Serendipity cushion

I just spent a week with hard flat wooden seats as the only sitting options. Oh my sore tailbones. A cushion would have made my week more comfy.

In the clean up after this event, I nearly threw out the few handfuls of cotton flock left over from a futon remodel. No! this could be cushion stuffing! Then I remembered a scrap of lovely wool embroidered upholstery cloth I’ve had in stash for many years. That had resisted all attempts at inclusion in other projects. It wanted to be it’s own thing. So I assembled the cotton into the shape of this cloth and made it into a baby futon with a bit of old sheet that was lying about.



By itself, this cotton made a sad, flat, baggy cushion. I wondered if I had much in the way of feathers left from previous custom cushion insert games. I did! It was the short end of a feather pillow, already roughly closed and…. the right shape! So that went in too, making the cushion slightly overstuffed.

I made a bunch of tassels from left over tapestry wool in stash, picking up the colours of the embroidery


The backing is heavy cotton offcuts from a butterfly my grandmother worked many years ago. It’s a good match for the weave and weight of the ground of the embroidered cloth. My stash doesn’t run much to heavy cloth, so piecing the bits of this was worth it.


Cushion! The multiple tassels per corner were inspired by the extreme tassellation of some 16thC bags.


It’s only little, and quite narrow, but it’s enough to give my poor tailbones a softer experience and can be used even on little stools. Fits nicely on my “Waldo” stool (one of a series of these made by a good friend).



Serious Warm Finito

Faithful readers might remember this garment from last year. Serious Warm, Serious Remodel. After the hacking up, dyeing, recutting and machining, this lived in a cupboard until a few weeks ago.

Since then, I’ve removed all the overlock stitching and hand finished all the seams. This now joins my small collection of living history clothing with insides that I’m not ashamed of. Having it done after literally hanging about for 8 months feels good.

From this, though with the sleeves attached.


To this.


The thread is fairly fine two ply wool from the London handweavers shop. I bought it in the hope of tablet weaving with it. It’s nowhere near strong enough for tablet weaving warp, but it’s working just fine for this handsewing and at least some of the Greenland garments were finished like this with 2ply wool. It would probably be more accurate and less work to fold both allowances to one side of the seam (except the shoulder) but this fabric is so thick, that would end up very lumpy.

It was a minor miracle I got all the seams and hems done with only this little bit of thread left! Sew faster so you can finish before the thread runs out!


I used a different fine wool to stab stitch the edges of the sleeves, but you can barely see that anyway. Can you tell the thread is bright acid green? A more obvious type of stab stitching is more accurate for the Greenland frocks, but this is a familiar technique for me and negates the business of having to use different thread to the rest of the finishing.


Here she is all done. I will try to remember to take pictures of a full outfit when the weather is conducive. It’s way too warm at the moment.


Particoloured Sideless Gown

I have a bit of a fascination with sideless gowns. This one makes the fifth in my garb wardrobe at the moment. I think it might be the ninth one I’ve made for myself in the 27+ years I’ve played with the SCA*. The versions I had in the wardrobe are either heavier or lighter than I think is ideal for the travelling wardrobe so here I have made yet another. This is a fairly fine wool suiting fabric. It provides appropriate historical layering rather than much warmth, but for January in the Southern hemisphere, that should be fine. It’s also 475g vs the 700g one I would have otherwise taken. The right hand pink half started out the same colour as the left half and is the fabric freshly dyed in this post on food dye. I love the line of it and the way the fabric falls


The neck and side openings are faced with a straight grain double fold silk tape. Yes I dyed the silk to match the wool.


The seams are done by machine but then I went mad and hand felled them. The hem can drop now until after Christmas, then I will level and sew it.


Here it is as an outfit with an undergown and my silly particoloured hood. The latter is made in the same fabric as the sideless.



*For those that don’t know me personally, I have played with the Society for Creative Anachronism for most of my adult life. This is an approximate recreation of a 14thC overgown. To be more authentic, the fabric should probably be a bit thicker and fulled. Of course there should be no machine sewing either, but for myself, life is too short.