Sunday, March 12, 2017

The Pourpoint Commission: Not So Much "Launch" As "Measured Acceleration"

the cult of Baron Samedi took a
strange turn in some clothworker

The past week's efforts were somewhat restricted by lacking any pale-colored silk quilting thread, because in my laudable Buy All The Things In Advance effort I had only gotten black thread. because I am genius.  shut up.

I became aware of this resource gap a few hours after last week's post; I had laid out the pattern pieces on the silk to get an idea of how much wiggle room was available, was pleasantly surprised to find a comfortable amount, and cut off (with some wincing and gritted teeth) a 6" square to test-swatch.  I set it all up on a small frame and went "...oh."  I put in a rush order for what I needed--getting both white and natural colors, since I wasn't sure which would look better and I didn't want to go through the same thing a few days later--and proceeded on the test swatch with the black thread I had, because it's a test swatch and who cares?  
Promising, yes.

Pleasant surprise #2: the silk, even when packed much more fully than the linen, didn't have any perceptible lossage either.  That meant I could proceed with cutting out the pattern pieces from the silk without any additional pattern-frobbing, hallelujah.  No; just had to do all the frobbing to make sure the brocade motifs lined up in an agreeable fashion.  This is a) not easy and b) nerve-wracking, particularly the first time around, particularly on fabric this expensive.  Also, my kingdom for space for a table I can cut out fabric on.  oh god my back. 

The rest of the week there wasn't a lot I could do, waiting on the thread arrival, so I stuffed it full of the social engagements I wouldn't have time for once I really got going, and did a few minor tasks, like ensuring I had lining fabric ahem.  I decided to use the Sartor heavy natural linen I had in stash already, because a) it's worthy, b) I have a goodly amount of it since I'd intended to make a dress for me and a suit for Himself out of it, and c) most of the other stuff I have to hand is fine, underwear-weight, and if you're anchoring expensive silk and a pound of cotton floof on it, not to mention OVER FIFTY BUTTONS AFJKDJFKDJFKLJG, I figure you want something a bit more solid.  (And it's not coarse heavy; just heavier than their other stuff, which is rated "fine".)  Regrettably, I have no information about Gold Charlie's lining, other than that it is linen, but I feel this is a reasonable choice.

in media res
I had all my critical resources in place to begin yesterday afternoon, so after doing a stay-stitch around the armhole curves, I got cracking on the upper back piece, which is comparatively easy: it doesn't have to match anything and the motifs line right up down the center back so you have some built-in guidance.  Happily, the brocade motifs are spaced in such a way that, by running the quilting lines along the the top and bottom of the quatrefoil lobes, this works out very close to the 30mm spacing on Gold Charlie.  That'll work for all the large pieces except the lower back, whose lines are on a slight curve, because there is no God[1]; the gores are a mixed bag, and I will worry about them later.

Some observations thus far:

  • I should do the first, centermost line of quilt stitches on each piece with no padding in place, then stuff on either side of it.  That will make life so much easier.  Why did I not think of this sooner.
  • The silk quilting thread is annoying as hell and wants to be waxed, which I was reluctant to do with silk, but a) it's unravelling and b) it's knotting itself up.
  • Switching to a finer needle makes a huuuuge difference here.  My usual quilting betweens were just not doing it.
  • Instead of laying out everything on a big-ass piece of lining fabric and just "scrolling" it into place on the frame, I'm breaking it down into smaller pieces.  This is going to be considerably more profligate with the lining fabric, but I have some compelling reasons:
    • I don't want already-done pieces of the garment to get smooshed under the frame holders.  This is no big deal for a linen garment but I don't want to get marks on the silk.
      • the downside is, I'll have some uncomfortable sessions getting to the center of the frame with my little T-rex arms, sigh.
    • It's easier to manage the frame if there isn't 2 yards of excess linen drooping around it in all directions.
    • I'll take some of the waste fabric, as available, and put it on the small frame to do the gores.  This also makes my project a little more portable. As long as I'm going to a place that has an embroidery frame stand. -_-
I also had the inspiration to outsource the cotton bowing to an under-employed friend, who is coming up today to do that thing.  I am pleased with my Very Medieval Solution to my critical lack-of-time problem.  Warning: do not come near my living room today.

I still haven't found a solution for the round buttons.  I checked all the usual vendors and so far have come up empty.  I wonder if only the disc buttons are metal underneath?  I wonder if the Charles IV exhibition people made assumptions because they found a bunch of metal buttons too?  WHY WILL NO ONE PUBLISH GOLD CHARLIE?

Current music: the Deadpool soundtrack. On auto-repeat.

[1] Actually it's because of the interesting shape of the waist seam at the back; once the upper & lower backs are attached, the curved lines look straight.  I have not taken the time to suss out why this arrangement is better than a straight seam. 

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