Sunday, 9 August 2009

Walk like an Egyptian...

After a washout of a week, this weekend we've actually had glorious weather, which was fortunate as yesterday we headed up to Shining Cliffs (also affectionately known as Shining Death) in Derbyshire for a spot of LRP. This was a closed AscendancyLRP player event and someone's birthday bash, so I'm hoping they enjoyed it.

I wrote most of this one, so had a fair understanding of what was going on and had a couple of enjoyable moments. I got to shout at the birthday boy and set him up to embrace a nightmare, so I think I did my bit. I'm sure Richard will do a writeup and post some pictures when he gets a moment.

Today we stayed at home and did lots of things that we didn't get a chance to do yesterday because we were running around the woods being scary. This mostly involved housework, laundry, ironing, more fleece washing and this...

I actually dusted off my sewing machine and made costume.

This is a kalasiris, or an Egyptian style robe inspired by the one in Patterns for Theatrical Costumes, which incidentally is a great book and one I highly recommend - providing you have some dressmaking or costuming experience and know how to construct your own patterns. It is a brilliant resource but doesn't hold your hand, do much in the way of instructions and assumes that all you need is the basic shapes and can pretty much do everything else for yourself.

Anyway, I was after a simple robe that could be worn in a variety of ways and would stand me in good stead for crewing. I went stash diving and found this piece of linen which I'd purchased back when I started sewing. It's one of those lengths of fabric which I fell in love with (it was the colour), went "oooh linen" and it fell into my shopping basket. I feel good about making this costume as it was using up stash fabric and I only added thread and ribbon.

Last weekend, I washed the linen and spent a whole afternoon ironing it (while also washing fleece) and then I drafted out my pattern.

I cut, edged and sewed the main seams through the week, leaving today for the finishing touches - namely adding trim and making a belt. This is the first time I've sewn ribbon on with a sewing machine as I normally hand finish everything. The lack of time available meant that this time I decided to have a go at using the machine and I don't think I made too bad a job of it. It was however very fiddly and while faster, I think sewing ribbon on with a machine is a lot harder than doing it by hand!

Naturally, any Egyptian outfit needs a cat in shot and Missy was determined to get in on the action. In fact, there was no shifting her so I think I can say that this robe has Missy's seal of approval.

The robe itself is a very simple garment. In its most basic form, a kalasiris is nothing more than a big rectangle of fabric with a hole cut in it for the head. The sides are then sewn closed with holes left for the arms. The whole thing is pinned or belted in place to form a sort of dress and can be worn on its own or with an underdress of some sort (i.e. a tunic or shift would do it).

In this case, I'm sporting it over a t-shirt and modern skirt but hopefully you get the idea.

Modifications on the basic idea... I decided to add in a back seam and cut at the shoulder seams. This was for ease of cutting and drafting since I was handling smaller pieces of linen. The linen in question creased if I looked at it funny and anything that helped me to keep it flat while I drafted and cut was a good thing.

I decided to split my kalasiris up the front to give me more future flexibility in how I might use this costume. Then I decided that ribbon was needed at the neck and sides to make the whole thing gel properly, so the whole thing look like a proper garment rather than a big piece of linen. The ribbon, in red and gold as a good match and I'm pleased with how it looks now its in place.

The final mod to the basic idea was to curve the sleeves or sides slightly as they fell towards the hem. This was mostly so that if it ever gets worn open, they don't drag on the floor quite so badly!

Overall, I'm pleased with this one and hope to get lots of use out of it.

1 comment:

  1. That robe looks excellent.

    I have added a few picture of you and Dave from Saturday's event onto my blog since you put your link above.