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Happy Birthday Wednesday's Child!

Well hello stranger! Fancy seeing you here!

Itís been quite a while since I last posted anything here, mostly due to various illnesses that worked their way round our family until it felt like we were living in some kind of plague house.

But Iím now feeling much better and ready to get things back on track also today Wednesdayís Child is 5 years old so birthday celebrations have been the order of the day!

5 years ago today I received my first order (sadly Etsy hadnít made the phone app at the point so I wasnít woken by the lovely cha-ching noise thatís so fun to hear these days.) I had handed in my undergraduate dissertation a few days before and listed my first items at the end of May.

It was 2011 and the final Harry Potter film was going to be released that July so naturally being the geek that I am my first products were Harry Potter ties and robes. That summer between June and December that year I sold 34 ties and many other Hogwarts House Pennants and even a few kids Harry potter robes and baby mobiles.

Between then and now I shifted my focus onto solely historically accurate costumes, lost pretty much all pop culture references and got so into Jane Austen and Charlotte Brontë Iíve got two whole literary inspired sections in my shop!

The past 5 years have been incredible, both personally and professionally. Iíve had costumes travel as far as Colonial Williamsburg in Virginia, to museums in Wales and even to a Yorkshire historical dance troupe! Iíve lived in Canada with my best friends, moved house (and studio) 3 times and even been featured twice in the Jane Austen Centreís official magazine Jane Austenís Regency World. 

In the last year Iíve become involved with a wonderful voluntary educational re-enactment group based at Lauriston Castle in Edinburgh, (the brilliant Edinburgh Living History Ė more on them soon!) and really, 2016 looks to be shaping up to be my best year yet!

Along with my annual birthday sale in July I decided to celebrate my little baby business turning 5 in style today. This meant a very special trip to the tattoo studio and of course yummy birthday cake (complete with candles!)

I chose, in honour of my 5 year anniversary to get my damask logo tattooed on my wrist. I designed the damask myself in Adobe Illustrator and itís not just a connection to my business but to my world life of sewing and creativity.

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This monthís edition of Jane Austenís Regency World magazine arrived today featuring my new shiny news article which was a nice birthday surprise!



Then on my way home I decided to splurge on some celebration chocolate in the form of a very childish caterpillar birthday cake, I even bought purple, silver and gold candles to blow out!

(Sadly the broken eyes made the caterpillar look very sad :( )


The mammy and daddy even tried to sing happy birthday, which did feel a bit ridiculous :D

But all in all this birthday has been very fun, and tomorrow I get to wake up, have some leftover cake for breakfast and head back into the studio and get back to work making some fun 18th century costumes for the aforementioned Edinburgh Living History.

Good Mood Mondays should be back next week along with some Charlotte Brontë themed goodies but until then,

See you in the future! ♥

Good Mood Weekends

Hello my darlings and welcome to this weekís Good Mood Monday blog post!

Iíve spent today slowly working on orders and some marketing stuff while feeling very sleepy and sunburnt after enjoying a weekend worth of wedding celebrations for my awesome friend Fiona and her lovely new husband Sylvain.

The wedding was held at a gorgeous youth hostel in the Perthshire countryside outside if Crieff (which coincidentally the mammy and I visited about 12 years ago for a holiday)

The weekend started with most of the guests arriving on Friday evening and getting settled in while Fiona and Sylvain ran around trying to finish everything off for the next day (it was a totally wonderful and epic DIY wedding)

It was a lovely clear night to wander round and enjoy the spring air and watching the wildlife (and the chickens pecking around their run)

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Our gorgeous bedroom door sign :D

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The next day, after some breakfast mum and I decided to head off for a wander up round the campsites and into the woods. Put simply it was absolutely gorgeous. The weather was perfect (at that point it wasnít too hot!)

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After some more breakfast snacking, it was time to go show and dress for the wedding! After chatting and meeting lots of lovely new friends it was time for the ceremony. With a Scottish bride and a French groom and guests coming from all over the world it was a very multinational affair.

The ceremony and vows were performed in both English and French which was a lovely touch to mark the joining of the two families. After the vows (and the happy couple leaving the ceremony to the Star Wars theme tune!) there was lots of chatting, hugging and photographs. 

To tide us over we had lots of afternoon tea snacks. Iíve known Fiona for such a long time and it was wonderful to see her so happy, surrounded by friends and family.

The decorations of the barn for the evening were gorgeous, lights and lanterns hung everywhere, they had signs pointing to all the places the couple have been and are planning to go: Australia; Bali; Florida; Thailand and Fiji. Theyíre then planning Hawaii for a honeymoon and hopefully in a few years even emigrating to Canada!


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They had a BBQ for dinner with massive amount of salad and meats, incredible meringue desserts and wedding cake to finish.

(Sorry no photos of that Ė too busy eating)

Then came the dancing, it was a ceilidh so cue traditional Scottish country dances, meaning most of the Scottish guests vaguely remembering the steps after having them drilled into us at school and the rest of the guests desperately trying to keep up with all the twirling!  


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We ended up going to bed around 11 while other people including the bride and groom stayed up until about 2am, either wrapping up warm inside drinking cups of tea or outside sitting round a lovely hand built campfire drinking alcohol to keep warm (Sylvainís little nephews had a lot of fun in the morning building Stonehenge type sculptures out of the firewood)

The next day after breakfast and helping (or in our case watching) the newly-weds dismantle the decorations and pack everything away safely we left the croft, still in glorious sunshine and a few of us joined Fiona and Sylvain for lunch before heading home for good.

Everything about the weekend was lovely, it was so warm (sunburn in Scotland! In May! ) chilled out and happy.  I was so happy and thankful to be included in such a wonderful occasion.

So this weekís post has been brought to you by sun, laughter, happiness and love. Iíll be back on Thursday with my A-Z of Charlotte Bronte post but until then,

See you in the future! ♥

Good Mood Plans

Hello and Happy Monday to everyone!

 Iíve had a very good weekend celebrating the Daddyís birthday (and earlier in the week celebrating my sister-in-lawís birthday too) and although we didnít take any photos we had a lot of fun hanging out and eating lots of yummy food and awesome cake!

Iíve been crazy busy doing an order for custom made steel cage pocket hoops today so havenít really thought about what to do for Good Moods this week but given last week was a total wash for me I thought it important to blog anyway!

As Iíve mentioned before this year is Charlotte Brontëís 200th birthday. As well as my very long appreciation post for the 2011 film Iím also planning a new blog series for a Thursday called The A-Z of Charlotte Brontë.

Iím going to start next Thursday with A (an obvious place to start) and for my alphabet A is for Atmosphere. As the Brontë sistersí work is often cited as being landmarks in Female Gothic fiction atmosphere plays a huge role in all the novels of Charlotte and her sisters.

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A short preview of the gorgeous atmosphere used to create mood in Jane Eyre!

So a very, very short update today but I shall be back soon! But until then,

See you in the future! ♥

Films: Jane Eyre Appreciation

April 21st marks 200 years since the birth of Charlotte Brontë and this year also marks the start of 5 yearsí worth of bicentenary celebrations for all 3 Brontë sisters.

Jane Eyre is own of my very favourite books and the mid-19th century is perhaps my favourite time period in terms of costume, textiles and art so I thought that I would use this an excuse to do my own year of bicentenary events in honour of Miss Brontë.

Along with producing some more Brontë theme products for the shop Iíll be doing a few blog seriesí and reviews of Bronte related and inspired things.

First off I decided to review and discuss the 2011 version of Jane Eyre with Mia Wasikowska and Michael Fassbender. While I really like Ruth Wilson as an actress and I tried watching the 2006 BBC version with her and Toby Stephens I just couldnít get it into it. The characterisation of Jane just didnít feel like Jane to me. The 2011 version however felt much more accurate and closer to the book.

Before I get onto talking about the costumes properly I want to talk briefly about the lighting and colours of the film. Listening to the audio commentary Carey Fukunaga discusses the importance of the lighting and his choices in terms of really setting the tone for entire film.

For me there is a gold haziness to the colours and lighting during her time at Thornfield which allows this stretch of narrative to read as almost a dream sequence or not quite real, most notably in the proposal scene, the gold lens flaring tying beautifully with the brewing storm of foreshadowing of the terrible events later in the film/novel which could be attributed to Janeís acceptance of the initial proposal.

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The events before and after Thornfield are mostly blues in tone such as her life at Gateshead and Lowood and especially her time on the moors. 

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The golds come back up in moments of keen happiness and content in Janeís life Ė summer afternoons spent with Helen, when she finds solace and family with the Riversí siblings and when she hears Rochester calling her across the moors after the fire Ė drawing her back to Thornfield.

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The lighting has the same dreamlike haze, with the scenes mostly lit with ambient lighting Ė natural sunlight or candlelight. The moors are filled wet dark gloomy skies while her days at Thornfield are (usually) sunny and bright The most notable scenes with gold candle and setting sunlight are Jane and Rochesterís discussion after she finds out about Bertha, her rescue by St John and finally when she returns to Thornfield at the end, commanding Rochester to waken from his dream. The lighting of this scene reflects the proposal scene, the summer sounds replacing the storm.

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Ok onto the costumes! The novel was published in 1847 and we know that Jane herself is relaying the story to us 10 years after the final events of the novel. It can be surmised that her time at Thornfield takes place in the 1820s or 30s as she mentions portraits of both George III and the Prince Regent being displayed in Inn near Thornfield where, in the novel she meets Mrs Fairfax. This would mean that the clothing in the novel would be smack bang in the Romantic era of large gigot sleeves and ankle length bell skirts.

In the commentary however Fukunaga explains how he and costume designer decided to set the film in the 1840s Ė the time of the novels publication as basically they disliked the styles of the 20s and 30s. The ugliness and exaggeration of the dresses, they felt suited Aunt Reed much more than Jane herself.

I can understand this choice as I would argue that the understated style of the 40s tied more with Janeís character. Shifting the time period of the film slightly allows us to see a shift between Janeís clothing while living at her aunts, the uniforms of Lowood and then finally Janeís own sense of style and choice at Thornfield and Moor House.

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Class is important in the novel and I think the costumes do a wonderful job at expressing the different levels displayed in the film. Aunt Reed is clearly well-off and of a certain upper class of society, we can see this in the interiors of Gateshead but also the opulence of her clothes and those of her children.

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Jane, although a lowly orphan thrust upon the family is still dressed in quite fine clothes.

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Janeís clothes are mentioned a few times throughout the book and film.

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Her first meeting with Rochester in the woods outside Thornfield shows the innate difference of clothing between levels of servants

 ďYou are not a servant at the hall of course. You are-Ē He stopped, ran his eye over my dress, which as usual, was quite simple: a black merino cloak, a black beaver bonnet; neither of the half fine enough for a ladyís maid. He seemed puzzled to decide what I was; I helped him. ďI am the governess.Ē

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In the film we see her attempt at Ďdressingí for Mr Rochester despite not having a large selection of fine clothes

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Her outfits are again discussed in terms of the ladies visiting with Rochester, namely Blanche Ingram

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A slight change in costume comes really at the arrival of her wedding dress, as Adele plays with the lengths of veil she whispers to herself  ďI will be Jane Eyre no longer.Ē

In a way this is true, when found by St John Rivers she calls herself Jane Elliot and when given her own home and work as a school mistress she find a sense of style in small accessories that bridge the gap between her life at Thornfield and her new independence .

