Wednesday, June 29, 2011

To Dutch, or not to Dutch...

My original ACC outer layer plan was to make a Dutch Cloak. Now... I may be waffling on that idea. I may lean toward a shoulder cape instead. Forgive the image quality below - I took photos of a book with my phone as my scanner is not hooked up at the moment.

Dutch Cloak (cappotto):

Versus Shoulder Cape (mantelline):

The Dutch Cloak typically had sleeves, and covered the hips, so is slightly longer than a shoulder cape. They are both circular, and are both found in Eleonora di Toledo's Guardaroba in Moda a Firenze.

My fabrics are a plum brocade with gold dragonfly details, a lovely textured gold brocade for trimming and possibly sleeves (undetermined), and gold satin to line it. As this will be designed for warmth, I anticipate interlining this with something yet undetermined. I also have a vintage blonde mink collar which I might be able to integrate somehow, but perhaps not as the necklines are all quite square, and it is a round collar.

At the moment I'm leaning toward the mantelline, because I'm liking the lines of the slightly shorter cloak better. But I'm not quite convinced. Opinions?

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Artemisian Costuming Challenge

For the Artemisian Costuming Challenge, I will be doing a Florentine gown as popularized by Eleanora di Toledo, particularly in this image painted posthumously by Bronzino.

The kirtle, called a sottana in Moda a Firenze, will be made of butter yellow damask from my stash. The overcoat may or may not be a part of this challenge, depending on how cost prohibitive the fabric is and/or finding a patron. This gown has been in planning stages for about a year, and I do not want to compromise my vision due to the dollar limit on the challenge. I hope to obtain eggplant silk for the overdress. If this doesn't happen, the overdress will not go towards the challenge, but I will eventually be making it anyway (possibly within the challenge time-frame, possibly not).

The kirtle will be self-stiffened: no bodies will be worn with it, as was believed to be the case for Eleonora, according to Moda a Firenze.

I will be making a new camacia in white linen with embroidered details as my skin layer, and there will be a high-necked partlet as an accessory. My warmth layer will not be the overdress, but a Dutch Cloak, which Eleanora had several of in her wardrobe accounts. This is a circular short cloak, often with sleeves, or sleeve slits. Another post later will provide additional details on this piece of the challenge.

Friday, June 24, 2011


Wednesday and Thursday evenings were spent hiding in my basement, as the temperature is a few degrees cooler than upstairs. The window air conditioner unit is a lifesaver, but the air doesn't circulate particularly well, and I don't do well in the heat. The benefit of becoming a basement hermit is that my studio is in the basement.

I drafted a fitted curved sleeve pattern, largely based on the fitted sleeves in various commercial patterns such as Margo Anderson and Reconstructing History. This was an adventure in frustration as I have very bulky (fat batwings!) upper arms, but my arm length is ridiculously short. Remind me to install a mirror in my studio as well.

I figured I'd pin down the curved sleeve documentation a little later, as it's so accepted... and I've been a bit frustrated in trying to do so. I'll have to pull out my Janet Arnold library later to verify things... but all I've found so far is the use of curved sleeves in Alcega's men's doublet pattern. So yeah, the men did it... did the women really do it too? Probably, but I'd like proof. Regardless, I have my pattern, curved and all, and have cut out one layer in black linen. The other layer will be chocolate linen, and these will be reversible, with sewn-in green silk ribbons for tying them on. These ribbons are actually more olive/less minty than the picture shows.

I got my silk ribbons from Wm. Booth Draper, and I can't say how much I love this shop. Last year I bought their bone bodkin, embroidery waxer, and rosewood needlecase, and I *heart* them.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Scroll: Order of the White Scarf

This is the scribal project I have been working on. It was awarded this weekend at Uprising War, alas I could not be there to see it happen. I had anticipated doing spirals beneath the birds originally, but scrapped them in a fit of scribal rage. I decided they were looking too feminine for this man.

This project was also full of lessons learned. Yes, even a very experienced scribe learns something every time they work on a project. Number one, confirm all name spellings, even if you are sure you've got it right. Check and double check.

I finished the knotwork bar on the left while doused with lortab after oral surgery. I'm a little surprised it didn't turn out more sloppy than it did. All in all, it was a very fun project, and I'm thrilled that Maestro Azir thought of me when choosing a scribe. I did his White Scarf scroll a number of years ago, and this was for his student, so that's pretty meaningful to me.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Blackwork Progress

Nothing new to report, other than this status image of where I'm at with the Italian blackwork:

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Blackwork - New Colors

Having decided that I hated the colors I chose for the flowers in the latest blackwork project, last night I picked them all out and tried again. This time I chose a lovely plum silk instead of scarlet, and opted for teal silk instead of switching back and forth between peach and blue. I'm much happier with the result. Obviously I'm not quite done filling in the flowers over these vines; it is a time consuming process.

