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I am really enjoying watching the Great British Sewing Bee on BBC 2 – would love to live in that workshop, all that fabric and buttons and beads and cottons! I know I have a lovely craft room but that would be heaven.
Ellie, Kerry and I had our own little sewing bee last weekend and we had a lovely time cutting out new dresses for them so I thought I would show you a few pics to document the process.
We have a fairly untraditional style of garment making which mainly relies on cutting round existing garments to make new ones and adapting the pattern as we go along.
We do sometimes use bits of existing patterns for shaping such as bodices etc but mostly it is a case of cut, pin, try on and alter until it all fits.
I have the following pattern which is useful basic dress one – available from the Simplicity web site
This is Kerry’s new dress fabric with her green dress laid on top of it for cutting out. I was surprised to see how square it is at the bottom – when on these bits fold in and don’t give that impression at all.
Here she is in the original dress last year at Bolsover Castle.
This is the beautiful fabric with her cutting the back. This new one will have fitted sleeves and tippets unlike the green dress.
If you want to more about tippets or other styles of medieval women’s costume please visit my page here.
Or if you want to see a real genius at work go and visit my very talented friend Kat’s page as she makes the most amazing costume and headdresses.
Ellie is making a new version of a two coloured peasant dress using the old pale pink from the gores in the new dress. She loves this dress which is one I made about 3 years ago but it is a bit short for her now. Here is the original.
We cut this one using her other peasant dress as a pattern.
After she had removed the gores from the old dress she stitched up the new dress and voila! Here she is in the nearly completed garment.
It is a lovely sunny day here, a bit frosty but I have just been doing a bit of gardening to tidy up the back, the crocuses are out and Spring is in the air.
Now to spend the afternoon finishing a dress for another bunny while watching DVDs, I do so love the weekends :-)
Take care and hope you are enjoying yourselves whatever you are doing.
Thanks for visiting.
We spent last weekend at beautiful Caldicot Castle in South Wales, one of my favourite venues and despite a bad forecast and wet weather all the way down we had a lovely weekend with lots of sun.
Here are some of my favourite sights – medieval tents in a sunny castle!
I have found the picture I took at an earlier event of the helm mantle I made, this is the red covering with plaited band in the front of the picture, the orle I made earlier is at the back.
The Sisters of Mercia, our little watercarrying group, have had a lovely, lovely season, we have really enjoyed ourselves and made some new friends as well as spending time with old ones.
We are really looking forward to next year.
I will leave you with this pic of us – courtesy of our friend Dave, this was taken before going onto the battlefield. Since the very hot Tewkesbury event and the introduction of cold flannels (as well as water and jelly babies :-)) we have been carrying our own flannels.
I have titled this picture, ‘Kerry demonstrating to the Sisters the correct use of the cold flannel’ :-) We are obviously listening to her really carefully! It is a skilled job this watercarrying you know.
Thanks for visiting, see you soon.
Hello everyone, hope you in the UK had a very good Bank Holiday weekend.We had a lovely time, a long car journey (well four in total!) gave me lots of chance for knitting and I took my latest rabbit Emily with me so here she is in her new dress at Ludlow Castle this weekend.
Emily really enjoyed her day – as well as the castle she got to look at some of the weapons close up – here she is on my friend Paul’s weapons rack.
We were going to see some friends at the Battle of the Nations Team UK tournament at Ludlow Castle in Shropshire, intending only to visit on Sunday dressed in kit but watch and not take part.
However within 10 minutes of getting there were in the arena helping give water and sort armour. We had so much fun we decided to go back again on Monday (despite having a 3 hour drive each way – thanks to lovely Kerry for that!).
It was very warm on Monday and the water, cold flannels and jelly babies were much appreciated by the combatants.
Battle of the Nations is a new venture in the UK where teams compete in full contact tournaments, it is amazing to watch with everything from one-to-one timed combat with points scored for hits to large melees with huge numbers where it is literally last man standing who wins.
It is very fast and furious fighting and we loved being part of it and hope to join them at events again next season. Go and visit their website and Facebook page for more info including videos and photos.
Here are a few more pictures of the castle and of the lovely buildings in the town, it is a really pretty place and I would like to go back for a visit to look at things in more detail sometime.
