Category/Level: Modern Recreationist/Intermediate
About Beatrice : I started playing in the SCA in Trimaris about eight years ago and am currently living in the Midrealm. I have a fair amount of sewing experience, but have only made basic garb in the past. I have been wanting to up my garb game recently and this seemed like the perfect time to do it! In addition to sewing, I do a variety of crafts in the SCA, including kumihimo, jewelry making, fingerloop braiding, calligraphy and illumination, and banner making. At events, I can usually be found retaining or volunteering in some other way. This will be a challenging project for me, as I have not made garb above a basic level before. I fell in love with Roman garb during the hot outdoor events in Trimaris and am excited to make myself some new garb!
Her Project: I am planning to create an outfit that would have been worn by an unmarried upper class Roman woman of the Late Republic/Early Empire. I’ve been wanting to make a new, nicer outfit for a while, but this project has helped me focus that desire into a specific project.
The underlayers for my Late Roman Republic outfit for an unmarried woman consists of a strophium (bra band), subligar (underwear), and subucula (under tunic). Because these will not be seen by others and I am entering the modern recreationist category, I chose to machine sew all these pieces. The strophium is a long band that gets wrapped around the chest, similar to an ACE bandage. To create the pattern, I measured around my ribcage, multiplied that by 4, then added a few inches as ties. For the width, I measured just below my bust to just above my bust. I used a linen/cotton blend I already had in my stash, but wool or leather would be more common in period. Wool naturally has some stretch to it, but linen and cotton will stay stretched out once stretched. This leads to linen or cotton strophium needing to be adjusted throughout the day. Because I was using up fabric from my stash, I did sew the strophium in two pieces instead of making it out of one long piece. According to written evidence, subligar were not always worn by women. Extant art suggests they were worn at bathhouses and while exercising, but they also may have been worn during menstruation. I made my subligar based on an extant leather pair found in a well in Britain. The extant examples available look very much like a modern string bikini bottom made of leather. For my subligar, I chose to use a medium weight white linen out of my fabric stash and used cotton bias tape for the ties at the waist. I drafted my own pattern using a modern underwear tutorial. This was the most difficult piece to make this month, as I had to get the fit just right. But I think they turned out well. The subucula is a simple rectangle and was easy to make. I used the directions from Dulcia’s Roman Closet website to create my own pattern based off the directions for a closed shoulder tunic. I used a lightweight linen from fabric-store.com. During the Roman Republic, wool would likely have been the top choice for the under tunic, but linen, silk, cotton, and blends were all available. My subucula is mid-calf length and I left the bottom couple inches separate for ease of movement.