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When she suddenly becomes an heiress is when we finally see Janeís ultimate style. The golds of the lighting and production design are brought into her final gowns which show wealth we havenít seen before but still humble and simple. It shows Janeís humility while allowing her to take a small amount of pride in her appearance now she has the means.

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When she finally returns to Thornfield to find a humbled and damaged Rochester their class levels are closer, he is no longer the master of a large estate and she is no longer his ďpaid subordinateĒ and in that way her gold gown and his darker brown muted dishevelled suit tie together along with the landscape and setting of the oak tree, once the scene of a heart-breaking proposal.

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I could really go on and on about this book and film but I think Iíve probably bored you enough already!

I hope this has made up for not blogging last week and I promise to back to my normal schedule next week but until then,

See you in the future ♥

Good Mood Shopping!

Woohoo Iím managing a Good Mood Monday before 10 pm this week! Anyway this weekís Good Mood is brought to you by Ikea and mammy/daughter outings!

           - I wrote the above at like half 7 and I was so happy but then things happened and now itís 20 to 11 and Iím just getting round to finishing this post! Oh well onto the good stuff!

I love Ikea. I donít always buy things when I go but I have fun wandering round the staged rooms and houses and looking at all the random accessories and decorations. I also completely adore the kids section of Ikea; itís so full of silliness and imagination.

Anyway, this time we actually went with a purpose. Mum has been redecorating the kitchen for the past few weeks and we wanted to get some shelving and other finishing touches and I was lusting after some of the fabrics I saw in the website.

After our usual wander round the staged rooms we headed off to the warehouse and main shop area, skirting through the kitchen stuff and straight to the fabrics!

Unfortunately when I saw the fabric in the flesh it wasnít as nice as I first thought BUT I did find an awesome cotton duvet set that was a similar design but much nicer so I snagged that instead! :)

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Iím hoping to use this to make a Georgian round gown or something similar to this kind of outfit:

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Plus when we were browsing the bargain coroner on the way out I managed to get some more awesome fabric in the form of another big cotton duvet reduced down to just £3!!

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Mum also had a very successful day, finding everything she was looking for Ėand actually getting it cheaper than expected which is always awesome :D

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(And yes that is Ikeaís amazing chocolate spread with butterscotch pieces in the trolly Ė I could eat that stuff wtth a spoon straight from the jar if society would allow me with judging me) After paying we decided on getting something to eat quickly before heading home so cue obligatory lunch photos!

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After lunch we decided to head home put all our new purchases to good use! (After wandering around TK Maxx for a bit first Ė they always have awesome kitchen stuff!) So today was full of giggles and shopping achievements and tomorrow will be filled with more sewing and building shelves for the kitchen!

One order Iím currently working on is for a pair of shirts that have giant puffy, almost leg of mutton inspired sleeves. Itís been an interesting project as this is the first time Iíve done sleeves like this and the first time really using iron on starch to keep the puffs huge but I think theyíre coming along nicely :)

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In other news this Thursday marks the 200th anniversary of Charlotte Brontëís birth so along with doing a special Jane Eyre appreciation blog on Thursday I will be starting a few other projects based around the bicentenary. But until then,

See you in the Future! ♥

Good Mood Kitties!

Iíve been very busy this week with orders and preparing (panicking) for my interview on Wednesday so I donít have a huge amount of real life good news or fun times to impart so I decided this week will be pictures of cats. :D

I know itís the fall back of the internet generation to focus on pictures of cats but who cares, my cats are awesome.

We currently have 3 cats and Iíve probably mentioned this many times before.

Spider is the eldest who we affectionately call spider-elephant because not only does she put on an extra layer of fur every winter she also grows about twice the size with a massive elephant belly. She has a purr louder than a car engine and is very cuddly and friendly (although she does prefer it if you make the effort to pet her, rather than her coming to you)  

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Second we have my darling wonderful squish Josiebean (real name Josephine). She is possibly the weirdest cat I have ever known and has more nicknames that I can remember. Iíve had her since I was 16 and love her to bits.

She likes to swim and sit under the kitchen taps when they drip she also likes to build caves inside duvet covers and sleep for days.

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Then we have little Mishka Maia. Sheís only 2 and half but already turning into a little bruiser. For the first 2 years she was an indoor cat and has only just recently been allowed out into the big wide world and to be honest she loves it.

We keep catching her climbing up the giant birch trees at the back of the garden trying to hunt crows (who are at least her size if not bigger).

She is a crazy wee grey fur ball who can switch between purring wildly and dribbling everywhere to attacking your face and running away sideways like a crab. 

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So there we go another short but very sweet and cuddly good mood Monday post for you all.

These kitties make me so happy and lift my mood every time I see them so yay for cats! :D

Iím currently working on an 18th century jacket behind-the-scenes post and a Jane Eyre appreciation post but until then,  

See you in the future ♥

Good Mood News!

Argh another very, very late night Good Moods post but as always I have reasons! Today Iíve been sewing a Victorian hussif and trying valiantly to salvage a corset that I stared making about two years ago that no longer fits me and I just plain ran out of time! (And ok memory I also just forgot!) This week will be short and sweet but itís brought to you by good (very, very, very good food) and happy news!

First off it was my mammyís birthday this weekend and we went out for a family lunch to Loch Lomond. Now usually this would be nice on its own but for Christmas presents my brother and sister-in-law bought us gift certificates for the Martin Wishart at Loch Lomond Restaurant which is a Michelin Star restaurant! So we decided to combine the two adventures and have one awesome day of amazing food and gorgeous scenery.

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This was my first ever experience of Michelin Star food and, really this stuff kind of ruins you for all other food. It was billed as a 3 course lunch but the menu didnít mention the aperitifs, the pre-starters, the palate cleansers and amuse-bouche in between not to mention the best sourdough bread slices I have ever tried.

For my main dishes I started with a pea veloute with scallop mousse moved onto a gorgeous melt in the mouth roast duck breast and finished everything off with a gorgeous Valrhona chocolate tart and raspberry sorbet. I cannot overstate how truly amazing this food was. Just YUM.

After that we went down to the waterís edge for a walk, skimmed some stones, met some geese and grumpy swans and even saw an old wooden dragon :)

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And the happy news (ok itís amazing, brilliant terrifying and fantastic news) is that I got onto stage 3 of my application for the MA in Creative Writing which means Iíve been invited for an interview!!! Itís a week on Wednesday and Iím so excited but also pretty much terrified but a good kind of terrified. Theyíve asked me to bring a hard copy of the short story I wrote as weíll discuss it in the interview, which will be exciting in itself as Iíve never really discussed my writings with professionals before, well not since high school and that doesnít really count :)

So this has been a very quick, very excited good mood post and I promise to do another proper blog post soon but until then,

See you in the future! ♥

Good Mood Films!

So every week I promise myself that Iíll do a morning good mood post but then every week something get in the way! But here I am regardless, another Monday another post!

Iíve been busy tidying up my studio after finishing off my orders this week. Including finally finishing the Victorian Steampunk Groomís outfit that will be on its way to France this week

This weekís post is brought to you by my DVD collection. About a year ago I sold a lot of my DVDs in part because I had plans of upgrading to Blu-rays but to be honest a year later I still havenít replaced them and I end up just missing the films instead.

So, the last few weeks I have set about replacing my collection, buying the films as I find them in CEX or charity shops (dammit I love charity shops!) so now I have now added to my collection a good handful of Johnny Depp/Tim Burton films, namely Sleepy Hollow, The Corpse Bride and Edward Scissorhands (3 of my favourite Burton films) a few romantic comedies/dramas Ė Sliding Doors and Reality Bites. More fantasy (obviously) in the form of Stardust and the special edition Directorís Cut of Hellboy. Plus despite having the special edition of Series 1 of Doctor Who Iíve had to replace one of the discs because it was damaged, hence the random Doctor Who disc :)

Finally, a crowning achievement in my collection was finding the Back To The Future Trilogy on Blu-ray for under £10!

Hopefully in the next few months I will have not only replaced all my missing DVD but gained a few extras too! :)

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In other news, I finished my short story submission for stage 2 of my MA application (paranormal romance obviously) AND managed to edit it down below the word limit Ė a first for me really despite the 3 years at university Iíve never managed it before. The deadline is Wednesday and I may have been putting off submitting it; I think Iím a bit scared Ė what if I donít get onto the next stage? What if they think itís awful or worse what if I DO get invited to an interview?! That would be even scarier! :D

So this Monday has been good thanks to an increase in filmic wonders and finally getting my orders finished. Hopefully Iíll have another project post or exhibition post ready for you guys soon but until then,

See you in the future! ♥

Exhibitions: How Glasgow Flourished 1714-1837

For this exhibition post Iím going to take you back in time; two years back in fact to an exhibition I attended at the Kelvingrove Art Galleries in 2014 called ďHow Glasgow Flourished, 1714-1837Ē I had planned to write a blog post about it at the time of my visit but things, as they have a habit of doing got in the way so here we are 2 years later and Iím finally getting round to doing a write up!

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According to the blurb on the promo material:

ďHow Glasgow Flourished takes a fresh look at a hugely significant but often overlooked period in Glasgowís history.

Discover how over 300 years ago, Glasgowís businessmen made their fortunes from trading in colonial goods and through slave labour, and how they manufactured and exported products made in Glasgow, across the world.

This was also when ordinary Glaswegians came together in workersí associations and co-ops to campaign for better working and living conditions for them and their families and paved the way for the Trade Union movement.

The exhibition shows how weaving changed from a cottage industry to a full-blown manufacturing industry and green fields were covered over by some of the largest and most advanced dyeing and smelting factories in the world. You can see a reconstructed weaverís loom, factory engines and dresses and outfits, which have never been displayed before.

Other exclusive displays include new portraits of members of one of Glasgowís wealthiest families, the Glassfords and a newly conserved music organ made by James Watt, as well as the great manís steam engine with its condenser unit. There are also many other pieces from Glasgow Museumsí collection that have never been on display before, including art and objects relating to the lives of Glaswegians.

A recurring theme throughout the exhibition is family history, showing how you can make connections with your life and family to the history of this wonderful city, through our incredible museum and archives collections.Ē

I did really enjoy this exhibition, one negative thing I have noticed about exhibitions shown at Kelvingrove however is that they tend to be displayed in the basement area near the shop; meaning no natural light and really some of the lighting for the pieces leave a bit to be desired.

Probably my favourite part of the exhibition was the working class and trade union pieces as itís so rare to see working class clothing etc. actually representing in exhibitions and displays!

The Georgian Era between 1714-1837 is kind of one of my eras of interest, especially the latter part during the Revolutions and uprising in France, the Napoleonic Wars and Regency Period in the UK. The portraits and clothing on display were very interesting and gave a really clear portrayal of the fashions and styles throughout the period.

