Sunday, December 30, 2018

Blue Plaid Tunic

This over tunic was also completed in October. It is designed to co-ordinate with the black flanelette undertunic posted about below. It is made of a light cotton with a plaid pattern which was chosen by the recipient.

As with the undertunic, it is made to a t-tunic design. I tried to enclose seams and hand sew wherever possible.

Commercial braid has been added over the joins where the sleeves were pieced, and blue bias strips have been added to the neckline and sleeves for decoration. A running stitch in cotton was added on top of the bias strips for extra decoration.

Seeing it on the hanger doesn't do it justice; it looks very nice on the recipient.

Saturday, December 29, 2018

Black Flannelette Undertunic

As you may remember, I have been working on a suite of simple tunics for a friend. I finished this undertunic back in October.

My friend requested the traditional SCA style t-tunic as it is what he is used to and likes. I still wanted to try and use techniques that I use on more authentic styles of clothing, so I enclosed seams, hand sewed exposed seams down and used rolled hems where possible. The long seams which wouldn't be seen were machine-sewn and the rest of the sewing was done by hand.

The undertunic is made of cotton flannel, chosen because it is very soft and preferred by the recipient.

Image result for t-tunic
SCA style T-Tunics
Image from

Rolling the neck hem

Measuring the bottom hem in preparation for turning under again. The raw edges were zigzagged where possible to make the garment more durable

Here you can see where the internal seams have been hand-sewed down. The recipient is very tall and has long arms so I needed to piece the sleeves to achieve the required length

I hand-sewed cotton bias strips for a bit of decoration

The completed undertunic with one of the over tunics on top. It looks much nicer on and belted, and with co-ordinating trews

Friday, November 23, 2018

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Wrist Injury

Hello friends,
I've hurt my wrist and can't sew or write or type beyond one-finger-left-handed typing, so I hope you will forgive me if the posts are delayed for a little while.
It is so frustrating! I have so many ideas, as well as items to finish!

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween to all my Northern Hemisphere readers!

Halloween isn't the big thing in Australia that it is in the USA, but a few kids do get into it and trick or treating is starting to become more popular. I enjoy seeing the costumes the kids are wearing, there certainly are some creative parents and kids around!
If you celebrate, I hope you have a wonderful time!

Monday, October 29, 2018

Split Stitch Heraldic Weasel Badge

I recently finished this large (approximately 15 cm long) heraldic split stitch badge for a friend.
The design is traced onto calico that has been reinforced with iron on interfacing. I started in the middle of the design and worked out to try and keep the tension even.

I find that lining my inner embroidery hoop with bias binding also helps to maintain an even tension.
The embroidery is split stitch worked in wool. The weasel (meerkat) features and chevron outline are also worked in split stitch but I used a fine crochet cotton.
I rinsed the completed piece, and when it had dried a little I stretched out any tight patches using a hot steam iron on the back of the damp piece.

I trimmed the excess calico away leaving about 1.5cm around the edge.
I roughly sewed down the edges of the calico to the back of the piece.

Next I couched some silver gilt cord around the edge.

Finally I whipped a piece of felt onto the back to cover the stitching.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Rigid Heddle Weaving (Badly!)

Well, I picked up my rigid heddle weaving again for the first time since May. Who knew you could actually get worse at something than you were when you first started?! I'd like to blame the fact that I'm getting over a lingering case of walking pneumonia, but I honestly think it is just tiredness that is causing the errors. Even when I first started practicing, I noticed that I started to make mistakes after the first inch or so. So much for a speedy way of making trim! Oh well, I will keep plodding along...

Sunday, October 21, 2018

A Tudor Style Brimless Bonnet

Here's one I didn't get around to posting back in May.

I had a Tudor themed event coming up and found that my French hood has warped due to the buckram being affected by humidity. I did make an attempt at replacing it, but I didn't have enough time to do a decent job so I decided to make a brimless bonnet to wear over a wired coif.

I got this lovely brown wool remnant from an SCA buy/barter/sell day, and it seemed the perfect size. This project was very much a ''fly by the seat of your pants' project! I had made flat caps before, but never a bonnet with no brim.

The project was inspired by these Holbein portraits-

Portrait of Amelia of Cleves by Hans Holbein
Image from

Portrait of a Court Official's Wife - 1534- by Hans Holbein
Image from

I traced out a circle shape that seemed to be the right size. Then a second one with a smaller hole cut in the centre for my head. Because I was guessing re sizing, I cut smaller rather than larger.

I machine sewed the two pieces together with wrong sides out. I tried it on, and it fit ok, so I did a small hand sewn hem around the head hole edge. I notched my seams to prevent bulk on the rim edge.

When I tried the bonnet on over my coif, I found it just a smidge snug and I worried that it might slide off over the course of an event. So I unpicked the hem, trimmed off about 1.5 cm and re-hemmed it. Much better!
The part that touches the head. The hem added a lot of stability and gave a surprising amount of support.

I was really happy with how this quick project turned out. I would make another one, but only in wool. The wool gave enough stability that I didn't need to add wire or buckram. Wool is really lovely to work with, but quite difficult to come by where I live. I'd also like to try making a Tudor bonnet with a brim and a Lettice cap. I guess I'll have to make a new French hood too.

Friday, October 19, 2018

Blue and Gold Tie-On Sleeves

I had an event back in September and I thought a new pair of sleeves would perk up my old gown.
I used an existing sleeve as a pattern.
The fashion fabric was sold to me as 'silk and gilt.'
I cut out the sleeve in the fashion fabric and lining in some solid cotton broadcloth. I machine zigzagged round the edges for stability.
I machine sewed the centre back seam, and then hand tacked all the seams open. Then I slid the sleeve and lining together (wrong sides out) and pinned together at the top.

I machine stitched around the top, clipped my curves and then turned the sleeve right way out. I use a pin to make sure that the seam is fully pulled out and sitting nicely, and then pin the lining into a secure position. I then whip stitch around the top of the sleeve to make sure the lining doesn't move around when I am wearing the sleeve.

I mark the positions of the eyelets to correspond with the ties on my gown. I use an awl and a knitting needle to make the holes. I use a double running stitch to sew around the outside of the hole and then I go over the edges with a satin stitch in thick thread.
I added a decorative tabbed piece at the wrist. This decorative effect can be seen in many sixteenth century portraits. I double over a piece of fabric, and sew it together. I then sandwich it in place at the edge of bodice or sleeve (as in this case.) I whip stitched it into place on the outside and inside. Sometimes I add a running stitch along the inner edge for extra strength. I usually don't snip the tabs until it is sewn into place; it depends on how tired I am! Be very careful when snipping that you don't catch the actual sleeve. I usually do 0.5 cm or 1 cm tabs (snipping every 5mm or 10mm).

The bodice edge on this gown shows a similar tabbed effect. 
Portrait of a Woman inspired by Lucretia by Lorenzo Lotto c 1530
Image from:

This portrait of the lovely Eleanor of Toledo shows a tabbed edge to her bodice.
Portrait of Eleanor of Toldeo by Agnolo Bronzino
Image from:

You can see tabbed bodice edges on several of Eleanor's gowns, including this one:

Supervision by Bitey

The new sleeves with my black gown

I was really happy with how this project turned out. I am looking forward to making up some more sleeves in different fabrics. I know I have said it before, but a range of tie-on sleeves really are a great investment and a valuable addition to an Italian noble wardrobe.