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Woot! Lower sleeves went together very quickly. These have straight “hedgehogs”** unlike the upper sleeves where the top “hedgehogs” followed the curve of the armcye.

All said I think it took 2-3 hours to do both sleeves and to re-do the gold part that goes over my hands. I just need to hand-finish the flat-felled seam and tidy up the seam on the yellow and these will be done.
The more I think about this project the more fiddly things I find that need to be done. *sigh*
Left to do:

  • Attach fake chemise sleeve to the bottom of the upper sleeve and the top of the lower sleeve.
  • Add laces between top and bottom of sleeves
  • Attach the last of the lacing rings. I think I have 3 left.
  • Try on dress and see if I need to add additional hook/eye to the top of the brustfleck.
  • Make hats
  • Finish the last raw seams on the inside of the dress. Bind the arm seams, finish the others (may not happen until after Mists Investiture)

Between Mists Investiture and 12th night:

  • Finish appliqueing the guards and eliminate the butt-ugly topstitching
  • Dye socks into red/white vertical stripes
  • More decoration on the brustfleck
  • Finish beading the caul
  • Possibly embroider on the guards (mmmm black embroider on gold guards)
  • Make a super-thin silk dickie that goes all the way up to my neck.

** Mari taught a class and used three terms to refer to fancy things we do to our sleeves. I’m pretty certain her terms are personal rather than documentable 🙂 Hedgehogs are the little bumps on the sleeves.

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It’s not going as quickly now that there’s not an immediate looming deadline.. but it is going. The bodice it now completely attached to the skirt. The part across the front where there is no bodice is attached to a piece of wool and then attached to the bottom of the white placket.

I’m still toying with the idea of leaving the placket out.. but I’m not ready to do that by this next weekend. I’ve added a hook-and-eye to the top of the skirt and have trimmed the skirt (had to remove about 6 inches with the move from pipe-organ pleats to cartridge pleats). This opening is now pinned. I’ve also pinned the upper part of the sleeves into the bodice.
Still to do:

  • Sew the skirt closed with a french seam(leave it open for the last 3-4 inches)
  • Turn and finish the edges around the skirt closure(the last 3-4 inches).
  • Sew on the upper sleeves
  • bind the seams of the sleeves on the inside (may happen after Mists Investiture)
  • Make the bottom half of the sleeves
  • Make a hat

It’s looking pretty good that this will all get done by this weekend.

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On Sunday Ysabella had Mari come and teach a class on German’s. Nice class. Lots of pictures. Mostly confimations of things I’d come to understand. The class gave me time to finish with attaching the gold trim. It’s all nice and flat.

On Monday night I ironed and then attached a 100% cotton gingam strip to the top of my skirt. This will be used as a guide for getting the stitches for the cartridge pleats set.
Last night, on the way to Ysabella’s, I stopped at JoAnne’s and got some dark brown button twist thread. I cut a piece about 120″ long and then doubled it up and used it to make the cartridge pleats. The pleats are 2.5″ deep which may end up being too deep.. won’t know until it’s attached. Oh well. If necessary I’ll remove the skirt and reattach it again.
I will end up with about 1″ per pleat (though only 5/8″ of that will actually be attached to the bodice… the pleat bulk takes up about 3/8″ between each pleat). I think I’ll start attaching this tonight. Hmmm, maybe not. I should probably work on the sleeves before I attach the skirt. *sigh*. Yes, it’s easier to attach sleeves to a free bodice. OK.

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The sleeves are in two parts.
The top of the sleeve is too long. I think the gold trim needs to be removed and shortened drastically.
The bottom part of the sleeve is too plain. Because of time constraints I made it without any frills. That said, it’s the right length. I’ll need to completely disassemble this and add new wool (with frills) to it. I also didn’t like the way the flair over the wrists worked out. I’ll need to redo that.

