serinde: (ze fiber arts)
In which I had a Moment of "I simply cannot wear any of these old things again"; which is ridiculous, really, but I know enough to get out of my own way if there's something actually motivating me, however illogical it may be.

So, there is an SCA event hight Mudthaw, and it's pretty big locally, and more so this year because our dear Baron Dave was stepping down and various & sundry of our peeps were getting significant awards. Therefore, of course, one wants to look one's best and hold up our side and all that good stuff. Combining this with the ever-present elephant in my mental room of "OMG do I not have enough clothes for two weeks of Pennsic", I determined at the beginning of this month that I should make a new dress.

Planning. )

Process. )

Presults. )

I feel a little discombobulated this morning, because I have been so monomaniacal about this project, and now I have a certain amount of "...now what?" I feel some urge to start working on another dress, being on a roll and striking while the iron is hot and other such figurative language, but I also don't know if I should do something else like, I dunno, laundry or vacuuming or sensibly planning out other obligations coming upon me. I seem to have two possible methods of working: "all in" and "avoidance". I'd like to even that out a little bit. Still, it feels really positive to have completed a project in a question of weeks rather than months or years, which are the usual units of measure.
serinde: (ze fiber arts)
One likes to have a new dress for Pennsic, but the more I advanced in my research, the more I'm convinced that I haven't any of the right fabric to make a summer-appropriate dress in my period, and I don't have time to fuck around hunting. So, I thought I'd just make some new underwear, because one likes to at least have a clean chemise each day. Cut out two of 'em, did one by machine and the other by hand. I just have to do the hemming and they're both done.

Then, as I got further along in my research, I was more and more convinced that this lining-the-bodice-only is entirely Wrong (and this is what I'm teaching a class on at Pennsic), and this combined with the fact that the lining on my ole trusty green wool gown isn't a great job, I decided to put my money where my mouth is, ripped out the lining, and started binding the edges with silk ribbon & scraps. (LOL SPOILERS: the neckline's done, the button side of the front is done with a few more buttons to sew on, haven't started the buttonhole side.) This has been time-consuming but I think it will be okay, although I may have to do a little frobbing at the top of the CF gore.

Minor project: I found a half-done foofy linen shirt, which I have no idea why or for whom I cut it out, but it must be fairly recent 'cause the work ain't half bad, and it's the right size and style so I'm going to finish it for August as it will go nicely with his kilts. Shouldn't take long, except that I keep having a twitch to do some blackwork on the collar and cuffs. STOP IT IT IS BOY STUFF HE WILL NOT CARE

Then, this morning, I got annoyed with the over-large necklines on the other new-ish chemises from, er, year before last? So now on the docket is to take them in because I hate throwing a shift over my head and having it immediately drop to around my ankles. Again, not huge, but fiddly work. And 2x annoying because I shouldn't have had someone else, however more experienced and knowledgeable, mark it for me. (I think this means I have leveled up.)

Following directly off that is that I was testing various sizes of chemise necklines to make sure they don't show around my gown's neck (because that is Not Done in the 14th c.), and was testing against my newish red wool gown, in which I am tolerably well-pleased; but now I'm hella annoyed that I cut down the sleeves to match the armscye, which I later determined to just be Wrong and Too Small. And I decided that this is something up with which I shall not put; so now on the docket is to cut out some triangles and fit them into the upper arms, and correspondingly embiggen the armholes. Again, not huge, but fiddly work. (WHER MI GREEK CHORUS) Of course, then I think, well, this shouldn't have a bodice lining either. And I could cut that out, and I probably could get away with just keeping the linen along the frontage, because the wool itself is a good tight weave. Though, this hurts, because I did such a damn good job on attaching the lining. It's all handwork and it's very careful and I'm proud of it. But it's still wrong.

