12079178_639528589483906_6331210235326598054_nWelcome to Madame Perronnelle de Croy’s home on the web. Within the SCA I play a middle 12th century Frenchwoman from the northwest or Brittany region. This is my collection of esoteric knowledge and experiences within that august organization.  Please feel free to look around, comment, and learn. While the offerings are meager at this time I am hoping to continue to add to this collection as time goes on. If you have any questions or input please feel free to contact me using the “Contact Me” link in the top right corner. Thank you and enjoy!

Categories: Uncategorized | Comments Off on Welcome!

Bergental Baronial Championship – A&S Edition

Maybe I Will…

This past weekend was the Barony of Bergental‘s Baronial Championship, an event which I generally look forward to because it’s a lot like “Old Home” week. It’s mostly a laid back event and  I get to see several of my friends and have a really nice day. This year I helped put together the dayboard or lunches and had both kids with me so it was a little busier than usual. Fortunately, the kids had friends to play with and they kept themselves busy while I helped in the kitchen which worked out nicely.

There was another reason I was a little more stressed out than usual at this particular event. I had decided, on a whim and at the last minute, to enter my Skjoldehamn hood into the Arts and Sciences Competition. This was the first time that I entered into any A&S competition in over 12 years. Why? Bad critiques. I don’t just mean someone saying, “This isn’t what we’re looking for,” but rather “It’s childish,” or “This sucks.” These are legitimate critiques that I was given. There was no constructive criticism or “This is good but you should work on this, too.” No. Unfortunately, it wasn’t just once either but rather three or four times over the course of five or six competitions. I won’t go into to more but they were experiences that decidedly put me off entering them again. Until this past weekend.

Baronial Championship Requriements

This past weekend was a fairly informal competition as far as A&S competitions go. It was more about the process, choices, and growth that happened during the course of the project. I’ve included the announcement details below:

Come, those who shine brightest beneath Bergental’s light! Your Barony asks you to bring your art, bring your research, bring your science, and shine. This year’s Luminary will be chosen among the stars of our populace, each bringing proof to our eyes of the skill of their hands and the journey the arts and sciences have brought to the individual. We shine most in the growth our path brings, and that is the focus of this year’s Luminary tour. It is our hope to choose from among our populace a new Luminary champion of the Arts and Sciences, who will showcase not only skill in their chosen field, but also how pursuing this project has helped the light within them blaze and grow!

Participants are asked to provide a written process, the more involved in the step by step decisions, the better. Each participant may provide photographs of the creation process, research, failures, and decision points along the journey, showing the way they have grown in the project. Also displayed is the project as it stands now, completed or not as it is at the time of the Champion’s event.


After talking with a few people I decided on Friday night, before the event, that I would do it. This was almost as good as being on home turf. There were high chances that I knew the judges and figure that it would be a good time to get real feedback.  I had no paper written and it was 10 PM. I a little under two hours I cranked out my paper, with pictures, and citations. Not bad. I stuck it into my basket with the hood and forgot about it until the next day.

My hood on display at the Baronial Championship

My bare-bones display…

The Day Of

When I got to the site I went to go put my hood on display right away. I did it before I could chicken out. I did not have a very elaborate display, to say the least. My research, growth, and steps I was able to condense into a simple two-page paper. I taped it to the table becuase of the wind. I even had to use rocks to hold down the hood! See….I can be period! Looking at the other displays I kind of figured I would wind up at the bottom of the pack but at least I would get good feedback. This is especially true since part of the judging would be done according to the new rubric set out by Master Phillip, the East Kingdom A&S Minister.

Fast forward about 8 hours and Baronial court is going on and I get called up for 3rd place. You could have bowled me over with a feather. The feedback, however, was really great. It told me what I did well and what I could improve on. Most of the items on the “to-fix” list were minor, like forgetting to write down why I cut the material the way I did or why I chose to machine stitch the base. These are easy enough to fix and, in fact, I already have in my write-up.

Overall this was a really great competition. There was plenty of feedback and the use of the new rubric was really awesome. I liked how it told you what the judges saw and also gives you an insight into what they may have missed. I actually gained confidence and maybe I’ll enter something else soon!

Categories: Arts & Sciences |

First Scroll Assignment & Annual Pennsic Prep

Back at the end of April I was asked if I thought I’d be up for taking my first scroll assignment. I was more than a little nervous since these tend to me more geared toward the recipient and it’s held up in court for everyone to see. It did not help that my previous experience with submitting things to Arts & Sciences competitions have not gone well.

