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!
I posted last week about what I'm learning about making baby garb and shared a few pictures of Freya in her first SCA outfit. She has a plethora of lovely hand-me-downs from friends, but I wanted to make something special for my little treasure. Anyway, when I shared last week, what you saw was the assembled dress with raw edges everywhere. However, I wanted to make an heirloom piece, one that might be worn by a future sibling, or handed on to other babies. One that would be soft and comfortable to wear, and pretty enough to merit our lovely firstborn. I firmly believe that handmade items are a physical manifestation of love. They show the hours we spend thinking about the recipient and giving them our good intentions. If billed by the hour at a rate worthy of the skill it takes to make these items, they would be cost-prohibitive. To that end, I knew I wanted to put some hours into making something special for my wee dove.
Here are a couple of photos of the final product. All the hems and seams are rolled and stitched by hand in linen thread. The neck closure button is a wee Nazar bead that my husband received as a gift (I believe from previous Artemisian Queen Esther). Nazars are ancient amulets to protect against the "evil eye," and would have been common trade goods throughout the medieval period, as they are even now. Honestly, I'll take all the good vibes we can get, whether real or not. The loop to go around the button is a bit of needle lace in linen. Making that wonky loop was a good reminder that I need to practice my needle lace some more! The embroidery at the collar is split stitch done in white spun silk and features a ramson flower from my arms and an acorn from my husband's (convenient that we both have white plant bits on our devices, eh? We didn't plan that.). This style is universal enough that the dress could work for either my husband's 9th-century Viking persona or my Norman one. Baby clothes haven't changed much, really. I put enough extra room in this dress that Freya should be able to wear it more than once, which is great, since it was certainly a labor of love.
Well, it's been almost a month since this event and I'm just now sitting down to write about it. Sorry I don't have a lot of pictures. I never take enough at the events themselves.
We set off in our matching household teeshirts on Friday morning and made it to the site by mid-afternoon. As the first arrivals from the household, we staked out a spot to set up tents, and then set up a few besides our own for later arrivers. Nobody likes putting up a tent in the dark. After checking in with the kitchen folks to pick shifts and pay, we got into garb and settled in for a relaxing evening. Things turned out to be fairly chaotic for some fellow cavalry members who had car trouble along the way, but I'm proud to say that a dozen people from our household and our local barony stopped to help out, keep them company, etc. Friends swapped out cars to get kids taken care of, and to send tents on ahead for those who would be late while waiting for help to arrive. I'm not sure how many tents we earlier arrivals set up, I think about half a dozen, but that kind of thing is why I love my SCA family. The whole household was settled in by 1 am.
On Saturday, there were lots of activities taking place to score war points in this battle between the forces of Artemisia and An Tir. I decided to participate in the Iron Needle competition, where we were given a square of linen and challenged to create a largess item by the end of the day. This was a lot of fun, but meant we spent most of the day in camp sewing instead of watching the other contests and seeing friends. We sewed furiously right up to the 3 pm deadline, and I'm proud to say my friend Mistress Giliana won the competition with her gilded fabric bag complete with documentation, with my student sister Beatriz taking the novice award for a pulled thread embroidery pincushion. I made a cup cover with rolled hems, pearl beads on the corners, and an embroidered A on it (for An Tir or Artemisia). Did I remember to snap a photo? Of course not.
Overall An Tir took the competition and kept their seaport on the Columbia River. The best part of court for us, though, was watching my husband accept a well-deserved Golden Maple Leaf (our kingdom's AOA level arts award) for his awesome work. I was so excited for him.
That night my husband took his oath to become a man at arms to his friend and knight Sir Brynjolfr. There were a lot of friends in attendance to lend their support to the ceremony. it was a lovely moment.
I turned in fairly early, then it was up on Sunday morning to pack and get on the road back to Arn Hold. This was a fun and low-key event. Though my energy level still wasn't what it was before getting pregnant and I was/am still dealing with some other fun symptoms (walking to the biffy in the cold 3 times a night, anyone?), it was nice to feel more with it than I did at Estrella. I should say a special thank you to my husband, our household, and especially Beatriz's other half Nick for making me take better care of myself than I otherwise would. That whole learning not to burn myself out business is still a challenge.
