Location: Aston Tor, Calontir
About Lasair: My name is Lasair nic Taillier. I have been in the SCA off and on for 30 years. My persona is an early period merchant and sheep farmer. Sewing is one of the many crafts that I learned from my mother, although I am confident, I am not an expert nor am I very good at sewing clothing or making patterns. My expertise is in working with wool and strings. I am a Master Spinner (modernly) and an experienced dyer. I love working with all aspects of wool, from the raw fleece to a finished yarn. The challenge for this project will be in the pattern/fitting part. Creating the complete outfit and not being sidetracked before it is finished will also be a challenge. I am by nature a provider of goods, as in I provide yarn for spinning, dyed wool for felting, dyed and skeined silks for embroidery, bands for trim, etc, so to finished a project is a challenge for me, especially when it has many parts.
Her Project: I have been wanting to make a new complete Finnish outfit for a while now. I have made and worn Viking tunics for many years because I prefer the simple early clothing. However, when Mistress Johanne of Fisher Gate introduced me to the Finnish Outfit, I fell in love with the simplicity of the dress and the crafty ornate aprons. The metal ornaments (neck ware and spiral bracelets) are really cool too! I am going to make an Eura type outfit as described in “Ancient Finnish Costumes, by Pirkko-Liisa Lehtosalo-Hilander:Page 53. Fig 37. The Eura costume”. Consisting of an undertunic (linen), the main-dress (wool), a mantel (linen or wool to be deciced), and accessories (to be determined).
Her thoughts on her C3 experience:
Making this outfit was so much fun. I learned about making coil beads and weaving bands onto fabric. I will enjoy wearing this to an event. Can’t wait to see everyone’s new outfit.
Layer 1 is the under dress for my Finnish Outfit. It is machine sewn from 100% linen. I 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.
This was an easy layer, since the fabric only had to be measured, cut and sewn at the shoulders and hems. The most time consuming part was weaving the Baltic trim using silk. I have done Baltic weaving as a learning experiment using cotton, but have not made any for use or used silk thread. So there was a learning curve, but not a steep one. I made 2 1/2 yards of two different patterns, one for the top trim and one for the bottom. After this project, I consider myself very much more educated in the art of Baltic pick up weaving and un-weaving and re-weaving, etc.
My final layer is the Mantel. Using a 1 yard piece of commercial wool, I cut it to the correct width and used the left over pieces to create the woven edge, metal bead and fringed ends. Historically it would have been finished off on the loom using the warp of the fabric as the weft of the band. I do not own a warp weighted loom and did not weave the fabric. So my compromise was to fringe(remove the weft threads) from 20 inches of the ends and use my small inkle loom to add a Baltic style band using my hand spun yarn as warp and the warp from the fabric as the weft for the band. Next I made the metal beads and added 3 rows of beads to the fringe. Then I wove a second band under the beads using the same yarn and style as the first band. Lastly I braided and tied the ends of the fringe.
This was quite the challenge as I have never made metal beads and have certainly never woven a band onto a length of fabric. Weaving the first band was not too bad, it got a bit fiddly as the cloth was moving through the pegs on the loom and because the warp threads were of different diameters choosing the correct number of warp/fabric threads to use so the fabric would not gather was a bit tricky. I got the hang of making the beads fairly fast and adding them to the fringe was just a matter of keeping them even. However, the second band quickly became a very fiddly challenge as I had to try to keep the beads in line and use the correct amount of weft threads and ease the band/beads around the loom pegs as I wove it.
One thing that was helped a lot was tying the weft threads after weaving to keep the band tight and stop it from slipping.
This is the apron for my Finnish dress. The apron is red linen with metal work and handwoven Baltic trim.