Group · Historically Focused · Intermediate

Actreo

Group Members: Baroness Linnet del Grenewode,

Location: Barony of Carolingia, East

Category/Level: Historically Focused/Intermediate

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

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

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

Layer 1

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

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

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

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

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

Layer 2

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

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

Layer 3

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

Bonus Points

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.

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.

Bonus Points

Advanced · Historic Advanced · Historically Focused

Annora Reyner

Location: Barony of Three Rivers, Calontir

Category/Level: Historically Focused/Advanced

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.

Layer 1

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.

Layer 2

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.

Layer 3

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.

Bonus Points

Advanced · Historic Advanced · Historically Focused

Bartholomew Sharpe

Location: Barony of Bergental , East

Category/Level: Historically Focused/Advanced

About Bartholomew: I have been a member of the SCA for approximately 6 years. I have been involved in other forms of reenacting on and off since I was 13 (23 years or so). My main areas of interest is the material culture of 16th and early 17th century England. I have been sewing seriously for about 5 years. This past year I have been focusing on making completely hand-sewn garments. While I have a good understanding of making the garments I plan to enter, the challenge to me will be in trying to use a number of period techniques that I have only recently learned.

His project: I plan on recreating a complete English middle class men’s outfit from the turn of the 17th century. I am looking to recreate what would have been worn by a yeoman farmer or middle class tradesman in the years 1595-1610. The outfit will be based off of a variety of period artwork, as well as extant garments. It will include: shirt, doublet, hose, and jerkin. I plan on hand sewing the entire outfit. If time allows I may also make a belt, purse or knitted hat to round out the outfit.

Layer 1

I am checking in my first layer, a linen shirt appropriate for the late 16th to early 17th century. The shirt forms the basic function of underwear during the time period. It is made very long to act as both a covering for the body and the hip area. The pattern is very basic and seems to have been fairly universal across western Europe for the times. It is constructed completely of linen fabric and linen threads of different weights. It was drafted using the “bara” system as describe in the Modern Maker book series (late 16th/early 17th century methods). Shirts similar to the design I used are found in many museums and covered in detail in Patterns of Fashion 4, by Gannet Arnold.

Layer 2

My second Layer consists of a linen canvas doublet and wool hose. These 2 items represent the basis of all men’s outfits from the 15th to the 17th century. The doublet is made in the style of the late 16th century to early 17th century. It is made from a linen twill outer layer, interlined with linen canvas, and lined in a light weight linen. The doublet is completely sewn by hand using various weights of linen thread. The buttons are of pewter. The button design was taken from a number of extant examples shown on The Portable Antiquities Scheme (finds.org.uk), as well as examples found on the wreck of the Vasa. I first carved the button masters in wax and then used a 2 part mold to cast them. The hose are representative of the style commonly referred to as “trunk hose”. They were a common style seen from the 1560s through the 1620s in various configurations. The are made from charcoal or “sheeps black” wool fabric, and lined in linen. They are sewn by hand using both linen and silk threads (silk for the buttonholes and eyelets). The raw edges of the hose and pockets are bound in a linen tape.

Layer 3

My third layer consists of a leather jerkin. It is based on period art as well as some surviving examples of English jerkins from the second half of the 16th century. Since I am attempting to recreate a “working mans'” outfit I chose to leave it mostly undecorated. I did however add leather piping with tiny slashes to the seams to give it a bit of flare. It is made from purchased modern chromium tanned leather, this was a mistake on my part. the chromium tan leather does not lend itself to being hammered flat. On one example in the Museum of London, the seams allowances are hammered very flat, being vegetable tanned it is much easier to do that on than chromium tanned leather. The pewter buttons are cast by myself. They are inspired by examples found on The Portable Antiquities Scheme website. I chose to piece one of the skirts together as an added historical touch. Many examples of surviving clothing incorporate piecing and I felt it helps to achieve a more historically correct garment.

Bonus Points

Intermediate · Modern Recreationist · Modern Recreationist Intermediate

Birna Isleifsdottir

Location: Barony of Castlemere, Trimaris

Category/Level: Modern Recreationist/Intermediate

About Birna: I’ve been in the SCA for about 40 years. Own and operate an agro educational Icelandic farm in north east florida where we teach leather, wood, metal, and fiber arts. I have until now sewn by machine but have started sewing by hand; pretty ugly still. I have never embroidered. The garb design and initial construction should not be a problem. I have never made shoes before so that will be challenging. Also the trim; although I make the looms and teach the craft, takes many hours to get that much for hems and other pieces so that will be time consuming. I think the hardest for me will be the embroidery since I want to be very elaborate with Norse knot work and other designs in multi colors. This will be directly related to my persona and will be used when I compete at local, kingdom, and IKAC events.

