Thursday, October 20, 2011

Fabric Haul

I got a major score on the clearance shelves at Hancock Fabrics a few weeks ago! Royal Blue (about 5.5 yards) and Royal Purple (10 yards) 100% wool. So now I get to play the "what am I going to make with this?" game.

These are all things I've been wanting to tackle for a long time:

Saxon Gown
Flemish Working Class
Early 16th C. Florentine

FOLLOWER OF TITIANEmilia di Spilimbergo, c. 1560


For the smaller yardage in blue (my favorite color, by the way), I'm thinking either a zimarra or sleeveless ropa, embellished with applique and couching. Another option would be an outer gown to go over my chocolate linen kirtle to convert it into a Flemish working class dress.

 For the purple wool, I may try my hand at a saxon gown, or an earlier Florentine style dress. I'm almost thinking this shade of purple is a bit too vibrant though. I think I'd rather it were dialed down a bit into a nice plum. I might try dying it if I don't chicken out.  There should be plenty left over to do something for my Sven as well.

Thoughts?  Opinions?  Other ideas I haven't thought of?

Let's not forget I also have eight yards of evergreen and ultramarine linen getting bored in my stash.  Maybe I can combine the wool and linen to something awesome.  I won't be starting on this any time before the New Year, so that gives me plenty of time to stew and plan.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Blog Design

Since I'm a total fail-face at making progress on my sottana, I have instead re-done part of my blog layout.  If you read via an RSS feed or Google Reader, please check out my actual page and tell me what you think. Specifically, I added top tabs with some slide-shows of my work on their own pages, and some other misc. stuff to make it more of a "stand alone" webpage, now that my old webpage is gone.

 Since posting without pictures is a faux pas, here are images of my linen caul.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

A Tisket a Tasket; What goes in my Basket

One of the first things you'll learn, whether it's for a day event or a camping event, is there will be things you will regularly need.  This is a list of things I keep in my basket, aside from my mundane wallet, keys, and cell phone, to keep me comfortable in all the modern ways I've grown accustomed to:

  • Painkillers
  • Antacid
  • Glucose Tablets (handy if you know anyone diabetic or hypoglycemic)
  • Small sewing Kit
  • Safety pins
  • Extra ribbon for emergency lacing.
  • Kleenex or handkerchief
  • Hard candy or mints. Breath freshener.
  • Lip balm or gloss
  • Sunscreen (a Jaquelinne MUST-have)
  • Lotion
  • Small snack 
  • Mug or Goblet and Water
  • Fan
  • Wet Ones
  • Umbrella/Parasol depending on weather predictions
  • Small garbage bag.
  • Hair pins and elastic bands
  • Comb and/or hairbrush
  • Event Schedule
  • Small tokens/trinkets to give away to people caught doing something awesome.
  • Notebook with Pens/Pencils
  • Small hand-work project (embroidery, lucet, etc.)
  • Time piece if you don't also have a cell phone (kept on silent!)

You may find this to be an awful lot to haul around (I know I do).  It can be divided into two parts - the things you can leave at "base camp" (typically only a short walk away - be it a grouping of your chairs/tables or a tent on site), and those things you want on your person, always.  Every item here has come in very handy to multiple people in the past.  That's the key - don't hog the haul!  Share your lacing ribbons and safety pins.  It makes everyone have a better time.

If you serve on a retinue, you will find this basket a ready-made retinue basket without any effort, save finding out if your Royal has any allergies/medications/preferred beverages you should be aware of.

What do you keep in your basket?

Friday, October 7, 2011

Boned Interlining, Part II

Boning your back pieces isn't entirely necessary, but I like a few pieces to ensure the proper silhouette.

After you have inserted your boning, you may have an issue with the potential of the boning channels showing through your fashion fabric, particularly with zip ties under a delicate fabric like silk. Fear not!

Insert the bones and cut a piece of felt or flannel that is big enough to cover the bones, but smaller than the inside to your seam allowance. You don't want to bulk up your seams, just smooth out the bumpy boning lines. The thicker the bones, the more padding you will want- I have found felt to be the most effective over zip ties. Flannel would probably work well over spring steel. For this project, I'm using cheap synthetic felt due to the dollar cap set for the gown. I would prefer wool, but c'est la vie. For any concerned about added warmth, don't be. I overheat easily and used this method on my chocolate linen kirtle, which I wore several times in the heat of Utah's desert summer and was fine. I did not pad the back piece, which may make a difference for some.

Pad-stitched felt over bodice front
Lay the felt over the bones and pad stitch it into place. There are many videos on You Tube on how to pad stitch, which is a technique used to shape thick layers of fabric, particularly in suits and collars. ( Let me Google Pad Stitching for you! )  I'm not using it to shape the garment, so tight, symmetrical stitches are not so important. I hesitate to show you my ugly pad stitching at all, but for the sake of sharing knowledge and my poor techniques, here you go.

This use of thin padding to disguise wire/stiffening is also used in millinery, and this layer is called mulling, if I recall correctly. You only need to pad one side, as the other will be facing your body. I pad-stitched everything in place with the boning already inserted, as I wanted to make sure not to stitch through boning channels, and to ensure this layer is firmly attached, with a smooth final product.

Inside of pad-stitched bodice
Once this is complete, flatline your fashion fabric (or lining fabric, whichever you prefer) with this padded, stiffened layer.

After lining and turning, the padded layer will fall behind your fashion fabric and disguise all those unsightly boning lines!

Bodice front - not yet pressed or finished!  It'll look even better soon.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Boned Interlining, Part I

There are probably a myriad of ways to make a self-boned bodice, but this is how I do it.

I cut two of my pattern pieces out of heavy cotton canvas. A strong trigger, linen canvas, or coutil would also work. I used what was buried in my stash. I draw my boning channels directly onto my fabric, as this layer will not show at all.

The brand of zip ties I used
I then cut pieces of heavy zip tie (found at any local hardware store) at custom lengths to fit in these channels. Be sure to account for seam allowance when measuring what length to cut. I use my heavy snips to cut the plastic, simply because it's what I have. I can also use these same snips to cut spring steel boning.

Close-up of bones - left is filed, right is not
I then snip the sharp edges off of the bones and use a heavy metal file to round the corners. This will help prevent boning break-through. Sandpaper would also work for this step, but I use my file since that's what I have to file my metal bones. It makes pretty quick work of plastic bones.

Some people also dip the ends in a plasti-dip. I find this is less necessary for the zip ties. Metal bones do tend to need something as they are more prone to break-through, because they are not as thick. I have also had some luck with wrapping the ends of metal bones in medical tape in lieu of plasti-dip or nail polish.

I then number the bones from left to right, so I know later which bones belong in which channels without having to re-measure. I use a fine-tipped sharpie or similar so the ink doesn't rub off immediately. After this is done, I sew down my boning channels, with the two pattern pieces sandwiched together, creating channels in which to slide the boning down.

It is important to always sew the channels in the same direction, such as from top to bottom or bottom to top, but not to switch directions half-way through. This may cause some awkwardness from bulk of fabric under your sewing machine arm at some point, but if you change directions your fabric has a much higher chance of warping and causing wave-like wrinkles along the channels.

Once I am done sewing the channels, I give them a test drive and slide all the boning inside to make sure all pieces fit properly - if the channels are sewn too narrow, it will have to be picked out and sewn again as the boning won't fit. So far, I've yet to need to take that step thanks to careful measuring.

I will continue the next steps in another post soon!