The Mina

I have finally got really sewing again. Many reasons why I didn’t, but I am testing various therapy for fibro so have a few temporary options for pain. The daily stuff hasn’t really seemed to help for a full day.

Anyway. So I have been putting some of what I know works for me in other costumes to the test with The Mina and it’s working. It’s also offering a way for me to explain how my Northern Renaissance patterns work as they use the same basic engineering. The trick to shape is in specific curves.

The front of my bodice shows how the gussets are able to give a really crisp definition to under bust and hips while being very flat on the CF line.

The side view shows how the bodice basically has the straight of grain from shoulder down side and then is perpendicular to the waist. This is the same principle I use for my earlier patterns. 

Here though I have to use gussets over the bust for the idealised figure of the original. In the earlier patterns I just use the bias of the grain in the bust area to create support (not possible to mimic with a rigid mannequin though.) The key thing is that essentially the foundation is very stable vertical through the side and as far up from the waist as possible then allow ease over the bust. Some styles have that change a little further down some higher up (sort of starts very high in the lat 15thC then drops a bit and gets higher and flatter with the influence of Spanish style all over Europe.)

The back also shows some of my stabilising efforts. The V neck is prone to bagging both front and back so I’ll be using some stay tape along the edge later.

The hip gusset like the front one allows for the hip to hopefully be directed to the side rather than squished in.

This V shape of stitching follows some of the shapes seen in gusseted corsets especially. But as this is a bodice I was able to put in an angled side back seam to help smooth that out.

So speaking of smoothing out one of the dressmaking books I looked at again recently shows what I mean about how historical shaping is not just about the initial pattern being very different but the methods of fitting are also different. The post is here. Go straight to the book here (The elements of modern dressmaking for the amateur and professional dressmaker
by Davis, Jeanette E; Holahan, Cora M., ed, Publication date 1894)

1 to 1, 2 to 2, 3 to 3, Stretching for the hollows of the figure ; 5 to 5, Crossboning; 4 to 4, Extra bone in front.

I’m basically using the lines 3 and 4 to keep my fabric straight and thus most supportive. I will be using the methods of putting in vertical darts in the shell.

Here is the illustration showing where to add padding into that hollow for two variations (f for fuller, h for hollower). Also the darts at B and C are for lining fabrics only- this is likely that lining fabrics can’t be eased as easily as shell.

mina can progress

Last time I tidied my room I mixed up whether I would put notions with projects or keep them under beads/lace/braid/etc. so the featherlite Heat n Bond was somewhere else entirely. With it I can fuse my layers of mina fabric together so I can sew all the cording channels 🙂 Then press it again and it’s all gone.Fantastic 🙂

I found one pack of colour remover but I swear I have some more. That said I use so much that I may as well find some.. oh, one sec.

and stalling again

I can’t seem to catch a beak this year. I am totally torn as to how to deal with my current costuming issues. 

One of the realities of corsetry is it encases flesh, muscle, bone, organs. It’s also not just a matter of reshaping a corset to measurements but some styles of corsets simply exaggerate or resist properties.

I seem to do best with a gusseted corset and I’m thinking a mix of cords and steels are actually my best bet. With this kind of corset I can also adapt it to different eras the lower slung 1860s the higher 1890s and even the higher 1810s- the gussets change shape but the stability of the body panels, the simplicity of the body panels work with my torso. I just still need to take care with the shape of the hip gore and I think in fact that cording that will help a lot with what I am trying to do- create a slightly more oval shape through the hips as generally I wind up smooshing everything into a smooth circle all around.

So the stalling is from again a lack of fabric suitable for a really good and pretty and accurate looking corset. So just ordered some. 

Another stalling issue is that my really lovely sateen princess gown has decoloured over time. I think I just need to put the whole thing through some more colour remover as opposed to bleach. Now that means a trip to spotlight. Might have to ask for help with that.

But really this is where I have been stuck with Marie Antoinette (cutting the steels for the stays and hoops) Ahsoka (it’s too cold and wet to work with latex and have it cure well) Sunburst (I have mucked up every aspect ever since I started cutting in 2007. 

Well I can at least share research- but not much as my RA is acting up so I need to get tested and that means no steroids before the test or no inflammatory markers will be present!)

So off to heat my hands… and try some more therapy as well.

lightbulb- the mina

Okay so while looking for photos for insurance I found my first photos of my new Mina bodice and had quite a revelation.

So I find it very painful to do fitting for historic gear. It’s physically painful. 

I have helped that a bit with The Mina because I shaped all panels before putting eyelets in the back so I can lace it closed even during fitting.

But I’m having trouble with boning because well it’s also painful to cut. and to handle in general.

And I realised where most of my fitting trouble is which is the bust.

I need to cord the whole thing!

I want a mid-late 1870s shape and to get that cording is often used in the hip and bust gores.

Of course!

SO this is great.

My Marie antoinette stays need a lot of topstitching before I can bone that too and I may even use a bit of cording in that to soften some of the harshness of the metal stays.

I didn’t account for cording in my pattern but I have a good seam allowance at the sides.

The cording is going to help retain the shape I carefully created in fabric as it collapses off the form.

my self drafted

My self drafted corset from a few years back. I took the gussets out and trimmed them down and unpicked some top stitching and lined up shell and lining more perfectly. Actually a lot of hand sewing I didn’t record just to keep the layers aligned. Will top stitch tomorrow.

My self drafted corset from a few years back. I took the gussets out and trimmed them down and unpicked some top stitching and lined up shell and lining more perfectly.  Actually a lot of hand sewing I didn’t record just to keep the layers aligned. Will top stitch tomorrow.

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My self drafted corset from a few years back. I took the gussets out and trimmed them down and unpicked some top stitching and lined up shell and lining more perfectly. Actually a lot of hand sewing I didn’t record just to keep the layers aligned. Will top stitch tomorrow.

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.