Sunday, August 21, 2011

Goals for the week

Well...I didn't finish for the IRCC.  I'm really disappointed, but I'm still going to make the clothes.  In fact, I'm going to enter D's shirt in an upcoming "gift" themed arts & sciences competition.  I'm pretty excited about that because it will be my first A&S competition in my nine.years in the SCA!  I just need to get it completed. 

I'm also getting started on the Artemisian Costuming Challenge.  I am being sponsored in by someone who wants a Tudor gown.  This will be my first Tudor and I'm really looking forward to it. 

So, here's the to-do list:

Tudor gown trial run
Blackwork on cuffs for D*
Pants assembled for D
Start on buttonholes on D's orange doublet**

* If I finish the cuffs I'll get started on the collar.  I want the collar to have blackwork on the inside and out.  Any of you embroidery folks, is it best to assemble the collar and embroidery through all layers or should I embroidery two collar pieces, then assemble it? 

** I've decided to be crazy.  My original desire was to hand bind the buttonholes (something I've never done), but was going to skip that since I was running out of time for the IRCC.  Since I am officially too late for that anyway I've gone back to the hand binding plan.  Anyone done it before?  Any tips?

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Button, button, who's got a button?

I do!  I finished all of the fabric buttons for Dennis' orange under doublet.  I learned this technique from the amazing Noelle of Adventures of a Wanna-be Seamstress and this is the first time I've used it.  I got lots of practice, too since I made 25 buttons to go down the front of the doublet!  I almost made 30, but I think 25 is enough.  I can always make more later if necessary.  These were fun and shockingly simple.  It only took me a few hours total to do them all.

Monday, June 20, 2011

This week's to-do list

My goals for the week:

Lacing strips for orange doublet
Orange buttons
Find beads for the brown doublet (and if I have to order them on the internet, order stuff for a belt, too)
Start the embroidery on the brown doublet (as soon as I have beads)
Start blackwork for shirt
Test Dennis' pants pattern
Construct Dennis' hose
Make my underskirt, I need at least one new one for this gown

If I get all of that done I'm going to try to finish the pink and lavendar kirtles that I didn't finish for Uprising. The pink one just needs some form of attachment down the front. The lavendar one needs the skirt attached and then lacing rings on the side backs. I'm hoping that one works's sort of a test run for the kirtle I want to make out of the gorgeous purple linen I recently acquired.

Friday, June 10, 2011

A post of otherness which contains talk of breastfeeding, you have been warned

First and foremost we took the little M into the pediatrician today for another weight check. He had his six month check up on the 31st and hadn't gained enough weight for the pediatrician's liking. The pediatrician (whom I LOVE! I would recommend him to anyone in the SLC area who is looking) was concerned that the little man wasn't getting enough to eat and wanted me to top him off with formula to see if he was still hungry, then come back a few days later to check his weight. I was really unhappy with that plan because I had made it my goal since before he was born to breastfeed him exclusively. However, having the tiny's best interest at heart I did attempt to top him off for the few days, but I did my best to get him to nurse as much as possible before I offered him a bottle. The most he took at one time was about half an ounce, so once I really started pushing him to eat he was getting enough. I started feeding him every two hours, whether he acted hungry or not. We went back in for a weight check last Friday and he had gained an ounce, which wasn't too shabby for three days, but still wasn't what the pediatrician was looking for. We were offered two choices, one was a three day blitz where I pumped constantly and feed Malcolm pumped milk combined with formula to see how his intake versus my output compared. The other option was a one week test to see how much weight he would gain if I continued really pushing him to eat. We chose the one week and it was up today. We went back to the pediatrician hoping for at least three ounces of weight gain. He gained EIGHT ounces! All of us were ecstatic and the pediatrician said I was doing the perfect thing and wants us to come back in two weeks to see how he's progressing, we're looking for 12-16 ounces of weight gain in the next two weeks. Hopefully Malcolm and I can keep this pace up, but if you are looking for me at Uprising I'll probably be holed up somewhere comfy and shady feeding the little man.

