Location: Shire of Hadchester, East
Category/Level: Historically Focused/Advanced
About Sara: I’ve been in the SCA for 15 years, though there have been periods of less participation. I have sewn most of my family’s garb from the beginning, but definitely have a love/hate relationship with sewing. I draft most of my own patterns. I love trying/learning new things. I have a tendency to learn new skills for a very specific project then move on to the next thing; be it skill, project, or what have you. This project is encouraging me to complete an outfit that I’ve been meaning to make for a 14th century themed event in Aethelmearc. My persona is 14th century already, but for this I will be “upping my game” with the details. I have done very little embroidery until the last few months. I will be incorporating that into this project. I have done zero woodworking or painting so the painted chest “accessory” is a big undertaking for me.
Her Project: For this project I will be making a mid-14th century outfit that will include (but is not limited to) an undergarment, a fitted kirtle/gown, and a shorter dagged over garment inspired by a fresco by Andrea di Bonaiuto da Firenze. My persona is typically English, but many of my inspirational images and pieces are Italian. I have a lot of possibilities in mind for my accessory layer, in particular an embroidered alms purse and a painted chest. Both the purse and chest are likely to include some heraldic display. The chest is intended to serve as a cooler but is inspired by several of the time.
I made a supportive, sleeveless, linen shift for a 14th century woman and some linen braies. Both are completely hand sewn with linen thread using a felling stitch I got off to a slow start with this layer because I knew I needed to draft a new pattern and I couldn’t decide which method I was going to use to do so.
While I was fussing over pattern drafting I made myself these braies because I want to try wearing some (for a variety of reasons.)These braies are a different style than I’ve made in the past. (I haven’t worn braies myself before but if I decide I don’t like wearing them, these will fit my husband. ) I patterned these from my hip and thigh measurements, adding a crotch gusset. And, voila! Braies! For now, the “braies girdle” is 1/2″ linen tape because that is what I have on hand.
For the shift, I ended up drafting a “close enough” pattern using measurements and then fitted the garment on myself. I usually make my shifts with sleeves but decided to try a sleeveless option this time. I chose to have this undergarment lace up the back because the next layer will button up the front and I don’t like the bulkiness of a button placket over lacing. It is currently laced with 1/4″ linen tape because, again, that is what I have on hand.
I used a 4.7oz linen that is rather sheer for both undergarments so the photos will not be of a live model.
Layer 2 is a mid 14th century fitted gown that buttons down the front with 20 self fabric buttons. I chose a lightweight red woolen stuff for my fabric which, to be frank, has been a pain to work with. It frays like mad and has a springiness to it that has caused some frustration. Unless this fabric performs fantastically, I will be hard pressed to use it again. But I wanted to try a lightweight wool over linen for summer. I started with a linen thread and later switched to silk thread when it finally arrived in the mail. I used a 12mm silk twill as a facing along the neckline and behind the buttons and buttonholes. The buttons are bigger than i usually make them, partly because of the nature of this particular fabric. They took longer than they usually do. I worked the buttonholes with a 2/30 silk thread/yarn. It is sewn entirely by hand.
This layer is a mid-14th century dagged overgarment based on the image of a dancer in a fresco painted by Andrea di Bonaiuto da Firenze. Since I could not find the exact fabric I wanted for this garment, I decided to use a piece of wool of indeterminate fiber content from my stash. (I suspect it’s a wool/nylon blend.) I used the basic pattern that I drafted for layers one and two, making adjustments as needed. Some of the seams are flat felled and some are just a running stitch. Those I ended up tacking down using a herringbone stitch (both to remind myself that I could do it, and because I think it’s fun to work.) The neck edge is folded over and finished with 2/30 silk in a blanket stitch. This wool frayed more than is desirable for dags so I had to stay-stitch all the dags, which I also did by hand. As I hoped, this layer worked up quickly. I knew that I would get distracted making gifts, etc., for the holidays and I did. I cut this out on Sunday (Dec.27) and finished it today (Dec. 31.) However, the fraying tendency of this fabric slowed me down. Since I had to stay-stitch all the dags, it took longer than I wanted. If I had more time, I would have added more embellishment.