Chemise a la reine

It’s been a long time (6 months at least) since I updated here. I have updates on several projects, but I will start with the earliest completed one, my chemise a la reine. I struggled to use a rolled hem foot, because it was a tiny hem, and ended up just finagling something like a hem. My dress, on the inside, is not the loveliest work, but it looks good from outside, so I am happy. I did make a second chemise a la reine for my friend Nicole, whom I visited in New Orleans for Bastille Day, the event we wore these gowns to. Her dress, which was my second try, came out much better, in terms of construction techniques. Nicole made the wonderful hats that we wore with our gowns.

First the pics my friend Avery snapped at my house:

Now the pics from the event:


*And* we were filmed by the show “Adam Richmond’s Fandemonium” and made it into the show briefly:

Adam Richmond’s Fandemonium

Adam Richmond’s Fandemonium

Paint your own pottery

I have also been going to a local paint-your-own-pottery studio and creating works of art! Ok, well, they’re decent, but not quite works of art. I started with a plate and bowl for myself, then moved on to gifts for others.

Below are pictures from this past Saturday, East Kingdom’s Twelfth Night, where I presented the King and Queen with plates of their arms:

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The Shot Taffetta Sottana – FINISHED!!!

It’s done! Well, mostly. I finished the shot taffeta sottana to the point of wearable for East Kingdom’s 12th Night event. It looked great and I received many compliments, but my Laurel has not seen it in action yet, so I will be wearing it at Birka, a big event at the end of the month, where we will formally enter an apprenticeship-Laurel relationship. By then, I have to finish one sleeve cap, which I worked on last night and is nearly finished, and sew another row of velvet ribbon to the hem. The trim is all hand sewn (the gown uses some machine sewing, where it is hidden from sight), and I was only able to sew down one ribbon of 6 yards, by hand, in time for 12th Night.

This dress will also be entered into our King and Queen’s Arts & Sciences competition in February. I will post my documentation following the event, as well as the results of my entry.

original sleeve trim

The original plan for the sleeve trim… I ended up doing only three lines, because the 5 would have looked weird on the underside.

finish sleeve

One finished sleeve & sleeve cap

unhemmed gown

Unhemmed gown without the bottom trim

finished gown

Finished gown at 12th Night

12th night gown

Gown at 12th Night

gown back

And a nice shot of the cartridge pleating in the back

You may also notice in the above photos that I am wearing the whiteworked partlet that I started over a year ago. It is unfinished, but I hope to complete that, also, by K&Q A&S.

More 18th Century

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I have been immersed in 18th century and loving it. I am in the process of making an set of stays from Butterick B4254, with a couple minor variations. I have lowered the back (although it may need to be lower still) and narrowed the straps, based on others’ review of the period accuracy of this pattern. One side is finished, barring a 5 inch piece of bias tape binding… One package almost bound the entire half. Oh, and the eyelets that are going to take forever to do.

In addition, my wig came in and has promptly been styled in a hedgehog poof. Or as close to a hedgehog as I could get it. I had initially purchased a Marie Antoinette wig, the blonde one with the pink bows, but it sucked. It had been squished flat into the package and I couldn’t regain the pretty look of the picture. I then ordered a 30 inch wavy brown Lacey wig from and it was a very nice looking wig! I was almost sad to rat it to death. I would certainly order this wig again for other costumes and uses.

I used a combination of Demode‘s and American Duchess‘s tutorials to style my wig. I initially tried for a pouf, but didn’t leave enough hair in the front to smooth over the pouf so I switched to a hedgehog style halfway through. The pouf might have been a bit too early for my chemise a la reine anyway, and thus, out of fashion. I used a length of brown raw wool that I had laying around as a “rat” to give the style some height, and teased the 30 inch sections around the wig like crazy. I left a little curly/wavy piece for a lovelock.

I want to make a hat SOOOO badly, but my friend is making one for me, in exchange for her chemise a la reine. Maybe I should make one of those tiny crowned hats, that way I can make a hat, but it will be different…

18th Century-esque shoes

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My efforts to purchase a pair of 18th century style shoes involved much unsatisfied web browsing and *one* trip to Payless Shoes. I swear I find perfect costuming shoes every time I go there (1920s, 16th century and now 18th century). Anyway, they are ivory colored, and my chemise a la reine is white with yellow sash and ties, but I already planned to cover them in fabric. A quick purview of Joann Fabrics’ quilting cottons found me a cheery print, though probably not period.

original shoes

I draped a muslin to get a rough pattern piece for each side and then the toe, which I cut from the fashion fabric and rubber cemented to the shoe. The fabric of the shoe had a tendency to absorb the rubber cement so multiple coats were sometimes necessary. Once all the pieces were securely in place I glued a piece of single fold bias tape down the back seam, then glued double fold bias tape all the way around the edge. To secure the inside of the bias tape, I wore the shoes around with my pajamas for 15 minutes. 😉

I tried to get a picture of the dress and shoe together, but you can’t really tell, so here are the two side by side.

Chemise a la Reine

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I will be visiting New Orleans on Bastille Day, so I decided to dress in Marie Antoinette style clothing for their festivities. After a fruitless search for costumes that were relevant and not slutty, I remembered the chemise a la reine. I checked out images on google and several dress diaries (see below) and made my decision to make a chemise a la reine for myself and my friend Nicole.

