June 30, 2016

1830's Bonnet

I started this hat on Tuesday.  I wanted to see how the hat pattern worked and fitted so I used materials on hand, which meant some medium blue cotton velveteen and some darker blue broadcloth for the lining and trim.  I had the buckram base wired, assembled and mulled by Tuesday evening.   I should have finished it Wednesday, but the first fabric I tried for the lining was cotton gauze, which gathered beautifully and stretched so much it looked awful.  The second try, was the cotton gauze without the ruching, which looked worse!  I did a quick sample up with the broadcloth and despite having to shorten the lining a bit due to lack of materials, I thought it looked much better, so kept it.

There are flowers for decoration, but I forgot to purchase some florist tape, to bind them together, so they will have to wait.

The pattern is the 1830's (version C)  from Lynn McMasters.     I used crown buckhram from Farthingales  .   I didn't have any millinery wire in the correct gauge, so I used some 16 g  wire  (aluminum?) from the hardware store.   It pretty much looks like the fencing wire we used on the farm, but that was probably galvanized steel.

The pattern pieces go together nicely.  The instructions bounce around through the 6 pages a bit, so once I realized that, I read them through a couple of times and marked which pages were the ones I needed.  The instructions said to use glue in a few places.  I was bound and determined not to use glue, but in the end, it made things a lot easier so I used the glue.   You can't tell on the hat. 

  The pattern fits a little small and the ties aren't really in a place to hold the hat on my head if it were a windy day, but those are both easy fixes.   All in all, I think the pattern is really well done and I would recommend her patterns to anyone who wanted to try their hand at hat making.   I am pleased that the hat went together fairly quickly and is going to be a useful, wearable sample.

Hopefully I will have something other than broadcloth for my lining next time, but I'll have to say that I'm not unhappy with the look of the finished product by any means.  It does need the floral spray though :(

Materials - Crown Buckram, 16g wire, bamboo quilt batting, bias tape, cotton velveteen, cotton broadcloth, thread, tacky glue, flowers for trim. 

I had to stop by the fabric store for the flowers today and a dress length of 1830's fabric came home with me as well.  Totally unplanned, but it jumped out at me on my way to the floral department.

June 21, 2016

HFF - Breakfast Foods

I'm playing a bit of catch up here.  May was one of those months with hardly a day to relax.  Between FOOL - an SCA event, a regional conference in which I was both an organizer and a speaker, and finishing up my Master Spinner In-depth study, for the second time,  and having a kitchen under renovation, I've been fitting in the past few challenges.  I'm almost caught up though :)

Breakfast Foods (May 6 - May 19) It’s simple - make a breakfast dish. Get creative, but make sure to provide your documentation for its place at the breakfast table!

Mrs. Beeton's Book of Household Management - 1859- Great Britain

2145 - The following list of hot dishes may perhaps assist our readers in knowing what to provide for the comfortable meal called breakfast.  Broiled fish....... omlets, plain boiled eggs, oeufs-au-plat, poached eggs on toast..... etc.

While the challenge was to get creative, I was hungry.   I had been away from home for 3 days and I didn't have a lot of choice for interesting ingredients.    I did have a lot of fresh eggs.  

So, I made poached eggs on toast.  I even followed Mrs.  Beeton's method for making poached eggs, which was pretty similar to a modern method, using a sauce pan of boiling water, a little bit of vinegar, turning off the heat and adding the egg.

I have to admit that I really like poached eggs.  The yolk was soft and runny, so I could dip my gluten free toast in.  It was a satisfying breakfast - quick and filling.  It was very successful and it was a good method for making a perfect poached egg.

Time - 10 - 15 minutes included running out to the barn to fetch the egg, heating the water, tossing the toast in the toaster and finding a plate garnish.

Cost - all ingredients on hand.   The eggs are from my own chickens and this time of year I pay about $6 a week  or less to feed them, getting anywhere from 8-10 eggs a day.  

In all, this was a really simple, tasty and period breakfast.

June 20, 2016

A quick break to eastern Ontario.

