Saturday, July 30, 2011

Today's find!

At Value Village in Lacey: 7+ yards of 48" heavy black/pink rayon dupioni for $13. There must be some factory or wholesaler that donates remnants or something, because there were multiple cuts of this stuff-- and other colors, too: Orange/red, yellow/white, and red/blue. I asked where it comes from, but the clerk claimed not to know. Probably it wouldn't be any cheaper buying from the source, so I'm just as happy waiting to see what shows up.

I'm not a big fan of bubblegum pink, but the black side with just a hint of the pink showing is kind of spectacular. This will make a super court gown or something -- your suggestions cheerfully accepted!

Bodice bits.

Last night I finished the bottom edge and the armscyes of my sottana. The lining is some scrap grey wool over felt Pellon, which looks pretty bland next to the red damask, but no one's gonna be seeing it anyway.

I wanted to share a picture, but I think I'll wait until I have the black velvet trim finished.

And then there's nothing left but shaping the skirt hem (I left the back longer to make a small train, only six inches or so) adding the black velvet guard and attaching the skirt to the bodice.

I have some gold and black jacquard ribbon that was too garish to use as an outright trim -- too busy over the damask -- but I'm thinking if I fold it in half lengthwise and stitch it behind the velvet so maybe only a quarter-inch peeps out, it might be a little bit of oomph that makes this gown *pop*.

I got all excited and pinned the shoulder straps in place and tried it on, but without my corset on to get everything in the right places and correct posture, and without fastenings on the front of the bodice, it was really hard to see if I was on the right track. I will say that I have some concerns about the armscyes: I don't think they're big enough. Either that or the straps are too short, because I get a bunchy feeling there. I can probably lengthen the straps with cleverly-attached bits of "decorative" velvet. I hope so, because other than that, everything looks really good.

Also, I love making garments that look as good on the inside as they do on the outside. Finish work FTW!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Uh.. what?

I got this terrific book from a secondhand shop, Life in the English Country House by Mark Girouard. ( if you'd like to get your own, though mine was only seventy-five cents.) So it's all very interesting and has lots of pictures and makes great bathroom reading. I'm flipping through the pages today and see a picture on page 93 that gives me pause. Here it is.

Two people descending a staircase. And I look at the outfits first (like ya do) and then comes the
WTF moment. That lady?

She doesn't look like a lady.

She looks like she has a mustache and beard.

What the..? Is this early engraving evidence of 16th century cross-dressing? I know that wearing long gowns was common in earlier periods, but this is definitely Elizabethan stuff-- the pointed waist, the ruff, the front underskirt -- so what the heck is going on here?

<< for comparison!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Sottana thoughts over lunch.

Everything I'm reading has a note similar to this one from

According to both La Moda a Firenze and Patterns of fashion, the hem of Eleanora d'Toledo's burial gown had stiffening at the hem to help hold it out. This was a band of felt, covered by a satin strip. This is confirmed by the red velvet extant dress from Pisa, discussed in La Mode a Firenze.
Patterns of fashion states that the 'matching' satin bias strip was 8.8 - 10.1 cm wide. This covered the band of wool felt. Approximately 25-28mm above the edging, is a 13mm wide pintuck. This can be seen on Eleanora's burial sottana. This may also help to stiffen the hem.

The problem with reading all these dress diaries is, I have no way of asking questions or positing opinions. Like the pintuck mentioned. You know what it looks like to me? It reminds me very much of the hoop channels on a farthingale. And there really doesn't seem to be any reason for it that anyone else can come up with, except this vague "oh, it probably helped stiffen the hem" idea. I'm thinking, sure it did: by having some sort of hoop thing in it! Maybe not like willow or anything super-stiff, but like hemp or something, to foof it out. (Yes, "foof" is a real word.)

But, Wenny, I can hear you saying, there's no evidence of a hoop or anything in the extant garments found.

Yes, well -- that's because all the extant garments found were on dead people. Dead people lying on their backs. Where a stiff hoop-hem would make their skirt fly up into the air and show their burial knickers to the general populace. Naturally they'd leave it out for that, and arrange the skirt fetchingly. If only Janet Arnold were here; I'd love to get her opinion on this.

