Monday, January 26, 2015

War Company surcoats

Sometimes projects take on a life of their own in crazy ways. A number of years back, I ran a sewing day to assembly line surcoats for the Bryn Gwlad War Company. We finished off a decent number of surcoats (maybe 6 or 7?) with a team of five people. That kind of efficiency is possible with a well-run assembly line because you have lots of unskilled labor doing the time consuming things like ironing and cutting. This leaves your skilled sewing folks to do their work.  

 So.... it became clear recently that we needed another batch of surcoats and I volunteered to host and run the assembly line. I decided that this time I would teach a few people how to run one of these things so that we could replicate institutional memory. ISO compliance maybe? Anyway, as I started putting together checklists and spreadsheets, this thing kept getting bigger. It turned out that we really, really needed surcoats.

With two deputies, we hosted 24 people over two days of non-stop work.  People showed up and worked hard.  I took deep breaths and trusted my skilled labor and leaned heavily on my deputies and a couple of other logistics helpers.  There were 6 ironing boards, 2 sergers, and 6 sewing machines in action, along with lots of people tracing designs and cutting pieces. The charts and checklists appear to be working.

  Progress after day 2

This is twenty surcoats in progress on a hanging rack. They are labeled and filed according to their position in the pipeline. It's like a cross between filing cabinet and a wardrobe. This sewing day turned into a weekend worth of baronial barn raising. We had two days of madness and accomplished a ridiculous amount of work.

  Queued pieces

 The surcoats are all appliqued, so there are a lot of pieces. We have yellow halberds on black stripes that go on one side and black stars that go on the other side. The picture above is our piles of cut applique pieces in progress. These are all pieces that are waiting to go on surcoats next weekend.

Next weekend, we should have surcoats coming out the assembly line finished, so more pictures to come.  For now, my logistics team will spend the week trying to figure out how to most efficiently keep the line moving as we roll along.  Also, we will be appliqueing a lot of halberds.....

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Next steps

Now that the heraldic surcoat is finished and out of my work queue, I've refocused on organizing my workspace, clearing out my project queue, and preparations for Gulf Wars.  These three tasks have resulted in a bit of churn in the work flow, with pleasing results.

My first reward is that I found a UFO in a random pile of stuff.  My Viking apron dress has long been neglected and counts as mostly finished garb.  The dress is a nice wool blend which is extra nice since I think GW will be cold this year.  If I finish stitching the roundels, it will be functional very quickly.  Previous posts on the dress are here

Unfinished viking apron

Also, I continue to make progress on my current easy lap project - the doodles with long arm cross stitch mentioned in earlier posts

Long arm cross stitch progress

My organization kick has extended to the digital world.  I am slowly cleaning up my blog and Flickr account so that things are easier to find and more synchronized.  My goal is to make it easier to find what you are looking for, follow project threads, and link the blog+flickr better.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Heraldic surcoat in action

Master Caelin took was kind enough to share his photos of the Ansteorran Crown Tournament on Flickr.    As a result, I can share some action shots of the finished heraldic surcoat!  The pictures are linked in from his Flickr feed.

Sir Ysfael vs. Lord Ragnarr

Centurion Rose and Sir Ysfael

Previous posts on surcoat construction:

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Finished - Heraldic Surcoat

Finished surcoat!

The heraldic surcoat is finished, washed, ironed, and delivered!  Hooray!  The wyvern is placed on the hip, so I had to pin in a fold for it to show in the picture.  I didn't attend Crown Tournament this weekend, so I am hoping that friends got pictures of the surcoat in action.

Appliqué and embroidery is finished!

The wyvern was quite tedious, but a very gratifying project.  I've done a lot of machine applique and there is definitely a difference between the finished product of hand work and the machine work. The combination of applique and embroidery have a nice drape to them.  I'm always amazed at how lovely linen looks after it's all pressed out and hung up.  Yowza!