Look Out, Pennsic — Here We Come!

2 August 2011

We spent most of the evening packing the van (wow, did we fit a lot of stuff in there). Now all that remains is to take showers, pack up the last few items, and get in the car. Oh, wait, I forgot … we need to call AAA because we wore down the battery last night leaving all the doors open. Heh. Smooth, I know. So after the jump, THEN we’ll be on our way! Don’t expect a lot of updates while we’re at Pennsic — I don’t expect to have a lot of time for blogging. I will do what I can, though!

Look out Pennsic -- here we come!

Pennsic or Bust: Status of Projects and Packing

1 August 2011

The last few days have been CRAZY. Very busy and exhausting. Here’s a quick recap:

1. Shield — It worked! We strapped three layers of hardwood plywood around the tree in the front yard. We left it strapped on the tree for over two days. Took it down and Gregor shaped and sanded it, put an old garden hose around the edge, and canvas over and around the shield, securing it with parachute cord. It looks good. He just needs to attach the basket and strap. He’ll paint it at Pennsic.

2. Stick — Gregor has a new weapon cut from the rattan stave I got a while back. It’s just missing its thrusting tip — maybe he can pick one up at Pennsic.

3. Shade Fly — It’s kind of working. We put it up, and it stayed and looked good. But then we tried to test it out with a little rain (water from the sprinkler) and the canvas leaked badly (of course). So we got some waterproofing spray and we’re also shortening the legs a bit to make a steeper slope on the roof. Also, the grommets in the canvas are already ripping after just being up for 12 hours, so those need to be reinforced. I’m not sure how well this is going to work — if it rains or the wind is bad, it may have to be taken down. I don’t actually want the shade fly to be water proof — I just don’t want it to fall down because it is collecting water! 🙁

4. Sewing — Gregor’s Elizabethan shirt is mostly done and my dresses are done. The only things left to do are eyelets — lots of eyelets (doublet, shirt, two dresses, and two sets of sleeves). But I can do those at Pennsic, right? -crazy laugh-

5. Camp Furniture — Got the $50 wood bed from IKEA. Love the small packaging. The chairs, benches, and tables are ready to go.

So at this point, what’s left is packing. We’re going to work on it this evening, and finish up whatever is necessary in the morning.

Oh, one other little tidbit — Gregor’s cell phone “shuffled off this mortal coil.” Yeah, it died. (Charles, if you’re reading this, please post a reply to this post with your phone number so Gregor can call you — your post won’t be made public.)

Pennsic Prep Goes Into High Gear

29 July 2011

Gregor's Landsknecht Hat

Gregor arrived safely today (hooray!) to finish up last-minute projects and prepare for Pennsic! He tried on his new Landsknecht schlappe hat … I must say, I thought it was an unusual hat and I wasn’t sure how well it was going to work, but he REALLY wears it well! It goes well with his personality — big and a little off kilter! Love it! (Oh, and it seems to fit perfectly — I cut the linen lining on the bias so it would have some extra give, and it seemed to have worked! I love it when stuff works out as planned.)

Gregor was impressed with all the garb I’d made. He tried on the doublet and it fits him well! He offered he’ll try on his garb later so we can take photos!

We also did a test setup of the awesome pavilion that my friend Tracy (Duchess AnneMarie) is lending us for Pennsic. We managed to get it up without too much trouble and it looks awesome — it’s amazingly roomy inside. It’s 8’x’8′ at the eaves and 15’x15′ at the base. We also did some tests on the shade fly I put together. We need to finish that up, but it should work out nicely.

Doing a test setup of the pavilion

After the pavilion setup, we went to Lowe’s to get some 1/4″ hardwood plywood, wood glue, and ratcheting straps so we can make Gregor a shield. We’re going to try bending it around the tree in the front yard. We’ll see how that goes!

Gregor also showed me his full Gothic plate armor. Wow. It looks amazing … and very heavy and hot! He’s going to need a LOT of water to bear all that on the field.

So tomorrow will be shield bending, shade fly work, whatever sewing I can squeeze in, and (if my son has his way) some boffer sword repairs!


