Monday, August 27, 2012

Dresses for my girls

I still need to make the smocks and the lacing rings, but I've pretty much got the girls' dresses done.  I put together a girdle belt for L so she can wear her zibaby from Sable Greyhound and then did a matching necklace and bracelet.  I'm running low on time, but I think I can still get the boys outfits done by Saturday. Cross your fingers.  The dresses are headed to the washer and then a solid ironing.  They'll look loads better on my cuties and I'm hoping to get pictures of the kids at the event.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Working on largesse

Our Province is hosting Kingdom Coronation Sept 1st and I decided it would be a nice gesture to put together a basket of items for Their Majesties to give out during their reign (or the next reign.)  Fast and easy is the watchword.  I'm working on some mini-pincushions and a few other things, but this is what I got done today.

I made stamped notecards and envelopes and did "Viking" necklaces based rather loosely on a Finnish necklace from Eura grave # 56, dated 1025-1050.  I still had a bag of Kuchi coins hanging around from when I danced American Tribal Style bellydance so they came together nicely. 

Dress for my oldest is coming along still.  Hoping to get both sottana's done tonight and be able to start the boys garb.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Baby sottana

My poor children are garbless.  The twins have never really had much other than a tunic I tacked together the day before the event, neither has my 4 year old for that matter.  My 8 year old hasn't had something made for her in quite awhile either.  Guilt has set in.  The only issue is that the event I'm sewing for is in 12 days and I have to make a bunch of largess, sew pennants for my local group's new fighting eric, plan children's activities, and sew for 4 little ones in that span of time.  Not to mention the first day of school for my 3rd grader and kindy boy and a few dentist appointments and such thrown in.  So it should make the IRCC look like a cakewalk.

I cut out kirtles for the girls today and jerkins for the boys.  There isn't going to be a sleeve in sight.  The kids aren't used to wearing that much clothing since they haven't done very many garbed events in the summer and it has been around 100 degrees lately so I'm going with lightweight stuff that looks kinda sorta okay.

This is E's, my youngest, sottana.  I took a jumper that fit her and used it as the base pattern.  It'll have lacing rings on the side and I'll whipstitch the shoulder seams together.  Cartridge pleating this small of an amount of skirt should be a breeze.  The bodice is a linen outer, a layer of cotton duck and a linen lining so it has a bit of shape.  I figure with the side lacing and ability to extend the shoulder seam as well as a large hem to let down she should get considerable wear out of it. 

My iron finally officially died after being babied along for some time so I need to replace that, do some pressing, and then I can finish this up.  I can't believe how fast bag lining and sewing for someone this small made this go.  I guess I need to make the kids garb more often.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

So what's next?

This week is actually more than a little crazy with my son's 5th birthday tomorrow and back-to-school shopping this weekend.  He's going to kindergarten and my oldest daughter will be in 3rd grade.  I'll have a couple of hours every day where it is just me and the twins. I'm looking forward to that.  I've also got to get us ready for Coronation Labor Day weekend since none of my kids have garb that fits.

I'm hoping to finally get around to making a version of the dress in this Titian portrait of Clarice Strozzi for my older daughter so she can wear her zibaby from Sable Greyhound.  I'll probably do one for my youngest as well.  Seems pretty straightforward and comfortable.  Probably too young for my 8 year old, but I don't think she'll care.  I need to make the boys something as well.  With the extreme heat, I don't think I'm going to worry too much about accuracy and just do them shirts, Venetians, and jerkins rather than full doublets.

I'm being lazy today, but should at least get the fabric in the wash tonight so I can cut something out tomorrow after the 5th birthday party.

And it is done!


The "Cliff's Notes" of the outfit

A) Linen camicia with lace insertion. Handsewn insertions, handpleated
B) Orange silk and red canvas full petticoat bodies. Machine stitched boning channels hand bound in red pigskin with handworked eyelets. Machine sewn lined petticoat with handworked eyelets and cartridge pleated waist and hand applied ribbon trim.
C) Open bodiced Venetian dress of gold cotton brocade.  Machine sewn long seams with hand applied ribbon trim.and padded cartridge pleats. Sleeves with beaded rosettes.
D) Cappotto and matching bonnet with feathers.  Handbraided frogs and threadworked buttons. Hand couched gold cord along hand applied bias trim.  Cartridge pleated wool lined hat.

