Tuesday, May 31, 2011


On a whim I decided to start some blackwork cuffs for a new camicia or smock. I was going to do this at Quest while sitting troll, but a combination of an awesome influx of volunteers and the event shutting down early, stopped this from happening. Therefore I started yesterday, in order to have something to do between changing loads of laundry.

I have never done any blackwork that's not monochromatic, so I pulled out some gorgeous red silk I've been saving for a rainy day. It just so happens that yesterday was quite rainy. Add that to some black silk, and a 16th Century Italian needlework sampler pattern, and I have hours of fun(The pattern I'm using is at a upper left diagonal from the large red pattern in the center-ish). My fabric doesn't have a perfectly even weave, so that changes it to look more diamond shaped than the original. I count threads rather than use waste-fabric. I've tried that method and I can't get the stitches to lay smooth and flat, and it's just so very fussy. I've been working on a blackworked caul for ages using waste fabric and I have struggled to finish it because of this. I'd rather have a slightly skewed pattern that can be interpreted as having *meant* to look like that, than deal with waste fabric.

The stitches on the far right were for getting a feel for the stitch length versus floss weight before starting my actual pattern. The "wrong" side of the embroidery isn't as clean and reversible as I would like due to changing colors, but it is improving as I go along. The picture is craptacular, but it does give you a feel for how far I got on yesterday.

I got a request to do a scroll for Uprising, which has a very short turn-around time, but I'm waiting for some more information on whether the recipient has registered arms or not before I begin.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Quest Recap

Quest for the Holy Lands started out rocky due to some issues with my office of the exchequer property (which has yet to be solved, but I'm confident that it will be soon) which left me without a table for Troll, Shade to sit under, and chairs to sit in. After some creativity and borrowing, we had Troll set up and running, and I had a bunch of volunteers to help me, which made my life so much wonderful, I can hardly express it. I am so deeply grateful for all those who helped me out all weekend.

I wore my new chocolate kirtle on Saturday! Of course, I waited until I'd been sitting/slouching in it all day before taking a picture so it's all rumpled and the nice smooth bodice...isn't. Le sigh. Ah well, I did get numerous compliments on it, and that pleases me.

Saturday evening it began raining, and by the time I left site (day tripped), my dress and petticoat had soaked up about 8 inches of water. The next morning as we were headed back to site, I got the phone call that site had received snow, and that both my troll shade and my personal shade were tragic victims of the wet snow's destructive power. Yay? I'm told they went down before most people even knew it was snowing.

After some cleanup, and a deep sigh of relief that Sven chose to come home with me rather than sleep in the pop-up as he wanted, we headed home, as the event was basically called quits due to inclement weather.

We still have T-shirts for sale though. I highly recommend them!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Elizabethan / Jacobean Jacket

For many years I've been lusting after Elizabethan Jackets. I feel in love when I saw a fine lady wearing one at Known World Academy of Rapier/Known World Costuming when these two fine events were held together in Outlands, approximately 2003. Yes, I really am this slow to pursuing projects.

Mistress Isobel of Extreme Costuming fame renewed my love for this style with her amazing Maidstone Jacket. When the Plimoth Jacket was finally finished, I was head over heals. I'm not so insane as to think I might finish embroidering a jacket like either of these fine examples though... at least not in the next several years.

Other examples are this, from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, ca 1616

and this, from the Art Institute of Chicago

There are examples of some with lower necklines, some with collars, and some without. I think I'd opt for the style above, from the Art Institute of Chicago. I was gifted some interesting fabric from my grandmother, and it screamed "Elizabethan/Jacobean Jacket" to me the second I laid hands on it, and it has been a long-term plan to do this, after finishing a base gown to wear it over. Well, put your hands together folks, as I finished my chocolate kirtle which will also act as petticoat bodies under the long-awaited jacket.

In reality while the browns in these fabrics don't match exactly, they are a much closer match than the image indicates. The pattern is woven, and the fabric has a fascinating texture. I believe it is cotton. I do anticipate making a black skirt to go with this as well, in the future, possibly made of silk taffeta.


