Friday, November 21, 2014

Felted Rug for Outlands largess

I made this rug back in July for Their Majesties Konrad and Kortland to take with them to Pennsic for gifting. It was made with alpaca that was grown by Master Bjorn and Dame Jennet. Jennet tradedme for a couple of bags of her second cuts. I did all the processing once the animals were shorn, and I dyed the green, red and gold. The black and browns were the natural colors from the animals. While I understand that alpaca was not something in use for these rugs, I had access to it, so that beat out authenticity in this case. Also made for a lovely and soft rug.

I adapted a motif from one of the Noin-Ula finds, the large carpet in barrow 6 showing a stag. It happens to be being taken down by a gryphon. I left that part out. It didn't seem particularly hospitable as Artemisia's symbol is a gryphon and Outlands a stag.

As usual, everything I make turns out cute rather than elegant. I swear, the deer wasn't supposed to look like it had a cartoon smile.

This is after laying down pencil roving and yarns for details. Because I'm not a felting master, I freely admit to "cheating" by needlefelting some of the smaller details into place and lightly wet felting things in layers before the final hard felt. I also created some pieces of prefelt for things like the diamonds. The green and brown were laid down rather loosely and with only minor combing though. I was trying to keep it closer to the Mongolian methods of processing the fiber with sticks/ a felting bow type method. Then I ran up against time and went back to hand cards.

 You can see a bit of the texture here as it is spread across my kitchen table. Yeah, it's kind of large. About 7 feet long. I didn't intend for it to be quite that big, but had an accident where my son pulled large chunks out while I was felting it and I had to reassemble it and make it hold together, so it got a bit bigger. And then it got bigger than that.  I'm really happy with it though. It was lush and comfortable to walk on. From what I hear, the Queen of the Outlands was pretty pleased by it. 

Monday, September 22, 2014

Ronan's Cloak

Via Wikipedia (Nice large image available)
About two seconds after Mistress Clare received her Laurel, her husband got called up and put on contemplation for Elevation to the Order of the Chivalry. I very much wanted to help, but I was pretty wrapped up in getting things accomplished for Fiametta's Elevation that was happening two weeks before his Vigil. So, this was a panic project.

Clare said that he very much wanted to have the outfit that St. Longinus is depicted as wearing in an 11th century mosaic at Nea Moni church. She was working on gold leafing the pants and had been embroidering on his undertunic and was about to tackle the trim on the tunic, but didn't have wool nor time to make the cloak.

I couldn't find the right blue wool either, so my first order of business was to dye the periwinkle purple wool I bought. I'd planned to overdye with brown in order to mute the purple, but at the advice of my friend Tabitha, I decided to try color remover first. It tamed the brightness of the purple, and when I dyed the wool (which was now nice and fulled) dark navy, I got a beautiful bright, true blue.

Next up was cutting the cloak. This is actually a chlamys, a type of Greek cloak shaped like a trapezoid. Great shape and it gives a lovely drape. I cut a large rectangle, and then added triangular side sections. This is the basic layout. Since I didn't plan to line the wool, and didn't want seams showing, I did an abutted seam. The fulled edges were just pushed together without an overlap. It kept them pretty invisible.  

I had a couple of ideas for the tablions (the rectangle parts) but settled on applique due to time constraints. There are two-- one on each side, in case that isn't evident. I am pretty militant about doing applique in a period manner with edges sandwiched under cording, rather than satin stitched or turned under, as is more modernly used. Unfortunately, there was just no damn way I was going to get it couched down by hand in time. So, I'm going to put my hand over my face and peer through the fingers as I admit I machine couched the cording down. And that I bought the cording instead of made it (which was probably a mistake since it was hard to deal with and unraveled like crazy.) Anyway, I cut the heart/palmette out of gold silk, and couched it down onto red silk. Then it was appliqued to the wool.

The last thing to worry about was a way to close it. If I'd had nothing but time and the metalworking skills, the proper type of pin for this cloak would have been a bow fibula. It was a popular type for centuries. I had an hour before I had to drive up to the event. . .  So, I punted. I mentioned this was a panic project. right? What I did was take a kilt pin from the craft store (available in the notions department near the safety pins) and a carved stone pendant with a gryphon on it. A few years ago I had used some metal pendants to make quick and dirty tortoise brooches for a Viking apron dress. Since I didn't want to risk my dress falling down due to inadequate glue, I fused the pin to the back of the pendant using plumber's epoxy. It is a putty available at any hardware store. You just knead it until it is a consistent color, smooth it into place, and it dries like steel in 20 minutes. Even works underwater. In this case, I used enough putty to create a faux bezel around the pendant and full embedded the pin.

This may not have been my best project ever, and it certainly wasn't my most historically accurate, but sometimes my costumer's skills come in handy. From 5 feet away it looked amazing. Between the white boots he was wearing, the amazing outfit his wife crafted him, and the blue and red cloak, Sir Ronan looked pretty much like a Byzantine superhero as he became a knight. 

