Intermediate · Modern Recreationist · Modern Recreationist Intermediate

Æva Dyer

Location: Barony of Caerthe, Outlands

Category/Level: Modern Recreationist/Intermediate

Project Update Blog: Of Green and Gold

About Æva: I have been playing in the SCA for just about 4 years now. Sewing wise my mother taught me as a child and I have continued on making Halloween Costumes, Cosplay, and now historical garments. My recent sewing has been keeping my child in garb, and finishing off leftover projects from college… I sew often but finishing things is a weak point. I usually play 10th Century Anglo Saxon this is a huge challenge for me as we go from clever triangles and rectangles to curves and yards upon yards of fabric. The first dress I was given help from the lovely The Honorable Lady Isabelle de Calais, as she created a first draft of the bodice based on her own. I also referenced much of her work as I rushed to complete the dress in under a week. When I am not sewing I am playing with illumination and other fiber arts.

Her Project: The plan is to remake a noble woman’s 1560’s Venetian dress. I had made one for our Baronial 12th night this past year. However, the dress needs to be reworked and I would like to see a more complete outfit. If you have seen the Venetian Province of Treviso, Republic of Venice Paolo Caliari (Veronese), 1561: Detail from fresco Treviso, Villa Barbaro That is basically the color and cut of the dress I plan to make. However, this piece will be more Modern Recreationist as I do not have the knowledge or skill to bring this to a Historically Focused masterpiece. Why? I honestly fell in love with this dress! It is comfy yet elegant and I would like to do it justice not just leave it as a one-off. The Layers I plan to make a set of Drawers, fix the Camicia neckline, cut a new bodice to correct the errors I made on the first dress, re-do the pleats on the skirt properly and attach to the bodice, make a Partlet, make a pair of sleeves, making a zimarra, make a zibellini. I plan to hand sew, a number of pieces but because of the time limit will be using machine stitching as needed. I will also attempt to document my progress via my blog

Layer 1

Drawers- 16th Century Italy lady. Drawers have been documented by Janet Arnold and extent pieces exist. I made these based off a tutorial by Maestrina Chiaretta di Fiore ( using the Bara Method outlined by the Modern Maker. I started by making a custom pattern based on the tutorial. First I made a set of Bara tapes. From there I drew the pattern out on paper before cutting some duckybunny to make a mockup. However once sewn up I found that the gusset was not needed as the inseam was long enough. Once the gusset was removed and the mockup resewn I ran about a bit to make sure I would not split them. Satisfied that the drawers fit I cut the final pair in a heavy linen. I also cut a cuff to finish the bottom. I machine stitched the main seams but chose to finish the front and back by hand to prevent fraying. I pressed the cuff in 4ths and used tacking stitch to attach them to the leg. I used the machine to top stitch them on. I folded the top over an inch to make a casing for the drawstring.

The drawstring I made using wool yarn I had dyed prior to this challenge with marigold and a lucet. The lucet was a new skill for me as I hadn’t owned one prior to this year and my last attempt with a borrowed one ended in a mess. Once I figured it out I made a length to use.

Over all I am pleased with making a working pair of pants. Pants are my nemesis and I haven’t made a working pair until now. The drawers are very comfy and I look forward to wearing them to events over my usual leggings.

Bonus Points

Advanced · Historic Advanced · Historically Focused

Agatha Wanderer

Location: Barony of Endewearde, East

Category/Level: Historically Focused/Advanced

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!

Project Update Blog: Herrin der Nadel

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.

Advanced · Historic Advanced · Historically Focused

Agnes von Heidelberg

Location: Barony of Coeur d’Ennui, Calontir

Category/Level: Historically Focused/Advanced

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

Layer 1

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).
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Layer 2

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,, 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.

Bonus Points

Beginner · Modern Beginner · Modern Recreationist

Lady Alexandria Biener

Location: St Florian de la Riviera, Lochac

Category/Level: Modern Recreationist/Beginner

About Alexandria: I’ve been in the SCA for the past 5 years and in that time I’ve been made the St Florian Arts and Sciences officer and won one championship for Arts and Sciences. I don’t sew often, if I do I tend to make either dolls clothes or more modern clothing (1960s). In the SCA I do bookbinding and heavy fighting as well as embroidery, leatherworking, and illumination. My SCA persona is a 16th Century Landsknetch, so it wouldn’t be out of the realm of possibility that my company could have travelled to Russia. I’m looking forwards to the challenge that making a costume like this will entail.

