Monday, December 29, 2008


Today the man to whom I am 'Man at Arms' to asked if I could embroider a rondel of his device for his new cloak which is part of the dress of the upcoming royal guard. I've never done any period embroider aside from viking seam treatements. I however said I would try. I thought I would start with some scrap material and left over thread from a cross stitch kit. The flash kind of washed out the colours but you get the idea. I don't think it's bad for my first attempt. It allowed me to experiement with stich lengths and where the threads should meet etc. While looking for something completely differnet I found another small cross stitch set of none other then a pretty little butterfly. I completed this one in about two hours. I think it's very pretty but the wooden frame doesn't fit; I'll have to get my brothers help with that one.

The Ventian is wearable but not yet complete

Yesterday was very productive. Last time I was at liza's we marked the hem and paid a lot of strips for the sleeves but hadn't worked out how to attach them. I had completed the bodice on my own at home the same way I had been shown to do Spanish bodices. This meant that I clipped the edges of the arm holes before folding them in and whip stitching the arm holes closed. This became a problem when we went to attack the sleeves. Having closed the arm holes I had no way to slip the sleeves inside the bodice. The solution was to attach them to the outside. Here's a photo of the 14 strips I end up using with a strip of the gold braid down the centre of each. That is also the last of my 5 meters of braid. The two longer strips are the bands at the bottom of the puffy sleeves. The last of the gold braid was attached to the center of the bands after the sleeve strips were attached to the inside.

I finished machine attaching the strip sleeves then I had to hand sew the ends of the bands closed and hand sew the outer face of the band to the exposed side of the strip sleeves so that no machine sewing is visible from the outside. Except the stitches holding on the gold but the thread match is so close and shiny that it's hard to see where the stitches are. On the inside of the bodice I attached 10 brass rings to either side of the V (20 in total) and one hook and eye at the bottom to help create the V shape. Today I bought a gold rope that was as close to the colour of the braid as possible. It's amazing how many golds there are. At this point the dress is wearable but isn't complete. I still need to make the full sleeves for my lower arm which will attach with rings to the strip sleeves and I need to construct a partlet. Although cross stitch isn't period I still like the look of it and have wanted to try it for a long time. I bought a fairly small kit from spotlight but I've never been agame to touch in; I was afraid I would mess it up (I'm a perfectionist and I get very upset when things don't work). Among my Christmas presents from "Santa'' (thanks mum) was a mini cross stitch kit with a frame and everything and on top of that it's a rose (I love roses). So here is first attempt at cross stitch. I did try to start my bigger kit but I did mess it up and had to unpick a fair bit. Today I went and bought an embroidery hoop which will hopefully make the handling of the fabric easier.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


I got home from work around 8.30-9 last night and was just chatting online until i got bored. Strangely since Sunday I've actually found something else to do all day instead of sewing so my Venetian has sat in my bag since Sunday. On Sunday Liza helped me mark out the strips for the top part of the puffy sleeves. There was much frustration with the overlocker doing odd and infureating things. I'll post more about the sleeves when we work out what they hell we are doing.

On Sunday liza also helped me mark the hem for the skirt. At some late hour last night I decided I'd go cut the excess off the skirt and pin the hem. Afterwards it was still too early to go to bed so I put a dvd on (there's a long nerdy story here but I'll leave it be) and started hand sewing. I stoped sewing twice to grab a drink. I finished the heming around 2.30am and during that time I watched every episoode except the pilot of the first disc of the first season of mash. So that is a bloody long time. But it does not compare to the first underskirt I made. I watched all three movies of the lord of the rings while heming that skirt.

Tommorow I'll be attaching the hook & eye as well as the eyelets to the bodice, I may even start marking where the eyelets are going before I go to bed tonight.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The venetian is starting to look like a dress

On sunday I went to my friends place where I have been working on my venetian. I was there to put the boning in and start the skirt. Tragicly the pocket I had created with the gold braid was too wide. I had to unpick both sides of the braid on the front and re sew it. The first side went fine but I gave up trying to put the other side on after 5 failed attempt where I had to unpick the braid each time. The machine I was using has a dodgy foot peddel so it is either off or going really fast (to fast for me) I got the braid on straight first time with my machine at home later. After this we cutout the skirt, overlocked it and Liza sewed the wool band in while I unpicked the braid on the bodice. Then it was time for the Baronial meeting.

