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!


Thursday, November 3, 2011

An Update...

Well, I have learned a few things since my last update.  I have washed my "practice" kirtle and I now realize that only using 2 strands of linen thread is not going to work.  Several of my blanket stitches have come apart due to stress.  I can now see why the thicker linen thread (80/3) is a much better option.  I just wish they had more color choices!  I think the 3 strands will be fine for the embroidery thread...that gets twice the use out of the length at least. 

So obviously I will be going ahead with my real kirtle now, and use the herringbone wool I had originally planned on.  I am just not sure how meticulous I need to be pattern wise.  for the arms & side gores, should they be exact?  I'm not sure I have enough fabric to make everything exact.  With herringbone is it that noticeable?  I guess once I get to cutting I will figure it out in a hurry lol! 

I am still holding off on my braes & hose as those are going to be a bear.  I am doing the wrap around braes, not the preformed leg pattern and I am having a hard time finding a pattern reference for those.  And I just haven't had time to make the pattern for the hose yet.  But I will! 

The last two items, the leather garters and the phrygian cap should be fairly easy.  Although I am still working out how much of a "smurf bump" I want on the top lol.  Once I get that down I am going to most likely make a couple for gifts as well.

I took a little time off from the ACC to do gift #2 which was a linen tunic for Brynjolfr, the Queen's Champion.  He stepped up and took on autocratting Ely's Knighting when it had to be postponed and I knew he didn't have much garb wise.  Of course without measurements (because it was a surprise) I made it a bit too large, so I am going to have to rip some seams & cut it down a bit.  Luckily he will be at Solstice and I can gift it to him then!  He at least got to see what I was doing and I got to see just how too long I'd made it. 

I can not judge clothing size any more!  I used to be able to look at something, know it would fit and it be perfect.  Now, I can't judge for crap.  Not for me, not for Greg not for SUCKS!!! 

I am headed upstairs to try and cut my kirtle out...pray for my soul!


Thursday, October 6, 2011

Kyrtle done...maybe

I decided to make a "practice" kyrtle to get myself ready for the real one.  I kept looking through my bins of fabric and kept coming back to my linen/wool blend I had put aside to make my first bliaut.  It just didn't want to be a dress.  So, when I started putting trim to fabric, it was the perfect choice to match the wool trim I had gotten at Calontir Trims when I was at Gulf Wars.  Thus it was decided...

I also had a very BIG BOON at Hancock's on 33rd St. here in Salt Lake.  I had gone in a couple of weeks ago to buy felt for some projects I want to do for the Kingdom Barony's.  I wander over to the embroidery thread because I can use cotton on the projects and I notice that this store has a DMC Linen Embroidery Thread display, but very few skeins left.  I file it away in the back of my mind. 

I go to start making the kyrtle and realize the one skein of linen thread I have that truly matches the fabric will probably be all used up.  So instead of going with the wool thread (no clue how that will shrink) I remember "Ohhh I think Hancock's had some of this color or at least close to this color left on that display".  So the next morning I head over.  I find they have ONE skein in the same color and quite a few in "almost" the same color so I grab 4.  I head up to the cashier and the skeins ring up for ONE PENNY each!  The girl looks at me and says "Wow, that's a hell of a deal" and I tell her to wait one second.  I run...yes RUN back to the display, scoop up ALL the rest of the thread and run back to the cash register.  I end up with 68 skeins of Linen thread for $.068 cents.  That's HALF the price of one skein! 

Of course I call various people out of my area and tell them to check their Hancock's as I drive to the other one right by my house.  Of course it doesn't have ANY (although it did have 5 rayon skeins that were priced at a penny so I got those).  I even checked online and damn no luck.  I guess Hancock's is going with a different brand of embroidery thread and they were closing out the DMC line.  Shopping Karma at its best.

