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?
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 Eva: I have been in the SCA for almost 10 years now. I like to sew garb in the society but it is not something I do all the time; I also like to knit, do illuminations, and accumulate new hobbies to try. My persona tends to be 12th century onward. I have not completely settled on one time quite yet but this outfit is one for a persona I have considered. This project , despite having done some tudor before will still be challenging. I plan on handsewing this outfit almost entirely. The over-gown is something I have never made before which I will have to pattern and actually really intimidates me.
Her Project: I am going to make an upper class tudor outfit. This outfit is based on portraits of Mary I (1544) & Elizabeth I (1546) from when they were girls. In the past I have created, with much help an outfit for the tudor middle class women. The two outfit have the same shift and kirtle layers but vastly different gowns. My goal for this project is to sew almost everything by hand. I will be adding substitute whale bonesto the kirtle to provide extra stability and structure, which I have not done before.
Knitted Wool socks, late 1500s using a Modern maker knitting pattern. I made some mistake along the way so the socks are not entirely identical/do not follow the pattern exactly. These are the first pair of socks I have completed ever!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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 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.
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.
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.
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.
About Lynn: I have been in the SCA about 15 years and sewing for about 60. I constantly add to my skills with each new project. On this one I will be learning or improving on weaving, tablet weaving, embroidery, glass beads, metal work, and wood carving. Each new skill is challenging.
Their Project: Viking based garb with accessories based on my interpretation of historical finds. 9th century. Under shift, apron, head ware, Hedeby bag, and apron adornments.
I completed a Hedeby bag as an accessory for my Viking outfit. I cut out the handles using finds from Birka for inspiration. I then carved the wood handles with a design found on a sword scabbard in Valsgarde, Sweden. I wove a 2/2 wool twill on a 3 heddle loom for the body of the bag. Next I wove a wool tablet weave in missed hole technique from 10th century Birka for the shoulder strap and trim for the bag. This Hedeby is Viking in origin. Used for wide period around the tenth century by all classes. This was the first time I have done wood carving so that was a little painstakingly done. The weaving I have done a couple of times and still hope to improve my skills.
About Nest : I’ve played in the SCA since 2004. I am an accomplished seamstress, and should probably be judged fairly strongly in that department. I am trying to up my game at sewing, meaning smaller, almost invisible stitches. I am a complete novice at woodworking and leather working. I have taught numerous classes in sewing, beading, and basket weaving at shire meetings, events, Diamond Wars, Lilies, and Gulf Wars.
Her Project: A simple, hand-sewn t-tunic of linen (embellished with heraldic embroidery, if time allows), a cloak, and a leather ring pouch. (Three sewing entries). Also, a wooden break-down box to hide a modern cooler. I am 8th century, a keeper of a holy well in very rural Wales. These will *appear* to be period pieces, but include a few non-visible liberties such as pockets. (Welcome to the Modern middle ages!) The box will be a variation of a six-board box made of plywood, using modern (electric) tools. The variable is a seventh board as a shelf below the cooler. May also include heraldic device.
This is a wooden box to hold/hide a modern cooler. (See Document in “Additional Documents” section at the bottom of the page.
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.
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.
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.
About Soma: I have been in the SCA for 6 years now. My main areas are sewing, embroidery, weaving, and lamp-working glass. These were all picked up as a result of my choosing a 10th century Norse persona. This will be more challenging for me as it will only be the second time I have hand finished my seams, and the first time purposely creating a whole outfit on a deadline.
Her Project: I plan to create a 10th-ish century viking outfit. This type of clothing has been found in a majority graves and would be worn by a middle class person. I plan to make a serk, an apron dress, a coat, and the accessories are undecided. Most of the inspiration comes from Medieval Garments Reconstructed, Norse clothing patterns. I have had all the supplies and been planning it for a while, but needed motivation.
This is a basic Norse serk used through much of the viking age. This is worn by women of all social classes. The difference being the material for what we can still find. The only thing I will do differently next time is a smaller neck opening.
Yellow flannel because, well wool is expensive. With blue chain stitching to finish. I had originally planned a blanket stitch but hated the way it looked 6 inches in. So I changed it! This layer is a modification of D5674 in Norse Clothing Patterns. This is a favored pattern of mine for its simplicity and fabric efficiency.
This layer is the Norse Hangeroc dress. The pattern was provided by Mistress Thora. It is seen in grave finds from 9th and 10th century. This dress is 100% wool, which is historically accurate. The dress was finished using a stab stitch shown in the book Medieval Clothing Reconstructed. I did struggle with this stitch and it is less than perfect in many places on this layer.
This is a tablet woven belt! Yeah I know. I said it would he the coat but the coat is naughty so its the belt! This is 20 cards of 5 forward 5 back simple geometric pattern. There are many geometric patterns found in the norse and Finnish graves. This one is not specific as the original pattern I ended up hating.
About Yuchi: I believe it was 2017 or 2018, so I’m fairly new to the SCA. This is my first persona and I’m loving it. I sew occasionally but almost always stick to easy skirts and nothing with sleeves. I recently started learning embroidery in the last 3 months. I love archery and will be shooting in this outfit that I make.
