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

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

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

Advanced · Modern Advanced · Modern Recreationist

Gisele de la Fontaine

Location: Barony of Couer d’Ennui, Calontir

Category/Level: Modern Recreationist/Advanced

About Gisele: I have been in the SCA since about 2015/16, I don’t recall when exactly. I do not sew regularly for myself in the SCA, though I do sew quite a bit for my partner. I dabble a bit in period cooking, sometimes making period recipes by accident, period dying is fun and I have recently started tinkering with illumination since I have all these hard won watercolor skills that aren’t currently in use. This particular project ties nicely into the direction my persona is going, which is developing more French, though all my current garb is Flemish. I started Flemish, mostly because the garb was comfy and there is a certain quality to late period Flemish kitchen scenes that I love. But in the last couple years I have drifted more French because the period cookbooks are fun, the politics are bonkers and the women of the late period French are a force to be reckoned with.

Her Project: Late Period French Lady’s Ensemble. Between 1530-1550. Lesser Nobility or Wealthy Merchant Class woman(new money from the newly expanding global trade). Not a recreation of any one particular dress, but a combination of features I like from a selection of paintings within the same time period/region. Hood from one image, trim from another, etc. Much of it styled after one of my favorite French Mistresses, Diane de Poitiers, a brilliant woman who managed to stay in favor at the court through multiple French Kings with her intelligence and beauty. Mostly, this ensemble is all the things that have been on the “to make eventually for myself” list. I have had most of the materials for a while, but while I was costuming for a living(the pre-covid times) I usually didn’t have the motivation to also sew in my off hours. I have collected several images for inspiration.

Final Photo

Layer 1

Layer 1. Chemise, Petticoat & Farthingale Chemise made of linen, following a pattern I made based on what I could see in French portraits from the first half of the 16th century. It is a yoked chemise with a yoke about 2” wide, fairly full sleeves gathered into a cuff at the wrist. I have not included a wrist ruffle, as I find them irritating, especially when trying to wash my hands at events and with no viable ruffle in some portraits I decided to leave them off. The second garment here is the requisite red petticoat, in my case made of red linen for added comfort and breathability. There are so many layers, any breathability I can get in the under layers I am going for. I have made a modification to the style, removing the shoulder straps and making it only go around the waist. I tried for a while to make the straps work, but with two additional shoulder layers being added on top, the limited range of motion caused by the petticoat straps sliding down constantly did not make the garment a joy to wear. So, I have removed them and made the petticoat to be able to lace onto the second layer’s farthingale for stability. This was much better for wearability. I have also made both layers a little shorter that seems indicated in my research, again for wearability. While I don’t think our historical counterparts would have had to encounter gymnasium bleachers all that often, they are a regular feature of our events and since it is easier to lift a farthingale than the layers under it, I made them shorter to make it safer to navigate the bleachers. Nothing ruins one’s dignity quite like falling on gym bleachers. On to the Farthingale. This was an especially fun piece to work on. In this case I used a tight woven, heavy shirting cotton I had in my stash for the base and a plaid taffeta for the hoop casings. And once again, the problem of navigating mundane spaces in period clothes raised its head. Hm, how to get in a car in a farthingale? The solution was to make the hoops removable and easy to reinsert. The hoops themselves are made of half round rattan caning purchased from a basket maker online. After a good sanding to smooth them out, they slide in and out of the casings easily and should make the whole ensemble easier to work with in the crowded spaces we sometimes find ourselves at events (looking at you Kris Kinder)

Layer 2

Layer 2. Kirtle and Foresleeves On to the Kirtle. Initially when I started this project I thought there would have to be a separate set of bodies under the kirtle for support but have been fortunate to find that is unnecessary with the quantity and quality of the boning I used in the kirtle itself. I have employed artificial whalebone in this case, for durability and because it is washable, giving the whole garment a better chance at a long life. Additionally for extra support I added a couple small pads under the breasts to keep them in place with small sudo-cups. No matter how tight I laced, the girls kept sliding around and clearly needed some direction as to where they should be. The pads solved this problem without having to strangle myself. The kirtle side laces, for ease of wear, make it possible to dress myself and keeps the back neckline free of any visible lacing. The foresleeves are another piece of period clothing fun that I love learning about. These little beauties tie just above the elbow to cover the chemise sleeve without adding bulk to the upper arm part of the oversleeve. These little guys are slashed with fake puffs pulled out, and as I prewashed my fabric, totally washable for when I inevitably drag a sleeve into something sticky.