Anyway, I get back and start sewing my new kyrtle, in hopes of having it ready for Crown.  I end up finishing it at 1:00am Friday nite as I sit in my hotel room in Pocatello waiting to be able to go to sleep.  I hang up my new Kyrtle and feel satisfied, but as I look at it hanging there, I realize it looks sort of plain along the bottom.  So, I do what any exhausted Squire would do, I take it back down, climb back into bed, turn on "Top Gun" and sew trim all across the bottom.  An hour & a half later (2:30am) I finally finish and fall quickly asleep before I decide there's something more to do.

I wore it to feast at Crown with my white linen under shirt and it was plenty comfy.  I do need to adjust my measurement book for my wrist size, I seem to always make them too big.  I did a blanket stitch around the collar & the cuffs and it turned out very nice.  I am so pleased I am still considering making this my ACC submission kyrtle, however, the flat felled seams in the gussets under my arms are still bothering me.  So upon the suggestion of Varia and Aelia Sophia I will leave the kyrtle til last & if I have time to make the herringbone kyrtle I will.  If not, I have a perfectly fine, hand sewn kyrtle that will do nicely.  My holdout on the herringbone is matching the patterns, because...well...I'm OCD like that! 

In other news, while I was digging through my bins for linen to make a new tunic I want to gift someone in a couple of weeks, I found a really nice piece of gray herringbone wool I had forgotten about.  Its not a large enough piece to do much with but I realized it would make a PERFECT wool wrap for when I need a light cloak.  So last night while I was watching Castle, I backed it with black linen and hand sewed the edges with some of the thicker linen thread that I found at the Needlepoint Joint.  I had originally thought I could split the threads but it didn't work out that way, so the wrap turned out to be the perfect use for the thicker weight.  Tonight I will blanket stitch the edges with some great wool yarn I have so it will lay correctly. 

Then I will knock out the tunic before I start on the braies hardcore.  I want to get the gift done because this person has really stepped up to the plate in helping with an event & I can give it to him in person later this month if its done.  Otherwise I'd end up mailing it and that's kinda boring lol.  Lets hope my guesstimating his sizes works...

I will post some photos of the "practice" kyrtle later tonight when I get home.  I did take documentation photos just in case thankfully lol...


Monday, September 12, 2011

Surprise birthday present for Magnus...shhhhh!!!

Since I know he has no clue this blog is out here I am fairly safe to post the progress of his birthday cloak.  I decided to take up the 50 before 50 challenge and my goal is 50 hand made gifts by 50th year.  So the first of my gifts is for my Squire Brother Magnus.  He is an 11th cent. Varangian guardsman.  He bought the 8 yards of RED wool almost a year ago and it has sat in my house waiting to be made since then. 

He just turned 26 and I could not figure out what to do for him for his birthday.  Then it hit me...he still needs his cloak & I needed practice handsewing.  So, I decided to make it for him.  I feel guilty because I didn't use linen thread, he had purchased heavy coat thread for it already.  But it is fully hand sewn and all thats left now is rolling the collar, sides and hem. 

I had thought about applicqueing bear paws on the front but I don't know that I will have time to do it since I want to give this to him Saturday morning at Harvest War. 

I had originally thought that I could count this as my ACC cloak peice but alas, as I said, I did not use linen thread, I have one back seam that is turned in the wrong way and the nap of the wool doesn't match on all sections.  A couple of them got turned over to the other side and I didn't realize it until after I had finished the section.  So, I really don't want to have anyone judge me with such blaring mistakes already.

But it was great practice and I enjoyed doing it, and it still counts as 1/50 of the other challenge!!!


Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Trade done! Thank you amazing Vicaress!!!

Many of you know Morgan & I did a little trading.  We finally completed the exchange over Coronation weekend!  I had sent home (via Royal carriage from Baron's War) some chocolate silk for her to use in the ACC.  So this weekend in exchange, she taught me how to do finger braiding and how to make braided trim.  I will be using this technique to make the drawstring for my braies & the ties for my hose.  I may also use it as trim on my tunic and/or shirt. 

Once you get the hang of it, its very simple.  I have done a few test pieces but I think on my way up to Harvest War the weekend of the 15th, I will stop in & get some of the thicker linen thread and see how that braids up.  If it doesn't do well I will use cotton but I think the linen will work nicely.

