Monday, 19 October 2015

Fudging it: or how to create a late Edwardian hat in less than 30 minutes

Today was Election Day.  A number of acquaintances through the local steampunk/costumers group had advanced the idea of voting whilst attired in full suffragette kit.  As someone whose initiation into the history of the women's suffrage movement came through Mrs. Banks in Mary Poppins and biographies of the Famous Five, this struck me as a wonderful idea.  And then it hit me.  The stereotypical woman's conundrum.  "I have nothing to wear!"

Or at least, nothing truly Edwardian, which was the historically notorious period of the militant suffragettes under Emmeline Pankhurst.

The organizers of the event had suggested a long skirt and suit jacket as a suitable imitation of Edwardian wear, so I reached into my closet for a green 1890s skirt and petticoat (from this outfit), then added a pale purple tailored shirt and black suit jacket from my everyday wardrobe.  The  green-and-burgundy tie was lifted from my brother's wardrobe many years ago.  Thus, all I needed was a period-appropriate hat.  I took inspiration from bicycling costumes of the period such as this one and from images of shopgirls of the period.

A trip to the local thrift store provided a boater-like imitation straw hat (paper and polyester, for anyone who's interested).  Michael's provided the 1.5-inch brown grosgrain ribbon and a pair of barred pheasant feathers.  I also picked up a fall garland of imitation leaves and berries from a dollar store, but those will probably be later additions.

I don't know if you can see, but I covered the existing black grosgrain band with brown, cut another piece for streamers,  and folded the remainder into a multi-looped bow.  Once I get a good photo of the back, I will add it.  I then stuck the feathers into the side of the stitching holding the bow in place.  They will probably get attached more securely as the design of the ornamentation on the hat evolves.

Friday, 2 October 2015

Bikers, karma, and UFOs

Today, I decided it was time to clear up some of the UFOs (UnFinished Objects) in the stash, one in particular that I discovered while organizing my new sewing room (which is, in itself, a work in progress).  This was a project I had taken on for a friend many years ago (like, um, fifteen or so), but life circumstances got in the way of finishing it at the time, and then two moves served to bury it in the bottom of the stash.  
Anyway, the project today was two biker-style "do-rags", actually a semi-tailored head cover with an adjustable tied band, or what looks like a fitted bandana, but in fun printed quilting cottons instead of the traditional polka-dot or paisley patterns.  

The first was more of a challenge, in part because I had to re-learn how to assemble the darned things, but also because the large scale of the whale print made motif placement more challenging.  I opted to center the side panels over some of the smaller, more colourful fish in the pattern, leaving the larger centre panel to feature the whales.  

The other was just a bright, fun jumble of a marine-life print, much easier to work with because I didn't have to worry about pattern placement.