HSM #2 – Almost There…

The reticule is nearly finished.

The blue band around the top is on and tonight I’ll stitch the casings for the drawstrings. I chose this blue because both two-color roller prints and geometric designs were available in this era, plus the blues in the band were so close to the blues in the indienne they would have been accurate at the time: they seemed a good pairing. So here’s where I am at present:

The ruching will go around the base and around the bottom of the blue band. I forgot how much fabric it takes to get enough length, so I’m still at it. Then all it needs are the drawstrings, which will be acquired this Thursday. Then it’s done!


HSM #2 – Down a Whole Cup

vintage experiment (Austria 1950's)I’m here to confess that my creative venture with the styrofoam cup is no more. Essentially, the more I tried to hide it the more obvious it became that I wasn’t making a “normal” reticule. So, in the barren swamp that is Saturday night television, the cup and the reticule parted ways. But I don’t regret giving it a try – I learn a lot from experimentation.

Getting rid of the cup was clearly the right choice – things improved immediately. The shape softened up, no surprise there, and it was much easier to work with. The lining went into place without a fight. I added a padded bottom, then secured it to the inside base. Now I was making  progress. And not egregiously cheating on the historical aspect of these challenges (yeah, I was starting to feel like a bit of a cheat).

Before I finished last night I got the first side panel of the drawstring top fabric hemmed and pinned into place. You’ll see that in the next post.

As for other news, the 100-yd spool of natural cotton twill tape arrived yesterday. It may very well be enough to last me for the rest of my life, but the price was good and now I won’t have to waste time and gas driving to “the city” to get more. Here it is – the stapler’s there for scale.

2015-01-04 11.48.17

2015-01-04 11.48.53

Best of all, the linen arrived! It’s beautiful and exactly what I want for the chemise. There’s enough to make a fichu and a cap, as well. I looked up instructions for the care and feeding of 100% linen, so it’s currently in the washer to shrink its little heart out.

2015-01-04 12.46.59

As some of you may recall, it took me three months to hand sew my first Regency chemise, but I spent at least half of that time figuring out the gussets. This chemise is for HSM #1, which is due January 31, st, so no lollygagging around this time.

HSM Challenge #2 – Reticule in Blue, Part One

The reticule is underway and, despite three bloody fingertips, I’m happy with it so far. Yesterday I played with fabric combinations and the final shape until I knew what I wanted. I won’t get very many chances for re-do’s, since there’s not a lot of fabric and I can’t get more, so no rushing.

As I mentioned yesterday, I started with a blatantly non-period-correct styrofoam soup cup as a foundation.

(Sorry about the wonky angle.)

(Sorry about the wonky angle.)

I cut a circle of fabric for the bottom, then realized that this cup has that styrofoam bump on the bottom where it separates from the manufacturing mold. It was too shallow to shave down, but high enough to potentially make a soiled spot from rubbing the fabric against whatever it’s sitting on. (Icky sentence, hope it makes sense.)

I want the reticule to sit flat and be stable so I don’t want a rounded base. But I needed to put something between the fabric and the styrofoam. The answer came in the form of the soft netting that was leftover from the Victorian hat – one strip bunched up just enough to do the trick.

A bit of soft netting to pad the bottom.

A bit of soft netting to pad the bottom.

Next I pinned the circle for the base to the cup, ran a running stitch around it to gather in the edges, then tacked it to the cup with needle and thread to keep it in place.

Then the serious fun began. I originally thought I wanted the side piece (really just a fabric cylinder) gathered onto the base, but when I played around with it yesterday it didn’t look right. I decided to go with inverted box pleats, one every 90 degrees around the circumference of the cup’s top edge, for a total of four. That lets me hide the side seam in a pleat and, hopefully, should give me enough room to root around for things and still keep the diameter under control. (Miracle: I didn’t want to fuss with the math, so just I cut the fabric 2x the diameter of the cup, randomly chose to make each of the inverted pleats 1/2 inch wide and it fit perfectly – no muss, no fuss. Please don’t hate me.)

And now I’ve started tacking down the box pleats (needle and thread, sewing through the styrofoam cup) and using tiny stitches to sew the side piece to the base.

2015-01-01 15.35.12

I’ll finish that tonight, then start to apply a band of fabric around the base. (It’s a surprise, to be revealed tomorrow.) Then I get to flip it over and play with the top, the lining, fiddle with some ruching…oh, and add more blue.

