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, October 30, 2006

Happy Halloween!

Okay, not costume related, but this is what I did this weekend INSTEAD of sewing the things I planned. ;) I did sorta costume the witch, though. Hubby carved the Frankenstein.



Friday, October 27, 2006

Even more Useless-ness!

I thought the tippet was bad for useless accessorizing, but I am apparently not to be outdone. You see, I've got a faire to go to in two weeks, and its practically guarunteed to be freezing out, and I'm supposed to be making toasty warm things like cloaks and muffs and gloves. So what did I make last night? A feather fan, of course. What could be more useless in NOVEMBER? I swear I'll sew wooly warm things next week....

the inspiration (one of many). Here is Bess herself with an ornate fan of gold and what I assume to be ostrich feathers.

My local supply of ostrich feathers is low, but I did find these preassembled feather things at A.C. Moore in the autumnal flower arrangement section. I have no idea who makes feathery flower arrangements for autumn. Because what could be better when you're biting into that moist Thanksgiving turkey than seing its tail feathers in the centerpiece? Ew.

Anywho, they were already all nicely arranged on a metal stick, and I got 4 of em for $5, so it was totally worth it. I wanted 5, since I think it would've made for a fuller fan, but they only had four of the brown ones. The red were pretty, but just a bit fake. And the yellow and purple were even faker. So scanty brown fan it is!

Onto making the base...the handle is a bbq wooden skewer with 5 "vases" from Joann fabrics slid over it. I guess they're little wooden vases for doll houses? They came with drilled holes that just happened to fit my skewers. The fan base is made of wooden "decorative accents" from home depot. Something like the things you put on fireplace mantles and the like. They conveniently came in a two pack. I put a wad of evenly rolled out sculpee between, poked the holes needed for handle and 4 feathery bits, added an extra hole for a peacock feather of decorativeness, then removed all the wooden bits and baked the clay.

Once it was baked, I glued it all togehter and spraypainted it gold just like the tippet. I would've loved to stain it, but well, hideous yellow sculpee wouldn't take up stain, would it? I did, however, resist the urge to bejewel it, cuz I'm not sure that'd go well with my middle class wardrobes. I'm sure Beth is proud. ;)

And here are the results:

Its actually rather huge, so I might try my hand at making a more dainty one later. Though the huge does kick up a good bit of wind, which is so uber-useful when its freezing out, eh?

Coming soon: a better set of directions for how I made the tippet head of creepiness (for Allessia) and anyone else who is interested.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Useless Accessorizing!

Apparently flea furs, or fur tippets, or sables, or whatever you prefer to call them were all the rage in ye olde times, and I've decided that I need to have one. And since the mink I found on ebay came with very creepy little plastic eyes and an even creepier little crookedly set nose, I decided I needed to gussy it up (in other words, hide its face to make me feel less guilty for carrying around a little dead thing). In my defense, I bought a vintage fur, so the poor things were already long gone before they got to me....(ducks PETA).

Animal cruelty issues aside, this is a pretty awesome looking accessory:

unknown lady, by Segar

Onto the process: I molded a bit of sculpee around my mink's plastic wrapped head:

tippet bottom

tippet top

So, um, possibly the glowing bejeweled red eyes are creepier than the little plastic eyes the thing came with, but they're certainly more festive. After I made indentions for the jewels, I baked the clay, spray-painted it gold and glued all the gems back in. Its pretty creepy, but also exactly what I was going for:

my tippet

zoom from painting

Of course, to have it be more like the painting I should do matching guilded paw-covers. But seriously, those kinda creep me out (more than glowing red eyes), so maybe I won't. Also, I'm lazy.

That is all my guilded creepy animal news for the day.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

More Thank Yous!

It seems that I've been posting copious thank-yous on this diary of late. I'm lucky to have such generous family and friends, and today is no exception. I want to squee a little bit (okay, a lot) over a recent gift from my bpal switchwitch, kakiphony (kinda like a secret santa, but without christmas dictating the time of year! ;)) She's spoiled me to pieces, with many wondrous gifts, but this one in particular needs a special home in my costuming mania pages....

Its a pendant from Raymond's Quiet Press, and its absolutley exquisite. I'm not exaggerating when I say that I gasped so loud as to alarm my husband when I opened its box. Its better than I ever hoped, and I've had my eye on it for so long that finally having it in hand was so special! I immediately replaced the dangle on my previous pearl necklace with this beauty, and you better believe that this will be adorning my bosoms (hehe) at the fest this weekend.
Even better, this charm will be oh-so perfect when I finally get round to recreating the da Brescia portrait I've been lusting after for so long!

Thank you so much, kakiphony, I love it to pieces (not to mention all the other lovely things)! *hugs*

Wednesday, October 11, 2006


After Beth let me wear her beauteous caul at our recent VA Faire trip, I knew I had to have one of my own. So as to adhere to our unwritten "similar but different" costuming rule, I have been searching for a cool (but simple) blackwork design that is not a grid. I don't have much time before I need to wear this (2 weeks in fact, but who's counting), so I want something simple that I can gussy up "later". I did my best at freehanding the swirling stems from this hood (at the V&A museum, pic taken from Gostelow's Blackwork)

I figure I can just embroider the swirls for now, and fill them in when time permits. I'm actually thinking that I'll fill them in with a peapod design, since I've been drawn to ye olde peapods for quite some time! Here is an example, though I think I'll probably do only 1-2 peapods with more fancy stuff instead of 3 "simple" ones:

jacket embroidery in maidstone museum, this pic also from Gostelow's Blackwork

So, here is my anticipated swirly design (pattern on left, beginnings of my work on right). I'm going with a simple Holbein stitch on the swirls (I originally wanted to do stem, but habits are hard to break). I'll figure out some peas to fill it in later (likey over the winter?):

caul design