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Last night I trimmed about 1.5″-1.75″ off the bottom of the bodice all around and then finished that edge. Since I’m going to be attaching cartridge pleats I needed a finished edge. The plan for tonight is to re-attach the gold trim along the front edges of the bodice and to finish all the hand stitching on the trim on the front and the back.

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I started the weekend with a finished dress and finished the weekend with a couple of bags of pieces of dress. It’s like a deconstructed german dress 🙂
I tried the dress on and both Edith and Sefa agreed that the bodice needed to be shortened about 2 inches all the way around. I took the dress off and then removed the skirt and sleeves, undid the pleats in the skirt, and removed the guarding from the front of the bodice.
Ideally I’ll have the dress all back together by Mists Investiture (November 11). Brion and Ysabella are stepping up as Prince and Princess of the Mists and they will be wearing Germans.
Current plan:

  1. Attach red/black gingam (that Sefa gave me, thanks Sefa) to the top of the skirt. Fold that over and used the gingam as a guide to make the cartidge pleats.
  2. Shorten the bodice by 1.25-1.5 inches all the way around(follow marks but leave enough fabric to put a finished edge at the bottom of the bodice as the marks)
  3. Finish the bottom edge of the bodice
  4. Re-attach gold trim along the front edge of the bodice so it shows on both the front and the back next to the rings.(prevent the flipping)
  5. Futz with bones as necessary
  6. Attach skirt to bodice

MATH
I have 238″ of finished skirt.
The bottom of the bodice is about 49″ around.
I want the tops of each cartridge pleat to be at about 2 squares on the gingam which ends up at about 5/8″. 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 3/4″ for each pleat (5/8″+1/8″).
This gives me around 65-66 pleats (49 divided by 3/4″ ) around the bottom of the bodice.
Which means that each pleat needs to be around 3.60″ each (238 divided by 66).
Rounding this, I’ll be using 11 blocks in the gingam as my guide. (each block is around 5/16. 5/16 x 11 = 3.4375 which is as close as I can come in whole blocks to 3.60)

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Well it happened. Purgatorio occured. I got lots of compliments. I took a camera but of course completely forgot to take any pictures. I’m hoping other people took pictures and post them in the next few days.
The dress was wearable.. and even relatively comfortable. It wasn’t as hot as I feared it might be. The only thing I found uncomfortably hot was the bottom part of the sleeves. Close fitting linen+wool sleeves were stifling hot. Because of time constraints I did the bottom part of the sleeve without any ruffles. I think the ruffles might actually have made the sleeves less hot.
Learnings:

  • The strain across the dress made the boned edges of the brown part of the dress flip outwards. This made it so the brown inner lining was showing along the edge between the white insert and the yellow front trim. As a temporary measure one of my camp mates added a tack stitch to one side.. but I don’t think that’s a good long term solution. I’ll need to consider it for a while before I can come up with a good long term soluton.
  • The skirt hook at the bottom of the front edge kept coming unhooked. Also here I’ll need to consider it a while before I can come up with a good long term solution.
  • The side-front bones poked me in the underarm when I sat down. I think at the top they’re placed too far back. I’ll need to make the angle there more shallow.
  • Mari chatted with me for a little while and said that the waist of the dress is possibly a little bit too low. She indicated a spot that would be at my bottom most rib on the side as where the actual waist of the dress should be. I don’t know if this also means that the back should be also raised. Will consider for a while.
  • The top half of my sleeves are too long. I think I measured this to the outside elbow as opposed to the inner crook of the arm. This made the bottom half of my sleeves droop. I’ll have to play with this to see if I can shorten the top of the sleeves without completely eliminating the unruffled brown part (and see if I have enough wool to redo this part). I think the bottom gold edge of the top half of the sleeve was too long as well.
  • The skirt is definately too long. I kirtled it up most of the day but it’d be nice to be able to wear it down. Hopefully the shortening of the bodice will take up most of the “too long” part of the skirt.
  • I now remember why I stopped wearing the shoes I wore on Saturday. After my feet went numb it was much better.. but I hobbled around a lot on Sunday. I need to stretch the leather of those shoes, especially the left one right across the knuckle of the toes.
  • I don’t like the look of the rolled pleats. They unrolled and sat weird. I talked with Etaine about the pleats briefly. My experience with cartridge pleats up to this point have all be small pleats… 1/8-1/2 inch. Etaine indicated that you could get the large rolling pleats if you took deeper stitches 1-2 inches and if you attached that to the waist of the dress with 3-4 stitches at the top of each roll.. then the cartridge pleats would be wider at the waist of the garment. I think I’ll do that when I re-attach the skirt.