As well as Ludlow I got to spend the day in Chesterfield with Ellie and we had a look round the famous church with the twisted spire – will post some pictures of that in a later post.
We also visited all of the fabric, haberdashery and wool shops in the town (well it would be rude not too!) and as well as the wonderful fabric stall on the market enjoyed the button selection at Fred’s Haberdashery where I picked up these little cuties, perfect for bunny dresses!
Am looking forward to a quiet weekend at home making medieval kit and have an urge to start on my Xmas ornie stock as well ready for the craft fairs in Nov – never too soon for a bit of Christmas crafting!
Take care and thanks for visiting.
Thought I would post a picture of kit I have made recently and tell you about my latest castle visit!
This is my friend Jamie in the shirt I made him, I have lots of requests for shirts now so will be busy in the off-season and will get lots of practise at making holes!
We did a lovely show this last weekend with some friends, it was a countryside show just outside a town called Bewdley in Worcestershire.
I was dressed as a lady all day (a very rare sight and I didn’t get any pictures!) and Kerry and I did head-dress talks and the boys had a tournament. Luckily the weather was great.
After the show I stayed on for a bit and went castle visiting. This is Stokesay Castle in Shropshire which has been on my wish list to visit for a while.
It is a fortified manor house in most beautiful setting and we had a lovely day.
Most of the rooms were bare apart from this very lovely 17th century panelling in the tower.
There is also an old church next door with beautiful wall paintings – sadly none of my pics came out well as it was dark.
We did find some old graves with lovely textures on the headstones where the lichen had grown over them
And we finished the day having some very nice cider in a pub in the centre of Bewdley, these are the views of the River Severn.
I do not have any shows planned for a few weeks now so will be getting on with rabbit knitting, shirt making and some house fettling, I have some bits of painting to do.Will have a new rabbit to show you at the weekend!
Thank you as always for visiting.
One of the lovely things about having new members and an official photographer with the group now is that we get lots of brilliant pictures of our shows.
Previously I have had to sneak out early on and take shots before I get into kit but thanks to Jamie, Sam and Wendy we have these lovely pics of last weekend. I particularly love the shots taken from the tower!
Our little living history camp.
Another bird’s-eye view – the King knighting the children after their training.
Me busy giving water to everyone.
Two of our newer members – Clive and Ron as Edward the Second and Squire Legget
The ladies – Ellie and Kerry with our newly returned member Paul in his kit at the tournament.Our new member Jamie is on the right of this pic in the shirt I made him which fits thankfully!
Luke and Mark in the tournament.
The group all lined up after the show – don’t we look lovely!
A special welcome to Sam (blue dress second from left), Jamie next to her, Richard (at the end on the right) and Alex (second from right in a green tunic) as this was their first show and they did brilliantly!
And with our new group banner.
I really enjoyed the show and it is lovely that our little group is expanding.
Have finished my rabbit and two dresses for it so will take some nice pics (when it stops raining!) and post that later in the week.Really enjoyed doing it so am on to rabbit number 2 next.
Thanks for visiting and have a nice week!
Just back from a fabulous weekend at Ashby de la Zouche Castle with the Swords of Mercia.
A brilliant two days of shows and thanks to all the lovely people who came to see us, our biggest crowd yet – about 1,000 people in total over the weekend and we got very lovely feedback from them.
The weather was most peculiar, we British do talk about the weather an awful lot but there again we have a lot more weather to talk about!
Not for us the endless days of the same stuff, we can have two or three season’s worth in a day!
This weekend started with boiling hot for Saturday (spent most of day giving water to the guys) followed by a disaster movie type storm all evening. I have never seen so much lightning in my life.
Ashby is always an event of extremes, we used to do two shows a year there and one was hot and one very wet – as we are now only doing one a year this year the weather combined.
Thankfully it was beautiful for both shows and for packing up all the tents – always a relief!
I had my lovely little medieval tent to sleep in this weekend, here it is in the sunshine before packing up tonight. Have not used for a couple of years due to not having a car but my lovely friend Shane brought it for me this weekend.
And this is the view from outside the tent – beautiful!
Here are a few other pics from the show – thanks to Ellie and Wendy for these.
