Group · Historically Focused · Intermediate


Group Members: Baroness Linnet del Grenewode,

Location: Barony of Carolingia, East

Category/Level: Historically Focused/Intermediate

About Actreo: The two of us are a couple who have been in and out of the SCA for years. We heard about the Challenge from people in our local group. We will be making garments that we have wanted to make for a while. The inspiration of this challenge is a gift right now.

Project Update Blog: Crafting Ourselves – An SCA Arts and Sciences Journey

Their Project: We will be making a set of clothes for a high status (Thegn level) man and woman from England in the mid 11th Century. These garments will be based on artwork and writings done in period, as well as fragments from grave finds. We have been researching on this period for a while, but have yet to make a set of historically accurate clothing for the late Anglo Saxon time period. We need a set of court garb, not just pennsic clothes. We will be making for the man a shirt, trousers, tunic and cloak, and for the woman a smock, gown, mantel, and veil, as well as a number of smaller pieces.

Final Photos

Layer 1

We are making clothing suitable for an Anglo Saxon man and his wife who are high status individuals (Thegn level). There is little evidence of how the underlayer of clothing looked in the form of illuminations or grave finds for this time period for anglo saxon culture in England. There are many written sources, particular the words in Old English used for garment types. We used 2 main sources of information for making our decisions on how to make this: Dress in Anglo Saxon England by Gale Owen-Crocker, and the Authenticity Guide for Regia Anglorum.

For the man, the first layer would be a linen shirt or tunic, and either trousers, or hose and braies. We chose to make a simple shirt similar to those made elsewhere because the word Scyrte implies a shorter garment, rather than a full undertunic. the shirt has square gussets under the sleeves, and a keyhole neckline bound with silk.Hose and Braies were coming in as a style, but the anglo saxon trousers were still worn. After looking at, and experimenting with several reconstructions of early trousers starting with the iron age Thorsberg trousers, we decided to make the trousers by starting with 2 tubes with a seam down the inner leg. We tried several types of gussets and gores, and found that for us, they fit the best by taking in the lower legs, and adding a square crotch gusset. We left the bottom of the inseam open for the last few inches to get the trousers on over the foot. The trousers were held up with a linen twill tape tie. There was evidence for either ties or belts for this. There are old english words for what is assumed to be a loin cloth, but we opted to stay with modern underwear underneath.

For the woman, the first layer is a linen Smoc made in a similar pattern as layer 2 will be. We used the Nockert Type 1 form of tunic, as this is the most common type of tunic found around the 11th century. This tunic has square underarm gussets and side gores. We did not use center gores. Images of women’s clothing at this time appear to be mainly vertical in line, without much flaring out from the waist. The sleeves were very long and tight. The look at this time was for smoc sleeves to go over the hand some, and to have wrinkles on the forearm. The cuffs and necklines were bound with silk. There was a thriving silk trade in England at this time, and silk ribbons and strips were commonly used if one could afford it. The cap is to cover the hair so it does not show under the veil or wimple that will be added later. There are words for this garment like Feax Clap (head cloth), but what it looked like is up to interpretation. We used the English Cap proposed by Regia Anglorum for this. It is similar to a viking cap, but rounded at the top, and larger, so that all of the hair is covered. Some people use something like a St Birgitta cap, but that would seem to be to late to be used at this time.

All sewing was done by hand using waxed thread (linen for linen, silk for silk). Construction seams were done in back stitch; flat fell with whip stitch; and attaching strips to the edges with running stitch.

Both Linnet and Kendrick worked on this layer. Both of us worked on pattern development. Linnet did most of the construction sewing. Kendrick did the embroidery embellishment on the cap. He will be making many yards of fingerloop braid for the next 2 layers, as well as tablet weaving, and has already started working on those.

