she who keeps this diary

2003-07-29 - 1:56 p.m.

Pennsic Prep and Ill-Timed Experiments

Pennsic prep does not make for interesting writing. "Yes, today we inflated the air mattress and there were no leaks! Woohoo!"

No. Just not going to rivet anyone's attention.

That's pretty well as exciting as it's been around here. The dehydrator is going nonstop while I make one last monster batch of jerky. The tunics for the Viking are going well. I need to do finishing work (necklines, cuffs, hems), but the major work is pretty well done. I'm picking away at the quilting for a gambeson for the Viking, but that's slow and fussy and I can only stand to work on it for so long before it's just better for everyone that I go do something else.

As I generally do at least once every other year, I started a large experimental sewing project two weeks before war. You would think I would learn.

This time, I am making a mid to late fifteenth-century v-necked gown, and (this is the experimental part) I am doing it from the directions for said gown style in Sarah Thursfield's The Medieval Tailor's Assistant. It's been ... interesting. Her ways of doing things are definitely not the same as mine. It would be fair to say that I find some of her process counterintuitive, and I really wish I didn't have to keep flipping back and forth in the book to go from the information on the gown itself to important corollaries like contrasting collars and cuffs.

Normally I am pretty good at figuring things out from written directions and diagrams, but I had some problems with these. I think I would have liked a little more information about the actual drafting -- as for instance the angle at which the gown flares from the armscye. Lengths at centre front, back and along side seams are nice, but I found I really needed a protractor to lay out the flare of the skirt.

That said, the gown looks pretty good so far. I haven't put the sleeves in yet, but the rest of the structural sewing is done. I think I would like the skirt to be fuller, and I am not 100% sure I actually assembled the collar according to her method, although it works and looks fine, so I guess I shouldn't quibble.

Another quibble: last night I finally caught a rebroadcast of the "Medieval Castle House" episode of the Discovery Channel series "Monster House." Let me get this straight: their "medieval design expert's" qualifications are that he does set design for the Medieval Times restaurant chain? For "Zen House," they got an actual Japanese history professor in on the design phase, but for the Middle Ages, they can't do better than a set designer, and one for a less-than-authentic restaurant chain at that? Ye gods.

verso - recto

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