Group · Historically Focused · Intermediate


Group Members: Baroness Linnet del Grenewode,

Location: Barony of Carolingia, East

Category/Level: Historically Focused/Intermediate

About Actreo: The two of us are a couple who have been in and out of the SCA for years. We heard about the Challenge from people in our local group. We will be making garments that we have wanted to make for a while. The inspiration of this challenge is a gift right now.

Project Update Blog: Crafting Ourselves – An SCA Arts and Sciences Journey

Their Project: We will be making a set of clothes for a high status (Thegn level) man and woman from England in the mid 11th Century. These garments will be based on artwork and writings done in period, as well as fragments from grave finds. We have been researching on this period for a while, but have yet to make a set of historically accurate clothing for the late Anglo Saxon time period. We need a set of court garb, not just pennsic clothes. We will be making for the man a shirt, trousers, tunic and cloak, and for the woman a smock, gown, mantel, and veil, as well as a number of smaller pieces.

Final Photos

Layer 1

We are making clothing suitable for an Anglo Saxon man and his wife who are high status individuals (Thegn level). There is little evidence of how the underlayer of clothing looked in the form of illuminations or grave finds for this time period for anglo saxon culture in England. There are many written sources, particular the words in Old English used for garment types. We used 2 main sources of information for making our decisions on how to make this: Dress in Anglo Saxon England by Gale Owen-Crocker, and the Authenticity Guide for Regia Anglorum.

For the man, the first layer would be a linen shirt or tunic, and either trousers, or hose and braies. We chose to make a simple shirt similar to those made elsewhere because the word Scyrte implies a shorter garment, rather than a full undertunic. the shirt has square gussets under the sleeves, and a keyhole neckline bound with silk.Hose and Braies were coming in as a style, but the anglo saxon trousers were still worn. After looking at, and experimenting with several reconstructions of early trousers starting with the iron age Thorsberg trousers, we decided to make the trousers by starting with 2 tubes with a seam down the inner leg. We tried several types of gussets and gores, and found that for us, they fit the best by taking in the lower legs, and adding a square crotch gusset. We left the bottom of the inseam open for the last few inches to get the trousers on over the foot. The trousers were held up with a linen twill tape tie. There was evidence for either ties or belts for this. There are old english words for what is assumed to be a loin cloth, but we opted to stay with modern underwear underneath.

For the woman, the first layer is a linen Smoc made in a similar pattern as layer 2 will be. We used the Nockert Type 1 form of tunic, as this is the most common type of tunic found around the 11th century. This tunic has square underarm gussets and side gores. We did not use center gores. Images of women’s clothing at this time appear to be mainly vertical in line, without much flaring out from the waist. The sleeves were very long and tight. The look at this time was for smoc sleeves to go over the hand some, and to have wrinkles on the forearm. The cuffs and necklines were bound with silk. There was a thriving silk trade in England at this time, and silk ribbons and strips were commonly used if one could afford it. The cap is to cover the hair so it does not show under the veil or wimple that will be added later. There are words for this garment like Feax Clap (head cloth), but what it looked like is up to interpretation. We used the English Cap proposed by Regia Anglorum for this. It is similar to a viking cap, but rounded at the top, and larger, so that all of the hair is covered. Some people use something like a St Birgitta cap, but that would seem to be to late to be used at this time.

All sewing was done by hand using waxed thread (linen for linen, silk for silk). Construction seams were done in back stitch; flat fell with whip stitch; and attaching strips to the edges with running stitch.

Both Linnet and Kendrick worked on this layer. Both of us worked on pattern development. Linnet did most of the construction sewing. Kendrick did the embroidery embellishment on the cap. He will be making many yards of fingerloop braid for the next 2 layers, as well as tablet weaving, and has already started working on those.

Layer 2

We are making a set of clothes for an 11th Century Anglo Saxon high status man and woman. Layer 2 consists of tunics. The term Tunece applies to male garments. The term Cyrtel used to apply to short male garments, but by this point in history was used for longer female tunics. Both garments were Nockert type 1 tunics with square gussets under the sleeves, and triangular side gores, and were made from the same medium weight tabby woven blue fabric. A reproduction red silk was used on the cuffs and necklines. Silk was readily available in England at this time. The most common use was to cut the fabric into strips and use it to trim the edges of garments. Both the Tunece and Cyrtel had 3 cm wide strips on the bottom of the sleeves, and the Tunece had an additional woven band of gold silk on it. The Tunece had a square keyhole neck. This was a style seen in illuminations from England during this time period. It had a silk facing which comes to a point in the center front. The Cyrtel had a round keyhole neck, with the edge bound in silk. Women’s necklines were rarely seen, so would probably not be as showy as men’s.

We had planned on adding blue fingerloop braid to many of the seams, and gold braid to the collars and cuffs. Experimental trials made with silk cord indicated that it would take far, far more time with silk than previous trials with cotton or wool. Weaving the silk into a narrow strip also gave problems with tension and smoothness of weave compared to other fibers. We ended up settling for two woven bands to put on the Tunece, with the thought we might come back to this later. Linnet did the sewing, and Kendrick did all the work with braiding and weaving.

Layer 3

We are making a set of clothing for a high status anglo saxon man and woman. Layer 3 consists of a cloak for the man. It is made of a heavy brown wool with the rectangular construction common in this period. The long edges of the cloak were bound with red silk taffeta ribbon, and trimmed with a two color hand woven silk band. Layer 3 for the woman has 2 parts. The cloak during this period for high status women is a semi-circle of wool sewn into a cone shape with a neck opening. This style is believed to be copied from chasubles seen in byzantine art. Our cloak was made from a soft tan wool, and was worn either with or without a sash. The head covering for Layer 3 is a long rectangular veil of wool gauze. These veils were worn draped around the head over the cap. Lower status women tended to wear a more hood-like garment. In art, these veils are generally shown in a color other than white. For our project, the veil was dyed with black walnut. Several trials were done to try to get the color even. It was decided not to mordant this veil to darken the color with iron, for fear of damaging the fine wool gauze. Walnut has enough tannin, that a mordant is not required on wool. Kendrick did most of the work on the cloak, and Linnet sewed the mantle, and dyed the wool for the veil.