Layer 2

We are making a set of clothes for an 11th Century Anglo Saxon high status man and woman. Layer 2 consists of tunics. The term Tunece applies to male garments. The term Cyrtel used to apply to short male garments, but by this point in history was used for longer female tunics. Both garments were Nockert type 1 tunics with square gussets under the sleeves, and triangular side gores, and were made from the same medium weight tabby woven blue fabric. A reproduction red silk was used on the cuffs and necklines. Silk was readily available in England at this time. The most common use was to cut the fabric into strips and use it to trim the edges of garments. Both the Tunece and Cyrtel had 3 cm wide strips on the bottom of the sleeves, and the Tunece had an additional woven band of gold silk on it. The Tunece had a square keyhole neck. This was a style seen in illuminations from England during this time period. It had a silk facing which comes to a point in the center front. The Cyrtel had a round keyhole neck, with the edge bound in silk. Women’s necklines were rarely seen, so would probably not be as showy as men’s.

We had planned on adding blue fingerloop braid to many of the seams, and gold braid to the collars and cuffs. Experimental trials made with silk cord indicated that it would take far, far more time with silk than previous trials with cotton or wool. Weaving the silk into a narrow strip also gave problems with tension and smoothness of weave compared to other fibers. We ended up settling for two woven bands to put on the Tunece, with the thought we might come back to this later. Linnet did the sewing, and Kendrick did all the work with braiding and weaving.

Layer 3

We are making a set of clothing for a high status anglo saxon man and woman. Layer 3 consists of a cloak for the man. It is made of a heavy brown wool with the rectangular construction common in this period. The long edges of the cloak were bound with red silk taffeta ribbon, and trimmed with a two color hand woven silk band. Layer 3 for the woman has 2 parts. The cloak during this period for high status women is a semi-circle of wool sewn into a cone shape with a neck opening. This style is believed to be copied from chasubles seen in byzantine art. Our cloak was made from a soft tan wool, and was worn either with or without a sash. The head covering for Layer 3 is a long rectangular veil of wool gauze. These veils were worn draped around the head over the cap. Lower status women tended to wear a more hood-like garment. In art, these veils are generally shown in a color other than white. For our project, the veil was dyed with black walnut. Several trials were done to try to get the color even. It was decided not to mordant this veil to darken the color with iron, for fear of damaging the fine wool gauze. Walnut has enough tannin, that a mordant is not required on wool. Kendrick did most of the work on the cloak, and Linnet sewed the mantle, and dyed the wool for the veil.

Layer 4

Kendrick did most of the work for this accessory item. The inspiration for our piece is an 11th century reliquary pouch. The original is in the German National Museum in Nurnberg. It is dated to 1050 to 1100 C.E. and Byzantine origin. We feel confident that trading between Anglo-Saxon England and Eastern Europe would have allowed similar bags to be found in England at this time. The original is a silk bag 12.5 cm wide and 14.8 cm tall, the front of the bag is decorated with 21 silver plaquetes, the center five are covered with an almandine stone, which is a purplish garnet, and 4 gold thread covered knots complete a five by five grid of elements, this is surrounded on each side by 7 heart shaped almandine covered plaquetes and 14 small square silver plaquetes with every other one covered in an almandine stone. All of these elements are surrounded with long strands of white seed pearls and three rows or silk cording. Unfortunately we could not create an exact copy of this bag.

Compromises of necessity and material were required. We could not duplicate cast silver plaquetes so heavy pewter craft foil purchased from Blick was used to cut same size and shape plaquetes which were sewn on using white silk thread. The heart shaped plaquetes on each side were eliminated as they were too hard to replicate or substitute with similar shaped pieces. Remnant burgandy silk was used instead of brown silk fabric for the bag which lead to a change in stones, although we had similar sized and shaped purple stones we decided that red coral stones looked better with our silk. Some of the bottom square plaquetes were replaced with bugle shaped coral beads because mounting the bead on the plaquete completely covered the plaquete. Additionally spacing the small square plaquetes was changed to allow for possible future seed pearl cords to be added, we couldn’t find small enough seed pearls to allow closer spacing. Gold silk 20/2 yarn was used to weave the bands across the top. The twisted tan cords around the sides and bottom of the original was replaced with 4 strands of loosely braided 10/2 ecru silk yarn which gives a similar “bumpy patterned” look to the border. When we get the chance, we will complete the decoration of this bag with strands of white seed beads surrounding each element on the front of the bag. Kendrick is proud of this example of an 11th century reliquary bag even if keeping the overall look of the original required some substitutions. The biggest change would be making or purchasing cast plaquetes but purchasing different shaped cast plaquetes would have changed the overall look of the bag so with our skill at this moment, cutting metal plaquetes was the best choice and we couldn’t find similar shaped plaquetes from the medieval craft sellers we know. A class that has been on Kendrick’s “to learn” list is enameling on metal, he thinks this might be the most approachable and best looking replacement for cutting special shaped cabochons.

