About Gwendolyn: I have been in the SCA off and on since 1996, but I’ve solidly active for the past 12-15 years (I’ve lost count). I’m honored to serve as the Baroness of Three Rivers. I’ve been sewing most of my life. I learned to sew from my father, who sat me on his lap at the sewing machine and made doll clothes with me. I have a BS in Costume History and Design and an MA in Clothing Textiles and Interiors with a focus on Historic clothing and textiles. I’m always looking to push myself with new times, places, and techniques.
Her Project: I will be making a Finnish outfit based on the Eura Grave 56. The grave is believed to be that of a well dressed woman in her 40s and dates from the mid 11th century. I have long been fascinated with the intricate spiral aprons popular in Finland, and decided that this was an opportunity to try my hand at it.
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).
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.
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.
This is the apron for my Finnish dress. The apron is red linen with metal work and handwoven Baltic trim.
Group Members: (clockwise from upper left) Lasair Nic Tallier, Johanne of Fisher Gate, Felar Tallier, Twilleliah nic Tallier,
Location: Aston Tor, Calontir
About the Tencees :We are the nic Tailliuirs of Aston Tor, clan siblings. We have been playing in the SCA for a very long time, Johanne consistently for 25 years, Lasair, Twilleliah, and Felar off and on since 1995. We are all crafty, with each of us having a specialty and a working knowledge of several other crafts. We LOVE a challenge and are using this challenge to see how close we can get to a real Historic outfit.
Their Project : We are going to create a Finnish – Eura costume based on ‘Grave 56’ at Luistari, as detailed in ‘Ancient Finnish Costumes by Suomenkielinen lyhennelma’, pages 45 to 53. We do not have time to spin and weave the fabric, so we are using purchased wool for all the garment layers. The under tunic will be a light weight very dark blue wool, the over dress will be a heaver, light grey wool. The apron will be of the same heaver, light grey wool but will be natural dyed into a nice contrasting color.
Lasair has been wanting to create a mostly accurate Finnish Dress to wear and we are using this challenge to ‘Get er Done’.
Layer one – Layer 1 is the under dress for this Finnish Outfit. It is 100% fine wool (commercial dyed). We 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. Hand sewing was uneventful and proceeded as planned using hand spun natural black wool. This task was done by Lasair.
Layer 2 is the over dress for this Finnish Outfit. It is 100% wool. Lasair hand processed all the wool. Starting with raising the sheep, shearing (had a shearer do the shearing), sorting, skirting, washing and carding. All the yarn was hand spun – I did use a modern wheel.
For the Fabric: The warp threads are tans and browns and our weft thread is light grey, all natural colors. All the warp yarns for the fabric are tightly spun Z and the weft yarns are spun S, slightly thicker in grist without particular attention paid to keeping the grist even. This will best simulate thread that was produced during the Viking age. (this was done before the start date for this project)
For the trim: Natural colored fleeces were used to create 4 colors of 2 ply yarn. All the processing for the trim was done during the project time. Lasair chose a pattern from the Finn book on tablet weaving, “Applesies and Fox Noses”. These patterns are either based on actual grave finds in Finland or inspired from those. The thread was hand-spun by Lasair in natural, Icelandic sheep colors.
Disclaimer – Because of time constraints, the fabric was finished before the start date for this project, so for judging only the trim and sewing will be turned in (just wanted to brag about spinning and weaving the fabric). Admin Note: The below should be disregarded for judging purposes, though working with handwoven material may still be considered when scoring.
Johanne did all the weaving of both the cloth and the table woven trim. The following was provided by Johanne of Fisher Gate who was the weaver for this part of the project: “I have never woven with handspun singles before. It had a whole new set of challenges. Even though the thread was all spun exactly the same, the individual fleeces had their own properties. The lighter fleeces stood up well to the beater and reed wear with no breakage. The darker fleeces seemed to shred on the loom. In the beginning I had a huge amount of breakage. It was frustrating and made for very slow progress. I changed from a 12 dent reed to a 10 dent reed, to an eight dent reed. I still had breakage, but not as bad. I had used a seizing on the thread as I beamed it but it didn’t help a lot. I had to eliminate the darkest thread and re-thread the heddles and the reed. I re-threaded the reed a third time as I moved to an eight dent reed. About half way through the yardage I discovered that if I soaked the front of the warp with seize and dried it with each warp advance, it reinforced the softer thread and, virtually, eliminated breakage. From that point on, weaving was effortless.
I used four shafts on an eight shaft, jack loom. I chose a simple, four shaft, 2/2 broken lozenge twill found in fabric grave finds throughout Europe and Scandinavia from the 6th to the 11th centuries. I warped 14 yards at 32″ at eight ends per inch. That was a total of 256 heddles. The pattern has worked out to 18 ends per inch for the weft. The experimental part of this project is a total success.
The object of the exercise was to see if Z-spun singles used for warp would ply with S-spun singles in the weft to make a locked, sturdier fabric. It was so successful that it was almost impossible to take out a mistake in the weave without ripping the thread apart. Many of the fabric grave finds were spun and woven this way.”
Disclaimer – Because of time constraints, the fabric was finished before the start date for this project, so for judging only the trim and sewing will be turned in (just wanted to brag about spinning and weaving the fabric). For the trim, Lasair chose a pattern from the Finn book on tablet weaving, “Applesies and Fox Noses”. These patterns are either based on actual grave finds in Finland or inspired from those. The thread was hand-spun by Lasair in natural, Icelandic sheep colors.