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Archive for August, 2016

Many years ago, I made myself a Venetian camicia based on this example (from Dorothy Burnham’s book ‘Cut My Cote’) to wear under a dress that looks a lot like this (Portrait of a Family, by Bernadino Licino, 1520s, Venice, Galleria dell’Accademia).

The camicia always caused me problems, though, because I could not stitch the gathers sufficiently securely, even with a bit of smocking (there was never a total wardrobe malfunction, but I couldn’t enjoy the outfit because sections would pop unstitched quite regularly). Finally, I decided to make some lace to stitch the gathers in place. I used pattern 15 from Nuw Modelbuch, a bobbin lace pattern book first published in Zurich in 1561. Yesterday, I finished enough lace for the last cuff and it is all stitched in place.

It may not look like much, but the camisia took 78 inches of lace, which was probably close to a week’s worth of labour. I would show you a a picture of it being worn, but it is underwear, so a photo will have to wait until the next time I wear the dress.

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A traditional part of the elevation ceremony is a gift or token with the symbol of the order – in this case, a laurel wreath. I have never been big on the whole heraldry thing, so I was really pleased when Alais said she would like something modest. She has, of course, have the gold ring made by Brenda Roy that is passed from Laurel to Laurel in our kingdom. Many of us have purchased copies in silver once we have passed on the original to the next to be elevated. Here is a picture of mine:

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Alais doesn’t wear rings so I decided to make her a rosary. There are many extant pictures and examples of rosaries; Larsdatter has some excellent links and information about them. Because Alais is lower-class woman, I used bone beads with glass beads decorated with laurel wreaths for the gauds (the larger beads dividing groups of 10 simple beads), and a silk tassel. I used 60 beads rather than the more common 50, partly because the beads are quite tiny, and partly because I know that Alais is not actually a practicing Catholic so I wanted the rosary to be less obviously religious.

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Alais wanted a day that fit with her 16th C Flemish persona so I decided to make some clothes that would be suitable for the day. If you are interested in more detail, great resources can be found here: Lower Class Flemish Dress, here: Flemish Dress and here: Dutch Renaissance Clothing

This style of clothing was all new to me, but Alais was wonderful at helping me fit a bodice. She also sewed up my sleeves and stomacher (salvaged from a failed silk pants experiment), gave me loops and instructions on spiral lacings for the bodice, and loaned me the pattern for a partlet and  very silly little cap underneath the swallowtail hat (which was a gift from her). I may go back and narrow the partlet, and I’m pretty sure I want to narrow the chemise sleeves a bit, but overall, I’m really pleased with how it all turned out. The first picture is of me, and the second is with Alais.

 

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My apprentice Alais de Poitiers was elevated to the Order of the Laurel today in a lovely ceremony – more about that later. This post is about my contribution to the food preparations.

Alais has a 16th C Flemish persona, and wanted a Kermis or peasant wedding feast to celebrate. Naturally, that meant lots of food. While others did waffles, cheesecakes, a bride cake, and breads, I made sausages and mustard.

I didn’t have much luck finding 16th C Flemish sausage recipes, but I did find some interesting options instead. Some had very appropriate ingredients but were not quite Flemish, while others were from the right place but with more modern ingredients. My source for almost all the recipes was Len Poli’s Sausage Recipes Formulations (http://www.lpoli.50webs.com/Sausage%20recipes.htm). +

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Clockwise from top left, there is Tripp (a cabbage and pork sausage that has a bit of cayenne (http://www.food.com/recipe/cabbage-and-pork-sausage-tripp-sausage-316245). Tripp is a typical modern Belgian recipe. Next is Frikandellen, a skinless Dutch sausage that is traditionally cooked and then deep fried; not 16th C cooking style, but it was very popular. Next is Rookworst, a Dutch smoked sausage. Finally, you see Saucisse d’Alsace-Lorraine. I completely forgot the Breton sausage at home, so here is a picture. They look a little sad because they are straight out of the refrigerator (also because they missed a great party):

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All the sausages were cooked in advance to minimize the risk of bacterial issues, and that was a very good thing as the day was incredibly hot. A fire ban had been a real risk, and no-one wanted to stand over a fire.

The mustards were simple favourites. The honey and thyme mustard (small bowl at the top) is based on a recipe found at http://www.wonkywonderful.com. I found the recipe too watery, so I cooked up a bit of flour and water to give it body. The other is a basic yellow mustard from http://www.leitesculinaria.com. I have been trying to find a perfect yellow mustard recipe for ages, and this was it. The recipe promised it would be rather sharp for a few days or a week, so I thought it would be a decent substitute for a Dijon-style mustard (which I hadn’t yet chosen). However, it turned out to be lovely and mild by the time I put it on the table less than a day after making it. I will definitely use this recipe again.

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