By Saturday morning I'd finally got all the paper pattern pieces to match up. I cut out the front pieces*, and before going to bed I'd finished sewing and top-stitching the front.
I'm not happy with how it looks. I don't dislike it enough to scrap the project; I still intend to wear this to the upcoming wedding. But the pieced-seams are bubbly. Not the seams themselves, but the fabric above and below.
I believe the problem comes from the fabric. This wool/cotton challis is kinda loosely woven, and with that weave I think it's not the best fabric for that degree of bias-cut piecing. I think that was this pattern really needs is a much denser weave. I think even a rayon challis would have been better. I think a super-lightweight wool twill would be a good fit, actually.
The other weirdness is that, for some reason, I thought that commercial pattern pieces were printed such that the expectation is that you are laying them out on the wrong side of the fabric. Turns out I was wrong -- they expect you to lay them out on the fashion/right side of the fabric. So my dress is opposite of what was intended. Now, in the greater scheme of things it doesn't really matter, but it's another thing that I'm finding frustrating about this dress.
Next up: cutting out and putting together the back.
*Thank you lifeofglamour for hosting my while I cut stuff out.
( Read more... )
Ever since I learned about the early-17th C smock in the V&A with the (now faded) pink animals and flowers embroidered on it*, I've wanted to make one for myself. The snails are soooo cute! The designs seem to mostly come from the Scholehause School for the Needle, which I have a copy of, and I actually like to do hand embroidery.
But I was never able or willing to put in the time and effort to make it happen. Even if the embroidery technique used is simple, there's a lot of it. I never thought I could commit the time to make it happen.
But now I have technology! I own machine embroidery (ME)-capable sewing machines! And low and behold, the designs used on the smock had been digitized for ME and were available for purchase!** I even had a deadline-excuse: as part of my 30-year-a-Laurel celebration I plan to have an Elizabethan Underwear Party.
Now, because I'm me and I'm a Laurel in the SCA for costuming, I found myself wondering about the "ethics" (for lack of a better term) of creating a copy/version of this extant historical garment using machine embroidery. I actually thought a lot about it. Since most of you who are reading this are in the SCA and/or also like to make historical clothing, I thought I'd share my conclusions and approach to making this smock:
1) First and foremost, if I wasn't going to use ME I wouldn't have made this smock at all. I just don't have the bandwidth. Given all the other demands on my life I've got limited time for sewing. Add to that, I've got other sewing projects on my plate, including commitments to sew for other people. Having the option of doing all of the embroidery by machine kicked this project into the realm of Doable In My Lifetime. And once this project got labeled Doable in my brain I was able to get the time scheduled and gather the materials to make it a reality.
2) I accepted that this smock was going to be a work of compromise. My reasoning went as follows:
- I was going to copy the original smock as much as I could, but I was going to use my machine(s) when I thought it would not be obvious and would save the time necessary to keep the project Doable.
- I was going to be wearing this at SCA events. I was not ever going to wear this smock to work at a more "rigorous" historical re-creation event, such as Kentwell in the UK.
- Most of these SCA events would be camping, so the smock had to be made sturdily and be machine-washable.
Sewing approach:( Read more... )
Today is Rachael's annual Game Day, so we'll make our for being hermits last night by seeing people today. Once again, though, our time will be limited to the number of hours we can safely leave the pups alone in the house.
In other news, in the last couple of days I've made a bit of progress on commissions. I've got a bodice pattern ready for CJ to try on and i should be able to get Lisa a skirt muslin to try on by this afternoon. I'll take my triumphs as they come.
Now I want to find a SW Rebel alliance pin to wear as a symbol of resistance to the upcoming struggle.
A) I was employed. I was able to pay my bills, kept a roof over our heads.
B) All of our household staying relatively healthy.
C) In June our Land Girl group won the Best Educational Group at the Old Fort MacArthur show. This is one of the top 4 awards. For a first-time group this was an amazing achievement. Cathie B. was the person most responsible, since she basically bankrolled the trip when several people backed out at the last minute.
