Monday, January 28, 2013

Dwarf Helmet Dos

Ever since I made it, Kel has been overwhelmed by the utter glory of my beardhat.  (roughly translated: kept stealing it and stroking his chin)  

When we were looking at all the others the internet had to offer, he kept commenting on the horns and the braided beards (I know the yarn is nuts, but there are 9 braids on the top layer of that beard) so when I (most secretly) made his this past week, I added it all in.

The techniques for the hat and beard were basically the same - lots of popcorn rivets, a crocheted base and individually tied 'hairs'.  The interesting addition this time around was the horns - I started off with a couple of rings of single crochet attache directly to the helmet - then I moved to the horn colored yarn.  I started with a single round of single crochet, and then moved into shaping.  The top side was single crochet (and half and sort of pull through - I don't know the technical names for a lot of these and seem to be too much of a bum to look it up properly) moving to double on the sides and treble on the bottom.  This let the horn curve up -- the I did a round of equal (I think single) stitches, followed by doing the exact same thing, but curving the other way, reducing the whole time as I went.  Then I switched back to the 'metal' color, as what self-respecting helmeted-dwarf doesn't tip his horns in metal?  (What about the ladies?   I'm invoking Terry Pratchett on this one - All dwarfs have beards and wear up to twelve layers of clothing. Gender is more or less optional.    --   There was no such thing as a dwarfish female pronoun or, once the children were on solids, any such thing as women's work.) (What?  Trust me,  go read Terry Pratchett.  Go.  Now.   Scoot.  I'll wait.)

half a horn!
beard base

right before all the 'hair' got tied on....  Note the snazzy mouth hole, enabling quaffing!

Needless to say, I got jealous, and am now part-way through adding my own set of horns.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Free Historical Patterns from the Library of Congress

from the Manual of Apparel Drafting and Sewing, by Mattie Kunz, 1913

While browsing a used bookshop this past weekend, I came upon a reprint of a garment cutting manual from 1908.   It was full of basic shapes and formulas for how to adjust them for any figure - and it turns out there was a long history of such things.  (Which makes sense in retrospect, but I had never come across such a thing before.)   Anyhow -- not only were there quite a few of them, but the Library of Congress has scanned them and made them available for reading AND downloading - free of charge.

To access them:

1)   (or click here)
2) type 'garment cutting' into the search bar on the top left.  (dress making and tailoring also provide good results)
3) go nuts.

The archives include both men's and women's clothing and range from the early 1800's to the early 1900's (that I've found thus far - my search was hardly exhaustive)   Quite a few of them talk about 'difficult figures' and how to deal with wonky posture.  I do enjoy the illustrations....

from Garment Cutting in the Twentieth Century, by Gunther Hertzer,  1833

Sunday, January 13, 2013

1513 coif - Historical Sew Fortnightly

Starting off slow with this challenge -- my goal is to re-do my whole RennFest costume over the next month or so.    I decided to start with a coif - a small cap designed to keep the hair clean and out of the way and which fits under a fancier hat, should one be available.   My fancy hat is this not-quite-a-gable-hood I got this past summer (trust me, from the front it looks period).   

While researching coifs and caps, I found that the majority were actually a single piece of fabric, laid across the head and tied onto a bun with a draw string, not actually two pieces of fabric, the way mine is constructed.  However, I don't have nearly as much hair as ladies did then, so this achieves the look even if it isn't quite historically accurate.


The Challenge: #1 – Sew something from XX13

Fabric:  lightweight quilting cotton left over from a muslin
Pattern:  The Northern Coif, from the Sempstress
Year: 1513 (ish)
Notions:  none
How historically accurate is it? Mildly - its hand sewn, but it should really be one piece of fabric tied of my head, rather than two, sitting on top.
Hours to complete: 1 - included fitting and sewing, it goes together quickly.
First worn: not yet worn outside my house
Total cost: free - I made it from scraps left over from other things

Monday, January 7, 2013

odds and bobs and fancy things. also cats.

gratuitous cat & sewing picture number 1

Actual sewing progress has bee made!  (but no relevant pictures - my camera is on its last legs and doesn't really want me to change settings anymore.  This includes things like the timer....)

