The UFO Files: Butter Yellow Giornea Monday, Sep 15 2014 

Florentine Overgown | From Elizabeth's Needle

That would be me, doing a little happy dance, because I finished an old, old UFO!

Inspired by the Historical Sew Fortnightly Yellow Challenge, and KCRF buddy Raven’s own yellow Ascension Day ensemble, I dug out a  project I started waaaay back in, oh, 2006 or so. I had abandoned it when I realized I’d made the bodice straps too narrow to cover the straps on its undergown, my brown Botticelli dress. But I have newer Italian garb with narrower straps, so I decided it deserved another chance. It’s worn here with a dress from Sofi’s, because I wasn’t sure if it was worth making the sleeves to go with it, until I’d test-worn it.

The Challenge: #17 Yellow!

Fabric: butter yellow cotton (?) damask from Fashion Fabrics Club, called “Coriander” (It does not behave entirely like cotton; I now suspect a much greater synthetic content than I was lead to believe.). Bodice is flatlined in canvas and lined in cotton broadcloth.

Pattern: My own; draped on myself

Year: late 1400s Florence

Notions: Lacing rings from Renaissance Fabrics and gold soutache to lace with

How historically accurate is it? Um… I’m happy with the silhouette, the color, and the woven-in diamond pattern of the damask, but it’s been through so many crazy incarnations, pattern-wise, and I seem to have arrived at some loony hybrid of a giornea and a cioppa (I’m not even sure what, if anything, the actual difference between those is, but to the best of my understanding: A giornea is one unbroken piece of fabric, open up the sides; a cioppa has a waist seam and usually opens at the front). I will wear it, and cheerfully, but would not like to send it up before judges for anything. There’s also, strangely, quite a bit of invisible hand-sewing and visible machine stitching!

Hours to complete: Unknown

First worn: KCRF, yesterday

Total cost: Again, I bought the fabric in 2006, so I don’t remember, but if I had to guess (based on my fabric buying habits!) I probably bought about 6 yards (I have almost 2 left over, some of which will go toward the sleeves) and wouldn’t have spent more than about $8/yard on it. So ~$50 US.

Florentine Overgown | From Elizabeth's Needle

WIP pix Fall 2014 Wednesday, Sep 10 2014 

I’ve been so busy Making Things all summer that I haven’t had a chance to update the blog. Well, now’s as good a time as any, I guess. Fair has been in full swing for a couple of weeks yet, but as usual my projects are lagging behind.

Raven finished her yellow Italian kirtle, and a host of over-the-top accessories, although she wasn’t wearing her awesome embellished apron that day (check out that HAT!):

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Also, it was approximately nine gazillion degrees and two hundred percent humidity that day, so. It’s amazing this isn’t a photo of a puddle.

I have been a busy little seamstress on my English fitted gown. A proper page for the EFG will follow, along with more WIP pictures, but here are some of the darn-near-finished-except-for-sleeves state we have achieved today! It still needs (sleeves) a good pressing and the trim, but this is a pretty good shot of the duck green velvet and bronze taffeta, which play *so* nicely together:

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And a closeup of the turned-back “lapels” (they’re not technically lapels; it’s just sort of the front, flapped open):

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I have LOVED working with the velvet and taffeta; so much of the construction has been done by hand (and the sleeves are almost entirely done by hand), and these fabrics responded beautifully.

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That somewhat odd ensemble worn under the EFG is my other big project of the summer–a resurrected UFO alluded to here: the butter yellow giornea-thing! I abandoned the project six years ago after discovering that the straps were too narrow for the brown undergown it went with… and then my weight changed, and then changed back, and the brown dress has been worn into the ground (alas)… BUT thanks to the Historical Sew Fortnightly Yellow Challenge (and Raven’s own yellow Italian ensemble!), I was inspired to pull it out again. My newer gowns have narrower straps, and it looks well enough with the coral Campi (and the purple Sofi’s gown sported by the dress form… which was, in fact, the original original gown meant to be worn with it), so it is back in the queue!

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This morning I cut out the skirt panels for it, discovered I had oriented the fabric the wrong way, thus giving myself too much fabric in the skirt, decided to go with two cross-grain panels, knife pleated to the bodice. I am now trying to decide which direction the pleats should face (all the same way, or meeting in the middle… and if they meet in the middle, do so with a box or inverted pleat?).  …All of which was the whole purpose of the photoshoot, but I got carried away and ended up with a blog post!

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This has absolutely nothing to do with historical costuming, but it’s a fun home dec project that delayed the EFG progress for a couple of weeks. Typically, it ended up being FAR more complicated than it should have been, but I’m delighted with the finished results (if not entirely thrilled with the photo!).

