Friday, September 30, 2011

Getting ready to start the mini-challenge

I spent most of today running payday errands, but driving around gave me time to think about my book. I had planned to concentrate just on the binding, but I got some fun ideas. I've been thinking about maybe writing some poetry in Italian forms and putting those into the the book. The other idea I had was to use the structure behind a MS in the National Library of Dublin. Its German, called "Von Wundersamen Begebenheiten" or "Of Wondrous Occurrences." It's 37 miniatures with basically captions. They're sort of like emblems. They're various mythic, magical sorts of things. The one above is the idea that lions have to roar at their cubs to bring them to life. There are also things like Circe turning men into pigs, phoenixes rising from the ashes, and virgins carrying water in a sieve. The point of the MS is that wonderful things happen so of course Mary could give birth to Christ as a virgin. I think I would want to be less specific and just focus on the magic that is in my and my children's lives. It just seems right for a project that will finish up on Halloween (which is also my anniversary.)

Going to let it brew in the back of my brain for awhile. It might be possible to combine the two ideas.

I did go look at paper stocks. I was considering a cotton rag paper since linen rag isn't exactly easy to get. Budget is an issue though, since this isn't supposed to be a giant project (despite that it gets bigger every time i think about it) and its a practice project since its a first try. Therefore, I went cheap and just picked up some 90 lb cold pressed watercolor paper. Lightweight and easy to fold, it should at least be fun to play with. Guess we'll see how it goes tomorrow. Assuming I make a decision.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

I was touched by his noodly appendage.

Or something. Pastafarianism is my only explanation for the current look of my hat. When someone (or two) mention that the wooly ringlets you are making to decorate your head with look rather like ramen noodles, it might be wise to NOT take it into your head to swap the silver/white bows in the portrait for copper ones. Even if they are from free ribbon left over from the Great Christmas Ribbon Salvage Operation. Copper is one of my favorite colors and I thought, "Hey, that will go nicely with the orange in the dress." I did not, however, consider the way in which copper colored bows nestled into wooly ringlets would take on the appearance of spaghetti and meatballs. I am wearing the Italian Renaissance equivalent of a Flying Spaghetti Monster hat.  All my husband has to say is "AWESOME!"

I'm trying to decide if I should redo it completely or be happy with the silliness.  It is a goofy hat to begin with after all.

More bows to add and I still need more curls.  I baked oodles, but it doesn't come close to covering the garland from all the angles it needs to.  I went back and re-read "The Wonderful Bulbous Balzo," for the umpteenth time just before starting construction and changed my mind totally again on how to do this.  I agree that this is probably a ghirlanda or garland and so I shifted at the last minute from a grapevine shaped base to a stuffed roll.  I was trying to get the proportions right since I'm such a large person with a melon for a head, but I may have over estimated.  The roll is pretty significant and doesn't have quite the delicacy of the one in the painting.  Shows me for last minute winging it.  I had made actual measurements and calculations when i was going to do the base out of vine.  What I actually did was sew a base of wool fabric and stuff it with wool.  The curls are stitched into place, but then I also took my felting needles to the hat in a totally out of period technique and tacked them further into place.  I didn't manage the linear look of the curls in the portrait, mine are much more tousled.  It's probably due to size of the ringlets and the base.  I certainly need a lot more of the curls than I'd anticipated.

Right now its in the "I hate this, this is terrible" stage.  Hoping more noodles and properly placed meatballs will make me either love the silly thing or abandon it completely.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Down to 100 days

And I'm really making little to no progress. I spent yesterday making trim for a completely different dress. I now have 40 yard of interlooped braid in purple, orange, and yellow for my Purple Elizabethan doublet. Which is awesome, but it doesn't get me any closer to the Lotto dress being done. So, today I'm winding more yarn for the hat. Tying bows too. I'm going to aim to have it finished some time tomorrow. Then I need to sew the new plain camisia. If I can get that done by Sunday night I'll feel better. Also, I need to dig out the sewing room and find the camera since posting pictures is rather motivational for me. Sunday is the gem faire as well and I'll either pick up pearls for the mantellino or use the ones I've got.