Another thing bonking around in my head is that I planned on making a wide band of contrasting material on the hem -- black velvet or damask, actually -- and I know I saw this somewhere. But now that I've cut my hem to allow for this extra bit of stuff, I'm not seeing anything that says it's appropriate or period. Curses.

I just know the sottana fashionistas are gonna come a-knockin.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Legs and Linings

Dave's leggings came in the mail from today, and he tried them on as soon as he got home from work.
I was eager to see how the codpiece worked, as it's not something a lady gets to inspect close-up very often, if at all. It's neat; kinda like a single-cup brassiere where a fella can stash his bits.
The quality of these tights is remarkable, and I love that they are machine washable and can be tossed in the dryer. 100% cotton-- can't beat that, and Dave says they are exceedingly comfortable.
I still wonder what's to be done with all that shirttail. It'd make his butt awfully lumpy, tucked in.

Work on the sottana continues. I want to get it and Dave's doublet to about the same stage in assembly, so I can get each step done at the same time.
Unfortunately for Dave, I find making my sottana much more interesting than working on his doublet -- maybe because I know there's a good deal more sewing involved and I'm hoping to have these done for the Midsummer Ren Fest in three weeks.

..I don't think they're gonna be ready. But let's hope for the best, shall we?

In the beginning...

This is how most projects get started in Wenny World: a nice piece of yardage and a sketch. A trip to shipwreckbeads yesterday got me the tiny glass pearl beads I wanted to use in the trim, and today I must get 30 yards of black satin ribbon --I'm using it on Dave's doublet as well, so I need lots.

You probably can't make out my hastily scrawled notes, but they make mention of slashed sleeves, ivory satin ribbon on black damask, and black velvet guarding on the skirt hem. I'm excited about this one!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Hot Hot Heat

It's 88 degrees, and while my hub insists that this is perfect summertime weather and not hot at all, I an inclined to disagree. If I were in the shade of a big tree, with comfortable chair and holding an icy-cold cocktail, perhaps my feelings would change. Unfortunately, the plan for the day was weeding the rosebed, and there are no big trees, chairs, or cocktails to be found there. That being the case, I have postponed my weeding until things cool off this evening, and am now playing seamstress at the dining room table.

Today's main effort: trim for Dave's doublet, and cutting out my sottana.

My plan for the trim was originally ten yards or so of jaquard ribbon, but I have found nothing appealing when I shopped. Instead, I devised Plan B: 3/4" black satin ribbon studded with glass pearl-like beads, and an embroidery X. Here's a pic of my test run.

I had thought of running a strip of 1/8" black satin ribbon on either side to give it bit more presence, but I think I like it better on its own.

This same trim will be going on my sottana, so we'll sorta match. And that's just so precious I could -- oh wait, no, it's kinda cool.

Friday, July 22, 2011


I have too many ideas building up in my head!

Today's wool purchase got me looking over old notebooks and online galleries and now, dammit, I've just spent the last hour or so determining that yes, I do have just enough carmine-colored damask to make an Italian sottana like I've been dreaming of ever since I saw the Red Pisa Gown ( which is gorgeous but I can't find that much cotton velveteen and I have this damask already sitting here in a drawer and besides, isn't damask even better for Italian stuff anyway? Yes, it is.

Sometimes I can't write a run-on sentence long enough to express all the clicks, clanks, and whirrs in my fevered brain.

I shouldn't be writing here. I should be working on the doublet and my corset so that I can start work on my carmine sottana. .... *shifty eyes*... BYE!


Four yards of 60" dark blue wool for $3.99.

Not per yard; for the whole piece.

I'll let that sink in a moment....

Okay, now: I'm starting to think that I should shut up about the amazing yardage buys I'm making at local thrift shops, or y'all are gonna start shopping them up before I get there. 'Cause that is just a redonkulous price for wool, wouldn't you say?