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Another really interesting thing was the impact of slavery on Glasgowís merchant beginnings. There were many examples slaves being included in the art work of the period along with samples of adverts and posters with slaves for sale or missing.

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The most fascinating thing in regard to slavery in Glasgow at this time is a portrait of the Glassford Family from around 1767-68. It shows what seems to be a very typical family scene. John Glassford was a multi-millionaire who made his money in tobacco and investing cleverly in Glasgowís biggest industries. But what we see right in the left edge of the scene is an almost invisible figure, blending almost perfectly into the background. This is obviously a slave or domestic servant born out of slavery. Used and owned by the family but almost completely disregarded in every other respect.

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Religion obviously played quite a big part to culture and the growth of Glasgow as a city. The had on display a fantastic book of minutes from a North West Glasgow Kirk noting cases of fighting, drunkenness, illegitimacy, not keeping the Sabbath and even cases of sex outside of marriage!

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Another important aspect of Glasgow society was of course leisure and entertainment part of which included the theatre and music halls. This was a form of entertainment available to all classes, and enjoyed by the majority.

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Combining leisure and religion we move swiftly on to marriage and domestic life. For many working class citizens of the city, life was hard. Despite the city expanding greatly in these years many people still lived in the cramped old tenements and tight alleys. Peopleís diets were much better than their living conditions; the water was often so dirty that it was safer to drink ale and beer. It should be mentioned though that the ale of those days was almost nothing like the strong alcohol of today.

But despite the hardships people still celebrated the good things in life. The exhibition has some wonderful examples of wedding gifts from the era. Most notably a earthenware bottle and mug, engraved with names and dates of the happy couples

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From working life and marriage we moved onto educating the next generation. School for children was a lot different to todayís education; while girls focused on needlework and other accomplishments boys often found themselves put to a trade or apprenticeship.

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They had on display a girlís needlework sampler and a badge of merit won by one boy in his school work as part of his apprenticeship presented by the Highland Society of Glasgow.

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Jumping back to working life we enter the realm of heavy industry, namely coal mining. According the exhibit it was not a major industry in Glasgow in the early 1700s but as the century progressed the need for coal grew and so did the industry. The exhibit included some wonderful examples of tokens and tools used by minersí pre-1830s; including a tally stick to mark how much coal the miner had worked on that day, a record for being paid basically.

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With hard work and poor conditions came the need to organise and support each other, so we come to a small history of trade unions in Glasgow.

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Journeymen Bakersí Friendly Society cash book

We then moved on to my favourite part of the exhibition, the textile industries and clothing!

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They give examples of spinning wheels used in weaversí cottages but also the large verging on industrial scale looms. Linen, Wool and Cotton fabrics were all produced here, the raw materials often being shipped in from overseas. Flax was also common in Scotland, often covering fields in delicate blue flowers.

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Finally we have clothes pretty, pretty clothes.

First we have a teeny tiny baby shirt worn by Sir John Moore who died in 1809. 

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Then onto this wonderful empire line muslin gown made in Paisley by the company Browne and Sharpe around 1800. This was a real treat to see as I have a few patterns for dresses similar to this and could never quite understand the construction so seeing this in person (or through glass at least) made it much easier to understand. I got to see this again at the wonderful Century of Style Exhibit last month again at Kelivingrove.

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Then we have some accessories including this rather fetching wool bonnet, possibly dyed using cudbear, a red dye derived from lichen.

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Apparently in 1802 a bandana factory was established in the east end of the city by Henry Monteith. Red bandanas were made using Turkey Red a dye made from madder then spots and other decorative shapes were bleached into the fabric. The sample they had on display was Victorian but clearly very similar to the earlier styles as even today bandanas are very similar to this one.

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We then move on to this fabulous dress made between 1824 and 26. It was decorated in green with an embroidery technique called Tambouring. It was usually done Ė somewhat unsurprisingly Ė by women and girls at home. According to the exhibit by 1791 around 105,000 people were employed with this type of work across Scotland.
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We then move onto a really interesting piece of menswear. It is an Officerís Regimental Uniform from the Royal Glasgow Volunteers in 1794. Itís of course red, probably dyed with Turkey Red or cochineal beetles.

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All in all I found it a really interesting and well thought out exhibition. As I said at the start I was really pleased to see so much stuff relating to trade unions and the working class, as it was so uncommon for them to be represent in art of the period and for clothing and artefacts used by the working class to actually still exist. As I was living in Glasgow at the time I found it really interesting to find out more about the history of the city and to really understand its origins as a merchant and industry hub.
Well I hope you enjoyed my little write up, even if it was 2 years on the making! I still have another blog write up to do on my visit to the Century of Style exhibition last month and Iím planning on doing a few posts analysing the costumes in films (Les Mis and Anna Karenina currently spring to mind) Also Iíll have my regular Good Mood Monday this week too but until then,

See you in the Future! ♥

Good Mood Life Updates

Another late night good mood Monday blog but I promise I have a good excuse!

So this week is all about good mood life updates. First off I have been crazy busy with orders this month including doing a Victorian steampunk out fit for a groomís wedding outfit. The lovely couple are in France and having a whole steampunk theme for their wedding so I have been working hard on a gorgeous paisley pattern waistcoat and a pair of soft wool high waist trousers.

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Iíve also been working on other orders for other re-enactors this month too :)
But the big news this week is that on Wednesday I heard from Napier University and Iíve been invited onto the second stage of applying for their MA in Creative Writing (I did actually apply first of all it wasnít some extremely random cold-call email inviting me to study with them)

This is such a huge thing for me as I have wanted to go back and do my masters pretty much since I left university with my BA and at last this year I finally managed to apply. Iíve never been able to make up my mind on what I wanted to do with the rest of my life so it seems perfectly logical that my MA wouldnít be in a related field to my BA or to even to my HND.

But in addition to sewing and designing clothes and costumes for as long as I can remember Iíve also written. I have an entire shelf full of notebooks on my wall, full of silly poems half-finished stories and random lost dialogue scenes and screenplay ideas.

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A big achievement last year was to self-publish my very first short story through kindle so the idea that I may get to spend a year learning and understanding more about being a writer and even just writing for that length of time is incredibly exciting!

So my good mood this week has been brought to you by both period sewing and creative writing.
I hope to finally have time for some more exhibition and project blogs soon but until then,

See you in the future! ♥

Good Mood Food

Good evening kind people!

Iíve been racking my brains all weekend to think of what to do for this weekís Good Mood Monday post and the result is that itís now 9pm and Iím still drawing a blank!

The as I wrote this I came across an idea, I can share my baking adventures with you guys!

I like to have fun in the kitchen and have over the past year or so been trying out all sorts of new recipes I call these my baking adventures and while I always share them on Facebook I figured today I could do a big master post of all of them for you lovely people! So here goes:

First, way back in 2013 I decided to try something from the wonderful Roald Dahlís Revolting Recipes for, you guessed it Roald Dahl Day on the 13th September. I went for the richest thing in the book of course which was Bruce Bogtrotterís Chocolate Cake from Matilda.

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Then we jump forward in time to May 2015 (ok I had a lot going on in those 2 years and kind of forgot to document any of my adventures) where I started trying Russian Food. First up was a спартак торт or Spartak Cake. I made chocolate version obviously.

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Following the Russian theme I then attempted черный хлеб or Black Bread a ridiculous dense Rye bread often eaten with sour cream and caviar the recipe for which asked for a grand total of 18 different ingredients!

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Inspired by my success with Russian food so far I then attempted some Blinis to serve with cream cheese and smoked salmon. These were so very yummy. :)

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I then decided to move country and headed to France for some sweet treats. First I tried some chocolate (well duh) choux buns Ė my very first attempt at making choux pastry. These turned out very yummy although I think I undercooked the pastry just a tiny bit, but it still tasted awesome once filled with cream!

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Next on my French list was what I believe to be my Baking Nemesis: French Macaroons. I have attempted these so many times and only once managed to get them to work and even then I made them ridiculously tiny by accident! Although to be fair they ended up tasting good any way :)

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After filling myself full of sweet French treats I jumped back to Russia to try some savoury soups first Yxa or Fresh-Soup, a type of lovely fish broth.

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Next up was the traditional борщ or Borscht but with the added twist of lovely tender chunks of beef steak.

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In July of 2015 I spent a few weeks house-sitting for my parents, so I used the weeks alone as another excuse for baking attempts. In a quite messy silly adventure I made homemade pop tarts with Nutella and chocolate glace icing

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Jump forward a few months after a fun visit down to Blists Hill and a very tiring house move I then tried some сливы вареники or plum vareniki this time a Ukrainian sweet dumpling. After the success of this one I also tried some cherry vareniki.

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I then tried savoury again with a simple Ukrainian dish of Cod in Tomato Sauce. I served it with brown rice and it was very yummy!


Christmas brought a fun Victorian Inspired menu with a traditional Raised Game Pie for dinner and Nesselrode Pudding for dessert (which is a frozen custard dessert made with chestnuts, cherries and other dried fruits)

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A couple of month and another house move later I went back to basics and made a very simple shortcrust apple pie for dessert one night :)

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For Motherís Day this year I decided to go for another historical and traditional idea which was Simnel Cake. Simnal cake is a really easy cake to make and was often prepared and gifted on Mothering Sunday by daughter who often spent months away from home working as domestic servants.

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Finally we come to this weekend. My aunt is over from the US right now and both her and my other aunt came over on Sunday so I decided to make some simple fruit scones for us to munch on. BUT I ended up waking up at about half 4 in the morning and couldnít get back to sleep so I got up around 5am and by half 6 Iíd washed two piles of dishes, put on a load of washing and drying and Also made a full Victoria Sponge and rich fruit scones, whipped some cream and pulled out all the stuff weíd need for a proper afternoon tea! (I even used the jam dish once owned by my great aunt Ė which kind of looks like an orange and can be seen in the right side of the photo)

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And now weíre here and I need to decide what my next baking adventure will be. If you have any ideas just get in touch! :D

Until then,

See you in the future! ♥

Good Mood Books!

Hi guys and welcome to this weekís Good Mood Mondayís post.

My word this week is very simple: Books! Oh so many books!

I started off by receiving a very lovely reprinted copy of the wartime classic Make Do and Mend from a friend in Russian Class.

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Then when a fairly big glorious order came through Etsy I treated myself to some sewing textbooks I have been hankering after for a while:

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Period Costume for Stage and Screen Patterns for Womenís Dress 1500-1800 by Jean Hunnisett

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Period Costume for Stage and Screen Outer Garments Book II by Jean Hunnisett (why yes this is an ex-library copy Ė books are books!)

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Menís Garments 1830-1900: A guide to pattern cutting and tailoring by R. I. Davis

And finally, not really sewing related but I thought why not?

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Fan Phenomena Ė Jane Austen edited by Gabrielle Malcolm

These books are oh so pretty and to be honest business purchases really since they will be oh so useful! I already have one of the Jean Hunnisett books in the series so hopefully in the next year I can get the last two books to complete my set!

I have also just finished reading The Professor by Charlotte Brontë and will be started Villette very soon. Itís the 200th anniversary of Charlotte Brontëís birth this year so I have plans for a few special Brontë inspired things on Etsy and here on the blog :)

So another short and sweet Good Mood this week but books make me so very happy that having at least 4 of them quadruples the Good Mood!

