Monday, August 22, 2011

I survived hand binding!

I think the fifth sewing circle of hell is hand-binding corset tabs into eternity.

I'm pretty ashamed of the inconsistent job I did on this binding, but I grit my teeth and did it and now it's done and other than a very small amount of adjustment I'm just going to have to live with it.

I do have to give my friend Karena some mad props for saving my sanity on this.  While I was at fighter practice bitching about sewing down this stupidly frustrating binding, she offered to take it on in exchange for some consultation and drafting work on her own Elizabethan outfit.  In my weakness (I think I said something about oh please take it away just make the pain stop) I took her up on it.  She ended up getting waylaid by her own sewing deadline for a wedding, so i ended up doing most of it anyway, but it was enough that i could rediscover my motivation and push through it.  THANK YOU!  It still needs 9 sets of eyelets around the waist, a bit of boning adjustment, and binding around the armscye.  I'm waiting on that until last because I might need to make adjustments to the armscye for comfort, and I've found the best way to figure that out is to wear it for reals once or twice.

If you've been following this you might have seen that my original pattern was for a one-piece corset with lacing only up the front in similitude of the effigy bodies, but the boning made it shrink to the point where it was *really* overly busty in the front.  The back was split and eyelets added (criss-cross style instead of spiral, because I know from experience the limitations of my dresser/husband) and the effect was perfect once I gave the girls a little more room.

I also looked closely at the gold silk bits that made up the original binding, and I *think* I'll have enough for two 1" rings of guards around the bottom of the matching petticoat.  I'll be reacquainting myself with my rotary cutter shortly to find out for sure.

Saturday, August 20, 2011


The problem with doing so much handwork is that there really isn't much to blog about.  I've been working for weeks on the bottom edge binding around my corset, and it's finally done (pics to follow shortly) but today I was feeling particularly inspired so I started setting up the warp for my magpie garters.  And, in my grand tradition of trying things for the first time, I decided to try my hand at circular warping.

As far as supplies are concerned, I found a really great source for silk weaving thread, so I bought two cones thinking it would be more than I ever needed:
To do a continuous warp for tablet weaving, I needed four cones.  so I cut each in half with the help of my fancy pants warping board.

 My husband built it, and it measures and holds an almost infinite amount of thread easily measurable increments (every pass from peg to peg is one yard, and the pegs on top help count each pass).  With the help of this the job of cutting down my cones into four roughly equal parts was very easy.

Why yes those are toilet paper rolls, and yes that is a spoon taped to the wall.  They're hung on the wall with a dowel and threaded through the spoon's 'eye' to assist in the warping process.  Don't ask me why I had to do it in the most white trash way possible, though.

This part was really tricky to try to photograph as it involved all of my hands, but the method of continuous warp makes warping cards incredibly fast, because you thread the entire pack, and then separate out the cards as you warp it up.  Once again, the warping board was invaluable.  I ended up with perfectly strung cards that were pretty much all the same length, saving time and minimizing waste in the warping process. 

Now it came time to pull out my newest favorite thing:

Drew's keen eye found this antique Structo loom at DI and it was love at first sight.  The heddles and reed were easy enough to remove, and could still be re-attached easily:

So I had a simple ratchet setup, identical to my earlier idea pertaining to box looms (scroll down) based on examples from illuminated manuscripts.

So far, the idea seems to have merit:

And I'm very pleased with how much tension the loom provides as well.  I hope to start brocading tomorrow.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Update on a new thing: Tablet-woven garters

I got really inspired yesterday and decided more-or-less on a design for a pair of tablet woven garters as part of my challenge project:

-I got this idea from a band in EP&AC* that had birds on it, but I kept thinking that the birds on that band looked terribly dumpy.  And while the patterns in Il Burato weren't meant specifically for a tablet weaving text, there are indications that they would be useful for woven narrow wares (several of the woodcuts show ladies at upright looms or portable rigid heddle looms).  The design itself is a little complicated for tablet weaving, but not overly so.

-While I originally wanted baby blue silk thread to use for the ground, I determined that adding white thread to the magpie's breasts would make the brocade pattern overly complicated (several passes already have 2 or even 3 colors, which ups the complication considerably), so I might end up using a white ground so the white bellies can come from the negative space rather than brocading.

-Guntram's Tabletweaving Thingy was incredibly useful in making this happen, though I'm still trying to figure out how to use the app to its full advantage.

-I think they look well enough like magpies (which was the main goal) but I might still tweak the blues and blacks a bit until it's perfect.

-the flowers are a different color of blue in the draft, but I might end up doing it in the same color blue as the wings and tails.  It depends on how masochistic I'm feeling.

-the plan for this is to make three garters -- a pair for me, and one for my husband to wear with his western stuff as a favor.

-I hope to string it up on my new mini structo loom (DI find of the year!) so I can carry it around events and things to work on.

*This book, which is amazing and awesome and is not in my possession right at this moment, so I can't list the specific reference.