It has been months since I participated in Beswingtes Fräulein’s “Getrödelt, Gefunden, Gefreut“, where you show your antique and flea market shopping finds on the 1st of the month. Now this month I am back on track again 🙂
What I want to show you today is nothing more than a fragment. I found these pages in an antique shop in the neighbouring town, they were taped into passepartouts, but were lying in a box without any frame or support. I collected as much pages as I could find and bought the lot for 15 CHF, not very cheap but as I had never seen anything similar in an antiques shop I was willing to pay this price, even though it seemed a bit on the top end for me.
The pages all belong to an early department store catalogue. Maybe you know that in Europe the early 20th century saw a rise of the department store, shops like “Au bon marché” or “Au printemps” became not only the first large and luxurious mall-like stores where you could buy anything, they also offered mail-order and shipped catalogues to their clients.
What I found are pages from the swiss issue of the Summer 1907 mail-order catalogue of “Au printemps“. Most interesting for me was to see how the change from made-to-measure-tailor dresses to store-bought off-the-rack fashion. The women’s fashion in these few pages ranges from made-to-measure over half-sewn and not-sewn to ready-made garments.
Now, without much ado, enjoy all these pigeon breasts:
So lange war ich nicht mehr dabei, aber diesen Monat zeige ich euch endlich auch mal wieder ein wenig Trödel im Rahmen von “Getrödelt, Gefunden, Gefreut“, gehostet von dem Beswingten Fräulein. Was ihr hier sehr ist der klägliche Rest eines Kaufhaus-Katalogs von 1907. Kaufhäuser waren um die Jahrhundertwende ja gross im Kommen und boten nicht nur ein ganz neues Einkaufserlebnis in riesigen Luxus-Tempeln die scheinbar alles nur denkbare anboten, es gab auch die Möglichkeit, per Katalog vom Sofa aus zu bestellen, frühe Versandhäuser also. Dies sind Seiten des Schweizer Katalogs des Kaufhauses “Au Printemps” für den Sommer 1907. Gefunden habe ich sie in der Nachbarstadt in einem kleinen Antikladen, sie lagen eingeklebt in Passepartouts, aber ohne Rahmen oder sonst einen Schutz, in einer Kiste mit allem möglichen anderen Krempel. Ich habe so viele Seiten wie ich finden konnte zusammengeklaubt (man darf sagen gerettet^^), trotzdem sind es längst nicht alle. Abgeknöpft wurden mir dafür 15 Franken. Das fand ich ehrlich gesagt recht teuer, aber da ich noch nie etwas vergleichbares gefunden hatte, war es mir die Sache trotzdem wert. Was ich besonders interessant finde, ist der sichtbare Wandel von massgeschneiderter Schneider-Mode hin zu Modellen “von der Stange”. Neben diesen beiden findet man im Katalog auch Zwischenschritte, halbangefertigt und nichtangefertigt. Und jetzt lasse ich einfach Bilder sprechen 🙂
Short notice: Because the number of readers asking for a german version is increasing I will try to type all posts in both languages. Below the english text you’ll find the german one in italics.
Kurze Anmerkung: Da immer mehr Leser bedauern, dass ich auf Englisch schreibe, werde ich versuchen, alle Posts zweisprachig zu tippen. Unter dem englischen Text findet ihr die deutsche Version in Kursivschrift.
While the number of sewing machines in my posession stagnates another small collection is constantly growing. And as with the sewing machines one could argument that I only have two hands, two feet and two eyes. But, as all sewing machine collectors might know, every machine has its advantages, this one makes a perfect straight stitch, the other one is quiet, the next is useful if you want to make buttonholes and so on.
The same applies to cameras. I love how cameras from different epoches with different films make different photos. Therefore everytime I see an interesting or cute or somehow appealing camera for a good price I can’t do different but have to buy it.
At the moment I own three different types of cameras: standard 35mm ones, roll-fillm cameras and Land cameras. I am still learning and many of the photos I shoot are far from being good, but I still I like the process of photographing as such, the feeling of holding a negative in my hands, knowing this is the only copy of the moment I captured days or weeks ago.
For the last few years my true compagnion has been a Voigtländer Vito CD, a camera produced from 1961-66. It is a cute camera with the big advantage of a built-in photometer. It works with standard 35mm-film, the one you can still buy today everywhere (in contrast to roll-films you have to buy in a specialized photo-shop).
Here are some photos I shot in the two years I have owned it now. I didn’t do any photoshopping (except for the watermark), black-and-white photos were shot on black and white film.
