Thursday, June 29, 2017


I haven't posted for a while because I haven't been well. After the pleurisy I developed costochondritis and now I have a chest infection, sinus infection, salivary gland infection and a cold! So I'm not really feeling like doing anything much. I am keeping up with the A&S Century Challenge buy doing my ten minutes minimum a day - mostly working on the huge pile of Unfinished sewing and embroidery objects (UFOs).

Last year a panel in my sewing area flooded quite badly and filled a stash cupboard with dirty water and I didn't realise straight away because it came through an access panel and through the back of the cupboard. Naturally it was the cupboard that had my long-hoarded ''special'' fabrics like silk in it. As you would know by now, my budget for fabric is low so I was absolutely devastated when this happened. I had a beautiful piece of figured silk velvet from Sartor that was a gift from friends that was ruined, and the whole event made me so despondent that it put me off dealing with the issue for a long time. The leak was fixed and fabrics washed, but I never really got things packed away the way they had previously been.

This has been something I have been trying to remedy lately. I can't do much at a time but I have been trying to sort everything out and tidy things up. I still have a pile of washed fabric to iron (a job I hate!) but at least things are looking a bit more tidy. My Sartor silk has lost it's pattern, but I can probably still use it for a pair of (much less dramatic looking sleeves.) Needless to say, I will probably procrastinate about tackling that ironing for quite some time to come!

While tidying and sorting, I found three very old unfinished chemises. They are made up in a Ren-Faire style pattern with fitted sleeves and no gussets and so not ideal (or historically accurate), but they need fairly minimal work to make them wearable. Given my deplorable lack of finished undergarments at the moment, I counted that find as a win. I also found some bits and bobs that I will need for upcoming projects, so I was very happy with that too. Maybe the old saying about hard work being it's own reward is true!

Thursday, June 22, 2017

A&S Century Challenge - Simple Smock

Today I finally finished doing the seams on my ex-quilt cover, cheap test-run smock. I cut the neckline a bit wide so had to put in a couple of little pleats (which I would probably do again anyway as it sits nicely & is comfortable).
I ended up sewing the hem on the machine. I will re-do it by hand, but I need to wear it on the weekend and won't get time before then. The second hand quilt cover is nice soft fabric and feels cosy. I'm pleased with how neat the felled seams look, and I will definitely put the time and trouble in to do this again on future garments. I suspect that it will prolong the life of the garment too.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

A&S Challenge - Seam Treatments and a New Sash

Lots of seam treatments this week, plus I sewed up a new sash. The sash is a simple (very long) rectangle, hemmed at both ends. I toyed with the idea of adding tassels to this one as it is longer than my others, but I decided that I will get more use out of it as it is. I am not usually a fan of orange (the camera has not reproduced the colour faithfully) but I think it will look good against a black gown. I got the fabric quite cheap at a thrift store, so I am pretty happy with this find. I still have enough for an underskirt or kirtle.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

A&S Century Challenge - Seam finishing

Since my last post I have been doing boring (but relaxing) seam finishing. I am still unwell and have even had a day in hospital so this relaxed handsewing suits my energy levels at the moment.
I've also done a little bit of scroll painting.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

A&S Century Challenge - Seam Treatments

More hemming & seam treatments today.
I used to hate this sort of work, but now I really like it & find it relaxing.
Which is probably great, because I think I have about a million more hours worth to go.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

A&S Century Challenge - Hand finishing smocks

Two smock drafts (slightly different styles) cut out and partly sewn by machine. I need to find the time to hand finish them, so that will probably keep me busy (at least) for the next several days. Illness is making me slow and sluggish at the moment.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

A&S Century Challenge - Budget Sixteenth Century Undergarments

I'm still sick, so everything lately has been extra challenging.

On Saturday I went to a scribes meeting and learnt about gilding manuscripts and made a start on a new scroll.

I had an inspiring & productive A&S/training on Sunday, and came home feeling exhausted (but motivated). Lots of follow up stuff to do after that one, including paperwork.

Yesterday I faffed around adapting patterns for a little while; a task I always find challenging.

Today I grabbed a couple of minutes to cut out a test run fitted smock from an old cotton quilt cover. I have always made Italian style camicias, but sometimes they can be a little bulky for more fitted styles of late period clothing. I'm always nervous when cutting fabric, but I'm not worried today because I got this quilt cover at the op shop for $3. I should get 2 undergarments from it.

Image result for tudor tailor smock
I'm looking at making a modified version of (g) - smock with simple hemmed neck and sleeve.
Image from The Tudor Tailor, reproduced at

Friday, June 2, 2017

A&S Century Challenge - Purple Sash

A quick & easy project for today; I whipped up a new purple sash (which for some reason looks blue in the photos). It is just a long rectangular tube hemmed at the ends, very handy for changing the look of an outfit.

This type of sash goes well with the style of Italian clothing that I like to wear.

Portrait of A Woman with a Book of Music by Bacchiacca
Image from:

Thursday, June 1, 2017

A&S Century Challenge - Embroidery and Trim Sewing

Today I sewed down another edge on one of the ribbons that will decorate the sleeve of my next chemise. I also found a mostly embroidered chemise sleeve, and did a little bit of work on that.
I hope to get time later on to do some illumination. My energy is very slowly starting to return as the pleurisy improves.