Progress

Feb. 22nd, 2010 05:40 pm
slythwolf: Some unlucky soul has an incomplete Pai Sho set. (Default)
I decided the other day to resume work on the gown I had put aside (no doubt for ADHD reasons) and, to that purpose, cleaned out my computer desk and discovered the location of my burgundy thread. I redid the shoulder seams on the proper side and with the proper color thread, and felled them, and finished felling the seam of one of the side gores. Now I am engaged in felling the other, having attached it with backstitch. I think I will backstitch and flat-fell all the seams on this project. It is unnecessary, strictly speaking, except on the more load-bearing seams, but I enjoy it and I like the finished appearance it gives. Then when it comes time to finish the neckline and turn the hems I will be forced to decide whether I want the backstitch visible on the outside of the garment or hidden on the inside.

I think I will put it inside. I have kept it straight and even along the grain of the tabby weave; to the untrained eye it looks like a machined seam. That is not the impression I wish to make at all.

I think the hardest part of this garment is going to be inserting the center front and back gores. I can insert a gore into a seam very tolerably but find I have difficulty in maneuvering one into a slit; the corner is always a trial and turns out lumpy. Perhaps someone has a tutorial somewhere.

I find the staystitching I have done on the bias edges of my gores was a very good idea. In the future I do not plan to remove it until after the backstitch is laid; even after I had pinned the pieces together the bias edge began to sag out between the pins and I was forced to place them more closely.

Meanwhile I think I have left my pincushion at my father's house. I am very sorry to be missing all but the few of my silk pins which were already in the fabric. When I get it back it will be fuzzed all over with cat hair and Nigel shall spend another night sneezing through a closed-up throat. (It turns out my cat allergy was a misunderstanding brought on by the presence of a cat in the apartment at the same time that I was working with a very fine angora yarn, which was what actually caused the reaction. In any case I have since had the same reaction to angora but not to cats.)

The reader will pardon my old-fashioned phrasing. I have been watching Cranford all day and Emma all last night and I find I cannot curtail it.
slythwolf: Some unlucky soul has an incomplete Pai Sho set. (Default)
Last night I was farting around on the intertoobs, as you do, trying as usual to find more sources I can comb for info on Pictish clothing. What I usually wind up finding is late antiquity Celtic and sub-Roman Britain stuff, and there was this site--oh, I wish I had kept the link, I would have linked to it here. It was a set of guidelines for some specific group for how their members should construct their garb. And they claimed that the peplos--which they called a "peplum"1--was actually woven as a tube.

Now. I can imagine in my tiny brain the possibility of a woven tube. I have never actually seen one, but I can imagine the possibility. You'd set up your warp around some kind of a circular loom and then you'd just keep passing the weft around and around, probably (if you're doing this by hand) with the aid of others. It'd have to be a standing loom, and you'd have to do it one garment at a time, and you'd have to start sitting on the ground and stand up kind of gradually as you went.

But this is the thing. To get a tube the size of a peplos (~90" around), you'd need at least three people--I'm thinking four or maybe even five, working from the average width of cloth at the time and that being what one person could do comfortably.

For the same amount of cloth, it's just cheaper to weave it flat, because you don't take up the time of as many people. And they'd have to be teams that were accustomed to working together so everybody's tension was the same, I would think. Not that I know all that much about weaving.

But here is the kicker: knitting and nalbinding were invented to produce cloth tubes without seaming. If you could do that with weaving already, we wouldn't have knitting or nalbinding.

But maybe I'm wrong. Has anyone ever heard of a woven tube on that kind of scale? I have the vague understanding that you can tablet-weave little tubes of trim or cord, but has anyone ever done anything bigger?

1. A peplum =/= a peplos, kids. A peplum is a little flouncy looking thing at the (sometimes back, sometimes all the way around) waist of a jacket or bodice.
slythwolf: Some unlucky soul has an incomplete Pai Sho set. (Default)
Knitting 16th-century stockings in a smaller gauge than my Hanes cotton socks, but here we are.

These Eleanora di Toledo-style* netherstocks are slow but addictive going. I wish I had a better set of 00 dpns, but what can you do? I'm too poor to buy new ones. I just hope I have enough of this Zephyr left that when I finish the stockings I can also finish my Myrtle Leaf Shawl!

* "Style" because they're white and because they're not 100% silk, but also because I'm twisting some of the stitches (in defiance of the pattern I have) to prevent ladders and keep a smooth appearance. Someday I'm going to get my hands on some carnatian-coloured silk laceweight (and some better needles) and do this up right.
slythwolf: Some unlucky soul has an incomplete Pai Sho set. (Default)
So once in a while I'll post about some garb I'm making or something ongoing I'm working on but the thing is, there are a lot of other little projects I work on that you, the readers, never get to hear about.

