28 August 2014

They See Me Roman...

To go with the Roman outfits that my friend Simona and I worked on in August, I made some simple jewelry:

This is Simona's set, made of teal glass beads, cream-colored glass pearls, brass stamped fittings, and 22mm gold-colored copper wire.

The wire links in the necklace chain were made by me, as well, taking cues from both Ragnvaeig's wire link tutorial and from extant examples of Byzantine and Roman jewelry.

And this is the set I made for myself, using glass flower-shaped beads, green glass beads (which were too fake-looking a green color, so I donned a pair of gloves and smeared my palms with gold nail polish, then rubbed the beads between my hands - it toned down the color on the beads and made them look more handmade), natural freshwater pearls, and 22mm gold-colored copper wire.


The centerpiece of the necklace is a pale green octohedral Fluorite crystal (which is the way most crystalline Fluorite grows), with one point broken off - which makes it perfect for hanging from a necklace.  It's lived in many necklaces over the years since I bought at at a local rock show. Madylyne trivia:  I've always been a mineral collector, and Fluorite is my favorite.

 The clasp in the back is made of a single piece of wire, bent in half, twisted together, with the "loose" ends looped around to form the ring that joins the beaded link next to. The hook goes through the end of the opposite link to close the necklace.  Even though 22mm copper wire is pretty flexible, doubling it and then twisting it makes it nice and sturdy.



27 August 2014

In Which Vikings Are Still Pretty Dang Cool

My primary [sewing] August project:  a Viking tunic for a Celt/Viking friend.

Butter-yellow linen/rayon blend, with trim in dark green linen, both from my stash.

All of the edge embroidery was done on my sewing machine.  Aside from that fact, the stitching designs themselves are period for Viking decorative stitches and seam stitching treatments.

The hound on the center front, however, I did entirely by hand.  This is the first time I've embroidered knotwork, the first time I've filled an entire motif in with stitching, and also the first time I've hand-embroidered anything I was making for someone else.


The original hemline came out a bit...wonky.  I cut it off and added the wide band of green that you see in the first picture, and here: 

these decorative stitches also hold the seam allowances in place on the inside

As the recipient's device is [a whole bunch of stuff I can't remember how to say correctly] over a green and yellow checked field. This ladder stitch, yellow on green, was intended to be a subtle shout-out to that checky field.  

Just as the red satin-stitching around the green trim is sort of a callback to the red bordure around his entire device.  

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have some woodworking to do...


12 August 2014

Well, Shit (An Autobiography)

Remember my painstaking experimentation with dyes last week, in an effort to find the perfect blue for my next project?

See, I had this thing where, if I was creating something for someone else, I would work on NOTHING except that project - no fun stuff until the work is done!  Yeah. It always worked out just like you'd imagine - stress stress deadline stress don't wanna stress deadline procrastination stress stress.  It made everything miserable and no fun at all.  So I stopped.  And it's been great - now everything is fun, and I'm usually working on one for someone else and one or two for me at once, and I can switch when I get bored or tired, and there's always something going on.

Except that last night, after I threw my white linen into the final, official, blue dye bath, I got to work on something else while the linen was soaking...and forgot about it...for three hours.  It never got stirred, it stayed in the bath too long, and well...


It's ruined.  I mean, it's *beautiful*...but it's no longer fit for SCA-anything, regardless of the probability that ancient peoples DID actually also fuck up when dyeing things.  I washed it three times after this, and the color(s) faded enough that if I run it through with bleach, it MIGHT actually be fit to try re-dyeing, which I'll attempt this evening.

At the moment, though, I'm pretty angry with myself about it.


08 August 2014

Blue Stuff

It's not really a secret that my favorite color is blue, is it?  Didn't think so.  I'm friends with every blue there is, but my favorite is a certain muted tone of light greeny-gray-blue, like this:

(In fact, I have an entire board on Pinterest dedicaeted to blue)

I'm really into Vikings lately, and I have some older garb that has really seen it's day; I've been planning to rebuild one of my old cotehardies into a new Viking hangerok or smokr apron dress.  The fabric is "Emerald" linen from Fabric-Store.com, and I thought I'd pair it with a new under-dress in my favorite blue.  I'm also really into dyeing fabric more and more these days - it's so fun!  I've done colors straight from the bottle; but I recently found Rit's Color Library guides on their website - really handy stuff - and so I thought I'd give custom color-mixing a try.

