Sunday, May 12, 2019

Happy Mother's Day

Happy Mothers Day to all the Mums, Step-Mums, Foster Mums, and Fur Mums - and to those for whom this day can be fraught with painful emotions.

Saturday, May 11, 2019

Tie-on Sleeves in Plum Cotton Fabric

You may remember that an ongoing project is the creation of a suite of tie-on sleeves to complement my Italian style gowns. The other day I was bed-ridden and I was trying to work on sewing down the inside of the seams on one of the pairs.

The sleeves are cut out and zigzag stitch put along the cut edges. Then the side seam is machine sewn (or hand-sewn if I have the time and manual dexterity, which I usually don't).

Th idea with the inside seam is to press or finger-press the seam open and flat on the inside and sew it down with tiny invisible stitches so that it doesn't bunch or twist with wear.

I'll admit that I was struggling with the project, so I was pretty satisfied when I was done.
  I put the project down to admire my achievement........ and looked closer.....
Yep, those are two right sleeves!
Of course, I noticed this after the seams had been machined and then hand sewed flat. (Eyeroll.)

Friday, May 10, 2019

Lamb-vegetable Device for the Baronial Heraldic Banner

My SCA Barony has a series of banners that display the devices of members with registered arms in chronological order. Over the years I have made a lot of devices for people who can't sew or who don't have the time.
Some of the banners on display at a feast in 2018
I started this device last year; it is one of a pair intended as temporary place holders until the member has time to finish the more complex versions intended for the banner.

I wanted to experiment with texture on this device as the colour scheme is quite simple. I attached the felt plant and coronet shapes with small stitches. The coronet has a cord couched over it for edging and details. The lamb-vegetable plant is embroidered with chain, split and speckling stitches in a variety of white threads. The larger lambs have cream beads added for eyes.
  I added a piece of felt on the back to make the piece stronger.
I'm quite pleased with the finished piece.

Sunday, May 5, 2019

Medieval Faire Demo 2019

I have been busy lately, but not as productive as I would have liked as I have been battling some strange symptoms as well as fatigue.
A highlight of my fortnight was spending some time with my SCA group at the Gumeracha Medieval Faire. I couldn't spend as much time there as I would have liked, but I did get to talk to a lot of visitors about the SCA and the arts and crafts that we do. This always leaves me feeling exhausted, but motivated because it is a nice reminder of some of the aspects of the SCA that I love.
Some of the heavy fighters on the field
Sections of the A&S display with items made by our members
These sorts of public demos always seem to generate a special sort of camaraderie that I really appreciate too. I also get to see what some of the other re-creation groups are doing and wearing, and I come home inspired to start new projects and improve my kit.

While the re-enactors usually don't get to see very much of the Faire (as a visitor would), we are lucky that the SCA  tent is on the banks of the creek where the jousting horses and heavy horses stay, so we have a beautiful view. And a lot of the other 'entertainers' pop around to say hello.

Monday, April 22, 2019

Invitation to Join the Order of the Pelican

I have some good news to share.

I was recently touched and honoured to be invited to join the SCA Order of the Pelican.
I have accepted, and my vigil and elevation will occur at the Innilgard Baronial Divestiture and Investiture in late June.

At a recent event, Their Majesties asked me to take a photo of their Royal Household. I was focused on preparing for a good shot when they surprised me by asking me to be in one of the photos. (I am not a member of the Royal Household.)

As we were posing, His Majesty turned and made the announcement and invitation. I was more shocked than I think I have ever been!

I owe a debt of thanks to my friends who had my cameras and were there to take photos for me. (Looking at the images, I realise that the 'Royal Household' actually are members of the Order, but at the time I was trying to fit everyone in the frame rather than looking at faces.)
My friends continued to help me later in the day by taking more event photos, as my hands were shaking too much to take any that were not blurry!

I also owe a debt of thanks to the Peers that inspire me to try to do better, and be better, in my SCA and mundane life. I know many who actively try to live the chivalric virtues, and this is truly inspiring.

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Embroidered Heraldic Patch for the Archery Championship Cloak

Recently I finished an embroidered heraldic badge for a friend.

Last year I made a woolen cloak as the regalia for my Barony's archery champion.

A friend of mine won the Championship and I offered to embroider his device for the cloak, as he doesn't embroider. The patch is just a small version of his heraldry, embroidered as a slip on a calico base and then added to the cloak.

I actually had two attempts at this because I was really unhappy with the first one.
I traced the design onto the calico with pencil and then I used a small piece of iron-on interfacing on the back as a stabiliser. I have found that this helps to stop the base fabric warping and puckering. I used a small hoop for this project.

This is the second attempt. I did something a little different, and used some small chain stitches as well as the split stitch that I usually use for these badges.

The flosses are cotton and also cashmere. The cashmere is the central stitching behind the tree. It is fairly delicate floss compared to the cotton, so we will see how it stands up to wear and tear.

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Preparations for Rowany Festival

Well, I've just gotten over one infection and now I have another one!
Everything is a bit hectic in my local re-enactment community, with a lot of my group going interstate for the big SCA Rowany Festival. I'm not going (due to health issues,) but I have preparations to make as I will be sending items along. While everyone is away, I am hoping to get some sewing done for myself. I am busily making plans while trying to rest up.

