Sunday, November 29, 2015

Girdling Your Skirts, Early 15th Century Style

The early 15th century seems to have had a dual personality when it came to skirt length. On the one hand, pooling skirts were quite vogue, and fashionable for any woman who could afford to have her gown made with the appropriate skirt length. On the other hand, this was an era in which many women performed any number of laborious tasks including housekeeping, artistic pursuits, weaving, and general labor. For these tasks, pooling skirts would have been ridiculous. But many of these women had a limited number of gowns in their possession, so it was not feasible to have gowns with pooling skirts and separate gowns with shorter working skirts.

The compromise, therefore, was to girdle long skirts when needed, reducing them in length when work was the order of the day. The manner, or rather manners, in which they did this likely varied from woman to woman, town to town, etc., resulting in a mixture of methods shown in contemporary artwork.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Taking a Moment in the In-Between

Last weekend I attended the Known World Costuming Symposium, an SCA event that invited all those interested in costuming to come and connect with each other. The day was full of classes, on a wide range of costuming topics, but the best part of the day for me was meeting others who share my interests who I would typically not have had a chance to meet.

These types of events, which happen in different formats throughout the year, are also great occasions to pause and evaluate. I come away from symposium experiences thinking deeply about where I am in my personal journey, and about the projects I choose to fill my time with.

This year, I have been a maker. Productivity and inspiration have definitely been on my side. So much so that I no longer have a fabric stash to tap into. Which is both odd and relieving. But I'm going to take it for what it is- a moment "in-between".

It rarely lines up like this- that I've got no projects weighing heavily on the to do list, while I'm also feeling particularly introspective. It's nice to actually have the opportunity to stop and think about what should be next, and not just grab the next thing that happens to be on the pile.

I want to celebrate this time to think, research, plan, and of course build my stash back up. I've got reading to catch up on, such as working through a translation of Le Ménagier de Paris I've put off for several years. I've got a research project I love, but have barely worked on. I've got projects in progress that I need to make the hard call on weather I will finish them, abandon them, or let them sit a while longer.

I think that capturing these types of moments, rather than pressuring ourselves to get on to the next thing, makes it possible for us to improve in a different way than what practice can offer. I am reminded, yet again, of what Maya Angelou told us:

You've got to give yourself the chance to know what "better" is on occasion.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Project Complete: Late 14th Century Transitional Open Hood

I think it might be clear at this point that I am a connoisseur of the open hood. I have an entire drawer full of them. Seven of them, in fact. Each with its own color and character. The seventh is the hood I'm sharing today.

A transitional style open hood suitable for the period between 1360 and 1420.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Medieval Hike & Picnic

A few weeks ago, some photos crossed my Facebook news feed of a small group doing a medieval trip into the woods for a meal. I've seen these sorts of trips from several European groups over the years, but I'd never done anything similar, nor had I ever heard of anyone I knew doing it. So, for the rest of the day, I day dreamed about it, thinking about how fun a medieval hike might be. Then, that evening, my household sister sent me a message, linking to the same pictures. She too had spent the day thinking about doing a medieval picnic in the woods. We knew at that point that it had to happen, even if it was just the two of us.

Our intrepid group, loaded up with our gear and ready to go.