The aim for next week is the mantellino complete, the camisia made, the hat done, and the interior of the bodice boned. I went ahead and bought some heavier hemp since the multi-strand thing I was doing just wasn't happening.

Putting on Doctor Who, and settling in for a few hours of wrapping and baking yarn ringlets.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The camera is around here somewhere. . .

Not too much progress to take pictures of though. I'm taking the week to deep clean my house so I actually have space to work. Today involved exciting things like bleaching the grubby fingerprints off of doors, cleaning the blinds and scrubbing my staircase bannisters. I guess its motivational though. Makes me really want to sew.

I got a good portion of the lining of the mantellino attached while at Harvest War over the weekend. I think I did the cutwork a little close to the edge though because it doesn't lay as flat as I'd like. I'm going to add a few pearls (which was part of the original idea anyway) and tacking them into place should make everything sit a little better. I have some pearls but am not certain they're quite what I want to use. I'm planning a trip to the Gem Faire this weekend since its in town and am hoping to find something more suitable. On the whole, I'm happy with how the project is going and its a nice learning experience. Working in the smaller scale is helping me work out stuff for the silk caftan lined in fur that I eventually want to make.

I'm considering working on the hat tomorrow once I put in my time cleaning. Guess I'll see how the day goes,

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Sorry, I got distracted

I was hoping to have good progress pictures of the mantellino by now.  I spent much of last night sewing together the lining and its really yummy.  My partner in craft/crime Davey came over with lunch yesterday and brought the most beautiful chocolatey brown shearling hide.  He'd bought it for vague projects.  I instantly stole it and decided I should use it to line my muff and make a Russian hat.  After a few more thinks I decided to line the mantellino in it too.  I cut out the mantellino lining right then which took most of the hide so now I need another for the muff.  He's been sent back to the leather store (not that he wouldn't have gone anyway.)   Its just buttery soft and lovely and a pleasure to work with.  I'd never seen such a pretty color of brown either, being more used to the goldish and white that is usually seen.  I now want to line a silk caftan in it.  Yum, yum, yummy!  Not to mention, with his wholesaler's discount, its actually cheaper than many fabrics.

Anyway, the new lining had me re-think the embellishment on the mantellino.  I decided to not do the flowers and do some cutwork instead.  So, the silk is becoming an intermediate layer between the shearling and the velveteen in both the cape and muff.  I'm shaping the cutwork to be basically the krin symbol.  I've seen some cutwork that is basically floral and stylizing the heart and fleur motif wasn't too difficult   I'm just doing it as a border around the edge rather than over the whole cloak.  I got the shearling sewn and attached to the silk and 8 of the cutwork motifs cut.  20 more to go around the bottom edge. 

Today's plan was to finish cutting and start the hand sewing of the shell to the lining and silk.  Instead, I lost my cell phone and got distracted by pockets.  I wear skirts by preference and rarely have pockets in them and thus have a tendency to hold my cell phone in my hand and put it down on random surfaces.  Then, my 16 month old son has a tendency to pick it up.  That's when the trouble begins.  So, I've been thinking about making some tie on pockets to wear with my everyday clothes.  Goofy, I know, but practical.  Then, I found this giant database of hundreds and hundreds of pockets of the 17-19th centuries.  So that has been what I've been doing instead of cutting and sewing.  I've been drooling over embroidery and patchwork and applique and all sorts of beautiful and plain pockets. I'm a total patchwork addict and many of my skirts are patchy so those are my favorites.

I'd say I'll get the mantellino done tomorrow but I'm eventing over the weekend, so who knows.  It is a handwork project, however, so I'll at least pack it with the very best of intentions of working on it.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The new mini-challenge is up!

Bella just put up the new mini-challenge at Realm of Venus that will run next month. The theme is "Idle Hands." You have the month of October to make an item that would be held in or worn on the hands. The winner will be the prettiest and most period. I love the concept, its so very different from the "do as much as you can in 4 months" marathon that is the IRCC. Is it sad that I already know exactly what I want to make?

