In the Society for Creative Anachronism, my name is Herrin Kathalyn Nimet. I enjoy the research and garments of the late 15th/early 16th Century German clothing, but I have been known to sew anything from 6th C. Byzantine to 14th C. Gothic fitted dresses also.

I attempt to sew other stuff to from modern day patterns, but that's been a challenge. Hopefully by brainstorming on this journal, I can figure them out with some measure of success. Modern patterns are just not my forté!

Please enjoy!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

So where do we begin?

This post really doesn't apply to my adventures & dress diaries of what I've created but since this museum exhibit relates to the creativity of costume design as a whole and it provides endless amounts of inspiration, I thought I'd share anyway. Since I am going to convey the breadth of the exhibit and some of my thoughts and opinions, I've decided to break this up into several parts. Alas, no photography was allowed, so if I found correlating images from the internet, I attempted to include as many as I found.

The “20th Annual Art if Motion Picture Costume Design Exhibition” at the FIDM Museum was excellent. My only compliant was I wanted to know more specifics like fabrics and other materials used, if items were recycled vintage items or custom made. Of course I was wondering through the exhibit hall making notes and when I was finishing up the security guard pointed me to a decent size hand out that I thought may have some of the answers I was searching for. Nope... well, sorta.

Unexpectedly there was a small display of some historical clothing worn by various Crowns of Europe. Sadly a dress worn by Queen Victoria was taken off display. (I forget what the sign said as to why.) That small display will be a journal page unto itself and I'm not sure I could find any images. Some of the dresses were before the regular use of photography.

So bare with me as I write these pages, I have images to find first and a bit of reading to do from the handout available at the Exhibition.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

So no picture to be had

A) I forgot....

B) I was not happy with the final outcome. Too loose, didn't finish eyelets (those I started were too small) and front hem was too long. *sad panda(

So with that being said my project will be to adjust all those things and maybe start attaching the appliques. Still debating the sleeves. The armsceye of the sleeve was bigger than the bodice, so at the very least that needs to be recut, which is fine because I think the sleeves were too long. So an inch or two in the length to recut the armsceye is acceptable in my book.

When I make the proper fitting support kirtle, I've decided on a purple. I think that will be a nice contrast. Plus I think that will work well with the other few GFDs I own.

But! I definately need to redraft my bodice pattern before I attempt this again. It was just hard to do so before this weekend because I had no one local who could measure me properly, so I winged it with what I had.

It's all a learning lesson, right?

Thursday, March 1, 2012

So I'm not happy with how the sleeves turned out. In my opinion, epic fail. But now I have a better knowledge of the construction theory and can adapt the process into future dresses. I might get another 2 yards of the same fabric and re-do the sleeves at a later date. For now I am deciding on whether to make some quickie short sleeves or deal with the one I made... I'm just not happy, but I may be the only one who notices (unless I bring it up).

I dunno.

I plan to get some pictures this weekend and share the finished dress. (The dress won't have the crescent appliques for this weekend, so another update when those are attached will be made.)

Off to hand sewing...

Tuesday, February 28, 2012


And the Muse works again...

I just have to learn to let my mind free and not over think things when I am in the creative process. As you can see from this photo it took several attempts to measure and draft the circular dags on the end of my bell sleeves. After several failed attempts, I just took a deep breath and let my intuition take over. Sometimes, it just simply works and I amaze myself that pieces just fall together.

I do have a disappointment however. The sleeves on the manuscript are quite larger and the dagging more pronounced due the larger cuff size and the “flame” design of the dags. My justification is thus:
  1. Upon laying out the sleeve pattern once the dags were drafted, there is * just * enough fabric for each sleeve, lining included. So I would not have had enough fabric for any larger of a bell
  2. I chose the roundel shape because when sewn, it could aestetically resemble a crescent, the primary charge of my arms and match the applique embellishments I plan to add along the base of the dress at a later date. (Subsequently while writing this out, I have also considered that I may buy some of THL Justina's silver metal-thread crescent appliques, typically used for Caidan badges, to add to the center of the roundels for an added texture, but I'll test how that looks if she merchants at Crown.)
One additional thing I have to consider now is that due to the curvature of the roundels being so small, I will have to hand sew the cuffs. Blargh.... no way to avoid it though. Machine sewing that fine of a detail would be difficult for me & it may gather or bunch in an unattractive way.

Getting there! T-minus 4 days....

Sunday, February 26, 2012

OMG I hate sleeves!

So in the way back machine when I was apprenticed to a Gothic costuming Laurel we drafted two basic type of sleeve patterns for me to use and I've never had to redraft them in the last 12 or so years. I've been rather dull in my variations of cotehardie sleeves, I usually only wear a fitted, buttoned kirtle sleeve and a short cotehardie sleeve maybe with detachable tippets. B-O-R-I-N-G, right?

Well I knew that using a bell sleeve was going to test my limits and dagnabbit, I DID IT!

Not without ruminating on it for several days and lots of google-ing mind you. I mean, I remembered the basics from that pattern session with my former Mistress. The top of the armsceye was convex and the armpit was concave and the entire flat pattern width of the armsceye was the circumference of the arm hole made from the bodice pattern... clear as mud, right? I recalled that. But.... I knew the sleeve needed to be seamed up the back of the arm and somehow needed to show a visible width difference from the armsceye to the wrist. Ponder, ponder, ponder.

I needed a visual though. I just couldn't grok the shape. So I used the almighty interwebz, that magical tome of collective knowledge. I stumbled upon the website of Master Chas. de Bourdon and contained therein is a document written by an associate of his, THL Amalia Zavatini of Ansterorra entitled "The Transitional Tudor Gown". How, why? I searched the term bell sleeve pattern and her document appeared. On the very last page was a diagram showing the over-gown of a Tudor lady. But, Tudor? Yeah, its the shape and appearance of what I desired to emulate from the  French illumination Tacuinum Sanitatus (I found the name of the illumination I referred to in my previous post about this dress). So the image above is the mostly finished pattern. I still need to dag the wrist-line.

But for now, this is a good accomplishment. 'Bout tore my hair out too....