HSF #3: A Pink Regency Belt Style Sash

My project for the HSF Challenge #3: Pink is a silk belt style sash for my square neck 1812 gown. It’s a small project because I’m working on multiple other bigger projects (two different Regency dresses and a new 1850-1870 corset–more on those in the upcoming months) and I didn’t want to distract myself. Part of my decision to make a belt style sash came from the discussion with friends that led to my previous post on adding variety to Regency sash styles (this post explains what I mean by a belt style sash, in addition to explaining other Regency sash styles).

And now, as usual, on to the facts:

Fabric: None.

Pattern: None.

Year: c. 1810

Notions: About 1 yard pink silk ribbon, some unknown yards of 28 gauge wire, maybe 2 yards grayish blue hug snug, a hook and bar, and thread.

How historically accurate?: Silk is an accurate material, but nothing else is for this time frame. So… maybe 80% for looks and 40% for materials.

Hours to complete: More than it should have because I made the buckle from scratch. Let’s say 4.

First worn: To a vintage dance performance in January.

Total cost: Free (all stash materials)!

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I didn’t have a non-sparkly buckle in the right size, so I decided to make one from wire. At first I thought that it might be cute with the scallops around it, but it didn’t look solid enough from a distance. So I experimented with weaving ribbons through and around the scallops. I tried gold silk ribbon first but it ended up looking like straw. In the end I decided on the hug snug because I liked the color.
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A closeup of the finished buckle. It wound up looking rather braided.
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The finished effect.

For the performance, I sewed the belt to the dress even though I also sewed a hook and bar to the belt. The idea is that I can wear it with another dress in the future if I want to!

HSF #25: Spat-Boots, Or Gaiters

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Spat-boots! WIth my 1917 ensemble.

It’s time for the details about my entry for HSF challenge #25: One Metre. I prefer saying I’m wearing “spat-boots” though the actual items I’m really wearing are shoes and “gaiters.” Spat-boots has more of a ring to it, I think.

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Close up of my spat-boot look.

The gaiters very effectively turn my sort-of-1910s-but-more-1920s American Duchess Gibsons into very 19-teens spat-boots! If you look at the first black and white image of suffragists in this previous post you can clearly see some similar spat-boot styles. And if you look at the images on my Sewing Project: 1917 Blouse and Accessories Pinterest board you can see multiple examples of the spat-boot style. Some boots, like these from 1917 at the Met, were made in two different colors of leather. That’s the look I was trying to imitate, except that I was doing it with a separate garment rather than as a part of my shoe. The Met actually has quite a number of early 20th century gaiters, made out of leather and cotton. If you’d like to see these examples, I’ve pinned many of them to my Early 20th Century Accessories Pinterest board.

The facts, you ask?

Fabric: Scraps of heavy unbleached cotton.

Pattern: Created by me.

Year: 1917.

Notions: Thread, black elastic, cotton twill tape in various widths, and plastic buttons.

How historically accurate?: 90%. The look is right but the materials are a mix and match of right and modern.

Hours to complete: 6-8? Took a few fittings to get them ready to sew. Then finishing and sewing on buttons took awhile.

First worn: At a Thanksgiving event in Plymouth.

Total cost: None. The fabric was left over from a grad school mock up and the notions were all from my stash. (See that odd marking in the middle of the center piece? That’s blue sharpie that soaked onto this part of the fabric from notes I wrote on the mock up… There was a lot of blue sharpie, and I couldn’t cut around it and still have enough fabric. Doesn’t show on the outside though!)

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Here’s an inside view of one of the gaiters. You can see that I’ve used three different kinds of twill tape to bind the seams and the edges. All of the sewing was done by machine except sewing on the buttons.

There are a few things that I would change consider changing if I made these again in some other reality. #1: Having my buttons spaced closer together, as the extant gaiters and boots do. But in this case I only had a limited number of buttons to work with! #2: Potentially putting a strap with a buckle to go under the foot rather than elastic, since the buckle method is what extant gaiters have. But the elastic worked so well and you really couldn’t see it… so I probably wouldn’t actually change this, especially since I don’t have the right sort of buckles in my stash. #3: Making the back part that comes down over my heel longer. I was aiming for a nice swoop up from the part held down by the elastic, but the back of the gaiters kept popping up over the edge of my shoes, which was a little uncomfortable. I spent a lot of time during the day I wore these pulling the back of the gaiters down.

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Like a flamengo, I’m standing on one leg and pulling down the back of my gaiter, which had popped up over the back of my shoe.
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Overall, I’m super pleased. These were quite successful. You should try some yourself!
Product links in this post contain an affiliate code, which provides a small benefit to my shoe fund. This does not affect my impressions and reviews of this product.

