I got the opportunity to make Dolan a new tunic for his laurel ceremony.  Yeah, I made him a different new tunic 2 weeks ago, but it wouldn’t be right for him to wear the heavily Lonely Tower “branded” tunic for this event.

Andrixos, Dolan’s peer  gave me some money to buy some really nice, yet expensive silk for the tunic. (Thanks!)  I also had to buy some additional embroidery & couching silks, even though I wouldn’t use that much.  So the additional cost was only $22.26 that I used in the project, a very reasonable amount.

So when I went to start this tunic, I faced the dilemma, “Should I use the sewing machine for construction seams?”  I usually sew by machine to assemble, and hand finish the seam allowances.  In the end, I decided to do it all by hand.  The last garment I made all by hand was 20 yrs ago.

So here’s my time accounting.

  • 2.5 hrs – special shopping trip to get the fabric and embellishment materials.  Fabric from the Quilted Moose, and most of the thread from Personal Threads Boutique, both in metro Omaha.
  • 2 hrs   – draw up a paper pattern, and carefully cut out the material. It took 3 yds of the golden brown “Need’l Love silk”, and 1/2 yd of the red for the trim.  The design is the Kragelund tunic.  I am grateful to this page detailing how to cut out the Kragelund.
  • 18.5 hrs – hand sew construction seams and finish seam allowances, including rolled hem at neckline, but not wrist or lower hems. I folded and sewed the seam allowances all to one side, which will provide a bit more strength to the seams.
  • 9 hrs – initial embroidery of embattlement and notes.  Since both of the archery awards (Boga Fyrd & Boga Hirth)  in Calontir use an embattled line of division in them, I used that to provide structure (aka dividing it into measures, even though noting measures wasn’t used in early music notation.).  Then I used my interpretation of “neumes” and put Dolan’s favorite song “Reign for all time” around it.  I used a scroll embroidery frame, and sewed the notes left to right on one side, then turned around and sewed the rest of the song left to right on the other side. I used a thick golden silk yarn “Pure Silk DK 153 RYC” (15 yds)  for the notes, couching with while silk floss “Rainbow Gallery Elegance E802” (1 yd)  at first, then just stitching regularly with it after that.  The embattled design was a black raw silk “Creative Focus silk 500 black Nashua Handknits” (5 yds), couched with 1 or 2 strands of “DMC black linen embroidery floss ( 3yds)”.
  • dol-har12.5 hrs – Additional work with the trim band – cutting it in half, so that each half was nebuly on the top. (Dolan’s device has a nebuly line of division.)  After cutting into it’s two pieces, I had to join the ends, and pin onto the tunic, then adjust the spacing, as tunic & trim weren’t perfectly the same.  That’s why the there are a few “measures” in the trim which are smaller than the rest.  I whip stitched the wrist & lower hems to the trim.  Then I added the arrow heads in black silk “Grandeur Rainbow Gallery G801” (7 yds), and fletching in green silk “Grandeur Rainbow Gallery G831” (10yds).
  • 5.5 hrs – I used needle-turn applique as I sewed the nebuly bits.

11408_800Thus, I’ve invested 50 hrs of work into this tunic.  Oh yeah, really, I’ve spent more time too.  You see, to sew up the seams, and do the applique, I didn’t have any decent linen, and couldn’t use standard thread.  So I pulled out some of the reeled silk thread we made at the silk reeling workshop at the William the Marshal event.  I used about 50 yds of 4×2 thread.  Each “strand” (the 4 in the numbers) is actually created with the silk of 15 to 20 cocoons, and then those 4 strands are plied together, and then 2 of those 4 strands segments were plied together.  So there are between 120 to 160 individual silk strands in the silk sewing thread.  The cost of the reeled silk – Priceless.