Showing posts with label Historical Sew Fortnightly. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Historical Sew Fortnightly. Show all posts

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Things New

Well, the new year has swept in like fresh air around here and I am off and running on a million different projects, sewing and otherwise. My current favorite is filling up my new ribbon rack with the many yards of trim I have collected over time. I'm scavenging for it in strange spots all over the house and with every bit I collect, respool, and rack I feel more and more wonderful!

I have a lot of trims! I know where they are! Wow! They are so pretty!

Looking forward to making pretty things with you this year. :)

Speaking of pretty things, another favorite  project is this skirt which I have rescued from my "donate me now!" bag. Once I have finished removing the remaining vertical strips of badly damaged sequins the skirt will be moving on to a glorious new future as part of my 'Night Circus' themed outfit for TeslaCon 6. I'll need to make the striped corset first, but watch for this fabric to reappear in all it's gaudy glory and BUSTLED later this year.

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, March 5, 2014

Underneath it All! A Venetian Partlet ca. 1550-1600

I have several unfinished partlet projects lying about the house which keep stalling out about the time I get to the place where I try them on and discover that they are not the right some way or another. I'd pretty much developed some strange complex about them but I think it has finally been overcome!

Thus my report on my project for the historical sew fortnightly project

The Challenge: #4 - Underneath It All
Fabric: Purchased scarf, moderately sheer cotton/rayon scarf with lace bands near each end
Pattern: None. I chopped off the fringed ends of the scarf and bound the edge of the lace to hem it. Then I found the center of the scarf, folded the two ends to the center and whipped together the shoulder seams until they extended past my shoulder strap placement. Then I cut on the 1/4 position folds and hemmed the edges. At last, a partlet that fits!
Year: 1550-1600 Many variations of neckline treatments existed simultaneously during this period
Notions: Cotton thread
How historically accurate is it? Moderately. The shape is spot on and the construction work I did is good but the materials and original machine stitching...not so much.
Hours to complete: About 2
First worn: March 1, 2014
Total cost: $12
This project is also my first project #5 - Finishing Touches for the Five Foundations Challenge. Woohoo!
And now for the pretty pictures!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Corset re-do--Done!

The almost-final product!
I still need to add hooks and eyes to the bottom front but woohoo - the re-do is DONE!
What I did:

First I cut off the old lacing just inside of the eyelets and took out the remaining bones on each edge. Then I folded the fabric at the next bone--which is now my outside edge.

I attached a strip of white linen just inside the bone on the inside of the corset, doubled the fabric and stitched down the opposite edge. I then had many layers of fabric to hold the new eyelets.

Aren't they pretty?

I had eleven empty boning chanels left by bones that had worked their way out of the fabric over the years so I opend up the stiching at both ends and added hemp cord 'boning' to those.

Then I trimmed the edges and stiched it all back up!

I also turned down the center fronk neckline to the top of the bone. This gives it an ever-so-subtle sweetheart neck line and I *hope* it will correct the recurring issue of just a bit of the center front of the corset showing above the neckline of my bodices.

'Cause I sure wouldn't want to have to *raise* them! ;)

I added some trim to cover the holes where the bones had worked their way out and ...DONE!

Monday, January 6, 2014

1987 Corset Re-Do. So 2014 Sewing Begins!

I'm taking on both the Historical Fortnightly and Five Foundations Challenges this year! We are stuck inside today due to unusually (dangerously) cold temperatures so I am jumping in with some desperately-needed alterations to a corset I made back in...1987-ish. It has been my go-to corset for literally decades now and has held up surprisingly well but the eyelets were shot long ago and the surrounding fabric was never intended to do lacing-duty all on it's own--poor thing--and really should be relieved of the job! I've also changed in shape and a bit in size so a remake is in order and will allow me to rethink my corseting before I jump into making new patterns for a whole new corset wardrobe.

Squee! A whole new corset wardrobe! That's a lovely phrase. :)

And now, so you can truly appreciate the desperateness of my need, the dreaded "Before" picture!

Saturday, July 6, 2013

IRCC3 Layer 4c - Veil finis!

Or, rather; Il mio velo è finito!

I am saving the final 'as worn' photos for the unveiling of our finished projects ('Unveiling!' Get it?) but here is my new veil in bits and pieces.

The shape:

I've been pondering the shapes of veils in the Spanish tailors book, and the intriguing veil ends which continue up over the chest to tie behind the neck in some illustrations, and the basic 'no waste' thought process which underlies rectangular construction methods...smooshed all together. I took my rectangle of veil cloth and folded it in half--head to foot--and then found the midpoint on each side. I cut a swoopy s-curve shape from the center back fold line to the mid-point, pivoted and attached the pieces to the main body and created a HUGE sorta semi-circular veil with long tails.

