Tuesday’s Treasure: is this a set?

While rummaging through the jewelry looking for items for a display, I found a bunch of pieces in the Costume Museum of Canada’s collection that caused me to wonder, “is this a set? A Trend?  What?”

There are earrings:2

I can’t begin to tell you what they are made of.  There is a bracelet labeled 1850.5

And a choker:3

The choker is labeled 1840 and the cameos are attached to a black velvet band. My guess that velvet isn’t original.

They are close but not quite  the same, are they? And the fact that two of the pieces are labeled as being 10 years apart implies they are not a set.  And I realize cameos have been popular, or trendy, off and on for ages, so it isn’t unheard of for there to be several different yet similar images that are classified as cameos but not sets.  It is just I’ve never seen them in these earthy, almost clay like tones.  If these were my pieces, and not the property of the museum, I would wear them like a set.  But then again, I don’t really like these colors.  What do you think?

HSF: Challenge 9 Brown


What the item is: small beige beaded bag
The Challenge: 9 Brown (beige is brown, right!)
Fabric: cotton for lining
Pattern: The Lady’s Assistant for Executing Useful and Fancy Designs in Knitting, Netting, and Crochet Work (1847) by Jane Gaugain
I made up the same pattern in a silk thread in a previous challenge. The bag was lovely but it doesn’t hold very much of my modern parafanalia. I thought the larger wool, beads and needles would make a slightly larger bag. It does. The pattern was also fun to make up inspite of the woes I had with dropped stitches so I enjoyed doing it again.
Year: 1847
Notions: fine wool, larger seed beads, set of double point needles appropriate for wool.
How historically accurate is it? 70%? I think they would have lined it in silk not cotton but I had the cotton in my stash. The beads are glass and I’m not sure they would have had glass BRONZE beads. I think their metallic beads would have been metal. I am unsure that wool would have been used. The pattern called for silk but I’m not sure a thrifty woman wouldn’t have stash busted and used available wool.
Hours to complete: about 30 which is much less than the silk bag. With everything being bigger I found it easier to see and handle with my middle aged eyes and hands.
First worn: Not yet
Total cost: $4 for the beads and $8 for the wool.


Practical wedding bonnet

The Costume Museum of Canada has a bonnet that is labeled as a wedding bonnet from 1846.  It is in very good condition for its age, which surprises me as the sensible color and style would have made it practical for use after the wedding.  Perhaps it is mislabeled and it is more of a mourning bonnet.  Or perhaps it is a mislabeled reproduction!

Right side

Right side



Left side

Left side



I’m sure there was a lining that is now gone but this does serve to allow for a look at how it was built.

Tuesdays Treasure-photographs

During my volunteer stint last night I waded through some very ugly or painful looking shoes from the 1970’s but at the end of my shift I took a break and looked at some cabinet cards that the museum has in it’s collection.  By far the sweetest (I will never have enough money to buy one like this) item was this one dated from the 1840’s.photo 2 1840

photo 13

photo 3

photo 7

photo 9

First event of the season part two

Okay, I got some permission from more of my models and for the one I did not get, I decided to “conceal her identity”.SAM_2059 - CopyHere is the crew in order of decades and appearance.  There was a 90’s dress and a bathing suit out on mannequins as well.  My dress is sitting funny because we were too close to the wall and that made it sit oddly.  Glory be, the dress fits.  I still find the sleeves to large and I must remember to make note of that on the pattern for future reference.  But, it doesn’t bother me enough to take it apart again to fix it.  The sun fading is there but again, not bad enough to remove the panel and try to make another with the left overs.  I made the 40’s, 50’s, 60’s and 80’s dress and Shirley made the 30’s and 70’s (which she wore for the show).

Time for the amusing stories.  Myself and the model in the 1850’s dress had some work to get used to the hoops.  For myself, I needed to get used to how far the elliptical hoops stuck out behind me and for the other model, it was getting used to having hoops at all.  Sitting, of course is the biggest challenge.  Poor Miss 1850’s ended up knocking her chair over.SAM_2057 - Copy

And she got it caught in the dress itself.SAM_2058

We were all very supportive and stood there laughing and taking photographs.  She was a great sport about it.

