montjoye: (Default)
( Sep. 6th, 2016 03:45 pm)
I have a new green cardi


from what? )

There are several 14thC finds that seem to be garment fragments with tablet woven edges illustrated and described in the Museum of London book “Textiles and Clothing- Medieval finds from excavations in London”, by Elisabeth Crowfoot, Frances Pritchard and Kay Staniland. 4 of these fragments have tablet woven edges and no buttonholes, another 4 fragments have the woven edges plus buttonholes. I'm not going to place pictures here for copyright reasons, but here is a link to "the sleeve" which has the edging in question down the buttonhole side.

the rest under here )
SaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveRecommended order of operation:
-make or otherwise aquire your buttons
-work out how long the buttonholes need to be
-make the sleeves, with facings wide enough for the buttonholes
-sew your buttonholes
-do the tablet edge (can be done later, but not have buttons to catch on is a bonus)
-mark the button positions
-sew on the buttons.
montjoye: (Default)
( Aug. 27th, 2016 03:00 pm)
Close set rows of buttons are a characteristic of 14thC clothing. We know that metal buttons were used. Other materials were also used, including walrus tooth(Greenland) and fabric. My work on these fabric buttons is mostly based on finds illustrated and described in the Museum of London book “Textiles and Clothing- Medieval finds from excavations in London”. This is a link to an image of the most complete sleeve fragment Some of the other button finds are more spherical, and it is these that my technique most closely resembles. I'd love to include a picture here but I don't think copyright allows. For those that have access to the book, see p169, fig144. In fact, if you are interested in this sort of thing, go buy the

all the rest under here )Save

montjoye: (Default)
( May. 8th, 2016 01:08 pm)
Right. I've added ties from the side seam to the side of the front panel. Hair up, long beads, slightly darker stockings, heeled shoes*, lipstick.

It's still not the most wonderfully flattering frock ever and I'm not sure yet if I'll wear it to the folk's shindig, but I'd be perfectly happy to be seen in it.


more.... )
I wanted a dress to wear for my parents Golden Wedding celebration. I decided to use a length of panel printed silk crepe I've had for a couple of years, but was struggling to find design inspiration to turn it into a frock. Then I remembered this lovely and simple dress I found in Kelvingrove art gallery, Glasgow back in 2008. A child's dress in silk batik. Made by Jessie M. King in 1923. I think it's delightful and I spent quite a while looking at it. I came up with a plan to position the printed panels that I thought would be pleasing.


So I made it up.


I'm rather curvier than a small child, so the effect on me is not that flattering. Another trademark elegant sack? or just ugly? It is very comfy and nicely floaty though. I'm still interested in garments from simple rectangles, triangles, but they are challenging to make look good on a curvy figure. One needs a big enough circumference for the outward curves, shall we say, but then there is too much bagginess around the inward curves :-)


Like most loosely fitted things on a curvy girl, it looks better when I'm moving. Some will find these pics amusing.

.     .

Now I need to decide if this acceptable? or simply too dowdy and I need to think again?
montjoye: (Default)
( Apr. 20th, 2016 07:48 pm)
I suppose I started sewing at about 4 or 5 years old? Pattern darning on hessian to start with, guided by my Mother and Grandmother. Several of those pieces still exist in my Mother's collection. My Mother sewed most of our clothes when my brother and I were small. Initially, much of the fabric came from her old full skirted 50's and 60's frocks. My Grandmother, dear Nana, wanted to be a tailor, but her family could not afford the apprenticeship fees so she had to go to work in a pickle onion factory instead (one of the saddest stories I know). She did manage to study at nightschool however, and had considerable skill. Nan made lots of Mum's clothes of course. Nan (and Gramps) lived with us from when I was about 10, so I grew up with two fairly accomplished dressmakers. Now I have Nan's last sewing machine, sniff.

So large scale embroidery was my start. Then making dolls clothes, both by hand and later machine. Practicing on sewing machines by making "stamps" and spirals etc with old needles on paper. Also making dolls. Pipecleaner dolls and dressing them, often in different country's traditional dress. I was impatient with school sewing lessons because they didn't do things the way my family had already taught me. by late high school I was starting to make clothes for myself, partly because I had access to fabric, but very little money. I kept making clothes all through Uni days, and in the latter part of that, discovered the SCA. Costume became part of the sewing mix, but without much historical accuracy at the beginning.