I'm gonna make something spectacular from it, you wait and see. I just need to figure out what.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Indiana Wen and the Muslin of Oogh,

Muslin accomplished! Well, in a manner of speaking. See, that patio sale where I got the dress form and the coutil? I also got a factory endroll of heavy muslin. Five bucks! Whatta deal! So I unrolled about a yard and a half to cut out my pattern, but it was all wrinkly. Fortunately, my iron and board were still set up from last time.

I started ironing, but the iron seemed to stick to the fabric. Not like the fibers were melting, but like there was a substance on the fabric. Old starch, I figure. After repeated attempts to smooth my iron across what felt like a syrupy pancake rather than fabric, I gave up. In the laundry room, I attempted to rinse out the starch.

Now, Dave is in the kitchen, making pasta, and he calls out like the voice of reason, "Why not just toss it in with a load of laundry?" No time! No time! I want to get this cut out and fitted tonight, and if I wait for a wash load to get done, and eat dinner, and clean up the kitchen, then it'll be late and I'll be tired and the couch will get all comfy-looking-beyond-all-reason and no test run fitting will take place tonight.

"Don't thwart my genius!" I cry, trotting through the kitchen with a sodden armload of dripping muslin, headed for the ironing board.

I press the iron to the cloth once again, and it moves much more easily. Success! But wait... what's that gross, greebly-looking gunk? Little white goobers of yuk are forming wherever I iron. It's the starch! Ugh! I return to the sink, lather, rinse, repeat.

"Dinner in fifteen minutes," cautions the voice of reason.

"Plenty of time!" I exclaim. I fling the now twice-rinsed muslin onto the board and raise my iron. Steam billows, and when it clears... there are more greeblies than ever. I poke at them and they smoodge across the fabric, slug-like under my thumb.

And that is why there is a wadded bunch of muslin in the washer and I made a prototype out of plaid flannel that used to be a bedsheet.

Which, incidentally, fit perfectly on the first try, and the plaid actually helped by making it easy to line up the two front pieces. Awesome! I didn't take a picture because dinner was being put on the table (the best pasta and sausage ever, with fresh basil!) and it really just looked like a plaid vest.

Now it's time to get serious and cut the fabric. More on that next time!

3D -- Dave's Doublet of DOOOOOOM; In the Beginning...

My secret for pattern drafting? Old Christmas wrap. It has a one-inch grid on the back that is perfect for sketching out ideas, pins go through it (and fabric) without a hassle, and it folds neatly to be stored in a manilla envelope.

Here's my rough-and-ready draft of Dave's doublet -- at least the main body of it. Hopefully I'll have a muslin done tonight for him to try on.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

16th Century Flemish Kit

Once again, we head back in the archives, this time to the first big project I completed.

After the Tophat fiasco, and the corset experiment, there was a machine-sewed drawstring-necked chemise (which serves perfectly as a nightgown and looks so simply innocent that it never stays on for long) and a green skirt made from curtains that fell right into the realm of "Halloween Costume" -- which is fine, because really, that's what it was for.

But it got me fired up to make clothing, not a costume, and that's when I stumbled upon Drea Leed's excellent (and inspiring) webpage on the 16th Century Flemish Working Woman's Dress.

I had no idea that I'd be posting the resulting outfit on a blog someday, so there are precious few pictures of the assembly. I think this is the only one of the kirtle being made. It shows the strips of black wool I used to back the red linen blend so that the lacing eyelets would be stronger.

Ooh, I found a close-up pic of the chemise construction!

In true period method, I cut and hemmed each individual piece, and then whipstitched them together. It doesn't take as long as you might think, and it's incredibly strong. Here's where I
got my information on that: theelizabethanseam.html

The chemise underneath, by the way -- that's made from part of the handkerchief-weight linen that I scored at Goodwill. It's all hand sewn, too, with the Elizabethan seams, and it's probably the thing I'm most proud of, of everything I've made. I must have watched a dozen Frasier re-runs while working on it.

