abendgules: (brocade)
Years ago I made a lovely Cranach gown (materials donated by [livejournal.com profile] thorngrove)  with an underdress, all assembled with Lady Anne of Wokyngham's patient help. (just ignore my expression - didn't know I looked so sour!) It was my first effort at mounting fabric on a backing and then sewing it, cartridge pleating, adding a lining to the skirt hem only (to add weight for a better drape, and to resist fraying)...whole sets of skills I'd never known of.

After several years service, the canvas support of the bodice has shrunk inside the fabric (not prewashed to same extent as gown fabric). It had pulled away from the seams, so it's not giving the same shape as before.

I've held off making it new, because it has two side seams, that need dozens of lacing holes. My favourite....not. I considered replacing only the lining, but it didn't really seem feasible with the wear on the outer fabric.

But I want it to wear at 20 year, so...

So over the long weekend I took it apart to remind myself the assembly, unpicked it from the skirt, and checked the size compared to the pattern from 5 years ago. Remarkably the outer fabric had hardly changed shape at all.

I now have some linen canvas so I used that to mount a new linen outer fabric, and a lightweight linen lining. It's coming together beautifully.

It's odd because my memory of making this gown was that it took ages and ages to make; combination of not knowing the process at all, and fitting, which takes awhile when you are working from scratch.

But making from a pattern - it's taken one afternoon and evening to cut and mount most of the pieces, put three pieces together and start adding the lining.

Old gown - supervised by Haggis


Old bodice: I can't seem to keep my gowns from wrinkling round the upper tum, but otherwise they fit very well.

Pieces cut from a cream linen and mounted on canvas. I couldn't find the same lovely twill linen as for  but this is quite a nice weight. Middle piece looks a bit uneven - I left the selvedge in place.


Linen lining pinned in. There's no fabric lining the lacing placket so I only have 3 layers of fabric to put holes through...


Back piece, mounted and lining pinned in.


Note stray heraldic projects lying about - this is the latest round of our shire bunting in progress.

It's quite hard to take pictures in the house without some cat butt appearing.

Also evidence of gaming: noone tell the College of Heralds please.
abendgules: (catching snowflakes)
...England is a awash with flooding. I'll have to watch the Peanuts Christmas special on YouTube, and the Grinch too, for any white Christmas fill.

Hoping to stop pretending to work and slip out of the office soon, and go shopping in person rather than online. 

For this holiday crafty wish list:
- get more gilding tools to improve gilding results, hopefully today
- finish lining a hood
- start a new cardigan on the needles
- make more smellies as gifts
- optional: start laying out new bodice for German undergown

I have to rein in my instinct to start a half-dozen new projects - I get so wound up at the prospect of a few days uninterrupted crafting that I tie myself in anxious knots over what I could do, and end up frozen, unable to decide what to do first, and only manage to do the boring routine stuff like housework.

If I can settle to just a handful of projects, I have more chance of actually finishing them, and thus avoiding further rebukes from UFOs round the house.

I've actually had some FO results - finished a smock, finished some knit garters - but somehow they're anticlimactic compared to starting new.
abendgules: (knitting)
This week I finished a pair of socks, and finished a baby project.

Ok, finish is a strong word; they are less unfinished.

One requires weaving in (about 5 mins work), and the other needs buttons (anywhere from 15 mins to sew on plastic ones, to all evening, if I knit them).

I've been trying to clear my crafting in-tray of projects, before starting anything new.

This is a bit like resolving not to buy fabric til you've reduced your stash; good in theory, but easier said than done, especially faced with serious temptation like fabric-you-see-while-on-holiday-that-you-can't-get-at-home.

But I've made some headway, really: the knitting items were nagging me, and finishing them will allow me to actually close my projects box, without having to sit on it.

I'm in a clearing, reducing, dealing-with-it mood. It's not continuous, and I may fall off the crafting wagon yet, but man if feels virtuous.

