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Archive for September, 2011

Friday afternoon, Mike, Beatrix, and I drove down to Hebron, CT for the opening weekend of the Connecticut Renaissance Faire.  It wasn’t exactly an auspicious beginning — we were driving through torrential downpours, got soaked unloading stock into the tent, and saw dire flood warnings for the entire state on that evening’s news.

Saturday morning dawned rather gray and drizzly, and already warm.  Gray and drizzly, though, I can live with — it was already an improvement from Friday’s weather!

Beatrix hanging out by the tent before Saturday's opening.

Everything was damp, but even in this early morning picture, you can see the sun trying really hard to break through that cloud cover.  I went through the usual stress of a first morning — trying to figure out where everything would be displayed, finding everything that was missing a price tag and tagging it, suddenly realizing that the gate was about to open and I wasn’t dressed yet…..

Sashes and hats on display

But all of that was okay, because in the end, the sun DID come out! Hooray!

Rocking my steampunk finery for Time Travelers' Invasion.

And the weekend only kept getting better. The site was lovely and crowded (even if us veterans did spend half our time trying to get used to the new layout).  Saturday was Time Travelers’ Invasion, so I took advantage of the opportunity to wear some of my more steampunk clothing that I normally don’t get to pull out — Clementine skirt and mini top hat fun was had.

The Storied Threads tent is in a lovely location — right on the corner of one of the road loops, near stages and gaming and many wonderful things, which means we had quite a lot of foot traffic going by.

Commerce is happening!

I sold quite a lot of patches over the weekend, which surprised me a little — they’ve never sold so well at a show before!  I suspect that my new display system of sticking them to my poles helped — they were a lot more noticable than they ever were on my table.  And, perhaps not surprisingly, I sold more Doctor Who patches than anything else — in fact, I only have one of those left, so I guess I know what I’ll be working on this week! (You can just see Kaylee’s “Fezzes are Cool” patch on my table in the picture up above.)

This coming weekend should be EVEN BETTER than last — the long range weather forecast shows as nice and cool and partly cloudy, which is my personal favorite kind of faire weather.  So come on down, check out the faire, and stop in the Storied Threads tent to say hi!

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Setting up for CTRF

Yesterday saw me driving down to Hebron, Connecticut with Mike and Beatrix to set up the Storied Threads tent for the Connecticut Renaissance Faire. The faire has a brand spanking new lay-out this year, and I was really excited to see where I’d be setting up, and what the new site map would be like.

Beatrix oversees the tent set-up.

Turns out, the new set-up is going to be pretty cool.  The roads have been laid out in a figure eight that winds its way through and around the vendors and stages, which should create a really great flow of traffic that will work for everybody — both patrons who want to see stuff, and vendors and performers who want to be seen.

Just finishing the hard part of raising the roof.

We’ll be set up in what looks like it will be a great spot — next to the “Smite the Knight” game, across the road from the Melody Stage, and not too far from the acrobatic amazingness of Jayna Lee.

Two walls up, the way I hope to have the tent on show days.

We’re right on a corner, which is also nice. Assuming good weather (and by gum, there WILL be all good weather!) I’m planning to open up two sides of the tent, as it is here. It won’t be quite this open, since one side will be filled with awesome clothing for people to buy, but it will be gorgeous and inviting. And I like how well this picture shows off my awesome red tent poles against the canvas of the tent.

Mike and Beatrix posing together for a picture for me.

And now, the tent is all set up! We’ll be heading down on Friday to do some last minute beautifying stuff, and then filling it with oodles of awesome clothing and accessories Saturday morning. Hope to see you all there when the gates open at 11:00 that morning!

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Finishing Commissions

I’ve been spending the bulk of the last week or so finishing up commissions that are to be picked up in a few weeks at the Connecticut Renaissance Faire.  Commissions are an interesting thing for me.  For one thing, even more than the off the rack clothing I sell, they embody my “Clothing That Tells Your Story” slogan. I mean, what could tell your story better than a custom garment, made to not only your measurements, but sometimes your design?  Of the two I just finished, one was a completely new sort of thing for me, and the other was a personalized variation on one of my regular garments.

