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 Aoife: I attended my first event in October ’19. I only got to go to one more before Covid. Sewing is new and intimidating. I learned sewing, weaving, and embroidery just so I could fit in with you all. This project will hopefully be the fancy thing I can wear to court. It will not be easy. I’m already freaking out.
Her Project: I am new to the SCA and am making my kit myself because I can’t afford to buy clothes. I am aiming for pre-Norman Irish Celt because all my friends are Vikings. So, 10th-11th century? I’m not a fancy lady, but I do like to look nice. I’m making a pink underdress (I saw a picture of Mary wearing a pink leine once; Book of Kells, maybe) and a red leine with gold-colored trim out of linen. I will also make a red brat out of a cotton fleece I have, and I’ll try to embroider on it the fox that I hope will one day be on my device. I’ll likely weave some trim for some part of this. For the fourth item, maybe a copper cloak pin?
Her final thoughts on the challenge:
I learned so much with this project. I can’t wait to make something else!
This is an underdress for this outfit, but I’ll be able to wear it on its own, too. I did underarm gussets, which didn’t turn out quite right, but I feel confident that I can do them better in the future. It’s pink linen, which matches my skin beautifully.
The overdress! It’s just like I had in my head! I had some trouble with the neckline, which was followed by a spectacular meltdown. Several people talked me through how to fix it, and now it’s so much prettier. I wove the trim from cotton thread on cardboard tablets I made. The dress is linen. I’d also like it noted that it didn’t fall apart in the washer.
This is my brat. I don’t know what the fabric is. It’s something Mom had on hand. I wish I’d had more fabric for this, because I feel that it’s a bit small. I did the embroidery on it, which didn’t turn out as pretty as I’d envisioned. But, I’m better at making uniform chain stitches now (though no better at turning corners). This is the layer I stabbed myself on!
I let my friend talk me into a kidney belt for my accessory layer. He helped me draft a pattern and told me how to do everything else, but I did all the work myself. This is veg-tanned cow hide. I used a gel antique for the color and designed the tooled pattern based on a coaster I saw online. I will probably make lucet cord lacing later.
About Ian’ka: I have been in the SCA for 27 years. I’ve been sewing for about 22 of those years off and on. I am a scribe and researcher but have been known to make clothes for royalty and of course for my family of my husband and my son. This project will directly link into my persona and I have been struggling with motivation to make things in the last few years. I’m just now starting to get the urg to make clothes and was quite delighted to hear about this challenge. The clothes are things I’ve been wanting to make and now will have a reason to make them. I’m excited to pattern out a new style of underdress and to change up to slightly more Byzantine influence on the overdress. I’ve been meaning to make myself a lightweight coat for quite some time and I’m excited to finally use some coveted fabric in my stash. I think this project will challenge me in skill set as I will be developing new patterns for the underdress and since my motivation has been a bit lacking of late the reminders and the pressure from others in my household who are working on clothes will help keep me on track.
Her Project: The pieces will be what may have been worn by women in North Western Russia in the 9th-10th Centuries especially with groups that were traded with or influenced by the Norse traders. My SCA household is a mix of Rus and Norse personas and as one of the Heads of the House and a Duchess the clothes should show the prosperity of being a wealthy trader’s wife in the 9th to 10th Centuries. A thin linen shift will start the outfit which will be a new endeavor for me as I don’t usually where that layer. Then the underdress will be based upon the fine linen garment found in the Pskov find which has a gathered neckline, this is a new construction technique for me. This fabric is a wonderful check patterned fabric in red/white. Checked fabric has been found in a number of graves in the North (Haithabu) and Russia. The linen overdress will be based more on the Rus with the silk details as noted in the Pskov finds but with the decorations from the Byzantine influences. The silks found in the Pskov grave show the Byzantine motifs in portions of their weave. there are many examples of this style of decoration in church frescoes, period bracelets and in grave finds. The plan is for plain silk that will be accentuated with tablet woven trim in either linen or silk. The trim will be either made by myself or my husband. A wool coat will be from handwoven fabric, accented by silk and based on kaftans from period descriptions and paintings. I am yet undecided on if it will be center buttoning or side buttoning as both were worn. If I have time I plan on making a new set of beaded jewelry for this outfit to compliment it all.
