Greetings! Below is the handout from my garb rehab class taught at the Barony of Arn Hold's Arts, Arms, and Academia event. It focuses on mending, refreshing, and generally squeezing more life out of old or damaged garb. Enjoy!
Okay, so, breastfeeding. I posted a while ago about modifying my garb for breastfeeding. I split one of my chemises horizontally below the bust and added hooks and eyes to nurse wearing that and a low-v-neck dress. The slit and v-neck worked great for nursing and kept me fairly decently covered (not that I'm very shy about it), but the hooks and eyes were a royal pain. For this modern method, just use velcro. Or, do what I do, and leave the slit hanging open because nobody can see it anyway. The hooks are hard to open in a hurry with a fussy baby and really quite a pain to close, even if you're not still holding the baby afterward.
The Roman garb I made last summer is a breeze for breastfeeding, since the sides are open far enough under the arm to just pull the opening over the bust and nurse that way. If you wear a wrap/veil you can throw that over yourself and the baby if your baby is distractable and/or if you worry you're showing too much (though what could be more Roman than feeding a baby! They REVERED matronhood.).
I recently modified another chemise to use under another dress (see below) and this time took my inspiration from period images of nursing mothers like this one from the excellent What Nursing Mothers Wore page. The image is Virgin and Child by Giovanni Antonio Boltraffio (1493-1499)
I haven't taken a picture of the finished nursing slit chemise yet, but I have some progress shots. I basically put the chemise on, marked where my nipples were, then marked out about 6" long vertical slits centered over each. I sewed down a 1" wide strip of linen over the slits (a row of stitching on each side, with a single stitch across the top and bottom) to act as a facing, then cut between the stitches, pulled the facing through to the wrong sides, pressed, and rolled the facings under and stitched them down. This was a good chance to give some love to a rather beat up chemise, which also got repairs to collar, cuffs, and underarms. Here's a before pic of the chemise and one pic of the pinned facing ready to stitch (the facing is on the inside)
So, I'll update more eventually with how those work out. I suspect I'll like them much better, but I don't know that they'll work as well with my standard bliauts.
My next project was one I'd hoped to get done before King's Road in July, a hangerok out of some red wool I have with a sort of shadow check throughout. I only have about two yards, so a hangerok's about my only option. I know there's a lot of debate and very little evidence about how these looked, but I found an image on Pinterest (everyone's favorite legit research site) of a hangerok with two overlapping fronts. Bingo. This will be perfect for breastfeeding over the white chemise.. Here's the image, from this pin from a blog with a bunch of broken image links.
as long as the fronts are fairly easy to detach from the straps this should be both modest and accessible. I am going to do four straight panels 1/3 the measurement of my bust, with gores in the sides and back for shaping. Now I just need time to do it.
So! Next weekend is my first official event with the baby. I'm not counting the ball in January because we hadn't planned to be there and didn't even last an hour thanks to the plague. I have various garb specifically made for nursing in the works right now: a cotte with a button front and a hood to go over the top which will be really convenient if I ever finish it (it's been a UFO for TWO YEARS, original blog post here) and an early high-waisted Italian Renaissance dress that will have hooks and eyes or ties at the top of the shoulder straps, originally envisioned as maternity garb last June, but with a busy life, a baby, an impending houseguest, and other excitement I wanted something a little quicker and more trusted for next weekend, so I decided to look at what I already have.
Way back in 2014 I made my red bliaut and gold underdress ensemble for the coronation of TRM Konrad and Kortland. Here is the original post about that, and I will say that those hand-felled seams have lasted incredibly well. The garb still looks good, and has only needed a few minor repairs. Should last a good many years more, though I would like to line the bliaut sleeves and add trim at some point. Anyway, that red dress had a bug that turned out to be a feature. I cut the v-neck way deeper than I meant to, and it reaches almost to the bottom of my ribcage. Wearing the dress without an underdress proved that I could comfortably shift the neckline and get a breast free for nursing, but I still need an underdress for the sake of decency and historical accuracy, of course, so I decided to get creative.
I have looked at a lot of period nursing images to figure out how women did it back in the day. You can see a selection on my Maternity, Nursing, and Kids' Garb Pinterest board if you're interested. Nursing garb in period seemed to either involve vertical slits over each nipple, pulling a breast out of a low neckline, diagonal slits from center front over the nipples, or front-opening dresses, but as a bustier lady I like a little bit more coverage, so I used a different technique copied from my favorite nursing top. I tried on the good old gold underdress, marked the line below my bust line across the front (about where my bra band sits), then girded my loins and cut a horizontal slit from one side seam to the other along that line. I double turned the edges under and sewed them down with my machine. Here's a visual.
