Tuesday, 5 December 2017

Rococo "Bergère" hats - the basics

Ikea currently providing an ample support of round place mats made from natural fibres, I have also taken up rococo hatting again. Getting the right shape for one of those flat Bergère-style hats out of a round place mat is easy, you treat the piece with steam or hot water at the centre and the part that's going to be the back, and let it dry over a small glass bowl for the crown with the back part of the brim held upwards by another bowl. Flatten the sides with whatever comes in handy, in this case it was two boxes of fondant for the cake I was baking...

Let dry overnight and you'll end up with a shallow crown and a turned-up back. Ready for decoration!

The procedure works well with any kind of natural fibres, be it paper, straw, reed, or other grassy stuff. The hat will keep its shape pretty well, provided it doesn't get too wet. You may want to attach wiring to the edge when you line or trim the hat, which improves the stability of the back curve.


As I found some nice ball pendants that can be used for making pomanders, I decided I needed one. Or more. The first one sold quickly at the historic market, so quickly that only a blurry picture could be found because I forgot to take a decent one. It's artificial pearls, four joined on a wire, and a dark red one with silver ornaments between the white pieces. They should be long enough to go round the waist, the scented ball being slightly below your knees. The top end finishes with a hook to close around the waist with one of the joints between the pearl segments so it can easily be adjusted.

The second one is made with black and silver filigree pearls between the white segments, ending in a cross-shaped pomander pendant.

The third one (yes, it becomes slightly addictive...) is with red pearls again, this time with golden ornaments and a golden scent ball.

Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Teddy bear blanket

A friend of mine expecting her first child, I decided now was the time to try a pattern I had seen on the internet. And as time is always short when I start doing something, I couldn't bother ordering said pattern but quickly re-invented it. You'll find the original here and the price is really fair for a complete pattern plus how-to: teddy bear blanket pattern on etsy. Definitely going to order the sheep-blanket-pattern for the next baby project!

The complete blanket counts eight by nine squares to have all three tones of turquis evenly in the pattern; yes, I can be very orderly if I want to!

The squares were connected by slip stitch rows and then ironed flat. Make sure to iron the ears individually so they lie flat, then iron the complete blanket from the back to flatten it thoroughly.

The eyes are wooden beads, two of them stringed before you start the teddy face and then crocheted in so they don't stand the faintest chance of ever coming off.

And the little man seemed very pleased, slumbering under his cosy teddy bedding! ^^

Monday, 11 September 2017

Hat decoration...

...or: How to turn something incredibly horrible into something more credibly horrible :D

Having a pencheant for fleur de lys, I just had to buy this masterpiece of glittery madness (who the hell invented sticky glitter?!), plucked off the silly ribbon and the plastic rhinestones, scratched and sanded the glitterglue off, changed the position of the metal ornaments, and lo!, it can easily serve as hat decoration now - though I'll more probably use it for a rococo tricorn than for a baroque cavalier hat.

Glittery madness before
De-glittered ornament after

Thursday, 7 September 2017

Tiny stuff

This is what I do when I get along too well with my projects and decide I can waste some time on doing random stuff. While sorting through some drawers my mum found this wee rubber doll from the 1960s and brought it to me for some clothing. As it's a boy (even though the details are missing) he got red woollen trousers and a white shirt, mostly hand-sewn because four centimetre trousers and a three centimetre shirt are simply too small for a sewing machine :D

Petit four dress

Yes, that's what it looks like, all pink :D I once bought a justaucorps from a theatre sale and at last found matching pink fabric for a skirt. After adjusting the justaucorps to my measurements, I started with the skirt, to be worn over my smallest set of paniers.

The justaucorps was too wide around the waist (which could be helped easily by taking in the side and back seams) while the sleeves were too short - which took a bit more effort. I had to detach the cuffs as well as the lace cuffs which I sewed to the very edge of the sleeve, then came the pink cuff that was not, as before, sewn edge to edge but three centimetres further down to give additional length.

The skirt is two fabric widths, closing at one of the side seams, with pocket slits. Measuring the seamline is tedious when you have a curved hem to be worn over paniers. I usually put the skirt on, mark floor length at the front and on one side, and copy it to the other sides, cropping a little for the front and adding a little for the back side. Much to my satisfaction I found an ample amount of matching satin ribbon in my collection but, not content with three rows of ribbon around the hem, I decided to try some simple self-fabric-trimming. And after using the very last bit for the waistband I can proudly say that I used up every inch of this fabric! From the cutoff I cut 2 centimetre wide strips, using pinking scissors to get the typical pinked edge, which I sewed together and ruffled slightly (not too much or it will curl up). These, alternating with the satin ribbon, decorate the hem.

While rummaging through my collection of trims and ribbons I also found a short piece of a matching one that I decided to turn into a neck ruff / choker. Actually it's a length of gift ribbon, 100% polyester and the centre is some kind of translucent plastic, but this part is covered by a row of lace anyway and won't be seen. I box-pleated almost the whole length, the rest was folded into a bow to hide the hook and eye closure.

The event for which I'm currently finishing this outfit (yay, one more of my gotta-finish-this-projects done!) doesn't require a hat, but as I have a length of ribbon left that's too short for the hem I think I will add a little decorated tricorn.

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Celtic outfit with interchangeable outer garments

One of the liveroleplay-settings I play in is celtic, and I decided that now at last my character - actually a completely unpretentious and practically-minded surgeon - needs some new clothes instead of the worn and sack-like outfit she has. Plus I need to get rid of fabric I bought for projects I haven't started in the past seven years. Now's the time!

The léine, the dress I use as the first layer, is actually very simple (which is authentic) and made from four rectangles, two for front and back, two folded for the sleeves. For vanity's sake I might make another princess cut version, which is completely unauthentic but looks more shapely. The fabric is a relatively light blue cotton (no, not period) that matches the colour of all three possible peplos.

The peplos is the outer garment, worn over the léine. Same as the greek counterpart, the top is folded over, pinned over the shoulders, and either sewn close along the sides or left open and just belted. Two are light cotton tartan weave, the third is a heavier and simple blue and white tartan. You will inevitably get a bateau neckline unless you pin the shoulder parts to the léine to fix them in place. If you want to have a lower neckline at the front, the trick is to either make the front part a tad shorter than the back part, or adjust via the folded part.

As all of this is soooo simple and will be done so quickly I found that having machine-sewn hems visible where the peplos is folded over, I went for hand-sewn hems, at least for the two lighter fabrics. Slowly I'm beginning to realize that perfectionism might be one of the reasons for never getting anything done...