I haven't gotten a new piece cut out yet but should have the braies cut out tomorrow.  I was just too tired from Coronation & the drive home to do anything but veg.
 Sometimes you just gotta give up and watch vampire TV =)

Monday, August 29, 2011

Knight Time ...

I got to spend some quality time with my Knight (Count Ralf le Bigod) yesterday afternoon going over patterns for braise and how he does his awesome looking hose.  I "think" I will be able to copy his pattern for hose pretty easily.  Unfortunately he has chicken legs so no way can I just use his pattern darn it.  The man has no calves....seriously...they're like peglegs! wonder his winnegas ALWAYS stay up! 

Anyway, after we discussed the patterns we got into a really great conversation about period underwear & why I would wear them.  Oddly enough I had never even considered WHY my personae does what she does.  I know WHAT she does, its like she just popped out ready made and thats who she is, but I never really bothered with the Why.  I have done some research and have a lot of my basics figured out but to drill it down to "Why does your personae wear mens underwear?" was never a thought. 

I know many people really don't have their own personae fleshed out and thats perfectly fine.  In my previous SCA life as a 14th Century Scottish woman I made up reasons why I fought but it was all conjecture.  Nothing was truly supportable should I have really wanted to document my history but it suited me and no one ever criticized me about not having something fleshed out.  Even now, I don't think anyone would do that really.  But to those of us that enjoy such things and "Would You Like To Know More" (to quote Starship Troopers hehe) it gives us even more insight into our alternate beings hehe.

It excites me now to know I can fully support why Helchen does what she does, wears what she wears and why she fights.  Everything can be documented - right down to WHY she would wear mens underwear and even to why they are the color they are (or will be once I make them hehe).  I am amazed at the levels of detail knowing my personae's history opens up to me.  It also makes this challenge that much easier.

I was having problems with my documentation.  I have never done documentation before and I thought you had to do things exactly like the period references you find did them.  I was confounded when I was using two different examples for my shirt and one had gussets and one didn' how am I supposed to make the shirt?  After much discussion with gloriously knowledgeable friends I realize the references are simply that.  I simply need to show what WAS done in period and why I am doing MY shirt the way I did it.  Which rolls personae would have done it this way because....

So yea I am breathing MUCH easier now with the choices I am going to have to make regarding fabric, design and embellishment because its all based on Helchen and if anyone knows her best...(and knows why she wears men's drawers)...its Me =)

(who occasionally wears men's her real life too)

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Shiny...The 1st item in the ACC done!

My shirt is now done.  100% handsewn and I have the pin pricks to prove it!  I started the shirt on Saturday August 6, 2011 with cutting it out.  It sat, due to my hesitance on flat felled seams until Tuesday August 16, 2011.  I am pretty happy once I got to sewing it only took me a few days to finish it.  And that was only working on it an hour or two each night. 

I have learned pre-pinning works great but for hemming I do much better rolling it as I go.  I also love love LOVE the beeswax that Mistress Bianca gave out at her collegium class.  That has saved me many times.  I just slip the little pouch into my cleavage to keep it warm and anytime the linen thread got rough I slid it out!  Works like a charm.  I will definitely be melting down my big blocks once I find out what type of mold she used.  It looks like a mini Reeses peanut butter cup.

Some of my beginning seams are a bit uneven but by the end of the shirt I pretty much had the spacing figured out and I am very happy with the outcome.  The opening at the neck may need to be altered a little bit but I am waiting until I wash the completed shirt before I change anything.  Fit was good although I could probably take it in a couple places.  I wasn't sure on the seam allowances for flat felling so I left a little extra in the cut. 

I will say gussets & flat felling are a PAIN IN THE ASS!!!  I almost went with the running stitch to forgoe the flat felling but it seemed (seamed...get it lol I crack myself up) to work out just fine.  But agan..P.I.T.A!!!

All in all, I am a proud girl.  I haven't ever made anything like this by hand and it was actually very therapeutic just to sit, watch Firefly & sew.  Although now I will need to find a different series for each part of the challenge lol!

