Advanced · Historic Advanced · Historically Focused

Aethelwynne of Grimfells

Location: The Shire-March of Grimfells

Category/Level: Historically Focused/Advanced

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.

Final Photos

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!

Layer 1

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!

Layer 2

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!

Layer 3

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.

Layer 4

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!

Layer 4+

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.

Bonus Points

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

Final Pictures

Her final thoughts on the Challenge:

In Japanese clothing it is a period thing to use other art forms such as poetry. The day we were dyeing the plain fabrics I noticed how much the fabrics looked the same color as the leaves on the trees. A week or so later while the leaves were still on the trees we had a snowfall with large snowflakes. This inspired me to scrap my plans for the top layer and instead create the design using snowflakes. The outfit is titled “Snowfall on Autumn Leaves”.

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, http://www.wodefordhall.com/page4.html, 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.

Layer 3

Top kosode layer that can be worn over the head or like an uchikake unbelted by a samurai class woman. It should likely be lined however I overheat easily so prefer to not line unless it is absolutely necessary.

The kosode is decorated using shibori dyeing techniques. To create this style of decoration the garment must be basted together then the design is drawn on by hand. Then the garment is taken apart and the designs are stitched using a running stitch. When the stitching is complete I always wash the fabric to prepare it for dyeing. Finally to keep the dye from the white sections they must be blocked from the dye. The running stitches are pulled tight and the sections are plugged with plastic wrapped corks and the section to remain white is covered in plastic wrap. This is of course not period but the actual art form as it was known in period was lost to history and the few ideas for how it was done in period are not currently achievable by myself. Instead I use methods similar to those used by traditional artisans in Japan modernly.

Finally after the dyeing is completed the garment must be carefully reconstructed to get the designs matched up as they were originally laid out. I always mark the garment with identification stitches in various places throughout the garment to help make this an easier step.

Layer 4

A small bag. This bag was based almost exclusively on the artwork in the period. I was able to find one extent piece however the image available from the museum is of the bag closed and it is very difficult to determine how it is constructed.

The final bag is made from pieces left over from layer 2, sewn together then cut into the pattern used for making the mockup bag. I did change the pattern a little for the final bag from the mockup and I think I am a little disappointed with the final shape.

The cord for the drawstring and the body of the bag are made using modern kumihimo techniques. This was a skill I learned specifically for this challenge. The drawstring cord is my second ever round braid and the flat braid is my first ever flat braid. The flat braid does appear to be necessary to get the bag to properly maintain its shape. I’m not totally happy with the final placement of the braids but it functions. It should be noted that kumihimo is not a period braiding technique however those who are well versed in the period art form have been known to accept kumihimo as a very close method that gives essentially the same look. I dyed all the yarn for the kumihimo myself but much of it was dyed prior to the start of the competition so they dye on the yarn should not be considered as part of the competition.

Bonus Points

Intermediate · Modern Recreationist · Modern Recreationist Intermediate

Amy of Gleann Abhann

Location: Barony of Axemoor, Gleann Abhann

Category/Level: Modern Recreationist/Intermediate

Project Update Blog: The Enchanted Tower

About Amy : I dabbled in the SCA back in college, and I’ve been dipping my toes back in over the last year or so. I am very comfortable using a sewing machine on a commercial sewing pattern, but I sew modern and vintage styles more frequently than medieval styles. I have very little experience drafting patterns; hence my hesitation to attempt a cotehardie. I haven’t settled on an SCA persona, or even a name, but this project is going to be a good opportunity to test out 14th century Western Europe.

Her Project: I’m planning to make a middle-class 14th century European woman’s outfit for myself. I’ve wanted a Gothic Fitted Dress/Cotehardie for several years, and this project is going to be my motivation to finally try one! Due to budget constraints – and the fact that this is going to be a wearable muslin – I plan to substitute cotton for linen and wool. My first layer will be a chemise, my second layer will be a fitted kirtle, and my third layer will be a Cotehardie. My accessory will probably be leather shoes as leatherworking is a different discipline and not something I’ve tried before.

