Sunday, February 27, 2011

GSC Practice session

To prepare for the upcoming Golden Seamstress Competition (GSC) our team decided to have a practice session.  We had to finish drafting the pattern and then create a mockup of the garment.  The overall design of this practice garment is the same as the one we will create for the competition, however the colors will differ slightly.  The model was funding the project and decided that having two suits which were exactly the same was not to his liking.

Here is a redering of the design we were shooting for.

(See the following link for more info about the competition and the design we have chosen:

We drafted the pattern from a doublet found in one of Janet Arnolds' Patterns of Fashion.  While the foundation was based on, and mocked up from, the doublet found in POF, the overall design was inspired from a slightly later period French doublet wich had more slashing.

We scaled the pattern up 16% from the size of the original garment, and then continued to tweak it until it fit the model properly.

Four members of the team plan on focusing on the overal construction of the Doublet, Sleeves, Slops and shirt while one member will be focusing on embelishments.  She will be blackworking the collar and cuffs for the shirt.

Garment in progress.  No buttons and no points and sleeves are still WIP, but I think that you can tell that the model is pleased with the progress.

Here is a sample of the blackwork which will be on the cuffs.

Here is the blackwork for the collar.

By the end of the day we had made good progress.  One of the goals of the practice session was to make sure that we will have time to finish everything.  Based on the progress which we made, I don't think we should have too much trouble finishing in the 20 hours we will be given.

Here are the slops in progress.

Here are the points which will be used to connect the sleeves to the doublet.  They are made from silk and tipped with silver.

Here is one of the sleeves.  I think we will end up tacking the panes of the sleevs together.   We still have to agree on the embelishment used to tack them together.  We also have to gromet the top of the sleeves where the points will go through.

Here is Mistress Arrienne working on the blackwork.

Here is our model trying on the slops.  Note that there is no foundation layer added yet.  The cannons will sit a bit higher than they appear currently.  This was late in the day after about 13 hours of work.  We were all getting a bit slap happy and we were joking about the period hula skirt.

Overall the practice session was a success.  We had to spend 2~3 hours making tweaks to the pattern pieces.  I think we are all more comfortable about the scope of the endevour now.  We decided not to stick around and finish.  The goal was to validate the pattern, allocate work assignments and then practice those tasks.  Those goals accomplished, we decided to break and finish our respective articles later.

When I get photos of the finished garments I'll be sure to post.

GSC Buttons

Upon further review the buttons I had created for the GSC (Golden Seamstress Competition) were a bit too large.  The team wanted a slightly smaller button.  We had drafted our pattern from a period garment which did in fact have very small buttons, so I can't disagree with the decision.  The problem now is that I have to start making more buttons.  I had completed 20 of the other larger variety.

Here are the beads which will be used for the new buttons.  I've painted them black to prep for covering with black string.  I simply put them into a cup, squirted black paint on them and swished them around until they were sufficiently covered.  The beads are slightly smaller than 1/4 inch.  After being covered they will be about 1/2 inch wide.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Measuring Stick (Wooden Ell Stick)

As a tailor I use a measuring string which is a simple string at least 1 Ell long.  As a tailor I use the string to take measures from clients and then simply hold the string against this wooden Ell stick with marked measures on it.  The measures are in increments of 15/16th of a modern-day inch which the Ell Stick are broken down into.  The Ell Stick is broken into 48 sections which equate to a total of 45 modern-day inches.  My period measuring string is two Ells long (7 1/2 feet).  The plan for this Ell stick to not only be practical, but also decorative.  I want this stick to perform its function well and look nice.  So far I have carved the notches into the 48 increments for measure.  I plan on embellishing my Ell stick, I just haven't finalized the design yet. 
You can also refer to (Tailors Pattern Book 1589.pdf) Page 8 has great wood block print of tailor with ell stick.

Here are a couple photos of the stick in progress.

More late period buttons

I will be competing in a Golden Seamstress Competition this coming April. As part of that competition we are designing a full outfit which shall be constructed starting at 10:00PM Friday evening and completing by 6:00PM the following evening. Some items are allowed to be created in advance. Accessories not made of fabric may be done in advance (Shoes, buckles, buttons, purse hardware, belts, etc.)

In preparation for this competition I will be creating 20~25 black buttons.
Here are the first few created.

I've finished four so far.  The rest of the buttons have been started.  I tied the string around the bead and placed them onto the card as a place holder.  This way I can just pick one up every now and then to work on.  So far it seems to take about 30~40 minutes per button.  Once the team finalizes the design I'll add either a glass bead or a metal bead at the end of the button to match the trim on the outfit.

Here is the site and info for the competion:

Tenth Annual Quest for the Golden Seamstress
"For the tenth year, the seamstresses of the Middle Kingdom will take up the challenge to create a complete set of garments, from the skin out, in eighteen hours. Twenty teams of from 1 to 6 active members are to start at 10 PM Friday and continue to 6 pm Saturday. Team members are expected to remain on-site during the competition."

The team is still in the design phase.  We are planning a couple working practice sessions to see if we will be able to fit it all in.  If all goes well the outfit will look something like this...

Friday, February 4, 2011

Another shirt completed

Date: 2011-01: Hand Stitched - White Linen Shirt (No Ruffles) (Breadth)

This is another linen shirt which was entirely hand stitched using a handmade brass needle. I've used my brass needles before. In fact I believe I have over 50 hours of hand sewing on one of my needles. This shirt was in fact the first garment that was entirely constructed using my homemade needles. The material is a lightweight white linen constructed with white silk. It was constructed using a similar technique to my redworked shirt, although I used white silk instead of red silk this time. All the seams were button hole stitched and then laced together to provide a nice woven appearance when worn. The material for the shirt is the same weight as the linen I used for a ruff I recently made. This shirt has no ruffles on the collar or cuffs as I intend to wear it with that separate detachable ruff. Rather than putting ties or laces on the cuffs I chose to use an extant shirt as an example. I eased a whole into each side of the cuff and button hole stitched the hole. I chose this option for no other reason than I've never done it before and wanted to see how it looked. I like the appearance better than the typical ties I usually use."

Close up of the neck closure.

Here is a close up of the sleeve when tied shut with the braided cotton string.

Here you can really see the seam.  This is the gusset in the arm.  I placed the shirt on a piece of colored linen to better show the seam.  This is a similar seam to that which was used on my redworked shirt, only all in white. 

Here is a close up of the bottom side of the seam which would be at the waist.

Here is a close up of the grometted hold in the Neck.  The lacing holes were reinforced with a ring made of copper.