Wednesday, 25 May 2011

The Vikings are coming!

So, most of my sewing for the last month has been Viking related. I've been making kit for a group of us who are playing 10th century Norse (though it's not strictly historically accurate, think SCA). The basics are really easy - tunics are square, sleeves don't have to be set in, no buttons or zips, but there is a lot of hand sewing to finish the clothes off.
I've been having fun with it, as we're a wealthy group so can afford nice bright colours and silk. I've tried to keep the clothes practical and accurate whilst making sure our status is obvious.
Dark blue wool tunic with red silk trim

Red herringbone wool with blue silk trim, sadly the braiding on the cuffs and hem is machine woven but I couldn't find any tablet weaving in time.
My outfit, which I posted about here. I've added beads, a 'toilet set', Thor's hammer and a cloak with a fur collar. The belt is a touch fantasy but I needed something sturdy to hang my knife from!

Tom at the event as we got ready to go up to the village

Some of our group ready to leave the 'plastic camp'
The event itself was amazing. The village was full of wooden buildings in period styles (we spent most of our time in the large longhall sitting round the fire pit!) and there were traders there selling suitable goods like horn drinking cups and musical instruments. There was a real blacksmith working his forge and the kids in costume running around while other people roasted a pig or looked at the birds of prey made it feel very real indeed.

I ran a hat for Tom up the evening before we went and got so many compliments about it I thought I'd try out some more styles. My group seems quite keen to have some of these so I'm considering trying a couple on ebay and seeing if they sell well! The wool is just offcuts I have laying around and there's so little there, plus in such small pieces it's really easy to make then from scraps. The fur came from a bag full of vintage coats and stoles etc which are a bit grubby or ripped and can't really be worn whole any more. They were cheap as they're not that useful to most people, but I'm able to rescue strips and patch holes to make them very useful. It makes me feel better about using real fur and it does look very good!

Rus inspired pointy hat with tails, this is based on helmets from the time
Beanie style hat in blue wool with a fut trim
Another beanie style hat - the most common style from what I can work out, with some woolen embroidery around the edge.
I still have several tunics and a couple of pairs of trousers to make, so watch this space for more Viking related fun!

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

One shower in a drought

Hello strangers! I seem to have been taking a little unplanned break from blogging of late, so this is a little update to tell you what I've been up to and to help me get back into the swing of writing.
Sewing photo shoot
A couple of weeks back I went to the Sew Weekly London meetup. Debi, Karen, Tilly and many other people wrote really good accounts of the day back when it happened so I won't bore you with my own! Needless to say, meeting a group of lovey ladies with so much in common and going for a museum visit, followed by a fabric shopping trip was just wonderful. My only regret is not getting to speak to everyone - in particular the bloggers who I've been reading for the last year with whom I came over all star struck and couldn't think what to say moves eh?! I feel I should also thank Steph from Little Miss Twitchy who very kindly accompanied me on our jaunt round the shops as all the other shoppers outpaced us. I was hunting for wool and doing so very slowly but Steph stuck with me all the way to the pub at the end. Thanks Steph! I was too busy to attempt the Horrockses dress what we were supposed to make and then I just couldn't face starting something new the day before the meetup, so I wore my old faithful bow blouse (which I did make, albeit a while ago) and Freddies of Pinewood jeans (which I had to keep telling people I hadn't made, sadly).
I did get a good haul though. I won some lace sent all the way from America in the raffle and picked up these patterns in the swap.
 These are some of the fabrics I bought - Top to bottom;
Seersucker check with metalic threads, soft cotton - the flowers remind me of the Flower fariy illustrations and came from the swap, a cotton/silk mix and a gold fine cord.
 Grey wool, I have this lined up for trousers, some aubergine crepe, red viscose (I think) and a very light cotton lawn.
No more shopping for me for a while!
I also bought a lot of wools and linens to make mroe viking period kit with. The stuff I've made so far has gone down well and I am seriously considering making a few bits and pieces to ebay.