I really like the last set of pictures we took when doing my dress where I am holding my rosary and the little book of selections from The Hastings Book of Hours.  It made me wish I had a better book.  So many of the period portraits have the sitter holding a book in their hands.  So, I've decided to make a book of hours.

I was lucky enough to get to look at Randy Asplund's 3" high illuminated book of the life of Jeanne d'Arc made using entirely period techniques at Southern Regional Collegium a couple of years ago and have wanted to do something similar ever since.  I am NOWHERE even in the realm of his awe inspiring talent and dedication, but hope I can make something nice as a first attempt.  I've had a couple of classes in bookbinding and have made a few journals, but nothing of this magnitude.

I'm going to concentrate on the bookbinding itself and decorative binding primarily.  I found a really interesting article examining fifteenth-century bookbinding structure and comparing the differences (or lack thereof) of printed books and hand copied ones.  I need to work through this bibliography as well.  I'm really intrigued by the cartolai, Florentine workshops of booksellers.  There was a significant amount of decoration of printed texts coming out of their workshops (Randy's Joan is actually printed text as well.)  I'm totally on board with illuminating printed books.  To be honest, my calligraphy is atrocious but I really enjoy painting.  There's also the question of time.  I want to make sure I have the time to really do what I want.  I'm deeply in love with this Italian tooled leather cameo binding from around 1529 and want to do something similar.   I'd almost decided to just bind a blank journal, but I think I'd like some text.  That's still provisional since I know trying to do illumination to already bound pages is not going to be much fun.  There also might be a book curse, even though they had fallen a bit by the wayside by this time.  They're just so full of awesome.  Also, I'm teaching a class on "How to keep track of your stuff: book curses, book plates, and decorative bindings" at kingdom collegium in November so it will be nice to have a visual aid.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Birthday presents

My friend Owen (the Evil) shares a birthday with me and I decided he needed a new outfit as a present.  That would have been fine if I had made this decision some time before dinner last night.  If I'd made the decision earlier in the day or even, as crazy as it sounds, sometime a few days before I could have done silly things like buy fabric and get measurements.  He normally wears, well, black,  Occasionally red, but usually black.  The only black linen I have in my stash has embroidered black polka dots on it so I went with a khaki.  Mostly I figure this is more of a sort of "gift certificate" where he can try it on for size and know that there's one coming that might suit better.  I am pretty happy with the tunic for itself, even if its not the best gift for the intended individual.

I played around with butted seams, hemming each piece separately in a red thread for contrast and then butting them together and using the honeycomb stitch on my machine (again in red) to attach the pieces together as well as do a decorative seam treatment.  I think it looks pretty cool with the honeycomb between two lines.  It also made me giggle a bit since Owen is a meadmaker. Mead=honey=bees.  I want to do a really nice felt applique of "evil bees" on his actual tunic.  Just as soon as I figure out what makes bees look evil.  Twirly moustaches and arching eyebrows were suggested by FIA, but I'm not sure how easy that is to applique.  Maybe I'll do beads for glowing red eyes. 

I've been doing the A&S50 and one of my challenges is 50 favors and tokens.  Several of them have been birthday presents, so here's one more to add to my list.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Starting the mantellino

Went playing in my stash to find something to wear over the dress. With something as bright as my orange and blue that's a bit harder than it sounds. I found a lovely thick dupioni that I've had for years in a really nice copper penny color that I decided would make a good lining since I just don't have large enough pieces of fur to line with that. Then there was the issue of what to use as the outside that wouldn't fight with the oranges. I finally settled on 3 cotton velveteens; a charcoal, a deep brown, and a black. The black was discarded as being too "Halloweeny" as much as I liked it. The charcoal just didn't pop, so my mantellino has become sort of harvesty in brown and copper. After this search and seeing what I have in textured bottomweights, I think the muff is going to be in the brown as well. As much as I wanted blue, all I've got is a fine wale cord with a rather blah color, the fabric I'm using in the dress, and a navy silk that's got a gold and green open plaid. Nothing suitable at all. I guess this way I get something that goes with more things however.

