The Ladies' Tea Guild

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Historical Sew Fortnightly challenge #1 for 2014

Production photo of female
Hobbit for inspiration.
Challenge #1: Make Do And Mend.  So, I thought I would actually finish one of the challenges within a reasonable time period from its due date ... Besides the replacing of the waist drawstring on my hoop petticoat (detailed in the last post), I also spent some time arranging some items to make my 1580s Elizabethan working-woman costume into something Hobbity for the GBACG fashion show on Saturday.  I put my hair in curlers and asked my friend to lend me her pointy ears and everything!  And then (while at the fashion show venue) ... I read the fashion show script that the narrator would be reading, and had to "make do" to change it back to (relative) historical accuracy!  

Friday, January 17, 2014

New(ish) costumes: mending and adjusting one costume to work as a different one.

vintage 1940s poster.
I've been watching the Historical Sew Fortnightly costume activity for a while; although I've never had the time to finish anything on schedule, it's fun to see what everyone else does.  The current (well, the due date just passed, but you still get full credit even if you finish late) project is a "Make Do and Mend" theme.  I have such a pile of mending, both costume and mundane clothing, so I've gotten out a few projects to work on for this challenge.

The first one was fixing my hooped petticoat.  It's one of the cotton petticoats-with-tucks-filled-with-hoop-wire numbers that have been around for years, and it's served me pretty well for over 12 years.  I had removed the top hoop wire (it's a 5-hoop petticoat) because the petticoat was too long for me, and threaded the drawstring through the now-empty space where the wire had been, shortening the petticoat by about 6 inches.  No hemming -- all was good.  Unfortunately the drawstring was not all that strong, and it broke on my friend, who had borrowed it to wear to the Dickens Fair.  While she was wearing it.  Thankfully, it had been slipping down all afternoon, and she was in a dressing room when the breakage occurred, but we panicked for a while!  She ended up buying a new hoop petticoat at the Dickens Fair, and I brought my old one home, and shoved it in the closet.  Until now, when I looked through my stash and found a length of corset lacing that I had bought years ago, that ended up not being nearly long enough, but was a good length for a waist drawstring.  I promptly took it out, found my bodkin (I love those!), and threaded it in the empty drawstring space.  My hoop is usable again!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

World War 2-era gingerbread for the new year!

Image from http//
 Happy New Year!  While I didn't get Mrs. Beeton's Christmas Cake made this season, I did do a batch of my gluten-free cuccidati for my aunt and cousin, my rum-soaked fruit cake, and one of the recipes from my grandma's World War 2-era cookbook Burnt Toast Recipes: Victory Edition.  I have to be careful when making the recipes from this book; sometimes they're great (like the fruit cobbler recipe), but sometimes they're weird (like the mashed baked bean sandwich recipe) ... This one is a good one.  Of course, I didn't have all the ingredients so I had to improvise a bit, but it turned out a really yummy gingerbread that puffed up nicely in the oven (although it sank down once it cooled), and smells and tastes nice.  Here's the recipe [with my alterations in brackets]:

Now stir the fire, and close the shutters fast,
Let fall the curtains, wheel the sofa round,
And, while the bubbling and loud-hissing urn
Throws up a steamy column, and the cups
That cheer but not inebriate, wait on each,
So let us welcome peaceful evening in.
-- William Cowper (1731-1800)
"The Winter Evening" (Book Four), _The Task_ (1784)