Layer 3

Layer 3. Overgown and Hood. French Overgown 1540s. A noble woman of France, inspired by Diane de Poitiers (one of my favorite period people) and Catherine de’ Medici. Here is where it really gets fun. I found this fabric years ago and it has been in my stash awaiting something exactly like this to prompt me to actually make the gown. I have drafted the pattern from looking at assorted portraits from France between 1530 and 1550 as well as consulting the Tudor Tailor for any insights that they may have into construction, because a painting only tells you so much. This was great build and true to period practice, there is a bit of piecing on the skirt panels but it is practically invisible. I have made the gown without a train. While trained gowns are certainly beautiful, not so helpful at events. The bodice closes with under laced forebodies to hold it together and a placard to cover the front, making the closures very much hidden. For this particular project, I have made the over sleeves to lace in as I would like to be able to swap an alternate pair of fur lined sleeves in sometimes. The French Hood was a fun piece to build adn I will likely be making few more of these in the future. The discovery that floral wire really isn’t as sturdy as one might like is a good insight going forward, a double row or heavier gage would have helped a lot. A relatively straight forward pattern, as I have made other versions before, this one was extra fun because I got to use a bunch of small silk scraps that have been languishing in my stash for quite some time now. One is not fully dressed without a hat and this one is a great final piece.

Layer 4

Who doesn’t love a good meal! I decided that dinner would be a great final non sewing layer. So I did some digging and decided on a four course dinner if French and Italian dishes. A meal with a starter of sweet stewed figs, which are suggested as a dish for the beginning of the meal, but I think they are actually perfect over the torte bianca at the end. The funniest thing about this dish is when chilled they get very squeaky when you eat them. Like sneakers on a gym floor. Number two is a vegetable dish of cabbage with fennel and onions. I like this dish as it is not far from how I like to cook cabbage on the regular and is a nice salty compliment to the sweet chicken dish. Third comes a capon in orange sauce. This is a very sweet chicken dish and I have taken the liberty of modifying the rice dish to better work with the chicken. I used a whole chicken that I cut up myself and decided to remove the skin, since the idea of braised chicken skin did not sound even slightly appealing. The gentle stewing made for a really delicious and tender chicken. Fourth is the saffron rice is originally to be cooked into something more like a porridge. But I have chosen to make it with less broth than the original to make a fluffy rice, perfect for soaking up the orange sauce of the chicken. I got very lucky this fall to find saffron crocus bulbs at the local Lowes, so of course I bought a bunch and planted them. I got a fair amount of saffron from them this year and hope for more next year. The final dish is torte bianca, a ginger cheese pie. This was one of the first recipes I came across early in my SCA journey and I’m glad to finally have a reason to make it. Gingery, not too sweet, and the paest royall is an excellent crust with a texture a bit like shortbread. And I will be eating this for breakfast for the next several days because it is the size of a modern pie. Of course had I given more thought to the timing, like not finishing layer four before layer three was done, the pictures would have been better.

(Admin note: More information about this layer in the document at the bottom of the page)

Bonus Points

Group

Iolair Artisans

Group Members: Rose Chapman, Matthew Chapman, Marguerite des Baux, Caitlin inghen Raighne, Giraude Benet

Location: Cum an Iolair, Calontir

Category/Level: Modern Recreationist/Advanced

About the Iolar Artisans : Caitlin, Giraude, and Marguerite have known each other for well over a decade. Rose and Matthew met Caitlin approximately 10 years ago, and the others in late 2009. They are banding together to make a better set of garb for Rose. Rose and Matthew in particular are stretching themselves on this project by making the chair – Rose is teaching Matthew to weave, and Matthew is teaching Rose woodworking!

Their Project: Rose recently rejoined the SCA after several years on hiatus, and is developing a new persona with all new garb. The clothing we plan to create – a smock, kirtle, and handwoven cloak – would befit the wife of a merchant in 14th century England. The outfit is loosely based on the effigy of Katherine Mortimer, Countess of Warwick, 1369. The chosen accessory will be a Dantesca style chair based on extant examples with handwoven fabric for the back and seat. Stretch goals include a cap of St. Birgitte, a tablet woven belt, and hand embroidery.

Completed Outfit

Layer 1

This 14th century women’s linen smock is designed to fit invisibly under the kirtle. Caitlin patterned the smock with the aid of Rose’s kirtle pattern and measurements, machine stitched the construction seams, and finished the seams by hand. Despite not being able to have in-person fittings, the smock fits Rose perfectly!

