I blame grad school

Once again I am back to confirm that yes, I am alive, and yes, I am still making progress on various projects. Slowly. I also wanted to announce that I am participating in the West Kingdom’s Virtual Artisan Display for March Crown, so if you want overviews of some of my recent projects with everything, you know, in one place, that should be a great place to look! It is not yet available but I will link it here when it is, and I might try and copy some of the content over so it is archived here permanently.

My mom got me a copy of A Scholehouse for the Needle for Christmas. This is an early 17th C book full of many useful needlework things, but so far I am mostly exploring the range of strange and wacky animals it has to embroidery. I love how beautiful, ornate coifs will feature silly smiling snails and random caterpillars, and I have discovered that the Elizabethans did not understand how manta rays work. That being said, with all the big complex things I have been doing recently it was really nice to sit down and just embroider some little motifs.

These are all in various silk threads on antique linen and are destined to be pincushions. In fact the red floral one already is, and I keep my favorite needles in it. My main pincushion was getting a bit crowded.

I finally finished the surcote to go with my 1330s peasant kit (previously documented here). This follows the same pattern as the cote, but with short sleeves and a tiny bit more ease through the body. The fabric is a lovely brown Scottish wool from Mandors, and it’s handsewn in a mixture of linen thread and wool thread. I am slowly pulling out the linen and replacing it with wool, since I have found that Devere Yarn’s wool embroidery thread makes a nice wool sewing thread, without me having to spin it from scratch.

I’m also in the process of making a new bag to go with that set, which has stagnated at the “poke holes in this for the drawstrings” phase. I really should just get that done it is so close.

Let’s see. What else. I’m doing the final fitting on Hanna’s reproduction 1920s coat this week so I can finally hem the blasted thing and get it out of my life. It’s beautiful but oh my god, such a struggle, I am ready to be done with it. I am going to implore Hanna to take pictures once she gets it and actually talk about the process of making it since I have a lot of feelings, but it just kind of looks like a navy blob on a hanger at the moment.

I have actually started that 1570s Florentine court ensemble I bought stuff for while in LA! First up is the sottana/kirtle, which is from some random yellow silk from Discount Fabrics in Berkeley (which I miss. So much. Mandor’s does not carry silk.) over padstitched collar canvas and hair canvas from McCulloch and Wallis, since I insist on trying weird stiffening methods. It worked all right though!

Obviously I need to actually turn all the seam allowances over and stitch them down, and my hand might be in front of the point because I didn’t line it up right while I just sewed it on to me, but the fit is good and the silk is nice and smooth when under tension. I think it actually has more of a tapered torso effect when you view it from eye level– my camera might have been on my windowsill for this picture. Hence the curtain cameo on the LH side. Now that the padstitching is done, though, the whole thing is going much faster than I expected for an entirely-handsewn-with-period-materials-crazy-fitted-garment. Go figure.

Oh and I’m making another corset. I think it’ll actually be really pretty but once again BOY HOWDY IT IS A STRUGGLE. I’m also sewing it entirely on Camille, who is of course period-appropriate but also a little bit grumpy on occasion. It does give the illusion of me having hips through some kind of Victorian arcane magic, but of course I can’t photograph it until I have, you know, both sides made.

There we have it, a quick update. I am actually sewing a lot right now, courtesy of not having a sewing-related project in lab. Now if only any of my projects didn’t involve precision stitching, tailoring, or tiny cartridge pleats…..

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