Oddly, the effort involved in finishing a UFO is almost always a fraction of the guilt/avoidance sentiment of not-finishing. But it's not my rational self that puts these things off, so I can't really make sense of it.

In other clearing projects: shredding still in progress (it was a big box of paper); and I've deleted fully half my neglected inbox.

Do I really need confirmations that I'll be at drinks meetings from 2005, really? And no: deleting messages from people I love does not mean I don't love them anymore.  

Stupidly, it's still hard to do, and I may be comforting myself with more hours of 'Angel' than is strictly necessary...while, uh, finishing my knitting tonight.
abendgules: (brocade)
HLady [livejournal.com profile] liadethorneggecame through with pictures, and only one of them is slightly tipsy-looking.

Pics are huge, so you an enjoy them in all their splendour! Also, it was a lovely day.

Aside from being happy that it came out the way I pictured it, I was really pleased with the silly hat. It has a wire form inside to provide the shape - there's precedent for wire forms for the pointy gabled hoods, so I suspect the use has been plausibly extended to this earlier pointy bonnet shape. The silk ended up draping very well - better than I expected - and it's all pinned to a headband.

The rosary beads were a gift from Lord Logan, who made occasional trips to the holy land; the sash is a silk pashmina from Lord John, chequey's squire, who came back from Af'stan with a bag full of beautiful textiles for Robert and me. I'm hoping to trim it to make a more manageable sash, and still have a lovely scarf to wear.

When really finished, it'll be hooks and eyes all up the front - as is, there's H&E to the waist, then I stitched up the rest of the bodice.

I still have wrinkles round my middle, but at least these ones are documentable - they look just like the ones in a painting shown in the Queen's Servants.

Gown of great shinyness )
abendgules: (abbey_cats)
As mentioned previously - finished refitted gown.

The pics show the neckline pinned into place at the back, but after putting it on I had to get Robert to repin the layers - once wearing it, the top layer sat differently than expected, and you can only find it out by trying it on.

I always seem to have crease up around my middle - can't get a smooth fit there, and I don't know if I'm asking too much from the fabric from the stretch, or if it's just a feature of the gown. Since all the gowns I've made wrinkle there I'm sort of resigned, but if it's a cutting flaw I can fix I'd love to know.





This gown served as the kirtle for the 16th c gown I wore at coronation, finished to the 'first stage'*. Hopefully [livejournal.com profile] liadethornegge will post pics I asked her to take of the full splendour.

*Stages of completion - Lady Isabetta from Nordmark defined these as
first stage = you can wear it;
second stage = finished as planned,
third stage = improved and embellished...or something to that effect.

At any rate, it was finished enough to wear, but I had to stitch myself into it, and it wouldn't stand up to any close examination! After I'm back from the colonies, I hope to finish the lining, restitch the pleats more firmly and finish the hooks and eyes.
abendgules: (15thc_worker)
As promised - photos of refurbishing a gown.

This pink linen gown was always a fitted undergown, but was originally made to go under my fine purple wool gown, c. 14th c. I knocked it together quickly to wear at the first coronet tourney 2 years ago.

Unfortunately, I chose 2 lightweight linens, rather than one heavy and one light, or two sturdy ones - and even the two together do not provide enough support for me to wear comfortably. It looks...ok - but I saw a pic of myself wearing it last year, and decided it was no longer 'fit for purpose' on its own.


...judged acceptable.

Lined w/out sleeves.

But how to fix it? (implied requirements: easily, cheaply, quickly, etc - the old saw being you get 2/3 of these, but never all three).

The final decision was to do much as I did on my first refurbished gown:
- cut out the front lacing
- add a lining

Cutting out the lacing is always gutting, because it's a lot of handwork to replace. But that's the part that is holding together the two layers. Without it, you can manipulate the fabric as you please.