Layer 4+

For our extra accessory layer, we made socks with a nalebinding technique. There are very few examples of nalebinding from this time period. The most complete one is the Coppergate sock, which dates from the 10th Century in York England. This would have been from the Anglo Scandinavian part of England. Due to the abundant trade between cultures, and the lack of any surviving socks from Anglo Saxon cultures, many researchers assume that nalebinding was a likely technique for the Saxons as well.

The socks were made from the top down. The exemplar sock was done in what was dubbed the York stitch, but this is the only example of that stitch in any surviving work. As I am familiar with the Oslo stitch, and these were my first socks, I chose to work in Oslo. Also, since I prefer to work on my thumb, I worked in a medium weight yarn, not a fine knitting sock yarn. At the cuff, a small raised collar was used, similar to the coppergate sock. This was worked for a few rows, then half of the row was detached to form a gusset. The heel was worked in decreasing rows in the space left open. Then the rest of the sock was done in decreasing rows until it was reduced and tied off at the toe

Since this is the first time I have made socks by any method, the first pair was a learning experience, then tossed. The second pair was much better, and the final pair was finally getting close to what I wanted. This is the pair I have submitted to you. I loved nalebinding socks, since prior to this I have only done hats. I plan on playing with this more in the future.

Bonus Points


The Clowder

Group Members: Eadaoin inghean Chionoidha, Jorunna Refsdottir, Tanneke Fredericksdochter Hasselaers, Zafara Baabur, Wulfþryð Maynes

Location: Barony of the Lonely Tower, Calontir

About the Clowder: Our group is a mix of newcomers to our Barony and people who have been here for years. We decided as a group to do something for one of our newcomers who had very little in the way of garb. Our group name was chosen because we mostly agree that this is going to be like herding cats. 😉

Their Project: We will be constructing a Viking Era Norse woman’s outfit for one of BLT’s newcomers. We are going with a general Norse outfit based off of several extant finds. Details are still being hammered out.

Final Photos

Layer 4

Eadaoin made a tablet woven ring belt of knotwork.


Iolair Artisans

Group Members: Rose Chapman, Matthew Chapman, Marguerite des Baux, Caitlin inghen Raighne, Giraude Benet

Location: Cum an Iolair, Calontir

Category/Level: Modern Recreationist/Advanced

About the Iolar Artisans : Caitlin, Giraude, and Marguerite have known each other for well over a decade. Rose and Matthew met Caitlin approximately 10 years ago, and the others in late 2009. They are banding together to make a better set of garb for Rose. Rose and Matthew in particular are stretching themselves on this project by making the chair – Rose is teaching Matthew to weave, and Matthew is teaching Rose woodworking!

Their Project: Rose recently rejoined the SCA after several years on hiatus, and is developing a new persona with all new garb. The clothing we plan to create – a smock, kirtle, and handwoven cloak – would befit the wife of a merchant in 14th century England. The outfit is loosely based on the effigy of Katherine Mortimer, Countess of Warwick, 1369. The chosen accessory will be a Dantesca style chair based on extant examples with handwoven fabric for the back and seat. Stretch goals include a cap of St. Birgitte, a tablet woven belt, and hand embroidery.

Completed Outfit

Layer 1

This 14th century women’s linen smock is designed to fit invisibly under the kirtle. Caitlin patterned the smock with the aid of Rose’s kirtle pattern and measurements, machine stitched the construction seams, and finished the seams by hand. Despite not being able to have in-person fittings, the smock fits Rose perfectly!

