Showing posts with label IRCC3. Show all posts
Showing posts with label IRCC3. Show all posts

Saturday, August 17, 2013

IRCC3 - Whew! It's over and I am TIRED!

I'm also not done, as my bodice has yet to be started and the camicia embroidery project may well outlive me, but I finished my final report and can now rest and speak to my husband for a few days before recommencing. I think he will like that :)

Sunday, August 11, 2013

IRCC3 - All hemmed! Hmm...Now I guess I need a bodice...

Moving on with my hem, I ran another row of prick stitch through the all the layers about 1/2" from the edge of the hem on the fashion fabric thereby encasing the original cut edge and reducing the chances that my clipped hem finish will cause the main body of my doppia to fray. (Essentially, it's for seam allowance!)

I then flipped the facing fabric back toward the outer edge and ran a row of running stitch through the inner layers over the original seam securing the skirt and facing together.

Flipping the facing back again I have the look want, a separate tiny band of facing fabric sandwiched into the seam, and also enough stiffening from the build-up of the successive folded layers that I decided I didn't need to add any cording.

I double folded the remaining facing fabric and positioned it so the leading edge of the four thicknesses buts into the edge of the encased hem. Stitched in place, clipped, ironed, Voila!

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Fear, I'm facing you!

Well, I finally gathered up my courage and started on the hem of my skirt. First step, rounding out the train

I just folded the fabric in half and cut a freehand curve to round out the corner. This is still too square, but with the seam allowance turned under and the back panel gathered into the waistband I think it will be just right.

Second step, turn under the hemline of the skirt about 3/8" and baste in place. Third and fourth steps, cut 5" wide bias strips of bias hem facing, sew together, turn under about 1 1/2" on long edge, pin in place on skirt hem, wrong sides together and with the hem facing extending past the fashion fabric of the skirt about 1/4".

Fifth step, stitch hem facing in place. I used a running stitched worked thru the hem facing and the turn back of the hem on the fashion fabric. The stitches don't show on the right side of the skirt.

I'm trying out a doppia(padded hem) but I can't find the wool felt I purchased for the purpose so I think I'll make do with the linen facing and a row or two of hemp cord. And a heck or a lot of stitching!

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Saturday, July 27, 2013

IRCC3, Layer 2 - Pattern Matching: your mileage may vary

Because the 1/4 width pieces I am using for the triangular shaping in my skirts were actually longer than a skirt panel I am able to play about a bit with the positioning of the pattern on the piece which will be upside down. I tried various things:

Alternate side
even at the top * slightly raised * nearly even at the bottom

And the original side, nearly even at the bottom

While I found the various combinations of wiggly lines interesting, I decided that this version, which continues the rhythm of focal spots horizontally across the breadth of the skirt, is most appealing to me.

And did you notice how nicely the patterns match on the triangles I already attached?

Sunday, July 21, 2013

OK, I admit it. I'm afraid of trains.

Not wearing them, or even sewing them, but my brain has been shorting out on the subject of drafting/draping trains on my courtesan gowns for quite some time.

I think it is because I usually make the body of my skirts as a straight tube of three or more widths of fabric. If I add a small train of 5" or so to the back panel of such a skirt it is generally full enough that it can adjust to the slight drape without an awkward pull to the waistline, but the trin looks too small (side to side) and too shallow (front to back). If I were to extend the extra train fabric to two or three panels of the skirt the train would likely appear wide enough but I think the skirt would break with a fold line at the floor rather than gracefully trailing behind.

I haven't had any luck finding descriptions on the Internet about adding a train in my situation, but I think the edvidence of the Elenore of Toledo burial gown has given me the information I needed. It's the triangular sections that connect the straight front and back sections! In hindsight it seems fairly obvious that such a section would be needed to guide a trained gown into a graceful sweep |\ .... but I'm gonna say it anyway, Eureka!

Since I only have 2 1/2 widths of fabric to work with it is especially important that I build in as much room as I can in that back sweep or the whole gown is likely to look ridiculously skimpy. The extant gown shows that part of the back panel was taken away at the sides on the upper half and likely used to fill in the bottom, making the back piece more of a wedge. Since my waist is proportionally unusually small I don't need the fabric at the top of my skirt nearly as much as I do at the hips and below so I too will be sneaking some fabric out of the upper back to add to the lower.

Stitch, stitch , stitch...

Friday, July 19, 2013


Last year after I bought the stunningly beautiful blue silk which I have been afraid to cut I bought a printed linen in a similar pattern to make an under gown and test out a cutting diagram before cutting into the silk. The linen was still patiently waiting in my stash, untouched, but I have finally begun putting it to it's intended use!

The cut:

My fabric was cut evenly at the top of the pattern repeat at one end and a bit raggedly and off the repeat at the other. My skirt length varies from 42" in front to 45" in back and the pattern repeat of my fabric happens to fit exactly into 45" sections so-working from the good end- I cut one full width of fabric, 45" long for the front panel. since I want a train on this dress I used the somewhat raggedy end of the dress length for the back of the skirt. I picked a pattern transition point about 15" up from the edge and measured my 45" skirt length from there. I will eventually curve the button edge of this panel to form the train.