Now I've just to to settle on the decoration. I know I want to tie some frogs for the fastenings but am not sure on the color. I'm thinking about using some of the flowers and lotus buds from the salvage operation and maybe couching a pattern around them in gold cord. The other option is to do some cutwork or pinking and show off the lining. Lining is cut and the collar is on, but its just sitting here until I decide what I want to do. Guess I'll sleep on it.

Lotto Gown Master List

I've been making a list of the accessories and new things I'd like to try for this gown as well as the things that won't match from the other gown.  I'm sure I'll add and subtract from it as I go along, but I figured it was best to have a starting plan.

Mantellino-- The gollar type.  Watching Siwsan with her cuddle fur and Fiametta with her gollar in the evenings when the bugs come out and the temperature drops has convinced me that I need one of these.  I don't normally think of myself as getting cold, but that may well be because I've usually got multiple layers (veil, dress, collar. and coat) wrapped around my neck.  Having a little extra to cover the neck and shoulders seems like a fine idea.

Loose gown/zimmara--  I started one in blue and gold with a pomegranate pattern in the print.  It was supposed to be an Elizabethan style one, but it really has a lot taken from Italian engravings.  I've been making all the trim and dozens and dozens of threadworked buttons and sort of stalled on it.  Its been begun within the year so it meets the challenge requirements.  I think it will work okay with the dress colors and I need the deadline excuse to finish it.  It has sleeves and the decoration is much more complex than the one I threw together for the IRCC.

Muff-- I just love the envelope style type with the buttons.  My other one is red and this one could be blue.  That's my entire excuse.

Flag fan-- I adore the elephant one that Cara (Hannah) made for the IRCC as well as the one Aurora (April) made that had the lyrics to a song printed on it.  I'd like to do something similarly interesting for my fan this time.  Possibly something heraldic since heraldic display is an a&s category and thus I could get some bonus points (yes, I am a dweeb.)

Stockings-- I really like my green ones, but the loose weave linen I used has already needed to be darned.  I want to make a more heavy duty pair.

Garters--  Seems a good excuse to practice my tablet weaving.  I also like the buckles that Marguerite put of Serafina's garters.  Its hard to resist buckles.  They seem so much nicer than knots for some reason.  Also I just love the blue and orange combo (they're my two favorite colors) and want more accessories in it.

Shoes-- I'd like to do a pair with hand stitching and of a little heavier weight than my rather fragile slippers.

Zoccoli-- Maybe a shorter pair of plainer patten type overshoes that are more wearable and less ostentatious.  That's a big maybe though, I'm really not sure how motivated I am on this one.

Dress-- pretty self explanitory

Petticoat-- I'd like another one.  Less full and heavy than my cartridge pleated, heavily lined underskirt of doom.  Don't get me wrong, I love, love, love it, but I'd like other options.  I'd also like to experiment with more cording and do some decoration.  Maybe even play with some trapunto quilting or some applique.

Camicia-- I'd like to have a back-up plain one.  I get a bit nervous about spills since I only have the one.

Soccacia-- I was just blown away by Aurora's embroidered pocket in voided work.  I'd like to do something a bit more fun than my plain brocade one.  Also, I made mine rather small (It's perfect for keys and my cell phone) I'd like to make a larger one.

Needlecase-- I want to take another run at this.  I've been thinking about what I did wrong the first time.

Drawers-- I may try doing the embroidered ones I didn't get around to the first time.  Again, this one is iffy and depends on just how motivated I get.

Hat-- whatever we're calling it.  I'm leaning toward capigliara..

Partlet/scarf thing-- much less structured than the one for the Camilla dress.  This is going to be something I'm going to have to purchase fabric for.  I just don't have anything close to being right for the fine sheer gold it is.

Necklace--Since this is such a distinctive piece I wants it. Obviously, I'm going to have to sculpt it myself however.  Aine telling me about a metallic powder she's been using lately that anneals to the clay and gives a more metallic finish than other things she's used since it actually is metal.  It seems much easier than the precious metal clay I was looking at so I may give it a try.

Earrings-- none in the portrait but I'll probably do some anyway since I love earrings.

