Early Medieval Gown

I wanted to make something cool and light for Summer so I bought some burgundy and periwinkle linen and made a simple over and under gown with it.

early medieval finishedI used the same pattern for both layers, I simply changed the neckline, sleeves and hem length for the blue.  The gores on the skirts are higher than what you see on later styles.  They’re at chest height and under the arms as opposed to at the waist. You can’t see it, but I did a keyhole neckline on the under gown.

I couched a simple design on to the collar and sleeve cuffs.  It probably would be more appropriate to do a stem stitch, or some other decorative stitch, but I was short on time and won’t be doing crazy things with it.  Eventually I’d like to do the hem as well.

I drew the design on paper and then onto the fabric with fabric marking pencil before stitching pearl cotton embroidery thread onto the fabric.

early medieval couching design early medieval couching in progress early medieval couching finished

The linen breathed really well in the heat and it was nice and loose.  I’d like to make a tablet woven belt to wear with it at some point.

New Damask Curtains

I was overdue in making the rest of the curtains for the downstairs rooms in my house.  I finally found a fabric I liked:

curtain fabric

I made some straight panels for my parlor and a Venetian style blind for my living room:

venetian blind

I don’t have construction pictures this time but the blind is done in a similar fashion to the other one I did in a previous post.  And the panels are done in the same was as the ones I did for the dining room (also in a previous post).

Korean Hanbok

It has been way too long…again.  Oh free time, where are you?  I have been doing a few things, though not as many as I’d like.  Let’s start with the hanbok I made.

I was at the Atlantian 12th Night in January where I saw Her Majesty of Trimaris (now formerly) wearing a beautiful Korean hanbok (as that is her persona).  I thought to myself: “How pretty!  I should make something like that for myself some day.”  Months later I was watching a Korean historical drama called Dong Yi and I though again:  “How pretty!  I really should make something like that.” 

So I did.  I bought this Folkwear pattern and altered the jacket so that it was in the style of a historical Dangui which was traditionally worn at court.  BTW, this blog has been really great reading.  I’ve been looking at it for Tang Dynasty ideas as well and I think the writer is just fabulous.

I made a mock up of the jacket in muslin to check the fit:

hanbok jacket mock up

I also made a petticoat and drawers to go under the chima:

habok undergarments 2 hanbok undergarments

And then I made the chima out of iridescent silk dupioni:

hanbok chima pleats closeup hanbok chima full

Its a rectangle of fabric pleated into a waist band.  It wraps and ties in the front, overlapping in the back.  Modern ones have straps at the shoulders which I’ve decided to add before I wear it again, for comfort.

And finally I made the dangui:

hanbok dangui

The longer jacket style is how it was worn for court.  In later eras the jacket was worn very short.  The sleeves on this are also wider compared to the modern style. 

This is also made out of iridescent dupioni.  The white edge on the collar was traditionally made of paper.  I used cotton bias tape and tacked it on for convenience.

hanbok finished

This was incredibly fun to wear!  I like branching out and doing something a little different.  🙂 At some point I’m going to invest in a binyeo for my hair.

16th Century Persian Kaftans

I attended some Middle Eastern events recently.  Of course that was a great excuse to make something new and I’ve had my eye on Persian garb for a while.  A friend of mine sells fabric and had some lovely blue silk brocade and embroidered copper silk that I didn’t hesitate to get my paws on.  I had some (not silk) garnet taffeta in my stash that I had just enough of.

Persian fabricI altered my Turkish kaftan pattern to suit my needs by changing the gores into a more triangular shape as well as adding slits in the outer kaftan skirts, altering the neckline on the blue kaftan and changing the shape of the sleeves for each layer.  I did not line any of the layers.  Linings with facing are appropriate but I didn’t have time and didn’t want any more bulk added with three layers anyway.

And I couldn’t have done it without this fabulous site.  She has a ton of references to paintings with ideas for construction.  I cannot say enough how helpful I found this resource to be!

Persian red stitch detailI used a decorative stitch on my machine for the hems and necklines.  I was short on time and felt that it would look a little better than just a straight stitch.  Normally I at least try to hand sew my hems and cuffs.  But this will have to do.

Persian red finishedThe under kaftan just has a straight sleeve and no side slits.

Persian gold hanging sleeve Persian gold slit and hanging sleeveI added a slit and a hanging sleeve for the copper layer.

Persian gold and red

I was going to add buttons and loops to this layer later but it actually worked out better in that another layer of buttons would have been too bulky so I’m going to leave it as is.

Persian button detailI love the buttons.  The gold are cast metal and the silver are cheap plastic (lol).  I used ribbon for the loops (another time constraint issue).  I may (or may not)  go back later and make woven loops.

Persian front persian finished backThis was such a fun color combination.  And it was super comfy to wear.  I used the green salvar (pants) that I had made for my Turkish outfit previously.

persian finished at the eventI am lacking a hat.  That is something that I intend to remedy. But I wanted to at least cover my head so I grabbed a veil.  I might wear a sash with it next time.  This is definitely one of my favorite outfits now because of how comfy it was and how pretty I feel in it.  Sometimes its nice to splurge and use silk.  Price can be a deterrent though, so if you find a nice synthetic brocade that looks period, go for it.  Just keep in mind it won’t breathe as well.

Couched Laurel Leaves

Recently I was given the honor of embroidering laurel leaves onto a shawl for an elevation to the Order of the Laurel (that is an SCA award).  The person being elevated was recognized for her AMAZING embroidery (no pressure).  So I wanted to do something simple since I was short on time and my skills will never be what hers are.

I decided on couching.  Its something I had never done before, but I could make a nice outline with it and it wouldn’t take as long as other types of embroidery.  It looks elaborate without taking days to complete.  First I found a laurel leaf design on one of the SCA kingdom websites.

