Tuesday, 20 February 2018

For the love of the Muff! (part 2)

The previous post has been all about the size of the muff and the eye candy in the shape of fashion plates. I choose to use fashion plates instead of pictures of antique muffs because it's much easier to see the size of the muff. However there are such wonderful orginal nineteenth century muffs out there, that I can't resist the urge to show some of them.

Flamingo feather muff lined with sheep skin.

Shawl and Muff set of fur, American

Pelerine and Muff set of Osterich feathers, French 

Fur Shawl and Muff, British

Peacock feathers, ermine and linen muff, French

Silk evening muff, American
1880 - 1889

Wool and silk muff, decorated with wings of a bird.
ca. 1886

1890's Ermine Cape and Muff

Silk shawl and muff set, French
ca. 1895

Worth Walking Suit with Large fur muff
ca. 1905

Muff are still quite easy to buy here in the Netherlands. There are usually some for sale on Marktplaats and they are still being sold at antique and collectors fair. Even after looking at a whole lot of images I find it hard to distinguish the vintage from the antiques. Muffs stayed in fashion untill the 1950's/1960's and I suspect most muffs you can find are from that era. Having said that, there are some real gems out there, like these two currently sold at Marktplaats. They look like the real deal to me but I lack the knowledge to be sure. I escpecially like the fact that they both still have their original boxes.

If you want a muff buying is not your only option! There are lots of tutorials on how to make a (faux) fur muff. And if you don't want a fur muff you can also crochet or knit one!

Crochet Muff
Godey's Lady's book, February 1863

And if you are interested be sure to read A knitted muff from 1847 from the blog The Fashionable Past. 

Seller schmetterlingtag has often antique crochet and knitting patterns up for sale on Ebay. 

This is all I have time for today, more on how I made my own fur muff, next time!

Thursday, 15 February 2018

For the love of the Muff! (part 1)

Ever since I can remember I have loved the idea of owning and using a muff. I blame the Quality street tins my mother and grandmother owned for this. Actually I blame them for my entire obsession with costumes from the Victorian era.

This is not mine, I have two of them but both ended up in a box in the attic after we moved, but this is one of the two version we had when I was little. The picture of a lady with a muff was on the side if I remember correctly. I really want to know but I am not to fond of the ladder leading up to the attic and besides that I wouldn't know in whcih box they ended up...

 **Cue hours a me looking on the internet looking for the right version, seeing all the other wonderful Quality street tins and wanting to have them all.**

I mean it is hard to resist these beauties!

Okay, getting back to the original topic which is Victorian Muffs and not Quality Street tins and where to find them... (or how to collect them all!)

Muffs it is!

In Regency times the muff tend to be quite large. Although smaller ones were used as well.

In the 1830's they were still usually quite large

But it looks like they got smaller the closer you
get to the 1840's. This fashion plate is from 1837
and the muff here is quite small!

Around 1840-1845 the muff became the size I prefer, big enough to cover both hand when they are laid on top of each other and the wrists. Pretty, functional and most important manageble. It seems that the ladies from the Victorian era had the same preference because it stayed this size untill the Edwardian era, when the muff encreased in size again.






source: http://archive.org/


source:De Gracieuse

Now that I had established that the size I wanted to make was in use for most of the nineteenth centuries I have in my historical wardrobe. It was time to figure out how to make one! But as this is quite a long post, with lots of eye candy, already. I'll write about it in the next blog.

Please note that I have been looking for documentation for the size, shape and sort muff I was planning to make. There are many more historically authentic styles and size. So if you want to make something else, don't be put off and do some research. You'll find that a lot is possible!

Friday, 2 February 2018

Sewing roll, sewing rollup or hussif/huswif/housewif

I often spend January and February working on small projects, finishing ufo's or doing some crochet. After all the stress in December trying to finish my costume in time. I feel entitled to some time off but I am to restless to do nothing, this year is no different. First off I finished the lace cap I had started working on at an event in December. My second project was a making myself another sewing roll. I had made several sewing rolls last year to give as gifts to friends for Christmas.

