Good Wednesday to you all! I hope your week is going wonderfully so far! We (Colton and I) are on Spring Break, so it's been great at the White house!
Last Wednesday my crinoline kit from The Wooded Hamlet arrived!!! I have been saving for this baby since late last summer and I finally had enough money to order it! I was so excited when it came in, that Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evening I worked on it and then Sunday I completed it! I am so thrilled with this beautiful cage and wish to thank Needle and Thread for creating this incredible kit. As they say in the DVD and written manual, it took them 4 years to gather or have the materials created and boy was it worth it!
When I was doing my research into this, I couldn't find any real helpful information about the kit and since it did cost a pretty penny, I wanted a little more substance or "chewy" info. I thought that since I couldn't find any and really took a leap of faith to purchase it, I would write a little "product" review and give you a little more info on the kit!
If you have ever made up one of Truly Victorian's hoop patterns (I have made all three) then making this will be a snap as it is very similar. One of the main differences is the size of the hoop wire and the use of hardware and different tools. Plus there is waaaaaay less sewing!
I must confess that I was freaked out to start making this as I had heard that it was a real booger to put together and they had to watch the DVD several times. I think the making of the TV hoops helped a lot and in truth, the DVD was so very helpful, the text was almost verbatim what the DVD said and it really was simple, if not fiddly, to make! You watch someone (I think his name is Dave) construct a whole cage from start to finish! How fabulous is that!?
My finished hoop in all it's beautiful glory!!
Ok, now on to the images that I took (I of course forgot to take pictures of some of the items and steps, so I'll just have to tell you about them).
How the kit came packaged. All nice and neat-o!
It comes with everything you need but the tools and those are a looooong tape measure (I used my husband's metal work tape), a cloth seamstress' tape measure, bent end needle nose pliers, an awl, hammer, large wire cutters, scissors, metal paper clips, twist ties or pipe cleaners, blue disappearing ink pen and a pencil. Of course you will need a sewing machine (or you can sew by hand) and I used my iron to iron the tapes. In the kit are Large spots, small spots, alligator clips, copper tubes, leather, a knitting needle, waistband, buckle, tapes, wide hem wire and thin hoops wire, DVD and 10 page manual.
This is what the "back" of the tapes look like. See those handy channels? Those are what the hoops go through! Genius!!
The front of the tapes. Those diamond and stripe weaves help a lot with placement of the small spots. Also, it is an exact reproduction of the original tapes! So very, very authentic!!
These are the small spots. These made my fingers so beyond angry! You use these to anchor the tapes to the wires.
These fabulous copper tubes help thread the wires through the tapes and for most of the wires, they are used to connect the wires together.
To keep the ends of the fabric from totally unraveling from the wire, I used Fray Check. This way after I cut the wires, I didn't have to worry about the fabric unraveling if the wires were moved (which they are quite a bit during the whole process).
A metal knitting needle is used to help thread the wires through the pockets in the tapes.
After cutting all the wires to the proper length and crimping the copper tubes on, all the wires are threaded through all the tapes. I used two heavy books to hold down the top of the tapes to keep them from flopping about.
After this step, you spread the tapes out to points that are measured out from the center of every wire at three increments on either side of the back measurement. The measured increments are marked on the wide bottom wire and go up about every 6 wire. That way you have a nice "anchor" point every so often to keep the tapes straight on the wires.
Sadly, I didn't get a picture of the spread out tapes...
The DVD suggests using twist ties to attach the end wires at the front, but I couldn't find any so I used pipe cleaners! They worked great!!
One of the most pain in the rear, fiddly parts is getting the tapes straight and the hoops tiered nicely. Most of my time was spent doing two things...this was one of those things.
Here's a video talking about the frustration of just getting the tapes to stay straight while adjusting the wires. Truly no big deal, just a time consuming portion of the making. But if you want your hoops to look good, it is worth it to take the time!
Wires at the front attached with the copper tubes. As with the TV pattern, you move the end parts to opposing sides to help with sturdiness.
The top wires that didn't close together in the middle were attached to the upper tapes with alligator clips then...
...covered with the leather and anchored with the large spots. I didn't read the addendum that came with the kit that says to put the spots OVER the wires and not in between them...grrrrrrrrrrr.... READ THE ADDENDUM!!!
The small spots are used to anchor the wires to the tapes. This was the second most time consuming part of this project. These spots took a long time! But see how the line in the middle of the tape helps you place the small spots? Brilliant!!
I didn't get a picture of the large spots before I used them, but this is the size. These are AWESOME to work with as the prongs are not pointy!!
The DVD suggests using bend end needle nosed pliers to attach the spots. I did do this, but before I used them on the small spots, I used my seam ripper handle to bend the prongs over as I couldn't figure out how to do it with the pliers. I also used the seam ripper point to make the holes in the leather and the bottom hoop wire and tapes to affix the large spots.
Inside of the finished hoops. You can see here how the wires stay in the pockets after the small spots are affixed.
I simply adore the waistband they send with the kit. The bottom of it is a pocket to sew the tapes into so it looks all pretty and neat!
Ok, so here is my grouchiness with getting the wires correct at the bottom. This was another time consuming part...the lower wires just wouldn't cooperate with me when I tried to connect them in the center. I know this was user error.
Here you can see how really uneven the bottom wires are! Take your time and really make sure these are good before you connect them!!
On Emma Mark I you can really see how the wires and tapes line up. Like I said, it takes some time, but it totally worth it!!
Love the shape of the "butt" here. Yes, they call it the "butt" on the DVD!! I am going to assume that is the correct terminology! It still made me laugh every time I heard it. Yes, I am an 8 year old!
The back. Again, so loving the look of this beautiful thing!
With a Dress Over Top
I wanted to try the hoops out on the dress with the lightest fabric so the semi sheer pink one was worn. I think the shape is quite lovely! Of course it will look different when worn by me!
My old hoops for comparison. I think the new one will work just fine!
Nice silhouette from the side!
And also from the back!
I ordered the 108" kit and it actually ended up being 111". There was a lot of wire left over so I could possibly have made it a lot wider if I so chose. But I wanted this hoop to replace the previous one, so stayed with the size. They also say that if want a more elliptical shape, the kit can be modified to make one! How cool is that?
Here is the link to The Wooded Hamlet's Original and Reproduction comparison page. It is literally amazing how authentic these people have made this kit! I am in awe and so happy that I have mine!! Huzzah! I cannot wait to wear it out!!
All in all, I would highly recommend this incredible kit. It takes a little while to complete, but if you are looking for as much authenticity as you can get without ruining an original, this is the way to go!!
Have a wonderfully blessed day my friends!