Sunday, 31 January 2016

Police Rattle

A couple days ago I made myself a police rattle. I made it because I thought it would be a cool thing to have. The police used rattles as an alarm before they had whistles. Police rattles make a very loud clacking noise. The rattles were also used in WWI as a gas warning. I find the rattle very fun to use and it was very interesting to make. It was a fairly easy project that took all of three hours to make.

This is the rattle I based mine on. 

Below is the rattle I made.



Saturday, 23 January 2016


This last week I've been thinking about and making neckties of all kinds. I've made a few different styles of tie. Neckwear is one of my favourite parts of victorian mens wear.

The first tie I made is a four in hand. To my knowledge the four in hand came into fashion in the 1860s and stayed till the 1910s. The four in hand is normally made from two layers of silk or cotton with padding called domette in-between to give a more full appearance. The four in hand ties are tied in a four in hand knot. I also made a pre-tied style of four in hand, copied from an original.

Here's a good example of a self tied four in hand.

Self tied four in hand made by myself.

This gent is wearing a pre-tied four in hand.
Cardboard interfacing is what gives the knot of a pre-tied four in hand it's crisp and symmetrical appearance.

My reproduction of a pre-tied four in hand from a friends collection 

The next tie I made is a pre-tied cravat. I copied the cravat from photos of an original in the collection of the Society for the Museum of Original Costume.  Pre-tied cravats and ties were quite common during the 19th century and came in many styles. I personally prefer self tied ties, thought as I learn more about 19th century pre tied ties I'm liking them more and more.

Mid to late 19th century pre tied cravat in the
 collection of the 
Society for the Museum of Original Costume.
My reproduction of the pre tide cravat pictured above.

My 10 year old cousin asked me to make him a pre-tied bow tie, so I made him two. One in a modern style and one in the style of his favourite inventor Isambard Kingdom Brunel. I also made him a collar inspired by one of Brunel's collars.

Modern style bow tie for my cousin.

Collar and tie for my cousin. Inspired by Brunel collar and tie.

Isambard Kingdom Brunel.

The next tie I'm making will be the kind Sherlock Holmes wore in the granada television series.

Jeremy Brett as Sherlock Holmes.

For more information on 19th century neckwear the Handbook of English Costume in the 19th Century is a great Book with all kinds of information on victorian mens fashion.

Sunday, 17 January 2016

The Great War Uniform: part 2

Yesterday I received my Sam Browne belt and a khaki tie. I also received cloth samples for my SD (service dress) jacket today.

The Sam Browne belt consists of a waist belt, shoulder belt, whistle holder, sword frog and pistol holster. The belt fits nicely, though the shoulder belt could use an extra hole to make it a little tighter. I will wait to punch any holes until I finish my jacket, as the belt may fit differently over the jacket.

Sam Browne belt.

The tie is pretty straight forward: it's a 40" length of khaki-coloured wool braid. This style of tie was used in both world wars.

Khaki tie.

The cloth samples I got are from a British company called Hainsworth. Hainsworth is the only company I could find that makes the correct cloth for WWI uniforms. Officers jackets were most often made of khaki whipcord or khaki barathea. I will make my jacket out of khaki whipcord as it seems to be the most common in the original I've seen.

Left to right: khaki barathea, khaki whipcord, khaki serge. All three cloths are made of wool.

Here's the start of the pattern for the SD jacket.

I was given this silver topped walking stick a month ago, and I will be using it as part of my officers equipment. Many WWI officers exchanged their swords for walking or swagger sticks as they were considered to be more practical for trench warfare.

1910s walking stick

Photo credits in this post go to Taylour Em.