I also took my history exam last week, that's Nazi Germany done and dusted! I think the exam went quite well but I'll have to wait until the 18th August to find out how I did. It's torture. It's a relief to have my free time back actually, though it's only a few weeks until I start the second year's studies. Still, I'm going to make use of the time while I have it and finally make some of the clothes I've been planning for months. I'm loath to make any skirts or trousers for the moment, the weight is still falling off me and I'm worried that it'll be too big in a month if I fit it well now! Tops are, therefore, the order of the day - a good job actually as I am a bit lacking on that front at the moment...

Friday, 13 May 2011

I'm a loser

This post is brought to you by the numbers 3, 9 and 10.13.
I've been dieting for 3 weeks now, and have shifted 9lbs. I've gone from 11st 8 to 10st 13 and have managed to fit into clothes I haven't worn for more than a year.
As you might guess, I'm one happy lady!
If you're interested, the diet is 'Diet Chef'. It's a calorie control diet, no fancy principles, but the important bit is that they send you meals ready made. They're not fantastic, but they're far from bad and you add fresh fruit and veg to them. I'd recommend it to anyone who struggles to stick to diets!

So, this outfit features a pair of Heyday trousers I bought about 18 months ago and couldn't get done up. In celebration of my weight loss, I've been wearing them all week!
My shoes were from Primark a little while ago, the blouse is one I made a little while back and the cardigan is an old faithful from Marks and Spencer.

I'm hoping to lose a bit more weight before I go back to scoffing the pies. I'm craving all the bad things like mad, but seeing the lbs fall off is helping to keep me on the straight and narrow!

There will be another week of radio silence from me - I have my second A-Level exam next week but after that I should be back to the sewing and posting. I'm looking forwards to a break in the studying!

Monday, 9 May 2011

A Reader Offer

I was contacted by Eilidh from SilkPurseSowsEar a few days ago who asked if I’d like to offer a discount in her shop to my readers.
Well, after taking a peek how could I say no?

The shop has lots of one off and small run brooches, rings, necklaces and hairclips all with a vintage vibe. Many of Eilidh creations are based around old charms, buttons, moulds and jewels and are finished with hand painted patinas. Personally I love the aged gold and brass animals the best, but the brightly coloured rings and picture earrings are lovely too.

I’ve been looking for a rabbit brooch for about 6 months, but one that was realistic rather than cutesy, and I’ve found one here! While I was browsing (for your sakes, obviously) I also spotted these lovely greyhounds. They’re really elegant and so perfect for a 30s outfit. I was also taken in by the pretty leaf brooch too, so ended up with three new brooches.

These arrived beautifully packaged and were just as lovely as they'd looked on to website. I'm really very impressed and had lots of compliments when I wore the greyhounds yesterday.

I asked Eilidh if she'd tell us a bit about her work.

What first inspired you to take vintage materials and turn them into jewellery?
It was a holiday to Skye that I took last summer, and being exposed to several gift shops selling handmade things!  I realised that I wanted to start working for myself, using my hands, and I wanted to make Scottish jewellery that didn’t incorporate Harris Tweed, or Celtic crosses, or Charles Rennie Mackintosh!
I think there’s a charm that you get from vintage things that you don’t get elsewhere, and a nice irony about wearing something from when your Granny was a teenager.  Plus vintage is so hot right now!

Where do you find all the bits and pieces you use in your jewellery?
All over, really!  I live in an area of Edinburgh that’s packed with charity shops, and I get a lot of stock and inspiration from the things that fabulous old people are donating.  My dad’s an antique dealer, and I also pick up the odd gem when I’m at fairs with him. 

How do you see your jewellery being worn? I love the idea of my jewellery being bunged on.  I love the idea of a massive pearl cocktail ring with jeans and an old jumper. I love the idea of a lion brooch worn with a vintage flowery tea dress.  I’m aiming for the sort of jewellery that looks fabulous, but doesn’t need to be kept for ‘special occasions’. 

Are there any celebrities that would like to see wear your designs?
Billy Bob Thornton!  Or maybe Florence Welsch or Bjork.

Eilidh's offered us all a 20% discount at her website (it won't work on her etsy store) by entering the code TEATIME when you checkout. Get over there and have a look!