Crinoline lady embroideries and some vintage haberdashery

A stack of vintage embroidery transfers
There are two each of the two designs in the middle
row. The design of the one at the bottom seems
to suggest the stitches that should be used.
 I've been given some lovely things by friends in recent months, and I thought I should share them with you.

While I write about steampunk a lot, the name of this blog was actually inspired by an embroidery motif popular in the 1930s and 1940s: the crinoline lady standing in a garden. I've no idea what it was that made them so well-loved, perhaps it was a longing for a more certain time in an era when both war and the breakup of the Empire were looming, but they pop up an awful lot in this time period on everything from dressing table mats to tablecloths and cushions, usually in a mix of sugary shades with plenty of blues and pinks. Anyway, one day I woke up and thought, 'Why is it always a lady? Why not a robot?' and so the name of this blog came about.

My friend Claire of Eternal Magpie has come into a pile of embroidery transfers and has sent me some of them. They're really lovely. I have been planning to embroider some blog page furniture, and will adapt my favourite transfer to make it. (If you're into all things crafty, I recommend Claire's blog. She's into a wide range of crafts, from knitting to sewing to jewellery making and also explores the historical side of textiles – if she doesn't know something about rural workmen's smocks, you probably don't need to know it either...)
A detailed embroidery transfer for a crinoline lady in a garden.
This one is my favourite.

I'd really like to do more embroidery. I'm not completely sure where my free time goes but there never seems to be enough of it. (Possibly I do too much freelance.) Anyway, I've had ideas for all sorts of embroideries bubbling around in my head, so with luck I'll get time to sit down and so some.

The other lovely thing I've been given is a couple of cards of hooks and eyes. They've been passed down through my steampunk chum Naomi's family, and she gave them to me because she thought I'd like them. They're so pretty I won't be using them, I'll keep them as they are. The ones on the blue card say 'By appointment to Her Majesty the Queen and Queen Mary' so they must have been made some time within the reign of George VI; I'd guess pre-war because of the printing and the hairstyle of the lady on the card. The larger ones are much easier to date as they have 'WAR TIME PACK' in big letters on the back.

So, perhaps it's time to start exploring sewing! And also to be grateful for having kind and generous friends.


  1. I have a crinoline lady mirror (looks to be home painted). Such a dreamy style, as you say it's escapism to a romantic world of beauty and peace in that garden setting. I must blog it some time, it's so pretty.

  2. I love Crinoline ladies despite them being regarded as "cheap" in the past

  3. These are so cute. Will be fun to see what you do with them.

  4. i often see Crinoline embroidery at vintage fairs. It makes me envious of their embroidery skills. I need to actually get some - and then I could embroider all sorts!

  5. They were so popular, weren't they? I'm glad other people like them too! I'm still kicking myself for not getting a crinoline lady teacup when I saw it...


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