Thursday, 31 December 2015

Big Project

Over the years I have shared with you many stories about my costume and crafts projects. I haven't done anything costume or textile craft related since October and here is why. On the 30th of October we got the keys to our new house a fixer-upper in definite need of a whole lot of TLC.

I started packing our stuff at the end of September because there is simply a whole lot of it. We lost count somewhere around 150 boxes. Would you expect anything else with three creative people?

Since then I have been removing wall paper, painting walls, cleaning up etc etc..
Amidst all the moving chaos we also celebrated our son his 14th birthday with the family members who where there that day.

The boxes with our Victorian stuff we kept separate from the rest because we had a Victorian themed event on the 13th of December.

The living room was kinda tidy and done for Christmas but we didn't decorate it with lots of Christmas decorations like we usually do. 

Today my husband baked Dutch traditional treats for New Years Eve.  Oliebollen (sort of round doughnuts with pieces of apple and raisins) and a appelbeignets (slices of apple fried in sweet dough).

We wish you all a wonderful New Years Eve and a Happy 2016!

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

1848's Jacket update

In March this year I started working on a early Victorian jacket with the 1848's jacket aka kacabajka pattern from Marmota's Dress Diaries but I didn't get it to work. I enlarged the pattern but the fit was really off for my body type/size. That could be due to the alterations I had made to the pattern because I wanted a round neckline and the jacket to close in front. Whatever the reasons were I didn't get it to work, got discoraged and put the project away waiting for new insights and inspiration.

We all havebeen here, more than once, right?!

I bought the Simplicity 4900 pattern. Hoping for a quick and easy fix but when it finally came in I saw that the skirt of the dress was cut in a different way, half a circle  sewn to the bodice instead of princess seams. Than I was used to for this type of jacket so I still wasn't content.

Simplicity 4900 Civil War Dress and Riding jacket

I ended up blending together four different patterns to make my version of the jacket. The pattern of the original 1848's was the base and I then I used the bodice pattern of Simplicity 4900 to get the right fit on my upper body, the Period Impressions paletot pattern for the skirt and the pattern of the bell sleeves from TrulyVictorian #560, Late Bustle Coat.

Truly Victorian pattern #560

I still very much a work in progress. There are some issues with attaching the faux fur in the middle of the back because that pattern pieces has a very round hemline. 

The other problem that I am facing is setting the sleeves in the right way. As the bodice and the sleeves are not from the same pattern and I always struggle with setting in sleeves.

My husband and son have nicknamed this jacket the Mrs. Santa Claus jacket. My only defense is; but that's how it looks in the picture!
And this is the image (right) that I am referring to:

Although the green coat on the left is longer than my jacket the fabric in the back does drape the same way and it has the same slight bell sleeves that I am looking for.
The red coat also has the right style of sleeves and the front looks like the pointed front of my jacket. Which is easier to see when the jacket is worn.

Sunday, 11 October 2015

A Vintage Singer 99k sewing machine

A while ago I bought a Singer 99k, I've always wanted an antique looking sewing machine but never knew what make and model. Until I came across this Singer 99, it is the little sister of the Singer 66. She is only 3/4 the size of her bigger sister and weights less which makes her a little more portable than a full scale sewing machine. A feature my husband is particularly grateful for as I want to use it at 19th century events and he will be most likely the person ending up carring her around. She was born, a term they really use at the Singer website, on the 24th of September of 1952. Something that was clearly visible when I got her.

She came in the 1950's faux crocodile skin carrying case, a motor, footpedal and light and with the "modern" faceplate. The carrying case is very practical it protects my machine during transport.  I absolutely love the motor, foot pedal and the light. This means that I have two machines for the price of one. I can use it at home with all the modern conveniences and at an event as a hand crank machine. We only need to loosen two screws to change it!

So I bought an original  hand crank on Ebay and took the motor, foot pedal and the light off.

1950's faceplate
I also bought the old version of the faceplate to make her look older. Plastic surgery reversed!

1911-early 1950's

The old lacquer of the wooden bases had been badly damaged through the years. We sanded it down and waxed it.

She didn't come with any accessories, so I bought a original 1950's  99k box with a lot of different sewing feet and a seam guide.

 Now she looks exactly like an older version from 1911 and is ready to attend her first event!

For safety reasons in time the motor, foot pedal and light will be fitted with new black electrical cords. Now it is time for me to start practising sewing with a hand crank machine.

Thursday, 1 October 2015

Redecorating hats.

I've been really busy with altering my costumes and accessories. Two of my latest projects are my 1840's bonnet and my 1880's hat.

