Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Lace mini hats

I have been working on the embroidery and on new Regency stays and I am finding they are both taking so long.  I really wanted a quick project as a pick me up that I could finish in 1-2 days.  I decided to make a mini top hat using the free standing lace machine embroidery patterns from Urban Threads . My embroidery machine is so very old that it requires constant babysitting while stitching but this was perfect as I could work on my hand embroidery while my machine stitched away.  For those who have never done this sort of thing before, there are great tutorials on Urban Threads, but I have included some pictures here anyway.  The only major change I do from the basic tutorials is that I find I need to double layer the water soluble interfacing or it completely falls apart with my machine. I have made 2 of these little hats.  The teal colored one is a mini tricorn and the brown is a mini top pat.  You can see here the stitched pieces with the top of the hat still stuck in the water soluble stabilizer. 
After the embroidery is done,  I cut away as much of the stabilizer as possible and then dissolved the remaining stabilizer in really hot water.  This takes forever, and the stabilizer feels like sticky glue on your pieces if you don't get all of it out.  After the stabilizer was gone and the pieces were dry, I just stitch the pieces together.  The Urban Threads tutorial suggests using your machine, I am worried I will just break a ton of needles so I always hand stitch the pieces together.  Below is the finished base for the blue tricorn hat without any decoration.

Here is the brown top hat with decoration added.



I actually made this top hat for my Tentacle Kitty plush to wear at Conventions with me, although I may wear it myself at times.  So here is Tentacle Kitty with her new hat.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Embroidery finally done!

I have finally finished the embroidery for my husband's pouch.  I actually tracked my time on this project and it took 29 hours to complete the embroidery.  Now to make a pouch and cording to put the embroidery on!  I still can't stand stem stitch but after this much practice, I find split stitch rather enjoyable.  Of course this project used silk floss so that may be part of why I found it so enjoyable. 

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Cording regency stays and finished stays

I finished the cording on the regency stays. I thought I would share some pictures of the method I used to cord the stays.  The cotton cording I used is pretty thick and I needed to widen the needle hole before I could pull the cotton cording into the channel.  I used my corset maker's awl to widen the hole and looped the cotton cording through doubled up regular thread and a blunt needle.  Here is the basic set up:

Monday, November 3, 2014

Viking under dress

The local SCA group is running a unique activity through their newcomer's group. The Midwinter celebration and the upcoming Coronation are both Viking themed, so the newcomer's group is hosting weekly meetings to learn various skills to help everyone (both new and long term members) make full outfits.  So far we have had: basic sewing, Viking men's garb, Vikings women's garb, pattern drafting, construction days, Viking treasure necklaces and lampwork beads.  We are going to have more construction days and nalbinding at least.  I volunteered to teach basic embroidery and Viking wire weaving, so maybe these classes as well.  I am usually a late period girl, but it is so much fun to meet up each week and work on something that I am jumping on the band wagon! Since the Baronial colors are black and gold with a little bit of white I used these colors to make my new dress.  Also, I had this linen and the threads in my stash.

When I construct early time period SCA stuff, I usually iron the seam allowance out and then use a simple running stitch in a contrasting color to stitch down the seam allowance. Some of the others people in the group have suggested chain stitch, so I am trying chain stitch.  I really like the way this is looking, but it is so much slower than running stitch and requires so much thread! Here is the first piece with the seam treatment.

I have also worked on the neck opening.  I hand stitched the hem on the neckline and did a quick stitched tack bar down at the bottom of the keyhole (see the little black bar about half a centimeter from the keyhole).  I find that this tack bar prevents tearing down the front of the shirt, tunic or dress. I then did some herringbone stitch around the neckline.  The stitch closest to the neck opening is simple herringbone.  Then I wanted to do some decorative interlace to add some more interest.  I have had a few people ask me how I do this stitch so I am going to try and explain it here.  First I do two sets of running stitch, keep the stitches parallel and the same number in both the outer and inner rows. 

Once the running stitch is completed, I start a second color.  I knot this color on the back of the embroidery and then bring it to the front of the embroidery under one of the running stitches.  The yellow thread is laced through the running stitch entirely on the surface of the dress.  You could use just about any pattern you want, but I like this simple one.

Once completed it looks like this.  Look carefully down at the bottom of the keyhole, notice the mistake?  I did not have the same number of stitches in my outer and inner rows.....I had to get a bit creative, but I think it still looks ok. 

One question I have gotten is if you can wash this kind of embroidery and the answer at least for me is yes.  This red tunic has been washed in the washing machine (but never put in the dryer) probably 20 times in the past 8 years since it was made.  Other than the red silk fading and dying some of the embroidery, the stitching still looks good.  I also like the color contrast of the green with the yellow for the surface interlacing stitch, there is much more contrast so both colors still show up.   The white I was using with the yellow gets a bit lost against the yellow on the black dress.