Friday, July 29, 2011

New camera is on its way!

Its supposed to arrive tomorrow. I'm using its arrival as motivation to finish the partlet so I can get pictures of the earrings and everything else from the waist up. Assuming I crop the width since the sleeves aren't done. :) The undersleeve is cut though. I kept hoping I would find the perfect trim for the sleeves, but have decided to settle for the cold cord I pulled off the Christmas Ribbon back a month or so ago. It's what I've got latticing the balzo and I'm liking the antique gold color. Its subtle and nice, even if it did come off ribbon. In my defense, it was high quality ribbon.

I was going to slash the sleeves this afternoon, but I don't have new exacto-knife blades and I'm not sure how much I've used the current blade and don't want to risk it not being sharp enough. I'm also dithering about whether I should do false puffs in the slashes. I love the lace and batiste of my camisia, but it might not have the body necessary to pull through. It also might work better to have the false puffs with the baragoni since I want to do a tied on undersleeve. It looks to me like the baragoni have tabs on the bottom, where they cover the undersleeve. I suppose they could attach at that point, but I want to have the undersleeve attached directly to the bodice so I don't have to worry about gaps. With the overlap, its probably easier to not have to worry about pulling the smock through. I hope I have the sleeve sized correctly so I can move my arm once all that velvet is sitting on the shoulder. The mock-up worked fine, but I'm still worried about what will happen with my real fabrics, and you only wear a mock-up so long.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

So, what's next on the agenda?

Trying to break up my days into two separate crafting/sewing pieces.  My kingdom got inspired by the IRCC and, as a result, the Artemisian Costuming Challenge has been issued.  Because I'm crazy, I signed on to make another 4 layer outfit.  This one needs to be done by New Year's Eve.  Its going to be late 16th century Muscovite.

I was trying to convince myself to not get going on it until the Italian ensemble was totally done, but that hasn't gone so well.  I'm far too excited about it.  You know how it goes, nothing more exciting than a new project.  So, the new plan is to get started with the planning on the Russian outfit, but I'm not allowed to think about it until I've got my IRCC "chores" done for the day.  Today's morning work was the the finish finish work on the camisia and sealing the chopines so they are ready to start covering tomorrow.  After wearing the camisia for the wedding, I sort of put it aside.  I needed to finish the hem and cuffs but kept putting it off since it was wearable.  I think that's pretty standard isn't it?  Get it to the almost done stage and feel secure about it and then procrastinate the last few bits?  Its certainly one of my tendencies.   Its truly finished this time.  Just need to was it and press it for the photo shoot.  I gave the chopines one last sand and I think I'm satisfied with the shape.  Tomorrow they finally get covered.  Really.  They will be finished soon.  Honest.

There we go.  On schedule for finishing the IRCC.  So, I can get thinking about my Rus outfit.

Russian costuming is a bit different than Italian.  Its not quite as easy as picking a portrait.  (Not that Italian is quite that easy either, I do understand that.)  There are no portraits from late 16th century Russia.  The painting style was iconographic.  There are lots of ways to go about figuring out what might have been worn.  I plan to use a variety of them.  I will be looking at written descriptions from "travelers tales" to start with.  There are a few pieces of extant (primarily ecclesiastical) embroidery and I've been doing research in that area for quite some time.  There are also both ethnographical and traditional studies of clothing to be looked at.  So, that's the not quite as accessible sourcing.  I've been digging into frescos, illuminations and other bits and pieces for a couple of years now and have been keeping notebooks of things I want to include in my "dream dress."  But, the best for just plain oogling and sighing over beautiful Russian clothes, are pictures from a ball thrown in 1903 in the Winter Palace.  It was a masquerade ball and everyone dressed up as people from the 16th/17th centuries.  They hauled out extant gowns and embroideries and had them refurbished for the occasion.  Just breathtaking stuff.  Here are some pictures. and the New York Public Librar's digital archive has a copy of a souvenir book put out after the event. 

One of my favorite pieces is this dress worn by Empress Alexandra Fedorovnova

The dress is based on one in a painting by Grigory Sedov depicting Tsar Alexis choosing his bride. Its been recently restored and is in the Hermitage Museum. Here it is at the ball.

I was really tempted to do this dress as is because its gorgeous and I love the gold and pearls, but the painting is from the 19th century. Probably about as good as I'm going to find, but its a dress made in 1903 representing an artist's interpretation in the 1860's of what the future Empress was wearing in the 1640's. If I'm going to be creative, I may as well get my own vision. It'll make it a lot easier to work with the materials I have as well, if I'm not trying to do a copy.

