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.

My plant is mixed up…so am I

I happened to notice that my Christmas Cactus seems to think that it is Christmas time!img_20160419_183241852.jpg

Odd little fella.  Or is he?  Lately, I have been working on projects that will be worn this December at the Dickens’ Festival in Carlyle.  Perhaps Mr. Cactus is just getting in the spirit of things around here.  So lets follow along, shall we?

When we think Christmas and Dickens, we think “A Christmas Story” which is about Scrooge who is a miser.  So let us check out a couple of miser’s purses (nice segue, eh).

1870 miser purse CMC a

The right side is showing the correct side and the left is showing the back.  Both sides are, in fact, the same.


It is a crochet and beaded bag from 1870’s and is from the Costume Museum of Canada’s collection.

1870 miser purse CMC b

The ends are beaded

Honestly, I must have been brain dead the day I took these photographs because I could not figure out how to get in it.  Now that I look at the photographs, it is obvious.  The top layer is a flap that you would lift to reach into the pocket. Gosh, I am so dim sometimes!

1870 miser purse CMC d

The two pockets are joined by braided strand that are knotted in the middle. (Yes we noticed the broken bead section and the loose beads and the poor thing was safely packaged up in an envelope to await some conservation work.

1870 miser purse CMC c

The rings are attached to the knot.  The end ring is covered in a stitch that I have done when doing Dorset buttons.  That ring could attach to a chatelaine of some type or be worn on a finger.

I think I have another project to try some day!

Before I start another miser purse, I should pull the one I have started, out of the UFO pile. This is as far as I got… Bah, humbug.Miser 3

It has been so long since I have looked at it, I will have to figure out how to do it again.  I can’t even remember what my plan was for the bead pattern.

May be this bag from the 1890’s (also from the Costume Museum of Canada’s collection) will inspire me.IMG_20160405_180209855

1890 miser purse CMC a

Happy Christmas in May and a Bah Humbug to you and yours.

HSF: Challenge 10 Secrets

What the item is: BodiceSAM_3352

The Challenge: Secret

What’s the Secret?: hidden pocket for a watch
SAM_3356Fabric: cotton

Pattern: TV 405 Vest Basque from Truly Victorian

Year: 1872

Notions: buttons, bones, trim

How historically accurate is it?:  The buttons are quite modern.  But, other than that it is as close as I can get it!  80%?

Hours to complete: I never keep track….sigh….? 50?

First worn: Halloween outing on October 24

Total cost: @ $40

Tomorrow I will post photos from our outing.

Its been 2 1/2 years….

2 1/2 years ago, I saw a dress at the costume museum that made my heart stop.  I’ve seen it again and my heart still goes pitter-pat when I see it.  In this case, absence did make  the heart grow fonder.1873 dress CCM g

1873 dress CCM h

1873 dress CCM j

I like the chenille trim.  I could make that.  They sell wool like that now.

I like the chenille trim. I could make that. They sell wool like that now.

Little silk tassels are added to the end.  It would take forever to make but it would be worth it!

Little silk tassels are added to the end. It would take forever to make but it would be worth it!

1873 dress CCM m

1873 dress CCM n

1873 dress CCM o

1883 dress CCM p

1883 dress CCM q

Yup.  I still love it.

Sewing room to guest room

I’ve done some mad sewing this past week because my sewing room will be a guest room for the next few weeks and I wanted to be at a stage where I could still work on a project without a sewing room.  Actually, it wasn’t mad sewing.  Everything fell into place easily for the apron/over-skirt part of my next ensemble and it only took a couple of hours to get to the trimming stage, which is all hand sewing.

Best view!

Best view!  Love the waves of folds.

Love the waves of folds.

Back view.

Not sure if those sashes are supposed to be tied to look like an apron tied on.

Not sure if those sashes are supposed to be tied to look like an apron tied on.

Front view.

Boring as all get out.  But will be better once the trim is added.

Boring as all get out. But will be better once the trim is added.

I need a name for this dress.  The bodice will be a basque so lets go with 1872 Basque in Blue.  It rhymes and I like that.

I’d like to introduce you to Britta

SAM_2754 aIn this photo, I would place Britta at mid to late teens-early 20’s at the oldest.

Britta Abramson (Shoberd) Born 1855-died 1893

Britta Abramson (Shoberd) Born 1855-died 1893

I love it when there are names and dates on the cards.  If it is correct, you can make assumptions.  One assumption was she was married.  If the dates supplied on the back of the card are correct, we can glean two things…1) she did not live long. She would have been 37-38 when she died.  Did she fall to the dangers that many married woman fell to-child birth?  The second thing we can glean is the date of the card.  If she was mid teens to early 20’s then this card was made around 1870-79.

The dress is in good condition but fairly plain and there is very little jewelry (just a small pin at the throat) so we can guess she was not dirt poor but neither was she rolling in the cash!

The maiden name is not British.  In Canada (and I assume it was the same for the States) the ruling class tended to be from Protestant Britain.  Her name is possibly German.  She and her family would have been considered immigrants and worker class…possibly farmers.  The married name is possibly English.


Pleats, fringe and beadwork


I was pleased to add this card to my collection a few months back.  I think this would be from the mid to late 1870’s judging by the style of hair and dress.  I liked the lower layer of pleats on the skirt.  I don’t know about the upper layer…it makes the lower layer look like it has been added on to make the skirt longer.

The fringe on the over skirt is so 1870’s!  Love it! But the bead work on the bodice is the best part!  One day I will have to try something like that!  That bead work makes me think these two are wealthy or that this was a best dress for a very special occasion!  Oh and here is a tip…zoom in on her shoe.  Does there appear to be some sort of pattern on it?