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Mistress Clare's Vigil Dress

Photo by Douglas Sutherland Photography, used by permission
Can't say I've seen a more beautiful smile in a very long time. I missed seeing this dress in the daylight, since I pulled in to camp at 1:40 AM, so Baron Douglas's spectacular picture thrilled me beyond words. Her Excellency Clare was gracious enough to continue her Laurel vigil and wait for me, and I got to be the very last person to talk to her that night. Not that I said anything useful, other than promising to finish the dress and add the rest of the embroidery done by others around the neckline.

Countess Clare's Laurel, Mistress Giliana Attewatyr, let Doom in on the fun of vigil planning and asked us to make Clare's vigil gown. Not to mention "temporarily liberating" one of Clare's favorite underdresses at another event so we could pattern this. A few minor flaws in patterning happened due to cutting the fabric in a tent during a windstorm, but I think they can be easily remedied.

Mistress Clare's device has a pheon (a broad arrow) and 5 lozenges as well as a stag. The dress doesn't have the stag, but the pheon is heavily featured. I appliqued a large version on the skirt and various of her friends embroidered smaller versions to be placed elsewhere (I'll get pictures of those once I get them placed on.) The first two, by Ladyships Fiametta and Maysun, are at the wrists. There will be several others placed on the neckline, as well as a gold laurel wreath (stitched by Bronwyn.) The concept is sort of similar to Bronwyn's Hood of Love. with multiple hands stitching pieces to honor out friend. The linen dress itself is entirely hand sewn with felled seams. Maysun did one underarm seam, the rest was done by me since that part just isn't that condusive to having multiple people work on simultaneously. There is blanket stitch around the hem, wrists, and neckline in gold pearl cotton that was then laced with blue cotton and the same blue was used to do a modified herringbone stitch over the top of the blanket stitching.

She seemed to love it, and we were all very honored to be involved in the creation of something that could play a part in her special day.

Shhhh. . . but here's a look at one more secret of the dress. Fiametta stitched in Doom on the underside of the cuff. We've branded Clare as ours. I know we'll have to share her with the rest of the kingdom, but she's epic enough to go around.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Secret projects

original art by Christie Ward
I've been being hopeless about daily posts. So this very uninformative post is just here to start building some momentum-- at least I hope it is. I have been doing lots of sewing, but it is lots of sewing that I can't post pictures of for awhile. I always hate that. Love making the things-- hate having to try to hush up about them.

It was a group project. My friends and I tend to go by the moniker "The Ladies of Doom" these days. It started as a joke name added to a Facebook chat and has stuck to the point that I'm in the process of registering a heraldic badge for our use. If it passes, it will be this harpy colored vair (a heraldic fur that is alternately blue and white/silver.)

Anyway, the dress I've been working on for the last couple of weeks was finished last night, so I can start on projects that I can hopefully post about.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Modelbuchs and where to find them

I'm supposed to be doing 25 other things that include quilting, couching, felling seams, writing a research paper, cleaning my sewing room, making jewelry, felting a rug, and making my kids and I all have a reasonable summer with no one going stir crazy. Instead, I'm looking at modelbuchs. Again. I found a couple of new to me ones so I thought I'd put together a list of where to find them so it was handy. (I have not included all the links if there were multiple places and editions to be found unless an edition was significantly different.)

I need to add a few more that I know location on, but I had so many tabs open, I decided to publish this before I lost track of too many things. I need to finish adding Lotz numbers as well (Lotz is the standard bibliography and with all the confusion it helps at least a little to keep things straight.)

First up, the easiest to get to: free online pdf's and ebooks

Ein Neu Modelbuch Johann Schonsberger 1524 Link is to my Pinterest board with links to individual pages

(4) Ce est ung tractat de la noble art de leguille ascavoir ouvraiges de spaigne Willem Vorsterman 1527. This is a copy of Peter Quental's Eyn New Kunstlich Boich. Link is to the Met's copy. I also have the individual pages pinned on their own board on Pinterest.

Ein new getruckt Model Büchli Johann Schonsberger 1529

(13) Modelbuch aller art Nehewercks un Strickens. Christian Engenulf 1527

(116) Corona delle Nobili e Virtuous Donne Cesere Vecellio 1592 The Smithsonian's copy of a German version is cleaner and located here

(32) Schon Neues Modelbuch Johann Siebmacher published 1597. Hathitrust has it and it is available for free pdf download of either individual pages or the whole book. This one can also be found at recharted as "Needlework Patterns from Renaissance Germany" and available as a free pdf

(33) Neues Modelbuch Johann Siebmacher published 1603.  Again at the Hathitrust for free and Dover published this as "Baroque Charted Designs for Needlework."

Ein Ney Formbuchlein 1534 Johan Swartzenberger  (This one is available in reprint from Lacis as Patterns Book of Embroidery:1534) Link is to my board of links to individual pages in the Kunstbibliothek copy.