D) I had a wonderful time at Costume College. Since I was working for the ad agency instead of my current Temp contract I got actual vacation pay for that time off, adding to my joy. I was pretty much a happy relaxed hermit in a hot tub. I also learned a lot about The Joy Of Padding to get the right historical silhouette.
E) Golden Beltane was OK for me personally, but also a bit of a bummer. Since I had to work there was way too much set up and tear down to balance the fun. But it was refreshing to see what the West Kingdom can do when they aren't constrained by all of the Required Stuff that all our normal events are stuffed with.
F) I got back on my horse and started riding again. Admittedly, this has been sporadic, but for a while I was managing at least once a week. Brandee is happy out with her mare-buddies; big bonus.
G) I sewed a ton of stuff this year. No big projects, but a lot of small instant-gratification stuff. For my own records, here's what I made (according to memory):
- 7 14th C linen undershirts for Jeff
- 7 pairs of linen braies
- Jeff's Roman tunic
- My Roman outfit (silk): tunica, stolla, palla
- Collette Pattern dress (turns out the waist length is too short)
- Decades of Style 1930's Button dress
- 2 pencil skirts
- 1 pencil/A-line skirt
- 2 Decades of Everyday Button blouses
- 4 shell-type tops from Gertie's Guide book
- 2 bias drape shell tops (Vogue pattern)
- 5 sets of Venetian Lace cuffs (machine Free Standing Lace/FSL)
- Bunch of FSL, mostly from Urban Threads: teacup, box, 9 articulated animal ornaments (maybe 10 if I make another one today)
- 4 test Halloween glow-in-the-dark banners
- 8 embroidered canvas bags (Xmas gifts) -- lined!
- Cotton brocade short swing coat (pattern needs tweaking)
- Started Critter Smock; got sleeves embroidered
H) Started journaling on LJ again. Now I'm here.
I) Had some good times with friends. The Rock Of Ages party where we went as DeathKloc was great. Going to the County Fair was fun. June Crown and Fall Mists Coronet, where we kicked back and drank under our sunshade and pretty much ignored what was going on around us was fun. Had a lovely pool party with Joyce. Christmas was fantastic. There were good times in 2016, really.
J) I spent a few weeks teaching Ellen, Racheal's 11 yo neighbor how to sew, since we'd given her my old Bernina 1008 for her birthday. I enjoyed that. :-)
Alright, that's all I can remember for now. I'm thinking 2017 is going to be the year of Struggle and Resistance, so I'm not super happy about it beginning. But it beats being dead. May The Force be with us.
1) I have lost over 8 lbs in 3 weeks. Slow but steady wins the race...
2) OMG I do not feel ready for Beltane, even though Jeff and I already have a bunch of stuff packed. (Jeff will be there the whole time, but the pups and I will only be there on the 2 Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays.
Automatic needle up/down: Once you get used to being able to set this it becomes very irritating not to have this feature. Having the machine stop with the needle down in the fabric helps stabilize the work and helps keep seams straight when you need to stop and start again. I know many of my friends insist on this feature.
Pressure foot lowers automatically once foot pedal is pressed. Even though only my big Bernina 750 has this I now expect this to happen, since this is the machine I do most of my sewing on.
Push-button pressure foot up/down. A close second favorite to the above. It speeds things up, not having to reach behind the machine to raise and lower to pressure foot all the time.
Built-in needle threader: I used to scoff at these before I had one. Now it feels like a Big Imposition when I have to thread a needle without one.
In my experience, the hands-down winner for needle threaders is Baby Lock. They use a sort of disk arrangement which is easy to put thread through and works every time. The needle threaders on my big Bernina and my Viking are tricky affairs.
The ability to regulate pressure foot pressure: I only have one machine that doesn't allow this, namely, my little Bernina 1008. This is a nice workhorse machine, but the lack of this feature caused me pain in years past.
Pressure foot "hover": I love this. You can set your pressure foot to come up -- a little or a lot, depending on how you set it -- when you stop. This is great for pivoting, obviously, but is also great for small adjustments. This feature needs to be accompanied by the needle down feature, obviously. The 2 machines I have that do this are my big Bernina and my Baby Lock Aventura.
