Monday, February 25, 2013

This Week's Fog Fashion and Tea

Ladies at 19th Century Railway Station

I included the painting, above, because I liked the sage green and the lavender suits of the Victorian women pictured in it.  The green one is like Marilla's go-to-town suit in the movie "Anne of Green Gables." Of course, I am thinking of ways to make that lovely peplum (the flared piece on the waist of the jacket) in a future sewing project. I also like the way they put the floral pieces  underneath  their hats, as well as on top.  Notice the round box and the trunk that is being pushed by the porter.

Marilla Cuthbert  in her sage green suit, walking with Anne (Anne of Green Gables movie)

Marilla wearing the sage jacket, seen here with her brother Matthew. My favorite quote of Matthew is "Marilla, we've got no call to raise this girl as cheer-less as we were raised!" 

If you want to get a better view of the peplum (ruffle) in the back of her suit, you will just have to see the movie.

Now back to the fog.
Today's Fog

This week I have completed a short hooded cape made from the thin fleece from a rhuana shawl which I had shown in a previous post. Since there was no stitching on that shawl, I was able to lay the fabric out on the cutting table and use it again to make this cape.

The hood is lined with lightweight white muslin.

The pattern is a shortened version of  View A, on the right (the brown cape with hood) of the above photo, with an added ruffle around the front edge of the hood. This pattern might not be available anymore, but there are plenty of updated patterns like it. The cape you see at the bottom right is called a rhuana shawl, like the ones I made in previous posts. 

The hair clip is made with a small strip of the fabric, gathered into an oval, and hot glued to
a hair clip, which comes in a bag of several sizes at the fabric stores or Walmart. If you have thick hair, the large clip works well and it is also tight enough to prevent the hair clip from slipping off the hair.

On it I put one of those fabric roses which I showed in a previous post on the fog series, with a string of plastic pearl beads, also found in sewing stores. All are hot-glued to the ruffled piece. There is no hemming or finishing of the raw edges, because fleece does not ravel. However, I did hem the edges of the cape, for a more finished look and to strengthen the edges. This clip is strong enough and tight enough to clasp all of my hair in a bun.

First I glued a doubled strip of fabric on to the top of the hair clip, to give it a base. Then, I glued the completed ruffle on to that, and then I added the string of beads and the fabric rose. There are many instructions online for making these fabric roses, so I will not do a tutorial here.  It is time for tea, anyway.

Tea today is in front of the fire. Someone reminded me to include this article on the virtues of taking tea at home, which is well worth the time to read. I like the part where she states how it reduces hunger between meals so that you can have a more calm approach to making dinner. If everyone is not so hungry, you do not have to feel so rushed to make the evening meal. 

These are some of the colorful primroses in the garden centers now. They thrive in cold weather, so this one is going back outside after it serves as a centerpiece on the tea table.

I have served tea-of-your-choice with my oat squares.

I had no flour in the pantry so I put oats in the little coffee grinder (by the way, if you purchase a coffee grinder to refine flour and oats and other grains, if you also grind coffee in it and the coffee flavor gets into other things you grind, you shoud get a separate one for the coffee beans.)

You might need to double this recipe.

1 stick (half cup) butter melted
1 cup finely ground oats (it should be as fine as flour)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/8 cup molasses
1/8 teaspoon grated orange or lemon peel.

Mix it all together and add more flour if the mixture is too liquid-y. Pat it all into a cookie sheet  and bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. It should be thin and wafer-like--not too thick. When done, it should be brown around the edges.  While warm, cut it into squares.  You can alter this recipe in many ways.

No one came to tea today and my  young photographer could only stay briefly, so I made it just for you. I hope you enjoy the blog-food ;-)

Just after I posted this, someone who was inspired to do the same, sent me this photo of her tea setting:
She has set this up for tomorrow. We both have these small electric fireplaces that we just turn the light on without the heater part, to enjoy without the expense. The light bulb used in these heaters is just a night-light.

The cost of the fabric for the hooded cape was about four dollars, and, I like every thing about it except the length. I think  the longer ones fit me better, but I wanted to try this. This a a bright white, unlike the vanilla white of a previous cape I made. This one is a very nice snow white and took one and a half yards of 60 inch fabric.

I'm looking for light lemon yellow now so I can dress like a lemon pie ;-)

I have finished lining the hood of the lavender ruffled-hood cloak and made a matching fascinator. I posted pictures of it on the previous post, here. 

