My happy, healthy Fozzy Bear

If I was going to describe 2011 in three words those words would have to be: unfinished, unfocused, but hopeful.

2011 was a very odd year.  Our dog Fozzy was very sick with a massive antibiotic resistant staph infection (think doggie MRSA) for nearly the entire year.  He came down with it at the end of 2010 and he didn’t really start to mend until this fall.  It was very bad and at points we were afraid we would loose him.  To be honest if it weren’t for the amazing vets at the NCSU Vet School, and Dr. Murphy in particular, we probably would have lost him.

And to be honest, that’s where most of my year went.  I didn’t go to Pennsic or Gulf Wars, we didn’t go diving, I didn’t accomplish much in the way of projects, and I really stopped blogging for all intents and purposes.  There just wasn’t much good stuff to talk about.

Thankfully though Fozzy is now fully mended and chasing the cat to his little heart’s content so 2012 is looking much more promising…

….provided those crazy Mayan’s are wrong. 😉

I went back to review my 2011 goals and planned projects.

2011 Goals

1)  Continue to improve fitness and fencing
2)  Have one sewing project a month
3)  Publish a new ebook every 1-2 months
4)  Be able to play 1 Elizabethan popular song by December

2011 Planned Projects

Get my fencing in top notch shape In progress
Embroidered Jacket In progress (Started August 2009)
Flander’s Gown In progress
Silver Training Manual In progress
Swetnam Training Manual In progress
14th Century Cloth Hosen ebook
New Rapier Armor
Shirt, Brais, Hosen
Charles de Blois Pourpoint
Edwardian Lingerie Gown
Arming Garments Class

What did I actually accomplish?  Well, I wrote an article on Monochromatic 16th Century Embroidery, two articles on the 1903 Savoye Corset, and finished hosen ebook, one commission, a pair of ventians, and a pair of trunk hose.  I also migrated my entire site to WordPress and I accomplished some cool real life things like starting an awesome new job, picking up two freelance web design jobs, getting my puppy well, and paying off debt.  I did start a 12th Night project, a pluderhosen project, a surcoat project, and a 3rd corset article…all of which need to be finished…very soon.

Highlights of the year though were Gaston’s Pelican, Wistric’s White Scarf, being approached about taking apprentices, and Christmas.

Looking over the past year has given me a lot of food for thought with regards to what I want to do in the new year.  I taking some time to really consider where I want to focus my time and energy but one thing is for sure…I have a lot of projects that need finishing.

My new position has been keeping me incredibly busy.  It’s just about all I can do to get take out on the way home before stumbling into bed.  But it’s worth it and I’m really enjoying my new job.

Keeping up with my marshalate responsibilities has been taking up most of my copious free time but I’m sure things will be lightening up pretty soon.  I know I still owe you guys pictures of my Venetians (I promise they are coming!) but I’m already moving on to my new doublet.  Practice last week just reaffirmed that I’m really tired of not having my spaulders for C&T and my old fencing doublet is just too old to make adding points to it worth it.  So I really need to finish my new one. 🙂  Maybe I could finish start the alterations for my other doublet that I mentioned last month (or the new mending I picked up at Sapphire Joust…).  Two new doublets!?!  I don’t think I’d know what to do with myself.

Venetians side view

While I haven’t finished them yet I did want to go ahead and post updated pictures of my new venetians.  I still need to hem the leg openings and I need to add the buttons and button holes but those are the last things I need to complete in order to finally be able to wear them.

More pictures are available on my gallery.

Last night I finished cartridge pleating my venetians onto the waist band.  The original ones were gathered but I decided to try cartridge pleating in the hopes that it would help replicate the awesome puffiness seen in the De Ghyen venetians.

Once the waist band was attached I tried them on to double check the fit and the leg length to see if I needed to shorten them at all.  Everything looks good so far and I think once I hem them up a 1/2 inch they will be perfect.

I had briefly considered taking a picture of them while I had them on last night but since they were unflatteringly only safety pinned on I couldn’t bring myself to do it.  The buttons and hemming should go very quickly though so I should have some new pictures soon.

So it looks like I really might have new pants for Coronation next weekend.  Next up is a new doublet although I’m not sure if I will be able to finish that in time.  I’d really like to but we’ll just have to see.

Since I posted a tutorial on incorporating pockets into venetians and trunkhose yesterday I thought I would post a bit today about the pants the tutorial is based on.

