Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Double, double toil and trouble

Illustration of the Pendle Witches
William Harrison Ainsworth's The Lancashire Witches, 1849

I call upon ye sorceresses of the internets, ye witches of knowledge and power. I call, all ye magicians who gesture with needle and thread, ye frequenters of the emporiums of the world wide web, all ye mistresses of dissimulation and deceit.

Come to me, sisters.

I seek to disguise a child.

I wish to send it back in time.

It shall be thus:
"We find that some sort of costume, even a simple one, helps your child to imagine what it might have been like as a Tudor peasant. Girls should wear a dress which is long and plain with a full skirt and wide bottom sleeves. The neckline was cut low to see the plain high neck blouse below. Make a small plain apron attached to a belt and wear it around your hips."
Sisters, I beseech thee. I raise my arms to the sky, I feel your power surging through the air to reach my fingertips.

Give me the spell. Give me the spell.


  1. Well for sure, Eurolush needs to supply the apron.

    Could she wear one of your dresses? (Or is she a wee tiny child who would be swallowed up by any adult dress?)

  2. I could try to come up with some kind of incantation that would instantaneously deliver Driftwood and DottyCookie to your doorstep. Because those two are stitchin' FOOLS. Then I'd hop on my broom and soar above the great waters with some nice plum cake balanced on my head. Because seamstresses need their sustenance.

  3. (But I don't advise inviting Eurolush. You and she would end up engaging in a fistfight or mud wrestling or somesuch and ruin the ambience.)

  4. P.S. Ya got two more days until you have to supply a calendar page for a fresh month. Be ready.

  5. Oy, Ms Lynn, who are you calling a fool?

    I sympathise. I have to make a Roman costume by next Monday. I promise that if I ever do train to be a teacher I won't do this to the parents, no matter how much fun for the tiddlers!

  6. PS Sadly the words 'toga party' didn't appear on the instructions. Apparently the Roman children didn't wear togas. Humph.

  7. Oh dear. My sympathies. Wouldn't it be better to just let them go without, I dunno, indoor plumbing for a week? Maybe invite some barnyard animals to live in the garden? Make them eat cabbage? Yikes.

  8. I bet you need that to be done by tomorrow... x

  9. This tudor costume looks like it could be made with minimal sewing: (and I don't even mean just by clicking buy!)

    I'm imagining a t-shirt cut to design spec, with shoelaces sewn on to the front, and a long skirt hemmed to fit. The hat is the trickiest bit...a deflated chef's hat perhaps?

  10. my spell has only three words


    credit card xxxx

  11. Clearly Lynn is jealous of our mud-wrestling fist fights. She yearns to join in.

    As for the spells from me...though I am witch-y and sorceress-like...magically delicious, too.

    This whole costume-making business makes me get all tense just thinking about it. I can't take the pressure. And she's not even my kid! Aiiiiiii!

  12. Oh no - and I thought dress like a Victorian was bad enough. At least I have a month to fret about it!

  13. Oh dear! So glad that is all behind me now. No help whatsoever, unless you can find someone who did it last year and still has the outfit??

  14. (I'm delurking to help. Hi!)

    I don't know if you can/want to sew, but I think you can do this with minimal work. It will require a thrift store/rummage through your closet. And depends a bit on how small the small child is :)

    Step 1: Skirt. Easiest solution is Mama's skirt-- a calf-length will be floor length on a little one. Insert elastic into the waistband to fit. If lazy (me), use safety pins to gather the excess material.

    Step 2: Shirt.For a loose, blousy top, try one of Mr. Coffee's old dress shirts. Button the cuffs above the elbow if possible, and the excess fabric will droop over, looking like loose sleeves. Unbutton the shirt as needed for low-cut neckline.

    Step 3: Vest. This is trickier. For an authentic feel, scout an old vest from thrift store. remove buttons from front. With scissors, cut slits to match the buttonholes on other front side. Thread shoelace through. If the vest is pointed at the bottom, cut off the points. You can sew or glue gun the ends so it doesn't look too scraggly. Stitch up (or safety pin!) the sides so it fits.

    Step 4: Hat. Tea towel, folded and bobby pinned. Alternative: white t-shirt. Put the neckband around her head like a headband, cut off the sleeves, pin the body of the shirt so it droops over the headband part and flops toward the back also.

    Step 5: apron. If you're lucky, pull one out of the kitchen drawer. If not, tea towel again to the rescue. Sew to a belt/scrap of fabric/rope (hey, Tudor peasants had to make do, right?) or again, glue gun to the rescue!

    Step 6: send child off to school. Sit back, take a deep breath.

    (Hope this is of some help... and makes sense! If not-- well, I tried!)

    Wish you all the best!

  15. Move house. It will be less trouble.

  16. I be of no use to 'ee sister. I be a sewing dunderhead. Hmm, not sure what that accent was.

    I do have a handy time machine in my cupboard though. I could turn the dial to 1583. Quite handy in a scrape.

  17. ACK.

    I always heard about these things THE NIGHT BEFORE, and so, I send you STRENGTH AND IMAGINATION.

  18. - ALSO, Janelle is brilliant!

  19. indeed, Janelle is fantastic. As is everyone else...

    Anyway - an update. The child has a costume. I prevailed. I may post pictures, so you can all snurk and snort with laughter.

    Or I may not.

  20. See, this is why we're lucky here in the United States. We never had Tudor peasants, so! No need to get dressed up as one.


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