Sunday, October 25, 2009

Outfit information

Sorry it took me a while to get back to you all about the sources for my 15th century outfit from the last post. In fact, after this post, I'll be quiet for a bit. We're entering the slower event season for this area, so I'm going to be taking a break from the SCA for the rest of this month as well as next month. I've got some mundane things that have been piling up that I need to focus on for a while. But I still have some projects to work on before the next event, so when I get started on those I'll check back in.

So, I wanted to share with you some of the bits and pieces I used to come up with my finished 15th century working class outfit. Most of research started by looking at completed outfits by other folks, and getting an idea of what I thought I might like. These included:
Marie Chantel Cadieux's front laced kirtle and
Matilda La Zouche's short-sleeve kirtle

Then in October of last year, I attended a day of lectures by medieval fashion historian Robin Netherton. In her lecture on the Gothic Fitted Dress, she made mention of the fact that the open front variety is not seen on most women- only those in distress or on girls. Her information was both informative and inspirational. The best thing that I took away was the confirmation that the underdress made a huge difference. Under my lovely teal wool is a slightly less lovely underdress doing the job of keeping myself in place.

Robin had great information about the fitting method, but it was Tasha Kelly McGann's Le Cotte Simple site and Charlotte Johnson's Costly Thy Habit that I found really valuable.

I was also interested in Marie Chatel Cadieux's open hoods. Looking for further information, I discovered Lia de Thornegge's open hood, and decided to make one. Marie did such a great job pulling images together, so I won't worry about adding any here.

As far as period sources for the dress goes, the 1432 manuscript of Le Decameron is a great source, as well as the dresses listed under "Kirtles" on Hope Greenberg's 15th Century Dress page.

I used a million other sources along the way, including other recreations and random finds of period images, but these are the things that got me started.

I'll be making another fitted dress next, a black linen dress with a lavender lining. There are a few minor adjustments I need to make, but overall I now have a dress pattern that works much better than my previous dresses and make a huge difference in making me feel that I am doing more to be authentic.

So, enjoy the autumn, and I'll "see" you again in December!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Hooray Garb!

I am proud to present to you my completed 15th century working-class outfit- I love it!


I'm standing a little odd in the middle picture, so I look kind of uneven, but the side and back views definitely make up for it. I love the side view!

I started the day without a bra, which is how the fitted dress is supposed to be, but by the time we got to the event, the "support" aspect of the dress had ultimately failed. I have very large and heavy breasts- I'm a DDD cup size (which is just a nicer way of saying "a size F"), and the fact is that very little in this world can keep them properly defying gravity and in place. Luckily, I had the foresight to throw my bra into my hatbox. So the photos above are of me with the bra on. I felt much better after I put it on (yesterday was the first time in a very long time that I went out into public without a bra, so I was really self-conscious about it.) Unlike my other dresses, my fitted dress and bra worked together to create a comfortable and flattering shape. I don't think of it as a compromise- I just needed to find what worked for me. The fitted dress will need a small amount of additional tailoring to account for how much the linen/cotton stretched as it warmed up, but I look at the whole thing as a pretty great success.

The teal dress is wonderful. It was well worth the cost of the fabric. Yesterday was a chilly day, and the dress was the perfect weight. I was wearing 6 layers (with one of those layers being both the third layer in the chest of the fitted dress and my bloomers covering my lower body from my waist to my knees.) I was also wearing my knit knee-high socks. My only problem was that the fitted dress and the wool dress are both short sleeved, and the pin-on linen sleeves (which I borrowed from mom) were only barely heavy enough, and there was a little gap at the back of my arms.


In addition to my dress, I was able to also make a mini-houppelande for Owen out of some burgundy corduroy. I think it ended up a little too short, or maybe a little too wide, but he looked really handsome. I made some pseudo-hose out of the gold knit cotton I ended up using to make a scarf for myself, but they were a little too small, so he wore a pair of blue pajama pants. Dearg made him a new belt, recycling the belt tip and buckle from the belt Dearg made for him when he was a newborn.

I even made a fake chaperone out of the scraps from my teal wool. He hates hats, so he didn't really wear it, but it was very cute when it was on his head! For the majority of the day, he looked like the photo on the right above- a perfect little gentleman.

My open hood is also perfect. It fits perfectly, looks perfect, was the perfect accessory, etc. I loved wearing it all day- all the hard work was worth it!

The only problem I had with it was that I didn't make the best choice for what to wear under it. I chose to wear my cut-off shirt sleeve, which I normally wear under my veils as my "head underwear". I think I need a new sleeve, though, because it stretched quicker than normal yesterday and it kept slipping back. I had adjusted the whole thing shortly before this photo was taken, and I put the sleeve too far down, but this photo was better to show it than the one we took right after it, after I readjusted it so the sleeve was in the right place. I think the back of the hood kept popping up, but I can use a small pin the keep that in place in the future.
I'll post more about the open hood in the next day or so, as well as more information about the inspiration and sources I used for the items of my outfit, but for now I'm glad all that hard work is over and I have great garb specific to my period and flattering to my frame.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Almost There!

My dresses are almost complete. They just need sleeves and to be hemmed (in addition to a few minor finishing touches). I'd like to try to fit in a new coat for Owen made from the left over wool. I'm liking the one on the younger boy here, but I don't think I'll have enough wool. I may need to pick something up, but I don't know if I'll have enough time to make it worth while right now.

In other news, mom wore the fillet and barbette at Coronation last weekend. Here's a photo:


Stay tuned after this weekend for photos of all my new garb!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

One Down

I have completed the black open hood, and it turned out perfect! I'm not going to post photos of it just yet- I'm going to wait until the event next weekend to get pictures.

Now, on to the next- sewing the teal wool dress together.