On a whim, I decided I needed a new pair of drawers for this weekend's event. So last night I whipped up a pair - no measuring (bad Jaquelinne!!), just eyeballing it. This was not a good move, and I'm lucky they actually fit. They are not nearly as roomy as my other pair, but I can get them on and they aren't too tight. I added some sweet lace on the hems, and flat-felled all seams by machine. I would have done this by hand... but they're drawers, and I want to wear them tomorrow.

They're made from a random cotton twill fabric I had in my stash - heavier than I would have chosen from the store, but I think they'll be nice for the chilly rainy mountain weather we're expecting.

Not bad for a two hour project.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Petticoat Waistbands

This post is for you, lovely Lady Jane!

In a prior post about using elastic on Sven's pants, we discussed using elastic on petticoat and forepart waistbands, as they are hidden beneath over-skirts. As my foreparts tend to be quite heavy with beading and such, this is the method I use for making a painless waistband.

This is an example of a cotton broadcloth petticoat with attached forepart, with a flat front and gathered back. This was important, as it must have the circumference to fit over a farthingale and bumroll, but still be flat in the front so that the forepart lays smoothly. I backed my fashion brocade with cotton canvas so that it would be stiff enough not to sag from beading, as well as to hide farthingale hoop lines. I then beaded it and attached it to the petticoat. I hid the raw seams under strips of grosgrain ribbon, rather than adding bulk beneath the forepart by folding it under. This technique is straight out of Margo Anderson's patterns; I cannot take credit.

The waistband is where I deviate from Margo's instructions. She recommends sandwiching the skirt between two strips of grosgrain ribbon. I have done this in the past, and my seams were too sloppy for this to be satisfactory for me. With practice, perhaps it would work. I chose to take a wide strip of grosgrain about two inches longer than my waist measurement, and fold it in half. I pressed the ribbon to create a crisp line, and then sandwiched the petticoat within the ribbon and sewed it close to the edge. This way, I only had to sew one line rather than two. I finished the petticoat with skirt hooks using the excess ribbon length as an overlap. This is helpful in the event of weight fluctuation as additional hook "eyes" can be added easily.

Navy Blue Velvet Gown

Monday, May 23, 2011

Chocolate Kirtle

I was very tempted to make the Ultramarine blue kirtle first, but alas I needed to get started before the fabric was done being pre-shrunk. So in the end, the decision was dictated by my washing machine.

Friday night I cut two layers of cotton canvas interlining for the bodice, drafted and sewed boning channels, cut and filed boning, and watched the conclusion of Downton Abbey and all of Wuthering Heights. My boning is simple cable ties for this gown, as I didn't feel like dealing with spring steel for this project.

Saturday, after many trials and tribulations involving a marathon blocking my exit from the city, I finally arrived at Serafina's house to keep her company and keep us both focused on our projects. She was a machine zipping through curtains like mad while I worked on completing my bodice, including hand-worked eyelets... why is it that the first few eyelets of every project are complete crap? Oh well, they are serviceable. I am disappointed in myself that I didn't quite count right and I have an extra hole in my bodice for spiral lacing. Oops. Yes, I did extra eyelets for no reason. *facepalm*

Yesterday I cut out my skirts, graded the front of the waistline to account for the dip, pleated and attached said skirts to my spanky new bodice. These pictures are complete crap as I don't have a dress form to speak of (in the works though!), and are taken in my poorly lit bedroom. I am pleased with how the pleating ended up in the back. I don't love the front. I used three panels, with only one in the front so I could use the existing seams for the side lacing. There isn't enough pleating in the front, in my opinion, but I don't hate it enough to re-do it.

The Kitty was far too interested in my lacing cords for her own good. Next up, hemming the skirts.

