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Category: Dress Diary

In Progress: Cecilie’s Bliaut

In Progress: Cecilie’s Bliaut

Not exactly SCA related, but sort of tangentially appropriate. My friend Cecilie works at Sherwood Forest Faire here in Austin, and she commissioned me to make her a 12th century bliaut with pendant sleeves, like this one that Racaire made. She bought a lovely blue linen in herringbone twill, and instead of taking time away from her body schedule to embroider the collar and armbands, opted to go with a beautiful blue and gold synthetic brocade.
It's that time of year again.

Although polyester brocade is famously difficult to work with, it was in fact easier than this ridiculously slithery linen. SO MUCH BIAS STRETCH. I was lucky to have vertical lines where the herringbone meets to be able to cut accurately one way. (Bran thinks the whole thing is much better served as a cat bed anyway).
Cecilie's Bliaut The look of this fabric is so gorgeous though. It’s worth it. Almost. I finally learnt the trick of cutting it, which was to make all the vertical cuts and swish the linen kind of up in the air, letting the cut edge settle on its own parallel to the straight edge of my table, and then cut the horizontal lines after that. I am SO GLAD for rectangular construction in bliauts. Cecilie's Bliaut

The neckline is a slit faced in brocade and then topstitched (well-behaved it might be, but this brocade still doesn’t want to iron flat) down. I’d thought about couching some faux gold thread over the top stitching, but it disappears against that lux fabric.

Cecilie's Bliaut Current progress: Sleeves and gussets attached, neckline faced, side gores added. I still have to add the armbands at the elbow seam, but I want to make sure I don’t have to shorten the sleeves first. Then the center front and back gores will be inserted and the sides of the torso will be taken in while the dress is on Cecilie, to ensure the best fit. I’m excited to see it on her!

Cecilie's Bliaut

Blue Cotehardie

Blue Cotehardie

Guess who can make a cotehardie in ten days or less. That’s right: me!

February 12: Making a toile of the bodice. Haven’t done this in a while, after all.

Haven't don't this in a while. Mocking up a cotehardie.

February 13: Cutting out the fabric. Yes, that would be me marking on the right side of the fabric. Some days you just make stupid mistakes.

Bebe's asleep; it's obviously time to cut out a cotehardie.

February 18: Machine sewing is finished. Trying it on for fit. It’s a little looser than my other dresses because I wanted to be able to layer it over a long-sleeved cote.

Preliminary sewing on the new cote is finished.

February 20: So close to being done with the buttonholes. They’re sewn with black thread because all of the navy embroidery thread I had was too saturated.

Almost done with the buttonholes.

February 20: Buttonholes finished. Checking the overlap for button placement.

Measuring overlap for button placement.

February 21: All done except for the skirt hem. Which I will sew at 11:30 the night before the event, thus making a mortal enemy of my poor, long-suffering downstairs neighbor.

Finished except for the hem.

February 23: At the Tourney! I love this dress; it’s so comfy.

At the event, in my new dress.

And a better shot of the dress on my. Photo credit: Ledona McGowan

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Sable Thistle

Sable Thistle

Yesterday was the Tourney of the Smitten Heart, down in San Antonio. The Baron and Baroness played the part of Lord Lust and Lady Love, and they held contests to see which was mightier. I went sans Bebe and husband, and with no real responsibilities, other than to make sure a couple of A&S entries got set up. It was a lot of fun, even if I was twitching for the first hour or so, thinking I was not doing something that I should have been doing.

Then came court. They announced the winners of the contests, and determined which was mightier (it was a tie), and then started handing out the non-tourney-specific awards. And they called my name. Turns out, Their Majesties decided to give me a Sable Thistle in Knitting. As my Baroness put it, if I were to put it on a CV or resume, it would be a regional recognition. Which is pretty fantastic. I admit to being floored; I had no idea it was coming.

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(Photo credits: Elisava Iliescue)

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(Photo credits: Amata d’Arezzo)