Irish Scones

Mmmmm… I love scones. It makes me feel so British or something.
I have no idea if this is period for the SCA, but it’s still something yummy to make outside on the fire.

Makes 6 Scones.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup white flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ pound butter, softened
  • 2 ounces sugar
  • 1 egg, slightly beaten
  • 2 ounces milk
  • walnuts (optional)

Mix flour and baking powder.
Add butter, blending until mixture is butter-colored.
Add sugar and continue to mix well.
Add half the beaten egg and all the milk, add nuts if you want, mixing well to make a sticky dough.
Turn dough onto floured board and knead at least 5 minutes or longer.
Cut dough into rounds and place on greased baking sheet or hot frying pan.
Brush tops of scones with remainder of beaten egg.
Place walnuts or whatever on top, if you want.
Bake at 350-375 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 – 20 minutes, or until brown.

*If preparing over an open fire, heat frying pan until very hot. Places scones in pan and cook 7-8 minutes. Turn and cook 7-8 minutes more. Will attract friends during an SCA event. In that case, you can make the dough ahead of time and bring it with you.

Period Crochet – Long Treble (& Crochet Snood Pattern)

I’m in the process of making some snoods for the upcoming Ren-season… (Alright, crocheted snoods are more of a 1940’s thing, but snoods were cool back then, too. Just… not crocheted. But who will know? Kekeke…)

And one of the stitches I’ve encountered from 1942 is the “long treble”. What the what?

Well, thank goodness for the Godey’s Lady’s Book of January 1857 for they have been so kind to clarify it for us:

Long Treble Crochet.– Pass the thread three times, before drawing it through the stitch, thus having five loops on the needle. Draw the thread through two at a time, until all are taken off. This will require four movements.

Translation:

  • Wrap the thread around your hook three times.
  • Poke your hook through wherever it is you want to be making your stitch, and draw up a loop.
  • You should now have five loops total on your hook.
  • Draw through only two loops at a time, until you are all done. (You should only be doing this four times.)

Go forth and snood yourself.

(Just a note: I don’t use a ribbon, I just crochet it right to an elastic headband thing. It’s easy. And when I’m out all day in the sun at the faire… the last thing I want to be doing is fiddling with something. To do this: don’t tie off your end, just pick up your hair elastic, and throw about two or three sc’s in each “hole” to attach it.)

Corset, Early Italian Ren, Fabric

I’m probably going to go for late Victorian, first, and then worry about something renaissance later. I’ve always been in love with the Italian Renaissance, and I’ve decided to opt out of wearing a corset. I hear that’s kind of okay.

The second thing on my list is how I’m going to put the thing together. On my last late Victorian corset, I sewed each layer together, and then basted the layers together, and sewed through them for channels… I was on a deadline, and I accidentally drafted it 4 inches too big, instead of 4 inches of squish because I was rushing. (I don’t squish this much anyway, what was I thinking in the first place?) But this time I was thinking more along the lines of the “quilt as you go” method, which would let me sew it together super speedy-like and sew channels as I go. The only downside to this is that I really need to make sure the toile fits amazing, since taking it in will not be an easy option. And my seams will be bulky. It would have to be a double layer at the max. I was thinking that if I’m really in a pinch, I’ll cut one layer of fashion fabric, one layer of the innards, and then just treat it as a single layer corset. But I have no boning casing. I don’t know. I should probably do it the right way and not try and save time.

Anyway, it would definitely help if I ordered myself some steel boning in the meantime. That’s super helpful! I’m getting continuous boning – it’s the cheapest per yard, and I can cut exactly what I need. I’ve heard that duct ties (not zip ties) are a really great substitute. You can dry clean them. I haven’t taken a trip to Lowe’s or Home Depot yet, but I’ll have to see what the cost for them is per yard compared to the steel. (And also what they are made of. I can’t imagine they’re good for the environment when they decompose? If they do?)

I think that corset making is a dying art, since places are disappearing *fast*! Greenberg and Hammer is gone. This scares me, but I’m sure that there will always be places for supplies. Hopefully!
My favorite places are:
http://www.corsetmaking.com/
http://www.richardthethread.com/ (They carry soufel!)
http://www.dragontowncorsetsupply.com/
http://www.voguefabricsstore.com/home.php
And others, but just for corset supplies, these are great.

I just used up my last bolt of muslin. (I buy in extreme bulk.) That bolt became toiles for many things: witches from Hamlet, togas for a music video that ended up getting canceled, doublets, Puck, vests, bodices, computer monitor covers even though that makes no sense… probably mostly flat-lining and lining though. I’m addicted to lining things in cotton. I found some great wholesale linen, however, dyeing is out of the question – I never dye it consistently. (Read as: I get distracted and forget to stir it.) I’ll keep practicing on some cheap muslin, though. I have a habit of turning on the TV or a movie when I’m doing something that involves waiting. Sometimes, if it’s too interesting, I’ll forget all about what I’m doing. Like soaking the greens for kimchi.

