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

Beginner · Modern Beginner · Modern Recreationist

Aoife inghean Úi Thormaig

Location : Grimfells, Calontir

Category/Level: Modern Recreationist/Beginner

About Aoife: I attended my first event in October ’19. I only got to go to one more before Covid. Sewing is new and intimidating. I learned sewing, weaving, and embroidery just so I could fit in with you all. This project will hopefully be the fancy thing I can wear to court. It will not be easy. I’m already freaking out.

Her Project: I am new to the SCA and am making my kit myself because I can’t afford to buy clothes. I am aiming for pre-Norman Irish Celt because all my friends are Vikings. So, 10th-11th century? I’m not a fancy lady, but I do like to look nice. I’m making a pink underdress (I saw a picture of Mary wearing a pink leine once; Book of Kells, maybe) and a red leine with gold-colored trim out of linen. I will also make a red brat out of a cotton fleece I have, and I’ll try to embroider on it the fox that I hope will one day be on my device. I’ll likely weave some trim for some part of this. For the fourth item, maybe a copper cloak pin?

Final Pictures

Her final thoughts on the challenge:

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

Layer 1

This is an underdress for this outfit, but I’ll be able to wear it on its own, too. I did underarm gussets, which didn’t turn out quite right, but I feel confident that I can do them better in the future. It’s pink linen, which matches my skin beautifully.

Layer 2

The overdress! It’s just like I had in my head! I had some trouble with the neckline, which was followed by a spectacular meltdown. Several people talked me through how to fix it, and now it’s so much prettier. I wove the trim from cotton thread on cardboard tablets I made. The dress is linen. I’d also like it noted that it didn’t fall apart in the washer.

Layer 3

This is my brat. I don’t know what the fabric is. It’s something Mom had on hand. I wish I’d had more fabric for this, because I feel that it’s a bit small. I did the embroidery on it, which didn’t turn out as pretty as I’d envisioned. But, I’m better at making uniform chain stitches now (though no better at turning corners). This is the layer I stabbed myself on!

Layer 4

I let my friend talk me into a kidney belt for my accessory layer. He helped me draft a pattern and told me how to do everything else, but I did all the work myself. This is veg-tanned cow hide. I used a gel antique for the color and designed the tooled pattern based on a coaster I saw online. I will probably make lucet cord lacing later.

Bonus Points

Intermediate · Modern Recreationist · Modern Recreationist Intermediate

Laurence of Grimfells

Location: Grimfells, Calontir

Category/Level: Modern Recreationist/Intermediate

About Laurence: my persona is a 14th century men at arms and a squire to a noble lord knight, I regularly sew and want to use this challenge to further my skills and test my ability not only as a tailor but as pourpointer. I’ve been fighting for about 7 years and sewing for longer, but only after joining and making my first piece of garb a red wool cotte with 50+ hand made buttons and button holes I dedicated most of my free time to sewing.

His Project: the out fit will be drawing inspiration from late 14 early 15th transitional period, and is of the middle upper class of noble men at arms. I’ll be using several historical images depicting the outfit I will be entering, the middle layer of the outfit will also function as a foundation garment for supporting armor.

Final Photos

His final thoughts on his C3 experience:

iv learnd alot and probably wouldint have done as much and sewing if the challange didnt happen im varry glad i enterd and put my skills to the test

Layer 1

1360-70, English, low noble/man at arms, male, noble/legman/man at arms. The garments were made using historical hand sewing techniques, and materials or there closest modern equivalent. All went fairly quickly, and Id probably make the braes differently.

Layer 2

The second layer is a 14th century pourpoint made of fustian padded with cotton batting, a common garment among young noble men at arms of the second half of the 14th century. And a pair of split wool hosen, also popular among the gentry and a predesoser of the full joined hose of the 15th century. This out fit is popular thought out England France and the Itailian city states. the materals for the poupoint were relitivaly new, as cotton was a recently introduced inport though Italy by way of the meditreraina, and was used as padding as well as weaved with linen flax fibers to create fustian offten used in fighting and some civilian garments. The outfit its self was a reflection of martal prowess and the 14th century of masculin beauty, cinching the waist and pronouncing the chest creating the look of a armored solder withou haveing to incase ones self in a steel harness, even the hose are fited in such away to show the musels of the calves and thigh. I`m quiet pleased with the gament, though if i had to do I had to do it again I would machine quilt the pourpoin to save in time especillay where speed is benifical.

Layer 3

The silk over cotte the fasion layer of this out fit, this garment would be a common dress garment of the late/early 14th and 15th century’s. The garment presented is based off sevrial art pecies showing similar garments, and as to period reconstruted as acuratly as posible using a silk shell and a fuistan lining. Being completly and sewn from start to finish i couldent be more happy with it than i currently am, in a future model i will probably use a stifer under lining and a pattern silk, as well machine sew and hand finish to save time.

Layer 4

A belt is the common acssesory of the medieval person, normally highly decorated with brass bronze or gold to show the persons wealth. Iv used hand cut and emblished brass sheets and a simple buckle i had on hand. In period a nobles belt would be decorated with casted metal fixtures, I used the sheet brass to save time, and in the future i will most likly order casted fixtures for a more authintic look. as well the leather is painted red for my own ease as ordering red leather dye would take too long .

Bonus Points

Intermediate · Modern Recreationist · Modern Recreationist Intermediate

Roxelana Bramante

Location: Grimfells, Calontir

Category/Level: Modern Recreationist/Intermediate

Project Update Blog: All The Pretty Flowers

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

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

Final Photos

Her final thoughts on her C3 experience:

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

Layer 1

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

1. They must be comfortable.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Layer 2

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

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

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

Layer 3

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

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

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

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

Layer 4

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bonus Points