February HSM – Tucks and Pleats

So, I am so aware of how appalling I’ve been keeping you up to date with my projects, for which I can only apologise, and then some more. Life got in the way, as it tends to. I’ve been busy sewing, just not blogging about the sewing I’ve been doing. So, I’ll get on with my February HSM. 

You may be wondering where my January HSM is, and the answer is, underneath my February project… All will be revealed. 

Here it is: my skirt to go over my 1850s cage crinoline. There is so much pleating here (ruffles galore!) that I knew it’d be perfect for this month’s challenge. 

It is essentially made out of two types of fabric, because I ran out of the first kind, and the ruffles are mounted onto a base skirt. All in all, it’s actually really heavy!


A sweet button used to fasten the skirt at the back

And yes, it is mostly machine sewn. Obviously there are bits where one has to hand sew, such as sewing the yards of ruffles actually onto the skirt, but hems and seams and so on are done by machine, to speed up what would otherwise be a very laborious process. 

It’s far more imposing and impressive in real life than the pictures convey, I promise!

 Its over the top of my cage crinoline I made, which I think it’s nice enough to show on here, but if you need a description it’s steel wire held in place by bias tape. Not particularly elegant but it s sturdy yet bendable and does the job nicely. That was going to be my January HSM, but I didn’t finish it in time and I also don’t like the way it looks without anything covering it. 
So, facts. 

Challenge: Tucks and Pleats

Fabric: what I had lying around: plain beige cotton, and a heavier curtain (yay for curtain material!) material.  

Pattern: none

Year: from 1856 onwards, because that’s when the cage crinoline was patented

Notions: thread, a silver button

How historically accurate is it? Other than the use of sewing machine and un-authentic materials, the shape is pretty similar to pictures of outer skirts, so we can assume that petticoats had a similar shape. 70-80% authentic

Hours to complete: countless

First worn: 20th February

Total cost: nothing, everything was from the stash! 
Overall, I love the way it looks and how it really makes sure that you can’t see the hoops through the skirt, which is a main use of petticoats in this era! Plus, ruffles. Enough said. 



Hoop skirt update

So, due to the fact that keeping the shape of an 1860s crinoline is very difficult, I have adopted a new approach. The thing is, in order to create that elliptical shape, I would have needed to put wire horizontally, which means that sitting wouldn’t be a possibility! 

So, the plans have changed. It is now going to be an 1850s wire crinoline, due to the fact that the circular shape is so much easier to make. 

I am making it out of some fairly sturdy wire I found lying around, and luckily, the cat approves of this project! She loves the tapes dangling down from it! I know that it won’t look beautiful and very neat, but that doesn’t worry me because with skirts over the top, no one will see the crinoline, and it’s there to give shape. 

18th century stays confession

Remember how I said I would post photos and tell you about my 18th century stays in progress? 

No longer. Because I tried them on and it’s all wrong; they’re too short in the body, not wore enough in the neckline, the stomacher is not big enough, and the placement of the bones at the side seams means that the stays don’t sit comfortably on the body. In fact, the made me look worse than if I’d worn no stays at all. 

I really can’t see any way of fixing these, but I’m not TOO upset. The problem is, that I used pretty much all of the pink linen so I can’t redo them. 

In any case, it means that I can work on my 1860s cage crinoline. This is something I’ve been puttin off for a while, and so either this or adding a peplum to my corset cover will be my January HSM. 

So, like I say each time, photos will come soon, but the cafe crinoline is still in progress and looks a bit tatty. 

HSM 2016

Hello, everyone, and Happy New Year! I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas, and are looking forward to whatever 2016 may bring. I am. And, with a new year, comes a new set of monthly challenges from the Historical Sew Monthly.

  • JanuaryProcrastination  finish a garment you have been putting off finishing (a UFO or PHD) or make something you have been avoiding starting.
  • FebruaryTucks & Pleating – make a garment that features tucks and pleating for the shape or decoration
  • MarchProtection – make something to protect yourself (from weather or injury) or your clothes (from soiling etc.)
  • April – Gender-Bender – make an item for the opposite gender, or make an item with elements inspired by the fashions of the opposite gender
  • MayHoles – sometimes the spaces between stuff are what makes a garment special.  Make a garment that is about holes, whether it is lace, slashing, eyelets, etc.
  • JuneTravel – make a garment for travelling, or inspired by travel.
  • JulyMonochrome – make a garment in black, white, or any shade of grey in between.
  • AugustPattern – make something in pattern, the bolder and wilder the better.
  • SeptemberHistoricism – Make a historical garment that was itself inspired by the fashions of another historical period.
  • OctoberHeroes – Make a garment inspired by your historical hero, or your historical costuming hero.
  • NovemberRed – Make something in any shade of red.
  • DecemberSpecial Occasionmake something for a special event or a specific occasion, or that would have been worn to special event of specific occasion historically.

