I’m back and I have middling news on the crafting front.
So I started on the first of December with my most basic and least fancy piece. The chemise that I am making to cover in fake blood and distress so that I can maximise the “I got eaten by a vampire” look I need for this LARP. I thought this would be a good idea as it would help me get into the swing of things and work out any problems before I got started on the fancier pieces that are similar.
This moved a lot quicker than I thought it would. I had scheduled out each step on it’s own so that if I had a bad health day I could just do a small task and then go back to resting. But surprisingly I managed to really speed through a lot of the basic construction tasks. I had already cut out the cotton so I made a back and front collar design that I liked, it’s a lot higher necked than I would normally go for but that is so the fake blood can be more of a feature.
Then I attached the back and front panels together, the panels were cut along the fabric so that the top and bottom are the selvedges so no fraying there! I won’t be bothering to finish the rest of the seams on the dress since it is supposed to look distressed, but having the shoulders on the sturdy side seems like a good idea!
Then I sewed the gores onto the back and front and felt incredibly productive. I only had to sew up the long side seams, attach the sleeves and do the hem. I could potentially finish it all in a day if I really got stuck in!
So yeah, that was when the gold thread arrived from Etsy.
Oh boy, did I get distracted! First, I used teeny tiny size 13 needles to knit up some garters. Something that I am not going to need even slightly, given that I plan on wearing tights, but I just had this image in my head of gold garters next to bright red tights. They were just so perfect for the character and I loved the idea of them. That took Saturday and some of Sunday. At this point I was feeling a bit guilty about not getting much work done, so I figured why not get ahead on some other parts of the project? I can totally make a snood out of this gold thread and have what looks like a beautiful golden aura against my dark hair.
So I got started on making a head band piece. I measured around my head, took off a couple of inches because knitting stretches, and started. This took two days. I sewed it together and put it around my head.
It slipped down.
I had made it too big, so big in fact that I can use it as a belt. And I am not a skinny person so my head to waist measurement is not even slightly similar! No Victorian 20 inch waists here! And honestly, this was gutting. I had built this image in my head of something I was sure I could make and would look spectacular.
So I refused to give up.
I woke up early the next day and spent an hour and a half laying out pieces of thread and pins and trying my best to weave a snood that way.
It didn’t work either.
I was disgusted with everything and gave up to sulk. I had a nap and watched some youtube and started to feel a bit more like crafting later that evening.
But I really didn’t want to go back to the chemise because I was feeling guilty about leaving it half done when it was THE thing I had had scheduled to get done this week. So I decided to do an entirely different thing!
My Supernumeral, or the big collar/capelet thing in iconic Byzantium artwork. This is the piece that will probably be most affected by my Good/Better/Best mentality. The absolute best version of it would be a massive collar with gold embroidery dripping off it, with pearls and gems encrusted in a mosaic style that mimics what the art of the era was like. If that’s going to happen it is going to be in the last couple of weeks when everything else is done, not in the first week when I have already managed to distract myself and get behind.
So I started with the Good standard. I had the fabric cut out already and had hung it over my dress form so that the circle of wool could stretch. I actually wish I had cut the neckline a lot smaller because it ended up stretching quite a lot and it is nearly off the shoulder now! But it was done and I needed to neaten up the edges and get rid of the weird bulges that had formed at the edge. That was done pretty easily.
Next I cut out a matching (plus seam allowance) circle from the beautiful woven gold bird fabric. This was pretty scary as it was the first time I was cutting into this fabric and while it hadn’t cost a lot it was very, very nice and I didn’t want to mess up! So I took my time, used plenty of pins and it turned out OK! Sewing it up wasn’t complicated but did take a lot of time, especially when I got to the task of adding the binding onto the neckline to cover up the fluffy edges. Because by this point the woven fabric was fraying horribly and I had to trim it a couple of times to try and get a handle on it.
But finally all the turning inside out then outide in had been completed and the binding was sewn on with two millimetre stitches that I am very proud to say are nearly invisible! It honestly looks really good. If I magically get a lot of time I’ll be turning the collar upside down and making this fabric a fancy lining, but currently I am pretty damn pleased with how good it looks.
So one thing off the list, even if it isn’t the thing I wanted to finish this week. That’s still pretty good.
And so buoyed up by the thrill of actually finishing something, I went back to my chemise and I am happy to say that the long side seams are done. That felt like it went pretty fast, it was a relief to not have to do a two millimetre whip stitch through four layers of sturdy fabric! Have I mentioned that I love running back stitch? Ever since I found out about it I have been so grateful that it exists and that I can minimise my repetitive strain injuries by not having to pull thread through with every stitch.
I’ve also sewn up the hems on my sleeves and had a look at what will need doing to attach them once the bigger hems there are done. The sleeves are a little bigger than the space I have for them so a little bit of gathering will be needed, but I have purposefully made the arm holes over sized so I don’t have to deal with extra gores and such. A little bit of gathering at the top should add some interest, but over all I don’t think it will be a horrible task to get them in place. Though I will have to work out how to do the inside out sleeve thing to get the seams going the right way. I had a practise and did it wrong so luckily it was just pins at that point, but hopefully I should be able to knock that out tomorrow at the latest.
I’ll need to hang the dress up for at least a night so that the hem can stretch if it wants, I might do that tonight even if I don’t get the sleeves on. It doesn’t need them to do that, after all.
And then once the sleeves are on and the hem is done there is only one thing that needs doing – covering it in fake blood!
I am desperate to get to this, I might even make a live stream as I do it so that the internet can see me climbing around in my parents’ downstairs bathroom with a bottle of fake blood! I did some experiments earlier this week to see what the two types of fake blood I have look like once they have been given a chance to dry, and a squeezy tomato ketchup bottle came from Amazon today to facilitate my dripping.
Yeah, I am super looking forward to this. When I get around to it I’ll link the video here so that people from the future can take a look and see what I got up to.
And if I got in trouble for splashing fake blood all over the white tiles in the bathroom.
So over all I feel like I did an OK amount of work. Well no, here’s the thing. The knitting took forever, but it isn’t going to be useful which is incredibly annoying. But sometimes a lot of crafting is working out what won’t work as well as what will. And I definitely did that this week. Aside from the knitting I got most of my chemise done and the base version of the collar, so yes, when looked at with all of that included I did get a lot done. Angsting over the days I spent knitting won’t help so I need to move on and just accept that I had fun watching Youtube and doing a task that, if nothing else, has given me two ribbon sized bits of gold knitting and a belt that might come in handy. Also next time I go to knit I will probably be a lot faster since I won’t be using such teeny tiny knitting needles again any time soon!
Next I need to finish the chemise and cover it in blood, and after that I can move onto the Dalmatica which is the show stopping over dress for my Byzantine character.
See you next time and stay safe out there,