Lady Greensleeves's Velvet Undergown

The tailoring misadventures of a histerical costumer

Friday, July 28, 2006

The Coriander is Here!!

And it's gorgeous! I wasn't sure, at first, when I opened the package, but when I carted it upstairs and laid it out in the sunshine atop the violet gown--the colors just sang. Bliss.

This photo is not great; the yellow is a little washed out. But it's a true rich butter yellow. Delicious.

Unfortunately, the violet gown doesn't have a history of photographing well, either. You may never get to see the Coriander Gown in all its golden glory. Alas. One nice surprise? The "pale gold" Coriander really picks up the metallic gold in the violet gown's trim. That was a happy discovery!

In other news... I have finished the initial mockup of DH's tunic and cowl. I still need to do the fitting for it--but an initial try-on revealed that I cut the contrast for the neckline about twice as wide as necessary, giving the whole thing (it's muslin with a green neckline) an ecclesiastical bent. DH gave a benediction. In Latin.

We watched the old Errol Flynn "Adventures of Robin Hood" last night, a movie in which approximately 97.3% of characters wore hoods-and-cowls. I begged DH to let me dag his cowl, a la Will Scarlet, but he was having none of it.

Tomorrow I'm speaking twice at an all-day workshop, but hope I'll get a chance to use my Saturday night for sewing. I think I need to give some attention to the doublet, which is starting to hint--again--that it wants to be a mandelion. Grumble.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

You Are An ISFJ

The Nurturer

You have a strong need to belong, and you very loyal.
A good listener, you excell at helping others in practical ways.
In your spare time, you enjoy engaging your senses through art, cooking, and music.
You find it easy to be devoted to one person, who you do special things for.

You would make a good interior designer, chef, or child psychologist.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Ren-Friendly Rainwear

23 July 2006
Conceptual Drawings & Trim Orgy

So I have a conceptual drawing for DH's tunic, assuming I can figure out the keyhole neckline + contrast:

21 July 2006

As promised, here are the details of this project, so far (I bought the fabric today [squee!], so I finally feel ready to start, and hence ready to make a diary):

This project was inspired by the fact that KCRF always has at least one horribly rainy weekend every season--and that's always the weekend we have company. It's also very often hot here, when it rains, making heavy felted wool raincloaks... silly.

I have a gorgeous sueded microfiber raincoat that lived through 5 Portland, OR, winters and never-but-never gave out. It looks and feels like silk, but behaves like nothing else. I decided that *that* was what we needed for Fair. It's actually not that easy to find sueded microfiber yardage, but I finally found a store (in Portland, no less!) that carries both leftover yardage from RTW factory operations, and a limited amount of made-for-them fabrics, as well: Rose City Textiles, found online at Last fall I ordered a batch of swatches but didn't see anything I wanted. This spring, I tried again--and hit pay dirt (more on that later).

My plan is to eventually make 4 garments--two custom-made pieces for DH and me, and 2 walking capes for our guests. I wanted something that was lightweight and beautiful, that would keep out the rain--but that people wouldn't mind wearing even if the weather wasn't as bad as feared. Walking capes are not really period for fair, but the shape is flattering, easy to wear, and seems like a cloak/rain poncho hybrid. DH wanted a tunic and cowl, and I wanted wizard's robes (leave me alone).

I eventually narrowed it down to the following patterns:

Walking Capes: Butterick 3642, view B (but with an added hood)
DH's Tunic: Simplicity 8587, with modifications
Wizard's Robes: Simplicity 5840

And here is the fabric:

To the left is the black, which will be one walking cape. The top is "Copper," a beautiful saddle leather color (fairly accurately depicted). This will be for most of DH's tunic (with some of the black as guards and trim). The second, "Navy," is for the second walking cape, and the third, "Denim," looks a lot like denim on screen, but (to my eye, at least) is a sort of dark dusky peacock blue/teal. That would be for the robes. I may decide I want a walking cape as well, but I bought enough to make the robes. We'll see.

Now, here's the amazing part. I got fabric for all (averaging seven yards each) for $160. For four cloaks!

Tomorrow is the 50% off trim sale at Joann, so I'll be buying trim for all.

More as things develop....

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Getting started... slowly

So I have all the pieces to DH's tunic muslin cut out and ready for assembly. I won't get to work on it tonight b/c we are having dinner with his boss (um... little nervous. Indian food.). I got him to sit down and look at the pattern and some pix with me, and we came up with a plan. I think. The DWR microfiber is not available in any decent shade of green (mint herringbone?), so we are going with a gorgeous copper with black trim/guards. I've never pieced before, but theoretically it can't be any harder than sewing a seam, right? I think it calls out for a very thin black-and-gold trim (such as is on my cotehardie), so I'll see what I can find at JoAnn on Saturday (50% off trims). He decided he liked the version shown in the pattern, which has a front seam and is partially open down the front. I'm not sure I do like the idea of a front seam; I wonder if I could cut it on the fold, instead, and slash. Hm. The muslin is not wide enough to mock that up, I don't think... but I think it's worth a try. How does one finish a slash, exactly? Anyway, the pictures we were looking at had laces in the front; I like clasps. Maybe one large bronze one.

