This is the page for other things I've been involved in - while it's mostly non-clothing sewing, there are some strange things out there with my name (and some others) on them!
This is the wall painting I did for our "tavern", the Cat's Perch Inn. The Cat's Perch is the spiritual home of Gardiner's company, where we meet at least once a year to muster, skirmish, drink, gamble, and get into trouble in a very Elizabethan manner.
It's also the oldest room in our farmhouse, dating to right around 1800, possibly a little before.
Wall paintings were popular in Elizabethan drinking establishments (and elsewhere), often depicting biblical scenes of interest. Here, we see Jonah being swallowed by the whale. Any resemblance to particular members of Gardiner's Company is purely coincidental.
(The latin motto translates as "shut up and drink", which narrowly edged out "Hey, nonny, nonny" as the Company motto.)
This is a pincushion I made in 2004 - it's completely hand-made, couched in silk thread and decorated with silvered glass beads on a fine grade red wool of a type that would be called "scarlet" in the 1600s. This is one of the sides where you can see the peapods. Its shape is the same as the pincushion on the dressing table in the portrait of the Countess of Southampton.
This is the top of the pincushion showing the sweet pea flower. The base of the cushion is not embroidered. This project only took me a couple of days to complete, most of which was fiddling with the pattern to create the right size square for my purposes (it's about 5" square).
I drew the pattern out on each separate piece and completed the embroidery before I sewed the whole thing together. Since the wool is thick and slightly felted, it won't ravel, and doesn't need any hemming other than the decorative hemming stitch. Once each piece was embroidered, I did a whip stitch that caught the edge of the hemming stitch and sewed all the pieces together. It's stuffed with wool batting.
This is the favour I made for my husband to wear on his hat - in Elizabethan times, gloves were given as tokens of love, and often elaborately decorated. This little thing is actually the knitted lining of a modern leather glove - the knitting was so perfectly right (in the round, small stitches) that I felt okay using it. If I had not made the cuff a little small, I would be able to wear it.
The cuff is a modern trim that resembles (but is not an exact match for) the kinds of decoration popular on gloves of the period. The band on the cuff is satin ribbon embroidered with the motto "none but you can holde my hearte". A sentiment like this is common as decoration on Elizabethan items, and was appropriate for a love token (and, of course, I mean it!). My Gardiner's/SCA persona name initial is embroidered in satin stitch on the back of the glove, and a small couched gold cord is sewn onto a finger to resemble a ring (they not only wore rings over their gloves to show them off, there is at least one example of a knitted glove with a "ring" knitted into it).
This is our pavilion - it's painted to look like an Elizabethan officer's pavilion, and the design is taken from a woodcut depicting Essex's meeting with Tyrone in Ireland. All the materials are completely modern, including the paint, but it has taken on a nice weathered look in the four years since it was painted.
This is the interior lining of the tent - it has matching walls. My husband designed and sewed the roof, and I sewed the walls and stamped the estoile design on everything. The walls and roof are cotton, with acrylic paint stamping.
The other walls divide the mundane things we travel with and our clothes closet from the rest of the tent space.
My husband, in doll form. I originally made this doll and the one of me because we couldn't go to an event that we really wanted to attend, so we sent these two in our place.
...And me in doll form.
An important note: These dolls are not historically accurate - they're just fun things I made when we wanted to attend an event, but couldn't.
I purchased the doll forms - they're muslin - and sewed the clothes from scraps I had around the house (mostly felt). I embroidered the faces and used commercially available doll hair for the hair on both dolls. Small details such as the white scarves, award medallion, and the embroidery on the Izzy doll coif were done with fine tip pens.
This is a ship that my husband Robert created for the event Night On The Town in 1998. This was a full Elizabethan event that included a pitched battle with archers and rapier fighters, simulating a landing attack by the Spanish on the village of Smeewick, England, in 1588.
The "ship" was made from PVC pipe and waste cloth we got for free from a fabric mill. It may look a little silly, but at the time, it was one of the most ambitious one-use (well, we actually used it three times) projects we had done for an SCA event. We built it in a friend's driveway, and Robert gave me carte blanche to create whatever style ship I wanted with spray paint and about a thousand safety pins. There were reinforced bars across the middle where the ship was lifted by its occupants so it could "sail".
I should have primed the material before painting, but we were short on time, and I just went crazy with the spray paint - I think I couldn't hold a pencil for about three days.
Fortunately, I wasn't working at the time.
From a distance across the fighting field, it looked magnificent - well, fun, at least. We had an excellent crew of "Spanish", all decked out in plastic morion helmets we had bought from a costume store and painted to look more real (again, from a distance). We made an inflatable "party sheep" into a figurehead, and at some point, I think a morion got strapped on her head and she was christened "Flossy".
It was one of the more hilarious moments of the day - bad Spanish accents, marshals dressed like fish for the battle (they were standing in the ocean!), and a volley of rocks and stones (er, tennis balls) from the watching crowd as they attempted to land.
Text and images copyright L. Mellin, 2000-2008, except where noted. All rights reserved.