Today I finished a work of cross-stitch bearing the legend "EAT COLD STEEL PIGDOG". The Discworld fans in the house will probably know what that's all about.

Additionally, I've been drafting slopers for myself--it's a strange and frustrating process, because with my enormous breasts, my tiny waist, and my short torso (not 7" armpit to waist as I had originally thought, but six and a half omfg), the angles are just not at all something the available instructions anticipate. For instance, it's pretty much impossible for me to make a sloper that's going to fit with only one dart in it. I need to have the waist dart--wider than is generally standard--and then I need about a 3-4" underarm dart. Most likely I will just change it to a princess-seam sloper because I'm pretty much just going to put them in everything; I think they look better than the waist-and-underarm dart combination. One with standard princess seams, one with shoulder ones, maybe? Hmm.

I have to do a lot of fudging and retracing and so I start with tracing paper. I'm not going to put anything on the more durable paper I have until I've fitted some muslins and know it's right.

So after about five, six hours' work last night, I have a preliminary front bodice sloper. The back is going to go a lot more quickly, but I just cannot face spreading all my crap out on the floor again to get started.

When I do a skirt sloper that will also probably be easier; while I do have a tiny waist and enormous hips and ass, the nature of the darts and whatnot in skirts is such that it's not going to be as weird. Although I did realize something the other day.

[livejournal.com profile] bloodchan gave me a bunch of clothes she didn't want anymore, fairly recently, that are cute and happened to fit me. I took a grey plaid pleated skirt that is a little big in the waist on the basis that it was going to be easy to take it in.

Well, easy, yes, just a bit of sewing, anyone can do it.

The trouble is, when I pin the waist to where it needs to be, and unzip the zipper, I can't get the skirt down over my hips. That's how big the difference between my waist and hips is. That's how much of an hourglass I am. I am such an hourglass that when I make skirts and trousers that will fit me, I'm going to have to use a longer zipper than standard.

Maybe I can do a standard zipper in the normal place, and also insert a hidden zipper into the side seam on one side. Things that already take hidden side zippers--well, I can put another one on the other side, or I can use a longer zipper. It needs thinking about.

Anyway. My plan is to make two wool suits (jacket, skirt and trousers) and two linen ones; some other pairs of trousers; some other skirts; a couple day dresses; a bunch of shirts and blouses; a bunch of camisoles; a black silk dress for Little Black Dress purposes and a matching jacket in case of funerals; three full and two half slips; and a bunch of sweaters for various purposes. I'm going to make all this stuff as classic and basic as I can, but make it all fit incredibly well, put extra room in the seams in case I gain more weight, and take really good care of it. I will be set for any possible job interview, most special occasions, and any job I manage to get (unless it provides a uniform in which case I would be set anyway).

Then I will buy some good neutral shoes in classic styles and a good-quality purse that I can carry year-round that will look professional and also be at least twice the size of the one I have all my crap crammed into now. And every season or so, I will change my accessories.

I have a color palette. My fall/winter suits are going to be black and charcoal, the summer ones will be white and navy, and I have a list of six or seven colors that everything else will be that I can then wear with any of those pieces. I have it written down somewhere. What I need to do next, really, and as soon as possible, to really get this project rolling, is drive over to Jackson and get fitted for some new bras. I know my 30Fs aren't fitting right anymore. I've been estimating that I wear a 30FF now, but I have never actually been fitted, and I should do that, and buy some bras I can try on first instead of ordering them online. Then I can make sure everything fits over, you know, properly fitting undergarments.

Then I have to buy all my fabric for each suit at once, and preferably for all four at once, but I'm going to leave the jackets until last to make because I'm going to have to disappear into a couple of tailoring books before I get started or they will turn out like something out of the Simplicity catalog. (Do not stiffen your suit jacket collars with fusible interfacing. And please, please do not bag line them. Just: no.)

But so okay, here's the other thing. I have these two poly satin camisoles that I picked up from Sears a year or so ago because they were on sale for $5. They don't fit right, obviously. I am currently sitting with one of them on my lap with a couple dozen pins in it, having determined what kinds of darts and tucks I need to take in it to make it fit. And I am basting them in to check the fit, and then I am going to dismantle it and put it back together again--properly--and when it fits and is happy I will then take it apart again and trace out a pattern from it. Because? It is probably the best way to figure out what shapes I need if I'm cutting something on the bias.

It is empire-waisted. Taking bigger bust darts and moving things around makes it a lot lower cut than it was probably intended to be, but not indecently so, and there is enough fabric there to cover my tits all the way to the bottom, which was a pleasant surprise. Plus I can build whatever underarm dart I need into the underbust seam. I am probably going to base my full slip pattern on this as well, just flare it out over the hips.

