Monday, November 12, 2018

Progress on a Weekend

Well I finally started my doll project-Arabella. I sculpted with knife and scraped and sanded to make the face closer to the shape in the painting. Also separated fingers from the sculpt; sanded and shaped  them. When sculpting a little salivating goes along way. Putting myself into my work again. Though whenever I make an item there is always blood, sweat, and tears that makes the dream a reality. Super excited to have her ready then get all the clothes assembled. The process is so much fun and goes quickly when inspiration strikes.

So face and hands are air dry clay,  body stuffed with cotton batting, iron wire in arms, wooden disc in base. Linen body handsewn, together turned them stuffed, head and hands sewen on. Painted with gouache paints and water.  I have base color down and going to lighten to pale court pallor this evening.

Have inspiration pictures and current progress. Hoping to get to wig stage tonight or tomorrow, fingers crossed. Really like how the face turned out and hoping to edit some of my other sculpts when the time comes to use them for a doll. Practice makes perfect.

She has a nice expression, I noticed on the original there seemed to be a small bowed mouth so trying a version of this though will tone it down a little when it’s lightened a bit. Though the red of the gown will bring it right back up.

Keeping on crafting,

Marrin o’Kealy

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Thursday, October 25, 2018


Working on some aprons as of late, one rough linen and another a finer linen cotton blend. Though all the bobbin lace is linen on the blend apron, it’s pretty with the color differences. Figured it was good to have a few for different class representations, never know about dressing up class or lower class.

I will have a little blackwork one too, it’s so pretty. As I did find an extant example image that one does exist. As cutting up a 14x18 piece seems very counter productive. So pleat it to an apron seemed the next logical step in the blackwork embroidery I have recently completed.  Have some photos for everyone to enjoy.

Other news, I am excited to be trying on my complete Amazonian armor tonight. Typically I’d be playing dnd with Albert though plans changed last minute.  I hope it all fits and will be impressive at the Comics Metropolis Halloween Comicfest cosplay contest. I’m not in  as a contestant but I’m judging. So different kind of  challenge though going to be fair.

Halloween cats are healthy and happy so life at home is peaceful and productive.

Be blessed ,

Marrin O’Kealy

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Partlet Getting Personal

This black velvet partlet I have had for many years. It’s my first one that I made following the Tudor Tailor pattern. Though at the time I didn’t have knowledge to properly finish it. For two reasons which I will explain.  So now after 12 or so years it is lined in a light linen and edged in black and white linen cotton blend twist.

The extended time in finishing this is partly due to my temperature sensitivity, I get hot and cold easily. Just by touching something too warm or too cold it makes my temperature change. Teased for years I was cold bloooded but was wondering if I was possibly correct. Plus it is typical of me to pick a time period that happens in a mini ice age and we are now living in global warming modern day.

Getting back on topic. Since finding out I have Rynauds Syndrome, it makes sense why I have had a life long struggle to maintain a regulated body temperature. It’s basically an extreme reaction to a survival setting in the central nervous system. If I am too warm I become overheated easily and heat stroke is an issue. Or if I get too cold then hypothermia can set in quicker than an average person. Now those are extremes, though even subtle changes in temperature piping hot food or ice cold drink can trigger a response. In my work office I have blankets fans and various sweaters and extra deodorant for the changes since I can’t regulate the settings for the building.

Though the temperature changes effects my digestive system. I have irritable bowel as well which I believe the two are linked. It’s pops up and causes upsets when changes in temperature occur. Not as much food related but weather related jump in temperature changes. So seasonally I can guarantee I won’t be comfortable for a few days. That’s without odd jumps that Mother Nature likes to throw in for fun. So now you know how I stay thin, not able to digest as much as I should. Which can cause low blood sugar so one thing leads to another.

Now what does all this have to do with a partlet. Well layers regulate body temperature and since in  Tudor times there are so many in clothing. I have to be careful how many to put on or can easily take off while still being properly dressed. So I have made other partlets in silk organza and will be making some inlinen eventually

Now for someone with my condition central air and heat when properly monitored is helpful. Though in the Sca we don’t always have the luxury.  As you may notice I do not do many camping events not only for the wardrobe cleanliness but also the temperature issues. Nature’s elements are not my friends. Which sucks I do like being outside in nature but have extra planning when being outdoors for extended period of time.

