Monday, April 29, 2013

IRCC3 - And the drawn thread work is over too!

At least for now. :)

Moving on to the blackwork (in blue in my case)

I am still figuring outthe best path to follow when stitching this pattern but I like it!


One of the interesting things about the new loosened up rule for the pre-commencement handwork in the IRCC has been picking out what is and isn't ornamental and since the hemstitching on the edges will be used to assemble I counted it as forbidden assembly work. Now that the challenge has begun I can legitimately get started and since I want my actual seams to match my drawn thread work bands I will be doing a row of plain hemstiching and a row of square hemstiching on the side edges of each panel.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Whew! That's over!

I've been madly working on many fronts, one of which being feast preparations for our local SCA Barony. We finally finished that project yesterday, it was fabulous, and while I am busy in my head with plans for an even better event next year my hands are back at work on my IRCC3 camicia. I've only got about 18" of plain hem stitching left to do and than I'm moving on to the blackwork!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

IRCC3 - Plans for the camicia embroidery

As you may have noticed, the IRCC challenges seem to send me off into an overly ambitious frenzy in which I will attempt nearly anything if I think it will be pretty. This generally ends with my finishing out the challenge period with a new pile of half completed--gorgeous, but only half-completed--projects! I have been looking for an embroidery pattern to work in double running stitch on both sides of my camicia seams and seem to finally have settled on a pattern!

(Just in time too since I only have one and a quarter of the drawn thread work bands to do.)

There are a whole lot of very nice, very elaborate patterns out there which made my heart jump, but I settled on a very pretty simple pattern which may actually be possible for me to complete. Yay for sudden bursts of sense!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

IRCC3 Camicia Sleeve #2 - First row of drawn thread work done!

It is possible that I am getting faster at this, which would be quite a relief since I am looking at so much more on the partlet. Speaking of which, while I'm waiting for my Margo's Patterns to get here (and trembling in anticipation) I've been pondering what I want to do with the collar. I don't really care for the netting pattern on the collar of my inspiration piece, nor do I want to go with plain fabric, so I think I'm going to go with more of the same drawn thread pattern....and possibly a macramé edging.

I know, you're most likely thinking 'but you already tried a macramé edging on a veil and got nowhere,' and, well, you'd be right. However I learned a lot in the process and one of those things is that the fabric I was using wasn't suitable for such work. I think this one may be. Since I will have to cut a length of fabric at least 10" deep to make gussets I think I'll make a test swatch from some of the scrap and see what I think. If it works I'll probably use the test for cuffs. (Which would also conveniently solve the question of whether I am going to make loose or cuffed sleeves. Bonus!) I've seen examples of macramé lace on partlet collars in portraits so I know it was done in period too.

And then there is the insertion stitch to join the pieces together. As it turns out, I only had to look a few minutes on Pinterest before I found a pin with the exact stich I was looking for. As I thought, I will have to put in the rows of hem stitch and square hem stitch at the edge of my fabric panels, and then make a WHOLE LOT of stitches to connect the panels together and then join them together into bundles, same as the drawn thread work I've already done. I think if I do it right they will be nearly indistinguishable, at least from a bit of distance. :)

Finally, musings on embroidery...pattern? color? What to do?


Thursday, April 18, 2013

And finally, progress on the IRCC3 layer 1 project

I've finished the three drawn thread bands which break my sleeve in four half-width panels. Well, I mean that I have finished the bands on my first sleeve. yippee! And I've started pulling the threads to repeat the pattern on the second sleeve. Progress is being made!

The Maybee's are going to Turkey!

In my real life my Clarence and I (April) work in Academia and he has just had a paper accepted at a conference in Istanbul this fall. I am so excited for him on a professional level, but for me it means I get to celebrate my birthday in Turkey this year *and* (drumroll) spend about a week poking about the Military Museum studying their tent collection!

I really don't think I could be more excited!

I admit I've also been thinking about doing some shopping, particularly for oyas to use on a late period partlet, but first things first. Time to learn to speak a lot more Turkish. :)


Sunday, April 14, 2013

Layer 5: Largesse?

I have been musing on the subject of actual physical prizes for IRCC winners, or all the participants. In earlier iterations of the challenge some individuals donated prizes to be given to the winners. Very cool.

I've been thinking it would be wonderful to make something small/easy/related-to-one-of-my-items to share. It wouldn't have to be fancy, but how wonderful to receive a token to remember the challenge by. Especially if it would add to your period authenticity or enable you to complete projects!

Even better, what if several of us did it and the overall winner, or the newbie winner, or all three of the winners, received a box of loot!

I'm thinking the item wouldn't necessisarily need to be worn. It could be an item for a renenactment kit, or a kit to make such an item or a part of a larger costume project.

Some of my ideas:
Pearl drop earrings on gold hoops
A set of handmade buttons (if I made 10 a month there would be 40!)
Embroidered cuffs, possibly with a matching collar
A length of bobbin lace
Tablet woven garters
A handkerchief
A pocket
An apron
A paper flag fan with a space to insert the recepient's device
Finger loop braided cord, possibly tipped with metal aiglets
A needle case
A waxed linen cover to keep bugs out of a container of food
A very plain partlet
Brass pins
A thread winder
The list goes on and on...

What do you think? Good idea?

IRCC3-We're Off!

I know it's silly, but I spent much of yesterday stitching away at the drawn thread work on my camicia sleeve and impatiently waiting for the IRCC3 to get started in the USA so I could finally get to work *for real*.

I have days (probably weeks) of embroidery still to come but it just feels different to know that we are now all working together, and I can work on anything I want!