I hemmed the edges with repeated passes of zigzag stitch and folding (taking advantage of the opportunity to straigten the edges as I went along)

and then braided the dangling threads at the tips. I think the braid puts the excess thread to good use, extending the length of the ties and making a cord that will be very easy to tie behind my neck.

In the end I am hoping for a semi-circular version of this

As a final little trick, I adapted a ruff-making tip I learned from Noel Gieleghem's excellent ruff-making directions and stitched a small marker at the center point of the leading edge of my veil. It's not really noticeable but I can feel it when I run the edge of my veil through my fingers and I'm sure it will help me keep it centered when I'm pinning it into my hair.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013


So I'm happily stitching away at my camicia sleeve and feeling good that I *finally* have the first pass of the pattern done on all the long "seam" edges. You know, thinking that I'm finally going to see some progress and get the full pattern stitched near the top and bottom of each row so I can assemble at least this one sleeve...

I'm working away at the acorns on an edge and I decide to unfold the whole piece a little more so I can see the two sections together and gloat a bit. Gloating about how pretty something is going to be keeps me going :) And this *is* pretty! I feel so clever and talented!...and then...hmm...

Then I realize that I've laid out my pattern in two different directions.

No! I was so careful! That can't be! But yes, most of the edges go one way but the first two, the section with the most stitching done, go the other way. Sigh.

So, I'm trying to put myself into the headspace of 16th century me. Do I take something out? Or do I just keep going.
Remember. Mechanized perfection is not the goal...


OK calmer now.

Maybe it's not so bad.

Friday, May 10, 2013

On with the embroidery, etc.

Having realized that it will be a very long time before the pieces of my camicia are fully embroidered I have decided to take a new approach. I need the outer edges of each piece to be finished in order to do the assembly work, but the inner parts of the pattern?... Not so much.

Therefore I have decided to partially work the first line of stitching for the embroidery on all the borders-just the part up to the stems where the acorns break off. That will establish the over all pattern and I will be free to work the entire embroidery for a few repeats at the edges, assemble the garment, and work the rest as I have time.

It's still a pretty big project, but I feel a lot less restless knowing I'll be able to start some assembling soon.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Thursday, May 2, 2013

IRCC3 - OK, blackwork version 2

I think it's better...but still not quite right. Maybe only 1 thread in the blue silk...

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

IRCC3 - lowering thoughts and lucky saves

Lucky saves come first:

As you may know, I'm working on the camicia for the challenge. I take it to work with me every day, wrapped up in a very un-period white plastic bag from the fabric store. Then I take it out at lunch and stitch away. Lately I have been noticing just how glaringly incongruous my transportation system is and considering more "plausibly period" alternatives, like wrapping it up in another piece of fabric, but today my silly plastic bag averted DISASTER when the olive oil from the pesto on my sandwich leaked everywhere. Especially all over the bag holding my sewing!

LUCKILY my project emerged unscathed, yay plastic bag! I'm sticking with you, bag. I'm sticking with you.

In other, less pleasant, news:

I have been merrily stitching along on my first band of blackwork...and slowly coming to the conclusion that it is the wrong scale. I deliberately made it so the little band of squares would be the same size as the square openings in my drawn thread work. I though they would compliment each other but I was so wrong! The blue squares totally overshadow the openings and the huge stitches just look childish on the pattern repeats so out it all comes and I try again. Say bye bye, version 1.

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!

Sunday, April 7, 2013

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!

Friday, March 8, 2013

Historical Sew Fortnightly Challenge #11 - Hmmm...A Shift!

Am I being bad? Hmm...I'm really not sure.

I have the materials for my "Peasants and Pioneers" project, but not the inclination so I've started on the project I do have inclination for: Squares, Rectangles and Triangles. I've been thinking for awhile that I wanted to try a highly embellished camicia--from scratch. And as the days wind down to the commencement of the IRCC3 my mind has wandered to embroidery patterns, and needle lace edgings, and the 10 yards of sheer white linen (IL030) I bought when it recently went on sale at

I pondered. And I thought. And I mused, and I pinned. And then I took up my scissors and started cutting!

And now, about 8 1/4 hours into the beyond-the-cutting-phase part of the project I am well on my way to my first completed bit of embellishment. Details will follow later but for now let's just look at my pretty pretty pulled-thread work!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Embellishment challenge update-1880's hat finished

Ah...that's better.

And the details:

The Challenge: 4 - Embellishment

Fabric: 100% silk dupioni, Plaid

Pattern: NA

Year: 1883-85-ish

Notions: straw hat, black cotton lace, purchased floral spray

How historically accurate is it? I'd say medium. I was inspired by a few particular hats but the proportions aren't quite right for the period. I'm having a hard time going for tall rather than round.

Hours to complete: started by shopping at about noon on Saturday, finished at about 9:30 pm on Monday. Maybe around 12?

First worn: Soon, I hope!

Total cost:
$ 2.99 USD for the hat and $3.99 USD for the flowers. All the rest is from the stash.