Oh yes, and I'm gonna make a second bog dress/shmata to wear to the swimming hole &c. But that is about 10 minutes of machine work and hardly worth mentioning.
serinde: (maneki neko)
I observe that my last several non-cooking posts were heavy on the stress and upset, so let me take a moment to reassure the Gentle Readers that matters are improving on most fronts. Ranger is in fine fettle and appears to have entirely recovered from his abscess. I have not yet been able to take him back to discuss the potential kidney issues, but he's eating, drinking, relieving, active (for age 17) and engaged; even his coat is looking better. I have been diligent in getting settled into the new place, and although there is still a dauntingly long list of Things To Do, it is definitely in a livable state. Not yet an entertain-able state, perhaps, at least not IMAO, but matters are progressing. And, I am finally reunited with all my STUF, including that which had been stored in [livejournal.com profile] sweh's garage for the last four years.

Work is still getting ahead of me. The first session of the leadership program was terrific, though intense (duh), and there's a lot of homework and what-not I have to do; the idea is that you take these principles and apply them in your daily work, and then you need to Show Your Work. So there's that, and then there's also the big software implementation project I am running; and when you add that to the day-to-day, plus me being gone for a week, then various other people being gone for training, and now I'm going to be out three days for training on said software...I feel like it's all getting ahead of me. I'm not as stressed as I was last year about this time, thank fuck; it's not spoiling my sleep and I don't have electric worms running along my nerves; but I have definite moments of EVERYBODY PANIC. Well, I knew it would be a tough spring. Keep on keepin' on.

I am putting out cautious buds on the creative front as well. A Super-Secret Knitting Project, which is using a number of techniques I've never done before, is going well and may even be done on deadline for a change. At the last minute (and I do mean the last minute) I put my blue, unlined GFD into the A&S competition at Mudthaw...which, to be honest, I thought was a display not a competition, or I might not have done it...and got tolerably good feedback, and in the course of discussion of it I somehow committed to teach a class at Pennsic and also at Southern Region War Camp; and I'm excited to get to work on the summer sewing. (Though I need to bung the spare room/sewing room into better shape before that can advance.)

The main stressor, other than direct work stuff, is that there's so much I want to do and there aren't enough hours in the day. I can win some time by managing my time more wisely, but I fear I am still going to have to re-engineer some expectations, and I hate that. And I haven't even started folding in workout choices--extra time/extra hassle if I start commuting by bike, or timing and logistics if I start going to the neighborhood dojo or yoga studio. But I know I'm going to need one or more of those in order to not go mad. I really love the local hang-out/cafe/bar; they have a quiz night, they have a KNITTING CIRCLE, they have good live music, but if I go there much I shall be in the poorhouse, let alone the time sink. And I want to chum around with the peeps who live up here. At the same time, I want to stay in and nest and bloody well finish Skyrim and catch up on TV shows and and and.

This working-for-a-living thing. What bosh.
serinde: (ze fiber arts)
So, there was this sewing project (q.v.), and as I kind of guessed I did not, in fact, turn early December to any sort of account; and then the holidays were holidayish, and I chucked it in the corner and failed to meet its eye until suddenly I was staring down the barrel of Twelfth Night. Why is this night different from all other nights? Well, because the Queen will be down here, and I may have a finite chance of getting half an hour to do a fitting and see if this is just completely fucking doomed or what.

Of course, [livejournal.com profile] nedlnthred have committed to serving lunch for the 400 attendees at said event. We are just the tiniest bit busy. However.

As has been the case for years without end amen, I was not able to pick up this project until a deadline (real or self-imposed but vaguely real) was looming, and so tonight I got home and determined to cut out the lining & baste it together. At least I'd have something to work with, yes? Even bearing in mind the already-noted concerns about the cookie-cutter nature of the pattern pieces. And the fact that I'd asked the person who is managing the project for Their Majesties for a sleeve pattern over a month ago, and it still has not appeared. But okay whatever. I iron my favorite tawny linen Lining Stuff, and lay it out, and dig out the pattern pieces, and...