Opera Nova Universali  Giovanni Vavassore published 1530 First link is to a version at Gallica. The second is a cleaned up copy at Flowers of the Needle This one is rather random. It is early enough that it is embroidery. There is a beautiful calligraphy alphabet at the end as well as some drawings of a variety of animals.

This is another one listed as Vavassore's Opera noua uniuersal inttlata cotona di racammi, but it looks nothing like the other.  I need to investigate further, but meanwhile, here's the link to a gorgeous book 

Vorglagen fur Nadelarbeiten Giovan Battista Ciotti  1591

(85) L'Honesto Essemplario Mattio Pagan 1550 This one is the Archive link to a scan of the one in the Clark Institute library. Counted work, some fabulous shaped necklines and a variety of mermaids and sirens and acorns.

This link is a different edition of Pagan. The Hathi trust has pages scanned from the New York Public Library's copy of Ferdinando Ongina's late 19th century facsimile reprint. Has some different patterns than the Clark version. You can read it entirely online, download individual pages in PDF or download the entire PDF if you have a login.

(80) Giardinetto Novo di Punti Tagliati 1550 Matthio Pagan Scanned from the 1921 reprint. There's a scan at The University of Arizona's Weaving page.

(88) Patrons pour brodeurs  1554, Iehan Ruelle (Paris)

(96) La Vera Perfezione del Disegno Per Punti e Ricami  Giovanni Ostaus, published 1561 and 1567 Facsimile copy produced 1909. Several webbed versions (one of the easier ones to find) The Ricci facsimile version includes both versions, which are very different versions. Flowers of the Needle has both published separately. This one is sort of a buffet. There are patterns for cutwork (tagliate), couched cords, counted threads, engraved scenes for tapestries, surface embroidery. Really a mixed bag of just about everything between the two books. The Smithsonian's version is here. 

(72) Il Burato Alessandro Paganino facsimile copy produced in 1909. There is a version of this at the Internet Archive as well as the University of Arizona's Weaving page (they downloaded it from Archive)

Formbuchlein Hans Hofer Published 1545. Facsimile copy produced 1913. This is available at the Hathi Trust. You can read it in full online and download pdf of individual pages. A pdf of the full book requires a partner log in. Linn Skinner also produced a book with 25 of the bands reproduced and charted, but the Skinner Sister's site is down since her death in 2012 and I haven't found any place that carries them.

(no Lotz number)  Pattern Book  Rudolph Weissenbach Published 1549 Swirling Moresques and interlace. Includes some of Peter Flotner's designs for daggers and sheaths with grotesques.

Nouveaux pourtraicts de pointe coupé et dantelles en petite, moyenne et grande forme. Nouvellement inventez et mis en lumière Jacques Foillet published1598, Facsimile 1891 retitled Das Musterbuch

(40) Schon Neues Modelbuch Georg Beatus Published 1601.

(139) Ghirlanda di sei uaghi fiori scielti da piu famosi giardini d'Italia   Pietro Tozzi  published 1598
This one is lace patterns as frames for calligraphy. Lace patterns begin on page 24 of 70

(110) I Singolari e Nuovi Desegni  Federico Vinciolo published 1609.  Dover has an inexpensive copy of this in print. It is probably the most available of the modelbuchs. Several different online scans as well. It was the first modelbuch I ever saw and owned. Smithsonian version is here.

(55) Neues Modelbuch Andreas Bretschneider published 1619, facsimile copy produced 1892. The designs are beautiful and obviously 17th century with flowing lines and florals. The designs are also drawn to the shape of garments (nightcaps, cloaks etc.)

(27) New Kunstliches Modelbuch Bernhard Jobin 1589

(59, 60, 61, 62) Neues Modelbuch Dritter Thiel  1666 (1-4) 4 different books scanned from a copy where they are all bound together. 1 (1689) and 2 (1666) 3 (1676) and number 4 (1676) Published by Paulus Furst and designed by his daughter Rosina Helena Furst.  For just number 4: Neues Modelbuch by Rosina Furst. There are other links with other combinations of the 4 configured in different ways at Archive and U of A as well as others. Lacis has the 4 of these available as reprints of the facsimiles printed in the 18th century titled Alle Meine Blumen.

Du Debvoir des Filles by Jean Baptiste de Glen 1597 Lace patterns in an instruction book for young girls on morality and proper behavior. Link is to my Pinterest board with direct links to archived pages from the Beinecke Library's exhibition "My Gracious Silence,"

A Booke of Curious and Strange Inventions William Barley 1596

(143) Teatra di Nobili et Virtuose Donne Elizabetta Catenea Parasole 1604 (Second part of book)

(132) Specchio delle Virtuous Donne  Elizabetta Catanea Parasole 1594 (Click picture and it will open a reader with all of the book)

Le Fleur de la science de pourtraicture Francesco di Pellegrino 1530

Nuw Modelbuch, allerley Gattungen Dantelschnur  1561 by Christopher Froschower in Zurich. This is entirely bobbin lace patterns. The author is known only as "R.M." but is a lacemaker who has taught for 12 years and includes what she knows of the history of lace in the forward. This was republished in 1986 by Claire Burkhard as "Fascinating Bobbin Lace." Burkhard translated it into 3 languages (French, German, and English) and included modern prickings for the laces. It is out of print and basically impossible to find.

