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Kimiko Sews

A Gentlewoman's Creative Blog

Archery Images
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(Cross posted from A Gentlewoman's Blog: http://kimiko1.com/blog/2015/05/archery-images/)

The following are images I’ve found online for 16th century archers, from earliest to latest. I will add more as I find more.

The martyrdom of St Sebastian, Perugino, c.1500.

The martyrdom of St Sebastian, Perugino, c.1500.

The Martyrdom of Saint Sebastian c.1535-40.

The Martyrdom of Saint Sebastian c.1535-40.

Detail from The Martyrdom of Saint Sebastian c.1535-40 focused on the archers.

Detail from The Martyrdom of Saint Sebastian c.1535-40 focused on the archers.

Detail from The Martyrdom of Saint Sebastian c.1535-40 focused on the fancy quiver.

Detail from The Martyrdom of Saint Sebastian c.1535-40 focused on the fancy quiver.

Detail from The Martyrdom of Saint Sebastian c.1535-40 focused on the archers.

Detail from The Martyrdom of Saint Sebastian c.1535-40 focused on the archers.

English Archers, c. 1547. From the Códice De Trajes.

English Archers, c. 1547. From the Códice De Trajes.

Tielsch c.1603, armed Scotsman.

Tielsch c.1603, armed Scotsman.

Archery, Research, archery, research
(Cross posted from A Gentlewoman's Blog: http://kimiko1.com/blog/2015/05/archery-images/. Comments can be posted here or there.)

New Project, Archery
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(Cross posted from A Gentlewoman's Blog: http://kimiko1.com/blog/2015/04/new-project-archery/)

The inspiration, Cromwell shooting with a long bow. We want to shoot like Master Cromwell with a long bow.

Yeah, I know, it has again been a long while since I last posted. But good news is that I am excited about a new project, Archery!

Archery, you say??? Yes, Archery. And this time it means more than just bows and arrows, it means my family is joining me in the SCA in an activity we all want to participate in doing.

Which means, for me the historical costumer, that I need to know what sort of outfits I will be putting my family into, including my husband who I haven’t dressed up in anything new since before we were married. Eeeks, that’s a long time.

Hubby wants his outfit to be similar to what Master Cromwell is wearing above, which is the reason for the photo. I will be starting with his linen shirts, which I’m working out which style to do. Then the plan is for a simple single layer canvas waist coat, which will be laced to hold up his breeches, most likely of wool. Later will be a nicer linen canvas doublet and wool skirted jacket. He has old fancy court clothes, so these will be more what a country gentleman might wear while practicing at the archery butts, or in common terms, play clothes.

What I will do for the kids is in the air, as they are more happy right now in tunics and comfy clothes.

My archery ideas will also extend to accessories, because, well, we need accessories, and not all things can or will be purchased from the internet archery stores (since my local stores do not carry period longbows and stuff). So, if I work on those, I will blog about them, too. So look for my new category and tag, archery.

And the first thing I have to do, as any good laurel should do, is post about the research images I have recently collected. This time they will be a gallery in this blog, to help me better understand how those work. So look for that as my next post.

Archery, archery
(Cross posted from A Gentlewoman's Blog: http://kimiko1.com/blog/2015/04/new-project-archery/. Comments can be posted here or there.)

Short Updating post on stuff.
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(Cross posted from A Gentlewoman's Blog: http://kimiko1.com/blog/2015/01/short-updating-post-on-stuff/)

Wow, it has been half a year since I wrote in this blog last. That’s a long time. I am out of practice it would seem.

So, what have I been doing? Well, I mostly finished the wood chair I had been working on, although I have not had the chance to decorate it. I’m not happy with the wood finish I put on it, so I’ve stalled on it trying to figure out what to do. It scuffs too much. I’ve not taken photos that I recall, but will check the files later.

I’ve not done any work on the wooden boxes. I have the pattern, and someday they will get done.

The banner remains unpainted.

The blackwork for the shirt was finished, but the gold plaitwork embroidery has not begun.

I have been sick with the flu and bronchitis during December, so many of my projects went on hold until very recently. There is one project that I started up a few days ago, and shared the photo on my FB page.