During the baronial meeting on sunday I started pining the skirt onto the dress.I messed up the center on one side and had to unpin it all and start again. After ages I finailly got it right and started sewing the skirt slowly and painfully on.

Below: The skirt pined and ready to be attached.
This is the skirt partially attached after the meeting; I only got maybe a quater of a way through actually sewing it on during the meeting. The meeting went for three hours but I wasn't sewing the whole time. Below is also a photo to demonstrate just how many pins where holding the pleats in place.

After many hours this is the result of the skirt. The skirt is attached after alot of sweat and blood; actually it was more blood then I normally draw (kept jabing the needle into my finger).
Below: the dress hanging with the skirt attached. Next up is closing the front of the skirt, heaming the skirt, creating the sleaves then starting on the partlet and bottom part of the sleaves. The sleaves will be in two piece; puffy pieces attached to the bodice and lower full section which lace to the bottow of the puffy section of the sleaves. This means if it's really hot I can leave off the full section of the sleave but still have part of the sleave on.

Friday, November 28, 2008


Here is a few hours work. It kind of fits but isn't quiet right. This was my first attempt at a chemise. I found the pattern online; it was an sca web page of some description. One of the issues is it said to take the arm measurements from the point of the shoulder where as I found out after I put it together that the measurement should be taken from the neck so my arms are about 2 inches too short. I covered this by creating cuffs. Although I made a mistake on the cuffs and they are about an inch too big; I know where I made the mistake and that was all my doing as the pattern didn't mention cuffs at all.

Another issue is it gave no guidelines as to how wide the body measurement should be. I measured around the biggest part of my body and added 5 or so inches onto it and seam allowance. Although the chemise fits it isn't baggy like I would prefer.
I think the Pattern meant for you to use the whole width of the fabric however the fabric I had was just over a meter and a half wide, so it would have been far too much.

The pattern also gave no instructions on how to do the neck line. I looked at some photos from our local groups page and saw that the ladies wear chemises with square necks so I made a square neck. However because it is so small there is no gathering at the neck.

Here is the end product. It works but isn't perfect. It is only like $3 worth of fabric and a few dollars worth of bias and thread. the ribbion came from old clothes (you know the little loops you're supposed to hang the clothes by). It was a learning experience. I have another pattern for a spanish chemise which seems like a much better pattern. I have the fabric and such for that already so i'll experiment with that at some point in the future. I'll post more about it when I've completed it.

Thursday, November 27, 2008


As per Morde and Liza's suggestion I have been I have been painstakingly coving the eyelet holes of the corset in cotton. I was using a dounble threaded needle. In total it took two days. I would do about half of the eyelets in the morrning and the other half at night. I did this while watching tv. The first photo is after I completed the first half.
I didn't touch th corset again for a few days. I completed the eyelets on Thursday. I watched Indian Jones and the Crystal skull, Life after humans (a documentary) and Bones. I'm not really happy with how they turned out. If I spent more time on them I could cover all the cooper so that there is no metal showing through. But I think what i've done works. One eyelet on the second side was difficult because the upper disc overlaped with a section of boning so I had to go over the boning and under the edge; that eyelet looks really messay because of the angle.
Hopefully spending this time on the corset will extend it's life through the wear on the eyelets and make the lacing last longer because it wont be rubbing on metal.

Monday, November 24, 2008

The Venetian is taking shape

My Venetian is starting to take shape. It's amazing how colours appear so different in different lights and with different backgrounds. Above is my bodice before I added the gold braid to add class and to create the pocket for the boning. At this point I had hand sewn the arm holes and the majority of the base leaving both ends open to tuck under the braid and an opening to slide the boning into.

