Monday, June 2, 2014

HSF '14: Miranda and the Tempest

If you saw my medieval shoe making post, you already heard a little about what I had planned for the Art Challenge.  I've had a print of 'Miranda and the Tempest' by John William Waterhouse hung in my space since college.  I was a big Pre-Raphaelite fan at that point, with all its romanticism and medieval heraldry, and though my tastes have changed a bit since then, 'Miranda and the Tempest' is still one of my favorites. So I chose it for my Art piece.  And it was a TON of work. 

This deadline fell in the middle of my vacation to the United States, so I knew I had to finish it before I left--especially as in Illinois there's not really an ocean nearby to photograph the dress.  This was my first medieval dress, so there were a couple mock-ups and a lot of hand sewing.  Into both dresses I put 70 hours in 18 days--and a little secret, they aren't actually done.  I still have to put buttons/holes on the sleeves of the underdress, and buttons/holes up the front of the outerdress.  But they were done enough for a photo shoot.

My shoot should probably be titled 'Miranda Minus the Tempest' or perhaps 'Miranda the Day Before the Tempest'.  I imagine Miranda spent many days staring at the ocean on her lonely island before a ship finally came near enough to disrupt her world.  There was no tempest raging on my photograph day, but I really love my pictures anyway.

The Challenge: Art: Make your own masterpiece based on a work of art.

Fabric: Linen, probably a little rougher than it should be.

Pattern: Drafted my own from La Cotte Simple and By My Measure.

Year: late 1300's to early 1400's

Notions: Silk embroidery thread for eyelets and lacing cord, cotton thread for sewing it together

How historically accurate is it? My linen is possibly not quite right, it's about 80% hand sewn, and I should have found linen thread.  That being said, I'm extremely pleased with my historical accuracy with this one.

Hours to complete: Yeah...all told, 52 hours on the mock-ups and underdress, and 20 on the overdress (which isn't actually finished)  72 hours in 18 days.  I hopefully won't be doing that again any time soon.

First worn: For photos.  But hopefully to Elfia in September.

Total cost: Fabric: 37.50; maybe another 10 for the embroidery floss.

In the photo below, you can see I only lined the upper front.  I had some linen left over from a wrap skirt I bought from the thrift store to make into a hobbit apron.  I didn't have enough for both front and back, so in the mock-ups I used cotton.  Once I attached the layers I realized how different my tightly woven cotton and my loosely woven linen behaved.  It was a definite A-ha! moment when I realized maybe I didn't have to line the back.  My neckline is just folded over twice and hand hemmed.  My front facing is an extra strip of the linen, cut slightly off grain, an idea I got I think from La Cotte Simple.  It worked really well.

Originally I was going to do a straight front bodice, but I found while fitting my mock-ups that it was impossible to fit myself adjusting only the side seams.  I just couldn't reach and twist enough to properly put pins in.  Adjusting the front seam was much easier, and in the end it seemed to work out.
Overall, I'm pleased with how it turned out, though I do have some adjustments to make before I wear it to Elfia in the fall (and some buttons to add).  I think I'd like to make another early 14th century gown some day, maybe out of wool.  The linen I found is really cheap, and the tight sleeves scratch quite a bit.  But it fits, and I think I've found a new era that I like to wear.  A definite win.