Tuesday, April 13, 2010
Last night I brought my trusty Olympus audio recorder so I could go back and listen for things I need to work on - these things are not always evident in the heat of battle.
It actually went pretty well, though it's by no means perfect nor what I hope the finished product will sound like. I screwed up the counting in one part (you can hear the conductor correcting me), and it doesn't have the polish and panache I'd like it to have...this is probably due in large part to the fact that A) I couldn't hear a damn thing last night for some reason, and B) this solo kind of terrifies me, though I'm not sure why.
The chorus also seemed to be having serious pitch issues last night, but I was happy to hear that I was able to overcome that. I think that's the scariest thing about an a cappella solo, even with the chorus backing you up. There is no consistently in-tune instrument (ie: a piano) to keep you on pitch.
Moral of the story? SUCK IT, YOU AUTO-TUNED HACKS. Click here!
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
Weeeeell, I might have exaggerated a little bit.
See, this past summer I made a Floppy Gathered Hat to go with my green-gold comfort gown, and it was horrible. It was a pain in the ass to make, and it didn't fit my head right even though I followed the directions exactly, and it looked horrible on me, and I just generally hated it. And of course, if I hated making THAT hat, I must hate making ALL hats.
Well, I have proven myself wrong on that count. I made the famous attifet, and today I completed my first French hood. I didn't hate it. I didn't even get angry. And I almost ALWAYS end up pissed off enough to walk away at some point in the process of making something.
I used the pattern from Margo Anderson's Tudor Lady's Wardrobe. It was altogether quite easy to put together. It ended up being rather time consuming, but this was due in part to some really fussy hand stitching that needed to be done at various points, and in larger part to having to start and stop and start over on several sections because I wasn't sure of the best way to proceed.
This pattern starts out with a crescent of plastic needlepoint canvas to create the "headband" part of the hat. This was called a "paste" back in the day. This is probably because it was originally constructed using pasteboard, which is pretty much exactly what it sounds like...layers of paper pasted together to make something like cardboard. The plastic needlepoint canvas is a better choice because, should one get caught in the rain, the hat will not be ruined because it's full of soggy, paste-y paper.
The next step is to stitch 16 gauge millinery wire around the outside of the paste, so you can bend it into shape. I actually used 16 gauge brass wire from the hardware store...there is no place in the area to get millinery wire that I'm aware of, and I'm reasonably certain a spool of wire from Ace is cheaper than a comparable length of millinery wire from someplace else. Either way, it got the job done.
Saturday, January 16, 2010
Earlier this week I went on a pilgrimage to Janesville in order that I might acquire some additional materials, for Etsy shop merchandise as well as to finish off my attifet.
I found some nice ivory chiffon at Hobby Lobby for 50% off, which was awesome. I also found THE perfect lace. I wanted something simple, but everything else I'd seen looked like it was made from cotton thread and I wanted something a little more upscale.
I cut the chiffon to exactly 1 yard square and hemmed all the edges. That was a joy. There was spray starch involved. Also, were you aware that chiffon is the World's Most Perfect Dog Hair Magnet? It totally is. Especially when it's ivory chiffon and you have black dogs with tons of really long hair. That's your Fun Fact for the day.
Then I went through the laborious process of pinning the lace all way the way around, and mitering all the edges. I lined up the bottom of the lace to just cover the hem stitching, and then machine stitched the lace on. The texture of the lace hides the stitches that hold it on, and the lace itself hides the hem stitches, so it looks altogether quite seamless.
The machine did get a little wonky in several parts as I was sewing the lace on. There were spots where the lace slipped up and the hem stitches showed, which also made the lace edge uneven. So I had to pick out the stitches in those spots and set everything to rights. That was a little time consuming. Eh.
Once that was all done, I lined up one corner of the chiffon veil with the pointed brim of the hat and pinned it in place about 1/2" from the edge. Then I pinned it down along the brim on both sides, down to where the brim meets the rest of the hat. I hand stitched the veil in place, with a tiny stitch through the lace. I fed the needle down in between the two layers of the brim and poked it back up about an inch from the previous stitch, rinse, repeat. That made it so that the veil is securely attached, but there aren't any stitches showing on the inside of the brim. Nice and neat.
And so, without further ado, the long-awaited and much fabled attifet!
So that's done. I bought a little extra lace, and pinned it on the front of the brim, but I didn't like the way it looked...too busy. I thought about putting some pearl beading on there, but decided against that as well. I'm just going to leave it plain. This outfit isn't a noble's outfit. It's more upper class/gentry, so I don't want things too ornamented.
I sewed a plastic hair comb to the inside of the hat to help hold it on, but I quickly realized that this particular piece of headgear is going to require some really specific hair treatment to stay on. I'm not sure if that's just the nature of the beast, or if there is something I could have done to make it fit better.
I will be putting together another one of these in the not too distant future to list in my hopefully soon to be opened Etsy shop.
Monday, January 11, 2010
Firstly, allow me to apologize once again for not posting in 2935879384 years. Holidays, busy, blah blah blah. I haven't been doing much crafting of note anyway.
As you may recall, the hat I made to wear with my green-gold surcoat was evil and had to die. What I really wanted was an attifet, but I couldn't find a pattern for one ANYWHERE. I have been able to find free instructions on how to make pretty much any hat from the Renaissance, but I couldn't find attifet instructions to save my life.
My friend Peggy was able to save the day, however. She has an attifet pattern, and she was kind enough to lend it to me. She has been very patient, because she gave it to me in June, I've seen her twice since then, and I've only just gotten to the finishing stage. I did a mock-up right off the bat, and got the fashion fabric all cut out, but then I ended up putting it aside for various reasons and only just came back to it.
This pattern is pretty straight-forward in all honesty. It only involves 3 pattern pieces...a large circle, a band (you cut two), and a triangle-ish piece which forms the brim (you cut two of these as well). You stick some wire in the brim and there you have it.
Of COURSE I didn't take progress pictures because I never remember to take progress pictures because I am lame. I did, however, take pictures of the hat once it was constructed:
Pretty snazzy, huh? The last touch will be a square yard of some light, lovely fabric trimmed in lace fastened on to be a veil, like this:
I think I will also do something along the edge of the brim...maybe not lace; perhaps some pearls or something.
I have decided that, in order to keep myself busy and to try and make a little money during this period of "Funemployment", I'm going to start an Etsy shop. I'm going try and sell some nice Elizabethan purses and pouches and hats and things. Maybe some smocks and shirts. I don't know if I'm going to get crazy enough to try actual garb...in any event, it'll have me doing something more productive that sitting on the couch, messing around on the laptop and watch Star Trek. :)
Tomorrow I'm going to the fabric store to supplement the supply of stuff I have on hand and start getting some stuff listed. I'm hoping to have a handful of items by the end of the week. Then we'll see what happens.