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1917 Knitted Sweater Of Angorina Annotated Pattern

In the spirit of the HSF #23: Generosity and Gratitude, I thought I’d share an annotated version of my altered 1917 Knitted Sweater Of Angorina pattern. Who knows, maybe you’re thinking of knitting this sweater or something similar right now, and this version of the pattern and these notes will come in super handy as you knit your own sweater?

The original:

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“Knitted Sweater of Angorina” from the Star Needlework Journal 1917.

My version:

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“Knitted Sweater of Angorina”

Here’s the pattern. I’ve put original directions in [brackets] if I’ve changed them, and included my version before the original version, so you can compare. My version of the pattern and any notes that I have added are in italics.

One of the major reasons I adjusted the pattern in places was in attempt to make it to my measurements (40″ hips, 30″ waist, and 36″ bust). On size 5 needles I was knitting 10 stitches in 2.5″, which was 2 squares of the pattern, and knitting 1″ vertically every 6 rows, which was 1 square of the pattern. If I had knit the sweater with this gauge and the original directions I would have had a sweater body that would be too big: about 12″ too big around and 3″-5″ too long in length.

ABBREVIATIONS: K – knit, P – purl.

MATERIALS: 6 skeins of probably acrylic yarn (of medium weight and unknown length, though on the smallish side, as modern skeins go (and I could have used 7!)); 5mm and 3mm knitting needles; 6 plastic buttons.

[17 balls of THE AMERICAN THREAD COMPANY’S Article 200 “Angorina” Fluffed Cotton, size 4; two long celluloid knitting needles No. 5 and two shorter celluloid knitting needles No. 3; 6 buttons.]

DIRECTIONS:

For the Basket Stitch pattern: Cast on a number of stitches divisible by 10 and 2 over for the edge stitches. (So the 10 is the repeat of two squares of the pattern, and the 2 extra are for the edges.)

lst Row: Slip the first stitch (this is the edge stitch) , * then knit 5, and purl 5, repeat from * to the end of row ending with P 6, turn (the last stitch is the edge stitch).

2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th rows: Same as first Row.

7th Row: Slip the first stitch, * then P 5, and knit 5, repeat from * to the end of Row, ending with K 6, turn.

8th, 9th, 10th, 11th and 12th Rows: Same as 7th Row.

These twelve rows form the pattern, which is knit throughout the sweater.

Sweater

Cast on 82 [112] stitches on the long celluloid needles No. 5 and begin to K at the bottom of the sweater,

FOR THE BORDER: K plain back and forth for 14 rows or 7 ridges (2 rows of plain knitting back and forth form a ridge).

Now begin to knit the pattern as directed above.

K 12 [14] rows, then begin to decrease 1 St at the beginning and end of every third row until 10 stitches have been decreased at each end.

There are now 62 [92] stitches left in the row and 42 rows of pattern K.

Continue knitting the pattern for 120 [138] more rows or until 15 patterns or 180 patterns are K in all. (That last section of directions about 15 patters and 180 patterns confused me, so I just sort of ignored it…)

This completes the length of the back.

Next Row: Slip the first stitch, then knit 5, and P5 for 21 [31] stitches (this is for the right shoulder), bind off 20 [28] stitches for the back of the neck, the next 21 [32] stitches left on the needle are for the left shoulder.

Now put the first 21 [32] stitches on to a spare needle or thread (and I added one stitch to make it 22, so I would have a 20 stitches for the repeat of the pattern and one for each end), and continue knitting the left front as follows: K the pattern for 8 rows pattern (this is for the shoulder), then begin to increase 1 stitch at the beginning of every second row, this is at the neck – until 20 stitches have been increased.

There are now 42 [52] stitches in the row.

K the pattern without increasing for 84 [104] rows, then begin to increase 1 stitch every 3rd [7th] row at the outer edge (the outer edge was the end of each 2nd row for me) (the front edge must be straight) for 10 [5] times (that means I knitted in this fashion until I had increased 20 stitches), then K 12 more rows without increasing. (I chose not to knit the final 12 rows: I just ignored that direction.)

16 patterns of 192 pattern rows are now K for the length of, the front. (Again, I was confused by this direction and just ignored it.)

K 7 ridges plain back and forth for the border. (7 ridges equals 14 rows.)

Bind off loosely, break the thread. Now K the right front to correspond with the left front, then sew up the underarm seams (this is the length of 10 ½ patterns or 126 pattern rows from the bottom of the sweater up). (I waited to sew up my seams until I was entirely finished knitting the sweater. As before, I ignored the confusing direction about the number of patterns and pattern rows.)

