Sunday, September 1, 2013

Oh, how I've missed you!

Words cannot express how hard it was for me to stay away from blogging all the way through August!  The mundane world required my presence and focused attention, so I really did need to take the break, but man that was difficult.

I've got a huge amount of things lined up through the month that I'm excited to share.

Starting this Wednesday evening, over at Growing Up Medieval I'll begin posting a plethora of posts documenting the "Kid's Garb Blitz" I'm currently doing to get my children ready for events through the fall and winter. If kid's garb interests you, please check it out!

I also owe you images of my finished frilled hood since it went flat at Simple Day and was not at all photo worthy. I'm going to be re-trying barley starch to see if I can find a recipe that holds up well, even in rain. Once I get that figured out, I'll share the finished veil and recipe.

I've started a new embroidery project, and I have a few new monthly features to debut to replace my old monthly "Internet Round-Up" feature (which has long since been dead).

Today, in the spirit of coming back from the modern world, I wanted to share with you that my medieval dress-making skills have now officially saved me in a mundane context.

One of the reasons I was away from the blog was to travel to Texas for my brother's wedding. Now, while I have many dresses for events, I did not own a single fancy dress for such an occasion. Originally, I had a vague idea that I'd make my dress, but as the day came closer and closer, I decided that I'd buy one instead. I found one online that I liked, bought it, and when it arrived, I realized that it was absolutely horrid.

I had four weeks. I asked for some referrals from my friends, and even though I liked some of the items I'd found, I was really cutting it close, and there was a high probability that I wouldn't receive it in time. So I went to the mall and scoured the plus size dresses. And that's a wasteland, let me tell you.

Looking at my options at the last department store, I realized that the only way I was going to have a dress that I liked was to make it myself.

I wanted a fit and flare-style, sleeveless dress, with a knee-length skirt, but I had no pattern, and I had no time. So I went home and pulled out my medieval dress pattern. I treated it like a flat-front waisted kirtle by placing the two front pieces together to remove the seam and extending the bodice only to my waist. Since I wasn't making a medieval dress, I wore a modern bra with lift, and added darts to the bust. I treated the skirt like a regular trapezoid-panel skirt, such as the kind Sylvie uses, but I increased all the widths to get a gather at the top and a fullness at the bottom. It ended up a little on the short side, but I think that's only because I'm not used to that sort of length on a skirt.

The bodice is lined, but I ended up removing the skirt lining because it was too full. Everything is finished as well, except for the edges of the darts, which I wasn't able to wrap my brain around by the time I got to them. I'd do them differently if I had to do it all over again. I did end up with a bit of wonkiness on the neckline, but I'm not complaining. I had already planned to wear a cardigan, so that did the trick of concealing that little issue.

So when all was said and done, my kirtle pattern had helped me produce this:

Since it's cotton, it's extremely comfortable, and worked excellently for the heat down in Texas (though I did still sweat quite a lot, because, well.. Texas in July.) It being cotton also means I can toss it in the wash and not worry about it.

I don't wear dresses in the mundane world since I almost never have a reason to, but I like this dress and will probably wear it for date night with my husband or maybe to work if I'm feeling spunky.

The necklace was a lucky find. We made a sight-seeing trip to a safari and natural cave two days before the wedding, but when we got to the cave, the kids were too cranky, so we just went throught the gift shop instead. I found the necklace there. It's a perfect match for the dress! (We did make it back to the cave on our way out of San Antonio before heading home.)

For now, however, I'm anxious and excited to get back to my medieval projects!


  1. Fantastic! I am looking forward to the kids' garb blitz- my 6yo came with me to Battlemoor last weekend (his first event, and an excellent one) and is now hooked. I need to make him more garb *and* a set of boffer weapons, apparently. I've been given a few helpful links by folks in the SCA Parents FB group, but it's very nice to see in-progress posts like yours.

  2. It's interesting to see your use of an SCA centric pattern for 'mundane' clothing. :) I keep looking at all the various stores and find nothing I want. The two times I have, I laughed as they were almost the exact cut of my undertunic! So, I'll be making more SCAmundane clothes.