Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Historical Sew Monthly: Accessorize

The Challenge: July – Accessorize: The final touch of the right accessory creates the perfect period look. Bring an outfit together by creating an accessory to go with your historical wardrobe.

Fabric: Wool, linen

Pattern: Based off this Norse hood

Year: roughly 1100 AD give or take 100 years

Notions:Just the green wool thread

How historically accurate is it? It's completely visually accurate. The stitches I used are seen in several digs, including Birka. However, I did use the sewing machine to bag line the various pieces so that's no historically accurate - not that anyone would ever see the machine stitches the way I sewed it up!

Hours to complete: About four hours

First worn: I hope either of their majesties will be able to wear it at least one night at Pennsic.

Total Cost:  The white wool was a remnant at Joanns that was 50% so $8.16.  The red linen was left over from another outfit.  The green wool thread I think was about $4.00 but I really can't remember.  It's been in the stash thread for a very long time.

This is what the hood looks like lying perfectly flat.  It really is just two gussets and a long rectangle.
Close up of the decorative stitching.

This is really for the Pennsic gift basket.  The kingdom Atlantia is giving a basket to has a King and Queen who are very into Norse.  Luckily, I had some lovely white wool, red linen, and green wool thread on hand to make up something that is both Norse but easy to carry back home to Utah.  :-)

I bag lined each of the pieces individually and then used the decorative stitching to bind the pieces together.  So the gussets are just squares with the square lining attached to them.  If you cut the decorative stitching, the hood would fall apart.

I did try the hood on to make sure it fits.  It fits.  I know, I look like death warmed over right now.  Oh well.

The entire edge of the hood is done in a simple running stitch.  The pieces are bound in a herringbone stitch - which is a very simple way to add a bit of decoration.

Overall, I'm pretty pleased with it and I hope their majesties are as well.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Late 16th Century Dutch Cloak

Sorry for the bad picture. My Dutch Cloak is finished!

First, the inspiration:

Taken from Katerina's Webpage


These are just a few of the examples I found. This style was worn pretty much everywhere in Europe in the late 16th Century. I liked the trim layout of the purple extant one so I loosely based my trim layout on that.

Making the darn thing:

I decided on epaulettes, full sleeves (rather than hanging sleeves because that got complicated), and I used red wool for the fashion fabric. I purchased the red wool at a local thrift store for $3.90.

See? As for the yellow tag regarding cleaning, I'm 99.9% sure this was a thick wool blanket at one point in it's life and that it had been left in someone's mothball filled hope chest. It still faintly smelled of mothballs. Not so faintly when I ironed and steamed the jacket.

Anyway, I also used what had been blue silk curtains for the lining also from the thrift store and also just as inexpensive. The trim is the same trim I used on the German gown last week. I still have some more... It was originally 35 yards and I have no clue how much is left but it's still a lot.

I have no clue what else to use it on...

I'll figure out something.

Anyway, the Dutch cloak!

The cut is just a generic sleeve pattern I've developed over the years, a trapezoid shape for the body, cut on the fold so I didn't have to sew the shoulders, and the semi curve of the epaulets.  Originally, I was going to have cuffs and a collar but those got thrown out.  I ended up not needing the cuffs, I just folding it all in and whipstitched the edge.  The collar...yeah.  Not fun.

Altogether, this is a pretty easy pattern to make.   I really love the cloak and it's WARM.  I wanted a short cloak for Pennsic since it's a muddy year, again.  No sense dragging a cloak through the mud when I can just put on an extra petticoat or say screw it and put on leggings (not like anyone will see!   My skirts are all to my ankle at least.).  

Wednesday, July 8, 2015


This year, I decided to grow some herbs and see if any veggies would grow. Although the carrots appear to be a dud as well as the lettuce, I have a bumper crop of cucumbers. I'm not a huge fan of cucumbers - I like cucumber water- but I love dill pickles. Consequently, I also planted a lot of dill. :-)

Currently in my garden, I have strawberries, two different types of basil, oregano, thyme, sage, rosemary, mint, dill, and cucumbers growing in my yard. At first, it was just a couple of cute leaves for the cucumbers so I didn't think much of it. Then, last month, it seemed the cucumbers took over the garden. So much so, I had to move the rosemary, sage, and oregano! Everyday, I have to go outside and redirect the vines - which are still growing and still have new yellow flowers on them.

This week, two cucumbers, pictured above, were ready to be picked. As you can tell, these are pretty fat cucumbers (maybe all the rain we've been getting? I haven't had to water the garden in about two months now...). I decided to pickle them because I really just don't like plain cucumbers. I'll eat them but they aren't a fav.

So, to pickle them, I ended up needing two pickle jars and two batches of the below recipe. I used a combination of the recipe from Instructables on how to make dill pickles and The Kitchen.

