Medieval Thimble (or Thymel) on Fettered Cock Pewters

This interesting little number is a Medieval Tailor’s Thimble. It’s a ring-type, meant for sewing heavier materials. I put mine on my index finger and it stops on the second joint. The location and depth of the little indentations makes it perfect, and in my opinion, better than its modern counterparts. The modern ones tend to have shallower indentations that let the needle slip out to jab you with its still sharp butt end. It is a reproduction, but my only complaint is that the bottom flange that sticks up from the surface makes the thimble a little annoying to wear as a ring, which is a great place to put it so you don’t misplace it. It’s also a tad tight for my pinkie finger as a ring.

The thimble can be purchased at Westair Museum Reproductions (I believe it was originally made for them), Fettered Cock Pewters, on eBay and at several other sites for about $8 USD. Other sites, including Etsy, have similar thimbles for sale at different price points.

I’m not sure how this post never got published. It might be for lack of a photo, which came out poorly due to the conditions (rain, sea spray and being tossed about). Without further ado – a very belated post from 2011.
This isn’t exactly costume related, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that the Rogues got to go sailing on the tall ship Lady Washington this last weekend! It was cold, wet, it rained and it was awesome! S. jumped up and down and squealed like a little girl as we headed out of the bay into open water with the hull slapping down against the swells.
The Lady Washington is the state ship of Washington. She sails around doing short adventure and battle sails (I want to be on board to hear the canons fire, even if the projectiles are only twinkies!), but her main goal is to provide educational experience of merchant seamen for school children. The ship itself is a 112 foot brig (two masts, square-rigged). She appeared in the first Pirates movie as the HMS Interceptor. The original ship (this is a replica built in 1989) was built in the 1750s as a cargo vessel and became a privateer during the American Revolutionary War. In 1788 she was the first American vessel to make landfall on the west coast of North America. She normally travels with another tall ship, the Hawaiian Chieftain. For more information on her history, current voyages and a 14 minute video on the making of the modern vessel, visit: and (more…)

The 1912 Project is about to start with 400 Test Sewers! We’ve been broken up into groups and patterns should be coming our way any day now. The official blog for the project can be found here. We will be starting with patterns from the April 1912 issue, as this is the closest to the sinking of the Titanic, then going back and working our way through the entire year.

What I really want to show you are some of the illustrations from La Mode Illustree 1912, issue #3:

The three items show are:

  1. Ladies Taffeta Dress (#0158) – blue taffeta trimmed in satin bias binding of the same color with plastron and under cuffs of pleated white tulle.
  2. Ladies Coat (#0168) –  gray velvet with white stripes with black velvet cuffs and lapels.
  3. Ladies Jacket (#0169) – a ladies wool coat with silk lining and velvet cuffs. I want this! I love the large lapels and the way the lining shows. This looks like it would lend itself well to having a hood, though I doubt the original did.

I can’t wait to see what pattern comes to the rogues first! And oh just look at those glorious hats!

Manhattan Trade School for Girls report card of Marie Garaventa from Paul Lukas' Slate Magazine article.

I’ve always been fascinated with historical objects, bits of history, loved objects and anything that gives a hint of how a person lived their life. In 1996 Paul Lukas, the author of this article, Permanent Record (found in Slate Magazine) discovered an old filing cabinet in an unused room, in an ex-school, that was slated to be thrown away. Contained in that file cabinet were the records of almost 400 young women who attended a technical school for the sewing arts from the turn of the 20th century through at least mid century. The author and several of his friends stuffed their pockets with as many of the records as they could and one hopes that between them, they got them all.

The turn of the 20th century was focused on industry. In those early years there would be many manuals of home sewing, dressmaking, millinery and other needle arts. Some were intended as instruction for the housewife, others for tailors and some as textbooks for girls. In New York, some forward thinking people, with the help of several well known philanthropists of the day, wanted to give poor girls of all ethnicities a chance to better their skills, help them into better paying jobs, and better lives. The Manhattan Trade School for Girls began in 1902, The school’s first director, Mary Schenck Woolman, detailed the situation in her book, The Making of a Trade School , which was published in 1910. The trade school accepted mostly poor girls, some of whom needed financial aid and many who were Italian, though some were Russian, Hispanic or black. The school kept meticulous records of the girls progress, both academic, home life and even jobs – sometimes for more than a decade. These records are a time capsule, a detailed sociological record, heartbreaking and inspirational dramas.
This article is well worth the read. It gives us a glance into the lives of turn of the century underprivileged young women, many of whom would sew for a living and teach those skills and the love of making to future generations. The author goes further, eventually researching and tracking down a few of the families of these young women. The children of these women then shared stories of their mothers’ lives after they had left the school, along with photographs, letters, a diploma and even a couple sewing sample books. One attendee of the school started a sewing business that is still in production today. Many of the photos and records, and even a short film, are included in the article.
Today the 5th and final post in the series was posted. Be sure to follow all the links for more information. Happy reading!

We have been asked to make 5 of these coats, from the original, in wildly different sizes. The original coat is in less than perfect shape and was in desperate need of a bath.

Historically speaking the coat resembles a “buff coat,” a French Carignan-Sallieres Regiment. Ensign (1665), an English Foot Guard Musketeer (1660), an English Coldstream Guard officer (Tangier, 1669), and an Austrian Artillery Gunner (1671), though none exactly. According to the owner of the coat, it is was based on a coat from the horrible (in every way but possibly costuming and sets) Cutthroat Island film. *shudders*