Sunday, November 1, 2020

Halloween Outfit: New "Lord of the Rings" styled Elven dress!

Not the best picture but you get an idea of how the dress looks on me, at least. I realized on Thursday night that the reason I was so hesitant to make the Bellatrix LeStrange outfit I had planned on for Halloween was simple - I didn't have all the materials I wanted on hand. I didn't get the hooks and eyes for the leather doublet until Friday afternoon. I never found a good black silk (what the heck? White silk, orange silk, but not black silk anywhere around me?) so making the outfit with "make do" materials wasn't an option.

Instead, I realized I had plenty of stuff to make a Lord of the Rings Elf gown. I wasn't too picky about screen accurate in this case - just something so I would blend in as an extra without anyone noticing. :-) The rose stretch velvet has been in the stash for at least two years. I originally wanted to make a Christmas gown out of it but the style I wanted to do I ended up already have two dresses similar to that... No reason for yet a third dress! The undergown is some silk dupioni I got from one of the Fabric Mart sales. It was $6 a yard with a ten yard limit. :-) I used only maybe 2 1/2 of those yards to make the undergown and the long, pointed sleeves under the chiffon sleeves.

The chiffon sleeves were part of an old dupatta I had to use in sewing stuffs. The top of the sleeve is somewhat fitted and then I just left the rest of the dupatta ends to include all the pretty embroidery.

The pattern for the dress is my own. It's one piece in the front and two pieces in the back. It's actually the pattern I use for loose knit work dresses because it's comfy and looks nice on. I just elongated it for the Halloween dress. I also cut the velvet with a lower neckline. I was going to add trim to the silk and the velvet necklines but I didn't get around to it.

I wore this to a wine tasting (LOL!) and to go grocery shopping on Halloween and I had a lot of people compliment me on the dress. Some people thought I was a "Regina" or Queen while most did get that I was an Elf. :-)

The above is the front of the dress but on the dress form. Since I'm bigger than the dress form, it looks a bit off.

The back of the dress.

The dress, overall, was pretty easy to put together. It was maybe a little over an hour of sewing? Cutting it out took another hour because chiffon sleeves are not an easy cut....

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

12th C Linen Dress

I had a lot of fun with this one. The material is 100% linen I got from Fabric Mart. Orginally, I wanted a nice Norse outfit with it. However, after seeing the material, it demanded to be more a 12th C Bliaut than anything else. Inspiration:
Both the above were taken from here. They are both middle of the 12th Century and I just love the dropped neckline to show the undergown. Patterns: Really, the teal undergown is your basic A-line tunic. The pink overgown, is pretty much a a-line gown with self drafted sleeves. There wasn't much that was complicated about this outfit which is why I love it. I've been wearing it during the online training I've been taking for work because why the heck not? Materials: Linen and thread. That's it! More stuffs: I wish I did have more to say other than it is so terribly comfortable and fun to wear. It's an easy dress up/dress down type of outfit which I love. I might add trim to it but I think it works as is.

Sunday, August 16, 2020

One of my latest facemasks while visiting a 15th C castle in Slovenia


This one is another basic black facemask with a bit of purply magentaish lace edging across the front.  I'm going to make another one with a teal veil next.  I took the picture in the knight's chambers at the Prejama Castle in Slovenia.  The castle itself is pretty amazing.  It's built right into the mountain in front of a large cave system.

You can get into a few of the caverns within the castle.  The audio guide for the castle is next to useless.  Somehow, the guide was insistent that the castle was drafty and cold.  Sorry, but no.  They restored it pretty well and you can see the lovely limewash on the walls that would have prevented most drafts.  That plus all the fireplaces?  It would have been the place to be in the winter.  In the summer, it does stay cool but that's because of the proper air circulation from the river below the castle.  

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Sari made into a 1490's Venetian dress

I made this back in May and forgot to post it.  Self-drafted out of a sari I found at a thrift store last year. Although the paisley pattern on the sari isn't accurate for the late 15th/early 16th c, the sari was too pretty to not be made into something.

The pallu of the sari ended up being the faux underskirt and the gauntlets. The bodice is made from the blouse piece and part of the hem of the original sari skirt. I cut up the sari skirt into five panels - three panels have a "flower" design on them and make up the overskirt fronts and the back of the dress. The plain (it has the hem treatment but not design on the body of it) parts of the skirt became the sides of the gown. The upper part of the skirt had a lovely trim detail that I cut off and made into the trim you see around the open front and around the faux front on the bodice.

