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Posts Tagged ‘accessories’


Yep, that’s right – all those pesky little hand-sewn eyelets are done and the straps are attached:

Though they started off a little shaky:

The bottom one that you can’t see very well was my first effort – it’s probably just as well it’s not very clear on the photo as it looks awful!!  I tried out a few different techniques: pushing the hole from the outside from the inside, overcasting or using buttonhole stitch, and stitching from the inside or the outside.  I found the best results came from: pushing from the inside to the outside (first with an awl, then with a wider knitting needle); I drew a circle around the hole; I used buttonhole stitch, pushing the needle from the outside and following the drawn circle.  After a couple of practice ones, they came out much better:

But before I could do the eyelets, I realised that I needed something to go behind them, since I’m attaching the lining after doing the binding.  So, I cut a couple of strips on the bias from the lining fabric (purely on the bias because of looks, I have to say!) and hand-stitched them over the folded over section of outer fabric.  Sorry, not very clearly explained, but here’s a photo:

So when the two sides come together, the stripes form a kind of chevron pattern:

So that’s the progress so far, all that’s left is stitching the ends of the last few boning channels, trimming down the seam allowance and then the evils of bias-binding attachment.  Even so, I think the finish line is in sight!

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I’ve mentioned bits and pieces that I’ve ordered and a something special for the Lady Luck Outfit, and at last it’s time for show and tell, with some things less exciting than others:

Fray-stop glue (wooo, exciiiiitiiiiing  ;P  ) and spray-on fabric stiffener – that’s a little more exciting as you can build up the stiffness the more you spray it and it washes out.  I think that’ll be useful for all sorts of things, like pleats/ruffs, hat decorations and perhaps even kanzashi.  I also suspect that it’ll be useful to keep bows in shape and for using fabric strips for cockades.

Ostrich feathers – fluffy!  Now I’ve seen them, I’ve decided they aren’t long enough for wearing in the hair (~10″), but they’ll be great for decorating a mini-tricorne or …

… masks!  These two are for moulds for papier mache – they’ve got pretty good shapes, though the black one (which I love!) needs eye-hole adjusting, but with that, it’ll be FAB!

Yay for the Tamina slippers!  I thought they were lovely when I saw them online, but they’re even prettier in reality – very pleased with them, indeed!  I’ve worn them around the house a bit, but I think I need to stretch the front very slightly as they dig in a little, but that’s no big deal.

And, finally – my super-awesome-special-pretty-surprise for the sash of the Lady Luck Pierrot:

I found this lovely on ebay – it’s an 18th century silver and paste shoe buckle that was at some point turned into a brooch.  I slipped a scarf through it to give an idea of how it’s going to look as the buckle at the front of the Pierrot sash.  I really love it rather a lot and am so pleased – it’s my first 18th century antique!

Wow, I really am too obsessed with that century.

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I may or may not have spent most of today messing around on a new toy: Scrapblog*.

The other day I realised that the reason I couldn’t find a picture of the 1780s outfit I had seen in my dream because it didn’t exist!   My unconscious mind must have put together elements of different outfits I’ve seen and put them together.  Clever unconscious!  So I had planned to make an inspiration board/mood board type thing on Polyvore, but I found it was a bit of a pain to import your own images on there.  I hunted around for something else and found Scrapblog.  And here are the results of my efforts:

So we have a pointed-front blue pierrot type jacket with what appears to be gold trim (as modeled by The Duchess of Chartres and painted by Charles Lepeintre, 1776).  I’m not generally a fan of gold, but in this case I think it works very well with the blue.  I think I’m going to have a look at my fabric with silver and gold and see what works best – and what trims I can find!  I already have a pierrot pattern that has a straight front, so I’ll just make it into a pointed bodice.  And that’s where those lucky symbols you lovely people have given me will come into play: self-covered buttons embroidered with lucky symbols down the front and on the cuffs.  Yes, this is how it was in my dream.  I know, I have strange dreams.

Then the sash is from that pretty cream and black zone-front (I’m a sucker for a good zone-front).  I have a little something special for the buckle (yes, I have a pretty little surprise which will be revealed soon!) and I have sourced some red stripe taffeta.  The one thing I’m not sure about for the sash is whether one makes a strip of fabric and carefully hems it, or whether you make a double-sided sash of fabric (with or without interlining of some description – lawn/organza?)?

And lastly, a white self-stripe petticoat.  I had envisaged regular stripes between 1/2″ and 1″ as in the image from The Duchess and the Pehr Hillstrom painting, but I haven’t been able to find the right fabric with that kind of stripe; I have found a pretty white voile with groups of stripes in different widths, so I think that will work still.