...is this right? That doesn't look right. Oh, it's curved-front. Not something I've tried before. Nuisance-y for cutting, but whatever, and there are them what say it works better. OK. But! Wait! The rich fullness of the skirt isn't from assumed gores, it's all in the pattern! Which means that each of the four pattern pieces is a full quarter circle.

1) this is wrong
2) you could say that it's easier than inserting gores, but it is wrong and moreover it is wasteful of fabric
3) and I don't have enough lining fabric to cut it that way
4) so the logical thing to do is cut it mostly straight, and then cut gores out of the waste fabric

...and here's where it gets fun, because the waist isn't marked on here, and I can make a guess at it, but I don't know; and since it was impressed on me in the strongest possible terms that this pattern is EXACTLY TO THE DESIRED LENGTH, I am entirely un-confident in my ability to wing this. And none of my sewing peeps are online, and and and and.

So I've twitched the evening away accomplishing nearly nothing, except checking in on work email and going into a red rage because of lying fuckhead faculty.
serinde: (ze fiber arts)
So, their current Majesties of the East need clo'es; and they put the touch on Tasha for this; and she was unable to do honor to their request at this time, so she and [livejournal.com profile] murieldechimay conspired, and thus Kasia and I were offered this mission, should we choose to accept it. Which, of course, we did.

Words words words )
serinde: (ze fiber arts)
So I finished...or enough to wear, anyways...three items for this Pennsic, not counting chemises:
1) A red wool under-kirtle ("restrictive layer", as Tasha phrases it)
2) A checked wool over-gown (which I did wear at Mudthaw, but now the actual closures are on &c)
3) A pair of blue-and-cream cotton "brocade" (by which I mean upholstery fabric) sleeves to wear with the gamurre

Results:

1) I am immensely pleased with the red dress. It fits well, it holds me up, it looks fab. The drape of the skirt is awesome. I did intend it for an underlayer and it will do fine as one, but I successfully wore it alone, too. It does want a touch more work, though:

  • I need to pull off the right sleeve, take a dart out like I did on the left side, and re-attach.
  • It isn't hemmed yet.
  • I have to do the lowest several eyelets.
  • The lining is still pooching out above the neckline a bit. There are a couple of options; I could run another line of stitching around further down, or I could face it with silk or grosgrain ribbon or the like. The latter is probably more correct, though now I have to go get ribbon, grump whine moan.


2) The checked wool dress is far less successful. The main issue there is that, lining notwithstanding, it stretched like nobody's business, so when I put it on it was gapping in all sorts of directions, particularly at the neckline. (Beth opines that some of this probably happened when I was ironing it mightily to get the lining all nice and tidy.) I nearly burst into tears when I put it on for the first time. But, at the base of it is a good dress, so here's what we're going to do:

  • Finish hemming it, for one. The pins came out of the last third or so.
  • Take it in.
  • Face the neckline with something good and sturdy, and try and undo the stretch.
  • I may, while I'm at it, redo the sleeves because I'm not really happy about the untidiness there.


3) The sleeves worked great. I ended up sewing them on when I wore them, because I hadn't gotten around to putting lacing holes in them (and I am also learning that it is a stone bitch to try and put in un-agleted lacing cords on your own sleeves), but that is a perfectly period solution anyways. And they looked good with both gamurre. I just need to attach/bind/hem all the raw edges. Maybe I should line them but I really want them to be as lightweight as possible.
serinde: (determination)
So I am back from Pennsic, and quite a war it was--if not in the sense that most people mean it, because I did not see a single battle, and had absolutely no notion on how the tally was going. The entire first half of the week was chiefly swallowed by last-minute sweatshops to finish up a sideless surcoat for a sewing buddy who was being elevated to the Order of the Laurel at court on Wed. evening, which we accomplished, with just enough time to clean up and change and sneak into the back before the ceremony. (There are several disparate rants which are attached to all of that, but I won't get into it now.) It did look fucking awesome, I'm here to tell you. But it is not what I want to spend my vacation doing, so our mantra for next year is Read My Lips, No New Peerages.

