Saturday, June 4, 2011


I’m gonna be kind of full of woe for a minute here, so apologies in advance!……………….I’m feeling massively uninspired RE: Partlets. 
I’m nearly finished, but not so much in love with my first attempt:  (It’s nearly finished, so I’ll probably just finish it off and hide it somewhere in the back of my closet just so I have it if needed.  (One can never have too many partlets?)  The original plan was to put spangles all over the edges like in a bunch of portraits in Moda, but I chickened out before I got that far.

Which is meant to be kind of if these two had weird, fugly babies:

Portrait of a Florentine Lady 16thc
Allesandro Allori/Workshop of Alessandro Allori
1500s (mid-late)_ Double Portrait of a Lady & Her Dog_ Sofon
Mother and Son 16thc
Sofonisba Anguissola

At any rate, I decided I didn’t like it (too many things wrong to detail here.), and was going to start again, only this time I was going to try a different style.  I think I stopped myself from committing too much time to this one before I realized I didn’t like it…..and I’m not liking it.
I’ve gotten as far as gathering up the entire yardage on gold cord before I hit the brakes.


It was meant to be somewhat like this one, only a bit more-different-other.

Giulia Varano, Duchess of Urbino 1545-47
Tiziano Vecellio (Titan)

I really need to sleep on it and see what I think in the morning, but my next attempt will probably be either a simple collared one:  (I’ve actually made the one on the right for Aine, so I know I can do it, as long as I get out of this weird funk)

1550s_ Portrait of a Lady_ Jacopo Robusti (Tintoretto)_ Veni
Portrait of a Lady 1550s
Jacopo Robusti (Tintoretto)
1550s_ Portrait of a Woman_ unknown Florentine painter, poss
Portrait of a Woman 16th

Or a gathered-neck style:  (Only probably less crazy than this one, I just like the black spangles!)


I’m taking a break tomorrow to go to my baby brothers wedding reception, so I’ll have plenty of time to take a break from sewing for a minute or two, recuperate, and ponder my next move!

Friday, June 3, 2011


There are a couple of different pictures of saccoccia in blue and gold – I happen to have a bit of blue and gold scrap fabric, so I decided to do this quickie tutorial in that fabric. 

I sewed this on a machine, so isn’t at all something I would show off as ‘period’, but is good enough for holding cell phones and cash hidden under skirts at events!

I don’t know how to upload documents yet….I very carefully drew this out to scale in Photoshop, then realized I may not be able to upload it as such! 

Aaaaaaanyway…’s not that complicated of a pattern…just kind of an elongated teardrop shape.  (I would suggest making the top longer than you think it should be….you can always cut off excess at the end)


Hokay.  So, you’ll want to cut 2 fabric & 2 lining.


On the wrong side of your fabric, draw the slit line.  Sew around the line as close as you can. 


When cutting the slit, make a “Y” cut at the end:


Turn right side out & press slit.  (I top stitched the slit opening for extra durability)


Pin lining out of the way, and pin fabric right side to right side.  Sew around the outside edge, clip & press.


Pin fabric out of the way and pin lining right sides together.  Sew around outside edge, clip & press.


You’re going to end up with a bellows-looking thing.  But don’t worry!



Turn right side out and tuck lining inside.  I’ve been folding over the top and stitching down, but you could bind the top edges or make an internal casing.

Voila!  Saccoccia! 



Kendra of Démodé pointed out there are new, improved pictures on the Kyoto Costume Institute picture gallery.
….which prompted me to go re-poking around……
……….which led me to……..BLACK LACE* ONNA 18th c gown! Hooray! It’s too late for the gown I’m doing (boo!), but it’s one step closer.
Hopefully I’ll forget about the big black lace search again and next time I’ll find something ~5 years of what I’m looking for?
*Now I want this dress too. Argh! Update: OHMIGAWD! The sleeves are LACED CLOSED!

Another update: Check this beauty out! I'm so distracted.....

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Green and Gold–Finished

I’m kind of *meh* about the sleeves.  I thought I would like the buttoned sleeves, but I’m starting to think they will be a PITA.  Time will tell, I suppose. 


