Latest Posts

A woman in a black hat trimmed with ruffles and feathers looks to her left. Her expression is slightly mischievous. She holds a strawberry, and is wearing a black wool mantle tied at the neck with a ribbon over a dress with a large cyclamen pink bow at the front.

Tutorial: ribbon binding for hoodless Scroop + VFG 18th century mantles

When Amber and I designed the Scroop + Virgil’s Fine Goods 18th century mantle patterns we tried to keep the amount of extra specialist notions you’d need to have to make a beautiful mantle to a minimum.

So the pattern includes pattern pieces and instructions for mantles with fabric bindings, but…you can also bind your mantles with purchased ribbon!

We used this technique on the hoodless View B Marie Mantle in black wool that Averil models:

Scroop + Virgils Fine Goods 18th C Mantle Patterns

This particular technique is for hoodless Marie and Charlotte mantles, but I’ll be doing another tutorial later for versions with hoods.

Here’s how to do it!

You’ll need:

  •  Silk ribbon
  • Your mantle finished up to the neck pleating step, with the pleating basted in place:

Binding the Scroop + Virgils Fine Goods mantles with ribbon

I’m using the 1” wide single faced silk-satin ribbon from Burnley & Trowbridge.    If you want something a little wider and lusher (like the cyclamen pink bow Averil is sporting on her dress) Virgil’s Fine Goods carries beautiful silk satin ribbon.

Anything under 3/4”/2cm is tricky to use as binding.

I don’t recommend silk taffeta ribbons, as all the ones I have tried were extremely lightweight, more habotai than taffeta, and will wear through very quickly (if you know someone selling silk taffeta ribbon with a decent weight, please let me know!).

To bind the neck edge:

Measure across 1/2 of the pleated mantle neck edge:

You’ll need this measure + how long you want your ties to be, x2 (or, this measure x 2 + the ribbon requirement given in the Marie or Charlotte patterns) for your binding.

Cut your length of ribbon, fold it in half to find the centre, and mark the centre point:

Match the centre point to the centre point of the mantle neck edge, and pin in place.

At this point I like to fold my ribbon over the neck edge of the mantle and pin, so I know that when I sew the ribbon on I will be binding the neck edge evenly, with equal amounts of ribbon on both the right side, and wrong side of the mantle.  However, this does mean I have to do a rather tricksy manoeuvre where I re-pin the mantle through only one layer of ribbon, and take out the original pins, so I can sew through only one layer of ribbon.  Eyeballing it or pressing in a centre fold are also good options.  It’s up to you.

With your ribbon pinned to your mantle, sew.  Sew the ribbon to the right side of the mantle first.  I like to use a whipstitch, but you could also use an edge stitch or a backstitch.

Binding the Scroop + Virgils Fine Goods mantles with ribbon

When you reach the end, turn the mantle over, fold the ribbon over the raw edge, and stitch the other side of the ribbon.  This edge should always be sewn with a whipstitch or edge stitch.

When you are done sewing on the binding, finish the edges of your ribbon by cutting them into Vs, pinked scallops, zig-zags, or by hemming.

I like to hem as I find modern ribbon tends to fray or unravel, but cutting definitely seems to have been more common based on extant examples and period images.

Pinked scallops (although it’s not entirely clear if we’re seeing her mantle ties or dress bow):

Catharina Charlotta l'Estrade by Ulrica Fredrica Pasch, 1780, (Sinebrychoffin taidemuseo - Helsinki, Finland

Catharina Charlotta l’Estrade by Ulrica Fredrica Pasch, 1780, (Sinebrychoffin taidemuseo – Helsinki, Finland



Georg Desmarées (1697–1776), Portrait of Maria Anna Sophia of Saxony (1728-1797), Museum im Wittelsbacher Schloss Friedberg

And, you’re done!

Scroop + Virgils Fine Goods 18th C Mantle Patterns

Making a Hawaiian Quilt

A Heliconia Hawaiian Quilt

13 years ago I finished a Hawaiian quilt, photographed it (with help from Felicity), blogged about it, and gave it to dear friends who had just had a baby.

And then I immediately started another one, because Hawaiian quilts take a looooooooong time to make, especially when you only work on them around other projects.  But I knew that at some point someone else I loved enough to make a quilt for would have a baby, and I needed to be ready!

12 and a bit years later, the quilt had progressed quite a lot, but wasn’t quite done, and my dearest friend in the world (the one who knows secrets about me she’s going to have to take to the grave) was pregnant.

And what do you know, the quilt that I started all those years ago was perfect for her and my not-quite-nibling to be.

So one of my big sewing achievements this year was finally finishing my third Hawaiian quilt!

So, that’s one per decade so far…

Hawaiian quilts are fully handsewn.  They feature a central motif that’s usually based on a stylised plant (although there are some animal quilts, and a few examples with lei or kahili or historical motifs) appliquéd on to a plain ground.  The central motif is cut out from a folded triangle so it opens out to form 4 or 8 mirrored sections.

Making a Hawaiian Quilt

Different motifs symbolise different things.  Breadfruit usually symbolise abundance and are often given for weddings and housewarmings.  Pineapples symbolise hospitality so are also popular housewarming gifts

This quilt is based on a heliconia pattern, specifically heliconia rostrata.  Heliconias are a flower that have been imported in to Hawai’i as ornamentals.  The plant has proved hardy and thrived, without becoming an invasive pest.  Heliconia rostrata are usually grown from rhizomes: sections of root that branch out from the parent plant, and develop into their own plant which can be planted elsewhere.

Like me, my friend Stella is an immigrant to NZ.  The quilt is a wish that her child will thrive here, growing up with the support of its family and friends, until it can stand on its own.