Woo Hoo!

I've been pondering my four accessories and I'm pretty sure I will make a partlet, veil and feather fan. But what to do for item

Anyway, good stitching to my fellow IRCC3-ers! I can hardly wait to see what you get up to.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Layer 4 thoughts - Partlet

As I was working on the drawn thread embroidery of my Camicia a few days ago I came upon this glorious outfit courtesy of the Elizabethean Costuming facebook page. As I gazed on in awe I realized that the oversleeves and partlet are most likely/almost certainly draw-thread work, formed in large part by the same pea hole stitch I am using on the camicia!

How, exactly, one would get drawn-thread to work in a series of graduated rings as depicted in the partlet is a mystery to me at this point (if it can even be done!) but the sleeves are simple bands. THAT I can do. Thus my IRCC3 partlett was conceived.

In order to figure out the pattern before attempting to size it up into a partlet I cropped-out a detail of the flattest part of one of the sleeves, blew it up and started counting. On closer examination I feel that while this portrait is not an accurate-to-the-stitch recording of the pattern it does convey the feeling and approximate pattern and proportions well. I read the bunches as being sets of 5 bars taking up the space of 2 1/2 pea hole stitches in width and two pattern heights in depth. Two and 1/2 pea hole stitches are comprised of 5 bars so I feel good that my counting out various sections of the portrait sleeves has worked to establish a plausible pattern. I guess the next step would be to work up a test swatch. :)

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Black partlet examples mount up.

And over at Starlight Masquerade we find an unattributed portrait with a third black/dark partlet. I'd call that a pattern.

Now I'm most intrigued by what it may mean. Does it indicate something about the wearer? Is it a portraitists concite? A local fad? Widowhood seems an obvious possibility but there just aren't enough of them to support the idea that it was a common practice. Fascinating...

IRCC3 - About that drawn thread work

I have to say that this stuff takes an incredible amount of time. Possibly the worst part of it is that the earlier steps kinda fool you into thinking it will work up fairly quickly...and then you suddenly discovered that you've done all of 4 inches in the last several hours and the horrible truth sinks in!

The pattern is pretty simple. Centering on the location of my 'seam', I pulled a vertical pattern of pull 2 threads, leave 4 threads, pull 7 threads, leave 4 threads, pull two threads. The outer two edges of are worked in a simple hem stitch in sets of 4 threads. (This is the part which goes quickly.) One of the bands of four threads is worked into sets by bracketing the edges of the square with stitching. (Four sided hemstich. Slower, but still feeling good.) And then the time comes to work the second band into sets while also attaching the ladder-rung-like groupings of threads the stitching has created together into X's. (Pea hole hemstich. Bang! It's three days later and it feels like nothing has been done.)

O.K. I'm doing a bit of exaggerating.

I started out using the linen threads I had removed to do the stitching but since I had already started into the threads removed from the sleeves before I completed the stitching on the body it was clear that there wouldn't be enough to complete the process. Rather than canabalizing the remaining fabric for additional thread, I have switched to cotton thread for the stitching on the sleeves. It doesn't match as well but gives a much cleaner finish and running out is not an issue.

Stitched with the pulled linen warp threads.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

IRCC3--I'm in!

And while the counter ticks off the moments until the official start, I thought I'd share a bit of my thoughts so far as I work on the "extensive handwork" (which is allowable early work) on my camicia.

My pattern:

I decided to make the style which is simply assembled lengths of fabric with square gussets in the armpits but with a couple of changes from the plain cotton one I did about 10 years ago. (Which is still going strong, by the way.) Firstly, my new camicia is 100% linen in the body, and very sheer. I plan to embellish it to within an inch of it's life! I also plan to gather the neckline into a band this time, and to edge it with needle lace.

To begin I held the fabric up to my desired height for the finished neckline, measured and decided that I want a camicia that hangs about 36" from the neckline to hem. i then measured from the top pf my shoulder down my arm and decided that my sleeves also need to be about 36" in order to have length for puffings. I will need at least two full widths of fabric (a modern "56") in the body--three would be preferable--in order for the camicia to have the appropriate looseness around my frame. I will need another full width for each sleeve to maintain the appropriate proportions so I started by cutting 4 lengths of fabric.

I next considered the question of loom widths. I did consider cutting my fabric into narrower panels to mimick those available in period. I decided against it mostly because it seems to me that would introduce the weakness of a cut edge at the exact spot the system is meant to take advantage of the strength of a woven one. It seems to me that the system of constructing garments from basic shapes which make full use of the fabric as woven is a brilliant combination of the saving of time, effort and materials, flexibility of fitting, and using materials in such a way that their strengths are taken advantage of and weaknesses minimized. I can't imagine a Sixteenth century seamstress who needed to make a camicia for a woman of my stature cutting 45" wide fabric apart because she was used to a narrower width. I think she'd use what she had and thank her lucky stars for finding it!

That being said, I have noticed that camicie made from modern loom widths often look strangely 'wrong' to my eyes. I believe that is because the practice of embellishment at the seam lines has made the visual rhythm of those seams an integral part of the garment which we strongly notice when missing. Thus, I compromised by using the full width of fabric but introducing bands of embellishment at approximately the locations which would have been seams in period.

I believe that one period approach to my camicia could have been to supplement the traditional four body panels with half-width panels set in at each seam. I have worked my bands of drawn-thread lace at 1/4 and 3/4's the breadth of my panel to approximate the front, back, and four inserted 1/2 breadth pieces of this hypothetical approach. You will have noticed that I still need the side panels...

They are coming. After I finish the drawn-thread embroidery on the sleeves!