It fits really well.  I can't wait for this COVID to be over and I can wear it to an event!

Pistachio tiered twirly maxi skirt! No pattern!

Just a simple skirt for work!  It's out of some of the $2 mystery fabric sale stuff from Fabric Mart.  The solid green is a crinkle poly fabric.  The patterned is a mystery knit.  I just cut a bunch of strips of each fabric, sewed them together, gathered it on the machine and then sewed the tiers.  The lining is a crinkle cotton.  I added a elastic waistband and a ribbon drawstring. 

It's pretty basic but it's nice twirly.  It works well as a summer office skirt.

Sunday, May 3, 2020

Jeans Recycle!

Another modern outfit but I used an old pair of black jeans.  The jeans had thinned and were slightly ripped on the inseam at the crotch so they had to be put in the "to be used as fabric" pile.  I loved all the jean skirts out of jeans ideas but wanted something a bit more flirty.  When I made the black and magenta knit dress, I really fell in love with that skirt and decided to make a jean skirt similar to that style. 

The top of the jeans stayed the same.  I just cut off the legs and use one pant leg for the front and back of the skirt and then took out all the seams from the other and used that for the sides.  

The back of the skirt isn't perfect but it honestly looks better in person.  I just always loved the embroidery on the pockets of these jeans and couldn't bear to just thrown these out.  I had to make something out of them!

The skirt from the side.  You can see the original "cuff" of the pant leg here in the front.  For the back, I took the "upper" edge of the pant leg, flipped it, and made the upper edge the hem.  This gives the back a bit more width at the bottom hem in the back.  I did piece the skirt slightly in the back as well but I had enough to piece the skirt and it isn't super noticeable where the piecing is.  

I'm going back and forth on adding lace to the bottom edge but I think I might keep it as is.  The skirt is just the right length for me and I don't think lace would look right with a lot of my generic t-shirts I'll wear with it.  

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Yellow knit!

Back in August 2019, I bought one of the Fabric Mart Fashion Bundles.  It's just a mystery box of six yards of fabric.  In it, I got a yard and a half of a red knit, a couple of yards of a white cotton with a 1980's rainbow print on it, and almost three yards of a modal blend banana yellow knit.  Since this past weekend, I've been working on garments from the yellow knit.  In total, I made three items from it and I also made a shrug from the red knit (still have plenty left to do something else with the red knit!).

By no means a pretty picture but these are a very practical pair of gym shorts.  They are from New Look pattern number 6139. I'm not too concerned about how they look because, well, gym shorts.   They did come out well though.

The shrug is out of the same yellow modal knit and is edged in black lace.  The pattern is a modified Simplicity 4334.  I elongated the sleeves to elbow length because I don't want super short sleeves.  This looks fabulous on.  Also, I highly recommend the pattern if you can get your hands on it - it just has a lot of useful basic items and is a good wardrobe builder as the linked page suggests.

The above images are of the red shrug I made from the cotton blend (I think?) I got in the fashion bundle and a yellow t-shirt dress.  The shrug is also from Simplicity 4334 - with slightly shorter sleeves but still longer than the pattern.  The dress is McCalls 7432.  

This is the dress without the shrug and yes, it looks funny on the dress dummy.  That's because the dress dummy is a size 6 and I'm...not.  It's also short waisted and I'm not.  The dress actually fits well but is a bit clingy.  I might make a longer jacket to go with it or just wear the dress under sheer overdresses for now. 

I promise, some actual SCA clothing is coming soon!  I just need to clear out some of my "work" clothing projects and the UFO bin.   Also, I was waiting to loose some weight before I start back on garb.  Luckily, I'm finally managing to keep my weight down and, hopefully, can make some neat looking garb starting next week. 

Sunday, April 12, 2020

Happy Easter!!!

Since, where I am, we are on lockdown, I decided this Easter to bring out the decorations as much as possible.  The tablecloth is a piece of barkcloth my Mom gave to me a bit ago.  I love the color and know enough about barkcloth that I am not cutting that up.  Instead, I just hemmed the edges.  

The chair covers are one of those thrift store disappointments turned into a lucky find.   I bought what I thought was 3 meters of linen for €10 back in February at my favorite thrift store.   When I unfolded it completely when I got home, rather than a small bit of embroidering near the hem, there were three large cut out and embroidered pieces in the middle of the fabric.  I threw the fabric to the corner until I decided I wanted to have a nice Easter dinner outside.

