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Sunday, January 31, 2010

The Gold Brocade

With the obvious exception of my children, this is undoubtedly the most beautiful thing I've ever made...

It is 18 yards of beautiful gold brocade with a tiny white embroidered leaf pattern.

There are 12 stainless steel frog closures on the front and sleeves.

The bodice is fully lined with white, 100% cotton muslin. The sleeves extend nearly to the bottom hem of the dress.

Its so heavy, that I now realize why wealthy women of the rennaisance age needed ladies in waiting to assist them in dressing! You simply cannot put this one on by yourself!

I found a steal deal on the gold brocade on ebay. The 18 yards cost me about $45 US. WOW!

I got the stainless steel frogs on clearance at Hancock Fabrics for about $1 US for a pack of 8.

It is McCalls Pattern 4997:

The only thing remaining to be done to the dress is to add the weights at the end of each sleeve; however, I've yet to find anything that I like enough to put on my dress. I'm thinking that a trip to the antiques store may yield some antique fishing weights that would be lovely.

I'm so absolutely tickled with this one that it appears on the right of my main screen. I'm growing my hair out some just to wear it in fashion!

Love to hear your thoughts! On a strange note, I haven't felt this level of satisfaction with anything I've done in a LONG time. Its quite wonderful.

For more Mccall's Patterns, check this out:

Friday, January 29, 2010

The Fairy Dress

This is the fairy dress...iridescent pink satin with a burgundy chiffon overlay.

Detached sleeves...

It still requires the flowers and ribbon trim, which I just havent found the right one, yet. Also needs a slight adjustment of the elastic on the waste of the underskirt for a more appropriate fit. Feel like I look FAT in this one...

Variation of Simplicity pattern 3632. Be cautious with the seams. Chiffon and satin are a pain to work with -- french seams work best (sewn, rolled, sewn again, trimmed close).

But, this was a fairly easy pattern to put together, other than the difficult materials. I'm thinking I'm going to redo the underskirt to be double layers of chiffon to give a more flowing, slight look to it. The slip doesn't quite match up perfectly with the overlay. Gonna work on that one.

If you like this, check out more simplicity patterns at:

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Kate's Dress

Finally! My daughter's rennaissance dress is finished! This is white satin and gold lame with braided gold cord, basic muslin lining, and interfacing for the laces.

Its a variation on Butterick pattern 4571, with my own changes --
1. I made the skirt a broader A-line
2. I angled the bottom of the skirt (near the hem) with a dramatic slant to give the 'angel-wing' appearance that it currently has
3. I raised the waist a few inches (to the natural waist)
4. I rounded the waist out to eliminate the deep 'v' in the front where the skirt meets the bodice
5. I interfaced the sleeves to give them a heavier drape and more substance

Here it is, pre-sleeves, hem, and trim...

Post sleeves, pre-hem and trim...

On the hanger before the final fitting...

And, with my final modification -- ribbons to bussle it up and save that pretty hem in the dirt when needed.

WOW! Was this one an experience. An incredible amount of hand-stitched detail with the trim and slip-stitching to close up all the lined areas. Thank goodness, it came out beautifully. The back is set in eyelets and laced with ribbon. The dress, size wise, is very forgiving in the bust, waist, and hip area because of the eyelets. The arms, however, need to be spot-on for size in order to make it work.

For more Butterick patterns, check out:

Monday, January 25, 2010


Welcome to everyone! For my love of all things rennaissance, I've elected to show off some of my creations for the masses. I know, I know. Its vain on my part. Yet, I'm ok with it!

I do, very much, consider myself a rennaissance woman. I have multiple college degrees, and am working on my doctorate in Natural Health (a field divergent from my previous three degrees in Counseling, Behavioral Science, and Human Services). I am a follower of the Goddess, and feel the pulse of Mother Earth. I'm employed as a social work supervisor and adjunct faculty for my local college. Additionally, I'm a practicing herbalist and assist my clients to find alternative methods to health, as well as providing complementary approaches to assist with existing medical treatment. As a lover of wine, I've traveled to many obscure orchards to try small wine-maker's fare. My Harley is my preferred means of transportation, in conjunction with my feet. As an avid hiker, I have a special affinity for the Appalacian range and travel there several times a year to be with nature.

My hobby as a seamstress began as a very young child, at the knee of my Grandmom who was an actual seamstress by trade. I learned my first stitches and all of the basics with her, as well as how to run her old treadle machine, which I used all through my childhood. Now, in her 90s, my Grandmom can no longer sew or do any of the needlework that she was so reknowned within our family for; but, she lives a more peaceful kind of life with little to keep her hands busy. Blessed be my aunt and uncle for being her caregivers! The point of this story, of course, is that (at my Grandmom's feet) I learned to see the beauty in stitches. I recently told someone that I make beautiful things to make up for not being beautiful myself. Until it came from my mouth, I'd had no conscious knowledge of that fact. Yet, as soon as it was out, I realized how true it was.

As a Libra, I appreciate and seek beauty in all things, both aesthetic and ethereal. The simplicity of a chainstitch is a demonstration of absolute life. The randomness of a zig-zag stitch demonstrates the interlocking nature of all things. In many ways, this is my contribution to the world. Simple, pleasurable, and lovely. I hope that you will enjoy what I have to offer you, here.

I frequently take on projects for friends and relatives, and would be more than willing to speak with anyone who's interested in a piece for themselves. I have, and continue to do, clothing from other periods, as well, and costumes of fancy. I'm also happy to give some direction as far as fabric choices or if you get stuck on a project of your own. I sincerely hope that we will be able to share conversation with each other regarding our creative exploits!

Blessed Be!