Thursday, August 18, 2011

Getting things done

I've been plugging away at the blue test dress, and it's coming together fairly smoothly.  I'm glad I decided to do a test before going headlong into my garb quest kirtle since it's made me aware that 4 yards of 60" is barely enough for a long sleeve gown.  I only had enough fabric left after cutting the four panels for one gore!  I put it in the front seam, since that seemed to be the best place for it.  The fabric for the sleeves is the leftover triangular pieces left between the panels- also barely enough.  I think I've only got 4 yards of the rust linen for my garb quest, so (unless I want to change my mind about the color again!) I'll need to get at least another yard of the rust to have more than one gore.

I sewed the dress together, minus the sleeves, and went to finish the seams on the machine but ran into issues with my bobbin.  I was getting too frustrated with it, so it ended up sitting by the sewing machine for a few days, being ignored.  Eventually, however, I decided that I'd be better off just finishing them by hand, so I pulled out the finishing seam I'd started on the machine and plunked myself down on the chair with the thread and a needle.  I'm using a simple running stitch (using some 100% cotton thread) to flat fell the seams, so it's going fairly quickly (all things considered).

I've also got a tunic of Dearg's I'm trying to finish, since I've already passed the date I'd originally said I'd have it done by, and he finally called me out on it.  It's a long tunic- a very simple early Irish leine.  This is NOT the fake leine that you may find in a Google image search that's extremely loosely based on a 16th century illustration of some Irish soldiers.  Basically, it's the Irish idea of a kilt, but it's really just a fancy tunic.  Ideally, it would be highly decorated with embroidery all over, but I'm not that adventurous!  For now, I'm just flat felling the seams using a hemstitch to really give is substance and so that the finish stitching isn't that obvious from the outside.  I'm using #5 pearl cotton, since I had perfect color matches of that on hand.  Eventually I'll also be making a green linen jacket with an embroidered collar to go with it, but that will probably have to wait until I get my garb quest completed.

Once I finish all this finish stitching, I've got to draft the sleeves for the dress.  I know, in theory, how to do it, and it's not really all that scary, it's just so darn easy to goof up.  Plus I need to figure out how to do ensure that the sleeves can button properly (and exactly how many buttons/buttonholes I want to do).  Then it'll be time to do the eyelets for the lacing.  I'm thinking this project will come in just under the wire!

It's an extremely light dress, since the medium weight linen from leans more to the light side than heavy.  This is another good reason for the test- the garb quest kirtle will definitely need to be lined.  I don't think I could get away with wearing this blue dress as a supportive dress on it's own, so I'll need to wear my old fitted dress under it.  If the linen wasn't blue, or was any lighter, I probably couldn't get away with having it unlined.

I'm also steadily completing the "notes" for my new class on 14th and 15th century Northern Gothic women's fashion.  It's fun doing the drawings, but I'm getting a little backed up on them while I try to break down the accompanying text to the basic info that makes sense with the images.  I had planned on having actual pieces of garb on hand to show, but I realized that would basically mean bringing my entire garb wardrobe with me, and that's just too much to pack!  If you'll be at Harvest Day, my class will be at 10am.

Alright, enough chit-chat.  Back to sewing!


  1. Are you using the documentation from I love how she explains sleeve drafting, it makes sense (at least to me) and I've used it to make sleeves for several people.

  2. Yes! I've used them as a guide for altering sleeves before, but I haven't yet had an opportunity to follow them from the start for a from-scratch sleeve.

  3. It's fantastic, taught me more about sleeve-making than any of my costuming textbooks.