The group pic shows us at the end of the show today, I am in the nun’s costume as usual. We had some new members with us this weekend so welcome to Jamie, Sam, Richard and Alex, you were fab!
And here is lovely Ellie in a dress she has not worn for a while, looking beautiful in the late afternoon sun.
Thank you to all my lovely friends in the group, this was our last show together for this year though we have some other shows that just me, Kerry and Ellie are doing.
You have been a second family to me for nearly 11 years now and your friendship and support has meant so much to me.They do say laughter is the best medicine, well we will always be very healthy with the fun we have together :-)
I have a lovely quiet week coming up so am planning lots of crafting. I have just started knitting my first ever bunny from Julie of Little Cotton Rabbits and am loving it!
Hoping to get it finished soon but meanwhile here is what I hope it will look like.
If you would like to have the pattern go to Ravelry – fab knitting site with loads of free patterns as well and buy Julie’s wonderful pattern.
Thanks for visiting and see you again soon.
Well hello from my cool lounge – dare I say it is a little warm out there today, not that I am complaining but am having a cool half hour inside to blog.
We have had a lovely week starting with the amazingly brilliant and very, very hot Tewkesbury last weekend.
Huge congratulations to all the boys who fought in temperatures of 34 degrees on the Saturday.
One of the organisers had the brilliant idea of filling buckets with large blocks of ice and flannels so we spent a lot of time cooling people off as well as giving water.
The back of the battlefield looked like Emergency Ward 10 1471 style and there were lots of very red faces but thankfully no ill effects.
Possibly my best Tewkesbury ever – such fun even if were all looking like lobsters!
Here are a few pics, these were taken by my lovely friend Sam.
Luke, one of our group, in his new armour
Luke and Jamie guarding the Prince
The Prince with Margaret of Anjou and her bodyguards
My lovely Ellie watercarrying
I didn’t manage to get any pics of the kit I have made actually being worn as it was too hot to put wool on but everything fitted ok which is good and we bought lots more fabric to make things for us and the boys in the next few months.
The craft room needs a bit of organisation which I plan to do this weekend!
However here is a pic from the Tutbury show a couple of weeks ago of the orle that I made for a friend, these are padded decorations for helmets and I have made this blue and white one and a red and white one as well.
After Tewkesbury Kerry and I went on a little holiday visiting lots of lovely National Trust properties, mainly Tudor ones so I will sort out pics for a mega post over the weekend.There were some beautiful textiles as always so we had a fab time.
Now going to have a quiet weekend of stitching, a little gardening and maybe a walk (which will involve a paddle and ice-cream :-) Oh and catching up on the most recent episode of The White Queen where they should be doing the Tewkesbury battle as well!
Take care and thanks for visiting.
Hello everyone and I hope you in the UK have been enjoying all this beautiful sunshine we have been having!
It has been wonderful here and we have been really enjoying ourselves. This also bodes very well for our favourite event of the re-enactment year as this coming weekend it is the Tewkesbury Medieval Festival and I am beyond excited :-)
You may remember that last year the event nearly got called off do to the site flooding and it was a mud fest to say the least but this year we are looking forward to lovely sunshine just like the old days.
Do come and visit if you can – it is the 30th anniversary of the event this year and is a brilliant day out, free entry as well though please donate as much as you can to our bucket collectors as it costs a lot to put the event on and we want it to continue! The town and Abbey are also fantastic to wander round and if it is hot there is the river to paddle in.
I have been making lots of kit for friends and have been busy finishing it off in time which is why I have been practising making holes. If you want more info on medieval men’s kit then go to my page which details what everything is called.
I am not very good at this part of the kit making process (my lovely friend Kerry is a dab hand at it and her dresses have beautiful lacing holes down the back). I have usually cheated with using ribbon loops on my dresses but wanted to make a shirt with a laced neck and hose with holes to tie them to the brais.
They are not too bad but could be neater.
I will take some photos of the garments on their recipients and post later – Jake has been very kindly trying things on for me as I go along but as he is lots skinnier than my friends they have looked a bit big on him!
So far I have made a shirt, lined hose and slightly different style of brais so it has been good for me to learn new skills.
I have also been practising neatening my seams by stab stitching as I always zigzag raw edges before sewing together to prevent fraying and this makes them a bit neater and means the sleeves can be rolled up if needed.
