Thursday, April 26, 2012

way behind.....

So, we had an awesome vacation! It was both Zach's and my first time to see the ocean, and we stayed in a very cute little hotel by the coast with his brother and his wife. Also got to stop at the hugest fabric store in the south; Sir's Fabrics in Tennessee. It went on and on and on and on....unfortunately I had to limit my spending and volume of what I got since we were flying home.

And in other news....I got almost nothing done on the embroidery for my camicia and nothing else accomplished at all, and feel so far behind!! Plus now there's laundry and cleaning and were leaving again for the weekend.....So feeling very overwhelmed and under accomplished next to the rest of you who are doing IRCC stuff. Gonna take my embroidery again this weekend and see if I can't get more done on it.

But right now I'm off to start laundry and see If I can't make a dent in the pile of miscellany that is exponentially reproducing itself on the table....

Monday, April 16, 2012

Revised border applique

Version two of the applique design turned out much better than the first. I traced it onto trusty wonder under and fused it to the suede side of black garment leather, cut it out and then fused it to the velvet. I'm going to finish the applique first, then cut out the front and back pieces from the fabric, I'm hoping to avoid fraying and fuzzing and stretching that way.

I chose leather for several reasons. One, I was flipping through Patterns of Fashion one day and ran across the silk doublet with leather applique and thought it was pretty cool. I then thought, hey, that would be great because I wouldn't have to worry about fraying. And thirdly, decided it would add interesting texture to my gown.

I started the stitching on the bit on the back of the bodice, and soon got a rhythm down. The leather forced me to use a thimble consistently for one of the first times in my life.  However, I quickly realized that this would not make a good traveling project though, as it is much easier working at it over a flat surface.  The leather stretches a little when each stitch is pulled through, and has started to tug the fusing apart in places and with all the constant folding and stashing I will have to do with a travel project I decided this particular part isn't the best. So it is set aside for now and I have started the embroidery on my camicia.

Here's the front part of it, laid out within a tracing of the front bodice pattern piece;

As for the camicia, I've decided to go a more whimsical route than I usually do. I want to make this style;
But since I didn't want it to be so plain, but didn't want to put anything to fancy into it as I am just using muslin, I decided I would use of a collection of random cotton flosses I've been unintentionally collecting for a while and embroider some hunting dogs and a floral motif on the upper sleeves. The floral motif is a 'typical Elizabethan motif' from 'A Schole house for the Needle' by Richard Shorleyker (1624) via 'Blackwork Embroidery' by Elisabeth Geddes and Moyra McNeil. The hunting hounds are adapted of a pattern I found in a printed out 'Modelbuch' I got quite a while ago. So, random, not necessarily Italian, and not all from the right time period, but I like it.
I've got one sleeve traced out and ready to go, started on the top row. It will make a good travel project. We leave for Georgia Wednesday afternoon, so probably no more posts for a little while.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Cause I couldn't not start

So I broke down. I finished the arming doublet to the furthest point I could and finished the first camping dress. The other one is now in the UFO bin, hopefully not for too long though.

I worked out the mockup for my IRCC bodice, then laid it out on paper to trace the top edge. Then proceeded with measuring and plotting out the applique design as close as possible to that in the portrait. I filled it in with sharpie and pinned the front portion of it to my dummy for contemplation. It looks pretty good, but there are definitely a few things I need to tweak; straightening out the black lines and trying to make the design flow seamlessly over the shoulder. Trying to figure out how to make the bottom front corners of the design flow under the sleeves and not be just 'out there', if that makes sense.

I also got my camicia cut out last night. I decided on the style I want to do quite easily, but now cannot decide if I want to embroider or do lace insertion or if I want to do it by hand or by machine. As I am only using cotton I do not want to get too fancy with it, but also can't just have it plain. Decisions decisions.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Ahh, not ready!!

Not ready yet to start the my IRCC project, wasn't expecting to start until the 15th and found out last night we are going by Adelaide time. Oh well. I had set all this week aside for customer projects and getting miscellaneous things finished up so I would be clear and ready Sunday morning to start cutting and sewing!! Of course, fabric I needed for business projects didn't arrive this week, until yesterday I got the lining for an arming doublet.... so that's what I'll be working at today. I made pretty decent progress on it yesterday got the front, back, skirt, collar, and upper sleeves quilted (one layer heavy duct cloth, three layers of cotton quilt batting and one layer of flannel). Still need to quilt the lower sleeves and finish basting the rest of it  together for him to try on again. Fortunately I can use the machine for this, but it's definitely not the easiest project, for me or the machine.

I also made the mistake (nervously NEEDING to sew something while waiting on everything to fall in place) of starting, not one, but two camping dresses for myself. One is almost finished, I just need a few eyelets in the shoulders, and lacing cords. The other is still very near the beginning and I probably have two days worth of hand sewing to go on that one. I would like to get both of those finished also  before I start on this IRCC dress for myself.....but....we leave for Georgia in four days, and I don't have time to finish all that and cut out IRCC applique to do by hand on the drive down to Georgia. If I don't start it before we go, I won't be able to start it for almost two weeks and put myself very behind.

On the brighter side I have washed that sickly green velveteen and draped it over a dressmakers dummy and made myself look at it off and on, and think I have come to grips with it. Here's a pic with some of the other elements draped with it.  I think I can make it work.  Not pictured are some beads and flosses in dark purple and dark green and several yards of that purple/green changeable silk, the latter of which hasn't arrived in the mail yet:-/  From left to right, black striped chiffon, lilac linen, black velveteen, that green velveteen, gray wool flannel, green wool coating, a side of cow and a few lovely rabbit skins on top.
Alas, enough of my grumbling. If I am ever gonna get anything accomplished, I had best go to work!