So after many years of Tudor and Elizabethan I am finding ways of making my wardrobe friendly for my condition. Plus making sure that technique wise it is executed properly.  Now there is no real treatment for Rynauds Syndrome or cure and IBS is treatable with dietary only thing I won’t give up is caffeine so I will take the discomfort for my tea and coffee.

This got a little personal though now you know something more about me and how I select events. For a positive note I have pictures of the finished partlet for your enjoyment.

Not letting life get me down,

THL Marrin O‘Kealy

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Blackwork Coif

My most recent coif is complete. Embroidered in back stitch and split stitch. The combination of linen and cotton blend fabric and embroidery thread. It turned out nice and matched my recently completed chatelaine. I am hoping that I can wear these together along with my next project.

One of my first part let’s made in velvet, I am adding a linen lining to it finally. I will also use more of the black and white twist on the edges and collar to give it some pizazz. It will then coordinate with the recently completed coif.

So one good thing leading to another,

Marrin O’Kealy

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Daily Dose of Fiber

Found this interesting image of fibers at a highly magnified level. So you can see the edges and how they would hold on to other fibers to allow the twist and creation of thread.

So we can see by the kind of fibers that we use in period. Some have open cuticles others are closed and more slippery. Though in essence by the methods used for the different fibers one still can creat a consistent thread and eventually fabric.
Flax plant fibers
Hemp plant fibers 
The fibers I ordered came in so going to show you the prepared fiber for spinning and even with these plant fibers how they are different yet similar. So I have 8ozof hemp and 8 oz of flax to create sewing threads. So the fibers look similar the hemp is shade lighter both are in their natural colors. The feel of the flax is more stiff than the hemp. Though if I didn’t know the difference, I would have thought they were the same plant fiber other than the color.Well hoping to try my hand at spinning both so will later update in the progress and observations on the behavior of these two plant fibers.

Happy spinning,

Marrin O’Kealy

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Flax to Linen

Taking knowledge away some from recent research with some hands on trying at Heritage Days. Was able to sort out of the tricks with spinning flax being a plant fiber versus wool being an animal fiber. There isn’t any stretch with flax it will just snap eventually. There are distinct behavioral differences in the fiber arrangement and features when spun for flax.

Drawing a broken to new pieces one has to pick and fluff to separate fibers as wool but differently. Flax to linen is on the docket to do a small project with handmade thread or weave into cloth then embroider. Lots of options to consider though have bought some raw fiber to try out and see if I can get it to be nice as I did on last weekend. I have 8 oz of flax and 8 oz of hemp on its way.

Though the main task is to spin up a bunch of linen to get used to the plant fiber. I also ordered a hemp to make a fine thread of that as well to keep practicing with other form of the plant based fibers. Nettle I would need to find a stand and harvest it myself, so eventual goals. In the picture you can clearly see the thread like twine on the spool. Then the whispy  hair like plant fibers towards the bottom for drafting more to be spun into linen thread.
Here is an upclose look at the dried plant above. Then a finished flax fiber ready to be made into linen threads. It’s soft and smoother than it looks. Reminds me of corn silk but different. Which I have an image of the fiber to the right.  I was able to eventually get a good closeup of the thread made at the event. So will show progress on this along with doll planning and blackwork embroidery as I finish projects.

Busy as usual,

 Marrin o’Kealy

Fort Freeland Heritage Days 2018

Here is a photo montage I took at the Fort Freeland Heritage Days on October 6th 2018

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Vintage Notions

Not only have I been beefing up my Tudor lady kit, making it look nicer and more period like.   Locating more period tools to use for sewing, knitting, lacemaking and embroidery. So finding bone/horn tools for my period sewing kit. So if working on something at an event, I have items that are more keeping with materials available from the era.

So far I have bone/horn thread winders, bone stiletto, bone crochet hook, bone/horn weaving beaters. Wooden sock darner  and wooden large bodkin. Looking for other items as I peruse the antique places in town.  Since home economics has gone by the way side in schools curriculum for a few decades. Not many younger than myself, which’s s mid 30’s,  needlecraft much as a main hobby or pastime.

