Monday, January 6, 2014

It's the Small Things...

With this wonderful advice from Angela at Burnley and Trowbridge, I've been sewing away for the last two days. Granted, it's not snowing- but it is -17 degrees out with a wind chill of -46, so practically the same thing. I practiced my hand at draping another fitted back gown for a friend (which I learned from my very first B&T workshop back in July, 2011) and I'm finishing up my "Splendid Short Sacque" from November.

I have to say, I've done seven workshops so far and every time I leave a crazy workshop weekend I feel like I've learned eighty times more than what I knew before. Honestly, every time I leave I am just plain inspired to be better; This may mean digging deeper on my research, spending more time to hand sew much needed items, and supporting and encouraging others to be better, too.

With that in mind, I've decided to start assembling a much better period sewing kit. While I've got many of the items needed for this already, I simply need to supplement here or there and/or replace some of my modern items with their period counterparts. This way, when I'm at an event and decide to sew, I don't have to worry about hiding my pin cushion or sewing box. I can simply pull out what I need and enjoy.

I start with needing some place to put my brass pins. My modern pin cushion just won't cut it, so I think my first order of business will be to make a replacement for that.  After browsing the Virginia Gazette archives and the usual online artifact haunts (V&A, Met, National Trust, etc.) I saw a few things that interested me.

First, starting in 1772, there are numerous mentions in the VA Gazette of "pincushions and lines" being "just imported" from England. There are even a couple references to gold pincushions (still pondering that one). We also see a large variety of shapes and sizes in extant pincushions. Some rounded like a ball, some rectangular with elongated corners, some hearts, etc. Most  are decorated with some sort of embroidery (fewer with beading) and made from a variety of materials.

The Sign of The Golden Scissors has a recent article regarding "pinballs" discussing the regional use of a "hoop and chain" for pincushions (the metal band around a pincushion shaped like a ball). Then there's this quick post by the Two Nerdy History Girls with a little bit about the pincushion as a ladies accessory. Finally, a post with instructions from Katherine at The Fashionable Past to get us started with an idea of how to make a pincushion (hers using the silver hoop described above.)

I'm thinking of making two pincushions for myself out of some silk and wool scraps left over from the riding habit workshop last November; The first will be in the rectangular with elongated corner style for my sewing kit and the second in a diamond, heart, or ball shape with a tape to be attached at my waist to have it handy when needed. More to come as work commences!

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