Automatic seam tie off and thread cutting: Boy howdy, once you get used to this it is *hard* to go back. It speeds up sewing noticeably. Of course, you don't have to use it if you need to have your thread ends; mostly you push a button to tie off and cut threads, your choice. My big Bernina 750, and my 2 Baby Lock sewing/embroidery machines (Ellisimo Gold II and Aventura) have this. My Viking Platinum and Bernina 1008 don't. This feature is causing me to want to take my Aventura to other people's houses to sew instead of my Swiss-made Viking, I'm ashamed to admit.
Built-in walking feet, or using a walking foot as a default foot in general: This is another thing that once you start it's hard to stop. It is just so much easier to keep both layers of fabric aligned, and to get through more sticky fabric. For example, at Costume College Diana found that the only way she could sew a decent seam on her textured "leatherette" material was with a walking foot. And we tried a few others first. And having the walking foot capability built in, as with my big Bernina, makes it even easier and eliminates the clunkyness of many separate walking feet (although these have gotten better in recent years.)
Wider stitch width capability: This has been super useful for Heirloom sewing with a wing needle. I've gotten spoiled by my big Bernina's 9 mm.
Easy-to-swap straight needle stitch plate. I swap between the standard and the straight stitch needle plate all the time. Super good for organza or any lightweight fabric that might get pushed down into the bobbin area. The Berninas and the Viking are great - just snap in. The Baby Lock machines fall down in this area, since you have to unscrew the plate off and screw the new plate back in. I have straight stitch plates for all of my machines -- believe me they are worth the effort.
Specialty feet: I am an addict to having the right foot for the job. Feet I reach for all the time:
- straight stitch "jeans" foot
- gathering foot
- Cording foot (where you feed cord through a hole in the foot). This, coupled with the pressure foot hover function, made couching all that silver cord on Brian's 12th Night Henrician outfit go super fast. I also use this to zig-zag over cord for gathering.
- "stitch in the ditch" foot
- edge foot
- clear foot
- ruffler foot
The plus side of the Bernina feet is that there are plenty of them to choose from. The minus side is that they are expensive. Baby Lock has a wide selection as well and they are *a lot* less expensive, so points to Baby Lock on this point.
Machine Embroidery: I never thought I wanted this before last year. Now there's no going back. I love doing this. I have even used it as therapy these last few weeks with the new job and with Chloe's healing. I may sound crazy, but there is just something fun and relaxing about watching the machine stitch out the embroidery. Now I want to machine embroider All The Things!
Alright, off the top of my head these are all the features that are available on computerized machines that have spoiled me. First world problem I know, but I feel guilty about wanting to use my Baby Lock Aventura to sew at friend's houses now instead of my quiet-and-still-made-in-Switzerland Viking Platinum because of the features I just described.
Oh, and on a tangential note, I've become a Baby Lock convert. Don't get me wrong, they will still have to pry my Bernina 750 out of my cold dead hands. This will need to be a separate post, however.
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Didn't have out dinner. Stuff was all frozen, so I'll make more and we'll just have a bigger dinner at Mists Spring Coronet. I did give the finger to the weather gods by going ahead and baking bread onsite. A big shout-out thank you to joycebre for the use of her oven. :-) It was fun to share something warm with people when the environment was so wet and cold.
Poor Chloe. This was not the introduction to big SCA events that I had hoped she'd have. She was a super good girl and enjoyed meeting people and dogs. But she was so cold; she was shivering and miserable on her little bed. :-( We thawed her out in the Motel 6 and gave her mommydaddybedtime, but still. I'm joking now that when we start packing for the next SCA event Chloe will protest with a sign reading "Stop the Madness!" ;-)
On the plus side, I'm happy that Marc and Patricia won -- Long Live our new Crown Prince and Princess! My boy clothes outfit + long thermal underwear did the trick and I was comfortable all day. I got to spend a little time with people, and that was good. Unfortunately, much of our time was spent huddling out of the rain. We met a new person who took shelter with us for a while: Joan the Harper, who is becomeing Christian de Holacomb's apprentice. :-) And J/S measured back40joules for jousting armor -- yay for business and for back40joules! :-)
And J/S and I got to spend the weekend with Mogan A., who allowed us to take her in for the weekend. The three of us had hoped to do some merchanting at Crown, but that was just not in the cards. Some discussions about going up to An Tir and merchanting as a group project, though.