I got the chemise and kirtle done in time to wear it to a Yule party and then a Christmas party a week or so later, and was encouraged and gratified by the compliments I got. I was fired up and ready to make the overgown right then and there, but I hadn't found a piece of wool big enough to make it, so I had to bide my time and keep checking my thrifts.

I made my muslin for the overgown, though. Good thing, too, because for the first bit of the fitting, I was trying to pin the pieces on backwards. Good heavens.

I wanted a nice piece of brown wool to make the overgown. Joann's had exactly the stuff I wanted, at $28 a yard, a price that made my hands shake. I asked for gift certificates for the holidays to no avail.

Weeks passed with no suitable fabric turning up, and in despair, I took up with some Vikings. (You saw the cloak in an earlier post. There's an apron dress I'll be showing off later on. But I digress...)

Finally I turned up a piece of greyish tweed wool in my stash. I had forgotten I even had it! But there it was, at the bottom of the pile, and there was five yards of it. I think I had passed it over before because of the color, but on that day, something clicked in my head, saying dye it.

So I dyed it, with Rit Brown. While it wasn't exactly what I was hoping for, it was certainly close enough. And frankly, by this point, all I wanted to do was get the thing made and be done. I lined the bodice part with a little brown wool that I had on hand, and the skirt is lined with a matching brown linen that used to be a tablecloth -- the Martha Stewart collection, I think. Take that, Martha!

Later I changed the brown laces for white ones. I think it's better.

And here's the back of it, with nice knife-pleats and the back all wrinkled because I've twisted to look at my off-camera dog, who is desperately hoping I'm out in the yard to play ball with her.

I'm wearing the partlet, but my apron got taken off and flung over the porch railing, because really, I want to play ball, too. Moments after this shot, I was in the house putting on jeans so I could frolic with my pup. =)

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

To battle!

This is our family blazon, designed and constructed by me!

Azure, a boar proper, caboshed and irradiated, per chief triangular, argent, three beech leaves, vert.

The beech leaves traditionally represent tolerance, and knowledge of history, and the boar's head stands for hospitality.

That's a pineapple ring behind him glowing like a halo, by the way. Because I'm hilarious.

A question for the masses

Here's the deal: Men's shirts, right, everything I read about them says to hem them long, between mid-hip and the upper thigh, and talks about keeping decent on midnight runs to the jakes and all that. Extant garments I've seen look longer than modern shirts, but not as long as a modern nightshirt, for example. Okay.

And then I see jerkins and/or doublets (the terms seem to be used somewhat interchangeably; I've decided that jerkins lack sleeves that doublets have, but that's just me.) worn with tights. Sometimes there's a pair of "pumpkin pants" but sometimes not. Often I just see the leggings poking from under the bases of the jerkin, and no trace of the shirt. I never see a shirt hanging below the jerkin (okay, once, but that wasn't really a jerkin, it was more of a leather vest cut very large and laced wrong and I think the label was "Ye Authenticke Robin Hood Costume" or something) and I've seen lots of pictures of nice smooth-tighted tushies, so I don't think Lord Harcheston of Marplehamshireford is just cramming his hem into his tights while exiting the backhouse -- and this leads to my question.

Fellas, what do you do with your shirttails?

Where's his shirttail gone? I dunno! HELP!

*record needle scratch!*

Whoa! Stop the presses ... or sewing machines, or whatever. My honey needs a new pretty or two for the WA Midsummer Renaissance Faire ( so I'm dropping the needle on my effigy corset and picking up the scissors to make him a jerkin. Stay tuned for further developments!

While you wait, enjoy this awesome handsewn linen shirt! He looks pleased because I finally made something for him.

And here is the dashing man with his complete look: Handsewn linen shirt with simple blackwork embroidery on the cuffs and collar, green linen pants, and a heavy, soft, velvety cloak that used to be a bedspread or something.

A closer look at the cloak. It's very full, and when he starts walking, you can almost hear the Imperial March.