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Six Months of Reduced Productivity

Today marks six months since my furry helper passed away. In some ways the time has flown by, and in other ways it has dragged beyond belief.
I've been sick almost constantly. I've tried to maintain a reasonable level of productivity, but it has been a real struggle. I underestimated just what a good 'helper' she was.
I miss her every day.

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Wulsthaube Schleier or Steuchlein with Whitework Embroidery In A Fretted Band

Basel, Universitätsbibliothek, AN II 3, p. 121r – Matriculation Register of the Rectorate of the University of Basel, Volume 1 (1460-1567) Coat of arms for Adam von Müllenberg, SS 1509
available at:

At Christmas time I made a Wulsthaube schleier (wulst veil) for a friend who is exploring 15th Century German clothing. I chose a pattern from the German Modelbucher book:
The design is not super symmetrical, which is something I tend to struggle with, but I decided to leave it as is and not adjust it. 
I cut out a piece of linen in a rectangle shape with a rounded top edge and hemmed it all with a whip stitch.

I traced out my chosen design in Frixion marker using a window as a light board.
I used silk floss in a lovely cream colour to work the design. The main stitch used was split stitch. The silk was wonderful to sew with.
Initially, I wasn't sure that the embroidery needed a second band framing the main design. When I finished working the design that I initially marked out, it was lacking something. I added the second border and it looked much more balanced.

I didn't put the dots in on the frettes because the frette is part of my Barony's heraldry, and I didn't want the dots to distract from the frettes.

I knotted my stitching off on the back of the piece to aid in washability.

I'm quite pleased with the outcome of this project. The design is quite charming, and the result is pretty and understated (which suits the recipient). I haven't seen the item worn yet; I'm looking forward to seeing how it looks on.

I recommend Katafalk's tutorials on different ways to make steuchleins and wulsthaubes:

and this excellent tutorial for a different perspective:

Monday, March 18, 2019

Seal Burse/Presentation Pouch

It really does pay to save all those little scraps of fabric!

Late last year, I needed to present a seal in Court. It was a physically very small item to present, so a presentation pouch of some sort seemed appropriate. Luckily, I hadn't given my scrap bag to the thrift shop (I had briefly considered it when despairing of ever trying to sort out my stash and sewing materials), so I could rummage through and find this lovely rectangle of fabric just asking to be sewn up into a pouch.

I didn't even need to add eyelets or drawstrings; just added a piece of braid as a tie which is wrapped around the excess fabric at the top of the bag. A couple of tassles on the corners gave a finished look, and the lining was whip-stitched into place. A quick, easy and satisfying project!

Friday, March 15, 2019

Wulsthaube Schleier or Steuchlein with Embroidered Foliate Pattern (and Bunnies)

Last year I wanted to make an embroidered wulsthaube veil for a friend who has a German persona in the 15th and 16th Century styles. The images below give an idea of the look I was going for.

Master of the Housebook [German Northern Renaissance Painter, 15th Century]
(Also known as: Master of Hausbuch, Meister des Hausbuches)
Image from:

Basel, Universitätsbibliothek, AN II 3, p. 121r – Matriculation Register of the Rectorate of the University of Basel, Volume 1 (1460-1567) Coat of arms for Adam von Müllenberg, SS 1509
available at:

16th century (1509-1510?) Switzerland - Basel               Basel, Universitätsbibliothek 
AN II 3: Matriculation Register of the Rectorate of the University of Basel, Volume 1 (1460-1567) 
fol. 123v            
Image from

I have an inordinately large head(!) so I had to turn to friends for advice on sizing. Many thanks to Mistress Rowan and Mistress Ursula (Lochac) who provided advice and sizing information.

The pattern is basically an extended half circle, or a rectangle with a small half circle on the end. I used 100% linen, which is a dream to work with. I hand sewed a small hem around all the edges, and then looked at the embroidery I wanted to do.

In a large number of period examples of this sort of headwear, counted designs (most likely executed in silk thread) are very popular. I struggle with counted work, and prefer non-counted so I had a look at appropriate designs. I was lucky enough last year to obtain a copy of  "German Modelbucher 1524-1556" compiled by Marion McNeally, so I had lots of designs to choose from.

I would also recommend Modelbuch Muse on Facebook as an amazing online resource of all sorts of embroidery and lace designs:

I chose this one; it was appropriate for the region and time period, and I liked it (third one down).

I decided to modify it a little and add a border and some bunnies to personalise it for the recipient. I worked the design in split stitch in a lovely wine coloured thread which would work well with the colours favoured by the wearer.

I traced the design out with my trusty Frixion (iron out) marker. With these old woodcut designs, I always have the dilemma of whether to alter them to make them more even and symmetrical. I used to always alter them, but now I am working on being able to directly transfer them and not worry to much about the little irregularities. (They still bother me!)

I was pleased with how the design turned out. It doesn't look like much of a garment when flat, but it looks great when worn. (To be honest, the recipient could wear a paper bag on her head and make it look stylish...... but I'm still pretty happy with how it turned out!)