Her Project: This is an archery outfit of my own thoughts. There will be a hood, shooting cap, dress, and apron. There will be hand woven trim; by me, on all the pieces and the dress, hopefully, will have embroidery around the hems and sleeves. I am doing this in a Norse style, early period. I also plan to make a pair of shoes in the Jorvik style and pour a pair of broaches at my forge. Although this is not fashion related I am also tooling a new leather quiver and making a set of period arrows. I am a mid 11th century Icelandic woman who was raised by my father to do everything the men do as well as what the women did around the farm. I fight, loose, do metal and wood, leather, cook, and run our farm.

Layer 1

This layer is a Norse dress for someone in the tenth to eleventh century. I am Icelandic but it could be any of the Norse countries. The dress is part of an ensemble for a female Norse archer. The material is a camouflage pattern to blend into the woods of the landscape. The embroidery is hand stitched and the trim is hand woven on a loom that I built. This is the main layer of the ensemble. The next layer will be the pants and apron. After that will be the boots, hood, cap, and then final layer will be the weapons.

Layer 2

the pants are norse draw string pants. The apron is a strap apron with broaches.

Made my pants and apron from matching material. pants are lined with flannel for comfort and warmth. apron is double sided with the material for stability and strength. X stitched every seam on both pieces with embroidery floss. Embroidered six designs on the apron. made the trim for the straps on the viking flat braid loom that I made.

Layer 3

Early Icelandic woman’s archer garb. boots and cap. part of my entire ensemble.

Bonus Points

Historic Intermediate · Historically Focused · Intermediate

Eleanora d’Arcy

Location: River Haven, Lochac

Category/Level: Historically Focused/Intermediate

About Eleanora: This will be my sixth year in the SCA. I grew up sewing and doing various crafts, though had a long break in using them. Am also learning many new skills in the SCA, and want to challenge myself to learn or use new skills for this challenge. This project will tie in with a challenge I have given myself, portraying a series of women through the ages, making outfits as complete as possible including accessories. Materials will have to be largely those already in the stash, due to financial constraints, which will add another level of challenge. This will basically be my main persona’s Saxon Grandmother. Saxon is not something I would have imagined doing when first joining SCA, but will help to round out the range of periods nicely.

Her Project: Anglo Saxon Late tenth to mid eleventh century gentlewoman. Looking at a number of illustrations to pick ideas. I have challenged myself to try to do at least one full outfit for each hundred years after 1000, too late to enter my half complete 12th century outfit, but this will also work well to have an outfit for a partly Saxon themed event I hope to co-steward next year. This will be my main persona’s Saxon Grandmother, circa 1066. Anglo Saxon is something quite new for me, so this will be a huge learning curve.

Layer 1

11th Century Anglo Saxon upper class (but not royal) ladies underdress Linen chosen in a colour appropriate for second wash madder. Embroidery was to have been silk and gilt on linen, but suitable silk was not available so cotton used. Stitches chosen included Bayeux stitch for the background, stem stitch and chain stitch to outline. The pattern was taken from a handout on Anglo Saxon Embroidery.

Embroidered facings were worked first, then dress cut out. I have made a number of bliauts and viking underdresses before, so use a similar geometric technique, but made the body of the dress a little wider for ease of wear, and altered the sleeves to make them longer, baggy at the top but very narrow over an elongated forearm to allow it to wrinkle/fold up as in contemporary sources. Gores were added to the sides only (three each side, may have been somewhat overkill, but the fabric was there) to maintain the flat fronted appearance. The facing was added by stitching right side of the facing to the wrong side of the dress, cutting and clipping then flipping it to the outside and ladder stitching down (after much pressing and pinning heavily and leaving to settle overnight). All sewing was done by hand, backstitching and faux french (whip stitched after folding) for the seams, and ladder stitch to attach the facings. Hem was folded and whipped after allowing to hang for a few days. I had forgotten to add extra seam allowance to the sleeve facings, so had to insert a piece and stitch down well at the seam. The neck facing is just big enough, but slightly higher than I personally enjoy wearing, so would probably increase it just slightly for a next time. The dress is quite long as per the fashions of the time, but may be taken up at a later date.

