About Adelaide: I began in Ansteorra, took a decade-long break when I had my daughter, and arrived in Calontir around 2012. I enjoy many skills within the SCA, but I am probably best known for sharing those skills with the children of the kingdom, during my time as Kingdom Minister of Youth.
Her Project: I’ve had some lovely fabric that has been begging to become an Italian gown, so I will make a 15th Century Venetian gown. There are a few historical paintings that show a lovely front-laced gown, such as the woman in pink in Ghirlandaio’s Birth of St. John the Baptist.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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
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). Screen reader support enabled.
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.
About Ametrie : I’ve been in the SCA for about a year now, not as long as others have I’m sure. I mean, I’ve always known how to sew but I’ve recently been teaching myself more skills. I generally help others with other projects that they can’t talk on all on their own. I’ve been sticking with what I want my persona to be (I’m very indecisive) but I feel like this is a major part in who I am in life so yes, it does. This will be pretty challenging for me, it’s been a while since I’ve sewn and actually made a project out of it.
Her Project: My outfit is mainly focused around Hispanic women’s clothing dating back to the 16th century. The style is mostly higher class so a woman of higher standing (ex a duchess) would have worn such clothing. This piece in a way helps bring be closer to my heritage, I may not look it but I’m 1/3 Hispanic. This is something I’ve been wanting to do for a while but just never found time or motivation to finally try and make this beautiful outfit I have planned for you.
About Annora: My main art focus is costuming. I will be using this challenge to make an outfit I had already planned. This will help provide some outside motivation for me to work on my project and stretch a little.
Her Project: Outfit will be an early Tudor ensemble indicative of the turn of the 16th century showcasing the stylistic change in silhouette. The outer gown will display pleating techniques in the back and have a wrap closure. The hood will be embellished with pearls and spangles as seen in several contemporary tapestries.
The body linen layer of the early 16th century was very similar to body linen layers of the previous eras. It is constructed using geometric shaped pattern pieces. For women it is ankle length. The sleeves are wrist length and narrow to fit through fitted outer sleeves. The neckline is square to match the kirtle with a high v in the back. I’ve made this same pattern many times and it wears very well. I did a reverse facing to complete the square neckline. I do not think I will do this in the future as I don’t like the look. But it would be a good method to apply an embroidered band to the neckline.
The linen is a lightweight linen from 96 District and the seams were sewn with a fine white silk thread by hand.
A pink linen kirtle of the early 16th century in England. It has been constructed with a separate waist seam and pleated skirt and short sleeves as seen in primary source images. The bodice is interlined with linen canvas and lined with 5oz white linen. This provides good shape and support to the bodice without being pad stitched or otherwise manipulated. I believe the early 16th century is too early for the use of pad stitching or other technical tailoring techniques. 20 hand bound eyelets were sewn in silk thread. Most of the construction seams were done with cotton thread. The kirtle is completely hand sewn and created from a pattern that I drafted. There are several process photos showing stages of construction and finishing. Fit is the most important thing about this layer as the kirtle supports the bust and provides the shape for the outer layer. I’m overall very happy with the fit of this kirtle. But I may tweak a few spots for the future. The shoulder straps could be a bit tighter and fit closer to the body. The facing around the neckline made the square corners much easier to sew but does add bulk to the neckline as well. This is the first time that I’ve used the fashion fabric for this purpose. A thin silk would reduce bulk here. The waistline is straight but appears to dip lower in the back of the kirtle. I believe this is an illusion created by how the kirtle fits on the body. The bodice was drafted with a straight waistline. An adjustment to the back of the bodice, raising it slightly, might account for this and correct the illusion. The hem goes to the floor but may be raised in the future as the kirtle is intended to be worn inside and outside.
This is a wool transitional gown from the turn of the 16th century. It’s has a wrap front closure that is shaped similar to 15th century gowns. But the back has developed more fullness and shows pleating techniques that start to be used more in the 16th century. The sleeves are a trumpet shape popular of this time period. It is fully lined in silk and hand sewn.
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?
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.
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.
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!
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.
About Catherine: I’m new to the SCA – I recently relocated from Barony of Axemoor to Coeur d’Ennui in the midst of the pandemic. I had planned to join my more experienced friends in Society for the Gulf Wars, but because of the pandemic, I’m doing my best to be active in the virtual community. I’ve been sewing off-and-on for many years, though until recently, my costumes have generally been on-offs for parades and theatrical performances, where they are not viewed up close and internal construction details aren’t as important. To that end, I’m excited to use this challenge to help me grow my technical skill and explore new historic techniques.
Her Project: My plan is for a completed outfit inspired primarily by the Hounds suit of the circa 1430 Stuttgart playing card deck. These cards reflect upper-class women in Germany (Upper Rhineland) in the early part of the 15th century. The outfit will include a chemise/hemd, gown (with detachable sleeves), and houppelande. In keeping with the playing card depictions, the outfit would likely be similar to that worn by a woman in the Queen’s service. For my fourth layer, I’ll be cooking a historic feast, hopefully using some foraged ingredients. While the outfit is not for a specific activity, as someone new to the SCA who has not yet attended any in-person events due to the pandemic, my goal is to produce a complete set of garb to show to good effect at my first event.
About Charles: I have been in the SCA since 1988 and have lived in 7 kingdoms. At first i was only interested in heavy combat, however over the years i have branched out and dabbled in A&S : Armoring, leather work, costuming, and casting. I usually produce one item at a time this will be the first time I’m doing an entire outfit. I think about half of the items will be easy for me to make ( shirts, trousers, hat), the other half should be a challenge as I have never made them before.
His Project: Greetings! I will be making a Varangian/Rus outfit, as I have recently decided to change my persona. I am basing my cloths off of research done by Peter Beatson on Rus male costume. I will be making : undershirt, over shirt, kaftan, trousers, Hat, belts, and sword scabbard.
About the Clowder: Our group is a mix of newcomers to our Barony and people who have been here for years. We decided as a group to do something for one of our newcomers who had very little in the way of garb. Our group name was chosen because we mostly agree that this is going to be like herding cats. 😉
Their Project: We will be constructing a Viking Era Norse woman’s outfit for one of BLT’s newcomers. We are going with a general Norse outfit based off of several extant finds. Details are still being hammered out.
About Diachbha: I joined the SCA in 1977 at Spinning Winds first event when we were still part of the Middle Kingdom. Except for 3 years in grad school, I have always lived in Calontir. My persona is late 10th c Norse, mostly Jorvik, but I give myself permission to wander Norse areas for inspiration and bling. This is an outfit that I could wear regularly. As I mentioned, I’m designing the coat to wear mundanely as well. I do sew sometimes, but I’m primarily a weaver. The whole outfit will be an interesting challenge. I have never forged anything before, but have made arrangements with a friend for lessons aimed specifically toward making a small blade with a curved handle. He’s psyched and I’m slightly scared.
Her Project: I’ve been itching to make this outfit for a while. It’s in the modern interpretation category because I want to use the coat for everyday wear. Underdress, apron dress, coat, embroidery, fibula, chains with small knife and leather sheath. Inspired by 10 and early 11th century Jorvik finds. Underdress and apron dress of hand-dyed linen. Coat of boiled wool, lined with India painted-calico (cotton). Garments hand sewn. Embroidery of reeled silk (patterns inspired by Danish Norse archeological finds). Fibula and chains from brass and bronze. Knife forged, tempered iron with cow hide sheath. If I have time, additional embellishment with tablet woven band of reeled silk. This type of overall outfit would have been worn by a middle-class householder. The whole outfit is the fancy version, perhaps worn for ceremonies.