Re-jiggering the Blue

Note the lack of support of my girls. Must fix.

In May I wore the dress to my brother’s wedding. It worked out wonderfully.. but I noticed that the bodice fit a bit more loose than I’d like. Add to that, the velvet ribbons I used for the guards on the bodice seem to be shredding and in some cases tore when the dress stretched under the guards (I’m not seeing this same problem on the sleeves so I’ll leave those alone).

In June, when I got home, I made a mockup of my bodice pattern out of some heavy cotton I had for patterning and I fiddled with it until I got rid of the looseness. BUT then I had to prep for Pennsic.. and as much as I love the Blue dress, there’s no way that I’d be able to wear a heavy wool dress at Pennsic (90+ F degrees humid in Pennsylvania). So the blue dress went on the back burner.

Jump forward 3 months.. it’s now post-Pennsic and I’ve decided I want to wear the blue dress at October Crown.
Continue reading Re-jiggering the Blue

Pictures or it never happened

I ended up sewing together the hat and parts of the sleeves on the road-trip to Montana.. and after the wedding I ended up sewing on two more buttons before Coronet.. but it looked lovely.

At Nate and Dusty’s wedding 5/21/2011:

Continue reading Pictures or it never happened

Blue and Black Sleeves

Hunting near Hartenfels Castle, 1540, The Cleveland Museum of Art


What I see
Blue and black sleeves.
The blue matches the dress and the black appears to be the same as the guarding on the bodice.
The blue is slashed and bubbles along the arm.
White (probably linen) pokes out of the slashing in the blue.
The black is tight to the arm.
Right arm has 7 bubbles(4 below the elbow, 3 above). Left arm has 6 bubbles(3 below the elbow, 3 above).
Sleeves are tight at the wrist and end with a section of black the same width as the other sections of black. There are no cuffs over the hands.
There’s also something gold and round(?) at the front of the left shoulder. Maybe a pin or a button? It’s at about the place I’d expect it to be if the sleeves were removable and attached with loops/buttons.

My plan
I plan to do 6 bubbles per arm (the asymmetrical bubbles bug me and I’m going to just close my eyes and pretend that it’s an accident by the artist and do the same number of bubbles on each arm).

I’m making these sleeves removable and have them attach with a loop and button.

I’ll start with my normal sleeve pattern and make sure it fits tight to the arm below the elbow.

The black sections (except for the one at the shoulder) will be 5/8″+1″ (black velvet ribbons are 5/8″ wide and 2 1/2″ seam allowances).
The black section at the shoulder will be a bit wider as I want all of the rise/fall of the armseye to be black. So it will be wavy at the edge where it attaches to the dress and straight on the edge where the blue is attached. This will be slightly wider than my 1 5/8″ in order to make it easier to piece.

The sleeve pattern will then be into 6 sections for the blue.
The divisions will be placed as follows:
– At the armseye exactly
– At the wrist exactly
– At 5 places along the arm evenly (centered at remaining length of the arm / 6) making sure that a division falls close to above the elbow point.

For each blue section I’ll double the length of each section and cut this out along the grain of the blue wool.

I’ll leave the blue whole until it is initially attached to the sleeve. After it’s attached I’ll then split it into 1.5 inch wide strips or as close to that as I can come for the width and keep it even(I nip it with scissors and then tear the fabric to keep the cut on grain). I want to keep the blue splits along the grain of the fabric since I don’t plan to finish the edges (if it become an issue over the long term I may do singling on them).

The white inside each bubble will be 4x the original length and 2x the original width(ie, the white sections are twice the height and width of the blue sections). I’ll put a simple rolled edge on any raw edges and then these will be pleated into each black section with little tiny knife pleats which will be hidden on the inside.

Hidden Ribbon:
Inside the sleeve I’ll permanently attach white ribbons to hold the black sections at the correct intervals. I’m planning to run one ribbon along the inside of the elbow, one along the bottom of the arm and another along the top of the sleeve. I will NOT run a ribbon along the seam line (over the back of the elbow).

After fiddling with this for a while I decided the ribbon will be attached on the inside of the sleeve and will only be encased in the black sections for the wrist and the shoulder. On the rest of the sleeve the ribbon will be attached to the inner surface of the black section.

Continue reading Blue and Black Sleeves

Blue and Black ToDo List

[updating as progress occurs]
(done)6+ yards of material (outer fabric)(usually wool) Deep blue med/heavy weight wool
(done)2 yards of linen (to line the bodice and sleeves) Black Linen
(done)5 yards of light linen (to make the white poofs in the sleeves) White Linen
(done)2+ yards of guard fabric (or ribbons) Oodles of 5/8″ Black velvet ribbons


TODO list:

Skirt:(Started 4/14/2011 and finished 4/21/2011)
(done)Cut out the skirt fabric (170″ x 50″ for this one).
(done)Do a simple 1/2″ rolled hem at the top of the skirt fabric.
(done)Attach the cheater strip of gingham so it’s aligned just below the top of the 1/2″ rolled hem.
(done)Pleat the skirt by running two parallel buttonhole threads over/under 4 boxes on the cheater strip per stitch. Draw tight.
(done)Cut out a piece of the outer fabric 2″ wide by slightly longer than waist measurement (50″ long for me). Fold this to enclose all raw edges and sewed it down.
(done)Add marks to waist band 7/8 inches apart.

