Tuesday, November 15, 2016

1918 Dress: Three's a Charm

I had some extra fabric, so made myself a little beret. Forgive the bathroom selfie! 

A few months back I bought a wool/ rayon blend that was on sale. It's a lovely olive colour (autumn colours are my favourite to wear - especially gold, brown and olive). It took me awhile to decide what to make with it. I decided I would try my 1917/ 1918 Past Patterns pattern. I've had it for a few years now, and this is the third time I have used it! The first time was a bit of a debacle, as I was too large for the measurements so added a panel into the bodice. The second time, I think, was fairly successful - I used it to make my half-mourning dress, which can be seen in this post

Every time I use this pattern I'm a little more patient with it - and it comes together more successfully. I'm very pleased with the outcome of this third attempt. Also, this is the first time I used the small collar instead of the wide pointed one. 

I hadn't realised, till studying the pattern, that it was heavily influenced by women's uniforms during WW1. It's interesting how much war influences fashion - and the 1910s is a very obvious example of that! 

The inspiration for my beret: British Army, First Aid Nursing Yeomanry (copyright IWM - Q 3257)

My sister & I went to the Salt Lake City Cemetery - a perfect place to take WW1-inspired photos! 

Inspired by some research I was doing for one of my novels, I recently bought a Kodak 'Vest Pocket Camera'. This model was used by soldiers, and I wanted to see how they worked! Post more about this will be coming! 

A view of the back.
Close-up. I'm really pleased with how the back of the dress turned out.

It was a perfect, beautiful autumn day. 

Beautiful, serene autumn day!

Clerks in the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC) lined up to meet Queen Mary, 1917 (Copyright IWM - Q 2494). One can see the similarity between their clothes and my dress.

My lovely sister Rebeccah, who took all the photos.

Friday, November 11, 2016

A Wee Scottish Halloween

When I was in my first year of university, I took a Celtic Civilisation course. My professor is a native of Scotland, and she told us that her children would carve turnips, which was the traditional Scottish vegetable of choice. Instead of trick-or-treating, Scottish children used to go guising, wearing fearful home-made masks. The book 'The Silver Bough' by F. Marian McNeill gives a detailed account of these traditional Halloween traditions and practices.

This year, I really wanted to recreate a Scottish Halloween as much as possible. The weekend before Halloween I carved pumpkins with my mum, sister and niece. But my mother and I also carved turnips. Turnips (or rutabagas) are much smaller than pumpkins, and frankly, more difficult. The whole inside needs to be carved out. But the result is definitely worth it.

Carving the turnip!

Below: my mother's turnip on the left, and mine on the right. 

On Halloween itself, I made Scottish oat cakes. I used a recipe from my grandmother Jean Grant McCloud (her parents were both Scottish), which she got from a hotel in Nova Scotia.  Instead of baking them, however, I fried them on a 'girdle' (a griddle-iron), which is more traditional.   

The recipe if you want to try it. One of my sisters recently made some and put some chocolate on top, which makes them quite similar to Hobnobs. YUM!

I've made these oat cakes before, but have never fried them. The consistency is different, but however you cook them, they are pretty delicious! I also reduced the sugar and butter this time because it seemed like SO MUCH!