Friday, October 17, 2014

One more accessory for Faire this year. . .

I finished one more accessory for my trip to King Richard's Faire this year. . . Though to be honest, while it's plausibly historically accurate, it's not the correct period for the rest of my faire garb! This pouch is medieval, while the rest of my ensemble is meant to be c. 1560s-70s. What can I say? When I saw a historic purse that involved cats, I could not resist. And I'm quite certain there will not be anyone at the faire secretly snarking about my mis-matched eras since I fully anticipate being surrounded by people in costumes spanning medieval through Victorian, plus modern day, and things that never existed at all! ;)

Finished medieval kitty bag

And then just one more shot, with the ties not drawn up. . .

Finished medieval kitty purse

This was such a quick, fun little project! Mine is quite small, as I used fingering weight yarn and size 1 1/2 needles, but just by altering your yarn/needle sizes, you can make this in all kinds of sizes. As it is, mine turned out so that it fits my phone and money perfectly, and really, what else do you need at Faire (assuming your phone is also your camera)? ;)

For more details (and a link to the pattern/charts), feel free to check out my Ravelry page for this project.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

16th Century Smock

Next up on my list of enhancements to my 16th century ensemble was an upgraded "smock." My previous smock was made in cotton, and partially machined to save time. I'd be longing for something a little more accurate, so this time around, I used handkerchief linen, and hand sewed it. I Frankenpatterned, using Kannik's Korner's 18th century shift to get basic proportions, as I already know and love that pattern. Then, I referenced The Tudor Tailor to see what I'd need to change to make it accurate for the 16th century.

16th Century Smock

I went with just a basic scooped neck because it's what suited the rest of my ensemble, but instead of just turning the raw edge under, I made a self-fabric bias binding to act as a casing. I did this because I made the mistake of buying cheap linen, and it frayed worse than any fabric - linen or otherwise - I have ever worked with! I would have preferred the turned-under edge finish, but the casing method worked out all right too. For the cuffs, I knew I wanted ties at the wrists. Tudor Tailor shows just one set of ties per cuff, but I went with two because I had this lovely narrow tape and I thought it would look delicate and pretty to have two sets of ties.

16th Century Smock, detail of cuff

So, with this new smock, I'm technically ready for the Faire! However, there's always room for more accessories. . . ;)

Thursday, August 14, 2014

16th Century Accessories

I've been working lately on a few enhancements for my c. 1560s-70s ensemble, with the hopes of making it to King Richard's Faire this year. First up, I finished a partlet:

Partlet frontPartlet sidePartlet back

I made this using two layers of handkerchief linen from fabrics-store.com (off-white color but I can't remember which of their "white" shades this is - both their optic and bleached white are more of a winter white, FYI), and the pattern is from The Tudor Tailor. I hand-sewed it just as the book describes, but when finished, I felt an urge to make tiny, perfect top-stitches around all the edges. . . So I did just that, and I think it made a difference because it seemed less flimsy and "slippery" after that.

Even though the collar is capable of standing somewhat on its own (even pre-starching!), I'm currently thinking of wearing it folded down, like this:

Partlet front

I also bought some cheap cotton shoes that are not period correct by any means, but are a bit better than the Sketchers I wore last time! At least these are just a plain woven cotton, dark in color, and should not stick out.

Shoes

I'm working on a few more items to step up my 16th century game, but what I complete will all depend on when I end up going to the Faire!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Treat Yo' Self!

A couple of weeks ago, I had an heartbreaking disappointment which left me feeling pretty down in the dumps. I did all the things that generally cheer me up (ironed a bunch of fabric, organized the sewing room, and made more double-fold bias tape than you can shake a stick at), but ultimately decided that I deserved to treat myself to something special and frivolous. I decided I would at last purchase the Wooded Hamlet crinoline kit! It's the perfect frivolous choice for me since it's pricier than I would regularly spend on an underpinning, and I have already made at least three crinolines for myself rendering it not really necessary!

Once I'd decided I would make that fabulous crinoline, I clearly needed a whole new underpinning set to go with it! So, one thing led to another, and I ended up ordering a ton of white fabric, plus some other fabric and random supplies for upcoming projects.

Then, over the weekend, we went to Brimfield, and this happened:



This Brimfield trip was one of the best yet, aside from it being terribly muddy! I got the best deals (such as 1930s dress patterns and 1950s hat patterns at $1-$2 a piece!) and found way more than I usually do (as the picture proves!) I'm probably most excited about that c. 1880s bonnet, which is stunning and absolutely covered with amazing beadwork, and which my husband negotiated down to $25. Amazing! I am most definitely going to be making a repro of that at some point in the future!

So, it's been a somewhat pricey couple of weeks, but well worth it because I officially feel back in the saddle again! Also, I won't need to order anything at all for the foreseeable future. Tom & Donna would be proud, I think. ;)

Sunday, May 4, 2014

A New Bonnet, and Fort Fred Adventures!



Last weekend, I travelled to Gloria's place and had a fabulous pair of days seeing the sights in DC, and then attending the Fort Fred marketplace on Saturday. I refashioned an old dress to temporarily fit my not-my-usual-size-self by making a quick stomacher and pinning it in, but more importantly, I finished this fabulous, huge, new bonnet to wear with it!





It was so much fun getting to shop in person from all these places I usually only get to see online!





After all kinds of shopping, I came away with a pair of silk stockings and this neckerchief, which Gloria kindly held up for a picture:



I took a lot of pictures over the course of the weekend, and had lots of pictures taken of me, but this one is by far my favorite, for how very silly it is!



