Elder Cycle     Elder Cycle

Elder Cycle

Elder Cycle

Elder Cycle

Elder Cycle

 

 

Elder Cycle

Helen Donnelly, Notts, UK

 

The Design

I wanted to make a new outfit for my LARP character. I felt considering the name of the competition it would be wasteful to make something that I would only use for the competition. There is a Jacobian feel to her so I thought I would start with 18th century. I really liked the Jacket Pattern B out of Patterns of Fashion 1. I also wanted to incorporate some embroidery into the design as I have done very little.

I love the elder tree and the obvious life cycle of it. The stomacher design is based on the life cycle of the Elder and although the competition is based on renewal, each stage of the cycle of the Elder is dependant on the previous stage. There is also a lot of mythology surrounding the elder, in particular the curative properties of various parts of the plants.

I was very focused on using as many pre-owned or pre-used materials as possible. The bits I had to buy new came from local small businesses. Much of the design of the outfit was dependant on the fabrics that I could source from my local charity shop and vintage section of my local craft shop. I have tried very hard to keep the look of the outfit 'natural' and use mainly natural fibre fabrics.

 

The Construction

The jacket is made from cotton curtains from the charity shop. The skirt is some sort of wool blend fabric from the charity shop. The embroidery floss on the stomacher is also from the charity shop. The calico for the stomacher came from my stash. The ticking which I used in my stays to interline the jacket and to back the stomacher came from fabric which I was gifted by a childhood neighbour who ran an upholstery business after she sadly passed away. The linen for my shift came from the same neighbour. The linen and cotton thread used came from my local craft shop which has a pre-owned section. The fashion fabric of my stays and cable ties are new but I sourced them locally.

Everything is hand stitched. For my stays I used the arch method from Patterns of Fashion 5 and a huge amount of help from the Stitchlings group. They are constructed from one layer of ticking, one layer of hessian and an outer fashion layer of linen. I used cable ties for boning. I used the Sharon Burnston tutorial for my shift. The petticoat comes from watching various YouTube videos, as did the jacket. I flat lined the jacket, cutting it out with pinking shears. I started to whip the seam allowance down but ran out of time. My whole outfit was really helped by using the pathways tutorials. The stays were by far my biggest challenge, but this whole endeavour was very bold for my skill level.

 

Materials Used

Linen for the shift and fashion fabric of the stays. Ticking for the base layer of the stays and interlining for the jacket. Wool blend fabric for the skirt. Cotton curtains for the fabric for the jacket.

 

What was it like to compete this year? What would you say to someone who is on the fence about entering next year?

It has given me some focus for my winter make. If I can do it, anyone can.

 

 