Bracelet-- considering something

Gloves-- I have a pair cut and would like to finish them

Parasol-- I fell deeply in love with Christa's heraldic parasol she made for the IRCC and I adore my fringey one.  It was so fun to go walking with it at Coronation, so I think I'd like to try painting one.  Since that means I'm going to have to order some silk I'll probably do some banners as well.  We'd talked on Garb Girls (an informal facebook sewing group with a lot of the kingdom seamstresses on it) about doing some banners for the Kingdom.  The Province could use some new ones, and I want some.  Buying the larger amount of silk should make the stuff I use for my parasol either scrap or at least inexpensive enough to go into my budget nicely.

Handkerchief-- I did drawnthread work on Serafina's towel and have been wanting to do something for myself since so this seems like a good opportunity.

So, here goes.  Time to get started.  At least my research time is going to be significantly less this round.  I hope.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Change of plans

I've been staring at some of the bits and pieces I have for the Russian dress for the Artemisian Costuming Challenge and am worried.  My plan for the gown involved this linen brocade.  I planned to attach the enamel peacocks and the bronze and black glass diamonds and then surround them in pearls.  They'd be outlined in bel (a couched cotton cord) and then have pearls couched on top of that and then a gold cord couched around that.  I also want to couch gold around the pattern in the brocade.  Ummmm.  Somehow I doubt that that is getting done by New Year's Eve.  I could simplify it or not do it, but I REALLY want it that way with the totally encrusted dress.  So, new plan.

I'm sick this week and the Lotto gown isn't going as fast as I'd like, but I like how its coming along and want to have the dress.  I already have all the undergarments and accessories for an Italian gown and they have been made within the parameters of the ACC.  I'm going to change from the Russian and do the Lotto gown as my ACC entry.  If I have time I'll actually get around to embroidering the drawers I planned for the IRCC and didn't do, and I want a new pair of stockings and new slippers.  Maybe I'll even get the gloves I started done.

I'm going to continue working on the Russian with the intention to have it done by May Kingdom Arts and Sciences.  The research I have for this gown is some of the best available for Rus (which isn't saying much, but I've tried) and I think I can justify my choices when I deviate.  That gives me more time, but still gives me a deadline.  It also lets me out of the budget constraints of the ACC so I can buy more pearls.  Happily enough, the Lotto is going to be made from stash so it works nicely with the $100 budget of the ACC.  Win, win all around I think.   

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Lots of string, not much progress

I've been wrapping chopsticks in wool yarn and baking it in a low oven and making curls.  I've also been boning the inner layer of the bodice.  Like I said, lots of string and not much progress.  I figure I have about a third of the curls I need, depending on what I end up using for the foundation of the hat.  It would be going faster if I had more chopsticks.  I'm doing them 10 at a time.  Had to stop for today and wait for evening since even a low oven is making the house unbearable.

I've got most of one side of the front of the bodice boned.  I didn't have the thick hemp so I'm doing multiple strands of a heavy cotton cord.  Not so sure its going to substitute since I have such a squishy shape, but I guess I can always make a corset for underneath instead if it really goes poorly.  At least that's what I keep telling myself.  I really don't want to go buy cable ties.  Not for any particular reason, I just want to make this dress a "free" one from entirely stash materials.  My September personal challenge is to not buy any crafting materials.  It really shouldn't be hard since I have a large stash of stuff, but there always seems to be something I just don't have.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

"Her eyes, brown as fir cones in autumn, scattered laughter."

I think I have a new hero. Isabella d'Este, the Marchesa of Mantua. How can you resist a woman called "First Lady of the World?" Sure, her husband had Lucrezia Borgia for a mistress, but Isabella was known far and wide for being a more competent ruler. She was the fashion idol of Anne of Brittany, twice Queen of France. On top of it all, she invented a hat.

She created and promoted the zazara (at least according to Paola Tinagli in Women in Italian Renaissance Art: Gender, Representation, Identity.)  I'm still in preliminary research mode on these, but they seem to be the large balloony type of headpiece, often sort of shaped like pumpkins, even down to the ribs.  More totally round than a balzo, they don't have the shape that starts close to the head and projects back into the characteristic bulbous shape.  Here are a few more for good measure.   

