Wednesday, January 15, 2014

HSF '14 #1: Make Do & Mend

Woohoo!  I survived 2013!!! Yay!

Anyway, here is the first Historical Fortnightly of 2014.   I apologize for the pictures - I'm still taking down Christmas stuff because I was out of town last week and then got sick this week.  This means that all the Christmas boxes are around the dress dummy and right where I would normally put the iron board.  So, the dress can't go on the dress dummy and can't be ironed until I actually take all the Christmas stuff down.

What the dress looked like before:

Renn Fest Sept 4 2010 001

What it looks like now:

What I did:

I originally had glorious plans for a completely different project...and then I got called to NYC for work for a week. Side tracked and road trip! Because of that, I had to figure out something else to do. Well, luckily, another project *quickly* presented itself. My sister in law and I decided that I'm kidnapping her and my nephews and maybe my brother to go to an SCA event. Woohoo! I know the older two nephews, 6 & 3, will LOVE it. I have plans for everyone's garb - except mine. Eek!

I knew I wouldn't have time to hand sewn something new - but I could take something old and retrim it. I needed an outfit that would let me run after small children, get messed up, and I wouldn't care. This meant one of my machine sewn dresses and something peasanty preferably. The dress I re trimmed is based on the drawings and paintings of peasant women in the late 16th century in Italy (roughly 1580's ish). The cut is correct and it is linen. The entire thing was mostly machine sewn at the time I made it and I added green rayon velvet trim to the bodice because I desperately wanted green trim. After a few washes, a Pennsic or two, and general getting oldness, the dress looked like it was linen with old rayon trim. I wanted something that looks more authentic to the time period than rayon.

So, for this HSF, I yanked off the old trim and thought about what trims I had. None worked. Here's where the make do really comes in - I have tons of scraps. I normally keep them in case I have to re do a piece or for patches to clothing I've made or to make new things if the scraps are big enough. One of the scraps was this:

A long piece of gray wool with the selvage still intact. I cut the selvage off of the gray scrap and used that as the trim for my dress. In the 16th Century in Italy, linen was common for lower class dress and a bit of trim out of wool would have been appropriate. I folded the cut edge under and stitched it to the bodice - tacking down the selvage as well.  The awesome thing about using the selvage is how flexible it is.   It went around the rounded back neckline with ease.  (pun not intended but still punny)

Once I get the dress ironed, I'm pretty sure it will work out great for chasing nephews! (Not that they tend to run away much when playing dress up with me. The real reason I need an easily machine washable dress is sticky toddler fingers!)

The Challenge: #1! Make do & mend
Fabric: wool and linen
Pattern:  None! The original dress, I think, was my own pattern too.
Year:  1580's ish - last quarter of the 16th Century
Notions: wool scraps, thread
How historically accurate is it? I'm giving it a 70% because of the machine sewing on the dress. I sewed the trim on by hand
Hours to complete: 2 if you count the hour I searched for *something* woven and period appropriate to be trim
First worn: Way back in August 2010 at Pennsic. I've worn it many times since then. I will wear it with the new trim either in a couple of weeks or at Pennsic - again!
Total cost: None! yay!


  1. Oh this is pretty! I don't think we have SCA Events in Austria, unfortunately. There is the odd Ren-Fair or Medieval-Fair, but they are very costume-y. Which is fine by be, but not the same. Most costuming Events are Baroque or later.

    1. Thank you! And you do:

      Drachenwald is the Kingdom in the SCA that pretty much is Western Europe. I've been wanting to go to a few of their events but haven't been able to get the time off or save up the money to head on over. Some day!

  2. Ah, thank you :)
    But I think most events are in Germany. We are a very small country after all ;) (About 8,5 Billion People) But I think I've heard the name "Drachenwald" bevor, so maybe they Team up with smaller Clubs for organizing Events.