Posts tagged ‘dress’

Checking back in…

It’s been quite some time since I blogged here, and I haven’t been going to many events due (mostly) to time constraints, but that doesn’t mean that all has been silent on the A&S front. This being AS 49, I decided I need to get up and moving on my 50 things project, and to do this, I need to get up to date with my list. I previously was at Breadth challenge #27, so here’s my list continuing on:

28. My songbook has now expanded to include 55 songs, some of which are period and some not. This has been a depth challenge for me (and will continue to be ongoing… there are a lot of songs available  and a lot of pages in my songbook which are yet to be filled in.) I’ve got a YouTube channel where I’m gradually adding content. Due in part to bad speakers, another part to poor microphones, and a third part to the fallibility of my vocal cords, the sound is not always the best, but I believe it’s probably sufficient for other bards to pick up a tune from what I’ve posted. You can listen to me on this channel:

29. My wedding dress. You’ve already seen the fabric, here and here… the final product was entirely hand stitched to my own design. It didn’t entirely work the way I wanted, due majorly to my weight (and size) jumping all over the place while I was making the dress. However, I’m (mostly) satisfied with what I made, and apart from some minor freakouts on the day and the groom having a broken leg (that’s a story unto itself), the wedding went well. I’ve since used the dress at an event, and now that I am fatter, it fits me a lot better.

My wedding dress, from my own design.

My wedding dress, from my own design.

30. My wedding cake. This was made entirely of gingerbrede with marzipan icing. I will admit to buying the pink flowers on the cake, but am particularly proud of my own marzipan roses.

Wedding cake made on gingerbrede and marzipan

Wedding Cake

31. A painted buckler. I carried it into the wedding. For those who are curious, the text on the buckler is not period. It is, instead, made of Tengwar and written in Sindarin (one of the Elvish languages from J.R.R. Tolkein’s Middle Earth stories). The text reads “loving twin souls” and “eternity”. Note: I did not make the buckler (which was rehomed to us from a heavy fighter who could no longer fight due to chronic shoulder injury), I simply painted it.



A painted buckler

A painted buckler

32. My wedding jewellery. Namely a strand of  black pearls, strung on silk, using a  toggle clasp.

A photo of me which displays my wedding jewellery

A photo of me which displays my wedding jewellery




33. A naalbinded phone pouch.

Naalbinded pouch

Naalbinded pouch for my love’s phone

34. Turks-head knot balls. I gifted these to Stegby a while back so the canton can build a children’s play box. I don’t currently have a photo.

35. Naalbinded bag. I make a lot of bags and pouches, it seems. This one became my token display area.

36. Bone pendant. This was a wedding gift for a couple of friends. This pendant was quite challenging due to the intricacy of the design.

Bone pendant featuring knotwork

37. Cider. My dear husband has taken to brewing his own cider, and so I have dabbled alongside him. Chief among my accomplishments is a dry pomegranate cider (yum).

38. Mead. I managed to find a period recipe for “weak mead”, which I have used, drank, then used further as a base for…

39. I am unsure what to name this drink. It may be considered a melomel, or it may be considered an ale: I used a weak mead recipe as a base and added barley. The result was dry, with a lemony flavour and a lingering but not unpleasant aftertaste in the back of the throat. I may try it again sometime.

40. Sekanjabin. This is a period Middle Eastern drink of  vinegar and sugar, heated until it becomes syrupy, and used as a cordial. I use red wine vinegar, but my father tells me it’s quite nice using apple cider vineger.

41. Embroidered handkerchiefs. Carrying tissues around at an event is (while convenient) something that detracts from authenticity. To this end, I have embroidered some handkerchiefs so that I’m not dropping tissues whenever I happen to have a runny nose at an event.

42. Illumination.  This was the product of an A&S class at this year’s Great Northern War.



43. Pilgrim bag for my father. Having at some stage read about Elizabethan era stitching techniques, and having a father who is about ready to entrust himself to the SCA and who accompanied me to Great Northern War, I decided he needed a pilgrim bag to put his feasting gear into. You can see the bag in the background of the below image. All fabric edges have been folded into a hem and secured with a running stitch, then seams have been whipstitched. I decided that, as the fabric I was using was unbleached calico and the stitches would be visible anyway, I would make the stitches become a feature of the bag. All stitching has been done in blue. I also followed this pattern with the strap, making the strap a long tube and placing the seam for the strap uppermost and in the middle rather than on one of the edges. I think this will probably add long term strength to the strap also.


My father. Note the bag on the table next to him.

That’s it for the moment. I’m so close to my 50! I do have a few projects on the go at the moment… one crewel work embroidery, a splitstitch embroidery, a blackwork collar, a girdlebook, and a carved spoon, which means that once they’re done, I have only two more items to manage for my list.


Breadth challenge #13: Sleeves

I finished these a few days ago, but I’m only just getting around to posting about it.  Sleeves, for this dress.

Sleeves for a teenage re-enactor

The pattern is fairly easy.  I’ve measured in 6 places on the arm.  Tip of the shoulder to the wrist, under the arm to the wrist, tip of the elbow to the wrist, around the upper arm, around the elbow, around the widest part of the hand.  Please refer to my lovely little scanned diagram below.

Generic sleeve pattern

This dress is using a detached sleeve.  This greatly increases its wearability, especially somewhere like Australia, where the heat in Summer can really make you wish you were wearing short sleeves, but the cold of Winter means you want that extra warm garb.

