27 July 2015

Refashioning An Old Viking Tunic

Back in 2012 I made a [half-assed] Viking outfit for the Battle of Ethandune event in the barony of Bjornsborg.  I haven't worn it much since then - maybe twice in the past three years.  I wore the white tunic with everything, though; at some point I dyed it green for some reason (I really don't remember, and I never liked the way it came out).  It was getting pretty worn around the edges, the color was weird, and the neckline never sat correctly on me.

So, this month I began taking it apart.  I removed the damaged lower sleeves and replaced them with a darker green linen fabric from a remnant.  I created a neckline overlay for it out of the same fabric, to bring the neckline up farther on my neck, and also to change the look of the tunic:

Over the weekend, I dug out the last of my fabric dye stash - which just happened to be a dark blue-green, and threw this thing into the sink.

It's definitely not the dark, forest green I was hoping for; but I LOVE the way the color came out.  After washing the dye out of the dress, I ran it through the washer with a bit of hair conditioner to soften up the fabric - I do that about every fourth time I wash my garb, and it keeps the linen from getting scratchy. (My skin reacts to 99% of commercial fabric softeners, but hair conditioner works great!)

Once it was dry, I ran a simple chain stitch around the trim pieces in a leaf-green embroidery floss, just so the dress wouldn't be completely plain.

This'll be a great knocking-around-camp casual dress; it's loose enough that I can wear it as a second layer in cool weather; and it can be dressed up into just about anything with the right accessories and headgear.  Success!


I'm finishing up the last two summer commissions this week, which I'll show you as soon as they're done and delivered.  I'm still in the process of refashioning my other old Viking stuff, and I have some new pieces I'll be talking about soon, too.  Stay tuned! ☺


25 July 2015

A Long-Overdue Project Update +

Back in **2013** I posted about a dress I was making with fabric I'd gotten that year at Gulf Wars -  an amethyst-colored rayon-silk blend that I was absolutely in LOVE with.

The fabric is very thin, and hangs very close to the body, so it looks kinda weird on the mannequin.  It is, however, extremely comfortable and lightweight, which is perfect for the hellish climate in this kingdom.

(L) wearing it at the A&S Tiny Tourney September 2014
(R) on Violet the Mannequin this week

Speaking of Gulf Wars, I made a whole bunch of cold-weather clothing in January and February of this year, thinking that as usual, Gulf Wars would be frigid for the first several days at least.  It turned out to be a scorcher from minute one, and an entire BOX of warm clothing I packed with me was never worn.  (In fact, it was so hot that on the second day I walked to the market, bought linen, and wore it as a Roman chiton for the next two days, because they don't let you walk around in the nude even if it's 9,000 degrees outside).

One of the cold weather pieces that I made early this year was a Burgundian dress, in a green cotton velveteen, trimmed with brown faux-fur.  I still haven't had a chance to wear it.  I thought I'd posted it here, but earlier this week, I realized I never even mentioned it.

It doesn't show well in the picture, but the bottom hem is trimmed in the faux fur, too.  The dress is fairly loose when unbelted, and open low in the front, so I'll need to wear something underneath it.  (I'm just sure I made a little privacy panel to pin into it, but I couldn't find it anywhere today when I was photographing this, so maybe I imagined it?)

The little truncated hennin I made in January of this year got crushed at the bottom of a pile of fabric in my craft room, sadly.  I'm looking forward to getting to wear this dress later this year;  I'll just have to make a new hat for it.  :)


23 July 2015

Because I Needed A New Hobby Like I Need A Hole In My Head

So, a friend of mine has been charged with bringing some largesse items to Pennsic for a foreign royal house (who will be giving them out as largesse to their populace members), and she asked for my help.

We went to Café Monet, a paint-your-own-pottery place here in Austin, and IT WAS SO MUCH FUN OMG YOU GUYS.  I've never painted ceramics before - I've painted terra cotta planters to look like ceramic, with acrylic paints, but this was a whole new animal for me.  (It was totally weird to paint something and not really have any idea if it was going to look right after firing, but it was also kind of exciting!) Each of us painted two pieces.  Here are the two that I made:

They're cordial cups - about 8" tall, with a cup about 2", I think.  The one on the right is sort of a fish-scale thing, and the one on the left was meant to resemble an Egyptian lotus chalice (I've always loved them, and this color scheme is basically my favorite thing in the entire world).  My friend made a really lovely green-and-yellow one with a design on the stem meant to make it look fluted, and one in the colors of the kingdom where these cups will eventually live.  It's so neat to think that somebody in another kingdom - another whole country, even! - might be carrying around something I made! Squee!