Laurel Gown interlace progress image, (c) Kimiko Small, 2015. Laurel Gown interlace progress image, (c) Kimiko Small, 2015. Click to view larger image.

This section will get cut up and appliqued to one of the hanging sleeves to my Laurel Gown, along with other panels. That is why it is being done on an angle, as the sleeve hems are curved. It should work, as the neck was done in a similar way. It was supposed to be done for 12th Night, but illness nixed those plans.

I’ve not done much artistically in the past six months, but this is a new year, and I’ve got a new computer to replace my dying laptop, working apps, programs and photo viewers, and other stuff, and lots of creative ideas to get working on. So, while it may be a slow start, I will be posting more.

Btw, I just edited an old post on a Jane Seymour image (an unusual portrait) to update the image, since the old image link was broken. It has a bigger image if you click on the small one. Give it a looksee here.

1501 to 1550, Clothing, Embroidery, Goldwork, Other Arts, embroidery, laurel_gown
(Cross posted from A Gentlewoman's Blog: http://kimiko1.com/blog/2015/01/short-updating-post-on-stuff/. Comments can be posted here or there.)

Creative But Slowly
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(Cross posted from A Gentlewoman's Blog: http://kimiko1.com/blog/2014/07/creative-but-slowly/)

It has been a month since I posted last, but I have been slowly working on a few creative projects.

One project is a woodworking project. No, I’m not making it from wood, they are already made and purchased, from various sources. I am working on ideas on how to decorate the wooden items. One is a wooden narrow small box that I use for my sewing tools. Another is a set of 2 wooden poles that I need to finish so I can use them for my silk banner. And the final is a lovely, well crafted portable break-down chair I bought from Wildhare Woodworks last GWW, and finally got a couple of weeks ago. I started sanding the wooden items, and filling in minor holes with wood putty, but then we hit 100+ temps and so since I have to do that outside it has been put on hold until the temps come down a little. I still haven’t figured out which design I posted on FB best, so I’m just letting those ideas stew a bit longer.

I did start painting my device on a canvas banner. Not much to show there really, just a big blob of yellow on the white canvas. I will share more later.

Last Sunday I worked on an illuminated letter that I’ve worked on and off since last year sometime. I added in the red squares this time, and started in on all the tiny little dots. I hope to get it turned in to the Kingdom soonish. I just hadn’t realized when I chose to do background diapering that all those tiny squares, and then all the white work dots, would take so long to do. I just thought it would be cool to add to make the illumination more period looking.

illuminated L in Progress

Sorry I didn’t add in something for scale. It is about 3.5 inches square, more or less. And don’t those dots really change the character of the background colors?

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Relle in her Butterfly Dress
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(Cross posted from A Gentlewoman's Blog: http://kimiko1.com/blog/2014/06/relle-in-her-butterfly-dress/)

Having an old laptop that is dying is putting a crimp into my blogging work. But I have an iPad, and finally got around to being able to afford and purchase a keyboard case for it, which means easier ability to type on that iPad. So now I won’t have to do a variety of workarounds to get photos uploaded onto my blog like I’ve had to do because of that dying laptop, at least until I can afford the replacement computer.

So this is my first post with the new setup, including a new blogging app, BlogPad Pro. I’ve not done too much with the app yet, so we shall see if this app matches the good reviews on it.

So, now to the topic of this blog post, my daughter’s new dress that I made for a wedding we attended a few weeks ago in mid May. Being that I was under a bit of a time crunch, I did not take photos of the dress making process. But I did want to give a general review of the pattern I used.

Relle front view

Relle back view

The dress is from Simplicity pattern 1510, which my daughter picked out herself. It is a long dress which my daughter preferred. She also picked out the butterfly quilting fabric, along with a butterfly linen fabric that I still need to make up for the bolero jacket (not pictured).

The pattern made up fairly well by following the directions. I had a few issues in making up the outfit, but overall it went together fairly easily and turned out well. It helped that I made sure to double check my daughter’s growing measurements against the pattern measurements, and modified accordingly. This was very important with the length of the dress, as the pattern is several inches longer for the chosen size.