I had posted recently that the first project of my great wardrobe overhaul was going to be new rapier armor.  Since I wanted to base it off of depictions of suits worn by soldiers in De Ghyen’s The Exercise of Armes I spent several hours pouring over my copy of the treatise.  While there were several examples of men wearing trunkhose, most appeared to be wearing venetians so I decided to start with a pair of those first.  Most of the venetians depicted appeared to have legs that were gathered or pleated into a leg band but a few appeared to be made with a fitted knee similar to the ones depicted in Janet Arnold’s Patterns of Fashion.  Since I’ve always like those pants but never made a pair for myself I thought this would be a great opportunity to finally have my own pair.

I decided to make my venetians out of a burgundy wool flannel which I purchased from B. Black and Sons several years ago.  The are lined with linen and the pocket bags are also made of linen.  Since many of the venetians depicted in The Exercise of Armes and the ones I was basing mine on from Patterns of Fashion also had contrasting trim on the sides I decided to trim mine with pink linen bias tape that I made myself of a remnant I had left over from a previous project.  Pictures of the pants currently in progress can be found in my gallery.


A pocket in my new venetians.

One of the things that has always attracted me to late 16th Century menswear is their pockets.  There are several examples of trunkhose and a pair of venetians depicted in Arnold’s Patterns of Fashion that include pockets.  Until recently though I’d always been a little unsure of adding them to my own trunkhose.  Even though I thought they were awesome I had always been afraid that if I tried to add them into my own pants that I’d mess them up and end up with big ugly holes instead of ultra cool pockets.

When I decided recently to redo my wardrobe starting with new rapier armor I decided I need to defeat my fear of making pockets.  My new rapier armor would contain the pockets I had always envied in the extant examples.

I started with a pair of venetians patterned after those in Patterns of Fashion.  I still need to attach the waist band and hem the legs but I have successfully completed the pockets so I thought I would include a tutorial on the process.

Adding a Pocket to Your Trunkhose or Ventians

This tutorial is based the Venetians depicted on p. 86 and p. 87 of Janet Arnold’s Patterns of Fashion.  That pattern was drafted up from the original and a muslin made to ensure a proper fit.

Marking the pocket slit.

1. Mark the pocket slit on your hosen based on your pattern. 







Cut open the pocket slit.

2. Cut open the pocket slit. If you have carefully pinned both sides of you pants together to ensure that nothing shifts you may cut both slits at the same time.  However, if you are concerned then just cut one at a time.




The linen for the pocket bag.

3. Cut the linen for the pocket bag.







Measuring the pocket slit.

4. Measure the pocket slit.






Transfering the measurements.

5. Transfer the measurements of the pocket slit to the pocket bag.






The pocket slit sewn up.

6. Sew up the pocket bag taking care to leave the opening that will be sewn into the pocket slit.






The pocket basted and pinned into the pocket slit.

7. Baste the top of the bag to the edge of the pants and carefully pin the edges of the pocket slit and the bag opening together.






The pocket sewn closed.

8. Stitch the edges of the pocket slit and bag together using a whip or blind stitch.  To reinforce the tops and bottoms of the pocket slit use a button hole stitch there.




A finished pocket.

9. Repeat for the other leg and enjoy your new pockets!





Do you ever stand in front of your closet looking for something to wear on to realize that you absolutely hate 90% of it?  That’s the realization I came to over the past couple of weeks while I was getting ready for KASF and Ymir.  My garb closet is full of clothes but many of them are too big now and a lot of them (especially in the case of my rapier armor) are quickly nearing the end of their lives.

So I’ve decided it’s time to redo my wardrobe.  Everything that no longer fits or is in desperate need of repair/replacement must go.  Part of me is torn.  I hate to spend hours making new garb only to have it be too big in a matter of months.  But at this point I think I’d rather make the alterations than only have one or two things I can wear.

I’ve decided to start with replacing my rapier armor since that’s the most in need of replacing.  Plus pants are super easy to take in and if my fencing doublet is a little big it won’t really matter.

And I am going to continue to work on my jacket.  Thankfully I’ve started with the sleeves.  Once they are both done I’m going to double check the fit again before proceeding to the body.  There shouldn’t be much change in my arms so even if the body pieces need to be adjusted the sleeves should still be ok.  Or, worst case scenario, if the difference is too great for an adjustment and the whole garment needs to be repatterned I could use the sleeves somewhere else.

I’ve spent some time thinking about what I want from my wardrobe and I’ve done a basic write up of the project here. This project is still in the planning stages.  Also, the wardrobe project is part of a larger over all effort to revamp our kit so there are notes regarding other aspects of the overall project.

I will continue to discuss this project in more detail as it firms up in my head over the next two weeks.  For now I have pulled everything that I do not want to keep out of my closet and placed it in the guest room.  It will go into an empty hall closet for the time being just in case I need any of the garments.  I also need to pick up some organizers for the shelves for my hats, shirts, and accessories.