(45) Schon Neues Modelbook Sigismund Latomus 1622

Sigismund Latomus earlier edition 1606

(100) Le Pompe

(69) Opera Nova  Domenico de Sera 1546  This is the Hathitrust scanned copy of the 1879 facsimile by Ongania. There is also a version at Flowers of the Needle

Ensamplario Nuovo Giovanni Tagliente 1531, Flowers of the Needle version

New Modelbuch Georg Straub 1593

Gli Universali Del Belli Recami Niccolo Zoppino 1537, Flowers of the Needle

Vasi desegni de Merletti Bartolomeo Danieli The link is to my Pinterest board with direct links to individual pages.

Hippolyte Cocheris published a combination of modelbuchs (and Lacis has a reprint version) in 1872 that is a reprint of
(75) Claude Nourry's 1533 La Fleur des Patrones de Lingerie
 (76) Pierre de Sainte Lucie's 1549 La fleur des patrons de lingerie à deux endroits, à point croisé, à point couché et à point piqué
(77) Troveon, Patrons de Diverses Manieres (after 1533)  
(78) Antoine Belin, Sensuyvent les patrons de messire Antoine Belin 1550

Neues Blumenbuch by Maria Sybilla Marian 1674
part 2 and 3 of Neues Blumenbuch 1677 and 1680  Marian was an incredibly talented engraver and botanical artist. Her father was an engraver and publisher and her step-father a talented still life artist. In order to help support her family she taught embroidery as well and did the first book as a text for her students. She went on to publish a well respected book on the metamorphosis of the butterfly and is considered an early contributor to the science of entomology.

Trevelyon Miscellany Thomas Trevilian, 1608 Facsimile copy produced 2007. This is not actually a modelbook, but a commonplace book with bits of almanacs, alphabets, calendars, proverbs, and anything else the compiler felt like shoving into it. It wasn't published for people at large like the modelbuchs. There are 3 copies in existance (the most recent was located in 2013) Section 4 of 5  is embroidery and lace designs including coifs, nightcaps, borders, spot motifs, etc. The link takes you to Luna at the Folger where you can see and print individual pages.


Esamplario Di Lavore Giovanni Vavassore published 1532. There was a facsimile published in 1910. I haven't found an online scan yet, but you can sometimes find copies.  The Met does have one page for view online

Both Vavassore, both Ostaus, Vinciolo and Paganino's Il Burato (the books published by Elisa Ricci in the early 20th century) are collected under the title Disegni per merletti e ricami. Libri di modelli del XVI secolo. It is available directly from booksellers in Italy for about $40. While most of these have online scans (except the Esamplario above that I haven't found yet,) having a hard copy collection (and not having to buy more printer ink so I could print from the scans) is rather nice.

A Scholehouse for the Needle Richard Schorleyker published 1632 Facsimile copy produced 1998. The Facsimile is from a much more complete copy than most others and well worth getting, especially since the spot motifs that are my favorite part of this aren't anywhere else (except one page) You can see several pages archived here. The 1998 edition is available at Hedgehog Handworks for just under $70 as well as a large selection of other places specializing in period embroidery supplies.

Not a particular modelbuch, but this digital book is a selection of patterns redrawn from pieces in the Leiperheide collection and published in 1882. Part of it was translated and is available as "Old Italian Patterns for Linen Embroidery" By Kathleen Epstein

Both collections published by Frieda Leiperheide are now available digitally from the Smithsonian here.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

I've found I do better with a theme, so I'm going on pilgrimage.

Elephant on pilgrimage. Walters Art Museum
I've got a pile of projects both finished and in the works but I just haven't felt like I have that much to say. So, I'm going to try with the daily blogging again. That way if I have something nifty to say I'll say it. And if what I say isn't very entertaining, well, at least there's always the following day.

I'll do what I can to squeeze things into the pilgrimage theme. The first couple of posts shouldn't be too difficult. I'm starting things out by making a pilgrim's scrip. That is the name for the useful, roomy shoulder bag worn as an identifying symbol by those on pilgrimage. It gave them somewhere to stash their relics, food, and other general stuff. Seems like a really useful addition to my event gear.

I'm doing my own "virtual pilgrimage" as well, walking mileage and tracking it on a map. That'll both let me do some research on my persona and work on my fitness goals.

I'm starting out at the Basilica San Marco. The relics of Saint Mark were brought to Venice from Alexandria in the 9th Century, and his symbol of the winged lion became a symbol of the city. I'll head from there to the Basilica of Saint Antonio since it was one of the most popular local pilgrimages. Assisi, Rome, and Santiago de Compostela were also popular destinations for Venetian pilgrims.

