Saturday, December 5, 2009

Sewing binge: new Cotehardie

I took my kids to the local fabric heaven last Wednesday, so my daughter's friends could find some material for kilts. For you in the Phoenix, AZ area, that would be SAS Fabrics By the Pound. We went to the one on 19th Ave. If you sew at all, it is worth the trip over to wander around the store.

I wasn't going in to purchase anything for me, mind you. Just playing chauffeur for the kids. Silly me. I do historical recreation, and several events are coming up in the next few months.

I found some maroon cotton for $2/yd, that would make a great under tunic for an outfit I already had planned out. It matched the trim I already had. Snag.

I found 20 yards of a muted green linen, at $3/yd. That is enough to make matching tunics and shirts for the whole family. Had to take that too.

And then I found the cotton moleskin fabric, which is not necessarily accurate to period but feels soooooooo pettably soft to the touch. And it drapes beautifully. They had 5 yards of a dark olive green. And then I found another 4 yards of taupe. And they went beautifully together.

And well, our local group's Solstice event was coming up this weekend. The dress popped into my head, full formed. I could see a cotehardie, the height of fashion from the 1300's, with buttons down the front. Long sleeves, form fitting through the torso, then flaring at the hips to a full floor-length skirt. Maybe just off the shoulders, in the French style of the time. And though there wasn't enough of the dark green to make the whole dress, I have run across a couple of pictures that showed a contrasting fabric in the gores of the skirt.

At $3/yd, I couldn't resist. So I took it home, and ran it through the wash while I finished up another project so I could clear room in my studio. Friday morning, I was ready to start work. I spent the day tweaking patterns, cutting fabric, swearing, and sewing.

It took me until about 4 am, but I finally got the last button sewn on. I collapsed into a heap of sleep. This morning, my husband helped me with the final fitting and alterations, and we finished up just in time to make the event. Got lots of compliments on the outfit!

My husband snapped this shot for me after we got home. I'm leaning against my antique loom, which my family has decorated for the season. (They figured I was too caught up in Christmas prep, and I wouldn't be weaving on it until the decorations were put away. You should have heard them giggling!!)

The planning stages of sewing? Lots of fun. Actually sewing is a chore for me, and I rush through it as fast as I can while the inspiration is still spurring me on. But having sewn, and then slinking around in my new dress? Priceless!


  1. I love those colors! I bet it was crazy comfortable too. :) You and the loom both look great! lol

  2. I really love the feel of the fabric! Next time though, I would make the arms just a little bigger around. Last time I used that arm pattern was before I started modeling for life drawing, and I've put on muscle since then. Other than that? Great fun to wear!

    Thanks for the compliment. :)