Showcase cosplay talk next weekend

The world of cosplay

Cosplayer dressed as Elsa from Frozen standing with snowy mountain in background.When: Saturday 3 September, 2pm – 3.30pm
Where: Highland Park Library
Cost: Free

Join Michaela de Bruce as she introduces us to the World of Cosplay

I’ll be bringing historic as well as media recreations because I put the same level of research into both and I like the idea of showing how you can approach something in different ways 🙂

Might just try and get a range of “this is something I lucked into finding as a screen accurate fabric” as well as ‘this fabric took effort to see it in a different way” and I will bring Shae and my Ashara Zavros headpiece for people to try one. She is durable.

And Elsa, absolutely Elsa because she is the perfect example of bringing subtle skills in to play 🙂

Crossposted from my blog, but please do comment here :)

Rheumatoid life

Fatigue edition.

I occasionally realise that people don’t experience pain in the same way, let alone experience different types of sources of pain. There are also different kinds of tiredness so that it can be hard to understand when someone with a fatigue symptom can appear to be okay.

Tonight I was supposed to go to an SCA feast but with the time frames, the distance traveled, the time waiting, I simply couldn’t commit. This is fatigue- looking at the full time frame and working out how long I’d be sitting upright, how long I’d be walking, how long in a car, how long standing. It’s a calculation I wish was much easier but it’s not, and I don’t always get it right. This is because it is complicated and relies on variables that can change in under an hour.

This is not about prioritising, not about saving energy for people and things I love, it’s the on the day calculations and working out if there is a cost, and at what point it will come up to pay. If it comes up during a time I’m away from home I have to err on the side of caution. It’s not about making choices of who to spend time with.

Fatigue itself is not about being tired, it’s more like misfiring communication between different parts of the body and brain. Right now I am upright and not really going to be doing anything different to what I would be, on the surface at least. But there are few consequences for myself or other if I stumble a bit, or bump into things.

Mistake making is high when brain and body are not quite fully in communication with each other. It feels like there is lag between thoughts and between thoughts and actions. That delay is okay when I can self correct, but it’s tiring on top of being tired to try and stay vigilant for errors. Am I going to trip, where are my feet, where are the feet of the people around me, is there a rug, or equipment? I am not naturally tidy, but I have had to make sure that anywhere I go there is a clear path on the floor. Not just because of fatigue but because I can’t just step over or around if my ankles or knees have inflammation.

I am avoiding a fatigue crash because it is so vile. We talk about brain fog, or the methotrexate hangover. And for people who have experienced being hung over it really is the same. The seasick feeling, the delayed response, the sensitivity to light and sound and smell.

But imagine that if there was no payoff. That you didn’t have a crazy night out.

And yep, there are times you just say if I’m going to be this miserable after then just do it. Today is not one of those days because I know the time frame would be too short for me to manage it.

Other times I have been able to. So that is always something to hold on to- there are times where everything works out.

Crossposted from my blog, but please do comment here :)

Extant Gowns I adore-3

I’m cheating, these are all doublets.


Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Costume bodice, Spanish, possibly early 20th century, in the style of about 1600

If this is a copy it’s a remarkable wonderfully accurate copy! I know there was a lot of interest in historic costume and collecting extant items in the late 19thC especially but this has a good cut.So I’m keeping this here until I know for sure. There is a fold under the right arm that looks like a long dart, but that would be closer to the 1950s in terms of placement, as the same kind of side darts in the 1920s were shallower and longer on the whole.

So if this is a copy, this is the kind of copy I aspire to. It’s so well made that you have to look for details that show modern workmanship- the weave of the fabric, the order of construction, and nods to contemporary wishes. However this bodice keeps the conical shape while fitting for a more curvy shape than the fashionable ideal. The curved front join is correct for the period but also only until the late 19thC and it’s rare to see a garment deviate from established systems of cutting.


Museo del Traje- Jubón

Jubón femenino de seda con bastas flotantes por urdimbre de color gris que dibujan una decoración en zig-zag y roleos.

This is very definitely of the time! But it is for a different body type. This is almost certainly intended to be worn under a ropa as there are no shoulder wings.


Les Arts Décoratifs- Costume: pourpoint espagnol
Création: France, 1589-1610, Henri IV

Now this is what I mean by the MFA looking so close to the original. The placement of the trim (There are two distinct placements of trim on Jubons) the shape of the shoulder wings, the texture of the main fabric, the shape of the nib front, the proportion of the waist tabs. The most obvious difference is the set of the shoulders in the MFA.

