Massive Post of Too Long Since My Last Update

So how’ve you been?  Me… busy, school, work, flu… you know… the usual.

I have knit almost nothing at all, instead I’ve been sewing (more below).  I did go and ply the ingeo, and if spinning it was a bitch, plying was x400 worse.  After major vain attempts to ply it on the wheel (together with some of the cosmic blue), I gave up and found my bulky-heavy spindle and plyed it with that, even still it was horrible – it just didn’t want to work.  (I don’t have pictures yet). 

In better news – I then spun the 25g of tussah silk I bought a Purple Purl (which I visited April 25th with M. and G.)  It has turned out lovely, and my plan is to spin up some merino and seacell that I got (same bat-time, same bat-place) and ply the silk with it. 

(Pretty blue, it was a dream to spin after the ingeo)

Sooo, sewing.  I have not done much sewing in years, however, the return to full cloth textiles has remined me of several things – that sewing up can be fun and that my fabric stash is way scary.  As in WAY scary.  I have yards and yards and yards of fabric, some that I thought I’d used all up, some I can’t even remember why I bought (or why I bought that much – as in why do I have nearly 3 bolts of 3 different plaids?!)  But I digress.

I’m sewing ‘costume’ for a re-enactment of Culloden that I am attending with my girlfriend and her family, she married into a re-enacting family last summer and she and N. have been trying to get me out to something for nearly 2 years.  So off I go.  But in order to go play with them I need the following:

* 1 pair of 18th century stays (basically the pre-cursor to the corset – the all important foundation garment upon which period silhouette depends); 2+ petticoats (over skirts, ankle length); 1 chemise (a nightgown of sorts, worn under everything); 1 jacket; 1 pair of period shoes (I’ll hopefully end up with two as the one pair is ugly); 1 pair of pockets (as in the nursery rhyme); 1 headscarf; 1 shawl/neck-scarf…   all in wool, cotton, linen, and leather

The most intense thing is the stays, which are now done and do in fact fit (there were some tense moments when I wasn’t sure they would).  Stays are made of stiff fabric (in this case 100% linen in a canvas weight), with boning strategically placed throughout.  The boning is made of coated spring-steel.  The whole thing is made of two layers of two pieces and mine is only lacing in the front.  When making these, you really can’t know you’ve done the pattern just right until you are finished and can lace the whole thing up – as I said – tense moments.  The lacing holes all had to be hand finished (FYI – way worse than sewing up a sweater).  But now that it is done, I’m rather pleased with it.

(The stays laid out, with the boning casings sewn in – the tabs still not cut along the lower edge)

(Some of the bones, also – the left overs of the sewing equivalent of weaving in ends)

(All those holes… hand finished….)

(All laced up, in fact I could probably get the bottom a bit tighter, but I was wearing jeans under it)

(I had to make the straps a bit longer, they are supposed to tie off with the tabs)

I’ve got 2 petticoats done (one in green, one in plaid) and another cut out (also in plaid – gotta do something with it!). I have the chemise pinned out, but wanted to check the instructions before I cut it.  I have my pockets half cut out and am working on the embroidery before I finish them (or, I’m waiting until I have to finish them and then the embroidery will just be whatever I have done).  Saturday I make a pair of -super ugly- gathered leather shoes (based on these)- basically they are little open bags.  I’m going to see if I can find something passable to have in addition to these as … yeah… ugly…

(Pockets – they are getting flowers embroidered on them.. as I was told no dragons…)

(Ugly, but the skirts will probably cover my feet)

Culloden is the Canadian long weekend (17-18 ) at Westfield Heritage Village *(where much of Anne of Green Gables was filmed).  If all goes according to plan, I’ll be bringing my wheel!!  (Now to find out if I’ve got anything I can spin that is remotely period….) The park will be open to the public, with the re-enactment forming part of the education/entertainment, so if you are in the area and interested, I’m told it is quite the event.

*If you click on the link – turn off the volume, the site has super annoying crappy tin whistle/drum music

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2 thoughts on “Massive Post of Too Long Since My Last Update

  1. Don’t worry about spinning something “period.” While it might be nice to spin from unwashed locks or whatever, people were spinning pre-prepared products by 1745 in England, so wool roving should suit just fine. It would have been sheep-colored and dyed later, most likely, so maybe some Shetland? (I knew my textile history would come in handy one day!!) Plus, if you wear your stays, no one will be looking at your spinning anyhow. Boom pow! 🙂

    I’ll see what I can find on 18th century shoes for plebs. We’ve been focusing on the aristocracy mostly, but depending on your persona you could very well have inherited aristocratic shoes from someone you knew, right? Maybe some lovely linen uppers with a chopine of some sort to keep them out of the mud. I’d start from a pair of ballet slippers and move on from there.

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