Illuminated page from Gospel of John

Gospel Book
England, 1051-1064
MS M.708 fol. 67r
Morgan Library

Bolstered by my teacher’s confidence I accepted the assignment and had to do a bit of research before I found something that I thought might fit the bill for my 11th Century Anglo Saxon recipient. I stole a simple frame with a fair bit of shading work and gold application from the Gospel of John, at left, and used it to frame the device, blazon, and signatures.

The scroll work was interesting and I have to admit to repainting a couple of the swirls a couple of times before I felt it was acceptable. I was so paranoid that I actually did a few test drafts of some of the swirls and shading to get it how I liked and even then I ended up repainting. I am a bit of a perfectionist, even if it isn’t period.

Schminke Aqua Bronze

Schminke Aqua Bronze

In the end my completed portion came out quite nice and I was pleased. My next item on my to-do list is to try playing with some shell gold. For this project I used the Schminke Aqua Bronze Rich Pale Gold. Since I’m still a baby illuminator and new, I chose this option since it was cheaper and something I already had on hand. Pennsic’s right around the corner though so I may try to pick up some shell gold there to try out.

Pennsic prep is underway and my sewing room looks like it has exploded. No real surprise since it’s what happens every year pre-Pennisc but I always wish I could skip that part of Pennisc prep. It’s inevitable though. Usually two weeks before I get ready to hit the road, I’ll discover two to three items in my wardrobe (at least) that need replacing or repair. I try to keep it all clean and orderly but it doesn’t always work out and I end up having to put away a bigger mess when I get home. Oh well. Here’s to the crazy Pennsic prep season. I can’t wait to see you all there!

Categories: Arts & Sciences, Illumination | Tags: , , , |

A Study of Whipcords

In my last post and the one before, some time ago, I talked about how I made the Whipcord Bobbins. Since then I’ve made up a number of braid lengths and have learned a few things.


I typically make up my braids with the size 10 cotton crochet supply that you find at your average craft store or online. The desired thickness of my finished braid will dictate how many strands I wind on to each bobbin. It’s important to note that the same number of threads needs to be wound onto each bobbin otherwise you have a very lumpy and uneven braid.

I have found that a single strand of the afore mentioned size 10 crochet cotton wound onto each bobbin makes a nice enough braid but it’s simply too thin for most things like clothing laces or medallion cord. The only thing it’s really good for is decoration, to couch down, or something similar.

Comparison of viking whipcord thickness

Comparison of thicknesses. 1. Black, white, and yellow cord is 2 strands per bobbin. 2. Green and white cord is 3 strands per bobbin.

I find that two strands on each bobbin makes for a very versatile cord. It’s the perfect size and weight for a medallion cord, clothes lacing, or draw stings. Three strands is probably my favorite size. It’s a bit big for a medallion cord, unless of course the medallion is of a heavier or larger variety than normal.

Whipcords made with four or five strands per bobbin are larger but easy to tangle when winding onto the bobbin. These larger cords are good for belts and such.

Naturally, the thicker the yarn or string, the thicker the end result will be. So using size 3 crochet yarn  would give you different sizes. I don’t typically have size 3 yarns on hand so unfortunately, I have nothing to show for comparison.


As with any kind of cord making or weaving, the amount of yardage you start with won’t be the same amount that you end with. In general I find that, depending on strands per bobbin, I will loose somewhere between 3/4 of a yard (2 strand per bobbin)  to a whole yard (3 strands per bobbin) on the end product.

As far as washing these laces is concerned and the shrinkage that might occur there I don’t have any idea. I’ve yet to need to wash them or washed anything with them couched onto it so I can’t tell you how much it might shrink under that circumstance.

Next Project

My next project is to make up some cord that will go on my skjoldehamn hood. The hood that was found and is documented had two cords, and were sewn on just above or below ear height. The left-hand cord is fully preserved and is roughly 6cm or 2.5in long with a tufted end, that is covered with a little piece of green woven fabric (Løvlid, 2009; 48). It was braided with two pairs of olive-green, and two pairs of red-brown threads in a clockwise spiraling pattern (Løvlid, 2009; 47). This would make it look like a version of the green and white cord in the image posted above. I’ll be interested to see when it comes time to sewing the cord on, what the attachment point will look like when I’m done.