Her Project: China, 8th century, Tang Dynasty. I am basing my garb from a painting called Tang court ladies, 706 AD, housed at the Qianling Mausoleum and the painting called Zhang Xuan, Palace Ladies Pounding Silk. I would like to put my heraldry on the shawl and hezi. I have not done embroidery on silky material before so the shawl will be a challenge. I have tried to make the skirt before, but it went unfinished. This will be an adventure. I wish to do a painting for level 4. It will be a learning experience since I’ve not painted for over 10 years.
Undergarments for 8th Century Tang Dynasty China. All persons, including children, could wear a hezi, a silk or cloth material the covered the front of the chest reaching down to the stomach to keep the chest warm and covered for the ladies. The hezi had a back that was low, so it wouldn’t show above the skirt dress. Modesty was important. The hezi was usually red and could contain embroidery/painting that expressed the feelings or desires of the woman. Pictures included animals, flowers, etc. The hezi of the Tang was strapless and tied at the top with a cord/ribbon to hold it up. It was strapless due to the skirt dresses that was worn at the time. The making: undergarments were intimate and there were few pictures. I found some descriptions and obtained a Hanfu Pattern Making (Imperial) by TT Duong. I went by the pictures in the book and online to create an outline, took my measurements and cut the back and front on the folds. I embroidered my device on the front. I had sewed all edges until I tried it on and found it too large. I remeasured and cut the back middle and machine sewed it. I then made a red cord to tie around to hold up the hezi.
The pants, or Kun, come in different styles. Some were unisex and others were specifically for the man or woman. The making: Since woman’s undergarments were basically secretive, I went by the picture of men’s pants to start. Then I used the Hanfu Pattern Making book again to make woman’s pants. I have sew the pants specifically for woman and used string instead of a cord in order to tie to hold the pants up. There are two pants, both cut on a fold. The two are then sewn together and the top sewn to hold a cord/ribbon. I used a white cord. The pants turned out perfect and didn’t need adjustments.
All classes and professions would have a hezi and pants or pants for you for men. What I would have done differently was that after sewing the hezi, I then found more research that the hezi was sometimes made with slightly elastic material. I would have probably used this kind of material to have the hezi fit more favorably.
During the Tang Dynasty of China, between the under garments and the dress a shirt is worn. It is called the zhongyi, and is the second layer that I made. This shirt was meant to be worn on the inside of clothing or as a pajama top and was usually white. For daily wear, the sleeves are narrow. Upon formal occasions, the sleeves are wider. All social classes would have had a zhongyi to wear.
Using the book: Hanfu Pattern Making (Imperial) by TT Duong, I was about to draw a rough pattern. I used my measurements to put it to size and going by the painting “Palace Ladies Pounding Silk” I tried to create the shape/curvature needed.
During the Tang Dynasty China, there were two outfits for woman: a top with a skirt that went from the waist to the floor and then a top that was covered by a skirt that tied at the chest and went down to the floor. The later is the piece I’ve made and is called a Ruqun.
I started with the front and back panels so that I could accurately measure how much material I would need for the front and back with the one inch folds on each side. I attached the ribbons so that the dress can be tied on. The back panel ribbons only need to come around once and be tied. The front panel ribbons had to be longer because they wrap around the back, are pulled back to the front where they are tied once and the ribbon is looped back on itself before being pulled into a loop to hang. Next I ran a stitch across the top of the skirt to hold the folds in place before tucking the skirt up into each panel where I’d left an opening. I folded the panel over the skirt and sewed the bottom across. The sides were then sewn up, leaving enough of a gap to accommodate stepping into the skirt to pull it up. Lastly I hemmed the skirt.
Clothing was made from silk and linen unless you were poor, then your clothes were probably made from animal skins. The above clothing was made from silk.
During 8th Century Tang Dynasty, the people were using silk, bamboo and other lighter materials in order to write on. I was going to make bamboo paper since I have bamboo trees in the yard, but didn’t trust myself with taking the bark off. The Chinese people would cut the bamboo trees down, cut off any branches and use a blade, some times curved, to removed the bark. The bamboo was then soaked and pounded into a pulp. The pulp was added to water, then using a thin screen, it was scooped up. Water would drain off leaving the wet pulp on the screen. The contents was laid out layered between a type of cloth or on top of each other where it was then pressed to remove excess water. Then it was left to dry. After drying, the layers were peeled off and you had paper.
I used shredded paper that I blended with water in a blender. I added the pulp to a container of water, used two picture frames I had gutted and placed a piece of door screening on with a stapler. The initial paper was thick and a bland color so I added purple coloring. I also added lavender and rosemary for smell and texture.
The Chinese people valued poems and often had various works of art, poems, sayings and teachings around their homes and places of business. I decided on Twinkle Twinkle Little Star nursery rhyme because I could correctly pronounce it in Chinese and remember what I had written. Learning the stoke techniques was even more of a challenge. I did a few practice runs and watched some videos of actual Chinese painting and calligraphy classes taught by native Chinese. I did my best to remember the strokes. But it does test your patience and posture. Normally the author would stamp their name with a name block. I didn’t have one, therefore, I used a wax seal to add some character and fill in the empty space on the left.