Monday, December 9, 2019

Historical Sew Monthly 2019 - November - Above the Belt

NovemberAbove the BeltNo hitting low! Let’s keep things on the up and up as the year closes, and make something worn above the belt.
The Dreamstress

Lady Maria Hamilton
Lady Maria Hamilton, 1802, by Thomas Lawrence

There are two things that have made me stretch and learn in my historical costuming journey:  the first is the Historical Sew Monthly.  The research and creation in a once every two weeks and now every month brought me much further in my learning than if left to my own schedule.  The second is Costume College which I've attended five times and have taken some incredible classes and learned so much.

My creation for this challenge began at Costume College 2015 when I took Kathryn Wolters class Mrs. Bennet's Coral Necklace.  I had previously sewn my first Regency costume for an HSM Challenge entitled Out of Your Comfort Zone.  Regency era fashion was definitely that!  I was wearing that costume to teach a Sunday morning class at Costume College and didn't have appropriate jewelry.  I'm all about the accessories for any historical impression and this necklace would be perfect for the Breakfast with the Bennets Sunday morning event.

As often happens in Costume College classes we just didn't have enough time to finish our project and into my bag went the project.  Last month I was searching through my Costume College bags and lo! there was my unfinished necklace.

There is a rich history of coral and coral necklaces both as a talisman to protect the wearer and for the color and beauty.  Coral necklaces were given to children through the 19th century to ward off ailments.  Coral was powdered and used as a medicinal ingredient.  The internet rabbit hole for historical research is both magical and mysterious and worth your time.

While I'm not a jewelry maker I do have a 3-in-1 tool and with that and the cut gold wire, the silk beading thread, and my memories from the class, I set out to finish this unfinished project.

To protect the coral beads from rubbing against one another and to give a free but sturdy structure to the necklace, the silk beading thread is hand knotted between each bead.  This is the same technique used for pearls.

To do this I add one coral bead, tie a knot, hold the thread near the bead with my tool inside the knot, then pull the knot until I have to remove the tool to finish tightening the knot.

For the earrings I use the precut gold wire provided by my instructor and shape it with my tool.

Coral is susceptible to perfumes, body oils, and dirt and, like pearls, should be cleaned after each wearing.  It is also susceptible to heavy handed novice jewelry creators such as myself.

After some trial and error, and a few more errors, here are my finished necklace and earrings ready for my next Regency costume event.  I think they are lovely!

Historical Sew Monthly

What the item is:  Coral Necklace and Earrings
How it fits the challenge:  Definitely worn above the belt.
Material:  Coral beads, silk beading thread, gold wire, gold seed beads, knot findings.
Pattern:  Single strand necklace, double drop earrings.
Year:  Popular 17th through 19th century.
Notions:  3-in-1 beading tool.
How historically accurate is it?  Modern materials such as bamboo dyed faux coral and knot findings for sustainability and structure.
Hours to complete:  3 hours
First worn:  Today to clean house.  How perfectly decadent!
Total cost:  $22

Monday, December 2, 2019

Historical Sew Monthly December 2019 Inspiration: On a Shoestring

On a Shoestring: It's an expensive time of year, so make an item on a tight budget
(say, under $15, or less than you'd spend on a reasonable priced takeaway meal for one person in your country - and no 'stash' doesn't count as free:  you still have to count what you would have originally paid for those items ;)  )
The Dreamstress

This will be the final Historical Sew Monthly Challenge for 2019!  What a year it has been and there have been such incredible monthly entries from so many amazing makers!

The 2020 Challenges have already been announced and they carry a common thread of Sustainability.  The wonderful part of Sustainability is that it often results in a cost savings as well.  To inspire you for the final Challenge of 2019 and in preparation for 2020 we can take a look back at past Challenges and find those entries whose final costs were under $15.  At the same time we can see why these are creations worthy of gift-giving, adding to the historical impression of garments, or even for modern use and what the creators did to keep costs in line.

#1 Dressed to the Nines

An Edwardian Reticule created by Amy Randall.  Using fabric remnants, ribbon saved from a received package, and purchased beaded tassels, Amy created this useful item for under $10.  It would be a welcome gift for historical or modern use and the perfect impression for many eras.

#2 Linen/Linens

Audrey Anna Smith recycled a $3 linen shirt to create an 18th century pocket.  Since the linen was off white, Audrey tea-dyed her thread to match.

Taylor Miller used an 18th century pocket as her first embroidery project and created this gift-worthy item for $10.

Katie Cornick recreated an 18th century pocket from the LACMA collection with her amazing embroidery skills and just $10.

#3 Sewing Kit

Vincent Briggs created a Gentleman's Wool Waistcoat using his buttonhole cutter and thimble and just $10 in materials.  The wool came from a thrift shop and is pieced to create the waistcoat front, the back is seven linen scraps pieced, and the lining is pieced as well.  As they say, piecing is period.  And it is a savings too!

#4  Upping Your Game

18th Century Girl's Gown created by Elroy Davis.  Reclaiming a bed sheet kept this beautiful piece under $10.

#5 Florals

After being gifted a lovely handkerchief, Jamie Timmer-Bisek followed an 1857 Godey Ladies' Magazine design and with less than $1 worth of thread embroidered a piece worthy of gift-giving.

#6 Favorite Techniques

Mia Falk gathered fabric scraps left over from previous projects and hand stitched an 18th century Soft Wool Bonding Cap.  Recapturing these pieces of cabbage can result in beautiful projects of their own at no additional cost.

#7  Unexpected

Finding fabric in unexpected places can yield a significant savings.  Alyssa Dawn Wesselmann found the silk for her Regency Turban Cap in a recycle shop in Japan.  She used just a bit of the silk and lined it with fabric recycled from a previous garment she had created.  Total cost is $7.

#8  Out of a Portrait

Of course smaller projects are less costly but larger projects can be thrifty as well when materials are shopped with a keen eye or received as gifts.  Leimomi Oakes created the linen petticoat and apron for under $2 with linen which had been given her over 5 years ago and a $2 piece of apron fabric which was shared with another textile artist to create the aprons for their historical impressions.

#9 Everyday

Marika Brimacombe created a Child's 15th century Camicia and Gamurra with fabric bought through a local not-for-profit that recycles.  She also used found fabric that was "waste" from the film and fashion industry in Vancouver BC.  Her total expense was just $8.

#10  Details

All entries for the October Challenge were above the $15 for this inspiration.

#11  Above the Belt

Johanna Nybelius created Late Medieval/Renaissance Rosaries from both wood and coral.  The wood were $5 and the coral $15.  Perfectly recreated from paintings and excavations.

Share your completed project in the facebook photo album for December and on Instagram:

IG #HSM2019DecProgress for works in progress.
IG #HSM2019Dec for your finished item.

Happy inspiration and Happy Holidays!