Sewing Room Messy, by sewyerown on Flickr.

Sewing Room Messy, by sewyerown on Flickr.

Next week’s Victorian Parlorcraft Circle is on Saturday, October 6th, from 3-5pm, at the Jefferson Market Library (see our tumblr main page for more details and information).

This month’s “lecture” portion of the Circle is a De-Stash, Share, and Swap Event for sewing and crafting supplies and tools!

Winter is coming and it’s time to clean our stashes, de-clutter sewing rooms, and make plans for evenings of knitting, hand sewing, crafting, and other parlor work projects enjoyed by a winter fireplace!

Whether you are planning out new projects, mending your existing clothing, or finishing up projects from last year (*guilty cough*), take a moment to look through your sewing room and find a few really great raw materials, notions, trim, usable fabric pieces, or sewing/crafting tools that you’ve been hoarding forever and just don’t seem to have a use for. Let’s share our resources in the spirit of community, recycle by re-using, and give our underappreciated or unused items to a more appreciative home.

Rules:

  1. To participate in the Fall De-Stash, Share and Swap Meet, please bring no more than five good-condition, small-to-medium-sized useful trim, notions, uncut fabric, tools, and other usable sewing items to the Victorian Parlorcraft circle on October 6th, 2012.
  2. Please only bring items that you intend to freely give to others, or to trade for other items. No selling of any items is permitted.
  3. Sharing Procedure: If there is a larger-than-usual amount of people at this event, to keep things calm and civilized, we will bring index cards for each item, and some dice. If you would like to take an item, please write your name next to one of the numbered lines on the item’s index card. If there is more than one person wanting an item, we will roll dice to determine who gets it. An exception is for swaps and trades — if there are two or more people offering to trade for a single item, the item’s owner can of course choose the trade they prefer.
  4. This is an event in the spirit of community sharing, not a “free stuff” event. You must contribute at least one quality, useable item if you want to participate.
  • Examples of things to bring: Nice things that you appreciate, but just aren’t getting around to actually using, like thread, sewing, knitting, or crafting tools in good used or new condition, usable lengths of fabric that you think someone else would want to use, yarn for knitting or crochet, good-condition, uncut sewing or knitting patterns, interesting notions or trim that you don’t have a specific use for.
  • Things not to bring: anything dirty or in bad condition, things that you suspect no one else will want, things that should really just be thrown out or recycled, half-finished orphaned personal sewing or crafting projects, any type of finished clothing or garments — or anything other than actual raw materials or tools for sewing or crafting (note: an exception might be made for antique or Victorian clothing pieces for study or pattern example - please contact us if you have a Victorian piece to bring), tiny amounts of trim or fabric that aren’t big enough to make into a full project. 

The swap portion of the Parlorcraft Circle will begin at 3:00pm and end no later than 3:45pm, so we can clear away the swapped items and start the actual sewing circle portion of our event.

For those not interested in participating in the swap, please still feel free to come to the Circle!  Our main focus will still be on sewing and parlorcrafts in good company, and plenty of people will be sewing who are not interested in the swap.

The latest Victorian Parlorcraft Circle was a super good time — thanks to everyone who came out and made excellent bow ties with us! XD

The Parlorcraft Circle in full swing:

Our fearless presenter Noam, and Adrienne!

Click here for lots of other photos from the event!

Here’s my completed bow tie, created at the Parlocraft Circle this Saturday!

It was surprisingly easy to make, so I’m posting instructions here for anyone else who wants to have a go!

I don’t have any pictures of the process of making the bow tie itself (d’oh!). However, this article shows an almost identical process (using a sewing machine instead of hand sewing, and using fusible instead of non-fusible interfacing). I recommend clicking through to check out their photos of in-process bow tie making, which will help clarify the steps below.

You don’t need to completely hand sew the tie as per the instructions below - a sewing machine will work wonderfully if you have one available. However, I personally enjoy hand sewing - it’s relaxing, you can do it while you hang out with other people, or watch TV or a movie.