(done)Tack the top of each skirt pleat at each mark.
(done)After all pleats are tacked to the strip remove the cheater strip and pleating strings.
(done)Then work my way around the skirt band and attached the tops of each pleat to the skirt band.

(no guards on this skirt)

Sleeves (started 4/22/2011 finished 5/19/2011)
(done) Figure out sleeves. Full to-do posted here.
(done)Fit sleeve.
(done)Mark black vs blue sections and ribbon path on pattern.
(done)Cut out black vs blue pattern pieces with seam allowance.
(done)Sew together sleeves (See full sleeve to-do post for details).

(done)Sew black velvet ribbons on top of the black linen strips.

(done)In white thread, do a tiny french seam to seal each of the white linen into tubes.
(done)In black thread, stitch along the seam line of the black pieces. (Seam is on the inside of the sleeve)

(done)Attach inner ribbons for holding sections at correct length.
(done)Attach loops to the shoulder end of the sleeve (for attaching to the buttons on the bodice).

Bodice(started 5/4/2011 finished 5/19/2011)
(done)Pattern the bodice.
(done)Cut the bodice out in the outer fabric and lining.

(done)Sew the bottom of all of the outer bodice pieces and the center front seams and neck openings of all the bodice pices. For this dress, because it will have a finished armseye, seam the armseye as well.
(done)Flip the bodice pieces around so there’s a finished seam around what will be the bottom of the bodice and the front opening (and the armseye). Iron this flat.

(done)Line up the sleeve caps with the outer fabric on the inside. Flip one piece of linen around to the other side. Sew the sleeve cap (1/2″ seam)(when you pull it straight the sleeve cap seam should be enclosed between the layers of linen and outer fabric).
Because this dress will have a finished edge on both sides of the sleeve cap I’ll have to finish the sleeve cap a little bit differently. With the front outside-out, and the back inside out, put the front sleeve cap inside of the back sleeve cap and sew them with a 1/2″ seam. (when you pull it straight so everything is right side out the seam for the sleeve cap should be enclosed between the layers of linen and outer fabric).

(done)Sew scant 1/4″ around the side seams of the bodice pieces (side seam) (flatlining) (makes the linen and the outer fabric act as one piece of fabric).
(done)Seam the bodice pieces together at the sides(1/2″ seams). The raw edges will be inside the bodice.

(done)Ideally the seams for the hook and eye for the center front opening will end up under guarding on the bodice. If so, sew through both the lining and the outer fabric to attach the hook/eye. If not.. I suppose you could attach it to only the lining.. I’m not sure how that’d work.

(done)Cut out the bodice guards.
(done)Line them up on the bodice, miter the corners and pin generously.
(done)Sew the guards down by hand.

Bringing it all together
(done)Attach the waist band to the bottom of the bodice. The band is completely hidden inside the bodice.. but this way if I ever need to pull the skirt off the bodice I can do that without having to completely re-pleat the whole thing.

(done)Attach sleeve to bodice. Attach buttons to bodice for attaching the (removable) sleeves.

(done) Close the dress opening of the skirt with a french seam. Up to 5″ below the bodice.
(if needed) Hand finish the front opening with a rolled hem
(done) Add a hook/eye to the front opening.

(done)Put temp machine hem on the dress.
Hand hem the bottom of the dress.

(in progress) Bind the black seams on the inside of the sleeve.
Bind the side seams of the bodice.

Tellerbarret and Goldhaube


What I see:
Blue hat, the outer edge is round. I can’t really see what’s going on the with crown but I plan to do a square crown that folds inwards.
Two curled white feathers. Feathers have gold bits at the end possibly beads(?).

I want the square points to extend almost all the way to the outside of the circle. Will add more to this as it progresses.


What I see:
Red/gold with decorated band.
Some hair showing at temples (means the haube is set further back on the head than I expected).
Body seems to be a basket weave.. possibly of a ribbon which compliments the band.
Shape is rounded but wider at the sides than at the top. Probably half circle which is gathered at the nape of the neck into the band.