Also, I have cut out my burgundy linen and my black linen to make two more basic early period tunics. The black one is going to be knee-length (I had not quite three yards of 55" fabric) but the burgundy one will go all the way to the floor. When I have those constructed, and have finished the blue wool one, I'm going to cut out my green wool twill and make another floor-length one. Four tunics, no waiting. I can layer them in different ways for temperature control. Eventually I'm going to need several more, but it's not a bad start.
slythwolf: Some unlucky soul has an incomplete Pai Sho set. (Default)
Okay, so today I paid $9 at JoAnn's for a 20x27" piece of 32-count white evenweave linen. Threadnedle Street has evenweave linen up to 40-count for like $60 a yard.

Dharma Trading Company has this.

$7 a yard for 54-count white linen? 4.5 oz? That's not too heavy a weight for shifts and partlets, and it's definitely within my budget. I see a lot of blackworked Elizabethan underthings in my future.

Meanwhile the aforementioned 32-count linen is becoming--well, a bunch of different stuff, really. First I'm working on that scarletwork needle book I mentioned a while ago. After that I'm going to practice some things and plan m'self a sampler.
slythwolf: Some unlucky soul has an incomplete Pai Sho set. (Default)
Well, it's been a long goddamn time since I posted about the blue overtunic I'm working on, and it's about time I did because I've made a shit-ton of progress.

Side gores are attached, some of the seams are finished, and I'd been on a break from it for a few weeks while I tried to figure out how I was going to trim out the thing. I had originally planned to purchase some trim, but I couldn't find any I liked for it; I had thought about learning to tablet-weave my own, and I may still do so for later projects or to add on to this one, but I just don't have the time and money right now to be learning a new craft. So it came down to some basic embroidery.

I had spent some time online trying to figure out where I could get wool thread to use, because this is a "best" tunic of someone at best moderately wealthy who would not have been in a position to afford silk, even supposing I wind up in a culture where silk was available. And because, in period, dye didn't stick very well to linen. (This will become irrelevant in a bit, but it was a part of my thought process.) Also, since the fabric is wool, I wanted to use the same fiber for the embellishment so it would all be happy together and so that if it ever felts a little and shrinks a little the embroidery will go along with it.

I could not find wool thread that I liked. It was not working.

Then I remembered the undyed virgin wool sweater I recycled last year. OMG U GUYS. It was machine-knitted from five strands of laceweight held together.

The fabric I'm using is a tabby weave, and it's pretty coarse: 20 threads per inch (both ways). So I'm using a tapestry needle to poke through between the threads, with two strands of this laceweight wool.

I put herringbone stitch over the seams where I lengthened the sleeves, and once I've pressed it you won't be able to tell there's a seam there. I've put more herringbone at the sleeve cuffs--two bands of it, about an inch apart, with a row of satin stitch checks running between them. I know herringbone stitch is period, and I know the Celts of the British Isles were described by the Romans as having "speckled" fabric and trim everywhere (by which most historians agree the Romans meant checks or plaid, having no word for either in Latin); I don't know if anyone was using satin stitch in late antiquity, but it's close enough for jazz, as they say.

I'm going to run a band or two of something around the neckline; I haven't decided what yet. And then when it comes time to do the hem, I'll probably do the same thing I've done on the sleeve cuffs. Possibly a couple extra bands or something. This is a mid-calf tunic, something that will be up out of the mud and can be allowed fun hem decoration.

I have learned some cool stuff from this part of the project.

#1 is that, if at all possible, I should always plan out any embroidery and do it before I cut out the pieces. That wasn't possible with this, because the cutting was something I was mostly making up as I went along, being a recycling of old cloak pieces. And so #2 is that if I do decide to embroider something after I've cut it, I can baste some 6" wide strips of scrap linen to the edges to put it in my hoop. This is making my life so much easier.
slythwolf: Some unlucky soul has an incomplete Pai Sho set. (Default)
This is something I feel absolutely silly about, but what's got me interested in early period garb, recently, is my daydreaming about what Merlin would be like if it were remotely historically accurate, and subsequent perfunctory internet research. What would these people actually have been like? I mused. And can I pretend to be one of them at the weekends? I am, as I may have mentioned previously, an enormous dork.

What I am actually doing is a sort of generic early period thing, because I cannot decide yet which culture of first-millennium Northern Europe I would like to participate in. I am doing T-tunics that will be easily adaptable to a variety of uses. This blue thing, for instance, if I decide to go Norse, could easily have a few bits chopped off it later to turn it into an apron dress. In order to be an immediately-post-Roman Briton, I would merely have to make one of those tube things they were so fond of, and possibly a cloak. As an Anglo-Saxon I would need the veil/wimple thing, and as a Pict, now this is the fun bit, nobody really seems to know. Perhaps actual research in actual books would serve me better there but from what I am seeing on the intertoobs, there is almost no information whatsoever about what the Picts wore, and what little tiny minuscule bit there is is only about the men.

