Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Eleanora Dress - skirt update

This skirt is really heavy but another couple of hours worked on it and I think (and very much hope) that the large sections of black applique is all done. Lots of little fiddly bits left and lots of gold applique to do. At least the gold upholstery velvet doesn't fray as quickly as the black velveteen, so it should be a little easier to work with.

This really seems to be the never ending dress.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Eleanora dress - sleeves

Black applique finished on one set of sleeve panes. Just the gold applique to go and the sleeve will be ready for couching. However it appears I have not yet prepared   the second sleeve. Bugger, its either do some ironing to get the second sleeve ready or play with the skirt again....

Approximately 570 hours completed on this dress so far.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Eleanora Dress - back bodice

Today I finished off the applique on the back of the bodice. Applique on the front is already done. That just leaves the couching to do. I need to test drive the pattern I plan on using to make up the bodice, so I'll probably make up another dress entirely, wear it to a few events and see how it feels before making up the Eleanora bodice.
Bodice back (before cutting to shape)

Bodice back - reverse

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Eleanora gown

I am finally working on Eleanora again. Yesterday I nearly finished the applique on the back of the dress. Just a small section on the outer edges to go. Add another three hours to the tally and time to get another reel of gold thread :).

Sunday, October 23, 2011

A cawel for my head

Ok, so I have had a piece of blackwork sitting around for absolutely ages and a distinct lack of pretty headwear to finish of my dresses...so today was obviously the day to make a cawel. One hour later and it is complete. I just have to throw it in the washing machine to get the stabiliser out of it. :) Now to make a hat to wear with it.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Bal d Aneala - post ball update

I ran out of bows, so spent the afternoon tracking down more findings and more ribbon to finish off the bows. Now i just have to put them onto the dress and take some nice photos for the blog.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Ball d Aneala - Day 6

Ball day. Just one or two bits to do before the ball...

I added trim to all pieces requiring trim, this was made up of gold lace, blue velveteen ribbon and strings of 'pearls' (beading foot is my new best friend). Then pleated and attached the skirt to the bodice by hand. Made up the shoulder loops and attached them. Then started on the bows and attaching the hanging sleeves to the bodice. I only had time to do the shoulder bows before getting ready to drive to the ball. Two trips to the shop in the middle, once for machine needles and then for cotton slowed things down a little.

I am not completely happy about the front closure, it just wasn't sitting right, so I stitched myself into my dress when I got to the ball :) Unfortunately, no really good pictures. I will take proper ones later, as well as making up the rest of the bows and getting around to making sleeves and underskirts. I will leave the dress on  the mannequin for a while to help the skirt pleats settle in, at the moment they are just too puffy.

I do like the style of the dress and was pleased that the front kept the nice Elizabethan flat fronted look. More in this style to come I think.

And the Ball was fun, we had visitors from over east teaching classes :)

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Ball d Aneala dress - day 3 & 4

Lots of work done, but everything is in bits as I have been applying trim as I go. The hanging sleeves are finished (apart from pearls and bows) as is the skirt front. The bodice is ready for trim, skirt needs pleating, attaching and hemming and the small shoulder rolls need to be made. I did have to go and get some gold lace trim as I didn't have enough.

Tomorrow is a 'non sewing day' so I'll do a little more tonight and then finish it off on Saturday morning before the ball.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Ball d Aneala dress - day 2

The bodice has been fitted, it looks a bit messy at this stage. As well as deciding to make a dress in five days, I have also changed the way I construct the bodice. I have used a light weight calico canvas, doubled down the front and back to give stiffness, single layer and cut on the bias on the sides to give a little ease. I have had to add a centre back seam because the bodice was much too loose. The hook and eye fastening has been machined in. Shoulder seams will be sewn together after silk is attached.  I will cut a new pattern from this bodice as I have had to make lots of changes from my original bodice pattern.

I have three steel bones on each side of the front opening to keep the front of the dress smooth when I wear it. The back will have four-six plastic bones after I have pinned and cut the silk. I will leave the plastic bones under a pile of books today to make them sit flatter instead of curling this way and that.

Today's job - hand stitching the blue silk to the interlining. This afternoon I will cut the dress and sleeves. The silk is hanging up trying to drop some creases. Note to self....don't let satin weight silk get munted up in a box, its a bastard to iron. I'm still not sure what to line the inside of the hanging sleeves with. There must be something floating around here that will suffice. 

