Current projects

I took a day  this week to make sure all my projects are easily found and while initially it was overwhelming, I think I am not just at the inspired stage 🙂

I have a lot of current projects, but having them nicely divided into clear containers mean I can actually see them 🙂

I really want to finish my Cleves research this year. Or at least be at a point where I can say “yes, I can talk about this.” Because let me tell you, I have a heck of a lot of info for Cologne but there is very little for Cleves, Jullich and Berg. It’s a larger geographical spread and lots of archives are just gone. I have looked for donor portraits, any portraits and they are just.. not there.

Later yes.

Anyway. I now do have a pretty Cleves dress, a beautiful Cleaves dress, and a working kirtle type garment. I’m mainly working on accessories. But my red velvet gown is at the same stage my pink and black Cleves dresses were a few months ago so I can definitely work on the hand finishing of that this year.

So that least the later historic and modern media recreations.

I want Mina finally finished. That has been a struggle for fitting the bodice as my fabric has zero give. So the lining has to have zero give. I may have finally managed that but I need a bit of time to work on making it all tidy and transportable.

And I want my Elissa costume done. I should have left it alone but well… I wanted to wear it where accuracy is still prized so… but it’s okay. I think I’m just not wanting to face the rope skirt. It’s about 8m of velvet and while I have cut the pieces I have to pull and roll them and somehow make sure they don’t unroll. This is easier with velour but these are clearly velvet.

And Ahsoka. I am now happy with where Rebels has left her (in fact it’s exactly what I hoped and thought was the most logical outcome) so feel a lot happier in investing in the project again 🙂 It’s been intense and nothing is even close to finished due to just not having any luck with any material.

 

So that leaves Marie Antoinette as my other must finish project. It’s hard because I really do need a metal frame. Luckily the original is very short so it’s possible I can find support material for it. I am very disappointed with the plastic stuff now available. It’s not at all like the older stuff with an oval cross section. That had a fibrous property that made it really quite firm, and the oval cross section helped curves maintain shape. I get a greally nice kidney shape but that is not at all the shape of these things.

This may be a project for next year. I have all the fabrics, it’s a matter of boning for the stays and hoops. I think I have an idea for making the hoops solid and transportable though.

more gear from mina

(Mina is the shortform of my SCA name and tends to be used just as a nickname for me- I like it 🙂 )

I just grabbed a set of a knife and fork from Trademe- mother of pearl handles, silver decorative join to the functional end. Not suse the content of the functional end.

They are really lovely, and fit what I wanted 🙂

I want to make a case for them. So it means having them in hand sooner rather than later 🙂 I am not entirely sure how they are made but I have a few options to work with.

So, why a knife and fork? Aren’t forks out of era. Nope.

My favourite set ever is Italian and is made with rock crystal.

http://collections.vam.ac.uk/item/O112430/cutlery-set-unknown/

It seems to have been redesignated later than 16thC but there are similar that are earlier.

http://gyujtemeny.imm.hu/gyujtemeny/kes/1434?i=1377

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Wien_Schatzkammer_Deutscher_Orden_-_Essbesteck.jpg

So I originally tried to find modern cutlery I could adapt, but Most just cannot- I need each end to unscrew and have a core to thread crystal on to.. So a look around at further designs:

 

All from Bildindex, info in photos. All 16-17thC and across the states.

So my theory is that we don’t just see sets of knives in the Trachtenbucher but possibly knife and fork sets.

Mostly the forks are long tined. I personally do not want to run the risk of poking myself in the face with them so I am fine with a smaller tine set further to the end. In the first image there is a case that may be associated witht he matching set.

But now for the cases:

https://www.bildindex.de/document/obj05227007 https://www.bildindex.de/document/obj05227006

These could well be wedding knife sets. There don’t seem to be a top end to the cases. And they seem to be silver.

These do appear to match the sets worn in the trachtenbuch.

