Wednesday, February 4, 2015

14th Century Silk Gryphon Cotehardie Part 1

I have been extremely inactive with sewing and general historical reenactment stuff for quite a while - so, why not start back up with a truly epic project! :D

Below is 3 yards of 100% silk damask brocade, specially commissioned from Sartor Fabrics, a textile merchant in the Czech Republic specializing in weaving historical recreations of extant fabrics.  It will eventually become a completely hand sewn cotehardie.

A group of us from the Kingdom of Northshield put in together to meet the minimum 50 yards to have this fabric woven in our Kingdom colors of black and gold, with our heraldic device of a gryphon. The fabric is based on a pattern from an extant garment dated to 1350.

You can read more about this amazing fabric on their site over here.

The process of ordering this fabric was fascinating because it was very similar to what would have occurred in period - a (very costly!) custom fabric of a custom length was ordered from a textile merchant, their loom was set up and it was woven to order to our specifications, and once completed it was shipped to us.

I was surprised by the light weight and stretchy drape of the finished product when I received it today - I had neglected to read that it was only 110g/m2 in weight when we placed the order! I am accustomed to working with modern drapery damasks (which are stiffer and more heavy weight) for my Italian Rens (which I still need to post about). This however has the weight and drape of a very thin satin. It is also extremely prone to snagging and fraying (no surprise since it is all silk!). It also has some bias stretch, which will make keeping everything in place when cutting and sewing a challenge, although the very geometric pattern should help.

Therefore, a lining will be essential to construction stability and the proper drape when finished. Thankfully I have some heavyweight black linen in my stash to line it with, and if I do not have enough in my stash, Sartor also sells it for a very reasonable price.

The plan for now is to asses the additional needed elements and research to complete the gown - thread, lining, buttons, facings, pattern, mock up gown, possibly a new self-supporting undergarment, etc - as well as research on historical tailoring for the period - and make a project plan for completion. Actually cutting this fabric will probably be one of the last steps in the process, once I am ready to actually sew it together. The goal is to have it complete for Nordskogen's 12th night in 2016.

Meanwhile, it will be VERY CAREFULLY stored in a VERY SAFE place!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

2007: Other randomness

Me at Sternfeld fighter's practice in 2007. I'm duct taped into the loaner armor, and using a shield intended for a much larger person.  :D I think I only made it to 3 or 4 fighter practices before I was told by my dr I wasn't allowed to do that anymore. ;)

2006: Other projects - toddler pirate garb

I made this set of linen tunics with  tablet woven trim and belt for a friend's toddler.Both tunics are machine sewn and hand finished with silk facings at the neck opening. Trim and belt are crochet cotton. Both tunics have extra big hems on the bottom and the sleeves for room for growth.

Some nice photos of the construction are here at the Flickr set.

2009: Hot pink plaid cotehardie

I made this for Nordskogen's 12th night 2009. As noted below, it needs some changes, but I still really like it!

The gown is pink wool, with a plaid in green, yellow and magenta stripes (all the colors are period if probably more saturated than is possible from plant dyes). Buttons are handmade self-stuffed in green wool. Girdle is green wool with freshwater pearls, garnets and mini gold-colored jingle bells sewn on it with silk thread, with a handcast buckle and strap end from soapstone molds I already had. Undergown is the usual pink linen self-supporting gown with black linen sleeves lined with black silk dupioni and handcast pewter buttons purchased from a vendor. Handsewn linen veil and wimple with pewter acorn head veil pins and brass veil pins from vendors, handsewn red wool hose, black leather garters from a vendor, and handsewn leather turnshoes.

After wearing the gown at the event, I have since removed the green border on the hem as it was too heavy and bulky and made the skirt drape oddly. It looks much better with it gone. I also do not like how the bodice fits over the pink undergown, I am going to try my white undergown next time.

The girdle gave me absolute fits during construction and afterwards! This was the first time I had ever worked with real pearls, and I did not know that pearls aren't all drilled uniformly and that the holes in them are TINY. :( I had a lot of trouble with finding enough from my supply that I could even get a very fine needle+silk thread through, and because I could only make one pass of the thread, they aren't anchored properly and kind of flop around. The girdle was also pretty floppy on its own, as it is made by folding the edges of a 3" wide strip together in the back and whip stitching it closed. It did not have a lot of weight or stiffness, so the end tended to twist and curl.

