Saturday, May 18, 2013

Historical Sew Fortnightly Challenge: #10 Literature

I finally decided to join in on the Historical Sew Fortnightly Challenge.  I've been looking at everyone's creations since January, but couldn't decide whether or not to participate.  But I took a leap, and we'll see what happens!

The Challenge:  #10 Literature: an 1840's Dickensian vest promised to my husband 3 years ago, and made last week.

Fabric: Loosely woven plaid wool fabric that I found 3 years ago in New York.  Interlining was a rather sturdy cotton from stash,  and lining and back are probably synthetic found in a bin at the fabric store.

Pattern: Drafted from Men's Garments 1830 - 1900 by R.I. Davis.  I used the Single-breasted roll-collar waistcoat pattern.  The welt pockets were helped by Laughing Moon #109 (Frock Coats and Vests pattern)

Year: 1830's-40's

Notions: Just buttons, probably plastic.  May swap them out for horn some day, but they look good enough for now.

How historically accurate is it? Somewhat.  The pattern is accurate, and I believe the wool fabric is too.  The lining is probably synthetic (it was in a giant bin of random stuff).  It is mostly machine sewn.

Hours to complete: Approximately 30.  WAY too long.  Drafting and mock-ups took maybe 6 hours, matching the plaid took 2, the welt pockets took maybe 5, and figuring out the lining/facing pieces from a self-drafted pattern took longer than it should.

First worn: Today, around town.  No period event on the schedule, but he's planning on wearing it to work next week.

Total cost:  $10. Wool and interlining from stash, back and lining maybe $5, buttons and thread another $5.

The pictures:

Matching the plaid took FOREVER.

You can see my slightly off buttonholes. I didn't have time
to hand sew them, and I'm still learning how to use my
machine's buttonhole features.

My not-even-close matching of plaid on the welt pockets.

All in all this felt good, if a bit rushed and harried.  After the year of wedding sewing I took 18 months off, somewhat without meaning to, so I'm very glad to get back into it.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013


Our grocery store is running a promotion right now.  Buy 15 euro worth of groceries and you get a seed packet for free.  They of course have all the other stuff you usually need too, pots, soil, watering can, but the apartment already came with all that, so I've just been getting a random seed packet every time I've gone shopping.

So yesterday and today I planted beets (which I have ever only liked pickled), Parisian carrots (which are stunted round looking things), watercress (which I'm not sure I've ever had), and rocket lettuce (which I really don't like raw as it's too bitter).  But hey, they were free.  I also got two packets of flower seeds, sweetpeas and cosmos, neither of which I've ever had experience with.

I actually really like the way this happened.  I have a couple of bare patches in the back garden, and had been debating about planting something, but really didn't know what to plant.  The only vegetable I had gotten to grow in Australia was chard, and even that didn't grow well.  The seed packets were just handed out by the cashier, I didn't have to think about which to pick, and now I had a variety of things that I didn't really have many expectations about, they were free from the grocery store after all.  But since I had the seeds, I felt I should plant them, so now in two months we may have some vegetables of which Dan will be eating the majority.

Now the problem is that I'm out of garden room and still getting seed packets.