Her Project: I’m planning on making a 16th Century Russian court ensemble. I’m basing this piece off of a painting of Anastasia Romanovna, first wife of Ivan IV (Ivan the Terrible). Her clothes indicate the high court clothing that I’ve been looking to make. It’s an outfit I’ve wanted to make for a while, high court Russian were heavily headed and carried fair amounts of gold and silver in their clothes as well as accessories. I intend to include parts of my heraldry in both my clothes and accessories.

Bonus Points

Advanced · Historic Advanced · Historically Focused

Alexis MacAlister

Location: Barony of Marcaster, Trimaris

Category/Level: Historically Focused/Advanced

About Alexis: I joined the SCA in 1981. Pennsic X was my second event. My grandmother taught me to sew when I was young. I’m a Laurel in the SCA for Fiber Arts. This challenge ties directly into my persona.

Her Project: My goal is to create an early 16th C. Tudor ensemble for a middle-class seamstress. I have wanted to get back into early 16th C. clothing for a while, as it is my first love in historical period and clothing.

Historic Intermediate · Historically Focused · Intermediate

Ametrie of Vatavia

Location: Vatavia, Calontir

Category/Level: Historically Focused/Intermediate

About Ametrie : I’ve been in the SCA for about a year now, not as long as others have I’m sure. I mean, I’ve always known how to sew but I’ve recently been teaching myself more skills. I generally help others with other projects that they can’t talk on all on their own. I’ve been sticking with what I want my persona to be (I’m very indecisive) but I feel like this is a major part in who I am in life so yes, it does. This will be pretty challenging for me, it’s been a while since I’ve sewn and actually made a project out of it.

Her Project: My outfit is mainly focused around Hispanic women’s clothing dating back to the 16th century. The style is mostly higher class so a woman of higher standing (ex a duchess) would have worn such clothing. This piece in a way helps bring be closer to my heritage, I may not look it but I’m 1/3 Hispanic. This is something I’ve been wanting to do for a while but just never found time or motivation to finally try and make this beautiful outfit I have planned for you.

Historic Intermediate · Historically Focused · Intermediate

Annabelle Fitzsimmons

Location: Barony of Namron, Ansteorra

Category/Level: Historically Focused/Intermediate

About : I have been in the SCA for 40 years, and have sewn for even longer. However, I have only been trying to be more historically accurate for the last 10 or so years. I do mostly fiber arts, but am also interested in woodworking and scribal arts.

Project: This is for a 16th century Italian middle class/lower upper class woman. I am basing my outfit from a painting by Lorenzo Lotto. Portrait of a Woman inspired by Lucretia. This is an outfit that has intrigued me for years, so this may finally inspire me to try to create it.

Advanced · Historic Advanced · Historically Focused

Annora Reyner

Location: Barony of Three Rivers, Calontir

Category/Level: Historically Focused/Advanced

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.

Layer 1

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.

Layer 2

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.

Layer 3

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.

Bonus Points

Advanced · Historic Advanced · Historically Focused

Catarina Caravello

Location: Atlantia

Category/Level: Historically Focused/Advanced

About Catarina: I have been costuming since 1998, and joined the SCA in 2004. Since then I have dabbled in everything from Norse to 16th c. English, and a fair bit in between. In recent years I’ve settled into the latter half of the 16th c., experimenting with embroidery and surface decoration. This project doesn’t directly tie into my persona – but honestly, I jump around so much I couldn’t really say that I HAVE a dedicated persona. I’ll be using some tried-and-true techniques and some new ones, so I hope that this will be interesting, challenging, and help me grow as an artist.

Her Project: I will be creating a 1540’s farthingale, kirtle, French Gown, French Hood, and accessories. Nobility class – I usually stay firmly in the working or middle class, so I’m taking this challenge as an opportunity to make something sumptuous. Loosely based off of Holbein’s portrait of Jane Seymour, William Scrott’s portrait of Princess Elizabeth, and other similar portraits.

Historic Intermediate · Historically Focused · Intermediate

Chelsey of Gloucester

Location: Canton of the Towers, East

Category/Level: Historically Focused/Intermediate

Project Update Blog: The Seashelly Tales

About Chelsey: I’ve been a member for over 10 years. I do sew regularly and my persona could use some additional pieces of clothing. I have participated in a group challenge somewhere else a few years ago and am interested in this personal challenge. Love this challenge idea. Great to unite people from all over the Known World.

Her Project: Tudor/Elizabethan Outfit – still working out exact patterns/designs including a heavily embroidered cap, chemise, stays, farthingdale, kirtle & outer gown.