14 June 2008

Tonight I cut out the pieces for the chemise, all except the sleeves. I haven’t decided exactly how long to make them yet. I’m using the same 3.5 oz linen as my 18th Century shift, as well as the same pattern (from Wright’s Everyday Dress of Rural America. The essential shape and construction of this garment did not change significantly from the early 1500s to the late 1800s).

21 June 2008

Well, my early enthusiasm was brought low by a crushing confusion regarding sleeve width/length. I realized that the relatively narrow sleeves of the 18th C. shift, while similar to the Elizabethan smock, would probably not be wide enough to achieve the proper “pouf;” and then my pitiful sense of spatial relations evaporated completely, and I couldn’t figure out how to attach wider sleeves to a narrower armscye (well, I understood what to do, but not how to do it). After much cossetting and advice by costumers who can do math, and after actually getting out all the pieces and looking at them, I decided on a width of half the remaining fabric (27″) and a length of my arm + 12″ (as recommended on Festive Attyre.) There are now sleeves and a body, but I am leaving the hemming and neckline until I have more of the gown/s done, because of course I haven’t made up my mind yet.

January 2009

Not much progress to report these last several months, I’m afraid! Life got in the way of costuming, and nothing was sewn after I (more or less) finished the smock. My weight also changed, which throws off fittings and makes me indecisive. Nothing has still been sewn, but I do have a couple of materials/supplies/tools updates! First, I have a new machine! After taking my typical ridiculous amount of time to decide, I brought home a Viking Emerald 183 for Christmas. It’s a lovely machine, and we’re looking forward to a long and fruitful collaboration.

I thought I’d also share some swatch photos. I have all the materials for Promenade (depending on what I decide about the chemise-vs-partlet issue). The damask undergown will be from this fabulous red/orange cotton damask sheet set I found at Target several years ago. The overgown will be a black worsted, lined in the most delicious emerald green silk dupioni from Silk Baron. Dupioni is not strictly period (the wonderful slubby texture we prize today would have been considered a flaw in the weave), but I thought it was the best way to achieve the texture of the tapestry. (Silk Baron also carries gorgeous taffetas and satins that would be more period correct, but I like dupioni, and the color was perfect. :)). I also found two lovely gold trims–one for the border of the overgown, and one for the hem of the undergown.

Wool & Silk (the silk I finally chose is the deeper green, in the corner):

A better shot of the damask and the gold trim:

June 26, 2009

Long time since my last update, but you haven’t missed anything.  I got frustrated with my utter lack of progress on this project, so I enrolled myself in a class at the shop where I bought my new machine.  It’s sort of a guided studio, and I’ve been using the class time to work on the bodice for the red kirtle.  I started with the Henrician kirtle pattern from Tudor Tailor, but the thing’s been through so many incarnations since then it’s barely recognizable.  I now have a version that fits me, yay, but I’ve been perplexed by the neckline, which is stubbornly too low, no matter what I try to do.

The mockup, draped in the damask

The mockup, draped in the damask

So the next step is to completely cut an entirely new front panel again, this time a good 2-3″ higher overall.  I think I’ve figured out the problem, though, so I have grand hopes for success in the upcoming mockup(s).