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Sharon Ghamari-Tabrizi
The embroidery on the front panel is gorgeous: so thoughtful, so well-done, so fitting for you. You look comfortable and it looks comfortable on you!
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helen donnelly
Thank you. It is really comfortable. I spent last weekend running around a muddy forest in my stays with a different Jacket and was really surprised at how supported I felt.
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sharon ghamari
your embroidery is gorgeous: so beautifully done, so thoughtfully made. You look comfortable and lovely wearing it, and it looks comfortable and lovely on you!
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kitty mortensen
I love the amount of history in this already before the LARP (I always attach my characters to the clothing for some reason) and it is so well done. I love it to bits <3
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helen donnelly
Thank you so much.
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certainsundries
Well done!
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clockwork_faerie
Love this embroidery!!
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helen donnelly
Thank you
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Beatrice
The embroidery is simply stunning, so delicate and beautiful! I love the sustainable nature of the project, really thoughtful and really smart!
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helen donnelly
Thank you. I really enjoyed collecting all the bits and putting it together.
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kirstymitchell
It's clear you've put such a lot of work into this Helen, it really tells a story and has great character.
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helen donnelly
Thank you. It was fun to do.
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bernadettebanner
I am absolutely floored that you managed to get all these pieces done BY HAND in time for the competition. Absolutely amazing work, I am extremely impressed!!
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helen donnelly
Thank you so much. It was your channel to inspired me to start hand sewing. It’s been great for my mental health over the gloomy season. Although it did take up a lot of my lunch breaks at work and I think my husband is feeling I little neglected.
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Joy R.
The stomacher is a showstopper! May you fare well in all your LARPing adventures!
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helen donnelly
Thank you. I had a lot of fun wearing elements of this outfit at an event at the weekend.
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Tiffiny Fakahau
I am in awe of this stunning ensamble. You have truly inspired me, as this stillouette and garment looks just stunning on you. I myself wish to make a similiar garment, and have been hesitant due to my shape. You are so lovely, and really love all the workmanship. The embrodery, the sewing skills on the stays, and just love the fabric... Lovely, lovely, lovely!!
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helen donnelly
You should absolutely do it. I found this community so helpful and supportive when making my stays. It makes me feel so lovely wearing this outfit.
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Sarah
What a beautiful ensemble! Congratulations on your beautiful embroidery, and the stays as well. Excellent high quality work!
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helen donnelly
Thank you. I’m really pleased with how it came together in the end.
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arianabauer
So lovely and on pointe for the theme!
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helen donnelly
Thank you so much.
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mollyc
I love the idea of using the interdependence of Elder’s lifecycle as inspiration. The embroidery on the stomacher is beautiful. The best part I think though is how all the pieces, which are stunning on their own, come together to form one awesome outfit. I know others have said so, but it looks so comfortable too!
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helen donnelly
Thank you.
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emelina
the embroidery on that stomacher is so gorgeous and dainty! this is such amazing craftsmanship, everything came out so beautifully - congrats on a job well done <3
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helen donnelly
Thank you.
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lyrisdesign
Well done, a lovely outfit, especially the stunning embroidery on the stomacher. I have so much respect for you hand stitching everything!!!
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helen donnelly
Thank you. It’s certainly very therapeutic in a very grim dark time of year.
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jema
a really well thought out design and concept which you've realised beautifully, every part works so well together with a very nice fit too!
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helen donnelly
Thank you.
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cmurph03
Oh, I remember when you first posted about your stays in the FB group. They really turned out well! The fit is much improved from those early versions, especially in the bust. The skirt looks so comfortable and I really like the fabric you chose. And the embroidery on the stomacher is lovely.
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helen donnelly
Thank you. Getting the fit for the stays was by far the most time consuming part of this project, but it was so worth it in the end.
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Lenora
I love everything about this entry! The outfit is amazing, both as a whole and individually. The inspiration of the elder and making something for your character is really cool.
I do historical reconstruction in the SCA and my persona is an apothecary so this thought process is relatable to me.

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helen donnelly
Thank you. I really enjoyed the whole process (well most of the time).
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sauve piecemaker
Great job making something that informs us of a certain aspect of nature. It is quietly beautiful. Thanks for sharing this.

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helen donnelly
Thank you.
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Margoton
It's a stunning project! I still can not understand how you manage to sew it by hand in the time of the competition, and the embroidery work is delightful. By the way, I love the fact that you sourced everything, it's such an interesting concept.
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helen donnelly
I worked on it pretty much every evening and lunch time, and I don’t work full time which really helped. I also don’t really do much in the winter so it was great timing. Some bits aren’t finished as well as I would have liked, but I will go back and finish those.
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royalblack
What a beautiful interpretation of the competition theme!
I'm always impressed by garments completely sewn by hand and I really enjoyed seeing all the stitching on your garments.
Very impressive work!

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lcostigliolo
Wonderful work! I really appreciate all the work that you have put in making this complete outfit. Well done for trying my arched method, you made it work well and I am happy that it gave you such good results!
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carolinewoollin
And it does look 'natural' as well! Your re-purposing of fabrics is commendable, and all that effort in the hand-stitching. Respect!
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paulay71
What an amazing amount of hand stitching you've done and it is all worth it. You have a beautiful outfit which I'm sure will be worn many times.
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Gallagher Green
This looks so good, great work!
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klarahall
Oh, it looks so comfortable. I love that you used the arch method and made such beautifull stays from it - I gave that method a go when I started with my project but figured that I just had no idea how the pieces should look in the end and for that better try a pattern first. So I'm realy impressed by your braveness and your willpower! The result looks like it was worth the work you put in to it!
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What a fabulous use of thrifted materials Helen! I love that you let what materials you could find, guide you in the design. And making something that could be used again after the competition really embodies the theme well. You created a beautiful outfit. Well done!
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marloes dadswell
The embroidery on the stomacher is so beautiful! And the fact you made so many pieces to complete the outfit is so inspiring.
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kikkii
Such a lovely and cohesive design! Really impressed that you hand stitched everything, in time for the deadline?? I mean wow! :D
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saule_myrthe
You did so much! It all looks wonderful both together and alone, and makes for a beautiful outfit.
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