Wednesday, May 30, 2012

jewelry making experiment

We all know I suck at jewelry my hubby took me on a tour of the jewelry making isle at Walmart and told me some basics.  I got a few things to play with and came up with this;

Now, for my first attempt I think it turned out decent. Professionals would probably laugh though.  I picked beads that co-ordinated best with my colour scheme from the poor Walmart selection. They're just cheap glass beads, but I wasn't about to splurge on good beads for practice.  What I did was take the string of the beads in the upper left corner and add the purple beads, using the little wire things. But, as I didn't take apart/re-atatch the mossy beads to the metal things....I'm not real sure if it counts as something I have made???

  I did make the earrings from scratch though, in a very simple Italian drop fashion.  The necklace is definitely not based off of anything period, but it matches the dress...and like I said, its my first real success with playing with jewelry bits, so it's staying for now.  Hopefully it will all stay together!!

I am very much open to suggestions and tips and constructive criticism in this area!!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Camicia sleeves finished

Sleeves are finished, just need to put buttons on the cuffs.  The rest of the camicia should go fairly quickly. I am planning wide front/back pieces with no side gores, so construction will be simple. Hopefully I'll have it done sometime this week.

I'm not very happy with how the embroidery turned out. It looks allot plainer than I was hoping, but at least its something, and I don't really feel like putting much more work into a cotton camicia.
The pieces of the camicia are roll-hemmed as usual. But just to jazz it up a bit I joined the pieces with herringbone stitches in two different colors, white and blue. It took a bit of concentration at first to get the thread to go over or under the right thread to get an even pattern, but after I figured it out it went pretty quick.
There are four button loops on each cuff. I made then as I normally do, looping the thread through the fabric twice and then going over it with button-hole stitches. But on these, I also joined the bottom half or so of each side of each loop to create a 'shank'. This seemed the best way to do it with the pleats being how they are. I thought about doing hook and eye, but chose not too as I always have problems with them slipping apart to easy or not at all.

I ended sewing the pleats down to strips of bias tape on the inside at about 2 inch increments. I loosely marked the lines with water soluble pen, which I will wash out once I have the pleating around the neckline complete.

And...I have very little planned for the next two weeks, so hopefully I shall be able to get quite a bit of sewing accomplished and 'catch-up' for a little while at least.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Almost done with Camicia embroidery

The end is in sight for the embroidery. I have all the motifs embroidered on both the main sleeve pieces, with the exception of the metallic collars for the hounds on one. And then I have to start from scratch with the embroidery on the gussets, but those should only take a few hours each. Because I was bored with the embroidery I went ahead and hemmed the finished sleeve piece by hand and pinned down the cuff pleats to where I think they ought to be and it looks pretty good. I just need to decide if I am going to sew them down by whipstitching them down invisibly in the back or running several rows of tiny stitches horizontally across the cuff. 

I also finished my pair of bodies.  My dress form is a little bigger in the bust than I am, even at its smallest,  so on me there is no or little gap in the front.

My next goal is too finish the camicia before I get distracted with other parts of the project. If I am very lucky I should get everything embroidered and hemmed this weekend and then can hopefully join all the pieces next week. 

Monday, May 7, 2012


So I was getting terribly upset at myself for my measly progress on my hand work projects, and due to various outdoor actives (putting up a fence and wielding a sledgehammer to pound posts in) my hands were very sore and bruised. So I decided what I needed to do was whip something out by machine.

I had just over three yards of beautiful lilac colored linen to make both a petticoat and be the outside of a pair of bodies. It took some careful planning and squeezing, but I got all the pieces cut out without problem. The petticoat is trimmed with some vintage cotton percale binding that needed used up, as well as some very sturdy silver gimp braid I scored on Ebay. It is knife pleated to a two piece waistband and closes with metal buttons on both sides. I thought I had measured very carefully the length of what the skirt needed to be, as I hemmed it and sewed the trim on before attaching the waistband so that the top of the trim in front could be neatly pleated in as well. But the petticoat ended up being about an inch and a half too long. So I also added a small pleat just above the bottom trim to make it the right length, and fortunately achieved more periodness by doing so.  I have yet to make a few lucet cords to attach to the waistband so that it can be tied up through the bodies.

My pair of bodies is a mishmash of two different decades (not very accurate of me but it suites my needs). It is unboned, front closing, and shaped very much like that of Eleanora's burial stays, but has the waist tabs, the spiral lacing  and the means to lace the petticoat up through its waist as in Alessandro Allori's 'Woman at her Toilet' c1575. The outer is the lilac linen and it is lined with two layers of gray cotton. I am currently working the eyelets by hand and should hopefully finish that today.

I also started stringing a necklace, but my limited knowledge on jewelry making has made me give up. I may try another method soon. I also attempted starting to shape the frame for my balzo, but as there isn't a craft store in town that I know of, and no place to find reeds, I was using very young skinny branches from a tree outside. I steamed them and wired a few together and fiddled with it for a while but just couldn't get it and gave up on that too.  So...heres hoping I have an epiphany regarding balzo construction in the near future. Maybe I'll whip out a soccaccia today or tomorrow just so I have something for layer four, and as layer two is almost complete, I can not rush too much with the embroidery and appliqué on the other two layers. I have several very busy months ahead with travel and events, so I really don't know if I'll get much done this year.