Her final thoughts on her C3 experience:
I’m really happy this event happened. It got me out of my rut and gave me something to get done with a due date since everything else has been in a state of limbo.
I was able to three entirely new patterns for myself and they are things I’ve been wanting to do for quite some time but never had the initiative/need to start them. They were always on the “eventually I’ll make that” or “someday I’ll try that.” It reminded me I don’t really need an excuse and a deadline to make something but it really does help with the motivation.
I’m going to go and make one more layer for this outfit as I did run out of time due to how long it took me to make my patterns since I made test pieces I really did complete more garments just not for the final show. 🙂 But I plan on cutting out my coat to have it ready for this fall.
The is the shift (underwear layer) for my 10th Century Rus woman from Pskov’s outfit. For most this would have been the underdress and long sleeved but as I am the wife of a wealthy merchant and modernly a resident of a very warm Kingdom, the layer is a thin sleeveless linen shift. My underdress will be the next layer. The shift would have been used as sleepwear etc. The Pskov grave find did have evidence of very fine linen but it was mostly disintegrated in situ.
The linen is handkerchief weight linen and I used my standard pattern for the front back and side gussets and gores that can be seen in many Slavic and Norse grave finds. This construction is square with truncated triangles for gussets and gores. The gussets allow the garment to nip into the natural waist to give a bit of shape.
I cut the neckline wide and slightly scooped the armscye to allow good movement and to leave a clean line for where the square edges of the pieces met in the armscye.
The long seams were machine sewn but the straight cut edging (not bias cut edging) was applied by hand. The seams and hem were also had finished.
This is my underdress which is based on the evidence of a linen garment with a gathered neckline bound in the same fabric which was edged in silk at cuffs and hem in Pskov. The fabric is a plaid cotton since I did not have plaid linen but its wonderfully bright red and white and is representative of other checked fabric has been found in a number of graves in the North (Haithabu) and Russia. I chose a fine red silk for the cuffs and hem. Color is very common in clothing of the period especially rich reds.
All of the long seams are sewn by machine (1947 Singer Featherweight) and then finished by hand with a whip stitch by folding the seam allowances together and tucking the raw edges under to one side of the seam. The neckline was pleated with a single pass of the needle and thread with a basic gather and was then bound with straight cut edging of the same fabric as the dress. That edging also transitioned into the ties for the front of the neckline. The dress was sewn in Gutermann polyester thread but the silk was finished off with Guterman silk thread.
I was more generous in the cut down the neckline for ease of summer wear in Atenveldt than was was shown in the period example. I do plan on wearing this with my Norse kit as well and it will be a good addition to my wardrobe as a wealthy merchant woman on the borders of Norse and Rus culture in Pskov.
This garment has been one of the hardest items to pattern for my weight lifter physique and even the final garment required a redo of the entire shoulder to floor seams after I placed the sleeves too high (sewing too late at night is not a good thing). In the end I am most pleased with it. The garment is very comfortable and I will be excited to wear it for future events.
I will probably make another of these dresses but they are a lot of work for an underdress compared to my normal pattern but it was fun to learn a new thing and learn more about how to adjust and build patterns for different body styles. I do think on the next one I make, like the test pattern I made I will make the ties a bit thinner. These aren’t quite behaving and flop around a bit. 🙂
Overdress – The overdress is a lightweight linen with silk accents and silk tablet woven bands. The pattern for this dress is modified with extra gussets on the back shoulders to accommodate for my physique. While this style has not been noted in grave finds for Rus/Norse it is well documented in the cultures of the Middle East. Pskov was a trade town, which bridged the cultures of the Norse and the Middle East to the South. Ibn Fadlan traveled up the Volga River in 921 C.E. and other traders traveled the same routes for the Silk Road from China/India to the Scandinavian countries. There are finds in Russia, which show obvious Asian influence in the gilt shot/patterned silks and the use of more Asian style of clothing patterns. These influences were all found in graves South of Pskov, and they can be conjectured to have also occurred further North.
