Is it a Goth hand bag?

The find of the week at the Costume Museum of Canada is this smashing little red bag!

If I could find the metal bit somewhere, I'd try and reproduce this bag!

If I could find the metal bits somewhere, I’d try and reproduce this bag!

To open it you lift the clasp...

To open it you lift the clasp…

The main compartment is  plush like a coffin!  So Goth!

The main compartment is plush like a coffin! So Goth!

One side of the lid has empty slots...I wonder what was in there.  The slots are hidden by the tag that labels the item as being 1836-90.  Pretty general date...basically Victorian!

One side of the lid has empty slots…I wonder what was in there. The slots are hidden by the tag that labels the item as being 1836-90. Pretty general date…basically Victorian!

The other side of the lid has a few of the original tools.

The other side of the lid has a few of the original tools.

The 6 on the right side are various sizes of crochet hooks.  The second from the left is a handle that you can screw the hooks into.  The first from the left is obviously a pin.  I didn’t handle the third from the left so I don’t know what it is.  I think it might be a thread cutter.  So judging by the stuff still left in it, I’d say this bag is a work bag for crocheting fine things like lace.  Lovely.  I want it SOOOOOO bad!

And this is how our lives are summed up

This past summer my Dad died.  Over the past several months, his widow has been gently releasing some of his things to his kids, his friends, the world, the dump…. Yesterday I collected a few things from his place.  I had two boxes of stuff…old papers, photos and stuff from his junk drawers.  The photos were nice…but many I already have copies of so I will have to decide how they will be dispersed.  The old papers were a mix.  Phone numbers of people I don’t know, bills and receipts, and other such crap that headed out to the bin.  Licences. Birth Certificates. Social Insurance Number (a number you are assigned when you wish to start working in Canada and you have for life.) I kept that ID.  It is a classic hoarding sign but it feels like throwing him away if I throw out his vital statistics! Is this all we are once we are gone?  Does this sum us up?

There were cards and letters from family and friends…stuff that bored me silly-what was it about this stuff he felt the need to hang onto? There was stuff that added to the family tree, stuff that showed new perspectives on things that went on in my family or that I was only vaguely aware of because I was either too young or too uninterested. There was stuff that gave me insights to him and how he thought…. It was like an archaeological dig.  One that had me wondering what people might have concluded about him if this hoard was uncovered 200 years from now.  One thing I uncovered was his first steps into the art world.  3 days before I was born he mailed off an application for a distance drawing class. Dreaming even then. The reason he put on the application for applying was that he wanted to be well-known and to have a few nice things. There is a pile of assignments from that art class. I gave them to my son as he is into the art thing too. They would have been about the same age…both barely adults. I could be biased but my son is better now than my dad was then. Then again, my son had the advantage of going further in a school system that included art class.  My Dad went to school in a more archaic era and he didn’t even finish.  I believe he quit at 14 years old. Mr Victorian and I paid for our son to have one course in drawing.  We also could and did support him with art supplies when he was little.  My Dad’s parents couldn’t afford that. Dad really did improve a lot in University Fine Arts. The thing with archaeology and family history and stories is you don’t always have all the facts.  Someone else finding that pile would have thought he was a mediocre artist at best.  They might never know he improved over the years.  I will never know if he could have been great…life robbed him of his dream…or at least the time to pursue his dream. Life does that to a lot of us.  Sometimes it just changes our dream…

Enough of this maudlin stuff.  I did also come home with the one piece of furniture of his that I wanted…an old sewing machine that is similar to the one I used to have that was my grandmother’s (and that I was stupid enough to sell). It is possibly a Model 66 from 1918.  I think Grandma’s was older (1904-11). A neighbor lady let him have it-he didn’t sew so why he wanted it I’ll never know.  It is now in my new sewing room.

Update: a google search led me to this web site and with their handy dandy quiz I was able to date this current machine as a model 15 from the 1930’s and the one I sold as a model 27 dated 1906.  So as I thought…Grandma’s was older.  Instead of filling a void left by selling Grandma’s machine, this new machine has triggered a desire…an expensive desire…to collect these things!

photo 1

It seems to still work but will need a good tune up before I dare try sewing something with it. All I can see at this point is the presser foot does not drop all the way down when you work the lever.  I’m hoping a cleaning and oil job done by moi will be enough to get it to a usable state. (It came with a copy of the manual…not the original like Grandma had.)  I’d like to make one of my dresses on an antique machine.

The business end of this machine is similar to my Grandma’s…but hers had an Egyptian theme painted on it.  This one needs a cleaning but I have learned from Grandma’s machine that no harsh chemicals for that job…I rubbed off some of the paint on hers…I can’t believe how dumb I was as a teenager… using nail polish remover.  (I can hear the collective gasp of horror across cyber space!)

photo 2

Grandma’s had a few adapters as does this one.  A zigzagging one with original box and instructions.

photo 4

And I’m not exactly sure what this one does.

photo 3

It did come with the instructions so I’ll check that out once I get this puppy running properly.  Grandma’s had a ruffle maker that I’ve wished I still had!  I wonder if I can find one on eBay?