Making a Hawaiian Quilt

The quilt represents hundreds of hours of work.  You cut the central motif, and then baste it on to to the background layer.  The motif is then sewn on with slip or appliqué stitches.  The layers of the quilt (applique on background, warm wool batting, backing fabric) are basted together so they don’t shift.  Then the layers are quilted together with lines of running stitches that spread out and in from the lines of the motif, like ripples spreading in water.

Making a Hawaiian Quilt

Making a Hawaiian Quilt

Finally you bind the edges.  This is the only part I did by machine, as I wanted it to be as strong as possible.

Making a Hawaiian Quilt

As with the other quilt I blogged about, Felicity helped with both making and modelling!

Making a Hawaiian Quilt

Making a Hawaiian Quilt

Such a workhorse my cat!

Making a Hawaiian Quilt

Making a Hawaiian Quilt

Thirteen years later, and she’s still eager to play fetch with her favourite toys: the plastic caps from water bottles.

Making a Hawaiian Quilt

Making a Hawaiian Quilt

(Yes, Stella is fully aware that Felicity has been all over this quilt!  Obviously the last thing I did before I gifted it to her was to get it cleaned.)

Making a Hawaiian Quilt

I’m pleased to report that Stella loves the quilt (baby Embee is a little young to have an option on it), and she’s given it the greatest compliment you can give a sewist who makes you something: she’s actually using it.

Grandma thinks its too precious to be used, and should be put away, but Mum knows me.  I want her to use and love it and enjoy it.

Embee gets to lay on it all the time, and better yet, it’s the backdrop to the monthly photo!  (awww!).

So every month I get to see a photo of slightly bigger adorable little Embee on my make.  💛  Worth every stitch!

Making a Hawaiian Quilt

Call for Pattern Testers for a 1775-1790 Gown!

UPDATE:  Applications are now closed, thank you to everyone who applied

Amber of Virgil’s Fine Goods and I have another fabulous late 18th century pattern almost finished, so we need testers to help us check the final fit and instruction details. 💛

We’ve already asked a number of testers with specialised skills, so we’re only looking for a few extra testers. If you’d like to be one of them, keep reading to learn more, and how to apply.

The Pattern:

The pattern is a fashionable ‘Italian’ Gown with two bodice views, three sleeve length options, and two front closure options.  The fronts and backs are interchangeable, and the skirt can be made with or without a train.  View B can be made with or without a cutaway front.

Scroop + Virgils Fine Goods Italian Gown 2023

The armscye and side back seam are identical to the Angelica, so the fronts, backs and sleeves are also interchangeable with the Angelica Italian Gown.

The new pattern will be available in the full Scroop + Virgil’s Size Range of 30”/76cm bust to 52”/132cm bust.

Angelica Testers Wanted Sizing Chart


This is an advanced pattern, and we’re looking for testers with prior historical sewing experience, OR extensive non-historical sewing experience.

Testers MUST have the correct undergarments already. As part of the application you’ll need to have a photo of yourself in 1770-1790 suitable stays that you can send us a link to.

To be a tester you will need to:

  • Be able to print patterns in A4, A0, US Letter or US full sized Copyshop paper sizes
  • Have the time to sew up the item. You’ll have 10 days to sew a toile and check the initial fit.  This can be done by machine, and takes Leimomi less than 90 minutes from fabric to finished.  You’ll then have a further four-ish weeks to make a finished dress, photograph it, and provide feedback.  For reference, Leimomi was able to sew View A by hand in 18 hours.
  • Be able to photograph your make being worn, and be willing for us to share your photos on this blog and instagram.
  • Provide clear feedback
  • Agree to a confidentially agreement regarding the pattern

We would hugely appreciate it if testers would share their finished make once the pattern launches, but this is not mandatory.  We’re asking for TESTERS, not marketers.

As always we’re looking for a range of testers. We need a spread of geographical location, body type, sewing experience, and personal style.

Based on previous calls for testers, we will get 30+ applicants in each of the most common size ranges (34-40 bust), so if we don’t choose you, it’s not that you weren’t fabulous, it’s that there were many applicants.

The Timeline:


If you’re selected to test we’ll let you know and send you the materials requirements, line drawings, and the full pattern description by 6 pm NZ time on Wed the 4th of Jan.  This is Tue the 3rd for most of the rest of the world.


We will send out a digital copy of the pattern to testers before 10pm NZ time on Wed the 11th of Jan.

Testing & Reviewing:

As this is a pretty time intensive pattern, testing will go for five weeks.  We will ask for a toile check in one week in.

Testers will have until 10pm NZ time on Sat the 21st of Jan to do an initial toile of the dress bodice and respond to the initial set of testing questions.

We’ll need testers to provide final feedback by 10pm NZ time on Thur 16th Feb.  They will need to be finished with their dress and provide photos by 10pm on Tue 21st Feb.

What you get:

Pattern testers will get a digital copy of all three size packs of the final pattern, lots of thanks, and features on my blog and our IGs.

Testing also offers testers an opportunity to get group and 1-1 feedback, assistance, and sewing tutorials from Amber and I.  It’s similarly to what you’d get in an online sewing workshop.  We’re modelling our testing process after an online class, albeit one you don’t pay for, because you’re letting us beta test the pattern on you.  There’s an online group that testers can join as they wish.  We’ll also be running a couple of live zoom events.  We’re committed to making testing as beneficial to testers as it is to us, and improve our testing process with every pattern we do.

Testers chosen from this open call are not paid.

Hope to hear from you!

To Apply:

Sorry, applications are now closed