On the other hand, I’m pretty stoked about the dress itself.  It fits pretty good, though the straps will need dressing pins to keep the shoulders from sliding off.

I’m planning on wearing this with my square-necked camacia and my organza partlet. 


Yet another thing to add to the pile of “Completely Finished” (even if I’m less than ecstatic about it.)

Oh yeah, I forgot to list my gold and green petticoat on the “Completely Finished” post a while back…..that one’s done too!

Next up is the red gown tuck!

Some people have feline sewing companions….mine are canine!


“mai sunbeam.  u can not haz!”  (Cozmo/Momo)  This one technically isn’t sewing-related, but he rarely goes upstairs these days, so he gets reprieve from the theme.


“mai kayoot iz too helpz you!” (Demitri/Meaty)  This is his favorite spot in the sewing room….under my desk cuddled up to my laptop bag, stack of bolt cores & bag-O-hoops


“best. nap. EVAR.” (Tiny Barsky)  View by my feet while cartridge pleating the other day.


“wat u mean ‘get off’’?! iz goggie bed!”  (Precious & Tiny Barsky)  I finally threw a towel over my cabbage bin so I could keep it somewhat dog-free.  Geez, the things I do for my goggies.


“we r helpin u hand sew!”  Yes, that is every dog in the house on my lap. *sigh*  I was trying to sew on buttons, but took a nap instead. (All of ‘em)


Storage Accomplished!

This is the most organized my patterns have been since I had the Sewing Basement Room O Doom!  (But I also had far fewer patterns at that point in history!) 

I am really quite excited, hopefully I’ll not have to go through the pain I’ve been experiencing lately when trying to find patterns! 

My most used patterns* I usually just have pinned to my board….that is a scary proposition!  I want to go through and copy my top patterns*, as some of them are getting pretty ratty, and then store them somewhere else, just so I always have a back up.

I bought four tubs, but only ended up using three – there is an amazing amount of storage space in these babies!


I have the three tubs separated into major categories:

  • My drafted patterns
  • Historic pattern company patterns
  • “Big 3” patterns (which is actually more than the “Big 3”, but makes sense to call that tub “Big 3”

Here is the interior of the “Drafted Patterns & Templates” tub.  This tub makes me happy, as it is nearly as full as all the other tubs, and is all my own work!  I think this tub is deceptively full, as I don’t draw out skirts (they’re easy peasy to draft, and seems pointless to have an actual pattern for each person/outfit), whereas the other patterns do – that’s a lot of room!


This tub is subdivided into major categories:

  • Templates (things like embroidery, applique…..anything drawn)
  • Accessories (multi-size accessories like saccoccia, partlets, coifs)
  • Noelle
  • Holly
  • Others  (this section I might subdivide as I add to the collection….I just need to remember to draft 2 paper patterns when I make patterns for people….one for them to take, and one for me to archive and store!)

Next up is the “Historic Patterns” tub.  This tub is full of patterns not from the “Big 3”, with the exception of the very few “Big 3” patterns that are actually worth a crap.  (Historically speaking, anyway)  That is not to say that every pattern in here from a ‘historic pattern company’ is worth a crap (there are some stinkers in here, to be sure!), but is better than the very obviously costumey stuff in the other pattern tub.


This tub is subdivided into major categories:

And last, but not least is the “Big 3” tub.  There is actually more companies than “The Big 3”, but is an easy name for the tub!


This tub is subdivided into major categories:

  • Civil War Mens
  • Civil War Womens
  • “Wenchy” Costumes (You know……the Piratey/Ever After/Braveheart/Shakespeare in Love knockoffs)
  • Retro & Modern

I think this is the very first time in a very long time that I’ve actually gone to the effort of putting away all those ‘floater’ pieces.  (You know, the little pieces that get separated from the envelope and then multiply in the bottom of whatever pattern storage method you’re using.  Yeah.  I had a lot of those.)

A little note about pattern storage.  I used to use manila envelopes, and paste the commercial envelope or write the description (if I drafted it) on the outside.  This makes for tidy storage, as the envelopes are fairly rigid, and stack nicely. 