Layer 2

This is a 14th century English kirtle made out of a linen/cotton blend. Matthew helped Rose make the pattern for the dress via the draping method. After determining the main dress panel dimensions, Rose carefully planned the cutting layout to make the gores as large as possible to reduce fabric waste. Rose stitched the dress on a machine, then finished seams and stitched eyelets by hand. Rose made her very first tubular tablet woven cord to use for lacing.

The original dress plan called for close-fitted sleeves with 19 buttons on each arm between elbow and wrist. Giraude made the cloth buttons, and Rose made a start on buttonholes cut out with a chisel for uniform length. Unfortunately, Rose was not able to hand-stitch 38 buttonholes and sew on that many buttons within the challenge time frame due to wrist strain, so plain sleeves were used instead. Rose had just enough extra fabric to make the second pair of sleeves, with a whole inch of length to spare! The wider sleeve design is still period, it just places the kirtle earlier in the 14th century than originally planned.

Layer 3

14th century English wool cloak. Marguerite des Baux wove fabric by hand on 4 shafts. Rose Chapman constructed the cloak with machine-sewn seams and finished the seams by hand. Rose also embroidered an ivy leaf motif along the front edge of the cloak using a chain stitch. Almost everything went as planned – even matching diagonal stripes on the center back seam! However, the gold thread was a wool/silk blend, while the green and blue threads were 100% wool, and the differential shrinkage that showed up after wet finishing the fabric created uneven selvedges. Rose was able to hide most of the unevenness in the cloak’s seams, but the front edge remains a tad uneven.

Layer 4

While this Dantesca style chair was used from the 16th century onward, Rose couldn’t resist making a period folding chair for events even though her persona is technically 14th century. Matthew carved, sanded, and assembled the chair base out of 2×6 pine boards. The medallions covering the bolt holes on the front and back of the chair were purchased, but we made everything else. Rose stained the chair, wove fabric out of 8/2 tencel (imitation silk) for the seat and back using a period pattern, and patterned and stitched the seat and back based on extant chair examples. Rose serged the handwoven fabric to sturdy canvas before constructing the seat and back to ensure they would bear weight without stretching too much. Matthew affixed the seat and back to the chair with upholstery tacks.

Rose was originally planning to learn woodworking and Matthew was going to learn how to weave to complete this project. Rose, being a relatively new weaver, didn’t realize that tencel is a tricky material to work with and therefore not a good choice for beginning weavers, so she assumed weaving duties and left the woodworking to Matthew. Rose will learn how to work with wood to make a second chair in the future so the couple can have a matched set for events, and Matt still plans on learning how to weave.

Woodworking pattern and instructions followed: https://sawdustandshavings.home.blog/2019/08/02/building-the-dantesca-chair/

Pavy lisere 8-shaft weaving draft: https://www2.cs.arizona.edu/patterns/weaving/webdocs/mnm_mt31.pdf

Layer 4+

Tablet woven belt. Rose made the belt on her inkle loom out of 3/2 perle cotton. The buckle and chape were purchased online, and affixed to the belt with rivets. This was actually Rose’s second attempt at a belt. Her previous attempt with only burgundy and blue threads didn’t show the original pattern well and looked very bland, so she added gold thread and chose a completely different pattern draft.

St. Birgitte’s cap. Rose machine stitched the construction seams on this linen cap, and finished the seams with hand stitching. The pattern was copied from another cap Rose drafted and tested for mundane wear, since it’s such a practical piece of clothing.

Split mittens. Rose had a few scraps of cloak material left over. Since she wanted to take photos in the well-timed snow but didn’t want frostbite, she managed to eke out just enough cloth to make a pair of mittens as the storm rolled in the day before the final photo shoot. As you can see, there was barely enough! The thumb and thumb hole shapes were copied from a commercial pattern, while the main hand pattern was drafted based on hand measurements and tailored on the fly.

Bonus Points

Beginner · Historic Beginner · Historically Focused

Jacquette de Brackeleire

Location: Calontir

Category/Level: Historically focused/Beginner

About Jacquette: I have participated in the SCA for about 12 years, off and on. I was an avid sewer in my early years, but in the past few years have found it difficult to give my attention to. This project will encourage me to get back into a hobby I have long admired while challenging me to focus on historical research.