I realized the cutouts in the linen just happened to be the same shape as the back of the chairs.  I drafted a patter, cut everything out, sewed it up, and have two nice white linen chair covers for the garden chairs.  

The bunny on a top hat was just fun.  I bought that when I went out to get hand sanitizer.

Not the greatest picture but it works!   This is the dress I made out of some silk blend I got at Fabric Mart.  The lining in the body and the cuffs is also silk.   

The pattern is McCalls' 4061 and is from 1974.

I had to edit it a bit because the original pattern was just a bit too small.   I also drafted my own sleeves because I never like the pattern sleeves - no one needs that much ease!!!!   

The dress itself was pretty simple and straight forward.  I messed up the collar a bit but the rest of the dress came out well.  I think it might work slightly better with a knit material instead.

I hope everyone had a happy and safe Easter!!!

Sunday, April 5, 2020

I'm having too much fun making these...

This one:

The base is out of black cotton and more of the tropical weight tan wool.  The wool serves only as an inner layer to the actual mask.  The veil is out of some semi sheer silk dupioni I've probably had for years (the tag on it was Hancock fabrics!).  The coin trim I think I got from Joanns a few years ago as well.  The black bias trim is thanks to an Amazon purchase in which I ordered 50 yards

The pattern:

Same one!  The masks all full cover your face and are comfortable. Even without the veil, these are pretty coverall masks and will allow you to get into the grocery store.  I love that this is the only time in history that you have to wear a mask into a store or bank!   No mask, no gloves, no service!   :-)

New Facemask!

Because there is no reason to not be fashionable during the plague!

I used the same pattern I used here.  The differences are that I have the bias trim so that the ties cross under the chin now to wrap around the lower part of the skull and tie at the base of the skull.   Also, the lovely black lace is a bit different.  :-)

I had some left over black lace from an 1860's Ball gown that I apparently never published here.  I made the gown a long time ago and really loved the look of the lace.  The piece left over was only long enough for one 18th C cuff but I couldn't part with it.   Luckily, it's now the perfect fit for a facemask!  I stay stitched it to the top of the facemask, matching centers, and then added the upper bias trim.

It was fun to wear this while grocery shopping.  I plan on making a few more like this - including one with my beaded coin trim because when else will I get to wear crazy stuff like this and no one think anything of it?  :-)

Saturday, April 4, 2020

New Look 6495 in black and magenta cotton knit!

This is a project that has been lagging in my UFO pile for a few months.  With Zona Rossa, I finally got around to making it. 

I did view C.  If I do the pattern again, I'd probably do view D as the skirt is LONG.  It's lovely, but it's longer than you'd expect because of the weight and stretch factor of the knit. 

I used a cotton knit I bought at Fabric mart last year or the year before that.  It was one of their sales. I didn't change anything about the pattern since I haven't done this one before and I'm always a bit antsy about knits. 

Not the greatest picture and in full Covid Fashion wear.   I didn't make the jacket - I think I got that at TJ Max years ago- but the mask and the dress are both things I've sewn.  :-) 

The yoke on the dress is funny - it's too big in the armscye and you can see it's concave at the neckline.  I think, if I make this again, I'd skip the bodice section and just draft up my own bodice.  it's not bad, it just isn't perfect though. 

However the skirt?  The skirt is perfect!   I am in love with the way the skirt flows on this dress!   It's so lovely!   I'll probably end up wearing this dress tomorrow for fun and amusement because, eh, why not?  It's not like I have to be anywhere right now. 

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Potato Leek Soup!

Since I have time again to cook at home, and I really wanted soup, I made Potato Leek soup today!  I bought ingredients a couple of days ago when I went grocery shopping.  We are supposed to limit our grocery shopping as much as possible here in zona rossa.  It came out amazingly well and I will very much make this again.

My actual dinner!

  • 4 Large Potatoes peeled and cut into chunks
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 1 large leek, chopped
  • 1 sprig of thyme (optional)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cup of chicken broth
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 3 tablespoons of butter
  • 1 1/2 cups of milk
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • enough olive oil or any cooking oil to roast the leek and onions

 I just used a big ole stew pot for everything.  Once, I had everything cut up, I roasted the leek and green onions with the garlic in the stew pot with the olive oil.  Just simmer that over low heat until the leeks are soft.