Well until next time,

See you in the future! ♥

18th Century Projects!

This past week Iíve been working on an order for an 18th century chemise and set of pocket hoops so I figured that I could document my process of making and turn it into a ready-made project post for you all!

A chemise is the first layer of clothing or underwear. This sits next to the skin and is used as a protective barrier against chafing of the corset but also protects the outer garments from sweat and body odour. Chemises are most often made of cotton or linen, which can be washed regularly and easily unlike most other layers of clothing which makes it perfect to wear close to the skin.

To start I gathered all my materials. This particular order uses unbleached calico which is super easy to work with; basic cotton tape, waist band petersham and plastic coloured steel boning, I also use some decorative broderie anglaise lace and satin ribbon for the chemise.

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First thing I usually do is to prep the fabric. A lot of fabrics like silk and wool will be dry-clean only once made up into the costumes but the cotton ones can usually be washed in a machine by the buyer so I prewash the fabric in order to allow any shrinkage to happen before sewing but also to remove any coating that the manufacturers can sometimes use.

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Once the fabric has been washed and dried itís time to iron the crap out of it. One lesson Iíve always carried with me from college is to iron, iron and iron while sewing. Itís so important to have properly pressed fabric before pattern cutting and while sewing to keep your seams flat and well set.

While I was waiting for the fabric to wash and dry I draft up the patterns. The chemise and hoops patterns are actually really simple, lots of straight lines and square gussets. The most complicated bits come from doing the neck of the chemise and the seams of the hoops once the steels are in place.

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I used a few different seam types for the chemise in order to keep the raw edges tucked away and neat. It also gives it a very nice finish. First, for the side seams I use French seams. This is done by stitching along the seam line a few millimetres away from the line itself on the right side of the fabric (so the outside of the chemise) then I trim down the seam allowance to just at the line of stitching; turn the chemise inside out and press the seams folded flat. I then stitch down the actual seam line on the wrong side (the inside of the chemise) enclosing the rough edges of the fabric.
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For the sleeves I use felled seams, this time of seam can be seen in loads of 18th and 19th century clothing. Itís really sturdy for areas such as sleeves or corset seams. Again seams are sewn on the outside of the chemise; then one side is trimmed down to the edge of the stitching. The largest edge of seam allowance is then folded and pressed over and edge-stitched along the length of the first stitch line.
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The sleeve is made with a square gusset attached to the underarm to allow movement while wearing the chemise.

Once the sleeves are attached I make the cuff and gather the sleeve it fit. This can get very fiddly as itís quite a tight space and isnít easy to fit through the machine easily. I cheat slightly here by doing machine buttonholes rather than handbound button holes which I often use as they are of course the most historically accurate.

The cuff is a very simple rectangle with extra added to allow for the overlap of the buttonhole.

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The hem of the chemise is just a simple double rolled herm with one line of stitching, this hides all the raw edges and gives and even line to the outside of them hem.

The final piece of the chemise is the neckline. The pattern is cut in a wide oval, higher at the back than the front; decorated with broderie anglaise and finished with a ribbon drawstring. The ribbon is drawn through the fabric channel by creating small button holes on either side of the centre front.

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Et voila! A finished chemise!

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A corset would be the next layer however I as I didnít make one for this order it was next on to the pocket hoops.

Pocket hoops or skirt supports were worn over the corset and chemise but under any petticoats. These particular hoops give a wide curve to the hips while not adding any additional bulk at the front or back. This shape is most often seen in mid-late 18th century gowns such as the robe a líanglaise sold in my shop!

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As this is still an underwear item I make it in unbleached cotton, because of the steel boning it canít easily be thrown in a washing machine but as they are not designed to be seen itís very common to use basic cotton without any fancy decorations.
First we have the very basic pattern. Again this is most rectangles and pleating to shape.

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First I cut an opening down the centre of the pannier. This will eventually allow a ďpocketĒ gap that you can slip your hand through. It was common throughout the 17th and 18th century for women to wear pockets under their gowns, worn under the hoops or petticoats a gap would be made in the skirts to allow a discreet hand to slip into the pockets and extract money or small precious items when necessary.

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3 strips of cotton tape are then stitched horizontally to the panier; this creates the channels that will later hold the steel boning.

Next I measure and cut the steel. Recently I have found a neat trick of using an electric sander to sand down the edges of the cut steel to avoid the corners catching on the material and wearing away the casings. For extra protection I wrap the ends in electrical tape.

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Before inserting the steels I attach the bottom piece and bind off all the rough edges. All the seams are on the inside but this avoids fraying and just looks nicer.

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The steels are then inserted into the casing and the final seam is sewn and bound off. The pannier now looks like slightly like a greenhouse poly-tunnel.

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The next stage is to pleat the top of the panier on to the waistband petersham. I have seen other patterns and designs that use a drawstring idea rather than petersham for the waistband but I like this was as it gives a good amount of strength but also keeps the shaping exactly the same with every wear.

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The raw edge is then trimmed down close to the stitch line. I repeat the above steps with the second pannier. I now have a waistband with hoops that sit on either side of the body.
I then use more cotton tape over the petersham, one to hide the raw edges and also to give a smooth and clean waist band.

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A couple of metal hook and eyes are added to the front edges and weíre finished. A complete pair of 18th century pocket hoops to go with our chemise!

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Please ignore the messy shelves and hooks behind the mannaquin. I own far too much and don't have anywhere near enough storage :D

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After giving everything another good press with the iron and another check over to remove any last loose threads itís time to pack the order up. I start with a couple of layers of tissue paper then in go the folded hoops. Another couple of layers of tissue and then the chemise is neatly folded.

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Finally I slip in a business card and seal the box up ready for posting!

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I hope youíve enjoyed a little peak into what goes into my orders and how I spend my sewing days! Good Mood Mondays will be back again this week and Iíll have the next exhibition post up soon too!

So until then,

See you in the future! ♥

Good Mood Monday - When good things are hard to come by

So I promised myself that I would still manage a Monday post every week regardless of what's happening in real life but I can't always promise to find good mood things to post.

The real life things happening right now are not really things I want to talk about so I will distract myself by talking about something else.

One good thing I found out today is that Peter Rabbit is going to appear on the 50p to commemorate 150 years since Beatrix Potter was born.

I love Beatrix Potter, I read a lot of her stories growing up and my grandmother bought my brother and I Peter Rabbit breakfast sets and commemorative plates etc when we were born.

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 The best bit about this is that after the specialist coloured coins have been released, they'll be putting uncoloured (or just silver) ones into general circulation which means I'll be able to pay for stuff using Peter Rabbit coins. So much yay! :D

So the last couple of Monday posts have been short and sweet and I promise that next week I'll do a proper full length Good Mood post with some fun things :)

Also I did a very image heavy write-up of my Blists Hill adventures the other day and am also working on a write up of other exhibitions.

I've had the idea of also doing film reviews, specifically costume films etc I'm thinking Les Mis, Anna Karenina, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and such so keep an eye out for more posts soon.

Until then however,

See you in the future!  ♥

Exhibitions: Blists Hill Victorian Town

So part of my plans for a fresh start on this blog this year has been to post more about the various exhibitions I have gone to or are going to go to.  I have over the past few years been to a couple of exhibitions that I want to talk about but I should really start with one of my biggest adventures in the land of historical sewing: Blists Hill Victorian Town in Shropshire.
I have wanted to visit Blists Hill since I first watched Victorian Farm about 7 years ago, Finally last September mum and I went off for a few days down to Shropshire and I got to run around like the mad little geek I am.

Blists Hill is basically a living history exhibition on a massive scale. Itís run by the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust and is a specially created town set within the late Victorian Era roughly during the 1890s. It has a fully functioning forge, bank, bakery, general store and post office. It also has a draper's shop in which I spent a bit too much time drooling over the gorgeous ribbons and fabrics. Everyone working there is dressed in period costume and uses period appropriate tools etc. They have a doctorís surgery and house set up as it would have been and even a squatterís cottage and garden complete with chickens and pigs.

Really I could go on and on about why this place is so awesome but I should probably get on the photos (since I took nearly 1000) :D They are pretty self-explanatory so I'll just let you enjoy the visual goodness!
So this post is going to be ridiculously photo heavy, you have been warned!  I did have fun editing a few of them to look old and vintage-y. So a few are very sepia or black and white!

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Here we go!
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So many things to buy and so little cash left!

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Becuse smoking is a known cure for asthma.
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A locked cabinet of naughty things for women... including a universal douche for birth control!
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Can you spot the nipple shield for breast feeding? (Horrifyingly it's made of poisonous lead!)
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The Rug Man plying his trade.
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It was indeed such a horrendous matter and a miserable and ghastly scene!
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Can't beat a nice bit of woollen underwear!
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A hand-crank washing machine! The late Vicorian Era showing itself to be at the height of labour saving inventions!
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Looks like the Rug Man found a buyer!
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Time for School!
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And off we go to the squatters cottage...
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Complete with metal bathtub and faggots for the fire :)
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And I've saved the best for last! The Drapers!

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Such pretty colours!
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I actually had that mad look of extreme happiness on my face all damn day.

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I left feeling so inspired for various new costumes and accessories but also for projects and possible directions for my shop and business (living for a week as a Victorian being one of them). Someday I would really like to go back and have a chance to explore their costume store and a few of the other museum sites owned by the trust, also to just wander around a bit more and pretend Iíve gone back in time!

Hope you have enjoyed this post, I know it's not much of a write up but lots of pretty pictures! :D

While I shall still be doing Good Mood Mondays I also have other plans so some exhibition posts to come include a discussion on the exhibition ďHow Glasgow FlourishedĒ (from way back in 2014!!) and ďA Century of Style 1800-1899Ē which was just last week.

But until then,

See you in the future ♥

Good Mood Photographs

So despite posting on Facebook early this morning that my Good Mood blog post to day was going to be late I actually completely forgot about it until about 10 minutes ago so this will be a short and sweet post today.

Some of my cousins and aunts on my dadís side have been sorting through family photos recently for a big family compilation DVD and they asked if we had any weíd like to contribute. So today after finishing all my sewing I dragged out some boxes of photos.

I love looking through old photos like this, half laughing half cringing through decades of bad fashion choices, even worse hairstyles and silly accidental snaps.

I also came across my parents wedding photos too, which are brilliantly silly and cheerful.

Unfortunately, I havenít had a chance to scan in any of the photos I was looking at today but I do have some old baby photos of me that I want to show you guys. My good mood today has been brought to you by nostalgia and family hilarity :D

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We have lots of squishy hugs in our family :D

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Hugs with the big brother!

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Me rocking blonde hair, my brother rocking curls and my aunt rocking a perm. This is what the late '80s was all about.

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Finishing up with some love from the mammy! (Also I've very disappointed that she no longer has these trousers because I really want them!)

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Sorry for such a short blog today but I hope you like a quick glimpse into my early childhood :D as for future posts Iím still working on some posts about the various exhibitions Iíve been to but until then,

See you in the future! ♥

Good Mood Mondays Are Back!!