Layer 4

Kendrick did most of the work for this accessory item. The inspiration for our piece is an 11th century reliquary pouch. The original is in the German National Museum in Nurnberg. It is dated to 1050 to 1100 C.E. and Byzantine origin. We feel confident that trading between Anglo-Saxon England and Eastern Europe would have allowed similar bags to be found in England at this time. The original is a silk bag 12.5 cm wide and 14.8 cm tall, the front of the bag is decorated with 21 silver plaquetes, the center five are covered with an almandine stone, which is a purplish garnet, and 4 gold thread covered knots complete a five by five grid of elements, this is surrounded on each side by 7 heart shaped almandine covered plaquetes and 14 small square silver plaquetes with every other one covered in an almandine stone. All of these elements are surrounded with long strands of white seed pearls and three rows or silk cording. Unfortunately we could not create an exact copy of this bag.

Compromises of necessity and material were required. We could not duplicate cast silver plaquetes so heavy pewter craft foil purchased from Blick was used to cut same size and shape plaquetes which were sewn on using white silk thread. The heart shaped plaquetes on each side were eliminated as they were too hard to replicate or substitute with similar shaped pieces. Remnant burgandy silk was used instead of brown silk fabric for the bag which lead to a change in stones, although we had similar sized and shaped purple stones we decided that red coral stones looked better with our silk. Some of the bottom square plaquetes were replaced with bugle shaped coral beads because mounting the bead on the plaquete completely covered the plaquete. Additionally spacing the small square plaquetes was changed to allow for possible future seed pearl cords to be added, we couldn’t find small enough seed pearls to allow closer spacing. Gold silk 20/2 yarn was used to weave the bands across the top. The twisted tan cords around the sides and bottom of the original was replaced with 4 strands of loosely braided 10/2 ecru silk yarn which gives a similar “bumpy patterned” look to the border. When we get the chance, we will complete the decoration of this bag with strands of white seed beads surrounding each element on the front of the bag. Kendrick is proud of this example of an 11th century reliquary bag even if keeping the overall look of the original required some substitutions. The biggest change would be making or purchasing cast plaquetes but purchasing different shaped cast plaquetes would have changed the overall look of the bag so with our skill at this moment, cutting metal plaquetes was the best choice and we couldn’t find similar shaped plaquetes from the medieval craft sellers we know. A class that has been on Kendrick’s “to learn” list is enameling on metal, he thinks this might be the most approachable and best looking replacement for cutting special shaped cabochons.

Layer 4+

For our extra accessory layer, we made socks with a nalebinding technique. There are very few examples of nalebinding from this time period. The most complete one is the Coppergate sock, which dates from the 10th Century in York England. This would have been from the Anglo Scandinavian part of England. Due to the abundant trade between cultures, and the lack of any surviving socks from Anglo Saxon cultures, many researchers assume that nalebinding was a likely technique for the Saxons as well.

The socks were made from the top down. The exemplar sock was done in what was dubbed the York stitch, but this is the only example of that stitch in any surviving work. As I am familiar with the Oslo stitch, and these were my first socks, I chose to work in Oslo. Also, since I prefer to work on my thumb, I worked in a medium weight yarn, not a fine knitting sock yarn. At the cuff, a small raised collar was used, similar to the coppergate sock. This was worked for a few rows, then half of the row was detached to form a gusset. The heel was worked in decreasing rows in the space left open. Then the rest of the sock was done in decreasing rows until it was reduced and tied off at the toe

Since this is the first time I have made socks by any method, the first pair was a learning experience, then tossed. The second pair was much better, and the final pair was finally getting close to what I wanted. This is the pair I have submitted to you. I loved nalebinding socks, since prior to this I have only done hats. I plan on playing with this more in the future.

Bonus Points

Advanced · Historic Advanced · Historically Focused

Æsa Helgulfsdottir

Location: Barony of Endless Hills, Æthelmearc

Category/Level: Historically Focused/Advanced

Project Update Blog : In Wolf’s Clothes

About Æsa: I’ve been in the SCA for about 13 years. While I love sewing, I also enjoy playing with other skills like archery, knife and axe throwing, fiber arts, basket weaving, herbalism, soap making, pottery and brewing/cooking. I love acquiring skills that a Viking wife would have used in her everyday life. While the sewing aspects of the garments will not be difficult, historical clothing can sometimes present challenges as I am paralyzed. I often have to strike a balance between something that looks as correct as possible while also being comfortable, allowing for medical restrictions and not hindering my wheelchair’s movement.

Her Project: I’m hoping to create an ensemble that would have been worn by the Norse wife of a fairly well-off land owner in 10th century Jorvik. The piece is not based on any single burial find, but takes inspiration from several. The plan is for wool stockings, a linen underdress, a woolen dress and apron with jewelry and a head covering. The goal is to spin and weave a component of the ensemble.

Final Photos

Her final thoughts on her C3 experience:

I’m very happy with my final project! When I started the dress concept in October, I was trying to envision what would look good photographed in a bleak January landscape (Pennsylvaniacan be pretty dreary this time of year!). I had many moments during the challenge where I questioned the decision to leave my designs simple and the colors natural, but in the end I’m very happy that I stuck to my original plan. It turned out exactly as I wanted it to.

Layer 1

My Norse linen underdress went as planned, as I am very used to making this style of gown for myself. I hand sewed all the seams and tacked them down using a running stitch and matching threads. For my stockings, I struggled a little deciding what to make. Many of the current interpretations from archeological finds seem to have a seam running along the sole of the foot, which I was afraid would be very irritating as I have some nerve issues from the paralysis. I also knew that I wanted the stockings to end below the knee, as I didn’t want to have any fabric bunched behind the knee as my legs are always bent. In the end, I used a pattern that I had drafted about ten years ago from “The Medieval Tailor’s Assistant” as I knew that it was comfortable to wear. The stockings were made from brown wool flannel, hand sewn and the seams were tacked down using a running stitch in contrasting thread.

Layer 2

The second layer is a simple gown made of Shetland wool in a diamond twill. It’s a dress style and pattern that I’ve used many times before, so no issues! All the seams are handsewn and raw edges enclosed.

Layer 3

My third layer is an apron dress. The fabric was hand woven from yarn that I spun in my fiber mill. The center panel is dyed using walnut hulls. The dress is a simple tube construction with a little gathering in the front. I think that the tube style might be an issue if I was walking, but in the wheelchair it gathers the underdresses in and keeps them away from the tires very nicely! I had originally wanted to bind the top edge with more of the walnut dyed fabric, but it ended up being too bulky so I used the same wool as my stockings instead. I really liked the look of the felted fringe at the edge of the weaving, so I left it as the bottom of my dress.