The wood could use some TLC as well…or at least a nice doily or three.

photo 5

I was going to hang these framed cabinet cards on the wall but I think I may have to get more frames and pick more cards to hang on the wall.  Some of these will stay right where they are.

Edwardian pose

Sometimes I think I might like to wander out of the Victorian era a bit and check out the Edwardian era.  This thought process comes to me when I see a nice Edwardian dress or when an event like the Titanic anniversary comes up.   Then I shake myself up with thoughts like “where would I wear it” and “who would I wear it with”. But the biggest slow down is I’d have to start from scratch with the undies.  An Edwardian corset is not easily bought so I’d have to make one and my back (with its issues) really doesn’t think it could do this….!

Edwardian dress form from the Costume Museum of Canada's collection.

Edwardian dress form from the Costume Museum of Canada’s collection.

Another “I have nothing to talk about so show photos post”

1900 hair catcher2

A hair catcher from 1900.1900 hair catcher1Sweet lid isn’t it.

sewing kit1

Sewing kit.  How do I know it is a sewing kit? Lift the lid and you find little packets of needles.

sewing kit2

Lift the next lid and you find…sewing kit3

…a space to put other things.  Perhaps there was a few cards of thread for emergency mends.  Or may be there was a tiny pair of scissors.sewing kit4

The underside of the kit.  The photo is too blurry to read the stamp.  I wish I had noticed it that day and took note of the words on the stamp.

Both of these items are tarnished.  I wanted to polish them and see what they might have looked like “back in the day”.  I often wonder about the owners of such items.  Did they love the item or was it just something they needed?  What were they like? What were they thinking about when they used it.  I wish things could talk.

Another man’s junk….

I thank the Lord above when someone else decides to purge their stash and they bestow the goods on me.  Recently, I scored a HUGE bag full of laces and ribbons.  Oh, they are all poly something or others but most are good for small details on under things or hats.  Some are not blatantly poly and will do for trim on dresses.

SAM_1239They are all piled in a bag so you can’t really how much stuff there is!  It all has to be sorted in some fashion.  Length and color seem to be the logical system to me.  Dreamstress had a post where she used old greeting cards to wrap the ribbons and laces and she wrote the lengths on them so she’d know if she could use it for a project without unwinding it first.  I think I will do something like that.  Once it is sorted, I may bore you with a photo.

The biggest score is a roll of brown ribbon that is not desperately poly looking (at least to the untrained eye) and is not a wildly unusable color.SAM_1240Just look at all that ribbon!  I could trim miles of ruffles with all of that!

Girls Own Annual

Here are some nice fashion plates from the Girls Own Annual.


I like the detail on the two skirts on the left.  I love all three hats!  Aren’t they wonderful!


I love the contrast materials of the dress on the right!


Gadzooks!  This dress is divine!  I want one!


The sleeves of the dress on the left are fun.  If I had dainty little upper arms, I would copy that.


And finally some pretty little dresses that I imagine would work for the summer.  I hope some of my readers find some inspiration here!  Happy sewing!

My new toy leads to a new toy.

My sewing machine has been around for decades.  I think it is from the 1950s or 60s.  It still works wonderfully.  BUT…..all it does is go forwards and backwards.  And the reason it has been around this long is it is made of solid steel.  The steel means that it is only portable because I have the men in my life move it for me.

Recently I changed all that.  I took all my birthday and Christmas money and bought this….SAM_0252Bells and whistles galore!  It does more than forwards and backwards!  Way more! And doesn’t weigh a thousand pounds! I wanted to try it out on a small project to see what it does.  I thought a muff that goes with my 1895 dinner ensemble would do the trick.  I have a cape for it so why not a muff as well.

I cut a rectangle out of some white broad cloth and out of the left over fashion fabric.  I used the overlock stitch on the edges.  This particular project didn’t really need it but I wanted to see how it worked because I have had some projects that I would have benefited from it.SAM_0258 I sewed the white cloth into the base of the muff using these instructions. SAM_0259I whipped stitched the edge by hand and got this.SAM_0261It was a bit shorter and fatter than I thought.  How is it one can follow instructions and end up with something different from the other person?  I think I may have over  stuffed mine.  It is still usable.

Then I worked on the cover fabric.  My purse and my cape have a leaf pattern in it so I decided to use the leaf stitch on my machine.  I’m thinking machine embroidery is not exactly historically authentic but we wont dither over details.

SAM_0262The next step was to put the cover together following these instructions.

I added an antique I had in my stash.SAM_0264Ta da!  I now have a new muff and I have a new love for my new machine!  Button holes are the next exciting option I now have….

As an added side note, I now have a submission for the Historical Sew Fortnightly Challenge 4: Embellish.