HSF 2016: Challenge #11 Red

Challenge #11: Red (the flowers and the lining are a rusty red.)
What the item is: purse
Fabric/Materials: polyester fashion fabric, cotton lining.
Pattern: self drafted
Year: I will use it for late Victorian or early Edwardian era costumes
Notions: Vintage, possibly Edwardian purse frame.


I can see I need to trim some threads. 

How historically accurate is it? The fashion fabric is not because of the fiber content. I can’t speak to the weave or pattern-I lack the expertise in those areas. It looks plausible to my amateur eye and suits my needs. The lining would be less “risky”. I wish I had a date for the frame but since I don’t, I will give this 50%.img_20161127_213658667.jpg
Hours to complete: 5
First worn: not yet…haven’t made the dress yet!
Total cost: $15 for the frame. I used about $2 worth of fabric.

HSF: Challenge 10 heroes

Challenge #10: Heroes

What the item is: Ladies knitted hoodimg_20161111_165153158_hdr.jpg

Who your hero is and how the costume applies to them: This wasn’t my original plan but that will never be finished in 2016 so I came up with this. My hero is my Grandmother. She taught me to knit and it is she who gave me the love of “creating” and the interest in the past. Also she was the most loving person I know. A walking hug. This is an homage to her because it is a historic knit and it is cozy like she was.

Fabric/Materials: Chunky weight wool. Mixed fiber. Used about a half ball.

Pattern: victorian-8

See previous post for my tutorial.
Year: likely mid to late 1890’s

Notions: 6mm knitting needles (10 US 4 UK). Ribbonimg_20161111_165220833_hdr.jpg

How historically accurate is it? Both the ribbon and the wool is a synthetic blend. The wool is also chunky weight and I’m not sure that was a standard size in Victorian times. The pattern and technique are good. I believe it would have been worn by all classes of women but upper classes would have only worn it in the evenings. Farm woman would have worn them all of the time…any cold day where the big fancy hats were not worn. I give it about 65%.img_20161111_165205258_hdr.jpg

Hours to complete: About 10

First worn: n/a

Total cost: The wool cost $6. I had a coupon and I only used half so about $2


HSM 2016: Challenge #9 Historicism

A few weeks late but here goes.  My inspiration was gloves like these:


This pair can be seen on the Met web site.


Also from the Met.

They could depict an historical event or character or styles and were seen during the early 1800’s.

And these are my interpretations.img_20161011_071005101

I haven’t decided if I want to scallop the bottoms or leave them as is.  It would be shallow scallops with my pinking shears if I do it.  What do you think?

What the item is: gloves

The Challenge: 9 Historicism

Fabric/Materials: Leather

Pattern: self drafted

Year: early 1800’s

Notions: needle and thread for leather, stamp and stamp pad

How historically accurate is it? The pattern should be good.  The shape and pieces are similar to my original example.  I had to self draft because I can’t find ready made patterns that fit my short, broad fingers.  The span across my palm is problematic as well.  I can’t wear bangles because I can’t get them over my thumb joint.

I used leather and that is spot on.  I can’t say if the curing process is the same.  I have no idea. The color of the leather and of the ink is good…I’ve seen examples of both. The ship stamp is plausible but the ink is likely wrong.  The gloves were hand sewn which is correct.  (I had tiny stitches but I sure need to work on evenness!) The thread is polyester so that is not correct.  I will wear them as out door/day time gloves and my “persona” is more well to do and that is appropriate.  I’m also older so even though my costumes are typically Victorian, it might not be so odd that I’d favor some items from my Regency youth.  I’m also Canadian so some of my fashions may be a bit out of style compared to France. So I give them about 90%

Hours to complete: about 20

First worn: not yet

Total cost: Leather $4, stamp and ink $6, needles and thread $15.  In reality it was $4 because all of the other stuff is either reusable or there is a huge amount of left overs that will be added to the stash.

I have black leather that I intend to make gloves out of as well so these were a fabulous trial run.  I have already altered my pattern to shorten the middle finger and make the fingers a bit more snug. I’m okay with these being a bit loose for now. Honestly, I can’t get modern leather gloves on (see above) so it is a bit of a treat to have them be too loose.  At a later time, I may resort to shrinking them (dunk them in warm water and wear them till they dry).

Do let me know if you think I should scallop the bottom.  I have a hard time with finding the line between enough detail and crazy lady so I usually end up with blah.