The weather was hot and sticky for just about the whole time, except the first night, which was ass-freezing cold (and due to a certain amount of bed jumping, I ended up with insufficient blanketry). This drained my energy and my will to live considerable-like, especially since with other commitments in play I couldn't spend the nasty hours planted in the swimming hole. I'm stuck facing the fact that my chosen century in conjunction with my natural endowment dooms me to unhappiness in hot weather. (LITTLE ICE AGE, PEOPLE!) I was reasonably comfortable in my lighter gamurra, but, I mean, wah. I also kept stealing Beth's bog dress, and was surprised to learn I could wear it without a bra and not be utterly miserable, at least as long as I was just lounging and walking--trying to perform tasks in it (even just washing the dishes or picking up around camp) led to bQQbie issues.

I did, however, exhibit in the A&S display for the first time. I had been dithering about it but, upon receipt of a double-barrelled blast from Beth and Greta, I was all "aaaaaaaaaaa yes yes please don't hurt me", and bodged together some docco on Friday. The display was two dresses, my older green GFD top layer (which I was wearing) and my new checked wool one (on the table), with comments on the differences and learnings gathered therefrom. Mine did not garner a lot of attention from the punters, because it is not ZOMG SHINY, but I was prepared for that; and almost without exception, the people who did stop to take note of it were the serious cats. And I believe I handled the questions they threw at me in a competent fashion. So, I think that can be considered a win. And at least I finished the eyelets on my other new dress in the six fucking hours I was sitting in the sun.

However, about 3 or 4 people either asked if, or assumed that, I had woven the fabric myself. O_O If that's the level we're dealing with, I am so fucking going back to wench-wear. (A propos of which, Real Clothes are too hard to get into and out of, so for Slutty Party Wear I am going to research period prostitute clothing, if indeed it was much different, and see if I can come up with something entertaining. Oh look, more excuses to watch Dangerous Beauty.)

I got a shiny! I have been awarded the Bronze Tower for service to the Barony of Settmour Swamp, chiefly for my helping-out on Troll shifts for Swamp events, and other instances of being my usual domovoi self. I even have a scroll.

Um. Also. There was this boy.
squee
I feel like me again for the first time in years, and by that I mean "long before the breakup".
To [livejournal.com profile] mangosteen: That "GLAH" business you used to bust my chops about? That.
serinde: (ze fiber arts)
I have had occasion to burble before about my scattershot approach to historical clothing projects; I sit around and do nothing until there's a sudden need (Pennsic, someone's elevation, etc) and then I scramble around Making Stuff. This has problems:

1. It's so long in between spurts of activity (and I am not yet comfortable enough in the actual garment-making process for it to be automatic) that I end up expending 10x the skull sweat each time reinventing most of a wheel. And I get stressed out and have hysterics &c.

2. There's serious time pressures so I don't have leisure to plan it out as a proper re-creation. I go to war with the fabric and pattern and construction techniques that will get me in something that looks & feels pretty right and out the door on time. Now, there's nothing necessarily wrong with that, but I think I can move past having my entire wardrobe be of that mode. I would like to be able to say with confidence "this is an over-gown based on images from X place in Y decade" instead of "yep, sure is a Gothic fitted dress".

I'm currently making two gowns for Pennsic which are "yep, sure is a Gothic fitted dress", and that's fine because at least I shall have more than one outfit in my chosen time period this year. But I am taking the opportunity to plan out a dress (or pair of dresses, perhaps), which I shall document what I am doing and the choices I'm making, and then I will feel like I can reasonably run with the rest of the gang.

