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I had a great time yesterday, spending the afternoon with Missy Anne and the Ravenstreeters, in preparation for 12th Night. Much fitting and consultation was done, and much was accomplished.

Not only that, but I heard the phrase that is music to my ears.

And which phrase is that, you ask?

Well, when a lady, especially a well endowed one, goes into the final fitting of the bodies (corset) that you fit for her, and says: "Oh, my God! This is more comfortable than a bra!" You know you've done a good job.

I also got to draft the earlier 1500's bodies for a French style gown, and I am sooooo looking forward to the fittings on that one. It is a very interesting bodice, and I am very tempted to make one of those gowns in the future.

But first, I need to make my later period French gown in the Valois style.

And here's my frustration. I think I have gotten very good and very fast at fitting people with pretty much any piece that is either 16th Century Western European, or the 15th Century Florentine gowns. Yet, I cannot fit myself the way I like as I cannot be in two places at the same time, namely standing still for the fitting and around me fitting me. So while other people's garments fit to the "T," mine are always a wee bit off. Most people don't notice, but I do.

(alina_s and I spent some time swapping stories of our poor, long-suffering husbands, putting up with us and helping us fit as well as they could.)

But rejoice O heart of mine! Today Marcellus is helping me to make a duct tape double!. I am so excited! If this works, and I've heard it does, I will be able to fit myself like nobody's business. And finally, the Belfebe will have achieved garb happiness!

Even better, my long-suffering husband will no longer be required to fit my corsets, for which he is incredibly grateful.

(Now, taking the corsets off is another story, but I digress . . .)


Last but not least, I have finished drafting Alina's coif, which will feature some really nice embroidery in scarlet silk. I can't wait to start. I have a bit of scarlet silk leftover from another project, but I have decided to wait until the one that I ordered from Halcyon Yarns arrives. There is no point in starting a project when I know that I'll be running out of silk. Risking that the color of the second cone will not match the first, is not worth the impatience. Even if they are supposed to be the same color, dye batches vary and it shows on the finished product.

Man, I am itching to start!

And for your viewing pleasure, here is the mockup of the work I will be doing with it. It's out of one of attack_laurel's patterns, BTW, which is really pretty. This sample is chain stitch, stem stich, back stitch, satin stitch, and on the side a little strapwork that I will be trying in some of the grid. Alina, I hope you like it.


( 19 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 12th, 2008 03:25 pm (UTC)
Since joining the SCA, I've had the same problem of self-fitting, but because of some of my proportions, I cannot rely on a dummy.

I've ended up improving my "fit by eye" and developing gumby arms, and using a full-length mirror for most things. That and I cannot use a standard pattern for any of my clothes, everything is a one-of-a-kind as far as fit goes.

Glad you get the assistance! I can't wait to see the Valois gown!
Oct. 13th, 2008 12:09 am (UTC)
Re: Self-fitting
Oct. 12th, 2008 04:55 pm (UTC)
THanks for the embroidery pic- I have just started embroidery projects with my class and there are really taking off!
Oct. 13th, 2008 12:09 am (UTC)
Re: Nice!
Awesome! I'd love to see picturest too!
Oct. 12th, 2008 07:07 pm (UTC)
Wooo....pretty...I can't wait.
Oct. 13th, 2008 12:10 am (UTC)
You're gonna love it. I can't wait to get the silk. :-)
Oct. 12th, 2008 07:27 pm (UTC)
The sample is so pretty! What type of linen are you using. I have one of her patterns that I want to do but I am just not sure what type of linen and weight would be best.
Oct. 13th, 2008 12:15 am (UTC)
Actually, that piece is a scrap of a leftover 5.7 oz white linen from fabrics-store.com. The black and white with spangles I made before was a 3.5 oz. The one I am making for Alina is a very lightweight fine linen as well. I don't know where she got it.