So many weekends and holidays were all about the gift of time in which to sew. I remember one set of Easter holidays when I was so excited because I had time to make a coat. That coat got made and worn lots. I was so happy both making it, and having made it. For years, I'd spend weekends sewing in the family dining room while listening to one of two sets of albums- Eurythmics or Steeleye Span. I'm astonished in retrospect that my poor family were so tolerant of this.  Yeh I should get out more, or have got out more, but I'd not be as good a seamstress if I had.

I have kept making clothes for myself ever since. Some of the impetus is that I don't have a figure that matches the shapes that retail clothes are made to fit. I look way better in well fitted custom made clothes. I can't buy trousers that fit for any money, or shirts, or anything much except knits and shoes, and even the knits I fairly often end up altering (actually, I've altered a bunch of shoes too). I also love fabric, really love fabric. Well, I really love high quality fabric, especially when I find it for cheap.

I continued my dressmaking education by reading lots of "Threads" magazines, books, and learning things from my sewing friends. Later I found my costume experience informing my general dressmaking. I haven't used a commercial pattern in years. Commercial patterns don't fit any better than retail clothing. I did however learn a lot about garment construction from the instructions in the commercial patterns I worked with for years.

You know that advice for writers? "just write, lots, keep doing it, write, really". Well for me it was sewing. I could simply not count how many garments I have made, or altered, or remodelled. So many. Mumblety years worth. I'm pleased with what I can do, but I suppose I feel I ought to be able to do more. This was not though my paid career. So it's just a well developed hobby, but if I'm away from needle and thread for too long, I crave it.
montjoye: (Default)
( Mar. 12th, 2016 11:13 am)
Another piece of lovely linen has been made into a thing. I think I bought this piece from tangent woman? It was too small for most things I could think of, but was enough for an apron. I deemed the fabric so nice that it deserved a fancy hem. I've been working on it as my medjeeval project when I didn't have a more urgent one since festival before last. In the last little while I decided that 2 years was quite long enough to work on an apron though, so I decided to get it finished for this festival. Done.


montjoye: (Default)
( Mar. 7th, 2016 02:17 pm)
With my hips sore after a 2hr walking/shopping trip, I was motivated to get to the mattress enhancement project on my festival list. I have a rope bed, with a half thickness cotton futon and a feather topper. All home made, which is nice and all but this rig leaves me tossing and turning with sore hips after a night or so.

those two lumps of foam are latex mattress offcuts I got at Reverse Garbage a couple of years ago. Dr Nik helped me lug them and compress them so I could get them home in my suitcase. I had visions of making a mattress topper with the thick piece, but of course there is less of it than I had imagined. I could possibly achieve this anyway if I could manage to cut it in three pieces horizontally. Rather a job. Apparently electric carving knives are the best way to cut this stuff, and I don't have one. So... in the short term, I decided to make a small pad for the hip zone out of the thin topping strip.


I cut that in three and encased it in some left over cotton canvas, which some might recognise from an ill conceived attempt to cover the BBQ shelters at Tara.


I quilted it very coarsely by hand to prevent the pieces shifting, and sewed down the edges of the canvas on the machine. Voila! I hope this is a bit more comfy. I will find out rather soon. It could hardly be worse.


And yeeess. This is a single mattress. It fits better in my tent than a wide bed dammit.
montjoye: (Default)
( Mar. 1st, 2016 01:15 pm)
I've taken in the new shirt pattern in a few places and converted it to include a yoke. Also shortened it and put a shirt tail curve on the hem. It's moving back towards a classic shirt. There are enough changes that I should cut a new pattern, and I still need to raise the armhole a bit, and I suppose convert the cuff to a standard one. Yes I had a shirt pattern but it is too close fitting than what I want for comfort. So I went too large and now it's being brought back in. Iterative pattern development again. I suppose I want a shirt that fits well but isn't tight and has no darts. I may end up with back darts anyway for my sway back, otherwise the overall effect is visually larger than it needs to be. Oh, this collar is just an old fashioned deep rectangle. I rather like this sort, though they don't work well with a close fitting jacket collar. The "cuff" is just a hem with a fastening of a pair of buttonholes and a button.

I keep going on about lovely quality linen. This is another example. Quite a loose weave but feels stronger than one would expect. Extreme "linen wibble" in the hand, possibly very long staple? This is one of the pieces I got at Christopher George back in November. Buttons are blue dyed (I presume) shell, from Eliza's I think. Corded buttonholes again. When I do these, I should perhaps sew the buttons on with a thread shank?