The only bad thing is that having seen that still from The Duchess, I now want a really over the top big hat (which is 1780s correct), but (a) that’s probably not a great idea for my first foray into hat-making and (b) I definitely wouldn’t have enough of the blue taffeta left over for that.  I might have enough left for a mini-tricorn, a la Dunst’s Marie Antoinette, but I’m worried that might not look right with a hedgehog (mine probably won’t be a huge ‘hog) – has anyone tried a mini-tricorn + hedgehog combo?

There’s the basis of the outfit, at least – of course, there will be accessories!

* As for Scrapblog – I enjoyed playing around with it; you can pay for ‘credits’ to buy ‘stickers’ (place-able elements) and backgrounds and the like, but there are quite a lot of these things that are free, so I just used those and uploaded my images.  You can even have multi-page pieces that will work as a video slideshow.  There are various options for sharing your collage directly or, as I have done, you can export to a jpeg.  Worth having a look at if you’re interested in creating this kind of board.

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I’ve just finished my cockade (well the ribbon part, still need to sew on the backing and a brooch pin) – I do rather love it. It would have been even better (and even more nautical) if I’d been able to get hold of blue and white stripe, but I’m still pleased with how it came out.

So cute, rather fun, a little fiddly, but totally worth it.

I made the larger white one first and while stitching it, I noticed how nice it looked on the back, so the blue one is actually on the reverse side. The button is one of several I bought a few months ago for this very purpose – yay for anchor buttons!

The button turns so you can wear the cockade a different way around

What’s that?  You want to make your own?  Well you bloody well can – go check out American Duchess’s easy-to-follow tutorial.  Go.  Do it.

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What a weekend!

Friday – I got home from work to this yumminess:

(They’re a bit creased as I’ve hand-washed them, but haven’t ironed yet.)

The photos really don’t do these fabrics justice.  I’ll confess, I’ve been too busy to do a burn test, but from the feel of the fraying threads on the cut ends and the way they hold colour (so luminous), I am sure they’re silk.  If not, they’re bloody good synthetics.  To call the darker one navy is to do it a great disservice: it’s far richer in colour than navy normally is – it’s more of an indigo.

And I was right about the lighter blue – it’s not electric blue, instead it’s an absolutely amazing cerulean blue shot with a lighter violet, which makes it seem almost ultra-violet when it shimmers and catches the light.  Even better, the two sides of the fabric are quite different – one seems a mid almost-turquoise shot with purple and the other is a light greyish-blue with the violet sheen.  I seem to recall that the edges of the polonaise-style jacket (up to the trim line) are a green facing, which is making me think of using the opposite side of the fabric for the edges and using a purple trim (perhaps purple velvet ribbon).  I suspect I’ve not explained that very well – I’ll put together a diagram at some point!

Polonaise style jacket from the Cut of Women's Clothes

Which leaves the question – mostly light with the darker side on the edges, or mostly dark with the lighter?  Decisions, decisions!

Saturday – went to the library, got the Beginners Crewel Embroidery book, another introductory embroidery book and this little haul:

I’m thinking calico pockets embroidered with green leaves and twisty stems and blue and purple flowers with yellow stamens.  Unfortunately they didn’t have crewel thread, so I had to get regular stranded cotton, but I figure this will be good to practice with and when I have a bit more money I can order some (probably from Sewandso.co.uk as recommended by Rosel).  Oh, and the ribbons are for cockades (as per the good Duchess’s tutorial plus a couple of other (less good) tutorials I’ve found in old books) – I’ve got some blue and white buttons as well as some brassy anchor ones, so I thought I’d go for a nautical theme.

I also had an eye test on Saturday and for the first time ever, I was prescribed glasses.  I got a great deal (two pairs, including scratch-resistant coated lenses for £99 – one pair of those lenses is usually around £70) and picked up one pair yesterday (the other is on order).  I always wanted glasses as a kid and now I’ve got them, it’s really weird – I think I’m glad they’re only for me to use when I feel I need them (when my eyes feel tired or I feel a headache coming on and I’m using a computer).

Saturday evening (I said it was a packed weekend, didn’t I?) I worked on the stays and I’ve finished sewing the boning channels on the front panel:

They’re not perfect, but not bad considering my newness to sewing and still-developing machine skills.  In the end I decided to sew straight through the ridgeline that forms the two horizontal bones as it would have been a massive headache to sew around them by machine (if I were hand-sewing I would have done that, though – I do like the look of the horizontal stitches) plus the ridgeline is a different width to the cable-ties, so it might have looked odd.

And as for the rest of Sunday – well, I read those embroidery books and did a little bit of stitch practice with some spare embroidery thread I had in my stash.  Unfortunately it’s off-white and pretty much matches the calico perfectly, so it wouldn’t show up very well in a photo, but this week I’ll get started on the pockets and will post pictures then.

