Tag Archives: linen fabric

Scrap Skirt 

My new skirt.

Colour Block Skirt

I have a lot of linen scraps, some of them quite large – most of my summer clothes are made from linen or linen/cotton. The pale blue in the middle is the remains of a tablecloth I dyed in natural indigo a few years ago. The lavender is leftover from my first 1930s skirt. I’ve incorporated some pieces from an old skirt too.

The fastenings are buttoned pleats – they open up to make enough space to get in and out of the skirt. It’s a type of fastening I’ve been experimenting with recently. This skirt has a similar fastening. I like that I don’t have to have openings at the side.

The buttons have all been rescued from old clothes. I just can’t let a good button go to waste.

I’m joining lots of makers over at Scrap Happy June. Why not pop over and see what other people have been making?

Thanks for dropping by,

Norma x

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Filed under Clothes, patchwork, scraps, sewing, textiles

Some Dyeing and some Dresses

My Merchant & Mills Curlew dress.

The colour is more realistic in the photo taken on the stairs. It’s made of the undyed Irish linen and I’ve used Earl Grey tea to get the gold colour – I am so pleased with it!

The Facts:

Pattern Changes: I shortened the sleeves. I made the top so I didn’t make a toile.

Sewing: I sewed most of the seams by hand and the rest using my 1930s hand cranked Singer. The dress is bias cut so my wonky handsewing holds it quite well. I could have used my modern Pfaff with its zigzag stitch but I wanted to take my time over it.

Dyeing

I made the dress first

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This is the original colour.

Then I made Earl Grey tea with about fifteen used bags (store them in the freezer until you have enough), strained the tea and heated the dress with the tea. Left the dress to cool in the tea and then hung it in the shade to dry. Left it two days and then rinsed it, spun it gently and left it to dry in the shade.

I like the Earl Grey colour better than the more orangey shades of English Breakfast tea and I think I’ll try it again for something else.

I don’t usually post everything I make but I like this batik dress. it’s getting a lot of wear in the warmer weather we’ve been having.

The Merchant & Mills Bantam dress.

I’ve also made tops from this pattern. They are really good with jeans and don’t take much fabric so leftovers are used up.

The Bantam has a shirt style so the back is lower than the front. I quite like that, what do you think?

And here’s one of my attempts to cheer up every day wear.

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Just added for fun!

No pattern. This is just rectangles tucked to fit.

And for those of you waiting for the tunic

The colour doesn’t show up well on the actual tunic so I’ve included the parcel I made for leaf printing to get a better idea.

The sage leaves became blobs (pretty deep yellow blobs though!) rather than leaves when I tried to print with them. I don’t think I bundled them up tightly enough. If I had enough sage I would use it to dye a whole garment – the yellow really is beautiful.

I got interested in the marks the copper pipes from the hot water tank – so I made some more by wrapping the tunic around the pipes. I think the copper enhanced the yellow rather than made a dye themselves, although if you know about this I’d be glad to hear from you.

The tunic is in store waiting to be decorated further. I think it would benefit from fancy threads to enhance the pattern the copper pipes made.¬† I’m thinking about it.

So that’s it. I haven’t been keeping up with what you’ve been up to so I’ll be around to your blog to check up on your activities very soon.

Have a lovely week.

Norma x

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Filed under Clothes, dressmaking, dyeing, fashion, sewing, slow dyeing, slow fashion, solar dyeing, stashbusting, textiles

More solar dyeing

I’ve had two attempts at solar dyeing my oneyearone outfit Irish linen top. It is now vaguely yellow but not yet the colour I hoped for. I am thinking of using berries for the next stage – you can see reddish patches on the wet fabric and I think I would like more of those.

Dock leaves stink when they’re soaking so they spent time in the greenhouse rather than the house. Oddly though, the smell went after I left the top out overnight. I am leaving it untouched until I find the right dye. According to this book:

Eco Colour by India Flint

the longer you leave the dye before rinsing the better. And I think the book is wonderful, so I’m following the instructions as carefully as possible.

Much smellier is this:

This is a charity shop blouse (frills now cut off) that I’ve solar dyed in onion skins. It was left for 9 days in the greenhouse and came out that lovely orangey gold. You can see it’s covered in flies & I’m really not suprised. I left it out for 24 hours but have now washed it in soap flakes. It’s clean, pale cream and smelly – worse than the decaying badger I ran past today. Not onion but just horrible. Will it go? I don’t know. It’s still pegged to the covered washing line – I’m trying to keep it in the shade to avoid more fading. It’s a pretty colour now but not wearable because of the smell.

