About Me

Hi, and welcome to Black Tulip. My blog is a place for me to record the various projects I’m working on, and the places, people and things which inspire me. So here's a bit about how I got to this stage.

I started sewing when I was very young and never really stopped; it has always been part of my life. My first creation was a doll's dress; two roughly hacked rectangles of orange crimpelene with a brown paisley pattern (well, it was about 1970!) held together with huge stitches. I still remember that I couldn't get the thread to stay in the eye of the needle, so I knotted it in place. This fixed the problem, but unsurprisingly made it very hard to get the needle through fabric. I like to think that both my sewing technique and fabric choices have improved massively since then!

Simplicity 1777, a vintage pattern reissue

My main interest is clothing, especially vintage, and I've taken part in the Vintage Sewing Pattern Pledge in both 2015 and 2016.

Butterick 6877, an original pattern from 1954

I've also made some historical items as part of the Historical Sew Monthly challenges, and sometimes managed to tie this is with another of my interests, Middle Eastern dance. For some time I was also a member of, and wardrobe mistress to, Ya Raqs; a traditional Middle Eastern and North African dance troupe.

15th century Ottoman costume, and two of the Ya Raqs girls in costumes which I made

In 2015 I discovered a whole new passion; hatmaking. I've been on a number of courses at Hat Works, the hat museum in Stockport, Greater Manchester, and sometimes I even manage to finish one of the various hats I've started to make there!

A completed hat! 1950s sinamay

Between 2016 and 2019 I completed a Research Masters on women and home dressmaking, with a focus on vintage dressmaking. Some of my research and general vintage pattern nerdery made it onto this blog, and I continue to post about my ongoing exploration of home dressmaking in the twentieth century under the topic home dressmaking history.

I live in the north-west of England, with more vintage patterns than any woman can hope to make up in a lifetime - although I intend to have a darn good try!


  1. I have two Vogue Patterns 1 a Paris Original 1086 photo/drawing 10 shillings it looks like a 50s cocktail type dress full skirt size 18
    2 Vogue Basic Dress Design 3009 6 shillings size 20 day dress full and straight skirt If they are of any use I could post them to you free of any charge. I found these at a church sale

    1. Thank you so much for your kind offer Jean. I have sent you an email to the address on your profile, please let me know if you don't receive it.


  2. Couldn't find a contact email on your page, but wanted to let you know that I wrote about Mrs. Exeter and linked to you.


  3. Have you checked out the "Mad Duchess" (hat making lady) website? You would so enjoy it! She has a hat similar to your latest make. Also talks about using the vintage blocks that you refer to when talking about your hat making workshops. This lady's work is wow-worthy! Thought of you straight away. All the best.

    1. Thanks for letting me know about this, Susan. I wasn't aware of the website, and have really enjoyed looking through it.

  4. Hello Mrs.Tulip. About the growing out of bangs. We are all dealing with the absence of hairdresser visits and do-it-yourself COVID hair. I have even ventured so far as to colour my dreaded roots myself with a box of L'Oreal, not great BUT if does look better than it did LOL. I have been using rollers on my bangs, they are sufficiently long enough now to sweep to the one side and kind of look like this might be working. When yours get a bit longer you might like to try it. Nothing ventured, nothing gained LOL. Currently working my way through my UFOs. Trying to have a tidy up. Sort of like Christmas morning, unearthing all my forgotten treasures. Have to try to keep some vestige of sanity in this lockdown. Always love reading about your makes. Wish we didn't have an ocean between us. I'm sure we'd be great chums. All the best to you and happy sewing.

    1. Hello Susan, Thanks for your kind words and for the tip about rollers - all suggestions about easing the pain of growing out bangs are gratefully received! In England (the 4 UK nations all have different rules, which is very confusing), hairdressers have been open for a couple of weeks, so I was able to have a cut and colour, but limited the fringe trim to a very slight tidy-up.

      I know what you mean about Christmas morning - having to sew from my stash for the last year has caused me to rediscover all sorts of goodies tucked away in my workroom!