The seams are handsewn; however, the fabric is a very loose weave and I did have trouble keeping the seams from unraveling. The fabric is thick enough that bound seams were becoming very bulky. Because getting dressed in the wheelchair can require a lot of tugging fabric into place, I reinforced a few of the seams on my sewing machine. This is the only machine sewing in the entire project.

Layer 4

My judged accessory is a willow and oak basket. The most explanation that I could find on viking baskets that were not the Gokstad backpack was the following reference “Round and square basket bases were found in the Scandinavian settlement in York, England, then known as “Jorvik.” The bases have holes around the perimeter, indicating that sticks or reeds may have been seated there, serving as the vertical staves to support the horizontally-woven bands.”

My husband cut and drilled the oak base for me, as the majority of our woodworking tools are in the basement which is not wheelchair accessible. I soaked the willow for a week and then wove the basket using a 3 rod wale for the bottom and top edges and a single plain weave for the body. I’ve made baskets before, but this was my first willow basket and my first with a solid base.

Layer 4+

Additional accessories include:

A handwoven shawl from Shetland wool. I spun the yarn in my fiber mill.

A headscarf of linen, lightly dyed with walnut.

A Jorvik cap, handsewn from linen I wove on a ground loom many Pennsics ago.

A leather knife sheath with sterling silver embellishments.

A necklace of carnelian and crystal quartz with bronze additions.

Bonus Points

Intermediate · Modern Recreationist · Modern Recreationist Intermediate

Æva Dyer

Location: Barony of Caerthe, Outlands

Category/Level: Modern Recreationist/Intermediate

Project Update Blog: Of Green and Gold

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

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

Layer 1

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

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

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

Bonus Points

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

Intermediate · Modern Recreationist · Modern Recreationist Intermediate

Lady Eyvor Halldorsdottir

Location: Barony of Tir Ysgithr, Atenveldt

Category/Level: Modern Recreationist/Intermediate

Project Update Blog: The Viking Apprentice

About Eyvor: Having been in the SCA for 15 years, most of my clothing and energy has been devoted to moving around the Viking-age world and with some dabbling into Rus. I’ve patterned clothing, handsewn full outfits, and generally dabbled in a decent amount in a number of things. I haven’t sewn much as of late, but I would consider myself to be competent enough with a machine that I can tackle anything with enough determination. The outfit isn’t one that fits what I normally do, but I wanted something different that would give me more variety in my SCA wardrobe. I expect that it should be a good challenge, but one that I can tackle and will result in a solid project that I’m pleased with.

Her Project: I’ve wanted a kirtle and cotehardie for a very long time, and actually bought fabric for it as everything was starting to shut down. I’m looking at doing an outfit roughly suited to middle class in the late 14th century. I want something comfortable, that I can wear in a number of situations, and accuracy is not as important to me for this. It’s a project to stretch my skills and to make me happy. This is being entered in the recreationst category primarily because I don’t have documentation for some of the colors and the exact stamping. The horse and raven symbolize both my household and my own heraldry – a white raven on a red background for Hrafnheim, and a white horse on blue for me. (My heraldry a blue horse on white, but I *will* get white quite dirty, so decided something else would look better.) As of now, the plan is as follows: *Short-sleeved white shift *Sleeveless linen kirtle *Long-sleeved parti-colored cotehardie (one side stamped with white ravens. the other with white horses) *accessories: paternoster, necklace, and earrings (all glass. all beads made by me for a non-sewing skill, glasswork)

Beginner · Modern Beginner · Modern Recreationist

Kaitlyn McCloud

Location: Barony of Axemoor, Gleann Abhann

Category/Level: Modern Recreationist/Beginner

Her Project Update Blog: The Casual Costumer

About : Hi there, so I am very new to the SCA, roughly a year or so- but with the pandemic I’ve only made it to 3-4 events. I am fairly new to historical sewing but have been making costumes and cosplay for myself as well as a variety groups and Mardi Gras krewes in New Orleans for several years. I also help run the Sewing Squad facebook page, which is a small group of people in my region that want to learn more about sewing skills and history focused garb.

Project: I’m going to be doing a (roughly) 1480-1500c Italian Renaissance set of garments. This will be inspired by a set of paintings from that period, though the fabrics will be different, since I’m picking this period/style to utilize a yellow silk taffeta and a red silk brocade that I already have. I also wanted an opportunity to work on my embroidery and with the heavy ornamentation on the sleeves of this period, hopefully I can get some nice detail work done ( though I’m pinning that as a “stretch” goal, time allowing).

Final Photos

Layer 1

I am checking in my Spanish camisa layer. This is the Spanish renaissance version of the Italian camicia (shift). They are very similar garments with the main distinction from the 1490’s period I am working in being, that the sleeves do a large bell at the end and dangle out of the bottom of the gamurra sleeves instead of tying or buttoning at the cuff. I have added my art reference to the Facbook album- “Mencia de Mendoza with Saint Dominic”, artist contested. I am hoping to do a complete recreation of this painting. She was high nobility in this period and my fabric and notion choices are reflective of that. These shifts were typically either heavily embroidered with blackwork or lace and were often made of fine linen or silk.

I opted for two types of silk-synthetic mix lace after examining the source painting closely. I sourced and purchased 15c reproduction lace for the collar and used lace I already owned for the sleeves and bottom hem. These were hand sewn on with a cream colored silk thread and a whip stitch. The camisa pattern is drafted by me, using art examples, online research of others recreating this period- “15th C Clothing For Men and Women” by THL Peryn Rose Whytehorse, and several books I own- “Patterns of Fashion” by Janet Arnold, Herald, Jacqueline- (1981) “Dress in Renaissance Italy 1400-1500” by John Murray, “Dress in Italian Painting 1460-1500” by Elizabeth Birbari.

I also consulted with the SCA Iberia Facebook group to get more Spanish specific info for this period, and help understanding the fashion differences between them and Milan. The camisa is made of a semi-sheer silk in cream, with gathers at the neck, back and around both sleeves. The inside sleeve raw edges are covered and whipped down with a cream colored twill tape for additional strength, since the cloth is quite thin and prone to unraveling. The neck was bound with a bias tape I made of the same material, with the lace being attached to the edge.

The sleeve and bottom hems are rolled and whip stitched with the lace added at the bottom.