I have since unstitched the back and attempted to tighten up the pearls, and I am searching for some thin supple leather to put in the girdle before closing it back up to improve the hang of it. Once that is done I will add a backing of white silk taffeta - the whip stitching down the seam on the back is pretty unattractive.

More photos once I'm done fixing it!

Monday, April 12, 2010

2003: My First Garb

Aren't I cute?

This was made for Nordskogen's 12th Night in 2003 (my first event). It is a basic rectangular construction kirtle made with a mauve wool, cotton shift, borrowed belt, linen barbette, and a borrowed circlet. My now Laurel, Giovanna, helped me to make it from material in her stash after I showed up at her house with $70 of black silk dupioni from JoAnn's. (Heh.) The belt incidentally ended up being passed onto me as my apprentice belt from Giovanna.

I think I am wearing some sort of suede boots under this.

Friday, January 8, 2010

2003/2006: Red Linen Italian Ren

This was originally completed for my first Warriors and Warlords in 2003(?), here I am wearing it at Lilies in 2006.

It is made with Period Pattern's pattern #41, altered to have side lacing closures instead of back lacing. It is made of red linen and the bodice is lined in cotton canvas that had been dyed yellow with  (that dye that uses salt and alum). The chemise is white linen with underarm gores and french seams, and a drawstring neck to give the effect of gathering. The chemise sleeves have been rolled up and the cuffs tucked/pinned under the bodice straps for ease of wear. (This dress does have reversible red/yellow sleeves to go over the chemise sleeves, but I have no pictures of it.)

I am also wearing a white linen wimple tied backwards around my head and tucked up into itself, and my green leather apprentice belt.

2008: Grey Wool cotehardie with pink and black undergown and silk tablet woven girdle

This outfit was completed for the Barony of Nordskogen's 12th Night 2008. I hope to take better photos of it at some point.

Overdress is grey wool with handcast pewter buttons from a vendor. The sleeves are split at the elbow and lined in white silk taffeta.

The supportive fitted underdress is made of a pink linen lined with  white linen, sewing machined lacing holes, and white silk thread tabletwoven down both edges of the front closure to provide support for the lacing. (Photos and discussion to come.) The sleeves on the undergown are pink linen to the elbow, then black linen lined with black silk from the elbow to the wrist. They are sewn shut with silk thread and have more handcast pewter buttons (in a different design, but from the same vendor) running from elbow to wrist along the seam. (The buttons are decorative only, not functional.)

The girdle will get its own post, but for now:  It is tablet woven with wooden cards, a period loom, and black and white silk threads, and I hand carved the molds and cast the pewter mounts and a buckle myself. It is backed with a strip of black silk dupioni and the mounts are sewn on with silk thread. It was originally intended to be knee length but the takeup during weaving was much more than anticipated.

Again, handmade turn shoes, handsewn red wool hose, black leather garters, silver circlet. The hood is from Historic Enterprises, made of grey/black wool, and loaned to me by a friend.

2005: Green linen cotehardie, 14th century

This was completed for the Barony of Sternfeld's living history encampment at the 2005 Fishers, IN Ren Faire.

The outer dress is green linen, machine flatfelled/french seamed, with handsewn self-stuffed buttons and handsewn buttonholes.

The supportive underdress is a white linen/cotton blend, machine flatfelled/french seamed, with handsewn lacing holes and handsewn self-stuffed sleeve buttons/buttonholes.

I am also wearing handsewn turn shoes, handsewn yellow linen hosen, black leather garters from By My Hand,handsewn linen veil and wimple, acorn head veil pins (Fettered Cock Pewters), brass veil pins (Wooded Hamlet Designs), a plain silver ring, and a pewter pilgrim's badge (Billy and Charlie) sewn on the sleeve. The belt is modern and non-period, but it had the right "look".

This is a photo of me in the dress at WW, with my laurel Giovanna and her new student (whose name I shamefacedly cannot recall). The student and I are both wearing smocked linen aprons that Mistress Giovanna made for us. We like to called this the Mother, Maiden and Crone photo. :D

2005-2009: Red Fitted Cotehardie, 14th Century

This was completed for Northshield's Spring Coronation in 2009, although it was started in 2005. It is entirely hand sewn. Red wool with white linen lining, sewn with silk and linen thread.

More info soon.

First Post!

Because every blog has to have one. :)

I will be posting my projects here.

Check back later when, y'know, there is actual content...