About Æsa: I’ve been in the SCA for about 13 years. While I love sewing, I also enjoy playing with other skills like archery, knife and axe throwing, fiber arts, basket weaving, herbalism, soap making, pottery and brewing/cooking. I love acquiring skills that a Viking wife would have used in her everyday life. While the sewing aspects of the garments will not be difficult, historical clothing can sometimes present challenges as I am paralyzed. I often have to strike a balance between something that looks as correct as possible while also being comfortable, allowing for medical restrictions and not hindering my wheelchair’s movement.
Her Project: I’m hoping to create an ensemble that would have been worn by the Norse wife of a fairly well-off land owner in 10th century Jorvik. The piece is not based on any single burial find, but takes inspiration from several. The plan is for wool stockings, a linen underdress, a woolen dress and apron with jewelry and a head covering. The goal is to spin and weave a component of the ensemble.
Her final thoughts on her C3 experience:
I’m very happy with my final project! When I started the dress concept in October, I was trying to envision what would look good photographed in a bleak January landscape (Pennsylvaniacan be pretty dreary this time of year!). I had many moments during the challenge where I questioned the decision to leave my designs simple and the colors natural, but in the end I’m very happy that I stuck to my original plan. It turned out exactly as I wanted it to.
My Norse linen underdress went as planned, as I am very used to making this style of gown for myself. I hand sewed all the seams and tacked them down using a running stitch and matching threads. For my stockings, I struggled a little deciding what to make. Many of the current interpretations from archeological finds seem to have a seam running along the sole of the foot, which I was afraid would be very irritating as I have some nerve issues from the paralysis. I also knew that I wanted the stockings to end below the knee, as I didn’t want to have any fabric bunched behind the knee as my legs are always bent. In the end, I used a pattern that I had drafted about ten years ago from “The Medieval Tailor’s Assistant” as I knew that it was comfortable to wear. The stockings were made from brown wool flannel, hand sewn and the seams were tacked down using a running stitch in contrasting thread.
The second layer is a simple gown made of Shetland wool in a diamond twill. It’s a dress style and pattern that I’ve used many times before, so no issues! All the seams are handsewn and raw edges enclosed.
My third layer is an apron dress. The fabric was hand woven from yarn that I spun in my fiber mill. The center panel is dyed using walnut hulls. The dress is a simple tube construction with a little gathering in the front. I think that the tube style might be an issue if I was walking, but in the wheelchair it gathers the underdresses in and keeps them away from the tires very nicely! I had originally wanted to bind the top edge with more of the walnut dyed fabric, but it ended up being too bulky so I used the same wool as my stockings instead. I really liked the look of the felted fringe at the edge of the weaving, so I left it as the bottom of my dress.
The seams are handsewn; however, the fabric is a very loose weave and I did have trouble keeping the seams from unraveling. The fabric is thick enough that bound seams were becoming very bulky. Because getting dressed in the wheelchair can require a lot of tugging fabric into place, I reinforced a few of the seams on my sewing machine. This is the only machine sewing in the entire project.
My judged accessory is a willow and oak basket. The most explanation that I could find on viking baskets that were not the Gokstad backpack was the following reference “Round and square basket bases were found in the Scandinavian settlement in York, England, then known as “Jorvik.” The bases have holes around the perimeter, indicating that sticks or reeds may have been seated there, serving as the vertical staves to support the horizontally-woven bands.”
My husband cut and drilled the oak base for me, as the majority of our woodworking tools are in the basement which is not wheelchair accessible. I soaked the willow for a week and then wove the basket using a 3 rod wale for the bottom and top edges and a single plain weave for the body. I’ve made baskets before, but this was my first willow basket and my first with a solid base.
Additional accessories include:
A handwoven shawl from Shetland wool. I spun the yarn in my fiber mill.
A headscarf of linen, lightly dyed with walnut.
A Jorvik cap, handsewn from linen I wove on a ground loom many Pennsics ago.
A leather knife sheath with sterling silver embellishments.
A necklace of carnelian and crystal quartz with bronze additions.
About Aethelwynne: I joined the SCA last February, so I’m still very new! I sew regularly, both for work and for fun, and have been creating historical costumes for about 10 years now. I originally started with Victorian-era costuming, and worked my way back through time to early medieval, which is now my absolute favorite period of history to study. Besides sewing, I also participate in heavy combat and archery with my local group. This project does directly tie in to my persona, a 10th century Anglo-Saxon woman. I think the sewing itself will be easy for me, but the bits I’m hoping to do, specifically the embellishments on the gown and wimple, will definitely be harder as I’m still learning to tablet weave and embroider!
Her Project: I’m planning on making a late 10th-early 11th century, high status Anglo Saxon women’s outfit. It will consist of a plain linen smock/chemise, a green wool gown with pale yellow silk trim, brown wool cloak, and white decorated veil. Due to the inclusion of silk and the color of the wool, and the planned embellishments on the veil, this outfit could have been worn by royalty, high noble status, or wealthy abbesses/nuns. It isn’t based on one specific illumination, but I have taken different image references from “Dress in Anglo-Saxon England” (drawn from sources such as contemporary religious texts and the Bayeux tapestry) and picked various elements as my inspiration. It won’t include heraldry or awards because I have none yet (joined just before all the covid cancellations). This is an outfit I’ve wanted to make for a while; I have a few normal “everyday” gowns that look nice, but I want something extra special to wear to court or have for big events.
