Showing posts with label Lace. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Lace. Show all posts

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Turning Heads Challenge: Step One - Make the Tool

I've decided to go forward with a hairnet for the challenge. I'm intrigued with the contined presence of decorative hairnets in Italian art right through the 16th century. While they are by no means present in every portrait, they continue to be seen and it makes me ponder the possible interaction of an *unseen* hair-colored net and the jeweled head bands I love so much. It seems to me that the sequence of fully dressed hair might be:

Braided hair pined or sewn into a ring on the back of the head
Arranged hair covered with a hairnet and tied in place
Braided cord edging hairnet covered with necklace

Certainly it seems likely that a hairnet might help preserve my hairstyle. :)

So, I needed a netting needle.

Somewhere in my tools stash I own a metal netting needle but I know it is larger than I would prefer to use on this project, and also a bit too rough for the delicacy of the thread I plan to use. After some looking on the Internet I had almost decided to make do with a regular needle again...but then it occurred to me that I might be able to make my own.

I raided my jewelry making supplies and pulled out the thickest brass wire I coud find. I cut off a piece about 7" long

And hammered flat the last 1 1/2" on each end

Then I sawed the flat ends down the middle to make two arms

I spread the arms and hammered and filed them smooth. Then I twisted the arms a 1/4 trin so the flat planes of the metal would be brought together at the tips when I bent the arms.

I bent the arms about halfway up and after some hammering of the central stem to harden it I have a lacis netting tool! I'll report again as I use it on the project, but at this point I'd say you can make your own netting tool.

Feeling very accomplished right now....   :)

Friday, January 9, 2015

Turning Heads Challenge: What to do?

I'm just about ready to throw my hat into the ring and join in the adventure of the "turning Heads" challenge over on the Realm of Venus. The quandary is...what to make?

I admit to a rather strong fondness for the fancy jeweled headbands seen on some period portraits, but I have noticed that the ladies in the Venetian portraits I favor seem to sport unadorned hair--perhaps to focus the attention on the wonders of the hair itself--while the jewels seem to be more worn in other areas of Italy. Hmm. The truth is that a sneaking suspicion that my jeweled headband isn't accurate for Venice would in-no-way prevent me from wearing it! :) Possibly giving rise to the erroneous belief in other that such a thing was accurate... Bad reenactor!

So, do I make one of these lovelies, or keep myself from temptations way?

Another strong possibility is a pair of glasses. I would love to have glasses that I felt free to wear at events because they *added* to the event, not just because I needed them to see. And I will be taking an enameling class so the project might fit right in...I might even take on making an enameled case! 

And I have such a love for these lace veils. The idea of making one has definite appeal...

Finally, It would be difficult to find an item more authentic and appropriate than a hairnet. A simple *netted* silk hair net strikes me as being the equivalent of period style shoes. It is another ubiquitous item that most people do without, but which would totally elevate the authenticity of my presentation. and (unlike shoes) it's not even expensive or all that difficult to make!

As I said, what to do....?

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

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.

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!

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

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!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

IRCC II - Tasty Nibble 14: Oooo! Lacy!

I'm keeping a more detailed record of the progress of my Camicia in the "Stitch by stitch" page but I couldn't resist sharing this shot...

I'm not getting much lift (I need to try fitting a bodice when it doesn't have lace I care about attached) but even though it's cut extremely low I feel really secure that this neckline isn't going anywhere. It's definitely the best fit I've achieved so far. happiness!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Friday, April 20, 2012

IRCC II Tasty Nibble #5 - My Lace

It never fails to amaze me what I can find on e-bay!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Tasty Nibble #20

I haven't nearly finished pulling all the fringe on the first edge of my veil, but I've followed in my usual impatient path and started a section of the macramé, voila!

Here it is with my test sample, for perspective.

I'm working the pattern using 3 strands of the warp of my veil fabric for every one thread of the test sample and you can see how teeny tiny this is going to be. Hopefully I will get better at it...

Monday, January 30, 2012

Oh my!

The hair ornament. The lace. I may not be able to resist this one.

Portrait of Eleonora Ganzaga
Pourbus Frans il Giovane, 1602-1603
Polo Museale, Florentino, Palatina Inventory Item #391


Who cares if it's a wee bit post period for the SCA?!?

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Two Things

Thing One: Artemisians are starting to scare me.

I've been reading the project write ups the participants in the ACC are putting out on-line and after my initial reaction of amazed delighted awe I keep coming back to their lists of items and interesting tendency towards saying something on the line of:

"For the challenge I made one piece for each of the required four layers--oh, I made 2 versions of my layer three, one in linen, one in wool but both entirely hand sewn--and these seven additional accessories...oh and here I am, wearing the full outfit with the pin and bag and (insert 27 other items here) I made to go with it. I guess that makes a total of 41 items. Oh yeah, maybe I should include the 7 things I made which I'm not wearing because I decided they weren't *quite* the right color..."

Who are these people!?!

Where do they find the time!?!

Seriously, I keep thinking of what Anya said: "Nobody could do that much decoupage without calling on the forces of evil!"


Artemisians. Yes, they're better than the rest of us.

Thing Two: Partlet progress report

As you can see, I have stitched together a great deal more of the seams to create the neckline of the partlet. It feels a lot better and looks better too, I think, so I'm now working on adding the additional pieces to finish the back of the partlet. I'm also still considering the question of bust support and coverage. I'm currently considering the potential of making a white linen partlet based on the bust supporting ideas posited by Robin Netherton with her work on the Gothic fitted dress. If I made it waist length and laced it closed to just the top of the bodice I wonder if it would work to support a bust my size? The pondering continues as I work on the stitching at the edges of my lacis pieces...

Monday, January 2, 2012

The partlet is starting to come together

As you can see, I have begun attaching the lacis squares together to create my first partlet. I'd been thinking that if I only stitched the squares around the neck opening 1/2-way it would make a good neckline and the beginnings of a standing collar. I still like the concept but this picture shows me that I will need to close the seams a good bit further to get the fit I'd like. Maybe 3/4's of the way...?

I like it that the shoulder squares will clearly provide plenty of coverage down into the sleeve of my gowns...not so sure about a single square providing enough depth to the back of the partlet but I think I'll need to get the neckline fitted before I know if I'll need to add another row to the back (rather than just squaring it off as I had planned.)

My new quandary is the transparency question. This is clearly a racier style but I'm beginning to wonder if it is racier than I am comfortable with. I feel a lot naked-er in the lace than I expected. After some pondering I've come to suspect that my cafe-au-lait skin tone provides so much contrast to the lace that it screams "she's naked under here!" while the portraits I was inspired by (which are all of women with much lighter completions) merely hint at it.

I'm planning to continue on the partlet and see how I feel when it is finished and part of a complete ensemble. If it turns out that I am just too modern to wear it with a 1590's bodice I can always wear it with a gown with more fabric to the bodice, but I notice that the photos don't actually look nearly as naked as I feel...interesting.