Monday, July 18, 2011


I keep mentioning my "effigy corset", and I just stopped to think, maybe you have no idea what it is I'm talking about. So here's a link real quick, because I'm going to see the new, last Harry Potter movie and I simply can't be bothered to write up a full-on essay now. My thanks to The Elizabethan Costume folks. They are simply terrific, and their sensible, straightforward research minds have pulled me through more projects than I can count.

(this picture is representative, but it's not mine. yay Google!)

A Viking Cloak.. I guess.

Everyone needs a good warm cloak, right? And it so happened that I scored this awesome wool blanket that had been donated to Goodwill because it had been washed incorrectly and had felted up tight and thick. At least, I assume that's why the original owner ditched it. Some folks don't see that as a desirable thing, I guess, for bedding. But it makes one fantastic cloak: warm, sturdy, and practically windproof.

The blue binding on the edges is a much better color match in real life. I have no idea why my camera phone insists on playing fast-n-loose with color tones, but whatever. I'm not particularly happy with the binding anyway, but wool makes me itch, and I wanted something along the back of the neck to protect me from the wool. I may make changes to this in the future, but for now, it stands. Not terribly period, but... *shrug*

I chose a dog design from a book of Viking art that I found in the library. I stitched him on before I put on the binding or decided to make the herringbone border, so that's why he's so close to the edge, and the border stops and starts on either side of him. I think looks fine, but I'd not do it that way again.

At the bottom of this pic, you can see the half-inch guide threads I basted in to make sure that my line was straight.

Originally it was just to be a yellow wool herringbone stitch, but then I thought a little accent would look nice, so I tacked each x with a + in blue that matched the background. Meant to be a little touch of fancy, it ended up looking like butterflies, or flowers -- not my intention! But from more than talking distance away, it's not noticeable. Maybe I'm just being weird.

Research shows plain wool cloaks were the norm for vikings, with a pin at the shoulder and maybe a thin woven band along the edge for the particularly wealthy or for a special garment. But Vikings were a very colorful people, and they loved decorative stitching, and there are exceedingly few surviving extant garments in existance, so I say there's no reason to think that a cloak decorated like this might not have been worn and appreciated.

Well, except for the binding on the edge. ...Dangit, now I want to go tear that off.

So apparently I can send updates from my phone now? Coooool. I wonder if that includes pictures... let's find out!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Early projects.

I have a whiskey lemonade, and it's delightful. Want one? Go ahead, I'll wait for ya 'til you get back...

Ready? Okay.

Thought I might share some pictures from projects I did in the last year, kinda bring you up to date on all the things I've tried since I started sewing a a year ago. It all began with a half-yard of dark green cotton velveteen bought from a yard sale for fifty cents.

Let me say that price again, beca-- oh, hell. You know the drill by now: Crazy good price.

What inspired me to make a top hat, I could not say. Actually, I could say, but it's not very interesting and really wouldn't explain anything very well unless you knew me really well. But there I was at a neighbor's yard sale, and I picked up the velveteen and was all like "Whoa, this would make a wicked top hat. ...I bet I could make one!" And the rest is historical fashion ...history. Or something. Anyway, here:

Lesson learned? Besides a seam allowance, you need to start with your hat form slightly too big, so when you add the lining and everything it's not too small for your head. Also, cut the cloth on the bias, but make your frame on grain. To do otherwise is asking for a hat that will willingly crumple when the least amount of tension is put on it, making it impossible to make the velvet cover nice and smooth. This looks like something out of Emmett_Kelly's wardrobe.

After the disappointment of the hat, I decided that what I really needed to do was make a corset. Again, I can't explain what made me think that a corset was any way to start fresh on my sewing career, but there ya go. So I hauled out the ol' Singer, bought a yard of green damask upholstery fabric and two 12-packs of inexpensive hacksaw blades for stays, and got crazy. Something about working the anglegrinder in the garage to smooth the sawblades made me feel all steampunk-y. Here's a pic.

For a first timer, I think I did very well. I used the by-now famous Custom Corset Pattern Generator ( with a few adjustments, and I'm basically pleased with the results.

I used green velveteen left over from the hat fiasco to bind the edges. That's recycling, kids!