So here are the points I'm considering:

* Fabric choices. Wool, silk, or linen. Investigate weaves and specific colors (could be brocade/multicolor, potentially).
* Lining. At a first approximation, many finds seem to be unlined, but royal wardrobe accounts indicate lining in the upper classes (often fur, of course, for bling & warmth). I, of course, may need the extra layer to hold up my bQQbies. Research this further and make a choice.
* Seams & construction. There is ample documentation on how it was done, and I could do it all that way. But that's a powerful long time of hand stitching. Make a choice on whether to do the long seams by machine for speed and convenience.
* Silhouette/pattern. This includes things like neckline, sleeve length, skirt fullness, number of gores, all that goodness. We don't have lots of physical data to go on, and 14th c. art, unlike later centuries, is far less detailed. We are all making it up to greater or lesser extent, but I want to be able to defend my hypotheses.
* Fastenings. Lacing, or buttons? If buttons, metal or cloth? And why? Down the front, or under the arm? If long-sleeved, buttons there too?
* Ornamentation. We know hoods were blinged out, and so too girdles/belts. There's some evidence for sewing spangles to the actual gowns. There are images which seem to indicate embroidery on the garment (we saw gold tracery on some fellows in the Limbourg book of hours at the Met). What to do?

And I'm not going to say "this must be done for event X or Y". It will be ready when it's ready. Though if I am still working on it in three years, I should be kicked in the ass.

I have also, finally, ordered a copy of Gothic Woman's Fashion by Sronkova. About fucking time.
serinde: (Cygnus X-1)
I woke up today with a feeling of upset and off-kilter-ness, in part due to a dream I shall not recount at this time. Today at work kinda sucked rather lots, which didn't help. I came home intending to cut out the lining for a new 14th c. overdress (running a copy of my green wool one that has garnered acclaim) (because yes it's great but I NEED TO HAVE MORE THAN ONE OUTFIT FDJKLSFJDKLJF) (ahem.) (It shall be, per pale, black velvet and gold-tapestry-woven-with-a-diamond-and-fleur-de-lis-pattern.) (Should I counterchange the sleeves?) (Am I speaking in LISP?). Instead, in the middle of ironing, I felt myself getting more and more agitated, unable to settle for the state of the apartment as it is, with things bursting out of closets and cluttered dresser tops I can't dust and STILL A BOX OF BOOKS UNPACKED and and and and. So I pulled apart closets and have been rearranging and letting things go and so on. It is going promisingly so far, and I feel calmer and less agitated. So maybe no new dress to fit this weekend, but it seems that I needed to do this thing.

I think I'm even ready to let go my boom box. This is a large entity Mom gave me when I went away to college. The tape decks don't really work so well, the CD player works but is fussy; chiefly I use it for radio (or CDs) when I'm playing games at the computer and so don't want gfefx also playing music. It has really good sound for its size, but...the size. It's huge. It takes up half of my dresser. It could be replaced. What I replace it with won't sound as good, but does it really matter?

If I can sort out a way to keep all the sewing stuff together and accessible, I will have done a good evening's work.
serinde: (glamour)
So, occasion: [livejournal.com profile] nedlnthred's boyfriend's birthday; a gala affair where the guests were requested to come in black tie, lingerie, or togas. Being us, we chose Door Number Two; something Moulin Rouge-inspired, perhaps with a dash of the ahistorical but really nifty courtesan outfits in Dangerous Beauty.

It so hap'd I had need to shop for corsets anyways, so I went down to Purple Passion, and they had something in my size that looked good on me, so I snarfed it. (It's claret silk with black/burgundy rose tracery.) I can't afford it, the more so upon realizing just how little we're actually getting out of the house sale (math is hard! let's go shopping!), but eating ramen is cheap and slimming, neh? But then, what to wear for a skirt? Thus I spent Saturday at Beth's, while she was making a corset from scratch, oh yes she did, figuring out how to turn my bias-flared black skirt into an Object of Greater Interest.

