Historical Sew Monthly 2016 – Pleats and Tucks Challenge

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Challenge is definitely the appropriate word here. I’m not the most confident stitcher but I couldn’t find a historical knitting or crochet pattern that involved pleats. So a simple sewing project was needed, ideally involving some crochet, hence my chouce of an early 20th C boudoir cap.
One of my grandmothers used to talk about the lace crochet she did before she married, in the 19-teens. I love the crochet trimmed ladies nightwear of the era for anyway, so this is a step towards making one. I sewed it by hand which I found really enjoyable.

Inspiration
The inspiration for my hat came from various photos I found over on pinterest

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The originals were made of silk but my budget and that of a working class girl of the era, probably wouldn’t have run that far so I chose to use cotton from a pillowcase.

Method

I took 2 rectangles of fabric, joined them with a french seam into  a long strip and used a blind catch stitch to hem top and bottom.

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I then deeply pleated the fabric but this was very much trial and error and took a few attempts to get it right and get the hat to fit. Once pleated I stitched down the pleats with 2 rows of back stitch.
I also crocheted an insertion for the crown of the hat and a lace trim using a period pattern book, downloaded from The Antique Pattern Library.

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Learning
I learned a lot from the challenge and have identified a few areas I think I could do better:

1. Combining applying the lace and securing the pleats in place.

2. Using a metal or wooden ruler as opposed to a tape measure to make the pleats more even

3. Cutting a curved edge to the top of the hat to help with applying the crochet insertion.

The Challenge: Tucks and Pleating

Material:  An old cotton pillow case

Pattern: None for the sewing. Crochet : Lupton FM, People’s  Handbook Series: The Lady’s Fancy Work Manual http://www.antiquepatternlibrary.org/html/warm/catalog.htm#AUTH_L

Year: 1905

Notions: thread, crochet cotton no 10, ribbon trim, plastic bead

How historically accurate is it? 60-70%. I couldn’t find a pattern for making the fabric part of the hat so improvised as best I could. The ribbon is synthetic and the bead plastic. The crochet patterns are of the period. I used HA stitching techniques and hand sewed. I think the fabric is 100% cotton but might be a blend. The thread is polyester.

Hours to complete: 6 – my first attempt at historical sewing so lots of pinning and repinning involved before sewing, plus I crocheted the lace

First Worn: Not yet

Total cost: all materials were from stash, probably around  £3

Historical Sew Monthly 2016 – Pleats and Tucks Challenge

image

Challenge is definitely the appropriate word here. I’m not the most confident stitcher but I couldn’t find a historical knitting or crochet pattern that involved pleats. So a simple sewing project was needed, ideally involving some crochet, hence my chouce of an early 20th C boudoir cap.
One of my grandmothers used to talk about the lace crochet she did before she married, in the 19-teens. I love the crochet trimmed ladies nightwear of the era for anyway, so this is a step towards making one. I sewed it by hand which I found really enjoyable.

image

Inspiration
The inspiration for my hat came from various photos I found over on pinterest

image

image

The originals were made of silk but my budget and that of a working class girl of the era, probably wouldn’t have run that far so I chose to use cotton from a pillowcase.

Method

I took 2 rectangles of fabric, joined them with a french seam into  a long strip and used a blind catch stitch to hem top and bottom.

image

I then deeply pleated the fabric but this was very much trial and error and took a few attempts to get it right and get the hat to fit. Once pleated I stitched down the pleats with 2 rows of back stitch.
I also crocheted an insertion for the crown of the hat and a lace trim using a period pattern book, downloaded from The Antique Pattern Library.

image

image

image

Learning
I learned a lot from the challenge and have identified a few areas I think I could do better:

1. Combining applying the lace and securing the pleats in place.

2. Using a metal or wooden ruler as opposed to a tape measure to make the pleats more even

3. Cutting a curved edge to the top of the hat to help with applying the crochet insertion.

The Challenge: Tucks and Pleating

Material:  An old cotton pillow case

Pattern: None for the sewing. Crochet : Lupton FM, People’s  Handbook Series: The Lady’s Fancy Work Manual http://www.antiquepatternlibrary.org/html/warm/catalog.htm#AUTH_L

