23 October 2010 @ 11:19 pm
I want to get this done before I forget about it, because the thank you gift that my sister got me for watching Ian was yarn for the 16th-century stranded knitting waistcoat I've been talking about making for like two years now. We ordered it from Colourmart, and I selected a silk/merino blend laceweight yarn, with a high silk content. It's in "light bottle" (a medium green) and "maize" (gold/yellow). Unfortunately, I will not be able to afford enough gold or silver-wrapped yarn to knit a waistcoat until I win the lottery. Let's just say that a thousand yards of that would probably be around a thousand dollars. Ha ha -- no.

Anyway, I want to get this written down in detail before I forget, so that I'm not scrambling later to remember why I made the decision to choose these colors. I did a preliminary list at Rachel's house when I was yarn shopping, but not in detail.

Analysis of stranded knitted waistcoats available from online museum collections )

Yes, that was totally worth staying up until 2 AM to accomplish. My notes are now on the internet, and everyone knows the internet is forever. Comments welcome! Please argue with me over this if you have evidence to back your thoughts up. Also, if you know of any waistcoats or partial waistcoats which I've missed, please let me know so I can add them to my analysis here.
[ profile] nuranar recently contacted me to ask me for research suggestions/inspiration for a friend of hers that is interested in starting to make historically accurate clothing for a middle class woman in Elizabethan England. I asked Ginger if she minded me asking my friends list, since so many of you do make 16th-century clothing for middle-class people in England and are way better at it and more well-informed than I am. And she said yes! So . . .

Dear LJ brain trust,

What books, websites and dress diaries/blogs do you recommend to a beginner who is interested in creating historically accurate clothing for middle class people in Elizabethan England? I believe I'm correct in thinking that [ profile] nuranar's friend already has some sewing experience, perhaps considerable. If you do other eras or geographic areas, please feel free to weigh in with research strategies!

What I've recommended is under the cut. I've added and refined my earlier suggestions, [ profile] nuranar!

What I've recommended )

Anybody else have any suggestions? I'm sure I'm forgetting lots of things I should have in there! I am trying to stay away from modern sewing pattern suggestions, since those aren't actually as helpful as texts/websites if you're trying to do research yourself.
19 February 2009 @ 08:45 pm
Friends who have made 16th-century hanging gowns, I have questions.

I have these five yards or so of burgundy cotton velveteen, and I think it wants to be a hanging gown/loose gown. It will be a loose gown. I need an Elizabethan overcoat, and I think this will be a good, easy project. A get well project, if you will.

Has anyone used any of the patterns out of Patterns of Fashion? Looking at those, it looks like all the loose gowns are just widths of fabric pleated to an internal yoke, with armscyes and necks cut as required. The Sir Francis Verney gown just has ribbons as stay tapes, right? I'm thinking about basing it on one of the young girls' gowns, as the length on those are right for me, if not the bust. The Sir Francis Verney gown is 60-inches long at the back, and as I am 62-inches tall and narrow-shouldered, that's not going to work. Besides, I loveloveLOVE the round sleeves on the girl's gown on page 122 -- the one of cut velvet.

What I'm wondering is if there's any precedence for a separate shoulder yoke -- external, like a man's shirt -- with the body/skirts of the gown gathered/cartridge pleated to it. I seem to remember someone doing that in a dress diary, but hell if I can find it now.

So, internet-friends, have any resources or advice? Is it really as simple as cutting the right length or fabric and then pleating it to a yoke? What did you use for lining? Do I need a lining? Attached at the hem or free?

Y HELO THAR, help vampirism!

If this doesn't work out, I'm going to make a fitted English gown with a full skirt.
19 June 2008 @ 06:51 pm
Sixteenth century friends: I'm trying to remember something about the persecutions of Protestants and Anglicans under Mary Tudor in the 1550s. I seem to recall an, uh, anecdote about a pregnant woman being burned for heresy who gave birth to a son in the flames, and the baby was then flung back onto the fire.

Ring any bells? Is that even the right time and place? It might have been a French witch burning, too. And the baby might have been rescued from the fire.

I bet [ profile] ciorstan would know.
Current Music: Brokenhearted I'll Wander -- Niamh Parsons
03 June 2008 @ 07:53 pm
Can anyone explain to me what's going on in this picture? It appears that the woman sitting in front of the bathhouse proprietor (the dude standing up while wearing bikini briefs) has large knobs stuck on her shoulders. I'd read the text that is supposedly about the picture, but it appears to be about an apple seller, and . . . there are no apples!

