Monday, January 27, 2014

Lenten Cooking On My Mind

Although Lent is weeks away still (March 5th!), I've been thinking of all the things I desperately want to cook this year. With the multiple bags of apples for apple pie, apple porridge, and anything else I can think up (apple fritters!), this year should be far more interesting than last. Of course, it might not be possible to eat completely medieval this year because of travel but I can do it while I'm at home. (Telecommuting for the win!)

This week, I made a loaf of bread (above) from my new starter. The bread is a bit burnt - but only just. I probably had it in maybe five minutes to long. It's the same simple recipe I've been using. The starter which is nothing more than flour and water, local wildflower honey, Atlantic sea salt, water, flour, and my absolutely favorite olive oil. After mixing everything together, I let it sit overnight and it doubled in size. Woohoo! Then I put it in a bread pan this morning. When I got home, it was over flowing the pan. I put it in the oven and learned to use the bigger pan next time for this bread. It just kept rising! Luckily, none of it spilt, but it got close!

For this weekend, I'm entering another medieval baking competition. I'm making more bread, a proper lenten apple pie, and ...something else. I'm not sure yet. Maybe period correct cookies? It has to be something good cool as I doubt I'll have the ability to heat anything at the site. Maybe gingerbread? Or a period correct lenten cake? I want to keep to a Lent theme (so I can taste it and eat it too! Stupid dairy allergy..) but I want something that would have been okay cold.

Also for this weekend, I'm dragging the nephews, my sister in law, and my brother with me. They will be in plaid Scottish Norse (there were Norse in Scotland). It will make sense when you see them. My brother and I are descendents of Scots on our Dad's side. My Sister in law is descendent from random northern European countries for the most part. She looks very Norse and she'll happily tell you she's a Viking. :-)

I'm working on the outfits and I hope to get them done in time as well as all the cooking. Work has been...crazy! So we'll see. :-)

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!

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Oldest Nephew's Ninja Outfit

Oldest nephew turned six today. Since before Christmas, he's been begging for a ninja outfit. It's been highly amusing because his "I want a ninja outfit" is typically followed with "Aunt Sissy will make it for me!" Which, okay, is true. ;-) I'll happily make him a very ridiculous dress up closet because I know I would have loved one when I was his age.

Since he already has black pants, I just made the shirt/jacket. It's hard to tell the photos because he's posing - Nonna got him plastic ninja accessories like the headband and nunchakus- but the jacket is out of black cotton. I cut the back on the fold, just cut out normal sleeves, and cut the front pieces at an angle so the front folds over itself and ties in the bottom corner.

I used the pieces from New Look 6398 again (same as the Star Trek uniforms). The big difference from the pattern is the front. Rather than cut the front on the fold, I moved the front side to the edge and cut the front at an angle. In order for the jacket to tie correctly, I sewed only the shoulders to the back piece at first. I then took a long strip of black cotton cut on the bias and sewed that around the opening/neckline area. Once that was sewn down, I took a non-bias strip of black cotton and matched it to the bottom front seam of the front left side so that the tie piece would be at the side seam. I sewed the strip all the way across the bottom and sewed the rest of it shut so it could be a tie (with the bow on the left side).

I then sewed the side seam for the right side and the back but not the left side. I used another non-bias strip of black cotton along the bottom of the back and right side. Once I sewed that down along the bottom, I folded the left side's tie toward the right side of the fabric (right sides together!) and sewed down the side seam. This made it possible to tie correctly.

I hope that all makes sense! He was a very happy camper with his ninja outfit!

2013 Sewing Round Up part 2

Here is everything I can remember that I attempted in the second half of 2013:




  • HSF #20: Little Red Riding HoodDSC04513
  • Nephews Halloween Outfits (the entry for Middle Child's Butterfly can be seen Here) Oldest is Link from Zelda and youngest was supposed to be a jester but it's hard to tell as he raced in front of the camera
  • A better picture of the oldest and middle child nephews:
  • A very bad attempt at a zibellino DSC04882
  • A new jacket DSC04885



So, believe it or not, there was even more stuff I did - like the hideous pink bustle dress from Hell- but I really don't like those at all and would much rather not remember them's the final list!

And in the next post, hopefully, oldest nephew's birthday gift.