Friday, 28 October 2016

Birthday Gifts

Here are yesterday's birthday gifts!

This is an 1850s turquoise tie-pin from a friend!

This is a 1870s washbasin with Gothic revival detailing. I spent the day with my friend, and we found this at a rummage sale. 

I had ordered laundry starch a couple weeks ago and it arrived on my birthday. I plan to attempt to starch a shirt and a couple of collars. 

Sunday, 16 October 2016

The Gentleman's Art of Dressing with Economy

This week I came across a book on Pinterest, The Gentleman's Art of Dressing with Economy, by a Lounger at the Clubs, 1876.

While I have found books on the patterns, construction techniques and the styles of mens 19th century clothing, it's been much harder to find books about how they wore and cared for their clothing.

Etiquette books of the period don't often mention mens clothing or wardrobe and when they do usually only give a few pages on the subject. The Gentleman's Art of Dressing is an entire book on mens wardrobe. In this book, the author mentions how and where a gentleman should buy his clothes, what clothing he needs and how to care for his clothing. I've gained many useful bits of information on shirts, coats, boots, waistcoats, and trousers from this book.

It's very interesting to see a 19th century gentleman's opinion of the clothing of his time. I'm curious how much of the book is the general opinion of how a gentleman should dress and how much is the author's personal opinion.

In the book, I was happy to run across a reference to Punch magazine. I'm a big fan of Punch. I've always thought that Punch show's a very accurate depiction of clothing and fashion of the time. So when I read the footnote that I've quoted below, I was very pleased to have my opinion of Punch confirmed by a gentleman of the 1870s
* "Mentioning "Punch" reminds me to remark that if you have been absent from the world of fashion for a time, and wish to know the style of dress in vogue, you cannot do better than consult the pages of our ficetious old friend. Therein you will see the exact costume of the day, in all detail, from hat down to the very boots. There is no more truthful indicator of fashion published; and when Mr. Punch's artists depict a gentleman of the period, you will not be wrong in following suit.

Here's a link to the Google book copy The Gentleman's Art of Dressing with Economy, by a Lounger at the Clubs.

Sunday, 18 September 2016

A Couple of Boxes

For my friends birthday I got him a retro LEGO set as he never had one. I always wrap gifts in brown paper and string. For this one I thought an old LEGO label would a good addition. I hand painted this one I'm very pleased with the outcome.

The Salvation Army were recently giving out these repro match boxes in remembrance of the match girls. The match box will be great as a period pocket filler for some of my 1880s-1900s outfits.

Here's a brief history of the match girls from the card that came with the matches.

"In 1888, women working at match factories in the UK were experiencing severe health complications, such as phossy jaw, from the use of white phosphorus on matches. They also experienced 14 hour work days, poor pay and fines.
After learning of the situation, The Salvation Army opened its own match factory, using less toxic red phosphorus and paying better wages. Part of the impetus behind this  match factory  was the desire to improve the conditions of home workers, including children, who  dipped white phosphorus-based matches at home. Several children died from eating these matches. Once other factories stopped using white phosphorus, The Salvation Army closed it's match factory.
in 1908 the British House of Commons passed an Act prohibiting the use of white phosphorus in matches" The Salvation Army

The Great War Uniform: part 3

Here's what I've gathered for my uniform so far. I hope to get started on making the jacket soon.

Sam Browne belt
Sword frog
Pistol holster
Khaki-coloured wool tie
1910s military style walking stick
Original officers shirt
Original WWI puttees
Clothes brushes
Collar bar cufflinks and shirt studs

Close up of the collar bar cufflinks and shirt studs. 

Every thing packed away in to my military hat tin.

Jacket materials

Khaki whipcord
Pocket lining
Collar canvas
Stay tape
Sleeve lining

Cloth for the officers jacket and cap.

Saturday, 28 May 2016

Acquisitions: Shooting Umbrella

This week it rained, so I was able to use my recently repaired umbrella. I bought this 1930s shooting stick umbrella at a local monthly antique show.

A shooting stick umbrella is an umbrella that has a handle that unfolds into a seat. There are also shooting sticks which don't have an umbrella. I'm very lucky to have got one with an umbrella as they're much less common.

It is called a shooting stick because they were used by gentlemen when they went shooting game on the moors. They were also used for hiking and and long walks in the country.

shooting stick umbrella

When I bought the umbrella the canopy was in shreds, so I recovered it in a similar silk. It was quite the learning experience recovering the umbrella as it's very tricky the get the tension right.

To sit on a shooting stick you unscrew the metal disc from the handle and screw it on the spike on the end. You then stick it in the ground and open the handle into a seat.

Open umbrella. 


Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Acquisitions: Machines!

This week I got a couple of new machines. The first piece of machinery I got is a 1938 typewriter, from a very kind person I met at the park who thought I looked like someone that needed typewriter.

The typewriter Is a 1938 Remington Noiseless Model 10 manufactured within the british empire.