Monday, June 13, 2011

More Blackwork!

I have finished Serafina's blackwork! I have been recovering from surgery for the last few days and spent most of that time lounging on the couch watching TV and embroidering between ice packs and such. This is long enough for either a partlet collar or camicia front, so I can't wait to see what she does with it. It would also look awesome with added pearls and spangles (hint, hint).

After completing the above project, I started on a new one. This is obviously a more complicated pattern, and I thought I'd give poly-chromatic embroidery a try. I'm doing this on a smaller scale than the piece I did for Serafina; this is one strand of silk, with two threads of linen per stitch, as opposed to two strands of silk for the red, going over three strands of linen (the black details above are only one strand of silk, as I wanted it to look more delicate than the red).

Yes, I messed up on the red flower. I'm going to be picking that out and giving it another shot. I'm also not in love with the peach color, which is actually lighter in person than the image shows. It's very difficult to work with because it's so light. The blue is also so dark it's hard to tell it's different than the black. Hrm. Perhaps I should take a trip to the Needlepoint Joint and pick up a few more colors. What do you think?

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Scribal Project Sneak Peek

I'm in the middle of a scribal project which has left me a bit angsty. I'm doing it in a celtic style which is completely unforgiving for brush wibbles and squiggles. To further annoy me, Uncial used to be my strongest hand, and it is soooo very not anymore. Ladies and gentlemen, Calligraphy is not like riding a bike. Unless you practice your hands, you will lose them.

I do wish I had time to scratch it and restart, but alas I'm committed due to time restraints. The good news? I do like the birdy's face. After this is given out, I'll post the whole image.

On a different topic, I offered my blackwork to Serafina for her elevation (or for whatever - her choice!) because I *heart* her. She busted her ass to make me look good at my elevation, and this is the least I could do. I'm super excited to see what she does with it.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Shoes! (A Review)

I was thrilled to pieces when I got my 16th Century slashed shoes.

I bought the black pair. I did find that these run quite large, and are very wide - great for those with wide feet, but beware if you don't. I got a size seven for my 6 1/2 foot (they do not have half-sizes), and have to stuff a significant amount of tissue in the toe. I'm certain a size six would have been better.

These have a quality hardened leather sole. For my tender footsies, I have opted to insert an insole for padding as I do tend to be on my feet a lot when at events. A tiny corner of the insole does show in the slashing on the inside of the foot, but not enough to be terribly distracting - I could also darken the insole with a sharpie to make it disappear into the black leather if it bothered me.

One issue with the hardened leather sole is that it is very slippery. I am a known clutz, so this is a dangerous thing for me. I picked up some non-slip grip pads from a drug store that have a sticky backing and stuck them to area equivalent to the balls of my feet. This helped the slippery factor significantly, but I have noticed that they fall off/disappear over the course of every event I've worn them at. I don't want to keep incurring the cost of re-applying new sole-grippers every weekend. Back in my dance days, if we were about to go on a stage that was particularly slippery, we'd slap a piece of duct tape on our shoes to help grip... not sure how well that would work here, and it seems a bit ghetto. So I'm in search of a long-term solution.

All this aside, I'm very pleased with the quality and workmanship of the shoes, and would definitely try another style from this company.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Blackwork Update

I worked on the blackwork while watching some TV last night (instead of reconciling gate from Quest - bad exchequer!). Once I add the black bits to these last three, I'll have enough for one cuff. So I guess it's time to decide if I'm actually making cuffs, or if I should carry on and do a collar. I really didn't have a plan in mind when I started this.

On a totally different topic, I got a wild hair this morning, and went in search of a copy of my favorite childhood book. It was a mother goose rhyme book, but it was illustrated so beautifully that it inspired me to be interested in art. I now know that the clothing in most of the pictures were Regency and Victorian era, and I would love to look at it with more knowledge and older eyes. There might have been some Georgian in there too, but I don't remember. Of course, searching for a mother goose book is like a needle in a haystack. It might be this version, but without seeing the cover or at least one interior page, I have no idea. The publish date seems a bit off to, as I think I remember it from being younger than that, but I could be mistaken. I know it had a hardcover, for sure. I've dropped a line to my momma to see if she remembers.