Monday, January 30, 2012

'Over and Above' Idea

I've been needing to make myself a heavier zimarra or cloak for quite some time now. About the only SCA event I've been able to consistently attend for the last few years has been Uprising, and its usually bitter cold and wet, and so I'm quite happy for this excuse to make something warm. I basically have two options.

1. I recently made a waist length wool cape for a close friend and love how it turned out. I have enough of a dark green wool coating in my stash for the outer layer, but nothing suitable for a lining. I'd either have to invest in some velvet or flannel or something, which my budget right now does not really allow. I'd probably to a fairly simple guard along the edges for trim. Without looking, I'm thinking I remember several examples of this style in 'Moda a Firenze'.

2. My other option, which I think is more likely right now, is a flannel-lined wool Zimarra. I have some heavy black wool coating and some bright pink cotton flannel in my stash right now that I think would look striking together. I found this portrait on Bella's site with those colors, and the same basic shape I would want to go for.
Gian Paolo Lolmo, c1580: Portrait of a Woman Aged 19 Years
I would probably make the sleeves closed instead of open up the front for added warmth. And since my wool is plain and not patterned I'll have to do some other type of trim. I'd love to do surface embroidery over the whole thing, but don't think I could accomplish that in a month. I've been browsing Ebay and searching for some sort of appropriate trim, but have been having difficulty.  I'm thinking I'll probably end up doing something like the embroidered trim in this portrait of Countess Livia by Paolo Caliari;
Cotton flannel is what I will use since I have it, and it will be warm:-) But something I need to research is the use of flannel in period. I'm pretty positive about the existence of wool flannel, but I have my doubts about the existence of cotton flannel. I don't know where wool flannel would have all been used....Does anyone have any insight on period flannel????

Gown Finis!

The Carpi dress is momentarily finished and I am very happy with how it turned out. No accessories yet, but I have plans.....I found a really good deal on some sheer silk on Ebay, so I do in fact have material to work on the partlet, just not the time in the next few weeks (we are in the middle of remodeling a garage into a studio apartment, while living in it, makes sewing time difficult to find). Oh, and then there's the IRCC mini-challenge coming up in two days, so....yeah it might be a while before I get around to the partlet.

Anyway, pictures.... I did have the gown steamed and wrinkled free.....but that was several days before we got around to taking pictures, plus I look like I haven't slept in several nights, but here they are regardless;

Above is the roll of guard. Instead of inserting a strip of wool inside the bottom of the skirt, I decided to go with a finished decorative band that would be sewed onto the outside of the skirt, akin to the solid coloured guards on early 1500 Florentine gowns. It consists of a strip of wool, covered in linen, and five rows of the silk ribbon, sewn down on each side by hand. The skirt is hemmed by folding both the lining and the linen inside to make about a half inch finished hem, and the guard is sewn down so the lower edge covered the stitching of the hem.

What I used;
6 yards 60 inch wide green handkerchief linen
aprox. 1 yard 60 inch wide brown wool
4 yards 45 inch wide tea-dyed muslin
1/2 yard heavy blue linen
aprox. 45 yards copper silk ribbon
leftover floss for eyelets

So things I have still to do;
1. partlet, same copper ribbon will be sewn onto silk organza
2. caul or cap, need to do more research, will use scraps of linen or muslin
3. two necklaces, need to do more research on jewelry making, purchase beads
4. gloves, will use purchased pattern, and thin leather from stash
5. netted/sheer cap worn over caul, need to do more reasearch, or beaded headband
6. linen camicia with whitework on neckline and cuffs (loosely based of men's shirt in Patterns of Fashion)
7. earrings, possibly
8. fan, I'll probably make another flag fan, instead of the feather fan in the portrait
9. take final GOOD pictures, with everything wrinkle free and me not looking so tired

Friday, January 20, 2012

A bit about the sleeves

When I made my 'bella' gown several years back, I stiffened the baragoni with -eek!- modern interfacing. It did work really well, especially with the synthetic fabric I sewed the dress with. Just for fun here's a picture of that....