Layer 2

This is a 14th century English kirtle made out of a linen/cotton blend. Matthew helped Rose make the pattern for the dress via the draping method. After determining the main dress panel dimensions, Rose carefully planned the cutting layout to make the gores as large as possible to reduce fabric waste. Rose stitched the dress on a machine, then finished seams and stitched eyelets by hand. Rose made her very first tubular tablet woven cord to use for lacing.

The original dress plan called for close-fitted sleeves with 19 buttons on each arm between elbow and wrist. Giraude made the cloth buttons, and Rose made a start on buttonholes cut out with a chisel for uniform length. Unfortunately, Rose was not able to hand-stitch 38 buttonholes and sew on that many buttons within the challenge time frame due to wrist strain, so plain sleeves were used instead. Rose had just enough extra fabric to make the second pair of sleeves, with a whole inch of length to spare! The wider sleeve design is still period, it just places the kirtle earlier in the 14th century than originally planned.

Layer 3

14th century English wool cloak. Marguerite des Baux wove fabric by hand on 4 shafts. Rose Chapman constructed the cloak with machine-sewn seams and finished the seams by hand. Rose also embroidered an ivy leaf motif along the front edge of the cloak using a chain stitch. Almost everything went as planned – even matching diagonal stripes on the center back seam! However, the gold thread was a wool/silk blend, while the green and blue threads were 100% wool, and the differential shrinkage that showed up after wet finishing the fabric created uneven selvedges. Rose was able to hide most of the unevenness in the cloak’s seams, but the front edge remains a tad uneven.

Layer 4

While this Dantesca style chair was used from the 16th century onward, Rose couldn’t resist making a period folding chair for events even though her persona is technically 14th century. Matthew carved, sanded, and assembled the chair base out of 2×6 pine boards. The medallions covering the bolt holes on the front and back of the chair were purchased, but we made everything else. Rose stained the chair, wove fabric out of 8/2 tencel (imitation silk) for the seat and back using a period pattern, and patterned and stitched the seat and back based on extant chair examples. Rose serged the handwoven fabric to sturdy canvas before constructing the seat and back to ensure they would bear weight without stretching too much. Matthew affixed the seat and back to the chair with upholstery tacks.

Rose was originally planning to learn woodworking and Matthew was going to learn how to weave to complete this project. Rose, being a relatively new weaver, didn’t realize that tencel is a tricky material to work with and therefore not a good choice for beginning weavers, so she assumed weaving duties and left the woodworking to Matthew. Rose will learn how to work with wood to make a second chair in the future so the couple can have a matched set for events, and Matt still plans on learning how to weave.

Woodworking pattern and instructions followed:

Pavy lisere 8-shaft weaving draft:

Layer 4+

Tablet woven belt. Rose made the belt on her inkle loom out of 3/2 perle cotton. The buckle and chape were purchased online, and affixed to the belt with rivets. This was actually Rose’s second attempt at a belt. Her previous attempt with only burgundy and blue threads didn’t show the original pattern well and looked very bland, so she added gold thread and chose a completely different pattern draft.

St. Birgitte’s cap. Rose machine stitched the construction seams on this linen cap, and finished the seams with hand stitching. The pattern was copied from another cap Rose drafted and tested for mundane wear, since it’s such a practical piece of clothing.

Split mittens. Rose had a few scraps of cloak material left over. Since she wanted to take photos in the well-timed snow but didn’t want frostbite, she managed to eke out just enough cloth to make a pair of mittens as the storm rolled in the day before the final photo shoot. As you can see, there was barely enough! The thumb and thumb hole shapes were copied from a commercial pattern, while the main hand pattern was drafted based on hand measurements and tailored on the fly.

Bonus Points


Salty Sewing Strumpets

Group Members: Lady Eibhilin O Beirn, HL Adelaide Sarsfield, HL Ysabel de la Oya, and Lady Sawbina Fahy

Location: Cum an Iolair, Calontir

Category/Level: Modern Recreationist/Intermediate

About : We have known each other for several years, and have had sewing days together a few times. This is the first time where the four of have have worked on one project though.