So this blog has been far too empty for far too long! I have so much to catch you up on! Last year I got my first tattoo; finally travelled down to Blists Hill Victorian Town in Shropshire, moved house twice and between all that I reached 250 sales on Etsy!

As usual Iíve started the year full of plans for this blog and my shop and website. I know that Iím fairly useless at following through with my wonderful new year plans but as always I will try very hard!

To that end Iíve decided to resurrect my long forgotten Good Mood Mondays blog posts.

Iíve been house (and cat) sitting for my cousin this weekend so this weekís Good Mood is brought to you from the lovely seaside town of Musselburgh :D

After spending my first afternoon getting to know my cousinís lovely old cat Leila I decided to take a walk round the town on Saturday.

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Meet my lovely new friend.

Unfortunately, Saturday decided that snow would be the best walking weather for me. It would have been fine as I like walking in the snow but it was also then that I found out that my hospital boots are no longer waterproof in the slightest, so it was a soggy walk home for me on Saturday.

Sunday was spent editing photos from various exhibitions Iíve been to for future blog posts (another new plan for the blog this year!)

Today was in comparison lovely, bright and sunny -if a bit cold. First I went off for a wander to the shops which I wonít bore you with. Then I headed to the water, where I had spotted geese on Saturday and I wasnít disappointed. Not only were there (very loud) geese but ducks and swans too!

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There was also one very photogenic goose who kept looking at me :)

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It was then time for a walk along the harbour, sadly the tide was out but I did get some nice landscape shots.

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Today has been a good day of walking far too much, lots of wild sea air and fun silly animals.

How has your Monday been? Hope itís been full of good things and good moods :)

I hope to update more soon and until then

See you in the future ♥

And the rambling continues.

So my wonderful little baby of a business turned 4 last month! It still surprises me that, while I may not be making millions the little Etsy shop I began 3 days after handing in my final assignment at university is actually still going; people are actually still interested in buying my things!

Other things that have happened recently is that I finally decided (after getting spurred back into action by my wonderful friend Fiona) to self-publish a short story I had written.  Now anyone who knows me knows I like to write, that sewing and writing have been two passions in my live that seem to constantly battle for dominance. (Do you have any idea how hard it was to pick a degree for university? Do I spend my days in a little ivory tower surrounded by musty but amazing books or do I plunge further into the entertainment industry and get lost in a giant room of fabric and costumes? Ė although in the end I kind of did both and neither)

Also, given my rather short attention span for projects (this blog serves as a perfect example of this) it shouldnít really be surprising that itís taken me this long to actually finish a story, let alone be happy enough with it to put it out there for all the world to read.

But I did it, and like that little Etsy shop full of harry potter ties itís now open and out there for anyone who wants it.

One of the biggest things to happen to me recently was the decision to try life without the aid of my anti-depressants (well anti-anxiety tablets) for the first time in 6 years. And I did it; the middle of last month marked the end of my life on mood stabilisers; which really, despite the occasional bumps (hello first major panic attack in 5 years) is a very, very good thing.

But despite all of these positive steps, and milestones I have realised something. I am not very good at self-promotion. Which, you may have noticed is somewhat of an essential skill for the self-employed.

Itís not that I canít talk to people. I can. Ask any one of my family members and they will tell you that the real struggle when it comes to talking to me is actually getting me to shut the hell up.

So itís not that I canít talk, itís not that I really struggle to think of things to say Ė when Iím in my element anyway. Get me talking about sewing, or films or why Victorian history is so bloody fascinating and Iím good to go. Itís that somehow I struggle with the HOW to talk.

The idea of going into a room full of strangers with the aim of ďnetworkingĒ is a fairly terrifying concept for me. Trying to introduce myself; to explain what I actually do without coming off sounding like a moron is one of the most difficult tasks of my life.

The overriding thoughts during these first exchanges are usually something along the lines of:

ďWhat the hell are you even doing? No one wants you hereĒ

ďEveryoneís staring!Ē

ďJesus, donít say that! Do you want to look like a complete idiot?Ē

And my favourite: ďTheyíre all judging you and really probably hate what they seeĒ

So, I ask you dear reader, how does one successfully market themselves and push their product/brand/non-crazy side when they can barely hear their own thoughts over the voices tearing them down?

The internet, you may say. Donít attempt face to face encounters, just stay hidden behind your keyboard and let the work speak for itself.

Except, and yes Iím aware this sounds like Iím making excuses Ė welcome to the mind-numbing confusion and contradiction that is social anxiety Ė that the voices are still there.

Posted something on Tumblr an hour ago and still no notes? Itís not because your followers have lives or havenít seen it anything of course itís because they secretly hate you and find everything you write to be completely horrific and/or boring.

Spent 6 weeks making and photographing a new costume, listed it a month ago but still no takers? Clearly itís because all your work is terrible and no one even likes you.

(That song "Nobody loves me; everybody hates me; I think I'll go eat worms" springs to mind a lot for me)

As you can probably tell by this, I have a few issues. But I am working on them! I mean I published a book and everything! I started my own business! And more recently I even contacted a historical re-enactment and educational group who was looking for a costume designer to join their ranks!

The last few months, in between orders, writing occasionally and reading, reading and then reading a bit more(I went through a bit of a kindle kick and read about 15 books in the space of 2 months) Iíve been working on costumes for the wonderful people at Edinburgh Living History.

This has been good on quite a few levels. I got to try making some designs that Iíve never tried before, Iíve gotten the chance to wander freely round Lauriston Castle (Why wouldnít you wander round a castle if you had the chance?) but most importantly I stepped out of my comfort zone and actually attempted to make contact with new people, actually attempted to promote myself!

And while this gig is essentially voluntary itís put me in touch with re-enactors and peformers who can refer me to other people who may be in a position to pay me for things. I may be in fact, networking!

So now the next step is to really keep pushing, to keep forcing myself out of my comfort zone and to really actively ignore the voices in my head.

And if you really thought this blog post had a point, then like me youíll be surprised to find it doesnít. I was so sure that this time I wouldnít just ramble off at the end but oh well!

If you are at all interested in anything included in this ramble then feel free to check out my contact page to find me on Tumblr, twitter and all the rest. Iíve even made it onto Goodreads!

Oh and speaking of which my brand spanking new short story can be found here on Amazon She and Him: Valedictory

Images of my wonderful costumes made for Edinburgh Living History can be seen on my Facebook page or better yet on this weekís episode of The Fountainbridge Show on STV Edinburgh

And I said I was bad at self-promotion.

A little departure

I know I haven't updated in a while, there have however been reasons :) what follows is a very short round up what's been going on in my head lately and I promise I will update with more fun stuff soon! ♥  

My Social Anxiety

Growing up I was an extremely outgoing child. The terms most used were stubborn, headstrong and precocious. I could also border on pushiness and overbearing. We moved house, from the centre of Edinburgh to a very small village when I was 6. It was there that the bullying began. It didnít feel like bullying, it was more insidious. I became the butt of jokes; games were designed around my inability to run very fast (the result of a mild physical disability) Games based around the premise of ďRun Away From RhonaĒ.

As we grew up the bullying became more obvious. Hitting puberty hard made me an easy target. I refused to fit in when it came to fashion or pop music. I was branded a freak; a title that followed me until I left school age 17.

College repaired some of the damage but soon the lasting effects of the bullying began to show. I hated crowds. I was convinced everything I did was wrong and I was being judged by everyone present.

I spent the summer between 1st and 2nd year hiding. I began counselling after spending the first month of university suffering panic attacks. It helped but what helped the most were the anti-depressants. I began functioning again.

6 years on and I felt steady enough to consider coming off the drugs. I had manoeuvred my way through university; a 3 month stay in Canada and even started my own business. About a month ago I applied for a part time job and was successful. Starting this new challenge triggered the first full blown panic attack I had had since university. I wondered if I was ready for life without drugs.

I realised I was ready to stop my drugs but still needed to give myself time to adjust to being just me again, to relearn how to cope. While I can learn to cope and be happy in social situations again the shadows of my social anxiety are going to be with me for the rest of my life and itís time to embrace that.

An update or a ramble?

I just had a look back and realised that my last blog post, while being ever so slightly depressing in it's very serious content was also written way back in August!

It's been so long and I would like to say that loads of things have happened or changed but not really.

I had a crazy busy time in the lead up to christmas which ended with me reaching 200 sales on Etsy in early January but also meant that I was rushed off my feet for most of November and December. But it was incredibly exciting and wonderful to reach that milestone on Etsy after such a long time of hard work!

January and February have been slower Etsy wise but busy health wise, after spectacularly breaking a toe on my right foot in the summer I decided that it would be a wonderful idea to break a toe on my left foot over winter so while I've been sewing like a mad thing, I've also be hobbling about like an injured deer most of the winter.

Mid February also consisted of a week of non-stop hospital and doctor appointments. All with fairly positive news but considering I haven't as yet been able to consolidate all my various specialists and doctors into one city it did mean a fair bit of traipsing about.

But now we're into March and I can now get back to focusing on creating news pieces for the shop and other exciting things.

One of which is the possibility of even more funding for my research! I should hopefully hear in the next few weeks weather I've been successful with a grant application which would allow me to get some new fabric and materials for my research among other things!

In other news I have been busy burrowing through old notebooks and documents that are kicking about in my flat and at my parents house. I have a long history of collecting notebooks and writing many silly things from poems to stories to just random dialogue scenes; I decided finally to go over some of the less horrific ones and see if I could make something out of them.

My style of writing has always been: I get an idea; I start writing then just keep going until the ideas run out. In this way I have a fair number of half-finished/barely started story ideas and characters but very few actually completed projects. Now the task seems to be turning those half baked ideas into something resembling sense.

And I have also realised that this blog post is alot like my stories, I started off with a good idea of an update but have kind of petered out and ended up with a bit of rambling. Oh well. It's a good chance to tell you that I am still alive and still working away even though I've not been here much!

I promise next time to a have a better thought out blog post to share, maybe even with some pictures!

Until then
See you in the future! ♥

Personal Health, Robin Williams and Lauren Bacall

Iíve been kind of silent on this blog recently for quite a few reasons.

First my Kickstarter failed on its second attempt so Iíve been busy trying to organise a bit of research I can do without funding but also researching and planning other avenues of funding I can look at.


Secondly, Iíve been dealing with health issues which have been pressing on me for a while now and I felt I needed time away from my blog process to deal with them. Also, life has really just gotten in the way of doing many things, such as updating my blog or creating new items or listings for etsy.

After events of the last few days I decided that I needed to do a bit of blogging.

First off, I have mentioned before in this blog that I have dealt with a continuing disability since birth which needed various forms of physiotherapy and orthotics. Essentially I was born with a form of cerebral palsy known as hemiparesis due to a pre-natal stroke. It left me with a weakness on my right side, more specifically my right leg. You may have seen a previous post where I showed off my most recent orthotic and my discussion of hospital shoes. Anyway a few months ago I ended up in hospital briefly regarding an episode that the doctors were not sure whether it was related to my existing condition.

