Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Busy Like a Bee.. Victorian Undergarments Class and planning for HSF#3

So many things I want to work on!  Supplies for a variety of projects ordered from the web and I feel like a little kid running to the front door to see if anything has arrived every 5 minutes.

I signed up for Historical Sewing's "Victorian Undergarments" Online class and have been having a lovely time meeting my fellow classmates in the FB group and ordering patterns and fabrics for the class.  Since I don't know any fellow historical costumers in Atlanta, sewing can be kind of lonely and it is absolutely lovely to have a "Ladies Sewing Circle and Terrorist Society" to chat with and benefit from the "hive mind" and general companionship of like minded sewers.

Several of my fellow students were talking about doing undergarments and I found myself in analysis paralysis...  did I want to do black...  I love black..  and I do have a lovely stash of black laces and trimmings.....  but white was so pretty..  and more historically correct....

Solved my dilemma the usual way...  by buying both the white and the black!  My justification was whatever I didn't use immediately, I'd use it for something (sooner or later).  Hi...  my name is Alison and I am a fabric addict.  *sheepish smile*  Of course while buying the lawn, there may have been a few other things that slipped into the cart from the $3 a yard section...  a pretty green cotton/silk pique that might be an Edwardian blouse someday, some tan cotton/silk duponi that just begged to be dyed a deep gorgeous red or purple and some black and yellow pinstriped shirting that I think I will make my petticoat out of for class.  On my monitor the yellow looks like a soft ivory...  I'm praying it doesn't actually look like a bumble bee.  If it does...  it will end up being lining for something.

I also bought the handkerchief linen I needed for HSF#3....  and I totally blame the whole Pink theme for the hydrangea pink silk suiting I bought...  I have been so inundated by pink, thinking about the challenge that it wouldn't let me check out without being in my cart.  In my defense, it was also on the $3 a yard page.  Not sure what it will end up being (and know I won't touch it before the HSF #3 deadline) but it's now mine!

My "simple* idea for HSF #3 is turning out to be more complicated than I originally thought...sometimes I think I could complicate boiling water :)  I was planning on doing some pink embroidery on an existing handkerchief because I didn't have any handkerchief linen on hand.  But I thought about how superior my embroidery frame is to an embroidery hoop and remembered a pin I'd captured on my techniques board months ago of an 18th c. waistcoat that had been embroidered on the fabric before it was cut out.  

From the Museum Rotterdam: Uncleaved vest ivory white silk embroidered with floral motifs

So my plan is to mark out the handkerchief on the uncut fabric, baste the ends to the embroidery frame and do the embroidery before actually I cut out the handkerchief.

As to the pattern itself, I found a Dover book on white work that had some pretty corner patterns on the cover, but I wasn't sure what, if any historical the designs were from...  but as luck would have it, one of the reviewers that gave the book a 1 star rating was complaining that the book was nothing more than a reprint of The Chief Pattern Bool of Embroidery Patterns for the Improvement of Artistic Embroidery on Linens and the Promotion of  Good Handicrafts, first published in 1900 in Germany.   It was $7 on Amazon, adds to my back burner research of turn of the century German fashion and has a corner pattern on the cover that I like.  Which is important because of all of the sample pages Amazon made available, not a single one of them was a page of patterns.  Really, Amazon?!?!?

The intro of the book, which was available, talks about a pin prick method for transferring embroidery in which pins were pricked into the pattern at regular intervals, the pattern was placed on top of the fabric and chalk was forced thru the holes, thereby transferring the pattern.  I have to admit, I am curious to try this method, though I suspect it will end up being a spectacular failure.  But hey...  I have to indulge my curiosity!

I've gotten some recent feedback that the white sans serif font on black is difficult to read on the blog. I bumped the font size up 3 pts in response to that, but I'd be very interested in hearing from other people if they are having difficulty as well.  I definitely want it to be readable, but right now my data sample (one person says difficult to read, one person says they don't have any problem) is too small make any significant changes yet.


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  2. Well, I love reading your blog but it shreds my eyesight in about fifteen minutes, so count me in as a "difficult to read" vote. However, your writing is fun enough that it's worth it!

    1. Is it the white text on a black background? The font size? I'm open to making it more readable, but I'm not sure what to change...