 So grandma’s sewing kit seems to find it’s way to my house. Though being more choosy on what I want to keep. Though it’s nice to pass on supplies to others that have passed the test of time. T

To fine tools that get the job done,

Marrin O’Kealy

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Posh Wax Tablets

Making wax tablets for notes for classes. As it is the period note pad before putting it to paper. So including a picture of the current look on it. Really expanding my kit with handmade items that add to my persona.

 So beeswax used in a pine wooden frame. Having holes for the ties to keep the writing surface protected. Smells great as you can take marine. Beeswax and honey are two  of my favorite scents in the world. So it’s nice to work with this besides for thread.
  Using velvet  to cover the wood and protect the outside. Have straps with hardware ties with bells for fun. Will be kept in the ouch to the right. Will be great to have period tools on hand to use for similar purposes.

Making new related items for EC Bees which I  part of on Facebook. A costuming group that focuses peer 17Th century Europe, though not as limited as sca. So the new theme is for those in the group to identify members.

Fun period technology,




Tudor Q and A

What is a Tudorosity?

A mashed combination of the words Tudor and Curiosity to create the word Tudorosity. Tudorosities is the plural form and the deffinition is as follows.

Tudorosity- an desire to learn or know anything about the Tudor dynasty assocated with years 1405 through 1603.

Most people ask my why I make the Tudor garb ?

I find the clothing of this era not only beautiful but also challenging to sew. There is much more care and purpose put into making garments and wearing garments in the Tudor Era. I love the look of Tudor so much I wanted to explore the way clothes were made back then and the subtle changes in fashion and styles of time.

How did you get started in this interesting hobby?

I started with art first, I love to draw, paint, and sculpt all the traditional fine arts. So being able to draw helps me visualize the looks I want to create in my garb. History has always been a huge interest of mine and I've had a knack for sewing since I was 6 years old. It all started with doll clothes and I learned cross stitch embroidery from my grandmother when I was little. I am self taught sewer, crochet, knitting, embroidery and tatting. My methods are learned from books mainly and there is still so much more to learn.

What is my favorite outfit and why?

It would be like picking a favorite out of one of my future children, its impossible. I love all my gown creations and really like the distinct differences in all the styles clothing I make for the Tudor Era.

Do you make the whole outfit including hat, shoes, and undergarments?

I do have a goal of making a complete Tudor from the skin out. As of right now I make 80% of my gowns and accessories. The shoes, corset, stockings, and petticoats are bought online and the petticoats are a close reproduction but not made by me. Though someday I plan on making a reed corset and petticoat to wear under my gowns, as well as other accessories.

How long does it take to make a gown?

It all depends on the type of gown I plan on making and the time period and class of the design. Generally if I work on it 8 hours a day on a sewing machine it will take 3 days to get the basics and another 5 days to do finish hand-sewing details and beading. So a week to a week and a half if working on it steady for that amount of time. I work a full-time job so it does take longer than a week to complete. I put over 40-100 hours per outfit depending on its complexity, its like its own full time job of sorts.

Do you make renaissance clothing for sale or custom orders?

No, due to new employment and changes in my lifestyle. Unfortunately, I have no time to support sewing for others. Though I recommend sewing lessons for those adventurous few. There are many fine folks who make and sell historical clothing. I suggest guidance with sew from many fine historical enthusiastic costumers out on the internet.

How long have you been making these elaborate costumes?

I have been in the Society of Creative Anachronism coming up on my 10th year. Active since 2004 working at demonstrations and volunteering when I could between working and other life's distractions. I really concentrated on Tudor sewing in 2007 and worked with patterns to learn proper fabrics, techniques, fit, and silhouette. I really enjoy the eras transition from a medieval form fitting layered cotterdie to the boned Tudor kirtle and then to structured Elizabethan clothing.

Tudor Rose

Tudor Rose

Lady Willoughby

Lady Willoughby

Tudor Rose

Tudor Rose

Peach Elizabethan Noble

Peach Elizabethan Noble

Tudor Rose

Tudor Rose

Mauve Waistcoat Elizabethan Gown

Mauve Waistcoat Elizabethan Gown

Tudor Rose

Tudor Rose

O'Cadhla Heraldry

O'Cadhla Heraldry

Queen Mary I of England

Queen Mary I of England