Friday, 18 January 2013

Canopy bed, finished

You may wonder what happened to the canopy bed I made some days ago. I have been working on it all this time. Here is what I made. First, a matress. I took the foam provided in the kit and made a cover from a bit of an old kitchen towel. I have no idea how I know how to make a matress, but I think it looks very authentic.

It took me a long time to decide what fabric to use for the bedding. It has to be correct for the period. Finally I found a bit that I had bought in a hobby shop in Norway two years ago. It was just waiting for the right moment. I also had a couple of cheap handkerchiefs from a charity shop - I think the kind they have in schools for embroidery. I didn't want to cut them so I measured the main fabric to match. As I was sewing, I couldn't help thinking, once again, how they would do it in the 18th century in the American South. Would they use slaves? Would the mistress hit her slaves if sewing was not good enough? If the stitches weren't small enough or straight? I need to learn more about hand sewing throughout history. In classical English novels, you read about "plain sewing" and "fine sewing". I guess bed linen was plain sewing.

 I made the canopy first so this is what it looked like.

Finally I made the coverlet and a pillow. I will also make curtains. Canopy beds were not decorative. The point was to draw the curtains around them to keep warm.

You may have noticed that there is matching wallpaper in the room. It is not fixed yet because I need to paint the ceiling first, but I wanted to see what it would look like with a matching wallpaper, since that's what they had in those days. Before I cut up the fabric I photocopied it making four or five paper sheets. I am sure somebody has done this before, but I came up with it all by myself. Just because I have my new printer.

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