Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Constructing Marguarite's 17th century Embroidered Smock......

For those of you who are constructing a smock along with me, we are on to construction. Some are embroidering all their pieces first, depending on the blackwork pattern....I am staying true to the original c1575-1600 smock held in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, so my next step is to construct the body, so I can have a zillion seams to cover with my powder blue filament silk....YAY! NOT~ I have found embroidering these weensie motifs really challenging, they are so small, and all being the same, sorry to have to admit, but extremely boring to work. So much so, I was elated to stitch seams!

The original smock is made of a fine linen...I am using ramie for this one~ still a 100% natural fiber, and it is so thin and soft....just perfect for this scale I am working. Its basic construction is a rectangle for the front, one for the back, 2 small rectangle pieces that cover over the shoulders, 2 sleeves, and 2 sleeve underarm gussets. That's it~ very simple. I am making mine a little different, because I want it to look like it was pieced from scraps, AND, doing this will give me the lines I want in the front for my embroidery to go over, so I wont have to mark it. The original was indeed embroidered all the way around, but my Marguarite's will only have the vertical embroidery on the front seams.

So first, I am making up my front panel, which consists of 6 narrow widths, once this is finished, I will trim my back piece to the exact same width, and we will be on to the next step. I am using an awesome white Londenderry linen thread weight 100/3, just doing a back stitch, then will trim off one side seam allowance and turn to flat fell them, so there will be no raw edges. If you like, staying true to period, you can also turn and hem the edges of your pieces, then whip them together.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Queen Anne Dollye on eBay this evening & my latest Obsession.........

I listed a special girl on eBay this evening~ you can see her on eBay by following the link in the sidebar to my eBay Specials ;) I also wanted to share my latest obsession with you all~ cause if you know me, you will know I adore bunnies!

Ohhhhh just look at them all! Aren't they just the sweetest lil things? I am so proud of my daughter Tressa www.from-my-hands.blogspot.com ~ she made up the pattern herself and is crocheting like wildfire. She is always making little things to sell at school and such, and I think these are the best things she has made yet. If I had enough money, Id buy them all (yes, she makes me buy them) She is most defiantly taking advantage of me, but honestly, I don't mind Little twins she made me, one with a carrot, the other with a radish. These are much easier to take care of than real bunnies....tho they seem to be multiplying just as quickly...............

Friday, March 18, 2011


A waye up to the attic little dollye lived, always hidden, always alone, longing for a new pet to steal her away... to drefs her and smother her with kifses. Years would pass, she still sat at the sill snug up against and gazing out the wavy panes of glass beyond the cobblestone streets and gardens below. Bound to the olde darke manor houfe, she had weaseled through and carefully repacked each and every box more times than she could remember. She loved the way the wide planke floors creaked softly when her feet patter'd across them. The smell of scent....and soot. She knew every nook and cranny, every crack in the daubed walls....every stick of straw. Her once cunning and fashionable drefs, now long worn through, had been unpick'd and resewn, unpick'd again and cut down and restitched again and again, until only precious bits of the cotton print remains. Her hair is quite long now, and a bit tussled....but why comb it~ there is no one to care if there is a spiders nest within.....and perhaps a spider would make nice company after all?


still and silent she waits,

dreaming to be stolen away and smother'd with kisfes

Monday, March 14, 2011

TDIPT Mercantile update tonight, 7pm CST

Did you all here in the USA, well minus Arizona...remember to set your clocks ahead yesterday? I hope so :) I am so ready for spring! Just a wee little update this evening, one dollye and the very first of my new tiles~ do you see it in the picture above????
Ohh I am certainly addicted to making these~ if I had a kiln, I would be making them in porcelain, (I want some for my bathroom!) but since I don't, I have done them up in mache~ these really are special, and I am so excited to share them with you all. I hand press them from antique springerle cookie molds and presses~ I have been collecting the modern reproductions for quite a few years and they really are special~ all reproductions of early hand carved cookie molds dating back to the 1600's. I hand paint each, and glaze them to make them each unmistakeably 'Diamond K Folk Art'! This one I am offering this evening is a c1820 Beidermeier Garden Ladye, and she is quite large~ almost 4"x6", not including her hanger. These look wonderful hanging on a cupboard door~ I have painted this one to resemble my favorite powder blue Wedgwood.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Lets Start~ a c1600 embroidered smock for Marguarite

I have done alot of research into what sort of smock I want Marguarite to wear under her bodies....must be period correct of coarse, and be able to be worn under a gown or jacket with a low neckline. I love Janet Arnold's books~ she was such a gift to us, and did more for research of early 16th-17th c clothing than anyone else. I am utilizing her Patterns of Fashion, Volume 4 for the smock I am making. Pattern number 71, which is an embroidered smock c1575-1600. I would have liked to use a later period smock, say, 1630's ideally, but couldn't find one in the cut I was looking for~ as in, LOW neckline. This smock is quite full, but I am using a really sheer natural fiber ramie, so I am not worried about any bulk under the bodies. IF you are going to use a linen, I would definitely cut out a few panels in the body, to make it more fitted. Above is a view of the smock as Janet sketched it out~ I will be following the pattern fairly closely, and yes, using this same embroidery motif.
Here you can see that mainly, these early smocks are just comprised of rectangles~ very simple in construction. I cut my pattern from paper, and fitted it on Marguarite, making adjustments for her unique body type~ basically, there is a front and back, 2 sleeves, 2 small bits that go over the shoulders, and 2 square underarm gussets.

Typically the fabric would be embroidered first, then stitched together...but alot of the embroidery is over the seams on this one, so I am embroidering the underarm gussets first, then am going to stitch it all together, and embroidering it last. The most embroidery on this is on the sleeves, and I want to be sure the fit is correct and perfect, before I go spending a ton of time on embroidery that may get put into the trash. I am drawing the motifs on with a lead pencil, which works quite well~ my fingers rub it off, and by the time I am finished with the motif, the lead marks are all gone.

The original smock was embroidered in a salmon color filament silk~ I am color coordinating Marguarites outfit, so picked a nice shade of blue that will look nice with her bodies. I am using soie ovale~ a flat untwisted filament silk, but as you can see, it is quite heavy off the spool~ if you ask most folks they will say that it cant be divided, but I have found that if I fray the end a little with my thumbnail, it separates quite easily into 6 strands...sometimes I get a 7th.

Here is one underarm gusset complete~ each motif takes me about 2.5-3 hours to stitch...ridiculous isn't it?! They are so small, and I am doing a back stitch~ now the original would have been done in a running stitch, as in, if stitching a straight line, worked one direction, then turned, and worked again the the opposite direction to make a perfectly smooth line....but I find my scale and thread just too weensie to do the proper technique. I still get a quite pleasing effect, very delicate with just a hint of color~ am liking it so far!