Her final thoughts on her C3 experience:
I really enjoyed this challenge! I tried to make my clothing as accurate to the evidence as possible, and I’m pleased with the final look of the outfit. I’m happy to finally have something more extravagant to wear to events, that would have plausibly been something a 10th century Anglo-Saxon woman could wear. I was able to improve my tablet weaving significantly by doing this project, and learned which areas I need to work on for future weaving. Once it’s safe for events to start again, I look forward to getting some wear out of this outfit!
This is the shift I’ll be wearing as my base layer for my 10th century female Anglo-Saxon outfit. I made it out of a medium weight linen; I prefer this weight over handkerchief linen because it doesn’t seem to cling to the body as much when it’s hot out. I hand sewed the entire shift, with backstitch in the higher stress areas and a running stitch everywhere else, then felled all the raw edges on the inside; the sewing is pretty much invisible on the exterior. The pattern is a simple T-tunic style, with underarm gussets and side gores, following the cutting example from “Dress in Anglo-Saxon England”. The sleeves are nearly a yard long, with extra fabric to bunch up along the forearm as seen in period artwork of women. It isn’t specified whether this was a style worn by all classes of people, or if it was a way to show how wealthy a person was to afford extra fabric, but in most of the artwork women and men of this period have pleats or bunching along their arms, so this is the style I’m going with. It’s a little awkward to put on as I have to bunch the sleeves before I can pull it over my head, but I love the finished look. The construction went as planned, but the one thing I would do differently next time is cut the sleeve looser right below the elbow. I tapered the width a bit too much so it’s a little tight once I push the extra fabric onto my arm. Hopefully as I wear it the linen loosens so it will be more comfortable. Overall, I’m pleased with how this came out and ready to work on the main gown!
This is the second layer of my 10th century high status Anglo-Saxon outfit. It is a gown made of green worsted wool, and trimmed with gold silk that I’ve embroidered with wool and silk thread. This is cut in the same manner as my shift, following a t-tunic style layout. It’s entirely hand stitched in green silk thread. I sewed the seams with backstitch along the arms and shoulder seam, and running stitch along the gores. I then folded the raw edges toward each other and whipstitched those edges together, forming a mock French seam. This technique is documentable during the period. The facings are made of silk charmeuse that I’ve had in my stash for years. I embroidered it by couching down a fine wool yarn with silk floss, then adding French knots in between the lines with the same wool. This was my interpretation of a common design seen on Anglo-Saxon clothing in period artwork, where two parallel lines have small dots or circles running between those lines. This is seen along hemlines of gowns, sleeves, and cloaks, but I also added it as a neck facing. Everything went as planned, but the one thing I would do differently is find a stiffer silk to make the facings. I used the charmeuse only because it was what I had, but it was so thin and easily warped as I worked with it. This made the embroidery difficult; I used linen underneath it for some structure and had to keep it under tension as I sewed. If I were to do it again, I would use something like taffeta, that won’t wiggle off grain so much. As it is, the embroidery looks decent, but it was particularly hard to get it even on the neck facing due to the charmeuse so I’m not entirely happy with that. Overall, I do like the gown, and I’m glad to finally have something fancier to wear to special events!
This past month I worked on my 3rd layer, a wool cloak. Anglo-Saxon women of the 10th century wore mantles (poncho like garments, basically a piece of fabric with a hole cut in the center for pulling over the head) and cloaks; I prefer cloaks since they’re a bit more versatile- for example, you can fold over part of it to use like a hood, or you can use it as a makeshift blanket at camping events, so this is what I chose for my outfit. I used a thicker wool broadcloth, and construction was easy enough; I cut the fabric to length, and the fabric doesn’t fray, so I left the edges as-is. Period artwork tends to show women in plain cloaks, but written accounts mention more decor on clothing than what is seen in the drawings. This is in contrast to artwork of men, who are shown in decorated cloaks. The trim I used on layer 2 (a contrasting band with dots/circles along it) is shown in multiple images of men in the 10th century, and as there is ample artwork with women wearing this trim on their gowns, I figured it would be reasonable to decorate the edge of my cloak this way as well. I tablet wove a band in yellow wool directly to the bottom edge. For the dots seen in pictures, Dress In Anglo-Saxon England mentions that this could be embroidery or jewels sewn on; I chose the latter to contrast with my second layer. The cloak is wrapped around the shoulders and closed over the center of the chest with a brooch. The construction all went as planned; my only gripe is that I settled for glass beads on the trim, as that was what I had available locally. These were used in period, but after the challenge I might try to find flatter or smaller gemstone beads to replace them, as high status people would have likely used gemstones rather than glass on their clothing at the time.
My final layer is called a fillet or binde, which was a woven strip worn across the forehead underneath the wimple/veil. This band was worn by married women of all social standings in 10th century England, with finer materials used for fillets worn by wealthy women. My fillet was tablet woven in silk thread, using a “pickup” method seen in archaeological finds from England. How this works is that the cards are “rocked” back and forth; two holes on each card have both white and blue threads in them. To make the pattern, you turn the cards, then manually lift each thread in the correct sequence before throwing the weft and turning the cards again. This technique is slower, but there’s more freedom in the designs you can weave. The patterns I chose are from a fellow reenactor’s website; she used patterns from existing Anglo-Saxon embroidery and stone carvings, so this is something that could have existed during the period. Making it up went as planned; I’ve made fillets before using this technique so I had no worries there, but this is the most complex pattern I’ve ever woven, so I really had to take my time and pay close attention to what I was doing. The big thing I still need to work on with my weaving is keeping the tension even- the beginning of the band is slightly narrower than the end, but it’s not terribly noticeable. Overall I’m very happy with it, and think it really adds nice detail to my outfit!
