Monday, June 27, 2011

My Garby Plans

First idea was that cool pattern for making a tunic from only squares and triangles.  This for example (not the original link, but that lady must've found hers at the same old link I did.)  It makes sense!  Of course the back-then people put so much time and effort into making their fabric, that they'd want to use every scrap of it and not have giant chunks of fabric wasted like modern patterns do.  I finally tested that idea using an old bedsheet. 

The results were pretty clumsy.  It was too huge with underarm gussets but didn't work very well without them. 

I stuffed that attempt into a box and was disgusted about it for a while.  A few months later I pulled it out and realized it wasn't as bad as all that.  It only needed better-shaped sleeves, and if it was made from a solid color and had some distracting trim added to it, it wouldn't be bad at all.

That's the point when I found myself unable to attend an event I had wanted to attend due to having nothing to wear.  Just as impending nakedness is what it takes to motivate me to sew my regular clothes, so that piqued disappointment one fine Saturday motivated me to get on with my SCA "attempt."

Look!  I have a new goal!  "Medievaloid"
Something is medievaloid if it is not authentic to the middle ages, but looks medieval to the modern eye.
Dresses bought in a fantasy or renaissance faire store are usually medievaloid - they look medieval to the untrained eye but don't quite fit any one time, place or style.
In most cases, especially for beginners, medievaloid fits under the category of "best effort" and passes all but the most critical scrutiny. Where the line is between medievaloid and "just tacky" is hotly debated.

There.  That's going to be the mark towards which I strive, and then I have a chance of hitting it.  I'll just not waste any more time looking at the blogs (I typed "globs" at first) of these ladies who start with the sheep and end up in the 13th century.

The GOAL is to sew something, anything, that looks medievaloid to the untrained eye.  And I can do that! 

Actually this might be really fun.  I've always liked "Princess style" better than modern anyway and this'll give me an excuse to go with it.  My crayon masterpieces when I was little usually involved huge skirts and hennins.  I had a gigantic paper doll collection and spent hours drawing dresses for them. Not suits and briefcases, not jeans and a t-shirt...

One of my earliest influences:  

There, that's a good illustration of what can go wrong when you try to get too authentic  :-D

(But if there had been no spinning allowed for the last sixteen years, what was the princess's birthday dress made out of?  Imported polyester?) 

First thing to do, is buy some patterns that I'll end up not using.  I already had Simplicity 9929 in my collection, that I bought years ago when it was in print.  I had bought it because I loved it so much, but I thought a costume party would be the only opportunity to wear something like that, and I'd surely never be invited to one.  That was before I heard of the SCA or Renfaire. 

That looks sooooo comfortable!  Not sure about the collar though, and not sure about trying to make it without one. 

Here's Andrea's dream garb:

That's probably the only pattern that will end up being used and followed  :-) 

But I added another for me, just for fun, since the seller was into combining shipping:  

Don't know why; I'll never cut it out.  I like the style, but the neckline is too huge and looks hard to alter, the skirt looks funny and those sleeves would probably end up bugging me. 

After regretting that waste of $4 for a while, I got back to the drawing board.  I know I can make something up.  It doesn't have to be fancy, just an attempt, remember? And I'll probably just use my basic pattern that I use for everything else! 

I went through my pile of pictures saved from the internet, and made a collage in wallpaper size so all those images would be staring at me from my desktop every day.  Here it is in square shape.  This is my collection of favorites, of outfits that I would like to wear.

(All images are stolen, so apologies to everybody. On the other hand, it is kind of a compliment?  :-)

The long jumper over long-sleeve peasant blouse look, I can do that.

Here's my sketches which I keep on the ironing board and look at frequently to keep me going in a direction instead of wandering off into doubtfulness. 

I'll start with the jumper idea.  Here's as far as I've gotten as of last night.

I actually like that a lot.  It's comfortable and feels very me.  The neckline is too wide and gaps a bit, but that won't be a problem under the next layer.  I'm pondering what to do with the sleeves.

The kids were confused about the hemline:  "What's that hanging down part supposed to be?"
No, no, don't worry, it'll be trimmed off even! 

I'm snagged at the point where I decide what to make the jumper out of.  I was planning on the "gorgeous scales" fabric that I already posted about but it does seem a pity to use that for just a simple jumper.  It seems like fabric that gorgeous should be made into something even more gorgeously medievaloid.  It's been lying folded up on the sewing chair for a couple weeks while I give it further thought.

MUST get going though, must cut something out and make it into something!  Just cut!  Now!
(My standard anti-procrastination pep talk.) 

Meanwhile, back to what Andrea wanted...

At an estate sale she spotted a chunk of heavenly-blue light woven $1/yd perfect for the underdress, and cut it out.  I ended up sewing it together.  It has raglan sleeves and a curved neckline about which the directions order with a straight face "fold over twice to form a casing"  ARGH. 

Had to do some wiggling with Photoshop to get the blue color to show up right.  

The thrift shop had a perfect old tablecloth to use for the surcote.

I haven't cut it out yet.
That's the next step!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Friday, June 24, 2011

Trying a New Craft - Braiding

At the Faire there was an SCA lady demonstrating fingerloop braiding. It looked magical.