My only issue now is, due to a lack of research and true definition, I can't decide if the frothy confection of curls and bows Lucretia is wearing on her head is a zazara, a balzo, or something else entirely.  That isn't going to stop me from making it.  I've got wool yarn coiled on skewers baking in the oven as I type this, getting ready to play with.  What it IS going to do is add another dress to my "must make" list.  I'm going to have to make something with a clearly defined zazara and possibly one form one of Isabella's portraits.  I love the Ruben's portrait, as well as the Titian I've got there at the left (painted when she was 60, she forced him to repaint her with a young face-- her own version of plastic surgery.)  I am SO getting sucked into this Italian.  Total slippery slope here folks.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Finished the povoinik

And yes, it is not a particularly attractive piece of clothing. That's alright though. It was never intended to be worn alone. Not even at home. There were to always be a couple of additional layers worn with it for casual wear and lots and lots more for doing things like leaving the house. The decoration at the forehead might peek out from under them, hence its focus, but mostly it was just supposed to be a tight little cap to keep the dangerous hair of a Russian woman contained.

I used a few more of the little flowers and I'm really pleased with the mirrors and beads and gold. I'm laying a solid foundation of bling to build upon. I think there are enough of the flowers with the bugle bead flourishes to embellish the rectangular flap that attaches to the back of this. Then I plan to use some of the plain flowers and perhaps some of the larger pieces to embellish the ubrus (sort of a heavy veil-- the word means towel.)

The new Italian/Lotto gown is going pretty well. I sewed most of the boning channels for the bodice late last night and plan to finish the rest up tonight after my kids are asleep and I can get downstairs to the sewing machines. I still haven't gotten around to making a corset yet, so this will have interior boning like the Camilla dress. If I didn't have my shape I could probably get away without it, since there are definite wrinkles at the waist of the painting, but I need shaping and support. I'm going to "bone" with hemp cording, however, in order to give it a softer shape. I plan to add a layer or so of wool felt to smooth the bones out and as a substitute for the fur lining that I'm forgoing. The bodice will have 6 layers like the last one since it seemed to work pretty well. I added a little extra allowance to allow for the cording. Right now the bodice is too large. Hopefully threading the cording in will solve that problem. Guess we'll see how that goes some time tonight.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Apparently I couldn't be a courtesan if I tried

It seems I do not have the sensibilities of a courtesan. This is my second Italian gown and I keep insisting on picking "matronly" dresses without knowing it. The first one was pretty obvious, what with the 3 little kids. Then I found out about all the additional symbolic supports to Camilla's position as a good mother with the zibillino, her jewelry, and such. This time around I managed to pick another model of virtuous womanhood based solely on the fact that I like her dress and hat.  I was, of course, aware of the story of the rape and suicide of Lucretia from Livy, but I didn't pick the painting for its title, just the dress.  Shows me for not thinking.

I found a really interesting article on Lucretia here. It goes into an explanation of this unusual painting of a woman that emphasis her virtue and chastity by depicting her in a masculine pose and giving her thus "manly virtue." She is apparently more active and virile in motion as opposed to being docile and self contained as an ideal woman would be. Its a fascinating read. 

Also of interest is the Elizabeth Taylor version of "Taming of the Shrew." The costume designer chose to put Kate in a version of this dress for the speech in Act 5 scene 2. I think it adds another intriguing layer to the interpretation of the "submission' speech.

I love having lots to mull over while I sew.  It makes the time go faster and builds the excitement for getting to wear it.

The bodice is patterned, I just have to calculate how I'm going to assemble the patchwork and mark a second version of the pattern for the fashion fabric.  Should get it cut tonight.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Just a little detour

I had way too much fun this weekend at Coronation. Mostly thanks to my friends Fia, Malatesta, and CiCi, but I have to be honest and say a lot of it was I got to wear my dress and brag. The best part? I didn't even have to do my own bragging. Baroness Casamira, my friend and kingdom A&S minister (and thus my boss as a local MoAS), was sweet and pulled me up before court and had me talk about my dress. Their (outgoing) Majesties Morgan and Esabell called me up in their final court before the official business. (Now) Duchess Esabell said some very touching things about bringing prestige and honor to the kingdom. I truly hope that I have. Being a part of the SCA Kingdom of Artemisia is such a gift to me. I am so glad to be a part of it. Queen Claire was also kind enough to say some very complimentary things while we were watching the tournaments and I got to giggle when His Majesty Ronan ended up borrowing my parasol to get a little shade while watching the tournament for King's Champion. Vikings and fringe don't go together very well. All in all the dress was a total success.