Friday, May 20, 2011


Unfortunately, I have no updates. The last two days have been too busy to get any crafting/sewing/arting done. *shamed* The good news is that I'm through my Board meeting at work, the hair is once again an appropriate shade of screaming red, and this weekend shall be dedicated to the garb cause (and I will be watching girlie movies, in the process! Oh yes, the BBC Pride and Prejudice is in the queue, as is Burlesque). Any locals who want to join me are welcome. :)

Tonight I'll be making the decision whether to do a chocolate or ultramarine blue kirtle first. Oy the decisions!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Norse Pants v.1.2

Exciting News! Okay, maybe not very exciting. The espresso colored pants are complete, save a hem. I won't have much time to measure for the hem tonight, and if it doesn't happen, I may have to guess based on Sven's inseam measurement. Leap of faith?

After these pants are done, I'm going to make something for myself. Or help Serafina, if she needs it. The big question is... do I make the chocolate kirtle, or do I hold that for now and make something brighter, like perhaps an ultramarine blue kirtle? Ooooh the choices...

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Shopping Haul

Yesterday felt like my Birthday, with all my packages that arrived in the mail. I just had to share!

My gorgeous Tailor's Ham is courtesy of Fait Avec on Etsy. Isn't he the cutest thing ever?

I also received this glorious ultramarine blue and evergreen linen for future camping garb - eight yards of each. The hard part will be deciding exactly what to do with each... More kirtles, maybe? Venetians? Campi gowns? What do you think?

"Norse" Pants

I say "Norse" because I'm well aware that the pattern I used is not period-accurate. I could have used a pattern based on the Thorsberg Trousers, but I chose, instead, to so something very fast and easy. These pants are black linen, with an elastic waistband within a casing. I added a drawstring for extra security, and will be hand-tacking the area the drawstring comes out of the casing as I couldn't manipulate my machine to do what I wanted.

I still need to hem these pants, and of course clean up the front casing a bit by hand, but the end is in sight! Quest for the Holy Lands is coming up in a little over a week, and my Sven shall not be naked!

Next up, the Espresso Norse Pants.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Progress Photographs

Blogger kindly made my post about linen Norse pants go away. Remind me to send a card. Heh.

Ah well, today I have nothing to report as to the progress of said pants due to the insanely busy weekend I had which included guests visiting and the flurry of cleaning that always happens when guests are expected.

Instead, today I'd like to discuss the fine art of progress documentation. No matter what art form you practice, there is not only nostalgia involved with reviewing photographs you may have taken during the course of creating something, but other reasons as well.

I stumbled across this rare photo of a scroll in-progress, circa 2005. I say rare, because I didn't take progress shots except a small handful of times. This particular piece, however, was much more of a time investment than any other piece I'd done to date, and I had my camera handy, so I took one on a whim.

Why would seeing this be of use to anyone? Well, for starters, you can see the techniques I used for spacing and *very* rough sketching - something you cannot see in the final product. It can be used as a learning tool, and a reminder of some things *not* to do. For example, I saved the miniature along the top border as the last thing to paint. This was the most important part of the scroll, containing imagery important to the award itself... (Gold Scarf of Artemisia - a rapier award), but I had run out of time, and to this day, I hate how it ended up because I rushed in the end.

Lesson learned: do not wait to do important parts of the scroll... do them first.

Gold Scarf - Daniel d\'Aurelle

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Chocolate Kirtle - Partlets!

One of the key ways I intend to make the Chocolate Kirtle change from look to look, is by adding several different partlets. Partlets can save my fair skin from the evil sun and make my dress more period-appropriate at the same time. The beauty of historical costuming is in the details, and partlets are not used nearly enough, in my humble opinion. Below is a montage o' partlets that I find particularly beautiful... i.e. I'll probably die if I don't make them one day. The won't all be appropriate with a simple linen kirtle, but the overall shape and look can be used with numerous materials to achieve nothing short of greatness.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Norse Pants

Sven, the long-suffering boyfriend, is in need of pants to wear with his tunics at events. Last summer (wow, has it really been that long?), Serafina helped me cut and serge the pieces for two pairs of fabulous linen pants - one black, one espresso. She then left it up to me to finish them. This of course means I haven't done anything with them. I did finish his linen undershirt, and I'll call that a success.

