2017 Spring Sew Along – A Rolled Sewing Case – Week 3

Welcome the the 2017 Spring Sew Along!

Be sure to read the first three weeks of this Sew Along.


This week we will be binding the interior to the exterior.

I had trouble deciding whether to stitch the binding over the tin tube or to do the binding first and slide the tube in. Given the angle required for stitching the binding to the inside of the tube, I opted to do the binding first and slide the tube in. I figured this would be the least frustrating for a wide range of sewing skills that may be participating. Do note, this does not make the tightest fit on the corners.

Lay the interior section on top of the exterior material, wrong sides together. Baste the layers together.

At the tube end, fold the binding ribbon over pinning or clipping in place. Do so for each long side 3″ up on each side. Using a blind or whip stitch, catching the selvage edge of the ribbon, attach the ribbon the interior fabric. Be sure not to catch the exterior fabric. Press as needed.


Slide the tin tube inside the layers with the curve opening towards the interior side. This takes a bit of fussing and convincing.



Fold the rest of the ribbon binding around the rest of the perimeter of the sewing case, pinning or clipping in place. Sew the binding to the silk as above. Press as needed.


Completion of this weeks steps has most of the body of the sewing case together.


Next week we will assemble the end pieces and attach the pages as well as ties.

Published in: on April 24, 2017 at 12:00 pm  Leave a Comment  

Millinery Thoughts: Things you may not know are used for straw millinery

When I mentioned using powered tools last weekend, it surprised a few people. So, I thought it could be fun to talk about some of the behind the scenes things used for straw millinery. This is very much the things I use at home, not those for a historic setting.

  • Blocks. I use a few different types of blocks, aka shapes to shape bonnets and hats over. I love original blocks. They can be hard to find and pricey. I also make my own from foam and wood. The foam blocks don’t last long, maybe a season depending on how many pieces are made on it. Wood blocks are much more difficult to make but last longer. 
  • Palm sander. I use a palm sander to sand and shape some of my blocks. I would love to have a lathe so I could turn some round blocks. I need to get braver and better with saws and chisels. 
  • Dremel. I use a dremel for marking blocks and for smaller, doll size pieces. 
  • Paint brushes. I paint my sizing combination on. No more clogged spray bottles. 
  • Icy Hot and Unkers. Icy Hot patches cut in half wrap nicely around the hands or wrists when they start spasming. Unkers is nice to rub in before bed. The rubbing helps too. 
  • Back massager. The back massager fits well around the hand or wrist when there are knots or the swelling needs to be worked out. 
  • Iron stone pitcher. The pitcher from my pitcher and basin set has become the parking place for straw. 
  • Clara. Clara is in charge of time management . She reminds me when it is time to take a break or to go eat. She is also a nice heating pad. 
  • Crocks and baskets. Hanks of straw seem to stand up nicely in large crocks and tall baskets. 
  • Washing machine. The washer has become the drying surface because it is cleanable compared to wood surfaces. 

Published in: on April 19, 2017 at 6:07 pm  Leave a Comment  

Today’s Millinery 

I am rather pleased with this fashionable high crown Civil War era hat. The lines and proportions came out nicely. This is one I would like to make a permanent block for in two sizes, and possibly an oval one as well. I really do need a wood working shop. 

This hat is suitable for an average to smaller head. The crown is 20″ around and round, not oval. It sits high on my head. So, I recommend ties inside. 

The crown is 3 3/4″ tall in the front. The shaped brim is 2″ wide, 10 3/4″ diameter side to side, 10″ front to back with the curve. 

Find this hat in my Etsy shop. 

Published in: on April 18, 2017 at 1:53 pm  Comments (1)  

Today’s Millinery – Aged Copper Brown Hat

This hat has a beautiful aged copper brown color straw. It is a fashionable shape with a curved brim. 

Suitable for an average to large head, blocked on the “Delia” crown. . The crown is 20.25″ around and a shallow1.5″ high on the sides. The brim is petite, 10″ across and 11″ front to back. 

Note: The stitching is visible on this hat up close. 

Find this hat in my Etsy shop. 

Published in: on April 17, 2017 at 12:15 pm  Comments (1)  

2017 Spring Sew Along – A Rolled Sewing Case – Week 2

Welcome to the 20117 Spring Sew Along – A Rolled Sewing Case!

Be sure to read the first two posts  for Materials and Week 1.


This week we are going to be working on our interior materials.