Tomorrow, the sketch pad comes out and I dig through the stash after I do more work on the IRCC. I need to get the partlet done quickly. If I get it done then, since the jewelery and hat are complete, I will be that much closer to having everything from the waist up complete.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

My camera appears to be dead, but I sent in my update

I was hoping for a much more complete update, but I did at least get something sent in so I can stay in the competition.  Today's plan is to convince my husband we need a new camera, and finish all the little fiddly bits on things I haven't quite done (like the two or three stitches on the stocking gores that I need to do, the one button loop on the muff that needs to be adjusted, etc, etc.)  Then its on to the dress hem and cutting the sleeves.  I've been stressing out about how I want to do the baragoni, but I think I've finally made a decision.  We'll see if its going to work or not.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Really, I'm working

Sorry for the lack of updates.  I've been buried in other projects and the ones I've finished I have (of course) forgotten to take pictures of.  I'm currently making garb for this weekend.  I'm attending Baron's War to see my friend Noelle/Serafina's elevation to the Order of the Laurel.  It also happens to be a fabulous excuse to run away and leave my kids home with my husband.  I haven't left them overnight since I was 3 months pregnant with my soon to be 4 year old.  I'm rather unabashadly giddy about some time by myself.  I do not, however, have anything to wear.  The twins are a bit of a handful and we've only been in the SCA for about 2 years, so I've never done more than daytripped to a camping event.  So now I'm marathon sewing and trying to get 4 sets of Persian garb done.  It sort of makes sense.  My husband's persona is Persian and we've always planned to do Persian for summer since Rus isn't condusive to 100 degree temps what with all the fur.  So far I have the shirts and pants all done and am making coats.  I know I should have more than one coat per ensemble, but with the rush, I'll have to add more later.  Just trying to get the minimum done now.  I have 2 of the coat shells sewn and all 4 coats and linings cut.  Lots to do, but they are assembling quickly.  I've got headdresses figured out and most of a braid case made, but may have to settle for just a basic kerchief.  I couldn't get the felt slippers done that I would have preferred, so I'll be wearing my Medieval Moccasins sandals that I have to go with my tribal belly dance stuff (I used to dance in a belly dance troupe.)  They're comfy and not glaringly terrible, despite being inaccurate.  One day I will get nifty slippers with turned up toes made for me and the rest of the family.

Speaking of slippers, I did get some leather bought to make my slippers for the IRCC dress.  I got a good deal on a nice red pigskin. ($2 a square foot) and couldn't pass it up.  The plan is to do a really soft slipper with cutouts to expose a gold lining.  I've done children's versions of this slipper, but this will be the first attempt in an adult size.  Fingers crossed that I get to them.  I'm putting my nose back to the grindstone on Tuesday and plan to start crossing things off the to-do list in rather short order.  The finish line is so close!

Monday, July 11, 2011

A few more beads and we have a balzo

Putting the last few beads on the balzo, but I had someone available to take a picture so here it is.  Super comfortable with the wool base, and it fits perfectly when I have my hair braided around my head (which it is not in the quicky picture, but is how I plan to wear it normally.)  Even with no pins or anything it stays in place nicely.

I cut the mock-up for the partlet this morning and am playing with just how much fullness I want to the gathering.  This is one of those occasions when I wish I had more decorative stitches to my no frills sewing machine.  There just isn't time in my schedule to do hand work on the partlet, so I need to stitch the gathers in place.  Not sure how happy its going to make me to do it this way,   Only 40 days to go in the challenge and I want to leave at least 10 for getting good pictures since I'm going to need a lot of help with that.  I'm rather proud of most of my projects, but they just don't look all that great in photos.  I'm an unusual size and not photogenic so I need all the help I can get.

Still have some final tweaking with the skirt, but the dress is getting closer to being finished.  Hoping to cut the sleeves tomorrow, but I still haven't finalized if I'm going to do a two piece sleeve and do the upper puff separately.  My friend Davey brought over a soldering gun so we're going to make the girdle a little stronger today.  I STILL need to figure out the earrings.  The Venetians should just take about a day.  Chopines still need a lot of sanding and then a couple of days of work to cover them and add some bling.  The leather slippers are up in the air as to I will even get to start them.  Time has totally gotten away from me. 

Friday, July 8, 2011

3 year olds and historic costuming do not mix

My son decided to help with my dress.  I'm rather heartbroken right now.  Hoping I can match the fabric and replace the panel, otherwise I guess I can use the fabric I have for sleeves, do non-matching sleeves and get creative with the guards.  Lots of work hand pleating and hemming both top and bottom just went down the drain.  I was so close to finishing the dress.  I was almost ready to move on to the sleeves. I give up for today.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Girdle is basically finished

I just need a hook so its easier to take on and off and its done.  To make it completely complete, it would be nice to find a pomander or a tassel or something for the end, but I can wait until I run across the perfect thing.  So I guess its mostly done.  

Actually, there's one more step I would like to do, but I'm not sure I'm up to it..  I am a little worried the jump rings will gap because the girdle is pretty heavy and I'm considering soldering them closed.  I have a multi-tool that I use for pyrography that can be used as a soldering iron but I've never tried it.  I'm a little nervous about it.  But, I really don't want to have to constantly reassemble the girdle when something decides to fall apart.  I'd much rather have it super sturdy so I don't have to worry.  Guess I'm going to let that brew a little bit.  I've been working on this pretty solidly for a couple of days since there was a lot to assemble and I'm ready to put it aside and declare  another wearable item,  Technically done is something. right?

Monday, July 4, 2011

Fussing with the girdle

I've been plying around with the various bits and pieces I got for the girdle, trying to make them look like they belong together.  The portrait piece is made of really large components and its pretty much entirely gold.  I haven't been able to find pieces of the right scale, nor enough of them.  Maybe it would be easier if it was closer to Christmas and I could go ornament shopping.  So, I decided to do as I'd done with the necklace and abandon the idea of doing something that looked like the portrait and go for something that wouldn't look out of place.  I started by putting a pearl in the center of the filigree buttons and adding some of the red glass jewels I used in the necklace to the large oval bits with metal and jewelry glue..  It unified things a bit, but the shapes didn't transition well, Luckily, I found a really interesting bracelet with a great shaped plaque.  The original pieces looked like the one on the far left, with the 4 half round  cream dots.  I pried those off, as well as the crystal in the center.  Then I put a button pearl in the center and red beads in the place of the cream.  The smaller size of the red beads shows more of the gold base piece which I like a lot.  There were three of the bracelet, so I ended up with 15 plaques  Between the red cabachons and some pearls as well as some smaller gold bits, I think I'm going to end up with enough length.  Its actually a pretty long girdle, since there is an extension for the zibellino.  The glue should cure tonight and I can try assembling everything tomorrow and see how close it comes.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Back to the chopines and a weekend with my lucet

Went down for a wedding this weekend (and had no internet access to speak of.)  I dropped in to my parents' house and my dad helped me with ideas on how to shape the chopines.  His first suggestion was a rasp-- which I had been using.  The second idea was a drum sander, which he didn't have, or a belt sander.  I already bought one of those and have been working with it, but it is slow going.  What we finally tried doing was using his table saw.  Huh?  Yeah, that was my reaction.

What he did was raise and lower the blade to different heights and take out channels of wood close to each other.  then we took a chisel and popped out the wood between the channels.  I seems to have worked pretty well for taking out large bits of material, and I'm much closer to the shape I want.  He did start the cuts too high on one while we tried to figure things out, so I'll be administering some putty, and the laminated wood cracked in one spot, so he sent me home with a large clamp and some wood glue to sort of inject into the crack and make sure it doesn't get work.  On the whole though, more progress was made in 2 hours than I've made in days of work to this point, so I'm really pleased.

I didn't get any other projects brought with me this weekend, but had the leftover gold crochet cotton from my stocking lace and veil edging in my bag, as well as some red weaving yarn.  I had a lucet in my purse (don't ask, I really couldn't tell you why.)  In my sitting around minutes I made about 7 yards of cord.  I think I'm going to use it for long drawstring ties and make one of the round tasseled bags that can be seen in some engravings dangling down close to the hem.  I'll babble about it more once I figure out the design and decide for sure if  I'm even going to make one for certain. 

So there we go, not much done this weekend, but the project does keep moving along.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Crowdsourcing is cool

Its truly amazing what can happen when you put questions out there.  The picture up top is "Pegasus and the Muses" by Girolamo Romanino, painted in the 1540's.  Do you see all the lovely pointy partlets and puffy paned sleeves?  From the front and back?  Whoo-hoo!  I have huge thank yous to dole out for finding this for me.

Ashley was kind enough to point out the pictures of an extant dress with a skirt pleated to the outside of the bodice that Anea has on her site.  I sent Anea an email thanking her for having the pictures up, and she was kind enough to help me even more and tell me about the regional style in Brescia for this type of pointed partlet.  She linked me to several other paintings in her files with the same type of dress and partlet.  I am very, very grateful for her time and expertise.  Since Italian is not my area of research, I haven't put the time and effort into really investigating sources and knowing what is out there.  I am so floored by the generosity of people who have been willing to help me as I bumble along with this project.

Speaking of crowdsourcing, my embroidery hero, Kim Salazar (author of The New Carolingian Modelbook and superdooper generous designer and researcher of blackwork patterns) is attempting an interesting project.  She is using the frame from a recent design and attempting to have a design constructed by the group.  If you're interested in helping out, you design a bit of blackwork to fit into the frame and send it off for inclusion.  Check it out.  She's also got a new FREE book of over 200 blackwork fillings available for download, not to mention some silly designs (who could resist the Flying Spaghetti Monster, skulls, and octopodes in blackwork?) available in her recent posts.  Her research, stitching, and design skills are amazing and I so want to be her when I grow up (assuming that ever happens.)

In parting, there's one more cool thing about crowdsourcing.  It let me have a rather interesting conversation with my computer geek husband who's job has involved writing software that works with and supports crowdsourcing for language translation.  Not to mention the fact that he got to use the word portmanteau in a sentence.