Year: 1905

Notions: thread, crochet cotton no 10, ribbon trim, plastic bead

How historically accurate is it? 60-70%. I couldn’t find a pattern for making the fabric part of the hat so improvised as best I could. The ribbon is synthetic and the bead plastic. The crochet patterns are of the period. I used HA stitching techniques and hand sewed. I think the fabric is 100% cotton but might be a blend. The thread is polyester.

Hours to complete: 6 – my first attempt at historical sewing so lots of pinning and repinning involved before sewing, plus I crocheted the lace

First Worn: Not yet

Total cost: all materials were from stash, probably around  £3

Victorian and Edwardian Patterns

I’m currently working on 2 projects for historical sew monthly that require the use of knitting and crochet patterns written around the beginning of the 20th Century.

The crochet patterns aren’t too bad and I only needed to tweak them here and there to produce the lacy bits I need as embellishments. I will write up a modern version of them as a pdf download to go with the forthcomingpost… Once I finish the sewing part!

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However the knitting patterns are far more interesting to fathom out. I am currently swatching a lace border and am on my 4th cast on. The key problems are:

1. No needle sizes for the main section – take a large pair of wood or rubber needles and cast on… I tried to research the possible sizings and see if I could find anything about rubber knitting needles but drew a blank. My solution was to grab a size of the largest imperial wooden needles I own – size 0 or 7mm and try it out!

2. No tension / gauge stated – I decided to knit a few rows and then measure. The size of the mystery make was within the range I wanted so I went with it.

3. Obsolete yarns – I tried to Google but again drew a blank. I had some pre used pure wool in my stash so I  decided to use it. It’s somewhere between 4 ply and DK, which was very appropriate so I decided to try it and see how it knitted up. I’m happy enough with the outcome.

4. Inconsistent or Uncommon  Abbreviations and terminology – the book I am using, appears to contain patterns sent in by knitters who all have their own pattern writing style. The lady who wrote one of the 3 borders I am using even changes her thinking from one row to the next. The best approach I have come up with is to count my stitches a lot and write the pattern out in modern format on squared paper so I can see what I am knitting, plus keep checking to ensure the increases and decreases match up across the row.

I will write out a guide to using old knitting patterns in the next few weeks, explaining the abbreviations and how to approach the actual knitting.

Victorian and Edwardian Patterns

I’m currently working on 2 projects for historical sew monthly that require the use of knitting and crochet patterns written around the beginning of the 20th Century.

The crochet patterns aren’t too bad and I only needed to tweak them here and there to produce the lacy bits I need as embellishments. I will write up a modern version of them as a pdf download to go with the forthcomingpost… Once I finish the sewing part!

image

However the knitting patterns are far more interesting to fathom out. I am currently swatching a lace border and am on my 4th cast on. The key problems are:

1. No needle sizes for the main section – take a large pair of wood or rubber needles and cast on… I tried to research the possible sizings and see if I could find anything about rubber knitting needles but drew a blank. My solution was to grab a size of the largest imperial wooden needles I own – size 0 or 7mm and try it out!

2. No tension / gauge stated – I decided to knit a few rows and then measure. The size of the mystery make was within the range I wanted so I went with it.

3. Obsolete yarns – I tried to Google but again drew a blank. I had some pre used pure wool in my stash so I  decided to use it. It’s somewhere between 4 ply and DK, which was very appropriate so I decided to try it and see how it knitted up. I’m happy enough with the outcome.

4. Inconsistent or Uncommon  Abbreviations and terminology – the book I am using, appears to contain patterns sent in by knitters who all have their own pattern writing style. The lady who wrote one of the 3 borders I am using even changes her thinking from one row to the next. The best approach I have come up with is to count my stitches a lot and write the pattern out in modern format on squared paper so I can see what I am knitting, plus keep checking to ensure the increases and decreases match up across the row.

