Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Looking Ahead

Well, I'm still here, and insanely pregnant. Today is 37 weeks and 5 days. Twins are considered full term at 38 weeks. Which is why I'm scheduled to be induced on Friday!

Over the past couple of days, since I'm usually up at night (it's so hard to sleep with a giant belly), I've been looking ahead and planning what to work on during my maternity leave, and what my projects will be for the rest of the year. There are a few things that are priorities, but for the most part, I don't have any true deadlines for anything. I've broken the projects down into three categories: Housekeeping, For Others and Post-Pregnancy.

Housekeeping
One of my priority projects for September is to update my class notes over on my website. I have a few to add and I also have some updates for the How to Wear a Veil tutorial page.

I also have a bit of re-vamping to do to the website, mainly adjusting some code and updating my "alphabet soup" to include "CSO" for my recently earned Silver Oak.

Also something of a priority is to complete the notes for Session 3 of my "Beyond the Burgundian" class so that those who attended at Border Raids can have the complete notes and I can do a better job on that section when I decide to teach it again. I believe I also need to go back into Session 2 and add images and a paragraph or two on non-garb items that help to round out a middle class persona. I'm wildly enthusiastic about this class topic, and have decided to spend the next several months focusing my efforts on personally putting my research into action (more so than I've already done).

For Others
The majority of my projects for the remainder of the year are actually for other people. Since I need to give my body time to recover from the pregnancy, and decide what shape it wants to take in the process, it doesn't make much sense to spend time and effort on the many fit-related garb projects I've had queued up. So, I'll have plenty of project time to devote to everyone else.

First on the list is a new tunic for Dearg to give his yellow tunic a rest. I've got purple linen/rayon for this, and a small amount of the yellow for some bands around the arms. It'll be just a simple Viking tunic that I'll sew on the machine. Then to give it a bit more character, I'm going to hand sew contrast stitching to finish the seams and possibly add some simple embroidery at the neck.

I also need to get started on Dearg's Irish/Norse garb. He and I have already decided what each piece is and what it will look like. The only hold up here is acquiring the fabric. He's chosen 100% linen from the Fabrics-Store.com, which isn't tremendously expensive, but our money is so tight right now it's hard to justify spending it on fabric. I suspect, therefore, that his garb will be done one piece at a time, and probably won't be complete until next year. Also, because authenticity to his persona and period is a big deal, he and I agreed that I should hand sew the items. My hand sewing skills have greatly improved over the years, and though it's certainly not as fast as I'm used to working, the benefits outweigh the inconvenience. If you're interested to know where our research into this very specific garb came from, check out this page. We combined what we found here with the Norse garb research Dearg's already done.

I'm really only doing two main pieces, but there will be other simple garments involved as well. Here's a breakdown:
  • A léine: a long-sleeve tunic of knee length or longer with bright colors and/or embroidered decoration. Dearg's will be a yellow tunic with red sleeves and a narrow green "collar"- a band that will wrap around his shoulders, chest and back, following the neckline like a necklace (not directly against the neckline).
  • An inar: a fitted (in the Norse sense), 3/4-length sleeved jacket of thigh length that opens entirely down the front with no permanent fasteners. A belt is worn over the inar to keep it closed. Dearg's will be dark green with a bright green lining. The sleeve cuffs will be red-hued rabbit fur. The inar will also sport a wide, hand-embroidered collar (which I will also be making, once I figure out the embroidery pattern).
  • Other items: In addition to these formal pieces, Dearg will also need a natural-colored under tunic and a loose mantle cloak. He already has pants, but they need to be repaired. Eventually I'll hand sew a new pair, as this current pair was machine sewn.
I know that movies aren't the best source for garb, but after doing the research to find out what Dearg needed, we realized that certain aspects of this outfit could be seen in the 2005 Beowulf and Grendel movie staring Gerard Butler. Searching online for clearer images, I found a perfect example of what Dearg's outfit will eventually look like (just with brighter colors). So, please excuse the movie reference, but it's the best visual I've got.

Add Image

Also, obviously, the twins will need garb. Instead of doing what we did with Owen- making miniature versions of adult garb- we're going to make period baby garb. This is really only because we have to clothe two of them, and it will be easier than creating two new sets of garb for every event for the next 6 months. We made an outfit like this for Owen, which he wore at Christmas Tourney the year he was born. We used Mathilde's Infant Outfit documentation for that, and I intend to use that again for the twins. For now, I'm going to use some of the linen/rayon fabric I have for the gowns and 100% linen for the shirts, coifs and swaddle cloths. When the cooler weather rolls around I'll make wool gowns as well. I think I'll skip the swaddling bands, though. I'll also pick up some heavy flannel and make little baby booties.

Post-Pregnancy
The first item on my to-do list (before any of the stuff above) is a set of nursing garb. With twins, I can't really get away with just opening the front of my dress and shifting it to reveal the breast, since I intend to get the twins on a schedule where they both breast feed at the same time. Sooo, I'll need an outfit that allows the easiest possible access to both my breasts, that looks fairly decent at the same time. I've come up with a three-piece outfit that I think will work perfectly.
  • A loose, short tunic with fitted sleeves, made from white linen. It will only go down to about my waist, and flare at the bottom a bit so that it can easily be hiked up.
  • A skirt with a high waist that will attach to the inside of the tunic. It will not have any elastic or drawstring, so that my belly isn't constricted in any way. This will be a colored fabric- I've really got no preference for color or material here.
  • A short coat with short sleeves and a front opening. It will be hip length, but will be loose as it will pull double duty as a cover while the twins are feeding. It will fasten closed at the top and will be a different color than the skirt. After describing this to my mom, she suggested that I look at traditional Korean wedding garb. The idea is similar, but my take will obviously be less oriental and ornamental:
Not anywhere in the short term, I also need to redo my supportive underdress pattern. This needs to wait until my body goes back to non-pregnant mode, which may not be until the end of the year. The previous pattern was created using linen that stretched way too much. Then, when we made the actual dress out of it, the linen/cotton we used also stretched too easily. When we re-do the pattern, I think I'd prefer to use something that stretches less (muslin, probably). Down the road, I'd like to grid it out and create a digital file that I can adjust as needed for other dress types.

Also in the long term (very long term), I've started brainstorming a new gown: an early middle class 15th century houppelande. Not to be confused with an early 15th century houppelande, which would be an upper class garment. When the middle class started wearing houppelandes, sometime around 1425-30, they wore a very simple version that was pretty quickly altered to be more "relaxed" (such as the houppelandes we see in van der Weyden paintings). The two images below, from a version of The Decameron, show the basic details of the gown. There really isn't much to it.

For my version, I've decided to go with silk noil so that it's multi-seasonal. My first choice was a very pretty teal-blue (A) with white linen lining. I tend to lean towards blues a lot, though, so I'm also thinking of using a raisiny purple (B) instead. Either way, I'll do an underdress in a heavy linen with a mustard color (C). This will be a big ticket outfit- the silk alone will be around $100- so I may try to save up and do this as an A&S project. I'll need to do more research on the use of silk for a gown like this, however.

In addition to all this, I've got a couple embroidery projects in mind (I just put a fresh bit of linen on my embroidery frame yesterday) and a few headdresses I still need to make, but these will be more "filler" projects than anything else.

So that's what's on tap for me. Should we start taking bets on how well I'll follow through?