Layer 3

11th century upper class ladie’s mantle based on manuscripts of the time. Rust coloured wool and purchased trim. Basic rectangular shape, the hardest part is finding the precise point to attach the pin holding it together, so as to allow the mantle to fall in a flattering manner, and also allow it to be quickly pulled up as a self hood in case of sudden inclement weather. Trim hand sewn to wool piece. Was very pleased that it seems on the dummy to sit very much as the illuminations depict. I chose to do a very light mantle as it is summer in my area, and I already own a heavy duty early period cloak.

Bonus Points

Historic Intermediate · Historically Focused · Intermediate

Frieda Ocoilean

Location: East Kingdom

Category/Level: Historically Focused/Intermediate

About Frieda : well, I and my husband joined a little over three years ago after I had open-heart surgery as a hobby to keep me busy, I have been sewing on and off for over 15 years, not a master. I do show interest in other skills and try to pick them up, but I love sewing. and I really hope to if only at least complete this challenge with a sense of accomplishment, I know that will be huge but I would love to take the challenge and place honestly by I feel that would be great.

Her Project: I am going for mid 14-1500, I believe it is as close as I can get that as possible based on the patterns I was able to purchase. it is a piece I have been wanting to make for a while. I do usually sew by hand so that makes this a very big challenge for me. I plan on making the chemise, underdress, overdress and something completely new to me, I will be making a leather chatelaine belt.

Layer 1

This is the first layer an chemise , with additional chest cover , and bonnet . Was going for 14-15 century. I still have another three full layers. Everything is all hand sewn

Layer 2

My second layer , first one over my chemise , is made with a tan and dark brown layer , i made fabric buttons for the first time . everything is hand sewn like the last layer . i intend on using december to do my final outer layer which is a thinker material great for the winter . like i said before my era is 14-15 century , and i would say my entry is middle class ish

Layer 3

The last sewing layer is to be a jacket or overdress layer , I intended to use this layer in matching with previous one layers

Bonus Points

Intermediate · Modern Recreationist · Modern Recreationist Intermediate

Guendolen Le Renard

Location: Tir-y-don, Atlantia

Category/Level: Modern Recreationist/Intermediate

About Guendolen: Greetings fair folk, I am Guendolen. I’ve been playing off and on in the SCA for about 20 year with a longish break after an unfortunate relationship event. I prefer all sorts of creative endeavors from sewing to belly dancing. I’ve been looking forward to creating this clothing combo for my persona for quite a few years with many, many failed attempts. This time, however, I feel I am ready to take up the challenge – this very challenging challenge. Well met and good tidings to all.

Her Project: The plan is to recreate a twelfth century bliaut, overdress, cloak, and belt and or pouch. I am basing the ensemble from several illuminated pieces that highlight the overdress and several extent pieces for the cloak. It appeared to be something a high born lady would have worn in France at the time my persona would have lived (1140s – 1170s). I have been working up my nerve and my knowledge base to create these pieces and this was just the excuse I needed to jump into it.

Layer 2

Overcoat – 12th cent

Layer 3

Cloak – 12th cent half round

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!

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.

Bonus Points

Intermediate · Modern Recreationist · Modern Recreationist Intermediate

THL Kathryn MacLuing

Location: Barony of Blackstone Mountain, Æthelmearc

Category/Level: Modern Recreationist/Intermediate

About Kathryn: I joined the Society in 1988, before Æthelmearc was even a Principality of the East. I have been helped start two Shires and my own Barony, served in various Offices for all three plus another Shire, and have been Granted Arms for my Service to the Kingdom. I still remain a student of many things, master of none, but about the only thing I haven’t tried is Martial Combat. I will never be a Laurel, or even a Fleur d’Æthelmearc (grant) for my sewing or art, but all my gowns are my own work, which is simple cotehardies and surcoats I love from 11th Cent design. For my years of experience alone, I will apply for Intermediate, as I am far from a beginner, but mastery is beyond me. This will be a chance to try out a new fiber art, use what skills I do have for sewing, as well as attempt embroidering designs on the planned sleeve trim. Or, I might simply make a few yards of lucet cord and stitch it down. My plans, even at this late date, are still fluid.

