Friday, 31 July 2015

Regency fichu

Pattern: Single thickness neckerchief (included in Past Patterns #031, 1796-1806 front closing gown)
Fabric: about 60 cm of printed cotton
Haberdasheries: none!

For the bicentennial of the battle of Waterloo, I made a new camp follower’s fichu. That is, I cut a triangle of fabric at home and hand hemmed it at the event, as a nice campfire activity.

I used the ‘Single thickness neckerchief’ pattern included in Past Patterns #031, which says to cut a triangle and then fold the top edge several times and pin it.
This is the kind of pattern which you should just follow without wondering what exactly you’re doing. When I read through it I really didn’t understand why I should make so many folds in it, and what would be the use of cutting such a large triangle in the first place if the folds were going to make it so much smaller again. But somehow this method works! The pin keeps the pleats neat at the back neck, whereas at the front, the extra fabric from the pleats makes it easier to tuck the ends into the gown and keep everything covered in a modest fashion. With the simple triangles I used to use as fichus, I always had to pin the ends to my dress, and they’d still move. This one stayed nicely in place.

Hehe, this looks like it’s going to be an origami frog!

Sunday, 26 July 2015

Sleeping mask

Pattern: none, I improvised
Fabric: printed cotton, printed flannel, pastel silk
Haberdasheries: 25-30 cm elastic

As I wrote in my post about my ruffled blackout curtains, exposure to light at night can substantially lower your melatonin level, which lowers sleep quality, and can cause a variety of problems, from weight gain to depression. I’m not sure whether this only applies to light entering the eyes, or whether light falling on the skin has an effect as well, but I assume the former is the most important. So, as it isn’t always possible to have blackout curtains (for instance, when sleeping in a white bell tent during re-enactment events!), I made a sleeping mask.

It was based on my friend Neenkster’s project, which made me realise I might as well make one myself when I couldn’t find one quickly. I wanted to use a cheerful printed fabric, like Neenkster did, for the outside, and a soft silk for the inside. But those two thin layers didn’t seem quite opaque enough to me, so I added two additional layers of printed flannel which I had left from making my flannel pyjama trousers. I’d have preferred unprinted flannel, but I couldn’t find any in my stash and didn’t want to buy anything for this tiny and last-minute project! Anyway, the print doesn’t show through the other fabrics.

I sewed the layers together with the elastic in between, leaving a gap at the top for turning the mask outside out. Then I topstitched around the edge to close the gap and keep the layers in place
(which, on second thoughts, would have looked a lot neater if I had used light blue yarn on my bottom bobbin!).

Saturday, 25 July 2015

Edwardian hat

Pattern: none
Fabric: mauve satin cotton from an Ikea Gäspa fitted sheet; light pink tulle
Haberdasheries: cherry blossoms

I started making this hat last year, for my second civilian World War I event at Huis Doorn. But I didn’t finish it, because I couldn’t find any decorations for it that matched the brown fabric. (I find hat decoration the hardest part of making historical outfits! There are several more hats that I haven’t posted here yet because I’m not yet happy about them. My 1915 hat turned out exceptionally well!) So I wore it undecorated, looking like this:

But most Edwardian hats were very lavish, so I didn’t want mine to remain minimalist! Also, the brown fabric was a bit too artificial, although it doesn’t show in the photo. So I decided to start over with new fabric, and just choose a nice colour rather than one that matched the straw base. I realised I should see the straw similarly to jeans: as a neutral that matches pretty much anything.

This was what the hat originally looked like:

I removed the ribbon and threaded metal wire through the rim to stop it being floppy, which was of course too modern:

I put some fibrefill around the crown of the hat, and sewed the fabric on over it, to create a wide crown:

And finally, I added tulle and lots of cherry blossoms:

From the side and top:

My inspiration for the flower arrangement, and also for the bow-like piece of fabric on the side of the hat (bottom row, second from right):