Tuesday 20 December 2011

Little Stranger

This will just be a short post to announce that one week ago Tobias and I were blessed with a son. Baby and I stayed at the hospital for a couple of days, but our whole little family is happy to be together, and in our own quiet home rather than at the maternity ward (which was a nice enough place, but filled to capacity with parents and newborns, so quite noisy. Who knew December was such a popular month to be born in?). Now, we spend long hours holding him, learning to do things one handed, wondering at how perfect he is, working hard at making breastfeeding work, battling tiredness and trying to find a name that “is him”.

I suppose many of you would like to see a picture of him, but we have decided not to post private pictures of him on the internet; pictures taken in costume and/or at events an exception. This is to protect his privacy, and we consider costume and event pictures as being focused more on the costume or event than on him personally. So, my friends, I’m afraid you’ll have to wait for pictures of him until he’s in costume….

Saturday 10 December 2011

Silver Linings

Still no baby in sight. It has its upsides though, waiting. I managed to finish a new wool winter skirt a few days ago. I’ll mostly just show you teaser pictures and hardly any descriptions of the different projects right now, as I want proper pictures taken post baby.
After finishing the skirt, I found there’s no point in me starting any new projects right now, as I might not have time to finish them in a foreseeable future, so this past week I’ve been working on a couple of things from my “in progress-box”. I finally finished my corded petticoat, inspired by Sarah Jane making one recently. It took me long enough, though of course, I’ve had a lot of other projects in between. I’ll post about this separately and more in detail later.
I also finished an apron, for modern use, that’s been cut out ready to be sewn for a year or so. I have a regrettable tendency to spill or spatter when cooking, and rather an apron getting the worst of it than my clothes. The fabric was originally a couple of charity shop-bought cotton curtains, rather small but with deep hems and I made the most of them, so if you look closely, you can see the old stitch marks. Not that it matters in a working apron. As I wear skirts or dresses most of the time (when I’m not having a very lazy stay-at-home day and wear old sweat pants) I like my aprons slightly flared and long enough to cover them.
I cut the pocket and waistband/ties on the bias, for visual interest. To prevent the sewing thread in the ties breaking when the apron is being used, I had to keep them well stretched when sewing them, so the seams look a bit loose when not under stress. I was a bit unsure about having ties cut on the bias, but I’ll think it’ll work ok.
I made a decision recently to try and make peace with my sewing machine, and have since tried to sew more things on it rather than by hand than I did before. Thus, the apron is mostly machine sewn. I must say it is pleasant to be able to finish things so quickly, provided the machine behaves itself properly, and I think I’ll be able to learn not to mind the more clumsy hemming (on some things) that is one of the draw backs. I might even become good at sewing on the machine... I’ll try and reserve hand sewing to historical clothes that wouldn’t look right without it and other things that really does look better hand sewn. I believe my elderly self will thank me for it in future. Besides, depending on baby’s personality, I might not have very much time for sewing for a while, and must make as good a use of what time there is as possible. That being said, I’m spending the evening working on my regency stays – by hand.

Tuesday 6 December 2011

Winter Coat

Last time I mentioned I’d finished my winter coat, and today, I finally got some pictures of it.

The coat was made using herringbone wool in grey and off white, which
I had in my stash. I didn’t have very much of it, just 150x180 cm (about 59x71”), which presented a problem. I like my coats to be long (usually longer than this), as I get cold easily, and prefer them to be wide at the hem as I wear skirts or dresses with a bit of width most of the time. The answer was to use a different fabric for the details (collar, placket, belt and sleeve ornaments). This fabric, gray wool, was also one I had in my stash, and as with the herringbone fabric, there was just enough to squeeze the pieces I wanted from it. In fact, I had so little of either fabric that I had to use a third woollen fabric for the facing on the front and the collar. It took quite some time to work out how to make a coat out of so little fabric, but I’m pretty pleased with how it turned out. I would have preferred a bit more width at the hem, but beggars cannot be choosers….
My poor fingers are so swollen that I can't wear my rings...
they have to be worn on a chain round my neck.
To make ultimate use of the main fabric, I cut it in as few pieces I could, which meant only two in front, two in back. From the little fabric left, I made a pleated gusset, inserted in the centre back from the waist down, to add a tiny bit of width. It’s very slim, which is my main regret with the coat, (so I won’t post a picture of it, though you can see a hint of it in the side shot below) but I really didn’t have any more fabric.
As I’m very pregnant right now, I didn’t make any darts at the waist, just from the shoulders. Instead I made a sort of belt, that can be adjusted to my hopefully soon slimmer figure, by moving the buttons in front. Hopefully it’ll work as planned, so I won’t have to look like a tent the whole winter.
The buttons in front are not functional, as I couldn’t think of a clever way to make them sit right on the contrasting placket while using buttonholes, and it would look silly if they were off centre. Instead I used rather big hooks and sewn bars, which so far have worked very well. The buttons just add visual interest. As you see, the lining is a vivid pink, just for fun.
More visual interest is found at the sleeves, where a band from the grey wool is decorated with a self fabric sewn bow and a button.
The other day a lady came up to me and asked where I’d bought my coat, which was flattering. She wanted one for her niece, who is also pregnant, and is having difficulty finding a coat that will close.
On Saturday the baby is due, but I doubt he or she will arrive in time, as I and all my siblings were more or less late. I’ll just have to practice patience a bit longer, and hope to scrape up enough energy to finish a skirt I’m working on, and looking forward to wearing when I have the resemblance of a waist again.