Ummm that leather smell

I’m trying to make leather gloves for last months HSF challenge.  I drafted a pattern because the store-bought one I have just wont fit my huge paws.  I cut the leather and now I’m hand sewing it.  It is actually wonderful to sew.  The needle glides through it with ease and the feel of the leather is so yummy and the smell is divine.  I really hope these work out!img_20161006_204547129.jpg

HSF: 2016 challenge 8 pattern

Challenge #8: Pattern


I’m using the photo I took before hemming and adding the hooks because I haven’t taken a new photo yet and really…not much difference would be seen between the two photographs.

What the item is: German day dress

Fabric/Materials: cotton

Pattern: TV 454

Year: 1845

Notions: hooks and eyes, cording, bones

How historically accurate is it? Pattern is good.  Fabric is 100% cotton so that is good.  Print is paisley, which is good but paisleys changed over time and I’m not knowledgeable enough on the topic to say this would be a good version for the 1840s. I’m also not knowledgeable about weave to comment on that. The colors are believable. I machine sewed a lot of it so “no” for technique.  Notions were metal hooks (I think some of them are actually vintage and I used natural fiber cording.  The bones were plastic.  I will be using it for a lower middle class woman for day to day wear.  I think, with enough petticoats, the silhouette will be fine.  I give this a generous 70%

Hours to complete: 15

First worn: not yet

Total cost: the notions were in my stash (cost already accounted for in other projects).  I don’t recall the cost of the fabric but I think no more than $30…I was on a tight budget during the shopping trip where this was bought.

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….

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

HSF: Challenge 5 holes

Well HOLEY cow! I am late with this challenge.  And in fact, I have had to do some switching up of my plans because last months challenge wouldn’t have been finished for this month and neither would this months planned project.  I made a day cap for last months challenge yesterday.IMG_20160625_123514487IMG_20160625_123320221

What the item is: A day cap

The Challenge: Holes-lace has holes-obviously!

Fabric/Materials: cotton for base, 6 m of cotton lace, poly ribbon.

Pattern: self drafted based off of photographs of original caps…this was my main inspiration….


Year: I will wear with 1830-50’s dresses

Notions: none

How historically accurate is it? The shape is not bad. It is mainly hand sewn.  (I used the machine to finish the edges of the base.) The base and lace are at least natural fibers but silk was more likely used. The poly ribbon is wrong-but available and cost effective. The lappettes that I have seen have been single pieces that have been tatted in the correct shape and not a ribbon with lace based around it. The fact that I, as an older woman, have been running around with out one of these on my head all these years is shocking and so having one will up my accuracy game a bit!

Hours to complete: 5

First worn: for this photograph

Total cost: $30…most of the cost being for the lace.


A little steampunk

Gads, I hate trying to get anything done when I have a headache.  I had 4 projects I hoped to put some time into today and my success rate was minimal.

One project was changing some hooks and eyes into real buttons and button holes on an older project.  Nah.  Didn’t feel like it.

dawn stairs

I want the buttons to be functional, not just decorative

One was getting some knitting done on my Canadian cloud which will be my offering for this months HSF challenge.  It may still happen but don’t hold your breath…the wool is too fine and my eyes are sore…especially the right one.img_20160619_181345106.jpg

I did get some work done on last months really late offering for HSF but I probably should have stayed away.  I corded and attached a ruffle on a skirt but I had to take the ruffle off and reapply because the base skirt was wadded, bunched and pleated under the needle and I essentially shortened the skirt by 1/4 to 2 inches in a very random fashion.  I blame the migraine.  It alters my reality.  tv242colorfin

The second ruffle from the bottom was the devil that got me. It is on now but the whole skirt will sit idle until next weekend.

I had more success on the project I wanted to complete for Costume College.  They are having a Steampunk event and I am basically going to take an existing outfit and punk it up.


I will shorten (temporarily) the skirt, petticoat and bustle.

You will be able to see my feet so I will finally have a use for these things.

photo 2

I will use the “book bag” from my son’s old costume as the purse.


I bought a “bag o’ gears” from the craft store and tacked them onto the hat I will use.img_20160619_134817522.jpg

They will come off easy and not mess up my Victorian hat much.  There were a few gears left over so I made a down and dirty set of earrings to go with it.img_20160619_163512.jpg

My headache day wasn’t a complete bust.