30 July 2007

Mad as a...

I busted a rib last week. Bad pain. No sleep. Good drugs, though! Henceforth shall I be known as Vic Odin, private eye... okay if you've been living in my head the past week or so, that's hysterically funny. Otherwise probably not so much.

So anyway, as you've seen from the handsewing I've been doing, I've been couch-bound for the better part of a week now and still the needle keeps pulling thread. I can't really lean over to cut out new patterns much so when Kristin - my saintly wife with patience like Job - isn't home to cut things out for me, I'm stuck with either small projects or things that have already been cut out to work on. Or I can surf the internet, which I actually don't so much like doing.

Luckily for me, awhile back my wife asked our friends to donate scraps to a project she was working on and the scraps came pouring out of every costumer we knew. Calabash now has a coat that boasts a sample of just about every bodice in the faire (Woo Woo!!) and we have a big bucket o' random scrappage. Oh, what to do with these odd-size small bits of fabric? Hmmmm... What garby bit of business usually utilize small pattern pieces?

One of the first things we see, one of the prime things we complain about reenactors ignoring, hats. I love hats in general, though I've never really enjoyed making them before. Now that I'm under the influence of the hand-sewing bug and my buddy Vic, I decided what the hell. The pieces are small enough to cut out on my lap and there's plenty of oddments of wool!

Calabash is Venetian and came to Scotland (the site of our faire) by way of Paris in the retinue of Her Most Royal Majesty, Queen Mary of Scots. Yet he's never worn much in the way of garb that really told this tale. So it is with this in mind that I turned my hand to hats...

I like to think of this as my Venetian Dockworker beanie. The pattern was modified from the one at the link above. The authoress of the Renaissance Tailor website describes as a Russian hat. So if anyone quizzes me on it, I got it from one of the Muscovy Trading lads when I was in London on a mission for the queen. There's a little machine stitching holding the upturned brim to the main body of the hat, the rest was handstitched. The pin is a winged lion that I've had for quite some time, symbol of La Serenissima (Venice).

This is a sort of floppy-brimmed Italian bonnet. It's done up in scrap wool that I pieced together to make large enough pieces for the pattern. Small, delicate stitches. The crown is lined in greenish linen and cartridge-pleated into the brim. There are no machine stitches on this hat. (I'm rather proud of that). Small glass pearls are interspersed into the gathers, alternating with some stone beads and metal beads.

The two websites linked above gave me the impetus I needed to make two hats (respectively) though as ever I've worked them as variations on the theme. Their directions were so good I feel that I cannot improve on the theme in those two regards, so I encourage the millinerily-inclined rennie to head to one or the other for the tutorials.

It's fun making hats. I especially like digging through my collection of odd pins to find suitable adornment for the feathers. I've been trying to steer away from the ubiquitous pheasants and ostriches, keeping in mind that Calabash may be a member of the court but he's really not noble. He's a bounder and a bit of a cad who attached himself to Mary in Paris and has followed her since, trading on her patronage like a true Renaissance Man.

Washington Renaissance Fantasy Faire is less than a week away!
Huzzah! (ouch! Gonna go back to the couch now...)

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