This non-judged layer is a part of my headgear (a tablet woven fillet). It is a linen wimple that I decorated like the wimples seen on page 224 in Dress in Anglo-Saxon England, which shows a group of nuns in elaborately jeweled headdresses. The wimple is a cone shape with one seam that joins the edges together. To decorate it like the picture, I fingerloop braided multiple lengths of silk thread- one for each edge of the wimple, and two to go from forehead edge to the back- and dyed them golden yellow. Once they were stitched on, I added pearls from forehead to back as well, between the two rows of silk braid. I think it looks much nicer than just a plain wimple, but doesn’t take attention away from the woven fillet or dress.
The other accessory I’m wearing is a tablet woven belt, made prior to this contest. It’s woven in wool and linen, and I wear this belt with most of my outfits. It seems, based on artwork, women in the 10th century wore belts if they wanted to; some pictures actually do show a belt or sash along the waist. I like the look of the gown cinched in a bit, so I’ve chosen to wear a belt in the final photos.
About Agatha: I have been in the SCA for about 12 years. My expertise is in patterning/draping and sewing clothing, specifically 15th century Austrian/German garments. I specialize in underwear! This will be a stretch and a challenge, since it’s not my specialty, but I am excited for this!
Her Project: I plan to create a complete 16th century Trossfrau outfit to match the colors of my barony (I am the Baroness of my group). I will also be making a Landsknecht outfit for my husband. I don’t have any specific image yet.
Her final thoughts on her C3 experience:
I had a great time! I would like to say that the items in my picture that were not made for the challenge include: purse with pouches, my socks and shoes, and my headwear.
This is a supportive “slip” or skirted “bra”, based on a 16th century image of a Nuremburg bath attendant. This garment is completely handsewn, and includes smocking along the top bust edge, and fingerloop braids for lacing along both sides.
This is a hand-sewn linen hemd, pleated and smocked along the neck edge and cuffs. It is based on 16th century extant shirts and woodcut images of Trossfrau. I used a running stitch in linen thread for most seams, and felled them with an overcast stitch.
This is a sleeveless undergown of yellow wool, with black wool guards. It laces up the front, and the bodice is lined with natural linen. That I know of, there are no extant examples of Trossfrau undergowns, so I made an educated guess about its construction. A skirt alone would be combersome, so I decided that attaching it to a bodice made sense for keeping the skirts in place, and could be used as a primary layer in warm weather. The skirts are attached using large knife pleats; the edge was finished in a strip of linen and whip stitched to the bodice.
This is a black wool overgown, with slashed sleeves lined in yellow linen. I used a wide variety of 16th century prints of Landsknecht and Trossfrau as my inspiration. I decided to simply slash the sleeves, leaving them “unbound”, as I believe they would have been in period. I chose yellow linen for its lightweight wicking properties, as well as being more comfortable as a lining than wool. The bodice is lined with white linen, and the skirts are attached in the same way as the undergown. The guards are yellow wool (the same wool as the undergown) My baronial colors (Endewearde) are yellow and black, so that informed my color choices.
This is a leather flacket, or flask. I used waxed linen to hand-sew it together, and modern black dye to dye it. It will eventually be lined with brewer’s pitch, and has a wooden stopper.
About Agnes: I’ve been in the SCA for more than a decade. I regularly hand sew almost all of the clothes my husband and I wear (I’m pretty sure my sewing machine is out to get me). I have made a number of Japanese outfits for both my husband and myself before. I will be dyeing most if not all of the fabric that will be used for this project and this will be the first time I have done this for a whole Japanese outfit. I have done single layers of Japanese items before and I have done the dyeing of all items for a Viking outfit before. I am actually making this as part of a pair of outfits but I am only entering the one outfit into the challenge. I will also be learning kumihimo for this project as it will be needed for the bag I plan to make. Some of the basic construction of kosode will be very easy for me as I have done it a number of times the challenge level will be in getting the dyeing, including shibori, done within the timeframe and learning a new skill, kumihimo. I do plan to start learning kumihimo before the official start date.
Her Project: The outfit will be for a Japanese woman, the style is seen in art ranging from the Kamakura era through the Muromachi and Momoyama periods (1185 – 1600). The primary imagery used will be Momoyama (1568 – 1600). There are several kosode (the period version of the kimono) layers as well as a final kosode that is worn over the head when walking out of the house. I will also be making a bag used for carrying things that can be seen in the art of the period. The most influential period image is from the folding screen found on this website
Her final thoughts on the Challenge:
In Japanese clothing it is a period thing to use other art forms such as poetry. The day we were dyeing the plain fabrics I noticed how much the fabrics looked the same color as the leaves on the trees. A week or so later while the leaves were still on the trees we had a snowfall with large snowflakes. This inspired me to scrap my plans for the top layer and instead create the design using snowflakes. The outfit is titled “Snowfall on Autumn Leaves”.
This is a Japanese ‘underwear’ layer, or Jubon, for my 16th century Japanese lady’s outfit. I had originally planned to make this layer out of ramie as ramie and hemp are the known cellulose fibers for Japan in the period. Unfortunately my fabric still hasn’t arrived so I opted to use linen as a reasonable substitute. The linen I ended up using may be a little thicker but since there are only 3 layers for the official entry I wanted to be sure the collar would be stiff enough.