Then I sewed five hooks and eyes along the slit (because that's how many I had handy, and that seemed to be enough to keep things secure so there wouldn't be big gaps between them).
With this setup, the slit is low enough not to show with the bliaut on. I can unhook the hooks and eyes and lift the front up enough to nurse the baby but still be decently covered. I'll report back after the event next weekend and let y'all know how it works out.
I'm learning two things about baby garb as I work on dressing wee Freya. 1) hand-me-downs are awesome and I have several friends who have given us lovely ready-made garb. 2) when you are using non-stretchy fabric you need big armholes to wrestle babies' arms into submission.
Here are a few pictures of Freya in her first little gown. This is basically just a tiny T-tunic. Next time I'll skip the underarm gussets and just make wide sleeves. I added extra width and length for her to grow into, but could have added even more. I also had to go back and lengthen the keyhole neckline because baby noggins are enormous, especially babies related to me.
Photos by my hubby.
+6Well! This one has been brewing since December when I finished this hat. Our household has an annual winter solstice gift exchange/party and this year I drew our beloved leader, Master Killian. His persona is late period, and he presented me with an opportunity to make something I'd had on my list of things to try for a while, a knitted and fulled flat cap.
I've been making berets and Scottish bonnets for a number of years, mostly for reenactors in the Jacobite/French & Indian War/Revolutionary War circles, so I had some experience with making fulled caps, which turned out to be a good thing because the only online pattern I found that looked viable turned out to seem needlessly complicated to me. Not having had the chance to examine an actual period cap myself, I decided to use my Scottish bonnet pattern as a staring point. In the future I'd love to do a bit more research about if these caps were knitted top-down or bottom-up, how they were cast on and bound off, etc. Some of those variables are impossible to sort out, so we just have to do what we can. Others are probably only discernible from examining physical objects.
In any case, I based the shape and look of the cap on this one from the British Museum, though I did not copy the 11 stitches per inch gauge of the original, opting for a worsted weight yarn that's probably closer to 6-8 stitches per inch when fulled. This makes for a warmer and more waterproof cap, which can come in handy in our neck of the woods.
Because I designed the pattern myself, I decided to offer it for sale through my Etsy and Ravelry shops to the general public, but I've given it to several SCA folk who are interested in historical knitting, and would be happy to share with any blog reader who's interested in giving it a try, in the spirit of free and open exchange of info. If you'd like a copy, use the contact me link above, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll send it to you free of charge. I'd love to see photos and hear your feedback!
For now, though, here is a picture of the finished item, and a few photos of Master Killian himself modeling it. Thank you to my husband, Lord Aonghus, for the photos, and to Master Killian for excellent modeling skills.
Well, another week, another project. I don't really feel like I've made a whole lot of progress with anything. I have had some health challenges (yet again) both physically and mentally, but I still have lots to share.
Here's a preview photo of the embroidery on my new bliaut. I realized that this is the first time I have planned to hand embellish a piece of garb. I am really trying to improve my use of period correct materials, and my new bliaut is a good example. The fabric is 80% silk 20% linen, and this fabric, to be used for the neck facing, sleeve guards, and ceinture (belt) is a slubby silk. I realize the slubs and the coarser weave aren't particularly period, but this is a piece I had in my stash, so it fit the bill (and the budget). The embroidery thread is silk, and I included the box of mints and penny to show that they served as my stencils for the lozenge and circle pattern. I am using a green woven trim from my stash to go around the neckline, and it will also be used in the guards and ceinture.
I am using a mystery brocade-ish fabric in a cream color for the maunche (sleeve) linings. I'm pretty positive it's a polyester/cotton blend, but it looks plausible and again, was something I already had in my stash. In the interest of time I decided to use my serger to do the construction sewing, and ended up using grosgrain ribbon for the side lacing, so it's not my "perfect" period dress, but it will be some very plausible-looking period court garb. I would have loved to finish it by the ball on January 28, but things just didn't work out that way, and I ended up spending a good bit of time helping my sister with a cotehardie that came out so nicely, so no matter. Here's the only picture I caught of it, while she escorted her fiance up to accept an award (Order of the Yggdrasil) from our Baron and Baroness:
Luckily, I have lots of other pretty dresses, and ended up winning Lady of Azure in the Lord and Lady of Color competition with my blue bliaut with pleated skirt.