This has led to going for various tests such as an MRI, CT scan and blood tests. Right now Iím being described as a work in progress, with more tests and monitoring to come until they can really work out what happened and why. I chose not to share this with many people at the time as it was and still is a very personal thing; however I felt I needed to discuss certain things relating to my experiences.

While I have been visiting hospitals and medical professionals fairly regularly since I was tiny, I never really look forward to yet another round of tests or doctorís appointments. But  as I was sitting in the waiting room for my appointment yesterday I started thinking how truly lucky I am to live somewhere that I have such ready access to such healthcare and support. I donít want to turn this into a lecture or a political debate but I do feel the need to connect my experiences with the current political situation in the United Kingdom, but also in relation to other health care situations such as America.

As people in the United Kingdom and many others outside of the UK will know there is going to be a referendum held in September to decide whether Scotland will become an independent country and leave the United Kingdom.

 Firstly I am going to be voting Yes for numerous reasons, some political but all personal.  One of the biggest things that swayed my decision is the state of the NHS currently.

As it stands Scotland has control over the NHS in Scotland, which right now protects it from ongoing privatisation of the NHS in the rest of the UK. However if Scotland votes no in the referendum we risk losing the control we currently have as with so much more.

I think of the NHS, and while many people enjoy complaining about the long waiting lists and focusing on targets, I think of all the nurses, doctors and other professionals who have treated and my family over the years and Iím grateful.

I think of the fact that while I was in a treatment room for blood tests yesterday the nurse treating me had to keep leaving me, either to check on the person in the bed next to me or to check with other nurseS and departments. The nurse was lovely and friendly but she was also rushed off her feet and faced with being extremely short staffed and a waiting room full of people needing treatment.

I canít stand to think that while she was rushing around treating at least 3 people at a time, she is still getting pressured about long waiting lists and not meeting certain practically unattainable targets set by managers and officials that probably have no experience of what working in a busy hospital is like.

I think of the fact that while she and others are working in such pressured environments they are getting paid a fraction of what they are worth.

What I really want to talk about is that, while we donít have the perfect system of healthcare it is so, so much better than any privatised system. When I ended up in hospital a few months ago, I didnít have to make a choice about going. When I was discharged I didnít have to worry about paying for being there, or for the MRI I was to later receive.

When, a decade ago my brother was involved in a car accident and he ended up in intensive care, my parents didnít have to consider selling our house in order to pay for his treatment.

Since free prescriptions were introduced in Scotland, no one has had to make the choice between buying food and getting their necessary prescriptions.

When, last year it was decided that I needed to start wearing orthotics again I started googling a bit more about them. I came across a blog by one woman in the US who was discussing the process and cost of getting orthotics for both her children. In the end it was costing her upwards of $1600 per orthotic.

I wore orthotics constantly from the age of 3 until I was 16. I also had regular physiotherapy treatment during that time, many times with my physio visiting me at my school. I also attended check up every 6 months or so at a hospital.  I canít imagine the cost of that treatment, had my parents had to cover it personally. Essentially I wouldnít be in the position I am now, if not for the free at the point of use treatment available on the NHS.

Part of why Iím voting yes is because I want to keep the NHS and make it even better. More staff, higher wages, more focus on patient care over financial targets. I donít want to face a situation of deciding between my health and my financial situation.


What I want to discuss next is in some way connected to my experiences with the NHS.

I, like many people was shocked and saddened to read about the passing of Robin Williams. Partly due to the loss of a beloved actor and comedian, Iíve spent the last few days thinking of all the films Iíve seen of his that I loved as a child or as an adult. Iíve also spent a lot of time over the past few days thinking about mental illness and depression. What was the most shocking aspect of Robin Williamsí death was the announcement of it being suicide.

This is another reminder that regardless of situation, wealth, fame or family circumstance depression can affect anyone. Although Robin Williams was very public and open about his mental illness and addiction problems; most fans knew him as a charming, hilarious and happy man. The important thing to take from this is that depression is an illness that can affect everyone not just the person suffering. It can take and destroy lives, and it does it illogically and doesnít discriminate.

There have been a few, thankfully not many but a few news reports calling his death selfish or cowardly. This is not only insulting to his family and loved ones but to every person who has ever been affected by mental illness.

I hope that the one positive thing to come out of this tragedy, the tragedy of Philip Seymour Hoffman and many others is that people start discussing mental illness and the stigma surrounding it. I hope that people will read about Robin Williams and understand that if they are faced with dark feelings and thought; if they are faced with isolation and loneliness that they are not alone.

There are many wonderful resources out there offering support and help to those who are personally dealing with mental health issues but also for those trying to help and support someone with a mental illness.

In Scotland alone, we have some wonderful groups such as:

See Me: They fight again stigma, discrimination and misrepresentation surrounding mental health.

Well Scotland: They are an organisation set up to provide support for professional organisations and group to learn more about dealing with and understanding mental health issues.

In the rest of the UK organisations such as Mind UK offers support and advice for those suffering with mental illness as well as working with the government and councils on their behalf.

In terms of immediate support there are also wonderful support lines set up across the UK and beyond to provide people with the opportunity to connect, anonymously with others, even just to feel less isolated. Such as:

·         Samaritans: 08457 90 90 90 (local rate call). Your call will be confidential and will be taken by a trained volunteer. The phone line is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

·         Breathing Space: 0800 83 85 87 (calls from landlines are free of charge; charges may apply to mobile users). If youíre depressed or experiencing low mood, you can speak to a Breathing Space advisor weekdays: Monday to Thursday 6pm-2am and weekends: Friday 6pm to Monday 6am

·         ChildLine: 0800 11 11 (calls are free of charge). ChildLine is the free helpline for children and young people in the UK. You can talk with an adviser about any problem 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

The final thing I want to discuss, relates to the sad news of the passing of Lauren Bacall, announced today.

While she was a screen starlet in the Classical Hollywood era of American Cinema most notable for films such as Casablanca and The Big Sleep, I know that unlike Robin Williams she isnít as well known by people my age.

The reason I want to talk about her is the cause of death. She suffered a stroke and while it is a lot more common for those of her age (89) to suffer from strokes it is entirely possibly to suffer from one at any other time.

I have, for a long time made it a point to read about the effects of strokes and the treatment along with the causes and symptoms. Given my own medical history I feel itís important to discuss the risk of stroke.

The most recent campaign launched by the NHS is the ACT F.A.S.T campaign, which gives you quick basic advice for recognising the signs of a stroke but also what to do in that situation.


F.A.S.T stands for:


This gives you 3 basic signs to look out for and instructions on how to act.

FACE: Has their face fallen on one side? Can they Smile?

ARMS: Can they raise both their arms and keep them there?

SPEECH: Is their speech slurred?

TIME: act quickly and call 999 immediately if any of these 3 symptoms are present.

While these instructions describe what you should do if you see this happening to other people, it is a very good thing to remember if you ever find yourself with any of these symptoms.

If you feel a weakness in your face, look in a mirror or ask someone to see if it has visibly fallen.

Try to speak clearly out loud. Do you notice a difference? Does it feel strange to speak or does your voice sound different?

Can you raise your arms out in front of you?  Can you hold them there straight?

And act as quickly as possible, find someone to call 999 for you or do it yourself if you are able.

Basically the quicker you act the faster you can be treated and the lower the risk of permanent brain damage.

The NHS website also provides links on maintaining a healthy lifestyle and reducing the risks of strokes.


I hope you guys have managed to wade through this very long and very serious blog post of mine. I just really felt the need to get things down on paper or on a website.

Iíll be back with a hopefully more cheerful blog soon

Until then,

See you in the future <3

Museums, Research and Sore Feet


This week has been very busy but really fun! This week I had two appointments with the National Museum of Scotland for my research.

First on Wednesday I went to the wonderful Scottish Life Archives held at the National Museum on Chambers Street.

After not finding loads of stuff in New Lanark I tried not to get my hopes up but really there was just So Much Stuff.

I was met at 10am by the lovely Elaine who is the Senior Curator of Rural Life for the archives. Iím so glad she suggested I start so early because otherwise I would barely have got anything done!

Although many of the images are digitised the index and organisation of the archive isnít so it was a case of finding the right codes and then going through each file box one by one to find what I needed. It was so much fun.

At first I was a little overwhelmed and started collecting lists of areas I found interesting but that would necessarily help my research Ė like the customs and festivities of holidays such as Christmas and Halloween. As the day went on I became more selective but I still didnít get through everything I wanted.
Like I say I started at 10 and apart from being supplied with cups of tea by Elaine I continued to work until I decided to finish at 5pm. I was so engrossed that despite the suggestion of a break I kind of forgot to have lunch!

The next day it was another trip to Museum archives but this time it was down to the Collection Centre in Granton to view some of the Fashion and Textiles archive. I had been corresponding with Emily, the wonderful assistant curator for European Decorative Arts and she had arranged to bring out some pieces for me to view and examine.

When I arrived and saw all the pieces laid out on the table I was in awe. From a construction stand point I was completely taken with how delicately things were made by hand. How painstaking the detail was but also how strong and hardwearing the pieces were. Although some were extremely worn and damaged many had been cared for so well and repaired so well that they could have been picked and used for probably another 20 years without too much damage.

As it turns out, since a lot of clothing and items are not specifically described as ďworking class clothingĒ it was a bit difficult to know exactly how accurate these pieces were in terms of workers, apart from such items as the fish wives outfits (which I think are probably going to take up an entire chapter in my thesis/book). But it has given me a very good jumping off point and Iíve been welcomed back by both Emily and Elaine if I want to see any more items.
Unfortunately, right now Iím only allowed to use any images/photographs Iíve gathered for my own personal research and canít post them online yet. The plan is to eventually get permission or rights to be able to use them when Iím ready to release the thesis. So no goodies to show you this time but Iím also in touch with a few other organisations so may be able to get some visual stuff online soon!
As for future research, this week I made contact with the Scottish Mining Museum in Gorbridge, to find out more about minersí dress specifically. Iíve also been back in touch with the curator at Blists Hill Victorian Town in Shropshire who is very interested and willing to help with my research!

So good news and good work this week, however to slightly dampen the experience my broken toe is still causing me a bit of bother and since Iíve done so much walking this week I think I need a full weekend of rest to let my feet recover!

And in case you forget the Kickstarter has only 11 days left and itís only sitting at 5% funded! Please share as much as you can to get the word out and better yet, contribute if you can!

I will be back soon with more news of the research,

Until then,

See you in the future! ♥

Kickstarter and Crowd Funding, Explained

With some of my research trips now taking shape Iíve decided to explain why Iíve decided to use kickstarter to fund the bigger aspects of my research project but I also want to explain exactly what kickstarter is, since to be honest itís a fairly new system, even in internet terms!

When I first had the idea for my research project I knew I wanted to visit certain big museums and sites to see what they had to offer and use their collections as much as I could but I knew it was going to eventually get expensive. (I donít drive and the cost of travelling by train in the U.K can start to build up)

At first I decided to look into large creative organisations such as Creative Scotland, Business Gateway and Arts Trust Scotland, each of whom offer various forms of funding available to apply for.