He agreed that the two walking capes should be the darker navy, and the black. I did see some trim I liked for the navy last trip to Jo's; and it's easy to buy trim for black. How much, though? I'll buy a big spool, just to be safe. That's why they have 50% off sales, right? Clasps for these, as well.

Also started looking and planning for the doublet. I'm still worried about the fitting on this. I should find out if they're coming to visit again before fair and get the mockup done for that.

I know there's not going to be enough time to do the Coriander gown. I suppose I should focus on the to-do list, and then do the corset as time permits. That, at least, will help the line of the violet undergown. Yes, that's a good goal. I'll get something done, at least.

I've also been thinking more about the doublet-and-skirt for the coif. I'm thinking of doing a modified Jacobean jacket/doublet. The doublets mostly look too severe to me, but I don't like the big scoop necklines of the Jacobean jackets. I want something like the high neckline in this Alessandro Allori portrait, but not quite so extreme.

But that wasn't my point. It occurred to me how nice it would be if I wore the jacket over a kirtle, instead of a skirt & bodice. Drea Leed's, shown above, is perfect. The only trouble was, I was really picturing the bottom layer in a deep red silk dupioni, and that seems like a silly fabric for a kirtle. Maybe.

So. Now: Revisions. Tonight: Indian food and conversation. Later: examining the Butterick doublet pattern to see what the pieces look like. This weekend: sewing. And revisions.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Fabric Therapy

I did it! I ordered my Coriander! And in honor of that, I am hereby naming this project the Coriander Gown! I ordered 6 1/2 yards, which really, truly ought to be enough to include any mistakes I might make.

I had a dreadful day. Horrid. It was actually only a moment, but you know how those grow. Revisions are disatrous, and I have no idea how to fix them. That Week is starting, and so I know it's messing with how I react to awfulness... but that doesn't mean that the problem is non-existant. The book is still shaping up to be 150 pages too long (no joke, if I continue at the present pace), and That Week or no, that's a problem.

So. Dyed my hair, had a good cry (I rarely cry over my job; this might be the second time in a decade), got a wonderfully "I hear ya!" email from my critique bud, and BOUGHT MY FABBIE!

Feel better now. I almost didn't buy it (probably smart in the mood I was in, sure I couldn't do anything right), but after the shower and the email and some browsing through other dress diaries, I decided to go for it. I did think about buying just a swatch, but there was no saving on shipping--so if I decided to buy it, I'd be out double the shipping charges (like $15). Fabric favors the bold.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

I'm glad I asked

In the midst of my fabric indecision last week, I posted my dilemma on the costuming forum. Everyone voted for the silk.

Which was incredibly helpful, because it made me realize how much I really want the damask. The idea of not having that butter yellow damask was too much. So I'll be ordering that one.


So why, you ask, am I going against the advice of many talented costumers--several with much more experience than I have? One--color. I love that butter yellow, and I'm just not entirely convinced that purple and gold should be crosswoven together. Two--weight. I just don't think the silk is going to have the fall I want. Silk dupioni has a mind of its own when it comes to how it falls. Damask will hang where you put it. Three--I don't like to be pressured. The sale deadline was just too soon.

Although I still want some deep red for the skirt for the coif.

And since you don't believe that I ever get round to actually making things, I started the muslin for DH's tunic and cowl last night. So there.

And now, back to making a book.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

So now I'm conflicted...

I reached my page quota, and I am now allowed to reward myself by buying fabric for the gold overgown! Remember the Coriander I fell in love with? Well. Silly me, I went browsing for brown velveteen for the Jacobean jacket I want to make next year to go with the coif. And then I found this. Waaaaah! That's iridescent violet-and-gold changing color dupioni silk! And it's on sale for $8.21/yard... but only until July 17. I don't have enough time to swatch that out and still get the sale price.

Oh, mercy. What to do, what to do??

Sunday, July 09, 2006

To Do List

Apparently I suffer from Costume ADD, because I keep flitting from one thing to another. I get seized with an idea, obsess over it for a while, and then abandon it. I do eventually get some things made, but clearly I need to focus better.