Her Project: My plan is to construct a Viking apron dress that would have been specifically used for breastfeeding. By interpreting burial artifacts, illuminations, and foreign cultural influences, I will portray what I theorize is the style mothers would have worn while feeding their young. This focused piece is inspired by my own lactation challenges, and my interest in how mothers prevailed in history.

Final Photos

Layer 1

The under tunic (or serk) for my Norse (Viking) garment is based on the Herjolfsnes archeology find in Greenland. I focused on the garment D10585.1 which shows a serk with a front slit in the middle of the chest. This garment got me thinking that with the slit in the middle, a Viking mother has accessibility when breastfeeding her child.

All the sewing was done by hand with wool or silk thread which was purchased at a SCA event. The stitch used for the basic structure was the running stitch while the decorative stitch is the hemming bone stitch. All together the under tunic was made with linen or linen-blend fabric. I am proud to say that I finished all raw seams with a whipstitch. I rarely ever complete a garment’s raw edges.

I had originally planned to make this layer an exact replication of the historical garment, however, due to issues in the patterning and construction of the garment I had to do some modifications. Firstly, the tunic was too short at the bottom (or hem), thus I added a blue linen kick-panel to add length. Secondly, I attempted to sew the gores and gussets in the technique suggested by “Medieval Garments reconstructed: Norse Clothing Patterns” but found complications when doing so. When adding the gores, I folded the raw edge of the serk and sewed it flat to the gore using the herringbone stitch. This work marvelously on the sides of the garment and added an extra decoration. However, when using this method to gores in the back or front, I had to use a different stitch and manipulation of fabric around the points of the gore to make it not pucker as much. After attempting this on the back and being frustrated, I chose not to add the gore to the front, which would be similar to garment D5674.

If I was to redo this garment I would finish the seams with a flat-felled seam or French seam. The greatest hurdle I would like to overcome is being consistent with all my stitches. I notice that when I get fatigued I tend to get sloppy with the size and length of each stitch.

Layer 2

The second layer of my Norse (Viking) garment is the apron dress (smokkr). This garment is roughly based on the Birka archeological dig. The construction is based on the theories of Hagg (1974). I mainly focused on the grave titled 464 and 465 for interpreting the types of fabric and parts of construction. The Birka dig found fragments of a blue wool with a linen fragment pressed against it. Encompassing both fragments at the top was a strip of silk. Thus I chose the wool as my main fabric component and linen as the lining for the smokkr. For the sides, I folded the wool over the raw edge of the linen and stitched it with a whipstitch. I did not double fold the fabric. I found this technique was the better way to sew the garment because of the thickness of the wool. I used a strip of white silk over the top of the linen and wool, and used a whipstitch to finish the seam.

The main construction of the smokkr was based on the theory that the apron was made of one solid piece of fabric that wrapped around the body. I tried to imitate this in my construction and found that for a voluptuous woman this caused extra space around the bust line. A better choice would be to gather or pleat the material. The smokkr loops I made from wool. The fabric was folded on both sides, causing 4 layers, and stitched along the raw sides with a blind (or sometimes called ladder) stitch. This was found in many of the Birka graves. The majority of the graves also had several loops at either the top or bottom of the turtle brooches, especially in the case of 465 grave. This leads me to believe that other components, such as a front smokkr panel, could have been attached.

This brings me to Bau’s (1981) theory of the front smokkr being open and a front panel being hooked onto it with loops. The theory of the detacheable front panel would be plausible for a breastfeeding Viking women who would have to adjust or get rid of the front of the smokkr to have access to the chest.

Layer 3

The third layer of the garment is based on Yorkshire Museum’s Viking Silk Cap (900AD-999AD). I chose this as a basis for what a Viking mother would have worn around her head to cover up her hair while breastfeeding. Personally, I found that breastfeeding while there is hair flying all over the place is very frustrating. Therefore, some form of cap would be plausible. The main body and fabric of the cap was made similar to the Yorkshire cap. It was constructed using two silk fabric pieces with a seam down the middle. I chose to put a linen lining to add comfort and interest to the cap. I used the same method of finishing the seams as with the smokkr. I folded the edge of the silk and linen, however, I did a double fold since it was not as bulky as the wool. I whipstitched the seam with silk thread pulled from left over pieces of fabric so to match the cap.

Layer 4

The fourth layer of my garment is an attempt to replicate a tri-lobed brooch. Based on skeletal remains in Birka and other locations, the tri-lobed brooch was usually located around the “adams-apple” or chest of a serk, or attach to a cloak or coat. The use of this accessory for the serk was similar to a button, holding the top two edges together. This would be plausible for Viking women who would need some form of closure around the neckline of the serk.