Repeat the directions from right after “This completes the length of the back…” for the right front of the sweater. I’ve repeated them here, with the changes I made for knitting the right side instead of the left. 

Next Row: Slip the first stitch, then knit 5, and P5 for 21 [31] stitches (this is for the right shoulder), bind off 20 [28] stitches for the back of the neck, the next 21 [32] stitches left on the needle are for the left shoulder.

Now put the first 21 [32] stitches on to a spare needle or thread (and I added one stitch to make it 22, so I would have a 20 stitches for the repeat of the pattern and one for each end), and continue knitting the left front as follows: K the pattern for 8 rows pattern (this is for the shoulder), then begin to increase 1 stitch at the beginning of every second row, this is at the neck – until 20 stitches have been increased.

There are now 42 [52] stitches in the row.

K the pattern without increasing for 84 [104] rows, then begin to increase 1 stitch every 3rd [7th] row at the outer edge (the outer edge was the beginning of each 2nd row for me) (the front edge must be straight) for 10 [5] times (that means I knitted in this fashion until I had increased 20 stitches), then K 12 more rows without increasing. (I chose not to knit the final 12 rows: I just ignored that direction.)

16 patterns of 192 pattern rows are now K for the length of, the front. (Again, I was confused by this direction and just ignored it.)

K 7 ridges plain back and forth for the border. (7 ridges equals 14 rows.)

Bind off loosely, break the thread.

FOR THE SLEEVES (The following directions are what I used for my first attempt at a sleeve for this sweater… I didn’t like the resulting sleeve and chose to take it apart and try again. I’ll include my revised sleeve pattern following these directions for the sleeve I didn’t like. You can read more about why I changed my sleeve pattern and see pictures of the before and after, in this previous post.):

Cast on 72 stitches, and K the pattern for 3 rows, then begin to decrease 1 stitch at the beginning and end of every second row until 5 stitches have been decreased at each end.

There are now 62 stitches left in the Row.

Knit 120 rows of pattern. [K 9½ patterns or 114 rows without decreasing.]

Now slip the stitches on to the No. 3 needles, and K plain back and forth for 18 ridges for the cuff, bind off, and sew up the seam.

Place the sleeve in the armhole, so that the sleeve seam and underarm seam meet. (I waited until all of my pieces were knit before sewing any seams.)

(So now, here is my revised sleeve pattern):

Cast on 72 stitches (I added a single plain knit row, as a transition), and K the pattern for 3 rows, then begin to decrease 1 stitch at the beginning and end of every second row until 5 stitches have been decreased at each end.

There are now 62 stitches left in the Row.

Knit 60 rows of pattern without decreasing. Knit 60 rows, decreasing 1 stitch at the beginning and end of every 4th row. [K 9½ patterns or 114 rows without decreasing.] (Again, I ignored the first part because it is confusing.)

Now slip the stitches on to the No. 3 needles, and K plain back and forth for 10 [18] ridges for the cuff, bind off, and sew up the seam.

Place the sleeve in the armhole, so that the sleeve seam and underarm seam meet. (I waited until all of my pieces were knit before sewing any seams.)

This second sleeve pattern worked much better for me, so I repeated it for my second sleeve.

FOR THE BANDS: Cast on 12 [16] stitches on the No. 3 needles. K plain back and forth for 2 1/2 [4] inches (25 rows), then make a buttonhole as follows: K 4 [7] stitches. bind off 4 [6] stitches, K 4 stitches (this leaves 4 [5] stitches at each side of the 4 [6] stitches bound off).

In the next Row cast on the 4 [6] stitches bound off, thus forming a buttonhole.

K back and forth for 3 1/2 [3] inches (35 rows), then make the next buttonhole.

Continue knitting plain back and forth making 4 more buttonholes so that there are 6 in all, always leaving an interval of 3 1/2 [3] inches (35 rows) between each buttonhole.

(I calculated these measurements and row lengths between buttonholes to fit into the length of the front of the sweater before the V neck starts… in my case, that length was 21″. If your gauge is different you might want to consider changing these directions to suit you.)

(At this point I became very worried about running out of yarn. I wish I would have had enough to make the bands as wide as the original pattern called for… but I had to make them narrower, so my revised pattern will reflect that. If you have enough yarn you should keep the band wide and only adjust for length.)

K 1/2 [1] inch (5 rows) after the sixth buttonhole then begin to decrease 1 stitch at the beginning of every second row until 8 stitches have been decreased.