I’ve made the sleeves to tie on, attaching just once to the bodice at the shoulder, and tied three times along the length of the arm.  This should leave plenty of room for growth, offering some small amount of leeway for arm length and width.  Ribbons can be replaced, but adding fabric where there is none to spare is somewhat difficult.

I’ve also slit the elbows.  Hopefully this will allow her a greater amount of movement, teens being teens.

My partner’s daughter has been thrilled with the costume so far.  I have yet to see her with the sleeves on, as she’s been spending school holidays with another relative.  This weekend will be her first time wearing the complete outfit.  But the day she tried on the chemise with the dress, she didn’t want to take it off.  I think it’s a hit.


Dying my fabric

Remember the doona cover I had snaffled from a second hand shop?  Let me refresh your memory here.

I dyed it last night.

I’ve never dyed anything before, so it was somewhat with trepidation.  Especially as I couldn’t find a dye designed to give me the colour I originally wanted (a pale peach would have been nice, but I was always willing to change my mind).  Instead, I settled on Aztec Gold (from the iDye range).

As the fabric was a cotton/poly blend, and the dye I used was solely for natural fibres, it’s picked out the pattern nicely.

The two faces of my fabric, along with the cotton I'll be using for the skirt.

The plain cotton I’m using for the skirt will probably get dyed again, as there are a number of spots where the dye hasn’t taken properly.  My hope is to also get the plain fabric a little darker.  I’m happy with the shade for the patterned fabric, though, and will be starting to put together a plan for the pattern sometime in the next couple of weeks.

Item 9: A Cordial & Item 10: A Kirtle

I’m going for a two-fer here.  Two disparate items, both of them actually late in the offering.

Item 9, a cordial:

This is a mandarine liquor, or cordial, or whatever you wish to call it.  It’s made on vodka.  I’ve taken the rind of two small mandarines, 1/2 tsp cardamom, 1/2 tsp cloves, and 1/2 stick of cinnamon, and I’ve filtered a bottle of vodka through these ingredients with a coffee filter multiple times.  Then I’ve taken fresh ingredients, and I’ve let them steep in the bottom of the bottle for around 3 weeks.  Today I decanted it into smaller bottles, as I intend to take a small amount with me to Great Northern War.  It’s got a lovely flavour, it’a a very deep citrus, the cardamom notes come out strongly, there’s just the tiniest note of bitterness on the back edge.  I’m rather happy with this attempt, as it’s entirely my creation.  I’ve never ventured beyond Ypocras and Claree before this, and those were working from redactions.

Citrussy Goodness

Item 10 is a kirtle.

I picked the material up from Rowany Festival, and always knew that it would become a kirtle.  I actually finished this dress about a week ago, but I’ve only just got around to photographing it.  I’m sorry, I don’t remember where I got the instructions for making it.  I do recall that I edited it heavily though, and did things in a very different way to the initial instruction.  I would not be able to replicate it, I think.

Mmm, I like green.

This brings me to the completion of my first fifth of my challenge.  Yay!

Item #7: Camicia

The past few days have been spent sewing masses of fabric.  I’ve taken instructions from here:


Italian Chemise

The fabric I’ve used here is a pale yellow muslin, which I managed to pick up at a very cheap price from Spotlight, and I’ve taken some lace from an old shirt to serve as the cuffs and the neckline.

Recycled lace

Lace cuff

Some notes from the process:

  • My initial thought on seeing the fabric laid out was “That is going to be way too big for me!”  The neckline is enormous before it’s gathered.  Don’t worry.  It’s meant to be that way.
  • When you sew the sides together, make sure you line up the gussets before you start sewing the sleeves shut.  I didn’t, then found that the fabric had skewed badly while I was cutting out one sleeve.  Thus, there are a number of gathers in the back of one sleeve, because I’m lazy and didn’t want to unpick everything when I realised that my gussets were uneven by about 2 inches.
  • Gathering is tedious work.  I used a different technique to those listed in the link, I gathered by sewing pleats directly onto the lace.  If you’re going to do it this way, make sure you’ve got the lace on the correct side of the fabric, rather than have to unpick 3-4 inches of the neckline when you realise you’ve got it inside out.  It might have been more, but for my reaching a seam and thinking “That doesn’t look right…”

Happy sewing!

Item #1: Italian Rennaissance Gown

Having just returned from Rowany Festival, and learning that my partner’s teenage daughter has nothing actually “nice” to wear to events, I decided to make her an outfit that she can own, and she can wear to feasts and actually look like she’s not a ragamuffin.  Having recently made a gown for myself from this same pattern, I find it to be not only comfortable and warm, but to also draw a lot of positive comments.  The hand sewing took me only a day and a half, the majority of which I spent watching movies, and I have yet to get the material to make a chemise to match.

I’ve taken the construction instructions directly from here:
I’ve found this website to be extremely easy to follow, it even tells you how to alter the pattern for your individual requirements, gives you suggestions for alternate closures, etc.  It was great for someone who has never had any practical experience in putting together anything but a T-tunic, and has no access to pre-drawn patterns.

My one sadness is that I didn’t have enough material to really go to town with the skirt.  My own gown has a 4 meter skirt which really sits out with a lot of volume, but this had not quite 2 meters to play with.  It’s still got plenty of leg room, though, so it’s not going to trip her up if she decides to go running around.

Sleeves can wait until I’ve made my own.

Italian Rennaissance Dress

%d bloggers like this: