Sunday, January 1, 2012

All the bells & whistles...Final Submission Post

All items were handsewn, created within 2011 and I am considered NOVICE - having never handsewn before and only this year having started to sew my own garb on machine. 

Layer 1) White Linen Shirt - My shirt is based off the Thorsberg bog find in Germany which dates from the Roman era between the 1st and 3rd century AD.  It is a long sleeved woolen garment that fit close to the body.  It is constructed of simple rectangles for the body with a slightly rounded opening for the neck and has tapered rectangles forming the arms.  The side seams on the body are not closed below the hips. 

Under shirts & tunics remained largely unchanged as far as we know well past the 11th century, one difference is that many of the shirts up to the Viking age do not have gussets under the arm.  Therefore I found this shirt to be the most compatible from references regarding the Norman male common dress.  I did add a slit to the neck for ease of going over my head and I find that the look of it cinched together using a pennanular brooch under the kirtle is my preference.  I also added gussets to the shirt to allow for more movement as my shoulders are very broad.

I used white linen fabric and white linen thread which I treated with natural beeswax.  I drafted my own pattern based off photos and drawings of the find.  I assembled the entire shirt by hand.  All was created within 2011.

Layer 2) Wool Kirtle (HANDWORK: Textile Arts -Woven - Fingerloop Braiding)- There is not a tunic/kirtle known to be specific to Normans from the 11th century though there are tunics found from that time frame.  There are many depictions & configurations of tunics and how they are worn within the Bayeux Tapestry.

My Kirtle is based on the Skjoldehamn Kyrtle and dates to 995-1029 CE.  It is made of 4 shafted twill wool.  The garment is made of one piece for the body with 4 gores added from the waist to the hem at the knee.  The arms are tapered trapezoids with gores under the arm. 

In the Bayeux Tapestry there are many variations to this tunic, therefore I chose what would work best for me.  I prefer not to do 4 gore inserts, I only chose to do the 2 side gores.  I also chose not to inset gussets under the arms since I had done that for my undershirt and find 2 separate sets of gussets to be quite bulky.  The kirtle is over sized enough that I do not need to worry about room in the shoulders, therefore the gussets were left out.  I chose the yolked neckline as I think it looks the cleanest and nicest.  Plus as a novice, the trim lays out MUCH easier with this design. 

I used white herringbone wool and red wool fabric.  I used matching linen thread which I treated with natural beeswax.  I added purchased wool trim to the arm bands, yolk and hemline.  I also fingerloop braided my own trim for the cuffs using 50% Silk-50% Wool yarn.  I drafted my own pattern based off photos and drawings of the kirtle.  I assembled the entire kirtle by hand.  All was created within 2011.

Layer 3) The Wool Circle Cloak - There are several finds from the 11th century regarding cloaks and the Full Circle cloak is one of many.  There are references within the Bayeux Tapestry as well for both circle and square cloaks pinned at one shoulder. 

I chose a lightweight wool and did not line my cloak as I prefer to have the least amount of weight on my shoulders as possible.  I also do not get extremely cold at night so it is very rare that I wear a cloak at all.  But on occasion I have wished I'd had one so I chose to make that my 3rd layer. 

I used purple wool fabric and lavender linen thread which I treated with natural beeswax.  I drafted my own pattern based off drawings and photos of various circle cloaks.  I assembled the entire cloak by hand.  All was created within 2011.

Layer 4) Wool Phrygian Cap - Again, this type of cap is seen in various parts of the Bayeux Tapestry.  I did use a pattern which I found online ( ) which is referencing the Gaulish, Frankish and Anglo-Saxon caps.  I lined the wool cap with black linen for added warmth.

I used black wool fabric, black linen fabric and purple linen thread which I treated with natural beeswax.  I also used purchased wool trim that I picked up at Crown Tournament in October 2011.  I assembled the entire hat by hand.  All was created within 2011.

Extra Accessory: Leather Garters (HANDWORK: Leather-work - Decorative) There are references to garters used to hold up wool or linen hosen.  There are also 14th century references to the Order of the Garter.  There is not a lot of reference regarding the use of leather specifically, but there is much speculation that leather may have been used, although woven garters were mostly seen. 

I chose to use leather, and to dye it red as I am Squired to a Knight and I wanted to pay homage to him.  I normally wear a red sash to denote my Squiring, but have also felt the need to have a separate belt at times.  It is more SCA tradition to have your Knight's device or badge on your belt.  While I am in the process of embroidering my Knight's badge on my sash, I wanted to make my garters stand out.  I added my Knight's goose (his badge) to my sword side garter and because I am a fighting member of the Conroi Bras de Fer I chose to add their banner (red & white check) to the shield side garter.  Whether this was specifically done in period, we will never know but it was a personal touch I wanted to add to my accessory. 

I used vegetable tanned leather from my personal stash and red dye which I treated with a commercial sealant.  I drafted my own pattern based off other garters I have seen.  I purchased the 11th century buckles at Gulf Wars in March 2011 ($6.00/pair) and hand decorated the tips.  The garters were fully created in 2011.

COSTS:  The only things I did not have in my stash were linen thread and the Wool/Silk yarn for my fingerbraid trim.  I did also purchase the buckles for my garters & wool trim but these were done regardless of the challenge.  I do not have the actual receipts but I can tell you the costs. 

London Derry Linen Thread $1.90/spool (I have not used a complete spool, even if you combine the various colors I have used in the project as a whole but will count all 4 colors as separate spools).  Total $8.21 (w/tax)

Impressions 50% Silk 50% Wool yarn - $4.49/skein  Three skeins were purchased but not used completely but for calculations I will count all 3.  Total $14.55 (w/tax)

Wool Trim at Calontir Trims during October Crown Tournament $1.25/yard.  Approximately 10 yards used between kirtle and hat.  Total $13.50

Buckles purchased at Gulf Wars - $6.00 for the pair.  Total $6.00 (no tax)

Total Expenses for Challenge: $42.26

This has been a wonderful experience and quite the challenge for this Novice!  I appreciate all the help, input and instruction everyone has been so helpful in giving.  I wish you all the best in 2012!!!

HL Helchen the Rogue of Capua

Saturday, December 31, 2011


Well, I didn't think I would finish everything but I am happy I have.  Still have some edits to do on my documentation and need a 2nd person home to take photos of me wearing the entire outfit (those will get done tomorrow to send out by the deadline) but all in all I feel really good about it all.

After its all said and done I did the following based on an 11th century Norman male outfit:

Layer 1) White linen shirt, hand sewn with beeswaxed linen thread. 
Layer 2) Wool Kirtle, hand sewn with beeswaxed linen thread, with fingerloop braided trim and purchased wool trim. 
Layer 3) Wool cloak, hand sewn with beeswaxed linen thread.
Layer 4) Wool Phrygian Cap, hand sewn with beeswaxed linen thread & purchased wool trim.
Additional Accessory: Leather garters sewn with sinew, decorated by hand, using purchased period buckles.

In the end I did not make my braies or hose but will eventually.  Issues with tendinitis and my work schedule got in the way time wise but before Gulf Wars in March they will get done just for my personal satisfaction. 

I will post here the final photos once I get them all taken and edited.  I have learned so much doing this project and have found just how therapeutic hand sewing can be.  I look forward to doing so much more and will post things here in the future!

Thank you all for your support in my first big sewing adventure =)

HL Helchen the Rogue of Capua

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Getting close...

Well, I have finished the Phrygian cap and the cloak.  All thats left are my braise, the garters and maybe my hose.  Not sure I will get those done but we shall see.  I also have to gather and write up my documentation.  I have all the reference material, I just have no idea how to actually write out what I need to.  Having never seen documentation before I guess I should probably do some research online about it.  If anyone has links to a FAQ some place thats worth reading I would love the input.

I will make seperate posts about the cap and the cloak so you can see all the photos.  Here is one of me wearing both finished products though...just so you can get an idea of the look.


Friday, November 25, 2011

Well I bit the bullet and started the wool cloak tonight.  I was out & about all day today checking all my favorite fabric stores to see exactly what I wanted to get to make myself a bliaut but I couldn't find anything I liked as much as the electric blue wool I had gotten eon's ago for my cloak.  Its light weight, a tight weave and I love the feel of it.  So I decided to use the 4 yards of heathered purple wool for my cloak instead.  I have had it in my stash for quite awhile now, and while its a looser weave, I think it will work quite well for me as a cloak.  I don't normally wear a cloak usually but have found this past camp season that I wouldn't mind having one around (although I found that sharing one with someone warm when I was in dire need of heat was extremely nice I must admit). 

The purple is light enough that it shouldn't be too heavy on my shoulders, the one I made Magnus was ungodly heavy!  Plus, I don't think I will get overly hot wearing it but it should keep in quite a bit of warmth considering I usually am already wearing linen & wool.  The only time I really want a cloak is when I belly dance...hence the fun time sharing >;p

I went with a lighter color linen thread to give it some contrasting decoration.  I think the running stitch I will do along the hem will work in well with the flat felled seams along each section since I am not going to add any sort of trim to the cloak. 

I only had 4 yards of this wool but it was 90 wide.  So I actually put the selvages at the top & bottom and cut the triangles through the middle.  I know that's not really cutting along the bias but given the weave of the wool I don't think it will be a problem.  Again, going with a full circle would just make the cloak a lot heavier than I would like and since I usually have one side thrown over my shoulder I don't see how having a couple sections short of a full circle is going to affect the look of the cloak at all. 

All in all, doing it this way keeps me from having to purchase more wool so the only thing I have actually bought for the challenge thus far is linen thread and the trim on my kirtle.  Everything else I have had in my stash.  So all in all, I've spent under $20.00 so far! 

Although Jenet has put it in my head I should make RED linen braies I may actually go buy some red linen tomorrow with my 50% off coupon!


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Kirtle is done!...maybe...

The Herringbone wool kirtle with wool accent & wool trim is complete.  I think.  I had JUST enough trim to do the bottom and I mean JUST enough...I literally have less than 1/2 an inch of it left lol.  I may still do some fingerloop braids to go around the edges of the neck and the wrists.  It just seems too plain to me but I don't want to do a blanket stitch with the herringbone pattern. 

I ended up flipping the trim on the collar, I really loved both sides so I figured that if I did one side for the arms it should be perfectly fine to do the other side for the collar.  I matched the collar for the bottom trim. 

Its a little bit big, and the shoulders are a bit wide...I really need to get someone to measure me PROPERLY so I know exactly what width I really need to use. But it still fits very well and its a good length too.  I am VERY happy with it.

100% hand sewn
Herringbone wool Kirtle
Red Wool accents
Wool trim
Linen Thread

Thursday, November 10, 2011

I'll raise ya 2 gores & an Arm band =)

Well I have managed to get both side gores done and one arm band finished.  I decided not to do the blanket stitch on the arm band this time.  I think with the herringbone pattern it would just be too much.  I think the running stitch is much cleaner and makes the trim stand out better.  At least I hope so...

Should finish the other arm band tomorrow then start stitching the body together and put the neck section on.  I may do the trim on it a little different, just depends on what I feel like when I get to it.  I will probably still do the blanket stitching around the neck opening with the Terra Cotta linen thread but I will see how it looks once I get everything else sewn in. 

I am honestly quite surprised with how happy I am with the color blending.  I was really worried it would not look right with the herringbone pattern but, I am really digging it!!!  Costuming Karma at its finest heheh...


Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Official Kirtle has been started...

I managed to get the herringbone wool cut for my kirtle tonight.  With the help of some of the "Garb Gals" (a group you should all look into on Facebook if you aren't there already!) I figured out how to make the pattern work on the arms & gores.  Its what I was dreading most.  So it is all cut out, I have found the right wool to use as my neck & arm borders and found that one of the trims I got at Crown from Calontir Trims will work out nicely for it.  Tomorrow I start sewing, with the lofty goal of possibly having it ready to wear for 1000 Eye's Baronial Birthday a week from Saturday!  Guess we shall see lol...

In finally making the decision on going with the herringbome wool, I can now go ahead and use the light weight purple wool I have as my circle cloak.  I have 4+ yards of 90" wide fabric so I think I can get a circle cloak out of it.  Since its a lighter wool than the weight I made Magnus' cloak out of it won't kill my shoulders and if I find its not thick enough I can always go back and line it with linen should I feel the need.  So, things are progressing nicely and I should be on track to finish these two things before Thanksgiving then all I will have left are my braes, hose, phrygian cap and garters.  Which should be fairly easy...(she says hesitantly) lol!