Gown with lacing cut away - see strips of lacing, waving goodbye to the gown.
New lining is of a cotton twill, very thin, very hard. If I could find linen canvas at a price I liked, I'd buy it, but this twill has served me very well in another gown.

I'm using my trusty old fitted gown pattern, that is effectively just the bodice part: I usually add skirt length to it when cutting a gown, and then do a muslin for the sleeve. This length provides support to about hip level.

I added this layer between the two linen layers, because I still wanted a fairly finished-looking interior of the gown.

At this point, I discover just how much the linen has stretched since I made the gown - the gown necklines, all cut the same shape originally, now have three different shapes, and I'm not able to predict exactly how each one will stretch to fit. So I settle for basting in a vague front neckline, and leaving the back open, til I can try the gown on and see how the fabrics sit together.

At that point, I got Robert to pin the three layers together around the back neckline; I'll probably trim to whatever shape all three layers can agree on. This step still TBA.

I can, however, match the front edges, and redo the lacing holes - once more under supervision:

While lacing holes are a PITA, I do use them a lot...so am now quite quick, and can do about 8-10/hr - so the lacing was finished in one sitting.
Next step: finishing neckline, trimming, edge finishing and test lacing.
abendgules: (editor)
Ben Hur on TV, while spring-cleaning and trying to put a dent in the UnFinished Objects pile - particularly those promised to other people.

Excellent success on the shoping front - [livejournal.com profile] goncalves 's doublet will, someday, be too sexy for him, in the wool that Lady Anne and I found. It's a rare quality. And we found brillant tawny wool for gowns, suitable for waiting on early-Tudor royalty.  The new Queen's Servants is brilliant - highly recommended for those interested in late 15th and early 16th c clothing.

I have clever plans afoot for reducing, reusing and recycling an existing undergown into a kirtle for early Tudor use. Will see if it comes to fruition.

And, of course, I've been sick on the holidays. Never fails - stress + event = sick.
abendgules: (brocade)
 Our cheap Argos-sourced iron has patches of Teflon wearing off the ironing surface, and it's catching on my fabrics. I've cleaned it off, but it keeps on sticking. There's also not a lot to distinguish between low and high settings.

Does anyone know what to look for in a good iron?

I have no useful means to distinguish different irons except price, and it baffles me that they range from £10-60 for no apparent reason.

I'm mostly pressing natural fabrics, with occasional forays into blends, and the occasional shirt/blouse for work.

Any guidance gratefully accepted.
abendgules: (home sweet canvas home)
Reduced - well, it's no longer got walls
Reuse - it's a former pavalino, replaced after 10 years service
Recycle - ...now going on to a new life as an arming tent

My clever sweetie was hard at work in the heat on the weekend, finishing a lingering UFO (UnFinished Object): making an arming tent out of a pavilion top, left to us by Dubheasa and Terafan some years ago.

Is this cool or what?

Genevieve sample included for scale.
It's just tall enough for Robert to stand in, and large enough for two camp beds. Requires just one pole, and a dozen stakes.

Best of all...having it here reminds us of Terafan and Dubheasa. I think of them every time I handle purple-painted canvas.

abendgules: (Mountjoy)
Lovely Master Bertrik sent me a CD of pics from the January event, including this one, which shows my refurbished gown best:

I'm really pleased with the way the fur trim turned out - it really changes the way the gown hangs, and draws the gown hem straight down - and the sleeves. They look a bit looser than I intended, but I'd prefer them loose to uncomfortably tight.

Also happy with the headdress - now just have to find the nicest example from the Luttrell Psalter or similar to support it!

Best of all, Robert likes the whole outfit - he hadn't seen it all assembled before I went to Dance Moot, so this is its unveiling all over again.
abendgules: (15thc_worker)
 Dance moot in Harplestane was once more a lovely occasion. For me, it was a hugely relaxing event: pusscat was in good hands, and I had three days to enjoy good company and do nothing more strenuous than invite people to join in the next dance in the hall. Read more... )
If you ever get a chance to attend this little gem of an event, do so - it's worth the trip to Edinburgh, to see how a small group can make the most of an elegant site and the remarkable depth of musical talent in their shire.

