Beam Me Up, SNOTTY

John Sullivan’s words, as delivered by Delboy, are now a huge part of our language here.

The one in the title is a personal favourite.

Going back a day – the law of SOD is still operating.

I just sent a polite snot-o-gram to an ebay seller I’ve used many times saying that I’ve not received my order. It’s 5 days late.

Ten minutes later I open the back door to hang out the washing and there is a parcel on the doorstep. MY PARCEL.

WTF? The front door was wide open so the postie snuck around the side and silently placed it there……on purpose. Because why ?


I’m in the process of drafting a Victorian reform dress in the style of the Aesthetic Movement as championed by Oscar Wilde, of all people.

The artistic, aesthetic, dress reform movement was all for beautifully draped, embellished and free clothing. A fashion anarchy against the corsets and bustles and strait-jacket-rigours of the usual Victorian clothes.

Many gift the likes of Chanel with freeing women from the shackles of whalebone and bustle and crinoline. Few know about Wilde’s contribution.

Yeah. Beam me up, Snotty indeed.


Out of My Head With the ENVY!

How gorgeous.

Yes. It may seem frivolous and totally pointless but who doesn’t love a good old pointless frivol every now and again?

I LOVE French breakfasts. And a glass of Prosecco is OK too :o)

BTW : Walking in a floor length gown takes practice. Spending my life with men, being a girl in HM Forces, I’m used to matching a man’s stride. Nothing dainty and feminine in that, sadly.

A whilst back I spend a day in one of my Historical Costumes and nearly fell A over T about 42 times.

Note to Self : The word is GLIDE not STRIDE.


Thank you, Taylor :o)

Elephant’s Breath & London Smoke

I spent over an hour in my local fabric shop with a new friend called Lulu.

Long story – a new 1800’s gown in the prep stage. Colour chosen (finally) deep wine red cotton.

Anyhoo and by the by. Through a different source I was recommended a book to read called Elephant’s Breath and London Smoke.

I knew immediately that this was about colour. My youngest and I painted his bedroom Elephant’s Breath.

WAY back in 2009 I wrote a post about 17th century fabric colours.

17th Century Textile Colours

One of my first ever research projects was on 17th century costume.
I got a beautiful old, old costume book from the library and much to my disgust – I can’t remember the name of it.

Anyway – from that book I made a note of the names used for textile colours in that era.
They are so evocative and always set the imagination running.

















And colours to try and get our minds around.

I’ll have a go…

I love the idea of SICK SPANIARD – a yellowy olive.


TEMPS PERDU- I see this as a pale violet.

ANGRY MONKEY- Is red brown too obvious?

APE’S LAUGH- Again, a reddy colour. But only if they were always being pedantic

RESURRECTION – Oh Gawd! A blue-grey????

KISS ME DARLING – Pale pink, maybe.

MORAL SIN – Love this. A deep, vibrant, singing red.

TRISTAMI – Sorry, can only think of pepparami here. Oops.

SCRATCH FACE – Purpley (if there’s such a word)

SMOKED OX HAM COLOUR – Pinky, purpley (if it’s not a word, it should be!)


CHIMNEY SWEEP – Too obvious????

FADING FLOWER – Mmmn. Pastel. Maybe like ashes of roses.

DYING MONKEY – Black, brown….ish

MERRY WIDOW – Deep Purple – nearly black but not quite.


This new recommendation looks wonderful.

Have you ever read about a Victorian dress, and wondered: “What color, exactly, is heliotrope?”Did you ever read an Elizabethan novel and say: “Did anyone really wear Puke?”When Chaucer wrote: “his eyen bright citrin” – did you wonder about what color is citrin?This book will tell you about color in history – the names of colors, when they were used, how they were used, what they looked like, and where they came from. There are dye recipes, paint ingredients, poetic language and general commentary – all in the words of period writers. Along with the glossary of color names, you will learn about mourning colors, the effects of artificial light on color, advice on what colors to wear, the colors found in cosmetics and theatrical make-up, and the names of the colors of horses. You can read about symbolism in colors, heraldic colors, and complaints about the names of colors. I have studied fashion magazines, books of dye recipes, art books, painter’s manuals, mineralogy guides, tomes on color theory, metaphysical texts, poetry and fiction, but especially period dictionaries and encyclopedias. Any resource that might give a hint on what a color looked like or how it may have been used was examined, from Chaucer to Chemistry Journals. Most of the entries were printed in English, American, Canadian and Australian publications from around 1380 to 1922. Because, French was the language of fashion, many of the English terms are French words. I have tried to explain those colors, too.This dictionary endeavors to define color names in the words of the English speaking people who used those colors. It is especially aimed at women’s fashion, but artists will also find it useful. Now in its second edition, “Elephant’s Breath and London Smoke” has more than 600 new and updated entries. If you are curious about color, you will want this book.

BTW. It’s coloUr. Too many letters in the word ? ? ?