I have the best posture in the world with this thing on. I used part of a heavy wooden yardstick from Home Depot for a busk. It laces up the back through brass grommets, in a criss-cross style that I learned from a burlesque website. *blush*
Now that I've become a bit more edumicated on proper Elizabethan corsetry, I'm making a proper one based on E's effigy corset. Woot!


About 90% of my sewing stash -- my cloth, trims and ribbons, embroidery supplies, etc -- comes secondhand. I'm lucky to live in an area where there are three large Goodwill stores, a Value Village, and a handful of smaller secondhand stores that all have craft sections, and I make regular visits to them to see if they have anything I can use.

Because I work mostly on historical reproduction outfits, the sort of things I'm looking for need to be natural fibers and colors that would have been available in common use in the 16th century. That means wool and linen -- lots of it. And that stuff is expensive, especially when you're a stickler for 100% fiber, and try not to use blends. Wool or linen can easily run $20 a yard or more. Considering that it takes anywhere from four to seven yards of fabric to make a dress, that can be a huge expense!

I'll admit it's a rare day when I find seven yards of anything at Goodwill, but I have. And the price range I pay there is generally between three and ten dollars. I once made a terrific find of seventeen yards of handkerchief-weight linen for fifteen bucks.

Do you believe that? Wtf seventeen yards for fifteen... freakin... dollar bills. It's madness!

Shopping thrift is different than running to Joann's because you need a few yards of blue wool to make a tunic. It's more of a hunting-gathering sort of thing: you go to see if there's anything you can use, not just for a specific project.

In one visit, I might be looking particularly for linen to make a shirt. So I check out tablecloths first. A good sized tablecloth of 100% linen isn't as rare as you might think; folks donate them all the time because ironing them is a pain, or gramma died and left a shit-ton of them, or a catering business just closed down. The secret to finding the real thing and not a polyester blend is to look at the edge. If it's serged (bound with stitching), it's fake. If it has a turned hem, it's probably real linen, and if that hem is two inches and has mitered corners, you can be 99% sure it's real --If you can't tell simply by the feel and look of it. Once you've handled linen a while, you'll know the real stuff anywhere.

So I go through the tablecloths and maybe there's nothing good there. Onward to yardage. The 70's must be well and truly behind us, because the bane of polyester reeking of mothballs seems to have passed. For a while there was a dearth of the rotten stuff being culled from dead grandmothers closets and donated to thrift stores. One place I go to is nice enough to put labels on their yardage with the piece's measurements, but usually I have to unfold it from the hanger and guesstimate it. Maybe it's a lucky day and I find something that will work for me, but usually I don't. On the other hand, there is a piece of good wool, or three yards of an interesting brocade. Not what I'm after today, but something I could use on another project.

This is how one builds a dangerous stash.

Other things to consider: The bedding section, and curtains. Great places to find wool blankets (or large pieces of wool yardage that someone in back mistook for a blanket) or cotton velveteen or brocade draperies (but not the rubber-backed ones, or the polyester) and also skirts and dresses -- especially the plus size ones. There can be a nice amount of fabric in one of these.

National chain thrift stores usually have sale days, too, so watch for those and it's wacky what you can get for 99 cents if you're lucky.

Follow these simple steps, and soon you can be like me, with three dressers full of assorted wool, linen, brocades, leather, velvet and silks! ...but none of it exactly right for the project you're making now.


Saturday, July 16, 2011


If you haven't noticed by now, you will as you read more of my posts: a lot of what I make starts with a crazy bargain I pick up somewhere. Just two days ago I was researching materials to bone my effigy corset with, and came across a word I didn't know: coutil. Here's a lil' linky-poo for ya.

Now, how I have spent all the last year reading tons of sewing blogs --many of which contain notes on making corsets -- and have never run across this word before astounds me. But there ya go, life is weird like that. Apparently coutil is just the bees knees when it comes corsetry, but is terrifically expensive and hard to find. A shopping search online turned it up for $29 a yard, or slightly less with a five-yard minimum order.

And then, after learning of this fabric two days ago, today I go to the Panorama Patio Sale ( and what do I find? A yard of the stuff for a buck.