Während die Zahl meiner Nähmaschinen stagniert gibt es da eine andere kleine Sammlung, welche stetig wächst. Und ebenso wie bei einer grösseren Anzahl von Nähmaschinen könnte man argumentieren, dass man doch nur zwei Hände, zwei Füsse, zwei Augen hat. Doch wie mir jeder Nähmaschinensammler beipflichten wird, so hat doch jede von ihnen ihre Vorteile. Diese macht einen sehr schönen Stich, die andere ist sehr handlich, die dritte ist nützlich für Knopflöcher etc.
Das gleiche darf für Kameras gelten. Ich mag es zu sehen, wie Kameras aus verschiedenen Zeiten mit verschiedenen Techniken/Filmen verschiedene Arten von Bildern produzieren. Daher kann ich nur schwer nein sagen, wenn mich, wo auch immer, eine niedliche Kamera zu einem vernünftigen Preis anlacht.
Zur Zeit besitze ich drei verschiedene Systeme, 35mm-Kameras, Rollfilm-Kameras und Sofortbildkameras. Ich steh immer noch ziemlich am Anfang und viele meiner Fotos sind nicht vorzeigbar, aber ich mag trotz allem den Prozess des Fotografierens und das Wissen, ein Negativ in den Händen zu halten, welches die einzige existierende Kopie eines Moments ist und der nun bereits Tage oder Wochen vergangen ist.
Seit knapp zwei Jahren ist diese Voigtländer Vito CD mein treuer Begleiter. Produziert wurde sie von 1961-66. Das praktische an ihr ist, dass sie einen eingebauten Belichtungsmesser hat. Sie frisst normalen 35mm-Kleinbild-Film, den man bis heute in der Drogerie oder im Supermarkt kaufen kann (im Gegensatz zu Rollfilmen, die es nur noch im Fachgeschäft gibt).
Heute nun ein paar Fotos, welche ich in den letzten Jahren mit ihr geschossen habe. Abgesehen vom Wasserzeichen haben sie kein Photoshop gesehen, schwarz-weiss Fotos wurden also auf schwarz-weiss Film geknipst.
Already a while ago I was asked if I would like to share some of the old fashion plates I have.
Of course I would! Unfortunately most are too large for my small scanner and I don’t want to damage them, but I do what I can. Additionally you can already find so many scans on the interweb, so if you are searching for good scans you might want to check if someone else already uploaded what you are searching for.
Here are the colour plates in my “Journal des Demoiselles” from 1878. Unfortunately some are missing, you can find all plates (and the text as well) here.
It’s the first of the month and as always Frl Swing invites fellow flea market addicts and charity shop haulers to show their latest finds.
I would like to use this month’s showcase to present a little mystery item, hopefully the online community’s wisdom can help me figure out what it was meant for.
I found it only a few weeks ago on a flea market. When I see boxes I have to open them but most of the time they contain nothing or pens or compasses or stuff like this. So I was pretty surprised, discovering something that at least looked remotely like something to sew with. And for a price of 3 CHF I was willing to take it with me (no, the seller had no idea of its function, either).
A construction made from metal stick with a wooden knob on top. At the end sits a machine needle, but in a slight angle. Tightly around this stick sits a sleeve with something resembling a sewing foot at its end.
When holding the thing by the sleeve you can press down the knob and the needle goes down through the foot. There is no spring inside, so you have to pull it up again yourself. The little l-shaped thing next to the needle has a little hole in the middle, I suppose you could use it to thread your yarn through it. The screw and the teeth directly below the knob allow to adjust how deep the needle can go down.
My dad and I assume this could be some kind of upholstery tool, maybe to attach buttons to a sofa, but I can’t see how it would exactly work and I wasn’t able to find any information on it online
Have you seen something similar and can help me? I would be so very happy as I would love to know how it works.
Ich möchte dieses Mal eine geheimnisvolle Apparatur vorstellen und hoffe ein wenig auf die geballte Intelligenz des Internets, vielleicht hat ja jemand von euch sowas schon einmal gesehen. Gefunden habe ich dieses “Ding” auf einem Flohmarkt vor ein paar Wochen, hübsch versteckt in der oben sichtbaren Box.