Quick formula/breastfeeding disclaimer. I don't have a problem with formula, I know it's the perfect option for a lot of families...I just didn't want to deal with it. My not wanting to give Malcolm formula is all about my own personal goals, and having done it for a few days I can say that for my situation it was a MUCH bigger pain in the rear end than breastfeeding.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

This week's goals and what I did on Monday

IRCC goals for the week:

  1. Assemble Orange slashy doublet This is taken off my list because I somehow forgot that I needed to make lacing strips for the waist and arms before I could assemble the doublet, therefore:
  2. Start lacing strips for orange slashy doublet
  3. Cut out brown doublet
  4. I haven't chosen the lining, yet...I'm thinking of maybe tea dying some linen, but I want to do some subtle embroidery on the velvet so I got the important part cut out
  5. Purchase/find in stash orange embroidery thread (I haven't found anything I love so this may be deferred to Uprising where hopefully I can find something wonderful)
  6. Test Dennis's pants pattern
  7. Start Orange fabric buttons (ohhh Noelle, do you have a magic trick for cutting these out? Thank you Noelle!)
  8. Test version of partlet Post with pictures to come

Other sewing goals this week:
Assemble and attach to skirt new version of pink linen bodice (which is also a test run of my IRCC bodice)
Assemble purple kirtle
One more other undecided kirtle
New whites for everyone
Two pairs pants for the tiny one
Doublet for the tiny one
Finish black doublet

You can't tell that it's the week before Uprising, can you? My to-do list difficulty is being compounded by my darling mini. He is not gaining weight as fast as the pediatrician would like, so we're back to nursing every two hours (measured from start of session to start of session) during the day, he nurses for 30-60 minutes each time, so that means everything has to be done in hour long chunks. However, the alternative is not one I'm willing to face without exhausting all other options.

Yesterday I spent baking and not touching a piece of fabric at all. There is a couple that we met through church who has become good friends with my entire family. The husband's health has been poor the entire time we've known them. His goal had been to make it to his 90th birthday next week. Unfortunately he passed away in his sleep last week. His wife asked me to make a birthday cake to celebrate his life for the reception yesterday. A 90th birthday deserves an awesome cake.

On top of the top tier it says "Happy 90th birthday Stan". The paw print is for his dog who adored him. She was so loyal to him that during a recent, unexpected hospital stay she chewed her way out of her crate so she could go look for him. On the bottom tier is a blue star for his 40 years of service in the US Air Force and a red maple leaf for his years in the Canadian Air Force. On the middle tier is a heart with their anniversary in it and around the top it says "I'll always remember I love you". Stan was in the hospital once and was very disoriented, he couldn't remember any of the standard questions (name, date, where are you). His wife asked what he DID remember and he said "I remember that I love you." After that he told her every night when they went to bed that he would always remember that he loved her.

Happy birthday Stan. We'll miss you.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Slash slashety slash slashen

I finished all of the slashes on my husband's under-doublet.  Now I just need to decide what to line it with.  It is a lovely burnt orange silk and the over-doublet will be brown velvet.  I can go the subtle route and do a tea dyed linen or I can line it in white so that you get little white flashes everywhere.  Decisions, decisions!

Monday, May 30, 2011

The fitting breakthrough

Just before finding out I was pregnant I made a velvet b-front Venetian.  I loved it, but then put it away when I was expecting.  I put it on the other day to get an idea of the fit when lo and behold, it fit perfectly!  Even without a corset!  I'm going to tweak the pattern a bit, do a test run from purple twill, then on to the silk!  I am changing the plan for my undergown slightly.  It will now be either v-front or solid front.  I'll decide really fast.

Yay purple gown!

IRCC Update: A Tale of Slashes

slash.jpg (1639.2 KB)

I finally had a massive breakthrough on my own pattern in the realization that an old pattern that only sort of worked in the past now works quite well with a few tweaks.  Of course, I didn't make this realization until after a few fitting sessions that may or may not have involved partially constructed bodices being thrown across the room in frustration.  I am going to do a final dry run of that pattern before cutting out my silk. 

I've made some progress on whites.  My husband's hose are in progress, they are being constructed by hand.  I decided to make the blackwork on his shirt collar reversible, so the collar is assembled and waiting for embroidery.  My son's blackwork is still sitting aside waiting to be attached to a shirt.  I am putting off assembly on his outfit until July so that I can get a better idea of his size.  Once construction on my husband's whites is done (except for the embroidery) I will be starting on my pulled work partlet.  I recently learned how to do pulled work and am really excited to start this part!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

More embroidery talk

I did another trial of embroidery for my camacia, using waste canvas and....hate it. I think it looks loose and sloppy. I tried to pull the threads extra tight, but my thread kept catching on the edges of the waste canvas and that was roughing up the thread and making it even more difficult to embroider. It was just a mess all around.

So...I think I'm going back to my earlier plan of the third from the left on this sample piece. Cute, simple little pinwheels with a gold bead between each one.