I decided to apply for the biggest grant I could get which was the Artistsí Bursaries from Creative Scotland at the beginning of the year. Despite getting through to the second stages I was ultimately unsuccessful. At the same time I applied for an Arts Trust grant, with very low expectations as they have a very high application rate and very high standard. However, this time I did get through! Although they didnít agree to fund my whole project I did get a bit of money towards it, which made starting the initial stages and visits of my research possible.

Since I still didnít really have enough funding to go everywhere I wanted I started thinking of sources of funding.

I was inspired by various people who were successful at using Kickstarter and Indiegogo (another crowd funding platform) and decided to try my luck there. Unfortunately the launch of my first campaign on Kickstarter coincided dramatically with an incredibly stressful period of my life and I wasnít able to put as much effort into promoting as I wanted to or had planned and it was ultimately unsuccessful.

But since life has settled down a bit I thought it was the perfect time to try again with crowd funding. I looked at my campaign proposal again and edited and added to it until I was happy to re-launch.   


So what exactly is Kickstarter?

This bit Iím taking from the Wikipedia page and the Kickstarter page as they explain it a bit better than I could.

From Wikipedia:

ďKickstarter is one of a number of crowdfunding platforms for gathering money from the public, which circumvents traditional avenues of investment. Project creators choose a deadline and a minimum funding goal. If the goal is not met by the deadline, no funds are collected, a kind of assurance contract Money pledged by donors is collected using Amazon Payments. The platform is open to backers from anywhere in the world and to creators from the US, UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.Ē

From Kickstarter:

Kickstarter is for creative projects.

We host projects from the worlds of Art, Comics, Crafts, Dance, Design, Fashion, Film & Video, Food, Games, Journalism, Music, Photography, Publishing, Technology, and Theater. We built Kickstarter to serve creative projects and the artists, designers, and creative people who make them.

All-or-nothing funding works.

All-or-nothing funding protects creators from being stuck with a fraction of the funds they need and an audience expecting fully funded results. By minimizing risk, it also makes backers more likely to pledge. Incredibly, nearly half of all projects on Kickstarter have been successfully funded (64,749 so far!). No other funding method comes close.

People love backing projects.

Everyone loves being a part of creating something new. Millions of people have jumped in to support creators on Kickstarter. Theyíve gotten some great rewards and a unique look into the creatorís process in return. Itís about more than money. Itís people making something together.

So what is a crowd funding platform?

From Wikipedia:

Crowdfunding is the collection of finance from backersóthe "crowd"óto fund an initiative and usually occurs on Internet platforms. The initiative could be a nonprofit (e.g. to raise funds for a school or social service organization), political (to support a candidate or political party), charitable (e.g. emergency funds for an ill person or to fund a critical operation), commercial (e.g. to create and sell a new product) or financing campaign for a startup company. One crowdfunding expert described it as ďthe practice of raising funds from two or more people over the internet towards a common Service, Project, Product, Investment, Cause, and Experience or SPPICE.Ē

Essentially, in order to complete the project I need help from other people to fund my research visits and activities. The reasons why I wanted to do this research was initially because I just love researching things like this but also to inform my own knowledge and sewing work but I also, ultimately want my research to be available to others in order to inform their work or even interest in this particular area.

Crowd funding seemed like a good way of both getting the funds I need and get people involved in my research and connecting with the people who may be interested in said research.

In addition to the benefits for me, a crowd funding platform allows me to offer great rewards and ďperksĒ (basically presents to say thanks) to those who decide to support me financially.

So thatís that :D hopefully things are a bit clearer for those who didnít really know what kickstarter is or how crowd funding works.

If, after all that you feel like being generous and supporting me in my campaign here is a link to my lovely project page!

Well Iíll be updating again soon but,

Until then

See you in the future! ♥

Kickstarters, Fashion research and Etsy sales!

Whoo, it's been a very, very long time since I updated this blog! But I'm back!

Last time I posted I was in the process of moving house and dealing with medical issues well I have now moved house! I'm back in my beloved Edinburgh finally, I'm back near where I used to live (my old stomping ground haha) plus I'm only about a 10 minute walk to the nearest fabric shop!

On the medical side things have improved in terms of hospital appointments but then I went and broke my toe last week so that's put a halt on actually sewing for a while. However it has given me time to get on with some of my research.

I re-launched my kickstarter a few days ago, and I'm going to try blogging a lot more during the campaign to share my findings and plans.

I had my first research trip a few weeks ago to New Lanark Heritage Site which was really interesting, I left with a better idea of other places to look and other books to find (there is always an excuse to buy more books!) Plus I got to wear gloves and handle some really, really old original papers and photographs.

In other research I've been reading some of the books I already own and while going through a sewing manual from the 1840s I came across this:

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It seems that the working classes have always been considered somewhat out of step with or "independent of" fashion. If you think about in terms of modern clothing it sort of makes sense. Most people working minimum wage jobs can't afford the style of "high fashion" stores such as many of the designer shops such as Calvin Klein and Armani. While cheaper shops (both in price and quality) follow the basic styles and try to recreate the "look" or "feel" of the pieces shown on the catwalk, there will always been some kind of division,  even in the most basic of things such as the quality of the fabric used.

Linen, for example is much more hardwearing than silk. If you're going to be working 12 hours a day (or more) and moving about in strenuous working activities (be it cleaning floors, helping with farm-work or even working with children as a governess) having a gown made of more hardwearing material makes much ore sense. It's going to take more punishment, wear better and last longer than the softer, lighter and more expensive fabrics preferred by the higher classes.

Ok I think this is enough of an update for now :)
On a different note my wonderful mummy graduated with an MSc in Art Psychotherapy yesterday. I'm so unbelievably proud of her.

Also it's my birthday on Sunday which means it's almost time for my birthday sale on Etsy! I will update with more details and a link when I launch on Sunday or Monday! :)

Until then,

See you in the future! ♥

Life Update

So I know I've been kind of radio silent recently. After all my big plans for this blog life kind of got in the way for a while.

Without going into to much detail I had some medical/ health issues to deal with, which has kind of thrown me for a loop.

On top of that I'm in the process of moving house! Basically I had to hand in my notice, find a new flat, pack and move everything within the last month.

But at last everything will be moved to the new house on Friday, I'm dealing with the medical side of things and life can finally get back to normal!

But until then my kickstarter is still running for another 16 days, the shop is still open and I'm still coming up with some great ideas for future blogs :)

This is the video for my kickstarter you can find the full link here

So that's a brief update and hopefully I'll be back soon with more exciting things

Until then

See you in the Future ♥

Good Mood Mondays: Short but Sweet

Ooops! I almost forgot to do a Good Mood Mondayís post today!


I think today is going to be rather brief but good things have happened so yay!

First off, Iíve almost finalised my Kickstarter campaign and plan to launch it this Thursday! I thought it best to start on the first of the month and run it all the way through May :) I will do a big blog post on Thursday to commemorate the launch and I still need to write up the exhibition from last week.

The other brilliant news of today is that the Viking Boy got a job with Rockstar North in Edinburgh!!! YAY this means that he will finish university on a Friday in May and will then start work on the Monday so not a lot of time to relax after uni or adjust to living in a new flat in a new city.

Because obviously weíre going to have to move to Edinburgh (commence happy dance now!) Although I really like Glasgow, Iíve always thought of Edinburgh as my home and Iím so glad to be finally getting back there.

So the coming weeks will be flat hunting and packing for me and final course work and exams for him, in between all that we have some family birthdays, Etsy orders to work on and my Kickstarter to launch.

So to apologise for this incredibly short blog post I will leave you with the most obvious space filler on the internet Ė Cats! In particular a couple of photos of our insane but adorable kitten Maia :D 

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Basically when she isn't running around like a mad wee thing she is lying apparently unconscious in very random places (such as on top of the freezer or under the coffee table.)

I promise the next post will be longer and more in depth,

But until then

See you in the future! <3

Good Mood Mondays: Sewing Machines, Research Projects and Georgian Gowns

Hi and welcome to this weekís Good Mood Monday!

Today I have been mostly making a silk cravat and trying to figure out how to connect Chartism with the history of working class clothing (more on that later!)

Itís been a fairly disjointed week what with the long weekend over Easter so today didnít feel much like a Monday. But I thought I would share some interesting things about my week.

First off, because 8 are not enough, I bought another sewing machine! This one was only £5 out of a charity shop; itís a Vulcan Countess from 1966. (Itís actually stamped with either June or July 1966 Ė a bit hard to make out) It was actually produced as a toy for children. Itís a single thread hand crank design which creates a chain stitch rather than using a bobbin thread underneath.

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Thankfully itís pretty small and light (I was able to carry it in my bag for most of the day without it getting too heavy) so itís currently sitting on my bookshelf, waiting to be used!

And now onto the rest of the week!

First off, on Wednesday I found out that my application to Art Trust Scotland had been successful and that I was going to receive some funding towards my big research project into the clothing of the Victorian Working Class. Iíve been wanting to start this project for ages but havenít had the funds to kick start it but now I can! After being unsuccessful with a different funding application earlier this month I was feeling slightly disheartened about the whole thing but this has spurred me on to actually get moving with it!

Iíve also been greatly inspired by Sarah Goodman of Mode Historique who has been running an extremely successful Indiegogo campaign this month to raise the funds to get her all the way to Platt Hall in Manchester from California in order to study of the last existing Chemise A La Reine gowns for her Mastersí Thesis. So keep your eyes peeled in the near future for my attempt at an Indiegogo or Kickstarter campaign!

This is where my notes about Chartism come in. When I first envisioned this project it was going to be covering the whole of Victoriaís reign from 1837 to 1901. As I started to do preliminary research on the topic I realised that Holy crap thatís a looong time! So I began to diverge slightly and try to figure out a suitable time frame. I didnít want to just pick a random decade for the sake of it, I decided there needed to be an actual reason for choosing a certain time period, enter Chartism.

This was a movement between 1838 and 1850 of great political and social reforms (or attempts at reforms) for and by the Working class in Britain. Although the official movement kind of ran out of steam by 1850 the legacy lived on well into the 1860s with the Reform Act of 1867(in England, 1868 in Scotland and Ireland) finally enfranchising many urban working class men.

With such a period of political, social and cultural upheaval in Britain affecting such a large portion of the working class I felt it was a perfect place to start my research.

Anyway Iíve started a new page on the website to track my progress and makes notes throughout my research, itís pretty empty right now but keep checking back as it will (hopefully) fill up very soon!

The rest of the week has been fairly relaxed; I attended an exhibition held at Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum called ďHow Glasgow FlourishedĒ and discussed the changes and growth of Glasgow throughout the Georgian period (1714-1837)

I found it really quite interesting and as planned I will be doing a proper write up fully later this week. One part that I was especially excited about was that they had a couple of extant garments from the period; including a wonderfully embroidered muslin gown made in Glasgow around 1800.

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 It is extremely close in design to a gown in Janet Arnoldís Patterns of Fashion 1; a pattern which I was kind of intimidated by and had been considering avoiding. But since seeing it up close on display like that I can now more fully understand the cut and fit so I think itís definitely one I now feel a bit more confident in trying!

