Saturday, December 6, 2014

Classes at Christmas Court!

Today was Christmas Court in the Barony of Rivenstar and my first opportunity to perform my record keeping duties as Arts and Sciences Minister. I made sign-in sheets, taught a class on hair extensions and hair taping, and took a LOT of other classes. :) And I have the loot to prove it!

I learned needle felting!

I made a ball with my proposed personal badge on it. And discussed organizing a "make your own felted slippers" day.

I learned a new kumihimo braid!

I made about 8" in my proposed colors while I talked dying, and cooking, and heraldry. We all ate a great feast. And then we danced!

I'm still crazy busy with too many deadlines and too little time before classes end, but this was a great day. :)

Thursday, October 16, 2014


So, the lovely wedding glasses, of course, needed a box! I sourced the image from an extant betrothal plate, 'cause what could be better than a heart pierced by the arrows of love, two hands joined in faithfulness, and the fires of passion for a wedding?

I left spaces for their devices (which I hope they will someday register. Hint. Hint.)

And included the text from the glassware and traslation: For the love I bear for you in this fine cup! Also taken from an extant period betrothal gift.

For padding I used hay from one of those mini bales they sell for decorative purposes and also two small towels (always useful in feast gear.) the combination works really well. :)

I think I see more painted things in my future!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

And then there was glass...

I've been intrigued by the idea of making my own enameled glassware for several years but I hadn't felt ready to take the plunge until recently.  I've purchased several sets of the La Boheme DOF Glasses by Abigails for my houshold's feast gear and, prompted by the need to make a wedding gift for a member of our Barony, I armed myself with an appropriate text, my Pebeo 150 glass outliners, and some source pictures for ideas and came up with this. Not too shabby for a first time! :)

Credit where credit is due moment:  I got the idea from some work by Mestra Rafaella d'Allemtejo which I found online and used her instructions found here:  Thank you!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

IRCC4 Layer 1b-Yellow Petticoat!

I'm using 100% linen fabric that is about 58" wide. I am also continuing my experiments with using less fabric so this petticoat is...frugal. So frugal that in the past I would have called it skimpy! My waist-to-floor measurement is 42" in front and 44" in back. Since I want a petticoat that doesn't touch the floor I cut two panels, one of each length, for my front and back skirt. I wanted a smoother-fitting front to my petticoat and a fuller hem so I cut triangles from the side edges of the front panel -- 10" wide at the waist narrowing to 0.0" at the hem -- reversed them and attached them to the back panel.

I like to stitch my angled pieces bias to straight grain (or cut edge to selvedge) to control the tendency to stretch along the seam. As you can see, I offset the triangles a bit at the bottom edge so that the long sides would be the same length when I trimmed them for hemming.

I folded back a 3/4" turn at the hem, just eyeballing the curve at the inset triangles...

pinned and basted...

and trimmed the excess.

I'm contiuing my experiments with a lightly padded version of a doppia (padded hemline) so I cut three 6" deep strips across the width of the fabric and set them edge to edge with my cut fabric at the skirt hem and basted them in place, making sure to gives some extra fabric for wiggle room at the curves of the hem.

I attached the individual pieces finished edge to finished edge in the same manner as the side seams.

To pad the hem I knew I wanted to fold my 6" strip three times. I  tried folding and measuring to see what worked best and discovered that I needed my upper line of stiching to be 2 1/8" from the hem edge so I stitched that all the way around the skirt.

Then fingerpressed down form the stich line and folded the hem in. Once...

and then twice.

As you can see the edges are *just* shy of matching on the outside...

and inside.

To make the waistband I took two lengths of cotton ribbon from my stash (they came wrapped around some pillows I bought but were too nice to throw away, even with the bright yellow printing!) marked the center point and measured out 13 inches on each side of the center point. That will give me 26" per side (front and back) and exactly enough to fit my 52" waist. since the two sides will tie on independently the waist is extreemly flexible in sizing. The pieces simply overlap! :)

While I did run a single gathering thread on the front side I didn't find it particularly useful so I simply pinned the back half in place. for both side I useed the classic method of pinning the center and outer points, foldign the remining fabric in half and pinning the new center point of the skit to the new center point of the wiast, over and over....

Since I removed fabric from the front panel and added it to the back, my front waist is only slightly gathered but the back waist has little knife pleats. I basted both waist in place with two rows of stitching and then tried on the Petticoat.

And it fit! I split my remaining piece of 6" wide fabrice (left over from the hem) into two 3" strips and finished the front and back waist bands.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Just a little something for the sewing kit...

All the hand sewing I have been doing for the IRCC4 has pointed out, yet again, that I need beeswax for thread in my sewing kit. As it happens I recently purchased a vintage compact case with a damascene lid with an idea of making it into a wax holder so last weekend I tracked down beeswax at my local fabric store. After removing the wax pellet from the horrible plastic case I realized that I was going to have to melt it to get it to fit into/fill the case. But how to melt a couple of tablespoons of beeswax?

I imagine that sitting it in the sun would work, but since it was evening and all I went with putting it in the case on the top of the stove near the oven vent and baking something for dinner. It worked!

I completely love it that damascene is a medieval technique which is still practiced and pretty easily available. My new wax holder? Not perfectly period...but not bad! :)

Sunday, July 27, 2014

A Productive Saturday

I labored and labored yesterday and these are my fruits! Four new bow bags to gift to my Barony and also a padded liner for Boen's bow case. Better yet, I bought *nothing* new for these. Not even thread!

