Teal Linen Fitted Dress

July 11, 2013 at 10:15 am (Finished Projects, For Myself)

So I was all excited to finally have a picture to add to one of my dress posts, and I came to add the photo and realized I never added any information about this dress!  So this is a teal fitted dress in the same style as the other gowns I’ve posted.  See those posts, and these two websites for more details on gown construction:

http://mathildegirlgenius.com/FittingAndConstruction.htm by Mistress Mathilde Bourette who taught me this technique

and

http://www.cottesimple.com/ which is also amazing and has a fabulous comparison of straight vs. curved front seams.

So this dress is made from teal linen with eyelets in DMC cotton.  You can see a little of the white linen chemise at the neckline.  I love this dress.  It is soft and comfy and great for hot weather.  And I sincerely thank Albreda Aylese for capturing this photo while I was teaching.

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Teal Linen Viking with Appliquéd Turtle

June 24, 2012 at 3:49 pm (Finished Projects, For Myself, Sewing and Garb)

This entry is subtitled “Don’t look at all those unfinished projects over there… look at this one I’m just starting over here!”

So I’ve reached that time of year where my persona has a bit of an identity crisis… I love fitted gowns, and hands down, I think nothing beats the look of a nicely fitted 14th century gown…. however, there is very little that beats the ease of being able to put together a viking apron dress in less than 4 hours, thereby yielding a fantastic canvas to have fun and get creative.  Add to that the fact that by their very nature, apron dresses have no sleeves, I have only ever needed to rip and re-sew an apron dress *once*, and I have yet to throw one across the room, and well… the apron dress won this time.

My current project is to embellish a teal linen viking dress with a turtle.  This turtle, to be specific (which is the combination of several different turtle designs):

Image

As of right now, the apron dress is assembled and ready to have the hems marked and cut.  For putting together apron dresses, I use the fantastic pattern by Lady Nastassiia Ivanova Medvedeva, called Tasha, which can be found here.  It works wonderfully.  (See above about never ever throwing one across the room).

I am starting with a cream base for the turtle, and will be layering brown and green fabric to create the pieces of the shell.  I have found from previous projects, that its best to work from the top down, and so I will be starting by blanket-stitching the green pieces of shell to the brown pieces of shell, and then I will blanket stitch those pieces to the cream base.  After that, the entire turtle will be blanket stitched to the dress.  I plan to use linen thread for the stitching.

I am also going to embellish the seams of the viking with the same double herringbone stitching I’ve done previously.  I’d like to play with the spacing a bit this time, though, and see if I can create a different look.  I will also be embellishing the top and bottom hems with a chevron stitch (see here), which I have never tried before.  This stitching is going to be done with DMC cotton, because I’m having trouble finding the colors I want in linen or wool.

So here are a few pictures of cutting out and piecing together the turtle.  The first few are taken on the teal linen to show the color, and the last one is on a flatter surface to try and better place the pieces.

Update 7/5/2012:  I’ve added a photo at the bottom with the “inner shell” pieces all stitched down, and all of the shell pieces in place.  I am now about halfway done stitching down the “outer shell” pieces, and will add a photo of those as soon as they are complete!

Update 8/12/2012:  Its Done!  Its actually been finished for about two weeks now, but I have been forgetting to update.  There are pictures at the bottom of both the completed turtle and the finished dress.  Please forgive the clutter and the wrinkled edges of the apron dress— finally remembering to post meant not having the time to make the pictures a bit more “staged” :-)

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Blue Wool Overdress for Coronation (8/22/2011):

September 1, 2011 at 8:48 am (Finished Projects, For Myself, Sewing and Garb)

Although I have a separate post about the entire coronation outfit and I will post pictures of the completed ensemble there,  I wanted to make a new post for just the overdress so that I may go into a bit more detail about how I constructed this dress and the changes I’ve made to my pattern/design.  These details also reflect changes that were made to the gold linen under dress of that same outfit, but as many of my patterns are yellow, its easiest to demonstrate some of these things using the blue overdress.

As I’ve mentioned before,  I have been making these gowns long enough that I tend to use a hybrid system of drafting a pattern from my current favorite gown that fits and then re-fitting each new gown once the panels are sewn together.  I have found that I am almost never able to sew the gown entirely from a pattern, as my size and the flexibility of each fabric varies enough that a pattern does not yield a fully supportive gown.  However, I do not need to start with a gown from scratch each time, either, as a basic pattern is sufficient as long as I leave enough seam allowance at the back and the sides to really play with the fit when assembled.