I thought I was getting in over my head with this but right now, I think I will do ok!  Thank you to everyone who gave me input about the gussets & seams.  Here is a photo of the finished shirt.  I will save all the documentation photos I have for the finale =)


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Flat Felled Seams!

Well it was tough but after Bianca's class, various videos on youtube, talking with friends in the ACC & reading an online article on period sewing techniques, I finally felt ready enough to start sewing.  It's odd because I would normally have had this thing whipped out in under an hour on a machine.  So far...I have one shoulder seam done!  LOL =)

I took some shots of the seam because...well...I am pretty proud of myself!  I know its not perfect but I am excited to have it truly started.  I did get to discuss the process of documentation and what the process is from a find to what you hold in your hand.  That helped a lot.  I realize I was truly trying to overthink the whole process...which to those who know me, should not come as a complete surprise ROFL!

The top picture is the rightside and the bottom picture is the underside of the seam.  I also have managed to gleen a few linen threads long enough to sew with so far.  That was an AMAZING idea to take threads from the actual fabric to sew with! 

All in all I am happy with my progress.  I am still so excited about finally figuring it out I want to stay up longer just to sew, however I know that won't last long. 

One other major discovery was made while sewing tonight...Disturbed & Godsmack make great sewing songs!!! 

Hope you all have a glorious week!

Cheers ~ Rogue

Saturday, August 6, 2011

And...its begun =)

Well tonight after having family over for dinner, which forced me to clean my sewing/armoring table (aka the kitchen table) off so we could eat, I decided to get some good use out of it before I cluttered it up again!  I cut out the first piece of my ACC garb.  My white linen undershirt. 

It is a very basic design based on the Thorsbjerg tunic & the Viborg linen smock.  Its a rectangular body & rectangular arms with a taper to the wrist.  A simple round neckline with side seems to the hip, open past the hips.

Now that its cut out I still have to figure out a few things.

1) The Neck: I want to put the neck slit over to the side so its basically on my shoulder.  I think it looks so much better that way.  Or I could just do a simple boat neck & still get the flat lay I want under the opening of my kirtle.  I just can't decide! 

2) Seams:  Should I flat fell all the seams?  I know on the Thorsbjerg tunic the seams are in the middle of the arm instead of at the shoulder seam and underarm seam, so I am unsure where to put them.  And in a flat felled seam should everything be a running stitch?  I may do a blanket stitch in a coordinating color on the neck & cuffs but again...not sure!

3) I'm kind of perplexed at how to set up the flat felled seam to start.  I have seen Bianca do it, looked at her hand outs, even seen some photos on youtube but still am hesitant to start it all.  That initial desire for hand holding is killin' me LOL! 

4) Gussets: I am not sure if I should add gussets under the arms or not.  I have enough linen left from the arms to cut them out if I need them but deciding if I should add them is the dilemma!

Now...for my Kirtle question!

In searching for more linen, I found this wool in the wrong box.  Its a maroonish red with heather accents.  I think it will be fine but I am wondering about the pattern...I don't want something that wouldn't work in period.  Any ideas if the Herringbone will work anyone?

UPDATE!  I found references to "the interlacement of the herringbone or broken chevron twill weave"  so YAY I have my Kirtle Wool =) 

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Trying times indeed...

Seems the only thing that has progressed is the pain in my right wrist lol!  Since before Barons War I have had a little cyst on my wrist bone.  It was annoying and only mildly painful.  Well since Barons War it has gotten exponentially worse.  It has now moved into the tendons & I can not flex my wrist, make a fist, lift anything heavier than a pencil and can't do any of my upper body workouts.  Even running hurts if I don't wear a brace (because I just let my hands kind of go slack as I run). 

Thus, my Knight has benched me.  I can't pick up my spear until I can get the cyst removed.  So hopefully this week or next I will go in & they will do a tiny incision and remove it.  At least thats the best outcome I can have.  Worst case is there's something else wrong! 

So I have not gotten anything cut out yet.  But, I am hopeful to get things cut out this weekend so that I can start handsewing soon.  I figure cutting will be the worst after surgery so if I get it all cut out now, I can sew at my own pace.  And until I go under the knife I will wear my brace like a good little girl & just sew since I can't fight! 

Here's to hoping I can get away with this plan...


Thursday, July 14, 2011

For Morgan

This is the Chocolate Silk (or it may be satin, not sure how to tell) that I was talking about.  Its pretty heavy...but if you need some just let me know!  Its 45' wide & I have roughly 13 yards so plenty for your project & my bellydance skirt =)


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The Wool Cloak...

After talking to Ralf about the style of cloak an 11th Cent. Norman would wear, my rectangular idea was not going to work.  It needs to be a circle cloak.  However I only have a 2 yards/60"wide piece of wool (along with the wool for the trim) to use for the cloak.  Therefore I thought my budget was going to get blown on more wool.  However, thanks to Duke Konrad von Krixen...I now have another option! shows how to use a smaller cut of fabric for a semi-circular cloak.  So, this Saturday I am heading over to Ralf & Kassandra's to help them make garb for Leo since they are bringing him to Baron's War to camp (we aren't allowed to camp without him anymore declared the littlest Norman!) so we are going to test out the pattern and see how it works out.  If all goes well I will be using the blue on the left as the trim around the entire cloak & the black woven wool for the body of my cloak.  It will pin at the shoulder with a pennanular brooch which I may or may not try and create since I already have one.

So at least the cloak has been decided on...hopefully =)

Saturday, July 9, 2011

More than I ever expected to know about Linen Thread...

Well this is what $35 worth of Linen thread looks like lol.  I went ahead and matched ALL of my stash of linen fabric so that when the time comes I can reorder the correct colors online.  Turns out DMC has a line of Linen thread but you can only get it in 12-packs online.  There are a total of 24 colors in that line of floss.  I have found that Londonderry Linen Thread, the 80/3 thickness is just about perfect and there are some pretty good guides online with fairly true to color photos.  So I at least have more options now when I want completely period materials.  I also seem to remember a merchant at Uprising that carried a lot of linen thread as well and next year I will be sure to take my swatches with me! 

On a side note - today I found probably THE most amazing deal ever.  At this strange little damaged freight store called NPS Market Square here in SLC they get odd lots of stuff.  Today, they had 2 Deacon's Robes and they were $20.99 each.  I purchased one after getting confirmation that it would absolutely work as a Byzantine Dalmatica with some major beading hehe and so I was quite happy.  Then I came home, found out that just ONE of these bad boys is $550.00 to have made then you add in the Normandy trim at $30/yard, of which the whole thing is trimmed in it...turns out I got a $700 outfit for one hell of a deal.  So...I did what any good bargain hunter does...I went back and got the other one!  I figure it fits in my period, my personae and doesn't look bad on.  I already have linen that matches it perfectly so why not get it as a future project.  And if Magnus or I should ever end up winning Crown...I have our stepping up garb >;p

So it was a full day of good shopping karma indeed =)


Thursday, July 7, 2011

Prep Work almost done!!!

Having never done ANYTHING like this before I was really not sure how to actually get started.  I kept wanting to just jump in and start sewing but alas, wasn't sure on which linen I was going to use for what piece and of course there's the whole "thread issue".  So, having been given some very wise advice from some very wise Laurels I have gotten my documentation together first. 

At least I think its the documentation I need lol.  I stated in my entry that I would be doing Italian Norman but alas after some research diving, Normans IN Italy would still be wearing what Normans elsewhere would have worn.  They loathed Byzantine clothing and even after Robert wore a Dalmatica to his Coronation as Duke, they STILL thought it horrible.  Some even revolted based on that alone!  But I digress...

So, I have found several patterns that I will be using and I will basically be following the guidelines that Hastings re-enactors are required to follow to even be allowed on the field.  Its a great place to start as they are pretty picky about what you can & can't do.  On top of that I have found a great resource in Marc Carlson's site and this should give me everything I need!

