Looking back

A couple of years ago I started to do a sideless surcoat.  I used fabric that was in my stash and started beading.. The fabric was white with a diamond pattern that was perfect to embellish.  Being from the Kingdom of Trimaris  blue and silver beads would be perfect.  It never occurred to me that this would turn into a year long project.  The pieces traveled with me everywhere, even at the airport where an audience gathered and asked questions.  It was amazing that one of the question/statements from an older lady was “Women in America still hand sew?”.
full view sideless surcoat front

Full view sideless surcoat Front. ( fur pinned on)

 

This is a full front view.  The beads are from neck to floor and the fur is a 2″ width pinned on.   The over dress is lined in cotton and the bottom band is of linen (blue to carry on the Theme of Trimaris colors).

 

 

 

 

 

                Here you see a picture of the lower back of the gown.  The beading is done with the outline of  a V to avoid sitting on any beads.  The upper back is also lacking beads for the same reason.  This would not have occurred if I had not sat on one of the beaded pieces and decided this was not a good feeling.  It also would put more wear and tear on those beads.. And after the time it took to do this it would be unlikely that it would be repaired quickly.. 🙂

sideless surcoat back

 

 Now to give you some close ups of the beading itself… 

 

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beading close-up  blue seed bead with 4 silver beads clustered around

beading close-up blue seed bead with 4 silver beads clustered around

lower back of dress showing V

lower back of dress showing V 

This post has been inspired because this dress was recently pulled out of the closet and worn with the blue cotehardie under-dress..  “wow”  I really need to finish this off correctly.  As I took out the rings lacing on the cotehardie (pics to follow) i was amazed how much I have learned and how many mistakes I made.  As the tedious job of taking apart all the hand stitches thoughts of how could I have entered this in GW open competition as a work in progress….   Though the comments were encouraging and getting both yellow and white bead made me happy now that I have moved forward it is obvious how much growing has occurred in two years.  
Now comes the “refurbishment”  of this ensemble..   The Triskels need to be added to the blue band, eyelets need to be handsewn down the back of the cotehardie, and the fur needs to be applied differently.  So with fur flying and seam ripper in action lets see what happens….  

 

 

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Prototype dress and hat done

Finally finished my dress and got the basic underpinnings all gathered and it rained.  Here are pictures minus the feathers for the hat and the sleeves due to the rain.  Have the basics figured out and now for the real dress.  Need to pull out stash and see what I have to do the next one. 🙂

 

at MMM 2013 bee hat font picture. sir trud and I at MMM 2013

 

Plans for next few months: continue working on the embroidery for the new smock, cut and start shell for a doublet, learn about pad stitching and practice,  finish patterning and cutting a farthingale and finally do a second body using silk as cover.  🙂

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finished corset

The Corset is finished.  I am truly glad I did a prototype first as there are things I will do different for my silk one.  It was a great learning experience and I will post a more complete description in the following weeks.  but here is the  final product.Finished corset on dress form back view finished corset side view finished corset on dress form

 

So many small fixes to do to the pattern but all in all for my first totally hand sewn one i am happy.

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Moving along

the 29 eyelets are completed.. Learned many new things in the process.  Onto finishing the edges and then finished!!  Here is another sneak peak of how far I am..
sneak peak front side eyelets   
I hope to have it completed in the next day..  will post the completed project with the steps that I did. 🙂  
 
 

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Sneak peek of corset progress

It has been a few days.. I have been working on more of the hand sewing, cutting and placing the reeds.  Now on to the eyelets..   

beginning the eyelets

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Brickstitch Pouch

After working on the needlebooks a friend  asked me if I would like to barter for a brickstitch pouch.  She has inspired so many that I was determined to embark on a secret project.  This is extremely hard, as sharing what project is being worked on and the tips and tricks that are learned during the process, is an important part of what I do.  
 
First I had to find a pattern.   There are several great sites to go to.  http://www.wymarc.com  is a wonderful website that was a great help.  Between that and searching images I finally came up with the design I wanted to start with.  
 
Materials:

To set up the embroidery I needed a slat frame.  I purchased basic stretcher bars and put them together.  On the top and bottom I attached a stable strip of sturdy cotton.  I then stretched base fabric (cotton) and attached to both the upper and lower bars by using a herringbone stitch.  The next step is to whip stitch the side onto the frame.  To keep this taut I tried to keep the insertions evenly spaced apart.  (approx 1′ apart)  using a sturdy cotton thread.  Once you have secured your base fabric place your working fabric , measured and cut, onto the base fabric.   Pin in place then carefully cut out a window leaving about 1″ of base fabric on back.  turn in excess base fabric and secure the working fabric ( in this case aida) onto the base with a herringbone stitch.   You now are ready to start your embroidery.

Back picture of dress frame with Aida attached

Back picture of dress frame with Aida attached

back view close up of side whip stitch and attachment of aida cloth

back view close up of side whip stitch and attachment of aida cloth

As I look back it would have been nice to have taken more pictures of dressing the slat frame.  Needs to be put on the list of projects to do.  The hardest part is removing the base fabric from behind your working fabric.  This is the way I chose to do this.  Please feel free to comment with other ways to accomplish this.