As far as fitting this has a very similar method of shaping, which is to do the bulk of the general size in the back and pull the fabric from the sides to the front to pinch out for customised fit. You bring in under the bust and to the waist then smooth over the bust and over the point. And spread the fabric from the bust up and out to the shoulders. This way the most stable part of the fabric, the closest to the grain is under the bust and to the waist which then allows some ease over the bust and to the throat.

This is sort of similar to Victorian fitting as well and was mainly lost in modern pattern draping and drafting systems. It is still seen today in modern tailoring. ANd that is because these garments above were made by a tailor, dress making came about with the rise of the Mantua and lead to a very different kind of patterning and construction.


The Metropolitan Museum of Art-Jerkin

Medium:silk, metal thread
Credit Line:Gift of Bashford Dean, 1926
Accession Number:26.196

This garment is earlier than the rest but shows a shaping feature often overlooked in the various tailoring books, the side front seam. This appears to be optional as they are only drawn in occasionally but they do sit in the same place. But you can see some issues with trying to sew on this slight curve on the outside of the seam to our right. There is more fabric eased on the outer curve than on the opposite side.

This garment was patterned for Blanche Payne’s History of Costume. It’s not easier than the normal three part bodice types but it does allow for a little more ease over the bust and into the armscye.

Crossposted from my blog, but please do comment here :)

Landsknecht? Landsknecht!

For all you landsknecht needs, please do take the time to read this dissertaion:

Titel: Der Landsknecht im Spiegel der Renaissancegraphik um 1500 – 1540
Autor: Birgit von Seggern
Publikationsform: Dissertation
Zusammenfassung: Der Landsknecht wurde in der Kunst, vor allem in der Graphik der Renaissance zu einem beliebten Darstellungsobjekt. Er, wie auch sein „Söldnerkollege“, der Schweizer Reisläufer, wurde erstmals als Repräsentant des militärischen Fußvolkes für wert erachtet, als Einzelperson festgehalten zu werden. Zuvor trat der einzelne Kämpfer in Belagerungs- oder Kampfszenen hinter der Masse des Fußvolkes zurück. Einzeldarstellungen waren Angehörigen der höheren Kriegerstände, wie den Rittern vorbehalten.
Die Graphiken, insbesondere die Druckgraphiken stehen im Mittelpunkt dieser Dissertation. Sie setzten sich intensiver und häufiger als andere Kunstträger mit den Landsknechten auseinander. Zugleich boten sie den Künstlern eine besondere Freiheit in der Wahl und Ausgestaltung der Themen, da sie kaum an thematische Vorgaben eines Auftraggebers gebunden waren. Die Graphiken geben Zeitstimmungen und Modeerscheinungen deutlich wieder. Gerade die Söldnergraphiken scheinen den Publikumsgeschmack genau getroffen zu haben. Sie wurden häufig als Serie geschaffen oder wurden zu einer solchen aus Verkaufsgründen zusammengestellt.

There are woodcuts I haven’t seen including many from closer to the 1550s as well as many of injured soldiers. Really impressive at first skim.

Crossposted from my blog, but please do comment here :)

I love csv!

It’s helped me rebuild my site, but to also convert several long text documents in to proper, functioning worksheets!

The biggest one is done! Next ones will be much easier as they were not written by someone who seems to have literally said “too much stuff, there are things here”.

Crossposted from my blog, but please do comment here :)

Extant gowns I adore-2

popup_443e5da06ebbf 29-big

Museum of Decorative Arts in Prague, 2 Vendulka Otavská-Restaurování a konzervování historických textilií

img0002_big img0003_big


3, 4, 5 Regionálního muzea v Mikulově

dress2 dress4 dress5

6, 7, 8 Shakespeare’s England- Clothing from beyond the grave

Garment of: Margaretha Franciska Lobkowicz

Obsessed since: 2012

Recommended resources:  Museum of Decorative Arts in Prague, Regionálního muzea v MikulověShakespeare’s England- Clothing from beyond the grave

The Museum of Decorative Arts has also produced a document detailing the restoration of several garments: Vendulka Otavská Funeral attire of Maria Anna Josefa of Dietrichstein and its preservation 

They also have produced a document on the excavation of the burial as well: Eva Drozdová Antropologický výzkum Markéty Františky, hraběnky Dietrichsteinové

Vlasy Markéty Františky Dietrichsteinové – Lobkovicové, Eva Drozdová, Ph.D., ÚEB Biol PřF MU, Ústav antropologie – Biologická sekce – Přírodovědecká fakulta. A dissertation on the hair of Margaretha, mostly analysis of the hair strands but includes in situ and detail photos as well as.

