Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Doublet - Part Three

Saturday, Nate and I ran all over looking for black or grey wool suiting from which to make the "real" doublet.  We ended up going to Shoreline's JoAnn Fabric and rejoicing for they had both black AND grey suiting!  Six yards of wool later and four yards of cherry red piping we headed home and collapsed.
Monday I cut out all the pieces from muslin for lining and the grey for the main doublet.  Yesterday I sewed and sewed, ironed, pinned and sewed some more and I had a doublet.  Mostly.
The fronts were an inch off length-wise, and the back seam was total crap.  Not wanting to make more mistakes, I set it aside and knitted.

This morning I took a seam ripper to the whole thing, ripped back to where I sewed on the tabs and put it back, but within the seam allowance this time. . . now it's just a matter of making up the sleeves and hand stitching along the seams for more structure to the garment.

It's really frustrating because I want to do a perfect job, and I'm doing a good job. The last version came out perfect and perhaps I am a little arrogant in thinking this one will turn out with the same perfection when I've changed materials. So I make progress, it's only going to be so good and all I can do is try my best.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Doublet - Part Two

When I last reported in, I only had a muslin mock up. Now I have nearly a fully completed doublet. The only sad part is that this isn't the one he's going to be wearing! It's practice, mostly.

First off, I traced the corrected muslin onto some heavy paper-stock so I could have a new pattern to work from.

Then I made a new muslin from the corrected ("new") pattern. . . spent the weekend knitting, and didn't fit it until Monday night.  It worked beautifully!

Cut out the fabric - $2.50 from Goodwill I might add!

Before I could sew the lining (the corrected muslin) in entirely, the pattern needed me to make up the tabs that go along the waistline.  So I blithely stitched along not realising I had sewn them backwards.  Luckily I only had seven to rip out and re-sew as opposed to another doublet pattern which calls for several hundred little tabs.  Re-stitched, turned right side out, and ironed within an inch of their scrawny little lives, the tabs were ready.

I pinned them on, to make sure that the unadjusted tabs would still encircle my adjusted waistline, and they did absolutely perfectly.  I sure lucked out this time!

With the tabs sewn securely to the body, I was then able to stitch the lining along that lower edge and turn the whole deal right side out again, pulling it through an armhole.  I ironed it so all the seams laid the correct way and it was smooth and nice for the arms to be stitched in later.  I also stay stitched (a line of stitches to keep things in place) around the arm holes to keep the lining and fabric in the correct place.

Yummy perfectly lined up seams.  This is the first time everything has fallen perfectly into place in a sewing project and I couldn't be more chuffed about it all.  I am hoping the second one goes just as smoothly. * crosses fingers *

Yesterday I got the sleeves put together (after A LOT of fiddling to figure out which side goes where to make it all pretty once I flip it right side out! oy.) and the wings.  Those are the crescent shaped do-hickies you see in the above picture.  They sit on top of the sleeves and are tucked on top of the shoulder.  Kind of like epaulets, but Tudor style.  I would have finished pictures to show you, but I was happily "borrowed" by my brother and don't regret it.  The day was fun.

TO-day however, it's nose to the sewing machine and I'm going to have finished photos tonight!  And maybe still have time for fabric hunting.  There is an upholstery shop not far from my house and I want to scope out what their prices are like.  Three weeks till Faire, people! :)

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Hope Project

I haven't written about this idea before, so don't worry if it suddenly sounds new to you. :) It's been percolating in the back of my mind and on my heart a lot lately. Since I spend the bulk of my time alone all day, there is a lot of time to think, and sometimes that thinking isn't terribly productive. It's often revealing of what's on my heart though, and this is how Project Hope was born.

Last October I lost my first baby and it was traumatic, horrible, and scary. I have hoped for so very very long to finally have a child, and here I was, loosing that which I desired above all else. I did what any self-respecting student of Elizabeth Zimmerman would do and knitted. I made a little tiny hat for someone who would never wear it. I wrapped it in tissue paper, stuffed it into a box and tried to forget how much it hurt. Here I am, ten months and twenty days later, still knitting. I am drawn to baby projects, I admit it. I want to knit tiny baby things to soothe myself. At first I considered this idea idiotic, why knit baby things for a baby you don't have? What not knit baby things for other people's babies? I do sometimes, but it's always with the knowledge that I still don't have one. My baby hat is still empty, my heart still has a baby shaped hole in it, waiting for that beautiful day when I can finally hold my child in my arms.

Then I caved. I made booties. Tiny, perfect, little baby booties for feet that aren't here yet. These languished for a while on my crafting table waiting for a time when I'd finally put buttons on them. Yesterday I did just that. I tucked away all the little yarny ends, I sewed buttons on them, I took the obligatory knitting-blog photos and something in my heart changed. Project Hope was born. I don't want to be bitter (It'll never happen), or scared (What if I loose another one?), I want to knit on with confidence and hope, through all crises, until I reach the day where I can pull out the bonnet and put it over a little head, until the day when I can tuck tiny baby toes into handmade booties. I want to hope for that day, and in so wanting, I allowed myself to knit. I permit myself to knit things for my babies to come because it's theraputic for my soul. Other things for other babies will be made, but there will also be extra special things just for my babies, to be tucked away in the box labeled Hope.

Monday, July 12, 2010

The Doublet - Part One

Almost a year ago, my honey asked if I would help him make a doublet for Ren Faire. I, of course, said yes thinking it would be good to practice sewing something considerably more difficult than little bags and things. December 2009 I cut out most of the pattern pieces in two different sizes in hopes of fitting my honey. Fast forward to this spring when I dug out the languishing pieces to study more closely. The pattern is by Period Patterns, and while it's super historically accurate, it's also super difficult to understand. There are 14 different options in one packet, historical notes, and no concise directions. My pattern directions go something like this; 1. Follow 1,2, &4 from View I. 2. Follow 14 & 17 from view V. etc. I tried writing them all down in order, marking them as I need, but have given up and just popped from one direction to another.

This is certainly the most time consuming project I've undertaken. Today alone I spent two hours cutting out and piecing together the muslin mock-up. Then another two hours with my honey pinning and cutting away material until it a) fit him and b) could provide the amount of movement he's going to need in his Faire endeavors, mainly lots of upper body movement so he can sword fight and march about with pikes. While this is all just a tad frustrating, it's also very educational and fun. I'm going to end up with not only a lot of knowledge, but a good piece for my portfolio.