By the time we'd packed down in the rain and wind (most of the mud on J/S came from the flooring/tarps -- epic mud) we (especially Chloe) were *done*. I'd talked to aastg during the day, so I only felt a little guilty for bugging out on the Laurel meeting. So we were back at the Motel 6 before dark. Dinner with Luthold and Morgan at Applebees and a good time was had by all. The storm blowing through sounded *epic*, though. I'm glad we didn't try to drive home last night.
Now I'm looking forward to a much pleasanter Spring Coronet. :-)
So I'm asking you, my cooking friends, what would tempt you to participate in a Gaston Pheobus-style hunt picnic? To be clear, I don't even know whether or not you'd want to feed the riders. It could be that you'd just want to have a late 14-15th C cooks (French?) playday, and then everyone eats some period picnic food that's brought by someone/riders/whoever wants to bring something. Maybe non-cooks pay for ingrediants if they eat the food cooked? I don't know; that's why I'd like some input. :-)
So, what would tempt you to such an event? What would discourage you? If you'd like to do it, how far would you be willing to travel? Site and weather requirements? Activities other than those of a "cooks playday" that I'm not thinking of? Bottom line: What would make such an event fun for you?
Saturday we went up to Sophie and Guilumes to hang out while she recovers from her hip replacement surgery. Mostly we watched movies -- Cousin Bett for the Girl Costume Flick, then several Isabella Rousillini's Green Porn shorts which I did not know existed. ;-) Then the boys came in and we (well, they -- Sophie and I mostly did handwork) "Gamer", which was mostly (imho) a violence exploitation flick. Finally we watched a Mystery Science Theater version of Laserblaster, a 1970's "movie" that was worse than any Hercules movie you could imagine. :-0 Got home after midnight. Oh, and I'm now Even More Interested in making an 18th C riding habit. Sophie may convert me yet. ;-)
Sunday started with Brandee and Laura and me time at the barn. L's help is a big help and I'm continuing to be grateful. Then J/S got to see one of his Portland Peeps -- Grigsby, who was down in Milpitas on a buisness trip. We may get to drag him to sewing tonight, too. :-) Took him for a rainy walk around downtown Livermore, with lunch at the dog-freindly Main Street Cafe (burgers and beer!). Then home and much conversation. Yay!
- I (heart) Dom Duarte! Almost finished with his 1438 Royal Book of Jousting, Horsemanship, and Knightly Combat. Duarte was the King of Portugal, as well as the a relative of Richard II of England. I really love this guy. This book is not only about horsemanship, it's also a philosophical treatise. If I have the time I want to write more about this book. It's surprizingly modern in it's promoting the use of reason as the path to a Virtuous life. Else is right, all of us equestians should be reading this. But those of us interested in the study of Medieval and Renaissance Thought also should read Duarte.
I think Duarte's talk of spear hunting techniques might be of use in whatever sort of "hunt" we set up for the G.P. picnic event. I'm now looking to see id I can get my hands on the Gaston Pheobus text (instead of just the pictures). And I'm thinking we'll need to have some fundraising for this event. Thinking...
- My erstwhile BiL and project manager is now officially retired. Today is my first work day without him. Obviously I need to get used to that...
- I need to get back into sewing and I'm feeling it more, which is good. I have to do some Major sewing area cleaning before I can do that, though. I need to make Cin's smock, and I need to make Chloe a coat before March Crown. Oh, and there's a bunch of sewing I should be doing for J/S that I've put off for over a year now. :-(
And, of course, I need to get my camicas on Etsy to sell them!
- Related to sewing, my Medieval Gaments Reconstructed book finally came, after being on order since April 2010. Nice book, definately a companion work to Woven Into the Earth.