Final Photos

Her final thoughts on her C3 experience:

Thank you for hosting this!

I’ve wanted to make a dress from this period for about 10 years now, and apparently this was the push that I needed to actually do it. It’s not perfect, but that’s okay! I think part of what’s been holding me back for so long was that I wanted my first gothic fitted dress to be perfectly fitted. This one isn’t, but it’s done. Pattern-drafting is hard, and it’s okay if you aren’t the best at something the first time you try it.

Layer 1

This is a woman’s plain cotton underdress. The neckline is very wide to remain unseen while accommodating the style of the first quarter of the 15th century in Western Europe. All visible stitching was completed by hand: felling the gores, skirt and sleeve hems, and neckline. I’ve made this pattern before, so I was able to copy most of the measurements and tweak the ones that I didn’t love from my last go-around this time. The pattern came from a blog post on Reconstructing History. Inserting gores into fabric slits remains challenging, but I found a tutorial on La cotte simple that did help it to lie more smoothly. I’m happy with this garment and might consider investing in a more expensive fabric if I have cause to make another underdress.

Layer 2

1400-1425 France woman’s fitted kirtle. I’m proud of this dress because I tried some new-to-me techniques like self-drafting and flat-lining. Although I didn’t quite get the fit that I wanted even after several muslins, I did manage to get the front of the gown to lace closed. This leads me to believe that I was on the right track with the fit, but that I needed some more help, and maybe in a post-pandemic world I can get that help. I also wonder how much of that fit would be improved by using better fabrics (there are limits to what cotton can do) and more a fitted undergarment. The sleeves especially felt like they suffered because it was hard to make them any tighter when there was so much loose fabric from the underdress fighting for space underneath. Now I want to research more options for undresses. Also, as I feared, by making my underdress first, the necklines don’t quite line up and the underdress peeks out at the shoulders from the kirtle. I definitely don’t have time to fix the underdress, but I have some other ideas for making the underdress less visible.

I did cheat a little bit while I was making this dress. The most obvious visible cheat is that I used my sewing machine to sew the eyelets (technically buttonholes because my machines only sews rectangles). My second big cheat was applying some medium-weight interfacing to the facing along the eyelet holes to help prevent gaping along that front edge. It was effective, and I did enter into the modern recreationist category.

I hand-stitched the visible seams – skirt hem, sleeve hems, and understitched the facing around the neckline. I have no idea if facings are period, but I’ve noticed that flat-lining is popular in SCA circles, and I know that bag-lining is a relatively modern innovation. Facings are certainly an efficient way to finish those edges.

This dress may not be perfect, but it is finished, and now I can start on my next layer.

Layer 3

In keeping with the rest of my outfit this is a gown meant to be worn by a middle-class woman in France circa 1400-1425. I substituted cotton* for linen for budgetary reasons. The gown is simple and relatively efficient, I made the whole thing with only 5 yards of fabric plus the lining. *I say that the gown is made of cotton because that is what I intended when I went to the store. I had a lovely blue selected, and found a bolt that was nice and thick so I was confident that I could get my full yardage. However, when I went up to the counter to get it cut the clerk unwrapped one cut yard of fabric and then another, and it became apparent that if I wanted a single cut of yard I would need another bolt. I went back to the same section and pulled a nearly identical bolt of fabric, but didn’t look closely at the label. After pre-washing the fabric I went to iron it and noticed that it had a lot more stretch to it than normal, so I think that I may have purchased a cotton-poly blend. Oh well.

Drafting the dress was challenging since this was something I don’t really know how to do, but I followed the tutorial offered by another C3 member. I can’t remember his name now, but it’s posted on the Stars and Garters blog, and it was a 6-panel gown. I didn’t get the fit quite right, but I got it done, and that is worth celebrating for me.