There were also several booths selling kits for kumihimo, which also looked interesting.  I thought I'd look it up at the library first instead of plunking $17 for a kit, and found this really great book, which explained what I wanted to hear:  

And had diagrams!
From ye olde internet, I found
Which has plenty of information to get started. 
I only cut out a cardboard loom from an empty kleenex box and look what I made! 

It is just fascinating how it works, and there comes the braid out the other side.
The downside:  it would take For.  Ev.  Er.  to make any length of braid this way. 
This is all the further I got even after doing it (it is a very relaxing activity for the hands) a whole afternoon while we had some friends over.  Oops, the picture doesn't show, but it's a sample about 6" long. 
A real polished wooden stand, with the braid weighted down beneath, and a practiced worker, could probably do it a lot faster. 

Back to "fingerloop braiding" which the 14th c lady had been demonstrating.  She provided this link,
I cut some lengths of thread and got started.  It takes just a few minutes to get the hang of it and then it requires no further attention and goes like lightning. 

I braided all the way down to the ends of the loops while still standing there being amazed at how cool this was.  I didn't even have time to get bored.  WOW!  Look how pretty it comes out!!  And these were just the colors of cotton thread that I happened to have in the top drawer.  

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Kitty in the Sun

I love the shiny effect!! 

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Genius Kitteh Gonna Whup U at Chess

Our 20th Anniversary Cake

Our 20th Anniversary cake baked and decorated by Karen  :-)

Karen's Reject Pile Again

I found Karen at it again, cleaning out one of her filing cabinet drawers full of old pictures. Crumple, toss, crumple, toss.  I found these already wadded up, and ironed them.  
I come from a family of unashamed dumpster-divers :-)

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The Most Beautiful Garb I've Ever Seen In My Whole Life

I didn't take a picture of it.

I got all shy that day for some reason, and couldn't bear to be walking around sticking a camera in people's faces.  As a friend pointed out, they spent all that time getting dressed up, they must want to be noticed! Wouldn't it be a downer to go to all that effort and then not have everybody wanting to take your picture?  

But I went all shy and didn't take many pictures of people directly. 

I saw a lady wearing the most gorgeous dress I've ever seen in my entire life, and I would have asked her if I could take a picture, but she was sitting at a picnic table with her family and they were deep in conversation, and I stood there a couple minutes and they didn't notice me, so I walked off.

It was Accolade-shaped, but no upper-arm band, the sleeves weren't as long and it was BLUE.  It was just too pretty for words.

So I'm going to have to be poking around the internet looking for photo galleries hoping she appears in one, since she's now my elusive goal of costuming perfection.
Click that to get to the HUGE close-up version  :-)

Field Guide to Happiness - Barbara Ann Kipfer

I just opened a library book that one of the kids left on the bed, and read a couple things I think will help me! 

I'm not sure if I'd want to read the whole book, but these couple things were gems and worth taking on their own.

Here they are:  

My First Medieval Faire

In line with the last post about "Playing" I've been wanting to go to a medieval event. I had an opportunity in May, when the local SCA group's Faire event seemed perfectly in line. I had the day free, I had the ride, I had the money, the kids were interested. That time, I didn't have the garb! It was an event where everybody was supposed to dress up.
I asked about Gold Key (loaner garb), but that wouldn't be available until afternoon, and my only available window was first thing in the morning the first day.  Bummer. The Gold Key lady said not to worry about it, just wear regular clothes, nobody will mind.  That's not what others said though, and I didn't want to be the odd man out who's ruining the view. 
I spent that morning at home sewing instead, resolved to get SOMETHING together for next time. It only has to be "an attempt", the rules say so!

The Port Gamble event was two weeks later. I figured I would surely be able to get some basic garb sewn by that time.  Ha!
The Port Gamble thing wasn't the kind where you have to dress up.  It was sort of combined SCA and Renfaire, so the general public is admitted in their blue jeans. I was trying anyway, and I did take a few steps in a garby direction which no doubt I'll talk about in a separate post.
The day before the event, I dropped everything else and at least made the boys some tabards. These two little masterpieces were made from a chunk of green twill that I had, combined with fabrics from a white and a tan ladies' business skirts that I had meant to make into boys' pants back when the boys were small enough that there would have been enough fabric.
LOTS of zigzag right out where you can see it, but who cares, the idea is to get it done, right?
By seven p.m., when I realized the best I could crank out in a hurry the night before looked like the best I could crank out in a hurry the night before, I got so frustrated and disappointed with myself that I was actually sick to my stomach, and was using willpower not to end up in a corner crying because my life is a total waste of time and I can't get anything accomplished, etc.
The boys loved their tabards, fetched their plastic swords at once and got to yelling and whacking away at each other. They had the rest of their outfits planned out, the belts, long sleeve shirts, etc.
At least they finally had pants without holes in the knees! I've been watching their entire wardrobe of pants disintegrate while I've been failing to sew them any new ones, and the local one-shopping-option Wal-Mart continues to carry every size except theirs. But they had these two pair of tan ones, only $5 each, not bad.
(Patch the knees! suggested one friend, well I had, all of them, and then they'd ripped out again around the patches. What did Jesus say about that? Sure enough, the new piece that filled it up taketh away from the old, and the rent is made worse.)