If I could do anything differently- I probably would have picked a different painting. I didn’t realize at the start of this that there is VERY little information know about this artwork, and most of it is contested. They aren’t even sure this is actually Mencia De Mendoza…. So a lot of assumptions were made based on published research of that art. This led me to the ten year period around 1490, and influences from both Milan, and Barcelona as she was tied to both areas. Her fashion in this painting has elements of both cities- the long sleeves of the Spanish camisa, with the tighter fitting sleeves of Milan gamurra dresses at that time. The bodice of the dress isn’t seen in this gown so I had to use other art references from that period and those regions to help me pattern.

Having none of the support garments and very little of the under-dress showing in this art has been a difficult but exciting challenge. It has also given me a little freedom to make creative choices that would normally be limited in a strict recreation with more of the support garments showing.

Layer 2

1490’s Spanish/ Italian- Milanese style gamurra

I modeled my entire outfit off of a painting entitled “ Mencia Mendoza with Saint Dominic” which is roughly dated to 1490(s). When researching this painting I hit a ton of snags so some suppositions were made. Per the biographical information on Mencia Mendoza she was Spanish with heavy Milanese influence. So, because of that, and the fact that the gamurra layer is not heavily visible in the painting I sources comparative works for that region and time period. “Bianca Maria Sforza” by Ambrogio de Prendis 1493

“La Belle Ferroniere” Leonardo da Vinci 1490

“Lady with an Ermine” Leonardo da Vinci 1490

“Detail from the Pala Sforzesca” unknown 1494

I created my own pattern using some input and research from online sources. In particular, for bodice construction the paper “15th C clothing for men and women” by THL Peryn Rose Whytehorse, Barony of the South Downs, February 2015. The gamurra layer is composed of a layer of canvas, with boning inserted in an attached linen burlap backing. Then covered in an additional canvas front. This is covered in a 100% yellow silk taffeta. I debated between the more historically accurate cording vs. boning, but time constraints won out and I used synthetic whalebone.

The bodice is fitted with 7 bones in the front and 5 in the back.

I then started on the skirt, with is 7 yard of the silk taffeta, lined with a thin bleached muslin. Because of the weight of the skirt I opted not to used the heavier weight linen I had. I also attached a twill tape the the top of the lining and felled the silk on top of that so I would have more stability when attaching the skirt to the bodice.

The panels of skirt were then cartridge pleated and whip stitched to the bodice.

This layer was 90% hand sewn. The only machine process was sewing the skirt panels together.

The sleeves are a linen burlap covered in the yellow silk taffeta., they are deliberately not lined with silk, as I plan to embroider them at a later date.

The lacing rings on both the bodice and the sleeve are 15c reproduction, and are hand sew on with a 3 strand embroidery floss.

I then made 18 fingerloop braids- 2 for the bodice lacing and 8 per sleeve, using 6 strand embroidery floss. I purchased aglets for the points, and sewed them onto each braid.

The sleeve cuffs are a layer of linen canvas covered in silk taffeta and have a 4mm yellow gold cording sewn in, to match the cuffs from the painting. The cuffs are attached separately to the finished sleeves.

In retrospect, I will probably go back and do hook and eye for the cuffs. And will probably shorten the sleeves overall by 2-3 inches. There is just slightly too much bunching in the forearm.

Layer 3

1490’s Sbernia overcoat

This layer was the most visible in the painting. I was not able to find a satisfactory pattern or tutorial for its construction so it was made using the drape method over my dress form. The construction was fairly simple, with two gores at either side. I did pleating at the shoulders to get the appropriate sloped look in the painting. The panels are machine sewn and all seams are hand finished.

I left this layer unlined as the damask fabric was already quite heavy.

I then took a vintage mink stole I was gifted and reconditioned and lined it, cut it into tim sized panels and whip stitched this onto the front opening and the sleeve openings. I trimed this in a maroon silk bias tape.

This layer was 80% hand sewn.

Layer 4

15th century pointed turnshoes

This was my first attempt at shoe making. I watched several youtube tutorials and looked at a few extant pieces before getting started.

The shoes are made out of 4 oz for the top, and 8 ozfor the soles- veg tanned leather.

I created my own wooden shoe lasts to work on this project using two 2x4s cut to about 1 foot each and using my foot tracing and measurements I sawed, whittled and sanded each last. Then sealed with neem oil.

The soles are then tacked onto the lasts and the top portion is sewn together then placed inside out on top. I then used an awl to punch diagonal holes from the soles to the leather tops. Then using waxed linen thread, I sewed the tops to the bottom. Wet the entire shoe in warm water fo 30 minutes or so. Turn right side out. Let dry overnight on the lasts, and condition, stain and seal with leather waterproofing.

I created the patterns on the tops of the shoes based on a 15th century extant find from Italy.

While the tops are still flat, I used my leather knight to cut the small lines, and a leather hole puncher to create the 4 point design.

The shoes are hammered and flattened at the seams before and after turning to create a smooth bottom.

I lined the heels with an alaskan fish leather, which isn’t period accurate, as far as I know but looks fabulous, and has the benefit of not rubbing my heels raw.

The buckles I had on hand were attached with a grommet at the ankle.

Layer 4+

Velvet lace belt. I used a yard of leftover black velvet I had. Hand sewed into a wide belt then whip stitched onto a set of lacing facetings I had. Unsure about the historical accuracy of this, but I needed a belt for the sbernia and was about 36 hours from due date.

Bonus Points

Display Only · Intermediate · Modern Recreationist · Modern Recreationist Intermediate

Kristine Nic Tallier

From: Axed Root, Calontir

Category/Level: Modern Recreationist/Intermediate (Display Only)

Project Update Blog: Stars and Garters

About Kristine: I joined the SCA in middle school when my mother started taking us to meetings. I wasn’t always as excited about it in the beginning, but when I found tablet-weaving, I was hooked. I met my fiance, Vincent, as well as all my closest friends in the society.

Vincent and I came to a deal a long time ago that he would make our garb, since he enjoys it and it just puts me in a foul mood…. but since I’m spearheading this challenge, I feel like I have to put my money where my mouth is and participate. Wish our household luck!

Her project: Years ago, I came upon one of the images below and felt like I fully understood the woman wearing it – and I love her apron. I can’t just make the apron, right? I have to make the whole outfit to go with it. These images are all from the same illumination and are a little later than my usual time period (I’m usually mid-to-late 14thc Scot) being earlyish 15c inspired by images from The Book of Faiz Monseigneur Saint Loys. So, My plan is to make all the layers shown, a chemise, a supportive kirtle (stretch project of additional pin-on sleeves), a silk cotte with embroidery, and a wool over cotte with embroidered embellishments. My accessory will be a tablet woven belt, though I’ll also be making the aforementioned apron. I have other wacky ideas on extra accessory layers, but we’ll see how it goes!

