Tuesday, January 31, 2012

(NOT) Getting Things Done

Since Archer was born, I've found it very difficult to manage my time so efficiently that I can actually get things done.  It seems that every time I really get into something, he's ready to eat, and since I'm 100% committed to breastfeeding him as long as I can, it really cuts my day up.  In fact, even as I type this, I can hear him stirring in the next room.  When I'm not feeding him and the other kids are awake, I try very hard not to be doing anything so that I can supervise their play (and join in when I need to.)  Plus Owen is at a stage in which he needs a lot of direction during the day and positive attention, which I can't give if I'm otherwise occupied.

I had planned on taking Archer to his first event this weekend, since Owen will be with his uncle and the twins will be with a family friend on Saturday.  When I got thinking about it, though, I decided that, since I'd have the house to myself (except for Archer), I could actually *gasp* get things done!  So I'll skip the event for the sake of my project pile this time around.

I've got more than just SCA projects on my plate, but I feel that if I can just devote a whole day to getting anything done, I won't feel so overwhelmed and behind.  My website redesign will be on the top of the list, though I don't expect to complete it (since it's lots of code writing, which I'm not an expert with.)  My linen apron is second and Kara's dress is third.  If I can actually make it through all three, it will have been a very productive day!

Speaking of the linen apron, I've decided not to use the green linen floss for the hem stitching.  I did a few inches and realized that if my line was even slightly off, it was very noticeable.  I know this project is supposed to be all about perfecting my craftsmanship, but the OCD person inside me couldn't tolerate even the slightest difference in the stitch- I'd never get it done because I'd always be tearing the stitches out.  I do like the idea of a colored thread instead of white though, so I pulled out a pink cotton thread I have plenty of.  I haven't tested it yet, but I think I'll be able to tolerate slight imperfections a bit better with the lighter color.

And now Archer is awake and ready to eat.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Kara's Housebook- minor setback

I thought I'd figured out how to put Kara's Housebook dress together, but when I got everything down on the scrap fabric (which I cut to be the same size as the wool I'll ultimately use) I didn't have the right shape of fabric left to get sleeves.  I'm going to need to re-think doing the gores as separate pieces, and see if I can get the front and back pieces cut out side-by side with an angle on the skirt to account for them instead. 

I was really looking forward to getting the test gown pieced together and trying it on her today. Bummer.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

A Housebook Dress for my Daughter

The other day, on a fabric buying spree, I picked up a remnant of wool to make a dress for Kara.  It's the exact same navy blue wool I have for my Garb Quest.  It's a single yard piece, and it should be just enough if I don't do long sleeves.

Over on my other blog, Growing Up Medieval, I wrote a post about kids' personas.  Owen is only just now coming into the age where he'll want to make his own decisions about what he'd like to wear, but my other three children are still too young to know the difference between a Viking outfit and an Elizabethan one, which means I still have final say.  Lee's barrel chest and skinny legs are very well suited to Viking, and Archer's stockier build screams 13th century.  Kara's personality, on the other hand, made it a little harder to pinpoint a persona to start her with.  At first, I thought she'd like the physical flexibility of the Viking apron dress, but her personality is just a little more "girly" than that.  She's a full-blow dress kind of girl.  She's also a firecracker.  That kind of rules later period (16th century) styles out, since they would be too restrictive for her.

My instinct was to start putting her in 15th century styles, like my own, but it still didn't seem right.  She's got a quirkiness that 15th century Flemish just doesn't do justice (which is pretty funny, considering 15th century Flemish is pretty quirky already.)  But the later Medieval period seems to be the best option.  Then I got thinking about late 15th century German styles, and the light bulb turned on.

Kara is definitely a 1490's Housebook dress kinda girl.

"Housebook dress" and "Durer dress" are often used alternatively to describe gowns of extreme-late 15th century German middle class women, but neither of these names really identify a particular dress.  The most popular style, however, appears to be one with a panel of pleats in both the center front and center back.