Extra accessories

Papier mache tourney shield. Hand sculpted and painted.
Gold cotton windowpane veil with handmade tassels.
Fur lined muff with leather cutwork applique and threadworked buttons
Paper flag fan with drawn and painted pear with calligraphy poem
Sculpted feather fan
Painted parasol with sculpted apres finial and handsewn tassels
Zibellino with sculpted head and beaded girdle drop
2 sets of hairpins, filed, assembled, and painted
Strung blue jasper and gold necklace
Strung pearl necklace with acorns and maple leaf pendant
Assembled chandelier pearl earrings with silk bows
Signet ring with carved intaglio gem
Set of bracelets in half-Persian weave
Beaded girdle belt
Sash with interlaced herringbone embroidery, tassels, and beading
Beaded rosary with hand tied tassel
Lace sweetbag sewing set with buttonhole tassels, interlocked braid and threadworked buttons. Scissor keep, needle case, needlebook, stiletto sheath and pincushion
Handkerchief with pearled needlelace edging
Lace stomacher
Lace cuffs
Linen apron with handsewn insertions of lace and pleated top
Machine sewn cotton undercamicia
Machine sewn silk garters with handsewn applique of lace
Handsewn linen stockings with hand applied purchased lace and trim
Cutwork lachet shoes
Blockprinted machine sewn drawers with hand done eyelets
Suit of silk organza and lace shoulder and neck ruffs. Cartridge pleated into linen bands
Handsewn organza ruffled partlet with beading
Blockprinted and painted machine sewn soccaccia
Braided and beaded hairpieces

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Venetian horns and hairpieces

Remember when I said I was trying to figure out how to adapt Victory roll retro hair into the Venetian style?  Well, my friend Tabitha (Hare de Luna) was willing to give it a go.  She's a fabulous hair braider and our local seneschal so she definitely "gets" what I was going for.  She's also recently become fascinated with retro hair, so I was in good hands.

I hit the beauty supply and picked up some sponge forms used for buns to use as rats for front height as well as some kankelon braid to make the back bun.  My hair is waist length.  It is even relatively thick, but it just isn't enough to pull off the big height in front and large bun in back.
Construction is pretty basic.  I just cut a piece of buckram or net into a large circle and then cut a slit into the circle so I could shape it into a conelike shape that would curve over my regular bun. Then I braided the hair and coiled it, tacking it into place.  For the pearls, the pearls were twisted around the braid before it was stitched into place.  The gold cord in the other one was stitched in later.

I've got some toupe clips stitched to the big bun cover, but the smaller one is stitched on a large scale net and bobby pins into place so far.  I might add clips later.

Tabitha did a part at about the middle of my ear pulling the back into a bun and putting the bun cover on.  We decided to use the larger hair piece (that I made for the ACC) which has a center bun as well as additional loose braids that I usually wear over the top of my head. In this case she just pinned them around the center bun making a gigantic braided bun.

She sectioned the front into 3 sections, ratting the sides and then smoothing them back over the purchased rats.  The center front was curled under into a roll and pinned into place. She teased and poked the rolls into a sort of pointy shape and smoothed out the transitions between sections.  I poked a few of my new hairpins into place and it was done.  I'm more than thrilled.  It really made the entire outfit come together and look "right."  Now I just have to figure out what I'm going to bribe her with in order to get her to do it again for Solstice in December.

Edit.  Just adding a couple of links to the portraits used for inspiration. (At Angela Bacci's sitem which seems so ofter the case. :) )
I think we came pretty close to this one

 That same Montemezzano that keeps popping up with a double roll 

3 different women with the same arched roll

Tabby rolled the middle down and the sides back since rolling the center back gave me more of an English look and lost the definition of the arches on either side. 

Grand plans don't come to fruition, but I still have stockings and a sash.

 I know I talked about doing a sprang poste back at the beginning of this endeavor.  It still is on my list of things to try but I never settled into it and got going with the experiment.  The dress still needed the option of that splash of color at the waist to tie together the color in the sleeves and trim.  I still wanted to make something pretty and not just a strip of silk.  I considered doing pewter mounts like I'd done on my last poste/sash.  I didn't want to just pour more of my heart mold though and never came up with something nifty to carve a new mold of so it kept getting delayed.  I figured I'd better make something before time completely ran out.  So, here it is. Rather boring, but I did learn a new stitch.  The sash is actually 3 lengths of silk held together by an interlaced herringbone insertion stitch.  It's done in a blue bamboo rayon thread that matches the dupioni silk of the sash.  The tassels are the same thread.  The herringbone is interlaced in gold cord.  It is a bit too heavy to work properly so next time I will use a lighter contrasting thread.  I stitched on a few pearl and gold beads and ta-da.  Not my grand planned piece, but it does the job and the tassels and beads weigh down the bottom nicely.

These are quite obviously not my blue knitted Eleonora stockings.  I WILL get those made.  Eventually.  I'm going to give it another go in January I think.  I hope.  In the meantime, I made these since you can never have enough socks.  I just used the same pattern I draped last year for linen hose and cut and stitched them.  There's a bit of lace trim and a blue and orange woven ribbon to top it off and firm up the upper edge.

Partlet and ruffs

Ruffs didn't cooperate as much as I would have hoped, but they still totally finish off the outfit. 

I decided I really loved the metal bezants that were along the edge of many of the late Venetian partlets and I needed some.  I had a bunch of little gold findings that are a 5 lobed flowers made of hearts that I decided fit the bill, and I topped each with a glass pearl.

The partlet itself is just a basic mostly rectangular shape cut off my body block.  I used an embroidered organza that already had a shaped edge and cut the front to use that for the inside edge.  I gathered a simple ruffle into the neck and finished it off with ribbon ties under the arms.

The ruffs are organza as well, which may have been a mistake.  I wanted to do an authentic construction, cartridge pleating the edge into the linen neckband and then setting it with starch later.  I used Noel Geileghem's excellent tutorial  The organza didn't want to cooperate, however, even when I used hair spray rather than starch as was recommended.  I went back in an put a thin line of 32 gauge wire in in order to shape them, but it still doesn't give the look I want.  I'm going to need to play a bit more with the main ruff before Solstice in December when I want to wear these.  A rubatto or suportasse may be needed. I certainly need to practice my settes.  I totally understand why a good laundress was prized in the 16th century.

Playing catch up so I can do my wrap-up

I just realized how much stuff I don't have reported to Bella, in addition to all the items I haven't shown pictures of here.  So much for keeping on top of things. . .

So, I guess we'll start with the most recent thing (because I'm most excited by it) and work backwards.  My sweetbag!  I have wanted a 16th century sweetbag for a very long time, but the time commitment required for the embroidery has continually put it on the backburner. Then I found this!  The Metropolitan Museum has several Italian drawstring bags with the unique style of tassels that get them grouped with sweetbags.  The other two are embroidered, and they are all listed as 17th century, but the first one that caught my eye is listed as macrame or punto a groppo.  Knotted lace is much more my style, not to mention more easily done with materials I had to hand.  I was lucky enough to snag 3 yards of a beautiful thick reticella border/trim on ebay a while back, and wanted a way to display it, since it seemed too lovely to just use it on the edge of a random clothing item. 

There are a couple of extant sweetbag sets with a knife sheath and pincushion all matching the main piece.  I was particularly interested in the one in the Manchester Gallery. (I'm having some trouble with their site right now and it doesn't want to link.)  I decided to go for a full blown sewing kit with some pieces based on the extant ones and a few more modern takes on the theme.  I decided to adapt the knife sheath into a holder for my stiletto, go ahead with the pincushion and main bag, add a needlecase with sliding cap sort of based on the Italian one I talked about here, do an additional more modern needlebook, and a modern style scissor keep.  I've also got some gold shell threadwinders I intend to add to the set.  When it hangs the pincushion, the needlecase, the stiletto case and the bag will show, and the more modern pieces will be hidden inside the sweetbag.

I tacked the reticella into place on a gold wool fabric, and lined things in a peacock color silk.  The pincushion is stuffed with wool stuffing, the needlebook has wool felt pages. I rubbed a little gold enamel paint onto the pewter badge I got for completing the Artemisian Costuming Challenge so that it would blend with the gold of the set, but still show the amazing detail Mistress Giliana Attewatyr included on the pewter piece. The part that was both most time consuming and the most fun was doing the tassels and beads and all the buttonhole rings to attach everything.  I hope to eventually find smaller wooden core beads and do the tiny beads/buttons in silk more in keeping with the extant types, but I wanted to at least do the right shape and style of tassel since that seems to be the identifying factor for sweetbags.   Thirty-three buttons, thirty-one tassels, fifty-two loops, and a couple of yards of interlooped trim later, it is done.