However, stuffing patterns back in such a rigid envelope isn’t the most convenient thing in the world, and as I’m a visual person, writing descriptions on the outside until I’m blue in the face isn’t going to help much, since I’m usually looking for “that one pattern that I drew in pink marker and made notes with blue pen….you know, the one……”

So, I’ve transitioned into the gallon ziploc baggies.  This isn’t a perfect solution by any means, but now I can see the contents of the packet and easily (or relatively so) fold and pack patterns. 

In my recent shopping trip, I also bought a packet of cardstock, which I used as dividers, tub labels, and as a stiff insert for the ziplocs.  My ziploc’d patterns stack much nicer now that there is something rigid giving the limp little baggie some body. 

So now, after all of that…….How do you all store your patterns?  Do you have and tips or tricks you’d like to share?


*Curved sleeve, side back lacing bodice, bodies, partlet, doublet bodice

(Yet another) Shopping Trip

I really, really needed to find something to lace my red velvet gown, and went to 3 different stores only to end up with black twill tape.  *curses*  At least it’s better than the horrible synthetic cord I was using as a stop-gap measure!

But, on my trip I found some awesome cut worked and couched ribbon….for what purpose I’m not exactly sure, but it’s certainly on my mental checklist of “could be awesome for something”; (I think it was $5.99/yd, but would be totally affordable with a 50% coupon.  I’ll be on the lookout for Hobby Lobby coupons for the next little while!)  There was also a ‘latte’ color that was pretty as well.


I also saw this awesome red and gold fabric on sale for $7/yd.  I know you won’t believe me but I did not buy it.  But it was pretty, so I thought I’d share:  (Also found at Hobby Lobby)


What I did buy was a ‘pet hair remover sponge’, which I have only tried on a little piece of fabric, but seems to be working well.  I am always on a hunt for new lint/pet hair remover products!  (It was originally $6.99, and it was on clearance for $2.15, so not that big of a purchase if it doesn’t work out the way I would like!  Hobby Lobby impulse buy.)


Also, on a whim, I bought a spool of ‘memory thread’, which is basically just thread wrapped wire.  I’ve been wanting to do a couching project for a while now, and I’m thinking this stuff would couch nicely!  (There is a whole range of colors and metallics; though the metallics are a bit….well, cheesy looking.  The ‘dark ecru’ is pictured below, and is quite pretty.  Oh yeah, I got this at JoAnns)


Because I’ve had such problems with patterns lately, I went to the local Evil Overlord (Wal-Mart) and got 4 Rubbermaid-esque tubs to store my patterns in.  Hopefully, this will allow me to be a bit more organized!  I also looked for the 8.5x11” baggies, but couldn’t find any….that may have to be an internetz purchase.  For now, my gallon-size ziploc bags will work.

I should finish up the other shoulder of my green dress, but I’m going to go wade through my patterns for a minute and see if I can get things organized a bit!  Will post pattern updates soon!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Distraction Strikes Again…..

I’ve got the green and gold sleeves cut out, ready to assemble.

Then I suddenly decide that what I need is a saccoccia. Quick look around the ‘nets for inspiration, and decided that this one is simple, and would work a charm. I think it’s hanging from a very thin leather studded belt, so I haven’t quite decided how I’m going to finish mine off. For now, I just folded over and stitched so it’ll be serviceable until I think through it properly.

Now that I have the pattern down, down the road I’ll do one with better materials and take the time to hand sew it, but as this was a prototype, I’m pretty happy with it.

Quick Update…..

I had a quick fitting of my two gowns just now, and I am much relieved.

Bertha was, in fact, messing with my head, and the green and gold gown fit just fine. In fact, this gown may replace my lavender gown as my “go to” outfit! (I just need to find my danged sleeve pattern!)

I finally tried on the red velvet gown with petticoats and chopines. I’m seriously torn about hemming. Right now the hem hits right about halfway down the chopines….which means that I have to wear the chopines with this outfit. I could take the time to re-cut the hem to normal walking length, but really, do I want to? Argh. I was going to start on the tuck right now, but since I’m wiffling, I may just go ahead and keep searching for my sleeves.