I recently decided we MUST reduce clutter in this apartment so I'm working my way toward throwing out stuff. Rather a lot of stuff, I hope! The nice thing about being ready to dispose of things is that I sometimes look at things--like a mattress pad with perfectly good padding that we never use because the sides which keep it on the mattress are shot--and see possibilities. Yesterday I saw that mattress pad as the solution to a problem we have at archery practice. We have several bows of various sizes which have been donated over the years, but only two bags! That means we jam several bows into a bag together where they promptly get all tangled up. Not good for them. Frustrating for us...the solution? More bow bags!

I cut the queen sized mattress pad crosswise into strips 13" wide (I got five strips) and my bengaline outer fabric into cross-wise stips 15" wide. I made them wider to allow some fabric for rounding around the liner, as well as turning at the seams and loss due to zig-zaging the long edges together. It turned out the cover fabric was about 2" wider than the liner so I had enough to make a drawstring casing to close the bag at the top. Order of sewing: turn and finish side edges for the casing openings, zig-zag long edges of liner and cover together, zig-zag lower edges of liner and cover together--stretching liner to fit,stitch casing to cover and finish top edge of liner(stretching to fit again), add pocket (oh yeah, I cut pockets from scrap fabric I made when I neatened the edge of my fabric before cutting. Pockets are always good!), stitch long edges together, set bottom of long seam so it falls at the center of the bottom of the bag and stitch bottom together with two rows of stitching, turn the finished bag, Add drawstring.

You can see some of the details in this closer shot.

The final touch was to thread the drawstring through the casing a take a few stitches at the center point. No pulling the cord out of the casing by accident!

Saturday, July 26, 2014

New Sewing Room Toys, Tools! I mean tools!

I may have gotten the idea from Pinterest, I really don't remember, but I saw this strange iron contraption on the internet the other day and thought 'Hey! I NEED that for my sewing room!' I love love love my new cone thread holder (aka bottle drying rack) especially since I have finally figured out a way to set up my cone thread to feed into my machine smoothly and easily! No falling on the floor and rolling around. No snagging and snapping. Just sewing! Love it.

The thread glides because I take the cone I am using and set it in the center, the thread goes up from there and over the top ring, then into the guides of the machine. As you may be able to see, I'm using one of the spool holders as a guide to keep the thread coming from a similar direction as it would if it were on the machine itself. Works like a charm! COMPLETELY unlike that weird plastic cone thread holders the sell at the fabric store these days.

Monday, July 21, 2014

IRCC4-feathery progress

After curling the plumes I used the same thread binding technique to assemble some plumes into multicolored sets.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

IRCC4 - Wow, Feathers take a lot of prep work!

But all my 48 are now trussed up in sets of two and curling has commenced. The nice part is that the curling is dead easy and goes fast!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

IRCC4 - Feather work commences

When I was working on my last feather fan I discovered an excellent tutorial regarding creating full beautifully shaped ostrich feather plumes:

In my opinion the feathers for this year's fan shouldn't be all that long, but they do need to be lush and curvy so the first step is to take the feathers I purchased and convert them into plumes! Interestingly, the process is rather like tying up a roast. You create a series of connected loops which hold the feathers together and tie them off at the end. I did mine thus:

Match feathers together in sets of two as best you can. I look for feathers which are similar in length and curve and which will complement each other when assembled. This means that I wouldn't pair together two feathes which were both skimpy on the right side, but I would pair a right-side-skimpy feather with a full or left side skimpy one.

 I stack the better looking feather on top of the less handsome one, flip them over so I am facing the backs and match the tips so the lengths look well. I take a needle threaded with a length of thread approximately three-to-four times the length of the feathers I'm working on and take a stitch around the stem by sticking the needle between the quills of the feather and coming back on the other side.

Then I tie the two ends of the thread together in a square knot, leaving one tail extending about 5" past the length of the feathers and the other with the bulk of the thread on the needle.

And then I get a little wild. I left the long tail because I want to be able to tie off in a square knot also, but I don't want the bulk of two threads when I'm stitching the feathers together so I lift the upper feather and work the thread clear of all the quills so that I can run my long tail down the center spine between the feather layers.

Once I close my little feather and thread sandwich back up I start stiching them together just as instructed, making a chain of loops to encase both spines and my thread tail.

I make multiple loops at the end an finish it off with another square knot.

To finish I rescue any trapped quills by pulling them out with a pin so the whole feather looks beautiful

Much better!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

IRCC4 - Mango, Marigold, Ivory, Beige. The Feathers are Here!

This year's inspiration fan is a fluffy multicolor marvel.

Since the feather selection in my town has dropped off considerably of late (and it was never good) I decided to finally try getting feathers on the internet. Did you know they come in colors? LOTS of colors! And many sizes, types and prices too. The inspiration fan strikes me as being fairly equal amounts of four different colors. I got 4 12-packs of dyed ostrich feather drabs in the 9"-12" length.
I plan to pair them up and stitch them together to make 6 plumes of each color. Perhaps I'll have extras!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

IRCC4 - Parts for my fan have started to arrive

After a short stint of shopping on e-bay I found a great option for a metal frame for my first accessory item. I think this hairbrush will make a great feather fan!

Step one was to take it apart. The brush is held in the frame with three short nails so I just pried them up and pulled out the bits I found.

As you can see, there's quite a lot of stuff in there!

The original brush-head is wood and perfectly shaped to fit the frame so I will probably try to use it to hold my feathers. I think I can remove what remains of the original bristles pretty easily (they are in the disintegrating phase) and if I drill the original holes all th way through the board I should have lots of attachment points.  Now I just have to keep resisting the urge to use it as a giant bubble wand!

My feathers are due to arrive today or tomorrow so I hope to make some progress on this layer this weekend.