Her Project: I am planning an 11th Cent Norman chemise, underdress, and overdress with card-woven belt, as a lady of the manor might have worn in cooler weather. This will not be based off a particular source, but drawn from many. I hope to have it finished for a possible 12th Night next year, or the annual Tournement of the White Hart (and love and beauty) in March. While I am tempted to have it show my awards, I do not think my embroidery is up to doing the AoA and Grant level Service awards for Æthelmearc. I was not planning to make this project, but your Challenge gave me a kick to use some of my stash. Unfortunately, I do not have suitable linen for the chemise, so it will be gold cotton. The underdress will be a cotehardie with fitted sleeves and bodice, of either red or blue linen (still juggling that decision), while the overdress will be a lined bell-sleeved cote with trim of the underdress’s linen on sleeves and hem. I am planning my first-ever Card-woven belt, with gold and red chevrons bordered with blue for my 4th item, and also plan a wimple and hat similar to GoT Olenna Tyrell’s lovely headdresses, in honor of Dame Diana’s passing. Of course, all plans are subject to contact with the enemy, and what I Plan may not be what I get. *sigh*

Layer 1

Layer one is a basic chemise, which is ubiquitous from Early Greek to 1700s women’s undergarments. This neatly covers my late 10th/early 11th Cent Norman/Saxon period. I used a 60in width gold mid-weight cotton and the SCA-favorite T-Tunic pattern. The width meant I could cut the full sleeves and the full width of the hem without any gores or piecing, and gave me a lot of excess fabric for other projects. With the dress all one piece, that left me with only two seams to sew up. First, I cut the neckline, and did a simple tuck-n-fold instead of a facing. I also did the simple fold for the wrists. Both the neckline and the wrists were hand-stitched down with a simple running stitch. Then I used my sewing machine to start at the wrists and sew down each side, then went over it again with a stay-stitch to prevent fraying. After the sides were sewn, I laid the dress out and curved the hem, then did a double-fold hem with my sewing machine. After that, I used my Lucet to braid with #10 crochet thread in red and blue, using a technique where both colors are cast on the horns, and then the threads crisscrossed to create designs in the cord. I free-handed a pattern of dual solid color sections spaced between sections of the two colors chevroned, for a total of a few inches over 12ft. This red/blue cording was used to decorate the wrists and completely around the hem.

Layer 2

Layer 2 is a kirtle. Kirtles were found from the 800s-1300s throughout Western Europe in women’s fashion, and were worn over a chemise either with or without a layer atop it. This meant it was suitable for my target of a late 10th/early 11cent Norman/Saxon. For the kirtle I used a 45in width mid-weight blue linen. After discovering that ALL my dress patterns were missing, I jury-rigged a pattern based on my current measurements and an older dress I made from the missing pattern. The pattern has inset sleeves in the bodice, a slightly fitted waist, and then flares straight to the hem. The bodice was cut on a double fold, the sleeves on a single. Each piece of the dress (bodice and two sleeves) were stay-stitched around every cut area with my sewing machine.

Instead of a facing, I turned the fabric under on the neck and wrist and hand-stitched it down with a running stitch. After hemming the neck and wrists, I used my machine to inset the sleeves, then machine-sewed the side-seams from the wrist to the hem. I then laid the kirtle out and curved the hem before double-folding and machine-sewing it down.

From cutting to finishing the hem took roughly 4hours. The next part took most of October into November, as I used #10 Crochet thread in red and yellow to create roughly 14ft of cording, in freehand pattern of dual solid color sections separated by a chevron of both colors mixed. I hand-stitched the cording around the neckline, the wrists, and completely around the hem.

Layer 3

My 3rd Layer is a cotehardie or surcote, common to the 9th-11th Cent. women’s fashion. This was the top layer, meant to show off the lady’s wealth or sewing skills. It was often gored, heavily embroidered, and often with different sleeve treatments to show off the kirtle beneath. I chose to use a pattern found in Coptic, Norse, and Saxon grave-finds, with a straight central bodice, 3/4 length bell-sleeves, and a gore that attaches to the sleeve before sleeve and gore is sewn to the bodice. Due to the loss of my dress patterns, I had to go off straight measurements and my memory of how to piece it.

Before sewing the pieces together, I took advantage of having them as flat sections to not only stay-stitch every cut area, but to create a facing for the neckline and sleeves out of the gold cotton. This was all hand-sewing, to make sure the facings would flip to the outside correctly. After stitching the facings down, I then took red and blue DMC floss and free-handed a scalloped pattern on the gold facings, using an outline stitch. The sleeves is a simple scallop, the neck facing I inter-wove the lines more. After the embroidery was finished, I then attached the gores to the bottom of the sleeves, and pinned the sleeve and gore to the straight bodice. Starting at the shoulder, I sewed first down the front, then the back of the dress. That way, the fabric did not skew the sleeve or the shoulder. After attaching the second sleeve and gore, but before sewing up the sides, I draped it over me. THAT is when I discovered I’d mis-measured, and would need additional gores in the sides. Thankfully I had enough scrap to cut the gores (2 per side). Again, I machine-sewed from the underarm to the hem, but the tip of the gore I hand-stitched to the sleeve. After this emergency, I was able to machine-sew from the wrists to the hem, and had to admit the extra gores did give the dress a better flow. I laid out the dress and curved the hem, then double-folded and sewed it down with the sewing machine. The dress was done by November check-in, other than the final decoration.

