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.