Monday, December 31, 2012

My Historical Sew Fortnightly Project #0

Item, one coif, embroidered in red.

I confess that I have been involved in 16th century costuming for more than 3 decades and yet this is my *first* coif!

I followed the basic, 'fold a rectangle of cloth and fit it to the back of your head' method but added a couple of small darts to shape it more smoothly to the head in back.

I started with one of a pair of embroidered guest towels, Flora from Pottery Barn, which I bought on eBay.

Marking the curve

Cutting out

I french seamed the edge and then pinned in the darts

All sewn up


My gosh! That really was super simple!

Well, I've got ONE thing for my Pennsic trailor

You remember the interior fireplace from my plan? Well, I now have the glass-enclosed, liquid bio-ethanol fueled fire to go in it! I'll dress up the front to hide the stainless steel, of course, but I'm really happy to have the glass guards to help keep my skirts from sweeping into the fire.

Best birthday present ever. :)

Oh my goodness! Chopines!

Another amazing find from the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore

Italian. Second half of the 16th century.

I love the careful way her skirt is raised to show off her shoe!

See it in the museum catalog at

Sunday, December 30, 2012

The year of walking about, naked.

Clarence and I have been ill for days but I found myself with a little energy this afternoon as I lay in bed, my mind wandering, and I suddenly found myself looking at my piles of clean laundry thinking

"You, know. I don't actually like that skirt anymore."

"Or that one."

"Or that top. Or any of that...stuff"

I thought I'd gotten rid of a lot of my old clothes when we moved to this new apartment. Not so much, apparently! It may have been the fever at work but I have blasted thru my closet--pretty much leaving just 'hooks and some wire.' It's nearly entirely empty!

Feels pretty good.

I'm thinking that my sewing juices may be flowing again. If not, well...

Thursday, December 20, 2012

The evil project wish list...

Starting back into working on my pavilion has got me thinking about other projects I'd like to work some thing smaller/lighter/easier...maybe a day shade?

Something like this!

And really, if I'm going to make one, why not two?

Maybe a day shade would be a good gift for the Barony...

Our Baronial device would look great in pearls....


Saturday, December 15, 2012

More on Turkish tents

The Turkish Cultural Foundation has a page on mobile palaces with a bit of tent history and...more pictures!

Amazing how the web changes in two years!

Eye candy: Images of tent appliqué

Well, thinking about getting back to work on my Pavilion has gotten me back to poking about the Internet to see what I can find...

And the second site I looked at has the most wonderful tent walls!

I don't know how old these are, and I don't really care at this point. Just...oooooh!

And here is the interior of a 17th century Egyptian tent

Blurry, but how a want a fancy liner!

And the there's this lovely Pinterest board:

And another blog with Egyptian tent makers:

It all rather gets my tent-making energy flowing again!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Hmm...this blog is almost 2 years old and I haven't finished my Pavillion

Maybe I should get back to work on it!?!

The new apartment is far more condusive to sewing than the one we rented for our first year in Indiana. And with winter about to settle in I think I will have plenty of time to sew.

Best of all, I've discovered we have a local tent company. I've been thinking that a professional machine that was accustomed to canvas might be able to handle the harder seams I have coming up in my assembly plan. I haven't contacted them yet ('cause I don't want a potentially negative answer!) but they say they do custom work so I am hopeful that if I get my parts ready they will put them together for a fee.


I know where the bin with this project is living. I guess I'll go pull it out!

Monday, December 3, 2012

OK. Back to the clothes!

I managed to get both bodices close enough to finished that they could actually be worn so both the brown linen and the plaid silk made the rounds at TeslaCon 3.

When you consider the fact that I only *finally* found my corsets on the morning we left it's pretty amazing that they fit at all, let alone the fact that they looked pretty good! The brown linen was fully sewn and lined but it will need to be taken apart to have the seam line boning added now that I have more time. I'll also be raising the shoulder line and taking in the bodice above the fullness of my bust.

The surprising twist on this outfit is that although I arrived with a bodice I had to be sewed into. (And only halfway, at that.) I walked into the vendors area and lucked into a booth selling corset-making supplies and scored a length of brass hooks and eyes on black twill tape.

I've loved this stuff since I first saw it but it never hit my brain as 'period' enough to use...until Steampunk!

I stitched to the outside of the front opening of my brown bodice and it works/looks smashingly! (Insert happy dance here.) It gives just the edge the outfit needed.

The plaid silk bodice hadn't gotten nearly as far when we left the house so I dragged along my sewing machine and the fabric and pattern to make sleeves. (And the pattern to mark the neckline, and lace and ribbon for trim, and so on.) Luckily I had already sewn on the main bodice lining so when I finally realized that I could either *be* at Teslacon or *sew* at Teslacon I was able to make a wearable bodice out of what I had. I really like the simplicity of this one so I think I will finish it (boning and shoulder adjustments, maybe a placket under the center front...or a zipper...) and then make the 3/4 sleeved dinner bodice with lace flounces I had envisioned. I think I may have enough fabric for a day bodice and additional overskirt or train pieces too. I guess we'll see!

What is Steampunk?

Many of the people whom I told about TeslaCon asked me that question, which I wouldn't presume to attempt to answer 'for real.' My favorite quote had been: "Steampunk is what happens when Goths discover the color brown" but now that I've gotten my feet wet I'm starting to think that at least *some* of Steampunk is what happens when renassiance costumers take a holiday!

I have a sneaking suspicion there were more than a few of us about...

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Oh my, but TeslaCon is fun!

More about the costume progress later, but I thought you'd like to see the plaid dress in action!