Then, add the potatoes, thyme, bay leaf, broth, and some salt and pepper to taste.  That that boil until the potatoes are soft (about 5 to 10 minutes on my oven.  YMMV).

Here's the hard part.  Take all that off the heat.  You need to puree these veggies until it's a greenish mashed potato look to it. Take out the thyme and the bay leaf!  I put all the veggies into a mixing bowl and just slowly put some in the blender.  Once that set was pureed, I dumped it back into the stew pot and then did the next batch until all the veggies were gone.  

Then, add the butter and the milk to the stew pot.  I'm honestly not sure how much milk I added - it was about half a small carton.  Just add enough milk to make the soup...soup and not mashed potatoes.  Also, a bit more salt and pepper.

In the picture, I also added some red salt to the top and marjoram which added a bit more spice to the soup. 

That's it!   It was great to have today since it's cold again.  I do not like the cold and can't wait until it warms up! 

Sunday, March 22, 2020

The Latest in Italian Fashion....

The face mask! I designed my own using just some scraps and a bit of bias tape. I hope the pattern process that I'll try to explain below makes sense.

The lines represent where you should measure.


  1. The Red line is from the bridge of your nose to just under your chin, where you want the mask to cover.
  2. The Yellow line is from top of your cheekbone, under the nose, to the other side of your face.
  3. The Orange line is from the top of your cheekbone, under the chin, to the other side of your face.

These are the only measurements you'll really need.

The Pattern

I tried to do a video and well, I'll try again tomorrow to show how to really draw this pattern out. The red line is the same as the measurement above. Just draw that on your piece of paper, marking off about 1" below the top of that line. Now, draw the yellow horizontal line there using your undernose measurement. Using your measuring tape, as best you can, draw the underchin measurement - this will not be perfect and you'll notice it will not reach the bottom of the red line, that's okay.

Now for the slightly tricky part. Draw a curve from the end of the yellow line to the long end of the red line - this is the green line in the pattern picture above.  It doesn't have to be perfect.  I like using the Frixon markers for this because they are erasable!   Now, measure the difference between the end of the orange line to the bottom (chin) of the red line.  It's typically around 2", give or take an inch.  Whatever that measurement is, half it.  Now, from the red (Center) line find where that measurement hits the "green" line outer edge.  This is the start point for the bottom purple line.

Draw the curved purple line to just an inch or less above the orange line, hitting the red line.  Hopefully the picture makes that make a whole bunch more sense.

The blue line is nothing more than a very fat bell curve.  Again, it doesn't have to be perfect - you'll fix any issue with the mock up.  The top purple line starts along the blue line, about 1 cm or so from the red line and curves down towards the red line right where the undernose yellow line is.

If you want a decent curve, add the gray line - it's really a hand drawn very slight curve joining the two purple lines.  The inside of the two purple lines, the gray line, the green line and the top blue line becomes the outline for your mask.  (Shown in black above.)

The Materials

I used two layers of quilting cotton and one layer of wool. Wool is known to be antimicrobial, making it an excellent inner layer. You can absolutely use just three layers of cotton. I just prefer the wool.

  1. 1/4 of quilting cotton - you probably will not use all of this and can just use scraps from the scrap pile like I did
  2. Fat quarter of wool - again, scrap pile; I used an 8" strip of wool I had
  3. 2 yards of double folded wide bias tape
  4. Cotton thread
  5. Fabric scissors
  6. Sewing pins

Trace around the pattern on to the fabric.  You'll want to cut four piece of the quilting cotton and two pieces of the wool.  Mark, for your own sanity, what the inner seam is.

Once you cut out the fabric, using the wool - or whatever you have for the inner layer- sew up the center seam.  I used a small zigzag stitch but any will do.  Now, unfold it with the unfinished seam out, and hold it to your face.

Look in a mirror and see where you need to make adjustments.  Mark those, recut the wool, if necessary, and then make sure you also recut the cotton and, using paper scissors, recut your pattern as well to the "better" fit.

Once that is done, sew up the center seams, right sides together, of the cotton pieces as well.  You should have two quilting cotton layers and the one wool layer.  Sandwich them.  Have the "fashion fabric" or finished sides of the quilting cotton out (it doesn't really matter which way you have the wool).  Pin the edges, particularly at the chin, the bridge of the nose, and the "corners".  Stay stitch all around.

Now, the bias tape.  Start with a tail of the bais tape about 14"~16".  This will be one of the ties.  Sew the bias tape around the top edge of the mask.  Leave a similar tail on the other side.   For the bottom part of the mask, you'll need your seam ripper.

