Sunday, November 23, 2014

Cuffs Finished!

...Though they are still not quite usable.  I still have to plan out and execute the smock, including some further blackwork (in white!) for the neckline.  But the cuffs themselves are all finished and only need to be gathered, trimmed, and sewn to their final resting place.

The first step after the embroidery proper was finished was putting the smallest possible rolled hem around the edges. For this I used 100/3 Londonderry linen thread waxed with some beeswax.

Then came the needle lace -- though it's a pretty generous term for what is basically a variant on a blanket stitch.  This has the double benefit of giving a nice finished edge to the cuffs (and the neckline, when that gets finished) as well as giving some strength to the linen edge, since it's basically tied in double knots every eight threads.

And here's the finished cuffs after a quick hot water wash and some pressing.  From here they'll be mounted on a mat board for competition and display until they are ready to actually become clothing.

Part of me is still just glad and sort of amazed that I actually managed to finish them.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Jane Seymore Cuffs: Embroidery Done!

In less than a year, too!  My speed seems to be improving!

That's 36 total inches, accomplished during the few bits of motivated spare time I've had since mid-January.  Next on the docket is to trim off all the extra linen, give it the tiniest possible rolled hem I can muster, and do some simple needlelace on the ends.

My previous screwup with the design ended up being perfect for learning and practicing a stitch that would work for the edges. I got the basic needlelace stitch (itself a variation of a blanket stitch) from this tutorial but added my own extra step to give it the bumpiness that exists in Holbein's painting.  It's maybe not quite exactly the same, but it seems really close and plausible.

The neckline embroidery may very well end up going much faster since the design is pretty basic, but it's something I'll have to chart out myself and execute in maybe sixes after all is said and done.

Friday, February 28, 2014

Proof that I Can Finish Something: Blue Wool 15th century Dress, and Red Hood

Both items have been finished for quite a while, but my husband's photography assignments have given me the excuse to put everything on and get some decent documentary pictures.

The blue wool dress has been a regular part of the wardrobe rotation for well over a year.  I need to track down my documentation for it, but it's an entirely handsewn waisted kirtle based mostly on museum of london finds.  It's blue wool with a flat fell lining of white linen

I'm wearing it with my white linen smock and linen birgitta cap (which are largely machine sewn), and in the photo I'm fiddling with my hand spinning

I don't quite remember when I finished the last buttonhole on my red wool hood, but it was a very good day.  It's red wool lined in plaid wool, completely handsewn and largely based on the Museum of London hood (though I took a few liberties with the pattern).

And the whole thing!  I fell silly after the fact for not throwing on some sleeves, but we were fighting against time for the light.


Monday, February 3, 2014

Screwups, Explosions, and Other Matters Relating to Embroidery

The embroidery is coming along, though a bit slower than I was hoping for.  First of all, I did several inches of the second line completely wrong.

...and this was how much I did before I realized it, because that's how I roll, apparently.  Even though it's quite a bit, it's less than a quarter of the motif's total appearance on both cuffs, so it was more worth it to start over than do the remainder of the design knowing it was wrong.

Pulling it out was remarkably painless.

And the actual design turned out to be much easier to execute in double running stitch, so I may have saved myself time in the long run.

It was the third row that nearly killed me.

The poor fabric just couldn't keep up with my repeated attempts to unpick stitches, and combusted spontaneously.  At least it was close enough to the edge that I could fix it fairly easily.

The third photo is the back, which is slightly ugly due to having to tack down the tiny little threads leftover after clipping.  From here I can start over as if it never happened.

The design worked up much better after I got that screw-up out of the way. I suppose my offering to the embroidery gods was pleasing.

I have a lot more of this in my immediate future.  Upward and onward!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

2013 at a glance, and looking ahead.

2013 was a bit of a wash, it seems, blog-wise. Making things did in fact happen in 2013 -- I did a Japanese feast back in March:
In the middle of planning this feast I ended up working two jobs and hardly ever sleeping, so it's probably the most seat-of-my-pants meal I've ever done. People seemed to like it all the same, though.I wasn't able to realize my dream of having the whole hall sit on pillows at low tables, we had a nod to that with our central show table (they paid a little extra and got their own feast gear in the deal).

I also finished a completely hand-sewn 14th century hood with a completely rediculous amount of hand-sewn buttons and button holes. It's red wool lined in plaid wool, sewn with silk thread. I really like how it turned out, though I don't think I was looking closely enough at the Museum of London patterns when I made it -- the gores are a little too shallow, they should be going right to the chin line. By the time I figured it out I'd already sewn all four of them so I just plowed ahead. I also learned some basic bookbinding at our kingdom's big summer event, which inspired me to make a velvet-bound sketch book for a swap back in December.


I used reclaimed book boards and some very polyester thrift-store velvet that turned out to be completely perfect for the application -- the poly backing let it stick to the glue without soaking it up, and the pile was nice enough that you couldn't tell once it was finished.

2013 doesn't seem quite so unproductive now that I think about it.

As for 2014, I'm finding myself with a little more hands-free time, so I've decided I need to do some blackwork again. I decided to go with the Jane Seymour cuffs, a pattern that I'd actually started on aida cloth way back in my earliest days of the SCA but never actually completed or used. Amanda Marksdottir has done a really great job creating an updated chart for the design.  I also have the benefit of some of the lighter-weight linen that Dharma Trading Company started carrying thanks to a dropoff from Santa (thanks Mom!).  I'm doing the embroidery in Guterman silk sewing thread -- it gives a good line for this kind of work and it's literally across the street from my apartment at the local Joann.