Supplies Needed:

  • Fabric Scissors (they should be quite sharp)
  • 1/2 yard of fabric (tie-weight silk is traditional; cotton, linen, and even wool all also work) makes three bow ties
  • medium weight non-fusible interfacing
  • sharp, small needle
  • thread in a color that matches your fabric (Gutermann makes the best hand-sewing thread)
  • dressmaker’s pins, to pin your fabric together
  • Paper to trace a bow tie pattern, and a pencil or pen
  • measuring tape or a ruler
  • optional: thimble
  • optional: beeswax (for coating the thread for hand-sewing)
  • iron and ironing board
  1. Borrow or buy at a thrift store (or elsewhere) an adjustable bow tie. Adjust it so that it fits your neck. When the bow tie is the right length, lay it out on a piece of paper and trace around it, leaving a 1/4” space between the edges of the bow tie and the line (for a seam allowance). Hint: it’s much easier to trace if you weigh the bow tie down with something, or pin it, as you’re tracing it.
  2. There are two ways you can cut out your bow tie pattern: (1) you can cut it on the straight grain, in one single piece. This is easier, and cheaper, because you waste less fabric. (2) you can cut out your bow tie in two pieces, on the bias (diagonal), which is more difficult and wastes more fabric, but will result in a more flexible and slightly more professional bow tie. Either way is acceptable.
  3. Easy Way on the Straight Grain: If you want to cut your bow tie out in one piece, simply do the following: fold your bow tie fabric in half along the grain, so that each selvage edge is folded back over onto itself (note: a selvage is the finished ends of the fabric at the top and bottom of the bolt). Place the bow tie pattern onto the fabric stretching from selvage to selvage. Pin the pattern down securely onto the two layers of fabric, and cut the bow tie out. Now put the pattern onto the piece of interfacing, again with the selvages on the top and bottom. Cut out one piece of interfacing. In total, after cutting, you should have TWO pieces of bow tie fabric, and ONE piece of interfacing. Put the piece of interfacing together with one of the bow tie fabric pieces, so that they form a single piece with two layers. Skip to step #5 to continue.
  4. Hard Way on the Diagonal/Bias: If you want to cut your bow tie on the bias (diagonal), do the following: (1) find the exact middle of your bow tie pattern. Measure one inch to the side of the center, and cut the pattern there using a 45 degree angle (also known as a bias cut, or diagonal cut). Now you should have two, uneven pieces of the bow tie pattern. (2) Fold the bow tie fabric together so that it’s a double layer, and so that the selvage edges (the finished edges of the fabric) are folded over onto themselves. Place both pieces of the bow tie pattern on top of the folded double-thickness fabric, at a 45 degree angle (“on the bias”). Pin the pattern down securely to both thicknesses of fabric, and cut out exactly along the edges of the pattern. Now you should have FOUR separate pieces of fabric, two which are exactly the same size, and pinned to each part of the pattern. (3) Put the pattern pieces down diagonally (on the bias) on the interfacing. Cut out only one piece of interfacing for each pattern piece. Now, you should have a total of FOUR pieces of cut fabric, and TWO pieces of interfacing. (4) Unpin the pattern from the pieces of fabric and/or interfacing. Put one piece of interfacing together with a pattern piece, so that the interfacing is on the “wrong side” of the fabric (the side you don’t want to face outward when you’re done sewing). Here’s the tricky part: you want to sew the two pieces of fabric&interfacing together into one piece. You do this by placing the pattern pieces together, right sides touching together, on a 90 degree angle. Then, when you’ve finished sewing this short bias seam, it will form a one long piece of the bow tie. When you are done, you should have two long pieces of sewn-together fabric, which match each other. One of those pieces should be a double layer of fabric and interfacing; the other should just be a single layer of fabric.
  5. Hand-sewing tip #1: for Victorian-era sewing, prior to the advent of sewing machines, seams like these would be sewn with a basic running stitch. For authentic sewing and to make sure the seam doesn’t come apart, you will want to sew 10-12 stitches per inch. Stitches are counted on both sides of the fabric — so if you’re looking straight onto one side of the fabric, you’ll want to see 5-6 “bumps” of thread per inch.
  6. Hand-sewing tip #2: Run your thread gently through beeswax for hand sewing, and you’ll have a much less knotty experience. It smooths the thread out and makes for a much easier time sewing. Be careful using beeswax on light-colored fabric though, as it may stain the fabric.
  7. Hand-sewing tip #3: Use a thimble to stop the pad of your finger from being painful where you push the needle through. One great type of “thimble” is actually a rubber finger from a stationary store. I like those because you can still feel the needle through the thimble.
  8. Now, regardless of which method you’ve used (bias or straight grain), you should have two pieces of fabric in the shape of a bow tie, and one piece of interfacing. Put the piece of interfacing together with one of the pieces of fabric, so that it forms one, double-thickness piece, with the interfacing touching the “wrong” side of the fabric.
  9. Put the two pieces of bow tie fabric together (one with the interfacing, one just fabric), so that the “right sides” of the fabric are touching, and the “wrong sides” (interfacing and underside of the fabric) are facing outward. Pin the fabric together securely, down the middle of the pieces. Now you are ready to sew the two sides of the bow tie, and the interfacing, together.
  10. Using the tips above, hand sew a running stitch around the edge of the bow tie, 1/4” from the edge of the fabric. Leave a 2” spot open in the very middle of the bow tie (the part that will sit on the back of your neck). You can turn the bow tie right side out through this hole, and then stitch it together after it’s turned.
  11. When you’ve completely sewn your bow tie around the edges (except for the 2” hole on one side), you’re ready to turn it inside out! Use a pencil eraser and poke the end of the bow tie so that it turns inside out. Push it through to the middle of the tie, and pull it out through the hole. Ditto for the other side.
  12. Now arrange the bow tie so that it’s fully in the shape that you want it to be in (massage it with your fingers until all the seams are fully right-side-out, etc). Then put it on the ironing board and iron it so that it lays flat. Iron the seams that haven’t been sewn yet (the hole used for turning it right side out) so that they’re closed, in the position you will sew them in.
  13. Now all that’s left is to invisibly stitch the hole together, and you’re done!
  14. Tie and enjoy. :)