The design as far as I know is more assumption than based on any extent pieces from period nor any actual art. This is however the common design used by the re-enactment community.
The garment is shorter than the overgarments will be. The sleeves are straight instead of shaped like the overgarments will be. The only thing intending to be seen is the collar. In period the garment might not have been visible at all but due to the nature of this project the collar will be visible. I created the collar so it is actually 4 layers thick to be sure it will be nice and sturdy.
The obi is a necessary part of the garment, it holds the collar in place. I actually forgot to plan for this obi somehow so it is very much rushed. It is 4 layers thick folded in half then folded in half again so the raw edge was on the inside. I just whip stitched the edge since it isn’t going to be visible.
All sewing is done by hand with linen thread. Seams I doubled the thread. They are stitched with a running stitch with the occasional back stitch to keep the stitching from possibly gathering up on accident. I used single threads for finishing the French seams and on the hems and collar attachment. French seams are almost certainly not a period seam treatment as period garments were made from fabrics that were the width of the body panels so nearly all the seams in the garment would be the finished edge of the fabric. Since I’m working with linen only the side seams were the finished edges of the fabric. Even if I had the ramie I would likely still need to do the seam finishing as modern fabrics are not made in the widths of period fabrics (approximately 18 inch widths). Screen reader support enabled.
This kosode is the main garment layer of this outfit. Kosode is the period term for what we might modernly call a kimono, the cut is different than that of a modern kimono. A more formal look would include a second kosode layer between the skin layer and this layer but that is not part of the official plan for this project.
This style of clothing would be seen on any person of wealth or samurai class in 16ht century Japan. The cut and style would differ just a little between men and women, the main difference being the men would of this status would wear hakama (pants) but women did not. This is not however court wear, it is the style of clothing that would be worn to go out to the city or perhaps even to visit a shrine or temple or enjoy a theater performance.
The use of panels of different colors/fabrics is seen in several extent period pieces. It is called Dan-gawari. I decided to try that particular style with this challenge as a way to challenge myself while still working with what is really a rather basic garment.
The silk broadcloth used in this garment is hand dyed by myself. The yellow is mordanted with symplacose which is a bio-accumlator alum mordant. I started using this morant years ago for Japanese dyes as the natural alum used in traditional Japanese dyes is also a bio-accumulator. I have recently learned however that symplacose is known to be native to Japan so it is possible this may have also been used in the period. I did a secondary mordant with pomegranate. I am not certain about the availability of pomegranate in 16th century Japan however yellow tannins like pomegranate would have been available. Finally the dye used is cork bark which is a known dye from the period.
The orange/red is also started with symplacose. Then cutch as the secondary mordant which also doesn’t have documentation of being available in Japan in the period however its distribution in Asia means it might have been available as an imported dye stuff. However, even if cutch was not available in the period in Japan other brown tannins would have been available. Finally the main dye is madder specifically rubia cordifolia, or Indian Madder. This particular species of madder there is documentation for it being available in Japan prior to the 16th century. I have not yet had a chance to dye with Japanese Madder yet so I do not know how different the 2 dyes may be. It is worth noting that rubia cordifolia is used to make akane red, a traditional vibrant red.
Finally the green of the obi is started with symplacose, followed by copper, followed by cork bark, followed by indigo. The obi is actually made from extra fabric available from what will be the inner kosode between the skin layer and this layer eventually but probably will not actually be part of this competition.
All of my fabric is dyed using a modified version of ‘the log’ method taught to me by Mistress Willoc Mac Muiredaig at Gulf Wars several years ago. The main modification is that I use a pvc pipe to allow easier manipulation of the fabric with fewer people. This method of dyeing actually is very similar to methods used by modern artisanal dyers in Japan. The method uses a moderately large dye vat, however not as large as would be needed if you were going to try dyeing the same amount of fabric purely by immersion and stirring. A pole is set horizontally over the vat by a variety of methods, my set up was constructed by my apprentice brother. The fabric is then manipulated over the pole (aka log) and into the vat, then back out, and back in repeatedly. When I learned this method at Gulf Wars there were at least 6 of us involved including the teacher and we were using 5 yard pieces max. Often I am limited to just one or two assistants to help me with my dyeing. Due to this limitation I have actually adopted my modification of using the pvc pipe over the ‘log’. This allows the fabric to more easily roll over the ‘log’ without needing another set of hands to keep the fabric from tangling on the log. It is likely that in period that similar methods would be used as well.
The construction of the kosode involved a number of steps. First I use the pulled thread method of cutting all the pieces to ensure straight edges to work with. Second each panel I finished the edges on using a rolled or hidden hem before attaching them together and constructing the garment. This particular step serves a dual purpose. The first is just simplicity of not having to worry about the fabric unraveling while I work with it. Second to a degree it helps with accuracy as the width of the body panels is actually the width of period fabrics so those edges wouldn’t have been raw in period and would not have needed any seam finishing once the garment was constructed. I used silk thread I dyed at the same time as the fabrics for any visible stitching. For construction I used linen thread I have on hand, likely if a cellulose fiber was used in period it would have been either hemp or ramie. The construction stitches are actually just a running stitch, this is the traditional way of modern kimono construction and is to the best of our knowledge what was done in period. I do add the occasional back stitch for extra stability while I sew and to keep me from accidentally pleating up my stitching.