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A box-pleated COCKATOO valance! For my new laundry room, where I have been happily washing and prepping my wool stash since my birthday.

Here’s a better shot of the fabric, a home dec linen purchased entirely on impulse (there is a cockatoo in my new book) at Hancock’s a couple years ago. It goes with NOTHING, but I love it, so a feature in a small room was the perfect use for it.

cockatoo fabric

It was supposed to be a super-simple gathered valance, but I only had a yard, the parrots were oriented the wrong way to slice the fabric in half and butt the ends to make the length necessary, and the print was wildly off-grain, so I lost a fair bit of the small amount I had to begin with! So I ended up with that crazy design of the lined inverted box pleats, and I just *had* to do the curved hem, because once I decide on something complicated, I go all in. I was lucky enough to find some greyish linen in my stash to line the pleats with.

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So THAT, my friends, is what I have been up to this summer, that and revising the aforementioned Cockatoo Book (which, to tell you a secret, is shaping up to be My Favorite Yet. Don’t tell Charlotte and Digger.).

 

 

 

Spring Stitches Saturday, Apr 19 2014 

Today I got together for a sewalong with a fellow local costumer and KC Renfest musician. We met in person last year on a rainy Fair morning.

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We are coaching each other through this, Tudor Tailor’s English Fitted Gown:

Raven has some gorgeous black wool flannel for hers; mine will be “mallard green” velvet. We have four whole months to do this, and it’s only four pattern pieces (not counting the sleeves), so we should be able to manage it! We are inspired by some stellar versions made by friends, like Centuries Sewing and Silverstah (Laura’s was the first I’d seen that was A COLOR!).

Her mom volunteered her spacious, tidy, sunny, quilt studio as a workspace—and I am totally sold on the idea of a cutting table. Now… where to put it? Do I really need a sofa? (Because the books aren’t moving.) I hardly use my stove…

To say thanks to Sandy for hosting us, I stitched her up a little biscornu pincushion from stash! This is Matrioshka’s Frozen January freebie stitched on what appears to be platinum (or very light blue) Jobelan, with Ozark Sampler’s hand-dyed floss in Lantana. The flower button came from my vintage button jar. It’s fitting that all these bits and bobs ended up this way, as the fabric and floss were all gifts from other stitchers. I’m happy a quilter will get to enjoy them now!

 

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And a peek at the finished stitchery, because the button covers up a bit of it:

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Ok, now I suppose I should dive into that English fitted gown mockup….

 

Recent Site Updates: Lots of New Content! Monday, Apr 14 2014 

Hello, readers! It has come to my attention, first, that there actually ARE readers of this dress diary (Kate), and that I have been updating it in such a way that subscribers have no idea that I’m doing so! I have been adding new PAGES, instead of new POSTS, and those don’t appear in your readers, alas! So here is everything you may have missed since my last POST in, um, 2012ish.

Lots of pinning—no, this pinning! Come see me on Pinterest!

pinterest profile

Wagner’s Valkyries cosplay

 My (re)new(ed) obsession with Early Netherlandish gowns

resolve

An obnoxious Saxon hat (details to come, if I ever finish the obnoxious-for-entirely-different-reasons Saxon gown):

A spectacularly fortuitous fruit stand!

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A new Fairwear bodice

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Some pretty fancy-schmancy needlework

…Some more fancy-schmancy needlework

blackwork snip

And some more cosplay insanity

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…And I’m at work on a bunch more new stuff, too! Stay tuned for some needlework and cosplay updates coming soon, and there are More Hat Plans in the works, as well.

Thanks for reading!

Come See What’s New! Wednesday, Sep 26 2012 

If you haven’t been around the site much lately, don’t worry—neither have I! But I’m getting caught up, and I’ve just added at least ten pages of all-new content, including projects, tutorials (TC), and dress diaries.

Be sure to check out updates and new posts in 16th C. Middles, the all-new Fantasy & Fairwear section, and don’t miss the award-winning Italian working class dress.

While you’re at it, you may be interested in my interview at Fabrics-store.com.

And stay tuned for stash updates and a reversible doublet tutorial.

Thanks for stopping by!

The Needlework & Historical Costuming of Author Elizabeth C. Bunce Thursday, Jun 12 2008 

Many of you have been asking for details about my needlework, so I’ve put together some pages for my stitching and costuming.

Here you’ll find finished projects, works-in-progress, and some odds and ends.  Use the links in the sidebar to navigate through the projects.

Enjoy!

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