Auf einer Metallstange ist ein Holzknopf befestigt, am anderen Ende wird eine Nähmaschinennadel angeschraubt, allerding in einem leichten Winkel. Vor der Nadel ist noch ein kleines gebogenes Plättchen (was im Bild wie ein “l” aussieht), durch welches man vermutlich einen Faden fädeln kann. Um diesen Stab herum gearbeitet ist eine bewegliche Hülse, am unteren Ende etwas, was verdächtig nach Nähfüsschen aussieht. Wenn ich das Ding an der Hülse festhalte und den Knopf herunterdrücke senkt sich die Nadel durch dieses Füsschen. Da es offenbar keine Feder im Inneren hat, muss man die Nadel auf dieselbe Weise wieder hochziehen. Mit den Zähnchen unterhalb des Knopfes kann eingestellt werden, wie weit die Nadel durch den Fuss sticht.
Gekostet hat es mich 3Fr., auch weil der Verkäufer selber keine Ahnung hatte, was es sein könnte.
Mein Vater und ich mussten beide an Polsterarbeiten denken, er hatte die Idee, dass man damit vielleicht Knöpfe an einer Rückenlehne oder so annähen kann, auch wenn die genaue Arbeitsweise dann immer noch unklar bleibt. Zudem habe ich im Internet keinerlei Informationen finden können, die diesem Ding auch nur ansatzweise nahe kommen.
Habt ihr so etwas schon einmal gesehen oder wisst, wofür es gut sein könnte? Ich würde mich sehr freuen, etwas über dieses Schätzchen herauszubekommen und es vielleicht sogar einmal auszuprobieren.
This post was inspired by one little Christmas present I got last year, but shows in fact much more than this.
Already some years ago I got fascinated in tatting. This crafting technique became popular in the 19th century and derived from a pastime of ladies in the 18th century: To show off their gracile hands and wrists women knotted cords in a special kind of way, using shuttles to do so. The results must have been long cords but only very few objects decorated with these have survived (I found this pair of baby shoes in the V&A-collection, though I am not entirely sure if this was really done with a shuttle. In any case it is not, as the description says, tatting, if you look closely you’ll see that the cords are only arranged in a loop pattern, the rings are not connected to each other as they would if they were tatted). The shuttles were comparably large (appr. 15cm long) and richly decorated (see this or this). Maybe you know the portrait of young Marie Antoinette holding such a shuttle.
In the 19th century this technique was developed further, the shuttles became smaller and a variety of knots was invented, now enabling to produce loops and rings connected to each other and in doing so, a new kind of lace-making was established. Depending on the complexity of the pattern and the forms used, one or two shuttles are needed as well as a small hook, for example a crochet hook.
I have never been good in learning one thing really well because I am too soon distracted by some other thing I want to learn. For that reason my only finished tatting project has up to now been my last finished one, that was in 2012:
But of course that doesn’t prevent me from still wanting to learn it properly and from buying tatting-related things.
Let’s start with the most basic and indispensable one, the shuttle. Still today tatting shuttles can be found in haberdashery shops, for example from Prym. These are made from plastic and comparably light. I started with them and they are ok. But as soon as I had found an old one I switched to this one. These are often made from horn, are heavier and therefore can be dropped more easily through the loops, additionally I have the feeling they are even smoother than the plastic ones. Others can be made from Ivory, tortoiseshell or bone.
I found the two shuttles below in the middle on a flea market (paying 1CHF) and an antique fair (paying 3CHF)- Both have a little chip but function perfectly. So if you plan to start tatting you should stop at the market stalls with the untidy and jampacked boxes of small things, maybe you are lucky, too. The light one is presumably horn, the dark one could also be some kind of early plastic, I am not sure about this.
On the left you see two more shuttles. The one with the plaid pattern is made from metal, the paint seems to be something like laquer or enamel. Unfortunately it is pretty damaged and the paint chips easily so I can’t use it anymore. The horn one on the far right I already showed once after my trip to London in 2013, I found it on Camden Market (post doesn’t exist anymore). It has inlays made from metal and mother of pearl. With something around 20-30£ it wasn’t cheap, but I found some online afterwards being sold for three-figure sums, so it seems to have been a good deal after all.
Already quite some time ago I found a small cardboard box on a flea market in Bern, filled with tatting material. Unfortunately the seller wasn’t present and I was asked to wait. Because I had promised my already very tired boyfriend to leave instantly I was forced to leave it behind but I was lucky and re-discovered it some months later and bought it.
As you see there is also a lot of other stuff inside.
I love this piece of black velvet with all the samples sewn onto it. Maybe I should frame it? What you can easily see is the distinct effect of tatting, loops and rings with tiny picots.
Two other shuttles, horn or tortoiseshell, and a tiny little glass dog that has absolutely nothing to do with tatting 🙂
In the back you see a pretty clever box made from fabric-covered cardboard. In front of it lies a tatting pin (that thing with the ring and the chain), some lace and well, I guess you know scissors and a crochet hook.
