Monday, April 17, 2017

Bonnet Patterning (Regency 2 Piece)

Making a bonnet pattern can seem daunting, but it's actually fairly simple. There are many ways it can be done. For this guide I used sticky tape, scissors and A3 cartridge paper.

My daughter needed a Regency bonnet. I found this simple design on google. I will link to the original source when I have a little more time.
I started by making a tube the same measurement as my daughter's head. Then twisted it to make it slightly conical and sticky tapes it into place.
Next I cut into the paper to create an opening the size of the back of my daughter's neck. Paper can also be added to make it rounder and remove the "V" from twisting the paper. To make the shape stable enough to start forming the brim I made the crown pattern. There are two types of crowns.

1. Flat with a sharp edge
2. Circular and rounded.

This bonnet has the second type. They are both formed similarly. Trace around the inside of the back of the cone shape onto another piece of paper. For the flat you cut out the shape traced and sticky tape it on as is. 
For this one though I added an inch evenly around and them slightly pleated the paper.
This can then be attached to the cone on the inside or outside. I chose the inside as I still needed to shape the back of the bonnet.
Depending on the type of bonnet the depth at the crown can be deeper or shallower.
As my daughter is only 10 months old she will not sit still, so I used a foam head to shape for the most part. Then double checked alterations on her head. This was my beginning basic form.
For this bonnet I needed to reshape it around the crown, so I cut the paper in thin slivers until I was happy with the shape.
I also slowly shaped the brim/front until the paper matched the image. I only work on one side. This means if I make a mistake I can start again on the other side with starting from scratch.
As I managed to get my pattern correct on the first side I removed the crown and flattened it. I could then cut the other side to match. If you had a problem with one side you can cut the pattern in half and then cut your fabric on a fold.

The completed pattern 😀

I will add further construction notes in future posts as I complete this bonnet.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Goldfields and Amazing Photo Shoot

This year there was an amazing turn out for the Barossa Goldfields Open Day. It was also the first event in which we displayed the newly renovated/restored canon. As the artillery crew was unavailable it was only a static display. The infantry did put on two very good displays to entertain the visitors.

Amelia with her Granny
with Mandi looking beautiful
It was even more special as Darren had a fantastic photo shoot idea. He took photos of Amelia and myself and then superimposed us over the original figures in the painting 'On the Wallaby Track' by Fredrick McCubbin. 

Posing against a tree
the Original Painting
the beginning of Darren's work
the completed image
framed above the fireplace, Nic had it printed and framed as a Christmas gift.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Taminick 2016

This year was our first encampment with our little girl Amelia May. It was quite a challenge to prepare everything, as Nic was working interstate. Thankfully, my father helped to keep Amelia entertained while I prepared. 

This year was also our first year taking our newly re-bored 6 pound canon. The canon is a new acquisition and is helping to expand our Volunteer forces impression. It has already started to increase public interest in the military history of our state and in our group. 

This year we expected rain, so we took a mess walled tent instead of an awning. It made a huge difference. It was cozy and a nice place to gather and work out of the weather. Our South Australian camp had quite a turn out this year with 6 wedge tents and a bell tent. It is fantastic to see our encampment grow larger each year.

As usual I thoroughly enjoyed planing and cooking period meals. This year we had beef shin stew, pease pudding, Irish stew, winter salad and cock-a-leekie. I also was able to experiment with mushroom ketchup and refining my salad dressing from Beaton's. I wish that I had been able to experiment more, but there will always be more encampments and gatherings at home.

The men thoroughly enjoyed the live shooting and parades. I was also able to don a uniform and become a member of the artillery for the live canon shoot. The artillery uniform differs from the riflemen' as it is blue with a red stripe down the legs and a white snake belt.

Amelia May celebrated her 4 month birthday over the weekend and flourished from the exposure to the great outdoors. She loved meeting everyone and being sung to. It was also the best few nights sleep she has had since birth.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016


Recently we had a christening for our beautiful baby girl. We were blessed to have Nic's brother Ben accept the role of godfather and our friend Wendy agreed to be her godmother. Both were also in our wedding party. As we were holding the christening in the same church in which we were married, we decided to wear attire from our wedding. 