To wit:

Based on my perusal of Rit's various color mixing charts and guides online, I purchased a bottle of "Evening Blue" and a bottle of "Apple Green", and went to town.  The mixtures are labeled on the photo above.  I did two dye baths, to see the difference between using salt vs. vinegar in the mixture as a fixative;  I normally use both at once, so at the end of the experiment, I mixed them together and gave it a whirl, and then transferred the mixture into a metal bowl just for kicks, to see if there's really that much difference.  (There is. The entire rest of the experiment was done in glass containers).

It's not very scientific, I was just playing around.  None of the colors are exactly what I was looking for; but "C" in the upper left corner is pretty dang close.  This coming weekend I'm planning to cut up the samples and over-dye them with coffee grounds and with tea, to see if I can shade and warm up the tones just a tad, to get the blues exactly where I want them.

In the meantime, I now have the following:

  • some experience in color mixing,
  • a handy-dandy homemade chart of several hues of blue that I like, and
  • The above spread, tucked into this beautiful, art-i-fied journal made for me by my BFF

Sylvan's blog                                    Tiny Relics, Sylvan's Etsy shop

Sylvan makes gorgeous art journals and decorated notebooks, and she made this one for me.  It's graph paper (my favorite!!), and she even made a ruler, scaled to the size of the notebook grid (!!!), that matches the book (!!!!)  How freaking awesome is that?  I use this as my SCA sewing notebook, instead of my...er..."system" of scrabbling down costume notes and people's measurements on random scraps of whatever's handy and then losing them in The Craft Pit. 


06 August 2014


Hey, guys! Check it out:

It's me!  Hi! 

I can has Roman!  Our upcoming fall baronial event is Byzantine-themed, and folks are dragging out all the Byz and Roman they can muster.  It was the perfect excuse to make this outfit - which I'd had the fabric for set aside, no kidding, for like two years, and never got around to throwing together.

My friend Simona and I got together last weekend to brainstorm styling and draping.  She saved us both from toga-party snoredom with an ingenious pattern idea that she [edit: learned from a woman who'd learned the method at a King's College (Ansteorra) class taught by Cherie Weed, a local SCA seamstress]. 

The dress is cotton "bubble" gauze, the sash is made from scraps of blue silk (leftover from this cotehardie), and the palla - the black drape over my head and shoulders - is a soft, loosely-woven curtain panel of cotton that was given to me many years ago.

"But wait," you say, "isn't Roman 'garb' just a bunch of big rectangles pinned/sewn together?"   That's exactly what this is...but not in the way that I thought it would be.

This is Simona, and her new teal linen
Roman outfit.  ♫ H-h-h-hiiii, Simona! ♫

At the simplest level, two rectangles of fabric pinned at the shoulders makes a peplos, like this:

(Pinterest, credited to "scaeveryday",
tho I couldn't find a direct link). 

Or a single swath of fabric, wrapped from one side and pinned at the shoulders and down the arms, gets you a chiton, like this:

(Take Back Halloween.  This example
is also sewn down the sides, but it
doesn't have to be)

Simona's pattern, though, goes a little something like this:

A tube is sewn, with the seams in the front and back of the body, instead of on the sides.  The top front and back are opened to create the V-shaped neckline, and then gathered (about 4-7", depending on how drapey and pleat-y you want the finished garment)/ This part rests on your shoulders, and your arms go through the resulting sleeve holes.

This method gives a really lovely drape across the neckline and bust, and is very form-flattering.  I regret that I don't have any documentation to provide for research purposes;  as I said, Simona learned this in a class - which had resource information, but we don't have access to those materials at this time. (If I DO find any, I'll update here).

The only example of this patterning I could find online was from this picture on Pinterest, but the link doesn't go anywhere, sadly:


In this example, the shoulder pieces have been wrapped instead of gathered.  I rather like that look.  It also looks like the seams here might be on the sides, and open at the bottom, and that the front may have simply been slit open (much like you do with this knit dress pattern, of which I've made several, by the way, and they're wonderful to wear!) and then pinned in place.

So there you go.  :)  I'm working on some jewelry at the moment; I'll put up pics as soon as I'm finished.  And find my camera data cable.  0_0