Sunday, February 18, 2018

Looking Ahead

From Le Chevalier errant, BNF Dept. of Manuscripts, French 12559, 1403-1404, fol. 167r.
I'm in something of a low point with projects and SCA-related things at the moment. There are several mundane things pulling on my energy and attention, which I think is normal and part of how we make being historical recreationists work with our every day existance. Every so often we need the minor breaks to refocus and reinforce our passions. There are some things coming down the line for me, however, that I'm excited by and will no doubt get me going again full steam ahead in good time.

The first of these is that I'll be attending Gulf Wars next month in Mississippi. My husband and I will be there for the full week, and it will be a much needed vacation for us both. I'm not scheduled to teach any formal classes during the week, but if you follow me on Facebook and you'll be there, keep and eye out for posts about where and when I might be available if you'd like to come meet me, ask questions, or chat about your projects, all completely informally and low-key. I also plan to continue my tradition of documenting my daily outfits via social media while there.

I won't need to make much for myself for the week-long event, except maybe another chemise, and possibly a simple lightweight dress for early mornings or showers. I'm currently working on an arming doublet for a friend, though, and I'm hoping to get in some new items for my husband.

Dearg stepped away from the SCA a few years ago, and Gulf Wars will mark his return. (Nothing like jumping in with both feet, right?) When he first started in the SCA, like most people, he wore generic garb for many years. Eventually, he settled on early period styles to go along with an 11th century persona. He still has that garb, and it all stiff fits, but since he's basically a having an SCA do-over, he's open to trying out some new things. To that end, he's asked me to make a full mid-14th century outfit for him. I've been waiting soooo loooong for this!

After looking at some ideas I had on Pinterest (mainly the guy on the right in this image), and talking through some color palette ideas, we settled on a very standard labor class outfit with a gold, gray and burgundy color scheme. I will need to make him: a linen pull-over tunic, a wool surcote with a button front, a wool hood with linen lining, wool hose, linen shirt, coif and braies, and garters.

I did some preliminary sourcing of materials to help him visualize the plan. The golden colored wool is something I already have on hand. It's sort of an odd mustard colored yellow, and I couldn't figure out anything to use it for for myself. When I showed it to Dearg, though, he liked it. It will be his surcote. We picked a brownish/pinkish red linen for his tunic, and a deep red wool for the hose. The grey herringbone flannel will be the hood with a solid gray lining. There might also be a hat involved too, but I haven't gotten that far yet. I'll make him a pair of woven blue wool garters to match mine.

I'm excited for this project and the new avenue it can take me down. I have only done a small handful of items for men (since most of my closest male friends also know how to sew and can do things for themselves), so it's nice to be able to do the full ensemble for a change. I'm sure I'll learn much along the way. Since there are several things to make for this outfit, I'm being realistic in terms of deadline and not rushing to have any of it done by Gulf Wars (though having the surcote ready for him would be nice.)

I have also been planning some new things for myself. I have a project or two still in the "unfinished project" pile that I haven't entirely forgotten about yet that I'd eventually like to get off my plate. I would also like to challenge myself to create a "masterwork" dress this year. My idea with this is to create an "example" dress that shows as many of the relevant medieval tailoring skills and techniques as it can. In order to get the elements and the period evidence for them to align as much as possible, I'm using mostly general period or specifically turn of the century sources for this, putting the style in the circa 1400-1410 category.

I'm on the lookout for the "perfect" wool for this dress. In my head, it's lavender, but it could also maybe be pink. Or even green. I'm mostly open to waiting for the right wool to find me, though, whatever the color. While on the surface, it will no doubt look like every other fitted cotte I have, there are some details I'd like to include that will set it apart on closer examination. Side lacing, silk facings, smaller buttons than I normally do, and card woven edging are all in mind. It will, of course, start at the patterning stage, where I can finesse my current pattern to correct some of its current errors, including widening the neckline and ensuring a comfortable fit in the shoulders and biceps with some adjustments to how much ease I typically include (meaning: adding a bit more).

For now, this one is still in the "I'm thinking about it" category, but I'm investing in the idea more and more, and I think it would be a great use of my time later this year.

This year may also be the year I finish at least one of the ongoing non-crafting projects I've had on the burner for a long time. I have several, and every so often I poke at them to keep them from going completely cold. I'd like to take this opportunity, while I have fewer obligations in the project department, to get into those and move them further along. There are a few research-related projects, as well as a fun (also researched, but less academic) project that uses my creative writing skills. I wish I could share more, but I don't want to give too much away just yet, since there's still no guarantees they'll be any closer to sharing any time soon.