This is the always dapper Mr. Noam Berg — also known as the steam-folk musician Painless Parker — modeling some of his handmade bow ties, suspenders, and arm braces! 

Come listen to self-described ‘amateur seamster’ Noam talk about how he learned to make these gorgeous accessories from scratch! Afterward, follow along with the rest of us at the Victorian Parlorcraft Circle, as we catch the spirit of inspiration and attempt to make our own bow ties by hand!

Details: 

WHEN TO SHOW UP:
The Parlorcraft Circle is from 3-5pm on the first Saturday of every other month. This edition is on Saturday, August 4th, from 3-5pm. Noam’s brief presentation will start PROMPTLY at 3pm, followed by open sewing time (where many of us will attempt to make our own bow ties), so please arrive on time to catch the good stuff!

WHERE TO GO: 
This event is in the Parlorcraft Circle’s brand new location: the gorgeous, Victorian-era Jefferson Market Library building, in the West Village! Come find us in the Community Room, upstairs, past the stained glass staircase (ask at the library front desk to be directed to the room). 

About the JML: http://www.nypl.org/locations/tid/39/about
Directions: http://www.nypl.org/locations/tid/39/directions
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Jefferson-Market-Library/308585249433

WHAT TO BRING: 
Consider bringing a snack or alcohol-free drink to share. If you’d like to join in after the lecture with our traditional DIY sewing circle (regardless of whether you are sewing a bowtie!), please bring your own crafts and/or sewing supplies. Definitely bring your interest in historic menswear and your DIY spirit, and be ready to learn a new skill!

Although this is not a class on basic hand sewing per se, no prior handsewing experience is necessary to attend — feel free to learn, socialize, and enjoy. If you feel like you’d like to do some learning beforehand on the basics, there are some excellent videos on youtube about how to thread a needle, and the basic stitches!

Note: please be respectful and be prepared to clean up any food and drink items and their residue from the community room. Leave no trace!

PRICE: 
As always, the Parlorcraft Circle is 100% free! However, if you have a Victorian or Victorian-friendly crafting skill, consider donating your knowledge back to the community, and talk to us about doing an upcoming demonstration yourself. (Email handwork@gmail.com with your demo or lecture idea).

IMPORTANT — RSVP: Due to the space limitations of our new and beautiful location, and because a huge sewing circle would be difficult, only 20 spots are available. Please RSVP on Facebook to reserve your spot, or email handwork@gmail.com. 

Create your Own Bowties, Suspenders, and Edwardian Mens Accessories!

On Saturday, August 4, 2012, from 3-5pm, please join us for a special menswear-themed edition of the NYC Victorian Parlorcraft Circle!

Join SPECIAL GUEST graphic designer, DIY crafter, and musician Noam Berg — best-known as the infamous folk-punk act Painless Parker — as he discusses his adventures in reverse-engineering antique Edwardian-era mens accessories, and learn about how he learned to create his own historically authentic bow ties and suspenders from scratch!

Listen and learn a new skill as Mr. Berg discusses the methods he used to create his first Edwardian-era bow ties, and how he perfected his skills over time. Discover how you too can create beautiful, traditional menswear accessories and add a customized, classic touch to your wardrobe.

After Noam’s initial presentation (from 3:00pm - 3:30pm), interested parties are welcome to join along in creating a bow tie by hand (supplies will be provided) — or, feel free to bring your own sewing or crafting projects and join us in our general historical-themed sewing circle and skill-share.

