Hiatus in the challenges, but nr 20: Alternative universe was too good to pass on for a larper with ambitions.
I've recently joined a new set of interconnected LARPs, more or less like several chapters/episodes of the same story, for those of you who don't do LARP. The ongoing storylines and ever more complex characters and plotlines are highly, highly addictive. And it's most definately an alternative universe. Even better: it's one that can be visited. And lived in, if only for a few days.
Trying to keep this short, but the universe would then be the fictional empire of Novion, where the court politics are intricate to say the least. One fairly corrupt empire with four principalities in its corners... Think Game of Thrones meets the Borgias meets Jane Austen. Sort of. Since it's fantasy, dresscode's fairly free. Anything fancy and nobility-like from European 1100s-1600s. So what to do? Possibilities were infinate! Luckily (since I'm bad at making up my mind) there were a few other things to consider:
1. My stash. I really need to use things from my stash before I buy new stuff. I'm short of stashed silk, but I had a thin, shiny herringbone twill wool that I decided I could bling enough to suit a court lady. Because:
2. My character. I've played her four times before and therefore she's already got a "look" of sorts. So far this is based on the fact that she's from the southmost principality and I like Italian: there's already an Italian theme in her wardrobe (as can be seen in this blog). It's also a lot of red. Actually because I had a lot of red in my stash, but oddly fitting for a character who's named after a fire godess, don't you think?
3. The current in-game politics. There's a war going on, as well as possibly several civil wars. In a society where the nobility is intermarried and interrelated to a silly degree, this means that at this stage most characters should expect to have to go into full mourning at any moment. I also know from back-stories and down-time updates from the organisers that my character have been in mourning several times recently. Therefore, lack of actual mourning attire is not easily explained.
4. Since my old gamurra is in red cotton, done before I new a lot about construction and ten years old, I really wanted a new one.
Right. So. The actual project.
I always tend to return to the Allegories of April and May (here April) by Franceso del Cossa, 1476-84 somewhere. There are dozens of gamurra varieties. I decided I really like the round neckline of this one.
The partlet pattern from an earlier challenge seemed to be a good start.
Pieces for the bodice cut out in interlining (single layer for back piece, double layers quilted together for front. Quilting done by machine. I was lazy and in a hurry, ok?).
Interlining then used for cutting the outer fabric.
Outer fabric and interlining sewn together with waxed linen thread.
Lining, same red linen as for the sleeves in the earlier challenge, put in by hand, piece by piece. Lots of pins!
And sewn together with silk. Allowing the stitches to show on the outside saves me a lot of pressing and still having the fabric layers behave in ways I don't want them to.
Then my brain stopped working. The fabric was only 130 cms wide. Normally, I'd used to panels for a skirt and that's it, but here I had to think and it went... well, it didn't. I cried in the facebook group for support, and it came promptly in form of a suggestion that combined the "few panels" and "loooots of panels" solutions I'd already tried out in my head. The final layout:
The bias seam is mid-back and the front seam is theoretically not needed, but since the garmen'ts front laced I needed an opening to get in and out and a seam makes such openings neater.
The layout was transformed to the fabric (do note the very uneven edge! Not my fault!)
And the skirt with all seams done except the front one and the "spare parts" of the extra panels yet uncut.
Running stitches, however small, is really useful to speed up the process of long seams that won't take a lot of strain.
The original inspiration is very clearly box pleated, some other examples in the painting is equally clearly cartridge pleated. I combined box- and knife pleats for the skirt, with some of the knife pleats overlapping.
http://katafalk.wordpress.com/2014/04/06/patternmaking-for-the-kampfrau-dress/ has a lovely step-by-step instruction on how to do hidden lacing by means of an added lacing strip. I shamelessly copied.
It's a really nice technique, but it leaves a very visible seam on the outside.
Added two pieces of cable ties for stability.
The finished strips with a random string for trying the garment on. Needles indicate the places where I'll attach the outer fabric to keep it from opening over the lacing.
I then added polyester velvet ribbon to cover the seams and a trim at the bottom and neckline to make it look like I planned it all along and not just hid the seam. I keep coming back to this portrait for an excuse...
Time to try it on. As I have not other fancy sleeves, I used the sleeves from challenge 17, and I was pleasantly surprised with how little wasp-factor there was. I also took the opportunity to try the whole thing out: camisia, underskirt, gamurra, sleeves, jewellry and an attempt at a fitting hairdo.
It worked. I'm actuall quite pleased. The hairdo suffers from the type of fake hair I've found in my colour. Really, it ought to be just two braids tied around the head, possibly with a headdress as well since the character is married since, what, 17 odd years or so. It's messy as well, but I kind of like it.
Playing around. The black socks should of course have been pretty shoes, but I forgot to put them on. I remembered to add a pocket slit this time, and I'll hopefully have time to make a pocket, too. I need it for my correspondence...
Fun fact: it's a running joke in my small group that this character, rather than I, have the longest neck ever. It's the angle of the photo, obviously, but still - they might be right. I also quite enjoy the fact that it's still earthy colours. From red to yellows and blacks, as opposed to pastels. And it only takes a set of black sleeves (I'm quite fond of the slightly bigger ones of the early 16th century) to make this a mourning dress. Success!