The bodice of the gown is lined in white muslin, and I used the same fabric to line the hanging portion of the sleeves. the bodice is flat-lined, but the sleeves are bag-lined. The sleeves should be lined in fur, not cotton, but that’s not practical in my current climate, so I used something else.

I had time to make one lucet-braided cord out of cotton embroidery floss to lace up the side of the gown. I also attached my first aglet to that cord, which was exciting. Unfortunately, the gown requires 2 laces, so I had to make do with ribbon on the other side. Imperfect, but it holds the gown together.

Layer 4

I made a necklace out of coral beads. I’ve seen a few of these on portraits of women throughout Europe in the 1300s. I’m not sure if it was right to make an alternating pattern of large and small beads or if it should have been large beads and knots as is seen on modern-day pearl necklaces.

Bonus Points

Beginner · Modern Beginner · Modern Recreationist

Aoife inghean Úi Thormaig

Location : Grimfells, Calontir

Category/Level: Modern Recreationist/Beginner

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?

Final Pictures

Her final thoughts on the challenge:

I learned so much with this project. I can’t wait to make something else!

Layer 1

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.

Layer 2

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.

Layer 3

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!

Layer 4

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.

Bonus Points

Intermediate · Modern Recreationist · Modern Recreationist Intermediate

Beatrice of Darkwater

Location: Midrealm

Category/Level: Modern Recreationist/Intermediate

About Beatrice : I started playing in the SCA in Trimaris about eight years ago and am currently living in the Midrealm. I have a fair amount of sewing experience, but have only made basic garb in the past. I have been wanting to up my garb game recently and this seemed like the perfect time to do it! In addition to sewing, I do a variety of crafts in the SCA, including kumihimo, jewelry making, fingerloop braiding, calligraphy and illumination, and banner making. At events, I can usually be found retaining or volunteering in some other way. This will be a challenging project for me, as I have not made garb above a basic level before. I fell in love with Roman garb during the hot outdoor events in Trimaris and am excited to make myself some new garb!

Her Project: I am planning to create an outfit that would have been worn by an unmarried upper class Roman woman of the Late Republic/Early Empire. I’ve been wanting to make a new, nicer outfit for a while, but this project has helped me focus that desire into a specific project.

Final Photos

Her final thoughts on her C3 experience:

I entered this challenge at an intermediate level knowing it would be a stretch for me. I had some sewing experience and knowledge of Roman clothing into C3, but had never tried to make a complete outfit like this. I have never entered any kind of arts and sciences competition before either. I learned a lot during this process that I look forward to applying to future projects. Thank you to all the wonderful volunteers for your work on this project!

Layer 1

The underlayers for my Late Roman Republic outfit for an unmarried woman consists of a strophium (bra band), subligar (underwear), and subucula (under tunic). Because these will not be seen by others and I am entering the modern recreationist category, I chose to machine sew all these pieces. The strophium is a long band that gets wrapped around the chest, similar to an ACE bandage. To create the pattern, I measured around my ribcage, multiplied that by 4, then added a few inches as ties. For the width, I measured just below my bust to just above my bust. I used a linen/cotton blend I already had in my stash, but wool or leather would be more common in period. Wool naturally has some stretch to it, but linen and cotton will stay stretched out once stretched. This leads to linen or cotton strophium needing to be adjusted throughout the day. Because I was using up fabric from my stash, I did sew the strophium in two pieces instead of making it out of one long piece. According to written evidence, subligar were not always worn by women. Extant art suggests they were worn at bathhouses and while exercising, but they also may have been worn during menstruation. I made my subligar based on an extant leather pair found in a well in Britain. The extant examples available look very much like a modern string bikini bottom made of leather. For my subligar, I chose to use a medium weight white linen out of my fabric stash and used cotton bias tape for the ties at the waist. I drafted my own pattern using a modern underwear tutorial. This was the most difficult piece to make this month, as I had to get the fit just right. But I think they turned out well. The subucula is a simple rectangle and was easy to make. I used the directions from Dulcia’s Roman Closet website to create my own pattern based off the directions for a closed shoulder tunic. I used a lightweight linen from fabric-store.com. During the Roman Republic, wool would likely have been the top choice for the under tunic, but linen, silk, cotton, and blends were all available. My subucula is mid-calf length and I left the bottom couple inches separate for ease of movement.

