Intermediate · Modern Recreationist · Modern Recreationist Intermediate

Jorunna Refsdottir

Location: Barony of the Lonely Tower, Calontir

Category/Level: Modern Recreationist/Intermediate

About Jorunna: I’ve been in the SCA going on 4 years now. I’ve been learning to sew my own garb the past 3 years and slowly building up my collection. A good portion of what I have is Norse. However, I have a Persian outfit, a gift bliaut, a couple of Italian dresses, and some roman chitons. I want to have garb from all different times and locations, and have a list of what all I want to make. In the SCA I also do target archery, equestrian, mounted archery, heavy combat, combat archery, embroidery, and dabble in bardic. This endeavor is going to be a bit challenging for me, but I’m excited to learn new skills and have a new outfit!

Her Project: I am looking to make my first 12th Century French bliaut. This project is to add a summer weight or light weight bliaut for warmer weather. I was given a velvet bliaut from a friend, but it’s too heavy for warm weather events. This one will be made from a beautiful silk looking cotton rayon brocade. The fabric has embroidered fleur de lis in gold. The sleeves will be lined with actual silk that is lavender and gold. I plan to make a matching veil too. For inspiration I’ve been looking at images of the carvings on the Cathedral de Chartes, some illuminations, and some other SCAdians’ examples of bliauts. This is a chance for me to make something completely new that I’ve never attempted before. I’m excited to be expanding my sewing skills and knowledge and branching out historically!

Final Pictures

Her final thoughts on the challenge:

I learned a lot with this outfit. I am pretty happy with how it turned out and look forward to wearing it to an event. It’s not 100% perfect, but for my first try I am thrilled how it turned out.

Layer 1

This is an underdress for my 12th century ensemble. The outfit is meant to be a noble. I cut out the dress as a standard early period underdress. Using rectangles, triangles, and squares in the pattern. I decided to go with a scoop neck neckline on this dress, and realized after that I probably should’ve cut it an inch smaller than what I did, but it’s ok, and will work. I decided against decorating the underdress with embroidery, so that I can use it as part of other early period ensembles as well. It’s a pretty base layer and I love the color of this dress.

Layer 2

This is my 12th century bliaut main dress. It’s made of cotton/rayon blend that feels and acts like silk taffeta in a lot of ways. The sleeves and neck (purple/gold) is real silk that was repurposed from sari silk. It’s very lightweight and sewing the two together proved extremely challenging! I had to hand sew almost of the time on it because it kept sliding when I tried to use the machine. I did 20 hand sewn eyelets in the side of the dress. They took a while, but I learned a lot! I decided to machine sew the dress hem because 1. It would be more sturdy and hold up better. 2. I was running out of time for this project because we bought a house and have to move at the end of the month. If I had more time I would’ve hand sewn the hem too.

Layer 3

This was a 3/4 circular mantle I made as the top layer of my entry. It’s based on some of the courtly mantles seen in the paintings of the 12th century. I used a wool/poly felt blend for the top of it. I used fake fur to line it. That was awful. The fake fur while super soft and warm has a stretchy backing that made it difficult to work with. It took 4 times as long as it should have because of that horrible material and I will never use it again. Lessons have been learned. I found a really pretty metallic trim to edge the front of the mantle. This piece was almost entirely machine sewn. The brooches I got from Raymond’s quiet press and are replicas of 12th century brooches.

Layer 4

This is a leather belt I did. I’ve never done leather working other than cleaning horse tack and armor, prior to this. It was all new! I bought a simple blank and the 12th century replicas for the belt findings. I stamped the leather with a circle and Celtic knot design. Then riveted on the findings. I didn’t want to dye it black, but not sure what color I really want with it, so I left it natural for now.

Layer 4+

Rectangular silk veil. I sewed it on two sides. It’s an attempt at a veil similar to those seen in the 12th century statues and paintings. It’s the same silk I used to line my sleeves and as contrast on the collar of my main dress.

Bonus Points

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