If you are looking for information on how to fit these gowns and make your own pattern, I highly recommend both:

http://mathildegirlgenius.com/FittingAndConstruction.htm by Mistress Mathilde Bourette who taught me this technique

and

http://www.cottesimple.com/ which is also amazing and has a fabulous comparison of straight vs. curved front seams.

I have found that gowns with a straight front seam provide a more consistent fit for me personally, but I think it depends on your body type as to which you may prefer.

To begin, I lay the body piece out onto two layers of fabric, making sure that the front and back seams (straight portion of the pattern) are lined up on the grain of the fabric to ensure the best support and fit.  Since I tweak the pattern once sewn together, I do not need to use a left and right piece, but can use the same pattern for all four panels.  I incorporate a fuller skirt into the pattern piece, but if desired you could use a more narrow pattern and side gores. For the front and back gores, I used a 46″ square since I wanted a very full skirt for this dress.

Recently, I’ve been struggling a bit with the armhole and sleeve design of my latest pattern, and so I was focused on getting a new gown that had a better sleeve fit this time around. In my recent gowns, the arm hole has been gradually getting larger, as I’ve found the sleeve to fit most comfortably that way, and it increased my range of motion.  However, the fit does not seem entirely right to me with that pattern, and I’ve had several issues with the shoulders sliding or support decreasing over time.  I wanted to try and go back to the “proper” method of fitting the sleeve right up under the armpit to see if I could tweak that for the same level of comfort and range of motion.

From this point forward, the photos will just show the pattern on the navy without placing the pattern at the edge just for the sake of better illustrating my changes.  This is the original pattern:

To start, I used the same yellow cotton pattern that I’ve referred to before, which was based off of a previous well fitting gown.  I adapted this pattern by bringing the fabric higher into my armpit, as I really wanted to the armhole moved higher. This is the adapted piece:

I also sewed the sleeve seams with 2 inches of seam allowance, instead of 1, also raising the entire pattern and bringing the side seams higher.  This provided me with plenty of fabric and left me in a position to basically refit the entire pattern from the waist up.

After starting the construction this way, I sewed all four panels together and added the front and back gores at the appropriate height.  I baisted the front seam where the eyelets will be, as this is sufficient for the initial fittings, and put the dress on inside out to begin getting a better fit.  With help, I then pinned and took in the top of the side seams so that they fit snug but not too tight, and then took in the seams right below my bust to achieve a more supportive fit.  This was not the final time I’d take these seams in, but it was enough to ensure that no major changes will be needed to these seams.

The result of all of these adjustments was a pattern that fit higher on my body, and allowed for the armhole to begin up under my armpit. Here is the navy gown placed over the original pattern and adapted piece to show how much the pattern differs from what I started with:

The next step was to mark the top of the armhole at the shoulder joint, and begin sleeve construction.  For the sleeves, I once again started with a page by Mistress Mathilde, which can be found here.  From this, I drafted the basic sleeve design on yellow cotton, and tested to make sure I was happy with the design and fit.

The initial design sat very strangely, and did not have the tippets hanging well at all… not to mention, for whatever reason they did not fit the armhole very well either!  So I used those to make up a second mock up, changing the curve at the top a little, and altering the length of the sleeve vs the tippet.  The two images below show the initial design, and the second one with my additional changes. 

When I attached these to the dress, they still seemed to hang a little funny, but hoped this was mainly just due to it being a stiffer fabric than I’m used to working with.  I took note of a few more changes (adding a little length to the sleeve and narrowing the tippet a little), and moved onwards to working with the “real” fabric.

After a bit of an adventure in trying to figure out how to cut and sew the navy wool and white lining together to have both sleeves showing blue on the outside, white on the inside, and not end up with two right or two left sleeves…. and I still ended up with two right sleeves.  After a bit of fussing, re-cutting, new seams, and some prayer… I was once again at the point of fitting the sleeves into the armhole and hoping that they would fit well and hang nicely….

And this time they did!  I  made it past the sleeve step– woo hoo!  From here on out, its a matter of re-fitting the gown and sewing the hems and eyelets…. I’m almost done!

This last picture is of the gown at Coronation worn over the gold linen under dress.  While I got all the hems done, the eyelets were not finished, and so this project is not *quite* complete yet– but I was quite happy with how it turned out, and will post more photos when the eyelets are done.

Photo by Baroness Cateline la Broderesse

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Navy and Gold Hood with Crenulated Dags (8/21/2011)

August 29, 2011 at 10:25 pm (Finished Projects, For Myself, Sewing and Garb)

This hood was a practice or test hood of adding dags to a hood for a project that involves making approximately 20 hoods for the Queen’s Guard.  The pattern is based on The Medieval Tailors Assistant, and does not have a liripipe as it was requested the hoods be completed without one.  A fabulous description on how to construct a similar hood can be found here.