There are now 8 stitches in the row. Knit for awhile… turns out I knit plain for 45 rows. Begin to increase 1 stitch at the end of every 2nd row until 8 stitches have been increased… in theory that was my plan, but since I was running out of yarn, I just slowly decreased until I ran out of yarn. [K plain for 18 inches or long enough to go around the neck, then increase 1 stitch at the beginning of every second Row until 16 stitches are on the needle again.]

K plain for 21 inches or as long as the wider part of the band with the buttonholes, bind off loosely.

Sew the buttonhole part of the band on to the right front, the narrow part around the neck and the plain wider part to the left front, this should be done very carefully, then sew on the buttons.

Whew! At this point I just need to sew up my seams and sew on the buttons. Yay!

HSF #18: Red And Gold Regency Tiara

The theme of this HSF challenge is Re-make, Re-use, and Re-fashion. For this challenge I took two modern bracelets and turned them into a Regency tiara.

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Red and gold Regency inspired tiara.

The facts:

Fabric: None! But I started with two modern bracelets that were a gift from my mom.

Pattern: None.

Year: Loosely 1790-1820, but who knows, perhaps this will find a use in another period as well!

Notions: Gold wire and hot glue.

How historically accurate?: I give it 50%. This is absolutely on the more on the historically inspired side of things rather than the accurate historic costume side of things. The jewels are almost certainly plastic and the design is based on general Regency styles rather than any specific inspiration. Oh, they also did not have hot glue back then…

Hours to complete: 2.

First worn: Has not been worn yet, but will get worn to a Regency ball in Chelmsford, MA on October 5th!

Total cost: Free (the wire and the hot glue was in the stash)!

Here are some more shots of the construction of this tiara:

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In the beginning: stretchy bracelets. Thanks mom!
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The loose jewels after I cut off the elastic.
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Another possible design. I decided against having some of the jewels turned on their corners. It would have been hard to engineer and, after all, simplicity was a popular style in the Regency!
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The back of the tiara, where you can see the wires holding it together. There is also a loop at the center of the bottom row of jewels so I can pin the tiara to my hair at that point to keep it from bouncing.
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There are wire loops at the ends of the tiara so I can pin it to my hair. The hot glue covers the ends of the wires so they don’t also catch my hair.

That’s all for now. When I wear this I’ll be sure to take more pictures!

Regency Kites!

Well, it’s June now, and that means summer to me. I’ve been slow to post about my kite making adventures because I was busy posting about other things, but it seems fitting for this post to be the first one of June–summery, somehow.

After the official end of the Regency Dance Weekend I’ve been posting about recently, my friends and I stayed in the Salem area to relax a bit and have some further Regency adventures. We had been brainstorming about what sort of activity we might engage in that was outside of our usual occupations and had settled on the idea of flying kites!

I did some research into Regency kites and spent some of my evening time during the weekend sewing these four silk kites with some help from friends.

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Plaid, green, striped, and pink.

I didn’t find much to go on with the kite making. The best source I found was Jen’s post about Georgian Toys on her blog Festive Attyre. The post includes a link to this kite making how-to as well as a link to this 18th century extant kite. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find more information on the extant kite than that which is on that one page. Jen’s post is great and includes fun information about other Georgian toys as well as kites. The how-to link is a good one as well, though I did sub out modern methods for more period ones. For example: there is no tape to be found, instead there are stitches.

Making the kites was fun. I went to Home Depot to buy the dowels for the kite frames. They were cheap and luckily you can saw the lengths to be what you need while you’re in the store (good for me since I don’t own a saw!). I also bought twine there. It’s a poly-cotton blend (boo), but it’s smooth on the hands, so that’s worth it! The kite tails are bits of the main fabric and a contrasting fabric just tied around the twine. Instead of notching the ends of the dowels after they were cut (I tried, and it failed, because the dowels just wanted to splinter) I just wrapped the twine around the ends enough times that it wouldn’t move. The method definitely worked and sometimes that’s all you need.

Despite the fact that it was super windy by the water, we had trouble getting the kites to stay in the air. I’ve surmised that my kite engineering skills are not super outstanding, because the kites did lots of circles near our head height and then dove into the ground… over and over and over again… It was a bit frustrating. These pictures capture the few times we got the kites up in the air. Trust me when I say they didn’t stay up very long!

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Perhaps a running start?
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Perplexed but still trying.
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Clearly this kite did not want to go up.
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Triumph! (If only for the moment!)
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This kite had the best luck at staying in the air.
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Another successful moment.