And thus we arrive at the detour. I'm going to Harvest War in 2 weeks to celebrate my birthday (and Fia, and Cici, and Owen's and Eli's-- a good portion of my friends were all born within 3 weeks of each other. Lots and lots of Virgos.) I want something pretty to wear. I've got the Persian camp gear I just made for Baron's War for most of the time, but I'd really like one nice dress. It's my birthday, a present to myself is in order. So, I've decided to do a quick version of the Lucrezia dress from this portrait by Lorenzo Lotto.  I absolutely adore patchwork and it was one I considered doing for the IRCC.  There's a totally fabulous hat as well.  On top of that, I have a cotton brocade in a deep salmon rust and a clear wedgewood sort of blue in my stash that I think will give me the contrast I need while not being green and red.  I'm doing my Russian in green and red and just did the red velvet gown so another color combo seems in order.  Blue and orange are actually my favorite colors.  I've got 5 yards of each so that should be plenty.  There's no trim so I won't have to worry about that.  No way am I crazy enough to fur line it like the picture.  Even in mid-September it would be too hot.  I've already got canvas and wool felt for interlining though as well as a couple of options for lining, so this might actually be a "free" dress with nothing new to have to purchase.  That would make my husband happy,

I'm a little nervous about putting the Russian off further since I'm already behind, but I really want to make this so I spent a good portion of the evening drafting.  My measurements have changed recently with a little bit of exercise and the weaning of my twins so I started by making myself a new conic block according to Missa's instructions at Sempstress (which are similar to how I learned in my costuming classes in college, but that's been awhile so its nice to have step by step instructions to look at.)  I figured I'd need that regardless.  Not that I really need anything that fitted for making Rus clothes, but it was a reasonable justification and having updated measurements is a good idea regardless.  I'm planning to work on the applique on the povoinik tomorrow.  If I finish, which should be pretty easy to do, I can draft a front lacing bodice from the block.  My husband is home with the holiday and having an extra set of hands for fitting will be helpful.  Wish me luck!

Friday, September 2, 2011

I've been working on a rug

I've gotten nothing whatsoever done clothingwise this week. I've been too busy working on a felt rug that I promised to make as a prize for the rapier tourney at Insurrection next week.

Slow going since I am not a group of people.  Lots of manual labor.  But actually pretty fast compared to a similar piece if  I'd embroidered it or something.  This is about 3 feet wide by 4 feet long.  The images I used are the animal virtues from the segno or 7 swords diagram from Fiore de Libri's Flower of Battle   .  I liked the animals more than the swords and since its decorative rather than a teaching tool I skipped the part that is actually important in the diagram and focussed on the animals.  The strangely polka dotted thing up top is supposed to be a lynx with some calipers and stands for foresight and measure.  The lion with the heart is for audacity and bravery, the elephant with his silly toes stands for stability and fortitude, and the tiger (I swear, they claim its a tiger) with the arrow is for swiftness.
The image has absolutely nothing to do with the technique I used, but I thought it would be appropriate since it was going to be a rapier prize.   The technique is one of inlaid felt that is seen in Mongollian/Chinese felts.  I cheated a bit by needlefelting the shapes and then applying them to the background rather than cutting them out of a prefelt since I wasn't sure that I had the technical skill to do it the other way and it was a big risk with a piece this size if it went splat.  I need to practice more when its not something that needs to be given away on a deadline.  I also used a very tightly twisted yarn to define things so they'd pop..  That is a technique seen in traditional felting, but it is usually far less twisted.
The definition that can be gotten by masters of inlaid felt is astonishingz.  My jaw drops every time I go looking at this kasen (it translates to something like wool textile flower) that was made in 756 AD and is part of the Nara find.  Here's a detail of the incredible definition.