Sunday, August 31, 2014

Unleash the Shiny Object!

I finished the mirror necklace.

I put a lobster claw clasp and an adjustable chain on the back.  I thought about adding another embroidered component in the back as a counterweight, but this fits pretty well.  At this point I just wanted to finish it so I could start wearing it.

Friday, August 29, 2014

More Wedding Photos

The professional photos from my sister's wedding are now available.  The photos were done by Holli Ann Studios LLC, and they turned out great.  Here are pictures of the stuff I made.

I had the job of putting the veil and the hair comb in place.

Here's the full length.

My sister needs to be in some sort of bridal magazine.

 Here we are posing together before the wedding.  I managed to not kill the photographer for having her stand on pine needles before the ceremony, but the temptation was strong.  All the bridesmaids got together and plucked the hem clean before taking our positions.

It was a lovely ceremony and I was on a plane again within 36 hours.  I was the paratrooping bridesmaid.

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Vienna: Embroidered mantel and tapestry

This is the Mantel of the Order of the Golden Fleece in the Schatzkammer in Vienna.

 The images are a combination of needle painting, primarily for the faces and hands of the figures, goldwork, and gold thread couched in colored silk.  The density of the couching threads determines the darkness of the color.

The formal name for this technique is Or Nue.

I believe this piece was worked in the 15th century.

This tapestry is embroidered using the same techniques.

These figures also feature embellishments with embroidered peals.  The shading on the clothing is made from silk couching threads over gold.  The face is needle painted.

The level of detail on these figures is amazing.  Viewing these tapestries gave me a new perspective on what can be done with the couching technique.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Fabric Shopping in Vienna

On the last day in Vienna, I went fabric shopping.  I had snooped around some crafting forums and found a recommendation for a little out of the way place with good prices.

I found the shop stacked floor to ceiling with bolts of fabric.

Here's the latest addition to The Stash.

Cotton dirndl fabric at a great price.

This would cost three or four times as much in other shops.

They also had some stretch laces I thought were interesting.

I bought a meter of each to go towards future bra making projects.  At some point I need to make something other than 19th century undergarments.

On the off chance someone stumbles across this post and wants to find the place, it's located here:

A-1020 WIEN,
Krummbaumgasse 12 

The shop is called Textil Müller.  They have a website.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Vienna: Habsburg Bling

I've spent the past four days in Vienna.  While most of my vacation pictures are going up on the trip blog, I'm posting some of the crafting-relevant photos here.  Some images will be blurry because they were taken in very low light conditions.  The Schatzkammer contains the treasures of the Austrian Hapsburgs and in most sections, the light is kept very low to help preserve the textiles.

Here are a set of christening gowns and blankets used in the baptisms of various royals.

This features gold sequin designs.  I need to read up on embroidery in the age of Maria Theresia, but I'd guess that this is tambour work of some kind.

This set also features goldwork, only this time in padded stitches with couched pearls.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Bead shopping in Salzburg

Yeah, I'm in Austria again.

Here are some photos of the window display of a bead shop in Salzburg.

I bought a copy of the German-language beading magazine "Perlen Poesie" and a couple beads for the souvenir collection.  The website for the store is available here:

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Secret Project: My Sister's Wedding Veil

Written March 22, 2014 - June 13, 2014

AAAARGGH!  I'm working on a great project and I can't blog about it until June!  This is driving me nuts!  I'm going to write about it anyway and set the publish date for the wedding date.

So, as a gift to my sister, I've offered to make her wedding veil.  My plan is to make it match the dress she picked out, which has a lot of apple blossom motifs on it.

Here's a detail of the dress bodice:

The skirt is made of tulle and also has some of the apple blossom motifs on it.  For the veil, I wanted to create a similar effect.  After studying the petals, I was able to make a pattern and create my own flowers.

For the first flower, I was tracing each petal onto the organza with a fabric pencil, which was terribly time-consuming since organza is very slippery.  This would not work.  I made two copies of each petal pattern (there's a large and a small piece) out of Ultrasuede.  By pinching pre-cut squares of organza between the pattern pieces and cutting around it, I could significantly reduce the amount of time it took to make a petal.  Mom started helping me make petals and with some experimenting, we were able to cut five petals at once by stacking organza squares between the pattern pieces.  With Mom and Emily cutting petals, and me sewing, we put together a little box full of flowers pretty efficiently.

To wear the veil, I planned to gather the tulle to a hair comb.  After experimenting with gathering the tulle straight across, we concluded that was too poofy.  I cut one end of the length of tulle in a semicircle then rounded the corners of the bottom edge, gathering a portion of the semicircle to the comb.

I decided the veil needed a little more sparkle so I added a beaded edging of size 11 silver-lined crystal seed beads around the edge.  Three at a time.  For a chapel length veil.  Finished it at 3am the morning of the wedding.

Here's the finished product.  Everyone loved it.  I'll have better photos available in about a month or so when my sister gets her professional photos back.  I didn't have much time to do close-ups in good light but I know the photographer took some pictures of just the veil and the hair ornament before we got Emily into her dress.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Eye Candy Links

Want to look at period artwork for costume inspiration?  Or actual extant outfits?

The Metropolitan Museum of Art is now allowing visitors to their website to download images for non-commercial use, including scholarly publication.