I am thinking of adding a new page to the making costume bit with more details of these garments as I know I get lots of hits for that so it is on my to do list now that summer is here and work is quieter.
It was my birthday recently and I got some lovely presents, my sister-in-law Amanda who is a very keen cross stitcher made me this beautiful Celtic design scissor keep which came in very handy as the scissors had really fine points for cutting the holes.
She also stitched this birthday card for me – very appropriate!
And from my lovely kids I got this gorgeous book which was a total surprise as it was not from my wish list. Ellie saw it when one of the staff at Hardwick brought it in and thought I would like it and it is brilliant, just my sort of book with lots and lots of detail about techniques and sources.
It is called Sweet Bags by Jacqui Carey.
And look another version of the Layton Jacket that I have posted about previously, this one is a portrait of Lady Dorothy Carey dated 1615 and I had not seen this pic before.
My lovely Mum gave me some money for garden furniture so I have bought a BBQ and last Friday we had our first Marsden barbie – here is Jake enjoying the sun (and a little cider!)
Still got to get a new table and chairs (that is our camping stuff) once I have decided what I want, tempted by a lovely mosaic bistro set but think the table is a bit small.
Well I shall be posting again in a couple of weeks as after Tewkesbury Kerry and I are off on a National Trust fest making the most of our memberships to go and visit some lovely properties, hope the weather holds for that.
Take care and thank you as always for visiting, liking, following and subscribing :-)
Hello and hope everyone has had a good week. I have been busy marking and so it was lovely to have a fun weekend away at the beautiful Tatton Hall event in Cheshire. The weather forecast was not very good for the weekend but luckily it rained mainly at night (although we did have a wet set up on Friday!)
I have just bought a new tent and was planning to take a pic of it to show you (you know how I love tents :-) ) but got distracted by the rain.
It is a ‘new to me’ slightly bigger version of the one I use when there is just me camping and is lovely and roomy, for those events when me, Ellie and Kerry might be hiding from the weather!
Ellie is going to have my old tent as the one I bought her as a 16th birthday present is really too small to get into medieval kit in. Plus the kids tell me off if I have too many tents myself – they seem to think I have a problem.
The rest of the weekend was lovely and sunny, we even got a pink yesterday and had a brilliant time as usual.
Ellie was given a new feather for her helm from a friend who had decided to get some very impressive ones for his helm, here she is with her feather and he and another friend Andy and enjoying themselves on the battlefield.
Jake was there as well, it is his birthday today and as he has had the last 10 birthdays celebrated at Tatton he joined us for this one so he was our official photographer, which meant we got some really good shots again.
Here are our friends from Knights and Freemen and Harlech enjoying the battle and a shot of me in watercarrying mode!
He also took lots of shots of cute dogs so asked me to pick one to include in the post so here it is!
I have been making lots of kit recently for friends in my group and other groups and have lots of things still to make so I am going to have a lovely summer of sewing :-).
I have made a couple of chaperons and this weekend Kerry was wearing the one I made for her at the end of last season for the first time so here are some pictures of that.
We are off to Tutbury Castle next weekend for another event, this time a new one so we are looking forward to that as we haven’t been to this castle before.
Have a good week and thanks for visiting.
My lovely daughter Ellie has just sent me some further photos from Hardwick which I wanted to share with you.
The first two are of a painting of Arabella (or Arbella), Bess of Hardwick’s granddaughter, which hangs in the long gallery. This is a beautiful portrait and the detail on the sleeve is amazing.
This one is a ‘slip’ a tent stitched piece which has been appliqued onto a velvet background. This comes from the ‘Mary Queen of Scots bed’ although Mary never stayed at Hardwick but she may have slept in this bed as Bess’s fourth husband George Talbot the Earl of Shrewsbury was Mary’s jailor for a long time and Bess and Mary did spend time together sewing.
The last three are of the volunteers at Hardwick on one of their recent costume days. Aren’t they wonderful. Ellie and I would love to do Tudor re-enactment, the costumes are so fantastic and it would mean I could wear some of my blackwork! We shall see what I have have time to do next year.
Hope you have enjoyed these, thanks for visiting.