Anyhow - I have sleeve zips!  I have single welt pockets with hidden zippers!  I've picked a lining!  I still need to order it!   (we're accentuating the positive.  stupid camera)  I've made a pocket bag pattern!

gratuitous cat and sewing picture number 2

I'm also plugging away at the hem of V2971 - the fabric kept getting sucked into the machine when I tried my rolled hem foot, so, its all being done by hand.   Good for movie-times.

Let's see - I've started playing with bra patterns /drafting  (I'm using Bare Essentials: Bras - so far I really like the book.  I'll do a full review when I've finished futzing around.  I need to get a different size of underwires before I can really tell)

gratuitous cat and sewing picture number 3

Oh -- and I'm supposed to be doing the historical sew-fornightly -- hmm.  must get on that.

Pictures of lots of things this weekend......    I will actually be home whilst there is sunlight and Kel has been informed that his camera is claimified.

In other news, Becky of Sew and So gave me the inspirational blogger award.   (Thank you!  It made my day) However, last time I got a prize, almost everyone I normally read already had it and it became rather tricky to deal with - so - I think I'm just going to let it rest here.   Rather than picking a particular set of people, I'd like to say that  the very fact this community exists inspires me.  (Cheesy, but quite true)  A few years ago, I had no idea that sewing blogs where out there.   The only person I knew who sewed regularly was my mother and neither of us knew much about seam finishes, how to deal with knits or all manner of fancy techniques.   One day I got an email with a few blogs listed and checking it out blew my mind.   There were people, all over the world who shared my hobby and would understand how excited I got over things - and I could talk to them!   It also caused me to start working on techniques  (I was shamed by your collective glory)  and I feel my skill set has really improved over the past two years.   So thank you to all of you.   Every single one.    So, it you haven't gotten the award yet and would like it, please consider it yours (leave a comment and I will link to you)

Anyhow, the rules of the whole shebang are as follows:
1. Thank the person who gave it to you
2. Add the award to your post
3. Share seven things about yourself
4. Pass the award on to 10 nominees
5. Include this set of rules
6. Inform your nominees by posting on their blog

So, here we go with my seven things ----
- I trash talk during bocce ball.
- I really love geodes.  There are several decorating my house.
- I am a life-time member of the Girl Scouts  (if you are still in it at 18, they send you a letter offering life time membership for half price - I have a card and everything)
- I like long-walks in indirect sunlight
- I make damn tasty lemon squares.  Other people are lucky if they get them  (omity nom nom nom)
- I studied Sanskrit in college for the hell of it.  (It was a blast, btw)
- I taught intro to rock-climbing while I was in grad school.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Winter Coat (really, this time!)

Third time is the charm and whatnot.....  

So, yeah, I really didn't like working with the rubberized codura.   it stuck to everything (I think a Teflon foot would have helped, but I need more space from that particular project)   Anyhow - I still really wanted a winter coat with arm zips so I could fuss with braces and gloves and I had several yards of mystery woven* (burn tests indicate wool) and a few days after visiting family blissfully free of anything at all.   I decided to ditch the bi-swing back, pit zips and thinsulate for the moment as it was just getting to be a bit much.   I still wanted free movement for my arms, so I went with a back gusset instead.    

This coat is actually the ultimate frankenpattern.  (refer to the chart below)   I used the coat block I'd created out of the Tracy Reece (V1086) dress pattern (lace shirt to brocade jacket to tentacle sleeve jacket) the sleeves from Badgley Mishka (V1040) which became all my polar fleece jackets, my own version of the hood Lisa of Small Things came up with, and a couple of other changes for good measure (bust darts, sleeve zips, planned front double welt zipped pockets...)   

Taking the pictures was the first time I'd actually worn it outside -- turns out its quite toasty and warm.  the interlining is cotton flannel which I basted onto all the pieces before putting it together.   The bodice and hood have a double layer for extra warmth. (All the wiggly blue bits are hand-stitching -- days and days that took)

I still need to do the lining, closures, pockets and other bits of fancy I have planned, but I think its coming together really well.   Around here January / February tend to be the coldest, so happy thoughts of it getting done soon.   

*pictures taken mere moments before sunset.   Contrast/exposure/brightness bumped all the way up so things are visible.  The fabric actually reads as a dusky purple in real life - although if you get up close you can see that its really a rainbow.  Looks like it might be a buclé - not totally sure.   
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