While at the moment, I'm in a bit of a lull, and things are mostly quiet, I think that when these things come along and need my attention, I'll be ready for them. I'm definitely looking forward to spending the week with friends in March, and for the start of the spring event season.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Project Complete: Windowpane Plaid Basic Gown

I'm not presenting this one as a typical "project log" like I normally do because for the most part this project was just for fun, as well as for a chance to work with plaid. Late in 2016, I found this wool at Dorr Mill Store (doesn't look to be currently available), and thought it was really cool. (There's some evidence that grid-like plaids were in use in the 14th century.) The cloth sat in my stash for a year, just waiting for me to get to it. At the end of my Doppelgänger Challenge, I was looking for something to do that would give me a break from dedicated early 15th Century, and this wool practically shouted at me.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

So You Want to Improve in Your Craft?

Ten years ago, I didn't really know how to sew. I also didn't know much more than the basics about late medieval clothing. When I look back, it's actually pretty shocking to have learned so much in a mere decade, but I can also see that it wasn't by accident. Everyone's journey in their craft is different, and it's important to understand and accept that not every road leads to somewhere exciting, but improving in your chosen art or craft comes with some pretty important standard procedures. Today I'd like to do my best to walk through the ones that help me.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Edyth's Doppelgänger Challenge Recap Part Two

Doppelgänger No. 17 from British Library MS Harley 4431, The Queen’s Book, fol. 100.
As I mentioned last week, my Doppelgänger Challenge allowed me to learn some things that have been valuable to understanding how to recreate the early 15th Century, and specifically my middle class townswoman persona. Today, I'm going to share a few that I feel are great take-aways for anyone to better understand how to find success in recreating this period.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Edyth's Doppelgänger Challenge Recap Part One

Back in May, I challenged myself to spend the rest of the year doing what I called "Edyth's Doppelgänger Challenge". For every event, and every day at the event, I would wear an outfit that matched one in a manuscript image as closely as I was able. I limited myself to the early portion of the 15th century, and to using only French or Franco-Flemish manuscript sources (which is the focus of my clothing research.) You can read the original text of my challenge below.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Links of Interest

We've entered the swing of the holiday season here in the US, and this is already turning out to be a very family-focused time for me this year. I've also had to fit in some sewing projects. The image above is a good ol' fashioned action shot of me sewing an overcast seam on a pilgrim bag I just finished. So since I didn't have enough time to put together a more typical blog post today, I wanted to share a few links to some things that may be of interest.

Katafalk, who focuses on several types of historical tailoring and crafts, has recently become more active on her blog again. (Hooray!) She posted a few weeks back about set-in sleeves, and I couldn't love this article enough. She goes into some of the common issues and troubleshoots them so that you can adjust your basic pattern (such as the one you might get from my sleeve patterning tutorial) to something more specific to your body and your garment. If sleeves are giving you trouble, I highly suggest this one.

Friend and fellow Midrealmer, Sarai at Clothing the Past has published a basic guide to patterning a fitted dress (cote, kirtle, cotehardie). She's developed this method to work with larger groups of women at local workshops, so it can be considered a bare bones beginner method that will get you started. If you want to make a fitted dress just to see if it's a period style you would enjoy, but other methods feel too intimidating or intense, I recommend looking over her method and giving it a shot.

Did you know I have an Instagram account? I share glimpses into what I'm doing over there that I don't post elsewhere (like that finished pilgrim bag I mentioned above.) It's a great, low-key alternative to following me on Facebook too. I'd be delighted if you followed me!

This gorgeous silk hood by Lady Malina has already been sold, but it's such a pretty hood (and inspiring to boot!), I couldn't resist sharing.

I'll be MIA for the next few weekends, but during that time, I'll have worn the last of my Doppelgänger Challenge outfits. When I return in mid-December, I'll have a full recap on that experience and what I learned from it. I'm looking forward to that.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

How I Dress for Cold Weather Events

In my neck of the woods, we can expect the possibility of a cool weather event between October and April. (Though that’s definitely not a guarantee- Midwest weather is fairly unpredictable.) It’s important to pay attention to weather forecasts heading into the weekend, because being unprepared for the weather is one sure-fire way to ruin an event. When I think back about events I was miserable at, in many cases it was because I was dressed too lightly.