Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Fit is my Friend

On a whim, I tried on an old bright orange dress that I always felt comfortable in to see how it fit with my belly. It's a cotton cotehardie, with lacing up the back, that my mom had made as a template for my wedding dress. It was made to fit over my wedding underwear- a push-up bra and belly-shaper, so I figured that, out of all my dresses, it would be the most fitted. The dress looked very good, hugging my bust in just the right way, and flowing perfectly over my belly with out a loss of length in the front. I wore a bra that I rarely wear that I've designated my "garb" bra. It made a big difference to the look.

I wore that same bra at Kingdom A&S today under my pale green pseudo-burgundian (the one I'm wearing in my blog photo on the right). I didn't get any pictures of me in it today, but I felt that I looked a bit more supported, which is definately what I'm going for. I also experimented with a semi 15th century headdress that I threw together last minute using some random pieces I had in my accessory box (or my "Box-of-Tricks", as I call it). I placed a long sheer veil over my head at about the halfway point (so that the front drapped down in front of my face to about mid-bust), then placed a fur-covered circlet-type thing over that, then folded the front of the veil back over it. I then pinned the front corners together to try to hide my hair. It was a bit odd, but overall it worked, and nobody looked at me funny- which is always a good thing!

On a completely different note, I have stumbled upon another idea for breast support in my continued research on 15th century garb- breast binding. I had always associated breast binding with women desiring to hide their gender (i.e. Joan of Arc), but after reading this article, and finding another mention of breast binding on Marie Chantal Cadieux's site, I decided that the practice might be practical for a woman as shapely as I. I will need to experiment to find out what thickness the band should be to be effective and comfortable. I would say that 3 inches wide is a good starting point. I'll purchase a cheap bead sheet and cut two strips from that, then sew one of the ends together to give me a good amount of length.

I purchased the prettiest pale teal wool today to use for my front-laced kirtle. It's 60 in wide, so I only brought 4 yards, but that should be plenty. My mother, Elspeth, and I have never really been all that interested in making garb with authentic materials in the past, but she and I have both gotten to a point in our SCA career that it seems appropriate to start. I did have a wool dress in my early SCA days, but I don't believe that was 100% wool. Since then, the closest I've gotten is a linen/rayon blend. I brought several different colors of it when it was on sale, so I've got a couple dresses of it. It looks like linen, but it doesn't quite hang like linen- it's a bit heavier.
So the 100% wool is a big step for me. I love the color- I think it will look good against my skin tone and bring out the green in my eyes. I was going to get the lightweight white linen for the smock/chemise, but that was too close to breaking the bank. I'll just keep my eyes open in the fall for white linen at the local fabric store instead. I think a maroon or plum color would look perfect with the teal, so I'll look for that to make the placket and sleeves.

Lastly, I've completed the re-sizing of my Elizabethan coif. I missed a long section of the band when I stitched the final side, so I have to go back and fix it, but it's essentially complete. I don't currently have any appropriate outfit to wear it with, and I just cut my hair, so it will have to go in my Box-of-Tricks for now. By the time my hair has grown out, I should have my Flemish working dress complete to wear it with. Gotta have the baby first, though.

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