28 October 2015

My Birthday Suit

Or Birthday Dress, rather.  Ever since I made the "Eura dress" in September I've been dying to make the leftover fabric into something non-SCA-related for myself.  My birthday's tomorrow; so last night I pulled out that gray-blue linen and made myself a dress:

There's no pattern for this...well, technically, there is now:  I have a brown knit dress that I bought years ago that I copied in order to make this one, adjusting the pattern here and there to compensate for the fact that the linen doesn't stretch the way jersey knit does (e.g. a bit of extra room in the sleeves and side seams so it wouldn't end up too tight around, a slight curve in the neckline/bustline to account for the fact that the linen wouldn't hug curves the same way the jersey knit does, etc.).

Including making the pattern, this dress took me about two hours in total.  After the detail and time involved in SCA clothing, mundane clothing is SO EASY.  I love it.

The dress opens up completely.  A long tie on one side passes through an opening in the side seam, wraps around the back of the body, and then meets a short tie attached to the other side - you can see the tie in the back of the dress in the next photo. 

The sleeves are made in two pieces, with a seam on the top of the sleeve.  I'd have preferred not to have that seam there; but I had a limited amount of fabric and had to make do with what I had. 

The color is "Blue Bayou" from fabric-store.com.  It's basically my favorite color in the entire world, and I really need a cotehardie out of it next.  :)

So what IS next, anyway?
BAM is coming up in four weeks.  Last weekend I made some alterations to some of my cotehardies to adjust for recent weight loss (yay!); I've got campsite preparations to make for myself and for Caerleon; I have a new landesknect commission I've just started (omg wait til you see it, it's going to be EPIC); and I have a pair of new cotehardies I'm hoping to have done before the event - I'm in the middle of re-drafting my basic cotehardie pattern (again!) at the moment.

Out in Mundania I'm still working two jobs; but everything's going according to my plan (*knocks on wood*), so I'm hoping I can quit the extra job by this time next month and live like a person again, with free time and ACTUAL SLEEP from time to time! :D  That's going to be wonderful.

See you guys soon, with updates.


23 October 2015

About A Bag

The Hedeby Bag that I made for the A&S table at the Quest for Valhalla event last weekend:

with documentation, whipcord spool, and sewing/embroidery samples

It went over pretty well.  And I REALLY love it, and can't wait to start using it. (We'll get to that in a minute).

The bag started with two ideas: (a) more embroidery practice, and (b) I wanted to try out a period seaming technique.  The embroidery is very simple, and uses only three stitches - chain, stem, and blanket (for the teeth on the green guy).

close up of the embroidery
The embroidery motif is an amalgam of time periods:  the stuff-inside-circles was inspired by an embroidered fragment from Oseberg (9th-10th century), but the faces inside my circles are from the Isle of Lewis Chessmen (12th century). Meanwhile, the bag itself, based on handles found at Hedeby and at Birka, is 11th century.  There's a little more leeway for "artistic license" and whimsy in some areas, and this was one of those; so this project is a bit all over the place, but the end result is still a Really Cool Thing. :)

The seam technique is one detailed by Mytte Fentz in her analysis of the shirt found at Viborg.  I really want to make a Viborg shirt for one of my clients (as soon as I can afford to buy the right fabric for it), but looking at the construction and piecing of the shirt, and at several recreations of it, I realize that although I could probably whomp out at least 60% of the shirt on the machine, it will be a much better piece if I sew it entirely by hand - and I've never made a garment entirely by hand.  There are three kinds of seams in the Viborg shirt.  Two of them are easy, but one I'd never seen before, and wanted to try out on something small, so I chose this bag.  I'm seriously impressed with the seam - it's really strong and flexible, which is exactly what you want in a garment that's going to see serious and regular wear.  (It's almost like the Vikings knew what they were doing, eh?)

Fentz's diagram of this particular type of seam.
Lining and outside, front and back, are all stitched
together at once, and the raw fabric edges are auto-
matically concealed between the lining and outside.

The seam edges are decorated by a "Viking whipcord" which I wove, and stitched on.  The documentability of whipcord is sketchy at best.  We have ample evidence of four-strand braids identical to what's produced by the SCA whipcording method, and several warp-weighted looms for weaving cloth, so we know they had the technology - but we've found no actual bobbins we can tie directly into the process of weaving whipcord.  So it's one of those "SCA-isms" that we accept because it's fun and also hey, maybe, right?  The strap of the bag is also a whipcord. 

Whipcording is meant to be a two-person activity; I usually
do it alone, with my cord suspended from a curtain rod in
a hallway doorway. 

