Monday, May 7, 2018

Peasant Fashion in the Low Countries: Stage One

Some time ago--in response to having been recently working on a garment which was for high court--I decided I wanted to play with Low Countries clothing.  Specifically, peasant clothing.  Fashion A La Brueghel, as I immediately dubbed it.  Historical Dutch beer may have also been involved in this decision, because who doesn't design an outfit to match a beer they might be drinking?

That is where I ran into a snag.  While there are several excellent articles out there on /women's/ Low Countries clothing, the selection of articles covering the details for menswear was decidedly lacking.  So, naturally, I decided I needed to do a bunch of research and write my own articles on the topic.  I fairly quickly decided on the plan of going through the artwork of Brueghel and other Flemish artists of the period, and winnowing out any pieces which did not have usable details; so marking down any paintings which had the distinctive clothing of the correct class (i.e. Not Nobility), and which weren't purely allegorical and religious in tone since the clothing of those is often suspect.

Saturday, May 5, 2018

HSM #3 Comfort at Home: Moderator Favourites

I am late coming to this post, at least in part due to my job--but I finally have the time and energy to get it done; so apologies on how late it is. 

As a review, the Historical Sew Monthly (link to the right) challenge for March was Comfort at Home--clothing which would be worn /only/ or at least primarily around the house, either just as a comfortable alternative to more constrictive public clothing, or in order to work in.  As I wrote the Inspiration Post for it, the task of assembling the Moderator's Favourites post also fell to me.  To qualify for the Moderator's Choice award (which admittedly gets you nothing but a mild fuzzy feeling), you needed to have your photo in the album by the end of the challenge month.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Bad Penny Pluderhose: Drafting the Foundation Shorts (Again)

A couple of years ago, I made my last pair of pluderhose and wrote up a tutorial on drafting them throughout the various stages.  When I revisited them with the plan to make another pair this year, I found that my most excellent instructions...didn't work.  Partly because I didn't take one of my measurements correctly, but my old instructions are also clunky.  Especially in the section regarding some rather esoteric and personal measurements.

The garment itself is somewhat complicated, and I am sure has been the cause of many grey hairs in re-enactors--partially because there are no patterns or instructions for them online.  Well...there is one, but it is not remotely period as it seems to be based on modern pajama pants).  Reconstructing History also sells a pattern, which I have no experience with, and no desire to--I don't need help going mad.  So, when I went to draft out a new pluderhose foundation pattern, and found that my old instructions had issues, I realized I would have to mostly rewrite it.  As before, this pattern is based on the pairs worn by Nils and Erik Sture (mostly Nils, because I believe Erik's pair of foundation breeches got stretched with wear).

This tutorial series for the pluderhose consists of four parts; the base breeches/foundation shorts; panes and lining; codpiece; and assembly.  In the example pairs, the foundation breeches were made of a fine leather, similar to chamois or a soft deerskin--previously I used a heavy cotton (cotton drill), this time I have deerskin splits to use (which should be attributed to my madness, because it will be a pain.  Spend the extra money, and don't use splits if you decide on leather, since they are uneven in thickness).  Depending on the particular style, the foundation breeches can be around knee length (and sewn to the legband at the bottom) as in Nils', or free at the bottom and a bit shorter as I believe Erik's was.

Foundation shorts of Nils Sture's pluderhose, 1568. 
Patterns of Fashion 3, by Janet Arnold

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Project Roundup: What Have I been Doing?

...not much, to be honest.  I have only completed a couple of project, and my major projects have been having...issues.  Two of the major projects from last year--the Hasting's Suit, and the Patchwork Paletot--have both been shelved until further notice.

My other major projects have been having issues getting past the drafting stage--a 1760s Redingote was on deck (I even have the fabrics for it) but I never got around to cutting out a mockup to check the fit, and now it's getting warm enough that it would be next winter before I get to wear it.  The pluderhose for a slightly secret project--I am trying to keep the details a surprise, but not that I am working on German Ren again--have been...problematic.  I found issues with my drafting system not creating a pair of the undershorts which will fit, and went through a full 6 drafts before I got close to having mobility. 
Because it's a good, generic sewing photo.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Plainsewing in Depth

Being the Class Notes/Synopsis of my class taught at St. Boniface Collegium (UAF) last November.

This class was intended to go over each of the sixteen or so different stitches I could think of, what uses they are most suited for, and how to choose your thread and wax...I didn't quite manage to get that all into the actual class since we kept running off on tangents. I had also anticipated more beginners in the class, rather than leading a class mostly containing experienced seamstresses. The goal of the class—and even more with this article--is to pass on some of the tips and tricks I've gleaned over the last few years of doing a fair amount of handsewing; both in SCA (Society for Creative Anachronism…pre-1603) and more modern sewing and tailoring, and to help make things easier for other historical costumers who want to do more in the way of handsewing. By no means is this article exhaustive and as I think of or learn more stitches, I will update.  Originally, I also intended to provide documentation for each stitch for each period (if it was used); I eventually decided to not do so because it turned out to be a lot more difficult and a more of a massive undertaking than I anticipated and I wanted to actually get the article published someday soon.


To start with, I will cover the required three tools and materials for handsewing and one optional one--this list does not include the fabric. Needle, thread, wax, and I highly recommend a thimble (semi-optional).

As you can see, I store my needles in an old Belgian Ale cork.
The jewelry pliers are helpful for sewing through many layers
and when your fingers start slipping.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Comfort At Home, a Historical Sew Monthly Inspiration Post

I am fairly confident in saying that throughout history, people have wanted to be comfortable in their home, especially when the weather outside is...less than pleasant.  So, the challenge for March is Comfort at Home.

The official definition is to "Make something to wear around the (historical) house".  We were having some issues with wording there...  What this means is clothing which would primarily be worn in the informal comfort of your own home, rather than out in public, and certainly not to a formal event!  Don't just think physically comfortable, but mentally as well--is there some historical thing which you find soothing (which involves sewing)? 
We do encourage you to think outside the box--do some  research, argue your point, and odds are that you will get by with it!

I jump around a good bit in this post rather than organizing by theme and gender (which is my preference), but the ideas which help more for earlier periods are towards the end.

Kimono Dressing Gown, 1885
FIDM Museum, 80.40.1

Thursday, January 4, 2018

What...happened? 2017 Review, and 2018 Goals

2017 was not a good sewing year for me, and I need to figure out why.

Let's go through the projects I started (or continued from a previous year), shall we?  Maybe I will feel better, since it feels like I barely finished the point of someone on the HSM FB group asking to share the project you are the most proud of from last year, and my mind was coming up blank.  

It was suggested I should be proud of this outfit
....I'm not so sure.