You want hankie to medium weight linen. No more than 5.7 oz. Don't use embroidery linen. Just go out there and look for fine lightweight, bleached, and see what you like best. Fabric.com also has some very nice linens. And Duchess Simone has really fine ones at about $10-$12 per yard. You don't need that much. Just enough for the actual coif and the lining. About 1/2 yd of 48" wide linen. Get one yard. If you have leftover, there is always something else you can use it. :-)
Oct. 13th, 2008 12:21 am (UTC)
Oct. 13th, 2008 01:36 am (UTC)
nods. I bought some "even-weave embroidery linen" (for Counted Work) and I really don't like it. It's coarse compared to regular linen. For the project I got it for (Emblems a la Mary Queen of Scots) it will be quite satisfactory, but not for anything else.
Oct. 15th, 2008 01:18 pm (UTC)
Great advice. Thank you!
Oct. 17th, 2008 01:33 pm (UTC)
Any time!
Oct. 13th, 2008 01:34 am (UTC)
Do you have any suggestions? I've got a Uniquely You (tm) dummy -- but there's nobody within 180 miles that I know that knows how to draft patterns. Do you have a "how to" or can you recommend one?
Oct. 13th, 2008 12:12 pm (UTC)
Are you talking about how to draft patterns? There are many ways to go about this.

You can start from scratch, and develop a "sloper" which then you will have to adapt and fit to yourself. Tammi Dupuis, from the Renaissance Tailor" has an excellent page with all sorts of articles on how to pattern a garment. I used to do that a lot, and it took a lot more time. It's a wonderful way of understanding patterning.

Having said that, once you have your basic shape, you can tailor it at your convenience. The trick is the fitting. You get good practice the more you do it. I have fit people with patterns that I made for myself or that I scaled up from either Alcega, Janet Arnold or the Tudor Tailor, which were much smaller or larger than the person that I fit. The Tudor Tailor has a section on how to alter a pattern, which is very useful as well.

Having said all that, you can also start from a good commercial pattern. And I am not talking Simplicity of McCall's (yech!). We are very lucky that these days there are good historical patterns commercially available. My favorites are from Reconstructing History, and from The Tudor Tailor, which have now developed their own line of Henrician and Elizabethan patterns.

Reconstructing History has a greater variety of styles, in different eras, their instructions are pretty good, they are quite accurate and, if you get stuck with anything, you can always contact Kass, the owner, who is very good at getting back to you and help you figure out the pattern. She's also in LJ and her handle is kass_rants.

In the end, it is all about the fit, the correct undergarments (which people do not take into consideration most of the time), and using the right materials. We put a lot of time in this hobby. Using the wrong material does not make the work go faster or easier. Might as well use the right one. :-)

I hope this helps!
Oct. 13th, 2008 01:54 pm (UTC)
Nods. That does help. I have one of Kass' patterns -- it's one of the Elizabethan Loose Gowns. I've got both Janet Arnold and TT -- I'm just nervous about laying pen to paper if you know what I mean. And I've got plenty of muslin to play with.

I just gotta take a deep breath, put on my big girl panties and get on with it!

Oct. 13th, 2008 03:03 am (UTC)
You are just so amazing. Really. And yes, the duct tape double does work. :)
Oct. 13th, 2008 11:54 am (UTC)
Thanks! I am very excited about the body double. We taped it yesterday, and I am hoping to finish assembling it today. Stay tuned. :-D
Oct. 13th, 2008 07:09 am (UTC)
Okay, how does an earlier 16-century French gown fit differently than a later one? Or did you mean a fit difference between the low-necked gowns and the high-necked gowns like the Valois gown?
Oct. 13th, 2008 11:59 am (UTC)
The earlier 16th C. French gown looks very much like your Henrician gowns. The Valois gowns come in all shapes and sizes, but resemble your Elizabethan gowns. However, there are some details that are typically French, such as the low curved neck, the Medici collar, the buttons on the shoulders of the detachable mutton leg sleeves, the structure, the hairstyle, etc. The English copied a lot of this and gave it their own flair. But to a trained eye, there is a difference in the style and the silhouette. :-)

I am taking notes for an article on this, which will make a lot more sense.
( 19 comments — Leave a comment )

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