And I confess I was bad with my credit card. I noticed that the new Viking Costume Book was $20 less than elsewhere at David Brown Books. And I saw on another LJ that Well Respected An Tirians liked it, but acknowledged that the author does not present her documentation well (in other words, patterns good but no evidence presented). So I ordered it. My library goal has always been to provide resources to people even if I never make it. Although in my "simple is good" mood these days, early norse is looking better and better to me. ;-)
- J/S made some armor sales, so he's started taking once-a-week riding lessons with Cowboy Shawn at Chapparal (also in Ed Levin Park). He's liking riding bunches, although he is having some beginner frustrations (like learning the rhythm of the trot). I'm very happy about this. I am feeling optimistic these days, although that might just be me in denial. ;-)
- Riding continues to be good. Brandee's starting to get a worn spot in her cantle area on her back, so I need to get my saddle restuffed. Bummer. Laura is putting Brandee through her paces and really likes her -- yay! I am improving with her help -- Erica said I'd graduated. ;-) You just need a second pair of eyes sometime.
OK, that should do it for now. Bye!
-- Currently I'm at the English Peasants Revolt part of Froissart's Chronicles (Penguin edition; just selections).
-- Borrowed a copy of King Dom Duarte's 1438 teatise The Royal Book of Jousting, Horsemanship, and Knightly Combat from Marguerite and Brian. Looks good -- lots of info on actual riding rather than just fighting. This text has been making the rounds in the WK EQ community so maybe we can have a book discussion.
-- My copy of Medieval Garments Reconstructed, which is a companion volume to Woven Into The Earth, with patterns and pics of reconstructed garments alongside the originals. I ordered this back in April of last year. Interesting, but I'll be reading the aforementioned before I get to reading this. It's mostly pictures anyway...
Per King Rene and any subsequent event, Monday at Marguerite's sewing she and J/S and I did some brainstorming about what we could take from it for a future EQ event. So I don't forget here's what I remember: ( Read more... )
-- [Note: the following is written in Complete Denial about what might happen if I get laid off and don't get another job and the consequences that would have.] :-/
I don't want to jinx it, but things are looking up on the SCA EQ front for me and this area in general. ( Read more... )
-- I'm at stand-still in my idea of sewing for money. The Camicas did not sell at 12th Night (except for Ghislaine offering to buy one -- Thank you!) I need to get those things online (Etsy?) but I need to set a time and make myself do it. Like so much else in my life that needs doing, there aways seems to be something else to do (um, like post on LJ... :-/ ).
-- Other bedtime reading has been the Penguin edition of Froissart's Chronicles of the 100 Year War. Now I understand why the French hate the English. Ya know, the French might not have been the smartest tacticians, but the English were slash and burn a--holes!
OK, beans are done. Time to go.
What (if anything) would inspire you to attend a WK equestrian event or activity? Another way to put this is Is there anything you can think of that would make attendence worth your while? The promise of a good show? To help out a friend? Education? Free food?
We spent most of our time merchanting. I'm happy to report that J/S got some orders was able to give out contact info to interested parties. Thanks to Ghislaine I made a camica sale, too. :-)
I got to see 2 of the 3 things I wanted to see. The Golden Stag play was really awesome and a joy to watch. I also got to see Johanna recieve her Golden Poppy award. Unfortunately I *just* missed seeing Laurentia step up as WK EQ champion -- bitter. :-( And I thought the EQ meeting Sunday morning was successful; looking forward to the coming year.
Overall, I'm feeling much more excited about the SCA than I was going in to 12th Night. I'm feeling inspired on the EQ front and on the cooking dinner party front. Costuming, not so much. The level of effort I can spare I know is still limited, given the impending job search. But I'm looking forward to March Crown. My goals for that will be making a heraldic coat for Chloe and putting together another dinner party using Chiquart. Yup, pretty low key goals for a low key year.
On the home front, Chloe seems to have enjoyed being babysat by her Auntie Maria and Uncle Jeremia. The took her for a several-hour walk yesterday and today and tired her out big time. It was fun to hear stories about Chloe hogging the covers from someone else for a change, as well. ;-)
Adding Chloe to the J/S+Brandee+(2(Madeline))+work+sewing equation has eaten the time I used to spend online. But now while I'm making a double batch of pancakes to freeze I felt a need to let y'all know that we're still alive. :-)
Not too much to report:
- The Friday before last was my mom's internment. My sister took care of everything and it was quite nice. There is still paperwork and money-fu going on.