Other issues I had was that the skirt itself is not lined, and the cotton quilting fabric I had was a bit on the sheer side, so I went back to the fabric store to get some linen/cotton fabric that I like to use as a lining fabric, and flatlined the skirt. The bodice itself is fully lined. It also has a zipper, which I need to get a proper sewing foot for invisible zippers next time.

I did have a bit of a fight with turning the straps, so I need to buy a tube turning tool for future use – a tool I normally don’t use in my historical clothing, but after spending many minutes fighting each strap, yeah, it needs to be purchased.

The other issue was minor. When I first put on the dress with the hidden button that holds the strap in the back, the dress was puckering at the center back and not lying flat. So I had to move the buttons inwards about an inch each, which allowed the straps to lie within her shoulder blades, and that helped to flatten the straps when she stood normally. But since she is an active girl, the straps and back area often gapped. So, while I didn’t get to the jacket for the wedding, I will get it sewn together so that she will have a nice cover for that gapping back.

Which reminds me, the front panel has a wide area for the armscye area, and that means that sometimes you could see a little bit of her pectoral muscle area. She is not one who needs a bra yet but I could see that this might be an issue area for any young woman who is developing a bosom unless the parent doesn’t mind a little side boob. This aspect is not clear on the pattern photos.

Overall I really liked how this dress came out. Relle had several positive comments on the wedding day from folks, and she loves the dress. I am very pleased and would recommend this pattern to others.

(Cross posted from A Gentlewoman's Blog: http://kimiko1.com/blog/2014/06/relle-in-her-butterfly-dress/. Comments can be posted here or there.)

Laurel Gown Goldwork Process
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(Cross posted from A Gentlewoman's Blog: http://kimiko1.com/blog/2014/05/laurel-gown-goldwork-process/)

Yes, I’ve been quiet, but I’ve also been slowly plugging away on a few projects. I now have time to update and share what I’ve been doing on two of them.

First up is progress on my Laurel gown that I am continuing to work on, even tho the main occasion occurred last fall. I still want to finish and eventually wear the fully realized embroidered gown, I hope by Costume College. But it may not be finished until 12th Night at the slow pace I’m going. Either way, it will get done.

I posted a photo of my last panel on FB, which I will share here as well. I know, I forgot to add in a ruler for scale, but roughly the lacing on one side is spaced about an inch apart.

1st bias panel for curved edge is complete. 1st bias panel for curved edge is complete.

When I posted this image, it brought up a variety of questions that I’ve attempted to answer, but really I do need to share more of the process in photos, so this blog post hopefully will cover that.

I did set up the slate frame with the silk organza, as I mentioned in this post. Also mentioned in that post was that I marked a guideline and traced my pattern directly onto the silk. But I forgot to mention what that looked like, or what I used. So this next photo has a little more details on that aspect, although the pattern is from the design I put onto the front of my gown bodice, not the simpler pattern I’m now working on.

Marvy white gel pen and yellow Clover pencil marks the pattern. Marvy white gel pen and yellow Clover pencil marks the pattern.

The above main motif is drawn onto the black silk organza. I marked the main motif with a Marvy white gel pen (archival safe) and Clover yellow fabric pencil. On the current project, I only used the white gel pen. These gel pens can be found at office stores, or the local craft store in the scrapbook section as they are used to decorate paper. But they do a darn fine job of marking the silk organza as well. I do put the pattern under the fabric to follow, but that is not shown in this photo.

With the pattern drawn directly to the fabric, and all the fabric on the slate frame properly, I put the frame into its floor stand holder. Then the fun, if sometimes long and tedious part of couching all the cord into place. For the gold cord twist, I bought 2 rolls of May Arts 1mm Wide Metallic Gold Cord, which was quite cheap (I do prefer quality trims, but could not justify the cost of far more costly embroidery twist for the garment and the hundreds of yards I knew I would need). This image shows part of the beginning section.

