Edwardian Practicality & Other Joys

The past two weeks have been pretty eventful, in a good way. Today I have finally found a moment to share some of these recent news and updates with you. They all have to do with sewing and that makes them even more joyful.

Firstly, the embroidery on Josephine’s Regency toque is making steady progress. The metallic thread, the cotton net and I needed some time to get acquainted. But now, we are finally getting on. Out of the three vines, two have been completed so far. Perhaps, if the third one gets finished this week, there might be enough time left to add a few of those delicious white seed pearls to the decor. Here is hoping…

A quick snapshot of the embroidery progress (please excuse the messy pattern marker stains).

I have also found that I make the most progress when taking the needlework out to coffee with me. It feels very relaxing to concentrate on stitching while the flurry of the coffee shop rushes on by around you. Unexpectedly, embroidering in public has also proven to be quite the conversation starter:

The other day, a little girl came over to my table and asked what I was doing. When I said that I was embroidering a cap with gold thread, she started beaming all over her face and told me she had never seen anything like it. This startled me somewhat, since I am not used to this kind of attention at all. But, on the upside, I seem to have passed on the needlework bug to someone else who had not heard of embroidery before. ;)

In between the bouts of embroidery, I also got May’s “Practicality” challenge underway. It will be an Edwardian pinafore apron from blue and white striped cotton. So far, I have cut out everything according to the diagrams, assembled the yoke pieces and attached the apron’s body. Here is a look at what the body halves looked like after cutting:

The folded apron body after cutting out.

Yesterday, the two pleated trims came together as well. They will be decorating the apron at the shoulders. For each of them, I folded a 90 cm long strip of doubled cotton batiste into 1 cm knife pleats. This has been my first-ever attempt at hand-pleating and for that, the trims have turned out rather well.

Pleating the shoulder trims – before and after.

Next up, they will be attached to the apron. For that, I now have a new helper in the sewing room: an adjustable dress form. Since I name most of my bigger sewing gadgets, I have dubbed her Rachel. She has been my reward for passing last term’s hardest exam and is proving to be a very useful aid.

“Rachel”, the new dress form, modelling the finished apron yoke.

This concludes the latest sewing updates. With the new term having started, I will try to be good now and post again more frequently. I have really missed you all and your wonderful, encouraging feedback. :)

Warmly, Nessa

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6 thoughts on “Edwardian Practicality & Other Joys

  1. Nessa says:

    Thank you. :D And guess what, I am about to wash off the blue marks. After a bout of speed embroidery yesterday and today, I just have one more leave to go now. Whee. I will add a few pictures of the finished crown piece here soon. :)

  2. Twilight Storm Crafts says:

    Congrats on your new dress form! Your story about the little girl in the coffee shop made me think of all the “new” old books I found in the public domain from the Library of Congress. I’m not sure if you found these already but they’re here:
    https://archive.org/details/library_of_congress?and%5B%5D=sewing

    There are a bunch of patterns and pattern drafting books as well as needlework from late 1800’s to early 1900’s. Including how to make your own measuring tool from cardboard for dressmaking which I found pretty awesome. A few of the books in that link are for young children to learn sewing and needlework inside story books. (How fun is that?!) Silly we can’t give children anything small enough to fit inside a paper towel tube now when kids were using needles and china silk (silk!) to make dolly her dress back then.

    • Nessa says:

      Ohhh these are wonderful! Thank you so much for sharing. :) I have seen some of these before, but not the entire collection. And the story books really are an awesome thing and a good way to introduce the little ones to needlework. It was probably not an uncommon thing, since sewing used to be a really important skill for girls to learn from early on.

      And I would so give my children a scrap of good fabric and a needle to dress up their dollies, too. Since my family was not squeamish in that area, making little dresses for my cuddly toys from grandma’s old lace handkerchiefs was one of my first sewing experiences as well. After meeting the little girl who had never encountered needlework before, I feel lucky to have had that opportunity. :)

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