I am using the burial dress of Elanore of Toledo as my starting point for the patterning of the skirt but fabric constraints prevent my skirt from being quite so lavish. After I cut both the front and back panels I had about one and a half skirt lengths of fabric left. I decided to split this piece lengthwise into three sections, 1/4, 1/2, 1/4, so that I would have the full center of the panel to use when making my bodice and as much length as possible for making the sleeves. The 1/4 width panes are being split into triangles and inserted between the front and back panels to create a greater sweep of the skirt at the hemline and help the train to drape gracefully.

Now I just have to sew while keeping my fingers crossed that it works!

As to the sewing itself, I'm finally trying the period method of hemming each piece and then whip stitching them together. I think I like it. :)

Sunday, July 14, 2013

IRCC 4d? Anyway, It's another accessory! (or part of one)

You know how it is.

I finished my fan and spent a couple of days glorying in my accomplishment...and then I started thinking that now that I have a feather fan with a hanging ring I need a girdle to hang it from. So I go to the hardware store and buy a package of a nice, slightly ornamental, gold colored chain and I'm thinking "OK. I got the chain. Now I go home, measure out the correct length, bend some hooks, throw it together and hit it with Rub n' Buff so it kinda matches the fan. Done!"

Of course, that's not how it's working out. :)

Once I had the chain home, and the fan attached, it just started seeming...skimpy. It is nice chain, and the correct scale but it needed more ornamentation to complement the fan. I was pondering the possibilities of wired on filigree pieces, or pearls. Then it occurred to me that the leftover acorns from my hairpin project were a good size for putting in the spaces between the links and a few minutes later my new girdle was begun! I'm suspending the acorns between two links so they fall in the middle of the alternate link and I like the look and feel a lot but the whole project is on hold overnight because I need more jump rings.

In the morning I'll be off to the store and I'm hoping to return with more of the acorns and jump rings plus thread to match the sottana which I am finally working on. (Surprise!)

The original chain, disassembled, and reassembled

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

IRCC3 Layer 4b Update: The Orsi fan is finished!

After the gold paint dried I discovered that while it was wonderfully shiny it was that horrible green-gold color that I loathe in metallic spray paint. Luckily, I had provided myself with an alternative, Rub n' Buff!

I had never used it before, but after years of watching it transform items on HGTV I just had to give it a try. I love it! It warmed the color right up, smoothed out minor imperfections in the surface and makes a lovely texture to hold.

The next step was steam curling my Ostrich plumes and the three smaller single feathers I got for the front side of the fan. I only did the upper 1/4 of the larger feathers but I curled the entire length of the front feathers. then I stuck the feathers in their slots and stuck in some shredded toilet paper between the feathers to hold them in place while still making it easy to remove and replace the feathers if needed.


Tuesday, July 9, 2013

IRCC3, 4b - pre assembly prep work on the fan

I've realized that I neglected to chronicle and photo document the most important part of the fan--most important from a structural perspective, at least--the top opening and double pockets where the feathers will be inserted!

As you may remember, I made a cardboard spacer which I tied to the central upright oval of craft wood I had attached to the wood candleholder which forms the base of my fan handle. I then built up an outer layer of plastic wood which I have since used as the base for my paperclay top coat. I removed the cardboard spacer a while ago and have been carefully preserving the opening as I completed the adjoining sculptural elements.

Side view of the fan featuring the dragon's head

And the top opening.

I am planning to make my feathers white on the front and black on the back and it seemed to me that support between the layers would be a good thing--thus the double pockets. I assembled the main feathers by stitching the spines together in pairs (the thread wraps around the front of the rib and then loops around itself and is carried up the back of the feather to the next stitch, rather like tying a roast) using the instructions in Lynn McMaster's article, How to Create Ostrich Plumes. I plan to curl the feathers too and then assembly is next!

Tonight I painted the fan gold. After it is fully dry I'll decide if that is enough or if it needs additional painting but here is a peek.

Monday, July 8, 2013

IRCC3 Layer 4b-Fan handle sculpting is complete!

I added the final flourishes to the dragon-leafy things that stick out at the sides of my fan and managed some passable leaf shapes on the lower handle which left me with only the uncharted territory of the back to address. Orsi's design doesn't include a reverse image so I set out to look for something suitable...without much luck until I had the happy thought of looking at Orsi's's other work and found this frieze with a suitable cartouche

Ornamental Frieze

Lelio Orsi (called Lelio da Novellara)  (Italian, Novellara 1508/11–1587 Novellara)

Some day I'll actually have a registered device which I will paint onto it!



Hopefully I'll move on to painting tomorrow.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

IRCC 4b- More pretty pictures of the fan in progress

One interesting thing about the paperclay is that it doesn't particularly want to stick to the dry version of itself. I was using it more like plasticine--adding it in layers and attempting to work to a level of perfect detail--but paperclay seems to respond better to a freer approach. I've been wetting down the dry surfaces to make them more receptive to additions and now I'm trying to work on larger areas in one go.