Off to calculate mileage, pick some fabric and do some walking.

Thursday, April 17, 2014


I'm writing an actual blog post-- honest. But first, I'm reveling in sale priced faux fur. My kids (and my husband) love the fur coverlet I made for Realm of Venus' Fabulously Fashionable Fur challenge. They love it so much I really don't get to use it much. I was wincing at the thought of putting out the money for fur to make them all their own, but Hancock's saved me today. They had all of their Spot the Dot clearance fabrics on sale for $3.27 a yard or less starting today. I showed up on their doorstep 3 minutes before they opened and conducted a Viking raid. The pillaging went well. I came home with about 75 yards of fur, wools and a random velvet for $220. My receipt informs me that I saved $1,272.30. . .

Blankets, coats, and such are now on the agenda for camping season with my kids.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Artemisia's Disney Challenge!

Some of the participants at Midwinter Knight's Dream (photo by Jennie Fauss)

Lots and lots and lots of pictures. And none of them mine, so things might actually be visible. :)

I am just so overwhelmed by the creativity and beauty of the outfits made as a response to the Disney Challenge I issued to the Kingdom of Artemisia back last May. Just think of this as gramma with a big book of pictures running you down, intending to brag about every one of them.
Patchwork Sally (photo by Carol Jensen)

First up we have Tabitha de Luna with her Norse inspired by Sally from The Nightmare before Christmas. The tiny details are some of the most fun. Her horn spoon, skeleton beads, and wormswort jar were adorable.  You can read more about the entire design process and see more pictures on her blog.
Finishing details (photo by Carol Jensen))

Tabitha debuted her creation at Toys for Tots in Arrow's Flight and fit right in with our Fairytale theme. I am especially grateful that she wore her outfit for Toys, because I was afraid the Challenge wasn't going to happen. I was so caught up in getting the feast ready, that I hadn't promoted the Disney Challenge in the weeks leading up to Toys. so seeing her outfit was really encouraging.

Their Majesties Raven and Sajah also dressed for the occasion coming as Robin and Maid Marion from Robin Hood.They joked about finding the outfit in their closets. I was so thrilled that they chose to support the challenge.
Ooodle-lally, oodle-lally, golly what a day  (photo by Tabitha Mounteer)

Vigdis of the Keep also made an incredible Norse with astounding details. She wasn't able to attend an event with her ensemble, but her write-up of the process is an inspiration. I adore her take on the Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland. 
The Queen of Hearts (Photo by Vickie Lynn)
There's embroidery and tablet woven trim, hand dyed fabric, hand made beads and a pendant to bring everything together. Again, the attention to detail just floors me. Not to mention the creativity of translating the Queen to an early period.
Norse Wonderland (photo by Vickie Lynn)

Vigdis also made a monetary donation to the challenge and helped pay for some of the tokens given to the participants. They received carved stone hearts because "The Dream is a wish your heart makes."

There were a couple of other people with lovely ensembles who were not able to make either event where the Challenge ensembles were displayed. Hallerna Stjarnkona made a sweet Merida dress for her niece and posted pictures in the Challenge's Facebook group.
For a feisty girl. (Photo by Laura Lind)

Michelle of Harris-upon York made a Tudor gown based on Cruella DeVille's character concept. The acres of fur needed for the giant flip sleeves were just the place for 101 Dalmation puppy spots.
"Get me those PUPPIES!" (photo by Michelle Harris)

 I was most excited to see the small children who got into the act. My oldest daughter got tired of waiting for me to settle in and make her the Tinkerbell outfit I'd promised and got to work on her own outfit to wear to Toys for Tots. She cut some patches from scraps she found in my sewing room and convinced her grandfather to help her sew them into place. "I'm Cinderella before the ball." I was informed rather pointedly that I needed to get right on that bell gown, as it was still expected.

Here's my girl grabbing a broom, about to sweep the floor as part of the fairy tale obstacle course at the event.
Cinder-EL-LA!!! (photo by Tabitha Mounteer)

At Midwinter Knight's Dream, we had several children dressed up. A brother and sister arrived at their very first SCA event dressed as one of the triplets from Brave and Esmeralda from Hunchback of Notre Dame

Jingle, jingle, jingle (photo by Jennie Fauss)
"Tell that to my frying pa--" (photo by Jennie Fauss)
 Esmeralda was kind enough to give us a dance when I asked. Another brother and sister coordinated their outfits, coming as Rapunzel and Flynn from Tangled.  While her mom (Mistress Antonia) had made her outfit, I think Mychal was more excited about the opportunity to carry a frying pan than anything else. She certainly has the hair to be a perfect Rapunzel. Dame Varia Goff, pointed out that despite years in the SCA, making the outfit for Asher's Flynn was her very first try at a doublet. She has this crazy idea that garb should be comfortable. She showed off some of that comfortable garb with her Norse rendition of Han Solo in wool. Technically Disney owns Star Wars these days, so it counts. 
Han shot first! (Photo by Jennie Fauss)

Draaa-GON (photo by Jennie Fauss)
Another thing I was pleasantly surprised by was the number of people who started their introductions with "This was my first garb" or "I don't sew, but. . ." The great thing about the challenge was that it let people add accessories to create their character or just think about how they combined things already in their closet. It was wonderful to see people choosing to participate. We had a Mulan, who didn't sew, but had made a gorgeous mask and added some hairsticks to an outfit she already had in order to make an amazing ensemble.  Dumbo arrived as well, with a great mask, reminiscent of the Norse felt masks of sheep found at Haithabu.