Layer 2

The second layer of my 1st century inspired Roman outfit is made up of the Tunica Muliebris, more commonly known today as the gap-sleeved tunic, and the Cingulum (belt). The tunica is made of a dark green wool/acrylic blend. The side seams were machine sewn, while the neckline, sleeve opening, and hem were all hand sewn. The fabric was thicker than I had anticipated and is not as drapey as a tunica should be, but it will make an excellent winter outfit! The Cingulum is made of cotton thread and woven by me on an inkle loom. I had planned to make the belt out of silk, but there were major delays in my supplies reaching me. So I went with the cotton I already had on hand. This is the first band I have ever woven. I really enjoyed weaving it and think it turned out quite well for a first attempt.

Layer 3

The third layer of my 1st century inspired Roman outfit is made up of the Palla, a large piece of cloth women would have worn for modesty when out of the house. Pallas would have likely been made of wool or a wool blend with cotton, silk, or linen. I chose to make my palla out of 100% silk, as it is a fabric I am familiar with. I purchased white silk from Dharma Trading Company, then dyed it lavender using modern batch dyeing techniques. I have a lot of experience modernly with silk dyeing, so I was able to get a nice even color on my palla. I hand hemmed the raw edges with silk thread so it would also dye the same color as the rest of the palla.

Layer 4

The fourth layer of my 1st century Roman outfit is consists of a necklace, two rings, and a pair of earrings. The necklace is made of sodalite and pearl beads and brass wire. The necklace is based on many examples found in period art as well as extant examples found at the British Museum. This was my first time making a necklace. I learned a lot during the process and look forward to refining my technique on future necklaces. The rings are also made of brass wire and are based on examples from the British Museum and The Met. The earrings are made of brass wire, small pearl beads, and a modern bracelet connector.

Bonus Points

Historic Intermediate · Historically Focused · Intermediate

Eleanora d’Arcy

Location: River Haven, Lochac

Category/Level: Historically Focused/Intermediate

About Eleanora: This will be my sixth year in the SCA. I grew up sewing and doing various crafts, though had a long break in using them. Am also learning many new skills in the SCA, and want to challenge myself to learn or use new skills for this challenge. This project will tie in with a challenge I have given myself, portraying a series of women through the ages, making outfits as complete as possible including accessories. Materials will have to be largely those already in the stash, due to financial constraints, which will add another level of challenge. This will basically be my main persona’s Saxon Grandmother. Saxon is not something I would have imagined doing when first joining SCA, but will help to round out the range of periods nicely.

Her Project: Anglo Saxon Late tenth to mid eleventh century gentlewoman. Looking at a number of illustrations to pick ideas. I have challenged myself to try to do at least one full outfit for each hundred years after 1000, too late to enter my half complete 12th century outfit, but this will also work well to have an outfit for a partly Saxon themed event I hope to co-steward next year. This will be my main persona’s Saxon Grandmother, circa 1066. Anglo Saxon is something quite new for me, so this will be a huge learning curve.

Final Photos

Layer 1

11th Century Anglo Saxon upper class (but not royal) ladies underdress Linen chosen in a colour appropriate for second wash madder. Embroidery was to have been silk and gilt on linen, but suitable silk was not available so cotton used. Stitches chosen included Bayeux stitch for the background, stem stitch and chain stitch to outline. The pattern was taken from a handout on Anglo Saxon Embroidery.