Their Project: Early 16th Century Italian dress. Pattern from Mediaeval Miscellanea’s PERIOD PATTERN ™ NO.41WOMEN’S ITALIAN RENAISSANCE GOWNS, C. 1470-1505 A.D., will include some heraldry elements.

Final Photos

Their final thoughts on their C3 experience:

We learned that divide and conquer is the best way to go about things. We all learned a lot during the process, we increased our skill level in sewing and in the goldwork (couching cord and sewing on pearls). We had a great time working together and look forward to future group sewing projects.

Layer 1

Early 16th Century Italian camica for women. Made by Adelaide and Eibhilin. Machine sewen on linen , hand finished

Layer 2

Two part skirt made of linen and a cotton brocade forepart. All machine sewn by Sawbina. The bodice is linen with a cotton canvas. The pearls are handsewn by Ysabel and the cording was couched on by Sawbina. All embroidery was done before the cotton canvas liner was sewn to the bodice. Patterning and cutting are done by Sawbina, bodice pieces sewn together by Ysabel by machine mostly wit armsyths handsewn. Three eyelets on each side of the bodice was done by Ysabel

Layer 3

Stomacher and Sleeves. Stomacher is made of cotton brocade lined with the same fabric Stomacher made by Eibhilin. The stomacher is to help “fake” a kirtle. The two part sleeves are linen lined with cotton canvas. The sleeves have 50 eyelets handsewn by Ysabel. The cordwork is hand sewn by Eibhilin. The sleeves were sewn by both Ysabel and Eibhlin.

Layer 4

Early 16th century Italian women headpiece. Upper class. Constructed of a linen cap, with pearls beads and couched on cord. Fillet is made by attaching metal beads at intervals with with jewelry hung at the temples. A black band holds it on the head.

Bonus Points


The Tencees

Group Members: (clockwise from upper left) Lasair Nic Tallier, Johanne of Fisher Gate, Felar Tallier, Twilleliah nic Tallier,

Location: Aston Tor, Calontir

Category/Level: Historically Focused/Advanced

About the Tencees :We are the nic Tailliuirs of Aston Tor, clan siblings. We have been playing in the SCA for a very long time, Johanne consistently for 25 years, Lasair, Twilleliah, and Felar off and on since 1995. We are all crafty, with each of us having a specialty and a working knowledge of several other crafts. We LOVE a challenge and are using this challenge to see how close we can get to a real Historic outfit.

Their Project : We are going to create a Finnish – Eura costume based on ‘Grave 56’ at Luistari, as detailed in ‘Ancient Finnish Costumes by Suomenkielinen lyhennelma’, pages 45 to 53. We do not have time to spin and weave the fabric, so we are using purchased wool for all the garment layers. The under tunic will be a light weight very dark blue wool, the over dress will be a heaver, light grey wool. The apron will be of the same heaver, light grey wool but will be natural dyed into a nice contrasting color.

Lasair has been wanting to create a mostly accurate Finnish Dress to wear and we are using this challenge to ‘Get er Done’.

Final Photos

Their Final thoughts on the C3 experience:

This project was a nice diversion. We met and planned all the parts together. For some reason the tunic and over dress seemed to be too long on the final picture day. Not sure if the fabric stretched from hanging of if we just managed to cut them too long. I will be shorting them before wearing them to an event.

Layer 1

Layer one – Layer 1 is the under dress for this Finnish Outfit. It is 100% fine wool (commercial dyed). We measured and cut the fabric based on the pictures from the Eura costume based on ‘Grave 56’ at Luistari, as detailed in ‘Ancient Finnish Costumes by Suomenkielinen lyhennelma’, pages 45 to 53. Hand sewing was uneventful and proceeded as planned using hand spun natural black wool. This task was done by Lasair.