So, there are the challenges. For January, I am going to finish my in-progress 18th century stays, for which progress photos are coming soon, I promise! I have been meaning to post the photos FOR EVER, but never found the time because the WordPress on my iPad is so appalling.

So, this was just a brief update to let you know I haven’t dropped off the face of the earth; I know it’s been a while since I last posted. Unfortunately, I didn’t manage to get round to doing the previous November and December HSM 2015 Challenges (Silver Screen and Re-do respectively), although you might be able to count the stays as part of the Re-do because they were foundations, like the January 2015 challenge asked for….

What are your plans for this year’s 2016 HSM? Tell me below and get sewing!

HSM October Challenge – Sewing Secrets

I am acutely aware that I haven’t been posting at all recently, and for that I apologise sincerely. I’ve been crazily busy, but now that the holidays are coming up, I hope to have more time to sew and post. 

This project is a Medieval shift, dated for around 1475, and this could also be counted as a Heirlooms and Heritage entry, because this is the kind of shift that would have been worn by my ancestress, Catherine Barry. The secret is that her name is embroidered above the hem of the shift

It is completely hand sewn from linen, with gores inserted at the side. Originally I planned to make it without gores, but it was too tight without, so I inserted two muslin strips, because I didn’t have any more of the linen. 

So, the info: 

Challenge: October, Sewing Secrets

The secret: the name of the wearer embroidered

Fabric: linen

Pattern: none

Year: around 1475

Notions: White and brown thread

How historically accurate is it? Although nothing can ever be 100% historically accurate, this comes quite close. I’d say about 90-95% accurate

Hours to complete: many. Probably… 7-8ish?

Total cost: all from stash, so nothing

First worn: not yet

Fabric haul

Today was a successful day of shopping. Although I didn’t buy all of the things that I wanted to, such as red wool and brocade (which was due to Fabricland not having any as such, but they do have plum-coloured wool which I will buy next time when I take more money with me!), I did get my hands on some other things which I am very pleased about. Today I discovered the Remnants Box – a large cage of fabric remnants for a much cheaper price than usual. I thought Id died and gone to Heaven!

So what did I find in this magical box?

imageThis green and white polka dot cotton. I might make a summer skirt out of it at some point.

imageA large amount of this green linen. Not sure exactly how much, but hopefully enough to make something substantial, like a kirtle perhaps?

imageThis rather tough, white fabric. Not sure exactly what it is, but it could be excellent for making corsets and it was only £1, so how could I resist?

imageHalf a metre of white linen. Useful stuff

imageA roll of cotton tape. I got 10% off for the whole roll, and by this point I suspect the lady serving me was exploiting me and my obsession for bargains and fabrics. It worked. She also managed to sell me a pack of sewing machine needles that I have no use for but felt unable to say no to.

imageTKMaxx has already got Christmas stuff on he shelves (I know, I know. It’s not even been Halloween yet and it almost made me want to cry. Shame on me for succumbing to the early early Christmas offers) and here I got 4.5m (5yards) of a lovely vintage looking lace for £3.47. You would have done the same.

imageA black velvet dress for £3 from Oxfam. I don’t intend to wear it, but I saw a quantity of velvet for a cheap price and gave in. Who knows what it could be useful for?

And finally…

image3 metres of slightly stretchy fabric (for the life of me I can’t remember what it’s called, sorry) of navy blue with dark pink dragonflies on it. I will use it to make a circle skirt, and seeing as the lady was definitely ripping me off by this point and sold me way more than I needed, also possibly a dress or something. And then a further five skirts, to give you an idea of the sheer amount of fabric I got from this one.

Hopefully that’ll keep me busy for a short while!

September HSM Challenge-Brown

I know I’m late, but I’m using the ‘better late than never’ phrase and submitting my September HSM entry now.

To be honest, my entry was finished today because I’ve had no time at all to sew recently. I made a Regency-ish silk reticule, which might not be as big as I would have liked, but it does the job.

image The interior silk lining

image The home made cord

imageWhat a lady keeps in her reticule… Money, a handkerchief and a ring….


So, the usual details:

The Challenge: Brown

Fabric: silk

Pattern: none, my own imagination

Year: Anywhere from 1800 onwards I suppose. These little bags were used for a long time after the Regency era.

Notions: silk thread, wool yarn for the cording

How historically accurate is it? Well, I’m going to say actually quite accurate. While the shape and the cord may not be truly accurate, I’ll give it a 85-90% because the fabrics and method of construction are good I think

Hours to complete: a simple task, so probably only 1.5-2 hours.

First worn: it’s not really a wearable item!

Total cost: as per usual, all from stash so £0.00!