I must emphasize again how nice it is to use the thinnest and cheapest fleece for these projects. They sew up a lot faster and do not bog down a regular machine like the thick fleece does.

 If you are wanting to make something with fleece and are not a confident stitcher, just to go Walmart and buy a fourth yard of fleece and experiment with it on some small things, such as a purse, a stretchy headband (keeping in mind that this $2.96 a yard fleece only has a one-way stretch), a hat, a pillow with a fringe, or child's toy.

 The lower the price, the thinner the fleece, usually, and the thicker the fleece, the higher the price. I have sewn with the thick fleece and it truly makes a great big warm coat but I find it too bulky, so I'm enjoying using thin fleece. I have one more piece someone gave me that I want to make, before I end the fleece projects.

There is one color I have been looking for, but have not been able to find, so I will be using the piece I have left, a cherry red, for the next fleece project. 

 The fog is turning into rain recently and there have been a few storms. I saw some water-proof type fabrics that just came into the fabric section and I'm curious to know what it is like to sew it, so I may be having rain-tea and fashion.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Fog Cape and Tea

Fog today was a purplish-blue, and I found just the perfect color of  fleece to make an historical cape called the Kinsale Cloak:

This shows the color of the cape in a brief moment of sun. The lower half of the cape that is shaded, shows more the true color of the fabric.

If you are inspired to sew fleece, my best advice is to get the thinnest fleece possible so that a double layer of it will fit easily through your machine presser-foot. It is also possible that you will have as many as four layers to sew on some parts of the garment, so the cheapest, thinnest fleece is the best. Besides that, sewing a garment from thick fleece can become very heavy and overly warm, even without lining, facings and double layers. This applies only if you do not live in a freezing winter climate, where, of course, the thicker fleece would be a lot better. 

 I got this at Walmart for about $2.95 a yard, and since it is 60 inches wide, I did not need very much. The cost was $11.00.

The cloak was supposed to look like this one, above, a pattern from Folkwear.
The sketches show what it looks like with variations. The hood is supposed to also serve as a collar and shoulder cape when you let out the draw-strings.

Since I did not have the actual Folkwear pattern, I used this one that I got when Simplicity was on sale for 99cents.   I've kept it a few years just waiting for a time when I could make it, and I spent some time making this on one of these final foggy days here.

 I hate to see the fog go away, since I've got two or three more sewing items planned, and not all of them are out-door wear.

The cape is actually quite full in the back, which does not show in this photo because I've drawn it up towards the front. The pattern did not have arm holes, so I left part of the seam open for that.

I have not hemmed this yet, but wanted to get a photograph in the small amount of light today.

Above: the hood forms a yoke on the shoulder area. On a scale of one, to five, the highest being five, I would say the "sewing frustration" level of the cape was a five, so do not attempt this if you are not a patient, experienced seamstress, unless you are wanting to become more advanced.

 The cape itself is easy, but the hood was not, and I had to undo my sewing several times to get it right. I am not really finished with it yet, but wanted to update my blog with the beautiful photographs of the fog and the flowers.  I still have to put a hem in this garment and line the hood so that when it falls down into a little cape over the shoulders, the seams will not show.
This is a field of those beautiful violas that thrive in fog.

Here are some of the light purple violas, at my feet, and the color is the perfect match for my cape, which is what I was trying to achieve. The fragrance of these flowers is, as near as I can describe it, like candy, or "cotton candy, "--fairy floss, as they call it in other countries.

Some light lavender violas with the dark purple in the background.

Two different shades of violas close up. I was trying to remember the color of the lightest one, and found it quite easy to choose it at the store, just by picking the purple that had the least pink in it, and the most gray. Up close, the viola matches the cape perfectly. I'm trying to make a bouquet of these with felt.

To make little hair pins with flowers on them, count the petals on the flower and cut out a paper pattern, as you see at the bottom of the photograph. You can do the same thing with the snowdrop flowers.

Take a tiny strip of fabric and cut it into a point at one end. tie that end in a knot, dab it with hot glue or use a needle and thread, as you roll it down the strip to make a center. You only need to roll it about twice, and then clip off the excess strip.

Lay that little bud you just made, in the middle of the three or four-petal flowers and just sew or hot-glue a couple of the petals halfway up onto that center bud. You can glue or sew the other petals onto the center too, only not as tightly, since you want some of the petals to fall down, as they do on the real flower. Insert hair pins through the spaces between the glue and the petals at the base of the flower.