1Løvlid, Dan Halvard, Nye tanker om Skjoldehamnfunnet, Masters Thesis in Archeology, Bergen University (2009)

Categories: Arts & Sciences, Whipcord | Tags: , , , , , |

Bobbins, Needles, and Yarn

I just realized last night that I haven’t published anything on here in over four months….oops! Life often has a way of rushing past you even when you try your best to hold and keep things in control, it doesn’t always work. Since it’s been a while I thought I would catch up on a few things:

Whipcord Bobbins

They’re amazing! I made my own this past June (see this post on how-to) with some basic supplies ordered from Amazon.com or purchased at your local craft store. So far I’ve only done things in size 10 crochet cotton but it’s been a really good learning material. So far I’ve made a ton of medallion cord and a nifty Obi belt for Mistress Eleanore McCarthaigh. (Photo coming forthwith)

whipcord bobbins

Completed whipcord bobbins.

The medallion cords are simple, one thread per bobbin. For the Obi belt I doubled up and used two lengths of thread per bobbin which made for a nice solid cord belt of about three and half yards. That was a last minute make and I simply knotted the end but I think I’d like to add a large bead to each end of it of jade, carnelian, or pierced metal…something to give it a bit more bling.

The bobbins have a really nice heft to them and are perfectly heavy enough to provide the necessary tension for the cords which is awesome. I’ll be interested to see how the weight affects the work up of other types of thread. Unless I’m using something really thick, I don’t think the bobbins would ever need to be heavier but my main concern is working with thinner threads or wool. It’ll have to be an experiment I tackle in my copious amounts of spare time.


I’ve been working on expanding my stitch repertoire since I began learning a couple years ago. I learned Oslo and Mammen at the Pennsic before last and I’ve completed one fingerless mitt in the Mammen stitch. Unfortunately, it wound up a bit too small so I’ll be starting a new set. I’ve since begun a hat in Mammen stitch which is nearly finished. I’ve also begun a hat in Telemark stitch which is flatter and more densely packed than the others I currently know.

top view comparison of telemark and mammen stitches.

Top view comparison of the Mammen (top) and Telemark (bottom) stitches.

The picture to the right is the top view of the the Mammen stitch hat and the Telemark stitch hat. Below that I included a picture of the top view to see the difference in the thickness of the stitches. I tried to get a good shot with a ruler but that failed. Just for comparison through the Mammen stitch comes out at about 1/4 inch thick where the Telemark stitch comes out at only an 1/8 of an inch.

I’ve learned two new stitches to add on to thing  thanks to the Neulakintaat website and YouTube videos.

Comparing Mammen and Telemark stitches

Comparing thicknesses. Top: Mammen stitch Bottom: Telemark stitch

The wonderful lady that does this explains in Finnish and English so there’s the added benefit of seeing things done twice and done slowly. She also has a number of videos on how to start, adding, and decreasing stitches. I’ve listed the four stitches that I know below with links to the relevant video tutorial and a side note: the figure 8 starting trick is really phenomenal as it tightens down and doesn’t create an unsightly loop at the beginning like the knotted loop start that I had been using.

Inkle Weaving

The woolen inkle band that has been on my loom for a while now is nearly done. I’m about three quarters of the way through. I had forgotten how sticky wool can be. I can only be glad that the wool is a simple inkle pattern instead of a card woven one. I’ve never done card weaving with wool and I’m not so keen to give it a try after this and remembering how sticky it is.

Future Projects

Beyond finishing both hats that I have going, I hope to start and finish one fingerless mitt for myself before Christmas with the goal of finishing the second one before Valentine’s Day.

My sewing room is still not quite back into fully functioning order after having everything just dumped inside after my last trip. I have a lengthy list but I’ll be happy if I can finish just two or three before Christmas on that front. I’m currently jobless again so here’s hoping that my motivation won’t go down the drain.


Categories: Arts & Sciences, General, Inkle Weaving, Naalbinding, Video, Whipcord | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

Whipcord Bobbins

Once upon a Pennsic I was walking down by the merchants and going back to camp using the walk by main gate. There were the usual children laying on the grass, plying their art, and enjoying the shade. Then there was woman standing with string on old-school laundry pins hanging from a tree and it was something I hadn’t seen before. Since I’m fascinated by all string things I went over and asked what she was doing. That was my introduction to Whipcording or Viking Whipcording.