To see more pictures of the adventures and the costumes of all my fabulous friends, please check out the Fort Fred 2014 page on my web site.

Such a great weekend! So many thanks to Gloria for hosting me, and to Taylor and Stephanie for the pictures of me! Hopefully I can make it down for more of the DC area events in the future!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

17c Hat Progress. . .

My shellac finally arrived yesterday, and as I was working from home and knew it would arrive that day, I started my work day quite early so that I could do the first coat at lunch break, the second immediately after work, and then additional coats throughout the evening as needed. But first, it had to come off the block!



Next, I moved the adventure outdoors and gave the hat its first coat of shellac:



I did so many coats! My last one, it was almost totally dark out! I was using a pre-mixed shellac/denatured alcohol that came in a spray bottle, ready to go. I won't go this route again because even with so many generous coats, it still is too floppy, and worse, it caused white blotches which you'll see in some of the pictures below. So, for the next time, I'm going to go with the more traditional brush-on type! And for this hat. . . Well, I'm out of time until I get back from Virginia on Sunday! But post-Fort Fred, I'll try to remove those blotches, and then try out the brush-on mixture on this hat (before I move on to my really nice quality black capeline!)

But, pretending I'm done with stiffening, and having trimmed the edges to be nice and smooth, added a hat band and some temporary trimmings, here is my hat:



And, the best I could do to get a picture of it on since nobody else is here and I'm not good at selfies:



So far. . . I love it! I think I might cut back the brim a bit more, but I'm going to wait until I've finished stiffening to make a final judgement call on that. Also, clearly that's not a period-correct ensemble for this hat! Another post-Fort-Fred-trip project. ;)

In other news, I had so much fun with making this that I forsee the possibility of becoming a bit of a felt hat making addict! I'm already coming up with ideas of all kinds of hats for various eras. . . Although, the trick will be coming up with appropriate hat blocks!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Adventures in hat blocks & blocking. . .

I was recently asked if I had ever tried blocking felt hats, and my answer was no, that I'd only worked with shaping straw hats. So, I decided to block a felt hat! I placed an order with a millinery supply shop for a lovely quality black wool felt capeline (and some shellac) but just had a funny feeling it was going to take a while to get to me. As I was very anxious to get going on this project, I bought a couple of cheap hat blanks on eBay. This turned out to be a good decision because I'm still waiting for the millinery supply hat, but the eBay hats arrived on Saturday!

So, I had hat blanks, but the one critical thing that I was missing was a hat block. I searched everywhere I could think of online, but all I could find were the usual oval/head-shaped blocks. What I was after was a round block, with a sort of tapered cylinder shape. I simply could not find what I had in mind, but one can not very well shape a hat without something to shape it on! So I thought perhaps if I had a fabric with no give and a firm weave, I could make it of fabric and stuff it somehow. As it turns out, I have this ridiculous plaid fabric that I've been hanging on to even though I thought it really had no purpose since it was almost like plastic, it was that stiff and non-stretchy! Even on the bias, this fabric pretty much doesn't budge! So, yesterday, I patterned it and sewed it up. . .



I left the seams on the bottom outside intentionally so that it would be a bit easier to sew the opening once the form was stuffed! And, that brings me to the next problem: What to stuff it with? I thought perhaps sawdust, since that is what I use for making the bodies for my reproduction French fashion dolls, but I didn't have enough on hand to fill it. So, I decided to try sand, since it's really cheap and can be bought at any Home Depot or Lowe's. Here is the finished item (and my highly sophisticated sand scoop!) ;)



I felt like I might have over-stuffed it a bit, so I ended up removing a bit of it. Woody was very helpful with this. . . Or, maybe he thought this was some funky new form of a litter box!



I think this option could theoretically have worked, but even though the fabric did not stretch, and the sand was VERY tightly packed (I used a mallet and pounded it into the most compact pile of sand I could manage), the entire thing still seemed to shift a bit from side to side if given a decent nudge. After all, this is sand we are talking about! I think it would have been a giant headache to be worried about checking that it was still upright and level the whole time I was also trying to shape the hat! So it's a good thing I have such an awesome husband who was willing to try to turn a log from the wood pile into a wood hat block!



We don't have a lathe, so Glenn was limited to chisels and his sander. I think it actually turned out quite well! (It actually tapers a bit more in "real life" than it appears to in the picture. Not sure why it would not photograph the way I was seeing it!) I felt like I could totally use this for my felt hat making experimentation.



Funny story: We had this long conversation on Saturday morning about how it would be so great to know someone who did woodworking, or who at least had a lathe, but alas, we didn't have the proper connection. Meanwhile, little did we know, Glenn's brother was not even thirty minutes away, messing around with his newly-purchased lathe! Found that out this morning at Easter brunch. Things I wish I knew yesterday!!! Ha ha ha!

This morning, I got up early so I would have time to block my hat before heading out to Easter brunch at the in-laws' house. Here is the "before" shot of the capeline:



I got it really damp and pliable using a combination of my steamer and a plant mister, molded it over Glenn's block, and used push pins to hold the brim out the way I wanted it. I was aiming for something along the lines of some extant 17th century hats in the Victoria & Albert Museum, (T.22-1938 and T.23&A-1938). I think it turned out pretty well! Mine might not taper quite as much as my inspirations, but after all, this was about challenging myself to shape a felt hat, not create a hat block, right? So I'm calling this a success! ;)



So now, I'm letting it dry, and also waiting for my shellac to arrive in the mail. Then I'll give it a couple of coats of that, then trim it, and it will be ready to wear!