Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Natural Form Dress 2: The Underthings

For the Natural Form dress, I decided to make hoops and a petticoat.   I want the dress to have the correct look - even if the underthings are a bit off.

For the hoops, I based them off of loosely off of other natural form era hoops. Originally, I was going to do the whole belt thing - with suspenders hanging down to hold up the hoops around the hem- but it just didn't look right. So I took a rectangle of fabric and added that to get a full hoop skirt.

It still doesn't look quite right but it works. The petticoat will hide the fact it's a bit more crazy with the odd looking hoops. However, the hoops will help keep the skirt out and give it the shape it needs.

For the petticoat, I pieced together what fabric I had left over and then added some lace that I really didn't have a use for to the back of the petticoat.  It's not super pretty but it is functional.
The waist to the petticoat is just a drawstring.  If I have enough time, I might switch it to a waistband.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies!


  • 1 cup olivio coconut spread (you can use Earth Balance coconut spread but I've found olivio is typically softer)
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 apples, peeled and cored
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips (Enjoy life has the dairy free allergy friendly kind)


Preheat oven to 350F.

In a pot, boil the apple slices until they are mushy. Drain them and then mash them up into a sauce. Leave to the side for now.

Mix in a large bowl the coconut spread, the white sugar, and the brown sugar until it's blended. Add in the the applesauce, the baking soda, and the vanilla extract. Then add in the salt, chocolate chips, and flour. Once this is mixed together, put small spoonfuls of the dough on an ungreased cookie sheet. Cook for about 15 minutes (check them at 12).

These cookies are perfect for anyone with dairy or egg allergies. You could probably sub the flour for rice flour to make them gluten free as well. I think these make about 4 dozen cookies - I was eating them as I was baking so I have no idea. :-)

Sunday, October 26, 2014

MOR APPLES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!11!

25 pounds of apples this year!   This photo was taken after I had already frozen about half of the apples I picked this year.  Some of you might recall that last year I picked roughly 20 pounds of apples at Butler's Orchard.  This year, Butler's was picked clean early so my Mom and I headed up the road from her house to Homestead farm in Poolesville Maryland.

The amount of apples at Homestead was unreal.  This year, I picked Fuji apples - mainly because they are a known apple to me and there were TONS of them.   Fuji apple trees don't look like what I would consider normal apples trees.


The trees look more like a cross between a bush and a vine.  The branches were supported by posts and wire - like you would do for a grape vine.  The main trunk looks more like one of those young stick trees you buy from a planter company when you want to plant a new tree in your yard.  The difference is that the stick has ten or so branches, each overloaded with apples.

After picking 47 pounds total - between myself and Mom, we also went to pick up a couple of pumpkins and then went back to the farm's market to get potatoes, onions, and apple cider.  I won't need apples or potatoes for a very long time.

Anyway, I did what I did last year to freeze the apples.   I peeled them, cut and cored them, and then bathed them in a mix of lemon juice and water to prevent the apple slices from browning.
After the lemon bath, I threw them into a plastic bag.  I'm keeping with the four apples to a bag since that worked really well last year. It seems to be the perfect amount for a decent apple pie.
The big difference this year is only that I have one bag where I cut the apples into donut slices rather than the chunks like you see above.  I LOVE medieval apple fritters however you have to cut the apples in the way of the host - ie, like the Eucharist bread.  So to help keep the slices separated during the freezing process, I put pieces of wax paper between each slice.  We'll see if that works.

I have been eating some of the apples this year already.  They are so good!   I had one as a snack when I went into work last week.   Another ended up being a snack with peanut butter today when I was in a mad sewing session.  (Had to finish up all the nephew's Halloween outfits)

Since my oldest nephew's egg allergy has gotten much worse, I'll be using some of the apples to make apple sauce - a substitute for eggs in many recipes.  It tastes great in cakes and cookies and the starch works well as a nice, natural egg replacement.  Much better than bananas - which can also be used if you mash them up.  However bananas only taste good in chocolate cake because they dramatically change the flavor profile.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Natural Form Dress Part 1

A few weeks ago, I bought the Wearing History 1879 Dress Bodice e-pattern.  According to the description, the pattern should be very similar to my corseted measurements.  The pattern doesn't have seam allowances so I traced around each piece - after putting the pattern puzzle together (which was very easy) - to give a bit of a seam allowance.   I then cut out each piece and pinned to together to get....

