About Ceara: I’ve been in the SCA over 20 years and lived in several Kingdoms. I enjoy sewing and have done it since before I started in the SCA. I came to the SCA with a very modern, very basic sewing background. I’m planning on hand sewing my entire outfit. I’ve previously hand sewn a garment or two, but not an entire outfit. I specifically chose Advanced category because I want to challenge myself and am hoping for feedback on areas I can improve. I’m also a tablet weaver so am planning on making the belt and trim. I have a Rus persona, so I’ve really been looking forward to making one of the Upper Volga Dresses.
Her Project: My outfit is 11th Century Upper Volga Rus, based specifically on the excavations of the Pleshkovo-1 Cemetery. There were over 37 women buried there and, based on the ornamentation at lease some were wealthy/noble women. They were of Slavic with some native Baltic and Finno-Ugrian influences. My outfit will be primarily based on the clothing in barrow’s 57 and 58. I chose the Pleshkovo finds in general because there is a large number of textile fragments for the Upper Volga region, making it easier to select appropriate cloth to make the garments out of. I specifically chose these two Barrows based on the lovely hair ornaments and because I liked the really large temple rings in Barrow 58. I’d like to wear this outfit to virtual Atlantian 12th night, as it’s one of the few times of the year that wool dresses will be comfortable in the South Eastern US.
11th Century upper Volga Rus. Specifically the Pleshkovo-1 site, barrow 53. This is Rus with a strong ugaro-finn influence. Cut of the underdress should somewhat resemble a sarafan in general shape, but without pleating or straps. Also this barrow was thought to have a high slit neckline.
About Guendolen: Greetings fair folk, I am Guendolen. I’ve been playing off and on in the SCA for about 20 year with a longish break after an unfortunate relationship event. I prefer all sorts of creative endeavors from sewing to belly dancing. I’ve been looking forward to creating this clothing combo for my persona for quite a few years with many, many failed attempts. This time, however, I feel I am ready to take up the challenge – this very challenging challenge. Well met and good tidings to all.
Her Project: The plan is to recreate a twelfth century bliaut, overdress, cloak, and belt and or pouch. I am basing the ensemble from several illuminated pieces that highlight the overdress and several extent pieces for the cloak. It appeared to be something a high born lady would have worn in France at the time my persona would have lived (1140s – 1170s). I have been working up my nerve and my knowledge base to create these pieces and this was just the excuse I needed to jump into it.
Her final thoughts on her C3 experience:
I had a great deal of fun and came out with a complete set of garb for my persona. I call that a win!
Bliaut 12th (mainly 1140-1170) Frankish, female grab, noble class. I used a silk I purchase sewing by hand sewing and machine stitching. Primarily two pieces with four gore inserts. It went together better than I expected. I’d attempted many dry runs before with abysmal results. Guess silk really makes a difference for this style of dress. I dreaded doing the lacing but attaching a separate cord to the dress, making loops for the ties to go through worked out brilliantly. It fits well and frankly I didn’t want to take it off it was so comfortable. The only thing I would change would be to size it down an inch on the sides. I think that would allow the folds to folds along the body to do its thing better.
Overcoat – 12th cent
Cloak – 12th cent half round
Broach- 12th century. Based on a pendent I found online. I sculpted the broach from an oil based clay. I changed the dragon so that it had a fox like head and tail. I panicked a bit at the end because I misplaced the molding compound I was going to use. I got the best I could find at the craft store. I basically rushed the whole casting process. The mold is horrible. I reproduced it with oven hardening clay and then fixed the mold errors(mostly unintentional voids) as best I could. Attached a broach pin, again whatever I could find at the craft store, to the back. The pin worked out better than expected. I plan on fixing the sculpt and recasting once I find my other stuff.
