Archive for February, 2009

… when I step away from a project for a while.

I got the mauve gown out to work on it during textile guild Tuesday night.  I’m in the process of attaching the side gores… so I merrily seamed the one that was pinned to the body panel and then moved on to sewing the two gores together, except… something wasn’t quite right.  I pulled out all the pieces and tried to figure out what goes where and it just didn’t make sense.  I kept coming out with an odd number of gores.  I was just about to decide to stick the extra gore in the back when I realized… two of the gores I had lying around were right triangles, not isosceles triangles!  Right triangle = half-gore.  Closer inspection revealed that the two gores that I had already attached to the body were also half gores.  AHA!  So… for my own record-keeping.  😉  Each side seam gets one “full” gore and two “half” gores.  Now I will remember.

There is still one error – right now those two half-gores that are attached are attached bias-to-bias.  I’m just going to leave them and let it hang for an extra-long time to get the stretch out.  I’ll make sure to do the other set straight-to-bias, though.

I’m planning to display the dress in its current state at C3R this weekend, so come take a look!


Remember the award medallions that I was embroidering on and displayed at Pennsic?  I finally got around to starting to make them into actual medallions last night.  

I was taught how to make award medallions aeons ago, one evening sitting around in the barn with a bunch of people at Great Northeastern War.  I actually haven’t seen any made this way here in Aethelmearc, so hey – mine will be very identifiable!  The basic method is:

  1. Cut 2 cardboard circles the size you want the medallion to be
  2. Cut a circle just under 2x the size of the final medallion around the embroidery, and cut a second circle of the same size to make the back.
  3. Stitch around the outside of each fabric circle using running stitch; leave a long tail on the starting end.
  4. Place the cardboard circles in the center of the front & back and use the running stitches to gather the fabric around the cardboard.
  5. Attach the front and back together and edge them in some way.


Step 5 is where things get kind hairy. In the past, I always made a fingerloop braid and sewed it on, stitching the front & back together at the same time.  I tucked the raw ends in and sewed a jump ring on to run a cord through.

This time, though, I decided to get creative… I wanted to try the edge finishing technique described in the Museum of London book, and used on period aumonieres.  I took a class on how to do this technique a 3 ravens a couple of years ago, using fingerloop braid.  I THOUGHT I remembered how to do it, but I was wrong.  So I backed up and decided to try a woven edging.  The basic technique is to put your weft on a needle and use it both to sew the pieces together and as the weft.  This is probably reasonably easy on something biggish like a purse, but it was a major pain on something as small as this (large) medallion.  It was very hard to keep the band even, it pulled the tension of the fabric stretched over the cardboard all out of whack, and balancing the warp tension so that it could wrap around the medallion and yet still have enough to weave effectively.


All of these would have been problems I could have dealt with, though. Where it all went down the tubes was when I got to the end and tried to figure out what to do with the beginning and end of the weaving.  I wanted to lap one end over the other and create a loop with the top one.  But… I just couldn’t get it to work out.  

So… fall back position.  I made a quick six-strand square fingerloop braid and stitched it around the two pieces.  Instead of using a jump ring, I did go with the idea of making a loop from the edging, which was really easy to do and looks a lot nicer, I think.


I’m working on a portfolio for Aethelmearc Kingdom A&S Championships and one of the items that I’m putting in the portfolio is the Pelican cushion I embroidered in … A.S. 37.  So here are some good pictures of it, which I didn’t have before.

The ground fabric is scrap linen from my first set of 13th c. rapier armor; the embroidery was worked in Medeira silk floss. The design was taken from the Bostocke Sampler.

Pelican Cushion

The whole thing. It measures about 6″ x 10″.  I used Caryl de Trecesson’s chart for the central figure and charted the border myself. 

Pelican Cushion
Detail of the central figure. 

Pelican Cushion
Detail of the border, and a squashy corner.

Pelican Cushion
Detail of the bottom edge and border.

Tall Child wants me to make her a 13th century riding tunic.  The fashion layer will be the purple wool in the middle of this picture; the lining will be either the periwinkle blue on the right or white.

 Christy's fabric

C, what do you think?  What does the peanut gallery think?


I finished hemming HRH’s gown last night and wrestled the layers together and onto the dress form for a photo shoot.

 done!  with underdress.

It lies so much better with the underdress filling it out – the fashion fabric is very drapey, so it looked kinda weird all by its lonesome.

I did recycle my seam finishing error on the outer layer, too.  I’m still a little torn about it.  This fabric is soft & drapey enough that you really can’t tell from the outside… but it’s bulkier than I would like, too.  The good news is, you can see it much better in this picture than you could in the one of the underdress.  The sleeve gusset is at the top of this shot; the side gores are at the bottom.
side seam treatment

It’s in the laundry now, then will be hung to dry & pressed before it’s delivered in time to be worn at Three Ravens in 10 days.

More complete docs coming soon.

I’m on the “reserve list” to teach my hosen class at C3R on the 28th… if you’re interested, even if I don’t end up stepping into a slot, find me and I’ll be happy to let you have a handout!

It’s not FINISHED finished, but it is all assembled.  And suffering from “looks better on a person than the dress form” disease, but you will get the idea.
Blue GownBlue Gown

For this gown, I tried something new in terms of the neckline – I made bias tape and finished the neckline with it.  Since it’s a keyhole neckline, I had to miter the corners, and I even did it correctly on the first try!  (Hooray, I get to pass ninth grade geometry!)

In general, I like this as a finishing method.  I like an applied facing rather than just turning a small hem for a neckline.  I made one mistake, which was only cutting the strip about 3/4″ wide – this meant that I had to make the seam allowance smaller than the allowance of the center seam, which in turn meant that getting things to line up on the inside was a little… finicky.  It looks a little strange on the inside, but it lies just fine.
Blue Gown