the royal backside

•March 28, 2015 • 6 Comments

I really haven’t been getting on with my embroidery this last week, so instead here’s a picture of the cushion that sits on the royal throne. I don’t think I’ve ever shown it here, as it was done about a decade ago, and it doesn’t get seen much when its in use because there’s normally a big royal arse sat upon it. royal arse and the reason there’s no embroidery progress this week is that I’ve been busy winding wool so I can spend next week dyeing it (I’m short of greens and browns). THis is a very boring job indeed, so my plan it that when I am rich and famous I’m giving this job to my poorly paid but devilishly handsome intern, Sven, and if he does a very good job I will then let him bring me champagne cocktails and do some pole dancing for me whilst I relax (listen, you have your fantasies, I’ll have mine). As you can see this makes for a very boring picture… winding NO, you don’t get a picture of Sven, he’s all mine

Finished frock

•March 22, 2015 • 22 Comments

Apologies, I’m just pipping this one under the post of my weekly posting rule. I finished the green dress, yay!

I did wear it on Sunday at torm, although it still needs a good going over with the lint roller, which I appear to have put somewhere “safe”. I suspect it also looks far more flattering on the dummy than it does on me- her boobs are less protuberant for a start.

Overall I think the shoulder bands were the right decision, not necessarily the flattering decision, but the more authentic one


The brooch is one I made aaaages ago, but it does make a statement – that statement largely being “eff orf you grubby little peasant”. I think I’m going to go back and put two tiny eyelets in the dress for the pin though, the wieght of a lot of my jewels means they have rather sturdy pins and a few of my older frocks are looking a bit battered round the necks.


I also need to recondition my belt, as a few of the mounts are loose. I’m thinking I’ll go plain brown leather next time as the current green was chosen to contrast my red dress, brown would work for both. The mounts are based on the funeral effigy of…actually I can’t remember if it was Eleanor of Aquitaine or berengaria of Navarre, I’m going to have check now. The buckle and chape are copied from old engravings of a buckle now lost due to looting during World War Two.

And I dug out one of my inspiration pics, a c13th Madonna. Her stripes are narrower, mine were dictated by the silk


And the reason I’ve not posted all week is that it just been one of those weeks. Tuesday I had a bump on the way to work and had to pay £240 to get a new radiator. Wednesday dad’s pickup got written off on the m one after seizing up and being hit by an artic( he was in the passenger seat and a friend was driving,) luckily he wasn’t hurt.

Friday I’d planned a day off and a leisurely drive to oxford for Saturdays study day, except I’d had to reschedule Tuesdays work so I didn’t set off until after dinner. I only got as far as Rotherham before the van ran warm, I didn’t let it overheat but nursed it to the holiday inn, where the staff were lovely and let me wait for rescue. Got relayed back to Gareth’s about half one Sunday morning and missed the study day.

I’ve spent the morning clearing stuff out of the van because the cylinder head gasket has gone and my dad and Carl, my van guru, don’t think it’s worth fixing, so I’m waiting to be picked up and taken to my new van. It’s a sort of interim van which I have to use until Carl and Margaret find something newer, but it gets me back to work Monday. At least it’s another vauxhall combo, bloody good little vans, combos, excellent mileage.

Not a sewing post

•March 14, 2015 • 6 Comments

So I’ve always been fascinated by tree roots. It’s drives Gareth potty becuase whenever we go for a walk I make him stop and look at tree roots.

But even he was impressed by this one…

It’s where the outdoor market is in oxford. The poor tree was obviously constricted by a much smaller enclosure until recently.

What strikes me is how much this reminds me of a tight circle of Celtic knotwork, you can see how nature provides the inspiration for these things

Textile study day

•March 13, 2015 • 11 Comments

In case anyone is in the area, Jude has said there are a couple of extra places on a study day next saturday, in which we will get to look closely at pieces from the ashmolean collection.

I think it might even be free. But don’t talk to me, you have to book in with Jude barret

nearly there

•March 9, 2015 • 9 Comments

striped dress

I feel I’ve been quite lazy not to have this completely finished yet- it still need the lower body stripe to be filled in at the sides.

I’m still in two minds about the top shoulder stripe as well. On the one hand I think it will be somewhat rugby-shirt-like, which is kind of the last thing someone as broad shouldered as myself needs, but on the other I don’t think it will look right to it’s period without. My other concern with the stripe is technical though, as it would be on an odd angle and may well not sit right. After having gone to great trouble to get the silk lying nicely against the wool (not an easy feat) I don’t want to cock it up by doing the shoulders poorly. I suppose I can always do them and unpick if they’re really terrible- the idea is to wear it under a cloak most of the time anyway, so the shoulders shouldnt show much.

ASs you can see my stripes are in pairs, and are not quite evenly spaced. The gap between the bottom set of stripes and the middle is much less than the gap between the middle and the top as I allowed for the gathering caused by the belt.

I promise that with the finished dress, not only will I use an entire lint roller before taking the pic (there’s like half a branston smeared on that thing at the moment) but I will post at least one of my inspiration pics (they’re on my other computer)

It amuses me enormously that a fair few people are going to look at this dress and assume my design choice was necessitated by a need to be parsimonious with expensive silk. In reality there are two and a half metres of silk here (the design meant a lot of offcuts to get neat rows of lions) and two and three quarter metres of wool. Although I got the wool as a remnant, buying hainsworths full price would actually cost more per metre than this silk- the same quality wool would also have been expensive in the medeival period. Basically, it would have been cheaper, a lot quicker, and considerably easier to make a silk dress!

More silk.

•March 5, 2015 • 13 Comments

Byzantine style this time, bought from Finland.

To be honest I just grabbed what there was without thinking what to do with it because I’ve never seen anything of this style and date available before.

It’s very crisp, stiff silk, in very narrow ( 30cm) widths. But the pieces are small- the red one is the biggest at 175 cm. I’m toying with the idea of using the red as a long border on a posh cloak, possibly with added pearls, and I’m wondering if the black could be a copper gate cap?

I think I need to leave them on my workbench for a bit until they talk to me.

Gareth made me go out to his tropical house to smell a flower as soon as I got in. He said I was allowed to smell it from outside the greenhouse. He’s been growing carrion Lillie’s again…

Saturday survey

•February 28, 2015 • 15 Comments

I need a bit of a second opinion. I need to make john a semi circular cloak for when he’s being king. I have this silkimage

Which is perhaps a tiny bit Victorian gothic revival, but it’s in my stash so it will have to do. It will break down nicely into a ten inch wide border to go all the way around the cloak. But…

What do we think of that camel/ toffee coloured hainsworths wool to go with? In the flesh it’s more like a dark mustard)

It’s lovely quality and I was thinking it would tone with the gold in the silk, but am worried it’s all…not right


*edit* having laid the silk out flat am now also prepared too consider just making a silk cloak…hmmmm…


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