The extra gusset is trapezoidal in shape and allows for more movement at the shoulder blades before the rest of the garment lays straight. It seems odd that such a small change would allow for such good movement but it really does. I made my gore that goes with it angled on the outside and I think for ease of fit of the underarm gusset/gore sets that I will make this straight next time. It is just easier to assemble and it will help with the ease of cutting the hem. With the angled gore the back is wider than the front . However, if you have an ample “back 40” this may actually be a good modification. My next rendition I will try it and see how I like the fit.
Like the other layers, all of the long seams are sewn on my 1947 Singer Featherweight and then hand finished. The silk yoke of the dress has reinforcements along the button band. The linen while very opaque is quite light in weight and the weight of the bells used as buttons and knowing that buttons can be a stress point in garments this needed reinforcement. The loops are also silk and are integral with the band reinforcement. The trim is woven in silk by Duke Ivan Petrovich, OL & KSCA, and is based on a Danish pattern from around the same time. Tablet woven bands have been found throughout Russian and Scandinavian grave finds. The silk at the cuffs and hem is finished with a small running stitch which all work on the yoke is finished with a whipstitch. The threads used are commercial Gutterman or vintage mercerized polyester (Auntie’s stash thread).
Fitting the shoulders for this pattern worked really well, what I would have done differently would be to open up the sleeve circumference a bit for a bit more movement with the other dresses underneath. Having worn the clothes for a few hours, I am not noticing much issue with that fit but it is a note for future garments on this same pattern.
Only recently, had naalbound hats been found in archeological evidence during the SCA period, before then it was conjecture if they existed but the evidence was favorable with mittens, socks, cuffs etc. all being made by this fiber technique. The pattern was first documented in Danish Bog burials as the “milk strainer stitch” as it was used a strainer for milk. I chose this pattern because 1) it is the only stitch I know and 2) it provides a nice open weave which breaths well. Additionally, the stitch has been shown as a decorative edging on clothing as well. Most folks who embroider can do this stitch, as it is the buttonhole stitch! The hat started with 8 stitches within that circle and the hat spirals out from there. The loose end of the circle is pulled to tighten the circle down to a closure i.e. magically closing it! After the first row, the next row follows with 2 stitches in each of the stitches from the previous row, then the next row does two stitches in every other stitch, the next row does 2 stitches in every 3rd stitch and so on until the top of the hat had met or exceeded the circumference of the wearers head. The final rounds of increases for this hat were 18 or 19 stitches between each increase. In this case, that was about 8″ in diameter. After that diameter had been reached, the pattern was 1 stitch per 1 stitch until the hat reached the proper length.
Living in Atenveldt I still want my head covered but even in Winter having your clothing breath helps a lot. I made this hat slightly oversized to go over my hair in various styles and to go over my head wraps. Again, the want is to let things breath while still keeping the sun off you.
The yarn is my own handspun from 2013-2015. I believe it was from the Bisbee Arizona Fiber Guild and I spun the plies on my hand spindle while I traveled all over as Crown (2013), and then was plied (2-ply) on my spinning wheel (2015). It was my first project on my wheel, and it is a bit bumpy and lumpy but once on it looks great and it is a wonderful color.
The needled for this project is fossilized mammoth ivory and made by Duke Ivan Petrovich, OL & KSCA.
About Soma: I have been in the SCA for 6 years now. My main areas are sewing, embroidery, weaving, and lamp-working glass. These were all picked up as a result of my choosing a 10th century Norse persona. This will be more challenging for me as it will only be the second time I have hand finished my seams, and the first time purposely creating a whole outfit on a deadline.
Her Project: I plan to create a 10th-ish century viking outfit. This type of clothing has been found in a majority graves and would be worn by a middle class person. I plan to make a serk, an apron dress, a coat, and the accessories are undecided. Most of the inspiration comes from Medieval Garments Reconstructed, Norse clothing patterns. I have had all the supplies and been planning it for a while, but needed motivation.
This is a basic Norse serk used through much of the viking age. This is worn by women of all social classes. The difference being the material for what we can still find. The only thing I will do differently next time is a smaller neck opening.
Yellow flannel because, well wool is expensive. With blue chain stitching to finish. I had originally planned a blanket stitch but hated the way it looked 6 inches in. So I changed it! This layer is a modification of D5674 in Norse Clothing Patterns. This is a favored pattern of mine for its simplicity and fabric efficiency.
