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Category Archives: making

Gatsby Lawn Party Day 2

Gatsby Lawn Party Day 2

The lovely grounds of Spadina House Museum

Day 2 was another beautiful day of hot sunny weather and cool breezes. I wore what turned out to be my favorite  dress of the summer so far. It was another Pinterest image turned into a pattern from a 1 Hour Dress Book published in the 1920s. I didn’t take any construction pictures as time was getting short. I used a yarn dyed cotton in a rust plaid and a solid rust coloured cotton for the ties.

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I almost made a critical error when translating the measurements from imperial to metric. (On a side note, the US has been officially metric for more than 2 decades. Start using it please)

This is a very comfortable dress and Sara wants to make one for herself before the summer ends.

 

Her dress started out as one pattern and was modified a great deal. We also made it out of a knit since we didn’t have time to be picky about the fabric.

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It turned out great and just in time. I think she wants to  make it again in a silk and make a few more adjustments.

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1928 Reproduction Turban , Le Petit Chapeau

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Maybe next year we will have the right shoes to fit our needs of standing all day and new specs that are more in keeping with the 20’s.

Cheers

Meaghan & Sara

A Gatsby Weekend Day 1

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Spadina House Museum

Recently Sara and I were sponsors of Spadina House Museum Gatsby Lawn Party. We donated several prizes for the costume party and set up a mini shop loaded with flapper era hats for Ladies and Gents.

It was a beautiful and rather hot weekend but the grounds are so lovely and the lawn party goers were dedicated to their costumes that it made the heat bearable.

We decided we need to have 1920s dresses and hats (of course) which wasn’t required but encouraged and I’m glad we did. All the volunteers and the musicians were costumed in wool! (Brave souls) This ment we needed to hunt Pinterest for ideas or patterns of which we found and needed to draw from the photos as well as alter to fit our measurements. Originally I wanted to use a pattern I had for about 20 years. It was an early 20s design that was designed with a 1990s fit. That will work, I thought. No. What a mess. The fitting that I did before inserting the zipper showed that there was no saving it and the fit and the printed measurements were essentially a lie. Oh well.

I also had a 1980s dropped waist dress pattern that I cut out of a lovely pumpkin coloured cotton gauze. I cut it to a smaller fit than the 80s look which was a 10 inch ease! I also moved the gathers of the waist to the side front and side back to be more in keeping with the 1920s. I then added a fabric rose and ribbons both up and down the side of the dress at the hip. this was copied from a photo of a 1920s day dress I found.

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I was also wearing a reproduction cotton slip underneath which had panniers on the hips made of gathers to puff the hip out farther. It is in keeping with he style but not seen as often. It was an unusual silhouette which I’m still not accustomed to. The hat is a new design made for the show which we are going to start making for customers soon.

Sara’s dress was much more work and made from a polyester chiffon in a green and white print with a touch of black. I wasn’t sure about it but she knew it would be wonderful.

Her drawing of the photo was very neat and made from a hebrew language page from a 1920s ladies magazine. The pattern was large pieces so the floor was the only place to lay it out. She cut it into a front and back to fit the fabric and then very carefully cut out the fabric. Chiffon is very shifty so it was hard to keep it on grain. The hems were all rolled and hand sewed which took her many hours. The end result was beautiful. I think I want to make one!

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The hat was another one of the new Garden Party Hats and we found shoes were a problem. It was hot and we were on grass so slender heels were impractical so we wore what was best for working instead of the shoes which looked most appropriate.

The first day was great and we really enjoyed the gardens and music.

Day 2 clothing coming soon.

Cheers

Meaghan and Sara

 

Carving Hat Blocks-part 1

Hat blocks. A vital part of millinery.  However,  in Canada  there are no makers of blocks so overseas is the only option.
They are also very expensive.  Most often in wood and made with either specialized equipment or hand carved,  it makes for an expensive and heavy investment into a single shape and size.

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This is the Cadillac of hat blocks I think. Guy Morse Brown Hat Blocks.  Hand carved and priced accordingly.  Gorgeous and worth it.

Several years ago I found a heavy plastic block company out of the USA that was designed for felters to make hats. Since I had been in theatre props for several years moons ago I knew I could potentially alter the plastic blocks to work for me. I ordered them and went to work.

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This is Sara drilling into the headsize line to create pinning holes.

The company was rather alarmed at the drilling and cutting and couldn’t approve of what we did but many hats later they have held up!

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This lovely wool fedora was made on the modified plastic block.

As many of you know Sara has been with the studio for several years now and her skills have increased so much that she is always looking for a new challenge. She had already been thinking about carving a block out of of styrofoam when a customer came in for a 1920s reproduction.  I knew I could make it without a brim block but when I started I realized it was going to be much more difficult and frustrating than I thought. 
Sara dove in to make a block for the brim.

The final result was exactly like the picture the customer wanted and Sara went about solving problems that arose with using spray foam.

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This custom hat made from our first carved block was a success!

I scoured my brain for sculpture information from my ancient art degree and remembered that you can use high density insulation styrofoam glued together in layers to carve into a shape.

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Sara gluing.

She is continuing to make this block and learn carving and creating solutions to problems that pop up. We will let you know what happens next as the block is nearly finished which means we can make a hat!

More to come!
Cheers
Meaghan and Sara

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