Because of Merlin I am leaning slightly toward immediately-post-Roman Briton. But time will tell.

I have got the sleeves of the blue wool overtunic pieced. It took some time. This hand-sewing lark is all well and good but it is very difficult to keep up while reading fic; you have to be staring at what your fingers are doing and so you can't be staring at the words on the screen. And I have been doing a lot of fic-reading lately, when I'm not playing WoW.

(Am taking a short break from playing WoW. I maintain that Blizzard would have many more people continuously playing the game if Hellfire Peninsula were not so excruciatingly annoying. People quit because they can't stand it. I know I have.)

But so anyway. I'm trying to work out how I'm going to manage these flat-felled seams with the armpit gussets. I think I'm going to put everything together with backstitch first and then go back and finish the seams when the whole thing is constructed, but what that does is, it forces me to figure out what I'm doing with the neckline a lot sooner than I had originally anticipated.

Well. Since this is an overtunic--or really, more properly speaking, an overdress--it doesn't necessarily need to have a high neckline. I don't mean to say that I'm thinking of doing a low neckline, necessarily, but something that doesn't hit me right at the base of the throat will be good, I figure, since this wool is a bit scratchy. I'm going to have something longer in the hem and sleeves and higher in the neckline on underneath it at all times that is not scratchy, so I feel that won't be a problem.

So I'm thinking of doing pretty much a round neckline that's big enough to pull on over my head. Just an open oval type of thing. But in order to do that, I have to figure out how it's going to work, which means I have to figure out how big a hole that is, how much of it belongs in the front, and how much in the back. Then I have to cut my back pieces to match each other and fit the dimensions of the neckline after the center seam allowance is taken into account, and put the back together, and then do the shoulder seams before I can put the sleeves and gores onto the main body of the thing.

The center back seam and shoulder seams I think I'd better finish before I do the rest of it. Heh.

I've also been thinking about how to finagle the two underdresses, and I'm thinking what with the amount of time this stuff takes I had better do the linen one first because then it will be done in time for summer, and then during the summer I can bring the green wool along with me to stuff and work on it at events (if I can afford to go to any events this summer) and have it finished in time to wear next winter. Also in order to make the green wool thing I will want to take measurements over the linen thing, because in the winter I plan to wear them together with this blue thing on over the top.

Anyway, I know I promised you guys to try to have pics this time but we cannot for the life of us find Nigel's camera. (This is also one reason I have been unable to provide any pictures of the hamsters, the other reason being that they are too damn fast to photograph anyway. Little speed demons.) Tomorrow when we go to do laundry I'm going to see if I can borrow my dad's camera.

Additionally there has been some confusion on the subject of the blue wool overtunic, in that, I'm sure because I was rambling on about a cloak in the previous post(s), some people think I am actually making a cloak. I'm not. A cloak was what it was going to be when I was twelve, and a very poor cloak it would have made, with no lining and not enough fabric to properly snuggle around oneself; I have recut the fabric and am making a below-the-knee early period (like, generic early period, but I have seen the kind of thing I'm envisaging in Anglo-Saxon art) overdress.
slythwolf: Some unlucky soul has an incomplete Pai Sho set. (Default)
(No, [livejournal.com profile] bloodchan, I'm not talking about the coat.)

An interesting thing about attempting to cut a tunic out of old unused cloak pieces is that sometimes your sleeve pieces don't have room to be quite as long as you had hoped, and yet you have this other square of fabric sitting on its metaphorical ass doing nothing!

So what you do is, you cut extra little bits to stick on the ends of the sleeves, and this is what I have done. I am planning to join the end bits to the upper sleeves with a backstitched seam and then hem down the seam allowances on the insides and, someday, when I have monies and/or tablet-weaving skill, put a piece of trim on to cover the seam. Which I technically don't even have to do, because piecing is period! But so is trim. Yay.

To that end (the seaming, not the trim), I'm basting my pieces together. I prefer basting to pins because it distorts the fabric a lot less; unless I bend my pins, they will bend my fabric in all kinds of unsightly ways, and then I find my seams always pucker juuuuuuust a little bit, which to my mind is completely unacceptable if it can at all be avoided. Which it can. Which I am in fact doing by basting instead of pinning. Yay!

The next time I post about this project I really hope to have pictures, but that all depends on whether I can beat Nigel's camera into submission.
slythwolf: Some unlucky soul has an incomplete Pai Sho set. (Default)
I was digging around in my box of old Ren Faire projects in search of the buttons I need for a commission (cannot find them anywhere--will have to buy new), and I discovered a fantastic tabby-woven wool that I had completely forgotten I had. It's a nice dark woad-y blue and would be perfect for early period. It is currently cut into the shape of who knows what the hell kind of cloak I was attempting to make at the age of, like, thirteen, but I am chopping that up to make an early period knee-length overtunic with wide (but not obnoxiously so) elbow-length sleeves. It will have to have either a front or back seam because of piece widths; I think I had been using some craptacular Simplicity cloak pattern or something, and it had two front pieces that were rather narrow near the top.