These are from Weigel’s book https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:Frauen-Trachtenbuch_(1586)

https://www.bildindex.de/document/obj00290368  and https://www.bildindex.de/document/obj00290368

These are from de Bruyn.

These appear on both unmarried and married women, so I think these are a status symbol- I found single knives in cases on working women though.

So, any evidence that these are knives and forks:

https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/210073?rpp=60&pg=1&rndkey=20140327&ao=on&ft=*&where=Europe&what=Knives&pos=38

This is later, but the case and cutlery are a match.

And

http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/collection_online/collection_object_details.aspx?assetId=1477461001&objectId=35872&partId=1

c1600.

Yes! I can make a case like this from the scraps of heavy russet I have. I think I’ll need to learn some techniques from shoemaking as I’ll want really crisp edges. But I’ll be able to embroider the case 🙂 or… I still have diamon shaped brass stampings I used for my Valois ouches set. They could be shaped to fit.

Anyway. Yay! Now I need to find a matching spoon to carry in my purse 🙂

Today’s plans

There is a mix of street works and digging of property happening so my head is a little unhappy. But I have Maleficent, Elsa, Elissa and Ahsoka to choose from. Or Mina.

Maley and Ahsoka are in the workroom, both are safe in terms of tools and materials so technically I could make use of the patchy sun for Ahsoka.

Maley is at the stage I need to possibly use my dremmel to kick back some of the plastic support as I think I need to scoop out and move some clay from near the base- I think that is what is making my horns curve too much.

Mina needs her bodice internal support tested. The form she was made on now obviously won’t fit as I have padding inside. Also very nervous about my ribs. This bodice is built like a corset. With hip gores and everything. Still I need to try it on.

Elissa would be sitting on the floor sewing the last few jewels then basting the skirt to ruffles. Much as I really need that skirt support for the Wishing Dress and for The Mina I think I should keep it just for Elissa.

Oh speaking of which. I decided to test my voice. And it really is true- somehow trained singers can sing better with a chesty cough than normally. I am not sure how but I found my voice sitting really well. So well my pitch was more stable than it has been in the past. So my pitchy pals- you can do it- take teachers advice but also sing for yourself and enjoy it as much as possible, record yourself and play back just to yourself to get used to how your voice sounds outside and love it at every stage. Love your voice, only you sound like you. Also often it really is less about not being on note but about support and placement. It really is.  And of course that relies on stable core support so when that slips the note slips. It may take time but that muscle memory will lay down. I wish I’d really understood that as a teen.

I was in a group recording (not sure what) and I heard myself. I was asked how I could in amongst all those voices- it’s because I have listened to my voice on tape day after day for years. And so I know what it sounds like even in a mix. Also I tend to be able to pick up the training-my vibrato and when it turns to bleating. Funnily enough it actually works really well when I place my voice higher I sound like a few musical theatre singers when I do that. Still too nervous to ever pull that in an audition. Though I did once at my perf. arts. school. Did well. Hmmmmmmmmmmmm..

Maybe I just need to embrace the twee?

But I also had trouble because all the mics I have blow out no matter how far from them I am. Had luck placing my hand over but not touching my phone. Protected the mic. Unfortunately in that recording I did miss a note so I’m just going to remember what I did then see if I can get something out there.

can’t fit anything right now

I can’t fit as in the stage of the costume making process!

But I have all the boning channels in The Mina finally and and at least can start putting in grommets and know about how much I can take in the sides. I just can’t do so on me due to the rib. I may not be able to do anythng like it for a few weeks, maybe months depending on how long it takes to settle. I can’t even work out which rib is at issue as the whole region hurts. Oh no, found it. Just travels along the rib a fair way.

Anyway. But I did manage to transfer the marks to the leather as well. So if I have to leave The Mina on the stand for a while I do have that to work on tonight. Though honestly I hurt just too much. I do see a locum in the morning and I think it might be a little more than a case of asking how long to take to step down from the high dose of steroids and I think we may have to try for an xray. Pretty sure it’s just what I think but it may need looking into if I managed to really pop it out of place.

think things are sorted…

Only photos so far are of Ahsoka sitting nicely on my head next step it to decide if I want to make that rigid section permanent and how much shaped padding to put in. But having the support in place now means that I can actyally make that shaping 🙂

A post on different SFX techniques is needed I think..