What a lovely way to start the year: hand sewing a new creation, hot chocolate at the ready and Sophie by my side.

Ending the Year by Starting Anew: HSM #2 – Colour Challenge Blue

I’ve spent the last 3 days in a state of cardio-cleanout, getting rid of superfluous fabric and knitting yarn and, frankly, I’m beat. So, rather than end 2014 by re-arranging the shelves, I decided dive into next year’s projects and start with HSM Challenge #2 – Colour Challenge Blue: make something featuring the colour blue.

My project is a hard-base reticule inspired by these extant examples:

There aren’t many extant reticules like these to study and compare, so I’ve designed one that will reproduce the look, although it’s not 100% historically accurate because…

(Sorry about the wonky angle, can't get it straight.)

(Sorry about the wonky angle.)

…the base is a styrofoam soup-to-go cup. But the size and shape is accurate and it’s lightweight, so I’m going with it.

One of the things I’ve been concerned about is the noise generated by my “Regency” keys and “Regency” cell phone sliding around and rattling up against each other as the interior lining shifts about. The solution for that is the second historically inaccurate bit…

…using non-skid shelf liner to help the lining stay stable against the base. I put down a double layer, so I hope it keeps the noise to a minimum.

Now, the fabric.

There was a fabric store in Paris (France, not Texas) called Le Rouvray (website is in English), on a little pedestrian street between the Seine and Boulevard Saint-Germain. It was a little corner of fabric heaven. They had over 2000 fabrics featuring Provençals and Toiles de Jouy.

There were two sections of Toiles. One had designs that are new, yet historically accurate ($$$). The other section ($$$$$) had reproductions of antique French toiles, copied either from extant fabric or from period colored drawings in fabric designer’s work books. In other words, was about as genuine as you could get without buying the real deal.

Sadly, the store has closed, but the website is still active.

Long story short – when I was there I bought three pieces of “genuine” reproductions and have been sitting on them, waiting for the right time and place to use them. This is one of those times. Here they are:

Reproduction French Toiles from Le Rouvray.

Reproduction French Toiles from Le Rouvray.

I’m planning on using this one for the reticule:

2014-12-31 17.11.06

I also already have half a yard of this reproduction fabric. The blues match perfectly, so I’ll use it, too:

2014-12-31 15.41.28

Now I’m off to play with fabric until the fireworks start. Happy New Year’s Eve to all!

In The Meantime…Some Updates



It’s been a few days since my last post. I’m deep in my end-of-year culling from both my fabric and my yarn stashes. It’s my annual New Year gift to myself – get rid of the things I’m not using, clothes that don’t fit, anything that’s outlived its purpose. The last place to tackle is the sewing/office room, then it’s off to unload all the donations at their respective destinations.

As for the multitude of projects I’ve piled on my plate, I’ve been gathering project elements together so all of the 18th century stuff is together, same for the 17th century, Georgian/Regency, and right up the timeline. I bought two sets of large storage drawers and each era has its own drawer. Each drawer is labeled so I don’t waste time looking or forget which is which. (Yeah, it’s a tad OCD – but so am I.) In addition, each individual project has its elements (pattern, fabric, trim, thread, etc.) all grouped together before it’s put it the drawers.

As for the world of challenges…an update on my first two HSM 2015 projects.

IL020-Bleached-LI ordered 4 yards of handkerchief linen from Fabrics-store.com. I’ve been using lightweight cotton for my under things, but every time I read about using linen there are nothing but raves about how much better it is all around. So HSM #1 – Foundations – will be a 18th century linen chemise.

MaraRiley.net–Making an 18th Century ShiftLuckily, I found a great pattern with instructions from Mara Riley, including how to measure to fit my body. WooHoo! So all I need is the linen, which should be here is a few days since it’s already shipped.

I’ve never used linen before, and I have a vague memory about having to do something to it before cutting out the pattern, but can’t remember what it is. So next task is to look that up.

While the linen is making its cross-country trip, I’m starting on HSM #2 – Colour Challenge Blue – by making a Georgian/Regency reticule. It’s based on extant examples with a firm, formed base and I really like the look.

Mine won’t be nearly as fancy, but more on that in a separate post.

For now it’s finish off the sorting, tossing and donating.

Your Weekend Wow!

A few little somethings to keep one’s necessary items at hand…enjoy.