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Thoughts of the Lady in the Tower

2004-04-27 - 8:13 a.m.

Updating the Red Cotehardie

I got energetic last night and did some sewing.

I've been trying to figure out what women did with their long skirts when they were trying to do other things, and found several pictures of women (servants, mostly) that took the hem and tied it around their waists.

There's a couple different ways to do it, but the way that's most comfortable for me is to tie the front diagonal corners in the small of my back (if that's not clear, I'll draw a diagram). Trying to tie the knot in front leaves the front length to trip me up, so I don't think I'm doing something right.

I used this at War Practice last weekend and was pleased, except that since I haven't been wearing an underdress with this cote (lazy, mostly), I was SHOWING SOME LEG. That was okay at War Practice, but obviously not for Crown Tourney this weekend!

So I made an underdress. I washed the fabric on Sunday and made the dress from start to finish last night. I'm awfully proud of myself because I generally collapse after work, especially since I've been working longer (9 hour) days.

It's definitely NOT my best piece of work. In fact, after sitting it in for a few minutes I think I may go back and enlarge the armholes, since they seemed a bit tight (it's sleeveless because sleeves would NOT fit under the sleeves of that cote). The way I did the facing makes enlarging the arms difficult, though, so I need to think about it.

I wanted an easy way to finish the neck and armholes, so I cut extra pieces of the top (to the waist) of the dress. Then I sewed the full piece to the partial extra piece and flipped it. I had a front and back piece with the neck and arms finished, so sewed those together and voilia! No fiddling with facings, no handsewing to finish. Woot!

It JUST touches the ground, so it is still possible to step on it, but after wearing the red cote (that has about 4 inches on the ground) it's not a problem. I put them both on and paraded in front of Richard in the basement last night. I can apron the cote, not show anything, and walk around without risk of tripping!

Man, I've GOT to get going... I just got my state taxes, and am considering starting it out of that. There's so much that needs to go there.

I did a small adjustment to the red cote, to fix something that probably only Alijt knew was wrong with it. There's a picture of the dress that I took last weekend in the War Practice album at my yahoo photos (ANOTHER reason I need to get the website running).

It was made out of a light cotton fabric, so the train just didn't move right. I decided that it needed a weight. I bought some cording and encased it in the red fabric scraps. This got attached to the hem of the train. It weighted it nice like I wanted (yay, getting the effect of heavy fabric without heavy fabric!), but the unfinished edges of the casing kept flipping over.

I tried to come up with a way to fix it without top-sewing, but it needed to be fixed and top-sewing was the easiest fix I could come up with. So it's top sewn down. Eh, it's fixed.

I should probably finish the seams that are likely to show when aproned. I may take it for hand work between now and Crown.

Another thing that I really like is that the underdress smoothed stuff out. It's a little snug (but not like a gothic fitted dress!), but it works well that way.

Overall, I'm very pleased with the results of my night. And I finished by 8 pm! Plenty of time for dinner, a bit of relaxing, and SLEEP!