About Johanna: I have been in the SCA off and on for about 20-some years. I have been sewing since I was a child, and enjoy making garb and working in other aspects of the fiber arts. This project is a bit of a stretch for me. In the past, my focus has been on early 14th century western European women’s garb. I have only gained an interest in Ottoman garb in the past year. Although I have been trying to use period techniques as I learn them, my access to completely period materials is limited by my budget. I would love to use the gorgeous brocades and silks that are seen in extant pieces, but this will be a simpler, working man’s outfit. For this project, I am imposing the additional challenge of purchasing as few materials as possible. The fabrics I use will be mostly from what I already own. I have not settled on an accessory layer yet, but I think that it will be in leather working, which I have never done before.
Their Project: I will be working on a 16th century Ottoman man’s outfit. My specific interest is in the Janissaries. The Janissaries were an elite infantry corps in service to the Sultan. I have several extant pieces of garb as well as several illustrations that I am using as inspiration. Several of the extant pieces are in the Topkapi Palace Museum, some were auctioned by Sotheby’s. The illustrations I am looking at are from the late 16th through mid 17th century. Several of them are not specifically of Janissaries, but serve to show the general style of the period. I have been wanting to make an Ottoman outfit for about a year now, since I joined the Osmanli Mehter Takimi (Janissary Band) at Pennsic last year. I had quickly cobbled together an outfit that was suitable to march in, but now that I have studied the period more, I see many flaws. I would like to create a more correct outfit that has the correct layers, is made of the correct fabrics, and completes a more authentic look.
My garment is intended to be suitable for a member of the Janissary, the elite guards of the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire, dating to the reign of Suleiman I (1520-1566).
For Layer 1 of my garment, I made a base layer of underpants and an undershirt (gömlek). Extant examples are made of fine linen or cotton. I made the underpants first and made them of linen, and hand sewed them with linen thread. They have a drawstring waist with a linen sash. The long seams were sewn with a back stitch for durability, and felled with a whip stitch. The waistband was folded over, and the bottom edge rolled so that there would be no raw edges. I used a small herringbone stitch to secure this seam. Due to the taper of the legs, the leg seam was left open a bit at the ankle, and the bottom hem is finished with a rolled edge.
The gömlek is made of cotton, and is hand stitched with cotton thread. I used cotton rather than linen because I had it on hand, and I was intending for this to be a rough draft, and to make a final copy in linen. However, since it fit well, I went ahead and completed it for the competition. The pattern is based off extant gömleks that have the sleeves and gores all in one piece. Long seams are backstitched, felled with whip stitch. The keyhole neckline and hems are finished with a rolled edge.
About Yuchi: I believe it was 2017 or 2018, so I’m fairly new to the SCA. This is my first persona and I’m loving it. I sew occasionally but almost always stick to easy skirts and nothing with sleeves. I recently started learning embroidery in the last 3 months. I love archery and will be shooting in this outfit that I make.
Her Project: China, 8th century, Tang Dynasty. I am basing my garb from a painting called Tang court ladies, 706 AD, housed at the Qianling Mausoleum and the painting called Zhang Xuan, Palace Ladies Pounding Silk. I would like to put my heraldry on the shawl and hezi. I have not done embroidery on silky material before so the shawl will be a challenge. I have tried to make the skirt before, but it went unfinished. This will be an adventure. I wish to do a painting for level 4. It will be a learning experience since I’ve not painted for over 10 years.
Undergarments for 8th Century Tang Dynasty China. All persons, including children, could wear a hezi, a silk or cloth material the covered the front of the chest reaching down to the stomach to keep the chest warm and covered for the ladies. The hezi had a back that was low, so it wouldn’t show above the skirt dress. Modesty was important. The hezi was usually red and could contain embroidery/painting that expressed the feelings or desires of the woman. Pictures included animals, flowers, etc. The hezi of the Tang was strapless and tied at the top with a cord/ribbon to hold it up. It was strapless due to the skirt dresses that was worn at the time. The making: undergarments were intimate and there were few pictures. I found some descriptions and obtained a Hanfu Pattern Making (Imperial) by TT Duong. I went by the pictures in the book and online to create an outline, took my measurements and cut the back and front on the folds. I embroidered my device on the front. I had sewed all edges until I tried it on and found it too large. I remeasured and cut the back middle and machine sewed it. I then made a red cord to tie around to hold up the hezi.
