Sunday, October 26, 2008

Flemish Headdress

I've just completed my new Flemish kerchief headdress, using these instructions. I love it!
Take a look:

Fitted Dress Part One

Well, we started the fitted dress yesterday. It's just as I suspected- I have a much smaller mental image of myself and I'm not sure I like the way I look in the dress. Granted we've only just started the fitting; my breasts are supported but not shaped and we still need to determine the correct location of the flare in the front to be flattering to help contain my belly, which is still a bit flabby from having Owen. Right now it looks like I'm all breast on top- they're not lifted, just compressed. Imagine 44DDD breasts pressed up against a wall, and that's what's going on. We've fitted it pretty well in the back and lower sides, so it's around the arm that still needs attention. I'll try to remember the camera next time so I can post some photos.

I also picked up the fabric for Owen's new outfit. I ended up getting brown fleece because all the green and blue fleece they had was too bright or too fuzzy.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Smocked Apron is Kicking My Butt

Alright, so when I set out to do the apron, I didn't really think about how tedious all that smocking would be. I can only get in about ten stitches before I lose interest. I keep telling myself that the final result will be worth it.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Growing Project Pile

I didn't feel like working on the apron too much yesterday evening, so, instead, I gathered together all the bits and pieces of various projects I have and put them in neat little bundles with tags pinned to them. I didn't do any of the things I'd planned while I was on maternity leave, so all the sudden I'm realizing that my project pile is bigger than I thought.
Here's a breakdown of my current list:
  1. finish the smocked apron
  2. open hood - I found a big piece of the blue wool I made Owen's Viking cap out of, it should be just enough for an open hood. I wanted a red one, but the blue is also period and is fine for a first attempt.
  3. Flemish head wrap - I stumbled across this quite randomly and I love it! It's so easy and can go with just about every dress style. Easy to make, too.
  4. pouch with trim - I purchased a pretty blue and white bird trim at Border Raids this summer and had no idea what I could use it for. Since the black pouch I made a few months ago has gone missing (I need to clean the house), I thought I'd try to use some scraps of the blue wool I'll make the hood out of to make a new pouch. The trim goes perfectly with it.
  5. Pink Durer dress - see the previous post and below
  6. wide dark brown woven belt - I have no materials for this yet, but I'd like to make a wide belt to wear with future Burgundian gowns. It will be one color, but the weave will make it look like two shades of the color in a checker pattern. I'm thinking of buying this buckle for it.
  7. leather belt - I bought a thin, red-brown unfinished leather belt at Border Raids. I want to do something like this, but I'm having trouble finding ends that are the right width.

I got the pink dress out this evening and started that project. I had my hubby take some photos of the dress pre-modification, and wow is it unflattering! I have to remind myself that it was made not knowing how large I would get when pregnant, but man, am I glad I decided to try and turn it into a different dress.

I took the panel out of the front center and removed the pleats that had flanked it. I think this will work, but I'm going to need help. Since mom will be busy with the teal wool dress, I might try to rope my hubby into pinning me up....

Here's the breakdown of what needs to be addressed with this dress:

  • fit the dress, taking out the bulk around the bust and trunk
  • modify the sleeves, fitting them a bit more. They are not set in sleeves, which may cause a problem.
  • shorten the dress, it's about 2 inches too long
  • rework the removed front panel into pleats
  • fit the back more using pleats that match the front
  • add gores to the front and back to make the skirt more full

One note: I'm about the fit not one, but two dresses, and I have to tell myself not to be disappointed when I look in the mirror and I don't look like many of the images I've found online of other costumer's fitted dresses. Not that I feel I am unattractive, it's just that I'm larger than I mentally feel like I am.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Apron Update

I'm about halfway through joining the pleats for my smocked apron. I've got 62 pleats and 7 rows, so if you care to do the math....that's a heck of a lot of smocking.

On a different note, I've been surfing the web in search of new dress diaries and costuming blogs in an effort to get more points of view on where I'm headed with my garb. Though I'm not really doing German, I am interested in all things 15th century, so this dress was an exciting find. I'm probably not going to wear my Viking garb again- it's awkward to wear, and too heavy for most events- so I'm thinking I'd like to try to convert the pink linen underdress into a similar dress to hers. I'm lucky that mom constructed it the way she did to allow for breastfeeding, but since I'm not able to do that anymore, I can take advantage of the extra fabric in the dress. This is something I can probably do on my own, since the hard work of putting sleeves on it has already been done. I'll have to pull it out and see.

Also, in addition to having my new teal wool dress to wear at Christmas Tourney, Owen will also be sporting a new outfit. We're going to do this in a dark green or blue (to indicate that he is a boy). Did you see his cute Viking garb over there -----> ?! Adorable!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Smocked Apron

I've started a new project- a smocked apron. I didn't have any large pieces of white linen, but I did have a medium weight cotton (drapery lining- hangs wonderfully), so I'm using that instead. I'm following the proceedure here, but it's pretty straight forward. Smocked aprons are found in the Lutrell Psalter, as well as some additional sources. Read this for more info. I'm only now just starting the actual smocking- joing the pleats together. Here's where I'm at right now:

I have a lot of pleats here, so this may take a while....

Friday, October 17, 2008

A Fresh Start

Well, I am now a mother. Owen Alfred Hurst was born on Tuesday, August 19th at 7:07pm after about 31 hours of induced labor.

I lost my baby weight pretty rapidly. About 3 weeks postpartum, I weighed 5 pounds less that I did when I first got pregnant! My body shape has changed, though. My breasts are slightly smaller, and in general, I'm more "boxy" in the torso- which actually works to make my butt look smaller.

So now it's time for new garb. I've been dreaming about the teal wool I bought at Spring Crown- anxious to have it made into a dress. I was going to do a front laced kirtle like this one, but last weekend I attended a lecture series by Robin Netherton that changed my mind....about a lot of things.

In my research on 15th century clothing, I had already come to the conclusion that the underdress was meant to be supportive (as I've spoken about in previous posts). However, I did not realize that the wide front opening of a front-laced dress should not really be worn by married women, or women over a certain age. The Gothic Fitted Dress, as Robin Netherton calls it, is also not, in any way, related to the Greenland gowns. This is an important point because the few examples I have from websources (such as Matilda's, linked to above) rely on the Greenland examples as the basis of their extant documentation. This is, simply, because the Greenland gowns are the only thing remotely related to the fitted dress that we have extant examples of today. Just because we have them, however, doesn't mean they prove a thing about the cut and construction of the GFD. (This is Netherton's theory, btw- I can't claim this idea.)

After the lecture, though, I did have a much better grasp of 15th century clothing, and have started to compile my research on the typical wardrobe of a 15th century woman. This is an extensive work- everything from underwear to headdresses will be discussed. I'd like to teach it as a class at some point, so having actual examples is key.

So, my lovely teal wool is being made into a gothic fitted dress (with no wide front opening). I only have 4 yards, so we're hoping that we can get long sleeves out of it. My mom and I will be working on the fit next weekend so that I have it to wear at Christmas Tourney this winter. I can't wait!