I said to myself, “Eh, this is yellow linen, just go for it.” I had totally forgotten why I had ever bought a ton of mustard yellow linen, but it became a version 1.0 for an underdress. It doesn’t look bad, and it’s definitely wearable. It does need a permanent lacing method. I was thinking about just lacing right through the fabric layers, since I hear it’s one method of the Italians. (Which would make a lot of sense from some of the paintings I’ve seen.) Or maybe half visible lacing rings. (Also would make sense.) I don’t like how the temporary lacing rings pull the interlining and lining out, and make it all visible from the gap. It’s a lot of stress, and it can’t handle it apparently. I think I went a little overboard with the front gap, but it looks alright, and I’m going to have layers over it anyway. My last bit of business for it will be to hem it and take out the temporary lacing rings and put something sturdy in. It’s currently hanging in my bedroom because linen is slippery stuff. Hopefully it’ll settle soon and I can hem it.

I finished patterning and draping for an overdress. My love is definitely for the Italian Renaissance so I went with early renaissance and decided to wing it. Learning through trial and error, I guess – gotta start somewhere. And I really haven’t felt like rebuilding my garb since… who knows when. Back to the overdress… I’ll be using a dark red jacquard that I bought ages ago when I first watched The Tudors. After that, I researched *HARD*, amassed tons of information, and then realized that the era really wasn’t *my* era, and that I was just fascinated because I was super into The Tudors at the time. I still love and treasure my copy of The Tudor Tailor, though. In other news… Showtime has a new show coming out soon about THE BORGIAS. Am I excited? SO EXCITED I COULD PEE MY PANTS. I might even BUY the DVD’s if the costuming and story is good. It’s this kind of awesome stuff that reminds me of my love of history. I’m coming to terms with the fact that I will never really make any money. It’s making me feel better about my sort-of decision to keep going for an MA and PhD in something historical.

Anyway, I’m actually having a hard time coming up with references and information about trim and embellishment in the Italian Renaissance. I don’t want to make any assumptions, but I guess there’s going to be a point where I just need to wing it.

I had a frank discussion with Ron about all of that. If you’ve been in personal contact with me at all over the past few months, you would know that I have plainly had a breakdown about what sort of academic and work career to pursue. I burnt out during my last semester and went on a little sabbatical.
The conclusions here are:
1. Humans are good at many things, but suck at so many more. This means me.
2. I’m smart enough to do any one of the few things that I am good at, and none of them will ever make me money I can live off of.
3. I’m an indecisive human being.
4. I was totally born in the wrong time period. But I do love the internet, computers, antibiotics, advanced medicine, Bath and Body Works, and spicy kimchi.
5. No matter what job I have, I try and help people, and they will still be horrifically cruel. Ron says I might just want to stick with research if I don’t have a backbone to handle humanity.
6. Our society operates off of debt. It’s normal for it to take decades to pay back a student loan. It will be okay. I can go to school. It will be okay. I will never be able to pay all of that back. Jeez. OMG. *panic attack*
Life would be so much easier if women didn’t have to work. Ron has expressed his feelings about him and his life purpose as a biological male need to go out, kill something, drag it home, and proudly slap it on the table. But in a more metaphorical way.

I really shouldn’t be sewing anything for myself. I currently owe about 3 pairs of tailored men’s pants to people.

Cloaks

My mom: “Do you have that blanket thing that I could borrow to go trick-or-treating with Alexa?”
Me: “You mean… my cloak? That I use for re-enacting?”

My cloak is one of my favorite things. It’s warm, it was easy, and it was one of the first things I ever made.

  • If you’re lucky and you have a large 60″ piece of fabric – Measure how long you want it to be. I measured from the hollow of my throat between my clavicles down to where I wanted it, which happened to be my ankles. Or you could measure down your back. Use the longest measurement. When it’s all said and done, let it hang for a while, and then cut off what you don’t need. (So the bias can stretch.)
  • Cut a piece of string that long, including seam allowance at the neck (if you want to do a neckhole) and hem allowance.
  • Pin or sew it to one end of your fabric, and swing it around with a pencil or something at the end until you have a half circle. You can stop here and hem it. Or sew another half circle together with it and have a full circle cloak.
  • If you wanted a neck hole, you need to take the measurement of how long you wanted it and add the radius of your neckhole. Then pattern out the half circle or circle.
  • If it *really* doesn’t sit on your shoulders, even after a neck hole, add darts at the shoulder that end at your acromioclavicular joint. Human osteology is coming in handy, here, eh? eh?
  • So, the chances of finding a giant piece of fabric that big that is also affordable might not be as great as finding a narrower width. Sew a few widths of fabric together. Or pattern it out in fourths of the circle.
  • When lining the cloak, sew the layers together at the side seams. Do not sew the layers together at the bottom – it won’t drape in an awesome, swishy, way. Cut the lining layer(s) a little shorter than the outer so it doesn’t show. Or if it’s not swishy enough, maybe weight the hem with a wide hem allowance, facing, or something.