The ball was very nice. Great appetizers, fun (but not too long) court, one of the best bardic competitions I've ever seen, a brewing competition, nice dancing with live music, and socializing.
Well! I have so much to update about. I am slowly chipping away at my little list of topics still to cover from my recent activities, and now that I have a bit of respite in between summer and fall classes I can get down to business.
Raptor War is our Barony's premier event, and this year I was looking forward to enjoying it after co-stewarding it with my husband last year. It's also sort of a big event for our household, since it's really where we all came together and formed what would become the Cavalry of the Sword and Horse. It was going to be one of the only events everyone could make it to this year, so we really wanted to make it good.
The site was the beautiful Niagra Springs State Park, as it was last year, and we had the place to ourselves, so everyone spread their tents out willy-nilly. It was great for getting the steps racked up on my pedometer, but it led to ltired feet too The Cavalry set up their encampment around the fire pit, and wound up being party central for the event, which is fine with us, and makes it easier to stumble back to the tent when it's time to sleep.
On Friday afternoon we set up camp in our usual arrangements. Period tents in a circle around the fire pit, with mundane tents behind them and out of sight. After all the tents were up, we started preparing for the Pelican vigil of our own Don (now Master) Gomez. The household teamed up to make refreshments, and I was happy to see that his vigil shirt (post on that to come) seemed to fit him well. Once all was ready, the King came over to kick off the vigil, with the other landed Barons and Baronesses visiting next, then the rest of the rabble as they arrived. I stood guard for a shift, and we all tried to share guard duties so nobody was stuck too long.
I wish I could say people were patient and prompt, but as always there were people who didn't comport themselves as they should. It gets hard to be genteel when those who supposedly outrank one can't do the same. I am still trying to figure out the best way to stand up for myself while being courteous and respectful of rank, and I'm still frustrated at the attitude of acting like all is well while gossip and rudeness go on behind closed doors or in private conversations. It can be hard not to let this stuff get you down. Egos just suck when they get out of control.
In any case, the vigil went well, the refreshments were lovely, and we all got to bed at a reasonable hour. On Saturday morning our household held a pancake breakfast for anyone who wanted one, and it was pretty popular, despite some setbacks with the grill. I competed in our Barony's archery championship, and didn't do too badly, though I was no match for our new champion, Pieter.
After the archery, we proudly watched as our newest Quarter Horse (Cavalry member) became a squire. Congratulations to Titus and Sir Etienne. They're a great pair, and he's a heck of a fighter.
My sister Thora came up for the day and brought the dogs with her, which was fun. We don't usually bring them to events, but it was great to have them, especially since I didn't have much to do or much company, as my husband was off marshalling for the heavy fighters. I spent most of the afternoon enjoying the shade and visiting with friends, with a little break to run the children's scavenger hunt, and another to take a dip in the springs, which pour right out of the cliffs above the camp ground.
After our swim we were nice and clean, and somehow all of us ladies got persuaded to take part in the recently un-banned game of Helga Ball, a variation on rugby popular in the SCA among people who like to get injured. It must be played in a dress, with a cabbage for the ball, which can only be caught and carried in a skirt. I was gratified to hear one of the female heavy fighters say that it was far harder, and rougher, than heavy fighting. I got my hand stepped on, and just got my rings off before my fingers started to swell. Nothing was broken, but it was bruised and sore for a week, and it is still tender now, nearly a month on. After the Helga Ball another group played shinty (a Celtic relative of field hockey), which was just as injury-filled and entertaining.
Saturday night we had a fundraiser dinner followed by court. I was helping out in court for this one, so I spent some time before hand looking over the agenda, prepping tokens and scrolls, etc. with the herald, Master Braden, and my fellow Lady in Waiting, HL Malatesta. Funnily, I saw my name on the court agenda, but kind of glossed over it. I thought it was there because I was one of the ones helping out. Of course, that wasn't it, and I was given a society-level award, something I really wasn't expecting.
The award is called the William Blackfox Award, and it's given by the Society Chronicler to chroniclers and Baronies for their newsletters. The Barony of Arn Hold and I were given the award for Best Layout and Design for AS 49. It was really nice to be recognized for my work. I've been doing our newsletter for two years now, and sometimes it feels like nobody reads it. All my fellow hoodlums from the Cavalry, including my husband and my sister, were sitting on the grass at the back, so there aren't any photos, and I doubt anybody could hear our rather soft-spoken King, but it meant a lot to me.