"I can fly." (photo by Jennie Fauss)
The most outstanding "I don't sew" statement, however came from Kathleen of Otterdale. In addition to doing an incredible job as event steward (so she really had no free time at all,) she decided to come as the Sorcerer's Apprentice in her very first try at Burgundian. The pointy hennin and dress was fun, but her necklace was a stop you in your tracks stunner. She carved and cast a collar of buckets and brooms in pewter.

Yen Sid's Apprentice (photo by Jennie Fauss)
"You may think you're so powerful, well this is MY dream."
I think there were more than a few of us who wanted to quietly pickpocket it. Or just snatch it off her neck and run laughing maniacally into the night with our prize.

Or maybe that was just me. . .

One of the newest movies were represented, with an Elsa from Frozen turning up in wintery white.  Nessa Inghean Uilliam did an intricately appliqued and embroidered Norse Merida with horses running around the hem and across the top. The work was lovely and the colors were breathtaking
Captain Hook put in an appearance as well. Bearing his trusty hook (made from the bread mixer of a Kitchen Aid,) the captain brought along some crew, with Smee press ganged into an appearance. Hook was very clear to point out to us that he was wearing late period Dutch with some nifty knots around his collar, and not in fact 17th century as so often happens with those fancy privateers.

Queen Grimhilde, the wicked queen in Snow White, was the earliest movie represented. It is hard to beat the very first Disney villain. Morgan du Marc was regal in purple and gold.

Merin McTigert showed us all what stealth is like, keeping us all guessing as to who she was portraying until she revealed all with a smile. Her Cheshire Cat was well executed both in attitude and in artistry.  The butterfly hennin ears were a great thinking out of the box touch.

I guess that just leaves me, the ringleader of the crazy. The Magnificent, Marvelous, Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad. Madam Mim.  We had people introduce themselves with their reasons for choosing their inspiration. I chose mine because it was all about things that I am afraid of. I don't wear pastels, I don't wear white, and I fully believe pink is evil. I'm also terrified of very fitted and tailored garments and how they will make me look like I'm squeezed in to a sausage casing. However, wearing bright springy colors to be a cartoon villain who "finds delight in the gruesome and grim," seemed just up my alley. After all, she's an ugly hag so no matter how much of a mess I made, it'd work for the character. I'm really happy with how it turned out. I love the lilac loose gown and the bubblegum pink petticoat was more fun than I thought. I also may have become addicted to late period waistcoats.

Anyway, there is is; beautiful work by some people who superlatives aren't enough for. Thank you all for making my dream a reality and coming out to play with me.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Pictures of Fia's dress

I still need to finish the write up on the sleeves (and finish beading them) but we did finally get some pictues of Fia's dress.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

And now for something completely different-- a Byzantine tangent

Artemisia's current Prince and Princess invited the populous to dress in Byzantine clothing for their upcoming Coronation on March 1st and an excuse for a new outfit always makes me happy.  Luckily I had at least a little bit of a foundation for research because of the Byzantine influence on Rus clothing and design. Unfortunately, that also put me in an entirely different century than most people are liable to be dressing in.

I'm pretty sure most people are going to be going with the early Byzantine look from the 6th century mosaics of Justinian and Theodora.  I love the sumptuousness of the mosaics, but the middle Byzantine look I've fallen in love with (10th-11th century) has something that they don't-- an incredible skyscraping hat. Don't get me wrong, the Empress has amazing hair with pearls and a crown and a whole lot going on. Not to mention the superhumeral of doom. But the noblewoman's hat is closer to the head with a large roll at the base, and superhumerals seem to be limited to Imperial dress until about the 10th century when they begin to be used by other members of the aristocracy (and become the Rus ozherel'e.) Pushing forward lets me put a giant fan on my head kinda sorta like my favorite Russian hats, gives me a great fabric belt, and adds a killer collar. Not to mention the nifty angelwing sleeves.