WHEN TO SHOW UP:
The Parlorcraft Circle is from 3-5pm on the first Saturday of every other month. This edition is August 4th, from 3-5pm. Noam’s half-hour presentation will start PROMPTLY at 3pm, so please arrive on time to catch the good stuff!

WHERE TO GO: 
This event is in the Parlorcraft Circle’s BRAND NEW, AWESOME location(!!): the gorgeous, Victorian-era Jefferson Market Library building, in Manhattan’s West Village neighborhood! Come find us in the private, sunlight-filled Community Room, upstairs, past the stained glass staircase (ask at the library front desk to be directed to the room). 

About the JML: http://www.nypl.org/locations/tid/39/about
Directions: http://www.nypl.org/locations/tid/39/directions
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Jefferson-Market-Library/308585249433

WHAT TO BRING: 
Consider bringing a snack or alcohol-free drink to share. If you’d like to join in after the lecture with our traditional DIY sewing circle (regardless of whether you are sewing a bowtie!), please bring your own crafts and/or sewing supplies. Definitely bring your interest in historic menswear and your DIY spirit, and be ready to learn a new skill!

SKILLS NEEDED:
No handsewing experience necessary — feel free to learn, socialize, and enjoy. We won’t be teaching beginning hand sewing techniques at this parlocraft circle, but if you’d like to learn basic hand stitches for even absolute beginners, you can find lots of great, easy-to-follow tutorials on youtube. You’ll be surprised at how simple it is!

PRICE: 
As always, the Parlorcraft Circle is 100% free! However, if you have a Victorian or Victorian-friendly crafting skill, consider donating your knowledge back to the community, and talk to us about doing an upcoming demonstration yourself. (Email handwork@gmail.com with your demo or lecture idea).

IMPORTANT — RSVP:
Due to the space limitations of our new and beautiful location, and because a huge sewing circle would be difficult, only 20 spots are available. Please RSVP here to reserve your spot, or email handwork@gmail.com. 

ABOUT THE PARLORCRAFT CIRCLE:
The NYC Victorian Parlorcraft Circle promotes sewing and crafting techniques from the 19th century, and aims to show how these techniques can be beautiful, economical, environmental, and relevant for modern people. Save money, relax, and enjoy yourself learning to sew, craft, and mend! 

For more information about the Parlorcraft Circle, please visit our website:
http://handwork.tumblr.com/

As a gentle reminder: there is no Parlorcraft Circle today. We are taking the month off after a successful hand-sewing class at the NYNCS Festival last weekend!

Please join us next month on the first Saturday — Saturday June 2, 2012 — at Tea Spot at 3pm for the next Parlorcraft Circle. Theme to be announced!

Have a wonderful day, and see you on June 2nd!

Cool — the Parlorcraft Circle was recently featured on NPR station WFUV’s Cityscape show!

http://www.wfuv.org/news/cityscape/120331/19th-century-state-mind

Click above to listen to co-founder Zoh speak about the Circle, 19-century sewing techniques in general, and why it is valuable to revive them!). Also featured is Rachel from the Batitsu Club of New York (the martial art of Sherlock Holmes) and food historian Sarah Lohman!

Learn how to sew by hand, using antique techniques from the 19th century!

As a part of the NYC 19th Century Extravaganza festival in New York City, the Victorian Parlorcraft Circle presents a special class on the Art of Victorian Hand Sewing, a hands-on workshop showcasing antique hand-stitching techniques developed before the sewing machine was patented in 1854.

Many of these beautiful and practical techniques have been lost to popular knowledge. Members of the NYNCS Victorian Parlorcraft Circle will demonstrate each stitch, and walk you through techniques used to create beautiful handmade garments and textile art!

Victorian Handsewing Class
Saturday, April 28, 2012
2:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Greater Astoria Historical Society
Quinn Building, 35-20 Broadway, 4th Floor
Long Island City, NY 11106

Buy your ticket here: https://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/236654

Limited to 15 attendees, guests will receive supplies so that they can follow along and take home examples of the stitches. Attendees will also receive written instructions and a bibliography of first-person sources to do further research and learning on their own. 

Although not strictly necessary, a beginner’s basic knowledge of sewing will be useful. If you can sew on a button, you have enough skill to follow along!

RSVP will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. This event requires a $7.20 payment to reserve your seat. All proceeds will go to defray the cost of the Extravaganza.

There is also a Facebook event here, if you’d like to share this information with others: https://www.facebook.com/events/258995024189805/

Join us on April 7th for the Victorian Parlorcraft Circle in our new West Village location, Tea Spot NYC! Look for us down a rickety staircase on the comfortable lower level, which is filled with an overabundance of delapidated antique chairs, like your grandma’s attic if she had an infestation of bohemians.

