Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Kentwell Come and Gone

I promised folks I'd post more about Kentwell as I was leading up to it. Apologies; I simply couldn't deal with work and sewing *and* trying to blog at the same time.  So let me run down a few notes and thoughts.

Everyone liked my kit when I got there, so I know I kept up appearances for the American side at least. I definitely got a bunch of pleasant comments about the bodiced petticoat, so that's something as well.  The most common question I got was not "did you make that?" but "who did you get your kit from?" which was flattering in a way.  When they found out I made it, the next question was inevitably "how did you manage to get costume approval?"  The answer is Facebook and email, and a fortuitous time difference.  Every night before falling into bed after an exhausting day of working and sewing, I'd take pictures of where I was and send or share them to one of the Costume Elves. Any questions I had would be answered by the time I got back to the sewing machine the next evening.  (Though the Armadillo Neck issue was an exception that caused me to panic and draw on Laurie's generous draping help. More on that later.)

I want to do a proper photo shoot before really posting too much about the kit itself.  Though I need to actually finish the fitted English gown so I can. But there WILL be photos!

Yes, you may have guessed that this means that not everything got done. True.  I brought a ton of handsewing on the plane, and finished some costume parts just in time to need them for laundry rotation purposes.  I wore the same smock for four days without an issue, but I was bid to low board (fancy dinner table!) on Thursday, so I needed a clean apron.  I ended up putting the cuffs and buttons on the smock just in time to change out to it, and then changing my apron for a fresh (creased from folding!) one.

I did make two pairs of woolen sleeves to go with the kirtle, though I only ever used the maroon ones.  I also pinned them on, which was nice because it made them much easier to deal with on the one warm day.

Here's the rundown of unfinished things:
-fitted English gown (needs sleeve hemming, front skirt lining sewed down, hemming, hooks and eyes)
-third green apron
-white apron
-black apron
-second partlet (needs ties)
-leather drawstring pouch

Additionally, I ended up buying a lot of crockery there. I got some wonderful glazed redware from Annot's Pots, which meant that I was able to leave the trencher at home.  Did I mention that I pushed the baggage weight limits both coming and going?  No?  Well, I did. I also bought a pair of Pilgim shoes in the slip on Tudor style, which were fantastic and kept my feet warm and dry despite the rain.  And because Kentwell is a working farm, the Agricultural Inspection Service insisted on cleaning and sterilizing them for me on my return to California.  I totally would have let them to my laundry too, if they'd asked.

I made a rosary, and made chaped laces, and bought a knife and pricker from a medieval group. I made a belt from a piece of thin leather strapping and a medieval belt buckle that I bought online. I bought garters (which I didn't need) and dressing pins (which I used a lot) from Historic Enterprises.  I only wished I'd had more socks! I ended up making a long sack out of some of my spare linen canvas, which I carried around as a haversack.  Handy thing that.

It's now nearly 11pm, and I'm still jetlagged as hell, so I'll have to write more later.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

T-Minus 2 Days

I will say this for this crazy thing I am doing: my handsewing has gotten much, much better, and much faster.

The secret?  Shorter, finer needles, and shorter lengths of thread. And a thimble when I have many layers to push through. (That's right folks, thimble is for pushing, not for preventing you from stabbing your fingers, as my spotted and pricked digits will attest.)

Here's the laundry list of ToDo:
Handsewing on first smock: fix neckline, add cuff buttons, shorten sleeve slit, add laundry mark.
Handsewing on second smock: fell the inner seams, cuff buttons, cut and hem neckline, add laundry mark.
Kirtle: finish the laces and put on their chapes, hem it. (Possibly lacing holes for sleeves? Not sure and that can be done when I get there.)
Gown: Cut and attach puffy cap sleeves, cut skirting, sew skirting, attach skirting to bodice. Trim and guards? (Maybe later)
Aprons: hem second green apron, cut and sew both black and white aprons. Cut additional black aprons, give away green apron kits?

Crafts and props:
Coifs: Done
Belt: Done, except it probably should be trimmed down a bit. It's reeeeallly long.
Rosary: Done.
Pouch: dyed and cut, waiting to get assembled and strung.
Commonplace book: text printed, waiting for me to get a chance to actually make a binding for it.

I'm trying to figure out how much of my in flight time should be spent sewing, and how much *should* be sleeping. Somewhere in there I also need to pack...