Photos below, and more blogging to come!
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.
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
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.
This past weekend my husband and I, along with most of the Cavalry of the Sword and Horse, attended Celtic Revolt in Wealdsmere (just outside of Spokane, WA). This event marks our one year anniversary as a household, and it's a truly wonderful way to mark the unofficial start of summer. There was a record turnout this year (350 people!). The household had teeshirts made, which we wore to the site and for setup, and we got to display our new gate and giant banner, along with the new benches we made (the one my husband made for us got lots of comments because it has a bottle opener attached to one side and a distaff holder on the other).
I was able to deliver Sir Brynjolfr his trousers and in return he gave me some awesome trim in red, white, and black, which is going to go on the heraldic sideless surcote I'm wearing in several of the pics below,
Along with some great parties and evenings around the campfire, I enjoyed taking a nalbinding class (mastered the Oslo stitch) and a needle lace class, and teaching a class on how to incorporate period tools when spinning on a spindle. We played a fun game of yak attack where we teamed up to wrangle the most toy yaks into our corral while fending off pool noodle attacks, sang songs, told stories, ate and drank great food, and made more wonderful memories. Here are a few photos from the event, all by Arlen Donald
Oh, and remember that yarn I spun for my friend Lady Merin in return for a replacement loom part? Now that she's got the yarn I can share a picture with you. Nice squishy woolen-spun two-ply for a knitter who wants a warm hat.
I'm counting this as my FO for May.
Well, another event has come and gone successfully. Their Majesties Daman and Veronique have heirs, His Highness Lochlann fought very well, and his consort Vigdis was a pleasure to watch in her support and dignity.
After much hemming and hawing, the retinue was read into the court record, and though my name was left off the list, I was assured this was a simple error, and I was given a favor to wear to indicate my role. I wasn't needed for attending Her Majesty, though, so I spent the day doing what I do best, braiding hair (see photo below), teaching people how to spin, and chatting about upcoming art projects.
I was shy and unprepared, so I didn't get in on any fencing that day, but I've been to a couple practices and I'm enjoying it so far. I need to work on getting in better shape and getting through the last few weeks of the semester, but I'll definitely be sticking with it.
My laurel, my sister student Beatriz, and another friend of ours made plans to warp the loom at the end of this month, too, so now I just need to get my family room relatively de-cat-ified so that it doesn't kill Mistress Gilliana.
I started the hand sewing on my cotte/kirtle, and I'm really enjoying it. I needed more practice on my backstitch, and I even have some buttonhole silk in my stash that's the right color for eyelets and lacing. I think this dress and its accompanying bits will be my entry into the latest costuming challenge put on by our kingdom. Known as Hometown Pride, the goal is to make garb in kingdom colors (black and gold) plus an accent color of your choice if desired, to be completed by Barons' War in August. Though the dress is more buff than gold, I had talked about dyeing it to cover some stains in the fabric, which is now even more likely to occur. I'll probably do a black sideless surcote to wear over it, or maybe just a black hood and tippets. Not sure yet, as this style and period of garb is new to me.
Tonight I'll be going to another archery practice, and our household is having a craft day on Sunday to make benches for the upcoming camping events. This will be so nice.
In any case, that's about all the SCA news that's fit to print. Here's that photo from Crown featuring myself, Lady Simona, Beatriz, and her other half Nick . The setup was beautiful. Photo credit: Mistress Heloise de Bec
Well, I can proudly say that Sir Brynjolfr's trousers are finished well before the Memorial Day deadline we agreed on. I am probably going to see him at Honor War in a few weeks, so I can bring them for him to try on in case of any modifications. For now, though, here's the finished trousers. I used my serger on these since hand-sewing wouldn't even be visible, and I wanted them to be machine-washable and sturdy.
They are based on the style known in the SCA as Rus trousers, which actually seems to have been pretty common throughout the Viking world. There are lots of images of men wearing full trousers that appear creased or pleated, which come in below the knee for a tight fit.
