Sunday, April 29, 2012

Heraldic embroidered badge

Today I had the opportunity to present a piece that I finished a couple of months ago. It is a heraldic badge to go on a doublet. The project got off to a very rocky start as I had to begin over because I couldn't get the tension on the ground fabric right and the stitches kept pulling and warping.

I realised that the ground fabric was too flimsy, and started again on heavier fabric. This was much more successful.

The outer white edge was done in white crochet cotton in stem stitch. The blue was done in cotton perle thread in stem stitch. I used stem stitch because I wanted this area to stand out and be clearly defined. 

The inner white section is DMC blanc cotton (2 strands) worked in split stitch. The tree has padded leaves and is worked in DMC black 310 cotton in satin stitch (also 2 strands).

Once the stitching was complete and the device had been trimmed, rinsed and edged, I whipped the edges under and added a felt backing.

 I wanted the badge to stand out and not be too flat, so I added an extra, smaller piece of felt on the back. Then I edged the whole shield-shape with some silver gilt thread.

Here is the badge sewn on the recipient's new garb. The recipient is the perfect example of all the courtly graces, so I was very pleased that the badge looked so nice and was received so well.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Purple linen coat

Well, I bit the bullet! I tidied up my loose coat pattern, and cut it out in purple linen. The white bias binding is pre-rinsed and drying. I haven't cut a sleeve pattern yet because I am still making up my mind as to which style I will choose, but I will post pictures when I start getting somewhere with this project.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

The brain-bending big button experiment

Apologies for taking so long to post. I still haven't decided on garb for my upcoming event, but I have decided that I need a new overgown this year, so that may be what I end up wearing over one of my existing gowns. I have some lovely purple linen that I got for $4 a metre, and I plan to trim with white to echo my device colours.

I also decided that I would like another muff. I have a lovely one made by a friend, but when I was cleaning up I found a small piece of fabric that I bought years ago specifically to be made into a muff. The fabric is a browny-grey colour with a black pattern. I bought some very large wooden buttons and decided to experiment with doing a huge version of a covered button.

The big bead being covered
The beads are approximately 3cm across and are stained brown. I  measured out approximately 4.5 metres of black crochet cotton to cover the bead. I reamed out the centre hole with a bead reamer to remove any burrs or splinters that might abrade the thread. Then I started to create the 'spider-web' base. A normal small button takes me between 45 minutes and an hour to cover- I am very slow and like a thickly woven button. The picture above shows the big button after a couple of hours! Keeping all that crochet thread from tangling as I wove it through was really tough and made my brain hurt!

The muff I had planned would need five big button closures. It didn't take much calculating for me to realise that I currently do not have the time or patience to spend so much time on a non-essential project such as this! I do plan to complete the muff, but will focus on my event garb first, and will probably use smaller un-covered buttons as closures.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Dazed and confused - and excited!

I have been unwell, and also doing an intermittent spring- (autumn) clean in preparation for moving into my new sewing room. These things have meant that I still haven't made a start on my garb for the Midwinter Coronation. I haven't been able to do much hand-sewing because of pain and swelling in my hands and fingers, but I have been spending lots of my spare time looking at Renaissance portraits. Going through my fabric stash has been a mixed blessing - it is very exciting, but now I am even more confused about what style and fabric to choose for the upcoming event! I will have to decide soon, because time is ticking away...

Monday, April 2, 2012

Pomander Balls

Last week I experimented with pomander balls. I have made them from sixteenth century recipes in the past, but only have small stores of gum dragon (gum tragacanth) and orris root powder at the moment. I decided to experiment with a recipe of my own based on period sources.

I couldn't find a local source of gum arabic, and didn't want to wait, so I used powdered arrowroot. I mixed this with equal parts of powdered cloves, cassia and nutmeg because I love this combination of scents.

The spices about to be mixed with rosewater and arrowroot

I then added rosewater and mixed, then rolled them into small balls about the size of a walnut. The resulting balls were quite robust and have not cracked in the week since I made them. My hands smelt delicious after rolling them up!

The completed pomander balls

These balls will not be used for SCA use; they smell so lovely that I will be using them in my fabric and clothes cupboards. I will make more in future to go inside my pomanders. I hope to source some gum arabic in the mean time and so make a more accurate mix. I would also like to try rose and spice beads in the future. Here is a helpful site:
although there are many interesting reproduction source books around, including Sir Hugh Plat's 'Delightes For Ladies".