Let me repeat that price, cause it's completely nuts: One... stinkin'... dollar.

And here's me with an effigy corset cut out at home just waiting for me to start stitching on it. The pale mint-green linen I was going to use? No more. I'm all about the coutil, baby. More on how that works out in a bit.

Friday, July 15, 2011

The Green Dress

I've never been a fan of Walmart. The one nearest us is one of those "super" ones, where they have everything from shoelaces and handguns to Rice-a-Roni and home pregnancy tests, all in one enormous, sprawling building with a five-acre parking lot. They have a fabric and notions department, too, as I found out when we went there in search of a specific set of earbuds for my husband. I ditched him in electronics, and went to see exactly what Walmart was trying to sell in the way of cheap fabric.
And oh man, was it cheap. They had the expected bolts of brightly-colored cotton prints and baby flannels, and a wide selection of polar fleece -- but they also had a huge sale table, heaped up with oddball stuff. Like rubberized auto upholstery. Or that grey fuzzy webbing you find inside stereo speakers. There was a stack of somber-hued cotton calicos that made me want to buy them up and make simple, decent, matching shirts and skirts for an imaginary polygamist family.

And there was a full bolt of green bottom-weight linen.

For a buck-fifty a yard.

Let me repeat that price, 'cause it's insane: One Dollar and Fifty Cents a Yard.

There were almost sixteen yards of linen on that bolt. I bought it all. They gave me a deal and I paid just over twenty dollars plus tax.

I brought it home and made a dress. This dress!

It's so wrinkly! That's 'cause i just pulled it out of the dryer and was in a hurry to take the pictures before all the daylight was gone. Patience is something I just do not have...

I'll admit this one time I was in a hurry to get done and I machine stitched the long side seams, but the rest is by hand. It's just that the Oregon Country Fair was in two weeks and I wanted to have a new dress to show off, plus Dave wanted a shirt made and pants, too. I bet you're not a bit surprised to hear he got green linen pants.

Here you can see the side spiral lacing. Yeah, those are metal grommets. No way I had time to hand-stitch four dozen eyelets with OCF only a week and a half away!

Here's the complete outfit, with partlet and apron. Dig those crazy sleeves, eh? Once I'd machine-sewn the long seams and set metal grommets, I kinda threw the whole "historical accuracy" thing to the wind, and had a little fun with what I thought would be the sleeve lining. But then I put the sleeves on and oh my god it looked so boring and plain! So I turned them inside out and let the lining's freak flag fly: blue, olive and gold paisley! .. lemme see if I can find a close-up.

 we go: That lace holding on the sleeve? Fingerbraid by me. I love fingerbraiding. It's so fast and looks so cool as you do it.

I set the sleeve grommet under that little cap, so it wouldn't be all "look at me I'm a metal grommet!" I do have a little bit of shame, see?

All in all, I'm pleased with the look of this outfit. I love the color, (which isn't coming through in these pictures because of the indoor lighting) and the fit and weight of the fabric was perfect.

The only problem I had was the front panel (of course) which --even though I took care to cut on-grain -- rearranged itself and developed a slight pull to the right at the waistline. But for a buck-fiddy a yard, I think we did alright. And I have enough of this fabric that I can always re-cut that front panel, if I want to.

Here's a pic of me in the dress, where the true pale olive color shows better. And I'm wearing my super-sexy linen coif. Woot!

With a roar!

Today has been an amazing day. The local retirement community had a patio sale, and I got a Dritz "My Double" Deluxe dress form for three dollars. It's practically brand new; in perfect condition.

And let me say that price again because I still can't believe it: Three... freakin ...dollars.

So, once work was over and dinner was done, I've spent the evening playing dress-up with my new toy. Finally I can see what outfits look like at the back without twisting my neck or trying to wrangle mirror angles. Is it stupid that I'm so in love with this gadget?

Today's other project is continued work on my effigy corset. I've run into busk problems, as in: I don't have one. I'll come up with something by tomorrow, I bet.