I took some of the scarlet silk taffeta Beth had bought for her skirt, cut it into seven 1.5" wide strips, and tacked them vertically on the skirt. Then I took some black lace (she needed the border motif; I used the center bit) and made a lace overskirt, which I swagged up along the front to match the bias flare, attaching it on each side with pink satin ribbon roses that I dug out of a corner. So that, and the corset over it, and garter belt with fishnets, and knee-high black satin boots with stiletto heels, and delicate pink-rose motif pendant necklace with matching earrings; and I did my hair in a coronet of braids with pink rosebuds from [livejournal.com profile] sweh's garden woven in. I am pleased to say that, for once, the end product of my labors came out pretty much as I had visualized them. It was a difficult birth, but the delivery was even mostly on time.

Lessons learnt:
1) Wow, a dress mannequin really does make it easer to faff around with what you're doing.
1a) But it's hard to faff when you don't want to be cutting your tolerably large bolt of fabric yet, since you haven't worked out how large a piece (or pieces) you will need for the task. This seems to require a level of visualization higher than my current tech level.
2) My machine-stitching skills are still kinda crap (though, in my defense, Beth's machine is not unlike a very fussy Thoroughbred).
3) Taffeta catches the light in markedly differing fashion depending on which direction you cut it in. (This caused me to waste some fabric {though it can probably be used for bindings} and about 40 minutes.)
4) I want to play more with shiny pretty things, which regrettably my usual historical efforts do not allow for.
5) I can drive an hour+ in a corset, because I am awesome.
serinde: ("What fresh hell?")
[livejournal.com profile] nedlnthred and I went down to Nicole's for a stitch-and-bitch today, where [livejournal.com profile] briony530 and [livejournal.com profile] murieldechimay and others were already assembled; and by the end of the night, after I had been plied with hot 16th C. programming[1] and wine and food, I sobered up to find I'd agreed to teach two classes[2] at Hrim Schola.

what

Because, you know, I wasn't already reaching critical anxiety levels about everything else going on.

[1] "Dangerous Beauty" followed by "The Tudors".
[2] Specifically, "Beginner's Guide To Picking Fabric For Your Project", and "Cote-Hardie Engineering For The Large-Breasted". Now to see if anyone's already doing either of those...
serinde: (ze fiber arts)
I'm on a mailing list for discussion of 14th c. costuming. It's generally pretty informative, and all is fine. Except...a continually-recurring question is one that boils down to, "How can I do it wrong and make it look right?" To me the answer is simple: YOU CAN'T. Wearing a sports bra, or wrapping your breasts, or only wearing one gown and putting fake sleeves underneath, or trying to have some of the fit happening in the chemise--none of these will work if you're trying to replicate that particular look. You may come up with something that passes the squint test from someone who has only seen froofy post-period paintings, but don't delude yourself that it's going to be accurate. It will fit differently, it will feel differently, it will hang differently. You Will Not Look Like The Source Material.

Now, you may not have the facilities or resources to have such a garment fitted to you, which is how it would be done correctly. And that's fair. One does what one can, and sometimes trade-offs must be made. But that's not the way, it seems to me, that a lot of people are approaching the problem. I might be misinterpreting what I'm reading, but there seems to be a strong meme of "I don't wanna do it that way!" with concomitant delusions that it can instead be faked. Bah.

(Jesus H. Christ. I just did a Google Image Search on "cotehardie" and one of the images on the first page is something that looks like a nightie with a black leather girdle laced over it. DIE DIE DIE DIE DIE)
serinde: (MY CURSE IZ PASTEDE ON YAY!)
I had cut out the waistband for these Goddamn things when I cut out the other pattern pieces, because I was being efficient and stuff. I should have learned by now. Figured I didn't need measurements, because I knew that [livejournal.com profile] elibalin wears 32" jeans. So, I took that, added seam allowance and a bit of give since Venetians angle down a bit at the front, and thought I was good.

Until I just tried to match it up with the already-gathered pants, and there is a discrepancy of sufficient size to completely bollocks everything up.