Here is the view from the front with the gold braid attached.The bodice is sitting oddly I swear the braid is straighter then it looks. below is the back of the bodice with the braid attached. The braid is gorgeous and changes the look of the bodice completely. I love the blue though.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Second day of Uni holidays

Not long after my post last night I started the straps of the dress. I finished them today. The straps are stitched with the same colour and same thread as the neck line. I may in the future add the arrow stitch down the centre of the straps but for now I am happy with what I have done. I considering even adding some embroider to the plain white under dress I made to go under this dress. Now all I need is the brooches and I can wear my dress.

The Viking dress

So it's my first week day free of exams what do I do? I go shopping for the denim so I can start my Venetian. Well I got the denim but got called in to help mum at the store she works at. By the time I finally got home I had a headache, I thought I would start the bodice later in the night but by the time my head cleared it was getting late and I didn't want to muck up my fabric. So I decided to embroider instead. Here's some pictures of the top of my 10th Century Viking dress.

Next off I'm going to do the same blanket stitch in the same red along both edges of the straps. I am even considering doing a run of arrow stitch down the centre of the straps as well. Now all I have to do is save up for the brooches, they will be the most expensive part of the dress.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Exam are almost over

I still have two exams to go however during study week when I needed a break I'd do a few minutes of embroidery/seam treatment on my Viking dress while watching tv. I finally completed the yellow seam treatment on my Viking dress however it looks like it needs more :) So I've gone and bought some red cotton to put around the top and on the straps. I'll post pictures once I start that.
Last saturday about 12 people from Saint Florian descended upon an unsuspecting fabric shop at Redcliffe. We end up spending over three and a half hours going through everything. They had a lot of really nice fabric however we end up leaving most of it there as we just couldn't think of any outfit we needed it for at the momet.

This is what I did buy however: A light weight cotton with gold thread running though it for a partlet for a veneitan dress (to go with my pretty corset).

Here is a hidious yellow tartan that I just oculd not refuse to buy. i'm going to make hidious viking pants because lets face it they arn't perriod anyway so why not make them loud. Baggy pants are perriod for other cultures just not vikings. But they are comfortable.
Here's more fabric I didn't need to buy: this one came out of the remanents bin; it is a really nice gold but my camera just wont capture the colour. I'm going to use this for a for part of a tudor. I'm making a tudor dress based on a Catherine of Aragon painting for a tudor event next year (I get to be the Queen of England).
This beautiful piece came from spotlight (OMG) it is destined to be a venitian. :) I spent weeks and lots of running around trying to find a blue jacquard which did not have the stupid rubber curtain backing on it.
Here is my first pair of hidious un perriod Viking pants. Who knew that I could mess them up (ok I did). Although they fit next time i'm going to allow more in the cruch. Also I put a needle through one of my eylets; neither the needle/machine or eylet liked that.
I just need to buy some heavy non strech denium and I can start making my venitian; I still need to deside on what trims and where to put them but at least I know which colour's I'm using. I still have the material for 2 chemises sitting in a bag which I need to really get around to starting. I still need to find cheap viking brooches to hold up my viking dress and beads; I havn't had much luck with those.

I thought that I had already posted my corset but I was wrong so here's my gorgeous corset which was given to me by Duchess Asa who no longer fits it in. Although the photo quality isn't great it is a beautiful white Jacquard.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

I am so slack when it comes to blogging

Ok so this is the crazy part of the uni semester; I have 5 assignments due next week and only one complete so far. It's after 11pm and I can't sleep so I thought I'd finally update my blog. Seeing as I've been busy with uni I haven't really done a lot; just quick 'needs to be done this weekend' stuff for demos and such.