I Will NEVER Complain About THIS Again…!

We both watched Bernadette’s latest video and it reminded me of living in barracks with lots of other female soldiers.

Our normal every day shirt was white, collared front buttoned and back pleated and it had to be PERFECT. It was always a bitch fight to get to the washing machine first. Otherwise you were at the kitchen sink scrubbing the collar with biotex, hand-wringing and draping over anything that you could find aka a banister.

We whinged like mad. But we had it EASY. Especially with cans of spray starch to keep our knife pleats crisp :o)


Baleen NOT Whalebone

We’ve all heard of whalebone corsets, yes?

This is a misnomer. Moby Dick et al were hunted for their cartilage, not their bones.

I have never made a corset/stay before so have never had to use any kind of slim, flexible, robust bodice shaper.

Today we use plastic. Go figure. Some thrifty sewers even use zip ties…Note to Self #cheap.

I’ve gone for 5 metres of plastic. A further round of research may reveal a better, more friendly, modern alternative to baleen. Or plastic. Yes?

Posture : Nothing Is as Simple as we Think

For some reason (?) the subject of posture has been relevant here for several days.

It began when eldest son stood up straight as…and I went to hug him. My head fit perfectly under his armpit. Oooh.

Then I watched a yt video about fitting a Victorian dress toile and was told that all original Historical Garments have the shoulder seams so far back that they will now lie behind a modern shoulder. ‘Cos we are lazy slumps.

I listened to a Miss Marple (Agatha Christie) book and was told that Jane Marple spent her girl hood school years using a back board to straighten her posture.

I’ve studied the Alexander Technique which teaches us to imagine a thread coming out of the very centre of our cranium and pulling the neck up and the chin level. The shoulders then automatically fall into place. Well. They should. But we have had our skeletal nature disformed by modern gadgets.

A head weighs – urm – a lot. And today we are all slumped/hunched, head forward, eyes on a screen etc.

I’ve always suffered from bad headaches/migraines. As a teenager I was once laughed at for my straight posture. Look at any dancer. Straight and aligned.

Himself gives me unexpected shoulder massages most days. My language can get fruity because of the pain involved but…..they are very welcome. In a strange way (!)

Sewing is a posture crippler and I’m all too aware of the fake history about Richard the Third.


1840’s Morning Dress

Flightly? Moi?

Oh yes!

The project has changed from the 16th century to the 19th century.

Because I can.

The image above is a pattern that I downloaded yesterday. No idea why, other than because I liked it.

Then I read all the pages and pages of instructions.

OMG. The lining has a boned corset that HAS TO BE MADE before the main dress. Whatever. I can do that (?!)

Today it all makes sense.

My house was built in 1839 and the vicar’s wife would have worn something very similar to this when they first moved in. The Romantic View.

Also – around the beginning of October – this place starts to get VERY COLD. Come January and we are all wearing at least 7 layers of clothes. The Practical View.

Another also – I could wear this in private here. With my leggings and thigh high thick woolly socks and possibly not go blue. Yay.

Crow’s Eye Productions is a local film company. I’ve met them. They shot scenes in this village and the lane to my house for their film about the Crowder Family and WW1 (true story.)

Pauline Loven is an amazingly talented costumier/dress-maker. She made me a 1914 skirt and I made a 1918 knitted jacket.

Keeping it local and personal for now :o)

Making a Toile aka Getting All Professional-Like!

I have a personality fault (?)


It’s called IMPATIENCE.

Seeing the bigger picture is a wonderful gift to have….it’s just all the teeny details that are extremely annoying.

I sew my garments with a devil-may-care, totally optimist zeal that can cause a few issues. But then again – too few to mention.

But this next “dream” project is SERIOUS.

A 15th century Persian woman’s outfit, all hand sewn and made to be wearable by me.

Hence…..OMG. I’m going to have to make a toile.


But as I want the real thing to be all velvet and silk and lined with more silk – I NEED to know what I’m actually doing.

*wry/hysterical grin*

Pattern is being assembled and the toile material is en route.

Wish me luck :o)

Dead Stock

I’ve been lucky enough to find a company in the UK that sells Dead Stock.

THIS dead stock is fabric. When a company does a run of material for the public market, and not all of that run sells, it’s bought up by others for re-sale. At much lower prices.

I have a fantasy costume that I’m dreaming of making. I have the pattern. Now with access to much cheaper luxury materials (velvets/silks/brocades)… I’ll save up and challenge myself to make an historically accurate Safavid outfit.

Hard to explain but it’s an outer robe, an inner robe and a pair of trousers – as worn by 16th century Safavid women.

The video below is BS MS history about the Safavid Empire.

Jeebs. They were Turkish and Islamic and Byzantine but the “greatest” enemies of the Ottomans. Who were Turkish. Islamic. Byzantine.

Apparently the Sunni S’hia split has always been there. Yeh. OK. Whatever.