The Burial Clothes of Margaretha Franziska de Lobkowitz, 1617, Johannes Pietsch, Page 30-49 | Costume, Published online: 29 Nov 2013

Patterns: I am waiting on the copy of the Costume article, however Johannes Pietz has made remarkable studies of the Kostümsammlung Hüpsch im Hessischen Landesmuseum Darmstadt. This thesis included detailed patterns for each layer (shell, lining, facings, interlinings) and this bodice would suggest the same care has gone into this gown not just having a striking visual appearance but transforms the wearer through careful use of support and shape.

Crossposted from my blog, but please do comment here :)

Extant gowns I adore-1


kleid0045 Werbemotiv-Damenkleid-Schraege_RA-angeschnitten-RK-i.-0045_x_01 torgau-germany-29th-apr-2016-the-dress-of-electress-magdalena-sibylla-G0704E

Werkstätten Ackermann & Pfannenberg, 2 Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden,* 3 Alamy,

mieder0045 torgau-germany-29th-apr-2016-the-dress-of-electress-magdalena-sibylla-G0704B

Werkstätten Ackermann & Pfannenberg, 5 Alamy

Garment of: Magdalena Sibylla of Prussia

Obsessed since: August 2016

Recommended resources: * Also has a pdf of the brochure for the exhibition  I’m playing catch up with documentation of this gown. All images are listed above with their source.

Patterns: The closest patterns are those of the Kostümsammlung Hüpsch im Hessischen Landesmuseum Darmstadt as incredibly detailed in the dissertation of Johannes Pietsch

Originaltitel: Die Kostümsammlung Hüpsch im Hessischen Landesmuseum Darmstadt
Originaluntertitel: Bestandskatalog der Männer- und Frauenkleidungsstücke; Studien zu Material, Technik und Geschichte der Bekleidung im 17. Jahrhundert
Übersetzter Titel: The Hüpsch Costume Collection in the Hessisches Landesmuseum Darmstadt
Autor: Pietsch, Johannes
Jahr: 2008
Dokumenttyp: Dissertation

This gown is in remarkable condition, extremely remarkable condition. The slashes in the skirt have been faced with the same fabric which allows them to remain very firmly closed.

The jubon clearly has some fine tailoring with pad/stay stitching in the upper back and shoulders- this can be seen through the neckline.


The gown is on display for a few more months at the time of writing.

Crossposted from my blog, but please do comment here :)

Why did I cut my ribbon??

I know why, but oh my gosh. I just am obsessed by this.


Possibly Maria Eleonora, Antoinne Caron.

I have always loved it in a “but it’s so stripy, why horizontal stripes? why????*” kind of way but now I really am thinking that my silver braid would be a better option than my silver ribbon.

Let’s dig in my archives to find the image of my braid…

sm_P1040838 sm_P1050579

I have 18m of this, or about 20 yards. I was thinking of using it on my Valois gown to make it over into a more general gown (given the original gown was a silk satin with the pearls on a velvet ground- not obvious until long after I cut my fabric!)

But I am also seriously thinking of cutting my Valois sleeves down in to Manga redonda, maybe even get a set of mangas casaca. But I really want to make the sleeves into the sleeves and bodice that started the Spanish affair to begin with:


Maria of Spain, Anthonis Mor

I was obsessed with this portrait long before even this level of detail was available. Her manga are closed and she has her hands go through them properly! Also look at the undersleeve, so lovely.

Anyway. I am only wanting to maintain the gown as she is now because I want to wear her more often. And I only don’t want to redo all the pearls if I feel the main gown is not correct. The whole black on black detail work is magnificent when you see these portraits in person (we have a few early 17thC painting here in Auckland) but get lost in scans. They are also pretty much painted using texture for texture, it’s amazing.

Anyway. I am going to just text how much braid I have, and also see how much is left over. I may have enough for another set of sleeves or a skirt hem.


*the other possible use of the braid was for a Mantua petticoat, which also has those horizontal stripes!

Crossposted from my blog, but please do comment here :)

App reinstalled



I have no idea how this will work, but I just shaed two photos of my Jubon with the silver ribbon finally cut to shape.
I spent too long today getting tech to cooperate to get my silver thread but that is around. Somewhere…. This will be hand sewn.

Crossposted from my blog, but please do comment here :)

Did stuff

Bought thread, pulled apart costume for zip for Maleficent, sewed a row of ribbon on my verdugardos, tidied channels along seams on the inside of verdugardos, covered and inserted shoulder pads in my spring jacket (also reshaped the shoulders), dyed fabric for farthingale hem (firm cotton and fulled wool) trimmed Valois skirt (tore skirt, fixed skirt) reassembled skirt pinned in full silk lining.

Now I think I can have a break, but I may wind up trying to do more of my Cleves hem trimming.

Crossposted from my blog, but please do comment here :)