I'm using this miniature from a Psalter, Vatican Greek Manuscript 752 as my design inspiration. It was copied in 1059. That's an important date because it is really close to 1054 when the Western and Eastern branches of the Christian church decided to excommunicate one another and go play in their own sandboxes. Art always flourishes in times of unrest and you can see the turning from old Roman forms and toward more Eastern influences in the changes of fashion. This miniature is sometimes listed as "dancing girls" but the clothing worn is very specifically noble. The stripes on the hats indicate rank. The large amounts of gold decorative work is another clue that these are not lower class women.  To see what a dancing girl would more likely looked like (short sleeves with no long sleeved tunica underneath, uncovered head, and with much less opulence and gold) have a look at this miniature from an 11th century manuscript of Oppian's poem on hunting Cynegetica. It is from manuscript Z 479 held in the Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana in Venice. Timothy Dawson has a reconstruction on his website Levantia.

You can clearly see patterns depicting the expensive silks popular among the nobles and onlt available in small amounts, if at all, in other countries. Byzantium used these silks as a diplomatic tool, letting them out in bits and pieces. If you are at all interested in this, there's a good discussion in Angeliki Laiou's book The Economic History of Byzantium: From the seventh through the fifteenth century.  Did I mention I did waaaaay too much research on Byzantine silk as I was examining Russian textiles and embroidery motifs. Yeah. Um. Anyway, although I would have really liked to have purchased something like Sartor's silk damask reproduction of the medallion patterns typical for Byzantine silks, the price tag just wasn't something I could manage right now. But drooling is fun. I love this Amazon pattern in the Met.
Amazon silk roundel from the Met

I'm actually sort of thinking about printing something very like the Amazons on the mantle I will be making for this outfit. We'll see, I guess. In the meantime, I went hunting for the costumer's solution for fabric when you want inexpensive silk with beading and embroidery: antique saris. I spent a couple of days searching through what was available on Ebay and trying to figure out what color I wanted. I love turquoise and magenta and was hoping for something with peacocks similar to what I made one of my Russian outfits from, but nothing turned up that I loved. I couldn't find anything blue that spoke to me. But then I found the most amazing green that shouted "Look at me, look at me! I'm Byzantine."
Silk-- check.  Roundels-- check. Gold-- check. The roundels are floral rather than animals or figurative. but other than that I think it's pretty darn perfect, And it has some gold beads on it already. It needs more. And pearls. And possibly more pearls.

I found another sari to cut trim from and I've got white linen for the tunica underneath. I need to get felt to make the hat, figure out the mantle, and generally get the guts to cut into my sari, but I'm feeling pretty good about the project so far.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Waistcoat picture.

Some obvious places to tweak on this, but I still thought it was fun to wear. I'm in the process of weight loss, so I'm down about 15 pounds since this was taken and the front fits a great deal better since the corset also fits better. I made it a bit too large and then removed a section on the sides which made it a bit too small. The too tight corset in turn gave me too much cleavage. I don't normally try for waist reduction but I got a bit. That then made the waist of my petticoat too loose. The bodies issue should be completely solved in another month as I'm on track to lose another 20 pounds which should make the bodies loose and take any strain off the front of the jacket as it tries to close. I might take the ribbons off and just pin it closed at that point. I'm definitely taking the waistband off the skirt and taking it in. It's so difficult trying to sew for size fluctuations, which is another reason I wanted to make some separates right now.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

So, I finally made that jacket

Don't know if anyone remembers, but I made this crazy blackwork coif about 5 years ago. I started it even before I joined the SCA, so it has a few issues. Not least of them the fact that I did it on yellow linen. The original was on blue linen so I figured color would be okay. I didn't understand about indigoids and linen and dyes and the fact that even the blue one was an aberration. And then there were the pearls I added. . . Anyway, with all of its flaws, it was still a project that I spent over 400 hours on. I've never worn it. I got distracted by Russian. Then I got distracted by Italian. The coif has sat at the top of my closet.

I decided I needed to remedy that fact. I've wanted an Elizabethan jacket/waistcoat for years. I've bought fabric for it multiple times, trying to find something embroidered and at least reasonably appropriate. In the process, I ended up with a white silk, a butternut colored linen, and a champagne colored artificial silk. Somewhere in the back of my head is still this crazy idea that I'll embroider a linen jacket "one of these years" (or possibly 2 or 3) but I wasn't crazy enough to start with that. I wanted to work up the pattern and wear a jacket a few times and see if I liked it. Turns out I LOVE it. I already have a second one finished in the white silk and am plotting starting the epic embroidery project of making a real waistcoat rather than a "close enough" one..

Since I had already made this flame orange petticoat with the vague idea of wearing it with a jacket, I decide on the champagne artificial silk. It was also the fabric I would be least sad to lose if I made a total mess of things. I had tried to condemn the fabric since most of the embroidered jackets are linen, but there is a pink extant silk jacket in the V&A. Not the most common form, but documentable so my fabric wasn't too silly for a first try. I decided on an orange linen for lining since some of the jackets had a brightly contrasting lining. I needed a new corset since the attempt I made when I made the petticoat was a rather dismal failure in the fit department and the fabric had worn badly. I had a red wool I pulled from stash to match the red bands on the skirt. I bound it with orange linen bias that I had hanging around from the guards on my green camping dress. I love it when things turn out easy.