Pics are courtesy of Harplestane's flickr site, mostly taken by the Torkillsons
Action shot, full length of yours truly 

Panormamic view of the hall - Medieval priory church, refurbished and available for both sacred and secular use

Another full length view, concentrating like mad on a new dance called 'if men don't sleep, women listen' - wonderful dance but not intuitive, and would take a lot more practicing! That's why I'm looking down

Honorata instructing dancers - lovely Polish reenactor who instructs dance very well - loud and clear
abendgules: (brocade)
A lovely newcomer took some pictures - this is in the little courtyard adjascent to the site:

And of course, the Cranach painting that inspires it - mostly bachlorette number 2, but with number 3's geometric bust band decor.

Three saxon princesses on the marriage market, wearing their dowries
abendgules: (brocade)
As part of my long-term Cranach gown project, I've started first steps towards a hat, following instructions by Mistress Rowan of Lochac, who visited over the summer. She sat with me, to walk through the project, and sketched out instructions on how to model the brim, create the crown, and sew the layers together (I've posted pics of her sketches below).

The goal is a hat resembling the one worn by the centre princess in this Cranach portrait. 

The tricky bit, IMO, is creating the brim that isn't a full circle. This brim looks to me like two half-circles, snipped at the midpoint, to create a notch over the wearer's left eye, and possibly a matching notch behind her head.

If you use millinery wire to create the brim, it mostly wants to go in circles or ovals. How do you create the notch with a sharp edge? Unless you're using a wire that can be shaped & bent more than round-loving millinery wire. Anyone know?

The pics below show the half-brims I've cut from pizza box to test out the shape, and the shape of the cardboard brim so far.

The last pic is a propos of not much - just some trim I found at Rouleaux's moster warehouse sale today. There wasn't much in the SCA line for trim - at least, there was some that was pretty, but not to my taste. My authenticity-mavin-ness doesn't let me buy 'fun' trim anymore, or trim that I can't place as plausible woven bands.

I also bought a quantity of double-sided velvet ribbon, and a packet of narrow grosgrain ribbon (now in the wash)  that will both hopefully go on my 16th c. Elizabethan doublet and gown, as guards/ornaments.

3 Saxon Princesses, by Cranach
page of instructions from Mistress Rowan
pic of sewing millinery wire
illustration of layers
cutout of cardboard shape for brim
sketching out a hat brim
hat brim, take 1

abendgules: (downhill)
Remember I was complaining I didn't know what to do w/ t-shirts? Now I do! I can hardly wait to get home and view my ratty T's collection...

Except I'd nalbind them, rather than crochet - I already know nalbinding.

abendgules: (15thc_worker)
So I'm back to puttering with the Elizabethan gown 3Rs project.

Petticoat was fixed over the summer - taken apart, re-pleated onto a narrower band as cartridge pleats. A bit lopsided (more pleats on one side than the other! whoops) but noone will see it under my skirt.

Bodice: I've recut the neckline so it's square, and trimmed the lower back so it fits correctly. The sleeves have come off so I can reshape them into padded rolls. Some of the bones came out, as the neckline was straightened out. I've bought lacing tape so I can lace the bodice to the skirt, rather than using hooks.

As suggested by [livejournal.com profile] lacedwaist  I'm aiming for a middleclass outfit, c. 1580s or so: bodice, skirt, petticoats & foreparts, smock, probably detachable sleeves.

My big concern is the colour of the bodice and skirt. It's nagging at me. At one time I wouldn't have cared, but I'm growing more crotchety in my (SCA) old age.

I have a vague memory that in the 16th c, dark blue was either impossibly expensive, or deadly cheap, and suitable only for servants - too cheap for a middleclass woman. Does anyone else remember?