And the blacksmith is less burly than the cook. What kind of place was Germany in the 16th century?
Current Music: A Maid in Bedlam -- Méav
03 June 2008 @ 04:06 pm
I stumbled across this website while looking for pictures of 16th-century milkmaids. It's an encyclopedia of the history of work, and seems to be exclusively European. I haven't run into anything that isn't from Western Europe, yet -- that is, nothing from Russia or Eastern Europe.

There are engravings from the 16th and 17th centuries there, of various professions. For example, this plate by Jost Amman of a cook at work (16th century Germany). I will note that the cook is really, ridiculously burly. Look at his left arm. What the hell, Herr Amman?
Current Music: A Foggy Day (instrumental) -- Gershwin
16 March 2008 @ 10:00 pm
Note: I wrote this earlier tonight, around 9, so the night is no longer young. I have, since then, ripped out the strap seams on the bodice.

I did absolutely no sewing today, past removing the lacing ribbons from the bodice. Yay, go me. The night is still young, though, so I could still conceivably mark the cutting lines and remove the stitching from the straps. Or I could curl up with the book that stole my motivation. The last one's most likely.

I did, however, dig through my jewelry box in pursuit of 16th-century jewelry, and I think I've found a ring that will do.

The ring in question )

Does everyone think this looks acceptable for the 16th century? It is, in fact, an Avon ring, as AVON is stamped on the underside of the setting. This means that the metal is not gold, but fake, fake, fake. I can wear it on every finger except my pinkies and my right index finger. Oh, and my thumbs. So I can wear it on half my fingers.

I base its acceptability on this description of an emerald ring found in the Cheapside hoard: "There is an emerald rings set with seven stones, one in the center and six surrounding it to form a flower pattern." (On this page.) Yep, that's my ring, but with "pearls" and "turquoise".

I also found this assortment of tickery-tackery. Guys, it's either a treasure trove or I'm destined to move to Vegas (or the Dejope Casino, for people from Wisconsin).

Behold! )
Current Music: Umlahi -- Mediaeval Baebes
16 March 2008 @ 02:38 am
I've been looking through the NYPL image archives, because I decided I needed some Renaissance icons. The I decided I needed some Shakespeare icons. So I've been looking up pictures related to productions of Shakespearean plays. (See the icon with this post? Yeah, I made that. With my mad mouse clicking and dragging skills.)

This has led me to realize how very spoiled modern people are when it comes to costuming for Shakespearean productions. Compared to what was going on in the Victorian era, The Other Boleyn Girl is impeccably researched.

Like this. This would never happen today. You just do not see that much man-thigh, however tightly clad said thigh is, in theatre and film today when it comes to Shakespeare. He clearly is not wearing pumpkin pants. He is not even wearing ornamental gourd pants. Even the Nicholas Hilliard painting of that guy in the white doublet with the teeny-tiny pumpkin pants clearly shows there are pumpkin pants, while displaying quite a bit of slender man-thigh.

And this? Those are clearly cut-off jean shorts in black wool. Poor Monsieur Mounet-Sully. I think he might have been casted for his ability to fill out a pair of tights. Seriously, those muscles are not from wool padding.
Current Music: The Long Way Home -- Mary Chapin Carpenter
10 March 2008 @ 02:28 am
ZOMG, everybody, I just got clearance from my sister to buy a bridesmaid dress for $30! And no dyed shoes! This is like every bridesmaid's dearest wish come true. Of course, there's a good chance that Ann Taylor will be all sold out of the dress I want to buy by tomorrow night when I order it. I hope not!

My sister and I are also tentatively attending the Janesville Ren faire. This means I need to make a mock-up of her bodice in time for Easter so I can fit it. I know the skirt will work out OK, because we're the same height and the skirt on the pattern I'm using was just right for me.

If I have time, I'll be sacrificing the burgundy velvet I was going to use for the Natural Form dress for a new Venetian. Why? Because the friend I was going to pal around with in Victorian dress is currently in China. Yes, China. This puts a crimp in our plans, you might say, especially since she won't be back until late August, and August is much too hot for velvet bustle dresses. (Apparently I'm OK with velvet Venetians in May, though. Let's not analyze this too much.) So I'm going to look for a pretty cotton voile or linen for a dress like this, and we'll do something while it's warm. Mmm, this means a little straw hat with delicate flowers.