Friday, August 10, 2012

That was surprisingly easy

And there is the pear.  I'm afraid I didn't get crazy and carve a wood block and print it.  Just a pencil sketch I inked in and a bit of color.  Lace is leftover from my ruffs and the ribbon is the vintage silk one I'm using on the dress.  I had bigger more exciting plans for this, but then the boys shredded my painted filigree fan I made for the ACC earlier this week and I decided I didn't want to give them something I poured blood and sweat into to destroy.  As I posted last time, these were often sort of a disposable thing on occasion as opposed to the investment of a feather fan.

What I'm pretty thrilled by and want to brag about is my clever handle.  It is a cafe curtain rod I bought for under $3.  They slide into two pieces and each end has a finial.  There is also a slit where the metal is rolled.  I took out the bottom section of the rod and kept it for a second fan.  This one has a little ridge on the bottom of the rod that sort of finishes it off, but I will need to figure out something to finish the second one.  I could have just epoxied the second part of the rod into place and had finials on both ends, but I didn't want the weight.  I drew and painted my pear and poem on a thick piece of watercolor paper, glued on the lace, and then pulled off the finial and pried the opening of the curled metal open a bit and slid it into place.  Then I popped the finial back on, crimped the metal back closed with a pair of pliers, and ta-da. Instant and inexpensive handle.  At under $3 is was cheaper than a dowel and a couple of wood finials and I didn't have to paint it.  And this way, when my boys inevitably destroy it, I have an extra handle waiting and plenty of paper to draw something else.  You just have to love a project where the research and decision of what to do take three times as long as the execution.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

A fan full of poetry

For whereas the fanne consisteth of a painted peece of paper and a little wooden handle; the paper which is fastened into the top is on both sides most curiously adorned with excellent pictures, either of amorous things tending to dalliance, having some witty Italian verses or fine emblemes written under them; or of some notable Italian city with a briefe description thereof added thereunto. These fannes are of a meane price. -Thomas Coryat: Coryat's Crudities (Observations of Cremona)

For my ventuolo (flag fan) I wanted to do something a bit different and a bit playful. I thought Aurora's idea last year to do hers with the lyrics to a song on the back was a really fun idea. I also was intrigued by Katerina's page with the pictures of rebus puzzles on fans from At Home in Renaissance Italy. I considered painting my heraldry or writing a sonnet, but they seemed too straightforward.

I finally settled for combining a reference to my name that isn't heraldic and some lines of poetry in a rather oblique way. Sort of like the imprese, it's a game with a layered reference. I'm the only one who gets the joke, but that's alright with me.

My persona's name (since I've just swapped personas to an Italian one) is Praxilla Taurinae.  The last name is the Italian version of "daughter of the bull," but the first name is that of a 5th century BC Greek poet. Praxilla of Sikyon was referred to as one of the "9 muses on earth" for her poetry. She had a type of dactylic meter names for her called the Praxilleion. She was known for writing skolia, a type of drinking song, as well as more extended mythological treatments.  There aren't many remaining fragments,only eight little samples, but her reputation for greatness remains.  The longest section of one of her poems is from a hymn to Adonis.

Most beautiful of things I leave is sunlight.
Then come shining stars and the moon’s face.
Then ripe cucumbers and apples and pears.

I decided to put this on my fan, along with a woodcut of a pear taken from Historia novi et admirabilis  by the Swiss botanist Johan Bauhin, published in 1598. There were over 200 varieties of pear in the 16th century with a surge of new types, and Bauhin includes 41 in his book.  Pears also happen to be my very favorite fruit. Sweet and subtle, yet difficult to find ripe and perfect. 

Anea's article on flag fans
Bella's woven fan
 The Woman and the Lyre: Women Writers in Classical Greece and Rome by Jane Macintosh Snyder

Monday, August 6, 2012

Waffling about some of the details,but the ruff is done

Trying something new this time. Rather than losing the camera, I've just misplaced the memory card and card reader, so new pictures will have to wait a bit. In the meantime, I realized I never posted this necklace here, although I did include it in an update.  Pearls and gold acorn beads that basically follow the pattern of Montemezzano's Lady with a squirrel. The central pendant is not part of the original, but I wanted to wear my Golden Maple Leaf (Artemisia's AoA level reward) and the jump ring kept separating when I wore it with my other set of pearls, so I decided to integrate it more fully into a necklace.

