Sunday, May 15, 2011

LJ Archives: May 2011

May 15th:  New Project:  Effigy Bodies
I started this corset ages ago, before I really got my butt in gear to finish my blue kirtle.

It's fully boned (though I suspect I'll pull some bones out of the back) with cable ties, and is made with two layers of duck canvas.  There are only a few tabs cut out now, but I will cut out a few more later to keep it from fraying too much.

And here it is with the silk taffeta outer layer pinned in place.  It looks very similar in color to the last picture, but it's actually a really great magenta color.  Since this silk was from a thrifted skirt, I had to split the large front pieces more or less in half. 

I also wasn't super happy with how the front was connecting to the side back seam when sewing it by machine, so I'm handsewing it in place.  I'm not entirely worried about making it look pretty because I'm planning to cover it with a decorative satin stitch that matches the binding.

Which will be this:

Bianca had several large pieces of this gold silk lying around, some with the bias already marked, which was awesome, considering the trouble I had finding any at the fabric store.

Yay progress!

May 15th:  Kirtle Progress:  Tablet-Woven Reinforcement
To do the braid around the neckline and lacing edge of my kirtle, I used a simple setup of 2 cards with an SZ twist, with all blue thread that matched the fashion fabric of the dress.

The cards were turned in a continuous forward motion, which built up a lot of twist in the unused warp threads.  I wanted to have the 'switch' to happen at the halfway point at the CB seam, which involved untying the end and combing out the twist.  After the halfway point the cards were switched to backward turns.

Instead of using a shuttle, I just used a needle threaded with the weft thread (the same 1000 denier silk as the warps).  I used the needle to beat the weft, and then sew it down to the edge in a circular, whipstitch motion.

Note:  This process KILLS the weft thread after about two inches of work.  I had to use very small sewing lengths.  It's also not great for your fingertips and fingernails, which will get pressed on and scratched up.

Also note that in this picture I used the backstrap method to tension it (the warps are tied to a belt around my waist).  I don't recommend it.  After a while you won't be able to reach your shed.  This happened to me, so I set up two fixed points with a doorknob and a table leg.

Also, I about wanted to kill the little hummingbirds on my protege belt, the pointy little devils.

The flash kind of ate this shot, but you can see how it turned out.  You end up with something very much like a herringbone braid that sits not really on either side of the dress, but on the very edge between the layers.

I worked this while the front seam of the skirt was still open, which worked out really well.  Corners were kind of a monster, but I found that if you work a little weaving after you hit the edge but without attaching it, you could work up a little 'slack' and sew it onto the new edge after the corner.  No pictures of it, sorry (it's very hard to convey what I want a picture of to my husband, and taking it myself just isn't going to work).  I'll try to explain it better when I teach it.

The dress is currently hanging up, waiting patiently for gravity to do its thing before I sew the hem.

May 13th:  More Tablet weaving Crazy
It seems that when most people do tablet weaving they use something like this:

It's decent.  The design dates to something like the 1930s and Angie seems to always burn through her tension bar, but it's much more portable than something like this:

These setups are pretty cool, and conceptually it's the only way to do the crazy warp-sewn braids like what I did on my blue dress (for the class I'm going to try to have the cards threaded between two clamps on a table), but even if you make it collapsible, it's not exactly portable in the grab-and-go sort of sense.

But there is a light at the end of the tunnel:

Box looms.

Technically the figure here is doing narrow rigid heddle weaving, but it can also be used to good effect with tablet weaving.  The problem is trying to find one that can go double-duty.  While this one from Spanish Peacock looks awesome, it doesn't look like they're offering it right now, and there are a few other sellers/SCA merchants that look to offer something similar in the 200 dollar range, though they all seem a bit too short to get a good shed.  Alternately, there are directions available to make one from scratch, which is beyond my capabilities (I need another sub-hobby like a hole in my head) but not beyond those of someone really awesome and talented.

Perhaps someone as awesome and talented as my mom. 

Did I mention that my mom is awesome?  And occasionally reads this blog?  And has woodworking tools?  And loves me so much?

May 10th:  KA&S and Tablet Weaving
Kingdom A&S was pretty tiny this year attendance-wise, and since pretty much all of the attendees were either entrants or judges, there wasn't much going on in the afternoon.  The fabric sale fundraiser seemed to work pretty well, but it seemed all of the good stuff disappeared right off the bat, so I didn't get anything.  My blue dress was only lacking a hem, and I need to finish pressing that and do it so I can get some decent pictures, but it got decent scores -- I don't remember the rank it got but it scored somewhere around 35-39 on average (out of 50).  My embroidered coif got masterwork level, which was pretty awesome since I have a lot of "this old thing?" feelings about it at this point (all of the scores were in the 40s). 

Even sans hem, I wore the dress later in the day and got a ton of compliments on it, including one from Elizabeth lamenting that mine was bluer than hers (and next to her she looked navy).  Win!  Everyone was also super impressed with the warp-sewn tablet weaving I did around the neckline -- if we go to Uprising (kind of up in the air right now) I think I'll try to teach a class on it.

I really should get more photos of my completed work.  It's kind of embarrassing.

Tablet weaving is on my mind lately.  A gal on   is working on a fantastic tudor-era gown with tablet-woven trim, and it made me think about how we in the SCA tend to stick tablet weaving on all things Viking and not much else.  And then I stumbled upon this!  And this:

16th century silk brocade with tablet-woven edge
Philadelphia University Design Center (via A Fashionable Excuse)

I mean, I know that tablet weaving was done in the 14th, 15th, and 17th centuries, but I'd never quite made the connection that it was still kicking around in the 16th.  Plus, I got a ton of compliments on the hairtie I wore to KA&S (a very simple pink-and-white striped design in silk thread).  So...there might be more tablet weaving in my future.  Especially since I just ordered this and this for my birthday.  Yay me!