Since I’d never used this specific pattern before (it’s different from my typical pattern in that it doesn’t have any gores) and I’d never added dags to a hood, I wanted to test it out on my own fabric first, and figured since I was already working on my coronation garb, I’d stick with the navy and gold theme for the practice hood.

The hood panels were cut out, and then left and right sewn together at the front and back for both the outer layer and the lining so that there were two separate hoods with none of the edges hemmed.  The right sides of both hoods were put together with the face opening matching, and the lining was then sewn to the outer layer at the bottom hem, leaving the face still not sewn.

A 3″ square was then used to mark the dags along the bottom stitching, with the dag lining up with the seam.  A 1″ gap was left between each dag.  A second seam was sewn on the chalk lines for each dag, and the fabric in the gaps was cut, seam allowance was trimmed, and the hood was turned right side out through the face opening.  The dags were then pushed out and ironed flat.

The face opening still needs to be sewn (I plan to blanket stitch a hem), but here is the finished project so far (and an extra photo of the 20 other hoods still awaiting their linings and dags!):

Updated 8/29/2011: New picture with blanket stitching of the front opening– blanket stitching was done with gold wool thread (From Ursula’s Alcove).

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Coronation Garb– September 2011

July 8, 2011 at 11:54 am (Finished Projects, For Myself, Sewing and Garb)

So there is to be a new outfit for Coronation this year… and it has been requested that it be blue and gold or blue and silver/white/grey.  So its time to plan– how to incorporate their chosen era (1411), chosen colors, and make it something that represents my household at the same time?  (Because I’d really like to make something that involves the Tarragon colors/Gryphon, and I think this is the perfect time to do so!)

Current thoughts on what might be fun include:

  • Keeping it simple with a gold linen or wool long sleeved fitted gown under a blue wool overdress that has short sleeves that end in tippets.  This can be combined with a gold or blue hood potentially embroidered with a gryphon
  • A blue wool gown with a gold band around the hem with gottes embroidered of appliquéd on to the band around the hem.  Potentially paired with a blue wool hood with a gryphon
  • A blue wool dress over a gold linen under dress and paired with a blue cloak with gold around the edge an an appliquéd gryphon.
  • A blue wool dress (potentially over a gold base layer) with gold pin on sleeves or a gold surcote.
  • A blue wool dress over a gold base layer with gold lace or embroidery sewn on to the sleeves, waist, and hem, similiar to what is seen here:

Update on 7/13/2011: As I re-read the ideas I have come up with, I realize that several of them mention a hood with a gryphon and seem to ignore the fact that I was planning to wear a specific hat.  This is what happens when trying to bring too many things into one dress, i think!  For Coronation, I am going to try and have the hat I mentioned, but for later events, to make this more representative of my household, I may wear it with a hood with a gryphon.

In thinking over these ideas for the past several days, I keep coming back to a desire to keep it simple and use a blue short sleeve wool gown over a gold long sleeved base layer.  I haven’t decided yet if I want to have the sleeves end in tippets, or if I want to pair the short sleeves with fancier gold pin on sleeves. Either of these options allows me to later embellish the blue gown with gryphons as time allows, or to pair the gowns with a hood with gryphons, and so this works well as an outfit that can transition into something representative of my household.

Fortunately, I do have some time to decide on the sleeves, and it may depend on if I am inspired by any gold fabrics to turn them into sleeves.  In the mean time, I will begin to work on the pair of gowns in a style similar to that shown in the image below (but potentially without the tippets), and will update as I make progress.

Update 8/16/2011– construction of the underdress:

Similar to the 5/14/2011 gown, this update is to help me remember what pattern I am using and what changes need to be made.  Please see that previous post for more details on the pattern itself and how I currently fit self supportive gowns.

Used pattern from yellow cotton, which was roughly drafted from black wool gown (current favorite of my self supportive fitted gowns) Changed the arm hole based on observations from the purple linen gown.  (Used paper pattern adaption)

Pattern has 1.5 inches seam allowance added to it, but based on mock-up, gown should be sewn with 1 inch seam and then fitted after to be supportive (sewing with 1.5 inches barely fits, so with lacing and fitting, 1 inch should work)

Pattern has no gores, but front and back gores should be added. (Sides gores are accounted for with the extra width built into each panel of the skirt) Gores are cut from 1 yard square piece.

Fabric used: Yellow Linen

Thread for hem and eyelets:

Notes:

The gores were a bit short on the last few gowns, and so instead of a 36″ square, I used a 48″ square this time.

See the construction of the overdress for detailed description of how the shoulder and armhole were changed.