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Here you are, dear reader, he promised pictures of yesterday’s pretties (or, to thieve The Dreamstress’s phrase, Pogey Bait!).  We set off early on the bus to get to Heanor and hit the Antiques Centre and plenty of charity shops.

First off, some true sewing pogey bait – a few bags of mixed buttons:

Vintage (and not so vintage) buttons – black and silver-coloured.  (50p for the bag!)

Brassy buttons.  (30p)

I love these blue stripey ones – very sailor chic!  (Also 50p)

These are for Top Secret Plan Number One – more information on this soon.

I also found a pretty little linen table mat to place under our key bowl to protect the antique mahogany chest of drawers my Mum’s giving me (pictures of that when it arrives!):

With pretty corners:

As I live with two boys (The Boy and the Flat-Mate-boy), I didn’t want to push it by getting anything flowery or too doily-esque, so I thought this was a good plain one.  (And, yes, it needs an iron!)

And some more sewing pogey bait:

A bag with all these for £3 – bargain!  I do love a good bargain.  And all the pretty colours!

And I bought a couple of things for Top Secret Plan Number Two – the selling of pretty vintage things on Ebay:

I have a bit of a thing for pretty brooches, so when I see nice ones, I want them!  But, a girl can only wear so many brooches at once and I can’t really justify having a million of them (unfortunately) and I could do with making a little extra cash.  Soooo, I am going to try my hand at Ebaying – we shall see what happens.  I figure I get to go bargain-hunting and enjoy buying pretty things, but don’t have to live with the guilt of spending the money!

I particularly love the first brooch and was quite tempted to keep it – I love how it’s a bow and arrow as well as a bow (of the tied type), rather fun – but I must be strong!  Plus, I’d rather sell something I love and feel that I’m passing on something gorgeous for someone else to enjoy.  It did give me a rather nice surprise when I looked at the back more carefully – it’s by Kigu, a company well-known for their gorgeous compacts.  To make sure I don’t try to keep it, I have already listed the first one (my first Ebay listing!), plus I think it’d make a great little Valentine’s present – Cupid’s bow and arrow!  If anyone has any tips (on Ebay selling, vintage costume jewellery or anything like that), I’d be more than glad to hear it!

I did get to buy one thing for myself that wasn’t second hand or vintage, but was a sale bargain:

They also double up as my (late) Saturday Shoe offering.  I do love leather brogues – they’re so, so comfortable.

So, I got to have a fun day and start my attempt at being a business-woman – wish me luck!  It’ll be nice if I can make a little money outside of an office and on my terms.  Let’s see how it goes …

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The Saturday shoe returns with a little homage to Vivienne Westwood and her crazy-awesome shoe designs.  And me being me, there’ll be little references to her historical influences.

First, some lovely buckles from Ms Westwood:Are they shoes?  Are they boots?  Who knows!

OK, so these are rather too extreme for everyday wear and they don’t really workk with my personal style, but aren’t they amazing objects?  And, of course,it doesn’t take any great stretch of the imagination to see the 18th Century influence here:

Bata Shoe Museum - 1770s English wedding shoes

That ubiquitous feature of 18th Century footwear, the buckle, has clearly caught Vivienne Westwood’s magpie eyes.

The previous shoes didn’t fit my personal taste, however ensemble, barring practical concerns, is really quite alluring for me:

Hmmm – stockings and cockades, anybody?  Yes please!  Those ruffles at the tops of the socks are rather garter-esque, the tongues of the shoes are definitely 18th century-eqsue, and the decorations on the shoes look very much like wooly cockades/rosettes:

1792 French Mules

1883 Cockade Shoes

I do have a weakness for rosettes, I have to say – I think that’s what I love so much about Suffolk puffs and my silk cuff.  If you share this weakness, there are a couple of other shoes with cockades on this timeline of Shoes Through the Ages and House of Nines Design has an interesting article on these decorative lovelies and even has them available to buy separately or on their yummy hats in their Etsy shop.

And one last pair of Vivienne Westwood shoes:

These you might recognise – they’re the infamous style that Naomi Campbell came acropper of.  Super-high platform heels.  They might not look terrible historical, but they remind me of a shoe style I featured a couple of months ago:

Those massive heels place the lady desirous of attention above her companions (and competition!), quite literally.  And as a short person (not quite 5’2″), the addition of even a few extra inches can make a big difference to being seen and being able to see.

Perhaps I should get myself some of those super-high platform heels – the challenge would be walking in them… and if you read the article at the Bata Shoe Museum, you will note that our Renaissance ancestors had the same trouble, requiring servants to help them walk through a room.

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