Friday, 19 January 2018

Historical Disney - Ariel

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Friday, 5 January 2018

A Plaid Skirt

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Saturday, 16 December 2017

Paper Star Ornaments and a Free Printable

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Monday, 11 December 2017

The Eagle's Ravenclaw Scarf

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Wednesday, 6 December 2017

Onion Shaped Paper Ornaments

It’s been a few months since I posted, and to bring those of you who don’t follow me on Facebook or Instagram up to date, I had my third baby boy in September, and we moved to a new flat at the beginning of  November, and I'm still working on getting everything organised and tidy. For obvious reasons, I haven’t made many Christmas decorations this year.

I did however make these paper ornaments way back in July, realising that would likely be my only chance this year, and as I took step by step pictures, here’s a tutorial. 

I worked with what I had in stash, and that determined how full my ornaments would be, and how many I could make. You can of course make yours fuller by adding pieces, and make as many ornaments as you want. The three 12x12” scrapbooking papers I had, from a Swedish 2006 Christmas collection, was enough to make eight ornaments of six pieces of paper each.

I started by making a template (you can use almost any shape you want, as long as it's left and right sides are symmetrical), then copied that on the back of my papers. I wanted to get as many pieces as possible from my material, with minimal waste, so I adjusted the shape of my template accordingly.  

Cut out your shapes.

Fold each cut piece of paper lengthwise; make it a sharp crease, a bone folder may come in handy if you have one. 

Repeat for all of the shapes you've cut out.

I used all three paper designs in each of my ornaments, so for every ornament I was working on, I made sure to lay them out in the right order so as not to get them mixed up.

Next, glue two of the pieces together.

Make sure the folds align neatly.

If, despite aligning the folds perfectly, the edges are uneven, don’t worry. We’ll trim them later.

Keep gluing your shapes together, until you’ve added the last one. Leave the end ones open for now.

Now trim your ornament, so it looks neat.

If the top is too pointed, you can cut off the top and bottom slightly, thus making any beads you might add sit more nicely.

To hang your ornament you can use a number of different things, from string to ribbon. I used a linen thread, and added beads to give a neat finishing touch. Start by putting a small bead on the thread. This will make sure the thread is more safely secured to your ornament, and won’t slip loose.

Double the thread, and put on a slightly larger bead.

Add another large bead and a small bead – they will sit at top and bottom of the ornament.

Put the thread inside the still open ornament, make sure the beads end up in the right places. Glue the ornament shut.

Your ornament is now finished!

These make good ornaments if you have limited space for storage, as they can be folded flat when not in use. Have you made any ornaments this year?

Friday, 11 August 2017

Baby Quilt III

As I did for my first and second babies, I’ve made a quilt for the one I’m expecting in little over a month. Like I did with their quilts, I’ve only used fabrics from stash, many of them remnants from clothes and old projects, though only 14 different fabrics this time. Am I getting lacy? The boys where fascinated during the whole process, comparing the new quilt with their own. 

I stitched the top together on my 1924 Singer treadle, a little now and then when I had good days. I’ve had lots of contractions this pregnancy, much more than with the others, and have been prevented from doing pretty much anything in any way physically taxing. I was on partial sick leave from 20 weeks and on full sick leave from 29 weeks. Good thing I like to hand sew and read, or I would have gone nuts by the forced inactivity. Anyway. This is a patchwork style I’ve liked for a long time, so it was nice to try it. It turned out pretty well I think.

The binding is made from the same fabric on all three quilts, and some of the fabrics show up in all three as well, while some show up in two, or only in one. Sort of symbolic of how siblings are similar and unique at the same time.

The quilting is done by hand, again in a similar fashion to the other baby quilts. Quilting was by far the most fun part of this project.

And that’s that. I’ve also made some comfort blankets for baby, but that’s about as far as I can allow my nesting instinct to run, as I can’t go crazy with all of the cleaning and organising I’d have liked to do. More time for reading, eh?

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Making an 1840's Straw Bonnet

About eleven years ago, when I lived in my first flat, I picked up a straw hat in a charity shop, stitched with cotton thread. I’m afraid I don’t have a picture of how it looked, but imagine something closely akin to a “dixie cup” sailors cap. I realised that when unfolded it would form a good base for a 19th century bonnet, but I didn’t yet know if I wanted an Empire/Regency one or an 1840’s one. So, like many other “someday I’m going to make something really nice from this” items, it ended up in my stash. I took it out from time to time, but never felt brave enough to get started.

And then I had an event coming up, the opening of an exhibition of women’s fashion from the 18th century to today. I was, with some others, invited to the opening and asked to come in clothing from any of the periods represented in the exhibition. I decided on the 1840’s maternity dress I made three years ago. The dress is nice, but I felt I needed a bonnet to look properly attired, so I finally got to work on transforming the straw hat into a bonnet.

First I unpicked the stitches holding the straw braid for a few feet, so I could use that to edge the finished bonnet with. You can see the crease where the brim was originally folded upwards.

Then I dunked the bonnet in water to make it less brittle and cut out a piece for the neck. I had a plan for the cut-off pieces of braid, but later I thought I should have curved the brim down towards the chin instead of cutting it straight. You live and learn.

The pieces of braid just mentioned I used to make a sort of bavolet at the neck.

When the shape of the bonnet was what I wanted it to I started stitching the braid I removed previously to the edge. It turned out I didn’t have quite enough, so I took another braid I had in my stash for the inside. I stitched them both on simultaneously, making sure the straw was wet the whole time.

This is how the bonnet looked when I’d finished the sewing, but before blocking. I shaped it while wet and set it to dry, with a pot of honey at the bottom of the crown to make it flatter.

Then it was time for trimming. This was an all-stash project, so I picked out a scrap of green silk dupioni. Taffeta would have been better, and taffeta ribbons best of all, but I didn’t have any. I hemmed strips of the silk for ties and trim. I wasn’t quite happy with the straw bavolet, so decided to cover it with a silk one that I gathered to the proper length using whipped gathers.

I wrapped a long strip of silk round the bonnet, arranging artful creases here and there. Silk ties were also attached.

The silk was attached with very untidy stitches on the inside, as seen in period bonnets. Makes it easy to change the trim if wanted.

Then I was a bit unsure if I should leave it as was – after all, it looked very pretty that way – or add ostrich plumes. As I was dressing as a close to middle aged, married bourgeoise woman, I decided more was more in this case. I had some ostrich feathers that had fallen out of my feather duster and been saved for a moment like this. I picked out four, and stitched them together two-and-two with silk thread to make them fuller.

Then I attached them to the bonnet, again using long stitches on the inside. They turned out looking pleasantly fluffy, adding just the right oomph to the bonnet.

But the bonnet snagged my hair, so after consulting knowledgeable people I made a half lining using a thin cotton fabric. Not the most historically accurate fabric for this, but it had to do.

And that was that, all finished. I hadn’t added cheek ruffles to the inside, so I wore a cap under the bonnet instead to give a similar effect. It might be an old-fashioned thing to do for the 1840’s, but it looked nice enough. I felt very Cranford.

But woe! I wasn’t quite happy with the size! 1840’s bonnets usually hide the profile completely from view when seen from the side, and mine doesn’t. It annoys me no end, even though I love how the bonnet turned out over all. So disappointing…

Maybe I’ll just sell it - without the plumes it would look lovely on a girl - and try again.

My Pinterest board of extant 1840's bonnets.