Additionally, the raw milk debates are closed. No, the thread isn't, I'm just not going to argue with LHoD anymore, since he doesn't know enough about any of the issues in the thread to make it worthwhile. I did, however, call him a "marmot-faced tool," which I kind of hope makes his face turn purple with impotent rage. I can't wait to see what his response is! I bet he goes away thinking that he's won the argument, and says as much.

I'm glad WhyNot didn't continue to pop back in, because I generally like her. I'm not really surprised she'd be in favor of raw milk, given her hippy-dippy-ness, but I hope she's never tempted to give it to her little girl. That could turn out badly. :(

In closing, I reallyreallyreally love the song "Rhiannon" by Fleetwood Mac. Yet another thing my mommy has led me to like.

One last thing: I haven't been receiving comments on a LOTS of entries, so if I've ignored you in the past couple weeks, I'm sorry. It wasn't intentional.
Current Music: Rhiannon -- Fleetwood Mac
08 March 2008 @ 02:14 am
I've been looking at pattern manuscripts at the Renaissance Tailor, and I kind of have the urge to take those patterns and translate the baras and ells to inches and feet. Or centimeters. Then I would take the patterns and graph them out in inches/centimeters.

Are there any books out there that do this?

ETA: Also, is it weird that I get some pleasure out of reading the Alguen manuscripts out loud in the original Spanish? With an outrageous accent? I haven't rolled so many Rs in months and months.
Current Music: Ba Bump -- Black Eyed Peas
26 November 2007 @ 07:11 am
I have declared today to be a day of getting things done. Here are the things I will do:

  1. Clean room.
  2. Get canvas, muslin and silk cut out for Victorian corset.
  3. Write 4,000 words before lunch, and 4,000 words after lunch.
  4. Finish hemming kirtle that I started to hem last fall.
  5. Finish hemming Tudor kirtle I started this summer, and reattach skirt. Bad cartridge pleating.
  6. Finish binding Elizabethan bodies started in July and sitting forlornly in period undergarment drawer since then.

If I get half these things done, it will be a successful day. Especially item 3.

Random thought: Norah is a great, great name. Must work it into NaNo somehow, as female main character is named Eleanor/Helena.
Current Music: Don't Know Why -- Norah Jones
30 July 2007 @ 12:35 am
I just broke a lightbulb in my sewing area in the basement. So much for sewing tonight. I just hope the cat doesn't decide to eat any little shards of glass, since it's too late to vaccuum. My sewing machine is several magnitudes quieter than the Shopvac.

I broke it in the stupidest way, too. I have one of those reading lamps with a clamp clamped onto the wardrobe I keep my fabric in. Unfortunately, the only place to clamp it is on the top where the door opens. I was getting fabric out, and moron that I am, opened the door without removing the lamp first. Crash, smash, glass all over the rug. Maybe I need to re-think the whole lamp situation.

My corset is complete except for the tabs, which I've been hemming and hawing over putting on. They're not boned so they're really not going to do anything, and I generally don't wear farthingales, so the tabs aren't going to be stopping a heavy skirt from sliding down. But they're so pretty I had to have them. So I currently have the silk for the tabs cut out, but not the canvas, because that's what I was getting out of the wardrobe.

The corset, by the way, is amazing. The shape is perfect -- I never thought I'd achieve that flat-busted, conical torso, but this corset brings it. I almost love it so much I want to wear it in public, so I can say, "See this? I made it. It fits and it's the right shape. Neener, neener."
Current Mood: grumpy
Current Music: Boobgie Woogie Bugle Boy -- Andrews Sisters
19 July 2007 @ 12:27 am
Welcome, new faces. I promise there will be updating and it will be riotous. Or cause riots, which would be cool, but also . . . not.

Lately, I've been making a new corset because I discovered that moving back home has cause me to gain about ten pounds -- mostly in the bust. I tried on the dress I want to wear to Bristol Ren Faire, and it was . . . indecent. I looked like I was smuggling unbaked bread. Unfortunately, if I lace it loosely enough to not be indecent, I end up slipping below the underbust line and that is just not good-looking or comfortable.

So I'm making a new corset and a new gown to wear. Details to follow once I get the corset finished -- I have all the boning in, so I only need to set the grommets and bind the edges. I should be done by tomorrow evening, I think. I'm aiming for a close-fronted Venetian for the gown, with a split overskirt and petticoat under that. I'd love to have some sort of elaborate appliqued sleeves, but I also have to make my sister's gown*, so that might be out of the question.