So, that's the old news. In new news, my big standing ruff is complete, just needs to be set.  This is my first try at doing a ruff according to authentic methods rather than theatrical and I was pleasantly surprised.  I'm in the midst of cartridge pleating the matching shoulder ruffs to complete the suit of ruffs. I finished the accompanying partlet yesterday. It has a bit of a neck ruffle itself and is made from embroidered organza and I attached little plaques/bezants down the front as in this and several other portraits. (Just to insert thanks in here, I've spent hours at Angela Bacci's site, Starlight Masquerade lately.  Her collection of late period inspiration portraits is wonderful. ) The ruffs are also organza, with linen neckbands.

Still far too much left to do, and yet I find myself not managing time well.  I'm having a hard time buckling down into the teeny finishing details, as evidenced by the fact that the cappotto STILL isn't complete.  Ah well, at least I have a wearable dress at this point. Hopefully, I'll finish the shoulder ruffs tomorrow and perhaps stitch the eyelets on the sleeves that are keeping me from declaring the dress done.  Or maybe I'll spend another day looking at hairstyles as I did today, trying to figure out how to adapt Victory Roll tutorials into Venetian horns.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Drawnwork and pearls handkerchief

I wish I could say I did the drawnwork on this, but that was just shopping luck. I had the linen puchased and set aside to do a drawnwork handkerchief. I was going to do a braided interlace hem like the one I did for Maestra Seraphina's Laureling towel last year since it is my favorite stitch to do. Then I found this linen hankie on ebay for less that $5 (and that includes shipping.) I couldn't resist the blue since it is an exact match to the feathers of my fan. I did, however, do the pearl and needlelace edging. It was what I intended to do on the veil, but it just looked wrong. Obviously still needs some ironing and blocking, but one more detail is done.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Still working on the cappotto so here's a view of the veil

I'm in day two of the "I will finish this dang thing" push to finish up the Dutch cloak after spending an entire day looking for the frogs and buttons I'd made for it. Right now the lining is in the body, the picadils are attached to the sleeves, and I have the frogs and buttons and hand finishing done on one of the sleeves. I still need to do the handwork on the collar lining, finish the cuff on the lther sleeve and attach 12 more buttons and frog sets. Hoping to finish it today and then I'll just have the mask to finish for the "cold weather traveling look" of my outer layer.

In the mean time,I figured I'd show off my veil just for the purposes of documenting all the pieces. I've spent months looking for a white silk with a gold stripe for my veil. The one I found on ebay was sold out by the time I went to buy it, and everything else I found was synthetic and I just didn't like the feel of them.  I finally settled on this embroidered golden cream cotton. It has a lattice work on it rather than stripes and little eyelets where the squares meet. I cut a plain rectangular veil with dimensions of 60x72 inches. With the front folded back it hangs about fingertip length. I had planned to do a blue edging with pearl picots. I tried it and it just didn't look good. It may have been the thread, I'm not sure. It is a bamboo rayon selected for the fact that it was the best match for the silk trim on the dress. I tried two other edgings and nothing seemed to add to the veil. I finally just hemmed it and used the rayon as tassels in the four corners. Not the most exciting thing ever, but the tassels weight the veil and it looks great pinned into my hair, which is the point.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Still fussing with it, but it is a dress at this point.

The skirt has been on for a few days now, so I technically have a dress, and I've been trying it on and fussing with fit and the way the train drapes. Today's project is to take off about two inches from the top of the shoulder strap. While it technically fits if I stand very, very straight, I think trimming them will be more comfortable in the long run. The straps are individually finished and then whip stitched together, so it shouldn't be a big deal to make the adjustment.

I'm also considering another row of trim on the bodice both for looks and to further anchor the lacing strips.

The biggest issue is the drape of the train. I don't know if the petticoat is not full enough or the hem isn't stiff enough, or what the issue is, but the train just seems a little blah. The skirt is basically the shaped layout of the Eleonora Pisa dress (Thanks once again to Katerina de Brescia for all her fabulous online information at Purple Files so I didn't have to take sketches from Moda di Firenze and figure it out myself.)  I knew I wanted more fullness, so my panels are larger to allow for deep pleats. There is about 7 yards of 60 wide fabric in the skirt.  Which is why I can't figure out why it feels so skimpy.  I'm going to add a bit more stiffening to the hem and perhaps try a farthingale/bumroll.  I know what you're thinking, "Italians didn't use them." Not true actually.  Vecellio mentions them in use in 1590. While they weren't in use earlier, in this late style I could utilize one.  I feel like I'm already wearing tons of individual pieces though and already plan to add partlet, ruff, and shoulder ruffs, so I'm hoping a little more stiffening will get me what I'm hoping for.