So ~$15 in materials? plus a day or two work.


more pics )
More an oversized linen jacket than a shirt. Cut yesterday, sewn today. Lovely quality green and white shot linen remnant from Potter textiles* in Perth, about $18 for 1.5m by memory. It was wide or I wouldn't  have been able to cut this. As it was, the position of the sleeve trim was inspired by having to cut the sleeve ends separately. Lace trim to add interest. The vaguely military overtones will go well with the Mad Motley jacket.

Really this is too big, but I'm pleased with the construction. I will think about how to best ensmallen the pattern around the shoulders before cutting the next shirt. Plain white linen interlining in fronts and collar.


more.... )
montjoye: (Default)
( Feb. 23rd, 2016 03:35 pm)
This jacket has been a lot of fun to make, but also inspired rather a lot of cursing. I wanted a comfy but fun jacket for slopping about in. My first thought for fabric was some sort of mad cotton paisley jaquard, but I didn't have any. I thought I didn't have anything appropriate in stash until I fell over the 1m of navy velveteen I bought from R&N last festival. Not enough by itself but the right sort of thing and with some other bits and pieces I had lying about.....


lots more pics )
montjoye: (Default)
( Feb. 4th, 2016 11:11 am)
Are all done, yay. It's only taken me 5 months to get around to sewing them all.

I'm looking forward to wearing this one! It's too warm to put it on today though so you only get pics on a hanger. I've cut it on the baggy side for easier donning and comfy lounging about. I left out the centre godets to leave the stripes as uninterupted as possible. I would have been happier with the fabric if the stripe had been symmetrical so it matched with the inversion of the side pieces but striped wool isn't easy to find and I couldn't get the needed fullness without the inverted cut. The mismatch is less noticeable than I feared though. I'd have cut the tippets longer but I didn't want another piecing seam in the sleeve.


It's based on these sort of garments from the Taymouth Hours. I've made this sort of shaped overgown before, but look! it's short! and split! So practical for camping, packing and general outdoor wear.


All the pics have some sort of line or dotty border. I've gone with a simple prick stitch for subtle bling.
I've been planning this frock for at least 6 mths. It's one of my early 14thC gowns in a lightweight wool. The fabric started out as off-white smooth wool suiting bought in Adelaide about 5 years ago, for $10/m I think? When washed it went oddly crepey, but that gives it extra elasticity. I've over dyed this twice with food colouring. In the end the fabric was washed at least 4 times before being cut, so it ought behave well when laundered now.

I reckon this fabric is probably lighter than would be authentic, but I get a gown that weighs only about 600g and should be comfy up to days of low 20'sC.

It's finished except for the hem, which has to wait until I have a pinner.


more pics etc )
montjoye: (Default)
( Nov. 28th, 2015 04:40 pm)
I've been musing on this idea for some time so while in sideless groove i thought I'd try it out. A sideless gown for street wear! I'm sure other people have done this before but I have amused myself. I look forward to seeing how it is to wear.

This length of denim was bought at the last stashbusting market I attended for the princely sum of $5. I cut it based on the medjeeval versions I have but dropped the neckline quite a way and ended up having to take it in lots. That extra fullness just made it look many sizes too big in a modern context.

couple more pics )
montjoye: (Default)
( Nov. 27th, 2015 09:28 am)
I've been mean to make this lovely fine springy stripey wool fabric up into a breezy sideless gown since before I aquired said fabric. I think this was 5+ years ago? When did we go to Suthmoot? was it 2010? Anyway, i bought the fabric there from a fellow attendee. I've done it now in case the weather turns out to be hot next weekend. Right now though it's only 15deg, amusing?

It's basically a copy of the heavier green striped one I made for the Laurel frock-off 11(!) years ago but with a deeper neckline and overall a bit longer. This one looks better moving, the fabric is so fine one needs to take great care with the sewing, and still the drape is affected. I wondered for ages what sort of edge finishing to use. I wanted contrast binding but thought that might fight the main fabric too much so I've gone with my usual straight grain silk facings. I didn't have leftover buttons in appropriate colours so I made some, out of scrap from a wedding blanket made, um, 12yrs ago or so?



montjoye: (Default)
( Oct. 1st, 2015 04:08 pm)
Pale pretty pink silk satin. Bought for only $3/m because it had a water stain about 30cm up from one end of the bolt, which happily mostly washed out. So $6 for the fabric, about $5 for matching silk thread and something less than a day's work. It's my choice to do this rather than pay ~$100 for a shop bought one. Plus this one has the extra bonus of fitting me.

No I shan't post a pic of this one on :-)

I will say that silk satin is easier to sew than one might think. Much easier than synthetics, easier than rayon. I'll also note that sewing the side seams has exposed that I need to sharpen the cutting knives on my overlocker.