These fork-like things are meant for hairpin lace, a completely different technique, but not less interesting. In the lower right you see an old postcard from Wila, a small town of less than 2000 souls somewere in the canton of Zurich.
Well, and if anyone could tell me what that cylindrical thing in the middle is, I would be very grateful 🙂
The pale part can be moved freely around the middle axis.
Well, you might ask “Where is the bespoken present?”. It’s here:
An early 20th century box for a tatting pin as seen above. I was able to have a quick look inside to see that it actually came filled before my boyfriend snapped it away and refused to give it back to me, but paid the seller and had me wait one long month until Christmas to see it again. And when I was finally able to unpack it, I was quite surprised. Not one, but two pins, at least one of them never used. The other one is a bit rusty but I can’t say if this comes from having been used or from aging.
And the fun bit to finish: I have no idea how these are used. Yes, of course, they serve the same purpose as does a crochet needle, which is mentioned in a lot of tutorials you find. And I know one illustration that shows how it is held: the pin like a crochet hook and the ring slid on one of your fingers. And then? I assume the ring enables you to drop the pin when it isn’t needed without entirely losing it. But I imagine the pin would tangle with the thread and the dangling shuttle when it is hanging on the chain freely.
I searched Google, I searched Bing, I browsed the Antique Pattern Library, but I couldn’t find a single image of how to use it, the only image I found online shows the pin alone (here on page 5, the aforementioned illustration with the pin held is printed in a modern book on tatting, so I can’t show it).
Is anybody of you experienced in tatting and has ever worked with such a pin?
If not I will just try to use it someday, maybe it will work better than I can imagine now, who knows?
So much for today, love
Every now and then I write about the little helpers without all the sewing projects I post here wouldn’t be possible. They do have their own tag and once in a while they even get a post all for themselves (some of these posts were deleted when my blog moved to the new url a year ago, at the moment there is only one post left online).
I am talking about my sewing machines. Whereas many bloggers sew after historical patterns most of them use more or less modern sewing machines and don’t talk about them a great deal. But antique mechanics fascinates me and despite the lack of space I can’t help allowing another machine to join my “collection” every now and then. Apart from having to be somehow interesting to me they do have to work. Apart from 1,5 exceptions all my machines can still sew and are still, more or less often, in use (1,5 because one is actually working but the wire needs to be replaced and without this being done I don’t dare to use it, the other may even be working but I never tried, it is even older than the other and I want my father to check the wires and change the plug before I try).
The age of my machines ranges from the early 1900s to the late 1960ies. The oldest two are handwheel-operated and not very handy to work with, these are the ones I use least. The two I use most are my 1948 Singer Featherweight and my foot pedal-operated Pfaff 30 from 1932.
Today I want to show you the newest addition to the family, but there is a little story behind. Last year in Spring my father and I were browsing ebay for fun, searching for special sewing machines and children’s ones (my father collects the latter). This all went via telephone and emails because we live 700km apart. Amongst all the other fun and/or interesting links he sent me the auction link to a General Electric Sewhandy. As it turned out, this model was copied by Singer with the well-known Featherweight.
As you can imagine this was an auction on ebay.com (I can’t imagine finding the GE on german ebay). My father knew he would fly to the US later that year so he won the auction and had it send to a friend of his. We already were a little confused when the link with the tracking number said something about a 40 pounds-package (the GE-machine was supposed to weight 12 pounds). But my father didn’t want to cause any extra work and decided to wait until he got to the United States himself in the summer, we couldn’t think of anything really going wrong.
Well…it did. When he finally came to open the package he did not find, as expected, a cute 30ies green GE sewing machine, but a massive beige 60ies Bernina. Bummer!
All attempts to contact the seller were ineffective and so he had to decide what to do with it. The GE would have fitted into his suitcase, the Bernina definitely was a piece of luggage on its own and the airline asked a ridiculously high price for it. But my father didn’t have the heart to dump it. So many accessories came with it, the manual, the case, everything was there and in pretty good condition and the machine itself was working.
On the spur of the moment he removed the needle, put all loose parts and his intended hand luggage in his suitcase and headed to the security check with the Bernina to board with him. Technically a small sewing machine as hand luggage shouldn’t be a problem, still it is advised to inform the security personnel beforehand because it is a rather unusual object to take with you. Well he didn’t have the time to do so and this machine was everything but small. And being 40 pounds it was just a tiny bit heavier than the 16 pounds allowed for hand luggage.
Well…it worked! Back in Germany he bought a power transformer to make it work with the 230 V voltage here in Europe and when my brother came to help us with the move to our new apartment, he brought the Bernina with him.
