The wife and kids are off visiting grandparents for the week, so I’ve had a very quiet weekend of house cleaning, cooking, and sewing. There were a couple of gaps in my wardrobe that I needed to fill, primarily a new pair of brache (made from some heavier linen that hopefully will stand up to wear a bit better) and another pair of chausses out of a nice soft brown wool. I’m going to try using the chausses as netherstockings for my 16c suits as well, so we’ll see how that goes.
15th century Archives
After all the trimming, filing, and drilling, the buttons still had some rough spots and edges, and I didn’t want to spend a million years trying to find them all and polish them. Instead, I tied the buttons up into four bunches with hemp cord, stuck them in a sock, and ran the whole thing through the dryer. They came out shiny and smooth, with all the detail on the button faces still intact. Lacking a dedicated tumbler, this seems to be the next best thing.
I’ve been finishing a big pile of buttons, and I’ve decided that I need to make some serious design changes next time I make them.
- While the fabricated shanks seem to be historically plausible, they’re a giant pain to do. I think I’ll make another mold back with integral button loops. It’ll be fiddly to make, but worth it for all the finishing time it’ll save.
- I need to make the buttons thicker so they can have wider edges. Finishing the thin edges is annoying. Making things too thin is nothing new for me; I really need to stop it.
I promised to give a set of pewter buttons to the winner of the 15th century category of my Sharp Dressed Man contest, but I hadn’t ever gotten around to figuring out how to make them. I looked at some extant buttons, and it looks like many of them have flattened shanks with drilled holes rather than shanks cast as loops. This meant that I could use the same mold for integral rivet belt mounts and buttons. I made a button face mold out of a little scrap of soapstone, and gave it a shot. One of the mold cavities didn’t quite line up with the shank right, but the other one hit dead center. I mashed the shank flat with vise grips, drilled the hole, et voila!
I mourn for all the years I wasted not wearing wool hose. These were by far the best hose I’ve ever worn. They fit so well that I hardly ever thought about them, were only hot when I was sitting in the blazing sun, and looked great. Aside from the inevitable wrinkles at the ankles, there was no bagging or sagging anywhere, even after a long day of wear. I think I’ll cut the next pair a bit higher in the crotch, but that’s about all I can think of. I put a doubled linen facing at the waist (and accidentally in the crotch curve, but that’s another story), which made a nice sturdy place to put in the eyelets.
As for the brache, they seemed to perform well, aside from a couple of seams blowing out. I think they may be a touch small, so the next pair will get an extra couple inches in each leg. Otherwise, no complaints.
Dreamstone was a lovely event, composed primarily of hanging out with friends and occasionally dropping in for field-side classes. The weather was beautiful.
This past weekend I showed Philippa how to do pewter casting, and she made a whole pile of bling for her Eleanora de Toledo gown. I’m looking forward to seeing how the rough castings turn out once they’re all assembled.
All of my old brache (linen drawers) have been wearing out, so I decided I needed to make some more. I’d been using a pattern with two tubular legs and a strip that went all the way through the middle from front to back. It works well enough, but tends to wear through at the top of the inner thigh. This time I switched to a square gusset in the crotch, and so far it seems comfortable enough, with less bulk at the waist. This weekend will be the test to see how it works in real life. I have high hopes.
I also finally started a pair of wool hose. I have some tropical weight worsted wool suiting that I bought at least a year ago from fabric.com. It’s very light and drapey, and I’ve been putting off using it for far too long. I cut out the legs (on the bias, of course) using my trusty old hose pattern, sewed up the back seam, and pinned them on to an old doublet. I am ashamed at how long it’s taken me to try this, as they look, feel, and fit wonderfully. We’ll see if that remains true once I get the feet and lacing holes in, but I suspect these will be my favorite hose. One step closer to a decent pair of full hose…