So, coif and petticoat bodies happened quickly. But I still needed to draft the jacket and I'd been dragging my feet for years. Mostly I was just scared of it. The sleeves especially. I came up with excuse after excuse and kept mumbling something about "more research." Unfortunately, for the mumbler, I own Seventeenth Century Dress Patterns Book 1 and 2. There are 4 waistcoats in the first book and another 2 in the second. There are scale drawings of the pattern pieces, x-rays, detailed drawings of the embroidery, patterns for the bobbin lace, and probable methods of construction. The procrastinator got backed into the corner by that. No excuses left.

I'd finished Bethany's camicia and if I wanted to get anything made in the just over a week left before 12th Night I had no choice but to try. Never one to do things the easy way, I decided on the tailored style of the Layton jacket rather than the more loose styles.  An evening on the floor with brown paper got me a pattern. I was sure that due to my size, the pattern as given wouldn't work. That it had to be different. I was wrong about that. I fiddled and fitted and mocked up and ended up coming right back to the original (sized up.)

Pieces are really straightforward with two fronts, a back, 5 gores, two part sleeve, shoulder wings, collar and cuffs. I cut everything but the sleeve out of linen canvas, fashion fabric and lining. Sleeves are just fashion fabric and lining. The instructions in the book have you make the outer shell and the lining up separately and attach at center front and bottom. Bag lining worked up super fast. It came together so easily that I feel silly about how long I waited to make one.

As usual, I forgot to get pictures of me wearing the outfit. Sigh. I'm going to have to take a day and do pictures of finished projects. There's this outfit, my blue V-front with orange guards that I experimented with heavy pad stitch for, the reworking of my Lotto gown, Fia's family's Solstice ensembles, Patience's new dress. and several accessories that need to be caught up on, not to mention the white silk waistcoat, purple loose gown and pink petticoat I'm planning to wear this weekend for the end of the Disney Challenge. The grand Ursula strapwork gown didn't happen, but I'm rather tickled by the Madame Mim outfit that I did finish. Camera is already packed for that and I've had threats issued if I don't get pictures.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Foxy lady (well, Baroness actually)

Photo by Gwen Kelly
I am not a counted blackwork fan. Let's just get that out of the way. Actually, I love it and lust after people's pretty work, but I am rather hamfisted,with bad eyes and counted work makes me grumpy. I never do pretty TINY regular blackwork. I am, however, willing to do the sort where I can draw things out. But I'm not really known for my blackwork, so the fact that I embroidered this still makes me laugh.

I was supposed to help the current Baroness of Gryphon's Lair with an Italian dress she wanted made for 12th Night. She changed her mind as the event got closer and decided to have someone else make her a different dress. When I saw her next, I was still standing there with my helium hand up and she asked if I'd make her a camicia. Sure, no problem. Then she asked me to do some blackwork rabbits to match a suit that was being made for her husband. She was super excited because she'd never had any blackwork done before. Hmmm. Ooooookay, sure. Blackwork.

Did I mention that this conversation happened at Solstice which gave me less than a month until 12th Night? I started working out patterns immediately. Nothing really clicked. And then I stopped and thought about Her Excellency and asked if she would mind if I substituted foxes and guitars. She's a Laurel for her music as well as for her illumination and foxes are her personal badge. She became very excited about that idea and the ideas worked better for me.

I ended up doing a very simple fox face, a guitar, and a few musical notes for the cuffs.
Since the camicia band is pretty long and I was rushed for time with the holidays all stuffed in there, I simplified it even more and did just the fox face and a repeating diamond for that.

The camicia itself is done in a hankieweight linen. Rather than doing an insertion stitch, I got lazy and just inserted some antique bobbin lace in the seams. I tried out Margo's Italian underthings pattern which I got from her Kickstarter project. It really isn't a pattern, just directions. Which is understandable since all it is is big rectangles. She credits Bella from Realm of Venus in the intro, and that is all this really is. The same stuff I've been using on all my other camicias.

I guess I could do a little review of the pattern. It is very well written as all of Margo's patterns are, but I wasn't really that impressed. Nothing new or interesting here. The camicia isn't even a pattern, as I said. The pocket pattern is nice I guess, but drawing your own is just as easy as cutting out or tracing hers. The underbodice pattern is for an odd piece that is documented very late by one painting and I don't think I'd ever have a use for it. The partlets are nice, but already available on Margo's website for free. Having a drawer pattern for someone other than myself might be useful, but they've never really struck me as something you actually need a pattern for. I am probably just a grump though. I know many people, like my sister-in-law for instance, who require a pattern to make anything. I got this pattern specifically to be able to give to people doing Italian for the first time. I think it'll be wonderful for that as it brings together information available in a variety of places. I'm glad I supported the Kickstarter though. There's been a bit of delay getting the other two patterns out,(for the dresses and zimarra)  but I'm looking forward to them..