Monday, April 13, 2015

Pics or It Didn't Happen: The Viking Sailor Senshi at East Kingdom University

We set a goal of trying to get a lot of these dresses done by EKU in the Barony of Endewearde this past weekend. We are all mostly together and we had many of the Senshi attending.

A few of House Strangewayes:

From left to right: Lady Bianca Anguissola as Sailor Jupiter, Becca as Sailor Mars, Lady Fortune St Keyne as Sailor Moon, Jacquemine van der Bel as Sailor Mercury and Lady Cecily Windham as Sailor Neptune

And the very important shot of the bow!

Yeah, we are even more fun in person.

I taught a class on viking garb mostly using resources from previous classes on the apron dress and "Vigdis" style underdress. I also included a tutorial on wool felt applique and the Eura underdress.

It was a fantastic day as most East Kingdom University's are, full of learning, fellowship and laughter. The autocrats are super heroes, as the location changed less than 24 hours beforehand and aside from the map in the guidebook being wrong YOU COULDN'T TELL. Lady Yzabell du Perche the event steward and her team did an amazing job and Baroness Isabelle de Montreuil sur Mer who heads the EKU effort pulled off a miracle.

And a huge shout out to Morgan Donner and her 16th Century Sailor Moon! I had to pick myself up off the floor when I saw that you'd been inspired by this project. Full on swoon I tell you!

Even More Embellishment: The Wool Felt Appliques for Viking Sailor Moon

The SCA-style Wool Felt Applique-
How I do wool felt applique on viking dresses and caftans
I mean, they're gorgeous right? Those dresses with the massive deer leaping about the hem or peacock draped along the bottom of an apron dress but....  

They’re not period.
Mostly. They seem to have developed from archaeological telephone, where grave finds were described with having animal shaped applique in wool and silk and metal embroidery.

This does not mean that you shouldn’t do it. I’m a huge believer in knowing the rules, then figuring out how to break them.
Ordinarily I would look at runestones and Celtic manuscripts like the Book of Kells for inspiration.

But in this case I knew I was going to add massive moons to the dress as wool felt applique. I found the following image online and followed a few basic steps.

I look the image and blew it up in my good friend MS Paint, printed it out to scale and tape the bits together to make a template.
For less defined bordered images I find that if I print out the image, Sharpie around the outlines I’m going to use and then enlarge it with a copier it works best. I make several copies, so I can cut out pieces to use as templates.
Say I were really doing this image:
Dog from the Book of Kells c. 800 C.E.
I would have one piece for the background of my wolf, then pieces for each color. I label each section on a smaller "master" version of the image and then each piece with not only a number but with the color.
I use wool felt from Jo-Ann’s. Polyester felt pills and doesn’t hold shape the same way and if you’re going to the effort of embroidering around the edges, go for the wool felt.
***You could use linen, flannel or other fabrics but you will have to deal with the raw edges, generally by folding the edges under and stitching over it that way. If you choose to use iron-on adhesive web, you will need to cut the pieces individually approximately a quarter of an inch smaller around the edges. Don’t be a martyr unless there is something very specific you want to create.
Now, meet your friend – Heat n Bond Lite
See how that is in bold and underlined? IT’S THAT IMPORTANT. Different fusible webs have different weights and different instructions. I like Heat n Bond Lite best, it doesn’t require steam, it’s not that finicky and especially important: it allows the fabric to still drape.
And if you take nothing else away, take this away – Fuse your web onto your felt FIRST, then cut out your shapes.
You will ruin your iron, your ironing board, and your peace of mind if you don’t do this.
Doing a simple image like the moon I only added fusible web to the gold felt. If I were doing the above dog from the Book of Kells, I would fuse my colors then add them of a gold or ivory background, embroider, then cut out something similar to the background and add that to it and embroider around.
Sailors Jupiter and Venus both made this mistake with oak leaves and hearts and their appliques took a little longer.

Moon applique in progress

I then blanket stitched around the moon in blue with whipped contrast of red. I was trying to make sure that I had as much contrast as possible. Our mid-level service award in the East is called a Silver Crescent and I didn't want anyone thinking I was implying a level to which I have not been formally recognized.

The Butt Bow: the pièce de résistance

I also patterned a large swirling ribbon butt bow out of red felt. Sadly, the images are on my iPad and not my phone so I only have an in progress shot of it being done at my desk.

The inspiration sketch

Working at my desk, because I have a cat to feed

I didn't want to do the blanket stitch on this portion, so I went back to the whipped stem stitch on the Mammen finds. Well. I hate stem stitch, but I do a mean back stitch, and if you whip that it looks very similar and it comes out GORGEOUS.

Whipped Backstitch with special guest Hoity Toity
I look like an embroidery goddess and I'm not that good. This is my new favorite stitch to use work. It's replacing couching on my projects.

Again, better pictures to come, as they are on the iPad.

This is how it came out:

The finished back applique at EKU April 2015 in the Barony of Endewearde (Bangor, ME)

I had many many compliments on it and my fellow Sailor Senshi were a vowing to add butt bows to their creations.

Fancy Finishes: Embroidering The Sailor Moon Viking Dress

Let's get down to business. To defeat, this dress!


Now, I've done seam treatments on viking dresses before using the herringbone stitch and someone who I'm sure didn't mean to say in the way it was taken (peer-like qualities Fortune, try to see the best in people) looked at my dress and remarked how interesting it was to see only one line of herringbone stitches...

Well. F'nah. So this dress I intended to do two lines of red and yellow interwoven herringbone stitches to the seams. Because I like to work with the garment as flat as possible I did this before sewing the back two trapezoids to the front.

Here is how the herringbone stitch works by itself:

Also called a catch stitch, this was used primarily as a decorative seam treatment, occasionally as a hemming stitch in period.

I fell in LOVE with a website showing all the different "Dark Ages" stitches from Viking and Saxon garb that was extant. Research heaven.

Detail of one of the seams:

Seam Treatement Detail of Viking Sailor Moon

The other stitch I used extensively was the blanket stitch. Now, I'd been told time and time again that the blanket stitch is not period. Well, time and time again I'd been lied to. Thanks to the above link I found no only was the buttonhole stitch used in period but it was used to apply bands of silk tablet woven trim to fabric. Used to apply bands of trim you say? Like on the under dress?

Red "glove" bands on the under tunic dress

One way to procrastinate finishing your underdress is to research a variety of blanket stitches.

So I did:

I also got fancy and whipped a line of blue along the blanket stitch. The finds at Bjerringhøj (Mammen parish, Denmark) known as the Mammen finds show whipped stem stitch, so creatively and anachronistically a whipped blanket stitch isn't such a stretch right?

I also did this detail on the faced collar.
I'm a little punchy at this point
 At some point I will do an entire post on the faced collars, but the detail pictures are all on my iPad.

Here is the finished underdress:

Sailor Moon Underdress
The other stitch I used extensively on this project was a whipped backstitch on the butt bow detail. Pictures of which are in the wool applique post.