Suffragette for a Day

July 13, 2014 at 3:25 PM 10 comments

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.

Entry filed under: Hobbies, Outings. Tags: , , , .

HSF 11: The Politics of Fashion – 1920s Swimsuit

10 Comments Add your own

  • 1. ette  |  July 15, 2014 at 9:09 PM

    A great outfit, you look wonderful! And unbelieveable that it is all original! Everybody has to decide for himself, what to do with his antiques, I already had my 19th century drawers machine washed and they survived (solid linen). I am more careful when it comes to silk, so I wouldn’t have worn the stockings, but if they are in good condition, why not (and 5£ for that blouse, wow!)
    And I am sure it feels a lot better to wear “the real stuff” than a modern reproduction.
    love, ette

    • 2. knotrune  |  July 15, 2014 at 10:43 PM

      Thanks Ette 🙂 I do enjoy wearing the real stuff. Especially the ancestral skirt. It’s a whole other feeling than repro, which is fun too of course, especially when you’ve made something you’re proud of. It is quite a large part of the attraction of more modern periods for me, as I started out Medieval and Viking. But when I found you can buy genuine antique clothes and they are often way cheaper than repro, I could not resist! And then of course I wanted a chance to wear them.

      I don’t think the stockings are silk, they feel more like cotton, but they do have a gorgeous lace pattern so I was in two minds about trying them on. But they are strong and fit me better than my repro ones! I did wear some little thin socks to protect them from my feet 🙂 I shall have to put some photos of them up as they are so pretty. Of course they don’t even get seen unless I wantonly show them, but it is nice to know I am wearing suffragette underwear! I was more worried about the petticoat as that is silk and was a bit snug, which I am not used to in a petticoat. I think it must be from the 1910s in fact. It will make a gorgeous modern skirt, funny that we can wear their underwear as outerwear.

      As for the blouse – I know! For that price I snapped it up 🙂 and a corset cover for the same price. I did measure them to see if they might fit and got lucky with the blouse. The corset cover is too tight around the arms though, but for that price I don’t even mind and it has some pretty embroidery. I must start to blog some of my collection, I keep meaning to.

  • 3. Lisa  |  July 17, 2014 at 1:09 PM

    What a delightful post and photos! I recently re-watched Mary Poppins and had forgotten, until I saw it again, that Mrs. Banks was a suffragette. You look terrific. 🙂

  • 4. angelarigley  |  August 28, 2014 at 9:41 PM

    You look so authentic. Everything fits you perfectly. Love the feather, but the parasol even more! 🙂

  • 5. Confessions of a Refashionista  |  September 26, 2014 at 6:34 AM

    Absolutely fabulous! So much vintage awesomeness! 😀

  • 6. adaliza  |  January 8, 2015 at 11:53 AM

    What a wonderful outfit. Love the hat and those colours. I have my great aunt’s brooch with stones in those colours.

    • 7. knotrune  |  January 8, 2015 at 1:19 PM

      That’s great, was she a suffragette? I’d love to see pictures 🙂

      • 8. adaliza  |  January 8, 2015 at 1:56 PM

        I’ll have to find it, in its box upstairs somewhere. I’m not sure she was a suffragette but certainly she was an independent, strong-minded woman who’s been an inspiration to myself and my daughter. ‘What would Bertha say?’ is something we often mull over, because we know it’d be something sensible!

  • 9. Jay  |  April 3, 2015 at 12:09 AM

    Looks good, it all came together nicely.

  • 10. tableofcolors  |  July 19, 2015 at 6:15 AM

    Loved your outfit…I think I might have been a suffragette back in the day 🙂


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