I cannot WAIT to go back and do some more of this.  I LOVE painting things.  Pictures, yes, and furniture - but my favorite thing to paint is little boxes and containers. I have soooo many ideas of things at the studio that I'd LOVE to paint as gifts and as feast items for myself.

You know, because I have all this extra time on my hands....o_O  


19 July 2015

S'Mo Viking Stuff

More hand stitching on my old Viking clothing, at which I'm still plodding away in my spare time.  I've been using this stuff as a brain-break between commission projects, so it's going very slowly, but it'll all be ready to wear this fall.

new blue stitching in my coat

it replaced this stuff - which is mostly picked out in this pic,
but MAN what an awful color.  Idk what I was thinking. 

I also (back in May, actually, and I'm just getting around to putting up a photo) took apart a LOT of my old jewelry and used some of the bits to make some new bling for my Viking stuff.  I had two sets of Viking-y jewelry before - one in red glass and fake bone, and one that was mostly metal.  I was feeling more colorful:


18 July 2015

Another One Bites the Dustbunnies

Today's finished project:

A white viking coat, trimmed in blue linen and a gold-and-blue metallic woven trim.

This fabric is really cool.  I can't for the life of me remember what it's called - it's heavy, woven, wool/poly fabric made for blankets and linings.  It's lightly felted on the inside, and is REALLY warm and soft.

Fun fact:  I'm allergic as crap to wool.  After working on this all day (I went into it thinking this was cotton, and wasn't wearing gloves, sleeves, or long pants!), I feel like I've been dusted all over with fiberglass.  $%&1&@#*!!!   But it's really neat stuff. :)

The fleur-de-lis pin is the client's. Totally not viking, but it was in the bag, so I slapped it on there to take the picture for her, hehe.  :)

Whew!  That's four pieces completed this week.  All I have left this month is two complete pieces and then a HUGE stack of alterations and repairs.   More sewing! All the sewing!

Back soon.


17 July 2015


One lightweight rayon chemise and pair of post-period bloomers with ruffled hems, in the same fabric.  (No pics, sorry.  I was in a hurry to get them out the door - and you guys know what a chemise looks like).

It's not much, but I'm cranking out those projects! 

More soon.

13 July 2015

A Finished Commission!

I'm back at it, and slowly but steadily cranking out the last two sets of commission pieces before I get on with work for this fall's event season.  Here's the first one, a linen bliaut:

"Olympian Blue" 100% linen, with magenta linen sleeve linings, skirt guarding, and appliqé neckline, with...

A thin, white, cotton cord couched along all the edges of the magenta trim pieces, and the sleeve edges, with a little silver-and-pearl button closure. 

The recipient was very pleased! Yay!

Next Up: 

  • a pair of chemises in white rayon challis (already cut out)
  • another "casual" bliaut like this one (simple) (already cut out)
  • a rather fancy bliaut (court wear, multi-colored, heraldic, appliqué'd and embroidered)
  • a white linen Viking dress
  • a Viking overcoat
  • a short stack of minor alterations to some fighting clothes, and
  •  another six painted flags for the Caerleon campsite fence (designs already sketched, plotted, ready to transfer to the fabric)

WHOO!  That's a ton of work - I got REALLY backed up in June.  I love my new day job, but after not working for seven months, suddenly jumping back into the 9-5 with both feet, and into an intense and complicated work stream to boot, really sapped my energy as I was getting used to it.  I'm so glad to be sewing again, though. 

It sound crazy even to me, but I'm hoping to get ALL of that list finished by the end of July.  In August I have a Landsknecht and a couple of intricate Viking pieces to get done, as well as a project for Laurel's Prize Tourney in September.  And somewhere in amongst all of this, I STILL have to complete all of my own new Viking stuff, AND do alterations on the rest of my wardrobe: my new job takes a lot of walking, and I'm going to the gym nearly every day after work - I've lost nearly fifteen pounds already, and I'm hoping that trend will continue, alterations be damned.  :)

Nose the grindstone sewing machine.  Here goes nothing.