Monday, May 23, 2011

IRCC Paternoster

Article of clothing which was constructed as part of the IRCC challenge.  This is a portion of an overall outfit I hope to enter into a Pentathlon in the future year(s).    The overall garment is intended to be worn by an Italian gentleman who living between 1520 and 1540.  A single strand paternoster not made in loop.  This style was used by men while the looped version was used by both men and women.  This paternoster has 100 black glass beads and 10 larger black & yellow beads which were purchased from Walmart.  There are two slightly larger yellow beads on each end which I found on a neclace at Salvation Army.  The beads are strung with a heavy weight black linen thread which was waxed with bees wax.  The tassle at the end was made from black cotton line with a loop which I fashioned from a piece of brass rod.

IRCC Shirt progresses

The work on the IRCC shirt progresses slow and steady as I expected. All of the edges have been rolled and bound and the construction of the shirt has started. I still haven't started the blackwork detail of the cuffs and collars. I keep putting that off as long as possible. Here are some photos which show the detail of the joinery.

Top of shoulder seam and neck gore.

In the following two images you can see both sides of the same section of the seam.  This type of seam not only looks interesting, it looks good from both the inside and the outside.  Can you tell which is the inside of the shirt and which is the outside?

Outside view of seam.

Inside view of seam

One other thing I like about this type of seam is the way the sleeve looks when it is joined to the body.  The following picture is a close-up of the underam section of the sleeve.

IRCC - Blackworking for shirt is complete

The IRCC shirt is almost complete.  I have finished the blackworking for both the cuffs and for the collar.  I did all of the blackwork using backstitching as it would have been done in Italy during the mid 16th century.  Here are some photos of the black work. 

IRCC Shirt Blackwork for collar

IRCC Shirt Blackwork for cuffs
I did all of the blackworking on a hoop and then cut the pieces to the proper size when complete.  I have since assembled one cuff completely, but have not yet photographed it.  I hope to have the entire shirt completed in the next couple days.  One remaining detail I haven't decided on though, is the closures for the neck.  I plan on using a braded line, but haven't decided if I will use solid white (as I did for the cuffs) or a combination of black and white as I have seen on some portraits.  We'll have to see what sort of mood I'm in in the next couple days when I braid it.

Monday, May 9, 2011

IRCC shirt continues

After spending countless hours searching through books and websites I am certain I have viewed over 4,000 paintings and sketches. Most were either not appropriate to the period I was looking for or were not from the right geographic region. After absorbing all of the images I care to (for now) I've come up with a final design for my IRCC outfit. There are a lot of components and I still hope to hand sew as many of the items as possible. The overall theme of the outfit is not one of my favorite colors, but it is something new for me. I will be making the doublet of brown silk with hand embroidered gold trim. I chose to use a dark brown for a couple reasons. I haven't done anything in brown before and I found some lovely silk and wool very cheap at a local fabric store. The over gown will be made of similarly colored brown wool and trimmed with fur. The shirt which I started last week is making good progress and is more than half way complete. All of the edge work is done and the sleeves have been assembled (without cuffs). I have to do the black working on the cuffs and collar before continuing assembly. I am hoping to begin assembly within a week or so. The pattern I have selected for the black work is not quite as elaborate as I might have liked, but I am really trying to schedule the remaining work so that I can get as much done as possible. After the competition ends I may disassemble and add more blackwork later. The pattern for the blackwork and the embroidery on the doublet are basically the same and come from a portrait by Moretto da Brescia. The portrait is of Count Sciarra Martinengo Cesaresco. (

I copied the pattern of the embroidery from the Count's doublet and scaled it down a bit to fit on about a 3/4 inch cuff.  Here is a sample renderings of the designs I'll be using.

Monday, May 2, 2011

IRCC blackworked shirt continues

New shirt is making progress.  This 16th century linen shirt is constructed of light weight linen and will be entirely hand stitched using either white linen thread or black silk thread.  Each of the panels which make up the shirt have button hole stitching holding the rolled edge and shall be woven together to construct the shirt.  The following photo shows the panels of the shirt I’ve completed the edge work on so far.  I plan on blackworking the collars and cuffs as well.  So far I've completed the edgework on the gussets and the sleeves.


Here is a silly little project.  I was getting sick of sewing yards of button hole stitches and so I made this pin cushion just for the heck of it.  It is made of some scrap wool I had on the floor next to my work chair.  It was left over from the wool Friar's robe I made last fall.