We took a few days off and drove up to Brockville.  On the way, we stopped by the Canadian Cooperative Wool Growers warehouse, where I got to wander through the building, see the bales and bins of fleece and picked out 2 to come home with me.  Of course my camera was no where to be seen.  More on those fleeces in a later post.

One day we took to revisit Upper Canada Village.  I have to say it is an amazing place with a great many knowledgeable interpreters.   However not all were into sharing information.   A couple of the cooks were more interested in talking amongst themselves and the tin smith was down right curt, unfriendly and unapproachable, answering questions in half sentences at best if one or two words wouldn't suffice and not sharing any information beyond those questions.

 There were baby animals though.   This little calf was just a few days old.  Because calves were removed from their mamas a day or two after birth, they do the same thing, rather than leave the calves to be raised by the cows, despite them not using the milk.   I was told they do this not only because it was period practice but because it socializes the calves more easily, making them less skittish around the many, many people who will trapse by.

The buildings are really well appointed and as I said, most of the interpreters are amazing.  The broom maker was one such interpreter who gave a stellar talk while making a sorghum broom.
 They were out tilling the corn fields.  Their gardens were growing nicely.     Actually they had potatoes, tomatoes, beans, kale, lettuce and more which were much bigger than mine at home.   It didn't help my garden that the chickens found there way in while we were gone,  ate all the lettuce, pecked a bunch of early tomatoes to pieces and ate the strawberries.

But back to the village.... they had a set of working oxen!  How cool is that?   Apparently oxen over heat much more quickly that horses and in the very hot weather, like that particular day was, they require many more breaks.  It has something to do with them having less sweat glands than horses.

In all, it was another lovely visit.  I do wish I'd picked up one of their cobber brooms though, because I am noticing many cobwebs this spring.

June 05, 2016

Crafts, hats and fabric shopping

 I was wasting time looking at online patterns and I found one for these little bucket bags.   The one on the right is made according to the pattern, with fusible fleece and some rather sloppy finishing techniques.  The one of the left, uses my own take on the pattern, with heavier fabrics and sturdy interfacing and hopefully neater finishing.   I mean, how much harder is it to put the turning opening on the side lining seam instead of on the top?   Either way, the first one is rather soft and bendy, while the second one has much more body.   They are both useful little bags though.

I've been playing around with crown buckram and millinery wire with a Victorian hat pattern.   I didn't have domet or flannel to cover the hat form so I used some scraps of bamboo quilt batting, which I couldn't iron because it had been sprayed with temporary basting spray.  Now to cover it.  I'm calling this my practice hat because I am learning a lot with it, including how to work with the buckram, what gauge wire to use and how to cover it. 

This one is a bit wonky.   The instructions call for the fashion fabric to be glued on and the seams covered with trim.  That isn't happening.  I haven't seen an extant hat with little beaded trim on all it's seams yet, so instead I will sew it down.    In all, if it is wearable, it will be a bonus hat.  If not, I've learned enough already to make the effort worthwhile.
The only place to buy fabric is a huge warehouse store.   They have a small number of 19th c reproduction prints within the volumes of quilting fabric.  Luckily, the fabric is sorted and shelved by maker, so it is fairly easy to find if you do the research first. 

I was looking for just a little bit more of the red print and couldn't find it.   It turns out that most of the reproduction prints were put on clearance.   To top it off, I had a 60% off the sale price coupon - so the fabric was $2.10 - $2.70 a yard.    I brought home 3 dress lengths, enough red to repair my red dress and a piece for a new apron.   I'll need to get just a little bit more for the apron as I will be about 1/4 yard short.   I now have enough of the red to redo the 1830's bodice and maybe even the sleeves, as I ripped one last time I wore it.  From left to right - 1860's, 1860's, 1830's, 1830's and the apron.    If I'd wanted a Regency dress, there were lots of prints to choose from.   The brown and salmon is an interesting combo.  They had it in plain light brown as well, but I really liked the rather odd mixture of the two and the darker brown.    While I am not a huge fan of green, it was one of the only non-linear period prints they had, so it will make a nice change from the rest of the stripes.