So I'm debating dyeing it. I can get machine-wash Dylon in a couple of shades of dark brown, and the colour stripper for pre-treating coloured things.
The trouble is that I'm not confident that the Dylon will 'stick'.

My past efforts at washing-machine dyeing have had good results, but they faded, particularly if you sweated into them. A bodice will definitely see some sweat, and I don't want it to stain my chemises.

Has anyone had good results with dyeing finished garments w/ Dylon? How well did it keep?

OTOH - can anyone clarify the business of the status of dark blue as a wearable late 16th c colour? I don't want to keep working on it  - adding sleeves and guards - only to decide that I want it in another colour. Now (after I've finished raw edges) is the time to decide...

Lia? Hedwig? other 16th c. mavins? any thoughts or references?
abendgules: (15thc_worker)
Towards reworking my non-specific late-period costume into a recogniseable Elizabethan doublet and skirt: this is my work on the petticoat.
I'd previously used a two-layer petticoat, gathered at the wide waistband. Both layers are a sort of neutral colour cotton.
I've unpicked the waistband and gathering, pressed it to within an inch of its life, and now reassembled it into a single skirt (lighter-weight cotton in back, as it'll never be seen), and am pleating it onto a smaller waistband.

It's full enough to do cartridge pleating in the back and sides, but I want knife-pleating in the front, to keep down the bulk around my tum.
I'm still stitching down the pleating - my hands are rather sore from stitching and folding (and possibly from some knitting...) so this really is a WIP.

Yes, it's cotton - and not the wool form of cotton. I'm sticking with it because I don't have suitable linen I want to use in this project at the moment, and also because the whole project is something of an experiment. If it works, and I get a nice outfit out of it, I can always upgrade w/ a (red?) linen or silk petticoat in future. Till then, I'm using what I have at hand.

My hope is to keep pinning foreparts to this petticoat, and then wearing the blue skirt overall.

I've considered stitching together all the foreparts into a sort of pinwheel forepart skirt, where I could 'spin' them around to change forepart colours. I've seen it in the SCA, never known if it's an authentic practice (though using only good fabric in the visible front and cheaper 'filler' in back is arguably correct).

Lining of the petticoat Starting point: Lining of the petticoat

Two layers of cotton, flattened in the front, gathered in the sides and back.
Hoping to piece it into a more authentic (pleated?)petticoat, along with the other forepart pieces.
Petticoat Petticoat

Previously used curtain cord along a channel at the bottom of the skirt to keep it hung down.
cartridge pleating a petticoat cartridge pleating a petticoat

This petticoat is assembled from the two layers that were in my old petticoat. I unpicked them, pressed them, and stitched them into a single tube, then started pleating, with flat pleating at front centre.

abendgules: (Default)
Very pleased that it's finally finished!

Islamic pattern from Rutt Islamic pattern from Rutt

Finally finished, July 08!
Very slow colourwork project, from a pattern in Rutt's history of hand knitting, graphed by someone on HistoricKnit yahoogroup.
Shown here while blocking, w/ 20p piece for scale.
It's going to be a very small, delicate pouch for moi.
It qualifies as 3Rs because all the yarn is from stash, and the white is a remaindered cone of mixed wool fibre.
The pink is a handspun gift. The maroon is a single ply of a 2-ply that I 'unspun' to try it as a knitting yarn.
Getting consistent tension w/ colourwork remains my main problem! that, and following a detailed pattern.

abendgules: (home sweet canvas home)
Our guests more than paid their way by the advice and input they offered both Robert and me on crafts.

I showed Bastian my frustrating non-working soapstone mould and we tried it together. B observed that our pewter was very very different from his own - very brittle, very grainy. He said he wouldn't be able to snap the pewter sprue the way we can snap ours.

He also suggested that our moulds were possibly not getting hot enough - that the pewter was cooling too quickly, and thus blocking the edges of the mould for the rest of the liquid pewter.

