Archive for July, 2014

Suffragette for a Day

Yesterday I was a suffragette!

Me as a suffragette.

Me as a suffragette.

It was Edwardian weekend at Crich Tramway Museum. Being a suffragette was fun, we sang rousing songs (the first two of these), had speeches and some chained themselves to the railings. The weather was great, if a little warm, but the outfit was cooler to wear than some re-enactment kit I have worn, and it was not inauthentic to eat ice-cream 🙂

Suffragette rally.

Also it was lovely to be able to wear some heirlooms. The skirt belonged to my great-grandmother and the bag and white feathers in my hat might have been hers as well (my Mum wasn’t sure whose they had been when she gave them to me).

I was pleased to have managed to wear suffragette colours as well: green, white and violet, which could stand for Give Women the Vote, or the green represents hope, white: purity and purple: freedom. I have a green belt on as well as the scarf keeping my hat from blowing off (useful on the open tram ride we took) and a green malachite necklace; white skirt, blouse and gloves; the purple is present, but less visible, I have a purple brooch, stockings and petticoat. The parasol is purple and green shot silk and is a real antique one, as is most of the outfit.

I know some people don’t approve of wearing real antiques, but I was careful and I don’t do it often. The stockings and silk petticoat came from ebay and just might have been worn by a real suffragette once! The blouse I got from an antique fair for just £5 as it had no buttons, a torn seam and some old mends. I love old mends, it makes a thing feel real, that it was worn by a real person once. I mended the tear and added some shell buttons. I think it fits me quite well. Nothing got harmed, although the hem of the skirt is now a little dusty, which happened. I am sure it will brush off.

The scarf and hat were from a charity shop and I trimmed the hat myself, as I will detail later in the post as it is my entry for the current HSF challenge, along with the mended blouse.

Lots of people took my photo, I felt like quite a celebrity, especially when I was asked to pose in a vintage car and pretend to drive it!

And it’s hey ho for the open road! Being an Edwardian Lady motorist.

Shame I couldn’t really have a go 🙂

We did get to ride the trams, including a Victorian one. It was not easy to get up the high steps, especially in my outfit, but worth it as the views were lovely. Sorry for the lack of photos, but the museum website which I linked to above will have some. There was lots going on. I enjoyed the fashion show and chatting to other Edwardians, but I didn’t get to see most of it as I get tired and the cobbles were hard to walk on. We’ll just have to go back another day.

And now for my entry to the HSF challenge #13: Under $10

I got this hat from a charity shop for under £4:

Hat before trimming.

Hat before trimming.

It looked a suitable shape and the straw looked plausible for the period based on pictures I’ve seen online.

I used scraps of fabric from old projects over ten years ago (never throw away anything which might be useful!) and a ribbon from stash which I bought for another project and didn’t use so I could that part as free.

The purple feather I bought from an antique shop the other day as it was the perfect colour, for £2, and then spent the whole day worrying about whether I had lost it. Just as well I was fretting over it because I did lose it! I didn’t end up having time to properly attach it, I just shoved it into the layers of fabric trim, which were only fixed in place with safety pins anyway, so I was lucky it stayed together at all. Fortunately someone found the feather and returned it to me when we had gone looking for it. The white feathers as I mentioned above were also heirlooms so I’m counting those as free as well.

The fake violets came with a lace cape I bought off ebay, they were a bonus so I call those free as well, since the cape was a bargain price anyway. The cape was probably 1890s, whether the flowers date from then or almost any time after I have no idea but they seemed quite plausible.

Suffragette hat trimmed.

Suffragette hat trimmed.

And the facts:

Challenge: #13 – Under $10
Fabric: straw hat; green cotton velvet scrap; white linen scrap; purple velvet ribbon from stash; feathers.
Pattern: none.
Year: Edwardian, first decade of 20th century.
Notions: safety pins.
How historically accurate is it? Not very. The hat is plausible and has some age, the scraps are natural fibres, the ribbon is wrong, the feathers are fine, especially the white ones which might even be from the era. I mackled it together in a more slipshod way than I feel they would have done. I’d give it 50%.
Hours to complete: Less than one: gathering the materials probably took longer than putting it together.
First worn: Yay – for the first time I can say I wore it to en event! Yesterday, to the Edwardian event at Crich Tramway Museum.
Total cost: about $10 – I was guesstimating £6 would equate, so it might be cents over, but I feel it is in the spirit of the challenge.

Second entry – mended blouse:

Mended blouse.

Mended blouse.

I sewed on the buttons and mended the side seam which was torn for 2.5″ – the mends next to the buttons are original.

Challenge: #13 – Under $10
Fabric: fine cotton. Lawn, muslin, voile? It’s lovely anyway.
Pattern: it was already made, this is mending.
Year: I reckon it is more second decade of the 20th century than first, by the collar, but it is around then as it has a waist tie. It looks home-made.
Notions: white thread; shell buttons from antique fair.
How historically accurate is it? Genuine, but my mend was probably not up to their standard. The buttons are possible, though they could be almost any age.
Hours to complete: About one, watching telly.
First worn: Again to the Edwardian event at Crich Tramway Museum yesterday (their definition also covered WWI)
Total cost: £5 for blouse; buttons were part of a job lot, call it 10p each. So £5.40 which is firmly under $10.

July 13, 2014 at 3:25 PM 10 comments


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