The ceremony was beautiful, as was the afternoon tea afterwards. Amelia has been blessed with many people who love and care for her.

Amelia in her original Victorian gown with period undergarments that I had made her.
The family before the Christening
Proud father and daughter
Amelia being blessed by the sign of the cross

The Godmother lighting the Christening candle

The unit provided an honor guard at the completion of the ceremony.
Socialising afterwards

Domestic Bliss

Winter is a fantastic time to close our modern kitchen and living space and retire to the original rooms of our home. This is one of my favourite times in the year. It is soo relaxing and cozy to work and socialise by the fire. Our close friend and Amelia's godmother also joined us for an evening. She made lemon suet pudding and assisted with dinner. Our dinner for the evening was one of the plain menus from Beaton's. As our seasons are the opposite of those in England, where it was published, I count half a year difference in months to choose an appropriate menu for the season. This evening was held in July, so I used a menu from January. As in previous experiences the recipes turned out delicious. On this evening we enjoyed plain soup, Jerusalem artichokes, boiled potatoes, fried chops and lemon suet pudding.

I am finding caring for an infant and running a period household more of a challenge. Hence my disheveled appearance. Still, I wouldn't change my life or experimental Victorian living for anything. We are very blessed in our little cottage.

Our 1858 Cottage Living Room
Preparing Dinner.
Wendy, cooking Lemon Suet Pudding.
Preparing Dinner
Nic holding Amelia while we cook
Feeding Amelia before preparing dinner. I love my nursing corset, it makes feeding her a lot easier.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Elite Infant Layette

As the basic layette was very simple to construct, I'm still couch bound awaiting the birth of our new family member and I still have a lot of small linen scraps... I decided to attempt the Elite Infant Layette in The Tudor Child. This book has been fantastic so far. 

One of the reasons I am keen to make these as they can be constructed using insertion stitch to join the seams. I have always wanted to learn how to sew insertions, so this was a fantastic opportunity. It also linked in well with the Holes Challenge for the Historical Sewing Monthly. Insertion stitch can be a delicate, intricate and ornate way to join join seams. It is far more eye catching than any other type of seam joining as it looks like lace. 

As I am learning this type of stitch I decided to keep it simple and basic for these items. I will try more complicated designs in future items that will be more visible such as chemisettes, under sleeves and caps. 

Elite Shirt (fits 000-00)
Before I could start learning insertion stitch, I had to draft up the pattern, cut out the pieces and narrow hem the pieces all around. The only piece that is not hemmed all around is the collar. I left one side I hemmed as I plan to whip gather it to the neckline once the shirt is complete.

I had instructions in a sewing guide. It suggested basting the fabric to graph paper to help ensure the stitches are  even. I used some of my husbands 2mm graph paper which I cut into strips that are not too bulky. Instead of basting, I found that pinning it in place also works. For thread I chose to us buttonhole thread as it is strong and of a good thickness. My book also recommends that you can use embroidery floss. 

First I had to attach the cute little mini gussets.

Next I closed up the sleeve along the other side of the gusset. The insertion stitch was not as difficult as I expected and became easier as I got into a rhythm.

The insertion stitch I used involved sewing a small inwards stitch through a few threads of the linen before making a small knot in the thread. Then repeat in reverse on the other side. 

The shoulders were then joined together.

Finally the sleeves were attached to the shirt body. 

The last step in sewing the shirt was to attach the collar. The instructions were a little vague, so I decided to just whip gather it on like I do with cap ruffles.

Elite Biggin (fits 000-00)
Sorry I did not take any construction photos. The construction was exactly the same as for the other items. I did choose to attach the crown with insertion stitch. It only took about 4 hours to sew.

Forehead Cloth (fits 000-00)
This is very simple to construct and only took half an hour to sew. It is very good as a starter item to get used to narrow hemming.