Final Pictures

Her final thoughts on her C3 Experience: Well, I knew that running the challenge and getting my own outfit done at the same time would be a challenge. I didn’t get to the final overcoat layer like I’d hoped (which would have been blue wool with a red lining) but I’m pretty happy with the four I did get finished.

My favorite completed pieces are the belt (layer 4) and the apron, which was the inspiration for the whole thing.

Overall, I have reaffirmed that Vincent will do all the construction sewing from now on, but I’ll happily help out with hand-finishing. Good to know since we have wedding garb to finish next!

Layer 1

My layer 1 consists of a chemise and a St Birgitta’s Cap. Both are made of white linen and are of machine base construction and hand finished with linen thread.

The chemise is based off the general late period pattern which has been theorized was used in the early 15th century. As I’m in the modern recreationist category, I took a step from what I could document and added a simple embroidered pattern around the neckline and tablet woven trim around the base. The trim is of cotton, as it’s what I had on hand, and was woven by me – the first of many tablet woven projects which will be incorporated into this outfit.

The cap is of basic construction and went MUCH better than my first cap I attempted years ago. It went so well that I’m considering making a second one with some decorative elements.

Layer 2

This short sleeved kirtle is made of linen, with a wide V-front design to allow for changing sizes. The lacing here is tubular tablet weaving I made during the project time. Machine construction, hand finishing

Including the eyelets! This was my first time hand-sewing eyelets and I think they turned out alright.

Layer 3

This layer really tested my patience, let me tell you. We have a rule in my house, as mentioned above, that my fiance (Vincent de Vere) does all the sewing in the house and this dress proved once again that that’s a great policy for us. I tried on this dress and it fit great but there was a little too much on the back, so I took it out. Then I tried it on again…. and it was too small by exactly that same amount, so I had to piece it back in. There’s no reason it should happen, but it did.

Anyway, this is a green/black dupioni silk and I just love the color. Based on information from the Medieval Tailor’s assistant, I chose to make this layer side lacing to alternate with the underlayers. Rather than embroidering, I wove bands for the bottom as I’m a tablet-weaver and that seemed a lot less onerous for me while I was running this challenge. I will eventually go back and embroider in words as is seen in my inspiration images.

This, too, is machine sewn and hand finished, including all the eyelets for the side closures.

Layer 4

I’m a tablet weaver (if you couldn’t tell from all the tablet weaving I snuck into my other layers) so my layer four is a tablet woven, brocaded belt. The main layer is a red 30/2 silk with a mylar metallic weft (because who can afford real gold for these things?) Patterns are self-designed and generically geometric.

I like to have a supportive backing layer on my belts because I’m not very easy on them. It offers a little extra support. The backing band here is a linen in a simple pattern which was woven separately and sewn to the decorative band.

Belt ends are purchased.

Layer 4+

  1. Farmhouse Cheddar – Cheesemaking techniques haven’t changed much since medieval times. I’ve made two cheddar rounds, one smoked (ok, burned. I scorched the milk. But I already had the yeast and rennet in it by then, so I went ahead and finished it. Who knows?) and one regular. They’ll age until January when it’s time to take pictures
  2. Beeswax – The beeswax was processed from the yearly rent paid by the bees who live in my yard. The hive shaped piece is mine for the challenge and the bees went out to people from my local group who have taken up the challenge as well.
  3. Embroidered Apron – the whole reason this was my to-do outfit! The originals had religious sayings but, not being religious I wanted to switch it out for something else. “Vox Nihili” – roughly meaning “saying Nothing” seemed amusing and appropriate. Linen embroidery on lined fabric, with a linen tablet woven band at the top for tying.

Bonus Points

Advanced · Historic Advanced · Historically Focused

Nastassiia Ivanova Medvedeva (called Tasha)

Location: Canton of the Towers, East

Category/Level: Historically Focused/Advanced

Project Update Blog:  Built Fjord Tough

About Tasha: I’ve been in the SCA for about 20 years. Sewing is one of my main activities, but really, if it involves textiles, string, or some combination of the two, I’m in. I started hand sewing all my garb several years ago when I realized that I hated machine sewing, I wanted my garb to fit better and last longer, and I couldn’t hear the movie I was streaming over the sound of the sewing machine. In addition to sewing, I also do leatherwork and am a regional combat archery lieutenant. This project does tie into my persona in that I believe it’s the sort of thing I wanted to make for my late husband, both in and out of persona. I think it will be a challenge both because I haven’t really made menswear at the level I am at with womenswear, and because I will be drafting at least two new patterns (shirt and pants) if not three (the coat). It will also be a time management challenge, since the holidays are smack in the middle of this process. This is going to be fun!

Her Project: I’m planning to make a set of men’s clothes from Viking Age Sweden, built to fit me. I started fighting a few years ago and I still don’t have a proper pair of pants (track pants from Target Do Not Count). I really want to figure out how to draft a pair of late Viking Age trousers for myself, both to add that skill to my repertoire and to have a pair of pants to fight in.

I’ve also bee fascinated by the Viborg shirt for years, and am extremely excited to adjust the pattern to fit me and to use the very interesting stitches I’ve found to flat line the bodice. I’ll also be making a wool tunic with my tablet woven trim, a coat to go over everything, and a leather belt and pouch. I hope to spin the wool thread to sew the coat and tunic as well, and if I can find the right fabric, I may even dye it for the tunic.

Final Photos

Her final thoughts on her C3 experience:

This was a heck of a challenge and I’m glad I did it. I learned a LOT about how to put things together quickly and easily, and pro tip: it’s not using modern sewing methods. I’m looking forward to making more clothes using the things I learned.

Layer 1

I made a version of the Viborg shirt adapted for my figure, using instructions from the pamphlet “The Viking Shirt from Viborg,” by Mytte Fentz. The original was made for a man with a 32″ chest — I am not that size or shape. It was found at the bottom of a posthole in Viborg Søndersø, Denmark, in the center of Jutland. Because it wasn’t found in a grave, we have no idea who wore it or why it ended up there — it could have been a sacrifice of a valuable garment for the future stability of the building… or not.

