Monday, 28 April 2014

New Troos

Last year I started working on a set of fencing garb while at a friends house for a sewing weekend. I made fantastic progress, then packed it all up and didn't touch it again until the bank holiday weekend just gone. So I pulled out the hose and got them completed!

Suzie was resting while these pictures were being taken, so that's Oscar the door stop standing in for her. Seeing as there's not much difference in the pictures themselves, you'll have to trust my word that the one of the left if the front of the hose, and the one on the right is the back, which looks far better when I'm filling it out.

The Challenge: Challenge #8 UFOs & PHDs
Fabric: Imination suede and linen for lining
Pattern: The pattern is Tudor Tailor's Venetian Hose, the men's pattern, cut out in the largest size to accomadate my derrière
Year: Approx 16th century Italy.
Notions: Thread, three pairs large hooks and eyes
How historically accurate is it? Tudor Tailor can be trusted to produce very well researched pieces, so my choice of materials lets the project down. However, as a stash busting exercise and a pair of working hose, I'm quite happy with them. Hooks and eyes as closure are documentable, though perhaps not for hose, so let's say 50% on this one too.
Hours to complete: I think this one took 6-7 hours overall, from tracing the pattern (I'm trying to train myself to not cut into the original pattern anymore), so sewing on the last hooks.
First worn: This is another piece that will be saved for Festival of Fools at the end of May, or failing that, it'll be making it's stage debut with me in August!
Total cost: This was another exercise in stash busting, but bought new the fabric would have cost about €24.

Monday, 21 April 2014

Bartery Goodness

One of the things I love about being involved in the SCA, is with so many talented and resourceful people around, there's always opportunity for a barter exchange. I was approached at my last event by someone who wanted a simple white linen shirt, and offered me fabric in exchange - that's where the green velvet in my last post came from. So just in time for the next event, I have the shirt made.

Now, the shirt is made for someone who is much taller and much broader in the shoulder than I am, so it looks downright lousy on my dressform.  Still though, it serves to give an idea of the shape.

The arms are gusseted and all joining seams are flat felled by way of finish. I would have happily added some backwork to the collar and cuffs of this shirt (which would have added to the challenge some more) but the brief was strictly for a simple shirt with no closures to fuss with.

The Challenge: Challenge #9: Black & White
Fabric: White linen, medium weight and cotton thread.
Pattern: To say I drafted the pattern for this would be using the term in the loosest way imaginable. The pieces were cut as a series of rectangles to make most efficent use of the fabric available.
Year: Medieval-ish? Until you get to the collar.
Notions: Cotton thread
How historically accurate is it? While the use of rectangular pieces to make efficent use of the fabric is a known method is ye olde times when fabric was much more expensive than it is now..  this shirt only barely brushes that. So, let's say 50%, for the materials and because it'll still meet the ten foot rule.
Hours to complete: I think it took about 4-5 hours, but that involved a lot of music selection and messing about, maybe 2-3 hours if I had set to without distractions.
First worn: Yet to be delivered!
Total cost: Material was cheap thanks to a bulk order, so that only came to about €7, and thread at €2, only €9! Shame it's far to early to quality for the Under $10 challenge too.

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Hats Off!

I've just completed by first HSF challenge! I didn't think I'd get this done in time, but having sewn till almost the 11th hour, I'm very glad to have gotten it done.

So the first part of making a new hat for my Venetian was to decide on the fabric; this part often takes the longest. I knew I wanted velvet, but I had a decent number of options in my stash.So I took a picture and.. who am I kidding, I went for the red velvet. It's a statement. It's brilliant. And when (when!) I eventually get my muff done, I'll have matching accessories.

I cut out two brim pieces in buckram then sandwiched my hand made felt between these and whipstitched it into place. I decided to leave out the millinary wire this time, as an attempt to make a more period hat, and nothing to do with the fact that I couldn't find where mine had wandered off to.

I had initially intented to sew the velvet to the brim in such a way that I'd be able to overlap the crown to brim join with some of the brim seam allowance, but the velvet was so prone to fraying that I decided to turn under all of the seam allowance edges on the brim, to sew the lining to the velvet prior to making up the crown, and just attaching the two directly. Based on the little red fluffs everywhere, I think I made a good call.

The part that worried me most about this project was alining the stitches for the cartridge pleats on the crown. All of my skirts are cartridge pleated, but that's on a straight edge. As mentioned in the Sempstress' tutorial, each row of pleat stitches on the hat has to allow for the oval shape of the crown. I didn't trust myself to be able to eye that, so here's what I came up with. 