Embroidered facings were worked first, then dress cut out. I have made a number of bliauts and viking underdresses before, so use a similar geometric technique, but made the body of the dress a little wider for ease of wear, and altered the sleeves to make them longer, baggy at the top but very narrow over an elongated forearm to allow it to wrinkle/fold up as in contemporary sources. Gores were added to the sides only (three each side, may have been somewhat overkill, but the fabric was there) to maintain the flat fronted appearance. The facing was added by stitching right side of the facing to the wrong side of the dress, cutting and clipping then flipping it to the outside and ladder stitching down (after much pressing and pinning heavily and leaving to settle overnight). All sewing was done by hand, backstitching and faux french (whip stitched after folding) for the seams, and ladder stitch to attach the facings. Hem was folded and whipped after allowing to hang for a few days. I had forgotten to add extra seam allowance to the sleeve facings, so had to insert a piece and stitch down well at the seam. The neck facing is just big enough, but slightly higher than I personally enjoy wearing, so would probably increase it just slightly for a next time. The dress is quite long as per the fashions of the time, but may be taken up at a later date.

Layer 2

High class Anglo Saxon 11th century ladies overdress (Gunna).

Hand sewn from linen. Modified T tunic shape, larger elbow length sleeves and knee length with larger neckline to show underdress. It is very loose fitting as seen in illuminations of the time. Seams done as faux french, whip stitched closed. Neckline and sleeve trim from black silk with goldwork chain stitch embroidery, and embelished with freshwater pearls, carnelians, and turquoise. The pattern was adapted from the edges of the Sutton Hoo Brooch. I chose dragons as they are part of my heraldry. (I had toyed with using peacock pearls to simulate the closed eye of my sleeping dragon, but the price was prohibitive. Likewise the fleur de lis on the underdress is based on my heraldry, although they are argent not teal).

Originally I had planned to also do a wide goldworked front panel and hem trim, as well as embellished medallions with coral, turquoise, carnelian and onyx beading, but unfortunately time constraints and real life dramas prevented this. They are still in progress and will be added to the outfit at a later date.

Layer 3

11th century upper class ladie’s mantle based on manuscripts of the time. Rust coloured wool and purchased trim. Basic rectangular shape, the hardest part is finding the precise point to attach the pin holding it together, so as to allow the mantle to fall in a flattering manner, and also allow it to be quickly pulled up as a self hood in case of sudden inclement weather. Trim hand sewn to wool piece. Was very pleased that it seems on the dummy to sit very much as the illuminations depict. I chose to do a very light mantle as it is summer in my area, and I already own a heavy duty early period cloak.

Layer 4

11th century homespun naalbound ladies hose.

This was my first attempt at naalbinding. I had tried to do this with some dropspun yarn, but it had been spun at a demo and was very uneven and was not working well, so I purpose spun some thicker wool yarn on the wheel (for speed) and that was far more successful. They were each worked as one piece, tubular to the start of the heel, heel plate worked backwards and forwards, then the stitches on the edge picked up (and some skipped) to shape fully. Post construction areas which will have heavier wear (sole and heel plate, back of ankles) and any areas where the yarn seemed thinner were padded out by weaving wisps of underspun fibre through the fabric. The hose were then put on and fulled with the help of a footspa.

Knee length worn with garters were used by ladies in this period, longer hose usually worn by men. I am postulating naalbound hose as these were common in the Viking period, not only amongst vikings, with bias cut cloth used in later centuries, especially after the Norman conquest. At this time knitting was really only practiced in the far to mid east.

While they are not perfect, fulling them made them much better. The most surprising thing about them is how amazingly soft and comfortable they are, and not too hot. There will definitely be a few more pairs made in the future.

Layer 4+

Accessories for a high class 11th century Anglo Saxon Lady. It was my plan to have a complete outfit from underwear out totally handmade by me of, as much as possible, period materials and with as period techniques where possible.

Shoes: (first ever attempt) Black leather, pointed, semi turned with a front seam as seen in pictures of men’s shoes of this period. Most illustrations of ladies shoes just show black pointed ones similar to men’s shoes peeking out from under the hem of the dress. Cut in one piece from black leather, stitched with matching linen. Next time I would trust my original patterning (had thought they would be too tight, adjusted and now they are a little loose but should be ok with a felt or suede lining). Learned a lot about using a stitching awl during this! (and thoroughly qualified for the “bleed for it” category).