The pants, or Kun, come in different styles. Some were unisex and others were specifically for the man or woman. The making: Since woman’s undergarments were basically secretive, I went by the picture of men’s pants to start. Then I used the Hanfu Pattern Making book again to make woman’s pants. I have sew the pants specifically for woman and used string instead of a cord in order to tie to hold the pants up. There are two pants, both cut on a fold. The two are then sewn together and the top sewn to hold a cord/ribbon. I used a white cord. The pants turned out perfect and didn’t need adjustments.
All classes and professions would have a hezi and pants or pants for you for men. What I would have done differently was that after sewing the hezi, I then found more research that the hezi was sometimes made with slightly elastic material. I would have probably used this kind of material to have the hezi fit more favorably.
During the Tang Dynasty of China, between the under garments and the dress a shirt is worn. It is called the zhongyi, and is the second layer that I made. This shirt was meant to be worn on the inside of clothing or as a pajama top and was usually white. For daily wear, the sleeves are narrow. Upon formal occasions, the sleeves are wider. All social classes would have had a zhongyi to wear.
Using the book: Hanfu Pattern Making (Imperial) by TT Duong, I was about to draw a rough pattern. I used my measurements to put it to size and going by the painting “Palace Ladies Pounding Silk” I tried to create the shape/curvature needed.
During the Tang Dynasty China, there were two outfits for woman: a top with a skirt that went from the waist to the floor and then a top that was covered by a skirt that tied at the chest and went down to the floor. The later is the piece I’ve made and is called a Ruqun.
I started with the front and back panels so that I could accurately measure how much material I would need for the front and back with the one inch folds on each side. I attached the ribbons so that the dress can be tied on. The back panel ribbons only need to come around once and be tied. The front panel ribbons had to be longer because they wrap around the back, are pulled back to the front where they are tied once and the ribbon is looped back on itself before being pulled into a loop to hang. Next I ran a stitch across the top of the skirt to hold the folds in place before tucking the skirt up into each panel where I’d left an opening. I folded the panel over the skirt and sewed the bottom across. The sides were then sewn up, leaving enough of a gap to accommodate stepping into the skirt to pull it up. Lastly I hemmed the skirt.
Clothing was made from silk and linen unless you were poor, then your clothes were probably made from animal skins. The above clothing was made from silk.
During 8th Century Tang Dynasty, the people were using silk, bamboo and other lighter materials in order to write on. I was going to make bamboo paper since I have bamboo trees in the yard, but didn’t trust myself with taking the bark off. The Chinese people would cut the bamboo trees down, cut off any branches and use a blade, some times curved, to removed the bark. The bamboo was then soaked and pounded into a pulp. The pulp was added to water, then using a thin screen, it was scooped up. Water would drain off leaving the wet pulp on the screen. The contents was laid out layered between a type of cloth or on top of each other where it was then pressed to remove excess water. Then it was left to dry. After drying, the layers were peeled off and you had paper.
I used shredded paper that I blended with water in a blender. I added the pulp to a container of water, used two picture frames I had gutted and placed a piece of door screening on with a stapler. The initial paper was thick and a bland color so I added purple coloring. I also added lavender and rosemary for smell and texture.
The Chinese people valued poems and often had various works of art, poems, sayings and teachings around their homes and places of business. I decided on Twinkle Twinkle Little Star nursery rhyme because I could correctly pronounce it in Chinese and remember what I had written. Learning the stoke techniques was even more of a challenge. I did a few practice runs and watched some videos of actual Chinese painting and calligraphy classes taught by native Chinese. I did my best to remember the strokes. But it does test your patience and posture. Normally the author would stamp their name with a name block. I didn’t have one, therefore, I used a wax seal to add some character and fill in the empty space on the left.