And what to do about myself?  What will I wear?  The new jumper I just made is pretty long, and I have that dirndl-style blouse with big white sleeves.  If I put that on, it'll look semi-garby, and I won't feel too self-conscious UNLESS it looks like I did "make an attempt" and this was the best I could do, which would be worse than going in blue jeans (if I owned any).

When we first drove up on the crossing road, they stopped us to let a herd of faire-goers cross the street in front of us and I was immediately comforted.  Beautifully-garbed, authentic people mingled with a number of very odd, assorted characters in "costume", just a shockingly "motley crew" off to have fun, and I decided to stop worrying about what I was wearing.  I was gonna fit right in!  :-) 

Ya gotta love that fuzzy effect.  The darlings had borrowed my camera and put their fingers all over the lens, so there was a coating of some kind of snot that made that artistic, glowing aura around everything.  Cool.  In the bright sunlight, I couldn't tell the difference in the display. 
It was only $10 to get in!  I was even prepared to tell the truth, that Karen is sixteen and hence I must pay for her (15 and under were free) and I had understood that we get charged $5 extra for not being members.  But I said "two adults" and they said "ten bucks" and I can live with that.
Here's Karen in loaner garb.  They had a Gold Key booth right at the gate with all kinds of great clothes!  
I thought about it but after all I'd seen while parking and getting up to the gate (fairies, pirates, goths, yuppies) I decided I was fine with what I had on.
Only one person commented on my outfit.  She asked if we normally did black powder.  She said the fabric I'd used for the jumper was perfectly period for black powder.

A guy making woodcuts. This was the SCA Arts and Sciences section where they demonstrated how they made all kinds of stuff back then.  A lady was churning cream, another making cheese. 
I'm a bit less modern than some people already, since we didn't have electricity when I age 12 - 16, and I loved it.  I already know how to do some of these things.
Mom even got me an angora bunny once, and I was expected to brush it and make yarn of it, but I never did. I probably would have if it had been MY idea (funny about that) and now I'm suddenly wanting to get an angora bunny again! They are so fluffyyyy!!!! and Ed says he'll put up cages for bunnies if I want. Oh sure, I just totally need to devote all of my SPARE TIME to carding and spinning and the EXTRA SPACE in my house to a weaving loom, right? Don't worry, I'll think about that for a while first! 

I noticed the camera problem and cleaned the lens with my sleeve.  

Here's a guy showing me inkle weaving, because I asked. I've seen pictures before but I never quite got how the sheds were formed. Beautifully simple, once I see his hand actually doing it :-)

High point of Karen's day, the finding of a rhododendron bush three times as tall as herself. 

Some guy was selling wooden swords made "in the Orient!" he said when I asked, but I admit they were nicely made, and only $14. 

Dave was "Impressive!" at archery   :-)

This guy is a 1770s highwayman, which is several centuries forward from the goal, but I think he should get the award for best male costume anyway. 

Next to archery there was axe throwing!  That looked like such fun!  What keeps the axe from hitting handle-first?  Practice and a feel for the revolutions between you and the target.  Cool.  The guys were having semi-good luck hitting the target, and I was all set to go over and have a try too, but by the time we got there they had stopped giving out free tries because they were setting up for a tournament. 

Doesn't that look cozy?  

Snackies which we had brung in our pockets.  NOT getting in line for faire food, sorry.
There, you can see the zigzag.
The boonie hats are a nice touch, no?


They did a song about "The Road to Dublin" which was great fun and so catchy that I actually listened instead of just sitting on their hay bales to eat, and clapped!

At right is the Black Knight who had a gigantic name for himself, and in a gigantic voice told everybody the name along with a medieval-sounding challenge to any who dare.
A tiny little kid toddled out and took him on with a Nerf sword.  The black knight couldn't help but die in due course, to everybody's great approval.
The grown-up men who accepted his challenge weren't so fortunate! 

King Joshua challenged my boys and they had a wooden sword fight which made me very nervous.  I let them get in only one hit each, then they had to sit.  The boy had the shorter wooden sword which we'd seen in another booth and half the guard broke right off when it got hit.  It pushed back on again, and I think it can be glued nicely at home.
In Dave's hand is the little flute that he bought.  I think Dave has some musical talent that isn't being fostered.  I often hear him singing to himself while he plays with Legos.  

More pictures of general surround:

The parking lot.  How interesting, eh?  Well it was a big ride to get there, and it was a big day for me!!!

Nother one of me:  Hi. 

This is what I bought:  two little skeins of embroidery thread, and two pieces of trim.
I also bought two pairs of little silver earrings for only $5 each, one cruciform and one quadriform, kinda ancient-looking and very pretty.  Can't take a picture because my card reader just messed up my memory card AGAIN and swallowed some really cool pictures... I've been downloading various software to try to fix it for free.  No luck so far.
So, on we go  :-)