Tea Spot is located in a classic Manhattan row house built in 1828, right off of Washington Square.

 This month’s lecture investigates how modern knitters can translate 19th century knitting patterns into a set of instructions useable to the modern crafter. Have you ever come across some amazing antique pattern but then realize you have absolutely no idea how to go about knitting it, or what many of the terms mean? We’ll talk about the information you need and the challenges you may face while working from 19th century patterns.

Attendees will be provided with a translation guide of period knitting terms and needle sizes so they can start translating their own period knitting patterns (and where to find said patterns in the first place!).

The Circle itself is free of charge, but please plan to purchase tea and food to thank Tea Spot for their hospitality.


Location: Tea Spot
127 Macdougal StreetNew York, NY 10012
Date: Saturday, April 7, 2012
Time: 3-5pm EST

You may also see facebook invitation:
https://www.facebook.com/events/201484219952732/

Finally, don’t forget to sign up for our mailing list to receive notifications of new events!

Thanks to everyone who came out to our last parlorcrafts circle and participated in the Winter Projects Show and Tell! It was great to see the beautiful items that everyone has been working on this winter. As usual, we had a diverse selection of crafts! Pictured below is some whitework monogram embroidery in progress.

The next parlorcraft circle will be in April. Big things are being planned… stay tuned!

We also now have an announcement list for new parlorcraft events. Feel free to sign up if you’d like a notification when we announce a new event around the NYC area.

costume-and-construction:

On October 1st, I had the pleasure of attending the New York Nineteenth Century Society’s monthly handwork circle. This month’s theme was Victorian crochet lace, with a lecture and demonstration presented by Eva from Circa 1850!

Dangers of Wearing a Corset Embroidery by Melindamaire

Victorian Parlorcrafts & Textile Handwork Circle - Winter Show and Tell!

When: Saturday, February 4, 2012
Time: 3:00pm - 5:00pm
Where: Old Stone House Museum:
Washington Park/JJ Byrne Playground - 3rd St. @ 5th Ave. Brooklyn, NY 11215
RSVP: on facebook

Early February is traditionally the coldest part of the year in New York City — what better time for a show-and-tell of what we’ve all been working on during our winter hibernation! 

Whether it’s a new knitting project inspired by an antique item, an exacting recreationof antique crochet lace, a modern-style skirt sewn using Victorian-era techniques, a piece of costume clothing interpreting the past, or modern embroidery art with a subject matter inspired by the past, please bring your own knitting and crochetwork, embroidery, tatting, needlepoint, papercraft, and other handworked parlor-crafts along and show us what you’ve been working on! 

Join us for tea, food, and fabulous company, as we convene for our first meeting of the new year in the beautiful upstairs room at the Old Stone House in Brooklyn.

ABOUT THE CIRCLE: 

The monthly Nineteenth Century Society Handwork Circle promotes the revival and research of antique, hand-worked textile and parlor arts such as knitting, crochet, embroidery, hand sewing using Victorian techniques, needlepoint, tatting, and antique papercrafts such as quilling. 

We feature a different craft, technique, or antique project at our monthly meetings, with a rotating cast of presenters, followed up with a traditional crafting circle where you can work on your own individual projects in the company of like-minded historically-interested textile and papercraft artists.

Members are interested in antique handwork arts for many reasons: we find them relaxing, useful, frugal, environmentally savvy, and beautiful. Although the circle strives for historical accuracy in our research and presentations, we encourage modern and Victorian-inspired personal projects using these techniques, as well as historically accurate projects and recreations. The only requirement for attendance is a curiosity about antique textile and parlor crafts!

At December’s handwork circle, the featured pattern was knitted garters for socks and stockings! 

Here is the pattern we used, with notes, on Google Docs. I hope this translation, and the notes help you if you’re interested in making it yourself! 

Here’s a garter, in progress: 

Welcome to the New York Victorian Parlorcraft Circle.

Here’s a video to come out of the Handwork Circle’s class on Victorian sewing techniques! I hope it’s helpful in your sewing efforts.

costume-and-construction:

Tutorial: Victorian Hand Sewing Part One: The Sew-and-Fell Stitch

It occured to me that I’d never posted this video that Eva and I made for the Nineteenth Century Society. This is a demonstration of the sew-and-fell stitch, a Victorian-era handsewing technique that was used frequently on clothing items wherever a durable seam was needed, and where raw edges needed to be enclosed.

It’s easy to sew and forms a very lovely (and strong) seam! (And with hand sewing, you can do it while you watch a movie… or on the subway… or at a boring dinner party…).