My dear, welcome home!
It is a Bernina 730, a very strong and reliable machine built from 1963-1982, mine is the record variant. According to the serial number it was built in 1969.
What makes the 730 special is the then new knee lift. This is not, as with other machines I own, used instead of the foot pedal, but serves as a third hand to lift the sewing foot. Until today this system is available for most Bernina machines.
And another thing makes this machine special: To sew decorative stitches it was long necessary to insert little discs into a certain slot. The shape of the disc determined the stitch. That meant that you were able to use a vast variety of stitches, but that you had to store all discs in a separate box. The 730 has a dizzying mechanic inside that makes it possible to chose from a set of decorative stitches without changing any discs at all.
I already sewed a little bit with it and it really works great. I even sew knits and it feels ok (I hate sewing knits, but I need to reduce my storage)! What I haven’t tried out yet is how the decorative stitches look but I see no reason why they shouldn’t work.
And because all these machines get far too little attention on this blog (and maybe on others, too), I plan to introduce a little series related to them so stay curious!
I found this interesting table in a 1924 Dressmaking book. Actually the “Women’s Institute Library of Dressmaking” consists of multiple books, but I only own Volume 2 which covers “Harmony in dress – Beautiful clothes, corsets and dress foundations, silhouettes, colors, fabrics, good taste in dress, millinery and accessories, the dressmaker and tailor shop, european shops”.
This table gives you hints on how to combine different colours in street and evening wear, arranged according to wether they can be used as a second major colour, for accents or only in small doses as trimming. I wouldn’t agree with all the given advises from my modern point of view, but it is very interesting to see what colour combinations were modern and considered interesting 90 years ago. And it can provide help when choosing fabrics and colour combinations to recreate a garment as correctly as possible.
Somehow I always miss to post what I found on flea markets. Either I don’t make it to write a post in time or I think it isn’t that interesting to show it here. But now after a “few” months’ break, another “Getrödelt, Gefunden, Gefreut!“-Post, hosted as each month on Beswingtes Fräulein’s blog “Beswingtes Allerlei“.
The past few weeks have been different and somewhat insecure. After having additionally worked in the museum until September it was hard to adapt to the one salary I earn at the bookshop again and until two weeks ago it wasn’t clear if I could raise my pensum there (luckily I can!). So this month’s motto should have been: Saving. And really, I cooked more often so much I was able to eat leftovers at work instead of buying something for lunch, I reduced my consumption of take-away coffees to as good as none (I think I bought two, one was sponsored by my boyfriend)and I said to myself not to go shopping anymore unless I really needed something. Excluded from this were flea markets and used items, though I think I didn’t visit a single flea market the whole month, don’t have to tempt myself unneccessarily 😉
Well, I am far from being perfect and so I have to admit that this is also the month I bought the most shoes since…well, very long. Five pairs, to be honest, three of them new. Yes, shame on me (but they are so beautiful and were so reasonably priced….oh).
I don’t even know why I begged my boyfriend to stop at this charity shop. I felt I just needed a little shopping feeling and though this would be less dangerous than going elsewhere. Because he really hates this particular shop he only accompanied me a few minutes and left then to wait in the car. Baaaad decision. Right after he had left I picked up a pair of black leather boots for half the price (he wouldn’t let me buy shoes, he hates how many I already own) and then to make things worse I found this amongst the antique books:
And yes, I bought it. With 40 CHF it was quite expensive, but I still think it was a good buy.
A very big book “Lehrkurs der Selbstschneiderei” (training course to home sewing), a smaller appendix with patterns for knitting and crocheting and even a postcard to order other books from this publisher as well as a pay-in slip.
The appendix is not overly interesting to photograph:
But the book itself! It has no date given, but judging from the illustrations and photos it should date from the 1930ies.
And it covers really everything remotely connected with textiles. Dying and weaving…
..different kinds of stitches and embroidery (yes, in full colour!)…
…how to decorate and finish seams and hems…
…knitting and crocheting for children and grown-ups…
…photos of beautiful finished projects…
…different collars and even hat decorations and alterations…
…ideas on how to alter a basic pattern to give it a new look…
…and last but not least some fashion illustrations…
I really hope to use it in the future, though I have to admit I tend to forget these kinds of things when working with patterns and just do as I am told or as I already know. But I really would like to try some of these ideas and at least I paid so much for it, would be a shame if I wouldn’t use it.