I notice that the pieces have a lot more life and it feels great to be getting things moving!

Saturday, July 6, 2013

IRCC3 Layer 4c - Veil finis!

Or, rather; Il mio velo รจ 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.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

IRCC3 Layer 2: Another blast from the past.

I know that I want to make up a dress from the terrifying, beautiful, blue silk I bought (but never used) for IRCC2. I've been fretting and pondering and wondering "how am I gonna get a dress-preferably with sleeves-out of a mere 3 yards of fabric?" "And a train! I want a train! Can it even be done?" After working myself into a veritable tizzy I went looking at my posts from last year to remind myself just how stunning that silk is...and discovered I have nearly 5 yards or it!

Now I distinctly remember working myself to the same spot of frozen panic last year. But this year? Hey, I just found out I have an *extra* two yards of fabric! I can do this!

Ooooo.....soooooooo pretty!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

"What's that?" you say. That, my friend, is a big heap of veil!

I'm a natural fiber girl, by preference, but I'll make exceptions for a synthetic fabric that really gives the feel of what I'm trying to represent. Thus, after I became enamored with striped veils during the IRCC2 I snapped up a remnant piece of sheer curtain fabric that hit nearly every point I was looking for. It's an off-white to complement my complection and hide dirt, it's really sheer, it has widely spaced stripes, and those stripes have depth in comparison to the rest of the fabric. Although I would have preferred a silk with a stripe of black or gold, at a width of 110" and a price of about $1.50 this was the perfect fabric!

One of the nice things about not even starting projects you planned to do for an IRCC is that sometimes they are still waiting when the next one comes round. Today I took a little look at the veil patterns I found last year, took up my fabric and scissors and set to. I've only got the first seam finished but I am loving the look of the fabric and feeling good about the shape. I can hardly wait to see how it comes together!

A bit more progress on the fan

'Real Life' intruded and has eaten up the vast majority of my weekend thus far but I did manage to get in some work on the fan handle.

I hope to get better at acanthus leaves...someday...but I'm pretty happy with the pedestal.

Friday, June 21, 2013

News. Some good, some...well...?!

The bad news is that acanthus leaves are, apparently, very hard for me to sculpt. I keep applying some paperclay and working it into something almost entirely un-like an acanthus leaf. (Sigh) Perhaps the 4th or 5th or 18th try will be the charm!

The good, but rather surprising news is that I can sculpt faces! (Who knew?) And even some fairly good hair!

My little man is coming together! In fact he is coming together so well that I couldn't resist sticking some feathers in for a peek.


Saturday, June 15, 2013

Can't...Resist...! Must...Show Off...Progress!

Still loving the paper clay!

Bit by bit...

It's coming together!

IRCC3-4b: Fan handle in progress...

...Ooooo! that's better!

The plastic wood seems to be providing good framing and structure but it's completely lacking in suitability for fine detail work so after I roughed-in some arms I went looking for an alternative material to use for a sculptural topcoat on my fan handle. I found air-hardening paper clay and I think I'm in love!

Saturday, June 8, 2013

IRCC 3 - 4b: The great fan adventure continues...

After roughing in the carving for the handle I cut a groove across the top plate of my handle base and inserted a craft wood oval to provide support for the feathers of my fan and also the fantastic animals which project to the sides.

Since I couldn't find my coping saw, or any of my other, more suitable, saws. I made the grove by working at it a whole lot with a combination of the tools I could find, a drywall saw, chisel and my wonderful hand drills. Really, the proper tools would have made this stage a whole lot easier but, as you can see, it worked!

I glued the craft wood oval into place with ordinary white glue and let it dry overnight.

Then I sized Orsi's original design to the appropriate scale and printed it out so that I would have a reference for the next stage-modeling the figures!

I should probably mention that I have been very tempted to just finish the fan handle at this stage. It is very comfortable to hold and has a lovely shape. All that is needed is some smoothing, sanding, and a cover for the place where the brass ring joins the wood and it would be ready to paint. But it wouldn't be Orsi's fan. :) Thus, I persevere.

Although I cannot find it at present, another period artwork inspired me to try making a feather fan in which one side is white feathers, the other black, and you see the reverse color where the feathers curl over at the tips. Since I've given my handle a central support structure I need to create spaces between that central piece and the outer cover in which to insert my feathers.

I stacked up cut up pieces of a cardboard box and sections of the cardboard core of a paper towel roll until they seemed thick enough and then wrapped them in plastic wrap in the hope that the plastic wood won't adhere.

I tied the assembled spacer to my framing with thread. I hope it will be easy to cut free when the time comes.

Next up: Plastic wood! I started applying the plastic wood at the acorn knob at the bottom of my fan and discovered that it doesn't really mold and model in the way I remember. It is too soft at the start, and cracks and flakes off as it dries as I'm working it. Furthermore, it doesn't really want to adhere to the existing framework. It seems to respond best to repeated tapping and thinner layers so I am going to try roughing in the sculpted shapes I need and adding in depth and detail in layers.

Here is my first pass at side one.

It doesn't look like much right now, but I think it has potential.