Grr. I stormed upstairs, rousted him out of the guest room, and held the proto-waistband up to his ACTUAL waist; same results. I gibbered. He showed me the tag on his jeans, which indeed said 32 x 32.

Based on these facts, I can only conclude that the fashion industry uses a reverse version of the penis ruler for garment sizing.

(ObSurreal: When I did a Google Image Search on "penis rulers" to link in the previous paragraph, one of the first group of results was the Bronzino portrait of Eleonora di Toledo. o_O )
serinde: (self-control)
Have spent hours working on pants Venetian hose. For which I HAVE A PATTERN ALREADY. And yet I've already sewn one pocket in backwards, nearly attached the other to the leg, sewn one of the four pieces in reversed, and having ripped all that shit out, now am failing to make everything line up nicely. Primal scream therapy (in basement, so as not to wake the pooky) not helping.

Am stopping now.
serinde: (ze fiber arts)
Beth warned me that it was so, but I didn't quite believe it. --To be precise, sewing pants is easy; it's everything that comes before that which makes head go foom.
serinde: (ze fiber arts)
This one was more productive, in that I was working a great deal more. This does not mean I got an equivalent amount accomplished, mind you.

My quest was to make a 16th c. shirt for [livejournal.com profile] elibalin, so we can return the loaner he was wearing to Beth. This is in most respects just like making a chemise, except shorter (der) and much more full in the sleeves and neck, which you then gather into collar & cuffs for that flouncy look. So, well, chemises I know, so this should be easy as houses, right? Well yes, except for entertaining moments like sewing in a random square of scrap linen instead of one of the gussets. (In my defense, it was a 6.5" x 7" piece, whereas the gusset was 6" square. Understandable mistake except that I SAW IT COMING but did not take steps to remove the scrap from my work area.) And having Extremely Brainless Moments when trying to suss the ways & means of attaching the collar. And forgetting to put in the ties for closing the collar at the appropriate time, in spite of having just asked Beth about them. And so on. As a result, I downscaled my expectations, mostly by eschewing the ruffs I was going to put above the collars and cuffs, and have declared that I shall build a new one, stronger, faster, & better, after which this'n can be a fencing shirt.

More positive notes: [livejournal.com profile] briony530 taught me how to do blackwork. I am excited! Really enjoyed it. I may even do a bit of simple work to attach to this shirt (practice embroidery for practice shirt?). We also had a great deal of discussion and brain-picking with Beth's colleague Laurie, who is doing her PhD on 14th century sumptuary laws, with side detours on the ins and outs of the wool trade. (Oh, and I got a bit of trim sewed onto my gamurra sleeves. Though not half as much as I would have liked. Also, it is not terribly even.)

Tonight while waiting for the Bryant Park movie, I shall do a bunch of hand-sewing on the shirt; with luck I will then only have the cuffs and the hem to do. Tomorrow's sewing evening quest is to make pants for the same outfit. (This should be interesting, as none of us have ever made Venetian hose, but there is a pattern in The Tudor Tailor.) Before the end of the week I also desire to sew trim onto the doublet that goes with, and make & attach the skirting. I don't know if I can do all this. I'm not sure I even know where the rest of the doublet material is. Oh yes; AND I want to sew the rest of the trim on my sleeves. HA HA HA

Final annoyance: Last sewing weekend, I bought more blue and grey floss to fingerloop lacing cords with. I can't find it anywhere. Feh.
serinde: (ze fiber arts)
Beth lent me The Tudor Tailor and Elizabethan Costuming 1550-1580 so I could get off my tuchus and finish [livejournal.com profile] elibalin's full outfit. I am now filled with all sorts of crazy inspirational desire to make a whole bunch of clothes from this era. I am even having urges towards blackwork. CLEARLY, I AM SICK.