It’s been a several years since then and I still play with little laundry pin bobbins and use them for youth activities but get easily frustrated when I’m trying to do it by myself. There just isn’t enough heft to those little bobbins to really get a good momentum going if you’re passing it between two people. I also feel like the little bobbins don’t put enough tension on the string but that’s just my opinion. So like any good crafty person I began to research. My internet digging turned up a couple of options but one was almost completely out of the question. I could either:

  1. Purchase them: The bobbins were available though some sellers on Etsy and the like but were in the 60-70$ range. *Not* an option for me.
  2. Make them: Far more realistic and I was able to buy the parts I needed off amazon for under 15$ . PERFECT! (I’ve linked to the products in the How-to below!)

My searching also brought me to Master Richard Wymarc’s page of artifacts. His class handout for making a set of bobbins (PDF Handout) was what I followed when I made my own and he was really specific with the parts list which helped a lot! There are a few discrepancies between his list and mine because I couldn’t find the exact items he called for so I had to do some substitutions such as a 2.5 in doll head instead of a 2.25 in head. I also didn’t want to use the drill since the kids were asleep so there’s no hole in the base of my candlestick. So here’s how I made mine with pictures.

Whipcord Bobbin How-To

whipcord bobbin

Completed whipcord bobbins seated in their cups and waiting for glue to set.


2.5 IN Wood Doll Head (x4)
1 IN Dowel Cap (x4)
3 IN Wood Candlestick (x4)
Toothpicks (beacuse I didn’t have a dowel that fit)
Wood Glue
Damp Paper Towel (To wipe fingers off and excess glue!)


whipcord bobbin

Dowel cap filled with broken toothpick pieces and glue.

1. Put a good layer of wood glue on the flat part of the doll head (large sphere) and then press the base of the candle stick on to the sphere. The glue should come out a bit. You want it to look like frosting on a cake. As a result a nice even line of glue should touch the top and bottom pieces to make a good seal. If it’s messy use a finger to smear it all the way around to create the seal. Wipe off any glue drips with the damp paper towel.

2. Sit it in a cup (I used a plastic shot cup leftover from some party) and wait for the glue to dry.

3. Measure the depth of the cup in the top end of the candlestick with a tooth pick. Mark 3/8 IN more than that and break the toothpick. See if the dowel cap will still sit solidly on top of the candlestick with no space between the two. (This may take some finessing so take your time.)

whipcord bobbin

Candlestick cup filled with glue with the dowel cap assembly ready to go in.

4. Break or cut more toothpicks until the hole of the dowel cap is full.

5. Pull the toothpicks out and put a large drop of glue in and put the toothpick segments back in. Squirt a bit more glue into the candlestick cup and insert the toothpick end of the dowel cap assembly into the candlestick cup.

6.The cap should be touching the rim of the candlestick cup and the glue should gush out a bit to adhere to both wooden pieces. I also smeared my finger along the join with additional glue to ensure the hold. Again, wipe up glue drips with the damp paper towel.

7. Let sit for 24 hours to let all the glue set.

Categories: Arts & Sciences, Whipcord | Tags: , , , , |

Card Weaving – Making Cards

Some time between one event and another a week later I managed to misplace all 80 of my cards for tablet weaving. The particular set I lost was purchased (my first set) that still had some life in them so I was sad to loose them but it’s not the end of the world. With my wool weaving project almost done I thought I ought to get on track and make a new set for the next project I want to warp up.

What is Tablet Weaving?

weaving tablets

Weaving tablets or cards in different shapes.

I’m going to start with a brief explanation since I know there are a few people reading that don’t know. Tablet weaving is old and dates back at least to the 6th century. The greatest find regarding tablet weaving was found in the Oseberg ship burial from Norway, dating to about 850 AD. In it, a tablet weaving loom with fifty-two threaded cards, a partially woven band, and a number of other tablet woven bands were found.

Tablet weaving uses cards (historically made from bone, wood, or metal) that come in a number of shapes with holes in the corners through which warp threads are passed through. How the cards are threaded help dictate the patterns with string going into the hole from the left and coming out on the right being “S” threading and from right to left being “Z” threading. Patterning is a whole other topic so I’ll just stop here for now. Turning the cards is like raising and lowering heddles in usual loom  weaving.

Making Cards

The easiest way to make cards, at least for me, is to find an old deck of playing cards. If you have two candidate packs pick the more rigid of the two as you may be able to use them more than once. Do not use solid plastic cards. Making holes in those require a drill and are prone to shredding threads when weaving.