I tried to replicate the tri-lobed brooch by making clay molds and melting metal into the molds, aka casting. This layer was extremely difficult for me because I never had dealt with metal and casting before, and I did not have proper materials like a kiln. I used terra cotta clay and sculpted a mold. I then baked it using a typical kitchen oven at 275 degrees for about an hour to harden the mold. I had to make sure that the mold was less than 1/2”, so it would dry out properly. If not properly dry, it could explode when hot metal hit it and there is moisture (known as a steam explosion). Unable to get bronze, gold, or other fine metals, I attempted this accessory using molten lead through a melting pot. Having difficulty designing a clip to attach to the brooch, I settled on melting a safety pin to the backside. If I could do it again, I would solder pieces of metal together to create a clip.

Bonus Points

Intermediate · Modern Recreationist · Modern Recreationist Intermediate

Jorunna Refsdottir

Location: Barony of the Lonely Tower, Calontir

Category/Level: Modern Recreationist/Intermediate

About Jorunna: I’ve been in the SCA going on 4 years now. I’ve been learning to sew my own garb the past 3 years and slowly building up my collection. A good portion of what I have is Norse. However, I have a Persian outfit, a gift bliaut, a couple of Italian dresses, and some roman chitons. I want to have garb from all different times and locations, and have a list of what all I want to make. In the SCA I also do target archery, equestrian, mounted archery, heavy combat, combat archery, embroidery, and dabble in bardic. This endeavor is going to be a bit challenging for me, but I’m excited to learn new skills and have a new outfit!

Her Project: I am looking to make my first 12th Century French bliaut. This project is to add a summer weight or light weight bliaut for warmer weather. I was given a velvet bliaut from a friend, but it’s too heavy for warm weather events. This one will be made from a beautiful silk looking cotton rayon brocade. The fabric has embroidered fleur de lis in gold. The sleeves will be lined with actual silk that is lavender and gold. I plan to make a matching veil too. For inspiration I’ve been looking at images of the carvings on the Cathedral de Chartes, some illuminations, and some other SCAdians’ examples of bliauts. This is a chance for me to make something completely new that I’ve never attempted before. I’m excited to be expanding my sewing skills and knowledge and branching out historically!

Final Pictures

Her final thoughts on the challenge:

I learned a lot with this outfit. I am pretty happy with how it turned out and look forward to wearing it to an event. It’s not 100% perfect, but for my first try I am thrilled how it turned out.

Layer 1

This is an underdress for my 12th century ensemble. The outfit is meant to be a noble. I cut out the dress as a standard early period underdress. Using rectangles, triangles, and squares in the pattern. I decided to go with a scoop neck neckline on this dress, and realized after that I probably should’ve cut it an inch smaller than what I did, but it’s ok, and will work. I decided against decorating the underdress with embroidery, so that I can use it as part of other early period ensembles as well. It’s a pretty base layer and I love the color of this dress.

Layer 2

This is my 12th century bliaut main dress. It’s made of cotton/rayon blend that feels and acts like silk taffeta in a lot of ways. The sleeves and neck (purple/gold) is real silk that was repurposed from sari silk. It’s very lightweight and sewing the two together proved extremely challenging! I had to hand sew almost of the time on it because it kept sliding when I tried to use the machine. I did 20 hand sewn eyelets in the side of the dress. They took a while, but I learned a lot! I decided to machine sew the dress hem because 1. It would be more sturdy and hold up better. 2. I was running out of time for this project because we bought a house and have to move at the end of the month. If I had more time I would’ve hand sewn the hem too.

Layer 3

This was a 3/4 circular mantle I made as the top layer of my entry. It’s based on some of the courtly mantles seen in the paintings of the 12th century. I used a wool/poly felt blend for the top of it. I used fake fur to line it. That was awful. The fake fur while super soft and warm has a stretchy backing that made it difficult to work with. It took 4 times as long as it should have because of that horrible material and I will never use it again. Lessons have been learned. I found a really pretty metallic trim to edge the front of the mantle. This piece was almost entirely machine sewn. The brooches I got from Raymond’s quiet press and are replicas of 12th century brooches.

Layer 4

This is a leather belt I did. I’ve never done leather working other than cleaning horse tack and armor, prior to this. It was all new! I bought a simple blank and the 12th century replicas for the belt findings. I stamped the leather with a circle and Celtic knot design. Then riveted on the findings. I didn’t want to dye it black, but not sure what color I really want with it, so I left it natural for now.