So, no especially successful projects so far but I’ll keep trying & let you know what happens.

Thanks for dropping by,

Norma x

 

 

 

 

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Filed under #1year1outfit, Clothes, dyeing, fashion, India Flint, solar dyeing, textiles

#OneYearOneOutfit Progress

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OneYearOneOutfit is really underway now I’ve sewn the Merchant & Mills top. It’s a bit dull at the moment because it’s waiting to go in the dye pot for solar dyeing. The mordant was a carton of sour milk and the first dye will be dock leaves unless I spot something better in the meantime.

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The facts :

Fabric : undyed medium-weight Irish linen bought from a re-enactment trader on Ebay.
Thread: linen from the above fabric run through beeswax (bought from a Farmers’ Market). Obviously, it wasn’t possible to use thread like this in a sewing machine.
Seams : backstiched and then hand overcast to finish.
Hems: hemstitched by hand.
Pattern : Merchant & Mills long sleeved Curlew top from their Workbook. Lining omitted.
Next step: the dye pot!

It took me about 8 hours excluding cutting out – I should think 2 hours would be plenty if I were using a sewing machine. I really like the pattern by the way, and will make it up some other way when I get time.

Why am I doing all this?

I’m trying to make an outfit from my own “fibreshed”, which I believe to mean the British Isles.

So far, I’ve managed to get natural Irish linen fabric and very local undyed Welsh woollen fabric but I haven’t been able to buy threads.

For the linen fabric it seemed best to take short lengths from the fabric itself and wax it for smoothness and strength.

For the wool fabric, my generous friend has very kindly offered to spin me some local wool thread – I’ve had a go with her sample and it works well.

Dyes have to be natural and growing in the fibreshed for this project so I’ve opted for hedgerows, fields and gardens around my home village in mid Wales. I’ll probably keep overdyeing the linen top until I’ve got the colours I like.

If you’re interested in the project, take a look at the principles and the participants here.

Enjoy your week.

Norma x

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Filed under #1year1outfit, Clothes, dressmaking, fashion, sewing, textiles

OneYearOneOutfit – Linen on the Lawn

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10 metres of Irish linen in its natural state – a sort of brownish grey. It’s meant for historical re-enactors but I no reason why it shouldn’t become one of the staples of my OneYearOneOutfit project along with the Welsh wool fabric.

 
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It was a beautiful sunny day here yesterday and I used the resulting hot water to wash 2.5 metres. I don’t know if it has shrunk but I cut plenty anyway – just in case.
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Drying on the lawn. I saw a 1930s advertisement offering Irish grass bleached linen – I thought I’d start mine off that way. It’s already lighter than it was.
I don’t know how long linen was bleached that way to get it white, but how did they keep off stray dogs & cats? Or wildlife? Did someone sit with it. I told my dogs to keep away but both sneaked out to sit on it….
Anyway, it’s ready for the next stage: I’d like that to be soaking the fabric in milk mordant but I’m not sure I have any vessel big enough to hold it apart from occupying the utility room sink with smelly gone off milk for days. I am considering garment dyeing instead.
And what am I making?
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The Curlew top from Merchant & Mills Workbook (Photograph Merchant & Mills). Bias cut and no fastenings. The version above has a lining but I don’t plan to do that.
I think it will work well with my 1930s style Welsh wool skirt.

Why aren’t I working on the skirt? I would except that this one is already a bit too big as I continue my training for the Lake Vyrnwy Half marathon in September. It seems that only the bottom half of me is getting thinner so a top is probably safe to make.

I can get into clothes that I’d put on the “to be cut up” pile – more on what I’ve done in a future post.

 

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Filed under #1year1outfit, Clothes, dressmaking, dyeing, sewing, textiles

1930s Sewalong – Please Help Me!

This is the blouse I was planning to sew for my 1930s outfit – minus the scarf bit – that wouldn’t suit the cotton fabric or me.

But I’ve got a problem. I undid the blouse pattern ready to trace it and found I didn’t like it. I just won’t wear it. I know I won’t.

So here’s plan B:

 

I would like to make the “summer coat blouse” from The Needlewoman June 1934 in the same linen as my skirt. But I can’t find a pattern that I can use as a base. Has anyone seen anything that would work, please? I don’t feel confident that I could cut my own pattern so I need a base to work from.