I actually think I have a bunch more of this somewhere in my dad's spare room; my mom had bought it when I was in middle school to do who knows what with, and had never done it, and I don't think she cut into her fabric, and I think it's either in my other old fabric box or in the antique pattern chest she left for me. Will definitely be making more stuff with this. It's appropriate for very early period and I am going to town on ideas.

Have become bored with Elizabethan. I know! But I think I just burnt myself out on it. I am haviing a high old time playing with the idea of being a Pict or a Viking or a post-Roman Briton or something. T-tunics and tube dresses, my friends! The construction is mindlessly easy, the fun comes in on the embellishments and in a related story guess who has decided to learn to tablet weave? Whee!

I actually think I'm going to make two underdresses for this, one out of my burgundy linen and the other out of my hunter green wool twill, and do the linen one in the summer and both in the winter. The underdresses will have tapered sleeves! Everybody wins!

Garb Idea

Oct. 21st, 2008 12:39 am
slythwolf: Some unlucky soul has an incomplete Pai Sho set. (Default)
I don't...even know where I would wear this, maybe to Costume Con someday when I can actually go? But I just had the most fun idea; I want to do something Regency or Victorian that is, you know, a total fashion victim. Nouveau-riche, too gaudy, every trend piled on at once, I-think-I'm-so-cool and people would have thought I looked atrocious and vulgar. I think it could be highly entertaining.

Whee!

Aug. 19th, 2008 10:39 pm
slythwolf: Some unlucky soul has an incomplete Pai Sho set. (Default)
I have had a flash of inspiration. Some of you may remember the five (four and a half, now--I used some of it to make part of an aborted kirtle a while ago) yards of forest green wool twill that I have lying around. Well, I'm going to use it to make an early 16th century Florentine dress. I think I can sneak some of my black cotton velvet for the guards and sleeves; surely I don't need all thirteen yards for the matching Elizabethan noble I'm planning. I'm so excited! Not least because early 16thc Florentine means I don't have to put anything on my head if I don't want to, nor because I think my Italian ancestors were from the area.

This does mean I'll have to spend some cash on hanky-weight linen for a camicia, but at least the camicia will be easy to put together, being an assortment of very large rectangles. But then knowing me I will probably decide to buy a bunch of silk thread and embroider the damn thing up, down and sideways. Maybe I should buy enough linen to make two camicie so that I might, you know, be able to wear this thing while I'm alive.

It also means I'll probably pick up some beads from Fire Mountain Gems and experiment with a necklace. What do y'all think of garnet...?
slythwolf: Some unlucky soul has an incomplete Pai Sho set. (Default)
Is finished. And poked through with about a gazillion teeny holes through which to couch the outline thread to the piece of card. I used part of the cover to a book of graph paper, because it happened to be handy. Scanned pattern under cut!

Pretteh! )

The orange, yellow and gray bits are all different fill patterns.

The whole thing measures about 7" wide and 3.5" high. I hope it will be a bit too big for the section of the pirate gown bodice I plan to use it for. I'm going, as I said, to make a practice version out of cotton thread, and maybe someday I'll be able to use that as an applique on something.

Now to get started! Ooh I'm so excited.
slythwolf: Some unlucky soul has an incomplete Pai Sho set. (Default)
I have spent the past few months guiltily wondering if I really do, in fact, have enough ambition to be in Slytherin. This is because I had imagined that ambition only exists in relation to things like money and power. I was wrong. My Slytherin ambition takes the form of crazy costuming plans.

Since we're talking about historical costuming, many people might be tempted to say, but are you sure that doesn't actually put you in Ravenclaw? You know, because of all the study.

No. No, it does not, because if I were a Ravenclaw, I would be content merely to learn about the stuff, or maybe merely to make it just for myself and not tell anybody about it. The Slytherin side of me says, I will make this, and then I will broadcast to the world how cool I am for having done it.
slythwolf: Some unlucky soul has an incomplete Pai Sho set. (Default)
So. I, uh. Can't find the right amount of the right lace in the right width for my pirate gown, at least not to fit in my budget. And this was the thought I had.

"It's mostly buttonhole stitch," I thought.

"I can buy linen thread online," I thought.

"It's not like I'll be able to afford the fabric for a long time anway," I thought.

"I might as well work on part of it while I'm saving," I thought.

So what am I doing this afternoon, you ask? I'm sitting with a bunch of tabs open with pictures of different extant pieces of 17th century punto in aria lace, trying to design a pattern. Because I? Am going to make my very own not-quite-a-reproduction 17th century punto in aria lace for my pirate gown's undersleeves.