April 6, 2011: After browsing my JoAnne’s I purchased black cotton velveteen and gold ribbons to cover the body of the haube. Given the selection, these seemed like the best options. Even though the Empress velvet was more luxurious, I finally settled on the cotton velveteen because 1) the body of the haube will be completely covered by the ribbons. so it hardly matters what I use for the under fabric and 2) cotton will breath better than polyestre.. and I have to wear this on my head. We’ll see if I have time to assemble the haube. I would have preferred to get a rust or deep red velvet.. but these colors weren’t available and I don’t plan to experiment with dying velvet.

See also:
GottfriedKilianu’s Pattern from Flickr.

Post by Tarlwen on Hobby Schneiderin
Post by Dragon Princess on N&S Forum

1540 Blue&Black Swiss Gown

Diary started April 6, 2011
Finished: May 21, 2011


My brother is getting married in May and I’m in the wedding party. My instructions are to make “a blue dress I’ll wear again in the future” and that “SCA clothes are fine”. With that in mind I determined to make a version of the dress pictured here:

Hunting near Hartenfels Castle, 1540, The Cleveland Museum of Art

Link to Zoomifier

As I’m rapidly changing sizes I need to wait to fit the bodice until closer to the wedding (I’m thinking end of April) but as I was reminded by Ms. Etaine, I can make the sleeves, hat, skirt, etc beforehand and only worry about the bodice at the last minute.

Wool for this project was acquired at the LA fabric district last October.

Details to include:

  • Dress made of wool lined in linen
  • Simple front-closing bodice that uses hook/eye in the front.
  • Simple guards on the bodice. May add guards to the skirt depending on time. I’m planning to use black velvet ribbons for the guarding.
  • Fantasticly over-the-top sleeves.
  • Fancy hat with feathers.
  • Gold Haube.

Skirt Math
I’m cutting the skirt at 170″x50″. It will have a rolled hem at the top which will be cartridge pleated to the bodice(3″ per pleat), use a french seam at the front closure and use a rolled hem at the hemline.

I don’t have the bodice done so I don’t know the measurement of the bottom of it. That said, my last two bodices were 45.5″ and 46.5″ around the bottom(and I’ve been losing weight…). I expect this one to be right around there or smaller. For each of the previous I used 4 gingham blocks per side of my pleats for a total of 52-53 pleats. I plan to repeat this as it give me a nice sized pleat and a skirt with a nice amount of flair.

My gingham squares are 3/8″ each.
I expect the bodice bottom to be pret’near 46.5″ around.

I want the tops of each cartridge pleat to be at about 2 squares on the gingam which ends up at about 3/4″(3/8″+3/8″=6/8″). When this is attached to the bottom of the bodice I’ll need to add another 1/8″ to that to account for the bulk between the tops of each pleat. This give me a total of about 7/8″ for each pleat (6/8″+1/8″).

This gives me around 53 pleats (46.5 divided by 7/8″ ) around the bottom of the bodice.

Each side of my pleat will be 4 blocks of my gingham with a total of 8 blocks for each pleat. That means that my pleats will each be 3 inches (3/8 x 8 = 3).
Since I want 53 pleats that means I need a minimum of 159″ of fabric for my skirt. I want to add 4 inches to this to allow room for the french seam which will hold the skirt closed. So I need a total of 163 inches of fabric for the skirt (159 + 4). Rounding up to 170 because I’m nervous and want to be sure to have enough.

On my last two skirts they measure ~45 inches from the bottom of the bodice to the hem. Adding 1 inch to that for the rolled hem at the top and 1 inch to the bottom of that for the hem at the bottom I get ~47 inches. I’m rounding this up to 50″ because I’m nervous and want to be sure to have enough.

Bodice Woes

Having now worn the red/black linen dress twice.. I can say with authority that my bodice pattern needs to be altered.

The straps in the front are too far apart so that when I reach forwards (ie, wash dishes) the edge of the strap cuts into my arm uncomfortably. Further, I believe the lower part of the bodice isn’t flaired enough over the ribs so that if I slouch the bodice tends to bunch up under my bosom.

As long as I’m standing up straight with my arms at my side, the current bodice is fine.. but as soon as I get more active I become uncomfortable with the way it’s fitting. Ah well. I guess it’s back to the drawing board.

Definitely I’ll fiddle the bodice pattern BEFORE I make any more dresses for me. ATM this fiddling is scheduled for AFTER my vacation next week(and hopefully BEFORE Purgatorio). I’d like to be able to re-cut my red linen bodice and have it all set to go for Purg (Aug 27-29).

Bones.. and that damned hemd :D

I ended up adding short bones under the hook/eye tape on either side of the front opening. As a happy coincidence the tapes are almost exactly wide enough to hold the bones. So it was very easy to tuck them into place. The bones are about 7 inches long.. so 1-2 inches shorter than the hook/eye tape (I was using what I had on hand). I pushed them all the way to the bottom of the channel, stitched them into place and left the top 1-2 inches of the front opening un-boned. I like the way that worked out so I plan to continue to do that on my other German dresses.

