Elizabethan


 

     A. and I have been quite remiss in posting here. For that we apologize. It’s not that we haven’t been working on projects. We have had quite a few, but remembering to sit down and type or take pictures of the project in progress…. well I at least have a hard time taking the pictures. That being said…. Let’s continue.

 

The Bright Blue Shirt

     In the last 5 years ,we Peasants have acquired new guild members, some of them have never been to a Renaissance Faire. In the past we just made costumes for them. They do not always stay. We are not horribly expensive, and we try to work with in a budget, but were not cheep either. This year, we decided to loan costume pieces so they could do a faire in costume, and decide if faire was for them.

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The original color of the shirt.

     A and I have been a part of our Renaissance Guild for a long time. Our costumes have evolved over time, and as we have aged We keep the costume pieces and our shape and sizes have also. We’ve also had other members donate costumes. On a few occasions we’ve also had random faire folk contribute to our collection. Shirts, jerkins, trews, smocks, skirts, and bodices. Some of these pieces aren’t quite accurate in color, or style.

     J. is one of these new members. He had never been to a faire before, but another member had brought him in as an applicant. He was quite excited about joining, but needed a costume ASAP. (Our home faire was coming up quick.) A and I needed to put a costume together quickly. We have a very small collection of pieces for men. We found a a pair of trews, or pants. We found a jerkin or vest. The only shirt that we had that would fit him was a very bright, electric blue. This blue was so bright we didn’t think it could be achieved with natural dyes that would have been affordable for an English Peasant.

We had to change it…

     A. took the first leg of this journey, but kept me updated by text throughout the process. Some

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Results of not having enough RIT Color Remover or too much water.

of these including pictures.

     Using RIT Color Remover, she tried to remove some of the color. This worked, but not as one might expect. After 15 minutes in the bath it be came a “dark ? mud? color”. 45 minutes later, it was a medium chocolate “hot Cocoa” color. She then washed it in a regular wash cycle.

     We discussed options. Run it through another cycle with the dye remover, leave it out in the sun to see what would happen, or bleaching it, as a last result. A. then decided the color was not going to get any lighter, and was going to leave it be. After washing it in a regular wash cycle, she found the color removal was inconsistent. Some of the cotton fabric was a brownish color, and other areas were still a bright blue. The polyester thread was still the same vibrant blue was originally.

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10 minutes into dye removal attempt #2

     A., re-read the directions and realized she should have used 2 packets instead of the one. She decided to run it through another cycle of RIT Color Removal, this time using less water, and agitating herself instead of letting the washing machine do it. 15 minutes into the dye removal bath, she sent me a picture . It was a beautiful rust color. She left it in the bath for the recommended 30 minutes, then washed it.

     A., later sent me this photo, stating that it wasn’t as bright in

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The shirt was still wet, and not as dark in person.

person, but the color was consistent. As you might see in the picture, the thread used to stitch it together was still bright blue.

     Once again we discussed options. The polyester thread was still that unnaturally, bright blue. We didn’t like it. Even if it is just the top stitching, that blue had to go.

     I went to A’s house the following weekend, to pick up the the shirt and work on other projects. We discussed the options for dying the thread. I had already had two packets of iDye Poly, one in green and one in gunmetal. We decided to go with the Gunmetal, but I couldn’t find it, when I got home.

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This was not what I expected.

I went with the green.

     Polyester, being a synthetic, petroleum based fiber, requires the stove top method, as the heat needed for the dye to penetrate, cannot be reached or maintained in the washing machine.

     I armed myself with a Tamale pot filled with hot water, a wood spoon and a packet of iDye Poly green dye and prepared for a hot hour in the kitchen.

     This was supposed to be a 2 hour project, from the time the water began to boil to the washing and drying of the garment. Chemistry, however, had other plans…

     The dying part went well enough. The fabric of the shirt

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First wash after Poly Dye.

got really

dark, but since the fabric was 100% cotton, I figured most of the dye would wash out. It was a dye for synthetic fibers, and the goal was to dye the top stitching threads.

     For an hour I stood in the kitchen, on a hot day, stirring the pot. When the time was up I dumped some of the liquid out of the pot and carried it out to the washing machine. I ran the shirt through a cold

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At least the top stitching is green.

rinse cycle, and once again chemistry threw me a curve ball… The shirt was now a navy blue so dark it was almost a purple/black. This was not acceptable for a peasant. The color of the time period we portray, would have been too costly to produce.

     I ran is through a hot water wash cycle, hoping some of the color would bleed out. The color

lightened, but was still to dark to be worn by a peasant. The goal for dying the top stitching worked perfectly, though. Its a beautiful green.

     I went back to the washing machine, hot water and Oxi Clean. Half an hour in, I got impatient, I added a capful of bleach, and waited 2 or 3 hours more. Finally, I had a shirt I could hand over to a peasant. This “2 hour project” lasted an entire day.

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Finally!! Its an acceptable color.