I have to say a huge thank you to my husband, Lord Aonghus, who helped me struggle through these. He gave me all the source info I could possibly ask for, and helped keep me on track (check out his references on his Norse Garb pinterest board). It was at his suggestion that I make the lower leg portion full-length instead of just a shorter strap/cuff below the knee. He said these pants were sometimes worn without leg-wraps, and that they are more comfortable and stable with leg wraps if the trousers go all the way down.
The waist band is made of a double-folded strip of linen, eight inches wide. Aonghus says he makes his trousers so that each leg is twice as wide ashis thigh measurement. I went with the full width of the linen, since I had enough, it was close to that measurement, and it was easy to measure/cut. The thigh pieces are attached by a crotch gusset that runs from the front waistband to the back, and is a couple inches longer than the client's rise. The bottom leg sections are about two inches larger than his calf, and should reach to the ankle.
Below is a photo of the full width of the trousers. It kind of makes me think of those before/after weight loss photos with someone holding their giant old pants.
The waist band was made about two inches longer than Sir Brynjolfr's waist. I then pleated the pants into the waistband by marking halves, quarters, etc. until I had about one inch pleats. I did the same thing with the trouser legs where the lower leg connects. A lot of the construction of these pants was based on conjecture, since actual period examples are really scarce. Many reenactors have made similar pants without adding a waist band by simply folding over the top of the pants and adding a drawstring. My experience of wearing garments like that is that they're uncomfortable. The gathered material shifts around, feels baggy, makes clothes look rumpled on top, and can be kind of a pain to get in and out of. I made a waist band for comfort and ease of wearing, but I think it's a plausible addition to a pair of pants, and likely will never be seen by anyone except Sir Brynjolfr anyway.
I didn't get a decent photo yet, but I made fingerloop braided ties at the waist band, and can add additional sets if he wants the pants more snug. Overall, I'm proud of how they came out. This was a fun easy project, and I'm looking forward to seeing the finished object on the recipient!
Another plus, is that even for the rather tall Sir Brynjolfr, this project only took two yards of 60 inch wide linen, making it an economical garment too!
I wanted to share my project notebook here, because it shows the very simple pieces that make up the Rus pants (lefthand page). A couple of rectangles and squares, and that's it.
The other reason I wanted to show it is that it shows the struggles I went through with cutting out my new project, a 14th century kirtle (aka cotte). I had exactly four yards of 60 inch wide wool, and if you haven't learned from reading my blog yet, I love trying out new styles. I had gotten help from a friend with draping a pattern, but when I read the info presented on the Medieval Tailor website I started getting really interested in the look and construction of these ubiquitous garments. You can obviously read a lot more about this on the site itself, but I really liked the author's insights about the fact that kirtles were sort of the transitional item between rectangular construction (think t-tunics, bliauts, etc.) and tailored/draped construction (think tudor/renaissance).
The author bases her pattern on a lot of images, her own experience, and the construction of the Herjolfsnes finds from Greenland, specifically H38, H39, and H41, all of which feature side gores that reach from under the armscye to the hem. The front and back panels resemble the four-panel kirtle we are all used to seeing, but the fitting in the waist takes place along the side gores as well as the front and back seams. This has a couple of benefits in my opinion: 1) No pre-draped pattern required, because who would really have the extra fabric for that in period? 2) Takes advantage of narrow fabric width on period looms. My widest pieces as cut out were 30 inches wide, far closer to period fabric width. 3) Almost no waste. The pieces I had left from cutting out are large enough to be used for something, and the pieces that will be trimmed away in fitting will be negligibly small.
There are only a couple of challenges here. You may be able to see from my first cutting diagram, that I mistakenly only accounted for two side gores (enough for one side), then had to panic and re-configure to get what I needed out out of the fabric I had. I had to plan for slightly narrower front and back gores, but I made it work. The second challenge is that I've never done a sleeve like this before. I eyeballed my sleeve pattern based on the instructions from the site, and I'm sure I'll need to fiddle with it to get it to fit, but I really just want a sleeve that is relatively fitted but in which I can still use my arms.