Based on pictures from June Crown it looks like the bones are cutting down on the zig-zag of the front opening.

As a “bonus”, the night before the event I decided I didn’t like the way the collar of the hemd was looking. So I removed the fabric from the inside of the collar (Because really, there’s no better time to drastically alter your hemd collar than the night before an event). This made the collar easier to iron to get a nice crisp honeycomb showing up.. but also allowed the collar to stretch out to MUCH longer than is actually needed for the neck. I’m not pleased with that. The plan right now is to make a new hemd with a smaller collar and then possibly come back to this shirt and fiddle with it later. I don’t want to tear apart my only hemd in order to fix it.. and leave myself with no usable hemd. So I’ll work on a new one first.

Not-so rushed

I’ve done a bunch.. and it’s been a while since I updated progress on the dress.. but frankly, all the stuff I’ve done is kinda boring and not-picture-worthy.

I’ve been doing this big push to get the dress done by Crown. I will definitely -make- it.. but the current weather report put the weekend in the low 70s.. so I may just wear my green wool German instead of this new linen dress. So I’m not really rushing to get everything done. Not to worry, I’m sure there are some scorching events coming up soon.

Stuff done:
I did a simple 1/2″ rolled hem at the top of my skirt fabric.
Just below this I attached a cheater strip of gingham. Then I pleated the skirt. I only ran a single line of thread for pleating. It went relatively fast and had essentially the same outcome as I got by running three lines of thread.. so I think I’ll stick to 1 thread in the future.
Then I made a little band of fabric 3″ wide by about 50″ long. I folded this to enclose all raw edges and sewed it down. On this I added marks 7/8 inches apart. At each mark I tacked the top of one of my skirt pleats.
After all pleats were tacked to the strip I removed my pleating string and the cheater strip.
Then I worked my way around the skirt band and attached the tops of each pleat to the skirt band.

Once that was complete I attached the band to the bottom of the bodice. The band is completely hidden inside the bodice.. but this way if I ever need to pull the skirt off the bodice I can do that without having to completely re-pleat the whole thing.

I did a french seam down the front of the skirt leaving the top ~5 inches open so that I can get into/out of the dress.
I did about a rolled hem along the edges of that opening to finish it.
Then I attached another hook/eye to hold the overlapped piece in place on the inside of the bodice.

Edith stopped by and marked the bottom of the dress and I cut it off to slightly-longer than the correct length (leaving enough fabric for a nice rolled hem).

Still to-do:
– Finish hem. Since I’m nto really rushing to get it finished by this weekend I think I’ll make this my weekend project to finish the hem by hand.
– Add pieced guard to the dress. I want to add one pieced triangle velvet guard to the bottom of the dress. I want to use velvet both to match the bodice guards and because I think the velvet will add a nice weight to near the bottom of the skirt. I haven’t even started on this. I need to buy velvet, cut it into little triangular pieces and then sew it together. No rush on this. The dress is wearable without the guard.
– Pleat sleeves of the hemd. I haven’t even started on this. So.. yeah, need to do it.
– I’m also tempted to use the last of the left-over red linen scraps to make removable strappy sleeves. Will need to think about that for a bit.

Mmmmmm Velvet

Linen guards are so boring. Having fixated on the idea of using velvet guards I turned my house upside-down looking for the spools of black velvet ribbon I -know- I have. Sadly I couldn’t find it. After hemming and hawing about it I decided I really did want velvet.. so I went out and I bought more ribbon. Viola, instant guards.

Saturday I sewed the bodice together, added the hook/eye, and added the guards. It’s looking mighty spiff.

Now for the skirt. “The Math” says I need 53 pleats which translates to 8 blocks per pleat. Each pleat has two sides.. so my pleating stitches will be over 4 blocks each (see math below).

The bodice bottom is 46.5″ around.
I have 179″ of fabric for the skirt.

I want the tops of each cartridge pleat to be at about 2 squares on the gingam which ends up at about 3/4″(3/8″+3/8″=6/8″). When this is attached to the bottom of the bodice I’ll need to add another 1/8″ to that to account for the bulk between the tops of each pleat. This give me a total of about 7/8″ for each pleat (6/8″+1/8″).

This gives me around 53 pleats (46.5 divided by 7/8″ ) around the bottom of the bodice.
Which means that each pleat needs to be around 3.37″ each (179 divided by 53).

If I followed this exactly then each pleat would be 9 blocks of gingam. Unfortunately that would make me have to deal in half blocks. Meh, I’d rather have to cut off a few inches of the skirt fabric. So instead I’m going with 8 blocks per pleat.

Each pleat has two sides which means I’ll be stitching over 4 block in my under/over pleating stitch (4+4=8).

I should have plenty of fabric left for the french seam and the skirt opening.