(I think it's because I have deep-seated needs for embellishment and shiny things, which my chosen century is somewhat more austere about.)
serinde: (ze fiber arts)
We've been working on the dress I wore for M & K's wedding (which was nowhere near done, and just sort of tacked and bodged into place--no one could tell because we are that damn good), because it is an awesome dress and deserves to be finished. And the goal was to have it done for [livejournal.com profile] arkham1010's wedding this weekend, because if there is no concrete deadline, we're likely to never get it done.

However, we still aren't. Last night the lining and the fashion fabric were together again for the first time, and Beth started adjusting the pleats & drapes, and we started making a list of just how much stuff is left to do, which filled a page in my notebook. And it's all hand sewing. That's not even counting that we're going to have to do another fitting session, because some bits aren't working quite right. (It's a very complicated dress, but part of the interest is that it looks very organic.) There is no way we can get this done by Saturday without taking shortcuts and half-measures, especially since Beth and I both a) have other commitments during the week and b) are bloody exhausted. Kasia wanted to try it anyways, but I put my foot down--I don't want another temporary fix, I want to do it right.

The only thing that irks me about it is that this means I didn't have to bail on the Bryant Park Movie on Monday night. Feh.
serinde: (ze fiber arts)
(I realized now I never posted part 1. Oops.)

I decided this year to finally make good on my promise of several years' standing to Claire to fit her for a cotehardie. (It helped that I finally feel like my skill might possibly be up to the task.) I had the first go at it in, erm, March I think? Whereat even after paying close attention to having been fit myself any number of times, and consultation with sundry online sources, I simply could not get it to work. So I called in the Marines, and after our usual false starts at trying to get anything scheduled, Beth and Kasia came over last night to set me on the true course.

My Big Damn Error was that I failed to keep a straight grain across the front. (Also, it is noted that using a twill for your first effort is perhaps making your path rockier than it needs to be.) I also cut away too much at the armholes, having forgotten the pull-up-and-out bias stretchy bit of managing the top front, and leaving not enough to pin the stuff you're pulling to, though that was not tripping me up in my first attempt because I wasn't doing that bit correctly. I also should have kept the bodice somewhat longer--7" below the waist was Beth's thumbnail guide; basically, long enough to go over the widest portion of the hip.

I was somewhat comforted to know that my other large woe, to wit when I had the subject lay down for the moving-boobage-up portion of the pinning and the entire back of the garment kept creeping upwards only to be discovered when she stood up that it was horribly awry, happened again this time, much to the chagrin of my panel of experts. The cause for this appears to be because the subject's waist does not markedly go in (her figure is exceedingly slender) and so the body's natural curvature doesn't hold it in place when gravity is taken out of the equation. This is not a problem any of the three of us have. Ahem.

Kasia's advice on how to deal with inevitable puckering was very aikidoesque. UNIVERSAL APPLICATION, YO.

A recap of pointers & ideas:

1) Keep the center front straight--even laying it out and pinning it on a table is a reasonable start.
2) Mark the grain line, and then KEEP THAT LINE STRAIGHT. Also, mark the cardinal points of the smallest point of the subject's waist at each seam. You can even make your grain line "ruler" at the smallest point of the waist, though of course it may wander slightly as you adjust things.
3) The curvature of the center back is super-important; fit it, pin it, and sew it so that you get as precise a curve as you can while you're pinning everywhere else.
4) That puckering often means you need to release pins along the side seams, but not always where you think you do. Listen to what the fabric is telling you, but gently direct it where it needs to be.
5) When in the lying-down part, you take the front shoulder bits, pull up, THEN out. You are making bias stretchies on the idea of making the excess fabric that you might otherwise have to take a breast dart for go into the fabric that'll be cut away for an armhole. (The more breastage, the more difficult.)

We did not finish, but it's getting there. (Note to self: dinner should be faster.) We are meeting again next week, at which point the fitting should be complete and I should be able to fly solo. Until I have hysterics about cutting into the actual dress fabric, anyways.

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September 2013

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