Tag Archives: period sewing

Buttons & More Buttons

As boxes are slowly being put away, the pile of unfinished projects grows.  Early in my SCA adventure I beaded a sideless surecoat with a blue cotehardie for an underdress.   That project was entered it into the GW A&S  exhibition as a “work in progress”.  Now is the time to start the finishing work.  This started with buttons….   First challenge making the cloth buttons.   I searched the web and found several sites that have great tutorials.  The one I chose to use as a base is:   Making Cloth Buttons.
 
First I dug and found the fabric scraps from the dress, a chalk pencil, and a spool of thread:  ( the first pictures I used black fabric so you could see the marks)   Gather your tools:
 
spool of thread, marking tool, scissors and fabric scrap

spool of thread, marking tool, scissors and fabric scrap

Use the spool of thread to create your circle then cut on the line.  Next, thread a needle using a long piece of thread  ( I used buttonhole thread in a contrasting color for the visual if using regular thread use a double strand)  and stitch around the circumference far enough from the raw edge that the fabric will not fray.

 

gathering stitches

gathering stitches

Gently pull the thread to gather the circle in.  The edges should naturally tuck in but you may need to coax them a bit.  You will end up with a flattened circle:

 

after gathering

after gathering

On the flattened button, repeat the above step, stitching around the folded edge.  ( I forgot to take a picture of this step)  Firmly pull and shape til you get the button.

 

second gathering to bring it into the button shape.

second gathering to bring it into the button shape.

 

Take your needle and stitch across the opening using the gathering as a guide.. and Viola you have a button..   Leave a long tail  so that attaching to the garment will be easier.

 

Finished blue buttons wrapped around a thread  winder with one button started

Finished blue buttons wrapped around a thread winder with one button started

buttons drawn for cuffs..

30 buttons drawn for cuffs..

Making fabric buttons was easy and they match the dress.  Give them a try and see what you think.  The cost of pewter buttons for a cotehardie can be very high as you need sooooooooo many.  This is a great alternative and is also period.  Have fun!!

 

 
 

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A World in Transformation

The Past 7 months have been a whirlwind of change.   As the saying goes :

“When one door closes, another door opens; but we so often look so long and regretfully upon the closed door, that we do not see the ones which open for us.”  ― Alexander Graham Bell
 
For a couple of months I looked at the doors closing as an ending, my life frozen in place.  As the days and weeks passed i began to see all the open doors.  Stepping through takes courage, or the ability to just run and jump, but once you step over the threshold the world brightens.  
 
I am now in my very own home!!  Yes, I said mine not rented!!!  And, it has acorns and oak leaves in the wrought iron used on the front  patio and by windows. This house has an added addition of a “craft/sewing room”  that will stay that way.  Great windows with lots of natural light.  Plenty of space for all the toys and a very large closet.. 
 
My helper cats are loving actually having carpeting in the bedrooms instead of concrete.  I have a full kitchen ( all the drawers are there, there is a fridge and dishwasher, and most  no more bugs!!)  There is something great about owning..         
 
As the process to purchase moved forward I continued to embroider and sew.   Now that the boxes are mostly unpacked and the settling is finished I have time to refocus on my creative side.  In the next couple of weeks I will be posting those adventures.   
 
As time continues to move forward and more doors open it is my hope to inspire others to create.. Remember as doors close, turn around, there are others that have opened!
 

Now for a couple sneak peaks of  the coming postings:

 

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New Year – New Project

As the new year has started so has the list of projects..  We all have them..  My first project is to do a device on the back of a Furisodo..  As the device has many details it was a challenge to transfer the pattern to the already completed piece of clothing.  Using tracing paper I traced over the device and made three separate sheets. design printed transfering for opposite position
After completing the tracing the three pieces the placement on the clothing was next.  After some trial and error the placement was finalized and in went the pins to hold the patterns in place.
  dragon traced and placed on furisodo  
To transfer the pattern buttonhole thread seems to give a good line and is easy to pull out after you have embroidered. Center outlined
 
 
   one dragon almost done  
The design is done in silver thread with a chain stitch.  The completed back took around 20 hours.  
 
finished furisodo
 
 
The first project of the year completed!!!  🙂   Hmm now what to do next…. 

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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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