfortable in modern clothes.  I feel PRETTIER in Victorian clothes but I feel more comfortable in modern clothes.  A lot of people do.  That is why leggings and yoga pants are so popular in spite of them not being the most stylish thing on many body types.  And most of my friends and family are not costumers.  The fastest way to socially isolate myself (and loose my job) would be to attempt to wear a costume every day.

And that is why I have Victorian “costumes” and not Victorian style “clothes”.  What do you think?

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HSM 2017 Challenge 3: The great outdoors

The Challenge: The great out doors

What the item is: knitted undersleeves

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Material: 100% wool yarn

Pattern: 1862 Petersons Nov issue knitted undersleeves

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Year: 1862

Notions: 4.5 mm knitting needles, darning needle

How historically accurate is it?: 80%.  Pattern is an original from the time and fiber content of the wool is correct. The color is plausible but I can’t speak to whether the dyes are accurate or whether the spinning technique is comparable to Victorian wool.  I used wood knitting needles so very true to form!  It is intended for winter wear for most occasions.  I believe all classes of women would wear this item. Both working women and would knit them so both would wear them.  The silhouette is a bit off when compared to the drawing.  I had to increase stitches and rows to get it to fit.  If I were to make them again, I would decrease the number of rows between the two puffs by 8 and add them back into the larger top puff.

Hours to complete: about 30

First worn: not yet

Total cost:  balls of wool x $8=$24

Here is the pattern, in modern terms, enlarged to fit a “stout” modern body, with the changes I mention above (that should improve the shape).  To get the best fit the number of cast on stitches you need is the number you would need to go around the widest part of your fore arm.  The number of rows, in total is the number you would need to go from the widest part of your upper arm to your wrist, with extra added to create the puffs.

Worsted weight wool.  One ball of white, two balls of main color. 4.5 mm knitting needles. With the exception of the ribbing at the top, the whole thing is done in the knit stitch only.

Cast on 52 stitches with the white wool.

Knit 14 rows.

Switch to the main color and knit 26 rows.

Slip one stitch onto the right needle and pick up the first of the cast on stitches.  Slip the second stitch onto the needle and pick up the second cast on stitch.  Continue in this fashion until all the stitches and all the cast on stitches have been transferred to the right hand needle.

Transfer all the stitches back to the left hand needle. Add the white wool (you can leave the brown still attached) and knit 2 together across all the stitches.  Knit one more row in white.

Leave the white attached and pick up the brown wool.  Knit two rows in brown.

Leave the brown attached and pick up the white wool.  Knit two rows in white.  Break off the white and tie it off.

Knit 17 rows in brown.

Switch to white.  Knit 14 rows.

Switch to brown.  Knit 26 rows.

Slip one stitch onto the right needle and pick up the first of the white stitches in the block of white.  Slip the second stitch onto the needle and pick up the second of the white stitches in the block of white.  Continue in this fashion until all the stitches and all the stitches of the first row of the block of white have been transferred to the right hand needle.

Transfer all the stitches back to the left hand needle. Add the white wool (you can leave the brown still attached) and knit 2 together across all the stitches.  Knit one more row in white.

Leave the white attached and pick up the brown wool.  Knit two rows in brown.

Leave the brown attached and pick up the white wool.  Knit two rows in white.  Break off and tie off the white.

In brown, *knit one stitch and increase 1 stitch in each of the next two*.  *Repeat across the row*. Knit 52 rows in brown.

Switch to white and knit 2 together across the row.  To create the ribbing, knit 1 purl 1 across the row.  Next row, purl 1 knit 1 across the row.  Repeat until the cuff is 26 rows long. Cast off LOOSELY.

Sew the two side edges to create a tube.  If the ribbing is too loose, I think you could add elastic or a cording without messing with the authenticity too much.  In 1820 elastic was patented for use in clothing.

 

 

Quick up date

I’ve been making progress on my under-sleeves but it isn’t turning out like I envisioned.  I thought they’d look more like this…

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I’ve stacked one sleeve on top of the other to illustrate what I thought was going to happen.

But they don’t “work” that way.  This is how they really look.

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The wide white stripes are hidden under the two puffs.

 

Two things: if I had known the darker color would have been so prominent, I would have chosen a different color.  I intend them to be worn with this dress so I thought a few thin stripes of beige would be nice.  10388078_518065401630648_4649714315434521775_n

Now that I see they are primarily beige I feel like they would have been better in a pink or burgundy color or better yet, same colors but reversed.

The other thing is I can’t quite figure out why there is a wide white stripe hidden under the two puffs.  There are four possible answers.  One is the instructions are wrong.  The second is I’ve misunderstood the instructions (most probable reason).  The third is that the white stripe is intended to be added interest that flashes as the arm moves.  The final reason is conservation of wool.  If I knit the sleeves as all brown with thin white stripes, I will likely run out of brown and have a ton of white left over.

If I make these again, I will rewrite the pattern so that it looks like how I envisioned them or do them in a different color.

Lacy jabot

I’m down to my last carte de visite in my collection so looks like I will have to buy more.  I sacrifice greatly for my 10 readers.  (Tongue in cheek-you know the hoarder in me just wants more-more! I tell you-more!)

The last one is of a couple.  Perhaps a wedding photograph?  That jabot is a beauty isn’t it!IMG_20161211_182655275

To get a date for this carte, I will say the hair style is earlier than 1880’s.  The dress looks to be Natural Form, which is 1877-82.  The very thick boarder on the card stock itself was a common feature of cartes between 1877-80.  So best guess is it is a late 1870’s carte.