In other project news I've been working on the two yards of cord I need to make. I learned the hard way not to lucet for too long (can I use that as a verb?) before I've built up a just makes the whole process take longer because it ends up hurting too much to continue. This is the cord that will be the ties on Dennis's shirt and my camacia (the little man won't have ties on his shirt...he would try to eat them and that doesn't seem safe).

No sewing update, but...

I have new carpet!  Our house was a rental before we owned it and the tenants did a number on it.  Spots on walls that won't come off, cupboard and drawer fronts hanging off, but the worst was the living room and stair carpet.  We had steam cleaned, but there were still giant stains that would not come out (of course, the upshot of that is we got the house cheap and already owe less than it appraises at).  My parents-in-law most kindly replaced the carpet in our living room, the main half flight of stairs, and the upstairs hallway.  It is now a beautiful silver/gray color and is extremely comfy to the feets.

A sewing update later today, though...I promise. :-)

Sunday, May 1, 2011

IRCC Update

I just sent in my first update for the IRCC! We are only allowed to send in one picture per week, so I tried to artfully squish everything together. :)

I got a bit of a late start on my projects because my son was baptized on Easter day and I made his baptismal gown. My main focus in these first couple of weeks has been to get everything fitted properly and the basic embroidery pieces done. The blackwork on my son's collar is completed and my husband's collar and cuffs are next on the embroidery list. I have done several trials of various blackwork patterns for all three of us. The blackwork is being done with silk embroidery floss. Fitting has been going...fitfully. My son is the easiest, I want this outfit to fit him for the winter events here in Utah, we have our two dressiest events in December and January. I will be laying a modern pattern out and then drawing the correct lines around it so that I can get a good guess at a correct size in six months (he will be one year old in December, so his size changes every day!). My husband's doublet pattern needs some minor tweaking. Mine is a whole different ballgame. I haven't updated it since my son was born and my body is very different! It's coming along, though and is almost done.

Almost all of the fabrics are on hand already. Starting in the upper right hand corner of the picture is a linen lawn that will be my camacia and partlet. It's absolutely wonderful to the touch, but is terrible for counted blackwork. The partlet will be pulled work, which I think will go smoothly with this fabric. The orange is a silk that has been sitting in my stash for quite some time (I got it on an irresistible sale at the fabric store). It will be my gown, my husbands underdoublet, and the poofy part under the panes of the pants for both my husband and son. The brown is a cotton velvet that will be panes for my husband's pants, his jerkin, and (if there's enough of it) my son's doublet. The white is a medium weight linen for the two shirts. It has a lovely drape and has been a joy to embroider on. The pink is my fitting bodice (it was once attached to a skirt of it's own and once I have the pattern perfected, it will be re-attached). I have a running list of the fabrics I still need, the most important are silk taffeta for the panes on my son's pants, something wonderful for my loose gown/coat, and something for my husband's outer clothing item. The original plan for his was a hip-length cloak, then I started falling in love with a particular style of jacket that men were wearing in the mid-16th century. That decision will wait until I see what presents itself fabric-wise.

Friday, April 29, 2011

More blackwork trials and a dilemma

I have this beautiful linen lawn that has been sitting in my stash for years waiting for me to decide what to do with it.  I want to use it for my camacia and partlet. 

Fast forward to my blackwork is an enormous pain in the arse to embroider this fabric!  I have always done counted blackwork, which is working fine on the linen for the men, but the thread count on the lawn seems to be a billion.  I could trace the pattern on, but that's never really worked for me.  I think I'm going to just get a good start on the blackwork for the shirts, then come back to this.  I think I'll end up going with a simple pattern like the third from the left here with the bead accent.  


I had a whole post disappear. One minute there was a post about my son's baptismal gown, the next it was gone! I can still view the comment on it, but no post. :(

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Blackwork trials

I did blackwork once before. I found a lovely pattern and did a whole cuff and when it was done I looked down with pride and realized...I hated it. I never used it. So with this project I decided to do some trials before committing to the full piece. It also gives me an opportunity to work out the kinks. So, here are the trials for the Blackwork on the two shirts. The small, diamond pattern is for my little man. It is about half an inch tall. The big acorn and vine pattern is for my big man and is about an inch.

Due to real life concerns all three outfits will be almost exclusively made from stash fabrics. I have a pretty extensive stash, so only a few bits will need to be purchased (mostly lining fabrics). The two shirts will be made from a medium weight linen, the blackwork will be done in black silk embroidery floss.