First, I determined the centre of the lining by folding in half vertically and marking with chalk, then folding it in half horizontally and marking again. Then using a ruler and a default pleat measurement of the width of my fingernail, I marked chalk lines all the way along the edge so I could follow the lines to keep my pleats all nicely lined up!

And look how wonderfully even they turned out! After that it was a simple case of stitching the pleats into the brim, lining up the front, back and side points to ensure that the pleats would be evenly distributed. I have to say, at this point, I wasn't too sure of the hat at all. I think I cut the crown too big, and I just couldn't get it to sit right.

But then I attached the feathers and it changed the my attitude to it. It went from arkward to bling, especially when I found and attached the little costume jewel to the base of the feathers. Yes, there's things I'd adjust for the next version of this hat, but this one will do nicely too.  

The Challenge: #7: Tops & Toes
Fabric: Red cotton velvet, black linen for lining, purchased buckram, hand made and fulled wool felt.
Pattern: Drafted myself, with help from The Sempstress' Toque tutorial
Year:Approx 1550s
Notions: Polyester thread. Should have been linen by rights, but I had to use what I had.
How historically accurate is it? The pattern is similar to styles worn in portraits of the time, though I think my crown piece is too big. Silk velvet would have been more likely than the cotton, but is a good approximation. Everything was hand sewn, even if it was with polyester thread. Together with the shop purchased buckram instead of my own linen cardboard, I'd say about 75%.
Hours to complete: Approx 6-7 hours with some not so neat stitches involved.
First worn: Hmm, next SCA event is in two weeks time, but I'm hoping to hold onto this one to preview with my complete fencing garb, which won't be until the end of May (not including the obligatory dodgy selfie below).
Total cost:  Technically everything was already in my stash, so I didn't have to buy anything new. As an estimate though, I think it would have cost about €20 if I'd bought everything new.

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Getting Organised

I had one of those wonderful moments tonight where the crafting supplies I needed for the crafting I intended to do were right where I left them. Organised, I am not. Not half as much as I'd like anyway.

That said, I've just decided to participate in the Historical Sew Fortnightly challenge. This is only a competition in the sense that everyone wins, because it's a sew along with the goal to increase your historically inspired wardrobe at the end of it. I had been avoiding the challenge previously, as I thought it'd add too much extra work into my already long sewing list, but a brief conversation with one of the organisers on their facebook page and I realised the idea was to manipulate my list into the challenges, not to cause myself extra grief!

I'm jumping in at challenge #7: Tops & Toes, though with only a week to go, I don't entirely expect to get this one finished by the deadline, but I do need a new hat, so it's good to get started. Getting started involed making wool felt this evening, because while I'm willing to cheat and buy my buckram stiffening, there's nothing quite like your own hand fulled felt to make a hat with.

And challenge #8: UFOs & PHDs, that's UnFinished Objects and Project Half Done, has me digging out my silk stockings to finish sewing them up, so this challenge has already been worth it... provided I get them finished of course.

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Accessorising the Accessories

I gave into an impulse to pick up some gold jump rings last week and got a project done that's been a year waiting!

When competing in the Realm of Venus Italian Renaissance Costume Competition two years ago, the very competition that started this blog!, I made a little embroidered flag fan as one of my accessories. I love this little flag. It's bright and lovely, and actually functions both as a flag and a sun shade. But when it was out, it always had to be in my hands. I needed a chain.

I dedcided to make up some rosebud chain maille as the focal point of my chain. It's a very simple technique that looks quiet elegant, and it easy to put together, so I've taken some pictures to show just how it's done.

For my rosebud jump rings, I used 8mm rings, prepurchased, so I'm not entirely sure of the guage of the wire. For each bud you'll need three rings, two of which are opened, and one which remains closed. It's easier if all the rings which need to be opened are opened before you begin.

Take one ring and slip it through the closed ring. Close the open ring. The third ring needs to go through both rings, then close it up. Lay the rings down together, and they all fall into a lovely little circle that ressembles a rosebud.
The only thing left to decide is how to join them together. I wasn't sure, so I experimented with a few looks. The top pair of rosebuds are joined by two 6mm rings, the next set by two 8mm rings and the bottom pair by three sets of 6mm pairs. The bottom style won out and I got to making. It all, the chain took about 100 8mm rings (allowing for the few inevitable escapies) and about 2/3's of a pack of 6mm rings.

The finished chain allows the fan to hang from my waist to about knee length, and is long enough that I can easily fan myself without pulling the chain taut. It's a little too short to be a sun shade without being detached, but it gives plenty of scope for playing with it, all the better to show off the bling.