So with that in mind, I give you (well, me, really), my To-Do List

Must Do
--Muslin mockup for DH's "Green Arrow"-inspired tunic & cowl
--Muslin mockup for a doublet
--Order DWR microfiber from Rose City Textiles for *at least* the tunic and a walking cape.
--Order same for perhaps a second walking cape and a robe
--Select trims for the same
--Make the doublet
--Make the walking cape
--Make the tunic & cowl

--Corded Corset
--Shepherdess dress
--new breeches to go with doublet

Do you see the trouble here? My obsessions for the past month have not been in the right place! Gah. Fortunately I think DH's tunic should be fairly straightforward--even with the dags/crenellations/hem treatment he'd like. The doublet, a little less so, though not insurmountable.

Maybe I should do one must-do project, then allow myself to work on one optional project. If I make DH's mockup, then I can order the yellow fabric. Or work on the corset, etc.

The fact is, I never have enough time in a season to sew everything I dream up. And then there are those projects that pop up out of the blue (like last year's purse)

I'm actually feeling itchy stitchy fingers to get started on the tunic mockup, just to feel as though I'm making forward progress on things. That's good, yes?

Unfortunately, my sewing time this week and next will be limited, because we'll be building the new shelves for my office.

Which is why I've started some embroidery.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Can't Back Out Now

And aren't you proud--it's been two whole days since I posted! I actually made some stuff last night (not sewing, so it doesn't merit pix)--I used my new scrapbook power tool and made some thank-you cards for the wonderful folks who sent me lovely things just for turning thirtymumble! So there. I DO make things. I've also been busy making a book, thank you very much. I find myself unreasonably pleased that my deadline is October 1stish, which gives me three whole weeks of Fair season left for sewing!

But she wanders off track.

I was speaking of not chickening out. Out of...? Out of the corded corset, of course!

On the way home from crying over my revision notes with my writing buddies, I consoled myself with a long trip to Hobby Lobby, where I finally found the right hemp cord, as well as some lovely soft-yet-sturdy cotton "linen weave" fabric for the corset itself. It was hugely expensive (for me, for such a thing)--$12/yard! Eek! I splurged and bought three yards, which looks enough to make about six corsets. Even for me. I also remembered (pats self on back) to buy bias tape! I decided that since the fabric felt wonderful but wasn't exactly beautiful (in a way; it has its own aesthetic), I would buy a pretty color of bias tape. Liked the deep teal, but decided it was too dark. Pink? Bleh. Baby blue? Haven't these people ever heard of sage green? But then! I found it! The most beautiful lovely soft rust color--dead on for the acorns in the coif! Perfect. I wasn't sure whether to get single or double fold--at $1.39, I got both.

But... I'd like to talk about the hemp cord, for a minute. Has there been a run on hemp since everyone else in Cyberspace made their corded corsets? A hemp embargo? Why did I have such a hard time tracking it down--and why was it so bloody expensive? My 200-foot spool cost $10. Not a bank-breaker, in comparison to other costuming costs... but certainly not 400 feet for $2, as I've seen reported elsewhere. Grumble.

So that's it. Nothin' stoppin' me now!

(Watch. It will be 2 years before this thing sees the light of day.)

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Birthday S.E.X.

Y'all know that's Stash Enhancement eXperience, yes??

So yesterday was my thirtymumbleth birthday, and did I ever mention that I have the most amazing family?! All I got was STASH (ok, and a DVD and two CDs)... and it's fantabulous!! My inlaws gave me some stash cash (as yet unallocated, but I have plans)... my parents sent (are sending?) scrapbook stuff, and DH got me all of this:

In that picture are:
--A huge self-healing cutting mat (would it occur to your husband to buy you a self-healing cutting mat, totally out of the blue? Incroyable!)

--A set of 18 glorious Marvy watercolor markers, which are gorgeous and I'm not even sure what they're used for... but I love markers with an obsessive lust, so they're wonderful (the most beautiful shade of pale orange verging on cream. Sigh.).

--Ingham & Covey: Costume Technician's Handbook (OMG! OMG!!)

--Beads. Lots of beads. JADE (tremulous breath). And a beautiful little necklace kit with violet Swarovski crystals. All this came in a beautiful small brocade jewelry roll with the most clever little ring holder (and now I want to make one of those, too). As I said in a previous post, I don't really bead... but how cosmic that DH and I were thinking fiercely about violet crystal beads at the same moment!

--And the icing on all of this wondrousness? This:

A kit from Plimouth Plantation designer Joanna Kline, to make a 17th Century embroidered coif.

I am only learning surface embroidery, but I think this will certainly inspire me to greatness with my needle! (For some reason, Blogger won't let me post more pictures just now, so that will have to wait.)