The pattern of the kosode is fairly simple and standard. The basics for construction I always refer to this website, http://www.wodefordhall.com/page4.html, there are however many other places that provide similar instructions. There are 2 different styles of kosode in period. One where the sleeves are of equal or almost equal width as the body panels, similar to the pattern provided on the website. The more common style seen in extent pieces however have a sleeve width that is approximately half of the width of the body panels. That is the style used in this garment. Years ago I did research on the proportions of sleeve width to body panels and sleeve length to body panels and created calculations for how to cut out my garments based on the full width at the shoulder and the length from shoulder to hem. I used those calculations in the design of this pattern. I did however end up with sleeves that don’t come down quite as far on my arms as I had planned but it is probably only an inch or two short so it isn’t too bad. The obi is also stitched with a running stitch as a tube inside out, I did use the matching thread for this stitching even though I was hoping it would be invisible. Obi in period are very slender and not nearly as extravagant as modern obi. I am personally of the opinion that they probably were often made from pieces left over after construction of kosode.
I am actually hoping to add embroidery to this layer in the future but there was no time to try to learn how to do period Japanese embroidery within the constraints of this project. I really appreciated that the colors of the fabric almost matched the color of the trees in the area the days we were dyeing. It’s a wonderful fall feel and lends itself towards the period approach to clothing ‘telling a story’. The embroidery will help tell the story of the fall at the time of the project.
Top kosode layer that can be worn over the head or like an uchikake unbelted by a samurai class woman. It should likely be lined however I overheat easily so prefer to not line unless it is absolutely necessary.
The kosode is decorated using shibori dyeing techniques. To create this style of decoration the garment must be basted together then the design is drawn on by hand. Then the garment is taken apart and the designs are stitched using a running stitch. When the stitching is complete I always wash the fabric to prepare it for dyeing. Finally to keep the dye from the white sections they must be blocked from the dye. The running stitches are pulled tight and the sections are plugged with plastic wrapped corks and the section to remain white is covered in plastic wrap. This is of course not period but the actual art form as it was known in period was lost to history and the few ideas for how it was done in period are not currently achievable by myself. Instead I use methods similar to those used by traditional artisans in Japan modernly.
Finally after the dyeing is completed the garment must be carefully reconstructed to get the designs matched up as they were originally laid out. I always mark the garment with identification stitches in various places throughout the garment to help make this an easier step.
A small bag. This bag was based almost exclusively on the artwork in the period. I was able to find one extent piece however the image available from the museum is of the bag closed and it is very difficult to determine how it is constructed.
The final bag is made from pieces left over from layer 2, sewn together then cut into the pattern used for making the mockup bag. I did change the pattern a little for the final bag from the mockup and I think I am a little disappointed with the final shape.
The cord for the drawstring and the body of the bag are made using modern kumihimo techniques. This was a skill I learned specifically for this challenge. The drawstring cord is my second ever round braid and the flat braid is my first ever flat braid. The flat braid does appear to be necessary to get the bag to properly maintain its shape. I’m not totally happy with the final placement of the braids but it functions. It should be noted that kumihimo is not a period braiding technique however those who are well versed in the period art form have been known to accept kumihimo as a very close method that gives essentially the same look. I dyed all the yarn for the kumihimo myself but much of it was dyed prior to the start of the competition so they dye on the yarn should not be considered as part of the competition.
About Akilina : I’ve been in the SCA for 13 years. I sew, lampwork, throw pottery, cook, metalwork, and am picking up new hobbies all the time. I focus exclusively on kievan Rus’ for myself but do many other areas for folks I sew for. I’ve done stamping before but I still consider myself a novice at it.
Her Project: My goal is to do an early 13th century Kievan rus’ aristocrat ‘Slytherin’ ensemble.
Her final thoughts on her C3 experience:
I really enjoyed this challenge. It really motivated me to get back into crafting after a fairly long slump and it was amazing so see all of the creative things everyone else made.
The ciasnoche (translated literally as ‘tight’) is a garment worn in early medieval Poland (Kievan Rus’ ruled slavic tribes) and surrounding areas. It was worn all the way up to modern day. One from the 1950’s, virtually unchanged from Viking age construction, is on display at the Seweryn Udziela Ethnographic Museum in Krakow. Despite that fact, there is very limited information on them. Especially in English. It is said to be an undergarments’, sometimes worn solo by female field workers during the hot summer, but, especially after making it and wearing it, I am convince it was a bathing garment that was also worn in the field. It is not supportive, nor does it give structure to outer garments. I was working off of a very bad translation, a reproduction of a miniature and one bespoke garment. If I did it again, which I will, I’ll follow the pictures that I recently found and have the gathers only in the back and sides.
My second layer is a fairly simple underdress using a rectangular construction pattern with a keyhole neckline based off of different illuminations found in churches and in texts. While there is no verified proof that this construction was used (extant fabric finds are often incomplete) we do have extant contemporary Middle Eastern patterns that follow rectangular construction. Knowing what we know now about medieval travel and the range of the Byzantine empire, the use of the pattern is plausible. This dress is made out of silver silk and a synthetic brocade, based off of a Scandinavian find, adorns the cuffs. All layers are hand finished hems, cuffs and neck lines though the seams are machine sewn. It was supposed to have a border at the base of the same brocade but I opted out for several reasons. Mostly I’m not particularly thrilled with the cut. Due to fabric widths I had to get a little creative. So I’ll be saving the brocade for a better fitting project.
