Project: The Black Velvet Cotehardie

So, one thing I have always told people is that just because an artisan is good at one thing, they may not be good at all the things.  Unless you are my now former Laurel, who is freakish that way.  😀

I have also always joked that I love working in food, because to me, it is way more forgiving than, saw, fabric.  Did I cut that vegetable up wrong?  I can probably use it anyway.  Did I cut that piece too small?  Well, bleep.

However, one of the things that has come out of receiving my own Laurel is that I am paranoid about my level of dress.  Its one thing when I am working in the kitchen, but for speaking in court, I kinda feel the need to look good.  And I can’t keep wearing my lovely coronation dress forever (because Wool is awesome for winter, but at that weight, probably not for this climate…in June).

I saw a really lovely piece done by a European reenactor, with a velvet lady’s cotehardie and a silk sideless surcoat with bezants.  I happened to have the rest of the lovely black cotton velvet I used to make Alarich’s dagged sleeve cotehardie for my elevation, and a lovely moss green silk, so I decided to give it a go.

I patterned using Duchess Magdalena’s curved front cotehardie instruction, making a lining slopper out of a nice white and black checked linen.  Once I got the adjustment on that where I wanted it, I cut out and started sewing the velvet.  I ended up hand sewing the thing, since I started it at a friend’s house on project weekend and I didn’t take my machine.

The nice thing about it was that so far, everything has gone together easily.  (This is not usually my experience with fabric).  The lining basted in neatly.  The gore placement hits right, and the gores themselves are laying beautifully.  The sleeves fit the armscye the first time in with very little adjustment.  The neckline and edging has been easy.

The only downside was that I came down pretty sick last week, and lost a week of working on it.  So, the sideless isn’t started yet.  However, even with other things needing my attention tonight, I should be able to easily knock out the remaining needed work (23 more button holes and the bottom hem) tonight with no problems.  So yay, new dress for me tomorrow.  It will still need some seam finishing work after that, but it can wait.

The sideless is going onto the back burner for the moment.  At the end of the month there is a Italian carnival themed event, and trying to keep to my goal of dressing in my own century, I am going to create an over cote based on the second dancer on the left in this image from Andrea di Bonaiuto da Firenze, painted on the frescoes of the Spanish chapel at Santa Maria Novella in Firenze.

Dancers from the second panel of the "The Way of Salvation" by Andrea di Bonaiuto da Firenze in the Spanish Chapel of Santa Maria Novella in Firenze, Italy.

Dancers from the second panel of the “The Way of Salvation” by Andrea di Bonaiuto da Firenze in the Spanish Chapel of Santa Maria Novella in Firenze, Italy.

After that, I will come back to the Sideless and try to get it done for Kingdom A&S.

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