About Joana: I have been involved in the SCA for 19 years in the Barony of Southron Gaard which was originally in the Kingdom of Caid and is now in the Kingdom of Lochac. I have sewed for most of that time. Until recently I did mostly Italian dresses which can be seen here – https://elisabettafoscari.wordpress.com/la-guardaroba-di-elisabetta/. More recently however I have wanted to explore my Portuguese heritage through the SCA and have therefore spent much of this year researching and reading about everything related to 16th century Portugal to help develop my Portuguese persona of Joana. I also love cooking and have cooked several feasts for my group, the biggest was for Midwinter Coronation last year.
Her Project: I am making an outfit suitable for an upper class lady from around 1510-1530 in Portugal. This is to fit in with my persona of Joana. My inspiration is primarily the St Auta altarpiece which was painted between 1522-5 but I will also be using Garcia Fernandes painting of the Martyrs of Lisbon as inspiration for my outer layer. My pinterest board on Portuguese fashion is a good place to view these and other images https://www.pinterest.nz/elisabettaf/portuguese-fashion/ I have been developing my knowledge of this period of Portugese dress recently and have made a couple of outfits already in this style. I have some particularly lovely brocade in my heraldic colours of green and gold I want to use for this project. The outer layer I have wanted to make for ages as it looks pretty and practical. I would like to cook a Portuguese style dinner as my other item using the Portuguese cookbook “Um tradado da cozinha portuguesa do século XV” which was written just before the period of my dress.
This is the underwear layer of my 16th century upper class Portuguese outfit for a woman. It consists of a chemise and petticoat. The chemise is based on one worn in a portrait of Queen Catherine of Austria who was Queen of Portugal and the petticoat is made using the Alcega pattern of a ‘skirt for a fat woman’. Both items are fully hand sewn using mostly whip stitch! The chemise is made from cotton/linen and has gold trim around the neckline. The petticoat is made from an embroidered polyester taffeta.
I had to put an extra gusset in the side of the chemise as the arm was too narrow which has resulted in the sleeve sitting a bit short under the arm. You can’t really tell unless you are staring at my armpit however. I did not off set the corner of the sleeve and the body of the chemise enough so will do that differently next time.
The petticoat went very well and I also put a wool layer in the hem to add extra padding. I would have put a bit more fabric in the back and made the ties shorter but overall I am very happy with it!
A dress in the style of 1520s Portugal made from green silk and gold brocade. The bodice is interlined with two layers of a linen/cotton canvas that are padstitched together to make it firmer and lined with a ecru coloured linen. The dress is trimmed with a green velvet ribbon that has a very narrow gold bobbin lace style trim on both edges. The sleeves are lined with pink silk and the bottom of the sleeve folds over to show the lining at the cuff and this is trimmed with gold lace and pink pearls. The seams are machine sewn and all fabric pieces were overlocked with a machine zig-zag seam. The rest is sewn by hand, mostly using whip stitch!
Additional Layer One: I decided once I put on the dress that I really, really, really did not like the first chemise I made. It didn’t sit right and it itched! I decided therefore to make a new chemise using a much lighter-weight cotton. I constructed it exactly the same as the first one in that it is all handsewn. The trim is in the same place but a different trim. It keeps to the source image though of alternating wavy and straight trim. I made the ruffle around the neck much narrower than in the first version to be more in keeping with the Catherine of Austria painting. The other main change I made was off setting the sleeve and the body of the chemise much more to provide more room under the arm of the chemise. This was an area I particularly disliked in the first one and I find the sits so much better.
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 Kristine: I joined the SCA in middle school when my mother started taking us to meetings. I wasn’t always as excited about it in the beginning, but when I found tablet-weaving, I was hooked. I met my fiance, Vincent, as well as all my closest friends in the society.
Vincent and I came to a deal a long time ago that he would make our garb, since he enjoys it and it just puts me in a foul mood…. but since I’m spearheading this challenge, I feel like I have to put my money where my mouth is and participate. Wish our household luck!
Her project: Years ago, I came upon one of the images below and felt like I fully understood the woman wearing it – and I love her apron. I can’t just make the apron, right? I have to make the whole outfit to go with it. These images are all from the same illumination and are a little later than my usual time period (I’m usually mid-to-late 14thc Scot) being earlyish 15c inspired by images from The Book of Faiz Monseigneur Saint Loys. So, My plan is to make all the layers shown, a chemise, a supportive kirtle (stretch project of additional pin-on sleeves), a silk cotte with embroidery, and a wool over cotte with embroidered embellishments. My accessory will be a tablet woven belt, though I’ll also be making the aforementioned apron. I have other wacky ideas on extra accessory layers, but we’ll see how it goes!
My layer 1 consists of a chemise and a St Birgitta’s Cap. Both are made of white linen and are of machine base construction and hand finished with linen thread.
The chemise is based off the general late period pattern which has been theorized was used in the early 15th century. As I’m in the modern recreationist category, I took a step from what I could document and added a simple embroidered pattern around the neckline and tablet woven trim around the base. The trim is of cotton, as it’s what I had on hand, and was woven by me – the first of many tablet woven projects which will be incorporated into this outfit.
The cap is of basic construction and went MUCH better than my first cap I attempted years ago. It went so well that I’m considering making a second one with some decorative elements.
Farmhouse Cheddar – Cheesemaking techniques haven’t changed much since medieval times. I’ve made two cheddar rounds, one smoked (ok, burned. I scorched the milk. But I already had the yeast and rennet in it by then, so I went ahead and finished it. Who knows?) and one regular. They’ll age until January when it’s time to take pictures
Beeswax – The beeswax was processed from the yearly rent paid by the bees who live in my yard. The hive shaped piece is mine for the challenge and the bees went out to people from my local group who have taken up the challenge as well.
About Vincent: I have been participating in the SCA for about 15 years. I do quite a bit of of basic costuming, especially helping newer members. Beyond sewing I work on a lot of general SCA projects and work on recruitment and retention efforts.
His Project: Mid fourteenth century middle class merchant from Western Europe. This is a commonly represented garment seen in illustrations. I am also working off of the men’s fourteenth century gown from the second edition Medieval Tailors Assistant.
This is the base layer of my attempt for a 1350’s merchant. It would be a middle class merchant from western Europe.
Linen Braies: long white linen braies, machine sewn, hand seam finished
Wool Hosen: Machine sewn, hand seam finished
Linen shirt: White linen, machine sewn, hand seam finished
Linen coif: White linen, machine sewn, hand seam finished
The layer consists of the linen doublet. This is an early version of a doublet based on the pattern described in the Medieval Tailor’s Assistant book. I machine sewed the garment with hand finishing and hand done eyelets.
Leather shoes: Machine basting stitch, hand sewn after
Leather Coin Pouch: Hand finished
Scented body powder: ground orris root and clove body powder
Leather garters: Purchased buckles, dyed vegetable tanned leather and hand finished
Leather girdle belt for Braies: Purchased bronze buckle, dyed vegetable tanned leather and hand finished