Layer 3 is my super Slytherin Letnik. Characterized by its wide sleeves, it is an incredibly common garment to see in period rus’ illustrations from the 9th to 13th century. This one is made out of shot green silk dupioni which has been elaborately stamped with modified motifs from the period hand carved by a friend in silver and black. I’m still getting the handle of stamping, especially with larger stamps so its a little spotty in some areas but overall, the look is pretty impressive. The hem, neck and sleeves are edged with the same silk as the underdress, stamped in green. Everything is hand done except for the internal seams. This garment would definitely be for nobles but because it is stamped instead of brocade, it could be argued its for lower class nobles. Side note, it sounds like wrapping paper when you move in it. There is also the temple band that the temple rings are attached to for this layer. It is constructed using elements from all other layer and is entirely hand sewn.
I wanted to really go out on a limb with my accessory, but I just love temple rings too much. This temple ring design is based off of a redrawing from an extant find in the Novgorod-Slovene area, known for their large hoops and simple dangles. This pair is made out of sterling silver and silver plate. All elements are made by me with the exception of actually drawing the plate and wire from an ingot and the ‘bell’. Modern tools were used for construction but some of the tools, such as the stamps, were hand made. Medieval bells are surprisingly difficult to source so in lieu of one I actually used a silver slavic button. It looks astonishingly correct and these temple rings jingle enough without having a bell added. The tinkling noise they make from the silver pieces is actually rather nice.
About Annora: My main art focus is costuming. I will be using this challenge to make an outfit I had already planned. This will help provide some outside motivation for me to work on my project and stretch a little.
Her Project: Outfit will be an early Tudor ensemble indicative of the turn of the 16th century showcasing the stylistic change in silhouette. The outer gown will display pleating techniques in the back and have a wrap closure. The hood will be embellished with pearls and spangles as seen in several contemporary tapestries.
The body linen layer of the early 16th century was very similar to body linen layers of the previous eras. It is constructed using geometric shaped pattern pieces. For women it is ankle length. The sleeves are wrist length and narrow to fit through fitted outer sleeves. The neckline is square to match the kirtle with a high v in the back. I’ve made this same pattern many times and it wears very well. I did a reverse facing to complete the square neckline. I do not think I will do this in the future as I don’t like the look. But it would be a good method to apply an embroidered band to the neckline.
The linen is a lightweight linen from 96 District and the seams were sewn with a fine white silk thread by hand.
A pink linen kirtle of the early 16th century in England. It has been constructed with a separate waist seam and pleated skirt and short sleeves as seen in primary source images. The bodice is interlined with linen canvas and lined with 5oz white linen. This provides good shape and support to the bodice without being pad stitched or otherwise manipulated. I believe the early 16th century is too early for the use of pad stitching or other technical tailoring techniques. 20 hand bound eyelets were sewn in silk thread. Most of the construction seams were done with cotton thread. The kirtle is completely hand sewn and created from a pattern that I drafted. There are several process photos showing stages of construction and finishing. Fit is the most important thing about this layer as the kirtle supports the bust and provides the shape for the outer layer. I’m overall very happy with the fit of this kirtle. But I may tweak a few spots for the future. The shoulder straps could be a bit tighter and fit closer to the body. The facing around the neckline made the square corners much easier to sew but does add bulk to the neckline as well. This is the first time that I’ve used the fashion fabric for this purpose. A thin silk would reduce bulk here. The waistline is straight but appears to dip lower in the back of the kirtle. I believe this is an illusion created by how the kirtle fits on the body. The bodice was drafted with a straight waistline. An adjustment to the back of the bodice, raising it slightly, might account for this and correct the illusion. The hem goes to the floor but may be raised in the future as the kirtle is intended to be worn inside and outside.
This is a wool transitional gown from the turn of the 16th century. It’s has a wrap front closure that is shaped similar to 15th century gowns. But the back has developed more fullness and shows pleating techniques that start to be used more in the 16th century. The sleeves are a trumpet shape popular of this time period. It is fully lined in silk and hand sewn.
About Bartholomew: I have been a member of the SCA for approximately 6 years. I have been involved in other forms of reenacting on and off since I was 13 (23 years or so). My main areas of interest is the material culture of 16th and early 17th century England. I have been sewing seriously for about 5 years. This past year I have been focusing on making completely hand-sewn garments. While I have a good understanding of making the garments I plan to enter, the challenge to me will be in trying to use a number of period techniques that I have only recently learned.
His project: I plan on recreating a complete English middle class men’s outfit from the turn of the 17th century. I am looking to recreate what would have been worn by a yeoman farmer or middle class tradesman in the years 1595-1610. The outfit will be based off of a variety of period artwork, as well as extant garments. It will include: shirt, doublet, hose, and jerkin. I plan on hand sewing the entire outfit. If time allows I may also make a belt, purse or knitted hat to round out the outfit.
The Complete Garment
His final thoughts on his C3 experience:
What a fantastic idea for a competition! This is one of the few A&S challenges that I have gotten excited for in a while. The ability to make an entire outfit from the skin out was a fantastic way to try new techniques and get better at other skills. Huzzah for the organizers of this challenge!
I am checking in my first layer, a linen shirt appropriate for the late 16th to early 17th century. The shirt forms the basic function of underwear during the time period. It is made very long to act as both a covering for the body and the hip area. The pattern is very basic and seems to have been fairly universal across western Europe for the times. It is constructed completely of linen fabric and linen threads of different weights. It was drafted using the “bara” system as describe in the Modern Maker book series (late 16th/early 17th century methods). Shirts similar to the design I used are found in many museums and covered in detail in Patterns of Fashion 4, by Gannet Arnold.