Then came 4 months of work.  With the help of another FB group Historic Hand Embroidery  I was able to work through this project with positive support and feed back. Below are progress pictures:

overview of pouch in progress on slat frame

overview of pouch in progress on slat frame

close up of work in progress

close up of work in progress

Once you have finished the embroidery completely now it is time to remove from the slat frame and finish edges.

back view:  Pouch removed and finishing edges started

back view: Pouch removed and finishing edges started

back view finished edges

back view finished edges

Close up of corner finished
Close up of corner finished

Slat frame after pouch was removed
Slat frame after pouch was removed

Now comes the fun part.  🙂  Putting the pouch together.. First I cut the Red linen to the size i needed and hand stitched it together leaving the top unfinished.  To close the sides and get a finished look I chose to use a embroidered braid on the edges.  The inspiration for this was Anne Newman and extraordinarily talented woman.  You can find her at Raicaire’s Embroidery & Needlework  .  I will warn you her site is addictive.  
 
folded and ready for braid treatment

folded and ready for braid treatment

braid along seam

Once the sides were finished the linen liner was placed inside and a braid was  again used to attach the two.  Next was adding the tassels and making the eyelets  for the top.  The tie was made with finger loop braid.  and the final touch was adding a squirrel charm.
 
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It was finally finished and passed on to be used by a very special Laurel.  I hope this has inspired encouraged everyone to try this stitch..

 

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Corset 2/3 Channeled.

This project has been a wonderful learning experience.  Using waxed linen thread does take some getting used to but once you do you will not use poly/cotton again.  The cost was very reasonable and the hand is wonderful.  Creating the channels on the back piece pins were used.  Due to the movement of the fabric that changed to basting all the layers together.  This worked and the end result was an evenly channeled product.

After posting this blog the question about zip ties came up again.. No, it is not wrong to use them,  it is just a choice.  Is it easier to use zip ties?  I have to say no.  You have the filing and sanding of the ends, if you go for the cheaper thin zip ties you will have to double them up to get the result you are looking for.  Again my fathers words ” Do it right the first time”  echo in my mind.  Yes it is taking longer to hand sew.  Yes I have to hunt and order the linen thread and reeds instead of running to Walmart.  But in the long run for me, it is the journey of creating this.

As the project progresses it comes to mind how did they do this with out using a strong light.  ( I have an Ott light). How did they find time to cloth their family.  They did not have the same sharp precise scissors, rulers and resources we do.. There is truly no right or wrong to how you choose to create your garb.  Whether you use zip ties or reeds the journey is what is important not the end result.  Don’t judge others encourage them to enjoy the journey.

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Needlebooks Galore

Jan 2013 our local SCA group had one of their yearly daytrip events.  A small group of women were asked to hold a special “Rose Tea” .  My friend and I decided to start a group that would focus on organizing luncheons and teas for small groups with in the SCA.  We call ourselves “The Sisterhood of the Traveling Teacups” .  It was important for me to show how much each and everyone of them meant to me as well as how appreciated they were.  I had been playing with blackwork when I stumbled on “German Brickstitch”.    
 
 
 
4 covers to the needlecases   finished needlebook
 
it wasn’t complete if you have a needle book you need somewhere to store them.. And the madness continues…
 
Off to the cigar store (they carry empty cigar boxes for a nominal charge and that money goes to the firefighters) picked up four boxes and went home.. ( okay so we also paused to see a movie)  Finally home ,  now what do I do with these.. 🙂
 
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and we have boxes.. But wait there is more…. though the smell of cigars makes me think of my grandfather,  it really was not something that i wanted to pass on.. so one more addition.
 
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I added a lavendar Sachet to the mix.  on the right you see a finished box ready to go to its new home.
 
In the beginning the pictures are sparse but at least there are a couple.. If an more appear I will add them.. 
 
 
 
 

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Embroidery

Hmm Embroidery.. What can I share..   It first started after school, in 1st grade, with a class.  I don’t remember much except the design was, (wait for it)  Holly Hobby.. Several weeks, sitting with 2 other girls (who really didn’t want to be there) and happily stitching away.   Then there was a long hiatus before the call of the needle was heard .  Cross stitch … I was pregnant and it called.  For several years I cross stitched my way through 3 toddlers.   Fast forward to present day..  I entered into the SCA ( Society for Creative Anachronism) and all of a sudden there was that familiar pull.  However, there was the need to make garb first, so the embellishments had to wait.   The call of the needle was heard once more, slowly building until I couldn’t resist.  The  following posts will show the journey as I re-acquaint and grow this wonderful and challenging skill.  

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Welcome to my collection of Acorns/projects

As time moves on so do we.  As i was cleaning and consolidating my computer files it became apparent that i have been a busy squirrel.  Aug. 2012 my muse came back with a purpose.  Projects and the inspiration to do them became the norm.  It had been many years since a true whirlwind of ” I can do this” had picked me up and sent me on my way.. as I go through the pictures and notes I realized that to actually post my projects and my thoughts would be a positive reminder of what is able to be accomplished when you believe you can do it.. This process will take time as, yes, I am still working on projects..  It is my hope that maybe some of my projects will inspire as so many did for me.  

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