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A quick Google search revealed that the photographers business was taken over by a nephew in 1890 but I wasn’t able to get any firm dates about when he was in business in Bucyrus Ohio.

Hope you enjoyed!

Cha Cha dance marathon

Two steps forward, two steps back.  I’m still working on my undersleeves.  Third time is the charm.

I unraveled my first attempt because it was going to be too small, like arm corsets.  In my second attempt, I decided to have it be two colors like the pattern suggests, I increased the number of stitches to make it bigger and I decided to use my new wooden knitting needles and not the circular needles (no reason for that other than simply wanting to see how they feel).  The instructions called for plain knitting which I interpreted as the stocking stitch (knit one row, purl one row, repeat).  One side is flat/untextured which is, in my mind, plain.  When I switched the colors, I began to see that the striping effect would be on the wrong side of the work, thus defeating the purpose of having stripes.  That is when I remembered that in Victorian knitting terminology, plain knit means knit all rows. If I knit all rows, the wrong side would be the side with no stripes and the correct side would be the one with stripes.  Duh.  Unravel again.

Attempt three.  And hopefully, the last one.  Scrap all my previous instructions for this project.  Correct instructions to follow once I finally get these things done!img_20170321_091316277.jpg

The one perk to this way of doing things, is the ribbing effect will serve to hold the puffs out in a round shape.  When I did them in stocking stitch, the puffs were flat like a hem and I began to think I’d have to stuff them to get them to hold out their shape.

 

The project Cha Cha

You know how projects can be: two steps forward, two steps back and a little side step or two.

The steps foreword happened with my Edwardian blousewaist.  I have sewn the main seams on the body.  img_20170319_202657443.jpgI like the way the embroidery and lace look but I’m definitely going to have to get a corset cover organized with this thing (and a proper Edwardian corset)!

My idea for dealing with the lace at the seams (bias tape) seems to be working.img_20170319_202636265.jpg

That lace isn’t going anywhere!

Two steps back: that happened with my knitted undersleeves.  I’m going to have to take them apart.  They are just going to be too tight.  I don’t know how tight they are supposed to be but I’m pretty sure they weren’t going for compression garments or arm corsets.  I had hoped that I could just follow the instructions and count on heavier wool and bigger needles to make up the difference but it wont.  Drat that means I will have to do some math to figure out how many rows and stitches I need.  Since I was starting from scratch, I thought I may as well buy a second color and see how it is supposed to look with the stripes.

And the side steps: I made an impulse stop at a thrift store and picked up some wooden knitting needles (like I need more) and this fabulous strip of sari fabric.  img_20170319_202724856.jpg

Oooh.  Shiney!

Obviously I can’t use this for Victorian wear.  And it is a bit much for modern work wear.  I’m thinking an over the top beach wrap.img_20170319_202948509.jpg

Well, have a good week folks.  Hopefully, I will be disciplined and be back in a couple of days with some progress to share.

I’m committed…or perhaps I should be…

A few weekends ago I bought a vintage Battenburg table cloth with the intensions of cutting it up and making an Edwardian blousewaist.  But once I laid it out, I began to have misgivings.img_20170225_201825369.jpg

The dang thing was really pretty and someone went to a lot of work to make it.  I swung back and forth.

SAVE IT: It is pretty.  If it were properly ironed and if my table was shrunk down to its smallest size it would look very nice in deed.

JUST DO IT: I did iron it and it did look nice but ironing it caused me to notice the little stains that probably pushed it into the discard pile of someone else’s life.  The fact remains that it will be a few years before I can keep my table at its smallest size and then I will promptly dump gravy on the table cloth and ruin it.

SAVE IT: It is old.  One doesn’t just paint an antique oak dresser to up date it!

JUST DO IT: It is likely more vintage than antique.  And one does paint over an old pine dresser to up date it.

SAVE IT: But… But…Ummm.

JUST DO IT: I’m going to get more use out of a costume piece than I will a table cloth.

So I did it.  Once the first cut was made, I was committed. All that is left of the table cloth is a pile of cut out pieces.img_20170318_151711919.jpg

There are a couple of Battenburg medallions and a few random bits of the embroidery that will idle in my stash for a few years until I can come up with a good use for them.  Trim and blocks on a quilt?img_20170318_151732668.jpg

There is a massive strip of the lace from the edge of the cloth.  Most of it is in good shape though some of it had to be nicked to get the pattern pieces cut out-if only I was a size 2.  The lace strip will also idle in my stash.img_20170318_151743757.jpg

And there is the smallest bit of garbage.  I may have desecrated an old thing but I sure wasn’t wasteful!img_20170318_151728645.jpg

Nothing left to do but clean up the mess.  The scene of the crime if you will.  img_20170318_151832588.jpg

There was enough fabric for the whole project except for the optional skirt that goes at the bottom.  img_20170318_151801969.jpgYou can have a skirt or “peplum” that gets tucked into the waist band of the skirt or you can just have a plain band that seems to just get covered up with a belt.  I’m going to root around the stash for some white cotton and make the band from that. It wont be a perfect match but it will be hidden and it wont be glaringly obvious…I hope.

Something else I have been considering…when I sew it together, there will be sections of seam that will be unstable because it is cut lace rather than solid fabric.  I think the way round that will be finishing the seams with bias tape.  I’m classically lazy and rarely do anything with the seams.  I know lots of sewists who take great pride in their whip stitched seams or their pretty French seams but I hate them.  But in this case I’m going to have to stifle my laziness and commit to bias tape.  I see a trip to the fabric store in my near future or a few hours of mindless cutting and ironing….