Gather your deck of cards, a round hole puncher, pen/marker, and cutting implement. My tool of choice is a paper cutter that has a neat corner-rounding thing which helps.

After gathering your tools the next step is to sort though your deck. My deck was attacked by my two-year old at some earlier date so I need to go through and make sure the cards are free of rips, chew marks, etcetera. No, I’m not joking. Also discard any that are too bent or crumpled. These don’t tend to stay rigid enough to weave with.

card making

Ripped card NOT suitable for use.

I’ve added a photo below of a card that did not make the cut.
The next step is to make up a template that you can use to make the other cards but the over all making process is very similar.

  1. Measure and mark the square to cut and the hole placement.
  2. Cut the card into a square.
  3. Punch holes
  4. Round corners (so that they won’t snag during weaving) 



Making The Card Pattern

To measure and mark the card take one of the other cards and make an L – shape with the cards putting link in the picture to the right. Mark the edge and remove the top card.

Next, cut along that line and round the corners. If you have a corner rounder, great! If not do this with scissors.

Measuring and marking for a square.

Measuring and marking for a square.

Rounding corners.

Rounding corners.

Cutting the card.

Cutting the card.







Now you have a nice, square card with rounded corners. The next step is to draw an X on it. Use a ruler as this will be the guide for the holes you will punch in the next step.

Card blank with rounded corners.

Card blank with rounded corners.

"X" marks the spot or spots...

“X” marks the spot or spots…

Holes puched...a little crooked.

Holes puched…a little crooked.









Measure in a little over a 1/4 inch along each line and mark it. Center your hole punch on the mark and punch out the hole. You can see mine are a little off but it’s not the end of the world. Some people swear by marking a circle on top of the X. I find that the holes are too close to the edge for comfort and, if I’m making these on the fly, I don’t usually have a compass to make the circle with.

This card now becomes your template and you mark all the other cards using this one. This means that you do not need to mark each one with the X and measure the distance for your holes. A shortcut, if you will. When all of the cards are done I do something that helps me know what turn I’m on. I’m a visual person so I color the edges of my cards following a simple rule:

The colors go in alphabetical order and if one is not turned with the rest there is a better chance that I will post it before it goes too far. Some people will clip a corner of the card for the same use. I find this a little faster for myself.

A = Blue

A = Blue

B = Green

B = Green

And voila! You have cards. There is one caveat to these cards. These will be good for (at best) three uses. Depending on what you’re using for fiber and how tight it needs to be tensioned will dictate how many uses you will get out of these.




 C = Red

C = Red

D = Yellow

D = Yellow


I do not recommend using these to tablet weave sewing thread (yes, people do it) it will rip them up. Other than that, these are great to use as long as you don’t expect them to last forever. So if you just want to try it out or you’re in a pinch, I hope these instructions help!



Collingwood, Peter. 1982. The Techniques of Tablet Weaving. Watson-Guptill Publications, New York.

Categories: Arts & Sciences, Tablet Weaving | Tags: , , , , |

Weaving With Wool

While I haven’t finished my post on fitting my daughter’s Eura dress I thought I should get this post out while it’s still fresh in my mind! I also have an update coming along about the upgrade to my donut hat as well which I had discussed before but was missing a curved needle to finish.

Loom from Egill's Woodstuffs

Loom from Egill’s Woodstuffs

It’s been a while since I got my loom warped and actually have done some weaving. A couple of weeks ago I found a forgotten goldenrod hangerock or Norse apron dress that was partially finished. I thought I may finish it in time for the coronation of Kenric and Avelina here in the East Kindgom of the SCA. It’s happening this Saturday. True to form I couldn’t just hem it and call it done. NO. I got the brilliant idea to wave some trim and add stitching to make it a little more finished looking. So out came my wonderful loom. Did I mention it’s amazing? It does about 15 FEET or 5 YARDS of inkle woven trim (give or take a bit). I got it from one of my favorite vendors: Egill’s Woodstuffs. You can find him on the Book of Faces too. It’s solid and works beautifully. Not to mention Egill is super reliable when it comes to standing behind his products.

