Sunday, February 27, 2011

Garb Quest - Fabric Choices...Again

I thought I'd gathered all the material for my garb quest (except for the scarlet wool for the open hood), but a couple things changed. I was originally looking for a navy blue wool for the kirtle, and though I found a really nice one from William Booth (for a good price) I ultimately ended up purchasing a very luxurious dark blue wool from Joann's. Though quite a bit more expensive, I love the color and feel, and since I could see more than just a 3" swatch of it, I was more confident in choosing it for the kirtle instead.

I had gotten the ginger linen for the outer layer of the supportive dress, but was feeling a bit unsure about how "right" the color was for the dress. Then I found a couple of interesting images here that got the gears working. There are a few examples that use either a blue outer color and a brown lining or visa-versa. After some thinking on this, I decided that I could get behind using the ginger linen as the lining on the blue wool, instead of as the supportive dress.

That left the supportive dress still a huge question mark, however. I have a rust linen as well as the blue bonnet linen I originally got to line the navy wool kirtle. The rust, though a nice red-orange, is a bit of a strong color, and is a little too much like a certain other rust linen (linen/rayon) I already have. The blue isn't a strong color, but there are two issues. First, I only have 4 yards (which might be doable, but 5 yards would be better). Second, would the blue bonnet be too close to the now lighter blue wool? It's a tough call.

I'm giving myself one more possible option. I looked around for a light-pink/peachy linen. has a handful of light-colored linens that may work. I ordered some swatches to check the weights. I don't want it to be too flesh-tone, but a pale pink would add a nice girly touch. So, here's what we're looking at:

I suppose that while I'm waiting for those swatches, I should probably get some other things done....

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Trying to Save Some Garb

Completely last minute on Friday evening, I realized that I'm sick of not having any garb that fits. My black linen dress fits, but has issues (a little too short, wrinkles in the back, off center neck/shoulders, not quite big enough around the breast.) My other garb is either too large, or doesn't really work well with the rest of my garb. In my frustrated bout of putting things on, I made two decisions.

First, the black linen dress functions well enough as an underdress, and will thus be relegated to that purpose. Second, while I'm waiting to have fresh new garb to wear (waiting until I make it, that is), there's nothing that says I can't try wacky things with the old stuff.

Sooo, knowing that I could wear the black linen dress as my first layer, I pulled out my old rust linen dress. You may remember this dress from this or this post. I removed the sleeves and took the side seams in (but didn't touch the other seams). It's kind of a precursor to what I decided to use the gray wool for. Here's the result:

I also decided to pull out my Flemish Kerchief for this one- it's been a while since I wore it last. I'm holding Lee in that bottom photo. Here's some more pictures of the family:

So, does Owen have enough attitude for you? Do you recognize that teal tunic? Maybe it reminds you of, say, this? Recycling=Good!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Garb Quest - Stitch Tests

So I did some experiments with different stitches to decide which I'd like to use to sew the two halves of the huvet together. I started with the three I picked, then I goofed off for a bit. I don't know how period the basque stitch is for 15th century Flanders, but I figured I'd give it a try, since I was fooling around anyway. It's cool, but not the right choice for this project. I think the herringbone will do the trick, particularly the smaller version.

The trick will be, just like the regular herringbone stitch, to keep things even. I may have to employ some kind of measuring system. When I do it for real I'll be using white. I think I'd like to get some linen embroidery weight thread, rather than using pearl cotton. The linen would be more authentic.

For the time being, I need to figure out what I can do to get the pieces in the right spots to make it easier to keep things even. I'll have some time to figure it out while I'm waiting for the thread.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Garb Quest - Huvet Progress

The huvet progress has been pretty slow, mainly because I've only been able to work on it a bit at a time. I've sewn the hems along the back/top edges of both sides, but that's all. This was my first time sewing with linen thread, and sewing a hem without pinning it into place first. The thread is interesting. I got unwaxed thread, so I have to draw the thread across the beeswax piece Dearg molded for me. It makes it a little stiff, and it doesn't pull through the linen the same way the silk thread I'm used to using does. The best way I can describe the feeling of the thread going through the fabric is "uneven". The results, however, have been perfect.

It takes a lot of focused attention, though, since I'm literally grabbing (or trying to grab) one thread out of the fabric from both sides, so the sewing thread is basically lost when you look at it. It's a modification of a typical hem stitch- instead of coming up all three layers, I'm just grabbing the thread closest to the inner fold and the thread directly below it on the ground layer.

I can go two different ways for the next step. I can either do the gathering at the bottoms of each side, or I can sew the two pieces together. That part's going to be a bit tricky, since I'll probably need to put them on a rounded form to keep everything from going wonky as I sew. I'm not going to do the fancy interlaced stitch that's on the original (like the recreation Joanna did), it will probably look more like Sarah's version. There are a few types of stitches I'm looking at using, so I'll probably take some scraps and test each to see which I like the best (and which I find easier to do). The three I'm looking at are the double blanket stitch (Fig. 25), herringbone stitch (Fig. 6) or fishbone stitch (Fig. 42).