I borrowed a hat from Etaine. All was well.

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2 days until Purg Yesterday my company took all of us to a baseball game. I brought my caul and started sewing pearls onto it. It turns out that you can make good progress on sewing down pearls to a caul at a baseball game.. assuming you don’t actually like baseball.. and are perfectly ok with missing most of the action. The caul’s looking great. I’m also working on it during my BART commute. Hopefully I can finish all the pearls by Saturday. Last night I finished a bit of fidgit-y sewing on the back/shoulders of my dress and made some progress on the sleeves.

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I’m making sleeves like the middle princess in “The Saxon Princesses” picture. It took about 3 hours to make the top part of one sleeve. I didn’t notice it took that long until I was done with it. I’m worried that I’m going to run out of time. I think they will look really good. Assuming I can get them done. *sigh*.
I so wish I had one more week to work on all of this. At this point I’m deciding which corners it’s ok to cut. Hats are pretty much out. Finish work is out. Anything that doesn’t show is out. As long as we look presentable. The thing is, I don’t want presentable. I want it all. I want the embroidery. I want hats. GRR!
Tonight I’ll finish the top of sleeve #2 (it’s 1/2 done now) and make the bottom half of the sleeves. I think the bottoms will go -much- faster than the tops. Those are straight ruffles, not bent like the ruffles at the armseye. Then attach the sleeves to the dress, add the lacing rings, hem the dress.

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3 days until Purg
Here’s where I am now. Skirt is attached but not yet hemmed. I think it’s a little bit too long. Also, I do -not- like the way the pleats are sitting. After Purg I might pull the skirt off and re-do it.
The minimum left to do: Make/attach sleeves, add lacing rings, hem dress. At that point it’s wearable and acceptable for Purg.
Additional to do: Fix skirt (see above), applique the bottom of the guards, Add beading to brustfleck, Add embroidery (?) to guards and front trim.

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5 days until Purg Turns out the skirt is 46″ by 250″. That’s about 7 yards of skirt. Sheesh. I just barely had enough wool (good thing I bought 10 yards).
Saturday was spent sewing on the guards. There are three of them. I ran out of thread just as I was attaching the last guard (at 9:30 at night). Had to wait until Sunday morning to finish that up. As mentioned previously, I’m top stitching the guards currently. I think it looks like shit, but I don’t have time to hand-applique the guards before Purg. The plan is to do the hand-applique after Purg but before 12th Night.
Sunday I pleated the skirt, trimmed it to length, and attached it to the bodice. I had planned to attach the skirt using a french seam. This worked well when I made my italian dress. The difference here is that this skirt (made of wool and with its rolled pleats) is -way- bulkier than the italian skirt was (made of linen with its knife pleats). As I started attaching the skirt I realized there was no way it was going to make a nice neat french seam(Add to that, I didn’t leave enough seam allowance on the bottom of the bodice to allow for the french seam.). So I started over and changed the plan to put the seam allowance to the inside.. and then bind that with a strip of the lining linen. I think it’s working out well.
One of the draw backs of this change in mid-stream is that now my guards are 1 inch too low. I’d added 1 inch to the top of the dress to allow for the french seam. Now I’ll only have 1″ (or less) between the bottom guard and the hem instead of the 2″ I originally planned.
Sunday night I finished some of the hand sewing. I added a skirt hook to the bottom corner of the bodice to hold it in place and hemmed the edge of the slit in the top of the skirt that allows me to get into and out of the dress.
While at Jo-Anne’s on Sunday morning (picking up more thread to finish up the guards) I also found some lovely trim with -huge- pearls on it. I think it will make a lovely choker (thus avoiding the whole “open chain link necklace” thing from the SCA perspective. (if you’re in the SCA.. and you have a german gown.. and you go to a Renn Faire… do you wear the chain? Even though it violates SCA custom? Hmm.)
I tried on the dress with my Italian chemise.. and I don’t like the way it works. For Purg I think I’m going to go without. For 12th Night I’ll make up a new chemise.
I think at this point I need to hem the dress, make/attach the brustfleck, add lacing rings and make/attach the sleeves and I’m done.