This!   I only put one sleeve on - the sleeves are longer than they look on the illustration of the bodice.  The asymmetrical front went together pretty naturally, honestly.  The only things I really have to take in/down are the shoulders and where the armscye is for my own comfort.  

You can see a little bit how far the shoulder straps jut out over the sleeve. I ended up cutting a lot down/off around the shoulder area. The rest? So far I haven't had to play with it. Now for a wearable mock up....

My overall inspiration is this image:


I want to do something similar to the red and black - but in lavendar and dark grey. The main body of the dress will be velvet with lavendar wool - hopefully to be a proper half mourning dress for the MET exhibit. We'll see!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

HFF: Cake!

Medieval pancake

The Challenge: Cake!

The Recipe: (where did you find it, link to it if possible)Frutowr for Lentyn

The Date/Year and Region: 15th Century English

How Did You Make It: (a brief synopsis of the process of creation)I mixed flour, store bough almond milk (vanilla!), a bit of sugar, cinnamon, diced figs, and raisins into a plastic container then shook it. I then poured the mix into a skillet with olive oil over a flame (a gas grill) and fried the baby up.

Time to Complete:5 minutes, maybe

Total Cost: I had everything except the figs which I *think* were $4 for the bag. I used maybe a 1/4 of the bag, if that.

How Successful Was It?: (How did it taste? How did it look? Did it turn out like you thought it would?) It looked horrible because a)it was dark and b) I burnt it a bit. However, it tasted like a funnel cake with fruit - which is about what I think it's supposed to taste like. Funnel cake is totally a cake - and this is very much a medieval pancake so it counts too!

How Accurate Is It?: (fess up to your modifications and make-dos here) I used store bought almond milk this time because I was camping. The flour I used probably isn't the same as they would have used in period either. I added the sugar and the cinnamon - both period ingredients- because it tastes off without them. The raisins are just regular raisins because I'm not sure if I'm allergic to real currants or not. However, there is some confusion over whether "rasyns of corance" are actually currants or black raisins - so I might be perfectly okay.

The full recipe:

Frutowr for Lentyn. Recipe flour & almondes mylk, & temper þam togyder; þan take fyges & rasyns of corance & fry þam with þe batour with oyle & tyrne þis & serof.

- Hieatt, Constance B. "The Middle English Culinary Recipes in MS Harley 5401: An Edition and Commentary." Medium Ævum vol. 65, no. 1 (1996): 54-71.

And I will add that I did finish it on time! I was camping and didn't get to post it until today.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

#19: HSF Inspiration

The Challenge:
Inspiration. Although many people have done partlets, I was particularly looking at the Venetian one by Aurora. Actually, I cut it out a year ago or so and was finally inspired to finish it after looking through other HSFs.
My own
Silk thread, linen tapes
How historically accurate is it?
The only way to get to be more accuarate would be to steal the police box from the Doctor or the starship Enterprise and slingshot around the sun. It's 100% hand sewn using period correct techniques (rolled edges) and materials.
Hours to complete:
2 or so really - It wasn't long once I sat down and sewed it. Although, giggling through Top Gear probably did impact the sewing time greatly.
First worn:
Tomorrow, I hope
Total cost:
Apparently, I spent $9.98 on the fabric back in 2010. The linen tape was about a $1 a yard and I think I used a quarter of a yard. The thread came in one of those $1 bags I get at the thrift store with a bunch of other things - so a little over $10?

I will admit I almost didn't do this one due to the political overtone this challenge took on. However, this should be about sewing and fun - never about politics.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Anne of a Thousand Days

First, much thanks to this site for providing LARGE images of the brown gown Anne wears in the movie.  It helped a lot for figured out a couple of things for the dress.