8/2 Jaggerspun Main Line Wool F

8/2 Jaggerspun Main Line Wool F

So I decided to weave and in wool no less. I fiddled a bit with the pattern I wanted but in the end I used a simple design. A good place to play with this is the Pattern Generator located at the Carolingian Realm. It’s a simple plain weave generator and allows you play with colors and produces a swatch and threading diagram for you. Very handy actually. So I decided that with the wool that I had from White Wolf and Phoenix  is a 2/8 (2 ply of size 8) Jaggerspun Main Line that 25 threads would be enough for a half inch band. Thanks to the pattern generator I was able to come up with a blocks and ladder sort of arrangement that I like using the approximation of colors I had on hand.

Swatch rendering from the Pattern Generator

Swatch rendering from the Pattern Generator


Inkle weaving is blocks and lines for the most part. Using the threading diagram provided by the pattern generator I warped the loom. The threading diagram is rather plain but as long as you take care to remember which ones to heddle it’s not a problem.  Depending on what you are using as a loom it can add varying difficulty to your warping. If you look at mine at the top of the page the first goes over the top and the other goes  under it. The ones that go over are the ones that get heddled in my case.


Threading Diagram provided by the Pattern Generator at Carolingian Realm.

Then, to begin weaving and to leave out the knots and things, I use a small piece of cardboard or, in this case, a business card.

Several passes of the shuttle with the business card spacer.

Several passes of the shuttle with the business card spacer.

After about six or seven passes with my shuttle I remove the card and proceed as normal. The one thing I had forgotten about weaving with wool is just how “sticky” wool can be, especially this variety. I am being cautious about how tight I pull my tension bar and how hard I’m packing each shed but over all it’s going well and I’m moving right along.


A thought just occured to me….If I have time after I finish this maybe I’ll do a short run of something wider to put on the center panel of my over dress below the braided stitch that I used to hem the top edge. For Saturday….sure, I can do that!


The current progress:

Current progress...about 2 feet.

Current progress…about 2 feet.



Categories: Inkle Weaving | Tags: , , , , , |

Donut Hat Improvement – pt. 1

Houppelande as worn at the East Kingdom Fall Coronation 2015.

Houppelande as worn at the East Kingdom Fall Coronation 2015.

A shot time prior to the Fall Coronation here in the East Kingdom, I made a houppelande to wear for the occasion. It’s not my best work but I think it’s a good piece of work for a first attempt. The belt, collar, and lining and hat were all made from remnants and small pieces. That being said, it is rather plain. The donut hat in particular is very plain and I had been hoping to finish the half henin that I’m making but since it’s been taking a back seat to the garb upgrades and embroidery projects that I’ve had on deck for the past several months.

During my research on houppelandes I came across this picture to the right.  It shows a donut-type hat with some kind of flower and leaf motif twisting around it. I suppose it could have been embroidered or even woven into the material used but given the raised nature of the depiction I would like to think it was a separate band sewn on to the hat.

Let me back track a little bit. The donut itself is not difficult to make. The general consensus is that they are simple tubes of fabric stuffed and seen together. My rectangle was approximately 5 inches wide by 24 inches long, allowing for 1/2 in seam allowance on both edges. I stuffed it with left over scrap fabric since I didn’t have any batting and I’m all about recycling.

Jacopa della Quercia, c.1405 Ilaria del Carretto

Jacopa della Quercia, c.1405
Ilaria del Carretto

Note: If you choose to use scraps of fabric to stuff your roll or donut be aware that it will be a little harder to get an evenly stuffed look. If you are looking for perfection, this is not the stuffing material that you want to use. 

I’m not a huge flower person so I went looking through the box of trims and things that I have to see if I could come up with something that could work. What I found was some plain double fold burgundy bias tape and a length of  plastic crafting pearls. Not super great but enough to pass the 10-foot rule. I hand sewed them on since the machine stitching would have been glaringly obvious.


Craft pearls hand stitched on double fold bias tape.

Something else that will make this project a bit more difficult will be that my donut has been stuffed and the ends already sewn together. In retrospect this would have been much easier to do if it had not been stuffed and put together already. Since it is and I got it to fit just right I’m loath to take it apart to put trim on it. I think I may have to break out a curved needle for this.


I’ll try to post my progress a little later this week, though I think there will be a lot of cursing stitching this on.


Categories: Garb | Tags: , , , |

Eura Underdress – The Family Look Pt. 4

I’ve finally gotten around to putting my daughter’s dress together. I apologize in advance for slightly blurry pictures. I took them with my phone and for whatever the reason I couldn’t get a clear shot when I was putting the thing together. All of these are thumbnails. You can click on them to see them in better detail.