So why am I making a new corset and an entirely new dress? Instead, of say, trying to lose the ten pounds in the month I have until my sister and I go to Bristol?

Because I am like the win**, baby.

*If she'll ever send me her measurements -- at this rate, she may be going naked, which is great if you're Lady Godiva, but I think she may have an issue with it.
**Totally intentional.
Current Music: Nexus -- Sarah Fimm
09 May 2007 @ 12:08 am
1. I finished another beret, this time for my friend Tabatha. It's once again in Elann Peruvian Highland Wool, and I still love it. I washed it in shampoo and rinsed it with conditioner, so it turned out very soft indeed. I also did one more set of decreases to the brim on this one, so it's a little bit perkier than the other one.

Pitcha here )

I also got my hair cut again, and it's quite a bit (3-4 inches) shorter. There are days when I wonder what the hell I was thinking, and then there are days when it's really cute. Unfortunately, there aren't many of the latter.

2. I found a site with samples of period brocade that are incredibly similar to this stuff from my fabric acquisition post. That makes me so happy! Even if the stuff I have is flocked acetate.

3. I started a Tudor kirtle, using some of the fabric I acquired in my last post. I went with the pretty, pretty purple stuff, which I've discovered is wholly synthetic and melts in delightful crusty bits when ironed no matter how much steam. It looks surprisingly period, though. It's definitely period-oid, and it good enough for ren faire. I also think I can stretch this puppy to cover most of the sixteenth century, from about the late 1530s to 1570 with the appropriate accessories.

I'm using the Tudor Ladies' Gown and Kirtle pattern from Reconstructing History. I was delighted to realize that by adjusting the back neckline and depth of the front point, I can use this to make kirtles for the entirety of the sixteenth century.

My justification behind making this before my sister's kirtle is a) I don't have the fabric for hers yet, and b) I can mess up on mine and not feel as horrible as I would if I botched hers.

So, onto the pictures.

Mock up and notes )

The mock-up was completely painless. So I moved right along to the actual thing.

Purple brocade/jacquard/something kirtle bodice and construction notes )

I did, however, run into some trouble with the piped bias on the neckline and a mystery wrinkle at the bust.

Razzafraggit )

Now comes the debate over trimming this puppy. I'm not sure if I should or not. On the one hand, if I do, then I can stretch its use: All I'd need to do is make a partlet and some sleeves, and I could wear it as a 1550/60s style dress. So, friends, this is where you come in.

Four trimming choices )

Which would you go with? I'm leaning right now towards the Eleanora di Toledo version or Version 3. They seem the most flexible, and the Eleanora has the advantage of being from the 1550s, while there are examples from the 1540s, as well. The look is a generic mid-century thing. The only problem is that the back neckline on my bodice is, well, wrong. Oh, and that this trimming look is Italian. I think I can live with that, though.

I am currently very startled by how easily this is going together. I'm predicting that this means I will sew the skirt together inside out more than once or spill red Kool-Aid all over the entire ensemble at some time in the future. Costuming is not supposed to be this easy!

What I have left to do:

--Baste down piped bias along armholes/lacing
--Figure out trimming situation
--Maybe insert an lining
--Sleeves? Sleeve cap?
--Finish covering lacing holes
Current Music: Come My Sweet -- Medieval Baebes
21 April 2007 @ 09:52 pm
I went to my first SCA event EVER today, and had a good time. For it, I was planning on whipping up (cue maniacal laughter) out of this burgundy velvet I got for a song, but the fabric doesn't want to be that. It wants to be mid-sixteenth century Venetian. Or maybe just Italian -- based on the Eleanora di Toledo gown.

Anyway, I made a pair of sleeves and a sash for a dress I finished a long time ago and never took pictures of. The dress is actually made out of a stretch jacquard, but it doesn't really look it until I step on the hem, which doesn't happen much because the hem is the right length. Go, friend and your mad hem-marking skills!

Oh, I also hemmed it . . . last night. You know, because finishing doesn't actually mean hemming.

WARNING: Don't look at my face. I look . . . dyspeptic.

Two pictures of a lobster courtesan )

There ya go, guys. Lobster in a dress!

EDIT: Fixed the second picture. It really is of the back, now.
Current Music: Ophelia -- Natalie Merchant
Current Mood: sunburnt