Sunday, January 27, 2013

So, in preparation for the Highland Games back in Vegas, I have ditch the standard Italian garb and started working on English garb. This was my chance to redeem myself for my flunked doublet at Kansas City Renaissance Faire, so I got to researching all sorts of things. My biggest thing was wanting to know the true and period way of closing a Doublet. I found a website ( which shows actual clothing from the time, taken apart to show detail of how it was put together. One doublet, part way down the page, truly inspired me. 
It laces closed with a combination of eyelets and shanking buttons, very unique and completely period. So, armed with this website and these pictures, I went to work on the Alfonso d'Este garb. Of course, I started with a rough template made of normal cotton, nothing fancy. And then I set out on beginning with the good fabric. 

Then it had to be lined...

And then it had to be decorated! 

I used tiny pearls to line all the edges for a sophisticated and simple effect. Then the closures...

All in all, a good project, 

Sunday, December 23, 2012

More Italian Gowns..

Well, it took me some time to finish this one; with my birthday at the end of August, Halloween to worry about, moving and then the Holidays, my hands have been quite full!

I finally started watching the Showtime version of Borgia and I am just in love with the gowns worn by the ladies. So, being a part of an Italian Guild, I thought it was only fitting to own a few higher cut gowns. But I didn't want to have some replica of a gown that I had seen on TV so I set out to find a good way to make one that was all my own but equally as elegant and one of a kind.

I decided on green; I had some beautiful thick Olive fabric that I had been saving for a 'someday' bodice and possibly a pair of sleeves, so I pulled that out of my 'bodice stash' and set out looking for a good, dark green satin/taffeta. Although my fabric choices are a bit odd, unconventional and definitely different, I love the contrast of the two greens.

After putting together a typical Italian bodice it was time to start decorating! I really am a fan of the burgundy cording, so I decided to couch a design into the bodice. Nice, pretty triangular designs to create a sharp look to the bodice. The end result...

I am a big fan of the red stitching on the flower; I think it turned out gorgeous and the bright red brings a nice pop of color to the silver and pear design.

 The bunching can be easily remedied in my next design; I can either bone the back of the dress lightly to keep it standing straight. Or I can cut the back of the bodice down into a V-shape so that it doesn't have all of that fabric to bunch up on itself.

It sits about six inches lower than the Borgia costume gowns, but it still sits much higher than the waist and makes my legs look incredibly long. I love the illusions of a good Renaissance gown!
And lastly, I found this online while looking for ideas for my next gown today and had to share!

Happy holidays everyone! Tomorrow I'm off to seach for more fabric for the next dress while the Joanns coupons are still good!

Monday, September 10, 2012

A Noble Attempt at a Doublet

So, as we all know, I had a decent list for Faire this year, and I didn't meet all of my deadlines, but I certainly came close and I enjoyed every moment of it!

So, the biggest one that I completed in my last moment frenzy was the Doublet and Slops...Well, sortof completed. I started with the patterns...

In hopes of something that looked like this, but fancier;

Fail, but here is what I got.

First, I realized that the worst part would be cutting picadils, I wanted tabs on the skirting and the sleeve caps, which may have been why it ended up looking so silly. So I cut out roughly 40 picadils (that is 80 little rectangles of fabric people)...

So after that, I put together the main part of the doublet and started constructing sleeve caps...

It was an ordeal, to say the least! The sleeve caps and skirting are lined with the red fabric, and the picadils were sewn onto the tops of those, then the entire piece was sewn to the doublet body.

Ending with...

Excuse the hoop skirt, it may or may not be permanently attached to the dress form at this point. But after some gold trim and the pretty gold frog closures, I realized that I made a christmas elf costume...But there wasn't time to scratch it so I made the pants and viola...

As I said, I'm not very happy with it, so I'll do some tweaking and call it finished for now but it won't live for very long. And the slops need to be redone so...We shall see.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Finally at Faire!

So we finally got off to Faire in Bonner Springs, KS! It was an awesome day, the doublet and pumpkin pants are done and my italian gown has been done for a while, along with the tiny lady's gown, so I just want to throw up a few photos!

So this is the three of us, as you can see the doublet doesn't close right and I'm not happy with it, but it's okay for a first try! 

Here is the tiny lady, in her pretty blue dress! It turned out beautifully and she got a lot of attention. The King even picked her up and carried her around...

So I got my ghirlanda at Faire, I know it looks silly but it's actually a period head piece for italian garb! I was super excited for that one! 

She loved that our dresses matched! 

Me and my noble. :) Aren't we adorable? 

A strange mixture of garb, I know...

I love the way the dress flows as I walk, silly but true :)

Our tiny lady got to talk with the Princess!

A good look at the Doublet, didn't turn out to my liking but hey, I got it done!

The tiny lady got to visit with the King, and it looked like she was just having so much fun!

Anyway, there are many more projects on the list, including the Alfonso projects and a green half length bodiced gown for me. And I'll have to redo the first doublet...And the pumpkin pants. So we shall continue trudging on! 

Monday, September 3, 2012

Close to the Nobles' Skin

So, I've been relatively absent lately, but Faire is fast approaching and it seems like for every big project that pops up, a smaller project seems to appear and take precedence. It seems to be eternally easier to fix garb that is already made rather than replace it from scratch. Accessories seem to be just as important in the eyes of those being dressed for Faire and that tasks me with even more! But, enough of the complaining. Tonight I finished a mens' shirt for one of my noblemen that I am dressing this year, and I think it came out wonderfully!

I used Buttericks Pattern No. 5008;

This shirt was made for view A but we didn't end up putting a ruffle at the collar. Mostly because the neckband was tiny (13 inches for a large neck) and the neck ruffle was far too small to be used as anything but the neckband. We originally bought a sheer type fabric and I realized how much I hated sewing that crap so I ditched it in the fabric bin and replaced it with some cotton linen. Easy shirt, then decorated with burgundy ribbon closures and burgundy blanket stitched embroidery thread. That easy!

The blanket stitching could have been better on the pleated wrists, but hey, it was my first try! So, tomorrow night I get to start on the Doublet and Slops, oh the joy!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Doublets and Tabards and Shirts, Oh My!

So, it came to our attention last night that I have about three weeks to get all the garb I need done before Faire and I realized that the peacock (The Alfonson d'Este set) simply cannot be done with other people to sew for. So we laid aside the idea of having the peacock done for this Faire and moved on to the idea of another doublet. Problem is that I don't have time to wait for a good doublet pattern to come through the mail, and the local Joann's Fabric is out of the good Simplicity Doublet pattern. So, I moved on to a Mccalls book and found this;

Obviously the cape isn't going to happen, and she isn't playing a musketeer, so that leaves the long, costume doublet. I think that if I make it with a blue velvet (something we have stashed in my fabric piles that I wouldn't get rid of because 'I swear I'll use it one day!') and make a tad shorter, plus adding tabs to the shoulders and bottoms to make it more period, it could be beautiful. Perhaps, with blue velvet, some silver trim?

Plus I had that awful knights costume posted for the boys, this makes it to where I can make something totally different and make them look somewhat period! Plus, I didn't have a way to make them undershirts, and the undershirt for the musketeers should work beautifully...

Well, tonight I'll be starting on the noble shirts for the men-folk, plus I need to get complete measurements and such, and then hopefully tomorrow I can make some real headway on the doublets. They don't look too difficult, just time consuming. And I have the Fantasy Fashions doublet pattern to play with so I'll be getting some real experience!