Location: Grimfells, Calontir
Category/Level: Modern Recreationist/Intermediate
Project Update Blog: All The Pretty Flowers
About Roxelana: I joined the SCA over 25 years ago because “the SCA is 4H for grown-ups” first as part of the Mid-Realm, then NorthShield, and now Calontir. I’ve entered more than my fair share of competitions through the years and I really enjoy that aspect of the organization. I started in beadwork and have taken that knowledge to figure out 1520 silk flowers and recreate them. My silk flower adventures are all on my website. Years ago a made a Landsknecht gown for NorthShield’s first kingdom event and it was incredibly well received. It doesn’t fit me anymore and I really want to make something else that is that WOW. I have the fabric for it – I just need the motivation.
Her Project: I’m thinking Second half of 16th century Italian. Definitely late period high end stuff as I have a lot of silk available. I have one picture that I have always wanted to recreate and I’m thinking now is the time. I’m really not into the whole documenting (because I read everything and who takes notes so on future projects that aren’t even in their imagination yet can be properly documented?) aside from make it look exactly like the painting/original item. And I reached a point were medically I don’t have many good years left to do the kind of detail work I would like to do.
Chemise – the very basis of almost all female clothing. I have some rules for my chemises:
1. They must be comfortable.
2. They must not be reveling (either see-thru or open exposure)
3. They must not get dew-soaked so they should not touch the ground.
4. If I’m going to all the trouble, then it must be linen. And linen requires all raw edges to be finished so I tend to make as few raw edges as possible.
I have many chemises but the one I like the best is a heavy weight linen body with light weight linen sleeves that I never cuffed because I always have them rolled up! I had a happy accident when I made it in that I cut the neck too wide and had to put pleats in the neckline to get it to the correct size. This was happy because it kept the neckline closer to the bust and cut exposure. I have also taken to wearing bloomers because – way more comfortable. I have several pairs and I cut them in two pieces – left leg/right leg – so there is minimal seam. I (again) could not find the pattern so I made a new one. Several of the previous ones have no elastic, or only back-side elastic because I don’t have issues keeping them up. I did put elastic in this pair though. I chose to make this set with natural colored linen rather than white or cream because I was really liking the salvage and I already have lots of white ones. I cut the front and back out of a heavier weight linen and cut the sleeves and bloomers out of a slightly lighter weight. I cut the sleeves so that the cuff would align with the salvage and cut them a bit wider than normal with the seam running up the back of the arm (more historically accurate.)
I cut out the front and back, rolled the side seams together and machine sewed them. I pressed and rolled the hem and machine sewed it. I cut the sleeves, rolled and sewed them. I pressed in a rolled edge and hand sewed the neck opening and inset the sleeves with linen thread.
I finished the sleeves with silk yarn doing a gather stitch – It is good for now, but I might smock the sleeves or find some other solution. I like that it looks lacy but I’m still able to roll them up if I want to.
So it took me about two months to do the embroidery and another month to get it all put together. It is after this painting although my proportions are not exactly the same. I wanted a smaller ruffle and taller collar which fits my face better. That may not have worked so well. I did it entirely by hand with silk embroidery floss and linen thread. Real seed pearls on manufactured bobbin lace and linen ground fabric.
Most of the supplies I got at Thistle Threads which centers on 17th century casket construction and the embroidery that is featured on the caskets. I buy most of my silk floss there because she also carries purl that I use frequently and she is particular about carrying historical colors. All of the trimmings are accurate as well although some are modern recreations with more modern materials to keep costs down. The bobbin lace trim was no longer available in gold and I like silver better anyway so I got all trimmings in silver but also got the trim for the sleeves in gold. The red and silver cording I got two years ago and used most of the yard I had available. All of the silk threads (Ovale and Trame) were in my stash. The linen thread I picked up at Pennsic last year, Wm Booth Draper 60/2.
The ruffle is done on a singe layer of salvage so I wouldn’t have to worry about hemming it and I got it to ruffle using the pulled thread method. The base is done on two layers, of folded linen, using stitches I couldn’t name because I learned to embroider as a child. I did it all freehand without drawing out anything other than the boxes so I would get the spacing correct. I did not embroider the back/middle section of the collar because it should never be seen when I’m wearing it. The entire ruffle is embroidered with random flowers that are particular to me. When I hit the halfway point I did the same (similar) flowers in reverse so one side is nearly a mirror image of the other. I tried to keep the back of the ruffle neat and tidy because it is not covered up.
I beaded the trim and then attached the trim to the ruffle and then ruffled it by pulling a thread, then I sewed the ruffle to the embroidered collar. I then cut out and hand sewed the base of the partlet and hemmed it all the way around excepting the front opening which was cut on the selvage. I attached the base to the collar, sewed trim all the way down both sides, and cut a piece of linen to cover the back. I also stiffened a piece of organza and sewed that into the middle of the collar as well (it probably didn’t need it but I wanted to be sure it stood up without issue.
Before I seamed up the back I tried it on and it fit well but I found it underwelming visually. I decided to add some extra trimming (based on what I saw in the painting and what supplies I had on hand.)
I am very pleased with how it turned out. And this piece was all about the embroidery and beadwork so I’m hoping you will count it as my accessory layer.