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IMG_20150316_174002637aSometimes it’s a little difficult to get excited about the upcoming faire season, but not when you’re sewing costumes months in advance! This month we completed basic peasant costumes for a very nice couple. They were pretty please with the outcome and looked great in their new garb.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The pieces we made were:

For him:

  • a collared shirt in natural muslin
  • a brown linen flat cap
  • brown linen trews
  • a dark green linen jerkin with plain epaulets

For her:

  • a banded collar shirt in natural muslin that has more feminine gathering into the neckline (but reduced bulk in the body) and a ruffled cuff (making it higher class than peasant)
  • a full circle, six gored skirt in chocolate brown linen
  • a custom pattern bodice in (reversible) dark green and rust linen with plain epaulets and tabbed skirting

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These are the basic pieces for the peasant wardrobe, though women usually wear two skirts or an ankle length shirt and one skirt. Adult women also always wore some type of head covering (only young/unmarried girls and loose women left their hair down for all to see). Other basic items include a belt, shoes/boots, a belt pouch, eating knife, and mug. That’s all you need to be an English Elizabethan peasant – and likely all you had clothing-wise.

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The countdown to SLO Faire is at 8 days and it’s our 30th year!

I still need to finish my new bodice (if I don’t want to be stuck in the one with the tight arm holes – and I really don’t), finish stitching the dags on the short sides of our new pavilion, make a tall hat for a Puritan, make a new pair of bloomers, stitch some eyelets. Oh, and locate the hanging’s for the Lord Mayor’s pavilion as well as pack. No pressure.

Faire is July 19 & 20, 2014 1585  at Laguna Lake Park in SLO. Come one, come all for meat pies, pasties (that’s pAsties you eat, not pasties you wear), jousting, stage shows, vendors, Queen Elizabeth and her court, as well as dirty peasants, constables, rogues, falconry and a good time.

For more info and to purchase tickets, visit the Central Coast Renaissance Faire.

I just found a pic of our illustrious Lord Mayor on Ravin’ Mayven‘s Pinterest board for ren costumes. She’s got links to some nice costumes, though not all are Ren or historical. There are a few custom order listings for Ren/Tudor/Snow White costumes, among others. She also links to some other Ren / SCA costume boards that seem to be worth taking a peek at.

Thanks to Ravin’ Mayven (and Rachel for originally pulling the pic of our Lord Mayor onto the realm of Pinterest).

Alter Years Pattern Multiple sizes Sm - XXlg

Alter Years Pattern
Multiple sizes Sm – XXlg

 

This summer, our guild recruited two fine young men to join us in our Renaissance Shenanigans.  As a result they both need a full costume. These costumes will consist of a shirt, jerkin, and trousers.

For the Jerkin I have a copy of the “Easy Peasants / Servants Jerkin”, by Alter Years Patterns. This is a basic pattern, and as the title implies, it is easy.

The pieces fit together well. There is no need to trim edges off, because the seam edges were off, or any other funny business. I find these flaws in many more commercial patterns. Once the pieces are all cut out and sewn together, it looks beautifully tailored and finished. P1020325

There is one thing to keep in mind. Make a mock up. For the two that I have recently finished, I skipped this step. As a result, they do not close all the way in the front. If I had taken the time to make a mock up, for the Medium size, I would have know that the front needed to be adjusted.

 

As you can see to the right the jerkin looks very nice, but it does not close in the front. I am debating on whether to make eyelets down the front. I still may, if I have the time before our next faire in July. (more…)

westminster-corset

“Westminster-corset”, the QE1 Effigy corset (not from the Sittingbourne cache)

I had absolutely no intention of writing a post this evening, but a post on the importance of independent labels and locally made goods (specifically in lingerie, but really in any goods we consume), led to some interesting lingerie sites, which led to a fitting guide, some Elizabethan corset history and eventually to a rather detailed image of an early 1600s corset from the Sittingbourne cache.

The Sittingbourne Cache is the collective name given to a large group of artifacts found within the fabric of an old public house in Sittingbourne, Kent, in the south-east of the UK, shortly before the building’s demolition. The cache, consisting of over 500 artefacts, is the largest reported to the DCGP [Deliberately concealed Garments Project].

via http://www.concealedgarments.org/2010/10/sittingbourne-cache/

More after the jump (more…)

corset rough

Elizabethan corset with tabs

I finally broke down and decided to make an Elizabethan corset. My character is moving up in status and my bodice is uncomfortable. Short straps lead to tight armholes!

For this particular garment I am trying out a couple things:

  1. “budget” coutil
  2. the #1 Greist buttonhole foot for a late 60s straight stitch machine (mine is a Kenmore 158-1652, circa 1968)
  3. 1/4″ steel bones (as opposed to using a couple 1/2″ bones, which is common in Ren Faire bodices).
  4. making my own bias tape

Using the Maunta Maker Elizabethan “pair of bodies” pattern that I previously compared to the Laughing Moon late Victorian waist cincher pattern here and my updated measurements, I redrew the pattern to fit my proportions.

More after the jump.

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