The other amusing story happened to me.   I often get asked what I am wearing under the dresses so I asked the audience if they wanted to see.  They did, so after the tea and dessert (which I thought was the end of the program) I went and striped.  At first I was very pleased, they were interested and I was roasting alive in the dress and therefore much cooler in my undies.  I forgot that these teas always end with small gifts being given to the new brides (the tea originally started out as a bridal shower 20 years ago) followed by flowers being given to women celebrating new babies and major wedding anniversaries.  Guess who had to go up and accept a flower for her 25th wedding anniversary in Victorian underwear.  And yours truly can not keep my mouth shut…even in church…and I said loudly “this is how you keep a marriage fresh!”  Had some misgivings about it later but it seems no one took offence and I shan’t be excommunicated or shunned!


And this is why I can’t use real silk…

I’m making good progress on my 1840 copper penny dress.  The skirt has been attached with lovely little cartridge pleats.  It is a painful process but they look so lovely! The hem was finished yesterday and I was 1/4 way through putting on the hooks and eyes when I dumped my coke on it!

And there is the culprit

And there is the culprit

If it had been silk, the dress-that I’ve never worn, that I need badly for mother’s day and that I’ve worked hours on would have been RUINED!  I don’t even want to think about how much money that would have been.  But my mystery fabric looks like it will look fine after a quick rinse under the tap.  I have to wait until it dries to finish the hooks and eyes, give it its final press and then try it on.

Useful but not stunning.

I’ve been sick all weekend.  But, I have managed to keep moving.  I have found small projects I could work on without expending a lot of energy.  I don’t know about you folks but I find wrangling huge skirt gores a demanding and physical job-I actually sweat doing that work.  The skirt was out of the question for this weekend.

My hat was at a stage that it needed simple seams machine sewn or hand sewing (when you are flaked out in a recliner, hand sewing isn’t that bad…) The bag for my 1840s costume falls under that category as well.SAM_0998I decided to keep it simple as there will be a lot going on with that dress.  The silly story that goes with this bag is that it originally wasn’t going to be a bag.  It was going to be the fabric covering my hat brim.  After I cut the brim out, I realized that the pattern piece had actually torn and the two fabric pieces were too short to cover the hat.  I had to recut them.  But, that used up all my remaining material so I had to use the rejected pieces for the bag…hence the slightly elongated shape.  Ah, such is life.  At least my fans should fit in there.  The chain is left over from a package I had bought that also had a gold chain in it.  The gold chain was used to fix my broken pocket watch chain.  So the bag qualifies as being completely de stashing…yeah me!

My entry for Historical Sew Fortnightly Challenge 7

SAM_0994I’m pleased with how it looks…but I may get a few more flowers and carry them further around the face.
SAM_0995I really like the poofs around the side of the hat!
SAM_0996The ruffle in the back was the only fiddly thing in making this hat.  I really like this pattern!
The Challenge: 7 accessorize
Fabric: taffeta, buckram, flannel
Pattern: Lynn McMasters Early Victorian Bonnet … Year: I want it for 1840s
Notions: wire, thread, fabric flowers-I wont call them silk, hot glue
How historically accurate is it? About 80%.  The fabric is iffy (I have no idea what was in the flannel) and I’m sure they didn’t use hot glue.
Hours to complete: @ 20
First worn: Not yet
Total cost: Lots of it was stash stuff so I’d say about $10See More

Alas, only half done.

Today is the day that the Dreamstress has set for completion of her 6th Challenge “Stripes”. I had hoped to have my whole 1840s copper penny dress done but alas, I only managed to finish the bodice part.  (Except for the hooks in the back that can only be added once the skirt has been added on.)SAM_0993I’m pretty pleased how it looks on Trudy.  I have yet to try it on.  I’ll have to wait until I can find someone who can pin the back shut for me.SAM_0992I’m not sure I’m loving the fringe on the back…it reminds me to much of a country and western shirt.

The Challenge: 6 Stripes

Fabric: Some sort of synthetic blend

Pattern: Truly Victorian German Gather Dress

Year: 1845

Notions: thread and fringe (also synthetic)

How historically accurate is it? 50%-the synthetic fibers and machine sewing drives the percentage down

Hours to complete: @32

First worn: Not yet

Total cost: About $50

I hope to get the skirt done in the next week.  This means I can submit it for the Squares, Rectangles and Triangles challenge in June.