Part II

So today I went prowling round Joann, looking for things to spend my stash money on. I found some hemp cord! I'm actually quite surprised by it, and wish someone who'd made a corded corset would have posted a picture of a spool of the stuff, b/c I'm not at all sure what I have is what I need. I bought it in the beading section (DH wanted to show me everything. :D). It's reeeeeelly thin--like perl cotton 8 thin--and it feels like paper or raffia. Sound right? Hmmm.

I also found--and found I could not pass up--5 yards of the most delicious heavy, 100% cotton, deep cream, tone-on-tone, reversible damask. $25!! It's upholstery yardage and seriously, well, delicious. I have no idea what I'm going to do with it--I don't think it's right for the Gold Overgown... too heavy, for one; also the pattern is HUGE. It would make a fabulous Tudor forepart (or 5 of them). Maybe a Venetian? I don't have a Venetian in my plans. Gah.

But, happiness! I think my obsessive thinking-about-costuming stage is coming to an end. I should now enter into a period of dormancy, followed by actually making something.

Trims go on sale for 50% off on July 22, so I'm going to try to put this all on hold for a few weeks, so that I can, you know, WORK.

(Oh! Could the damask be for a Georgian gown?!)

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Somebody STOP her!!

Gah! Here I am again! Two posts in one day!! No, I haven't gone to bed yet! Sheesh! I am SUPPOSED to be working, after all!

Am I?


Well, I did paint my office, which is at least in the physical vicinity of my work, if not actually productive on the book itself.

HOWEVER, I had to post, because I just found a butter yellow damask Italian gown!! This is from Buckland's Breeches, a site for a SCAdian costumer from Australia.

But! But!! Look how good it looks with the purple background! Woo-hoo! I think we have a winner!

But all the gowns I'm looking at have floral damasks, and the one I love is that diamond motif. Do I keep the diamonds, or must I use something bigger and more fluid?


Well, fiddle-dee-dee... I'll think about that tomorrow.

Bead Me, Baby!

Should I be worried that I find more to say in this blog than in my professional one? Sigh. I'm supposed to be working, so that I don't have to work later tonight and can finally go to bed at the same time as milord... but the dress keeps talking. I know the only way to shut it up is to buy supplies for it.

And the only way to buy supplies for it, is to hit that page quota. Vicious, vicious.

But... today's topic. I've been thinking lots more about the butter yellow damask + little beaded belt idea. There are no such embellisments in the portrait. Who wears a beaded gown to shear sheep anyway? However, there *are* such embellishments in this fabulous gown by Lynn McMasters.

What I love so much about this ensemble is that it's very similar in material to what I'm working with. Chances are the "original" undergown, if one ever existed in real life, would have been linen or a nice medium-weight wool. Something you could work in. The overgown? The same, although one fellow costumer has suggested it may be a leather apron of sorts. Anyway, McMasters used velvet and damask, which is pretty darn close to velveteen and damask.

And the velvet and damask apparently demanded embellishment. Notice she didn't go crazy with it--just some friendly beading on the edges, and the belt (which features one of my favorite costuming notions: a clasp!).

I haven't beaded much (just some in my needlework and a Ren costume for my coonhound, Nelly [don't ask. Apparently she doesn't aspire to nobility]), but it doesn't frighten me at all (not like the corded corset). But another option would be some trim. Something *tiny.* Maybe 1/4 inch. Purple and yellow. That should be easy to find, yes? I think that will be my new time-wasting obsession.

Red sock update: I found a pair at the dollar store today! Ok, they're not the wonderful long slubby wool ones from Sock Dreams... but they were a dollar!

It occurs to me that I haven't even thought about the gold horizontal lacing (or whatever that is) on the overgown. Hrmph.

But instead of thinking about that, I'll post a link to another damask Italian gown of similar silhouette (look! If I bought extra yardage I could make sleeves!!).

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Yellow & Purple Sightings, and Color Confusion

I was just perusing the site of Olde World Wear, and what do you know? A gorgeous gown in deep purple and pale yellow (or pale gold, if you want to quibble; here's a direct link.) That purple looks a little more red than mine... and the amazing seamstress married the purple and gold with accents throughout the piece, which I'm not sure is an option for me. I mean, sure, if I were crazy I could put violet beads at the intersection of every diamond in the Coriander... but I'm not that crazy. Am I?

Hm. Maybe a little beaded girdle belt. That could do it.

In further musings, I have been looking at the shepherdess painting again, and I'm beginning to wonder if I just haven't completely misjudged the color of the overgown. I was sure it was gold... but there's an awful lot of red in that skirt. Should I be looking for a red/gold shot silk instead? And how would *that* look with purple?

Hm. Maybe I should just go with something a little more brassy in tone. Or the girdle belt....