Layer 2

Layer 2 is the over dress for this Finnish Outfit. It is 100% wool. Lasair hand processed all the wool. Starting with raising the sheep, shearing (had a shearer do the shearing), sorting, skirting, washing and carding. All the yarn was hand spun – I did use a modern wheel.

For the Fabric: The warp threads are tans and browns and our weft thread is light grey, all natural colors. All the warp yarns for the fabric are tightly spun Z and the weft yarns are spun S, slightly thicker in grist without particular attention paid to keeping the grist even. This will best simulate thread that was produced during the Viking age. (this was done before the start date for this project)

For the trim: Natural colored fleeces were used to create 4 colors of 2 ply yarn. All the processing for the trim was done during the project time. Lasair chose a pattern from the Finn book on tablet weaving, “Applesies and Fox Noses”. These patterns are either based on actual grave finds in Finland or inspired from those. The thread was hand-spun by Lasair in natural, Icelandic sheep colors.

Disclaimer – Because of time constraints, the fabric was finished before the start date for this project, so for judging only the trim and sewing will be turned in (just wanted to brag about spinning and weaving the fabric). Admin Note: The below should be disregarded for judging purposes, though working with handwoven material may still be considered when scoring.

Johanne did all the weaving of both the cloth and the table woven trim. The following was provided by Johanne of Fisher Gate who was the weaver for this part of the project: “I have never woven with handspun singles before. It had a whole new set of challenges. Even though the thread was all spun exactly the same, the individual fleeces had their own properties. The lighter fleeces stood up well to the beater and reed wear with no breakage. The darker fleeces seemed to shred on the loom. In the beginning I had a huge amount of breakage. It was frustrating and made for very slow progress. I changed from a 12 dent reed to a 10 dent reed, to an eight dent reed. I still had breakage, but not as bad. I had used a seizing on the thread as I beamed it but it didn’t help a lot. I had to eliminate the darkest thread and re-thread the heddles and the reed. I re-threaded the reed a third time as I moved to an eight dent reed. About half way through the yardage I discovered that if I soaked the front of the warp with seize and dried it with each warp advance, it reinforced the softer thread and, virtually, eliminated breakage. From that point on, weaving was effortless.

I used four shafts on an eight shaft, jack loom. I chose a simple, four shaft, 2/2 broken lozenge twill found in fabric grave finds throughout Europe and Scandinavia from the 6th to the 11th centuries. I warped 14 yards at 32″ at eight ends per inch. That was a total of 256 heddles. The pattern has worked out to 18 ends per inch for the weft. The experimental part of this project is a total success.

The object of the exercise was to see if Z-spun singles used for warp would ply with S-spun singles in the weft to make a locked, sturdier fabric. It was so successful that it was almost impossible to take out a mistake in the weave without ripping the thread apart. Many of the fabric grave finds were spun and woven this way.”

Disclaimer – Because of time constraints, the fabric was finished before the start date for this project, so for judging only the trim and sewing will be turned in (just wanted to brag about spinning and weaving the fabric). For the trim, Lasair chose a pattern from the Finn book on tablet weaving, “Applesies and Fox Noses”. These patterns are either based on actual grave finds in Finland or inspired from those. The thread was hand-spun by Lasair in natural, Icelandic sheep colors.

Layer 3

Layer 3 is the apron for this Finnish Outfit. It is 100% wool.

Lasair fulled and hand dyed a piece of 100% light grey wool. Sandlewood was used to create the lovely warm color to complement the natural colors of dress. Yarn was dyed to match and was used to create a stitched edge around the apron.

Felar created the wire beads for the medallions.

Tilly created wire bead medallions and sewed them to a piece of wool that was left over from making the under tunic. The medallions were then sewed onto the apron.

Layer 4

Layer 4 is a set of leather bag shoes. Each shoe was cut out of a single piece of leather and sewn at the heel with waxed linen thread.

Tilly did all the initial work of research, creating a pattern, fitting the pattern to Lasair’s foot and creating a prototype for sizing.

Felar did the actual leather work. Cutting them out of the leather, marking and sewing the heels. Then doing the finish work of adding the laces and buffing the leather.


Bonus Points