Stitching Old & (almost) New Together

004I was given a handful of really old collars by my girlfriend almost a year ago (thank you Sorcha!) and finally I have decided to put them to use, and started by performing stitch-work surgery to one of my favorite thrift shop finds, a linen jacket shirt with a ruffle at the bottom and big shell buttons. First I took the top button off, turned in and stitched down the high narrow collarless shirt to the dimensions of the lacework collar…
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Then I pinned the hem of the collar  just inside the edge of the shirt…

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Then simply whip-stitched the two things together and then turned the collar out, without ironing,  so it has that lofty personality of the collar…. and voila !

004The thing is , these few antique collars have cast a magic spell on me as I am in love with the -old-fashioned ritual of hand-stitching on a hand-made collar on to not-so-new clothing.  I just can’t imagine what might blossom from this seed, except that with this old collar I now have …

” Something Old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue. “

outfit for wedding

Hey! I’m getting married tomorrow!

All This Talk About Toque

Sofonisba Anguissola -- Portrait of Phillip II of Spain

King Philip II of Spain, wearing the Spanish Tocado, late 1500s. Painting by Sofonisba Anguissola.

I have a thing about odd hats.   Looks like Spanish Renaissance sets the trend for my next design,  staid in its severity of  black, greys, and off-white.  A hat, straight up, with no brim ?   They were popular from the 13th to the 16th century in Europe, especially in France.  The fore-wearers of the modern knitted toque ,  or tuque,  it’s all there ~~ proof such a thing was actually stylish!   The Beanie is out folks. The Toque is IN.

Tam O’ Shanter !

. . . This truth fand honest Tam o’ Shanter,
As he frae Ayr ae night did canter,
Auld Ayr, wham ne’er a town surpasses
For honest men and bonnie lasses. . . .

(excerpt from Robert Burns Poem ” Tam O’ Shanter “)

The ” Tam o’ Shanter ” is a name given for the traditional Scottish bonnet which was born  from a character in poet Robert Burns’ imagination,  and comes to life in his epic poem  Tam o’ Shanter.  Also called  a “Tam” or a “Tammy”, the hat is flat on top, usually made of wool , and has a pompom on top called a “toorie”, or pom pom,  even a tassel, but also they are made without any.  There is in fact, an actual arithmetic equation of the popular design, that the crown is  twice the diameter of the head , but I’ve noticed many of the  bonnets in different sizes  and shapes.  Originally, having only plant dyes available, the hat was made only in blue,  but they are now popular in many colors, as well as tartan plaids.   Tam o’ Shanters, the Balmoral bonnet, and the even the somewhat military Glengarry cap all are worn either formally or informally in Highland dress, as well as in uniforms of a number of military units.  (I personally suspect the Glengarry evolved from the Balmoral Bonnet, as a scrunched or folded version, the advantage being that it can be folded flat and tucked into the waist of the kilt).  These Scottish bonnets have been worn by men in a traditional sense ~ however,  it is quite obvious that the Tam is popularly worn by women in modern day, especially the knit versions, having endless designs and motifs.

The Scottish Bonnets I think are smartly fashionable, and though some styles have a bit of a regiment look, I think any excuse to wear one is acceptable !



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Originally a soft, knitted blue cap with a flat voluminous crown, it gave the Highlanders their nickname ‘Bluebonnets’. Here the Balmoral style of Scottish bonnets appears in a 16th century portrait …

The band was sometimes checked, or ‘diced’, and sometimes plain. A diced band, with a  feather placed into the band,  is shown in this illustration …

Now , in case you’re wondering about all this hullabaloo about bonnets, well, it is because I am going to make one !  Perhaps several. I am keen to also try sewing one from felted wool cloth, either or both solid and plaid, which I will no doubt over-dye for a signature color affect.  Of course I’ll include the grossgrain ribbons on the band,  and make a cockade  on which to fasten one of my lovely pins .  Whichever I decide to do, I’ll keep you posted !

Deconstructing A Gentleman’s Tie

I have never taken a vintage tie apart, and it is like opening a very old book.  A dear friend of mine who has many ties to spare, gave me a few of his old silk ones.  I have plans for them, in two separate projects ~ but unfortunately, first I must gut the old geezers.

Some of the finer points of discovery~ all really old handwork.

I’ve set aside 8 inches of the widest front section of the tie  for another project (upcoming), but from what is left, this is what I’m up to …

… and voila ! Silk hair ribbon !

Such old-fashioned vanity, girls and hair ribbons.