There were some adjustments and kite injuries along the way. One of the dowels in the pink kite broke, so I have to figure out how I’m going to fix that. The other kites had things like alternate bridles made and pennies sewn into the edges to try to add weight. Some of those things seemed to work. I guess I just need to do some research about what makes kites stay up. I’m not sure the tails worked very well, either. They tangled easily and were hard to sort out again. If you know anything about kite making and have tips, I’d love to hear them!

This is definitely something I plan to work on and try again. Perhaps at a summer picnic? We’ll see. It was a fun endeavor, despite the diving kites (and I had the opportunity to wear my new Tree Gown again!). Plus, there were pretty places nearby to take pictures!

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Perfect photo opportunity.
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It was pretty windy, so hat holding was totally necessary!

Adjusting My Sort-of-New Clocked Stockings

For my birthday a month or so ago I treated myself to a fun little accessory shopping spree at American Duchess and purchased two pairs of the new-ish clocked silk stockings Lauren has added to her offerings. Fun!

Blue and red stockings from American Duchess.

They arrived while the weather was still warm… so they just sat around waiting for my attention. Finally, I spent some time with them, trying them on, etc. I’m super excited to wear them! I think the red will be really fun and silly and good for picture taking at holiday events, and the blue is nice and light and appropriate for all year round without being white. I have nothing against white stockings, but I like the idea of colored and clocked ones! The elastic around the tops of the stockings is pretty tight, so they might get worn turned down under my knee. The only other thing about them is that the foot (from heel to toe) was bigger than my foot. Not for long, though! Inspired by a post from Lauren about adjusting the stockings to fit your foot, I went at it with the sewing machine. First, I changed my needle to a ball point to help sew through the knit.

First attempt at the red pair. I made the mistake of cutting the toe off before trying to sew it. It was frustrating to sew, so I suggest you don’t try it that way. You can also see the second line of zig zag stitching because I went back to shape the toe to my foot (my toes are not squared off like the first line of stitching).
First attempt next to the second attempt. The second one was so much easier, since I hadn’t cut the toe off yet!
Here’s the blue pair. They went so much faster than the red pair! You can see that I wasn’t exact with the line I sewed. I figured that as long as the general shape is right it will be fine on my toes.
The blue pair after cutting off the unnecessary toe length.
Success! And I actually think it’s more comfortable to have the toe seam on the tips of your toes rather than the tops.
Product links in this post contain an affiliate code, which provides a small benefit to my shoe fund. This does not affect my impressions and reviews of this product.

Freshly Painted Ivory Astorias

Ivory Astorias, yay!

Yes! My leather painting was successful! My American Duchess Astorias are now a lovely shade of ivory–hard to notice the difference now that they are painted, but compare the two shoes in the picture below. Can you see the difference? I certainly can. I still need to move the buttons so that the straps do not gap, but half of my plan is complete! Only a few days left for me to do that before I wear them…

This link contains an affiliate code, which provides a small benefit to my shoe fund. This does not affect my impressions and reviews of this product.
Left: Unpainted, the original color
Right: Painted ivory to match the fabric at the bottom of the picture
Getting ready to paint.

How did I go about painting them? Well, as I mentioned in my last post, I bought Angelus Leather Paint in three colors: yellow, white, and champagne. Technically, ivory is a very small amount of yellow diluted with mounds of white, but when I went to order the paint I had a great gut reaction thought that the champagne might make a better ivory than the yellow. It turns out that the yellow was just too strong! I made a little swatch card (so I could find the right shade of ivory, see what the shades looked like when dry, and so I could repeat the color if I needed to mix more paint). I tried the yellow first, and just one drop of yellow in a fair amount of white made a light yellow color, not at all similar to ivory!

Trying to make ivory paint from mixing yellow and white.

So back to paint mixing: I next tried the champagne. I kept adding more drops of the champagne color to the white to see what depth of shade I would want.

Ivory fabric, top left: that’s the color I was aiming for
White toe of the Astoria, bottom left: unpainted
My swatch card, right side: with an arrow at the shade I like

Then on to the painting! The Angelus paint worked wonderfully. I did two coats: a light first coat and then a second coat to blend away all the brush strokes and even out the color. I thought about mixing my paint with a little water, but actually liked the consistency straight out of the bottle. I had no trouble getting smooth looking paint after the two coats I applied.

If you look carefully, you can see that the back of the shoe and the heel have not been painted yet. The front was only just receiving the first coat of paint, so it was not super smooth or opaque yet.

 As I said, the change is not drastic, but it is noticeable. The shoes no longer glare white at me.  Yay! Here’s a final picture of my whole swatch card with the newly painted ivory Astoria!

Freshly painted Astoria, with my swatch card. Champagne ivories on the left and yellow not-quite-there ivories on the right.

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