Vambraces: well I tried to do them on my own but I failed in achieving prefection and I can't stand less then perfection (thanks for that dad). Well dad came to the rescue and took over while I did other things (Like sew a tabard). Here was my effort: And here is me wearing the awesome end product:
Some of you might notice that that is not a a St Florians' marines tabard. That is my attempt at a simplified version of my own device. However there are so many things wrong with it; it is too long, the shoulders are too wide, it's too big in general except the neck hole which is too small and most people thought it was a marines tabard :(.
When I wasn't parading around in my armour at the Brisbane medieval fayre I was attempting to get some of my embroidery done on my 10th Century outfit; I got very little done (I had to keep going and trying to convince more people to come play with us).

I have bought material to make 2 chemises and a pair of viking baggy pants (which seem the opposite to what is actually perriod but they look comfy and will be good for camping). I have also been asked to come sewing on sundays with the Baroness and her lady; they are bored now that they have made all they want and so they want to pass knowledge onto me.

On another note I got a sexy new laptop which I think it awesome:
I had to buy the sticker off ebay because I'm a giant nerd and proud of it. I also assume that if you're reading this that you are also a giant nerd :P

Thursday, July 24, 2008

About time for another post

I had 4 weeks holiday from university; I spent 3 of those weeks sick with two different infections one of which developed into a lung infections! So I haven't really been doing a lot of work on garb and I haven't trained in combat in over a month.

This is what I have been doing however:

I started constructing this hat/bennie early last semester when I rediscovered my knitting spool. The hat was constructed by knitting meters and meters of spool knitting; with a four nailed wooden spool then stitching those lengths together. Although it's not garb I love it and thought it worthy of mention. I had a man on the train today ask me what I would swap it for (nothing it took too long to make).

A few weeks ago (before I got sick) I constructed a Apron dress and a under tunic. The only issue I had with the under tunic was that the blue chalk didn't completely wash out of the white fabric :( I'll have to attack it with wonder soap and hope for the best. The Apron dress however is not yet complete. Last night I went to a friends place who showed me some stitches to use on the seams of my dress to finish it off. I haven't done a lot of it yet but I thought it worth mentioning that I am up to something a part from University work.

Well that's all from me for now.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

The garb I've made so far

My first piece of garb was a fighting unit's jacket. This is my marines jacket. For a long time it was the only piece of garb I owned. When I was starting out in the SCA I was very much just into fighting. A little while later though I discovered that I wanted a pretty dress to wear to feasts and courts. So with A LOT of help from a local Laurel I created this lovely split skirt Spanish. This dress took months and months because I didn't have a sewing machine so all the machine sewing was done at the Laurels house which is just over an hours drive north.

Such a pretty dress wouldn't be complete without some accessories. So I made this lovely velvet chocker from ribbon left over from the bodice, a pendent I have had forever and some necklace clasps I bought from the local spotlight.
Here are two sashes; the black one goes with the split skirt Spanish and the red one goes with my other Spanish dress, but more about that later. These were both made from off cuts of my under skirts.

Being a poor student I didn't think I could afford to go to Rowany festival over Easter, however a great guy who is now our King as of Saturday offered to pay my site fees in exchange from me doing his camp duties. So I didn't have long before festival. So I made quick and easy camping garb: two 10th C tunics that went over a pair of track pants. They were cheap, quick and I don't care if I get them covered in liquids as part of games or other silliness.

This here is my real achievement. It is a Spanish dress without a split skirt with a light under skirt. This dress is an achievement because I did every bit of sewing myself. I did get assistance from my local Laurel again; just for the measurements of the skirts. The lesson I learnt from this dress is that you cant cheat with the skirt; I thought making the pleats bigger would be quicker. Bigger pleats were quicker however the skirt was too heavy for the spaced out stitched; this meant the skirt detached from the dress the first time I wore it.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

The First post

My first blog post, it is kind of scary. I have considered creating a blog before, this time however I've been given a little push. I am man at arms to Baron ysambart Courtain who thought a blog would be a good way for himself to see what I'm up to as well as a chance for me to allow people to learn from what I've done right or wrong and to get advice from people who might have done similar projects themselves. The first thing I intend to do is take some photos of my garb, which I've made, to show what I've done already then to post some of my ideas. Well until next time I'm off.