Thursday, September 24, 2020
Saturday, September 19, 2020
Last month I was chatting to a friend about how we might previously have thought that a global pandemic (and subsequent SCA shut-down) would be a great time to catch up on projects and get things done, and how surprised we were by how tired and unmotivated we were. We decided that we would try and motivate each other and challenged ourselves to complete a pair of sleeves each in a month.
The first step was the pattern. I had a nice comfy one that needed a bit of a tweak, but my friend didn't have a pattern. We had a fun Zoom session with me trying to help her draft a pattern by draping.
Next step was cutting out. I was lucky that I had some fabric set aside to make a set of sleeves. Two lots actually, which was lucky because I was tired when I cut the first pair out and I cut out two left sleeves. Ugh! I know better, but if I didn't do any cutting or sewing when tired, I would be getting even less done than I am now.
Take 2 and the sleeves were cut out along with a matching lining. I ran a machine zig-zag stitch around the edges and then sewed the seam.
I lay the sleeve flat and pin the outer sleeve (fashion fabric) hem. It is important here to make sure that the inner lining is nice and smooth too with no bumps or folds. I use tiny stab stitch to sew it in place. Then I fold the lining hem under, leaving about 3 mm of the sleeve showing. I used to just marry the two edges together, but I was finding that the lining would often start to bubble out slightly after a bit of wear, especially if the lining was a different type or thickness of fabric.
This lot of eyelets is not the best that I have done, mainly because I haven't done any in so long and because I was rushing. But they work fine, and I got them done in a night. I actually wore the sleeves to a virtual online event. It was nice to be back in garb again and I was happy to have finished them. I like my 'comfy' sleeve pattern because it is not restrictive, unlike some of my tighter sleeves.
Tuesday, September 8, 2020
Thursday, September 3, 2020
For this caul, I started out with a circle of pre-washed and ironed fabric. I prefer natural fabrics because they tend to breathe better than synthetics and are not as hot or as much of a fire risk. In period, this type of headwear would most likely have been silk, linen or possibly a fine wool or cloth of gold or silver. Budget is an issue for me, so sale cotton is my go-to. I prefer fabrics with a bit of body so that the hat won't look too limp. I love the way cotton velveteen sits when made up in this style. This particular fabric is a quilting cotton that I picked up on sale last year. The printed gold pattern adds a bit of stiffness.
|Cutting out a plain fabric with the same pattern|
How pouffy you want your caul to be
How big your head is
How much hair you have.
|This image gives you an idea of the size circle I prefer for my large head|
You also have an option to make your base fabric an ova shape rather than a rectangle. Doing an oval shape tends to result in a bit more fabric around the ear area which reminds me quite a lot of the cauls that sixteenth century German ladies are shown wearing.
If you are not adding extra decoration, give it the fabric a press. I usually run a zigzag stitch around the edge on the machine also, just to give it a bit more strength.
Next, run nice, even stitches all the way around your circle panel to allow you to gather it up into the headband. I actually do my gathering stitches in two separate lots to make it easier to get the gathers 'just right'. I usually mark the centre of the circle perimeter at top and bottom and run my threads between those points. On this particular caul I decided to try something different and to not gather the section on the top of my head in front of where my jewelled billiments sit, to reduce the pouf level at that point. Don't make your stitches too big or your gathers will be correspondingly large and the hat will not sit nicely. I prefer smaller gathers.
You will also need to sew the headband part. If you have cut a single piece, you'll need to sew the ends together so it is a joined piece like a ring of fabric. Then fold it in half and fold the seam allowances under, pressing or finger-pressing as you go. (Some people make the band a little shorter than they need and pop a piece of elastic in between the ends of the band. This is (obviously) not historically accurate. I don't find it necessary as I use clips to keep the caul on. I have also seen the ends of the band hemmed individually and ties or ribbons attached to tie it onto the head.)
Once your headband is sewn, gently pull up the gathering stitches until the circle (or oval) of fabric is the same size as the band. This is the part where you start adjusting the gathers so they look nice and even. Just gently move the gathers around until they look even and the bulk of fabric is evenly distributed.
Portrait of a Woman by Vincenzo Catena c. 1520
Image from: https://www.italianways.com/the-venetian-portrait-painter-vincenzo-catena/
I've been tempted to make a caul that sits further back on my head like these, but I'm not sure how comfortable I would find it. I like having the bulk sit higher up on my head and not feel like it is pulling my head back.
Image from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Albrecht_D%C3%BCrer_089b.jpg
Tuesday, September 1, 2020
I haven't done any counted embroidery since my early teens (I started cross-stitching at about age eleven) and I have already learned a lot. I have spent more time unpicking errors than actually stitching so far.
I have learned
* that I had a false appreciation of how good I actually am at counting
* the medication I was on has affected my eyesight more than I realised
* I shouldn't try and do counted work when I need to concentrate on something else
* my recollection of how much I dislike counted work was underrated 😃