Master Gomez's vigil was really beautiful, and his garb turned out so well. I got a couple compliments on the doublet, which are so nice to hear. Despite my holding up a lantern through the ceremony (and getting the requisite bug bites as a result), it was too dark for any good pictures of the garb, so those will have to come later when we can corral Gomez.
After court the Cavalry held a giant party, culminating in our second annual men's belly dance competition. It was truly entertaining to watch, and our own Duke Ronan will be champion for the coming year. My husband was very happy to relinquish the title. The beverages and revelry continued, with a decent bardic and a lot of good stories.
Sunday morning came far too early, and we were packed and on the road by 11. There are a few photos below courtesy of Her Excellency Kara of Wealdsmere, mka Rachel Kleinpaste.
PWell, better late than never, I have an update on our trip to Hellsgate in the Barony of Sentinel's Keep (Missoula, MT area). I had heard so many good things about this event, and since we didn't get to go to Fifty Year, and our Kingdom's big summer event was canceled this year due to lack of attendance, we thought it would be worth the extra bit of driving to try this event out.
We packed light and took my car (small but better gas mileage), and drive up Highway 95 and over Lolo Pass, with a convenient stop at my mom's for lunch along the way. The drive was, unfortunately, far longer than planned, due to a lot of construction along the way. However, we arrived on site just at sunset to discover it was a mosquito paradise and The Brotherhood of the Black Unicorn (whose kitchen we were buying into) hadn't made dinner yet, so we didn't miss it! While I made a run back into Missoula for bug spray, my hubby set up camp, and we had an awesome midnight stir fry dinner around the campfire.
This event is a battle between good and evil as the gates of hell threaten to open. My husband and I joined the dark side (come with us, we have cookies!), and entrants were able to compete for points by doing the archery competition and A&S display, as well as heavy and rapier fighting, a great game of SCA Clue, and which beer keg (light or dark) was tapped first. I shot pretty well on both Friday (practice) and Saturday (competition), and was really happy to be able to have something to do while my other half slept off the previous night's festivities. On Friday after archery I mostly sat and watched the fighting while finishing the hand sewing on now Master Gomez's Pelican vigil shirt. See pics below for evidence of my diligent sewing. We had lots of fun helping out in the camp kitchen and making fish and chips on Friday night too.
On Saturday after the archery, which took most of the morning, we had lunch, watched more fighting, enjoyed the A&S display, and then I got suited up in some borrowed fencing gear for a fantastic (but very hot and sweaty) fencing lesson with an extremely talented friend from the Barony of Wealdsmere in An Tir. Many of our Wealdsmere friends were at the site, since it was only about a three hour drive for them (as opposed to our eight hours). In any case, I continue to enjoy the rapier fighting and look forward to more of it when time and money allows.
In the evening there was a magnificent Indian feast put on by the Brotherhood, which was truly incredible, and we all ate until we were stuffed. Much yak-related shenanigans ensued. This was a follow-up to the yak themed competition at Celtic Revolt, and it appears the shenanigans will continue until Border Wars in September, which we may try to attend. After cleanup finished and the sun set, the stage was set for a lovely SCA wedding of our friend Duke Ibrahim and his new bride, Lady Caitlin. Not a dry eye in the house, with plenty of the laughing and silliness we have come to expect from the Brotherhood.
It was interesting for my husband and I to be the only people from our local group traveling to the event. Though another Arn Hold member did show up (he was in the area for work), we are used to traveling with a group of friends or our household cohort. It was nice to camp with other folks and make new friends, who I look forward to seeing again.
We drive home a different way, down Highway 93 through the Bitterroot mountains, on a cloudy rainy day. While my hubby slept I enjoyed the truly spectacular scenery in a part of the Rockies I haven't seen since I was young. I hope we can come back to the event next year. It was just the right mix of activity and relaxation, excitement and laughter, solemnity and levity. Some pics are below, but stay tuned for an entry on the shirt itself.
Photos: Heather Parchen
Well. I may be struggling to keep up with the blog entry a week structure, but I am certainly working hard to finish one project a month, despite all the health stuff, work, school, blah blah blah.
My finished object for June was a doublet pattern for now Master Gomez's Pelican ceremony doublet. I took a bunch of measurements in May using this worksheet for guidance. Obviously, the bust-related ones weren't needed, and I added a few more length-related ones for his knee-length vigil shirt.