Enamel Brooch. Done during an A&S class dedicated to enamel brooches, had the teacher cut the shape using an Anglo Saxon pendant cross as the template, made using a modified version of the original cross pattern. First time doing enameling for over 40 years, would love to pick this skill back up again if able to afford the equipment.

Headrail Woven from 20/2 black silk, 300 thread warp 24 inch four shaft table loom. Again another real learning curve, with learning to use a warping board and loom. I had thought the end result a little gauzy, but it has settled well off the loom, and is probably more appropriate for our climate than the welsh black homespun originally pegged for the job. (this will be used with a revamp of the silk warp to weave a second headrail for winter). No respectable older Anglo Saxon lady would be seen without her headrail, and black was one colour repeatedly noted in illuminations of this time.

Garters Inkle woven from Gutterman silk thread, with the addition of a little gilt thread from the embroidery. This is still a relatively new skill for me, and at 80threads to make 8 mm (just over a quarter inch) it was the first time I had attempted anything so fine. Very fiddly and challenging to make, but quite satisfying. I have already bought thread to make some similar as trim for other projects.

Inkle woven belt Again, a relatively new skill. I had hoped to learn tablet weaving to do a silk belt for this outfit, but time forbade it. The first belt I made was approximately 1 inch wide, too wide for a Saxon lady of this time period, so the pattern was adjusted and the second one is around a half inch wide.

Sadly time also prevented the original plan of making pattens to wear with the shoes.

Bonus Points

Beginner · Historic Beginner · Historically Focused

Flavia Valeriana

Location: Atenveldt

Category/Level: Historically Focused/Beginner

About Flavia: I have been in the SCA for about 11 years. This is my first endeavor in making a complete outfit based on a historic piece. I’ve made bits and pieces before, but it all went with my old persona. I’ve changed personas since joining the SCA and I am now a Roman courtesan. This outfit ties into my persona perfectly. In the SCA I have done quite a bit of embroidery. I’ve also focused on teaching, but in recent years I’ve been away working on my mundane career. (Which is teaching.). I also have dabbled in the bardic arts, calligraphy & illumination, and the making of largesse.

Her Project: I am looking to create a Roman women’s outfit roughly around the eruption of Vesuvius. My inspiration are these statues at the Getty Villa (which are recasts of the originals that are in Naples.) plus a statue at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. I plan on hopefully including a strophium, peplos, tunica, and if I’m lucky and the metal gods are smiling upon me, handmade buttons! Oh, and a palla for good measure. I also plan in making a leather circlet similar to the ones(which may or may not have been leather…since it’s a statue we won’t ever know) on the statues.

Final Photos

Her Final Thoughts on her C3 experience:

This was really fun. It is the first outfit I have sewn by hand in its entirety. It is simple in construction and it’s all about how well the fabric drapes. Modern fabric such as the lightweight linen I used, will drape correctly once it softens a bit with wear and washing. I am so proud of myself because I finished this after starting a month late and having COVID. I didn’t do all the things I wanted to. I’m sorry I couldn’t find a less modern spot to take pictures. We’re in the midst of a remodel so all I had was a corner of my front room. 🙂

Layer 1

Layer 1 is a linen tunica that would have been worn in Ancient Rome. I am a Roman Courtesan and this would have been perfect as a skin layer or even on its own.(though a little more than sheer.) I hand sewed the seams and hand hemmed the raw edges except for the selvage edges. I sewed the brass look buttons on to create the gap sleeve look. The only thing I would change would be the length. Evidently fabric store added some length to my order, which I didn’t catch.

Layer 2

Red linen peplos from Ancient Rome. I was inspired by a statue at the Museum in Boston that has a peplos over a tunica. I hand sewed and hand hemmed this. Again the length is a bit of an issue thanks to fabric store sending me more length. Oh well. It was also a PITA to pin. I would see where two buttons would be a better choice. I love the look though!