The other piece of machinery is a 1888 singer sewing machine I bought at an antiques fair. I was lucky enough to fined the manual for it online


I've been thinking I could take it to Brigade Days at Fort Langley, though it might not be appropriate for me to bring it for few reasons. First Fort Langley is 1858 and the sewing machine is 1888, which is a 30 year gap. However, the machine doesn't look entirely out of place for 1858. It is much closer than my 1917 Phaff sewing machine.

The more major thing is whether there were sewing machines in, or near the Fort. I know there were sewing machines in New Westminster and Fort Victoria by 1858. It would be a nice thing to be able to sew a shirt or something during brigade days.


Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Drafting Squares

Over the past little while I've started a small collection of drafting squares and rulers. I didn't intend to collect drafting squares. I use them for pattern drafting so I might as well collect them, the more the better.

The first square I got is a tailors square from 1886 made in Rochester New York. I bought the square to use for my pattern drafting from one of the local antique shows.

The next square is another tailors square. This square would have originally been part of a set of drafting tools and books for women's tailoring from the Women Institute of Domestic Art and Sciences.

This square is dated 1919 and is made of metal instead of wood.

The rest of the drafting squares and rulers I found in a rubbish bin at school.

Friday, 29 April 2016

Machine Sewing or Machine Sewing Compared With Hand Sewing

This is a book from a friends collection I photocopied with his permission and made available for others to read.
Machine Sewing, or Machine Sewing Compared With Hand Sewing, and the Suitability of Each for High Class Trade.
Published by The John Williamson Company Limited, 
This book covers the topic of the use of sewing machines in 19th century tailoring. I found this book very interesting to read. The book has some useful information on the construction of mens coats and other garments.
Machine Sewing or Machine Sewing Compared With Hand Sewing

Thursday, 7 April 2016

Acquisitions: 1900s Frock Coat

This frock coat was given to me by a very generous friend. The coat is from 1900s or 1910s its made from black wool with a napped surface. It's a near perfect fit, I also have the matching trousers, although they're two inches too short with no cloth to be letdown. 



Wednesday, 30 March 2016


Over the last few weeks I've made myself some more ties. The first tie was inspired by a style of bow tie Sherlock Holmes wore in the Sidney Paget illustrations, and the Jeremy Brett Granada television series. Looking at period photos, it seems to have been a fairly common style to tuck the bow tie under the collar in the mid to late Victorian period.  The bow tie is made of black cotton satin, it's 35" long and 1" wide.

The next two ties are four in hand ties. From what I read in the Handbook of English Costume, the four in hand was popular from the 1860s to the 1900s. The first tie is electric blue silk taffeta. Electric blue was one of the most popular colours in the mid to late 19th century. The tie measures 45" long, 2" wide at the widest point and 7/8" at the narrowest.

The next of the two four in hand ties is the same black cotton satin I used for the bow tie above. I embroidered the red dots with a satin stitch onto the front of the tie. This tie measures 45" long, 2.5" wide at the widest point and 7/8" at the narrowest. 

Tuesday, 1 March 2016

Neckwear: Three Detachable Collars

Here are three detachable collars I made today. The collars were a quick project taking just over an hour to make the three. I still need to sew button holes on all three collars. When it comes to button holes I generally procrastinate sewing them, so my plan is to sew at least one button hole a day. With the collars and all my other projects I have 18 button holes that need sewing. So I should be done in 18 days.

Sunday, 21 February 2016

Acquisitions: Flasks

Today I went to the local antique show. I found two pewter flasks, $6 for the pair. I think the larger flask is 19th or early 20th century. The smaller one seems much newer. The large flask holds 1 pint of liquid. I plan to use it as my water bottle as it go's much better with my what I wear than any modern water bottle. The smaller flask holds 7oz.

A couple weeks age I was given this mid 19th century ivory hair brush.

Camp Furniture

Last August I attended the Fort Langley Brigade with my own tent for the first time. I had a great time at the Brigade and I plan on going this year, so I'm going to improve my camp setup to be more comfortable. The four main items I would like to add to my camp are a table, cot, chair with a back and a canvas canopy to keep the sun off.

I've already made the table, so next I will make the canopy and the poles to hold it up. Here are photos of the table and some of my other camp furniture.

I made two movable shelves for underneath the table.

Here's my camp stool and box that I used at last brigade. I made the stool two years ago with my grandfather and I built the box in wood shop last year.

Camp stool.

My box.

Tray inside top of box and cribbage board.

 Inside bottom of box.

Friday, 19 February 2016

New Cloth

Last monday I ordered cloth from Hainsworth and it just arrived Wednesday. I ordered three yards of Khaki Whipcord for my WWI second lieutenant jacket and cap. I can't wait to get started working with my new cloth, but first I'm going the make a mockup of the jacket and cap to test my pattern.

Packaged bolt of cloth.

Khaki Whipcord. 

The cloth I'm using for my mockup is a cotton twill, with a similar weight to the Khaki Whipcord.

Cotton twill.

This week I also purchased some wool cloth from my local fabric shop. The cloth below is intended for two sets of a waistcoat and trousers.

Blue windowpane wool cloth. 

Brown plaid wool cloth. I might get more of this cloth for a coat.