Nachdem ich meist entweder das Datum verschlafe und nicht rechtzeitig fertig werde oder ich die erstandenen Dinge nicht für interessant genug erachte, hier nun endlich wieder ein “Getrödelt, Gefunden, Gefreut”- Beitrag von mir.
Eigentlich sollte ich diesen Monat ja sparen, aber aus welchen Gründen auch immer musste ich in diesen Trödelladen und war als ich rauskam um ein dickes Buch und ein paar Schuhe reicher, aber auch um einiges Geld ärmer. Das Buch “Lehrkurs der Selbstschneiderei” hat mich komplett mit Schachtel, beiliegendem Heft, einer alten Bestellkarte und Einzahlungsschein 40 Franken gekostet, etwa 34€. Ein Datum lässt sich nirgends finden, aber anhand der Fotos ist es aus den 30er Jahren. Im Heft finden sich Schnittmuster für Strick- und Häkelprojekte, im Buch selber gibt es dann weniger Schnittmuster (vor allem Basisschnitte zum vergrössern), aber umso mehr Verarbeitungstipps, Anleitungen und Ideen. Und vom Färben und Weben über Stricken, Sticken, Schleifchen machen bis hin zum kompletten Herrenhemd und sogar Hutänderungen ist wirklich alles dabei. Zwischendrin immer wieder Fotos von Beispielobjekten, farbige Seiten und unzählige Beispiele für Krägen, Details, Verzierungen, Borten, Knopfleisten und was-weiss-ich -nicht-alles. Eine Fundgrube, wahrhaft. Dumm nur dass ich solche Bücher meist genau dann im Schrank lasse, wenn ich nähe und die Schnittmuster nach Anleitung oder Erfahrung zusammenknüppel. Ich hoffe wirklich ich bessere mich in dieser Hinsicht und setze zumindest ein paar dieser Ideen um, wär doch schade drum (um die Ideen und um das Geld 🙂 )
I know this post is a little late, but I had to find some of the older pictures of this project to get it done. So I only posted a little image on facebook to officially complete the challenge in time, but of course it will get its own post.
The 21st HSF-Challenge was “Re-Do”. This means, you could do just anything, as long as it matched one of the previous challenges (and I strongly believe with 20 challenges to chose from, you could really do next to everything). I think my project would best fit into the UFO&PHD-challenge (Un-Finished-Objects and Projects Half Done), but could also be related to the Tops&Toes-challenge.
Everything started with a little discussion on Anne Elisabeth’s blog “Munich Rococo”. I was unable to find this discussion, but it has to have been in late 2012 or early 2013. I think the context was that many things, pictures and artefacts from bygone eras can only be fully understood when used. One of the examples was a footstool, these tiny little stools you can see in what feels like every second interior scene from the 18th century onwards.
The question was, what for was such a footstool. To rest you feet on, that’s for sure. But why? Because the feet shouldn’t touch the ground? To protect silk slippers and stockings from hard wood planks? Those who had some re-encactment experience knew the answer quite well and with it came a second answer: why did they vanish?
The answer is really so simple: To keep you warm. In rooms without central heating the floor is really cold so resting your feet on the floor would leave you with a pair of chilled bones and flesh in a very short time, leading to colds, flus and bladder infections. By resting you feet onto a little footstool, the feet were kept away from the cold surface and didn’t cool so easily. And when living, building, heating and isolating changed during the 20th century, these little helpers became dispensable.
Well, I am one of the girls that is always cold. I manage to have cold hands and feet the whole year, but in winter I am simply freezing, especially when I sit down and read a book or write something.
As you can imagine, I was destined to get such a footstool for myself.
I don’t know when exactly it was, but one afternoon a friend and I made a charity-second-hand-shopping tour in Berne. And amongst all the stuff I bought that day was this:
Cute little footstool to restore, because it was really damaged.
The straps that where meant to support the whole thing and your feet on top of it were completely torn.
When I removed the upper fabric, I found another layer below:
Both fabrics completely removed and I was left with this:
You see a thin layer of wadding inside the outer fabric, the black fabric underneath and on the far right the footstool. The edges are covered with jute. Now let’s remove this molleton thingy in the middle:
From left to right: the black fabric you already know, the removed molleton, the whatsoever plant-like filling and the disembowelled footstool. You see the straps hanging down. The jute edge was intact and because I have no experience in upholstery I left it like that.
I removed the jute straps and stapled new ones to the wooden frame:
Do you recognize what it is? These are ribbons to be cross stitch embroidered, these terrible, old-fashioned ribbons to hang on your door to repel welcome your visitors. I had these because a mother of a former friend of mine had embroidered very much back in the 80ies and gave me all the stuff she still had. They are very strong and wide enough to serve this purpose. The jute you see behind the straps comes from the same context. I didn’t want to drop the filling all over the place when using the footstool, so I added this layer to the bottom.