I'm so pleased with what I've done today that I have to write it down

-cleaned the fermenter and associated gear from the mild ale (bottled yesterday)
-labelled the bottles and got them neatly into the cupboard
-woman handled a bunch of beer cartons into more sensible arrangements
-weeded the front garden
-cut and assembled(minus hem) a simple frock out of very pretty fabric. I think it needs jazzing up but I'll sleep on that thought.
-swept down* the front of the house including both doors.
-swept down the back verandah area including both doors.
-put a coat of varnish on the back step**
-put two coats of decking oil on the old saw bench**

Hmm, I probably should have swept the floor out the back before I started with the varnish. Too late now until it dries.

*the dirt around my place is black clay and my house is painted cream. So it gets coated quite heavily with dark grey dust. The main road doesn't help matters.
**it's only taken me 8 years to get around to doing these
montjoye: (Default)
( Sep. 14th, 2015 09:21 am)
Finito. A done thing.

I'm really pleased with it in general. Of course there are things I would do differently now, there almost always are.

The main fabric is that strong linen I've been going on about. It really is different from the linen i am used to. I got it at the Fabric Store, and they even still had some last time I was there. I probably paid about $20/m (including 30% off, those sales are when I mostly shop there!)for 2m of 150cm wide. The lining is more regular linen, bought cheaply from Eliza's. The buttons are vintage shell, all different but the same size.

The pattern is my own invention. 14 years ago I took toile fabric and made a pattern for my old Durer coat. Earlier this winter I used that as the starting shape for the salmon duffle coat. Then I further converted that pattern into the one I used for the grey and gold overcoat. Now I've slimmed that down to produce the pattern for this. So from flat fabric, via 3 intermediate garments, I have made a "proper" jacket pattern. Two part curved sleeves and all.

pretty much bag lined, which seems fine for the body. The sleeves are where I'm not happy. I stuffed up when cutting and failed to add on hem allowance. Actually I stuffed up when finalising the grey jacket pattern by not putting said hem allowance on the pattern, now done. So I bag lined the sleeve so I could use a tiny 5mm seam at the cuff. Not ideal as the lining is already dropping a bit despite the ditch stitching I've put on the vertical sleeve seams. I should have added a proper hem from the main fabric. Probably should have lined it in slithery stuff too. Ah well. There is light weight iron on interfacing in the upper collar, front edge of the body lining and hem. I taped the roll line (woot, tailoring talk) to combat the bias drape on the main fabric. The collar and shoulder seams are ditch stitched by hand. The pockets are fully lined patch pockets sewn on by hand prick stitching, top seam is taped.

. .

. .

Yes the sleeve cap has a few wrinkles when my arms are down. This is because they are patterned to sit properly at more like hands on hip position, which is really done to give me a full range of arm movement. I'd rather have a few wrinkles when standing straight so that I can drive, type, do whatever comfortably.

IMG_5874-2 IMG_5890-1 .
I’ve been doing my head in trying to design multiple garments and outfits at once. Pick something woman! So I prioritised cutting the jacket from the linen that I had pressed and laid out on the cutting table maybe a week ago. It’s not the garment I need first but it is the one that was ready to go. So the outer is now cut, mostly seamed and the fitting tweaked. The big decision on this one is what to line it with. The outer linen fabric is strong* but really quite fine. I’m thinking of lining it with a different linen in the same colours. PoW check lined with stripes, both in shades of taupe and cream. It will provide a bit more extra body than lining rayon would and simplify construction a bit, but I will need to be careful and alter the edges a bit to allow for turnbacks etc. The end product will be a slightly closer fitted and shorter version of the new grey and gold coat. I sure hope it fits me for more than the next month.

*I’m saying strong because it feels so. It’s not thick and heavy, I think the threads are spun more tightly before weaving than the linen we are used to. It might also have a longer fibre staple? So it has a “longer” and more obvious linen “hand”, or “wibble” as I more usually call this.

Part of the cognitive clash is that some of the other garments I'm trying to develop are deliberately very simple cuts. This jacket is quite a contrast with lots of curved seams and careful fitting.


It has just occurred to me that one of the reasons I have been so tired in the last couple of weeks is that I am breaking my brain in to a new glasses script. I always think a new script is not right until I’ve worn it for a few weeks. It seems to be settling in now and was just very useful in assisting me to unpick a pale taupe seam from this pale taupe linen. Couldn’t see to pick at the right threads with the old glasses.



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