About 14"~16" into the bias tape, make a small hole with your seam ripper, right in the middle of the fold of the bias tape.  The hole only needs to be big enough to fit the upper tail through.  Once you've done that, sew the bias tape around the bottom edge until you are sure where to make the next hole to pull the other top edge tail/tie through.  Leave another 14"~16" tail.

That's it!  It sounds way more complicated than it really is.  I made this in about a half hour this morning and will make another one tomorrow.  These are 100% washable which is fabulous.  It also uses up some of  those scraps you have been hoarding in the corner.  :-)  Do NOT use silk, polyester, velvet, tapestry, a heavy twill, or any other materials other than quilting cotton, linen, and tropical weight wool.  You need to be able to breathe.

Saturday, February 29, 2020

Carnivale Gown based loosely off of Felicity's Christmas Gown

After the Ball
The gown above is what I wore to the Mascheranda Ball during Carnivale in Venice.  It was one of the last balls (probably the last one this year) for the Carnivale season.  I had fun (even if I almost fainted at one point) and absolutely loved my gown.  It needs some small touches, but overall, it is one of my favorites so far.

The Inspiration:

The Couture Courtesan did a stunning recreation of the gown a few years ago that I got to see in person at one point. I really hadn't planned on making my own recreation but the silk taffeta I used was only €3 a meter and I cannot pass up a deal like that. Also, it is exactly the right color to make the gown. The silk taffeta begged to be made into Felicity's Christmas Gown. Since I've always been a fan of the pink front stomacher, I decided to go with that instead.

When planning out the gown, I wanted to keep it semi-historical as possible. I wasn't going to handsew the entire thing but I didn't want to get too anachronistic either. So, I decided to keep the colors and overall shape of the stomacher (more on that in a bit), the trim type (ie, the way it goes up and down the robings and is pleated), and the matching petticoat. When researching dresses with similar trims, I kept coming back to one thing:

Woman's Dress and Petticoat (Robe à la française) - LACMA

Robe á la Francaise
Robe á la Francaise- Nordiska Museet, Stockholm, Sweden

Robe à la Française - MET
They were all Robe à la Françaises and not Anglaise.  So, a Robe à la Française it is!  I may have bought uh....10 or so meters of the blue silk taffeta so I wasn't worried about fabric usage.  At all.

The stomacher on Felicity's dress is, of course, meant to kinda look right while also be expedient for making a doll's dress for little girls to play with.  The ombre pink ribbon with a twist in the middle isn't exactly period.  However, a very similar "look" was - this:

Portrait d'une femme en robe de satin bleu, 1760 Christian Friedrich Reinhold von Lisiewski

English American Stomacher - RISD Museum

Manchester Art Gallery
I kept with the three daggings meeting to make it look more like Felicity's dress, rather than add additional ones.  I used silver buttons, rather than pearls, mainly because I lost my beading needle and have no idea where it is.  I need to order a new one.

The materials:

The blue silk taffeta was really only €3 a meter at my local thrift store.  Once a season, they get in the "not quite right" fabrics from the designers in Milan.  These fabrics sometimes have something wrong with them - a spot here or a bit of undyed yarn.  I saw the orange stickers on the blue taffeta but I have zero idea what is wrong with it.  It looks fine to me.  

The pink shantung I got from Silks Unlimited on ebay for $17 a yard. They, luckily, have a pretty good selection and the color was exactly what I needed. I bought 5 yards and maybe used a 1/4 of that?

The silver trim is some trim I bought, I think, back in 2016 as part of a very large, very big bin of "just take it!" at a SCA shopping event known as Holiday Faire.  The entire bin (think enough to stuff a body in tubberware container) was $15.  And yes, I stuffed all the trims from that bin into my suitcase last year and brought them over with me.  Because...necessary.

The silver buttons were also stash.

The Pattern:

Technically, I used this:

To make a Robe à la Française.  Yes, it's not a Robe à la Française pattern.  In fact, my pattern, I seemed to have lost the sleeve too.  Basically, this was only a base and I went off from there.  I also drafted my own sleeve again.

The gown:

The skirt

The gown

The stomacher looking wonky 

Me, with the dress half off!  Ha!
It's not perfect, but I love it!  I still have some of the blue taffeta and a lot of the pink left.  I might make a very different gown out of it now that the Felicity one is out of the way!