Like this it stayed since march 2013. I was scared to cut the new fabric and to fail. Somewhere in between I repainted it. I had planned to remove all the paint and just add some clear coat to protect it. Unfortunately the wood had changed its colour. Some parts were very bright, others remained as dark as the paint on them had been. Maybe this was low quality wood and it had always been like that, not meant to be shown ever again. Well, anyway. I had to decide for a darker colour to paint it, but I wanted the structure to shine through, so I searched for wood stain or glaze. Considering the colours of the fabric I wanted to use, I imagined a reddish, honey-like brown. Yes, I found it but only in so large tins I wasn’t willing to buy them for such a tiny project. So I went with a very dark, blackish brown. I am not completely happy with the paint but for my very first project it is ok. And then it took me until two weeks ago to move on:
Instead of wadding the outer fabric, I wadded the inner one. A red cotton leftover, wadded with pure wool, the one I had already used in my cape.
I nailed it to the frame on one side before adding the filling. Usually you use coconut fibres to fill upholstery, but this wasn’t available in a standard hardware store. In the pet division I found an alternative: hay!
When I had finished, it looked like this:
To attach the outer fabric I bought gold-coloured bullen-nails. You can already see the fabric lying in the background in the photo above. There is a little story to this fabric, too:
When I was in Lyons in autumn 2012 for a hands-on training, I was given the task to do some research on Philippe de Lasalle, a lyonese silk entrepreneur and designer of the 18th century. Every year in november, the Marché des Soies takes place in the Palais du Commerce in Lyons. When I went there in 2012 I loved to see all the different dealers, look at all the silks and I spent hours watching a group of silkworms eat their way through a bunch of mulberry leaves. Beside the silkworm breeder, one stall was of particular interest to me: Tassinari et Chatel. This enterprise is one of the oldest silk fabric producers still existant in Lyons, founded as early as 1680. In the 1760ies, Etienne Pernon, the director of this enterprise which was called the “Maison Pernon” back then, started a very successful cooperation with Philippe de Lasalle, the very Lasalle whose life I was researching. In 1779 the managment was passed over to his son Camille Pernon and the cooperation persisted until 1789, when the french revolution forched de Lasalle to flee and leave all his equipment behind. Whereas Camille Pernon was able to withstand the changes and resumed to business as soon as possible, Lasalle seems to have been unable to find a place in this now new world. No trace of any business activity can be found afterwards, the machines that weren’t destroyed during the revolution he gave to the city of Lyons to train weavers and silk designers on them. He died in 1804.*
But back to the market stall of Tassinari et Chatel. I knew they still weave some of the old designs and they offered piles of different silk leftovers (I mean, they make interior silks for walls and upholstery, so their leftover panels could be as long as 4 metres). I was unable to find a Lasalle weaving amongst them but was very tempted to buy some other designs I had come across during my research, though they were terribly pricy. Fortunately in the end I found a basket with small leftovers, approximately 50cmx50cm-large pieces of silk. Five different pieces in a bag for 25€. One of these was to become the cover of my footstool. To me it seems like a design from the first quarter of the 19th century, unfortunately I found nothing in any museum database that comes remotely close to this design, so I can’t show you anything to compare it with.
Now, I fear I have already talked to much, so I will finally show you the pictures:
And to show the size, it is really small.
What the item is: A footstool. Bought the footstool itself for little money in a charity shop. gave it a new glaze, a new filling and a new fabric cover.
The Challenge: #21 Re-Do (UFOs and PHDs, Tops & Toes, Make, Do & Mend)
Fabric: red cotton, pure silk from Tassinari & Chatel in Lyons, France
Pattern: Just traced the old fabric to get the right size for the cotton layer and the right amount of filling. The silk I pinned to the cotton and cut around it.
Year: Early 19th century, though the footstool itself looks a little older with this swung legs. But it could have been reupholstered (the footstool itself might date from the first quarter of the 20th century)
Notions: Jute and strong woven ribbon, hay, wool batting, nails, bullen-nails, dark brown glaze
How historically accurate is it? Well, I can’t say anything about the carpentry. The jute and the ribbons I attached with staples rather than nails. Hay could be accurate, as could be the wool batting. The cotton cover is not acurate, the silk certainly is, though it was woven on a modern loom and not on a historical drawstring loom.
Hours to complete: 2-3, complete with painting and everything.