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Last night was sewing night. Edith dropped by late (10:30-ish). She (again) matched up the straps and pinned them (this time we used safety pins so they won’t fall out). I marked the length of the brustfleck (7″ tall x width of the white insert) and then she helped me to mark where the top of the skirt should be falling. It’s about 2-3 inches higher than where the bottom of the bodice is now.
I spent the rest of the night (in between helping her to futz with her bodice) replacing the bones in the current bodice with shorter bones (the shortened bodice means I need shorter bones down the front). Lastly, she helped me to measure the length for the skirt.
At this point the only bones I have left to shorten are the “lacing stays”. The new shortened bodice actually works better with the shorter, original (temporary) lacing strips I had earlier (back when I first raved that temporary lacing strips are the bomb). I think tonight I’ll remove the current lacing strips and add the old ones (by hand since I can no longer sew through the bodice since I’ve attached the fashion fabric)(future note: futz with the length of the bodice -before- you attach the finished fabric).
Up next: the skirt.
Edith and I discussed it.. I could wear the dress without sleeves.. but I can’t wear it without a skirt. So the skirt part’s next.(less than two weeks until Purg at this point)
Despite Etaine’s insistence that “cartridge pleats are the only right pleats for this dress” I think I’m going to use pipe organ pleats.
Reasons:

  • I don’t agree that cartidge pleating is the only right pleat. A lot of the dresses have big rolling pleats that aren’t indicative of cartridge pleating. It doesn’t -look- like cartridge pleats and cartridge pleats don’t behave that way.
  • Due to time pressures I really want to be able to machine sew the pleats. Not possible with cartridge pleats.

(Email about pleats and options. To summarize: pipe-organ please are of questionable historical veracity but they may be necessary to achieve the look of some Cranach paintings)

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I love the guarding layout in the inspirational picture above. I measured it in pixels (the number on the left) and then scaled that to fit the length in inches on my dress(the number on the right). My finished dress needs to be 40″ long in the front to just hit the floor.

So the plan is to start with a rectangle of fabric (45 7/8″ by ??? bottom of bodice measurement * some multiplier for the pleats. Still need to figure that out) and add the guards to it (hidden stitch on one side, top-stitch on the other. When there’s time (probably after Purg) I’ll go back and replace the top-stitch with a hidden applique stitch). Then pleat it. Trim the top to the correct length then attach it to the bodice. At this point I’m not planning to tape my pleats.
I plan to attach the skirt directly to the bottom of the bodice using a french seam. Plan: Match up the skirt to the bodice with the insides together. Sew a seam all the way around (leaving a little slit under the laces). (if I put the dress on at this point I’d have seam allowance all around the outside of the dress). Flip it so the outsides of the skirt/bodice are together, pin aggressively to hold the pleats in place and sew another seam that encases the first seam allowance (don’t be skimpy. You don’t want bits of the first seam allowance to stick out). Ta-da. If necessary, tack down the french seam to keep it from flopping about (possibly not necessary).