• Costume

    Commissions Commissions – Edwardian Lady’s Maid

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    I am so pleased that I am able to share with you another historical commission, this time for a Lady’s Maid from 1901. Most of my commissions start with a photograph or reference picture sent to me by the client. We then usually have a conversation which goes, like this but with short sleeves and in black, or something like this but not so fancy. I then do some research of my own, looking for historical references that I can base my designs off (this is why my costumes Pinerest board suddenly has a lot of servants on it). I then finalise my designs and send it back to the customer for approval before I get to work.

  • Knitting

    I Made a … 1940s Crochet Hat

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    I am very fortunate in that I suit every type of hat I have ever tried on. However, I am also incredibly unfortunate in that I have an enormous head and lots of hair meaning I can never find hats that fit. So I thought I would give making my own crochet vintage hat a go.

    As part of my Costume Production degree, I was lucky enough to undertake a week of basic millinery. We looked at 19th century hats and bonnets and I ended up making a 1880s style riding hat. Here it is in all its feathery glory:

  • Uncategorized

    The Petersfield Sewing Bee

    This summer, the town where my parents live is hosting their own ‘The Great British Sewing Bee’ style competition. If you haven’t seen the Sewing Bee, it is basically the Bake Off but for sewing. One of the plus sides to my convalescence in the countryside is my new found abundance of free time. And for me free time means sewing. So I’ve decided to enter.

    If you still have no idea what I’m on about the idea is quite simple; contestants complete 3 different sewing related tasks, each designed to test a different area of dressmaking knowledge. And this premise has formed the basis for my local sewing shop’s competition.

  • Style

    Charity Shop Refashion – Asymmetric Playsuit

    Take a look at my latest project, a playsuit refashion.

    Refashioning is a great way to get more life out of a garment that is maybe past its best. The idea is not a new one, in fact I get a lot of my refashioning ideas from Make Do and Mend, the WW2 advice pamphlet.

    However, it has been a little while since I have taken the time to actually do one. I have a list of possible makeovers a mile long. But recently, thanks to my health being on the blink, I have had lots more free time for this sort of thing.

  • Style

    How to Start Dressing Vintage?

    How to start dressing vintage is a question I hear so often as if vintage is a mystery that I have somehow unlocked the answers to. I get it, it can seem intimidating when you are surrounding yourself with images of professional pin up models and hairstylist thanks to Instagram and Pinterest. But it’s important to remember, those people ARE PROFESSIONALS. They have dedicated a lot of time and money to getting to the point they are at. If you’re New Year’s Resolution is to take up jogging you’re not going to be running a marathon in February are you?

  • Knitting

    On Staying Sane and Knitting

    Why Knitting is Good for you
    Why Knitting is Good for You – Retro Claude
    Why I Knit
    Why I knit and why you should too – Retro Claude

    I have been umming and ahhing about whether to talk about this on my blog but have come to the decision that it is worth sharing. This post is about knitting, but also about something very personal.

    I have a chronic illness, and although I have lived many years with little to no symptoms at all, all of a sudden I am back to a very bleak place with my health. I am incredibly lucky that I have a very loving family who are looking after me as I take some time out to rest and recover. But I must admit the shock of complete inactivity has taken a heavy toll on my mental health.

  • Environment,  Style

    Fashion Revolution Week

    This week is Fashion Revolution Week, which for those of you who don’t know is an ethical fashion week when we as consumers demand more from clothing brands by asking “who made my clothes?”

    The idea is simple, by finding out where our clothes come from, we can call brands out on damaging and exploitative practices. We as buyers have the money, and money is power. By supporting brands who abide by good, safe and sustainable practice we can start a fashion revolution and promote ethical fashion.

  • Uncategorized

    What makes great costume design?

    Obviously as a costume maker I am incredibly interested in costume design. And recently, by sheer coincidence, I have watched both Sense and Sensibility and Emma in the space of a week. Perhaps it has been something to do with the time of year? Two Sundays in a row of torrential rain have created the perfect conditions for Sunday afternoon period dramas and coming across the DVD while at my parents house I decided to rewatch Sense and Sensibility for the perhaps 20th time.

  • Costume

    Comissions Comissions

    It’s been a little while since I’ve written anything here. When I started this blog I was determined to post every week no matter what but sometimes that’s not how life works out. I resolve to do better in the future, to find little moments to touch base and practice writing more.

    The reason I have been so behind with all my fun little side projects has been a sudden influx of historical costume commissions. Working freelance has it’s pros and cons and the unpredictable work flow is something I have always struggled with. I can go weeks without anything, which is when I come up with all these big ideas like starting a blog or become a vintage knitwear specialist. And then just as I think I won’t be able to pay my rent and am wondering whether it’s acceptable to eat beans on toast for every meal, work arrives. Hooray! And then more work arrives. Okay. And then even more. All at the same time.