My second Layer consists of a linen canvas doublet and wool hose. These 2 items represent the basis of all men’s outfits from the 15th to the 17th century. The doublet is made in the style of the late 16th century to early 17th century. It is made from a linen twill outer layer, interlined with linen canvas, and lined in a light weight linen. The doublet is completely sewn by hand using various weights of linen thread. The buttons are of pewter. The button design was taken from a number of extant examples shown on The Portable Antiquities Scheme (finds.org.uk), as well as examples found on the wreck of the Vasa. I first carved the button masters in wax and then used a 2 part mold to cast them. The hose are representative of the style commonly referred to as “trunk hose”. They were a common style seen from the 1560s through the 1620s in various configurations. The are made from charcoal or “sheeps black” wool fabric, and lined in linen. They are sewn by hand using both linen and silk threads (silk for the buttonholes and eyelets). The raw edges of the hose and pockets are bound in a linen tape.
My third layer consists of a leather jerkin. It is based on period art as well as some surviving examples of English jerkins from the second half of the 16th century. Since I am attempting to recreate a “working mans'” outfit I chose to leave it mostly undecorated. I did however add leather piping with tiny slashes to the seams to give it a bit of flare. It is made from purchased modern chromium tanned leather, this was a mistake on my part. the chromium tan leather does not lend itself to being hammered flat. On one example in the Museum of London, the seams allowances are hammered very flat, being vegetable tanned it is much easier to do that on than chromium tanned leather. The pewter buttons are cast by myself. They are inspired by examples found on The Portable Antiquities Scheme website. I chose to piece one of the skirts together as an added historical touch. Many examples of surviving clothing incorporate piecing and I felt it helps to achieve a more historically correct garment.
My fourth accessory layer consists of a knitted hat. The knit hat is based on the styles seen in period art and examples in the Rijksmusem in Amsterdam. It was knit in the round from bulky wool, it was then fulled (felted) by hand. The hatband is made of a 4 strand braid of wool yarn that I dyed with madder root.
My four+ accessory layer consists of a girdle belt, belt purse, and a cloak.
The girdle belt is made from vegetable tanned leather (purchase) and was dyed with black walnut juice. The buckle for the belt was sand cast in brass. The design for the buckle came from an example I came across on the Portable Antiquities Scheme and is dated from 1500-1650.
The belt purse is made from vegetable tan leather (purchased) and again dyed with black walnut juice. The purse is based on purses seen in period artwork, as well as an example found in the Netherlands.
In the end I decided to make up a cape to go with this outfit. It is handsewn with a coarse thick wool similar to that describe as ‘frieze’ in period. It is lined with linen, and closes with brass hook and eyes I made.
About Ceara: I’ve been in the SCA over 20 years and lived in several Kingdoms. I enjoy sewing and have done it since before I started in the SCA. I came to the SCA with a very modern, very basic sewing background. I’m planning on hand sewing my entire outfit. I’ve previously hand sewn a garment or two, but not an entire outfit. I specifically chose Advanced category because I want to challenge myself and am hoping for feedback on areas I can improve. I’m also a tablet weaver so am planning on making the belt and trim. I have a Rus persona, so I’ve really been looking forward to making one of the Upper Volga Dresses.
Her Project: My outfit is 11th Century Upper Volga Rus, based specifically on the excavations of the Pleshkovo-1 Cemetery. There were over 37 women buried there and, based on the ornamentation at lease some were wealthy/noble women. They were of Slavic with some native Baltic and Finno-Ugrian influences. My outfit will be primarily based on the clothing in barrow’s 57 and 58. I chose the Pleshkovo finds in general because there is a large number of textile fragments for the Upper Volga region, making it easier to select appropriate cloth to make the garments out of. I specifically chose these two Barrows based on the lovely hair ornaments and because I liked the really large temple rings in Barrow 58. I’d like to wear this outfit to virtual Atlantian 12th night, as it’s one of the few times of the year that wool dresses will be comfortable in the South Eastern US.
11th Century upper Volga Rus. Specifically the Pleshkovo-1 site, barrow 53. This is Rus with a strong ugaro-finn influence. Cut of the underdress should somewhat resemble a sarafan in general shape, but without pleating or straps. Also this barrow was thought to have a high slit neckline.
About Constanzia : My name is Duquessa Constanzia and I’m a laurel from Lochac. I joined the SCA in the early 90s. I’m one of the patrons of the Iberian clothing prize. My persona is Spanish and I love capsule wardrobes so I could not resist this challenge! It’s so lovely to participate from the antipodes! I hope that by showing some of the interesting clothing from Spain, that others may find it interesting too.
Her Project: I’m still deciding which Iberian outfit I want. Do I want northern spanish with the crazy hats and choupines? Do I want mid c16th Spanish with crazy sleeves and choupines? I definately want choupines…. let’s start there!
About Gianna: I’ve been active in the SCA for 4 years. I’ve sewn for a long time but over the past 3 years I have started focusing on learning how to construct my clothing using historical methods and fabrics versus modern methods. My primary focus is 1450-1580 Florence. However, I have a strong interest in Tudor England and Venice. When not sewing I dabble in tablet weaving and other fiber arts. I find Florentine clothing to be challenging and deceptive. All of the structure of Florentine clothing is created within the clothing itself, meaning, they did not have corsets or farthingales to create the overall shape and support. Creating the veste will require a few new skills so this should be interesting.