One of my friends is borrowing my 1840's working class costume. This was a very good reason for me to give my old green velvet bonnet an update. I removed the cotton lace and ribbon flowers and added 6 inch pleated crinoline instead. I also removed the wide velvet ties, which where really hard to tie, and replaced it with petersham ribbon. No matter who wore the bonnet it kept falling of so I decided to cheat and stitched a small clear plastic comb in.


right side

Still not to happy with the curtain.

left side

A while ago a friend gave me a lot of flowers to decorate my hats with. I had intended to make a new 1880's hat but didn't have the time or the money. So I just added colored flowers and now it looks completly different! My hat pins can't get through the hat so again I decided to cheat and stitched in hat elastic to keep in place.


right side 

This was the inspiration for the hat. Rachel McAdams as "The Woman" Irene Adler in Sherlock Holmes. Can't wait to wear it!

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

And now for something completely different; Christmas Granny Squares

I had been working on a better set of sleeves for three days straight. Redrafting the pattern, cutting and sewing. When they were finished they turned out to be worse than the original sleeves and I had run out of fabric. I got so frustrated that I decided to put the coat aside for a couple of months, it doesn't have to be finished until next spring/early summer, and to do something simple. Something that I could almost do with my eyes closed. Doing crochet always calms my mind and I had some left over yarn. I have never been to fond of granny squares. Being from the 70's when they where very much in fashion. I always have the feeling that they are old fashioned and I really connect them to grannies doing crochet. On the other had I've being playing around with making something for christmas for a couple of years and our christmas decorations are always old fashioned, kitschy and corny. ;-)

You can find the pattern for the squares here: Granny Square Christmas Stocking by Maggie Weldon on Ravelry.

Twenty squares later I am out of yarn and the frustration has subsided. The store only has these particular colors of this yarn (Zeeman Sparkle) in stock during the winter so I can't continue. It doesn't really matter, it did the trick. If they become available again maybe I'll make more and make a plaid out of it. If not it will become the front of a pillow case. Either way I am feeling better and refreshed.

For now I'll stick to repairing or slightly altering the Victorian costumes I have. So that I (and two of my friends) at least have something to wear at the Dickensfestijn in Deventer. This year I have decided to wear a combination of two 1885's bustle costumes. I really love the black tail bodice I made last year but I don't want to wear all black. So I'll wear it with my red velvet bustle skirt and my new hat. It will almost be like wearing a new costume. Even better is the fact that my son thinks the color combination black-red is badass and that I look fierce in it!  If there is any time left I'll make a new costume piece for one of us. First I'll have to make sure we can wear anything at all!

Thursday, 3 September 2015

Belle Epoque Jacket

When the Antwerpen Zoo held their Belle Epoque picnic I really wanted to go but I didn't have the time. Other members of our 19th century living history group "De Gracieuse" did attend.

Their wonderful photographs and stories inspired me to start working on a Belle Epoque jacket. 

This is the pattern I am working with; Past Patterns #113, 1899-1910 Spectator Jacket.
I think the pattern also can be used for slightly earlier costumes.

The heads of the leg-o-mutton sleeves ended up being quite large 
and look a lot like the jacket in this picture.

A traveling suit, coat, and skirt, 
designed by Jacques Doucet c. 1892-97.

And it has a pleat in the back like this woollen Cycling Suit
 made by Trouville in 1896

 I have been working on it during our summer vacation and had hoped to be finished by now
 but the sleeves turned out to wide and to long. 
So I will take them out, make changes to the pattern pieces and make new sleeves. 

Monday, 31 August 2015

International Vikingmarket at the Archeon

With the leaves on the trees slowly changing color. The international vikingmarket at the Archeon for us always marks the end of summer and the end of our re-enactment season.
Picture taken in the morning. I tried wearing my woollen apron dress for as long as possible during the day. Just to be able to show of my nice viking jewellery!

Warning my husband collects the shrunken heads of his enemies. His wood carved heads always attrack a lot of attention.

Our son his recurve bow isn't correct for the viking age. It was a gift from a friend and he really loves it. So we let him use it after closing time. Doesn't he look cool?!

Unfortunately we couldn't stand in the same spot as the group of friends we usually stand with but we got a really good spot in the shade. Near a path so we had a lot of contact with the public and with wonderful neighbours. So we weren't complaining.

Some of our friendly neighbours.

This is one of my favorite spots in the Archeon.

A friendly game of throwing dice.

I think one of the best things of our hobby is meeting al those really talented people.

This lady was working on Birka posaments. Why do the Swedes always get the nice bling!

On of my rounds with a good friend. I didn't have time to speak with all my friends. A weekend just isn't long enough to talk with everyone I'd like to talk to!