I did manage to get a few photos of the overall design and some close ups of pattern/textile design but the exhibition is on until July so my plan is to go back a few times to try get as many photos as possible to really understand the construction as fully as possible!

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What I like most about it is that it was made in Scotland. A lot of my research of the Regency period has turned up pieces from England or Europe, especially since a lot is connected or ďinspired byĒ in some way with Jane Austen. Itís not that there is anything particularly wrong with that but itís a nice example of the fashions of the time in Scotland.

I realise this has been a bit of a word heavy post rather than having lots of pretty pictures but I promised lots and lots of nice photos in my write up the exhibition this week!

I hope you all had a lovely weekend and have fun in the week to come,

Until then

See you in the future! ♥

Good Mood Mondays: Hairstyles, Hair Enhancers and Happy Days

So after the exhaustion of Monday I never finished the blog post but Iím posting it today! (Yay) So I shall continue with my write up from yesterday.

Today has been extremely long and extremely tiring; however I did have a lovely day in Edinburgh (although I was blinded by the sun for the most part!)

The Viking Boy had a job interview in Edinburgh this morning and since I know Edinburgh better and it is his first one for a graduate type job I promised to go with him. Unfortunately to get there in time we ending up leaving the house at 20 past 7 this morning (a great struggle since we usually get up around 9 or 10) and rushing from the train station up to Buchanan Bus Station for our bus at 8.15. We made it in plenty of time and pretty much slept most of the journey there.

The interview went well and the boy came out happy with how it had been left. He should hear very soon and then it will be a mad rush to find a flat in Edinburgh, pack and move in the next month not to mention he still has exams to finish before May!

Since we were going to be getting back until about 5 tonight I did most of my Good Mood Mondayís activities over the weekend in preparation for writing it all up tonight to post up for you good people!

First a little update on how my fabric printing experimentation went: very simply it didnít. It seems the image maker is more suited for doing larger images rather than a smaller repeated pattern as I wanted.

As you can see it leaves a hardened residue from the leftover image make which means the fabric doesnít sit right AND it kind of fades the actual image I wanted to use.

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BUT as I promised it was back to the drawing board and I think I have found a new technique it may take a little longer and be a bit messier but it looks really good!

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I had the idea of perhaps using rubber stamps to get the image, similar to maybe doing a lino cut, as luck would have it I also came across fabric paints in spray paint bottles which makes covering the rubber stamp much easier.

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To avoid wastage I sprayed the paint onto a sponge first then pushed the stamp into it. After a couple of attempts I realised that I had to wipe some of the excess paint off the corners of the stamp to stop them appearing on the fabric. (You can see in the images below some of my earlier attempts. Because Iím using fabric paints it doesnít damage the fabric and because I used the stamp I donít have any excess paint to smudge which can sometimes happen when I use stencils.

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So my plan is to get some plain bleached muslin, enough for doing my next gown and use the stamp and paint to pattern the entire fabric. It might only be a one off or a very special offer for the shop (custom hand printing will cost more I think) but itís a fun thing to try!

Ok onto todayís topic! While at college we learned the basics of dressing wigs and hair in historical styles and Iíve always loved playing about with weird hairstyle so I recently decided to start creating various styles for my Facebook page.

I started off with a very simple 1840s hairstyle inspired by Jane Eyre then used rags to curl my hair for a Regency style. (It is always a bad idea when I decide to rag my hair as the curls are always insane!)

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A few months ago I researched how to create hair rats. These are hair accessories used to enhance a style (kind of like people using hair doughnuts today) they tended to be made using actual human hair (the selling of human hair has been a thriving trade for centuries) and were often used to create the bouffant style of the 18th and 19th centuries Ė they were still being used in the Edwardian era to create the much sought after ďGibson GirlĒ style. I decided not to use human hair for mine and instead used old tights and toy stuffing to create weird sausage things that I can wrap my hair around!

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My first attempts at using the rats were quite successful, I practiced rolling the smaller ones into victory roll style ones to create the height you so often see in Victorian and Edwardian images and photographs.

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Today I decided to try a few more styles out. So I was trying to get my hair from this wild and windswept mass of curls:

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Into something a little more manageable and stylised

I decided to try a new style this weekend and went for a 1940ís housewife style. I used the rats first to curl my hair up then wrapped a soft scarf round my head in a 1940ís turban style.

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As you can see my hair is a bit messy and tangled Ė sometimes my hair refuses to behave itself, and I hate using products like hairspray. I did a small, victory roll style curl to the front section of my hair and then gathered the rest at the back round one of the larger rats and pinned in place.

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 I think I might need to find a different scarf to use as this one slipped about quite a bit as I tried to tie it.

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I quite like this style; itís fairly uncomplicated and has a nice overall effect with very little effort. I think Iím going to look into doing a few more wartime clothing and accessories and this style will look really good with the proper outfits!

Next was to do another early Victorian style. My hair is quite thin so while its crazy curly, once I brush it out and pleat it up there isnít much volume to it. You can see this in the next couple of photos, maybe having extensions or something would help the pleats look fuller and work better but never mind!

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I did the bun at the back using a modern ďhair doughnutĒ and it definitely helps get the shape right, especially given the thinness of my hair.

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With my final style I wanted to incorporate one of the fantastic Victorian hair snoods that my mum crocheted up for me.

First I curled my hair at the front similar to the way I was first playing about with the rats then instead of rolling up the rest of my hair I pulled up the rest into a quick ponytail thing with a tiny elastic band. I then pinned the snood in place at the front and sides and gathered it with the ribbon under the ponytail, basically covering my whole head and hair, once that was done I reached through the holes of the snood and snapped the elastic band and let my hair drop into the back of the snood.

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It was by this point that my hair really started misbehaving and it was becoming far too bouncy and curly to be able to force it into any shape or style. I am pleased with how my various styles turned out and once I get a few of the books Iím angling after about wig dressing and make up history Iíll be able to try even more!  The next one I do aim to try is the full Gibson Girl style bouffant.

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Ok thatís it for today I think. Going to be wandering around Glasgow with the mammy on Thursday hopefully and then on Friday Iíll be visiting the new exhibition at Kelvingrove!


Until then

See you in the future! ♥

Good Mood Mondays: Experimentation in the land of fabrics

Welcome to the first of my (hopefully) weekly Good Mood Monday posts!

My weekend has mainly consisted of working on orders and tidying up my studio. But today was slightly more exciting (ish.) After getting some run of the mill tasks finished in town this morning I came back to work on a few projects.

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First, Iíve been designing and making an enclosure prototype for the Viking Boyís final thesis project. Essentially itís an adapted margarine tub with enamel spray paint on it but it actually looks pretty cool. J

Itís made to hold a raspberry pi. Which is a type of single board computer; itís actually pretty cool as itís about the size of a credit card (or a bit bigger once all the components he needs are attached) but is basically the same as a proper laptop or desktop computer. His project is to make a web enabled universal remote controller using the raspberry pi and his phone. Anyway as part of his thesis presentation he wanted the computer to have a cool enclosure to give the idea of what it would be like if it was manufactured as an actual product.

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Obviously there is a massive join line across it as I had to cut down the tub, but basically the computer sits on the base part on the left and the part on the right covers all the wirings and components. Iíve cut holes where cables and LEDís need to sit through so itíll all end up looking fairly neat.

Once the paint is fully dry it should have a kind of matt black look to it, as the Viking Boy wanted it to blend in with the rest of our ďhome cinemaĒ devices that it would be interacting with.

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While I was waiting for the first layer of paint to dry I decided to get on with another project Iíve been thinking about.

One of the difficulties with trying to make historically accurate clothing is that a lot of the fabric used during the 19th century (including even some colours) just arenít fashionable or produced any longer. So when reading about regency gowns made of sprigged muslin I realised that itís incredibly difficult to actually find any muslin fabric printed or embroidered with sprigs sold per meter.Here's an example of sprigged muslin used in a Regency gown from 1818:

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So Iíve been thinking of a way of perhaps printing or making my own (albeit on a very small scale) then I remembered that about 2 years ago I bought this stuff called Image Maker by Dylon

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Iíve tried it a couple of times in the past but didnít actually follow the instructions like I should have so it failed a bit lol so this time I decided to actually do the thing properly!

First, I found a basic image of a flower/rosebud sprig and coloured it in good old MS Paint

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I then used publisher to create the pattern I wanted on the fabric like this:

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As Iím planning on making another Regency gown at some point and working on a Regency spencer I decided to test out the design on two different fabrics: one an unbleached calico that I can use as a lining for my spencer and the other some white muslin that will be the basis of my next gown.

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The way the image maker works is that you print out your chosen image mirrored on just basic printer paper. Then you paint on a thick layer of the paste over the image that you want to transfer, so I just painted on each individual rose. You have to use a lot of paste, almost to the point where you canít see the image anymore. You then press onto the fabric and using a rolling pin, press it fully out making sure to get rid of any air bubbles or wrinkles. I used a plastic bag underneath the fabric to stop the excess paste going everywhere (explaining the weird plastic bag in the photos above!)

I left them to dry for a few hours before turning it over to see the paper side.

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As you can see from the photos the paper is only stuck to the fabric at the image/roses.

Unfortunately I have to wait at least 4 hours or overnight before I can start working on peeling off the paper so Iíll have to wait until tomorrow to see if my experiment has worked! If it does then I think I will buy more of the image maker and do the whole thing on a larger scale, if not itís back to the drawing board.

In other news, Iíve found the first exhibition I want to attend for my blog series. It opens on the 18th April at Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum and focuses on the Georgians in Glasgow. Itís called ďHow Glasgow FlourishedĒ and essentially focuses on the lives of people living and working in Glasgow during the 18th and early 19th Century. Iím quite excited to see some costume pieces but also to see some specific pieces about the working classes (something which I think is often lacking in exhibitions) 

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While this post hasnít really focused on pushing forward a good mood, I have at least enjoyed my Monday. Have you? Let me know in the comments how your day has been!


Until then

See you in the future! ♥

Pantaloons Part Three (Finally!)

After recently receiving a question concerning 18th century breeches through Etsy I thought it was about time to finally, finally finish my write up on my pantaloons/breeches progress. I havenít found the perfect fabric for the final design yet and since my model is currently neck deep in final projects and thesis writing, Iím holding off on the final making up until graduation. So until then I will finish off the toile and discuss more ideas I have for the very, very neglected blog.

So letís recap, I had finished the front fall and had the binders neatly attached.  The final product will be a bit different as I plan to fully line the breeches hiding all the nasty seam allowance etc. 

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So now we move onto the waistband. As I said in part two, I think I did the waistband slightly wrong by folding it in half rather than cutting two layers but it worked enough to see how itís attached and where the falls will finally sit on the body. 

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Here I have it pinned in place showing itís relation to the bearers behind the fall. When I do the final with a lining, the bearers will be attached to the waist band but as I wanted the toile to sit neatly I finished on both separately.

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As you can see the waistband is just that bit too narrow. The waistband is straight along the front and folds into an inverted triangle at the back. This was to allow for a small section of fabric to be stitched into the gap and lacing to be added. The lacing would allow some amount of ease and adjustment over the bum.

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