  1. First, I washed and cut the cucumbers into quarters and then in half.  This made them small enough to fit in the jars.   Barely.  
  2. I then soaked the cut pieces of cucumber in water in a bowl in the fridge for a couple of hours.  This makes for some excellent cucumber water later on.   
  3. I boiled the jars I was going to use in my soup pot because I really don't have anything else.   They are just leftover pickle jars.
  4. I then got some fresh dill and four garlic cloves; pressing the cloves and putting all of that in the jars.
  5. Taking the cucumbers out of the fridge, I placed them in the jars.

The brine:
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons of salt

The above is what I used as the pickle juice. I brought it to a boil on the stove and then, while it was still hot, poured it over the cucumbers (remember, the dill and garlic are already in there), sealed up the jars, and stuffed them in the fridge. You'll need a towel or pot holder because it will all be hot as you put it in the fridge.

Now, to wait! I'm hoping to take a jar to Pennsic. They should be well and soaked by next week. We'll see!

Monday, July 6, 2015

1490's Venetian Gown

The above is the inspiration for my dress.  I had some lovely mint green damask I got at my thrift store for dirt cheap and some orange dupioni for $4 a yard on Fabric.com a few years ago.  The two went together amazingly well so I thought to make the above style.  I used a very heavily modified version of Simplicity 8735 to get the shoulders.  The skirt is just gathered or pleated rectangles.

Before Abby attacked.  :-)

So...the dress dummy doesn't have shoulders so it looks a bit ridiculous on her.  I'll try to see if I can get pictures of me wearing it tomorrow but with all the flash flood warnings lately, I'm not sure.   The color of the dress in the side photo is the best.  The rest are washed out greatly.  I gave up last night and just wore it inside. The lighting inside isn't the best and you have to deal with my messy living room as a backdrop but the colors in those photos are way better than the cell phone ones. You can easily see the golden orange and the mint green of the outfit.

Feel free to ask any questions!  I plan on wearing this at Pennsic.  I'm hoping Midnight Madness.

This is what happens when I try to sit down.  This strange black and white furball thinks it's playtime.  :-)

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Historical Sew Monthly: Out of Your Comfort Zone

The Challenge: Out of Your Comfort Zone - I know. It's late. But it's done!!!!

Fabric: Blue wool, white linen, red wool,  goldenrod linen blend I think (for the lining), duck cloth

Pattern: My own!

Year: 1530's ish

Notions: The trim, thread

How historically accurate is it? On a visually accurate scale, I'd put it at maybe a 3 out of 5. There is a LOT of hand sewing in this (all the trim, the puff and slash, eyelets) but there are still some slight issues - like the trim placement appears later. More on all of this below.

Hours to complete: Way, way too many. I started this for the blue challenge.

First worn: Pennsic, hopefully!

I've always loved the Cranach gowns but never attempted one myself. All those puffs and slashes! I've been studying them for years but just never bothered to pattern one until now. I bought the blue wool back in January I think. The red wool is stash and the trim I've had probably since I started sewing. I know I got it off of ebay many, many years ago. I got roughly 32 yards of it and probably still have about 20 yards after this project.


The above is roughly the style I was aiming for. I'm sure most readers have seen variations on the Cranach gowns before. First, I had to figure out how to make the puff and slashes without buttonhole binding each and every last one of the slashes. Luckily, Whilja's Corner has an excellent tutorial that I liberally used.  Since the wool I used is 100% wool and not the kind prone to fraying, I just stitched the corners of the diamonds back and stitched the slashes open.  I then put a piece of linen the same length as the red wool behind the red wool and sewed the top and bottom trim pieces to this length of fabric.  Then, I sewed this piece to the blue wool that would be the skirt.

For the bodice, my inspiration came from a 16th century Hungarian Bodice although the trim placement is similar to many other regional styles at that time. Really, this dress was an excuse to finally use this trim.  There are some examples of trim being applied around the slash and puff part of the dress, such as above.  The second lady in in this collection of pictures also appears to have trim around the puff and slash - similar to what I've done here.


The lady above also appears to have trim both above and below the slash marks.

For the skirt, I did a pseudo-box pleat that I attached to the bodice and then sewed a piece of linen to encase the pleats and the bodice edge.  The skirt extended about an inch beyond the bodice, which gave me a nice bridge for the skirt gap in front, but also made the linen inner belt/encasing piece very necessary.  For the pleat, going right, the pleat looks normal, going left, the pleat is double what it should be for all except the first front pleats.  This allowed me to use twice as much material in the skirt so I could get the correct volume in the skirts.  The skirt itself is 184" (467 cm) in width - or a little over 15 feet (4.6 m).  So yes, the waist is bulky.  By using the linen encasing strip, I'm directing that bulkiness down rather than having it sit up inside the bodice like I normally would.   I, amazingly, only destroyed one sewing machine needle sewing the pleats to the bodice.

I'll try to get better pictures in the morning.  I'm just glad it's done.

Back of dress

Detail of the linen casing inside the dress

Detail of the insides of the dress

Detail of the puff and slash

The dress :-)