Saturday, February 17, 2018

Kilt Commission



Last autumn, my friend David asked me to sew two kilts for him. I’ve been sewing for about five years, but haven’t ever done anything too fancy, and certainly haven’t taken on a kilt. I was a bit apprehensive, but also welcomed the challenge.

I knew that Folkwear patterns had a kilt pattern, I didn’t know of any other, so I ordered that right away. It ended up being a fabulous pattern, and worked beautifully for both kilts.

Progress photos. The biggest challenge wasn’t the pleating, but the leather! Shudder! Leatherwork is hard!

So many pleats!


A glimpse of the lining. 

The First kilt was finished in time for Christmas, so I wrapped it all up nicely. 





The final product!I was beyond relieved to learn that it fit perfectly. I’ve mostly made things for myself, so I was quite apprehensive. 

Round two! I ordered leather tabs and buckles FROM SCOTLAND and they were much harder to sew! Eek! 


I made cloth tabs to go with the leather tabs from Scotland. 


The second kilt finished! Yay! This one was quite different from the first, and I’m glad they both fit properly!






Wednesday, February 7, 2018

February Progress Report

I began writing this in late January, and now it’s nearly a week into February already, and I still have not updated my blog! Shame on me! I keep hoping I can get photos of the fellow wearing the kilt I finished in December, but we shall still have to wait!

I have not, however, been idle. I’ve nearly finished the second kilt, and I also altered a Regency-era dress I made four years ago. I was able to use it for The Historical Sew Monthly, which I’ve not properly participated in for ages!

The photos I have from when I originally made the dress are not very good, I’m afraid, so I’ve compiled them into one photo.


This is the first dress I made entirely by myself, from a Sense & Sensibility pattern. Despite its flaws, I’m quite proud of it, especially as I didn’t have a machine and sewed it all by hand. 



I also removed the self-fabric tie and replaced it with tape, as well as adding a bit of lace to the sleeves. 

Apologies for the awkward selfie poses! I never seem to do these things when other people can be around to take pictures of me. 



Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Summing Up 2017 & Goals for 2018



I suspect, like most of you, that the past year has been a busy one, full of a mixture of triumphs, frustrations, sorrows and joys. For myself, I can say that 2017 has been one of my best years, at least when I look back on it from December’s perspective. 

In terms of accomplishment, I completed seven sewing projects, which makes me feel pretty good, especially considering the fact that I made a dress that failed completely (that’s not one of the seven), and I still have three unfinished projects waiting to be taken up again. 


The seven items I completed this year: 1. A 1910s skirt, 2. A 1930s dress, 3. A 1910s skirt, 4. A 1910s corset, 5. & 6. Ronja and Mattis costumes and 7. A kilt commissioned by a friend. 

In terms of writing, I have done quite a bit, most importantly, finishing a novel that I’ve been working on for several years (!), and which I’ve been sending out to literary agents since February. I’ve also nearly completed a first draft of a new novel. 

Many things have happened this year which have challenged me in new ways. I realise that’s a very vague statement. Most of those things are very private, and some I am waiting to write about in my blog at a future date. 




I was also able to go back to England and Scotland — my first time after having graduated from the University of Glasgow in 2014, and that was not only a blessing, but a thought-provoking and
 spiritual journey which I am still processing. 



For the coming year, I am hoping to accomplish just as much, if not more, including some of the following:

1. Sew a second kilt. 
2. Finish the three unfinished projects I began this year. 
3. Attempt a 1930s suit jacket. 
4. Sew 3 or 4 blouses. 
5. Finish my First Draft of my new novel. 
6. Read at least as many books as I did this year (25 so far). 

I think that’s a pretty good list to start off with! I hope you all will have many things to look forward to in the year ahead!

Friday, November 17, 2017

Trench Cake

I ran across a recipe for Trench Cake a year or so ago, and have been curious to try it. I found it on Pinterest (where else?) but it came from this Article  from the Telegraph. It’s a very simple recipe, and unusual in that it calls for margerine instead of butter, and vinegar in milk instead of eggs. I’m guessing this was for two reasons: first, and primarily, because of rationing. 