Her Project: I’m drawn to the elegance of the portrait of Isabella de Medici by Alessandro Allori from around 1560, Florence. I will recreate the ensemble seen in that painting. Isabella was part of the Medici family who was ruling Florence, Italy at the time. An outfit of velvet and numerous pearls would’ve been worn by upper nobility as I imagine the cost would’ve been prohibitive for anyone else. This is an outfit that I’ve been wanting to make for a while and have completed some of the pieces that will not be entered into this competition.
I will be making the camicia, sottana, and her veste (or overgown). The sottana is the supportive middle layer dress that will help create the overall shape. The sottana will be made it so that it can be worn as stand alone dress. For my 4th, non-sewing item I will be making a pair of chopines. These are elevated platform shoes meant for outdoor wear to keep dresses and shoes out of the muck and show off wealth.
Her final thoughts on the C3 experience:
This was really fun but if there’s a next time I hope that it doesn’t line up with the IRCC challenge because completing both was a lot. Overall I now have some new clothes that I really like and can’t wait to wear them to an event.
I’m submitting a linen camicia which is the underlayer that was worn by everyone. Since my entry is later period I added cotton lace around the neckline and wrists. The construction seams are machine sewn but all finishing is done by hand (hem, felled seams, and lace). Once I can try it on with the sottana I may wish that the neckline was a bit lower but we’ll see.
I’ve made a upper class women’s sottana (dress) that would’ve been worn between 1540-1560+. It’s difficult to know exactly when Florentine women stopped wearing these because they went from being the outer layer to being the middle layer throughout the 16th century. I went ahead and made this dress so that it could be worn as it’s own dress or as a supportive layer. Bodies, stays, or farthingales weren’t found in Florence during period so all support and structure are created within the sottana.
The outer layer is a shot silk dupioni that’s either an icy blue or periwinkle, depending on the light. It’s trimmed in a dark blue velvet in a pattern that is fairly common for the era. The sleeves are also trimmed in the same velvet and feature a spiral design. The bodice and sleeves are lined in linen. The support and structure of the bodice was created by layering duck cloth and melton wool per the method found in The Modern Maker vol. 2. The skirt is stiffened with wool felt that I stiffened with 3 rows of zig zag stitching creating a faux pad stitch.
The bodice is side laced through metal lacing rings. I wove 2 cords on the lucet with pearle cotton which I then waxed (wax, melt into the fibers, repeat) to strengthen the cords and hopefully help prevent wear from the lacing rings.
I made a veste/over dress based on the gown worn by Isabella de’Medici in a portrait by Alessandro Allori.
I began by modifying a bodice pattern that I had from previous projects. The bodice is velveteen, inner-lined with pad stitched wool in the bust and back area to help define and stiffen the upper chest while the entire bodice is inner-lined with canvas. The bodice is closed with hooks and eyes that I made then lined with silk charmeuse. I created tabs with velveteen edged with white silk and sewed them around the bottom of the bodice.
The skirt is cartridge pleated beginning near the hip and around the back. This provides fullness and mimics a the shape that a bum roll would create. Bum rolls weren’t worn in Florence during this time. There’s 3 layers of wool stitched together and sewn into the hem to help stiffen the hem and create a bell shape. (farthingales weren’t in Florence yet)
The baragoni (shoulders) were broken into 5 segments. A row of tabs, followed by vertical panes, another row of tabs, a cuff, and another row of tabs. I backed the panes with buckram to help stiffen them and support the pearl cluster. I should’ve made the buckram pieces longer. The cuff is lined with canvas to help support the weight of the pearls. The baragoni were then sewn onto the armscye.
I took a sleeve pattern and broke it into 3 sections. The two outer sections I then divided into smaller pieces to get the angled pieces. Each piece is trimmed with silk ribbon and sewn together at the corners with pearl clusters. The sleeve pieces were lined and closed up. They attach to the veste shoulders with lacing rings and lucet cord.
It pretty much went together as planned but this gown has been swimming in my head for about a year now. Overall it was a great learning experience and I like it a lot better than the first veste that I made. There’s not much that I’d change other than making the sleeves a bit smaller because they seem a bit big.
I made a pair of pianelle which is an overshoe. These could be worn either with just stockings for indoor wear or over slippers for outdoors. The style that I went with can be worn either way because they lace up and can be adjusted.
The research that I found stated that pianelles (under 3″ tall) and chopines (over 3″ tall) were made of wood. We started out with that plan but couldn’t find a ban saw big enough to cut the massive block of wood. I ran across a pair of sandals with a cork base and plan B was developed. I took the vinyl straps off of the shoes for my base.
I patterned the vamps from paintings, extant examples, and other recreations. The vamps are velveteen to match the veste, inner-lined in canvas, and lined in some cotton that I had laying around. I worked 6 eyelets into each piece to be able and lace them closed.
I had some suede and thought that it would make for a nice insole, sturdy enough to stand up to being worn with slippers but nice enough to wear with stockings alone. I used more velveteen scraps to make long strips that would be drawn over the sides of the shoe and glued down. Since my sewing machine wasn’t capable of sewing through all of the layers I ended up sewing it together using waxed linen thread and a saddle stitch. Once the covers were done I glued them to the shoe. Once the glue dried I added some gimp around the bottom of the shoes and laced them up.
They’re surprisingly comfy and fairly easy to walk in.