Friday, June 25, 2010

Changing directions...

The family's foray into SCA activities has given a recharge to my costume activities. However, since we pretty much jumped in head-first, we seem to need garb in a larger quantity that what I could produce on my own. For our first event, we worked with a combination of loaner garb and a few pieces that I had managed to finish. Since then, I've managed to acquire some second-hand garb, several pieces actually, that are pretty close to my own size. With some alterations (nothing major!) and a couple more pieces of my own making, I should actually be able to handle a fairly long event. I'll still be working on pieces for me that I know I want, as well as pieces for the guys, but getting this garb seems like a pretty good thing.

However, I'm not entirely sure what I need to make to fill in the gaps in this collection. There are a couple of pieces that I suspect I could probably do without and others that I can't wear until I figure out what they need to make complete outfits. Period accuracy is not real strong in these pieces, but I want to alter them, and supplement them, to be at least reasonable at most events. Here's what I've got and what I'm thinking about each piece.

Note: the dressform is my personal form, but she and I are not the same size at the moment. While the garb is pretty much my size, just a little loose and a lot long, on the form it does look TOO big. Trust me that it all fits me fairly well for having not been made for me.

This is a cream on red plaid, front lacing. The shoulders also lace but I've temporarily sewn them shut as I need to do some alteration to get a better fit out of this one. I also hemmed it up, but need to let it back down and re-hem it longer and neater. I wore it over a Ren Faire chemise, crinkled white cotton, that I already own, along with a petticoat that I threw together in a hurry. The petticoat is a home-dec fabric in a shade of red that goes quite well with the plaid. It's not a bad start on a possibly decent outfit, but needs a little work and I think that I've got it under control.

This bodice is a faux suede-like fabric, lined, laced up the front. Again, it fits fairly well, but could use some minor tweaking. My big problem will be figuring out what to wear it with. For this bodice, as with some of the others, I would think that I'd want both a chemise and a gown of some sorts. I don't really want to do the Ren Faire look, much less the Ren Faire wench look, so it seems like a chemise without a gown would just not be sufficient.

Now here's a piece that will have to become the basis for an outfit that I might never have gotten around to otherwise. Fitting issue: Straps are set too wide, and when laced the upper back is too loose and wants to overlap. To bring the straps in, and allow room for lacing, I took 2 darts from the neckline down in front and again in back. It's not a perfect solution, but I suspect that most people will not notice the extra stitched lines and it will fit pretty nice! So, I just have to figure out how to build around it! Figuring out the approximate period date for this one will be the start to the project.

This bodice is a ruby red velvet, though the camera did not like my lighting and really messed up the color. It's a good fit, little alteration needed; it just needs to be part of an outfit. The previous owner wore it over a dark blue, cotton gauze gown with long, medieval-looking sleeves. I think it might need more than that, but once more, I have to figure out what that would be.

This gown is a faux suede in dark blue, with black fur trim. I think that I want to take the fur trim off, fit and rebuild it and then put the fur back on. With a chemise and some accessories, this is pretty much good to go then, though the synthetic faux suede is far from period and only wearable in pretty chilly weather - like Estrella War!

This is a lovely shade of red, in spite of what the camera shows, in a thick wool, possibly felted from washing. The front trim on the skirt is a bit ripply, and I think that if I remove the trim, steam the front good and re-apply the trim, it will hang well. It fits well in front, but gaps at the CB neckline, so a minor alteration there. The shoulder straps fit well otherwise. Besides a chemise, I think it needs something else, so a bit more research ahead.

This is the one piece that I'm not so sure about. It's basically a chemise, and may have been worn under the red wool (just above). It's a poly-cotton blend, kind of stiff (probably a bit heavy on the poly), in a faded black or charcoal gray. Aside from needing to replace the cord with a smaller, more flexible drawstring, I'm just not sure that I see me wearing this one. Have to think about it a while.

There are two more pieces which I did not photograph. One is a dark blue gown in what feels like a cotton flannel. It has an embroidered trim around the neck. It will need fitting, but hopefully nothing major. There is also an off-white, slightly loosely-woven cotton tunic - knee length or so, with loose sleeves at 3/4 length or so. Not sure what I'll do with it.

There are other pieces on the Garb rack, but these are the ones that I need to work on. As for something that needs no work, here's one of which I am now the happy new owner:

Just have to hem it and it's wearable!

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