Sometimes it happens.  You had this fab idea for a project.  It was exciting and it really got your juices flowing.  But once you got further into it you realized that it wasn’t quite what you had had in mind when you first got started.  It’s just not making you happy any more and you find yourself wondering if it’s better to trudge through and finish it up or shelve it until it does start to make you happy again.

I’ve been feeling that way myself lately.  And I’ve come to the conclusion that sometimes it may just be better to shelve a project rather than to keep working on something that is no longer bringing you the joy it once was.  Sometimes its better to shelve it and free yourself up to take on other projects that will bring you joy.  After all, isn’t the fact that they bring us happiness and some measure of joy and fulfillment the whole reason we do these projects in the first place?  Besides there is nothing that says you can’t come back to that old project at a later date.

So I’ve decided to step back from the projects that haven’t been bringing me joy so that I can focus on the things that are.

What am I putting on hold?

  1. The eBooks. Working on them and selling them through the site just hasn’t been as fun as I thought it would be so I’m shelving the project.  What will I do with the two I already have?  I’m not sure yet but I’m pondering several options.
  2. The Flanders Gown. It was so much more fun when I started it but once the fur went down hill it just wasn’t as inspiring anymore.  Since all it needs are sleeves I will probably finish it but I’ll do something more simple that I had originally planned.
  3. Commissions. I’ve enjoyed working on the commissions I’ve taken but now that my most recent one is done I’ve decided to take some time for myself for a while.  I have about 20 buttons to make and that’s it.  I’m going to finish them in the next couple weeks and then I’m going to focus on some personal projects that have really been calling to me.  The calendar will probably open up again for commissions at some point in the future but for now I’m going to focus on personal projects.

What am I still deciding on?

  1. The Etsy Shop. I just don’t know what to do about it.  On the one hand I’ve enjoyed it and I have some big ideas for changes to it but on the other I’m not sure that the things I want to produce fit in best at Etsy.  Still pondering this one.

What am I going to do more of?

  1. Fight. Fighting has been bringing me a lot of joy lately and I want to free up more time for it.
  2. Sew and Embroider for myself. I have several personal sewing projects that are calling to me.  Plus less free time has meant less time for my embroidered jacket.  I worked on it recently and it reminded me how much I’ve enjoyed this project and really want to free up more time for it.
  3. Enjoy the fresh air and warm sun. This winter was rather stressful but the thing that always made me feel better was going outside and walking around the building.  Now that its starting to warm up being outside is even more pleasurable.  I want to spend more time outside, go to fighter practice in the daylight, move my workouts outdoors, and get in a little diving.  I can’t wait for Spring.
  4. Write. I’ve really enjoyed the FR and YWU articles that I’ve written and I have several ideas for new tutorials and HMA articles that I’ve been neglecting.  I have two more FR articles in the works and I want to get started on at least one of the HMA articles after Ymir.  I might even see about teaching at summer University.

I did get pictures of my Flanders gown.  They are still currently on the camera with my KASF pictures because I’ve been totally lazy about downloading them but I should have them up before the end of the weekend.  In pseudo related news I discovered at KASF that I have to take in my last last pair of bodies and I expect I will have to alter my Flanders gown now as well.  That was pretty cool.

KASF was really inspiring.  I’ve been rather uninspired project wise lately and it really helped to get my juices flowing.  I’m currently brainstorming a couple of projects and I’m getting back to my long sidelined jacket project.  I am doing some reevaluating of the jacket project though.  My vision of where I’d like it to go has changed a bit and I don’t know whether it’s better to alter to project to suit my vision or to continue to push on to finish it as is.

I’m also considering a website reorg and maybe a new template.  It’s been about two years since the last one and since I usually get this itch every 2 years or so this one is hitting me pretty much right on schedule.

Well, I’ve postponed this post for 3 days because I wanted to have pictures to go with it but I still haven’t taken them.  I think I must be the worst costumer ever but hopefully you all will forgive me. 🙂

Last weekend I got a lot of work done on my Flanders gown.  I ironed all my pieces, put the bodice together, lined the skirt, attached the skirt, and even did most of the hand finishing.  In fact right now it is sitting on my dress form lacking only sleeves, a hem, and it’s front fastening.  I’ve even started the sleeve mock up although I think I still need to tweak it a bit.

Tonight I need to pack for KASF so I doubt I’ll have a chance to work on the sleeves but I am going to try to get pictures up so at least y’all will be able to see it in its current state.

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