Sunday, June 24, 2012


I have had a completely unproductive week.  I got slapped with the bored stick.  Motivation has left me, and most days I've honestly been too bored to do anything.  It's in times like these that I wish I had a "reset" button.  I hate this feeling- I hate wasting inspiration.  In my boredom, I've been spending inordinate amounts of time on Pinterest, and I've located may beautiful things (primarily of a mundane nature), and though I find inspiration in these items, I've got the automatic inclination to file them away for later. 

When I was a teenager, I never imagined that I'd still experience boredom ruts as an adult.  And at least when I was a teenager, I didn't really have anything to do anyway, so the ruts weren't really all that detrimental to my life as a whole.  As an adult, however, I have a to do list 10 pages long.... an absolutely no desire to check any of them off.

I'm just waiting for that one moment that sparks the fire again.  That one piece of inspiration that reminds me that I really am a creative person with lots of things to do.  It'll come. Soon, I hope.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Project Complete: Bulgarian-Inspired Brick Stitch Pouch

The process of turning the brick-stitch embroidered panel into a pouch took a few steps, but the results are, I think, worth it.  The final pouch is a drawstring bag that's as large as my hand, so it will be good for a variety of small items, and even a modern cell phone if need be.  Here's how I created the pouch:

 With the front panel and the piece of wool for the back pinned together with their seam allowances tucked in (the right sides out), I used an overcast hand stitch (in black silk thread) to join them.  Going this route allowed me to ensure that the white even weave was as tucked in as possible, and that I was following the line of the embroidery.  If I had tried to do this on the inside, as is traditional, I would have had a hard time achieving a clean seam in terms of the edges of the embroidery falling in the right place.  For an outside perspective, this step seems gratuitous, given what I did later to finish the edges, but I needed the edges to be cleanly joined before I could proceed.

Before moving on to creating the edge finishing, I made two casings with the wool.  I didn't measure them, but they are about 1.75" tall, unfolded.  I hemmed the ends, then used a running stitch to create the tubes.  I used a dark red cotton thread that matched.  I then pinned them in place on each side of the pouch.  They are whip stitched in place with the same red thread on the outside of the pouch.

I created two long loops of a heavy cotton string (crochet cotton), tied the ends in a knot and tucked it into place in the gap between the casings.  I used the matching black silk thread and created the edge finish using this method.  It is a bit intense, since it's difficult to just put it down, but it adds such a great detail, and does a perfect job of hiding the earlier stitches and any white even weave that still showed.

With the exterior of the bag complete, I created the lining by back stitching the two sides of the folded linen together, then tucking it into the pouch (with seam allowances out and therefore within the pouch).  I folded in the top for a clean edge and pinned it down.

I used the red thread here again, and also again used a whip stitch to fix the lining to the casings, just above my running stitches on the casings.

I used the same heavy cotton string and created a 4-loop fingerlooped band.  I cut it is half, then inserted the two laces into the casings (there there is one loop on each side).  This finished the pouch.  I may redo this before I give it to my friend, though.  They are not as clean and I'd like, or as long as they probably should be.

Overall, I'm very happy with how this turned out.  The photos don't really do the color combination justice- it's hard to tell that I used a salmon pink as one of the four accent colors, since it comes out as a silvery orange in the photos. It took a fair amount of labor to complete this pouch, but I did not dislike the process, and I'm very proud to have this wonderful little bag to give to a friend!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Brick Stitch Panel Complete

It took me more days than I expected, but I completed the Bulgarian-inspired brick stitch embroidery today, and I'm ready to turn it into a pouch.

It's not particularly large, just about enough for a hand to comfortably fit, but given how long just this piece took me, I'm perfectly fine with the size :)

After trimming off the excess even weave, and cutting the wool back and the linen lining, I pinned the front and back together to begin the edge finishing.  I will use the looped strand technique, but instead of using two colors, I'll use just black.  There will be a tricky part at the top where the lace will go to make this a drawstring pouch, and I'm still thinking through how to best handle creating the channel for the lacing (so it looks right on the embroidered panel).  All bridges I will cross when I get to them.

For the time being, I'm enjoying not looking at it for an evening!  Finishing can start tomorrow.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Brick Stitch Progress & Garb Quest

The Bulgarian-inspired brick stitch is coming along nicely, and will hopefully be done and in pouch form sometime next week.  I have some scraps of red fulled wool that I will use as the back of the pouch, and some scrap linen to do a lining.  I think I'm going to do this as a drawstring purse, so I'll also have to make some laces.  I'd also like to attach tassels, but we'll see.

I'm putting my pink wool cote temporarily on the shelf so that I can do more research.  I realized, thinking about how I wanted to proceed with the patterning, that I need to know more about all possible methods, and not just default to the draping method I've already figured out.  I had planned to work on the dress throughout June, but since it's more important to me to achieve authenticity, I'm not willing to sacrifice research for some arbitrary deadline.

I've realized recently that personal authenticity has become very important to me, but I have A LOT to do before that becomes a visible aspect of my recreation.  I often feel limited by my skill.  I do not know how much of what I really do know and have researched comes through on this blog (probably not enough), but I know much more than I can actually accomplish.  And that's pretty frustrating.  My Garb Quest is only the first step toward a more visible authentic recreation, which is why it's not just a fly-by-night pet project.  As the pink cote is the keystone to the entire outfit, I need to feel confident that I've made not only the most authentic choices with it, but that I've applied my best craftsmanship and skill to it.  I am, admittedly, a bit intimidated by my own plans.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Did you notice?

Did you happen to notice that you can find The Compleatly Dressed Anachronist on Facebook, Flickr and Pinterest?  Use the buttons in the sidebar to connect with me elsewhere!

I'm also in a bit of an inspiration plateau as many of my regular blog reads have gone silent for a rather long period of time.  I'd love to know what medieval craft/costuming/history blogs you read, or sites that find inspiring to visit.  Let me know in the comments which ones you think I should check out.  And it's totally cool if you let me know about your own blog if you have one!