Layer 4+

Rectangular silk veil. I sewed it on two sides. It’s an attempt at a veil similar to those seen in the 12th century statues and paintings. It’s the same silk I used to line my sleeves and as contrast on the collar of my main dress.

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

Intermediate · Modern Recreationist · Modern Recreationist Intermediate

Lasair nic Taillier

Location: Aston Tor, Calontir

Category/Level: Modern/Intermediate

About Lasair: My name is Lasair nic Taillier. I have been in the SCA off and on for 30 years. My persona is an early period merchant and sheep farmer. Sewing is one of the many crafts that I learned from my mother, although I am confident, I am not an expert nor am I very good at sewing clothing or making patterns. My expertise is in working with wool and strings. I am a Master Spinner (modernly) and an experienced dyer. I love working with all aspects of wool, from the raw fleece to a finished yarn. The challenge for this project will be in the pattern/fitting part. Creating the complete outfit and not being sidetracked before it is finished will also be a challenge. I am by nature a provider of goods, as in I provide yarn for spinning, dyed wool for felting, dyed and skeined silks for embroidery, bands for trim, etc, so to finished a project is a challenge for me, especially when it has many parts.

Her Project: I have been wanting to make a new complete Finnish outfit for a while now. I have made and worn Viking tunics for many years because I prefer the simple early clothing. However, when Mistress Johanne of Fisher Gate introduced me to the Finnish Outfit, I fell in love with the simplicity of the dress and the crafty ornate aprons. The metal ornaments (neck ware and spiral bracelets) are really cool too! I am going to make an Eura type outfit as described in “Ancient Finnish Costumes, by Pirkko-Liisa Lehtosalo-Hilander:Page 53. Fig 37. The Eura costume”. Consisting of an undertunic (linen), the main-dress (wool), a mantel (linen or wool to be deciced), and accessories (to be determined).

Final Pictures

Her thoughts on her C3 experience:

Making this outfit was so much fun. I learned about making coil beads and weaving bands onto fabric. I will enjoy wearing this to an event. Can’t wait to see everyone’s new outfit.

Layer 1

Layer 1 is the under dress for my Finnish Outfit. It is machine sewn from 100% linen. I measured and cut the fabric based on the pictures from the Eura costume based on ‘Grave 56’ at Luistari, as detailed in ‘Ancient Finnish Costumes by Suomenkielinen lyhennelma’, pages 45 to 53.

Layer 2

This was an easy layer, since the fabric only had to be measured, cut and sewn at the shoulders and hems. The most time consuming part was weaving the Baltic trim using silk. I have done Baltic weaving as a learning experiment using cotton, but have not made any for use or used silk thread. So there was a learning curve, but not a steep one. I made 2 1/2 yards of two different patterns, one for the top trim and one for the bottom. After this project, I consider myself very much more educated in the art of Baltic pick up weaving and un-weaving and re-weaving, etc.

Layer 3

My final layer is the Mantel. Using a 1 yard piece of commercial wool, I cut it to the correct width and used the left over pieces to create the woven edge, metal bead and fringed ends. Historically it would have been finished off on the loom using the warp of the fabric as the weft of the band. I do not own a warp weighted loom and did not weave the fabric. So my compromise was to fringe(remove the weft threads) from 20 inches of the ends and use my small inkle loom to add a Baltic style band using my hand spun yarn as warp and the warp from the fabric as the weft for the band. Next I made the metal beads and added 3 rows of beads to the fringe. Then I wove a second band under the beads using the same yarn and style as the first band. Lastly I braided and tied the ends of the fringe.

This was quite the challenge as I have never made metal beads and have certainly never woven a band onto a length of fabric. Weaving the first band was not too bad, it got a bit fiddly as the cloth was moving through the pegs on the loom and because the warp threads were of different diameters choosing the correct number of warp/fabric threads to use so the fabric would not gather was a bit tricky. I got the hang of making the beads fairly fast and adding them to the fringe was just a matter of keeping them even. However, the second band quickly became a very fiddly challenge as I had to try to keep the beads in line and use the correct amount of weft threads and ease the band/beads around the loom pegs as I wove it.

One thing that was helped a lot was tying the weft threads after weaving to keep the band tight and stop it from slipping.

Layer 4

This is the apron for my Finnish dress. The apron is red linen with metal work and handwoven Baltic trim.

Bonus Points