Beginning stage of couching gold twist Beginning stage of couching gold twist

The pattern remember is on the bias, so in this case I’m starting at the bottom left corner. I have one strand of the gold twist going along the first path of my pattern. The bit of tape is holding the twist so it doesn’t unravel until I’m ready to remove it. If you click on the image and look at the closer view, you can see that the beginning area has been couched closely for a short bit. This will hold the embroidery in place. The back is NOT plunged, as when I did a sample piece and did that, it distorted the fabric, was hard to tame on the back where it wouldn’t be visible, and caused a lump when the edge was folded under. This way it is clean and neat, even if it is a little visible. Once the whole thing is put into place, with each section butted to the next, it will be hard to see at any distance.

I do not pin my cord into place. I don’t glue it or anything, I just let the threads hold the cord in place as I stitch. I keep one hand under the frame, and one hand above to work the couching stitches. The cord is not placed on any sort of holder, except the spool it came on. My friends rigged up a chopstick system where the chopstick is in one of my holes in the frame. It is wrapped at one end with some duct tape to thicken it so it won’t fall through the hole. The spool is placed on the chopstick holder and allowed to unroll cord as I need it. I do the work in a near vertical position while sitting on my couch or chair, which is why you can see my knees in the above photo. The couching is done with golden yellow silk Gutterman sewing thread (CA02776) that I purchased at my local Joann’s store (a fabric and craft store for those who don’t know).

Progress showing 2 cords being couched into place. Progress showing 2 cords being couched into place.

In this next photo, I have completed two motifs with the first cord, and started using my second cord, following the second trail. I do not interlace them, meaning they do not go over and under the other cord. That would have been too difficult to do. The second cord is simply couched into place on top of the other cord at the intersections. My stitches are from 1/4″ to 3/8″ apart, depending on distance between intersections. I make sure to couch diagonally across each intersection to hold the cords together.

You can see that the beginning area has been trimmed. I have one cord slightly shorter than the other cord, both wrapped carefully for about 1/4″ at the beginning. If you click the image above you should be able to see the wraps. I will finish the same way.

You can also see in the closeup that I start or end the couching threads from the top, starting with a waste knot from the front, then taking 3-4 tiny back stitches along an empty pattern trail to hold the thread before cutting the knot off (which I do when I’m about to go over the area with another cord). This way the couching stitches are not visible, as they are under the cord. I do the same tiny back stitches when near the end of the couching thread. I will end the complete pattern with the last bit of couching thread by running them under the stitches on the backside, as I no longer have an area to hide them with back stitches. But that’s usually the only time I flip my frame, at the end of each section.

One motif repeat is finished. One motif repeat is finished.

This photo shows the end of one repeating motif section. Both starting and ending sections have been carefully wrapped and the cords are trimmed. When all is complete, I add in freshwater pearls and a single garnet to the center of the square shaped motifs, as you can see in the first photo above. Before I remove the fabric from the frame, I will finish the backside by applying a bit of fabric glue to seal the couching threads. The Japanese do this with a starch paste, but the fabric glue is pH neutral and acid free, and isn’t likely to attract insects. Then it will be on to the next frame full of fabric, for the next panel. I will take more photos of the process as I can, hopefully with detailed shots from my good camera as I hope to upgrade my computer soon and won’t have to rely on my iPad for photos.

If you have any questions, I’m happy to answer them.

Embroidery, Goldwork, laurel_gown, photos
(Cross posted from A Gentlewoman's Blog: http://kimiko1.com/blog/2014/05/laurel-gown-goldwork-process/. Comments can be posted here or there.)

Tudor Corset or Not to Corset...
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(Cross posted from A Gentlewoman's Blog: http://kimiko1.com/blog/2014/04/tudor-corset-or-not-to-corset/)

The following was originally an article of the same name from June 2013 at HistoryUnstitched, a subscription only site for historical costumers. The site alone did not do as well as its sisters, so it is now a part of Your Wardrobe Unlock'd. This article is back in my hands, as they had an exclusive for six months, although that was up last fall. It is now here for your reading pleasure. It has some minor edits from the original.


Tudor Corset or Not to Corset...

Copyright 2013-14, Kimiko Small, All rights Reserved.

You have decided you will be making an English outfit for the 16th century (Henrician or Elizabethan). You are thinking about what all is involved in this decision. Maybe this is your first time, maybe you have made a few outfits before, but whatever your background, we all usually start at the same place, with the undergarments.