Both blackwork patterns come from a 16th century Italian sampler. It is a wonderful piece with lots of different designs on it.

(I'm really sorry for the terrible quality of the picture...I'll replace it later.)

A little plan for a little man

My sweet baby boy was born in December and I want for this outfit to fit him this fall/winter. I'd like for him to be able to wear it for Winter Solstice and 12th Night (the two big court events in my area of the SCA, one in December, the other in January). I'll be cheating a bit on the fitting. I'll use one of the modern patterns I already own to get the size right, then I'll re-draw around it to get accurate lines for what I want. It's the best method I can come up with to make something that will fit him in six months.

I saw this portrait and immediately fell in love with the little boys' outfits.

Here's the rough plan for him. Don't mind the are hard to draw! It is almost an exact replica of the outfits in the portrait, right down to the little shoes (which I didn't draw, but are in my plans).

The plan for the man

I am lifting another sketch from my archives for Dennis' outfit. The style will be similar to something I worked on for the King of Artemisia to wear in December. The basic lines will be very much like this portrait. I've been in love with this outfit since the first time I saw the portrait. If you look closely at it you can see simple lines of what I assume is embroidery vertically on the outfit. There are simple straight lines and what look like either beading or just small ovals of satin stitch. I'll be doing that on Dennis' doublet as well. The doublet will be brown velvet with burnt orange embroidery.

His under-doublet will be burnt orange silk, modeled after this one...of course, because every person who does 16th century man's clothing makes this doublet at some point. There's a good's because it's a wonderful doublet!

Here is the overall plan for his outfit. The left side is the over-doublet/jerkin type thing. The left side is the underdoublet. I drew out several different cutwork patterns so we could discuss options. He decided he likes the simple verticle lines, so that's what we're doing. The left side of the pants was my first attempt at drawing panes and...well, it's not so good. Just look at the right side. :)

For over this the original plan was a half-cape, but then I started falling in love with these coat-type thingies (I don't know what they're called). I'm going to shop around for fur and if I can find enough at a price I want to pay, then I'll make one of these, if not then it will be a half-cape with either embroidery or applique around the edge.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

My outfit

I've been thinking about what to do for my own gown since I first heard about the challenge. I am nursing my five month old son, so I'm limited to front opening gowns with relatively easy to undo closures. I've decided to use this portrait as inspiration. I've loved this dress for a long time. There's something so elegant in it's simplicity. The pearl buttons, the soft-ish lines...I just can't resist.

I am thinking about doing a partlet to fancy my gown up a bit. These two styles have really caught my eye. A fabulous friend of mine recently showed me how to do pulled work and I think that a pulled work partlet would be a lovely addition to my gown. I think the first style would look beautiful as pulled work.

Here is my sketch for the gown, it doesn't include the partlet because I haven't decided which style to do, yet. The other decision I need to make is which sleeve style to do. I think I'll go with the one on the left because it fits in with the very subtle, simple lines of the rest of the gown. I really like the one on the right, too, but I have a bit of time before I HAVE to decide on that. The camacia will have white work and possibly a little bit of beading around the neckline.

I will also be making a loose gown, these two portraits call out "make me!" There are things I love about both of them, and they're at direct odds with each other. I love that with the first one you would be able to see the sleeves from the dress, but I LOOOOVE the sleeves on the second one. The second one would be a much better "keep me warm" coat-type gown, which I have been desperately needing anyway. So...I'll leave this decision for a bit, too. I'm going to start with the white and blackwork for the underclothes anyway.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

The Beginning

It all started a couple of weeks ago when a friend posted a link to the Italian Renaissance Costuming Challenge at Realm of Venus.  Four months to create one late Italian Renaissance outfit consisting of at least four pieces.  Now, ambitious me has three entries.  One for me, one for my hubbysband, and one for my baby boy who is currently five months old, I'm going to aim for an outfit to fit him this winter.  (Details of the outfit plans to come later, once I scan my sketches.)

I would love to win, but I'm up against professional costumers, so more importantly I want to challenge myself to up my game.  I know I am capable of much better work than I generally put forth, I just have to slow down and give myself the time to do it right.  Yup, I did just say that I have great potential if only I would apply myself (and yes, I did hear that a lot growing up).  With required updates and friends also participating I will have a level of accountability with my sewing that I've never had.  Win or not, my goal is to perform to my personal best.  As long as I feel I've done that I'll be ecstatic at the end of this.

So here we go!  Enjoy the ride. :-)