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Fitted Gown: 5/14/2011– Purple Linen with Button Down Front

May 14, 2011 at 11:14 am (Finished Projects, For Myself, Sewing and Garb)

This post is mainly for my own purposes so I have notes of the pattern and the fabric.  I have been making these gowns long enough that I tend to use a hybrid system of drafting a pattern from my current favorite gown that fits and then re-fitting each new gown once the panels are sewn together.  I have found that I am almost never able to sew the gown entirely from a pattern, as my size and the flexibility of each fabric varies enough that a pattern does not yield a fully supportive gown.  However, I do not need to start with a gown from scratch each time, either, as a basic pattern is sufficient as long as I leave enough seam allowance at the back and the sides to really play with the fit when assembled.

If you are looking for information on how to fit these gowns and make your own pattern, I highly recommend both:

http://mathildegirlgenius.com/FittingAndConstruction.htm by Mistress Mathilde Bourette who taught me this technique

and

http://www.cottesimple.com/ which is also amazing and has a fabulous comparison of straight vs. curved front seams.

I have found that gowns with a straight front seam provide a more consistent fit for me personally, but I think it depends on your body type as to which you may prefer.  I do cut a wider arm hole with my gowns to pull some of the strain off of my shoulders, as well, and so I think that helps especially when using a straight front pattern.

Used pattern from yellow cotton, which was roughly drafted from black wool gown (current favorite of my self supportive fitted gowns) Top of sides were altered to be a little higher to allow more space for sleeves if needed.

Pattern has 1.5 inches seam allowance added to it, but based on mock-up, gown should be sewn with 1 inch seam and then fitted after to be supportive (sewing with 1.5 inches barely fits, so with lacing and fitting, 1 inch should work)

Pattern has no gores, but front and back gores should be added. (Sides gores are accounted for with the extra width built into each panel of the skirt) Gores are cut from 1 yard square piece.

Fabric used: Purple Linen

Thread for hem and buttonholes: Purple Silk

Notes:

The arm holes are a little too large, particularly under the arm— tried making a paper pattern to improve for the next gown, but once the sleeves were in for this one, it worked out okay.

The hand done buttonholes have ended up looking a little… rough.  I had not noticed before that there is actually a little lighter purple woven into the linen, and it comes out a good deal on the buttonholes, making them look almost calico.  From a distance, they look fine, and when it matters, they will be covered with buttons, but is very frustrating to assess while sewing them!

Update:  I wore this gown for the first time at Vinland Raids on June 16th, and although it still needs to have the hems finished, it worked very well.  The neckline is a little low, and the hem is a little short, but this was easily fixed by pairing it with a teal long sleeved lace front gown that I already had.  I unfortunately did not get any photos, but I will be sure to take some at the next event.

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Viking Apron Dress with Black and Purple Butterfly

April 18, 2011 at 8:38 pm (Finished Projects, For Myself, Sewing and Garb)

Bright pink wool apron dress, machine sewn and hand hemmed.  Seam finishing is done in black, purple, and blue DMC cotton floss (3 strands for each).  Butterfly is constructed of purple and black wool, and appliqued with blanket stitch using DMC floss.  Embellishments are also done with DMC floss.
Picture is from Spring Crown 2011 and is courtesy of Baronness Cateline la Broderesse.

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Viking Apron Dress with Purple Elephants

April 28, 2010 at 4:22 pm (Finished Projects, For Myself, Sewing and Garb)

Dress is constructed out of a gray wool that was obtained from a local yard sale.  Seam finishing is done in purple and teal linen thread, and tacked down with hidden black linen thread.  The top and bottom were hemmed using blanket stitch in teal linen thread, and the elephants were appliqued with blanket in the teal thread.  Elephants are purple linen.  Completed Spring 2010.

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Finished: Black Wool Embroidered Hood

March 18, 2010 at 8:45 pm (Finished Projects, For Myself, Sewing and Garb)

Black wool hood lined with green linen and embroidered with DMC Floss.  Pattern was adapted from floral embroidery design found online, and contains period floral elements, but beyond that is not based on a particular period design or illumination.  Button holes were sewn with black silk thread, and the buttons are round silver buttons.  Hood was machine stitched and hand hemmed.  Completed for Spring Coronation, 2010.

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Wool Viking with Peacock

January 30, 2009 at 12:14 pm (Finished Projects, For Myself, Sewing and Garb)

This was a project with my apprentice sisters, and we all have vikings with the same design that was created by Duchess Aikaterine.  The apron dress is made of purple wool, with wool seam finishing, and wool applique.  Applique is stitched down with blanket stitch with DMC floss in various colors.  Completed for Birka 2009.

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