First I have to address the need to wash fabric before cutting. On one of the Facebook groups that I follow some recently asked if it was really necessary to wash and iron fabric before drawing the pattern and cutting. The answer is a resounding YES. For the reasons behind this, see this post on care and use of fabric. Wash and iron the fabric, you’ll thank yourself later. Another note while I’m here: I tend to do a bobbin thread of a different color. This is left over from my theater days. If you had to take something apart you wasted less time hunting for the thread. So I do have a pink thread for top stitching and a cream thread for the bobbin. The fabric is a stash remnant from someone in my local group. She was cleaning out her stash and came up with wool and linen remnants. It smelled a little like moth balls but I was able to wash that out easily. (More on that here)



Dress layout (Sleeve to the left, torso to the right)

I began with the layout of my daughter’s Eura dress. As I said in the previous post, I wasn’t too careful about length on the torso since I’m planning to tuck it up anyways.  It’s important to note that the material is folded in half, end to end. The full piece of fabric is 42 inches long and  45 inches selvage to selvage.


Always double check your measurements and don’t forget to add seam allowance to the body measurements. A 1/2 inch seam allowance is standard for the modern fashion industry and fine for adults whose body weight doesn’t fluctuate. For children and for myself I tend to use 5/8 inch. It allows you to let out the seam as the kids grow, which is useful.


Eura dress

The dress with pieces laid out in their proper places.

Once I’ve double checked it all, I cut the pieces apart. Three cuts and I have all the pieces for the dress. Its part of the reason I love this pattern. I took the pieces and laid them out just to make sure everything looks right before I start to sew it together. The two sleeves meet in the middle of the torso and overlap while one of the gores is running up the left side of the torso and underarm of the left sleeve.


    1. Hem the widest part of the sleeve.I cheat when hemming and use a hemming “board” or piece of card stock with lines on it marking a narrow width of 1/4 inch, fashion standard of 1/2 inch, and costumer’s standard 5/8 inch.For something like this I can simply iron 1/4 inch hem, fold, and iron 1/4 inch again and I won’t need to pin the thing before I sew it.
      Using a hemming board, first fold.

      Using a hemming board, first fold.

      This is really handy and if you have spray starch handy you can hem even larger things this way. It is faster and nine times out of ten it means I can whip it through the machine without having to worry about a single pin. That’s always a bonus to me. Since I made such a narrow hem on this my stitching is only 1/8 of a inch. 

    2. Hem the wrist portion. I don’t happen to have a picture of this because as it happens my wrist is on the selvage. I’m not going to make more work for myself than necessary.But! This is when it should be done if you are using a machine. Hemming wrist openings by had isn’t hard but it’s also not one of the things I tend to want to spend time on. If you wait until the sleeve is closed you won’t be able to do it by machine because the opening will be too narrow.
      Hemming board. Fold 2, encasing the raw edge.

      Hemming board. Fold 2, encasing the raw edge.

      1. **A side note: Gores typically extend to the wrist but since I didn’t want to do any unnecessary stitching I ended the gore early. See Bleow.**
    3. Attach the sleeve to the torso portions. Find the center of each torso piece and mark it. Next take the widest hemmed edge and (the part that will make the V) and place it right side to right side, just to the opposite edge of the direction the sleeve is going in. If you look at the dress pieces laid out in the picture earlier on: the sleeve going off to the left is placed just to the right of the center mark.The right sleeve is placed just to the left of the center mark.
    4.  Next add the gores. I tend to add them from the hem to the wrist. I like having a roomy skirt and usually I don’t need any additional room in the sleeve past my elbow so I taper the gores to reflect that. I did this with my daughter’s as well. You can see this in the picture below.
    5. Hem it. Now because this particular dress stretched from selvage to selvage I didn’t have to hem it. This is a simple added bonus in this case. It means I will have extra length and I may end up having to add another tuck.
      Tapered gore so that it ends before the wrist opening.

      Tapered gore so that it ends before the wrist opening.

      It’s not the end of the world though since I will likely get additional life out of the garment.


The dress is complete but I haven’t had a chance to pop it over my daughter’s head and see how the length is. There will be another post I suppose with the finished product. I do have more pictures of smaller details below.



The sleeves attached to the front and back torso pieces.


Narrow hems pressed and ready to be stitched.


Narrow hem with cream bobbin and pink top stitch.