The Gregor, The Stitch, and The Wardrobe

28 July 2011

I’m so happy … today Gregor departs on his long journey from the far reaches of Artemisia, arriving here in the Middle Kingdom tomorrow. Then begins a long weekend of more Pennsic preparation — shield bending, weapon taping, shade fly assembly, bed shopping, packing, etc. etc. So much to do, so little time … but what fun!

My Garb-A-Day project has been coming along well. I’ve been able to stick to stitching nearly every day — I took a two-day break last weekend to work on benches, but otherwise it’s been at least something new everyday for nearly three weeks now! My sewing skills have improved, too! I have modified my original plans as I went along — I decided not to make three Flemish overdresses because five layers of linen is really just too much for summer, I think. But I made all the kirtles and smocks. I’m working on tie-on arms today for two of my kirtles, plus a partlet.

Speaking of all the garb, Gregor challenged me a while back to fill a wardrobe with garb. Well, I think I’ve met that challenge … take a look at all the things I’ve sewed for Pennsic:

Our stuffed Pennsic wardrobe!

And that’s not even everything — some items aren’t in there because they are in my “to finish” pile (Gregor’s Elizabethan shirt, my tie-on arms, partlet) and one of Gregor’s tunics is coming back with him. I am pleased!

Gregor’s Red Wool Schlappe “Starfish” Hat — With Feathers Like the Landsknecht!

26 July 2011

Red Landschknecht Hat

Since last night’s experiments making a Landsknecht hat went went, I started working on it again as soon as I got up! I used some lightweight red wool, with red linen for the lining. I made the hat bigger in all ways — bigger brim, bigger slashings (the loops that stick out, bigger cap on top. I thought last night’s seem a bit too modest for a Landsknecht. I machine stitched the loops to the brim, then handstitched everything else. It didn’t take too long, especially once I finally tried using the beeswax I’d received in “AnneMarie’s Favor” Award from Duchess AnneMarie’s Half Century Holiday — what a difference the beeswax made in avoiding snags and tangles in my thread!

"Landsknecht with Helmbart" by Erhard Schon (1491-1542)

Landsknecht were German mercenaries in the 15th and 16th centuries, with a reputation for being very good fighters. Gregor has a particular interest in them, and one day would like to don the entire garb of a Landsknecht! To the right you can see an illustration of a Landsknecht with a similar hat — this illustration is a woodcut by Erhard Schön (1491-1542) from Nuremberg, Germany.

I am very pleased with the results! I cannot wait to see it on Gregor — and he arrives from the faraway lands of Draca Mor in just three days! I can’t wait to see him.

Landsknecht "Starfish" Hat

Top of Landsknecht Hat

Lining of Landsknecht Hat

If anyone is interested in how I made this hat, leave me a message here. I’d put the pattern up now, but I need to get back to sewing … Pennsic is so close and I have so much to do! Just know that you will probably need to wait until after Pennsic for a detailed response.

German Schlappe “Starfish” Hat

25 July 2011

Gregor needs a hat and wants a German Landsknecht “starfish” hat. I have no pattern, but here’s what I came up…

Test Schlappe Hat

The top of the hat

Back to sewing… so much to do before Pennsic!

Simple Blue Tunic (And How to Sew Gores!)

21 July 2011

Today’s Garb-a-Day project was a simple blue tunic. I had just two yards of  linen to use, but Gregor’s tunics really required more like 2 1/4 yards (to get his desired length of 41″). So I just added a band of green linen to the hem to make it longer, then added the same green as trim around the wrists and neck. I cut the green linen for the neckline on the bias, so it would be a bit more flexible. That works, I think!

The tunic design I use is based on an extent garment from the Bochsten Bog, and as such, it uses several gores (triangular pieces of fabric that made the tunic flare out a bit at the bottom). When gores are placed on a seam line, they are simple. But when you have to actually cut the fabric and insert the gore, as you do with this tunic, it gets much tricker! The first time I did gores, I had no idea how to sew them.