They where made with pretty fabric and a pattern by Merchant and Mills. Running out of time, as always, I made myself a simple version of natural colored linnen and cotton. Functional but not spectacular.

One of my friends had also made a sewing roll and when I saw hers I absolutely loved it. It was made with a whole lot a small quilting fabrics and the construction she had just made up herself. Being the sweatheart she is for christmas she gave me a package with some small squares of quilting fabric, some embriodery designs and her sewing roll to copy! I hadn't done cross stitch embriodery in twenty years so it was quite a challenge. With her help and inspiration I made this and I am really happy with the end result.

Please remember it is not intended to be a reproduction.

However I do think she got the look quite right!

Needlework Case 
Place of Origin: United States, North America
 Date: 1795-1820
Materials: Cotton; Wool; Silk

1816 sewing rollup of housewif

Roll up Huswif Sewing Case, ca 1830, New England
Image no longer available at the website 
but definitely worth a visit.

1850's housewife
I just love the fabrics !

Huswif from 1856

Silk Roll-up with seam covering embroidery
from about 1880.
(unfortunately the images no longer seem to load)

Up untill now I have only shown you sewing rolls on which our versions are based upon. Here are some other variaties!

An early 19th century  American Canvaswork Sewing Case Pocketbook

Pocketbook pattern from Godey's Lady's book 1862

1864 Housewife for a Gentleman

Sewing case closed

Sewing case open

This one I would like to make some day.
Source: Groot Handwerkboek uit Grootmoeders Jeugd,
Ilonka & Leonard de Vries & Margrit Reij.

On the subjects of UFO's I today I finally finished my crochet christmas blanket after working on it on and off for over two years!

Tuesday, 23 January 2018

A Victorian Lace Day or Dinner Cap

Although I love this picture made bij Danielle Silleman/Groetjes uit IJmuiden, 
As it shows off my dress beautifully
I also remember feeling not completely dressed when she took it.
I have always really disliked the frilly lace caps worn by women in the 19th  century
 but now as I am getting older they seem to be growing on me. 

Normally I research everything before I start to work on it. This dinner cap was a last minute project because I needed something to keep my hands busy during the event. I had been working on several costumes up untill the last day and hadn't really prepared anything.
So I turned to my pattern stash and looked for a small accessory I could make.
I ended up chosing Butterick B5663 Historical Head Pieces, version C.

Butterick patterns, like most those of most large pattern companies, are not meant to be historically accurate. So I usually do a reasonably amount of research and incorporate my findings into my project by making approriate changes to the pattern.
With no time left untill the event, I skipped this part and just followed the pattern and the directions and used whatever scraps of fabric and lace I had lying around. Most of the lace that I have used is at least vintage or even antique.

The end result, at least in my eyes is, pleasing to the eye. I especially love the ribbon poinsettia I added. The headdress will be worn at Christmas events, so it seems only fitting. 

If I had done my research I would have know that most Victorian lace caps had a lace base or white fabric covered with. The closest thing I could find to a fabric base was a ribbon base, like this cap from 1850's in the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.

Woman’s cap with piece of light purple ribbon at top trimmed with gathered piece of same ribbon; 
black net base across top front covered with two layers of white net embroidered with circles and floral motifs; purple ribbon bows at front sides; long ribbon ties; single layer of white embroidered net at back over ribbon bow

These two headdresses are from a slightly later date:

Silk and linen cap, ca. 1870's

And this very similar silk and linen cap also the 1870's

I find it hard to tell how they are constructed as the descriptions don't go in to great details. So I assume they are contructed very much in the same manner as the cap from the 1850's.

After looking at these historical examples, I have decided that although my cap isn't historically accurate, it is good enough to wear at least once. So I can find out if wearing a cap is indeed something I want to do.