So, it’s been, like, forever since I’ve gotten to work on anything for my dollies, right? Oy then! Not cool… But I did get a few minutes the other day to work on Maid Marion’s little overdress that I started months ago. I dyed it months ago, too, and then crazy show-float-show-crap-I’ve-got-clients-too! season get the better of me… But, finally, progress! Here’s a general method for sewing a lined princess seam dress, regardless of size.
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…
I decided that I needed more practice with the industrial machine at work. I can use it, I can do well with it, but it still occasionally gets away from me. I like to get to a point with a machine that I can raise the needle with the foot pedal if I need to. (Hey, sometimes you run out of hands!) So I brought Maid Marion’s overdress pieces into the shop the other day. Sewing doll clothes on an industrial machine is probably overkill, I’ll admit, but…. I figure that if I can set in a dolly-sleevehead with the machine, I am its master. If you doubt my theory, you clearly do not sew many doll clothes… Seriously, I know how to sew, but this is a whole new level of precision. Yipes!
I love what I do. Normally, I bop around my little workshop like Hammy – with about the same attention span. But sometimes things get me down, like working on serious things (websites) and that gosh-darned eleventh century shmata which continues to defy me, and I start to lose my Joy. And then I was get email from people, and they had they Joy. And it’s making me sad. Laura has the joy, Rebecca has the joy, Mo-geek has the joy…. I decided to take my Joy back, by force if necessary.
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.)