I've also got to get going on Dearg's garb and a new dress for me. There's not enough time in the day....

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Dress Fitting

I've got nothing new to report on any garb progress, so instead I wanted to share a link to Maistresse Mathilde Bourette's WordPress website. The site includes her dress construction and fitting articles which are both well written and easy to follow. I've used Mathilde's dress fitting instructions twice now as the starting point for my own dress fittings, and I was excited to see her instructions for self-fitting. I highly recommend reading her dress construction articles in conjunction with her patterning instructions.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Garb Quest - Huvet Experiment no. 2

I cut a new piece with the measurements that included seam allowance and the extra 8cm at the bottom and had a much more successful result!

This is just stitched very roughly together without adding hems, but it obviously fits much better. I am seeing, however, that the 8cm gap may be too much for my head. I also think that a slight bit more of a curve at the center forehead is needed to get rid of the looseness around the face (though some of that will go away with the tension of the loop when that's added.) The curve was free-handed, but it's almost right. I'm thinking this one's a go, though, with those adjustments.

I'll need to toss it in the wash, however, as some fool left it sitting next to an orange crayon, and it does look an awful lot like a nice, clean, white piece of paper....

Monday, February 7, 2011

Face Palm

If you attended my 15-Minute Headdress class this weekend, you were the unfortunate recipient of incorrect instructions. I thought I'd caught them all and gave you each an Errata sheet, but I realized in the shower this morning that my Flat Cap instructions probably had one more error. So rather than try to correct that, can you do me one huge favor? Draw a huge "X" through that entire section and use this PDF instead!

I will be correcting the instructions before I place them on my website.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Garb Quest - Huvet Experiment

I decided that I'd try an experiment to use the dimensions of the Saint Birgitta's Cap (from the article in Medieval Clothing and Textiles, Volume 4), and use some simple math to calculate a proportionate size to fit my own head.

I measured around my head at the back (at the largest point) to my temples (to where I want the finished front edge to be), divided it in half, and got a measurement of 20cm. Using the measurements from the article of the size of rectangle required for the extant cap of 19cm wide by 22cm tall (as the article provides a range, I rounded the measurements down), I calculated that with a width of 20cm, my cap, in order to have the same proportions would be 23cm (rounded down) tall.

I then quickly stitched it together, included the pleating at the base of each half, and discovered quite rapidly that, well... see for yourself:

Sooo... I'm not sure what to conclude from this, other than that a rectangle of 20cm wide by 23cm tall is obviously too small for my head. I suppose some of the too-smallishness is due to not including a seam allowance, plus some of it may come from not including the gap that's on the original but not in mine. Those aren't really that much in the grand scheme, though.

So, I thought I'd revisit some of the blogs that show recreations to see if I could find any answers. Arachne's Blog was helpful. She discovered that a smaller gap worked better for her cap. I kept the 8cm gap on my mockup, but I think it ended up as part of the forehead to nape measurement (the curve) instead of additional to it. I couldn't actually get the 38cm curve line on the 20cm x 23cm rectangle. That should have been my first clue that the 23cm length wasn't going to work.

Archane's Blog pointed me to this paper. Unfortunately I can't get a great translation out of Google Translate, so I'm not sure what she's trying to show with her diagram.

I think on the next try I'll go with a rectangle of 23cm wide (that's the original 20cm wide plus 1.5cm seam allowance on each side) by 35cm tall (that's the original 24cm plus the seam allowance plus the 8cm for the gap). I have a curving ruler around here somewhere that I can use to get the curve of my head right, since that's another problem I'm having.

On a completely different note, here's the hood I made for Dearg:

It fits him very well and he said that, despite it being a heavy wool with a linen lining, it wasn't too hot to wear all day.

After I find that ruler and do a new mockup, I'll share what I come up with!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Internet Round-Up : February

You may remember that one of the items on my "blogolution" list was the addition of monthly features. One of those is about to have its debut today- the Internet Round-Up. This will be a selection of links from various pages on the web that relate to a specific topic (which will be different each month.) These may be links to other blogs, dress diaries, articles, books, etc. It is my hope that this feature will become a mainstay of this blog and that you will find it helpful (if for no other reason that it introduces you to the websites of other people!)

This month's Internet Round-Up focuses on fabric buttons.

Crafty Agatha
Trish Stuff
A comparative study of extant garments in North-Western Europe (p.21)
A Stitch in Time (video)

So, that's it for this month's Internet Round-Up! Next month? I'm thinking aprons.