I chose to make a sewing case with a single pocket. You may have a scissors pocket or other pockets as well. Be sure to consult your edition of Fanciful Utility for guidance on these.

For my pocket, I cut my silk to 5″ wide by 3″ deep.  I hemmed the top and made a box pleat in the bottom for a roomy pocket. img_20170310_180404.jpgI laid the pocket right side down on the lining where I wanted it to be. (My plaid helped make that easy.) Using a running stitch, I attached the pocket. Then folded it up into place. I basted the pocket along the edges.

I have come to like the batting or lining used in some originals because it seems to give the sewing case more support when made of silk. I lined my interior fabric up on top of my batting and basted into place.


Next week, we will bind the interior to the exterior and add the tin tube.


Published in: on April 17, 2017 at 12:00 pm  Leave a Comment  

Common Hat Shapes for 1860-1865


common 1common 2common 3

common 4


Additional variations:

  • Smaller hats (Fashion)
  • Torque (High fashion without brim) and porkpie (High fashion with little upturned brims)
  • Taller crown (Infrequent fashion)
Published in: on April 13, 2017 at 6:20 am  Leave a Comment  

Tonight’s Millinery 

This hat has a flat top crown keep nice and shallow, 2″ tall in front and 1.5″ on the sides. The front of the brim curves down in front, while the back is curved just a little. This the “Delia” crown, 20.5″ around. The brim is 11.5″ wide. 

Find this hat in my Etsy shop. 

Published in: on April 10, 2017 at 5:51 pm  Comments (2)  

2017 Spring Sew Along – A Rolled Sewing Case – Week 1

Welcome to the 2017 Spring Sew Along – A Rolled Sewing Case!

img_20170310_162317.jpgPlease be sure to read the Announcing post with directions for ordering your Tin Tube, made by the Genesee Country Village and Museum’s Tinsmiths and suggested materials list.


This week we are going to cut our materials and prepare the exterior material. (Your tubes should be arriving about now.)

First, decide what you want your Rolled Sewing Case to hold. This will determine what kinds of pocket you will want and how long your case will need to be. I recommend sketching out on a piece of paper what you will want in your sewing case. It may be helpful to cut a strip of 4″ wide paper for doing this. Leave 3 inches at one end to go around the tin. Here are some ideas:

I decided to have a simple case with one pocket and a pair of small pages. (Okay, the fact that I had pre-cut my leather years ago decided the size of my sewing case.)

Next, shape one end for the closure. This can now become your template for your materials. Redraw it if necessary.

Cut 1 layer of exterior material.

Cut 1 layer of interior material.

Cut your needed pockets – Remember to leave a seam allowance and hems for these.

Cut 2 circles 2″ in diameter for the outside of the ends and 2 circles __” in diameter for the inside of the ends. You may also want to cut 2 pasteboard or cardstock circles the size of the tin ends.

img_20170310_163412.jpgI am going to assume most of us are using an exterior material that is more difficult to sew through.

You may find it easier to pre-drill the holes in your material with either an awl or a sewing machine. These holes should be 1/4″ in from the edge.

img_20170310_164437.jpgStarting at the center of the closure, lay your ribbon binding on the exterior of the exterior piece, with about half overlapping. This should like the selvage up so it just covers the holes you made. Sew the ribbon around the perimeter of the exterior material. All the way around. Be sure to miter corners tightly.

Finish the ribbon by folding the raw end under. Some may wish to press the ribbon over to the other side. (I have not done this because I used leather and don’t know what will happen.)

Some may wish to have their feline assistant approve their work.


Next week we will be creating the interior.

Published in: on April 10, 2017 at 12:00 pm  Leave a Comment  

Today’s Millinery – A Little Blue

This fashionably shaped Civil War era hat has a little something extra – rings of blue straw around the crown and brim. 

Blocked on the “Delia” crown, it has a rounder crown 21.5″ in circumference. The brim is 11.75″ in diameter. 

Find this hat in my Etsy shop. 

Published in: on April 5, 2017 at 6:15 pm  Leave a Comment  

Today’s Millinery – Shallow Crown 

Shaped following an original 1850s-1860s hat in the LACMA collection and an 1865-1870 hat from The National Trust Collection, this shallow crown hat has soft lines. It can be decorated simply or more lavishly. 

Find it in my Etsy shop. 

Published in: on April 5, 2017 at 6:07 pm  Leave a Comment