So, I took a few hours break from my current bout of insane workaholism the other day and did a little beading. This is what programming does to me: my mind goes from being a marvelous realm of creative joy to being a twisted up little thing that can only think in terms of methodology and function. Hurts my soul a little, not gonna lie, but it’s quite useful to those who employ me. Also, it makes me say hopelessly silly things like “How about a small scale mockup of Eleventh century German multi-needle beadwork on 1/4th inch wide organdy ribbon?” I’m fairly convinced I would not be doing this if I were in my right mind. Darn you, temporary left-brain dominance! Here’s the method I used…
Category: 11th Century German Costume
I went through my stash of glass beads, looking for some that will work with the sort of bog-scum-green color I picked for the Eleventh Century schmata. From what I understand, I should be using less shiny glass beads, coral beads, seed pearls, and little gold flatty-bits. I don’t have gold flatty-bits, so I’m using gold trim. Beadlandia, however, is just full of opportunities for me…
My crafter ADD finally took me back to the eleventh century dress. I’ve undone all my painstaking over-achiever seam finishing around the arms, so not it’s ugly, but fits. Score one for the good guys…. That leaves me with nothing to do but decorate it, so I’m excited about the project again!
The eleventh century outfit needs and overdress, which means I need a pattern. I want to make one based off a diagram from Kohler’s History of Costume, but the measurements are basically useless to me because my model is a doll. Fortunately, I have a chemise-y-tunic-y pattern already, and it’s a simple matter to alter that into the overdress pattern I want.
I finished the chemise. Yay! Technically, it’s taken from a pattern Kohler gives for a coat (A History of Costume, pg 136). His text claims that a chemise would be cut in the same way, but with shorter sleeves. I went a little embroidery-happy on this, so maybe it is more like a cote. I might make a plain one for underneath and dye this one a festive color. I haven’t decided yet…
This goes together quite easily, since it’s really just a series of straight lines. Shirts and smocks with the same general layout (small variations in neckline) continue to be used into the sixteenth century, at least, and I can see why: it’s easy. There’s no need for a gusset, because of the angle the sleeves are placed on. That is so cool. (If you don’t know why that’s cool, it’s because you’ve never sewn an underarm gusset by machine. They’re all sorts of annoying.)
What? Why would you ever possibly want to do that, missa? This is a good question, and the answer is basically, “Because you can.” That, in an of itself, is cool enough for me. I can take the pattern of my little dolly body, or the pattern I cloned off a dolly, or even a fitted princess line sloper of a human, and make a chemise. (Also, I have drafted approximately 55,237,648,119 smocks and chemises and shirts in my life, and I’m just lookin’ for ways to keep it exciting…) This isn’t unlike draping on a stand, because we’re going to make a pattern by eyeballing fit against a human form. It’s just that my human form, in this case, is in the form of flat pieces instead of a three-dimensional stand. But those pieces convey all the same critical information the stand does, and they don’t cost near as much as a decent dress form.
I made some adjustments to the back of the chemise so that I could get Tyler into it. (Mostly, this involved lengthening the slit in the back.) I finally got it on her a little bit ago, and it looks about like I expected.
I’ve been doing a crazy amount of research on armscyes, lately, particularly in terms of when they started being curved. I was expecting that to be after 1515 or so, based on the piecing in Gerard David‘s Deposition. But no, much to my complete annoyance, there are a lot of examples of curved sleeveheads and armscyes going back into the late medieval era. This annoys me greatly, because it means that if I want to show try out a fashion that does not use a curved sleeve head/armscye, I’m stuck back in like, 1000 AD. This is not my happy place. But I’m gonna make a ding-dang, major-olde-timey, at-least-it’s-not-a-T-tunic dress, and I’m gonna like it, gosh darn it.