Knowing we have several camping events coming up, I thought I ought to dust off these projects and finish them, so he doesn't have to run around either in heavy jeans (eeewh!), or pantsless... which I might be okay with, but most others won't appreciate it.

The black pants were mostly finished already, only needing a waistband and hem at the legs. The espresso pair was in pieces. Last night I decided to work on the espresso pair so that it was at the same stage as the black. I still need to press the seams, but I'm ready to insert a waistband. This is going to be a casing with a *cough* elastic band *cough* and back-up drawstring.

Sven is not concerned with authenticity and only attends SCA events to support me. He's not interested in this game I play. This is why I'm choosing to add this modern comfort for him. These have never been intended for any kind of competition, and the band will be hidden by tunic and belts anyway.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011


I have determined that I have the world's crappiest light fixture in my studio. That being said, I have beat it into submission and now have light I can work by! Woo! If this house weren't a rental, I'd be adding extra light fixtures galore into this little basement hole of a studio. Thank goodness I have my awesome Verilux full spectrum lamp for doing art and sewing. My newly illuminated room served me well last night though, as I spent a good amount of time digging through my manuscript library looking for inspiration for a new scribal project.

So while I have no updates in my sewing projects, at least I now have a room I can work in. Now if only it would warm up a little so don't have to wear mittens down there...

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Chocolate Kirtle - Flemish Syle

After a long day of work yesterday, I arrived home, cooked some amazing pork souvlaki for dinner, and then had to head to Officer's Meeting, as I'm currently the Exchequer of the Barony of Gryphon's Lair. This meant my evening was pretty shot as far as starting on my kirtle goes, particularly since the lightbulbs in my studio require replacing and cutting fabric in the dark isn't really an option. Well, that and discovering that Season five of Doctor Who is now available on Netflix...

So I have nothing new to report on progress, but I can share more details on the different looks I intend to obtain by using this chocolate kirtle as a base gown. I'm not sharing these looks in order of my intent to finish them... I will likely finish whatever is fastest first, since the camping season is upon me.

The painting Market Woman by Pieter Aertsen shows a Flemish working class dress that I've been lusting after for many, many years. What can I say? I'm a procrastinator. By adding a front-lacing overgown, partlet, sleeves, and an awesome hat to my chocolate kirtle, I will finally have my Flemish dress.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Project: Kirtle

For quite some time I've been planning to make a chocolate brown linen kirtle, side back-lacing, like this beauty, painted by Orazio Gentileschi:

I Plan to use this versatile garment in a number of different ways by dressing it up with different accessories. A variety of parlets, sleeves, jackets and overgowns will make this a staple in my wardrobe. I have two or three different fabrics that will make splendid camicias and/or partlets with little hand-work involved. These will be ideal for the camping season, where nature can be detrimental and disastrous to certain labors at times. I would hate to spend dozens of hours hand-couching a partlet only to have it destroyed by a stain while camping.

I spent time yesterday with Serafina, who helped drape a pattern for me (one of these days, I really will get a dress form so I can do such things on my own, but for now this is an excellent excuse to go visit my lovely friend). So, with bodice pattern in hand, now I can start the process of garbing myself for the summer.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Custom Tarot Cards - Eye Candy Edition

In a bright and glorious spring of 2005, the ever lovely and (disgustingly) talented (then Lady, now Mistress) Bethany of Windermere offered up her talents for a fundraiser at an event I was helping out with. I've done a great number of collaborative works with Bethany, and let's face it... she makes my work look good.

The autocrats decided to do a fighter auction of sorts, wherein the winning fighter's "owner" would receive a prize. The caveat was that in addition to buying fighters, you could purchase tarot cards that did specific things to affect the fights. For example, if you purchased the "Death" card, your fighter would be replaced by the well-renowned fighter, and King at the time, Sean Kirkpatrick Tarragon for that fight. You could choose when to play your card. Each card had a different function. If I remember correctly, the "Fool" Card replaced the opposing fighter's great-sword with a half-length great-sword.

