Quote from D. Gackenbach

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Idle Hands

I don't like to have idle hands, I like to be busy, it keeps me moving forward.  That being said, I started a little bodice project a couple of days ago.  When I tried on my red saya encordada for the first time it dawned on me that my bosom needed a little lift (you've all been there, don't judge).  Well there is really no proof of a medieval bra, so I thought maybe I could come up with something "medievally plausible" (and yes I made that term up, but I can't make everything historically accurate this early in my SCA life so I need to cheat sometimes).  Well I have plenty of corset patterns lying around, but I decided to draft something super simple, almost like the breast wraps used in ancient times, no boning, just tightly fitted...

That idea turned into something completely different within a day.  I have some really great embroidery patterns I've collected from the available internet resources (see the links provided over at Honor Before Victory, they are amazing).  There was one in particular that caught my eye, a pattern of peas on the vine complete with flowers and tendrils.  It reminded me of spring, and Mendelian genetics, and gardening, I just fell in love with it.  Well fast forward back to this little bodice, I thought it would be pretty with the embroidery on it.  And it will certainly keep my hands busy for the next week or two.

This embroidery is from a period pattern, but I am not using period material and the actual bodice isn't period either, so I guess this will have to be a fantasy item.  I will be worried about "peer fear" if I wear it in public at a SCA event, but I might just wear it anyway, who knows?  Would you point and whisper if you saw this coming your way?

please note the bodice is upside down in these pics

If you are interested in my process here is a little info for you.  The bodice is just made of cotton canvas I had lying around, it used to be a cheap slip cover for my couch.  The eyelets are all done in my cheater method of metal eyelet under hand sewn embroidery floss.  All the floss is modern cotton.  I adapted the design from Modelbuch aller art Nehewercks und Stickens, George Gilbers reprint of the 1527 book, page 41.  In these pictures I have not yet drawn on the second half of the design, it will be a mirror image of what I have already done, and I will add in tendrils on both sides where they look appropriate once I get going.  I just free handed the vines based on the source image, and created the border with a tailor's tape to keep the scale even.  The shoulder straps are not pictured, but they are made of the same canvas and will simply lace into the eyelets at the top.  I can see wearing this over a light purple or maybe green kirtle, it wouldn't be accurate, but it would be very pretty.

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