Google is my friend, and I found this tutorial:

This explained the basics, and it worked … but I noticed a slight pucker in the fabric at the top of the gore when I stitched the gore with my sewing machine. The pucker appeared on the next tunic as well, and at that point it bothered me enough to do more research. After reading a great deal about how to make perfect gores, I decided to try hand-sewing just the gore point, then machine sewing the long seams. It worked! This tunic now has perfectly-pointed, pucker-free gores — hooray!


Reversible Green/Black + Red/White Doublet for Gregor

20 July 2011

After a busy couple of days filled with “real life” activities, I’ve finally managed to (mostly) complete the reversible doublet (or jerkin, as it has no arms right now) for Gregor. Again, I used the same Simplicity 4059 pattern as I did for my son’s doublet and I’m very pleased at how it turned out. It’s not yet complete — I need to add the trim around the peplum, slip-stitch the red linen bottom down, and hand-sew the eyelets. As that is all handwork, I’m saving it for the late evenings when I’m just hanging out with Gregor or playing D&D. The red you can see on the edges of the peplum on the green side should get mostly covered by the black trim.


A Golden Doublet for My Little Pirate

17 July 2011

A golden doublet!

The doublet for my son turned out VERY well, and I’m extremely pleased with it. The Simplicity pattern was just as good as the one I used for my Tudor gown — easy to understand directions, simple construction techniques, and a great looking (and well-put-together) garment when completed. I was able to use the tablet-woven band Alexander worked on on the front, and supplemented it with red grosgrain ribbon. I was also able to make it reversible, so Alexander can wear the red linen side out if he prefers. And, I while it is loose on him (he’ll be able to wear this for several years), I think it still looks pretty good. I did end up shortening the bottom by about 3-4″, however, as it was just much too long on him.

I also put in a special “kid-friendly” feature — a hidden pocket behind the front right peplum! In addition to loving pirates and gold, Alexander loves pockets. I’m going to hide a gold doubloon in there and see how long it takes him to find it.

A "hidden" pocket behind one of the peplums

I still need to finish the eyelets — I’m working on those now. I’ll take a photo of Alexander wearing his entire “pirate” outfit as soon as I get a chance. I’ll also try to take some better photos when it’s not so dark. Tomorrow will be a busy day with non-SCA stuff, so I may not get to my Garb-A-Day goal, but I guess that just means I’ll have to double up on another day.

Here’s the progress on the eyelets — they take a long time!

Double Doublets: Simplicity 4059 Pattern

16 July 2011

Alexander wants a gold vest for his pirate outfit, and Gregor needs something dressier than a tunic, so I’m making both of them doublets. This project predates my Garb-A-Day craziness, but I’ve decided to try to squeeze it in anyway. Yes, I am crazy, in case you’re wondering. Anyway, as I’ve never made a doublet before, and am even less familiar with male clothing than female, I’m using a commercial pattern — specifically Simplicity 4059. The pattern designer  (Andrea Schewe) is the same one who did the Tudor gown I made and absolutely love, and which has been determined to be reasonably historically accurate by “those who know.” And I really like how this doublet looks — it appears to be based on Tudor doublets, and the armless style is good for hot weather. I know I really should research it more, but I’ll save that for future projects — for now, I just need to get them clothed! Here’s a photo of the doublet from the pattern:

Doublet B from Simplicity 4059

Alexander’s doublet will be made of a gold 100% cotton canvas twill with red linen as a lining, and Gregor’s is a green striped cotton canvas (same fabric as my Tudor gown) with green broadcloth as the lining. I’ve already cut out all the pattern pieces for both. So tomorrow I’ll begin sewing Alexander’s doublet — with any luck, I can finish it within the day. I should also note that I’m actually making both doublets from the same set of patterns — size XS for Alexander and XL for Gregor. Alexander’s will likely be a little loose and a little long, but hey, he can grow into it, right? If it’s too big, maybe I’ll just make him a belt, or add a tie to the side that we can use to tighten the back.

Oh, and I plan to hand-sew the eyelets (rather than use grommets) to give the doublet a more historically-accurate look. For the trim on Alexander’s doublet, I want to use the Golden Path of Fire tablet-woven band that Alexander came up with and has been working on. Not sure what trim to use on Gregor’s doublet, however — maybe a silver cord?





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