First worn: Stands in front of the sofa as is used when sitting on it with the laptop on my knees since last week.
Total cost: Five silk scraps in a bag cost me 25€, this was a little more than half of one, so let’s say 3€. Because I bought a lot in the charity shop the day I bought the footstool the seller asked 40CHF for everything, thinking of what I bought I would say I paid around 5€ for the footstool. Bullen-Nails, glaze and nails did cost quite a bit, so let’s say 25€?
See you soon,
* Sources for the above paragraph:
Belle M. Borland: Philippe de Lasalle. His contrbution to the textile industry of Lyons, Chicago 1936
Marie-Jo de Chaignon: Philippe de Lasalle. Dessinateur de soierie à Lyon au XVIIIe siècle. In: Soie en Touraine, Tours 2003, p. 14-21
Liliane Hilaire-Pérez: Inventing in a world of guilds. The case of silk fabrics in Lyon in the XVIIIth century. In: K. Scott [publ.]: Interiors, Decoration and Design. Essays in the history snd Aesthetics of material culture in 18th century France (no year and place given)
Third challenge in a row, I am optimistic to really meet my goal of doing half of this year’s challenges 😀
The theme for this fortnight’s challenge was “HSF Inspiration”. So basically you could do anything, as long as it had been inspired by some project previously made for the HSF. I started from the back and began looking at the old HSF-photos of 2013, so at the projects I hadn’t seen before, because I didn’t participate last year (I am not sure if you have to be a member of the group, but here is the link to the fb-albums).
After having checked what I had in stock concerning lace and ribbons I decided to try this design:
I was able to use a leftover from a long forgotton project, a wide, mat bias binding in a pale lavender. I paired this with a matching rose satin ribbon and black bobbin lace. The tutorial had asked for black lace and velvet ribbon and green grosgrain ribbon, but neither did I have these colours nor did I want it to be that dark.
Because my satin ribbon was so narrow I doubled it, a third bow would have crossed the line to a gift-wrapping-effect 🙂
I roughly followed the instructions of the tutorial, but my main focus was the picture: The whole thing is based on a circle (the tutorial says half circle, I completely overlooked this), the original of buckram, mine is grey felt. A part of the rim gets covered with pleated ribbon (I cut the bias binding in half) and a layer of lace on top. Now the long piece of lace is attached, as you see it is doubled and sewn together at the straight edges. I had to iron and wrinkle the lace to make it lie flat at the end, I am sure with a tulle lace as shown in the original drawing this was much less bulky. To completely cover the felt I added a rest of the lace to the whole thing. On top of it all I placed the bow I had formed out of the two different ribbons. The lace and the ribbon might be a tiny bit shorter as the tutorial asks for, but first this is all I had left of the bias binding and second I didn’t want to make it too extravagant, so I can maybe wear it without full 1870ies attire.
If you would like to make your own, I tried to translate the istructions for you:
To make this bow arrange a 76cm length of 6,5cm wide green grosgrain ribbon on one end into narrow box pleats of 1cm width each until you end up with 11cm of pleated ribbon. Sew this folded part of the ribbon onto a half circle cut out of buckram (3,5cm diametre), 1cm away from the outer rim.This is covered as the image shows with 5cm of pleated black lace. Now add a length of two laces that you connected at the straight edges, ruffles the last part of it so it forms a half circle. The final length of the lace should be 20cm. Additionally ad a 40cm piece of the green grosgrain ribbon, a 10 and 6cm loop of the same ribbon as well as a small loop and a folded knot of black velvet ribbon. The latter covers all ends and seams of the other loops.
The rest of the satin ribbon I used as a loop on the bottom side to attach it to the head with bobby pins.
The Challenge: #19 HSF Inspiration
Fabric: a small circle of grey polyester felt
Pattern: tutorial without a pattern found in “Der Bazar. Illustrirte Damen=Zeitung, Nr. 21, June 3rd 1872
Notions: black and lavender thread, rose satin ribbon, lavender bias binding (both synthetic fibres), black bobbin lace (maybe cotton or linen).
How historically accurate is it? Not too much. I roughly followed the instructions, I made everything by hand and the result looks remotely like the image in the tutorial. But I used modern, artificial fibres instead of silk ribbons.
Hours to complete: 1-1,5
First worn: not worn yet.
Total cost: Felt and bias binding were leftovers from other projects, the ribbon had been in my stock for years, I assume it cost around 0.50-0.80 €/m. The lace was bought either at a flea market or a charity shop, can’t remember when or how I bought it, I assume I found it in a sewing basket or bag of laces I bought. All in total not more than 1-2€.