Left and Center are by Durer, Right is by Master of the Housebook
 The pleating on the front appears to be split in the middle to allow an opening to get the dress on, the hidden lacing secures it closed.  There also appears to be a waist seam that doesn't carry over into the pleating.  I've seen various recreations of this style online (including here, here and here) but they each approach the dress in differing ways.  Adding in the fact that I'll be making a dress for a toddler and that it needs to last at least until next winter, and I've really got to start from scratch.

So, my concept is to cut the dress like a normal waist-seam kirtle, but with a lower, wider neckline.  Then, create the three pleated panel sections (one full width and two half-width), which will also encompass the center front and back gores.  The remaining skirt panels will include gores at the sides.  Then, I'll notch out the bodice pieces to accommodate the pleated panels and insert them. This is all wild theory, but it makes logical sense to me!

I've got a matching linen that I can use as a lining, but I'm not sure that's necessary.  I will need to make a smock for her, though.

I'd also like to attempt the "grande assiette" sleeve, but only make them 3/4 length.  This may not work too well on a little girl's torso, but it will at least give me a challenge.

Kara's not a hat girl, though she does let me at least put them on her, so I'd like to make her a wulsthaube-type headdress, even if she won't wear it for very long.  Just because I'm into that kind of frivolous hat making.

Now that I've figured all this out, I've just got to wait for her to wake up from her nap so I can get her measurements!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Wimple Headwrap Tutorial

Sophia, from the Shire of Isenfir, just shared with me a link to a wimple headwrap tutorial I'd not previously seen.  The site is in German, but the photos are easy to follow.  I think I definitely need one....

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Outfit for Archer

I haven't been slacking off, I promise!  I'm just not making any real progress on much of anything other than some garb for Archer.

We'll be going to Better War Through Archery in February with just Archer (fitting, no?), so I needed to come up with some suitable garb for him.  I decided to sacrifice one of the gowns we'd make for the twins (Kara's brown one, in fact) to create a new tunic.  Essentially all I did was cut it down and remove the excess in the "skirt".  Combined with a pair of modern tan pants, the look is kind of boring (though the pleating detail on the tunic is pretty cool).  To punch it up a bit, I grabbed the leftovers from Dearg's red hood and will make a little pair of wool booties and a tiny linen hood.

The hood is kind of a fake- it's not really meant to go over his head, but I cut it to look like it could.  I'm going to do some kind of fastener at the front (maybe velcro) for easy removal.  For the booties, I found a tutorial from The Purl Bee I came across on Pinterest, but instead of leaving the seam allowance on the outside, I'll turn the shoes inside out.  I'll probably also put together a little linen coif for him, just to make sure his head stays warm.

In addition to Archer's little outfit, I'm making a quick cover for a pillow to help me breastfeed him at the event.  It's nothing special, just some herringbone upholstery fabric I've been holding onto for a couple years.

I've also done some experiments and decided that my new linen apron will be finished just using a sage green linen floss I received for Christmas and nothing fancier than a regular hem stitch.  The green is subtle enough to not be glaring, but might catch the eye of a closer glance.  My objective is to achieve the most even stitches I can over the entire length of the (rather sizable) hem.  This pretty much translates to: "Take your time, Edyth."

In other news, I decided to jump on board with the 2012 Pay It Forward challenge that came across Facebook the other day.  I signed up to receive something handmade from one of my friends, and in return, I had to offer to make something handmade to the first 5 people that posted to my status.  I was only able to get 3 people to sign up (who have to pay it forward as well).  I'm still waiting to hear from two of them to find out what they'd like from me, but I will be doing at least one illuminated painting.  I haven't done any illumination for a while, so it will be nice to pick up a pen and brush again.  For the remaining two items, I've decided to still do my part and make two veil and pin case sets to give to my Baroness for her to use as gifts however she sees fit.

This has prompted me to re-evaluate my project pile, but there's nothing like having too many fun things to do- at least I won't get bored!