Now, the "Thread Issue".  You would THINK that Salt Lake is a thriving Artisan Metropolis...yet how is it that we don't have a single place that sells Linen Thread!  One would hope the weavers, knitters & seamstresses here would call for it yet the only place that I can seem to find it is The Needlepoint Joint in Ogden!  So driving an hour each way just to get thread is going to be a chore.  However, Saturday I made a lunch date up there so now I have an excuse lol!  Needless to say I will be taking swatches of ALL my linen and buying at least one spool of what I need for each color I have.  Then I can call & reorder whatever I need later, but at least I will know it matches!

I had planned to start cutting on Saturday but that may hold out until sometime next week.  I don't want to cut something out and NOT be able to find thread to match the linen.  As far as I can tell contrasting colors on at least the under pieces was not common.  I will be doing some decorative stitching on the shirt possibly, and I know I will do some trim work for the kirtle and over tunic but the braies & hose were pretty plain evidently. 

If anyone has seen any documentation on embossing, decorating or even embroidering the leather garters, let me know.  I would love to do something a little more detailed for them.

Thanks for Reading!


Thursday, June 30, 2011

My Plan...Linen, Wool & Leather Oh My!!!

I am planning on doing a full 11th Century Italio-Norman outfit for the Artemisian Costuming Challenge.  I will be doing it as period as possible and handsewing it ALL!  I do qualify myself as a Novice as I have never actually hand sewn a garment other than repair and have only this year started making my own garb from start to finish with a machine.

(List Edited for correctness in period 07.12.11)
Layer 1) Linen Braies & Linen Hose
Layer 2) Linen Shirt & Wool Kirtle
Layer 3) Wool Cloak 
Layer 4)  Leather Garters, a Wool Phrygian cap and possibly a purse or belt of some sort

I have most of the linen that is required, I also have all the wool for my cloak & liripipe & the leather for my accessories.  The things I lack at this point are linen thread, wool thread & any trim I might choose to add to any of the peices.  Other than that, I am in pretty good shape.  Thankfully 11th Century isn't TOO full of bling, although since I am doing Italian Norman they do have a more Byzantine influence and therefore did like a bit more embellishment. 

So there you have it!  Let us hope I keep what sanity I may still have within me hehe...


