Wednesday, 29 January 2014

How to say you care

Like many people, there are times when I'm lousy at keeping in contact with people. I'm not very good with keeping birthdays either. I tend to miss birthday, but occasionally give random gifts to people, because it occurs to me to make something they might like.

On this occasion, I made a Tree of Life pendant, using this tutorial, from Miscellanea Etcetera.

I used a 1mm gold wire for the outline, and 0.6mm gold wire for the branches. In hindsight, this was a little too thick for my inexperienced fingers to manipulate easily, but it still came out well I think. The stones I used were amethyst, rose quartz and mother of pearl chips.

Now, I'm a bit of a perfectionist at the best of times, but the lack of a perfect circle in the finished pendant above? Doesn't actually bother me. There was something so wonderfully relaxing about this project, it didn't feel like it could go wrong, every chip placed was where it was supposed to be, and no other pendant ('cos I'm sitting on a few more ideas) will ever be the same as this one. And that's wonderful.

But this was the first, and this one was made with a special person in mind. To let them know how much they mean to me, and how much I've been thinking of them, even if I haven't been in contact.

I actually delivered this pendant in person today, an extra touch I wasn't expecting. I didn't say all that I could have said; there was other company present, and the words probably would have gotten caught at my teeth anyway. But I think its new owner likes it, and maybe it, with this post, has said what I couldn't say out loud.

Saturday, 25 January 2014

Victorian Walking Skirt

*mumble* weeks to go now. Far too few to be counting, lest I panic completely at this stage. So I decided to get one more item knocked off the list; a simple Victorian walking skirt.

Once again using Truly Victorian pattern TV208, I didn't actually have enough fabric to make a properly full skirt, so I cut the front, side front and side back panels in full, then made do with the last of the fabric on the fold for the back panel. Thankfully, that's turned out to be just full enough!

I think it may be a little too short on the back hem (wouldn't do to have the underskirt peeking out), so I plan to attach a pleated trim to the hem as soon as I can find a complimentary fabric for the purpose. Though with so much still to sew, the skirt might just do as it is for the costuming weekend away, with trims added later. 

Friday, 17 January 2014

Muff Progress

Well, just because my supplies aren't going to get here on time, doesn't mean I should put the project aside completely!

As I mentioned last time, I'd finally made up my mind and selected a pattern to embroider, so the first step was to trace that out of the book. Once I traced it out, I outlined it again with a fine black marker so the design would be easier to see through the linen.

My original plan was to use a natural coloured linen, but my light box wasn't powerful enough to make the pattern distinct through that, so I had to switch to using white linen. At least a light box is a far cry from the methods used in period. Though in a previous project when I couldn't find said light box, I've had to use sunlight against a window, and I can tell you, it gets uncomfortable very quickly.
Image from the book 'Embroiderers' by K. Staniland

I tapped the linen strips to the light box with masking tape as I worked to ensure it remained taut as I worked. I felt like eating the first strip, but the second went much quicker.

And voila, the prepared product! Each strip is the length of the rabbit fur I'll be using to make the muff. The next plan will to make some buttons, cloth ones this time I think, and then I'm back to waiting until my supplies arrive.

 Must plan my projects better in the future.

Sunday, 12 January 2014

Regency Progress

Sometimes company is just what you need to properly break into a project. So yesterday I made a trip out to a friends place and we both got a lot of progress done on projects that had been eyeing each of us from the to-do pile.

For me, this was in the form of my Regency ballgown.The pictures haven't come out great, due to the rather grey sky today, but the old gold chiffon over white lining is coming out with such a lovely rich colour. And I was assured by Laura as I was trying on the bodice, that the colour and the shape both flatter me.

I'm still worried about time, having lost the two weeks over the holidays, so for the moment, I've decided to forgo the stays and followed the pattern advise on adjusting the darts to suit my modern shape, instead of the lift the stays would provide. 

I'd picked up some gold ribbon to finish the sleeves and add a little detail under the bust. I'll likely use the ribbon as part of the tie for the dress, as I'm finding the instructions a little confusing, so I've reached the part in the pattern where I'm just going to do my own thing. But I'll do a full write up of the pattern when I'm done.

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Fabulously Fashionable Fur

Well, the year is off to a less than stellar start, in that I think I've done myself out of the running for the Realm of Venus mini challenge.

My original plan was to make myself a fur lined muff, in the Venetian style. My materials were as shown in the pic, a large, oh-so-soft grey rabbit fur which I posess thanks to Alyss of my household spying it during her xmas market shopping.A linen lining and a red crushed cotten velvet as the fashion fabric. The final touch was going to be some goldwork embellishments, in a design I finally choose from Italian Renaissance Textile Designs. The selling point of this final decision was that two bands of goldwork weaving up each side of the muff would allow a central section clear from me to add my heraldry when it gets approved (it recently passed the first stage).

However, December happened. And flu. Let's just blame the flu. I didn't order my goldwork supplies until the new year so I'll be lucky if it arrives a week before the competition is due to end. I can sew quickly, but on my second ever goldwork project? I'm not that good, not yet. It'll get completed anyway, I would love to have something to keep my hands warm while I watch a tourney. And even if all my research is pointing towards black being a more period colour, I guess I could make one to match the hat I already have? Or make two; one black, one red and then make a red velvet bonnet to match this muff. Both would tie in well with my zimarra at least.

Nothing I can do for the moment anyway. Ho hum.