Sorry, no pics…..apparently every mirror in the house has decided to be woefully dirty today, and I couldn’t bring myself to clean them while wearing pretties.

UPDATE: I finally found my sleeves. *que big sigh of relief* There are two patterns that have taken ages to get just so......I'm seriously thinking of making a copy of them and storing them elsewhere.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Green gown–(mostly) finished!

I don’t have a lot to say on the construction of this gown, it’s my standard side-back lacing pattern, with the exception of a slightly narrower shoulder strap, and the felt padded hem….my new love!

The pictures of the gown look much more gold than it is IRL. (I’m also slightly worried that I messed up on my math and the back is too short, but I’ll put it all on tomorrow and find out for sure….it could just be that poor Bertha is not a very good approximation of my body!)




Here’s a close-up of the fabric, which more closely approximates the ‘real’ color of the dress.


And just for giggles, here’s the silk for the Turkish robe draped over the shoulders:


There was drama with the rest of the fabric going missing (which I eventually found, obviously)….and now the next drama is my trusty curved sleeve pattern is now AWOL too! I’m very sad about this because I spend countless hours tweaking it just so. I’m really, really hoping I can find it, I will be lost without it!

On the docket tomorrow is to search thoroughly for the sleeve pattern (and make the sleeves if it shows up), and finally figure out what I’m going to do for a partlet. No really, I’ve been putting it off for long enough, it’s time.

Progress! All the half-finished stuff

Warning: this post is text-intensive, and probably mind numbingly boring to pretty much everyone other than myself!

I have a whole pile of stuff that is started, but unfinished. I am hoping that by tonight, the green kirtle will move from this post to the ‘finished’ post……I only have to attach the skirt, and it’s all done. I’m not going to be wearing sleeves, but I’ll probably make them now just so they’re available when I wear it next.

The red velvet gown is still on hold, as I’m still waiting on my die stamp. Hopefully I’ll get that soon!

The beading on the Turkish loose gown is closing in on the finish line, and my friend Gypsy has taken it home to get it finished off. I’m hoping I can get the body done before Uprising so I can wile away the day attaching the trim.

I’m having a hard time remembering if there is anything that I need to start still, but unless I’m forgetting something, all I have to start on is my partlet……I still haven’t figured out what I want to do with that yet. My brain is saying “No more decisions! Noooooo!”

To be started stuff: (I forgot about needing a dedicated camacia for the red gown. That velvet crocks all over the place, and whatever I use for that dress will likely be used for ONLY that dress.)

  • Partlet - decide what to do, and just freakin' do it. Gosh, Noelle! Also want to bring to Uprising and work on there if at all possible.
  • Camacia for red gown - simple, simple, simple. If for some reason there is any time at all, I'll do a very simple band of blackwork at the neckline. "but thats it".
  • Stockings - I keep remembering things that need to be on various lists. Stockings! Astrid is going to help me pattern them sometime after her wedding. They shouldn't take that long to make, so I'm not worried.

Here’s the full accounting of my half-finished projects, and what needs to be done to them:

  • Shade fly – needs poles, ropes & stakes. Also need to sew rear casing after I figure out the cross-support pole size. If hubby remains as busy as he has been recently, I may be doing this myself.
  • Red gown – needs sleeves & tuck to be wearable. I’m hoping to also do cutwork trim on shoulder treatments, bodice and hem trim.
  • Green gown – only needs skirt pleated and attached to be wearable. Am also hoping to get the sleeves done so I actually do them. I’m notorious for finishing a gown, and never doing the sleeves. (Sorry, Holly!)
  • Purple Turkish – the beading on the trim is started, and nearly completed. (handed off to Gypsy for finishing) I have the fabric for the gown, but just need to get it cut out and constructed. I’m hoping to work on attaching the trim during Uprising.