These are the four cards that Bethany designed and painted. Those who purchased the cards got to keep them as keepsakes - they were on canvas board, and these images do not do them justice. They are published here with her permission.

The Sun. A tribute to Aldwin "Scruffy" Longwalker, and a tip of the hat to our former parent Kingdom, Atendveldt. There is a Grant level award named the Golden Sun in Splendour, in honor of Scruffy, may he rest in peace.

The Empress. Her ever graceful and inspiring Caryn von Katzenberg; who was Queen at the time of this event. There is very little that can be said about Her Grace; she is legend.

Death. If you are at all familiar with Duke Sean's device, you will recognize the tabard on the card. Sean Kirkpatrick Tarragon was King at the time of this event, and has always been deadly on the field.

The Fool. This card is inspired by Maestro Don Niccolo Gianfigliazzi Genovese, who single-handedly inspired the interest in period gaming (including French Tarots), to Artemisia. He has since left us for Caid, and is greatly missed.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The Flame of Pharos

When Gryphon's Lair became invested as a Barony, the new Baron and Baroness asked the populace for input on award names and ideas. Their plan was to use a theme of "light" to try to be consistent across all awards, be they for Arts, Fighting, Service, etc. After some research, I provided the below proposal, which was subsequently chosen as the official service award for the Barony.

Company/Order of the Flame of Pharos. Pharos (Pronounced Fare-us) was the first lighthouse ever built, and still was functioning when the Arabs conquered Alexandria in 642 AD. More info on Pharos: The world's first lighthouse, the Pharos was built to warn sailors of the treacherous sandbars off Alexandria, one of the busiest ports of the ancient world. It consisted of a three-stage tower, decorated with sculptures of Greek deities and mythical creatures, atop which stood a lantern with a giant bonfire whose light may have been focused by mirrors, perhaps made of polished bronze, into a beam visible 35 miles out to sea. More than 300 feet tall, it was among the tallest man-made structures until the completion of the 1,050-foot Eiffel Tower in 1889. The lighthouse was still functioning when the Arabs conquered Alexandria in A.D. 642, but the lantern was damaged by an earthquake about 50 years later. The Pharos was hit by another earthquake in 1303, and by 1349 it was in ruins; in 1480 Qait Bey's fortress was built on the site.

Built to warn sailors of the treacherous sandbars off Alexandria, the world’s first lighthouse, Pharos was both grand and essential, displaying its light to far reaches. Without its crucial radiance, Alexandria would not have been one of the busiest ports of the ancient world. In fair Gryphon’s Lair, there are individuals whose light of service support the activities of all others; those who are beacons for all to follow, illuminating the dark of night with confidence and strength, granting peace of mind to those seeking to find their path. Thus Thorvald and Bianca, Premier Baron and Baroness created the Order of the Flame of Pharos, to recognize such service.

Proposed scroll text:
"Let it be known to all and sundry that we, Thorvald and Bianca, Premier Baron and Baroness of the Barony of Gryphon’s Lair recognize that the fire of service burns strong in the heart of Meraud des Belles Feuilles, always omnipresent when there is work to be done. It is therefore our desire and honor to name her the Premier member of the Order of the Flame of Pharos, that she may continue to be a beacon to all gentles of the Lair; a foremost example of selfless sacrifice for the good of all. In witness thereof we have set our hand this 16 day of September, Anno Societatis XLI, being 2006 in the Common Reckoning."

I was lucky to be selected to help create the premier scroll. I did the calligraphy, and the illumination was done by Lord Grifon de Radonvilliers.

Flame of Pharos - Meraud des Belles Feuilles

Monday, May 2, 2011

SCA New Year

Congratulations to all SCAdians. We've made it through another year! Everyone toss some confetti in the air. Please note that it is now Anno Societatis 46, (A.S. XLVI) and all scrolls should reflect the new year.

Happy scribing,