First is the smock, which is pretty simple, and there are many sources from web sites to books that describe what survived from the 16th century, and how to make a smock to fit you.

So then you turn to what comes next, and that is when most women decide you simply must have a corset (modern term for a separate fitted and boned bodice that supports the torso and especially the bosom) to wear under your new outfit. It is a modern assumption that women from all walks of life in the 16th century must have worn corsets. We see them all over today being worn at renaissance faires and other historical events. Costuming books of the past few decades talk about them, how to make them, what corsets that survived look like. Even historical costuming guru Janet Arnold discusses them in her books, so they had to exist back then, yes? And so if they existed then I must make and wear one today, yes? But... wait a second... Did the women of the 16th century actually wear this kind of a garment? What sort of garment actually did support the bosom? What exactly were the supportive garments made from and stiffened with? And do you really need a corset?

Well, the answer is not that simple. Let me explain what the supporting undergarments of the 16th century comes from, and provide a brief timeline of how those pairs of bodies eventually came to be.
(Click to read the full lengthy article, with images, on my main blog page here.)

(Cross posted from A Gentlewoman's Blog: http://kimiko1.com/blog/2014/04/tudor-corset-or-not-to-corset/. Comments can be posted here or there.)

Slate Frame Prep
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(Cross posted from A Gentlewoman's Blog: http://kimiko1.com/blog/2014/03/slate-frame-prep/)

Today, in order to jump start my creative spirit, which has been slowly returning (I did sketch a banner idea last weekend), I decided to just go into my sewing room and do something, anything, and after standing there with music playing, and staring at my mostly cleared table top (that had some before-mentioned banner sketches on it), I realized that banners was just not on my mind today, but I had been staring at something every day for the past few months and really it was time to do something with it.

I’m speaking about the goldwork embroidery project from the Laurel gown project, that has been mostly finished for a long time. It is the section that goes around the neck. It just needed the proper pearls – but sadly, those are MIA right now. So, instead of letting that grind me to a halt, I decided it could get pearls later, then removed it from the frame, ripping the stitches with an X-acto knife, since my seam rippers are also MIA.

I had more fabric still on the frame, so I cut off the neck section, and tried to cut it off on the straight of grain. Then I sewed the edge to the frame piece trim, put on the side frame bars, and realized that it really was off grain, as you can see here.

This frame is set up crooked! This frame is set up crooked!

The two white arrows show the straight of grain (well, as well as it could be photographed), and the red arrow shows how the one side was angling off grain. This is not good, as it will have problems when fully laced up and tension applied. I could feel it torquing in my hands. So, that new seam had to be ripped out.

So, this reminded me, as I’m ripping the seam out again, that in January, I was privileged to go to Mathew Gnagy’s tailoring class in L.A.. During the class, Mathew talked about sewing in the period way, as a tailor would sew – which simply put was ‘quickly, but efficiently’. I thought about the same as I was putting in the stitches, again, that while before I would put in my whip stitches rather close together, I realized that really, it wasn’t necessary. After all the lacing stitches on the side are about an inch apart, and they still worked out fine for tension. So, I relaxed a little and only focused on keeping the stitches relatively close to the edge, trying to keep the straight grain relatively straight. It does make it easier to rip out when needed, fyi. Oh, and I have a pic of this, too.

Showing new (left) and old stitch spacing. Showing new looser (left) and old, tighter stitch spacing.

I do think maybe I could space out the stiches even farther apart, but it will take awhile to let loose with any of my stitches.

So, with all of this going on in my head, I sewed it all back together, put in the side bars, and woohoo! tension was good! Then it was lacing the sides frames into place, which had some snags with broken or knotted strings, but I made it work, and it all came together very nicely.

I just realized that I was so busy with all the Laurel prep-work, I’ve not really discussed how I went about doing it all. Well, hopefully this helps in understanding the embroidery part, at least.

After a short break, I got down to marking out my guidelines in white chalk. The guidelines were mostly for the center line of the pattern, since the embroidery on this panel will be done on the bias in order to make the embroidery fit the hem curves easier.