I'm more-or-less doing both cuffs at once, and after a week I've finished Row 1 and am now well into tackling Row 2.
It always amuses me how the half-done stuff looks just a little bit pixilated.

And the finished motifs all close-like.

Still a long ways off from this, I'll admit.

In other news, I've gotten word that our area's Arts and Sciences championship is moving from May to July this year. With that slightly extended deadline and all of the things that I've been working on over the last few years, I think I might actually be able to bring five objects worth competing with, but we'll see what happens.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

It *Has* Gotten Dusty in Here...

Good lord, nearly a year since my last post.  And what on earth have I been up to in that time?

Well, not a whole lot, to be honest.  I don't think I've sewn a thing since I set down that bodice from last November (it had some strap issues and I just sort of put it down in frustration and then never took it back up).  I didn't even make the Steampunk costume I'd finally had an excuse for over the summer.  I put my loom with its barely-started brocade in a place where I see it every day, but it doesn't motivate me to start working on it again...

This sort of blah feeling about my projects transferred to my SCA attendance.  I didn't leave the SCA for any particular reason, it just sort of happened.  Drew and I went to about three events  total over the last year, mostly due to costs of the big events like Uprising and some Real Life that seemed to keep getting in the way.  I think I might have also gotten a bit depressed.  I've also found an alternate hobby to keep me engaged that has nothing whatsoever to do with history or sewing (weird, huh?) and that's been a bit of a time/money suck as well.

In the meantime, though, I've moved, to a much nicer, though smaller apartment, which made me do a serious clean-out of a great many fabric and crafting bits that were just taking up space and re-assess just what I want to keep and focus on.  At the moment, it's all of my "good" fabrics (linens, silks, wools, etc) and several things that I'm halfway finished with anyway (a tudor dress that's begging for completion, a mock-up for a St. Birgitta cap, and quite a few other things).  That got rid of a *lot* of stuff.

I still sort of follow the local SCA goings-on on Facebook and I see all the great things that my friends are doing and accomplishing, and I start to want to be a part of it again, going to events where I can hang out with such amazingly talented people and engage in the mutual showing-off.  Slowly I've started coming back to our local fighter practice and found the group, as always, to be very warm and welcoming of a wayward soul like me, so I've been trying to come more often and get back in the swing of things.  I want to really try to go to Uprising next year, and possibly (POSSIBLY) try to save up for the 2016 50-year anniversary event, which means I have about 3 years to get my act together.  :D

I want to make things again, but for some reason I'm still finding it difficult to get back into the swing of things.  I want to finish my Margot de Valois dress, because damn it the sleeves look *great* and it's just like me to just quit halfway through.  I want to submit a full complement of awesome things to Kingdom A&S, things that I've done the legwork and research for, that now I just need to *do*.  I'm still finding it hard.  I've misplaced my motivation, it seems, and I'm trying to find where exactly I put it.

I hope to start writing again, and to actually have projects that I can report on.  I want to talk about how I actually finished my handsewn 15th century kirtle, though I've since torn out a few seams in the sleeves that need some work (they are a bit overly tight at the moment so I'm trying to figure out what to do about them).  I want to find my camera (!) and finish documenting that properly.

I also found Pinterest!  Feel free to look me up here.  It's pretty sparse at the moment, but I hope to have more there as time goes on.

So that's where I am now!  Not incredibly interesting, I suppose, but hopefully there's some hope for the future.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Productive Weekend? Maybe

I had plans to really bang out my bodice this weekend, but here's how it went down:

Wednesday:  Get off work early, help my friend who's hosting thanksgiving make pies, and set up the turkey brine.  Dream about tasty pies.

Thursday:  Cut out bodice front.  Feel like a boss.  Make trifle and creamed corn and use oven for casseroles and bacon. Feel stuffy in the evening, which is not a good sign.

BTW, here's the bodice all cut out, two layers of cotton canvas, and one of cotton batting:

Friday:  Wake up stuffed and congested.  Sit at sewing machine to quilt together bodice layers, only to have the machine not working.  Remember the morning of Collegium, when in a pre-event rush the broken-spring foot pedal was left to run the machine on full power for twenty minutes.  Curse.  Take offending pedal to Bernina shop, where they miraculously had an identical spring to replace the broken one.  Sit at sewing machine a second time, only to find that the fixed-spring pedal is still broken.  Electrics are probably fried, which is a much worse situation than a broken spring.  Curse.  Determine to hell with it, the bodice is getting quilted tonight, and look up pad stitching.  Nurse an entire roll of toilet paper throughout the day, play a bit of Mario Kart with friend's family.  Try not to spread too many germs.  Finally get Mucinex at 10:00 pm so sleep can be possible.

Saturday:  Finish quilting bodice.  Feel like a handsewing boss.

Take machine back to bernina shop, pay $25 for a new universal presser foot retrofitted with the original wiring of the sewing machine.  Express love and devotion to the awesome professionals at the bernina shop.  Go to Zupa's for soup.  Go home intending to work on bodice, but sleep for four hours instead.