Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Solstice Court

I was once again reminded how much I love court events and seeing everyone in their finery. Everyone looked fabulous and a certain few were absolutely glowing.

I finished my little Italian Bonnett in time, and even attached the feathers. I couldn't find my box of brooches though, so the aiglets I used to sew the feathers in place were in full view. Ah well, at least they were the fancy filigree ones. These caps were worn all over Europe, and were particularly popular in Spain, as seen here.

The bodice wore fairly well, though it felt loose and had wrinkles that made me sad. I'm not 100% certain how this is happening, becuase during the fitting phases, it was just fine. I speculate that the corset was tighter at the event than during fittings, and I probably lost weight in the last week. I know, a few pounds shouldn't make that big a deal, but my weight fluctuates on epic proportions, and when doign fittings, it's very likely that I was retaining water. I know, TMI.

I am in love with my new high necked smock, though the sleeve ties drove me batty. Anyway, further work will be done to tweek the bodice into behaving properly.

My camera died during opening court after one picture (d'oh!), leaving me sans photos. Fortunately Seraphina (Noelle) has awesome photographing skills, and snapped this shot of me during the lovely and talented Bethany's ceremony. Bethany was absolutely gorgeous, and I was incredibly honored to speak for her. I'm so proud of her.

I got to spend the day chatting with THL Eneas, Mistress Bengta, and trying not to drool on Aine's copy of Moda a Firenze. I must get a copy of this book. It shows up close, detailed images of Italian portraits, in color. There are several of the images I wasn't familiar with, and was extremely pleased to become so.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Navy & Green Gown

... I think I'm going to become known for only wearing Green, Navy, and Gold. I simply must do something about that soon.

So, as my previous post indicated, I've been sewing like mad. The first thing on my list was to do a new bodice, because the last green one I made never did fit right. That was my first 'Bethan after all, so I've learned a LOT. Noelle helped me with fitting this one, so it should be even better than the Navy one, which makes me giddy.

The bodice pictured is when it was under construction. It is lined in white trigger and has trim couched on in a traditional pattern, as seen in the Photo of an Unknown woman here. A similar pattern is on Queen Elizabeth I's Pelican Gown.

The gold trim with navy velvet intertwined is German, and I've been saving it for years for just the right project. It asked kindly to be used, and I was happy to oblige.

The trim makes the fabric appear to be more wavy than it is in acuality. I hope.

The sleeves were made from the navy brocade, and beaded with amber colored glass 4mm beads. They are flatlined in trigger and fully lined in gold silk dupioni.
I'm extremely pleased with these beads, which are made by a company called Halcraft, in a line they call "Regal Beading Guild." I bought them at Hancock Fabrics and love they way these glow when light hits them.

The completed bodice is lined in black canvas linen which is flatlined with canvas trigger. The whole thing is hand-bound in commercial 7/8" quilting bias tape. The tabs around the waist and shoulders (not pictured) are lined in silk dupioni. There is also about 8 pieces of spring steel boning throughout, including the two in the back to balance the lacing eyelets. Speaking of which, the lacing eyelets were punched by hand using an awl, and bound with upholstery thread. All in all, this bodice turned out to be extremely heavy and stiff. I'm intrigued to see how it will wear.

The smock is an open loose weave light weight linen, with trim attached to the collar and cuffs which looks like couched cord. I did a TON of hand-sewing on this outfit, and am more than pleased with myself that I actually finished the inside seams of this smock, all by hand. I still need to finish the seams around the armscye, but it is wearable, so that will happen after this weekend's event.

There are neck and underarm gussets, and gores along both sides of the smock. It will be worn open (not fastened at the neck) as I can't stand tight things on my neck, save small necklaces. My neck is actually very short... almost nonexistant, to this tall collar with the ruffle would probably just look silly if worn closed.

The forepart is the same brocade as the sleeves, beaded in the amber glass, and currently flatlined with trigger. I sewed on a stripe of silk and couched the german trim fromt the bodice across the seams, a few inches from the bottom hem. This will soon be lined in navy broadcloth and attached to a petticoat to be worn under the green velvet skirt, which falls open in the front to view all the pretty sparklies.

The entire outfit will be worn with a corset and farthingale I previously made, and no bumroll. The skirt was sewn several years ago, before I'd made a proper bumroll, so the hem will be off if I wear it. I'm not too worried - my natural figure provides a bit of that look anyway.

I have navy blue silk Indian shoes that I bought at a bellydance festival with goldwork and spangles that would match smashingly, if I wear either nylons or no stockings. I'm loath to do either from the cold and dealing with nylons under a 'Bethan. I'd also hate to get that nasty no-sock foot smell on these pretty little shoes. For the day I'll probably wear my long socks and black ballet flats, and might consider changing for court. Maybe.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Sewing Maven

Yes, it's been a small while.

My time has been occupied... nay, stolen, by this Solstice Court project. I'm making a new Elizabethan Gown for an event which will be on December 13th. I'm re-using my green skirt from this gown, Photobucket

and using remnants of that same fabric to make a bodice that fits better. I'm also using some navy blue brocade to make a new forepart and sleeves.

The sleeves are done, complete with amber glass beads and lined in antique-gold silk dupioni. The ribbons tying the sleeves to the bodice are a simple navy grosgrain ribbon, and it will eventually have gold filigree aiglets on the tips.

The bodice has gold german trim in a triangular pattern across the front, with navy velvet ribbon interlaced through it, and gold cord couched down as well. The tabs on the shoulder and waistline are also lined in the antique-gold dupioni, and the main body is lined in black canvas linen. It is stiffened with trigger cloth, trigger canvas, and spring steel boning. I hand-bound eylet holes for the back center lacing, which will be done with green grosgrain ribbon. I would like to learn how to make lucet cordes, so I can make nicer laces.

The forepart is stuck, as I'm nearly out of the amber glass beads, and had to order more from the internet. It will eventually match the sleeves in its entirety, though I may add gold silk guards, if my mood fancies it.

The green skirt above is decent as it stands, though it could use a washing, and needs the hooks in the front to be adjusted to account for the weight I lost, so it doesn't slide down.