Metropolitan Museum Initiative Provides Free Access to 400,000 Digital Images

Also, I need to make myself a version of this at some point in the future:

For more costume porn, Tom and Lorenzo visited the Costumes of Downton Abbey exhibit at the Winterthur Museum in Wilmington, Delaware and posted three posts worth of pictures.  The first post is here.  Also, if you're watching Mad Men and not reading Tom and Lorenzo's MadStyle recaps, you're missing a good chunk of the show.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

My Beading Library

A friend asked me if I could recommend some beading resources for beginners and that inspired me to document my library, because I'm supposed to be cleaning my apartment and this blog is pretty much dedicated to my procrastination.

In the future I'll do a post on my sewing and historical fashion library, but that collection is still under construction.

The Art of Beadwork by Valerie Hector (2005)

Techniques: right-angle-weave, brick stitch, knotted netting, herringbone stitch, peyote stitch, beaded beads, cubical right-angle-weave, scallop stitch, African polygon stitch, loom weaving

Description: Part project book, part history book, The Art of Beadwork is one of my favorites.  Valerie Hector looks at the ways different cultures have used beads and features original projects inspired by techniques from around the world.  While a lot of the specific projects aren't my cup of tea, the techniques are very useful.  Of particular note are the instructions for scallop stitch, a type of netting used by Xhosa-speaking people in South Africa, and tubular polygon stitch, also from South Africa.  The Art of Beadwork is the only place I've seen instructions for these stitches in a book.  The book also features more of a focus on beadwork as art rather than beadwork as adornment than most beading books.

The Art & Elegance of Beadweaving by Carol Wilcox Wells (2003)

Techniques: beaded beads, spiral rope, bead crochet, right-angle-weave, chevron netting, herringbone stitch, peyote stitch

Description: A solid reference work with great pictures.  This is the book that taught me spiral rope, which is one of my go-to techniques.  It also has instructions for spiral herringbone and creating spiral peyote bangles by using varying sizes of seed beads.

Beading with Brick Stitch by Diane Fitzgerald (2001)

Techniques: Brick stitch

Description: This book focuses on different ways to use brick stitch.  It also contains a brief historical background on the stitch, including some original observations on Ancient Egyptian beadwork.  At some point I need to pick this book up again and make a variation on the Petroglyph Necklace.  The book includes graph paper templates for one- and two-drop brick stitch for planning your own designs.

The Beaded Garden by Diane Fitzgerald (2005)

Techniques: Peyote stitch, brick stitch, herringbone stitch, netting

Description: This is a book that I pull out every spring.  The instructions are easy to follow and the end results are tons of fun.  The book contains instructions for making three-dimensional flowers out of beads using various weaving techniques.  Note: These flowers are made with a needle and thread, not wire.  If you're looking for instructions on how to make flowers using beads strung on wire, you'll want to look for something on French beaded flowers.  The list of flowers is pretty big, and there are instructions for general petal and leaf shapes to create your own variations.  The gallery section is inspiring.

Shaped Beadwork by Diane Fitzgerald (2009)

Techniques: primarily peyote stitch

Description: This book focuses on making two-dimensional and three-dimensional geometric figures (triangles, squares, Platonic solids, etc) out of beads.  Pretty much every project uses cylinder beads because they create sharper edges.  As a part of Lark Books' Master Class series, the instructions are written with the assumption that the reader already has experience with peyote stitch.  The three-dimensional shapes make excellent beaded beads.

Big Book of Beadwork by Julia S. Pretl (2010)

Techniques: bead knitting, ladder stitch, netting, peyote stitch

Description: This book is actually three books in one.  Julia S. Pretl's books on bead knitting, beaded collars, and beaded boxes were republished as one large book.  I've primarily used the beaded collar section.  The green and black broad collar that I get a lot of compliments on was made using techniques from this book.

The Complete Guide to Traditional Native American Beadwork by Joel Monture (1993)

Techniques: Bead embroidery, loom weaving, peyote stitch, leather working

Description: This book looks at the traditional uses for beadwork among Native Americans.  The book provides some instructions on technique and making traditional tools.  A chapter is devoted to preparing leather for beadworking from scratch.

The Art of Bead Embroidery by Heidi Kummli and Sherry Serafini (2007)

Techniques: bead embroidery

Description: The first bead embroidery book by the rockstars of the bead embroidery community, The Art of Bead Embroidery is a solid introduction to making bead embroidered jewelry.  The book focuses on the techniques used by the two artists.  This is not a book on the history of bead embroidery in general.  The inspirational photos are gorgeous.

So that's a general overview of what books I reach for on a regular basis.  If you're just getting started, I'd recommend Carol Wilcox Wells' book as an introduction to beadweaving in general.  Happy beading!

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Baby Got Bustle

Behold, my new undergarments!

I've finally finished all the support garments for my bustle dress.  The bustle is Truly Victorian's pattern TV101, that combines the bustle with a petticoat, with a ruffled layer to hide the hoop wire in back.

And yes, you can sit down in it.  The hoop wire folds up automatically during sitting.

Here's the petticoat that goes over the bustle.  It's flat in front with a couple darts at the waist, with pleating in the back.  This style is designed to go under 1880s-style skirts.  I used Truly Victorian's TV170 Victorian Petticoats pattern, which can accommodate all the different bustle eras depending on which view you choose.

Here's the back view.  The petticoat is embellished with pin tucks.

My friend Sara let me pose with her parasol.  I'm very grateful to her for her help with the pictures.  Now I can finally start working on an actual dress!

Monday, January 06, 2014

Christmas Present

This year I asked Mom what color was lacking from her jewelry box.  Answer: pink.  Not exactly my favorite color, so I headed out in search of beads.

I found a neat crystal component with purple and pink stones.

I also found some pink faux pearls and some pink/purple crystal rondelles.

Mom loved it.