And now mom is going to get her own cloak.
My favorite fabrics for cloaks:

  • Wool. Warm, repels water, and classic.
  • Twill with fleece lining. Tough exterior, and warm inside.
  • Georgette. (Getting married…) I might just become good friends with basting spray…

On Corset Types

As a fan of the indie-type podcast Threadbangers, I have encountered many people on the forums looking for a fashion corset tutorial. However, the responses have been greatly varied. There are many different types of corsets, and the first thing you need to figure out is what kind you want.

1. The first thing many people jump for, are the tutorials on Elizabethan corsets. However, the corset ends at the natural waist, and is meant to flatten the breasts. The torso becomes conical. It does not produce the classic Victorian look that many associate with a “corset”.
2. There are many different kinds of Victorian corsets. A later Edwardian corset, known as the “S-bend”, is uncomfortable and contorts the spine unnaturally. I do not recommend this silhouette.
3. Victorian corsets were made to be tight-laced. This means that they were specifically engineered to accommodate body modification. A tight laced corset will compress the ribs, folding them downwards. Newcomers to tight-lacing can seriously harm themselves if they are not properly learned in how to perform this modification. It is quite dangerous, when done incorrectly.

The “Big 4” of Vogue, Simplicity, McCall’s, and Butterick are producing fashion corset patterns, as well as historically geared. The only issue with these patterns is that they run large; you must use the pattern size which corresponds to your own body measurements – not from the sizing guide, but from the “finished garment” measurements. These patterns run large.

A good historical Victorian corset pattern to start out with is Laughing Moon’s Dore or Silverado. It has received many great reviews.

* If a corset is uncomfortable: it is not being worn right, or has not been made correctly.
* If it hurts, don’t do it!
* If you’re looking for fashion in a historical Victorian tight-lacer, incorporate some stretch panels.
* It’s very easy to lace yourself too tight, and not even know it. Lace up, tighten, then loosen the laces and slowly tighten again. What feels okay at first might be way too tight. Take it slow.
* Make sure that it’s laced correctly. It should look like this.
* If it’s a fashion corset, it’s not made to tight lace.

A New Year

So… there will be no resolutions for me. Instead, I am hoping for lifestyle changes! Well, more specifically, I am hoping for a renewed emphasis on spirituality, and living in the light. Anyway, tonight I am tackling the pattern for my bodice and fitting. I will probably spend a few hours trying to adjust and pad my dressmaker’s dummy to my size to help with the bodice fitting. Ron has offered to help me make a paper tape dummy when he’s around for a while, which would be great! Having a form with my corseted measurements would be an immense help.

Not much has been going on, just slowly getting through my classes! I am very excited to almost be done with school. On the costuming front, I’m not sure about PAX East, but I am definitely hoping to put something together for some convention this year. I’m following the movements of the International Costumer’s Guild, the local chapter, so I’ll see what is cooking!

Vincenzo Campi, Here I Come.

My next project is definitely going to be Italian. My favorite time period for Italy is pretty far. From 1475-1500, I love the simple gamurra. From 1500-1525 I am absolutely in love with (I emphasize absolutely in love with), the Florentine style. From 1525-1550, it all feels very English and/or Victorian to me. I mean, what’s up with the poofy sleeves and plain fronts? I feel like it’s very English inspired. But then I start loving it again with the working class, 1575-1600 a.l.a. Vincenzo Campi. Which will probably be my next project.

Quick and Dirty Italian Gown

It is Wednesday. It will soon be Thursday, and 100 Minutes War is on Saturday. I do not have garb yet. What can I come up with quickly, easily, and with the materials I have on hand? A very simple ca. 1490’s Italian dress. It is going to be exceptionally simple, and it is going to be working class, which means that it will be very plain. And this will hold me over until I can put my hands on something more solid and stable. Tonight I am hoping to draft a basic upper body sloper for my dress. It is going to be flat pattern drafted on brown Kraft paper with very minimal tools. Until I can get a more permanent space, everything is done on the fly with what I have on hand.

