Month: May 2013

Some more on that shirt…

Hey, boys and girls, it’s been an intense time here at Casa Mellin, as I’ve been logging 11-hour workdays to get the ruffs done by our due date.

Wanted to show some more pics of the gathered shirt:

These pictures show the way the ruffles are gathered into the cuffs and collar.  On the original I’m working from (a Swedish shirt from the 1570s or so), the gathering is done with three lines of 1/8″ stitches that are then pulled tight.  Since the linen I’m working with is thicker than the original linen (I can’t find anything that fine that we can afford), I switched to 1/4″ gathers for the neck ruffle.  When the three lines are pulled tight, you see what happens above; the gathers are much firmer and hold their shape much better.  These gathers are then stitched (with one stitch to each pleat) into the cuffs and collar, working first on one side, then the other.  The end result is a fine ruffle that would have been set into shape with starch, but looks pretty nice even without it:

I’ll post pics of the finished shirt once I’ve taken photos.

All the Trimmings

 A week ago Carla and Sandy started putting the hand braided trim on the tabs for the green Wool-silk suit.

The trim is created using a technique called fingerloop braiding, using five bowes, or loops of silk thread, to create a flat braid. A length of trim is then applied to each individual skirting tab for the doublet prior to assembly and lining.

Speaking of lining, Sandy and Carla also had a heck of a time finding the right lining material in the right color. So after several tests and several dye baths later, they have hand dyed the silk that will be used to line the green wool-silk doublet. The tangerine makes a great contrast and will be well suited for the Governor of Jamestown.


Silk lining with trimmed tab, and lengths of braided trim.

Quick look at buttons


The buttons we are using for the burgundy silk suit. Pay no attention to the buttonhole, as it was done by machine. We’ll be doing the buttonholes by hand on the suit. Buttons were cast by Richard Lanni ( and gilding was done by Lesley Wilson at Darkwood Armory.

Shirt Progress

Laura and Vic are making impressive strides on the creation of the shirts to go with the Governor’s new suits for Jamestown. Laura has completed one shirt, and is working on a drawnwork ruff and cuffs to go with it. Vic has completed the embroidery for the cuffs and collar of the other shirt and will soon begin assembly of the shirt with openwork seams.

Laura displays the length of one drawnwork cuff at 2.5 yards.
Laura displays the length of one drawnwork cuff at 2.5 yards.

Here are some more views of Laura’s work on the drawnwork cuffs and ruff, close ups of her stitching and the resulting pattern. Click on the small images for a larger view.

Completed drawnwork pattern
Laura works on the second row of drawn work on the edge of a cuff
Laura starting on the first row of drawnwork on the second cuff

Vic brought the cuffs and collar of the embroidered shirt to share.

Vic displays the embroidered cuffs and collar
Embroidered Cuffs
Embroidered collar detail

Spring Muster/ Mousehole

Pike Drill in the yard of the Cat’s Perch Inn

Mousehole was a grand event this weekend, despite the meager attendance. Though only 15 brave souls traveled to the Cat’s Perch Inn for the event, a fun time was had by all.

Bear mauls one of the attacking dogs

The morning started off with a manly display of manliness in the form of Pike Drill, led by our own Master Hamilton, Corporal of the Pike. Eight pikemen showed up for the drill; ordering their pikes, resting their pikes, charging their pikes, porting their pikes, marching their pikes, and other manly acts with long wooden pointed shafts. The ladies of the company were mighty impressed with the display, and may have heckled a bit.

Pike drill was followed by Bear Baiting with our master bearbater, Ian. Barnabus and Belle successfully defeated the packs of dogs that attempted to beat the bears into submission. Clearly we need younger and more hungry dogs. But the show entertained those in attendance to great applause.

The cooks switched things up and presented the company with a large dinner at midday, after pay, We were presented with a hearty chicken, apricot, and turnip stew, creamy snow peas, carrots in vinegar, cheese slices, bread with butter and jellies, pizelles, and a currant cake. Yum! After the big meal several Bandesmen succumbed to naps in shade, on benches, and on a blanket under the cedar tree.

Cooks shoot at some attackers

Having the cooks mostly done by midday meant that we also enjoyed their company for the rest of the day. Whether sewing in the shade, shooting at the archery butts, or shooting bated arrows at attackers, the afternoon was full of activities, after several naps were accomplished. We finished up the day with a delicious supper of roast pork and savory cheese tart, some board games, dice games, and card games in the tavern with drink and some (poorly done) singing, as well as some excellent singing thanks to Fanny. Though a storm rolled in, coaxing folks inside, we still had a great event.

Wish you were there! But you can see more pictures from the event on Flickr.


Drive-by Update


Carla and I have been busy working on the Governor’s New Clothes these past few weekends.  Trim has been hand sewn onto the burgundy silk, and the finger weaving has been completed for the green suit.  I was hoping to get things more assembled this weekend, but we still have some eyelet holes to make.  I  pinned the tabs on the doublet so we could see where the eyelet holes needed to be placed.  So far, we’re pretty pleased with out it’s turning out.





Carla pinned the trunk hose to the ironing board so we could see how the “poof” poofed.  She still has to cartridge pleat the top onto the waist band, but they are looking quite spiff as well.  I love the detail at the waist band, but it’s hard to see in the picture.