Five slices of pizza and a couple of hot wings

•July 28, 2016 • Leave a Comment

Well, epaulettes…


The blue is the silk for the lining, well most of the lining, a couple of the pizza slices are going to have robe lined in green because the blue ran out.

i just tacked the body together and tried it on over my news stays. I’d been thinking all week that with my luck it would be too small, but even though the new stays could probably come in an inch I still had about an extra three inches in the jacket waist, so phew!

Last big bit

•July 26, 2016 • 8 Comments

I’ve machined around the edges and trimmed it down. There should be a good inch seam allowance at the edge- fingers crossed!


All I have left to do with the embroidery is the little triangular godets. There was room for most of these on the edges of the bigger pieces, but because the large bits are cumbersome to manipulate I decided to do this trimming down first and use the offcuts as separate entities.

as I was machining the edge of this this morning it occurred to me that sewers of a religious inclination must surely have a special prayer for salvation from the helpfulness of cats.

branston says there’s no point in me finding god though, because his mum signed him up for several helpful but unholy alliances before his eyes were even open. He says I never stood a chance.

Plodding along.

•July 23, 2016 • 7 Comments

Front panel done. I left the two front panels until last because even with a grid this pattern is kind of tricky to freehand, so this way the best bits go at the front. ( there was a reason I started with the underarms)


I quite like the back. Once the spangles are sewn down it sort of looks like constellation charts, and I’ve had a thing about maps – it’s one of the nerd things Gareth and I agree upon.


And as your Saturday treat I’m going to share my toile fabric with you. The photo doesn’t really come close to doing justice to it’s neon yellow polyesterness. Bet you’re wondering why I didn’t use such a fine textile to make new bedroom curtains…


Gareth has dragged the air conditioner downstairs for me. It normally lives in the bedroom and is rather bulky to drag down three flights of stairs, but I think he’s in a good mood because he went to court yesterday and ran rings round the lawyer set against him ( he really knows his gas safety regs, it’s sooooo sexy). And branston is being very very brave and sitting with me in spite of the fact he’s terrified of the air on hose – he thinks it’s an extra large Hoover nozzle designed to suck up kitties.


In the background you might just spot the lego kwik- e-mart someone treat themselves to for winning


In which I trim my own bonnet.

•July 21, 2016 • 23 Comments

Those of you who’ve met me will know I like hats, because it’s kind of obvious. I’ve always been this way. When my mum was marrying my stepdad she asked what I wanted to wear, and I said I wanted to go as a gangster, so she bought me a suit, tie ( pink, to go with the grooms outfit) and a proper trilby, which I refused to take off for over a month, I even wore it in the bath.

but the greatest tragedy of my teenage years was that I didn’t have a seventeenth century hat, I desperately wanted one but my pocket money just wouldn’t stretch to it. My mum used to spend hours before every ecws event torturing my hair into ringlets instead, prompting my stepbrothers to follow me around barking the theme tune to “dogtanian and the three muskehounds”

about ten years ago I bought the longed for hat from Tom norbury, despite not doing seventeenth century reenactment any more. It’s even  nicer than the ones I’d lusted after, because it’s a proper fur felt instead of wool. It sat in my hat pile for ages, and this morning I decided to pimp it to go with the jacket I’m making.

first step was to anchor two sturdy threads into the brim. These are for later, so for now I’m just wrapping them round a pin to keep them out of the way.


Next I’m going to line the brim with the same yellow satin as the jacket.  I’m going to admit I couldn’t find any real evidence for c17th brim lining, but since the look I’m going for is ” I nicked this off mi lady di winter” I decided to go for it anyway. ( obviously I’m talking about the Faye dunaway incarnation, not the recent bbc effort- and I am using the word effort in the derogatory northern intonation here)


Then I pinned that down at the clock points before teaching into place. I wasn’t worried about neatness with the tack stitches because they’re going to get covered up.


yesterday I wove a bit of c17th tablet weave. It’s basically the same band I did for jenny tiramani at the globe a few years ago, but narrower and in two colours. I’ve been wanting to make some of this band for myself ever since because I love the texture. I would have liked cornflower blue silk, but all I had was black.


The white band is the sample I kept from Jenny’s order. I sewed my black bit down to cover the join in the satin. It did look quite alarmingly Mexican at this point…


Next- feathers!

because the ostrich plumes were quite thick in the stem I whittled them down a bit before piercing a couple of sewing holes.


I staggered the angles slightly as I sewed then to the side.


The other thing I made yesterday was an enamelled buckle, because you can’t have a fancy cavalier hat without a buckle. I had considered doing a silver one, but decided to experiment instead. It’s not based on any particular find, but c17th types did seem to love white enamel – think cheapside hoard ( I know it’s associated with the sixteenth century, but a lot is later)

I pleated some blue silk and added my buckle, before tacking it on.


Next I dealt with the plumes. Mine aren’t as foofy at the ends as I would have liked, so I tied a linen thread around the end of each one and stitched them down to the hat, thus hiding the ends and making the plumes look more rounded.


I finally unwrapped the linen threads from the brim, piercing the crown of the hat and tying them off to lift up the side of the hat and conceal the join in the hatband.


Add a lining…


And we’re done!


You may all now proceed to spend your days seething with jealousy because my hat is prettier than your hat.

More progress

•July 18, 2016 • 4 Comments

The back panel is the biggest, and took six days – eek!

I even worked on it while watching outdoor theatre last Friday ( oddsocks steampunk Macbeth, highly recommended, I’ve been humming bat outa hell ever since)


And because there will eventually be a split up the back to accommodate a godet, I cheated a bit. Before removing my tacked marker of where the godet is, and before adding spangles, I basically did an awfully big buttonhole along the slit – not tremendously authentic, but once folded under it will be far less bulky than if I’d tried to end the design either side.


I’m seriously considering doing something similar along the edge of each panel before I remove the excess satin around the sides, because I’m worried that no matter how thoroughly I’ve anchored them the ends of the couched threads might eventually work loose.





•July 12, 2016 • 12 Comments

I am concluding that it’s not sewing the spangles down that takes time, it’s picking the little beggars up that’s difficult. And woe betide you should drop one because the little blighters jump about like fleas!


I get a bit paranoid when I’m sewing spangles, I’m terrified I’m going to spill the tin everywhere.

All filled in

•July 11, 2016 • 4 Comments

I’ve got the very boring background filled in and ready for outlining. I’m doing the same as last time and using a blocked in border along the bottom to add some visual wieght, hopefully this will also tie the two fanstasies together stylistically.


The pinks and yellows are a bit smushy in this pic, but once I’ve started outlying them they stand out more.


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