The handles were pretty tricky, and nearly gave me a heart attack at one point.  I need glasses pretty badly, you guys - little details are starting to get away from me.  Little details like, oh, say, "Hey, this isn't solid wood, it's very thin plywood!"  which nearly cost me this entire project (mostly because I was so frustrated that at several points I nearly burned the entire thing and mailed the ashes to Sweden).

L-R:  tracing the design on my wood;  design cut out;  drilling holes for the slots where the bag would be attached

L-R:  shattered the wood while making the first slot, which is how I realized I had PLYWOOD. Argh.
Glueing the wood back together;  sanding it VERY VERY CAREFULLY.

Fortunately, it all worked out okay.  Once the handles were stained and then sewn to the bag, you couldn't even see where the break had occurred.


I love the way this thing works.

Unfortunately, Friday night at the event (the competition was Saturday), I snapped one of the handles in half, right in the center.  I made a note on my documentation, and entered the bag anyway.  I'd already resigned myself to replacing the handles with thicker ones made of, you know, actual wood; but several people came to me at the event very excited about this opportunity to do some period, Viking-style repairs on the wood - because you wouldn't have simply thrown something away and replaced it back then, you'd fix it!  I'm kind of excited about the ideas I got; but I'm also on the fence about it.  The fact is, the wood is too thin for this application, and it's very flimsy.  I think I'll probably just replace them. I'm hoping I can scare up some nice pieces to use next week after payday.

Anyway, I freaking LOVE this bag, you guys.  And I'm really proud of it, warts and all. :)

Seriously. How can you not adore these
little guys?  <3


20 October 2015

Event: Quest For Valhalla

The event in Bjornsborg this past weekend was *FANTASTIC*, as Bborg events usually are.  Really great (and sometimes hilarious) fighting scenarios, nifty arts & crafts activities, spectacular persona play within the theme of the event - and as always, good friends, great food, and wall-to-wall fun. Actually, make that AMAZING food.  That was seriously one of the best feasts I've ever had.

Even though we were supposed to get a good drop in temperature, it was still too warm to wear half the Viking stuff I've been making all year.  But I did manage to get a couple of pics of me in some of it:

Simona & me

I also finally managed to get a pic of Donnchad in the yellow Viking tunic I made for him last Fall, with the red embroidery on the front placket:

Tom Hiddleston made an appearance...well, sort of:

Since this is the near-Halloween event in Bjornsborg, they held another skull-bedazzling.  I won one of the judges' favorites spots again this year, with my Frida Khalo calavera:

For a little while, I was Odin:

Odin has a migraine. Leave Odin alone.

And finally, my A&S entry, a Hedeby-style bag, about which I'll say more later this week.  Suffice to say, for now, that I love it, everyone else loved it, I broke it Friday night before I had even entered it, but now it has a story and begins to take on a life of its own, so I'm cool with it.  For now, here's a shot of it on the A&S table:

(the pretty blue beads I'm wearing in the preceding
picture were given to me by the baroness as
largesse on my A&S entry Image result for tiny heart gif)

13 October 2015

S'mo Viking

I've finally finished ALL of the items in the Great Big Viking Project! 
These are the things I've finished since LPT last month:

Here's the coat I've been working in fits and snorts for several months.  I made the gray shell in 2012 for the Battle of Ethandune event; I've just recently added the blue trim, and the burnt-orange lining. 
It's reversible!

Another Skjoldehamn-style hood, this one in Caerleon company colors. The lion appliqué down the center front was embroidered by Simona, on her fancy-schmancy embroidery machine.

A red dress that started out as another plain under dress like my black one, but which scope-crept itself into a lace-fronted loose gown, with seam and edge embroidery and hand-stitched eyelets.

My original apron dress (also from 2012), which was dyed to refresh the faded color, and then embroidered along the seams and straps.

Next on the blog: last-minute event stress (aka Wednesday). 


12 October 2015


Wow, I hadn't even realized I hadn't been blogging. Oops!  Right after Laurel's Prize I started working a second job, so I haven't had a lot of of free time.  What little I've had has been filled with finishing the embroidery on all the Viking stuff, throwing together a few complementary accessories, and working on my A&S project for The Quest For Valhalla event in Bjornsborg, which is this coming weekend.  Squee!  I'm so excited that it's finally here!

I'll post about the rest of the clothing, and the a&s project for you later this week; for now, here are a couple of pieces of generic jewelry I banged out over the weekend in my spare time:

A pair of earrings, with green fluorite beads, tiny faceted pyrite beads, and copper-colored brass fittings. This is to replace a pair almost exactly like these that I made years ago and then lost.

Agate, glass, wood, and resin beads, on 20ga memory wire.  I can wear this as a necklace, or wrap it up like this and wear it as a bracelet. 

Image result for tiny heart gif  SKULL BEADS Image result for tiny heart gif