My parents are selling the house once I graduate, and will be moving into an apartment. I am not sure if my sewing space will be cut down to just my bedroom or if I will move in with my brother, where I will have just a little more room. In the meantime, my only worry is where my sewing table is going to fit. It’s the collapsible one from Jo-Ann’s, minus the storage, which makes it ideal for small spaces. My only worry is that I will not have the room to unfold it and work off of it. If I end up in my parent’s apartment, it will probably go in the living room, but with that being the only room available with three people trying to go about – it is going to be very crowded.

Of course, I could get my own space, but it does not make sense when I’m going to be moving in with Ron in just two years. My projected date for the wedding is sometime in 2012, as my brother is getting married in April of 2011. I do not want our weddings to be too close together, or else we will all go bananas.

However, once I move in with Ron, we would probably be living in UNH family housing for a year, which in itself, is incredibly small. But as of right now, houses are incredibly affordable in northern MA, so I am hoping that when the time comes we find something that will suit us. I am going to keep my eye on the real estate market, since closing on a house takes forever. I figure that if we buy a year before we plan to move in, the paperwork will go through in time. We also want to stay somewhere relatively close to Boston, since that is where Ron projects he will find a job, and probably where I might find something also. (Teaching-wise, forensic-wise, and shop-wise.)

As for the proposal, I am down to a few choices on fake rings. I say “fake” in that I can be very accident prone, so we are going to go with a cubic zirconium stone for everyday wear and tear. I am going to save the diamond for special occasions, so there is minimal chance of loss and accident. The last thing I need to do is get my finger sized, but I have been running around so much lately that I really haven’t had a moment to think of it. As for proposal itself, I am not really sure what Ron wants to do. I feel as if he is waiting for me to give him a definite idea of what I want so he doesn’t “do it wrong”.

Anyway, the rest of my family is very excited, but I feel that they might be a little overwhelmed. Tommy is getting married first, and I hope that I am spacing my own wedding far enough away from his so that we are all not going nuts at once! I think part of my parents plan to sell the house is motivated by the fact that Tommy and I are moving out in the short-term future. Tommy and Jamie are moving into their house this December, which has been an absolute circus!

I wanted to have a themed wedding, but Ron gently pointed out that it might be slightly embarrassing for all parties involved… a.l.a. Oscar & Emma’s Elvis wedding. I did not want an Elvis wedding, though.

I don’t know the first thing about planning my wedding, but I am hoping that if I start now, two years will be enough time to trial and error it. Is this really happening? Wow. This is really happening. It all feels pretty dreamy, but no worries – the stress will set in soon! =D

Calm Before the Storm

A few thoughts on my serger…
I have discovered that my serger has no need for a separate one-fingered throat plate. (Otherwise known as a rolled hem throat plate). I picked up a basic book of serging – I should emphasize how basic this book is: it is for complete beginners. Pre-pre-beginners. Maybe not that extreme, but it is definitely a book of the absolute basics. But thank goodness for this book, or else I would have been driving myself crazy. Now I just need to figure out how to flip the lever from “S” to “R” so I can slide the plate over.

Other than my serger, I am trying to decide whether or not to enroll in costume construction next semester. It is on a Friday which means that I will not be able to work. However, I have asked Catherine, the costume shop manager, what it is all about, and she told me that it was all about the basics. To work on a more advanced project, I need to bring her samples of my work (since I obviously do not have a portfolio) and she will individualize a project. I could always use some instruction and a refresher in the basics; after all, I am mostly self-taught, and self-taught does not necessarily equal amazing or correct technique.

As for my garb for 100 minutes war, IT IS NEXT WEEK. And I HAVE NO GARB. I am officially entering panic mode: do I go with working class early Tudor? Stick with early medieval? What will be fastest? What will look the best? What is the easiest? I don’t know! I do not think I have time to drape a cotehardie, and I do not think that I have time to create any kind of toile… I think that I am just going to have to start cutting and praying a whole lot.

I need to order some white linen for head rails, and I am hoping that the shipping will make it to my house on time. Crossing my fingers!

Linen Arrival!

I have received in the mail today 6 yards of a muted mustard yellow, and 4 yards of black. Both are softened medium weight linen, and they are heavenly! My kirtle is ready to go. The next step is tracing and drafting the patterns I will need for the kirtle, which will take some time, but I am excited to give it a go. I always run out of steam after getting the patterns made – it requires a lot of energy!

I am working tomorrow until 4, but hopefully will get some pattern drafting time in before I need to leave for school again on Sunday. The only fabric I am waiting on now is my 9 yards of coral wool flannel. I am very excited!