22 July 2015

Historical Sew Monthly: not going as planned

Still too small embroidered pouch
Still too small embroidered pouch
Originally uploaded by Catrijn.
I think I'm falling off the HSM wagon. I did make an entry for the June challenge - men's 14th c. braies and hose, but they didn't turn out as well as I'd hoped. Usable, yes, and they look decent (although late in the day I had a *lot* of sag in the hose), but there are definitely things I'll change when I attempt this again. Minor adjustments on the hose, but I'll probably start from scratch with different construction for the braies.

For the July Accessories challenge, I wanted to finish my brick-stitch pouch. I knew that was going to be a stretch goal, and it's not going to happen. If I had left it the size I originally started with, it would be done by now. If I could leave it at the size after the first enlargement, I could probably still finish, although it'd be tight. And in both cases I would have a pouch that wouldn't hold my new phone (at all, or comfortably, respectively). And so I need to embark on a second round of enlargement. My heart sinks at the thought of it. I am tired of this project.

I may see about doing something else smaller for the July challenge, but my energy for working on projects has been pretty low. I did start a hat (felted, not sewn), but I'll need to borrow some of the tools to finish it, which isn't going to happen in the next week.

28 May 2015

Practical sometimes means boring

Early period under-tunics
Early period under-tunics
Originally uploaded by Catrijn.
Practicality is ... replacing basics that don't fit even when you'd much rather sew something interesting. Since I normally hang out in the 15th century, anything before the mid-14th c. is "early period" to me. I use those eras a lot, though, especially when camping, because they are simple and fairly uncomplicated. My undertunics are cut pretty much identically to my tunics, with two exceptions: shorter hem and snug underbust. The width of the body panels at the bottom of the sleeve gussets is only slightly bigger than my rib cage measurement. It's a little tricky to squeeze in and out of, but it provides enough support for light to medium activities. (Pinning the neckline closed also helps.) The downside is, while the nice loose tunics are accommodating of weight fluctuation, the more fitted layer not so much.

The Challenge: May - Practicality
Fabric: 2 yds handkerchief linen
Pattern: none
Year: 8th-13th c. Ish.
How historically accurate is it:Eh. Not a lot of solid details on underwear from this time period, but undyed linen in a rectangular tunic cut is consistent with what we know. Construction is modern (machine, French seams).
Total cost: $15-20 each.

05 May 2015

Next time: remember to take pictures

2015-04-11-0163
2015-04-11-0163
Originally uploaded by Verla Herschell.
I didn't get any pictures of it?

The red 1490s gown is done. It's fabulous, if I do say so myself. And every time I want to post about, I go looking through my photos for which one captures the overall result, and I can't find any. I have no photos of myself wearing this gown. I don't know how that slipped my mind. I guess I'm going to have to do a photo session at some point.

Since the last set of progress photos, it's all been finishing work. Strips of wool flannel around all the edges to mimic a lining, and larger sections pieced into the lower sleeves where it might show. Stitching down and/or whipping seam allowances and raw edges. The lacing rings for the front opening are set between the lining and the outer fabric, and the lining extends a bit such that it covers the gap I would otherwise get. This works well and provides a really nice look.

In other news, the April HSM challenge totally didn't happen for me. I went into the month without any ideas of what to do, and inspiration struck really, really late in the month, when I no longer had any time to work on it. I'll be cutting my losses and moving straight on to the next challenge.

16 April 2015

Bonus stashbusting flat cap

2015_04_11-v--00047
2015_04_11-v--00047
Originally uploaded by Vilhelm Lich.
Bonus HSM! Yarn stashbusting! This is my handspun, a 3-ply worsted in roughly DK weight. Hand-dyed with madder. The knitting itself is not too complicated - all stockinette, with increases and decreases, and just a little fiddly joining the brim layers. The hardest part was getting the rate of decrease right so that it sits mostly flat instead of being conical.

The Challenge: March - Stashbusting
Fabric: Originally, undyed Romney roving
Pattern: Gagiana beret, modified
Year: 1st half of 16th century
How historically accurate is it:There's not much I could do to make it more period.
Total cost: Wool was probably around $20, dyeing was more expensive (but partly start-up costs for basic supplies)

14 April 2015

Red dress teaser

2015-04-11-0324
2015-04-11-0324
Originally uploaded by Verla Herschell.
I've got a backlog of things to post about - I have actually been working on things, just not blogging about them. Here's a teaser for the now-completed red dress project.

07 March 2015

Letting the fabric sing

Half-circle cloak
Half-circle cloak
Originally uploaded by Catrijn.
Have you ever dug through your stash and found yourself saying "Wow, I forgot I had something this nice"? This fabric is luscious and shouldn't be allowed to sit in the bottom of a storage container any longer. More than 10 years ago, I bought a bundle of remnants of coating wool off ebay, all black but not all the same fabric. 2 matching lengths went into a modern coat that I seldom wear but still like, another pair went into a medieval coat that gets much more use, and one lighter weight one has been used for several hats and other accessories. I had one 2yd cut left, a lovely heavyweight with a nice nap (not strongly directional, almost velvety) - not enough for a big project, but too nice to waste. And so, an immensely simple project, a half-circle cloak. I was able to get about a 45 inch neck to hem length by piecing the bottom corners in both front and back. There's a small seam on the left shoulder to help it lay nicely, and the right shoulder is overlapped and pinned, but could also be sewn. The seams were done in a small whipstitch that was then 'popped' out to be completely flat with the fabric edges abutted. No treatment of cut edges was necessary.

The Challenge: March - Stashbusting
Fabric: 2 yds coating wool
Pattern: none, based on Bocksten bog man's cloak
Year: 1st half of 14th century
Notions:Silk sewing thread.
How historically accurate is it:Very. Period materials and construction. Pattern is modified to take advantage of wider loom-width, rather than introducing piecing just to match the original. Right shoulder is pinned rather than sewn, but I might still change that.
Total cost: Stash fabric so old I can't guess what I paid for it.