Monday, December 24, 2012

Everyone knows if I promise something as a Christmas present...

not to expect it before March....

I cut out the roommate's apron-dress tonight.  I'm hoping to have it all sewn up tonight or tomorrow and wrapped for her to open when she gets back on the 26th.  The apron is a good probability, it's all cut out and made of a thick lush teal wool from Pendleton, so I don't have to finish the seams.  I've also read somewhere the theory that Norse sewed their seam allowances on the outside of a garment and the decorative seam treatments are designed to finish the edges in a visible way.  It's an interesting theory and I'm giving it some thought, although not for Wednesday.  The garment is intended for An Tir's 12th night, so I also need to get the under dress cut out next week.

Extant Houppelande 1396
Also somewhere in the next couple months I promised The Boy a floor length, angel-wing sleeved houppelande as his Christmas present.  I have the wool, I just haven't quite figured out the cutting pattern I want to use.  The circle style has its advantages in simplicity, but isn't really fabric efficient.  Also the extant example is believed to be made from multiple "wedges" cut much like gores are cut for other dresses.  Of course I can't find the website I saw that on before...  I'm thinking about doing the wedges because the fabric I'm using is a plain blue wool which means I don't have to worry about an up and a down on it.

I'd like to finish it before 12th Night, but I'm not sure.  I've got a pair of braies mostly finished, and a shirt cut out and partially sewn. I'd really like to get a pair of hose to go with it finished, and a doublet to go under, since that would be most accurate, but I don't know how likely the doublet is any time soon.  I have a heavy red linen that I think would look good for the hose, I just need to find the time to pattern them, and eventually I'll get them sewn.  I'm thinking maybe a green or black linen doublet for under the blue houp, because those colors would look really good with the red hose.

My wifey sent me some gorgeous gold brocade and fifty bells to make himself a baldric out of.  The Boy is a fan of the Tres Riches styles so I'm planning a shoulder drape like the one in April or August's miniatures, and I'll see how far down his back I can make the bells go.  I might have to find some other kind of findings to spread out the bells.

I really should get back to the sewing.  How to Train Your Dragon is on, some how I find that to be a perfect accompaniment to sewing Norse clothing.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Just a bit of a distraction....

The style Himself likes
The Boy is rather bored lately, what with being unemployed and being at home all the time.  While this has manifested in tasty tasty noms for dinner, it also means we've been looking for projects for himself to work on.  When visiting the Tandy Leather here in town to look for materials for himself to make a kidney pouch, I found some GORGEOUS red leather that had to come home with me to make Roman shoes.

The trouble is, I don't know exactly what style it is that I want to make.  I've never made shoes before, so I want something relatively easy to create for my first endeavor.  I've been collecting images for a while, and I thought I'd put them up here to see if anyone had an opinion on which I should make.

5th century womens shoes found in Egypt
Photo by Mary Harrsch,
located in the Getty
I know I want Roman shoes, something closed toed and flat, but I can't decide between the simpler slipper style which I think would be easier for a first try, or the gorgeous cut work slippers that I've been lusting over for a while.

 If I choose the simple slipper style I'd want to figure out how to do the gold embossing found on both of these examples.
Shoes found at the Antonine Wall

The Low Ham Boot
I'm also considering doing a simple slipper style for the first pair, but doing a bit of a cut work pattern on them like the pair on the left without the ties to lace it closed.  I like the patterns and texture created by the cut work.

Sara Kerr's pattern mockup
I've found several tutorials and descriptions on how to make turn shoes, and some ideas on how to pattern shoes with a duct tape "cast" of your foot.  I'm working on getting more research together, and looking for opinions on what style to do before starting, but I do want to get started sometime in the next week and a half.  I'm daydreaming about entering a Roman outfit in the 12th night costuming competition.

I'm thinking about heading up to the Pendleton outlet before Jule next weekend to see if I can find some wool gauze to make "winter Romans"  Since most of my Roman gear was made in Texas, it's mostly made of cotton or a linen/cotton blend.  I'd like to make an outfit for that competition, but it's about a month away and I haven't made any of what I would like to enter.  On the positive side, it's Roman, so it's not that hard to make quickly.  But the wool would be more historically accurate, and it would be nice to have something that was more correct than what I'm wearing now, and it would be great to have something to wear in cooler weather that was my persona.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

A couple new projects in the works...

and just about a week to finish them.  On the 15th, I'm headed up to Beaverton, (just outside of Portland) because a friend invited me up to dance, and I just happen to have that day off work.

Jen Thompson's gorgeous dress
I'm making new sleeves to go with my Florentine from three years ago.  As with the vast majority of people who have made this dress, I was inspired by Jen Thompson of Festive Attyre, whose information is currently in transition from one incarnation of her site to a new one.  The photos that aren't of me are from the website Sophie Stitches that has a collection of images for her research.

I did the dress out of Jo-ann cotton velveteen, and it's pretty enough that I'm still happy with the results.  I made the corded corset, and the giant puffy sleeves, and the striped turban, just like Jen's.  But I've had two yards of the velveteen floating around in my stash, and those matching sleeves with the beaded tassels have been drifting around in my head for years.

The Preaching of Saint John
 the Baptist, 1520, Bacchiacca
Portrait of the Artist's Wife, 
1513-1514, Andrea del Sarto

Me, photo by hubby for my portfolio
So, I'm making the sleeves to wear next weekend.  I'm down to just hand sewing, but that's flat felling internal seams, tacking down the chocolate silk trim, making the beaded tassels (still have to figure out what I'm going to do for the tassels, shredding the silk fabric isn't working well...), tacking down the bias facing on the sleeve heads and adding lacing rings.  I didn't line the sleeves since I didn't have anything I thought would look good as a lining, and I didn't really want to spend any money on these sleeves.

However, the sleeves are on the back burner as far as sewing goes right now.  I'm working on a gift for a friend's birthday, which is also the 15th.  I'm working on a semi secret gift, I'll try to get pictures of the finished project to post, but right now I'm working on the embroidery that's a cross between between the Mammen embroideries and her coat of arms.  It'll be pretty simple, dark blue silk outlines in back/stem stitch on white linen.  I'm hoping to finish it soon.

The other project that I'm working on is an exciting development for my whole house.  I was graciously gifted with a copy of Sally Pointer's book on cosmetics, The Artifice of Beauty, for a wedding present.  I've been interested in historical cosmetics, specifically Roman cosmetics, due to my interest in the duties of an ornatrix.  Sally Pointer's one of the few people that I've come across so far with information on Roman cosmetics.

For the Jule event on the 15th they're having a largess competition, and my super sekrit entry will be a batch of her Alkanet Lip Paint.  It's interesting, right now I've got a jar of chopped alkanet root soaking in sweet almond oil to draw out the color, and The Boy has been playing with a variety of methods for creating a tincture of myrrh. Either Thursday or Friday this week I'll be blending the alkanet oil with some beeswax and a little myrrh tincture and then putting them in little jars.  It's probably old hat for other herbalists, but I'm excited to be branching out into new realms for myself.

That's what I'm up to right now, I'm hoping for new pictures soon. Here's hoping...