Must go, time for work :)

Monday, October 10, 2011

Another side project - Ball d Aneala dress

Today (Monday) I sketched my dress for the Ball d' Aneala. I will be wearing this dress on Saturday. So far I have fitted the bodice (and refitted, and refitted etc) and it is ready to cut the silk. All of the fabrics are in my stash, so I'm not allowed to go and by anything for this dress, just use what is already here. Tomorrow I will cut the bodice and take it to work with me to start hand sewing it to the interling. Pictures to follow.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Where does the time go?

Time seems to fly these days and I don't always get things done as intended. Since getting my sewing machine fixed I have made an outfit for a Talk Like a Pirate Day event - which was rained out :(. Luckily we had a lunch at work, so I got to wear my pirate coat, hat and boots at least.

Currently I am working on a medieval / middle eastern outfit for an Arabian Nights event on Sunday. This is loosely based on a 16th c Persian outfit. Next week I need to make an Elizabethan dress for the Anealan Ball. Pictures ups soon.

I must get cracking on the Eleanora dress again though. If I want to wear it to the 12th Night Coronation in January I will find my self running out of time..again.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

That doesn't sound good...

Something sounds not quite right with my sewing machine :( so it is at the sewing centre getting some tlc. In the interim im using my old machine and working on some pirate gear for Talk Like a Pirate Day as it doesnt have the button hole stitch I have been using for the applique.

Update: machine fixed and ready to be collected :)

Friday, July 29, 2011

Thanks for the lovely comments... I am of to Cairns for a mini break, so not much progress on anything this weekend, but I will be relaxed and refreshed :)

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Another minor diversion

We recently had our midwinter feast and the theme was 1492. I wanted to create an English dress from around that period, between the Burgundian and Tudor styles. I found some nice wool blend fabric, some faux fur and a portrait of Elizabeth of York and my Pre-Tudor gown evolved. It was really comfortable to wear and nice and warm.

I drafted and cut the pattern one Saturday afternoon and made the dress in approx 6 hours, finishing as I was supposed to be dressed and ready to go. It has side back lacing, and as the fabric was quite heavy I used the strips of eyes (as in hooks and eyes) to form the lacing eyelets. It worked really well.  Despite that and the lack of documentation, I entered the dress (with verbal documentation) into the A&S comp and much to my surprise came runner up. Thanks to Linda for the photo below.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Another week down

I managed to do about 6 hours on the dress this week and about an hour on the documentation. The only problem is finding tiny sections that I have missed :( better to notice them now I suppose than after the dress is finished. Hopefully I will get at least as much done this week.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The art of self delusion

As I mentioned yesterday, I am starting to work on documenting how I constructed my dress and why I did what I did and it occurred to me that one of the reasons is delusion.... most people would probably have looked at the portrait and thought...no way. Not me, I just thought "ooooh pretty, have to make it, it wont take that long surely", hence self delusion. Would I have made the dress if I had realised how long it was going to take? I am pretty sure a few people said I was a little mad to attempt it, but once started it has to be finished, so onwards and upwards as they say.

Thanks to everyone following the blog, mostly for the positive comments that keeps me inspired and partly a little for the guilt I feel if I have been really slack (which happens often) and don't update the blog as often as I should.

Another 2 hours completed today.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Little by little...

New sewing needles and another couple of hours of applique on the skirt done...there can't be much left to do surely? Who am I kidding, loads to do yet. When I think I am done I'll have a look from the inside to find all the tiny sections that I have missed. I have decided not to do any more of the couching until the applique is finished because I am worried about it getting caught on something and ruined whilst I manhandle the skirt this way and that around corners and back again. I am also trying to remember to take short breaks instead of marathon sewing sessions..... we'll see how that goes :)

I have also started to collate the documentation for the dress. For those of you not in the Society for Creative Anachronism, documentation is how we describe what it is we are trying to achieve, the methods used, the logic behind the decisions etc etc (or something like that). I think I will try and get it to a suitable standard to enter it into the Order of the Laurel Research and Documentation competition.


I usually just sew dresses and wear them. If there is a need for additional entries into an Arts and Sciences competition to enable to competition to go ahead, I have been known to more or less give verbal documentation, however I vary rarely, if ever write stuff down.  Perhaps this is the motivation I need to get started. Again, we'll see how that goes.

I have also decided that I need to get this dress finished sometime this millennium. So my new goal is at least 1 hour of work on it each day. Can I clock up hours and take a day off here and there? Hopefully this will mean some more frequent blog entries with progress pictures that actually show more progress.

And just in case I get bored, I am still working on my Italian Renaissance Costume Challenge entry - nearly finished the 'trial' doublet to test the pattern, and have a few more dresses that are required for events for the remainder of the year. I am also learning to make armour for combat archery and in return, teaching some non sewers how to sew their own garb. Did I mention I also have a family (not into SCA) and a full time job :).

