Medieval Fashions: Knight’s Lady

DSC_0151cdress

C11 is doing her presentation at the feast on medieval fashions.  She had made a fabulous start, creating a hand sewn costume for her medieval peasant doll.  It had taken her much longer than anticipated, leaving only three weeks until the date of the feast to have her next costume completed by.  This costume was to be a far more complicated one for a knight’s lady.  We were both somewhat panicked by the lack of time.

Nevertheless she swiftly made the chemise from muslin and a dress from white embroidered cotton.  These were completed quite quickly as she had done similar designs for her peasant doll.  Bearing in mind she created her own patterns, she did an amazing job:

Showing the muslin chemise underneath the over dress
Showing the muslin chemise underneath the over dress
And the over dress
And the over dress

She didn’t finish the arms on the over dress as she had wanted them to be long and floaty and wasn’t quite sure how she could create that.  Because of time constraints we chose to use a felt fabric rather than the preferred velvet because it would not need hemming.  She easily created a violet skirt by cutting a rectangle, folding over the top, stitching, threading with elastic and pulling tight:

C sewing her skirt
C sewing her skirt
Her half made skirt
Her half made skirt

She had wanted the skirt to be slit down the middle to reveal the white embroidered cotton dress underneath but when I found some silky purple material she panelled that in instead:

Pretty, isn't it?
Pretty, isn’t it?

And this is where work ceased.  She had done all her skills would allow her to do and at this point was really struggling for motivation.

We had been here once before during this project, but this time I too was stuck.  I was not an experienced enough seamstress to be able to instruct her.  So each night I took her dolly and played, created, unpicked, played and created some more (with a whole heap of unpicking at various intervals) until I at last managed to put together something resembling a bodice:

It looks so simple, but it took me hours to do
It looks so simple, but it took me hours to do

And we were off again.  This project has definitely been one of team work and, whilst C probably would have preferred it to have been all her own work, I had a ball interfering!  In fact, interfering taught me something.  It taught me how having time and freedom to experiment is when the very best learning occurs.  Unfortunately the presentation is next week and there was simply not the time to give C to experiment as she had done with her peasant dolly.  I don’t sleep and I have hours to play around in the evening, so I tried to help her out.  The reality is, that whilst I succeeded getting the project off the ground again (so to speak) I prevented C from learning the valuable lessons which come from trial and error.  And worse, I had robbed her of the feeling of achievement which comes from a project done pretty much entirely independently.

Once the bodice was done, everything else began to fall into place.  Long arms were sewn from rectangles of purple silk and attached at the base of the embroidered cotton arms previously sewn:

Her long floaty arms
Her long floaty arms

We made a simple belt from the same material, stitching it in place at the back and  we were almost finished!

Here she is standing ready for the banquet
Here she is standing ready for the banquet
And a photo of the front
And a photo of the front
And the back
And the back

C11 had wanted her lady to have a fur cloak.  It took me a while to find something which would work as fur.  We do have a huge fake fur sheet but T uses it a lot for all his plays and was loath to give C even a small part of it.  I have three boxes full of old clothes I have kept for the purposes of sewing and patchwork and eventually found an old coat which had a fur-lined hood.  I ripped the fur off and together C and I made a simple cloak:

The cloak
The cloak, made from purple silk and pink fur
The Lady wearing her cloak
The Lady wearing her cloak
And the back
And the back

 

Finally we made her head-dress by simply hemming a sheet of muslin on three sides, folding the fourth side down, sewing and threading with elastic and pulling really tightly to bunch up the fabric.  The elastic was secured with a few stitches and then cut.  This was then attached to a material covered bun:

A close up front on
A close up front on
And side on
And side on

We had finished, and neither of us could quite believe how well it had turned out:

Isn't she beautiful?
Isn’t she beautiful?
We both just loved how she turned out!
We both just loved how she turned out!

And here are both the peasant dolly and the Knight’s lady, side by side awaiting C11’s presentation.  Something for C to be very proud about, don’t you think?

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Both dolls were made from scraps of material, old peanut sacks and ripped up old clothing and didn’t cost a penny to make.  I’m so proud of my little girl and I promise next time to not interfere (although, you should know, I had jolly good fun doing so…!)

Homeschooling the Middle & High School Years

 

 

 

32 comments

  1. Hi Claire

    Can you please pass on my congratulations to Charlotte. The knights lady looks amazing and she deserves to be very proud!!

    I love how honest you are in your blog it is a real encouragement to me so thank you too.

    Lx

  2. Wow. This is totally beyond me. I’m so, so impressed. I think there’s a balance to be struck between helping our children with something they’re struggling with so that they meet certain deadlines, and letting them learn from trial and error. I think your help was warranted in this case, given the time constraint. C will get many more opportunities to experiment with similar projects so don’t beat yourself up for helping! 🙂

    1. Thanks for the reassurance Hwee. I think I just saw how much I learnt by trial and error with the dress that I thought C could have learnt the same if I had backed off and let her. Next time.

  3. She is SO beautiful! C has done such a wonderful job and her skills at sewing are going to be with her and grow all of her life. She is going to remember this project all of her life. too. I love seeing the two dolls together. How lucky your guests for the feast are!

    1. Thank you Phyllis. I’m enjoying learning along side her too. L is now asking to learn which I am very happy about. It’s such a useful skill to have, isn’t it?

    1. The pattern drafting was particularly hard, and although the pictures don’t show the mess, it was also very messy. Hopefully each time we do something like this our skills will improve. It was fun learning though.

  4. She is beautiful! Both dolls clothing turned out great – I’m so impressed with all the layers – the costumes were clearly quite a bit of work. With C’s new skills, she’ll be able to experiment more with fashion and sewing after the presentation – I hope we get to see what else she comes up with 🙂

    1. Thanks Marie. I think she wants to take a break from all things sewing related for a few weeks. She’ll be back though, I’m sure.

  5. Fantastic! C did such a wonderful job of turning some bits of cloth into beautiful clothing. Even more impressive is she did it with no patterns. WOW!

    And as far as your helping, I think it is great. Everyone needs a helping hand now and then. She knows she did most of it on her own, and without a doubt, given more time, she would have been able to finish on her own. Even the fancy clothing designers have assistants. You are her mother and your mother’s heart couldn’t let her have an incomplete dress. That is not being a robber of achievement, my friend. That is being a mommy:)

    Have a fantastic day, Claire.

    1. It’s such a balance though, because C, I know, would have preferred to have done it alone, whereas L always, always prefers having me help. T never wants me anywhere near his projects and if I did help I think it would steal ALL his joy of project work.
      I think next time C has decided to choose smaller, more manageable projects rather than large, longer ones.

  6. Wow!!! I am bowled over with the attention to detail and persistence that created these exquisite designs! Absolutely beautiful. Well done both of you!

  7. Wow! She turned out so amazing and detailed! Beautiful. I imagine I would have wanted to “interfere” myself because I love these kinds of crafts.

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