Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Accessories for my 1890s Outift - Small Bonnet

As I continue to work on the early 1890s outfit for myself, this week I managed to complete my small bonnet.

I am fairly new to the world of millinery, so made this with the 'Late Victorian Small Bonnet' pattern from Lynn McMasters.

I did start this project with the normal mixture of trepidation and much excitement. Millinery is one of the skills that I really want to get to grips with this year, so it is very satisfying to have made this finally. And it was good to start with a small bonnet first.

I began with the wire base and net option, but really struggled, so gave up and used buckram as the base with a wire rim, and hand sewed the millinery straw onto that. 

Early 1890s Small Straw Bonnet

There is a pattern piece for the pretty ruffled edge (in the magenta silk) included, and I used the purple reverse of the fabric for the second, smaller ruffle inside the first.  I put some sheer wide gold ribbon over the back of the bonnet, and sewed a rosette of brown ribbon to give a little height where the feather rests, and added a brown ribbon bow to the back. I did play about quite a bit with the rest of the decorations. Flowers were added and then unpicked, more forms of decoration were bought, including 2 colours and sizes of feathers.

Early 1890s bonnet with magenta, purple, brown and green.

I really enjoyed making this bonnet. I do have some brown veiling which I might add to it, so may be back with some updated photos. I have just the lining of the bonnet to complete.

My outfit is a spring ensemble in a pale green wool with brown decoration. I hope that this will give the burst of colour that it needs.  My next task is to make a late Victorian purse/small bag. Happy days!

Naomi x

Saturday, 4 April 2015

1790s Early 1800s Antique Extant Regency Era Apron

A couple of years ago I found this incredible Regency era apron on ebay:-

Extant Regency Apron

Occasionally I just find something totally incredible, and this was certainly one of those times. It was in such a dirty, messy state that you could barely tell what it was. 

Antique Regency Apron with Silk Ties
There are a fair few clues that point us to the early Regency period. Firstly the tambour work. This was very popular in the early Regency (the 'sprigged muslins' that we all know so well were sprigs of flower motifs often in tambour work), and during the last quarter of the 18th. The delicate, well spaced out motif on the apron reminds me of the Regency muslin tamboured dresses (and the apron fabric is certainly muslin).  The length and shape also point to the early 19th century- it is 100cm long, quite long for an apron- so perfect for the high waistline of the period.

In my opinion, it is most likely that the fabric came from a 1790s dress, which was then re-purposed and was made into an apron. There are sections of silk fabric which have been added to both ends of the waistband, and the centre join down the middle of the apron show that this is certainly an item that had been pieced together from some other article of dress or textile. The waistband is made from the same fabric as the body, and cream, silk sections of 8 1/2" have been added to each end. The flower motifs are stitched in pink, blue, and white, with drawn thread-work in the middle of some of them- it is quite remarkable. Some of the fabric has been gathered in to the waistband, at the middle and on either side a little away from that main part. A cotton fringe adorns the apron edges.

Tambour work was introduced to Europe around 1760. The embroidery is applied with a small hook, creating a chain stitch effect on the top side, and leaves a small series of straight stitches on the reverse.

Details of Tamboured Regency Apron

Length including waistband and fringe~ 39"
Width at bottom~ 60"
Width of waistband~ 1 7/8"

This piece is in incredible condition considering that it is (at least) over 200 years old. The muslin is very fine and delicate, and is a greyish colour. In its day it would have been a wonderful bright white. It has had a gentle wash. I have very carefully combed the cotton fringe, as it was quite tangled. The tambour work has sadly lost some of its colour. I have sewn some of the bottom fringe back onto the hem of the apron, as a few inches had come adrift and were hanging down. There are some antique darns to the apron- 2 large ones at the top, which are mostly hidden by the gathers there. There is another, larger darn which can be more easily seen a little further down on one side. There are also a few small holes, and pulls along the hem of the apron, which I have left, due to wanting to keep the apron as un-touched by modern hands as possible.

This rare apron can be purchased here

Happy Easter all! If you don't celebrate Easter, then Happy Bank Holiday weekend.
Naomi x