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Not quite to plan

I planned to spend the afternoon working on the Eleanora dress and managed to sew for an hour before I broke a machine needle......my last machine needle :(  and being a Sunday, there is no where close to get any. That'll teach me for breaking three yesterday finishing the fur trim on my pre Tudor gown (which was finished 5 min before I had to leave for the feast....).

Perhaps tomorrow will be more productive.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Italian Renaissance Costume Challenge Update

I have been working on a partlet for the IRCC. As its only the second partlet I have done, its largely trial and error. I have used a lovely soft linnen, added a machine embroidered blackwork collar and will add a small ruffle edged in lace to the top edge. Most of it is being done by hand, with all of the seams turned under and stitched down. I still need to decide which lace I want to use for the edge....

Monday, May 16, 2011

Italian Renaissance Costuming Challenge update

I finally decided on the blackwork pattern for my new square necked chemise. Luckily the individual embroideries dont take that long to do as they are done on my machine. The design is purchased.

The pattern will run down the centre of the sleeve and around the neckline (straight edge along the opening). I have a similar another pattern similar to the straight section that i will use on the cuff frill.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Medici Archives

Really cool site - digital achieve and photographic documentation of the Medici burial clothes.... lots of pictures. Thanks to 'the Shambles' - the Kingdom of Lochac mailing list for sharing the link.


Eleanora dress - skirt

At last, a picture of the nearly complete skirt. I am going to finish the hem edge with a black velvet guard to protect the satin from dirt and feet. You can see where one of the gold motifs is missing - it hadn't been sewn down yet and came off. Trying to get velvet to stick to delustered satin is nearly impossible when you have to keep moving the fabric. If you look closely at the picture you can see the seam. I closed the side seam and then did the applique over the top so I didnt have to try and match the pattern later.

So far the skirt weighs 1.7kg.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

More random costuming

Finished the costumes for a friends book launch - http://www.wolfletters.com/ - Will wanted a couple of Monks costumes suitable for 8th century monk. I'll add pictures from the book launch at the end of the month.

I need something suitable for wearing in the kitchen and my usual Elizabethan garb is a little ott. Today I bit the bullet and started my cotehardie/gothic fitted dress.  Using a Burda pattern, I pinned and adjusted my way to a suitably fitted gown that seems to be working. I have used white linen and double lined the bodice to give it some strength, not sure if its going to be supportive enough though. Tomorrow I have to finish off the seams and then do the eyelets, sleeves and hems. Then after wearing it for a couple of hours I should be able to see where the adjustments are needed for the over dress.

Pencampwr (weekend SCA camping event in Western Australia) is just over a month away and I have a mountain of sewing to do, so its time to just get it done :).

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Isabella Project

After a couple of hours fitting the doublet bodice (on, off, refit and repin, try it on again...) I have a pattern that I think will work. I am using a featherweight buckram for the interlining and am currently pad stitching wool to the collar to add stiffness and help shape the curve. Almost half way around the first side and appears to be giving the effect I am after.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Just because I can - Isobella gown


To celebrate 10 years of the Realm of Venus,  Donna Bella Lucia da Verona has created a fantastic costume competition....which I just had to enter. I will be making a dress inspired by the painting of Isabella de Medici and am tempted to also redo the blue Maria de Medici gown with the correct embroidery.....time may become a factor.

And I still need to finish Eleanor.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Another couple of hours completed. The skirt is getting so stiff and heavy that it is really time consuming to finish the applique. However I think the black applique is nearly finished. There are a couple of sections that will be quite time consuming, but the rest of the blak is tiny sections filling in 'loops'. I find its easier to look from the back of the skirt now to see where I have missed bits. Next, I need to finish the gold applique on the skirt and then finish the bodice and sleeves. I will be onto making up the dress in no time (relatively speaking).

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Earlier work

Here are a couple of pictures of a dress I made for the Bal d Aneala a couple of years ago. Its based on a portrait of Maria de Medici.
Another couple of hours completed. This is what the underside of the applique looks like after the hand couching has been applied. I still need to go and trim off all of the threads but that can wait until later.

I have also made a plain black dress with a similar bodice and neckline which seems to fit quite well, so I will use the pattern again when it comes to making the bodice up.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

still working....

I am still working on the dress. It's taking a while and I have to make a tabbard and outfit for a friend, a black Spanish number and an 8th C Monks outfit for a book launch.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Back to work

Ok. I have been really slack and not made much progress lately, but am now working on the dress again. No deadlines, just plodding along around other projects till it gets finished.