The cotton fabric won’t be wasted, it will be one of the tee shirts seen here.

All help gratefully received.

Thanks

Norma x

PS EmilyAnn can cut her own patterns – see her blog for the wonderful journey from fabric, through drape to pattern.

 

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Filed under 1930s, 1930s sewalong, Clothes, dressmaking, sewalongs, sewing, textiles

1934 Skirt

I’ve finished the 1934 skirt using only 1930s methods. It’s been a fun process and I’d recommend it as a way of relaxing. Definitely slow sewing.

Some 1930s details: the side placket and the waistband

Press studs / snap fasteners were the usual way to fasten a skirt or dress in 1934. Zips were still unusual, at least for home sewers in the UK; only one of my many 1930s sewing books gives any instruction as to how to insert a “slide fastener”.

The waist is finished with Petersham ribbon as instructed both by my pattern and by the various sewing books. The waist edge is turned over the top of the Petersham and the raw edge should be finished with “Prussian binding”. I have no idea what that is, so used a narrow bias binding. You can see from the photograph that it’s a nice finish. I did the waistband by hand – easier than by machine as it didn’t need unpicking afterwards….

I finished all the seams by hand overcasting and sewed the hem by hand too. My 1930s machine is straight stitch only.

What did I enjoy and what worked well?

I like the waist finish very much and would use that again.

I enjoyed the hand overcasting most of the time.

I love turning the wheel of my old Singer. How can it sew so well after 80 years?

I love the pleat. If you have been watching The Durrells on ITV on Sunday evenings you will have seen Mrs Durrell (Keeley Hawes) wearing a skirt with a pleat like mine, but she has one in the back too. It’s not needed for movement but it looks lovely.

What I did not like and what I would do differently

I would stay stitch the waist. One of the books warns you to check the waist measurement as the waist is likely to have stretched. When did stay stitching come in? It’s not in any of my 1930s books.

I would make a button placket rather than the press studs or I might use a zip. I’d stick to the side fastening as I think that looks good.

I will add a back pleat as well as a front pleat just because I liked what I saw on the television.

The next step is the jacket. I don’t wear suits but I think an unstructured jacket would look good with some of my other clothes. I’m going to give myself a break now and pick up the jacket in a week or two.

Meantime I’m going to be looking at this book again and again.

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It has some photos but mostly it has illustrations of 1930s clothes. I just love the illustrations.

EmilyAnn is making progress with her 1930s dress pattern so why not go over and take a look?

 

 

 

 

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Filed under 1930s, 1930s sewalong, Clothes, dressmaking, history, sewalongs, sewing, Singer sewing machines, textiles

Sew it begins – 1930s Dress Fabric

Italian linen in lavender – medium weight (but still quite light enough for a dress).

This arrived on Friday and the colour nearly took my breath away when I opened the package. Just as well, because I didn’t send for a swatch. Today was perfect for laundry and I washed the fabric. At last I feel I have really started. Next step is my toile.

Jackie from Nuhn Handmade is going to be joining this very relaxed 1930s sewalong. She has done a very interesting post about which dress to make. I think you will enjoy the pictures very much.

EmilyAnn has posted here about making a gored skirt pattern for the 1930s sewalong. I learned a lot from it having recently taken apart a (charity shop bought) gored skirt to make a pattern.

On another topic, I accidentally posted to my old blog again. I wish I could get my act together. Anyway, if you are interested, this reverse applique waistcoat can be found here.

Thanks for dropping by.

Norma x

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Filed under 1930s, 1930s sewalong, dresses, dressmaking, sewalongs, sewing, textiles

1930s Dress – Some Progress

Thanks to Jackie at Nuhn Handmade I had the idea that I should make the 1933 dress using my 1930s Singer machine. I don’t use it often enough and this is a perfect combination – prevents any accidental use of non-authentic techniques. So no cheating!

I’ve decided on lavender(ish) linen to make my dress and I tried quite hard to source Irish linen but that didn’t work out. I’m expecting a parcel of Italian linen some time in the next ten days.

Emily Ann at Retro Glam is progressing with her 1930s outfit research. Why not pop over and take a look?

Meantime, I’m working on a large scrap quilt and I’ve got a piece of Welsh wool to turn into a dress or a tunic (depends whether it will stretch to a dress!).

Thanks for dropping by.

Norma x

 

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Filed under 1930s, dresses, dressmaking, history, sewing, Singer sewing machines, textiles, Vogue Patterns