I am definitely going to keep some kind of a log of how many hours I spend on this project, so I can know, at the end, how much it would be worth if I were to sell it and pay myself minimum wage. Hopefully it will still fit when I'm finished with it; it might take me years to complete. Heh, "might".

Designing the pattern is actually going really well. I'm working on a vaguely triangular piece for the false second layer of the bodice front. I'm actually almost finished with it, apart from deciding which fill patterns to use in which parts of the motif and where to place all the little picots. I think I'll make a practice version with cotton hand-quilting thread from Walmart just to start out, to see how thick my buttonhole strands will be so I can tweak the pattern if I don't like something about it. Also because if I find out that I absolutely suck at it I'm only out $2.50 and haven't ordered a bunch of linen thread which, let's face it, I would eventually use, but would feel like an idiot for having purchased so much of.

I'll tell you what, though, when I get my patterns finished I'll scan them and post them, and I'll take pictures of the lace-making process so y'all can see just how nuts I am to be doing this.

Although I will say that doing a little reticella edging on a ruff for Elizabethan will seem like a cakewalk after this. So maybe that's a plus.

Big Plans!

Jun. 29th, 2008 01:36 am
slythwolf: Some unlucky soul has an incomplete Pai Sho set. (Default)
So a new project has bitten me. Oh has it ever. I want to hand sew a pirate gown (a la [livejournal.com profile] harmanhay using the instructions at YWU) entirely of silk and possibly linen (except the coutil, which will probably be cotton). I am having visions of blues and greens which began as a sagey green gown with muted blue lining and has begun to mutate into a sea-green gown with deeper teal/turquoise-y lining and an underskirt the colour of a Caribbean white sand beach. Or, quite possibly, something deep North-Atlantic-blue. I like blues and greens; they look excellent on me. Also I am in a very sea sort of mood. I am thinking, you see, of making a mermaid pirate gown. Sort of. Possibly.

I have already bid on some antique lace on eBay. I wasn't going to, but I was the first bidder and it was only at $6.99 and it was ending in less than 24 hours.

I am also super-excited because once I have figured out how to do this for myself I can make them for my friends. Maybe. [livejournal.com profile] aprilmayinjune has done so much for me over the years and she totally deserves a big flowing pirate gown in her favourite shade of deep purple with black accents. Of course hers would probably be machined (except for fiddly finishing bits) so that I could finish it within a reasonable time frame.

Which brings me to my next point: [livejournal.com profile] aprilmayinjune, my mother and my sister all clubbed together and bought me a sewing machine as a wedding gift. It's at April's house at present, but she'll be up next weekend and I can start practicing on it then. Possibly with the mock-up of my newly-drafted Victorian corset pattern which I think I may have done something wrong on--I think I've made the boob-containment area a bit too deep, you know, vertically. But I can fix that in the fitting.

Anyway I'm so excited, once I have that corset fitted I can get serious about steampunk. I think there is even a relevant Patterns of Fashion in the university library, which I can borrow and start planning outfits from.

Of course I can't start making any of this stuff until I have a job. I so cannot afford fabric right now. Even some of these very tempting silks on eBay that are only $8.95 a yard.

So, um.

Mar. 15th, 2008 05:58 am
slythwolf: Some unlucky soul has an incomplete Pai Sho set. (Default)
This is just a germ of an idea. I don't know if it will ever come to fruition or not. But the thing is, the patterns in The Tudor Tailor for men's garb are for people, well, my size. The women's patterns are relatively close to my size--smaller in the bust, but there's going to be squishage anyway--except they're for people shorter than me. The men's garb--I would have to narrow the waist and widen the hips in everything applicable, but the chest measurement is right on, and the height is correct.

The SCA is supposed to be the Middle Ages as they should have been, right? And I am a radical feminist, which entails that I believe that gender roles are never the way anything "should have been".

So I've been thinking, what if I were to make myself a set of men's-style Tudor? I'm flexible on time period, but what I'd really like to do is be an early-to-mid-Elizabethan pirate, because the people in the SCA who do pirates tend to be about 100-150 years too late. So I may do a bit of research as to what sailors were wearing in, say, 1575 in the forseeable future. Or I may not; I may just pick an outfit off the little page of line drawings at the beginning of the book and run with that.

Am I mad? Probably. But would this be a blast? I think so!

I am picturing myself with an absolutely ostentatious codpiece. Oh, god, I should totally make mine bigger than Nigel's!

Why yes, I have been up all night--why do you ask?

New Plan!