To make the mock-up I added four inches onto the width measurements (for ease and seam allowance) and an inch onto the length measurements (for seam allowance) and drew front and back pieces, a collar, and skirts on an old sheet with a sharpie. I also eyeballed a sleeve pattern, cut everything out, and sewed it up with 1/4" seam allowances.
Through some magic of the sewing fairies, when I had Gomez try it all on, the doublet was too small by a couple inches, and the sleeves needed a bit more room. I don't know if I mixed up my numbers, or if he just beefed up a bit in the month or so between measurement and mock-up, but I decided to add an extra inch at each side of the fronts and the back piece (totaling another six inches), and borrowed a doublet from him to just copy the sleeve patterns in the interest of time and sanity.
Between fifty year and Gomez's frequent work travels I didn't have another chance to try anything on him, so I used myself as an approximate model. Now, I have a couple of features that he doesn't, and I'm a bit wider in the hips, but we're of a similar height, shoulder width, etc. and I just had to be brave and go for it. I cut out the resized pattern in the lining fabric, a butter-yellow linen with a decidedly out of period pattern of flowers and cherubs, put it all together, and when the fit was pretty good on my shoulders and waist I used the lining fabric as the pattern for the exterior fabric, a synthetic velvet upholstery fabric.
Now, a lot of this merges into July, but why stop now?
Anyway. I cut out the body and sleeves, and cut out skirts/collar on the fold (since I wanted the velvet on the inside and the outside, assembled, and when all looked good, added a bunch of trim in a gold synthetic brocade (including whatever those little bits over the tops of the armscyes are called) and some lovely ribbon trim Gomez's wife found. Last step was sewing in the lining and doing all the little bits of hand finishing, like tidying up seams and sewing on the gold buttons..
I have to give credit to my awesome husband for doing the button holes on Gomez's wife's sewing machine when my button hole attachment wasn't behaving and I was stuck in class.
I tried the lining in the sleeves, but it made them feel too bulky and tight, so I merely serged the seams in the sleeves, added trim around the wrist, and sewed on five ties at the top of each one. There are five accompanying lacing rings on each armscye so the sleeves can be attached or removed as desired.
Gomez wore the doublet, along with matching trousers made by my awesomely crafty hubby, a couple of days ago for his ceremony. I haven't gotten any decent photos yet (sorry, too busy having fun), but it really turned out beautifully.
There were a lot of challenges with this garb including uncooperative fabric, lack of chances for fittings, and lack of time to do as much hand sewing as I wanted. The lining wound up being slightly smaller than the outside fabric so the whole thing doesn't lay quite flat in a couple places, and there's no good way to iron velvet even if it's not the kind that melts. Overall, though, I feel like we made sure he looked like the peer of the realm he now is. Congratulations, Gomez, and photos will come soon.
Check back in for more updates on the vigil shirt and our Hellsgate and Raptor War trips soon.
Almost a whole month without an update! I'm terrible. I have been slacking off even though I have another finished object from May to share, and plenty to talk about as I learn more about 16th century men's garb and work on my friend Don Gomez's outfit for his Pelican elevation.
I haven't had a lot of energy lately, and I kept forgetting to take pictures, which is what really held me up.
Anyway, here's my other finished project for May, a t-tunic to go with the brown linen trousers I made. These make pretty serviceable SCA pajamas for cold evenings or morning lounging with a pair of boots, my furry hat, and a belt around the waist. I've worn the trousers under my dresses for warmth a few times too.
The tunic is very standard, rectangular construction, underarm gussets, small gores at the sides that extend from waist to the bottom hem, which covers my hips for warmth. I used leftover green linen from Brynjolfr's trousers, hand-hemmed the neckline, sleeves with linen thread, and then did a simple chain stitch embroidery in red cotton (hey, it's what I had, and these are pajamas!) around the sleeves and neckline.
For sleeping in, I just wore this over a long-sleeved teeshirt. Obviously, an under-tunic might be better, and I will have leftover linen from my vigil shirt project that might work for that. I will also probably make a wool over-tunic for more warmth, since I'm always cold at night, no matter what precautions I take. The hot water bottle I brought to celtic revolt to put in bed with me at night was a stroke of genius though.
If I were to make another of these, and I probably will, I'd taper the sleeves so the openings are smaller and fit closer on the wrist. I will probably go back and change that at some point, but I haven't bothered yet.
Here are a couple photos with not great lighting. First is a view of the tunic overall, second is a neckline detail image.
I like to: play with fleece, spin, knit, weave, sew, garden, cook, eat, bake bread, dance, read, sing, and learn new things.