Best of luck to all in the IRCC this year! I am excited to see what everyone makes, that has to be the best part:-)

Sunday, April 8, 2012


So I got the 'gray' velvet I ordered and it is not gray. Grayish maybe, but definitely green, one of the few shades of green I despise; dingy pastel old-lady's green. I should have ordered a sample, but was in too much of a hurry, the fault is mine for not being more attentive. Briefly thought about dying it, but realized that was crazy. There's far too much of it for me to comfortable attempt dying.  On the bright side, it will work with the greens and purple I was intending to put with it, so all is not lost. I'm still going to use it, hopefully I'll be pleasantly surprised how it turns out. 

Also, only a week to go before the challenge begins!!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Used Garb for Sale

I went through my garb today and have to downsize, so I'm posting some stuff here I'm willing to sell.  These items are all used but in good clean condition, they just don't fit me any more. I'm currently a size 5/small  and 5' 6" and these gowns were made when I was a bit smaller. Would be good for youth, newbie garb, or some could be shortened and used for child's garb. The doublets are all approximately a mens medium. If you see something you like or want more specifics or more pictures please email me at with 'used garb' in subject.

Turkish-ish chirka; 'Painted' velvet outer, poly taffeta lining with gold stitching around edge, a little above knee length. I never got around to putting fastenings on the front. Am asking $10.

Man's Early 1500's Florentine tunic/gown. Sturdy cotton outer and poly/cotton lining. The front opening and sleeves tie shut with lucet cord. The pleats are tacked down at waist level to a strip on the inside. I'm asking $40.

Medieval side-less gown; poly cotton brocade trimmed in faux fur. Lined to just below the side openings. $25.

Cotehardie; Made from soft linen look fabric, front lacing through hand bound eyelets. Lower sleeves also lace shut. It is lined to just below hip level. It is very small though, does not fit on the dress form, would probably make a good girl's dress if shortened. $35

Elizabethan Gown; Very pretty, I wished it still fit me. Again, this gown is quite small.  Made from satin (possibly silk satin) and cotton velveteen. The skirt, bodice/sleeves and front placket are all separate pieces. I've always fastened it shut with straight pins (except the cuffs which have buttons) but hook and eye's would be easy to add. I would like at least $175, OBO.

Venetian Gown; Off-shoulder court gown made from very pretty silver mystery fiber brocade and trimmed in microvelet, bodice is lined with linen and the skirt is lined in muslin. The pleats at the waist are padded. The front opening is lightly boned. Meant to be worn over a camicia, with or without the front placket. I would like $100 for it, OBO.

Faux-Leather Jerkin; Faux-leather outer and black cotton/poly? lining, decorative stitching and metal buttons. Would make good newbie garb. $25.

Wool Doublet; slashed wool doublet with lots of gold detail stitching, some machine and some by hand. Poly satin light blue sleeves lace on. Buttons are plastic, but could easily be replaced, the buttons loops are all hand worked. $70.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

IRCC II, mostly musing on mantles

So I've settled on a color scheme finally. White, gray, black, and then an accent of green/purple instead of blue. The later is due to my finding some lovely green/purple silk taffeta online that matches a bunch of green wool from stash that needs to be used.

So a bit of an overview of what I'm currently thinking for my IRCC dress.

Layer One; I have a bunch of muslin and 15 or so yards of white cotton insertion lace that I'm thinking for a camicia. I haven't decided whether or not  I will do any embroidery on my camicia this year. I'm mostly wanting something very soft and comfortable that can be washed well and the muslin is much softer than most of the linen I've been able to find recently. I'm probably not going to make drawers, simple because I already have several pairs that I rarely wear. I would also like to attempt a pair of stockings, and those will probably also be out of cotton since they will experimental.

Layer Two; gown is going to be heavy heavy heavy, but oh well. I have ordered the silvery gray cotton velvet for the main gown, and then black cotton velvet for the outer part on the lower sleeves and the guard along the bottom. The applique is going to be out of black garment leather, using the technique on the men's doublet on page 31 of 'Patterns of Fashion 3'. The lower sleeves are going to be lined with rabbit furs I found recently which eerily resemble the color and feel of my cats fur (which I covet!! Its so pretty.) And I will probably cord the bodice. So, yes, it should be heavy and warm.

Layer Three; the portrait this gown is based off of is from 1540, a little early for the zimarras which Eleanora popularized in Florence. Plus, with the huge puffed sleeves on the gown, a zimarra would not likely fit well. I found many portraits of the early 1500's where eliptical mantles seemed very common, but no portraits where large mantles/cloaks are worn over the big puffed-sleeved gowns of the 1520's-1540's.  The closest thing I've found are little mantellina's worn over the shoulders.... but those, in my mind, count more as accessories than a third layer. So unless I find something I like that's 'third layer' appropriate closer to my target time of 1540, I'm going to be going with something like the mantles below in  Pinturicchio's 'The Betrothal of Emperor Frederick III and Eleanor of Portugal' from 1502.

 This will be made out of that green wool I mentioned above, and lined in purple or green flannel if I can find either affordably before the start of the challenge. I will probably embroider/applique/bead the front edge and around the arm slits in a similar fashion to what I did on my overgown for the 'Over and Above' Challenge.

And for accessories, I would like to make a balzo, sash, partlet, necklace, small veil, garters, slippers, gloves, we will see how that goes. I didn't do particularly well on my accessory list last year, and with a very busy summer ahead of me, things will get done as they get done.