The Artemisian Costuming Challenge

The Challenge
I am issuing a challenge dedicated to historical costumers everywhere: to create a complete man's, woman's or child's outfit of any social class from the skin out, including an accessory, in six months. That's less than one layer or accessory per month - you can do it!
The Details
You'll have from June 20 to December 31 to plan, buy for, cut, stitch, assemble, complete, and photograph for submission an outfit from the skin out. This will be made up as follows:
Layer 1:  The skin layer.   Create underclothes that someone from your selected time period would have worn.  Examples include braises, drawers, smock, chemise, camacia, shift, gomlek, corsetry and so on.
Layer 2: The main garment.  Create the main garment from your selected time period.  Examples include kirtle, gamurra, kosode & hakama, chausses, sarafan, bliaut, cotehardie, doublet, the toga and so on.
Layer 3: The outer layer. Create a garment that would have been worn for warmth or formal occasions.  Examples include ropa, saia, surcoat, jerkin, coat, peplos, kaftan, entari, a stola and so on.
Layer 4: An accessory.  This could be shoes, jewelry, a hat, stockings, a handkerchief, gloves, a suit of ruffs, an almoner’s purse, and so on.
Any questions about which piece qualifies for which layer need to be determined prior to entering the competition.
All who take up the challenge will have their photos, a short bio, and a description of their proposed outfit listed on the Artemisian Costumer’s Challenge website. 
To enter, please send an e-mail to with these details listed:
  • your name
  • your location (Where in Artemisia do you call home?)
  • a short (two to three sentence-length) bio, including whether you are a novice (as defined below)
  • a short description of your proposed four-layer outfit
  • a disclaimer with permission to publish your name and pictures to the internet
  • the URL to your blog (if you have one) so it can be linked to your profile
Please ensure your head/shoulders photo is attached.
Official entries will be accepted until the July 25, which is the last day of Baron’s War.
All entrants will be required to send me individual progress photos (one per week maximum) on or before the last day of each month, along with photos of their outfits when completed, which will be shared on the internet so we can all follow along.  The final photo/s of the completed outfit need to be sent to me no later than the New Year’s Day 2012.  The winners will be announced at Gryphon’s Lair Twelfth Night & Baronial Investiture.
 The Rules
  1. Basic documentation will be provided by the entrant.  Your documentation must explain each item in your competition ensemble.  It should define:
·        What each piece is called and what layer it represents
·        When (time period) and where (geography) the pieces would have been worn
·        The materials used for construction in period and in your ensemble
·        If you drafted your own pattern or used a commercial pattern
·        If you assembled the pieces by hand or by machine
·        Any additional embellishments you made by hand, for example: embroidery, hand-woven fabric and/or trim, cast buttons, enameled jewelry, tumbled & polished stones, cured and/or tanned leather, embossed velvet, hand-dying, and so on.
  1. ONE item of underwear and all the upper layers and one accessory must have been made from scratch.
  2. Accessory or embellishment items must have been created entirely during the calendar year of 2011.  For example, if you began making a pair of ghillies based on a class you attended at Estrella XXVII in February of 2011, and you finished them in May of 2011, then the new shoes were created entirely in 2011 and may be used in the competition.  If you began embroidering a smock in 2008 and completed it in June of 2011, the smock was not entirely created in 2011, so it may not be used.
  3. You may barter with other artists and exchange goods to be used in this project.  If you barter, you must document what you made and what you traded for in your documentation.  Pictures of the entrant’s work must be provided.  For example, milady wants milord to cast buttons for her cotehardie and milord wants a length of milady’s woven trim for his tunic.  Milady must provide photographs of the trim she wove and milord must document the buttons he created. 
  4. If you don't manage to finish all four required levels, you will still be in the running. However, those who attempt and or complete all four levels will end with more points than those who only attempt/complete one or two.
  5. This is a challenge for individuals, not groups, therefore only items sewn independently by the by the entrant will be accepted. However, help with pattern drafting, draping, and/or fitting is allowed. Use of commercial patterns is also allowed.
  6. Anyone may enter multiple outfits if they wish, however points will be allocated on a per-garment/item basis, not cumulatively.
  7. Progress photos must be sent: one every 4 weeks minimum, one every week maximum. This will help to keep you all motivated and enjoying the challenge! Photos of the completed outfit to be submitted to be a minimum of three (front, back and side), or more if you wish. 
  8. Receipts showing that the total expenses for this ensemble were no more than $100.00.  Patterns do not count toward this total.  “Fabric and/or Notion Stashes” may be used.  You may also have a patron purchase materials for you; if you have a patron, your total receipts cannot exceed $200.00.  The patron may not be your significant other or anyone else you share a checking account with.
  9. Points will be awarded to everyone who enters, according to the criteria.  Points will be allocated as follows:
·        10 points for each layer completed.
·        10 points if EVERY layer is completed.
·        10 points for any extra layer/accessory (over and above the four required) completed.
·        5 points for any layer started/attempted but not completed.

Additionally, the points below will be won by the person who best meets the criteria:

  • 10 points to the best attempt at historically accurate DESIGN
  • 10 points to the best attempt at historically accurate CONSTRUCTION 
  • 10 points for each inclusion of the entrant’s HANDWORK other than sewing straight seams, such as hand-made lace, buttons, embroidery, weaving, shoes, use of fur (real or faux) and so on.  To receive the full 10 points, the handwork must be included in the documentation.  Points will not be awarded for bartered goods.
  • 10 points to the best attempt by a sewing NOVICE 
    (A novice for this purpose is someone with less than three years of sewing experience).

The OVERALL WINNER will be the person with the highest total points from ALL categories above. Other winners will be Best Design, Best Construction, Best Handwork, and Best Novice.