30 November 2006

Kampfrau gown - bodice assembled but unlined

Originally uploaded by Catrijn.
Progress on the kampfrau gown has been slow, mostly due to lack of time. Since the last update, I've finished the cutouts on the guards for the bodice, and sewn them down. I've also sewn down all of my edges and seam allowances (except armscye and waist, which will be finished later). Kass's instructions have you doing this in the same step as fitting in the lining, using a prick stitch, but given the thickness of my fabric (and hence it's extreme reluctance to hold a nice folded edge), I decided to do two separate steps. The edges are held down with a running stitch going through both layers of wool and interlining, but not coming out all the way to the top of the guards. At the side and back seams, the seam allowances are only tacked down into the interlining, since a crisp edge is not as important. When I put in the lining (actually about halfway done now, but not in this picture) I'll just use a small hem stitch and secure the lining into the already folded down edges, rather than going all the way through.

20 November 2006

Early 15th c. houppelande with veils

I made this houppelande a couple of years ago, but I think it has always suffered from a lack of appropriate headgear. So this week I made up three new linen veils to arrange in the style of this portrait by Campin. Dates for that painting seem to be around 1430.

The houppelande was originally a 'scraps project' - in other words, what can I make out of this fabric that was leftovers from somebody else. It is a poly-cotton damask originally in an off-white tone-on-tone pattern. Several bottles of RIT later, and it's pretty nice in color (if not in design) since the polyester and cotton threads take up dye quite differently. It's cut without any sort of pattern in a very basic A-line shape, and fully lined in a very short pile faux fur. I'm wearing a linen chemise and short-sleeved kirtle underneath. The chemise sleeves are a bit long, which is why one is peeking out.

The bumps in this fairly conservative veil style are still small enough that I can just use my own hair pulled into two braided buns rather than building something more structural. The first veil is a small rectangular one, doubled over; wide enough to cover the top of my head and long enough to reach my shoulders. It goes across my forehead, around the bumps, in front of my ears, and the back edges are then pinned behind my neck to keep it from sliding forward. The second veil is a circle, 2 foot diameter and folded in half, and arranged as a wimple. The third veil is a large square veil, again folded in half, on top of everything. (The original is actually folded in the other direction, so it would have be a long skinny rectangle, approximately 4:1.) I pinned pretty securely into my hair, and it really didn't move all day. It also kept me fairly warm, which was a good thing.

06 November 2006

Kampfrau bodice pieced

Originally uploaded by Catrijn.
My linen for interlining came in, so I've now got the main bodice sections sewn together. I've also gotten the cutouts done in just one of the guard pieces, shown here lying on top of its corresponding piece, but not sewn down. I did start with just slashed openings, but much like I had expected, the slashes only opened up nicely when they were free, and not secured to a solid backing fabric. So I changed over to these disc-shaped cutouts, which look just about right to me. Fortunately, the black wool won't fray at all unless picked at, so it doesn't need to be turned. I'm planning to sew down the guards, close the shoulder seam, and put off adding the lining until pretty late in the construction process.