The front and back of the torso section is lined, but the sleeves are not. There are flaps hanging from the front and back as well, and the edges of these extend a couple of inches to wrap around the body, with the back overlying the front. These are also unlined. The shirt has a square neckline, with an ingenious arrangement of flaps at the neck with slits at either front corner and ties arranged so as to pull the slits closed for warmth.

I made it out of 5.3 ounce bleached linen from, because it was in my stash. I adapted the measurements to accommodate my curves, making it longer in the front of the torso and longer over the buttocks in the rear, as well as making it bigger through the bust and shoulders. I used a mix of linen and silk thread to sew it — I ran out of linen and had silk on hand.

Layer 2

I finished the main layer of my outfit: a pair of wool trousers based on the Thorsberg Trousers, and a tunic based on the Kragelund tunic. The trousers, while harkening back to the much-earlier Thorsberg find, are also found in digs dating to the 10th c in Hedeby. They would have been worn by men, though given the nature of the vast majority of the Hedeby finds (Wadded up between the planks of a ship and covered in tar), it’s impossible to know what social class wore them. I’m inclined to say everyone did.

I’ve never drafted trousers before, and they are *really* hard to pattern by yourself. I really could have used help fitting the back and hips, but I did my best. They’re still about four inches too big in the waist; given my waist to hip ratio, even a belt won’t hold them up comfortably and allow me to get them on and off easily, so I think when I finally rebuild them, I’ll want some sort of fly. It’s not attested to in period, but needs must.

I first made a mockup out of muslin, basting and rebasting and remaking pieces till I got it where I thought I needed it. Then I traced the pieces onto heavy paper, cut them out of a brown and yellow herringbone wool, and sewed them with handspun thread. I usually sew wool by sewing down the seam allowances and then whipping the seam together, but for extra strength, particularly in the seat, I sewed the seam and then pressed both seam allowances to the same side and sewed them down.

I greatly overestimated the rise I’d need, even after cutting off quite a lot. Currently they are 3-4 inches too long in the crotch and about that much too big around. It’s going to require some reconsideration to fix the issues. Other than those fit problems, however, I find them quite comfortable and would be willing to make more… once I get the pattern sussed out.

I found the tunic much easier, since I’ve made similar garments before. I like to draw cutting layouts before I go to the fabric, and I drew layouts with the tunic body in one piece and with a shoulder seam, and for a knee-length tunic, it was actually more economical of fabric to do the body in one piece.

I cut the gores in such a way that I needed to sew them all together up the middle, and I did that using a lapped seam (cited in Die Textilfunde aus dem Hafen von Haithabu by Inga Hägg, 1984). The side gores were inserted into the seam, but the center front and center back (CF and CB) gores were inserted into a slit… sort of. Using chalk, I drew a line down the center of the body panel, starting where I wanted the tip of the gore. Then I drew stitch lines down the edges of the gore using a 1/2″ seam allowance. I lined up the edge of the gore with the line on the body panel and stitched it down. Then I cut the line, flipped the gore to the inside of the tunic, lined the edge of the gore up with the cut line, and sewed the other side in. I reinforced the top of the gore with knotted buttonhole stitch. Rather than the pointy and sharp tip that people seem to strive for in the SCA, the tip of my gore is rather rounded, but it hangs beautifully, looks great, and best of all, was incredibly easy to do. I’ve avoided CF and CB gores for *years* because they intimidated me — well no longer! I am the BOSS of I found the tunic much easier, since I’ve made similar garments before. I like to draw cutting layouts before I go to the fabric, and I drew layouts with the tunic body in one piece and with a shoulder seam, and for a knee-length tunic, it was actually more economical of fabric to do the body in one piece.

my gores!

Once the gores were in, I pressed the seam allowances to the outside of the gore, snipped away the underside seam allowance to reduce bulk, and sewed down the seam allowances with either an overcast or herringbone stitch, depending on how much I felt I needed to baby the edges (I use herringbone when they seem likely to fray). I used handspun thread as much as I could, but eventually my dwindling supply of thread bumped up against my dwindling supply of time and I finished the rest of the tunic with commercially made Burmilana wool blend thread from MadeiraUSA.

The sleeves were next. I sewed in the gusset and sewed shut the sleeve, then sewed it to the body of the tunic. Again, I turned seam allowances away from the gusset, graded down the underside seam allowance, and sewed down the seam allowances. Then I cut the sleeves to length and tapered the sleeve from elbow to wrist… or at least that’s what should have happened. On the first sleeve I tapered first and cut to length second, then needed to retaper as it wasn’t close enough, and then needed to move the elbow point as it ended up somewhere near the top of my ulna.

Then I put in the second sleeve inside out and discovered my mistake after finishing the seam allowance, so I had to cut it out, flip it, and carefully resew so I didn’t destroy the tiny amount of remaining seam allowance. It went really smoothly, but had I been paying actual attention to what I was doing I wouldn’t have had to fix it and put myself a day behind.

I bound the neckline and cuffs with some silk dupioni I had in my stash. It looks nice, bound edges were known in period (though perhaps later than the Viking Age), and it’s SO much less bulky than a turned hem. I did turn the hem at the bottom, pressed it with steam, and stitched it with a herringbone stitch because it’s practically invisible and very very flexible.

I am SUPER happy with the tunic, medium happy with the trousers, and when I put the whole thing together with my shirt and put on legwraps, shoes, and a belt, it all looks REALLY good. I will definitely be wearing this when I need to be outside in cold weather at an event.

Layer 3

This is a Klappenrock, also known as a wrap coat or a warrior’s coat. It would have been worn by men in 10th c Hedeby, and fragments assumed to be from a similar garment have also been found at Birka. It’s made of blue wool lined with a tightly woven yellow wool twill, edged with silk and trimmed with cotton and silk tablet weaving. I made it based generally on the shape of the tunic, though due to a lack of lining fabric I left the sides open as slits rather than adding gores to make it wide enough to walk in. The entire coat is flatlined, using the same sewing technique I used to join the sides of my shirt, which is modernly known as the English stitch. By stitching these seams very closely, I was able to create strong, sturdy seams that went together fairly quickly. Everything went pretty much to plan; I don’t recall anything surprising or anything that threw up a roadblock. I did find that the fronts are too wide (probably the whole coat is a touch big, but I’m not taking the whole thing apart), and I plan to fix that later. I actually don’t think I would do much differently with this pattern. It went together fast and neat and I’m very happy with the result.