Ever since I saw the movie first 10 years ago, I've wanted this dress.  I have no idea why - it's not my normal colors or anything - I just love it.   The hood isn't accurate but the dress actually isn't that bad - it's something I can easily wear to SCA events and not get shunned.


I forgot my stays the day of the faire and couldn't exactly drive the two hours back home to get them so, I relied on the dress itself to hold everything correctly. It did okay - I didn't look ridiculous- but next time I need to remember my stays.

I bought the material years upon years ago. I think the main brown fabric is some sort of man made material meant for designer raincoats - perfect for a rainy day or a day right after a rainy day as long as it stays below that 72F threshold. It did, thankfully.

The gold material is gold cotton damask I think I got off of ebay four years ago. Maybe longer. The trim and false undersleeves are out of the paisley orange and black fabric that just happened to match the colors of the original movie gown - and I think the material is probably from the same time period as when the movie was made.

So hardly any natural fibers and a not historically accurate gown was a switch for me - however, I do like this dress.

I used the old McCalls Tudor gown pattern 3282. I have used this pattern a ton of times and love it. I drafted out the princess seams and the back darts. I enlarged the upper sleeve by adding a half inch on either side (you have to - they made it too small unless you have t-rex arms). I didn't bother cutting out the skirt and just used the remaining fabric, pleated it, and used that as the skirt fabric - which matches what they did on the movie gown better.

The french hood is, of course, hilarious. I didn't manage to finish what I wanted to do but I put together "something" so I'd have a dress many would hopefully recognize. I need to get some puffy gold fabric paint to make the "embroidery" on it. (The original really looks like fabric paint when you see a close up of it) I won't be able to wear it to SCA events but I want to complete the gown so I can wear it next year. :-)

My Medieval Houppelande Gown

Both of the above images are from the early part of the 15th century - the first is from between 1405-1410- and were a couple of my inspiration images for making a Houppelande gown.  

I had to go to an SCA event that had a theme of late 14th/early 15th century.  I've wanted to make a houppelande for a while so this was as good an excuse as any.  

The houppelande I made is based on the very early Italian styles for the dress.   I dyed some blue cotton brocade (the Italians had cotton) with RIT red Scarlett dye and it came out a stunning deep lilac as you see here.  The sleeves are my own pattern but the dress is a slightly changed version of McCalls M5155.  I changed the neckline for the body.   I had to piece the dress - which is very period and fine by me.  The sleeves are lined in some satin I had left over from my winter coat and the body is lined in some pink linen.   It's a heavy dress but not overly so.  I was quite happy to wear it...I just wish the belt didn't break...twice!

For the sleeves, I made a simple basic sleeve and then, rather than have the sides taper, I made them as big as I could at the wrist.  I ended up having to add gores to the sleeve to make it even bigger.   


Sekanjabin in it's simplest, medieval form is sugar and vinegar put together to make a syrup.  I decided to take a play on that to make a new corn free syrup that was both cheap and good in a soda.  The one I made ended up tasting most similar to a cream soda - which is what I was aiming for.  :-)

1 1/2 cup water
3 3/4 cup sugar (I used a mix of brown sugar and white sugar but anything that is pure sugar is fine)
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
a little less than 1 cup of Vanilla infused Balsamic Vinegar (if you don't have a store that carries this, try apple cider vinegar instead and increase the amount of Vanilla Extract to taste)

I put everything in the sauce pot and brought it to a boil.  I then stirred it, while it was boiling, for a couple of minutes, only to turn it down to low and leave it for about 10 minutes.  I then took it off the stove and let it cool.

Once it was cool, I put about a tablespoon in my cup and poured sparkling water over it (from my Sodastream).  I was worried it would be too bitter but it's surprisingly light and gives just the right amount of flavor for a soda.  Since sugar isn't exactly expensive (you can buy a box at the dollar store), this is a pretty easy, cheap soda flavoring syrup recipe.