Wizard!

 

First up, is this nifty pointed wizard hat.  It’s a style of hat that I’d never worked on before, and while some parts were easy, others proved tricky.  The easy bit was the brim — I was able to simply make that the same way I do for my flat caps, and that first step just breezed right along.  The crown, though, was trickier.  I knew that I had to find a way to let it maintain it’s upright cone shape, but I didn’t want to resort to something too stiff that would make it look silly.  In the end, I used a layer of stiff felt, which seemed to give it structure, but still look a bit natural and soft.

And then there was that cone shape itself.  It was much harder than I though it would be to create a pattern that would fold into a nice conical shape!  My first two attempts were just awful, with a base that was all lopsided and would be great if you were portraying, say, a very drunk wizard. But that wasn’t really the goal here.  Finally, on my third try, I managed to get the right amount of curve to create a level base of the right size, and we were in business!  Now that I know how this shape works, I suspect future wizard hats (if I decide to make any in the future) will be much smoother projects.

Buttoned Frock Coat

Next up, this fabulous variation on my regular Frock Bodice.  The customer tried one on at a show, and liked the general cut and how it fit her body — but wanted some variations for her own personal style. She asked for set-in sleeves, rather than my usual tie-on sleeves, and a button closure instead of lacing. And asked that we leave off the picadills at the shoulder (which made sense, since their usual purpose is to help hide the sleeve ties).

The jacket itself is all black — the outer fabric has a great textured pattern to it, and it’s lined in black linen.  But that’s a LOT of black, and I felt like it needed to be broken up a bit.  I remembered that the customer’s bodice was a dark red, so I used buttons that had a dark red stone in the center, nice large ones that would pop against the black fabric. And then I took it a step further, and added buttons to hold the cuffs of the sleeves in place. I had those same dark red ones in a smaller size, and they worked perfectly as cuff buttons.

In the end, I’m really pleased with this coat — it’s only the second one I’ve made that buttons, and it makes me think maybe I should do some more like this when I have some time.


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New Patch Designs

Lately, we’ve been designing a lot of new patches over at Storied Threads.  Two of our new designs help fill out the line of merit badges, and the other two are pure geekery.

Everybody knows that the bubonic plague is transmitted via bad smells. It’s a fact. So to survive, don a creepy bird mask and stuff the bill full of oranges, roses, and other fragrant things! Once the dead have been counted, this merit badge will show the world how resilient and clever you are.

Plague Survivor” merit badge is a total re-design over the first version I showed you of this one.  I had several people say that the first one reminded them of “Spy vs Spy”, and that just wasn’t going to work, so I scrapped it and started over. I think this new design is a GREAT improvement.

 

Are you fighting alien invaders? Struggling against the uprising of artificial intelligence? Proclaim your loyalties to your fellow humans with this Human Resistance patch.

A little bit more abstract that most of the other merit badges, but this one has an almost military feel to it that works for the concept.

 

 

 

 

I’d been focused so much on my Doctor Who geekdom that I realized I was neglecting plenty of others. It wasn’t until I watched Serenity a week or two ago that I realized it was an idea that just NEEDED to have a patch made! I quickly rectified that shortcoming with this Serenity patch, using the title design from the movie.

 

That said, though…you knew there was going to be some Doctor Who in here somewhere, didn’t you?  Thanks to Eleven, we all know that fezzes (and bowties, and stetsons) are cool, and now this patch lets everybody else know, too. Well, about the fezzes anyway. The bowtie embroidery is eluding me, and stetsons haven’t even been attempted yet.

So, what would you all like to see on a patch? A merit badge I haven’t thought of? A geekdom I haven’t yet exploited? Let me know!

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