Layer 3

Wool gauze Palla. No respectable (I’m a courtesan…but I’m respectable) Roman woman set foot outside her home without her palla. This is hand hemmed and it was a pain because the gauze liked to pull! That gauze is yummy! Thanks Dharma! This can be used as a head covering, a wrap…I even imagine as something to cart a baby around, though that may not be HA.

Layer 4

This is a leather circlet. I took inspiration from one of the reproduction statues at the Getty. I would have gone to see the original in Naples last spring…but the Rona! I dyed this length of leather with black leather dye and then used bronze leather paint to paint the design by hand. I used sueded cord to close the circlet similar to the inspiration pics. Circlets can be made of lots of different materials. I’m not sure what the circlet on the model for the statue was wearing so I took a leap of faith. I cut the little notches in the end with leather scissors and an exact knife. This was a pain to do. I like the look of it, and the fact that it is adjustable(with some coaxing it will slide.)

Bonus Points

Advanced · Historic Advanced · Historically Focused

Gianna Viviani

Location: Oakheart, Calontir

Category/Level: Historically Focused/Advanced

About Gianna: I’ve been active in the SCA for 4 years. I’ve sewn for a long time but over the past 3 years I have started focusing on learning how to construct my clothing using historical methods and fabrics versus modern methods. My primary focus is 1450-1580 Florence. However, I have a strong interest in Tudor England and Venice. When not sewing I dabble in tablet weaving and other fiber arts. I find Florentine clothing to be challenging and deceptive. All of the structure of Florentine clothing is created within the clothing itself, meaning, they did not have corsets or farthingales to create the overall shape and support. Creating the veste will require a few new skills so this should be interesting.

Her Project: I’m drawn to the elegance of the portrait of Isabella de Medici by Alessandro Allori from around 1560, Florence. I will recreate the ensemble seen in that painting. Isabella was part of the Medici family who was ruling Florence, Italy at the time. An outfit of velvet and numerous pearls would’ve been worn by upper nobility as I imagine the cost would’ve been prohibitive for anyone else. This is an outfit that I’ve been wanting to make for a while and have completed some of the pieces that will not be entered into this competition.

I will be making the camicia, sottana, and her veste (or overgown). The sottana is the supportive middle layer dress that will help create the overall shape. The sottana will be made it so that it can be worn as stand alone dress. For my 4th, non-sewing item I will be making a pair of chopines. These are elevated platform shoes meant for outdoor wear to keep dresses and shoes out of the muck and show off wealth.

Final Photos

Her final thoughts on the C3 experience:

This was really fun but if there’s a next time I hope that it doesn’t line up with the IRCC challenge because completing both was a lot. Overall I now have some new clothes that I really like and can’t wait to wear them to an event.

Layer 1

I’m submitting a linen camicia which is the underlayer that was worn by everyone. Since my entry is later period I added cotton lace around the neckline and wrists. The construction seams are machine sewn but all finishing is done by hand (hem, felled seams, and lace). Once I can try it on with the sottana I may wish that the neckline was a bit lower but we’ll see.

Layer 2

I’ve made a upper class women’s sottana (dress) that would’ve been worn between 1540-1560+. It’s difficult to know exactly when Florentine women stopped wearing these because they went from being the outer layer to being the middle layer throughout the 16th century. I went ahead and made this dress so that it could be worn as it’s own dress or as a supportive layer. Bodies, stays, or farthingales weren’t found in Florence during period so all support and structure are created within the sottana.

The outer layer is a shot silk dupioni that’s either an icy blue or periwinkle, depending on the light. It’s trimmed in a dark blue velvet in a pattern that is fairly common for the era. The sleeves are also trimmed in the same velvet and feature a spiral design. The bodice and sleeves are lined in linen. The support and structure of the bodice was created by layering duck cloth and melton wool per the method found in The Modern Maker vol. 2. The skirt is stiffened with wool felt that I stiffened with 3 rows of zig zag stitching creating a faux pad stitch.