So we have a couple of options to try to remedy this:
- a new mix of pewter that needs a higher temp to melt, and (thus)
- a different arrangement for heating and pouring.

These solutions will have to wait til we can invest in the kit.

But I was much encouraged. My mould should work, and I've done everything possible to help it that I knew of - no obvious oversights or mistakes.

It was a boon to talk to [profile] lacedwaist  about an old costume (literally - bought it from an amateur theatre) that I'd hoped to convert into a more passable Tudor or Elizabethan piece. I've already changed several parts of it, but I know it is still improve-able.

This time, I was clever enough to take 'before pictures' of all the parts!

Current plans are:

- reshape the neckline to squarer shape
- trim the waistband of the bodice and add a small gusset to improve fit - it fits very well for an 'off the rack'  purchase, but I'm now ready to fiddle with the fit to improve it, which I was reluctant to do before
- remove metal grommets, stitch in eyelets
- remove the small sleeves and turn them into shoulder puffs
- possibly add laced-in sleeves of different fabric
- rework the petticoat with a smaller lower-profile waistband, so I have less bunching of fabric around my waist
- replace hooks and eyes with eyelet strips, to lace together the skirt and bodice. Right now the hooks and eyes dig into my tum and back
- add guards to the outer skirt

I'll also need a longer-sleeved shirt, and a better headdress, to go with this gown - not sure I have the right weight of linen for this. I already have a stomacher and partlet, patterned by [info]maredudd1066  for me.

We spent some happy time looking through Janet Arnold's Patterns of Fashion and the Tudor Tailor for ideas.

I hadn't realised how simple (in cut!) many of the Eliz' sleeves are - not as closely shaped as my cotehardie sleeves. I'm sure there's still shaping to do, but the drawn shapes shown in TT looks straightforward, not scary.

Anyone got tips for shaping laced-in (non-puff-and-slash) Elizabethan sleeves?
abendgules: (Default)
Pics of patched hose and replacement sleeves on a girl's gown - only for the thrifty and curious.

I'm pleased with myself though. Mending and adjusting my medieval clothes make them feel more like clothes, and less like costumes for a fancy-dress party.

And I find it at least as challenging to rework existing clothing as to make new; it puts the pieced and patched originals (ie. from Herjolfnes) into perspective.

Read more... )
MC's gown, before MC's gown, before
Gown from Black Swan, with sleeves too tight for the wearer.
MC's gown, after MC's gown, after
Replaced sleeves with flared linen ones in a similar shade, slightly longer. The gown fits perfectly now!
abendgules: (Default)
This weekend at Winchester Pilgrimage, pilgrims will have a choice of making a scrip from brand new lightweight canvas, or using some of Dubheasa and [profile] terafan 's old pavalino to make a bag. When they left Drachenwald, they left with us the remains of two worn-out pavilions that they'd already replaced after many years of service.

I've been diligently washing & drying canvas pieces, ripping them into suitable segments, and unpicking tabs and toggle loops that were very sturdily stitched on in the first place! The washing doesn't completely remove the grime and wear of 10 years' of use, but it will hopefully remove any live mould spores. The canvas is quite soft and workable, and I much prefer it to the new twill.

We've now been cutting up their old pavilions for 3 years, and still have canvas to go.  We gave a few scrips to TRM Marguerite and Maximilian last year, to distribute as gifts to those who remembered D&T, and M&M did this gladly.

Robert is craftily saving the remaining roof piece, however. He has hopes of finding a centre pole and sewing stakeloops to the edge, and producing an instant arming pavilion - possibly to be road-tested at Raglan. It would be brilliant if we could salvage a useable tent from Dubheasa and Terafan's castoffs.

Might also explain why there are so few extant examples of pavilions (a few, but not many survive): aside from hemp and linen cloth simply rotting and wearing away, the bulk of the material might have been cut up and re-used when no longer serviceable as a tent.


abendgules: (Default)

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