This layer is the Norse Hangeroc dress. The pattern was provided by Mistress Thora. It is seen in grave finds from 9th and 10th century. This dress is 100% wool, which is historically accurate. The dress was finished using a stab stitch shown in the book Medieval Clothing Reconstructed. I did struggle with this stitch and it is less than perfect in many places on this layer.
This coat is inspired by the dresses from Medieval garments reconstructed. It is intentional cut a bit short to allow for my clumsiness. It is not hemmed, but a simple decorative back stitch. It would be a Norse garment from about 10th century.
This is a tablet woven belt! Yeah I know. I said it would he the coat but the coat is naughty so its the belt! This is 20 cards of 5 forward 5 back simple geometric pattern. There are many geometric patterns found in the norse and Finnish graves. This one is not specific as the original pattern I ended up hating.
About Sugawara: I have played in the SCA, off and on, for 18 years, beginning in Meridies which then became Gleann Abhann. I came for the costumes and stayed for everything else. When not sewing or researching the Heian era, I dabble in calligraphy and illumination, music and food. This project is a levelling up for me. I’ve made the garments before, but this time, for the first time, I’ll be using period patterns and attempting to translate and follow the instructions which are in Japanese. This is my first A&S competition.
Her Project: I plan to make a travelling outfit suitable for my persona, a Heian Japanese noblewoman circa 1020. It will be modelled after the travelling outfit found at the Kyoto Costume Museum using color choices appropriate for my rank. The uppermost garment in the ensemble will be made from fabric bought for this purpose many years ago, and all fabrics used will come from my stash.
Her Final Thoughts on her C3 Experience:
When I set out on this project, I intended to recreate a travelling outfit that would allow me to walk around events in a highly period fashion. I wanted to make the ensemble as historically accurate as I could so I could be a better version of a walking “class” when someone asks about what I’m wearing. But, I didn’t start with a complete picture. Halfway through the Challenge I attended a class and discovered that the outfit I was making actually had more pieces, and that I was wrong about the chemise. I completed the project in line with its original design as I did not have time to rework the errors or add a whole extra garment. I have firm next steps to improve the hitoe and chemise and plans to make not only the missing kosode, but a pair of shin-protectors as well to round out the ensemble incorporating the newer information. And I’m incredibly proud of what I made.
Layer one was actually the second layer I worked on, as I started with the accessory or fourth layer. Work on the chemise for layer one began October 27 and finished November 20. This skin-layer garment is made of a light silk taffeta, hand sewn with silk thread. The pattern was developed using patterns from similar extant Heian (794-1185) Japanese garments and later period kosode patterns. It is made in the style of a kosode and is appropriate for a Heian Japanese noblewoman.
Work on layer three began November 21 and was completed on December 25. This hitoe is made of a fine silk dupioni that was overdyed to the proper shade of blue-green and is hand stitched in matching silk thread. The pattern used is one created by experts in Japanese Historic Costume from an extant garment. It is appropriate for a Heian Japanese noblewoman.
Work on the uwagi began December 26 and concluded January 9. It is made of a synthetic brocade lined in silk taffeta, hand sewn with matching silk thread. The two pieces were joined together with topstitching along all edges, done so that the darker gold of the lining sets off the lighter gold of the brocade. The pattern used is one created by experts in Japanese Historic Costume from an extant garment. It is appropriate for a Heian Japanese noblewoman of modest rank.
The hat was purchased. The veil panels are silk gazar hemmed by hand in silk thread. Work on the weaving of the kazari-himo or decorative cords for the hat began on October 1 and was finished on October 27. The hat was assembled on January 10. The kazari-himo were woven from thousands of yards of silk thread that was divided into 8 hanks of 40 threads each and then woven by hand on a marudai (a late 16th century Japanese weaving stand). Each of the finished 4 cords was 13’-9” or longer. The cords were all trimmed to the same length and woven through a channel in the veil panels, emerging at small slits at the outside center and interior edges. I modelled the veil construction and cord application on the example found at the Kyoto Costume Museum. The hat is appropriate for a Japanese noblewoman of the late Heian and Kamakura periods.