All in all I love that dress, and I've even thought about making a new one like it, knowing what I know now. I sewed that dress with cheap fabrics and completed it in about three weeks, applique and everything. If I were to re-do it I would make it a long term project and embroider it instead of machine appliqueing the gold bits.

Anyway, back to the point. I couldn't use interfacing this time, seeing as it is not period. My theory (again unresearched) is that since we know skirt pleats were padded with wool, and the hems stiffened with wool, why not pad the pleats on the baragoni with wool?  If I'd have really been thinking I would have just interlined the outer fabric with a layer of wool, but instead I took a strip of wool doubled and gathered that into the seam at the bottom of the baragoni, and about a one inch wide strip at the top of the baragoni and smocked that to fit to the lining. The doubled wool gives a sharper 'fold' where the baragoni reaches its fullest puff and I think it did turn out well, but like I said, if I was thinking I would have just interlined the whole thing with a solid layer of wool. 

The sleeves are bag lined. The seam where the baragoni and lower sleeve meet is basted to the lining to keep the puff from sliding down.  The top of the sleeves are then whipstitched to the shoulder of the gown across a little more than half the sleeve opening.

 And here is a picture of the wrist tabs, which I am very happy with.

I've got the hook and eyes sewn on the skirt openings and the method works wonderfully. I've also finished the guard and sewing it to the bottom of the skirt, but I'll post more about that later. Just a few places on it I need to finish up a bit neater, and hopefully sometime this weekend I will get pictures of the whole thing. I won't be able to finish the camica for it, and will have to wait on the partlet and other accesories for now, waiting on spending money, but hopefully I can throw enough together from my stash and current wardrobe that I can wear the whole thing properly. I need to do a good go-through of my current wardrobe and clean out much of my earlier things I've made, many things of which are done with synthetic fabric or don't fit well, and then re-plan my wardrobe to better match my persona and reflect the fact that I hardly ever even go to events where I need court gowns.... sadly.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Skirt Attatched!

So I broke down and used the machine...shame on me.... but I only used it for two seams, so not too bad, right? I got a bit of ambition last night and just HAD to get the skirt on the dress. I tried a new variation of a technique previously used; first I sewed the muslin lining, the linen, and a three inch wide strip of wool all along the top edge with about a half inch seam. I then trimmed the perpendicular edges and sewed that up to be the back seam. Then I flipped the linen/wool to the outside, so that the top edge was finished and six layers thick. This was then pleated to a narrow strip of linen which I then whipstitched to the inside of the bodice. I went back to the outside and stitched the tops/outside of each pleat to the very bottom of the outside layer of linen on the bodice using invisible stitches. This aligned everything beautifully, and I loved how it turned out. 

I had any doubts about how this gown would turn out with using linen instead of silk, they are gone. The sheen and lightweightness of this gown so far are perfect, plus washable!!

Back to the skirt; instead of having side back slits to co-ordinate with the side back openings, I instead left about a nine inch portion of the skirt unpleated. Once the gown is finsihed, the excess skirt will close with hook and eye. I haven't tried this before, but saw it somewhere ( bad me, saw it somewhere and didn't document, bad!). It leaves a pretty substantial break in the even row of pleats BUT this will get rid of the gap in the skirt that shows camicia beneath (one of my pet peeves).

 Ive also been slowly working away on the sleeves. The first one is completely finished and the second one is ready to be assembled. Once i'm finished with both I will post more on the construction experiments I performed upon them.

On another note, I have been convinced by family and friends to pursue sewing as a business. I stay with my husband's granny during the week, making sure she eats, and all that fun stuff, which gives me oodles of time to sew instead of sitting and watching the Walton's with her all day. I'm slowly starting to work on a website where I can put things up for sale and take commissions. This will be an interesting pursuit, but I'm anxious to make a bit more cash and spend my time being productive and useful. Any thoughts or ideas for what I could encorporate? Or if i'm even skilled enough to do this?