The bodice is side laced through metal lacing rings. I wove 2 cords on the lucet with pearle cotton which I then waxed (wax, melt into the fibers, repeat) to strengthen the cords and hopefully help prevent wear from the lacing rings.

Layer 3

I made a veste/over dress based on the gown worn by Isabella de’Medici in a portrait by Alessandro Allori.

I began by modifying a bodice pattern that I had from previous projects. The bodice is velveteen, inner-lined with pad stitched wool in the bust and back area to help define and stiffen the upper chest while the entire bodice is inner-lined with canvas. The bodice is closed with hooks and eyes that I made then lined with silk charmeuse. I created tabs with velveteen edged with white silk and sewed them around the bottom of the bodice.

The skirt is cartridge pleated beginning near the hip and around the back. This provides fullness and mimics a the shape that a bum roll would create. Bum rolls weren’t worn in Florence during this time. There’s 3 layers of wool stitched together and sewn into the hem to help stiffen the hem and create a bell shape. (farthingales weren’t in Florence yet)

The baragoni (shoulders) were broken into 5 segments. A row of tabs, followed by vertical panes, another row of tabs, a cuff, and another row of tabs. I backed the panes with buckram to help stiffen them and support the pearl cluster. I should’ve made the buckram pieces longer. The cuff is lined with canvas to help support the weight of the pearls. The baragoni were then sewn onto the armscye.

I took a sleeve pattern and broke it into 3 sections. The two outer sections I then divided into smaller pieces to get the angled pieces. Each piece is trimmed with silk ribbon and sewn together at the corners with pearl clusters. The sleeve pieces were lined and closed up. They attach to the veste shoulders with lacing rings and lucet cord.

It pretty much went together as planned but this gown has been swimming in my head for about a year now. Overall it was a great learning experience and I like it a lot better than the first veste that I made. There’s not much that I’d change other than making the sleeves a bit smaller because they seem a bit big.

Layer 4

I made a pair of pianelle which is an overshoe. These could be worn either with just stockings for indoor wear or over slippers for outdoors. The style that I went with can be worn either way because they lace up and can be adjusted.

The research that I found stated that pianelles (under 3″ tall) and chopines (over 3″ tall) were made of wood. We started out with that plan but couldn’t find a ban saw big enough to cut the massive block of wood. I ran across a pair of sandals with a cork base and plan B was developed. I took the vinyl straps off of the shoes for my base.

I patterned the vamps from paintings, extant examples, and other recreations. The vamps are velveteen to match the veste, inner-lined in canvas, and lined in some cotton that I had laying around. I worked 6 eyelets into each piece to be able and lace them closed.

I had some suede and thought that it would make for a nice insole, sturdy enough to stand up to being worn with slippers but nice enough to wear with stockings alone. I used more velveteen scraps to make long strips that would be drawn over the sides of the shoe and glued down. Since my sewing machine wasn’t capable of sewing through all of the layers I ended up sewing it together using waxed linen thread and a saddle stitch. Once the covers were done I glued them to the shoe. Once the glue dried I added some gimp around the bottom of the shoes and laced them up.

They’re surprisingly comfy and fairly easy to walk in.

Bonus Points

Intermediate · Modern Recreationist · Modern Recreationist Intermediate

Guendolen Le Renard

Location: Tir-y-don, Atlantia

Category/Level: Modern Recreationist/Intermediate

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.

Final Photos

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!

Layer 1

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.

Layer 2

Overcoat – 12th cent

Layer 3

Cloak – 12th cent half round

Layer 4

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.

Bonus Points

Advanced · Historic Advanced · Historically Focused

Ian’ka Ivanovna zhena P’trovitsa

Location: Atenveldt

Category/Level: Historically Focused/Advanced

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.

Final Photos

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.

Layer 1

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.

Layer 2

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. 🙂

Layer 3

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.

Layer 4

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.

Bonus Points