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.).

 

 

 

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