Layer 4

This layer is a leather belt, based on straps and knife sheaths found at York in the Anglo-Scandinavian layers. The buckle was purchased from an Etsy seller and is based on a find from 10th c Norway, in the Borre knotwork style. The belt is approximately 5/8″ wide and is made from a vegetable-tanned belt strap purchased at Tandy Leather. I beveled the edges and slicked them for comfort, then wet the straps and impressed a geometric pattern of lines using a stylus, modeled after similar designs from knife sheaths from York. I used a modern dye to dye it brown (Tandy Waterstain in medium brown) because I didn’t have time to make a period dye. Using my fingers, I rubbed in a hide softener to condition the leather and make it more supple. The belt strap wasn’t quite long enough for my purposes, so I pieced two together, stitching them with waxed linen thread. I skived one end of the strap, making it thinner to wrap around the bar of the buckle, and punched a (very wobbly) slot for the tongue of the buckle to go through. I punched stitch holes with a stitching chisel and sewed the belt end around the bar of the buckle using a saddle stitch for durability. I then marked and cut the belt to length, punched hold for the belt tip using an awl, and sewed the belt tip to the end of the belt with waxed linen thread. Finally, I punched holes for the tongue of the buckle in the strap and the belt was complete. The build pretty much went as planned; this width is both a pain and a joy to work with. It was hard to slick the edges because it was hard to hold the leather and run the bone slicker over the edge at the same time. If I were to do it over, I would look for more sources about belts; all I had time for was the one resource I had that’s written in English. Overall, though, despite a whole lot of “don’t wanna” yesterday, I’m really thrilled with how it came out.

Bonus Points

Intermediate · Modern Recreationist · Modern Recreationist Intermediate

Roxelana Bramante

Location: Grimfells, Calontir

Category/Level: Modern Recreationist/Intermediate

Project Update Blog: All The Pretty Flowers

About Roxelana: I joined the SCA over 25 years ago because “the SCA is 4H for grown-ups” first as part of the Mid-Realm, then NorthShield, and now Calontir. I’ve entered more than my fair share of competitions through the years and I really enjoy that aspect of the organization. I started in beadwork and have taken that knowledge to figure out 1520 silk flowers and recreate them. My silk flower adventures are all on my website. Years ago a made a Landsknecht gown for NorthShield’s first kingdom event and it was incredibly well received. It doesn’t fit me anymore and I really want to make something else that is that WOW. I have the fabric for it – I just need the motivation.

Her Project: I’m thinking Second half of 16th century Italian. Definitely late period high end stuff as I have a lot of silk available. I have one picture that I have always wanted to recreate and I’m thinking now is the time. I’m really not into the whole documenting (because I read everything and who takes notes so on future projects that aren’t even in their imagination yet can be properly documented?) aside from make it look exactly like the painting/original item. And I reached a point were medically I don’t have many good years left to do the kind of detail work I would like to do.

Final Photos

Her final thoughts on her C3 experience:

I am so grateful for this challenge because it gave me the gumption to create the partlet that I always wanted – and once that was done I knew I would go the whole way! While I still have the final blue silk dress to make, because of this challenge, I know it’s going to get done!

Layer 1

Chemise – the very basis of almost all female clothing. I have some rules for my chemises:

1. They must be comfortable.

2. They must not be reveling (either see-thru or open exposure)

3. They must not get dew-soaked so they should not touch the ground.

4. If I’m going to all the trouble, then it must be linen. And linen requires all raw edges to be finished so I tend to make as few raw edges as possible.

I have many chemises but the one I like the best is a heavy weight linen body with light weight linen sleeves that I never cuffed because I always have them rolled up! I had a happy accident when I made it in that I cut the neck too wide and had to put pleats in the neckline to get it to the correct size. This was happy because it kept the neckline closer to the bust and cut exposure. I have also taken to wearing bloomers because – way more comfortable. I have several pairs and I cut them in two pieces – left leg/right leg – so there is minimal seam. I (again) could not find the pattern so I made a new one. Several of the previous ones have no elastic, or only back-side elastic because I don’t have issues keeping them up. I did put elastic in this pair though. I chose to make this set with natural colored linen rather than white or cream because I was really liking the salvage and I already have lots of white ones. I cut the front and back out of a heavier weight linen and cut the sleeves and bloomers out of a slightly lighter weight. I cut the sleeves so that the cuff would align with the salvage and cut them a bit wider than normal with the seam running up the back of the arm (more historically accurate.)

I cut out the front and back, rolled the side seams together and machine sewed them. I pressed and rolled the hem and machine sewed it. I cut the sleeves, rolled and sewed them. I pressed in a rolled edge and hand sewed the neck opening and inset the sleeves with linen thread.

I finished the sleeves with silk yarn doing a gather stitch – It is good for now, but I might smock the sleeves or find some other solution. I like that it looks lacy but I’m still able to roll them up if I want to.

Layer 2

For layer two I made two kirtles: a fitted and a loose one, and a pair of sleeves. I did not start out to make two kirtles but after trying on the outer dress with the fitted kirtle I decided it actually needed something to fill in the inverted V of the skirt. Thinking to the final dress – I wanted something lightweight and airy for summer-wear, so I searched the stash and found some silver striped cotton and made a loose kirtle. I lined the front of the kirtle with gray silk and will eventually trim out the gray so I will have two looks in one garment.

For the sleeves I based the pattern on Margo Anderson’s curved sleeve pattern and, again, made them fully reversable so I will have two looks. One side is a wool/silk blend while the other is very golden. The loose kirtle has a space in the shoulder seam to tie the sleeves. The sleeves have a tie sewn in (finger-loop braid). The fitted kirtle is made with two pieces of linen (I know today’s looms are much larger than in period but I have so many issues with linen disintegrating, so I tried something new and put in fake seams.) All seams are rolled or fake. I reinforced the back opening with cotton trim and then sewed the rings onto the trim. (I could not find my larger rings and these are just a hair too small.)

Long seams were all done with the machine, I hand sewed all the edgings and openings. I made the finger-loop braids for the kirtle and sleeves.

Layer 3

The outer layer of my outfit is a Dress after the Florentine painting of Eleonora di Garzia di Toledo in 1571.

Years ago I made a similar outfit as a skirt and vest and I always had issues getting it on and off. When the two pieces are attached, the weight of the skirt will allow the vest to slide right off and will reduce wrinkles in the vest while wearing it. So I made this dress by patterning it off the old one that was originally patterned off of Margo Anderson’s Elizabethan Pattern.