I will write out a guide to using old knitting patterns in the next few weeks, explaining the abbreviations and how to approach the actual knitting.

Historical Sew Monthly 1 – Procrastination Challenge

My procrastination challenge is tiny! I have wanted to attempt medieval / early modern knitting for a long while but didn’t fancy using the tiny needles required. This reluctance limited my choice of Victorian and Edwardian knitting patterns too. The daft thing is that I love minature and fine lace crochet.

Historical Sew Monthly Info

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What the item is: Relic Bag pre 1570
The Challenge: Procrastination
Material: Cotton
Pattern: Self-drafted from photo and research
Year: ?14th to 16th C
Notions: Cotton 1 ply thread, 1mm knitting needles
How historically accurate is it? I should have used linen or silk but was unable to get them in time. Otherwise it was as accurate as possible so 90%
Hours to complete: 6
Degree of Procrastination: About a year 🙂 fear of knitting on tiny needles!
First worn: Not wearable but have taken it to craft group and shown it off!
Total cost:£12 as I had to purchase all materials but now have the start of a stash 🙂

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http://knithistory.academicblogs.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/sites/11/2014/05/relic-knitted-bag.jpg

Towards the end of last year I found a perfect project to help me dip a toe in the water – a tiny relic bag that had been discovered inside a reused piece of ecclesiastical equipment from the 14th C, the thimble sized bag contained a little stone and is in surprisingly good condition for its age. It was reasonably confidently dated to pre Reformation and possibly to the medieval period. It is thought to have been made from a plant fibre possibly linen, or silk.

Research
I joined the very helpful Historic Knitting group on Facebook and also contacted the Glasgow University team who were caring for the bag via their blog. This helped me determine the fibre used – I chose 1 ply cotton as it was easily available and the needle size – 1mm / UK 19 / US 5×0. The historic knitting ladies suggested that the size of the bag was likely to indicate that they wouldhave used what was easily to hand. We also discussed cast on methods and following the advice of a lady who had researched the subject I decided to use a back loop cast on.
From the photo and the comments on the blog I worked out the stitch count – 28 approx and the number of rows 28 worked in a striped sequence of 4 dark yellow, 4 pale yellow, 4 green, 4 pale yellow, 4 dark yellow, 4 green 4 pale yellow – 28 rows.

Teething Troubles

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It took around 5 attempts to figure out the cast on and get to grips with knitting in the round on such tiny needles. Eventually I chose to knit a row then divide the sts and join the round to create an even edge. I also realised that I would need to add an eyelet row and shape the bottom of the bag a little.

Pattern

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Cast on 28 sts in dark yellow
K 1 row, dividing sts between 4 needles and join the round. We will stitch the gap closed at the end.
K1 row in the round
Eyelet row- *k2 yf k2tog from * to end.
K 1 row.
Change to pale yellow and k 4 rows
Change to green and k 4 rows
Change to pale yellow and k 4 rows
Change to dark yellow and k 4 rows
Change to pale yellow and k 4 rows
Change to green and k 4 rows
Change to pale yellow and k 4 rows
*k2tog, rep from * to end
Cast off and fasten off securely leaving a long end for gathering.

Please note it is easier if you catch the ends of yarn in as you join new colours.

Embellishments.

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The original bag had a fluffy stump at its base, a cord that contained green with tassels in dark yellow at the ends.
I used the top of a knitting Nancy to wrap the yarn around to create the tiny tassels – about 15 wraps across 2 pegs.
I cut 3 lengths of cotton, 1 in each colour, around 3 times the width of the bag and plaited them to make the cord. I then wove it through the top eyelets and stitched on the tassels. I also chose to add a tassel to the bottom as I thought it more likely, based on medieval pouches than a pompom.

I am late posting this due to a bereavement. It’s been quite helpful in giving me something to concentrate on.