Maggie’s Costume Site – has a link to Nora Waugh’s pattern
Pour la Victoire
CF Griffith
Jenny La Fleur

First, I threw together an under chemise using cotton muslin and Drea Leed’s smock pattern generator. I simply ignored the sleeves and created a sleeveless chemise.

For the chemise a la reine, I purchased some 60″ white polyester batiste from Joann’s, which feels texturally more like a natural fiber and not so slippery and shiny. I promptly sewed three panels together into a large tube using a french seam to completely encase the edges. I hemmed the bottom edge, rather poorly (I then bought a rolled hem foot for my machine), and sewed a drawstring channel in the top edge to gather the neckline. I bound the top edge with white double fold bias tape.

I then sewed two tubes of cotton muslin for straps and attached them to the neckline, and tada, a basic dress. I had some trouble trying to make the straps out of the batiste and knew the upcoming ruffle would cover the muslin.

I added a ruffle to the neckline out of scrap material and cut out sleeves roughly according to the Nora Waugh pattern linked above. Some single fold bias binding around the sleeves created a ruffle and two poufs. I found a lovely butter yellow satin that I made a sash out of and a matching pale yellow cord for the sleeve ties.

All in all, my methods did the job, but I will do many things differently as I start on Nicole’s dress next. Firstly, I would use 4 panels of 60″ fabric. Secondly, the french seam was too thick for the rolled hem. I would hem each piece first and then stitch them together. As Nicole’s will not have a ruffle at the neckline, I want to make the bias binding smoother. To do that, I will use the gathering foot on my machine about a half inch from the top edge, instead of the drawstring method. I also want to flare the shoulder straps slightly to give a rounded neckline instead of my squarish one. Lastly, the sleeves are not poofy enough for my tastes. I used a 24″ wide sleeve, next time I will use a 30″ wide sleeve.

A Fur-Lined Muff

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I have completed an embroidered and fur lined muff. My inspiration for a muff comes from Venice, Italy, 1590. Cesare Vecellio’s woodcuts include a Venetian noblewoman in winter dress holding a muff. “Clothing of the Renaissance World” by Jones and Rosenthal contains a translation of his description, indicating that the noblewomen wore a fur-lined muff to keep their hands warm. They were frequently made of black velvet or silk with marten or sable lining and closed with buttons of crystal or gold.

From the description and image above, we can discern that the Venetian muff was not sewn in a closed tube, but rather a flat envelope with button closure. This is how I chose to make my muff. I started with a piece of grey wool-like polyester, cut large enough to fit both of my hands comfortably inside. I stitched down the gold trim and embroidered my SCA badge. This is my first time doing free embroidery, so the tree is a satin stitch and the monogram is a back stitch.

After I completed the embroidery, I cut a layer of cotton batting to give the muff some fluff and then I cut my fur, a brown faux mink that is super soft and not at all like most faux furs. The fur was cut an inch and a half bigger than the wool. I then folded the edges of the fur over the wool layer and whipstitched it down. I then sewed the buttons on the front (embroidered) side of the envelope.

Lastly, I fingerloop braided some perle cotton and sewed the loop onto the opposite edge of the muff. Finished and warm!

Florentine Partlet

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I decided to make a new partlet with the handkerchief weight linen I purchased recently. This was my second foray into using this fabric, the first being a little handkerchief. Searching for inspiration, I found a portrait of a Florentine Noblewoman located at the San Diego Muesum of Art. The style was perfect for the pattern I have, Margo Anderson’s free partlet pattern, and I wanted to try out the whitework embroidery.

Florentine Noblewoman

Florentine Noblewoman

I handstitched the partlet, using polyester thread (oh my!) because that’s all I owned. I have since remedied the thread situation for my next project. I followed the instructions of this GREAT tutorial on sewing a rolled hem and successfully hemmed the edges of the partlet. I then used a french seam for the shoulder seam, gathered the ruffle and put the collar together, all according to Margo’s instructions. My first trial showed that the partlet did not sit open as in the above portrait, so I cut off an inch from the front opening and re-hemmed those sides. A slight adjustment to the shoulder seam angle and I had the look I wanted.

I reached out to my teacher, Vienna de la Mer, for help with the embroidery pattern. She drafted a simple pattern similar to the inspiration portrait for my first embroidery project. For the past two days, I have been hard at work on the embroidery and have completed almost TWO lines of the many, many lines required.

Shot Taffeta Sottana, update

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My new sottana is well on it’s way. The bodice is complete, the skirt is complete and it is currently partially attached. I’ve started the trim, but I have a long way to go there. I compromised and used the machine for much of this dress, with an attempt to hide all machine stitching. Several parts of the bodice had to be finished by hand because of the curves and corners, etc, but it looks good and I don’t *think* it looks overtly machine sewn.


I had to piece a small insertion into the shoulder strap as it was sitting a touch too high overall, then I moved on to the skirt.

Cartridge pleated back

Cartridge pleated back

Pleats stitched to bodice

Pleats stitched to bodice

Exterior view of pleats

Exterior view of pleats