It didn’t make a large amount of cake, which also probably helped in sending it off to a soldier in France. 


Like most other things, WWII gets all the attention. Everyone knows about rationing in the Second World War. But I was in my twenties when I first realised that it was employed during the First World War as well! Secondly, a cake without eggs and butter probably keeps longer, if you’re sending it overseas!

So, a couple of days after Armistice Day (as I still like to call it, otherwise known as Vetrans Day in America) I made Trench Cake — with some help from my niece. 

Ready to bake!


The finished product!

I didn’t put in the peel, and I soaked the currants in hot water (with a splash of vanilla) but otherwise I followed the recipe. It didn’t look great, but I really loved the flavour. The hint of coco powder added more taste than I was expecting, so that was a good surprise. I would definitely make this again!

Friday, November 10, 2017

Ronja the Robber’s Daughter

An image from the Studio Ghibli Ronja the Robber’s Daughter, and Jared and Lucy


My brother and niece love the Studio Ghibli version of ‘Ronja the Robber’s Daughter’ which plays on Amazon Prime. Actually, I love it too. The look, the music, and of course the story are all quite enchanting. 

I wasn’t able to find trim that matched exactly, but I tried to get something similar. 



So we all decided that for Halloween, my brother Jared should be Mattis, the father, and my niece Lucy should be Ronja. I volunteered to pick out the fabric and make the costumes. Although the tunics that they wear are quite simple, it was trickier to draft patterns than I was expecting. It was definitely a good exercise for me to do!

Jared, Lucy and me. I (obviously) dressed up as a witch. I love Halloween!

Monday, November 6, 2017

1910s Rilla Corset



Two years ago I made an overbust  corset from the 1910s from Truly Victorian. Since losing weight I’ve been wanting to make another one but just couldn’t get the motivation. When I saw a new pattern from  Scroop Patterns for a 1910s corset, I thought maybe a new pattern might give me the impetus I needed. 

Working on the eyelets! It’s easy, but takes a long time!


I began working on it in July and would have finished it much sooner than I did (late October) if I hadn’t had grommet trouble! I’ve used grommets before, so I’m not sure why they just would  Not Work. Luckily, Leimomi Oakes, the creator of the pattern, told me that hand-sewn eyelets would be period accurate. Whew! So that’s what I did! The sizing, assembly and everything else were great! I really enjoyed working with this pattern. 


All laced up!





There’s supposed to be extra lacing in the middle to tighten or loosen the corset, but I ran out of the lacing I already had. Oops!


I’m so glad that it’s finished. It was a great pattern and easy to make. And now I have a proper 1910s corset again! 

Monday, October 30, 2017

Lady Edith’s Autumn Pallet

Although Downton Abbey as a series has ended, it remains a favourite with those who love historical dramas and gorgeous costumes. 

During the autumn season, I often think about Lady Edith’s lovely wardrobe which is predominantly (though not exclusively) in shades of peach and orange. 

So, in honour of autumn, Halloween and all things orange, here’s a look at some of Lady Edith’s best dresses. (I believe all the photos I found are copyrighted by ITV)


Lovely gold and sunset orange ensemble from one of the earlier 1910s seasons. 

Perfect! I love this simple, quintessentially 1920s boxy dress. 


This is a slight departure from the orange, but the lemon coloured blouse fits perfectly with the tweed of her suit. 



I love this blouse which both Edith and Sybil wear in seasons one and two. 

Again elegant, simple perfection. 

This has a more peachy hue to it and is an amazing ensemble with the blue accents in the coat. 


Brown! I love it! 

The piece de resistance in my opinion is this orange and black (or is it navy?) dress. Gorgeous!

I’m sure the colour choices for Edith’s clothes were partly due to the actresses colouring, and partly due to her character, but I think they are all lovely!