Categories: Garb, Kids Garb, Norse Garb | Tags: , , , |

Fabric Care and Preparation

This post stem from a post that I recently saw com up on one of the Facebook groups that I follow. The question was whether or not fabric should be washed before being cut. I tend to be very picky about my fabric care and preparation.

The idea of not washing it and then I had to stop and consider: everyone is new at some point and not everyone has grown up sewing. To that end I’ve thought I would spit out my general practices for fabric care made from natural fibers such as wool, linen, and cotton.


First I have to address the need to wash fabric before cutting. New (or even new-to-you) fabric should always be washed on the hottest setting and dried the same to get all of the sizing out of the fabric.

Sizing? What’s that? The sizing substance is added to fabric before the weaving of the fabric to reduce fiber breakage during the process out. The sizing can also cause the fabric to be scratchy and stiff and no one likes that. In addition some fabrics have a tendency to shrink after washing (or de-sizing). The last thing anyone wants is to put time and effort in making something only to find out after the first wash that your clothing doesn’t fit.

With wool you need to be a tad more careful. Washing should be done only in warm or cool water and it shouldn’t be dried in a dryer unless your dryer has a ambient air/air dry setting. Even then you can expect a little shrinking but blocking, pulling the fabric back into shape, can help this.

Pre-shrunk fabric is not exempt. I’ve learned this one the hard way. Don’t assume that any preshrunk fabric is not going to shrink. NEVER ASSUME. It can come back to bite you.


What to Wash With

For the initial washing most any gentle detergent is fine. I happen to use Dreft (laundry soap for children) but anything without bleach is good. It does a great job at getting the sizing out and really is just a mental thing for me.

To make natural fibers last longer though I do successive washes with an all-in-one shampoo and conditioner. I happen to have several half empty bottles of Aveeno baby wash/shampoo that I am using up. If you don’t have anything in the house you can pick from anything on the supermarket shelf. You even have your choice of scents.

Why shampoo? Shampoo is much more gentle than most laundry detergent, for one, and works just as well as detergent to get things clean. Secondly, because these are natural fibers, the combined conditioner makes the fabric softer, much nicer to the touch.

Stains and Problem Spots

Moth Balls: I have been gifted wool and linen before or have found them but they smell like moth balls. You want to use it but you can’t get past the smell. It’s okay! You can get rid of it.

  • 2 Parts vinegar to 1 part baking soda
  • Wash on the hottest setting
  • Wash one more time with soap.

If the smell persists do another hot wash with the soda and vinegar.

Grease: These stains can often be the toughest to take out. The bulk of the ones I  tend to have to deal with are cooking grease stains. Oil, fat, etcetra. There are a couple of things that work well.

  • Chalk – plain, white classroom chalk rubbed into the offending stain will remove the majority of things and it is gentle on fabric.
  • Dawn Dish soap – old school blue dawn dish soap is fantastic. They use it to remove oil from birds and animals caught in oil spills so getting grease out of clothing is easy as pie. I recommend putting several drops onto the stain, rubbing it in, and letting it sit for a bit for optimum results.
  • Hydrogen Peroxide & Dawn – For the toughest grease stains (and just about anything else) this is a miracle worker. 2 Parts hydrogen peroxide to 1 part dawn. The mix will turn white/clear which is normal. I keep it in a spray bottle for easy use. Before any use, test a small area where it won’t be noticed. I haven’t run into any reactions and the only thing I’ haven’t tested it on is silk. Pre-treat the stain and let sit for a while. For more severe stains let it sit overnight.

YellowingThis tends to happen with whites or near white garments. Usually it’s due to oils. Veils, barbettes, and other items that touch the face and armpits are prone to this. My solution?

  • Hydrogen Peroxide & Dawn – It’s better than Oxi Clean and I’ve had a lot of success in using this mix (see above) to bring my veils back to new.


Ironing is nearly as important as washing. There are times, when making up an early period dress, I can get away with taking the fabric out of the dryer as soon as the machine buzzes. However, this is definitely not best practice. Ironing the fabric before transferring your pattern ensures that your pattern will be true. If you have wrinkles in the fabric when you draft your pattern onto it, your pattern will be off. The more wrinkles, the more off your pattern will be. For a simple t-tunic this may not be a big deal. However, I would not recommend ignoring this step for fitted garments.


For now I think I’ve hit on all the major items. As I find more tricks and such I’ll post them here. If you have some tricks you’d like to share, make sure you post them below!


Categories: General | Tags: , , |