This is just  a quick hair style  showing what you might do with the hair pins: put them along the side of a twist hair do, or on top.  This style is completely held in place by the hair pins with the flowers at the end of them.

For this hairstyle:  Twist hair into a french roll. The way I do it, is to just let my hair hang down my back and grasp all of it except a few strands on one side, and twist it until it coils upward on itself.

 Then I use one of those hair pins, pictured, or a tiny claw clip, to secure the last little twisted strand on the top of the head. Hint: the smaller the claw clip, the better it stays in the hair and the less it weighs down and drags down an up-do. 

 After securing the top I pin or claw-clip the side of the twist every few inches, on that one side. It is not necessary to pin the other side. 

 If you have difficulty getting your hair to stick, you can rub some kind of setting lotion between your hands and then run your hands through the loose hair, and then twist the hair into a roll.

 Treat the front anyway you like, either pulled into the twist, or parted to one side, or in a fluffly fringe.

Above: I am  still working on a facinator head band with both the light and dark violas and the dark green leaves.

And now here is the tea,

...served on a table cloth made of a scrap of that lavender fleece fabric. The tea is made with frozen blackberries and the cake is a pumpkin spice cake made with molasses, and topped with berry whipped cream. We have, in the past, called flavored whipped cream "chantilly."

In a Canadian recipe book called "Company's Coming" by Jean Pare', the chantilly creams are as follows:
Almond, berry, brandy, butterscotch, chocolate, cointreau, ginger, maple, mint, orange, vanilla, cheesecake.
All these creams are just whipped cream with flavorings. I made up the berry chantilly cream, as it was not in the cookbook, but I am sure others have done it. 

There might be an opportunity for me to get better pictures of the cloak, and if so, I'll certainly post them here.

I will try the McCalls cloak pattern 4698 next time, as the hood looks less complicated.

Here are some more photos of the this cloak sewing project:
The hood or bonnet section is lined with a muslin which I dyed to match the light purple fabric. This is what the hood looks like when the gathering ribbons are released. It is supposed to look like a shoulder cape.

When the draw strings are pulled up, the hood is a ruffled collar around the neckline.

This is what the fascinator (a head band decorated with various things to look like a hat) looks like.
The roses are made from the same fleece, with some violet ones added. All of them set atop green fleece leaves and the whole thing is perched atop a strip of gathered voile. Hot glue is used to secure it all.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Four at Tea Today and More Fog Fashion

Painting by Edmund B. Leighton, England, 1852-1922

I wonder how E.B. Leighton managed to paint the above picture to look a little foggy.

Today's Fog

Fond of fog: I made the indoor fog for this picture with my camera.

This is the real fog.

I had four guests for tea today so I used my rose shaped placemats from Dollar Tree,

and the Prairie Rose tea set,

and served heart shaped scones with berry cream. Make a batch of scones, and whip up some heavy whipping cream on your electric mixer, adding a few frozen berries til the cream turns light pink or mauve.

It was delicious with blackberry tea, made from blackberries and boiling water.

This cape is perfect for foggy weather, and although it is made of only one piece of 60 inch wide fabric, (not counting the strips used to cover the elastic and the strips used to make front ties) and no pattern, I would not recommend it to a beginner. I will try to post instructions later on, so please check back. It takes a yard, more or less, depending on the length you are making.

You might not see the fascinator hat very well in this picture but it is a piece that is gathered, just like the collar, so it repeats the ruffle style of the collar.

Collar View From Back.
A band of fabric is sewn over the gathering stitches to give it a finished look. Elastic is sewn over the gathering stitches on the inside of the garment.

The fleece is thinner than most fleece and ideal for making lightweight capes. It comes from Walmart and is $2.95 or less, depending on the product. Total cost for this was $5.00, which includes the hair band.

The fascinator is a ruffled piece of fabric, semi-circular, hemmed and hot-glued onto a wide headband from Dollar Tree. I buy the hairbands the same color or as near to the same color as my hair.  You could also make this kind of fascinator by gluing the ruffled piece onto a large hair clip, which you get in fabric stores.

Inside of gathered fleece fascinator. 

This is what the hair band looks like on top.

As I am not tired of the fog or the fleece yet, I have may have another fleece project in the future. It will depend on the weather.

Instructions for cape will be posted here at another time

I am linking to Sarah Collier's "Hope in Every Season" Valentines post weekend homemaking link-up party and to Beverly's Pink Saturday.