But I found an older Mina bodice lining and I think I prefer it! Not as it is but umm.. I can put hip gores in just like with a set of stays so why wouldn’t that work???

And I also got ABS juice in my Leia molds! IT WORKS!!!! So far the back hip has been mostly cast and it is so light. A bit too light, I think the surface had enough dust that it got mixed in. That said this is definitely going to let me scan them to get them digitised 🙂 Now I just need to hunt down the missing collar piece. Very frustrating to have that missing.

 

And yes, the prednisode is making me feel freaking AMAZING right now. But it can only be temporary because of how it works. So much misinformation, I really want to do a post full of real research that shows what we actually experience.

whoops, fell into a research rabbit warren

In order to figure out history of the gown I wound up with dozens of reference notes about the production of garments and how there are multiple copies and why.

I still haven’t found the specific references I want (all secondary atm) but enough to feel confident in several statements made.

But there are some conflicting descriptions of materials, I have my suspicions about why so will also have to discuss those.

So yeah. I can now start the day and do things.

 

But I also will have my abs juice ready to go today and the latex work of yesterday will hopefully pay off today. Unless it didn’t adhere in what case I get to strip the base back and redo it. IsoPro does work but it is a PITA to time correctly. The latex needs to be clean and dry for the next layer of latex. But with a very damp climate there is a fine layer of moisture on anything outdoors- or in a room without insulation.

 

What else… Oh yes. I need to bleach my sateen panels for my 1870s gored stays. I worked out what I need vs the original pattern styles so will also see if I can make one in red sateen finally. I have tried to do this in the past and somehow wound up with stays too short.

What I need from stays is less about squish as it is about reducing stress on ribs. My current pain is a very good reminder! My ribs are very long, there is barely two fingerwidths distance at the side of my waist between ribs and pelvis. So this means if I want a wasp waist I either deal with ribs being heavily squished or I make it nip in only at that narrow point. Or I can avoid too much restriction and taper the stays to the waist then flare out over the hip.

This last one is what I find gives a shape that is both acceptable to a modern eye as well as historic. If I nip in only at the waisy it tends to make everything else seem disproportionate rather than drawing the line in.

So today will be spent cutting fabric and bleaching to have a summer and winter variation. There may even be enough silk satin left over, though that feels a bit extravagant!

 

why one must use all resources!

After removing all the dye from my Sunburst silk I had another look at the information available. I wanted to see what the silk would do as UV light worked on the last remaining colour remover molecules. before even thinking about dyeing it.

I can’t dye the skirt, it has already been fused to a cotton backing 🙂

And then promptly lost the exact quote I wanted. And just found it again. Anyway. There will be a references guide added to my site soon as a page, because I think it needs a little more formality than a blog post 🙂

I noticed also an historic homestead has started folloiwn on instagram so feel a tinybit of pressure to you know, include content they might be interested in!

And I have gone and cracked the cartilage in my ribcage. I am used to being able to sort of.. slip it- painful- but this was a little extra pressure on one point and so now it needs to repair. Luckily it is quite a sharp continuous pain- no I don’t like pain but as a warning, as a limitor it’s fine 🙂

And there is a steampunk event tomorrow. I really wanted to wear Mina, but I would have to spend all day on the bodice… hmm… but I cn’t really do any kind of corsetry until my rib heals. So no. I’ll wear something else 🙂

CF Worth disposition gowns

Help. Obsessed. There may have been a Pinterest board created and it may be strictly properly sourced and maybe just updated with a gown that is included in one of the few Lafayette photos to have lots of close views. Such bliss.

I know a lot of people have been inspired by RedThreaded’s Worth gown, but there may be some weird web archiving glitch so here it is for anyone not yet seen! Cynthia’s gown next to the originals!