And mostly because I need to write this down somewhere, here are the projects that other people have volunteered for:

  • Hand towel – Praksedys (I hope I spelled that right!) has graciously volunteered her embroidering talents to make a towel.
  • Hubby’s shirt – Ashe’el and Michelle are on the shirt project…I sat down with Ash during court and picked out some blackwork patterns that I liked, but left the final decision up to her.
  • Hubby’s outfit – The fabulous Johanne has taken on the task of the doublet, coat, venetians and bonnet for my hubby. We sat down yesterday and raided my stash for supplies and figured out some of the details. She left with two large garbage bags of fabric and some sketches, so I hope she’s set!
  • Chairs – Johanne’s husband has taken my chair commission, so I’m really, really excited. I cannot wait! I need to get him the cash this week so he can go shopping for supplies. He’s going to be carving the back support with my fleur (hooray!), and we’re thinking that the body will be oak.
  • Jewelry – As if it needed to be said, Holly/Aine will be working on my jewelry. She is retrofitting my favorite belt of all time for the red gown, and is making a new pearl & garnet necklace and earring set. She got off easy!
  • Camacia - I forgot this one....I asked Elizabeth if she'd do a camacia for the green gown, but I still need to get the fabric to her.
  • Garters - D'oh! I forgot the garters! The fabulous Marguerite (another that I'm terrible at spelling!) offered to make my garters! My forgetfulness reflects on no way on my gratitude for this work, I'm just distracted as all get out! The garters will be card woven red silk & gold, and I'm insanely excited for them!
  • Shoes! - Astrid is making shoes to go with the green and gold gown. I am so excited!!!

Then, I have other stuff that I’d like to get done for Uprising: (crazyface, I know.)

  • Since it’s my last Prize Tourney (sniff, sniff!!!) I want to enter some stuff….the PPoD just needs to be sewn into pillow form, though I may just bring the top to show off….depends on time. I’ll probably going to be entering my chopines and blackwork sampler as well. I’m wracking my brain for more entries but am drawing a blank. Argh! I was going to teach a few classes, but what with all that is going on, I am in a serious time crunch, and don’t have the time to put together kits and handouts.
  • I’m a couple of outfits short of having a change of clothes for every day at Uprising, but I have nearly an entire linen “V” gown done, just need to finish the rings and get the skirt attached. I may just get everything cut out and bring the pieces to work on at Uprising and if it gets done, then voila, another dress. Woohoo.
  • Not to mention all the mending, gathering, and cleaning of garb, bedclothes etc. and packing thereof. *ooof*

Then, there is the DNP (Double Noelle Project) stuff for Costume College, which is the weekend after Barons War. Seriously?! Argh! (After CoCo, I’m going to fall-down-go-boom.)

  • wigs x2
  • petticoat
  • stays
  • gown
  • jewelry

Progress! Update of all the finished stuff…..

My little pile of “projects that are completely finished” is growing larger!


From left to right:

  • chopines
  • painted curtains
  • kneeler
  • pillow (which I wasn’t planning on, but I had a chunk of embroidered velvet that needed to be something

I didn’t do a project diary of the kneeler, but it’s pretty basic.  I took the embroidered velvet (which is a scrap from the gown that I helped create for my laurel’s laurelling!), and a plain wooden stool from a craft store. 


Since I’m completely on this ‘from my stash’ kick, instead of staining it like I had originally planned, I used the ‘champagne gold’ paint from the curtain project and coated many layers.  because it’s more silvery than gold, I changed up the embroidery on the cover, and used blue instead of red.  (blue always seems to go with silver better than red does)

I layered foam over the pained stool, and firmly tacked it in place with canvas, close to the outside edge, so the strain of compressing the foam is taken up by the canvas. 

Then I covered that with the pretty stuff, and stapled it in further in the stool.  (my staple gun and I have become very good friends over the last week or so!)

I was unhappy with the raw edges, so went digging through my stash, and found some leftovers of the black and gold trim that my good friend Jannean gave me…..perfect for covering those cut edges!


The kneeler is on the small side, so isn’t a perfect size for that bit, but will become a fantastic foot stool after the fact.


Sorry for the radio silence, folks!  To make up for it, here’s a new cartoon!





… always, I’m always happy to receive suggestions for cartoons!