Thursday, October 18, 2007

You spin me right round, baby, right round...

But first, another sewing installment. Not the most flattering picture ever, and the dress needs a good pressing, but meh. I'd started refurbishing this gown - one of my earliest renditions of a cotehardie - back in June, when I didn't have a camera to record the "before". Basically, after ten years of adoring this gown, the long sleeves were shredding, and I was tired of the neckline treatment. So I pulled the sleeves off and made new ones, then picked the black linen border off the neckline and cut the front down two inches in the middle. Aaaaaaand then I got distracted and didn't finish the neckline until today when I had some ENERGY!!! I could probably stand to go over the seams and check for popped stitches, but again, meh. The skirt is actually quite full, more so than it appears in this picture - it stands out better with the correct undergarments (in this pic it's just a bra and yoga pants). Properly I should be wearing a chemise and kirtle underneath, and possibly false sleeves pinned on at the shoulder. The gown itself is a lovely handkerchief weight linen that has survived the wear and tear of ten years of abuse astonishingly well. The seams at the shoulders and armscyes are wearing; when I stitched the new sleeves in, I had to sew the new seam a couple of millimeters in so the it wouldn't simply tear out again instantly. All in all, it's great for the kind of summer weather you don't see much of here in Oregon. :/ However, given enough correct under- and overgarments, it should do all right here, as well.

Construction details: I adapted a commercial princess-line dress pattern to have a longer skirt, and originally a higher neckline - I think this refurb put the neck basically back where the original pattern had it. The seams were sewn by machine to begin with, and the original neckline serged (I had a friend who let me borrow hers occasionally), but all repairs and alterations since have been by hand. Because of the way I adapted the commercial pattern, the skirt was originally fairly narrow. I added the black gores (and the black neckline no longer extant) to honor my foster father, whose colors are yellow and black, as well as general decoration and skirt-widening. I was asked to march as a part of the procession (along with his other adopted daughters) when he was awarded his Pelican, the highest SCA award for service. Now, with the navy sleeves, the dress looks pretty Halloween-y; maybe I'll wear it for dress-up this year. I wouldn't make another "cotehardie" in this manner again; I've learned a great deal about patternmaking and construction in the decade or so since I made this, and all the gowns I've made or refurbished since show my improving knowledge. However, this remains a favorite gown because it's so incredibly comfortable and well-fitting - there's even room to let the bust and waist out a bit if I get any curvier!

On to the spinning!

This is 52 yards of the Icelandic/Red Mohair roving I bought at the Oregon Flock and Fiber Fest, spun and plied. Please note, this is my first plied yarn! I still need to set the twist, though. It came out a fairly dense sport-type weight - not too bad for having been aiming for fingering weight! I don't know wraps per inch, I didn't have a ruler handy. It's not the most even spinning ever, but although it's perceptibly thick and thin, I'm fairly pleased with it, and also pleased how the plying more or less evened it out. The color reads overall as a sort of oatmeal; the Icelandic wool is a pale gray-tan, and the mohair is reddish brown - so if you look close, it's oatmeal with cinnamon stirred in. :)


Lamentation said...

So is this where I make comments about 'just in time for Halloween?' or does that get me shot?

Ann said...

I love seeing a picture of you!!!! And I am so glad you are posting pics of your historical garments...contemporarily supported or not!! I love this stuff, as you are reminding me.

And spinning...
this has always been beyond my ken, but it has been poking at my brain I have TIME to learn something new.

Anonymous said...

Good to see you on your feet and smiling! The gown looks wonderful and so comfy. I'd like to see all the stuff you might wear under and over, but I'm sure you'll share that later.

You are making me think about my dresses and now I want to wear them around town. I should wait until Halloween... Actually one of my gown is a comfortable work gown that I wear when I haven't done laundry- Or at least that's my excuse.
The last time I wore it was when I took my boys to tour an Army landing craft. The NCOs onboard didn't believe I was ever in the Army- all dressed up like a princess on their ship!

Oh well, it's fun to have nice handmade stuff to wear.

The spinning- looks fantastic! Isn't plying wonderful? It looks really even from here!