Garment entirely created by Cynthia Settje of red threaded.
Date:1898–1900 Culture:French Medium:silk Credit Line:Gift of Miss Eva Drexel Dahlgren, 1976 Accession Number:1976.258.1a, b
Date:1898–1900 Culture:French Medium:(a, b) silk Credit Line:Gift of Mrs. C. Phillip Miller, 1957 Accession Number:C.I.57.17.8a–d

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So while looking for themes and understanding my favourite gowns in context the velvet and satin gowns came up over and over again. So I shall add to this blog post as more pop up, and I wrestle with WP layouts.

First one that I adore:

Sitter: Lillie Langtry (stage name) Lady De Bathe, née Emilie Charlotte Le Breton (1853-1929).

LANGTRY, MRS
Neg. No: 2194
Neg. Size: 15″X12″
Neg. Date: 10-11-1899

I think this may be my favourite of all the gowns Worth produced like this. Though that may be because it’s Lily Langtry!

Yes, I often combine my interest in theatre, costume, and stage so of course I have a lovely file archive of Mrs Langrty.

 

I think my other favourites would have to be these

Date:1899 Culture:French Medium:silk Credit Line:Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of Edith Gardiner, 1926 Accession Number:2009.300.2981a, b
Date:1898–1900 Culture:French Medium:silk, cotton Credit Line:Gift of Miss Eva Drexel Dahlgren, 1976 Accession Number:1976.258.4a, b
Date:1898–1900 Culture:French Medium:silk, glass Credit Line:Gift of Miss Eva Drexel Dahlgren, 1976 Accession Number:1976.258.5a–c

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These next three fascinate me, the high neck of two and the delicate butterflies of the third.

Palais Galliera Worth, Tea gown, 1895 © Photograph rights reserved / Mairie de Paris
Date:1896 Culture:French Medium:silk, pearl Credit Line:Gift of Miss Agnes Miles Carpenter, 1941 Accession Number:C.I.41.14.1
Date:1898 Culture:French Medium:silk, Credit Line:Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of the Brooklyn Museum, 2009; Gift of Mrs. Paul Pennoyer, 1965 Accession Number:2009.300.1324a, b

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This first one has horizontal bust darts! As well as curved bust seams and a waist seam to get that beautiful shaping of the velvet.

Date:1889 Culture:French Medium:silk Credit Line:Gift of Mrs. James G. Flockhart, 1968 Accession Number:C.I.68.53.11a, b
Bunka Gakuen Costume Museum

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And finally we have the gowns for those slightly more conservative. Which is nice- obviously the gowns caught the eye of many and they wanted a part of what made these gowns so special. No less care, just a slightly less start style!

REFERENCE46.258.2A-BTECHNICAL DETAILS Black voided velvet with branching floral and foliate motif Label: Worth / Paris; 66271 (handwritten)
Date:1898–1900 Culture:French Medium:silk, cotton Credit Line:Gift of Miss Eva Drexel Dahlgren, 1976 Accession Number:1976.258.3a, b
WORTH EVENING DRESS with COURT TRAIN WORN by FORMER FIRST LADY HARRIET LANE at the COURT of ST. JAMES, c. 1898.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But all this has been part of my life tidying that has been happening- organising books, papers, digital files. So this has meant reorganising my patterns and WIP and thus my recent flurry of posts.

 

I’ll be trying to get all my Mina posts from before the website changeover, but that may be a bit difficult!

steampunk corset photos

This was my favourite set of stays I have ever made for myself, and I am totally struggling to remake them! I am also trying to illustrate why I love them so much to help someone with their gussested corset.