By this time, I’d made two lengths of cording for the other dresses, and was getting burnt out. I managed to make 7ft of blue/yellow cording, in a pattern of dual solid color separated by chevrons of mixed color, and I was burnt out. This is why the cotehardie only has lucet cord on the front hem and not completely around. The cording does go from side seam to side seam, covering all the gores and the central section, but I simply could not complete the circuit.

Layer 4

Woven belts can be seen wrapped around ladies’ waists in paintings and sculptures from the 900s up til the 12th century. These all seem to be patterned in colored thread/yarn/cloth, with braided or decorated ends. Sometimes they wrapped twice, sometimes only once, and were usually knotted, not caught with a buckle. Grave finds in Britain, France, and Scandinavia have suggested they were card or tablet woven on looms.

I have never tried to card-weave anything, although I have been allowed to try it out at events. This was going to be my Rookie Project.

I found a pattern via Pinterest that seemed easy. It took 14 cards, and would be a simple 8 turns forward, 8 turns back to create a >><<>><< pattern. This pattern can be found all over Europe as scraps of trim, and is the base of several trims sold in by SCA merchants (see Calontir Trims).

I bought several skeins of 2.5 worsted yarn in red, blue, and gold. I received as a gift from my Baroness a full pack of playing cards, punched and cut to proper size. Following the pattern I found, I cut roughly 3.5yard sections of yarn and threaded the cards as instructed. Then came the fun part. I had no loom, so I decided to improvise. I upended my cutting table and strung the yarn over the upturned legs. Then, I discovered I needed more tension, and decided a chunk of wood tied to the working end would be a good work-around.

I started working on my jury-rigged loom, and it started out ok. I used the blue yarn for the warp, remembered to count the turns, and was feeling good about it. Of course that couldn’t last. Everytime I had to advance the weft, I either lost count of turns or didn’t get the tension back on the weft properly. Due to the looser tension, the cards started catching on each other and sometimes I didn’t catch it for several turns. This caused the pattern to muddle, or for sections to get skipped. Yet, I persevered and fought my way turn by turn to the end of the weft. I braided the ends, tied them off, and nearly wept because it didn’t look like I wanted it to look.

When I could look at it again, I added two sets of three cheap metal bells to each of the braided ends.

Layer 4+

  • Veil: Women have worn veils for millennia. I don’t believe there is a date that one can point to and say ‘this is when it started’, but veils only started going out of fashion with Elizabeth I. During the late 10th/early 11th centuries, the veil was in full swing, worn with a hat that’s been referred to as a ‘filet’, or less flatteringly as a ‘coffee-filter hat’. The filet is a stiffened center of some material, covered with a richer material and either pleated or otherwise decorated. All of the work on the veil and filet was done by hand, and the filet is the one that finally made me bleed — TWICE.
    • The veil is 45in width light-weight natural linen, cut in a long oval 45inches long and roughly 25inches wide. My mother compared it to a NASCAR track. I double-folded the fabric and used a diagonal stitch to hem the full circle. Then, I took gold DMC floss and free-handed a scalloped outline stitch just inside the hem. I felt it needed more, and so I took red and blue DMC floss and made simple 6-pointed stars in the outer edge of the scallop.
  • Filet : The filet is made from a bias-cut scrap of the gold cotton used for my First Layer, the chemise. I found a double-walled cardboard 13in cakeboard, and cut a 1.5inch strip for the inside stiffener, bending it to curve properly. Before I sewed the cotton into a tube, I decided to bead it. My grandma had kept a broken necklace with pearls already string two by two on wire. I used needle-nosed pliers to remove the twinned pearls, salvaging 6 sets. I laid them in a simple circle and stitched them down on the center front of the cotton with button stiches through the wire ends. Next, I used a diagonal hand-stitch to make a tube. After I turned the tube right side out, I slid the cardboard inside. I used postal tape to strength the cardboard’s ends, and then stapled the ends together with a slight overlap. I covered the staples with more postal tape to protect the fabric. I pulled the fabric to overlap, tucked in the raw edges, and blanket-stitched the seam.
  • Lucet Cord

Bonus Points