All posts filed under: Make

Making your own fitted sheets

Re-make & re-use: how to turn old flat sheets into fitted sheets

Has anyone else noticed that you just can’t buy good quality cotton sheets anymore? Sheets I bought when I first moved to NZ 15 years ago are still going strong, but anything I’ve bought in the last five years (when we upgraded our bed size) lasts less than three years, even when it’s the same brand. And that’s an issue. Cotton (even organic) is not great for the environment, and the best way to lower its impact is to get as much use as possible out of anything cotton that you buy. Three years for sheets = not good. To get a little more use out of the extremely disappointing sheets I’ve purchased in the last 5 years, I’ve been recycling the sheets that have worn out. I turn the fabric around the edges of worn out fitted sheets into pillowcases, and do the same with flat sheets that are very thin, or where there are tears in the middle. If there is enough robust fabric left in a flat sheet, I turn it into …

Historical Costuming - jump right in!

How to get started in historic costuming

First, choose what you want to make: That’s pretty obvious! But it can be a bit overwhelming. The three main strategies that people use to get started are: Pick an era, and make a complete outfit for that era, from the inside out. Pick a simple item that can be used for multiple eras, and start with that. Just make the pretty dress, and hope it fits once you make proper undergarments (or buy the undergarments, and make the dress). Here are some tips for doing each of those: 1. Pick an era, and make a complete outfit for that era, from the inside out This is the most commonly suggested method for getting started. Pick an era, identify the garments and layers for that era, find patterns for each garment, and get working. That’s how my friend Nina got started two years ago. She settled on Regency, bought patterns for all the pieces, and worked her way through each garment following the pattern. Now she has a full, beautiful, Regency ensemble: There are a …

Making linen buckram: gum tragacanth vs xathan gum

Making Linen Buckram: Gum Tragacanth vs Xanthan Gum

I’ve been doing a lot of experimenting with making linen buckram in the last year and a half, playing with using both historically accurate gum tragacanth, and a much cheaper and easier to source modern equivalent: xanthan gum. We’re getting very close to launching Scroop Pattern’s and Virgil’s Fine Good’s first collaboration: a 1780s stays pattern with extensive historical instruction. Historical stays use linen buckram, so here’s what I’ve learned about it to help you make your own. What is linen buckram? Linen buckram is stiffened linen. It was used in 17th, 18th and early 19th century sewing as support layers where stiffening was needed, such as in stays, stiff collars, stomachers, and hatmaking. It’s made by coating linen with a gum paste, usually gum tragacanth, or xanthan gum, and then letting the gum dry. The more layers of gum that are applied, the stiffer the linen gets. Here is what it looks and sounds like in motion: In addition to historical sewing, I think it has lots of potential for general costuming: particularly for …