Laurel leaves 6I transferred the design onto rice paper.  I would have used tracing paper if I had had any, but this worked just fine.

Laurel leaves 7 Laurel leaves 8I found some fine English wool embroidery yarn in my stash and laid it over top of the design while using a complimentary embroidery floss to stitch it down onto the fabric.

Laurel leaves 9 Laurel leaves 10It went fairly quickly and I was able to get a very precise design doing it this way.

Laurel leaves finished 2Then I simply tore away the paper, using tweezers to get the smallest pieces.  You have to go carefully to not distort the stitches, but as long as you use thin paper you can do it without too much trouble.  The paper also acts as a stabilizer while you’re stitching.

I would love to do this again on some of my own gowns.  Maybe something heraldic?  You can do quite complicated designs with this method and I had fun doing it.  If you’re a little gun-shy on the embroidery, I would recommend trying this type.

Red Burgundian Style Gown

This has been on my to-do list for a while now and I’ve finally gotten around to it.  I would have loved to make one in green, but I’m on a budget and red is what I had on hand.  Actually, nearly this entire outfit is made from materials I had already, which is not a terrible thing.

So lets start with my resources.  First, if you want to do anything Burgundian you should check out this site. Seriously.  The info compiled on it is fabulous and I got great ideas from it.  For the cut and construction I used The Medieval Tailor’s Assistant.  I’ve mentioned this book more than once.  Its a great reference.

I think I’ve said this before, but I want to mention again that I’m self taught. I did not go to school for this.  I did not take any classes on sewing.  Much of what I’ve learned has been through trial and error.  So if you’ve taken a class or two and you see something I’ve done that isn’t the typical way, please excuse me.  There are probably plenty of things that I do the “hard way” because I’ve never learned the “proper” method.

So, with that in mind, I decided to try my hand at draping.  I got out my dress form and made a kirtle bodice pattern with muslin:

burgundian kirtle draping 1 burgundian kirtle draping 2 burgundian kirtle draping 3After I got it to fit the way I wanted it I cut out my linen.  A friend of mine gave me some medium weight pink linen a while back so I decided to use that for my kirtle.  I don’t normally wear pink but I decided to make it a challenge to use almost exclusively what I already had instead of buying more fabric.  So pink it is.

burgundian kirtle bodiceI was going to use metal eyelets but realized I had already used all of my small ones on other projects.  Since I wasn’t in the mood to go to the store I decided to sew the eyelets by hand.  This is truly the most bizarre form of laziness on my part.

I think I’ve taken step by step eyelet pictures before but I thought I would do it again in case you aren’t familiar with it.

burgundian kirtle eyelet 1 burgundian kirtle eyelet 2 burgundian kirtle eyelet 3 burgundian kirtle eyelet 4 burgundian kirtle eyelet 5 burgundian kirtle eyelet 6 burgundian kirtle eyelet 7I left a channel in between the eyelets and the edge of the panels so that I could add boning.  I do this whenever I do lacing on a bodice to keep everything from bunching up.  In this case I had reed caning left over from my 18th century stays so I used some pieces of that.

burgundian kirtle boningI always spiral lace my garments, unless they’re modern of course.  I made the straps tie in the front so they could be adjusted. The pattern in the book does not have you do this but I wanted the option.

burgundian kirtle bodice lacedThen I pleated the skirt into the waist.  The skirt is just two rectangular panels.

burgundian kirtle pleatsOnce I had the skirt on I hemmed it to the desired length and that was that.

burgundian kirtle finished front burgundian kirtle finished ba kNext I draped the over gown bodice in muslin over the kirtle.

burgundian mock up front burgundian mock up backOnce I had those pieces how I wanted them I took it apart and used the pieces to cut out my wool.  The sleeves took me several tries.  My advice on sleeves is that if you need more movement make your armhole smaller.  In my own head this is counter intuitive but it does work. The more fabric you have, the more flexibility.

burgundian pattern pieces burgundian pattern gown front burgundian pattern gown backI made the front and back panels a little short because I planned on trimming the bottom with bands of black velveteen.  Since the hem had a curve to it I had to cut the velveteen panels in two pieces instead of folding one in half.

burgundian hem insided burgundian hem pinned burgundian hem whip stitchAfter the trim was attached to the front with the machine I whip stitched the back side by hand so that there would be no machine stitching on the front.

I did something similar for the sleeve cuffs so that when you turn them back you can’t see any stitching.

burgundian sleeve inside burgundian sleeve I love those sleeves.  If it gets cold I can turn the cuffs down to cover my hand.  Or if I’m working with my hands I can fold the cuff back.

burgundian without collarThat’s the gown without the collar.  I also hand stitched the inside of the collar down when I attached it.  And I tacked the edge down so the material would lay flat against the lining.

burgundian finished gown back daylightI created a placket to pin to the kirtle in a gold damask.

burgundian plackettburgundian finished front insideNot too shabby, right?

And I couldn’t have done it without my assistant:

spaz is helping

UPDATE Feb 2014:

I finally got around to wearing this gown recently at an event.  I previously made a truncated hennin to wear with this gown that I wasn’t happy with.  It was a little too heavy and awkward to reasonably wear.  So I improvised and made another on short notice.  Its (again) not the “right way” to make a hat.  You really want to use buckram and millinery wire to do it right.  But what I did worked in a pinch.  I used thin cardboard and craft glue.

hennin hennin 2 hennin finished

I tacked the loop directly to the hennin. I’ve read that in actuality the loop was attached to a band or a hood underneath but I probably won’t wear one so I just put it there for looks.  I based what I did with the veil on this painting.

burgundianThis is such a fun style to wear.  And its comfortable!  Next time I want to make the skirts fuller.  And maybe make a hat the correct way.