I did not slash out the sleeve caps as this dress was originally going to be a mock-up for the final dress. I will be using the pattern I made from this one, as I think it fits really well, for making the blue silk dress. I have confidence now. What I learned from this layer will be put to use in making the final blue silk gown. (I have already dyed and put together the trim but I didn’t want to rush it to meet the time restrictions.)

Overall – major seams were done by machine, attached the pleated skirt to a grow grain ribbon (I’ve had to take these apart before and wished I had taken this step) and then hand-sewed the skirt to the top and the skirt to the lining. I’m not sure I like the closures, but they do function correctly.

Layer 4

So it took me about two months to do the embroidery and another month to get it all put together. It is after this painting although my proportions are not exactly the same. I wanted a smaller ruffle and taller collar which fits my face better. That may not have worked so well. I did it entirely by hand with silk embroidery floss and linen thread. Real seed pearls on manufactured bobbin lace and linen ground fabric.

 Most of the supplies I got at Thistle Threads which centers on 17th century casket construction and the embroidery that is featured on the caskets. I buy most of my silk floss there because she also carries purl that I use frequently and she is particular about carrying historical colors. All of the trimmings are accurate as well although some are modern recreations with more modern materials to keep costs down. The bobbin lace trim was no longer available in gold and I like silver better anyway so I got all trimmings in silver but also got the trim for the sleeves in gold. The red and silver cording I got two years ago and used most of the yard I had available. All of the silk threads (Ovale and Trame) were in my stash. The linen thread I picked up at Pennsic last year, Wm Booth Draper 60/2.

The ruffle is done on a singe layer of salvage so I wouldn’t have to worry about hemming it and I got it to ruffle using the pulled thread method. The base is done on two layers, of folded linen, using stitches I couldn’t name because I learned to embroider as a child. I did it all freehand without drawing out anything other than the boxes so I would get the spacing correct. I did not embroider the back/middle section of the collar because it should never be seen when I’m wearing it. The entire ruffle is embroidered with random flowers that are particular to me. When I hit the halfway point I did the same (similar) flowers in reverse so one side is nearly a mirror image of the other. I tried to keep the back of the ruffle neat and tidy because it is not covered up.

 I beaded the trim and then attached the trim to the ruffle and then ruffled it by pulling a thread, then I sewed the ruffle to the embroidered collar. I then cut out and hand sewed the base of the partlet and hemmed it all the way around excepting the front opening which was cut on the selvage. I attached the base to the collar, sewed trim all the way down both sides, and cut a piece of linen to cover the back. I also stiffened a piece of organza and sewed that into the middle of the collar as well (it probably didn’t need it but I wanted to be sure it stood up without issue.

Before I seamed up the back I tried it on and it fit well but I found it underwelming visually. I decided to add some extra trimming (based on what I saw in the painting and what supplies I had on hand.)

 I am very pleased with how it turned out. And this piece was all about the embroidery and beadwork so I’m hoping you will count it as my accessory layer.

Bonus Points

Beginner · Historic Beginner · Historically Focused

Sugawara no Naeme

Location: Barony of Carolingia, East Kingdom

Category/Level: Historically Focused/Beginner

Project Update Blog: Heian Haven

About Sugawara: I have played in the SCA, off and on, for 18 years, beginning in Meridies which then became Gleann Abhann. I came for the costumes and stayed for everything else. When not sewing or researching the Heian era, I dabble in calligraphy and illumination, music and food. This project is a levelling up for me. I’ve made the garments before, but this time, for the first time, I’ll be using period patterns and attempting to translate and follow the instructions which are in Japanese. This is my first A&S competition.

Her Project: I plan to make a travelling outfit suitable for my persona, a Heian Japanese noblewoman circa 1020. It will be modelled after the travelling outfit found at the Kyoto Costume Museum using color choices appropriate for my rank. The uppermost garment in the ensemble will be made from fabric bought for this purpose many years ago, and all fabrics used will come from my stash.

Final Photos

Her Final Thoughts on her C3 Experience:

When I set out on this project, I intended to recreate a travelling outfit that would allow me to walk around events in a highly period fashion. I wanted to make the ensemble as historically accurate as I could so I could be a better version of a walking “class” when someone asks about what I’m wearing. But, I didn’t start with a complete picture. Halfway through the Challenge I attended a class and discovered that the outfit I was making actually had more pieces, and that I was wrong about the chemise. I completed the project in line with its original design as I did not have time to rework the errors or add a whole extra garment. I have firm next steps to improve the hitoe and chemise and plans to make not only the missing kosode, but a pair of shin-protectors as well to round out the ensemble incorporating the newer information. And I’m incredibly proud of what I made.

Layer 1

Layer one was actually the second layer I worked on, as I started with the accessory or fourth layer. Work on the chemise for layer one began October 27 and finished November 20. This skin-layer garment is made of a light silk taffeta, hand sewn with silk thread. The pattern was developed using patterns from similar extant Heian (794-1185) Japanese garments and later period kosode patterns. It is made in the style of a kosode and is appropriate for a Heian Japanese noblewoman.

Layer 2

Work on layer three began November 21 and was completed on December 25. This hitoe is made of a fine silk dupioni that was overdyed to the proper shade of blue-green and is hand stitched in matching silk thread. The pattern used is one created by experts in Japanese Historic Costume from an extant garment. It is appropriate for a Heian Japanese noblewoman.

Layer 3

Work on the uwagi began December 26 and concluded January 9. It is made of a synthetic brocade lined in silk taffeta, hand sewn with matching silk thread. The two pieces were joined together with topstitching along all edges, done so that the darker gold of the lining sets off the lighter gold of the brocade. The pattern used is one created by experts in Japanese Historic Costume from an extant garment. It is appropriate for a Heian Japanese noblewoman of modest rank.

Layer 4

The hat was purchased. The veil panels are silk gazar hemmed by hand in silk thread. Work on the weaving of the kazari-himo or decorative cords for the hat began on October 1 and was finished on October 27. The hat was assembled on January 10. The kazari-himo were woven from thousands of yards of silk thread that was divided into 8 hanks of 40 threads each and then woven by hand on a marudai (a late 16th century Japanese weaving stand). Each of the finished 4 cords was 13’-9” or longer. The cords were all trimmed to the same length and woven through a channel in the veil panels, emerging at small slits at the outside center and interior edges. I modelled the veil construction and cord application on the example found at the Kyoto Costume Museum. The hat is appropriate for a Japanese noblewoman of the late Heian and Kamakura periods.

Layer 4+

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