I made sure to mark my pattern copy with a line down the center, trying to hit all the crossed lines in the middle – as the pattern comes from a painting that’s been blown up (as seen in here), that is a bit more difficult, so I just made sure the line was straight and hoped it would line up. Using my acid-free white gel pen, I marked the pattern down on the silk. The final panel looks like this.

Slate frame ready to go. Slate frame ready to go.

I enhanced the photo to better show the pattern. But here’s the slate frame, all ready to start on the next set of interlacing for the Laurel gown. Which I do have a photo of that dress, somewhere. Oh, and the pattern repeats, so the empty spot could have been fit with another of the repeat, but I’d rather keep the four motifs together on the panel, and have even marked the end of one, and the beginning of the next, so I don’t forget how they go together.

Oh, and that banner I mentioned, I’ll have more on it next month after the local workshop on making them.

Embroidery, Goldwork, Prep & Other, embroidery, laurel_gown, photos
(Cross posted from A Gentlewoman's Blog: http://kimiko1.com/blog/2014/03/slate-frame-prep/. Comments can be posted here or there.)

Returning to Online Life
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(Cross posted from my main Blog: http://kimiko1.com/blog/?p=474 )
(Note that most of this has to do with activity on the other blog, not here on LJ.)

Greetings all!

It has been a long while, I know, since I last posted in December. I usually hibernate in the winter, and this year my hibernation extended during our non-winter for family vacation and other things. Among those other things was a move to a new hosting company, which included me messing up and not properly saving off my blog as I should have, since honestly, I had no clue how to properly back it up.

Thankfully I did repost nearly all my posts to LJ (kimikosews), and so I have imported all those posts to this blog site. This was both good and bad, as the importer widget is old, and hasn't kept up with modern improvements, so while it did give me all the posts I had on LJ, it multiplied nearly 10 fold the comments I had on that site as well. So, I have to manually remove all those extra comments. I also have to make sure each post is placed into its proper Category, and do minor edits.

I'm also having to redo this entire blog, which is good and bad. By now, you can see that the above Menu area under the big picture has lots of tabs to go through. Those are the Categories for this blog, most of them anyway. I may play around with them some more or something, but they can help direct you to the different creative things I do. The word cloud Tags remain to the side. And if you really want to find something, try the Search box - although I'll be honest, I've not tried it yet to see what you may get, so good luck there.

As our winter has thankfully gotten some rain! I will be working more on this blog over the rainy weekend, hopefully improving some areas, and clearing out the thousand or so of extra comments, a bit at a time. I also hope to get some photo galleries going here to share the Laureling outfit, and whatever other photos of stuff I may have forgotten I have.

Then maybe I, and we, can get back to the creative stuff, which I will admit, I've not done much of in the past couple of months. So, welcome back, and I will get back on track as soon as the dust has settled here.

Is vinegar or salt effective at setting dyes on fabric?
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(Cross posted from my main blog at http://www.kimiko1.com/blog/?p=317.)

Yes, I'm still around. I haven't posted as I've been taking a break since my mad sewing marathon for my laureling outfit, and I've only recently been able to actually transfer my photos from the digital camera, to my husband's computer, to finally my sick computer, which took many hours to transfer. Sadly, sick computer means it takes more work to not only get my photos, but to also work on them for upload and sharing, and in one of my programs I'm working in the dark, as I can only see tiny little icons, not full photos. Hopefully sick computer will be replaced sometime soon. I will be working on the photos and upload them as soon as I can.

So, today I went and hunted down an academic summary article I had read some time ago on the use of vinegar to set dyes. As it took a long time to find the article again, hidden under so many other articles that state the opposite, I figured I'd at least share that academic gem so that I can find it again, hopefully. I had posted it to an SCA group on Facebook.

We were discussing how the old wives tales of using vinegar, or salt, to "set" dyes in fabrics was or was not actually worth doing. Does it help to set dyes on fabric? I'm sure you've heard of it, just add a bit of salt or a bit of vinegar, or both! to your wash load, and it will "set" the dye in your garment fabrics so they won't fade. Read more...Collapse )