Monday, March 19, 2007


Last year, Julie and I had a fantastic time playing for a weekend with Her Majesty's Hounds at the Virginia Renaissance Faire.
This year, we auditioned for places on the cast (auditions! memorization! public singing! scary!). And as you might imagine, since I'm writing this, we got invited to join the cast for the 2007 season. Best of all, we get to be part of the Guild of St. Hubert, which is to say, the previously linked greyhound adoption group. We are, shall we say, excited. We're playing two of the royal houndmaster's sisters-in-law, actual historical characters.

The picture above is of my charge book, which is a little book of useful information each new member is compiling. I wanted to do a little bit of embroidery to dress it up a bit. It's nothing fancy, just cotton embroidery floss on pale green linen. The HMH is in chain stitch. The dog is filled with a sort of staggered split stitch. The border is a chain stitch that then has been threaded through with the green. The dog is definitely supposed to be a greyhound, but I'm thinking it ended up looking a bit like Lucy. Oops.
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Thursday, March 15, 2007

the dog is SO over hats

New hat. Better than the old hat. Lighter at any rate, since I used buckram and wire instead of plastic canvas. This is a pleated-crown hat covered in grey wool leftover from the ropa. The crown really is pleated, although it's tough to tell that since I went ahead and used black silk thread to cover the pleats with a decorative herringbone stitch. The twisty thing around the brim is black velvet with a contrasting chain stitch. I'm into these "new" stitches. It's lined with black linen. I followed the general method for construction from the Tudor Tailor, but made up my own shape since I wanted a curvy brim.

The dog is, however, not particularly impressed. He thinks it could have at least shaded his eyes a bit better for the nap.
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Monday, January 22, 2007



Many thanks for the comments and suggestions on fixing my gapping problem from Julie, Laren, Allessia, Lia, and of course Mom. I really appreciate all the input. It looks considerably better I think (despite the bad lighting). At first I wasn't sure I was happy, but in comparison with the before picture, it's not bad. I used a combination of suggestions by doubling the number of hooks in the top half, sewing down the shank of the hook, and moving some back as needed. I think next time I do this I'll definite bone the edges too. I believe that may be why the green dress has no gap, despite similar hook spacing (and considerably less care in sewing them on). Thanks ladies! Posted by Picasa

Monday, January 08, 2007

dress of continual improvement

Still tinkering with the green dress. Here are the stripey sleeves. I like them a lot, but now I think I might have to edge the black guarding on the dress to match. We shall see.

And the Lady Kytson hat. It's very difficult to model this hat without feeling ridiculous. In all of the other pictures, I had some sort of "no seriously, I'm not really here" facial expression, so you get the goofy one. Posted by Picasa

Sunday, January 07, 2007

wool doublet

I'm a bit behind schedule with taking pictures of this outfit. It's been done since the fall. The brown wool is coat weight, and so the cuts are unfinished. The red wool behind is the same as in the skirt, and the stitching is actually 4-ply wool sock yarn left over from something else. It's worn over a smock and the effigy corset. In the closeup, you can see that it tends to gap, despite not actually taking any strain due to the underlayer. I'm thinking about adding a placket or possibly using lacing rings behind the hooks.

I also think I might add a brown wool guard to the bottom of the skirt. It's a very comfortable outfit, *provided* that it's cold out! Wool, wool, and more wool! Posted by Picasa

Sunday, November 05, 2006

ask a stupid question....

So a good rule of thumb is never to ask the dress engineer his opinion unless you're prepared to hear the answer. One would think his professional integrity was at stake or something. For example:

Me: Honey, how does this look?

Him: Hm. It looks fine.

Me: *narrowed eyes* Fine?

Him: No, no, what I mean is, it's nice. Really nice. Except, well....never mind. It's lovely.

Me: *deep sigh* So what does it need?

Him: Well, if you did this and that and the other thing altogether, it would be so much better, don't you see?

And then I go do another afternoon's worth of handsewing. Rinse and repeat. The trouble is, he's always right. He's got a better eye for things like balance in design.


This is possibly not the olive green wool kirtle I perhaps mentioned in the last post as THE PLAN. And I always stick to the plan. As evidenced as all the other times that I stuck to the plan.


Oh, and new rule. In addition to the "no machine stitching showing" rule, I now have "the insides have to be finished too." So we've got french seams and flat-felled seams and hand-stitched linings. And you know what? That rule's actually making me pretty happy. Posted by Picasa

Saturday, October 28, 2006

i see london. and possibly france.

New underpinnings! The Queen Elizabeth effigy corset, courtesy of the Tudor Tailor. (Have I mentioned how much I love that book? And that I'm within a size of the example patterns? Can I get a "huzzah"?) Executed in navy blue duck with pale blue edging. Boned with 3/8" electrical ties. Plus some super tacky flannel drawers. Ugly, but necessary to play dress-up outside in November. They should be quite cozy under the farthingale.


And the back view. I do love the "racer" style straps, as they are assuredly staying put on the shoulders. Very nice that.


And a close-up. The flannel britches are pretty low-slung by design, strictly for ye olde privy convenience. They've got elastic instead of ties for much the same reason. I'm pretty sure if I tried to mess with ties under my 10 pounds of skirts and whatnot, would be bad. Very bad.


A pretty easy task, not counting how eternal it is to bind 34 eyelets by hand. I even finished the inside seams (gasp!) because I think this one is a keeper. Third time's the charm perhaps, but this is the most comfortable corset yet, and also the most inclined towards the ideal cone shape.

Next up: a warm wool kirtle in olive. Making a total three green dresses. No, I'm not in a rut. Posted by Picasa