Mar. 15th, 2008 12:30 am
slythwolf: Some unlucky soul has an incomplete Pai Sho set. (Default)
So on a whim I picked up three and a half yards of tan coat-weight wool on eBay. It's awesome, you guys. It was already cut into three pieces, two of which were the perfect size for skirt panels and the third is more than big enough to cut out a kirtle bodice. And it was already washed and thus partially fulled by the seller. So last night I cut out skirt pieces--one back panel, two front, because I hate trying to finesse a skirt opening and would much rather just seam it down the middle and leave the top 10" or so open--and now I'm slipstitching the lining in. There might be enough wool left over for a pair of sleeves, which would be awesome; I may or may not overdye the leftover fabric to have sleeves of a different colour (probably some shade of coral pink).

I have also cut out charcoal felt to interline a black linen partlet. I was planning to use the felt as the top fabric, but there wasn't enough of it to leave a seam allowance, so I'm going to use it as interlining and put black linen on the outside as well as the inside. The linen pieces are drawn out and just require cutting; I'll get to that later.

I'm going to abandon the idea of the green wool kirtle. The eyelet holes are way too much of a pain in the ass right now; I have enough fabric left over to make an overgown kind of like this one, which I'll use hooks to fasten up the front and will base on the pattern in The Tudor Tailor. That I can work on over the summer to have finished for next winter. Layers are your friend in Michigan, I can tell you.

I've also got thirteen yards of 54" wide black cotton velvet. That only cost me about $35. You never know what you can find on eBay. I plan to use that to make matching Elizabethan noble for Nigel and myself, ideally to wear to Twelfth Night next year but I highly doubt I'll have them finished in time considering before I can make the black velvet outer layers I have to:

- make a new effigy bodies
- make a Spanish farthingale and probably some kind of roll
- make a taffeta kirtle
- figure out what colour I want to use for the visible parts of the underlayers, like Nigel's doublet and my forepart and sleeves
- choose trim
- make (probably many) mock-ups of Nigel's garb (Nigel wears a significantly larger size than the patterns in the book) in order to figure out yardage for his jerkin and paned hose, thereby figuring out what kind of shoulder treatment I can give my own ensemble
- figure out how the shoulder treatment I want to do even works
- make Nigel's doublet
- figure out what the fuck to line this stuff in
- figure out trim placement

After which I'll have to
- make my gown
- make Nigel's jerkin and paned hose
- make Nigel some netherstocks
- make myself some netherstocks
- find Nigel some reasonably appropriate shoes
- make my forepart and sleeves
- make myself a smock and Nigel a shirt
- make myself a nice ruff
- make Nigel a collar and both of us cuffs
- make myself a nice blackworked coif
- make us both Italian bonnets, which I have chosen because they look like the easiest to put together without a bunch of millinery supplies and knowledge

What with the wedding and job hunting and everything, it's more likely I'll finish the matching outfits by the following Twelfth Night. Which is good, that might give me enough time to convince Nigel that just because it is called an Italian bonnet that doesn't mean it's a woman's hat.

But speaking of velvet, you guys, this tan wool is seriously velvety soft. I love it.

...Oops.

Mar. 5th, 2008 01:37 am
slythwolf: Some unlucky soul has an incomplete Pai Sho set. (Default)
So the natural linen pair of bodies I'm making isn't going to fit. It turns out when I drafted the pattern I was going based on my measurements from about a year and a half ago, in the mistaken belief that I was still that size--this was of course before I had the oh-my-god-my-boobs-are-enormous-also-my-hips-I-need-all-new-clothes revelation. Unbeknownst to me I had gained about 3" to both bust and waist. I can compress the boobage to make the pair of bodies close at the top, and I can compress my waist if I try really hard to make it almost close at the bottom, but the problem is of course my ribcage and the fact that it doesn't want to compress at all.

I'm going to finish the pair of bodies anyway and attempt to sell it on eBay. I probably only spent about $35 on the thing, considering I cannibalized a skirt for the fabric; I'm sure I won't make minimum wage on my time, but if I take enough good pictures and stress that it's completely hand-sewn--I don't know. Maybe I can pull it out. In any case I get the experience under my belt and have learned all kinds of things in the process.

Anybody know anyone with about a 24" waist and 34" bust who wants an Elizabethan pair of bodies? Effigy bodies, hand-sewn, authentically constructed, 100% linen boned with basket reed?
slythwolf: Some unlucky soul has an incomplete Pai Sho set. (Default)
So upon further perusal of my copy of The Tudor Tailor I have come to the conclusion that I have enough fabric to make the entire doublet ensemble out of the green wool, and save the green velvet for a later endeavour. I think this would probably be best; I can save it until I have the time and money to get some handspun shot silk on eBay (yes, there's someone who sells 45" emerald green and black handspun shot silk for about $6 a yard), which I'm thinking I'll use for the outside of a gown and line/face it with the green velvet. I want to do hanging sleeves, I think. Would imagine this will all start happening after the wedding. I can get handkerchief-weight linen for a smock and partlet and a smallish piece of linen evenweave to make a blackworked coif, and learn to make an Italian bonnet with scraps of the velvet. Will also need some other colour of taffeta for a kirtle, some lighter shade for a forepart and sleeves, supplies for a bumroll and Spanish farthingale, and yards upon yards of trim. Ideally I'll be able to have this whole ensemble finished by Twelfth Night--not this Twelfth Night, but next Twelfth Night, obviously. But the upside of waiting to do it is I'll be able to draft it to fit over the effigy bodies and not this needlepoint-canvas monstrosity I currently have.