- Saw the musical of the Color Purple as part of our San Jose musical theater season tickets. I had no idea how that book could be a musical, but it turned out to be very well done. Not something I'm going to run out and by the soundtrack of, but both J/S and I and the rest of the crew enjoyed it. Thanks again to Lutold for Chloe-sitting so we could go.
- Brandee, per ususal, is well and being a good girl. She's gotten a bit higher with the cold weather. My riding continues to improve and I've got the extremely sore muscles to prove it.
- Chloe is a darling and settling in quite nicely. Has learned to ignore the cats. Madeline north is ignoring Chloe, but Madeline South is still bitter. Most of my non-work time is being spent with Chloe and her training and acclimation. Given that Chloe doesn't like the cold, doesn't like wet ground touching her delicate paws, likes to lay on the softest surface available, and is not a morning dog, it appears that we have a Pit Bull Princess. It figures...
- Thanksgiving was very nice. J/S and I and Chloe went had Thanksgiving with The Usual South Bay Suspects. Marguerite and Brian don't allow dogs in their house, but they have a nice backyard so either J/S or I or both of us hung out there with Chloe. We were able to leave her unattended for about an hour or so, so that's good. She is a rescue after all, and clearly has some abandonment issues. Thanks again to Brian and Gillian for cooking a wonderful meal!
- Sewing was interrupted with a delay in linen supply and Chloe arrival but I'm getting back on it. FYI: Greyline linen is, indeed, superior to Fabrics-store.com linen. But they are in New York and it takes 7-10 days to get delivery. Note also that shipping cost for 12 yards is about $13, but anything over that (e.g. 13 yds or more) is $33! So it's only cost effective to order 12 yds at a time.
Camica development has gone well and I think I've got the technique down. I've made the first trial one, then one for Marguerite and one for Cin and I'm starting one for helblonde. I've decided that 2 sizes seem to fit a wide variety of body types. My plan is to make 3 of each size to sell at 12th Night. I'll be asking $150 for them. I'll also make it clear that I can make custom ones.
Took a class for my Bernina 450 Saturday. Always good to take those classes. I had read the manual and I've worked with it so I was far along. What made it worthwhile was learning that these newer computerized machines don't like fuzzy thread. Even Guttermen's is too fuzzy. Mettler is better, and there's some other brands that are better still.
Note to hunrvogt: I haven't forgotten about your veils. I'll be starting the test tonight or tomorrow. :-)
- Sarted re-reading the George Duby book William Marshall, the Flower of Chivalry. I can't believe no one's done a movie of his life. Maybe since he just kicks ass there's no dramatic tension? ;-)
- Happy belated Birthday to j_i_m_r! She and Ivar came over yesterday to meet Chloe and hang out. Good to see them!
Actually this is worth noting: we are more homebond with Chloe. Or we need to visit where we can take her. Or we need to have a dog sitter. At some point we'll get to a point were we can leave her for reasonably long periods of time, but we are not there yet. Come on over people! :-)
- More on Chloe, or Life with a Pit Bull, the First Few Weeks: Chloe is different from other dogs I've had. Super affectionate, always wants to be with you or on you. She patrols the yard sniffing every morning. She holds onto stuff by spreading her toes out. She makes nests by digging and speading things around. Her hair is so short she needs to wear a coat to go outside (she now has 2). She wants to hug her people and like them on the face. Plus the chew-texture quality of a toy is *very* important.
Most people think she's super cute. A few people are clearly afraid because she's a pit bull. Note to the afraid public: A pit bull on a leash with her people wearing a silly coat or pink hooded sweatshirt that says "Dog Gone Cute" that is wagging its tail is not going to attack you. ;-) Also, you don't need to give us dirty looks; if you don't like her on principle you can just ignore us. :-/
Bottom line, we are well and doing stuff. Money is still tight, but I hope to sell stuff and get some return on my sewing investments soon. J/S is hoping to make some money as 12th night too. If you want any armor he's your man! ;-)