After much scribbling and swearing, I got the pattern cut out, with about a quarter yard left over. This is really a fabric-conservative pattern! The pile on the left is my dress, the one on the right is the scrap fabric, which could become anything at this point... extra sleeve gussets, maybe garters or a pouch, material for future applique projects... You may see a stain on the top left piece of fabric. I have no idea where that came from, as I washed the fabric when I got it, but I'll try washing the dress once more when it's finished. If it just won't go away, I'll dye the whole thing. It's wool, so that should be easy.
I think I'm going to go ahead and hand-sew this dress. I know it's a bit crazy, but I really enjoy hand sewing, and it'll be a fun way to get better at my stitches, and to get comfortable with the narrow seam allowances you get in extant finds and can get away with when using wool. I have silk thread to use for the construction, and then maybe this will be an A&S project entry someday. I only set the front gores in wrong twice last night when I got started sewing, even with my trusty assistant Betsy to oversee my work.
I have been a Very Bad Ursula lately. I didn't even write in my blog last week, which is due to a lot of factors, mostly health issues, work, and school stuff. I have a couple of different things to share this week, though, and hopefully more in the future.
I *finally* finished hand-felling all of the seams on my dolphins dress (that's always what it will be to me, lol). It was something I'd grab and work on a bit when I needed a hand sewing project and didn't have anything in mind. I don't bother to do hand-finishing on all of my garb. I sometimes do French seams like I did with my Italian camicia. This is much quicker, and it's not that different from the seams in one of the Hedeby find, where a seam was sewn with running stitch, then the raw edges turned in toward each other and whip-stitched. Sometimes I just get creative like I did with my ultramarine bliaut and some of my other projects, where I am able to use the full width of the fabric and take advantage of the selveges. Now that I have a serger I've done several garments that way, including my Slavic dress. Clearly, there are advantages to doing things quickly. Garb gets finished. I don't get overwhelmed by long-lasting projects. As long as there isn't visible evidence of the modern techniques it passes my standards. That said, though, I love the look of hand-finished seams. I think it looks lovely, and garments are so comfortable with the seams felled flat. They don't tend to shift and bunch as much, and they wear very well. While you can get sewing machine feet that will do flat-felled seams, it's fairly obvious they're machine-done.
So, anyway. Over the past year or so I've done a bit here, a bit there, and now the dolphins dress is fully finished. The felling was done with natural-colored flax thread, waxed with beeswax. Here's a photo of the top of one gore. The aqua looks a little washed out in this picture, but it's just a trick of the light. I tend to like running stitch best for this, because it goes so quickly, but hem stitch is also pretty, as I did on my red bliaut and gold underdress.
So, that's a second FO for February, and another item from my list of goals for the year.
I haven't made any progress with the weaving project yet. I got her all opened up and the castle lowered in preparation for tying-on. Here's a picture of the loom all set up, as has remained for the past two weeks.
The problem is that when I was looking everything over and dusting off, I noticed that the ratchet arm piece (what's the real name?) for the cloth beam (the one in front, to the right of this picture) had broken at some point. It was some rather cheap aluminum, and the broken piece was still nearby, but this little bit makes it impossible to warp up the beast. Here's the broken part:
My husband was able to fix it temporarily with epoxy, a thin sheet of metal, and a couple of screws, but I have a friend who is an armorer (why yes, I am a lucky girl!) who said she could cast a new one for me in steel, so I'd rather do that before I wind a project on. I saw her yesterday and forgot the part, so hopefully next time we get together I'll remember. That girl is getting such a nice skein of handspun in trade. You know she's extra cool because she's a knitter.
Finally, my husband just found this photo of my sister and I on his work computer. It's from the Renaissance Faire last October when we got to hold some beautiful falcons. I still really need to even out the neckline on this dress, but I think it's a great photo of us even with that and my veil slipping off in the wind. :)
I like to: play with fleece, spin, knit, weave, sew, garden, cook, eat, bake bread, dance, read, sing, and learn new things.