Anyway. I've cut out the white cotton muslin for the smock and coif I'll be wearing until I can get my hands on some decent white linen. Am about two-fifths of the way through slipstitching the lining down. It's going rather well so far; I even figured out how to leave the ends of a drawstring channel open between the lining and the outer fabric (both being the same lightweight cotton muslin) and still keep the raw edges from working loose and poking out to fray. I'm not entirely sure what I'll use for a drawstring for this but I do have a rather large ball of #10 white crochet cotton that can probably be plaited into something. The other option of course is to make a drawstring from a scrap of the muslin, but I don't want to do that.

I'm currently wondering if I bought enough heavyweight blue cotton (originally intended for the toile of the doublet) to use to draft a kirtle bodies instead of a petticoat with a waistband to go under the doublet, and use the cotton as interlining with the leftover effigy bodies reeds as boning. That way I wouldn't have to wear the needlepoint-canvas monstrosity at all. And theoretically I could adjust the kirtle bodies pattern to make the doublet, make a toile with the burgundy linen and use that as the doublet lining. Will have to see.

In any case the whole thing is off to a good start. I don't think it will necessarily be finished by the January populace meeting, but at least I'll have a proper smock and coif to wear with the abysmal Faire garb.
slythwolf: (YARRRN!)
I go through phases in my knitting. A couple of months ago everything was superbulky. Then everything was lace. Now it's all fingering. I'm currently in love with tiny little stitches and intricate patterns. I'm loving the instant gratification of socks and mittens.

Right now I'm working on a pair of socks for my dad. He needs some nice wool socks; all he's ever had are the crappy, itchy store-bought kind. Nobody has ever knit him a pair of socks. I consider that a tragedy. These will be a nice deep forest green, which is his favourite colour even though he can't see it. They're 20% nylon, I believe, and the ball band says "shrink resistant" which I am assuming means superwash but I'll advise him to lay them flat to dry.

Of course, nobody has ever knit me a pair, either, and when the Winter Gift Holiday knitting is done and I've done the pair of mittens I'm planning for myself I'll get to work on more socks. I have several balls of worsted merino that I found on eBay for $1.99 a piece. I think two of them are baby blue and the other six are camel. Worsted isn't usually what one uses for socks, I know, but this is Michigan; I need super-thick and consequently super-warm socks. A couple of pairs of digging-the-car-out-of-the-snow socks. I used to have several pairs, purchased for me for Christmas back when Eddie Bauer carried 100% wool socks, but they are very battered indeed now and I know how to darn but I'm not that talented. Plus most of them have somehow mysteriously lost their mates.

In other news, I have almost figured out what to do with my five yards of green wool twill and four and a half yards of burgundy linen. In fact, it also involves the green cotton velvet Flemish gown I bought from Sofi's Stitches several years ago at Faire--the one I promised pictures of but never posted, I'm sure some of you will remember. Well, it doesn't fit anymore, probably mainly because I have boobs now, but also due to the fact that I've lost one of its laces. What I'm thinking of doing is taking it apart and making a green velvet doublet out of it. The twill matches it really well and I could make that into a petticoat. I have some white muslin for a smock and coif--I'd like to use linen, but of course I can't afford it right now, and I can always remake this stuff later with relatively little effort.

I figured out what the fit problem was with the black cotton twill plastic-needlepoint-canvas-stiffened RenFaire bodice--its straps were far too long. I'm in the process of shortening them so I can wear it as a quick-and-dirty corset until I can finish the linen effigy bodies. It actually supports really well when I lace it fully closed. I hadn't done that at Faire, for some utterly stupid reason. I think it's cut a little too low in front, but then I haven't tried it on yet with the shorter straps so who knows.

In any case, I can draft the doublet to go over that and leave a little bit of ease in the seams to alter it to fit perfectly over the effigy bodies when I finish them. Then all I'll need will be hose, and I can knit those with the abundance of Zephyr I have lying about the place since I realised I was never going to finish lace stoles for six bridesmaids by June. I've got a set of five 000 dpns; it'll take a really long time, but I can handle it, and it may even be something I can bring along to events to work on. Knitting--especially in teeny gauges--is totally period.

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