Thursday, June 30, 2016

A Long Awaited Post - Spring Sewing and the Tudor Rose

Hello all! Was my last post really in January? Well, I guess it's probably because I really haven't had much sewing time since then between work and school and adrenal fatigue. Except for one rather ambitious project. 

I've been placed in charge of decorating the English country dance balls that the group has several times a year. Each ball has a different theme that I get to play with and have some fun with. The theme for April's ball was Shakespeare since the event landed on the 400th anniversary of the bard's death. . The Elizabethan era is also when we have the first evidence of English country dance! The theme for the spring ball was really a no-brainer when we noticed the correlation. 

But how do you decorate a gymnasium for a theme like Shakespeare??? I searched online sources (namely Pinterest), but everything I was coming up with was rather... tacky. Then, my sister and I decided to try going with a more cultural route, so we searched for Elizabethan banquets and feasts and found a treasure trove of ideas (but most were far outside our budgetary constraints since we couldn't magically transform the gymnasium to a 1600's English banquet hall or transport everyone to England). You can peruse our inspiration board here. One of the common themes I saw throughout all the searching was banners. Then I found beautiful images of the Tudor rose. The train of thought then began to wonder how that would tie into Shakespeare since the War of the Roses was about 200 years before Shakespeare's time. Phooey. But wait! The War of the Roses was the setting for Shakespeare's Henry VI and Richard III. YESSSS! I get to make my war of the roses banners!!! 

But first...

Warning: the materials and techniques used in this project are not historically accurate

Now we may continue. 

For the main part of the banners, I used a blue (upholstery) velvet (that doesn't fray on the edges!) that I found in the Joann's clearance section. I then grabbed some double-sided fusible interfacing because applique is a beast without it. 
I then raided my scrap stash for the fabrics for the roses and was ready to get sewing. 

I re-sized the roses from this image, cut out the appliques, ironed them to the background, set my machine to some serious zigzagging, turned on a very loooong playlist because this was going to take a while, and got to sewing. 
And I kept sewing.  
And sewing some more.

I finished sewing on the roses, laid them out on the floor, and stood back. I needed something more. The Tudor rose needed to stand out more from the Lancaster and York roses, something to distinguish it from it's predecessors. After a quick look at Tudor rose images, I decided a crown would be the perfect thing (the whole point of the war was to decide who would rule anyway). So a crown it would be. But that meant I had to cut out and sew on another detailed, curvy applique. Oh well. I found another playlist and got back to work, and I'm really glad that I did because I'm very pleased with how they turned out. 
They made the perfect backdrop! ^_^ 

Looking at the pictures now, I realize that the roses are upside down. Oh well, I sure ain't going to rip those suckers out! They are sewn down well enough to survive the apocalypse.

Until next time! (which will hopefully be sooner than 5 months)