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The Ham-Burghess

Many thanks to the fabulous Stephanie and her sweet baboo for
the pictures. I’m sure I *should* have some of my own, but I don’t.

I started a diary for this dress forever ago. I promised to
explain the agressious visual pun I was committing. I’ll start there: It’s a
slightly pretensions middle class gown, in brown, accented with mustard yellow
and dill pickle green. Like a hamburger. I’m a ham-burghess. Har. Har har har.

Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way…. I really did plan
to diary this. I did. Then I put it off, because I’m a shlump like that, and
the underthings were totally misbehaving. (Ok, technically, my own flesh was
the underthing that was misbehaving. It happens to the best, and the rest of
us as well.) Then there was this thing, where a couple of crazy
and my good friend sarah
were coming out to Bristol, and I swear, I Didn’t Have A Thing TO Wear ™.
So I had to finish a dress in a big gosh darned hurry, and I decided that I’d
have the best chance finishing the dress that was already begun. (That was hard
for me, since the dress had been started a year before and I was officially
Bored With It ™. It was a heavily trade-marked moment.) So, the day before
I was supposed to meet them all up at bristol, I got off my butt and started
sewing. (No, I’m not exaggerating.) I made the kirtle. I have no pictures of
that to put up yet, honestly, y’all should be happy enough that I’m finally
writing for the site again, so let’s not pick knits. ;) I’ll pull it out of
storage at some point and get pictures. (Silver lining moment: while I’m awful
at remembering to take pictures, I’m going to marry a man who is infinitely
fascinated by taking pictures of me doing sewing and crafty things. Honest.
I have the guy all picked out, and all we need to do is find a house. Then I’ll
be able to bombard the world with pictures of sewing! BwaHAHAHAHA! Oh, um, right,
ok, forgot the topic again….) It’s a back closing kirtle, which I almost never
do because I’m obsessed with being able to dress myself. It has trim across
and down the front, and around the skirt. It was a cheater jobby with ribbon
and flanged cord, but at least I didn’t stoop to fabric glue this time. (And
I wonder why people don’t always take me seriously as a historical costumer?
Oy.) Overall, it looks just like a kirtle because it *is* just like a kirtle.

The overdress is a little more impressive, because it’s hard
not to impress when you throw 5 yards of velveteen at something. I wanted a
paned doublet, sleeves, and a matching skirt. Ironically, there are no sleeves
present in the pictures because I finally got my FREAKING FABULOUS SHIRT from
Blackwerx, and it would have been a sin to cover the arms. It’s totally fab.
Look at the pictures. See all the grapes? The folks who run the business are
friends and know what inspires me. ;)

The doublet was an experiment. I mean, hey, if you’re trying
to impress people you’ve never met before, why not throw caution to the wind
and try experimental techniques the night before you need the costume? What
could possibly go wrong? Er… Ok, well, this time, fairly little actually did.
I was playing with the idea of panes as really gigantic button-holes, instead
of the normal ludicrously complicated pattern-made-of-many-little-strips method.
I mean, when you look at panes on the chest area of doublets in Arnold, you
seldom see a seam beneath them. That’s because there are things that you can
do with hand sewing that you just plain can’t do on a machine, but basically,
*basically*, distilled to it’s absolute essence, it’s a freakin’ button hole.
So that’s what I did. And that basically worked. I realized very quickly that
this was yet another occasion in life where a little sew-in interfacing would
have been a good idea, but I didn’t have any (read: I had no idea where mine
was), so I went along without it. The interfacing would have stiffened up the
panes a little and given them more body, and I think the overall effect would
have been nicer. Eh, live and learn, right? Right. And that’s all that.

Apologies for the slightly dopey look on my face. For myriad
reasons, when I’m at faire I tend to drink. When I’m visiting a faire other
than bristol, I tend to drink more. And when I’m there with my sweetie and his
friends, well, ok, shnockered about begins to cover it. So if you ever meet
me at some random faire, and I seem a little, well, you know, it’s probably
because I am. These really are the only vacations I get.


  1. Gia
    Gia December 6, 2010

    Buttonholes? What kind? Are they machine-satin stitch buttonholes or bound buttonholes or what? Tell us more! Tutorial? :-)

    • missa
      missa December 6, 2010

      The ones on this are machined, using a zig-zag length just above 0 so they’re super-bound. I’d planned to do a hand-bound button hole, but I ran out of time. Prior to that, I’d planned to do a set of welted slashes, but I was too lazy to make the lining with that many panels and drop it in by hand. ;) Time and lazy factor heavily into a lot of my construction decisions….
      I would love to do a tutorial on the many ways to make slashes (machine bound, hand bound, welted, piped, etc), and possibly expand it into an ebook that covers how to alter your patterns for each type of slash. I just wasn’t sure if anyone would be interested. Thank you for the encouragement!

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