Julie's Dress Diaries

Herein lie my attempts at both blogging and creating period clothing for various locations and times of the Renaissance. Enjoy

Monday, July 31, 2006

Dating Help?

No, not that kinda of dating. I'm not single...but...my grandma gifted me this beautiful vintage coat and I'd love to know more about it. If anyone out there reading would like to venture their guesses/theories on more about it, I would be forever grateful. All that I know was that it was gifted to her by someone who didnt' know what to do with it, and thus it has passed to me. Its obviously vintage/antique. Everybit of stitching that I can get to is hand-done (the lining is stiched in by hand, the lapels are stitched onto the jacket by hand, etc, you get the point). Its a full length coat, in black velvet, lined in a grey floral damask. I'm not sure if the velvet is silk/cotton/other, but i'm pretty certain its natural fiber, and if forced to guess I'd say silk. From the way the lining is dryrotting, i kinda think its silk, too. Its got absolutely stunning embroidery in black thread down the lapels, around the botton about a foot wide, and would have it on the cuffs if they weren't removed (I'd guess the embroidery threads are silk or linen--leaning towards linen) . I don't know if its actually a coat, or if its more a dressing gown? I'm open to speculation. This is not the time period I usually do...I'd like to tinker in later periods, but haven't got around to doing any research on them....

coat front

This tag shows the maker. From what little I could find online, Hutzler Brothers was a department store founded in MD in 1858. I think they stayed open til the 1960's, so I'm not sure where in that span this particular garment would fit in. See how the tag is hand-herringbone stitched into the lining? The little things make me wiggle in pure glee!


And just for eyecandy, here are a few detail shots:


bottom embroidery--This has this lovely embroidery all over the bottom. The wider tapey strips are some sort of thick braid/ribbon. The embroidery is a wonderful tutorial for my upcoming embroidery projects: it uses grids, french knots, herringbones, fishscale and stem stitches, and others that i don't know the names of. Its truly eyecandy. If I had the heart to disassemble it, this bottom would be made into a cape for hubby (doesn't it look like one of the janet arnold cloaks?--the red one with yellow appliques in a similar motif?). But no, i don't have the heart.

here's an adorable detail: Check out the pocket inside:

I am so going to try this in something I make. Isn't it pretty? I mean, if you can even make an inside pocket pretty.... *wistful sigh*

So, as lovely as this would be incorporated into a renfest costume, well, I just couldn't bear it. Here's the kicker: the coat FITS me. *jumps up and down*. The lining is sadly majorly ripped and suffering from dry rot....so I'm kinda thinking I might make a new lining for it. The velvet has a few patches where the pile is worn down/off, mostly around the bottom hem. The sleeve cuffs were unfortunately sacrificed to some project before my grandma got the coat--it came with one detached cuff. From the one I have, it would've looked like this:

unattached cuff

That's all for now. More fabric/costuming gifts to be featured soon....

Friday, July 14, 2006

Masking Non-Productivity

No, I haven't been sewing. But I have been giving some TLC to my sewing room so that I can prepare to sew.... I took this past weekend to go through and organize all my fabrics/patterns/notions/accessories/costuming bits. I found many a "missing" seamripper/measuring tape/fabric pen.
I even cheered the room with some wall hangings--it was pretty sterile before. Here are the results of my ministrations:

Yes, its still cluttered/messy/sterile, but less than before. ;) Also, with the wood tables done corner to corner, I have a nice ledge in the room (so i can junk it up, of course!). Even more important, though, is the increased floorspace for fabric layouts, which is critical!

The tour de force is my fabric stash. I refolded all the messy bits, and played at organizing it. Its nicely divided into silk, wool, linen, velvet, "stiff linings", mockup fabrics and "other/embarrasing". :)

Extra closet space (and there's more than shown!):

I'm sure I can fill this with costumes, right?!

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Old and Influencable....

Beth lent me her copy of "The Autobiography of Henry VIII : With Notes by His Fool, Will Somers." Its quite an enjoyable book, historical fiction (no, Henry didn't actually write it). I have no idea about the accuracy of certain details, but its a good read.

Anyway, he's constantly drinking wine flavored with woodruff. And what should I find at my local farmer's market last night....sweet woodruff plants! I couldn't resist, so one came home with me and was quickly used as an excuse to uncork a bottle.....

I actually think that the woodruff is traditionally used in white wine. But I didn't have the balls to commit to a 1500ml bottle (my only white)--I opted for a smaller 750 ml bottle of red. The presentation is quite pretty, and a really nice herbal flavor came out after a bit of "steeping."


Next time I think i'll do a proper "may wine". A white german wine steeped overnight. And a friend of mine just told me that she does hers with white wine, woodruff, and strawberries!! steeped over night. Yup, definitely trying that. Its like renaissance sangria. ;)