So the first part was the pattern. These are all the pieces I used laid out. (whoops, the back hip gussests are on the left, the front hip gussets are on the right.)

sm_DSCF2279

I had already semi mocked the pattern. It’s a mix of 1870s and 1900s corsets. Mainly 1870s but I knew what I wanted was a long torso and defined bust. I am pretty small but I was able to get really good uplift by making sure the gussets were as deep as possible To do this I turned back the edges on the body panels and stitched them down then fitted the shape of the gussets on the form.

sm_DSCF2280 sm_DSCF2281

I also fitted the body panels and hip gussets separately. This allowed the body panels to do all the vertical shaping and pulling in while the gussets were made slightly larger to add to the illusion by allowing what was displaced at the waist to sit in the gussets.

sm_P1090331 sm_P1090335

When laid flat you can see how the gussets act independently of the torso. And you can also see a principle I try and use in everything- no bones over the bust. I use long stays to the inside and the outside of the bust but not over it. This just helps with definition like nothing else. I used a similar method for my Mina lining as well as my Elsa.

sm_P1090349 sm_P1090350 sm_P1090355

And I am very happy with how well this worked!

Like I said, this is the best pattern for me and I needed this boost to remind me to remake it in silk and with a real busk!

The next few months

Not hectic, but a lot of planning 🙂 And not in order of importance.

!) Spanish work. I have texts and physical costume to finish. They are both at the personally satisfying stage but not at all ready for public viewing. But the two have been working together. And I do now have my physical project stored in a way I can work on what needs to be worked on.

2) Cleves/Cologne wardrobe. Finally got my “sunt” kirtle made. This is so that I can do all the finishing work on my gown and accessories while I work on the undergarments proper. I know I am bang on in fit and contruction of my outer gear (making a new heuke though) but the undergarments are taking a little more time.

3) Marie Antoinette. This is possibly my last media recreation costume for a while, so it’s going to be a delicate but ultimately workable project. There are elements I can bang out quickly, there are going to be small hand worked elements. And I finally decided how to tackle the lace. It’s not the first time I have hunted for real metal lace so I know how and where to look.

4) Mina. I need that corset made.

5) Maleficent. The gown is fitted and assembled, I need to figure out the machine sewing stage as pressure and thread and everything will affect the hang of the seams. Hand sewing might be my best bet. This is bias cutting and it is only mildly less difficult than with charmeuse satin.

6) Sunburst. It’s been ridiculously long time coming, and I am still not sure I have enough supplies. I think I missed out on the last lot of beads that match so I’m going to have to carry a swatch with me.

7) Workshops- waiting to hear back what is going to be the best match. But I now have a frame work to make these totally portable. But I also have to make it clear I do not do easy techniques, they are not shortcuts, what I teach is a way to look at a project with a different eye. I do teach some basic principles but they are not easy. Once you get it though, oh it makes everything else make sense.

8) Showcase. Yep I’m having a showcase of my work, and so I need to tailor that to the audience, so I will be promoting that as soon as it pops up.

9) Other workshops. These are going to be limited and I am struggling with the self promotion aspect. Had way too many knocks. Not valid ones, they come from misunderstanding but it still has decentered me enough to not be in marketing headspace. Marketing is not about being self assured it’s about promotion. I don’t do that!

10) children’s charity events- got a few planned. I need to confirm a few.

11) Elsa. I need a new cape. My cape is literally too beautiful for this world- it’s so delicate that I want to preserve it. This is not a flaw, this is me making art in a format that is not really intended for durability. Oh it’s going strong, but repeatedly handling it is going to break it down eventually.

12) Website. It’s 13 years since I self hosted so maybe this year is just feeling worse because of that number. I don’t believe it is unlucky, but rather it was Friday the 13th that we had the house fire, so it’s just there in my mind. So coincidences stand out. Confirmation bias or whatever, I still just feel the need to do better.

And my site has really changed from what I wanted due to interference of others, but I do need to play catch up and do this asap. My archive of what I have done has been lost and it’s no use me saying “but I did that in year x” if I don’t have my work up then it’s meaningless.

I think that’s it. Enough to try and get a handle on anyway 🙂

 

Today is tidying up after the sewing and organising so it’s going to be a day of rest, then tidy, rest, then tidy.