Archive for the ‘12th c. and earlier’ Category

Apron Dress in My Future?

I admired the apron dresses my friend Eabha was wearing last weekend at GWW. There were tons of other  nice-looking apron dresses walking around too. I deliberately placed my persona in time and region (late 11th Northumbria) so I could take advantage of Norse fashion. It’s not an exact match since the apron dresses and tortoiseshell brooches had probably vanished by then. But it’s not a big SCA-persona stretch to have some Norse outfits.I also specialize in telling stories from the Norse sagas and it would be fun to wear matching garb.

So this morning I was reading from my Giant Book of Norse Sagas (not actually called that) and thought, “What fun to have an apron dress! And beads! And brooches! And general all-around Viking bling!” So I might do that for Estrella, and if I get lucky for Naevehjem Anniversary/Frost Dragon Tourney this November.

BTW, I’m going to start taking notes about garb mentions in the sagas. They’re not usually detailed but they’re common enough, and it’s interesting to hear what the sources say. For example, the 11th century Saga of Gunnlaug Serpent-Tongue has this report in it:

“The king thanked him for the poem and, as a reward, gave him a cloak of scarlet* lined with the finest furs and with a embroidered band stretching down to the hem.”

*Note that skarlat referred generally to richly colored wools and not specifically to the color red.

Here is a report from the 11th century Saga of the People of Laxardal on an upper class woman’s clothing:

“Gudrun was wearing a long tunic, a close-fitting woven bodice* and a mantle on her head. She had bound a shawl about her that was decorated in black stitching with fringes at the ends.”

* I’m interpreting this as a close-fitting over-tunic, which we may interpret as a shaped “apron dress.” In this case it would have the straps we associate with this style, rather than the sleeves of the Anglo-Saxon over-tunic.

Blue Dress

The blue dress is done. The construction is simple so I’ll mention it briefly. I use Maggie Forest’s rectangular method of cutting, which is by far and away the most common of period cuts. And what was economical for them in terms of using fabric is economical to us. I used 3-1/2″ yards to make a tunic with full skirt gores — sides, back and front. The only thing I would watch about these instructions is that the gussets will be HUGE. According to the pattern dimensions I would have cut 8″ gussets when I only need 4″. Otherwise it all makes perfect sense.

I decorated it with inkle trim I’ve done. I can tablet weave but I have to concentrate so hard that I really prefer to inkle. I’m going to make enough bands of the same pattern to encircle the bottom of the skirt twice. This weaving will keep me busy and off the streets, that’s for sure. I’ll wear the tunic with a chemise of course, although I cheat with sleeveless chemises. (The sleeveless version popped up in the 14th century, see Bohemian Bathhouse Babes.)

I also made a belt to go with it and other tunics. This is loosely modeled after some extant Viking belts that had metal plates mounted on leather. (My persona lives just north of the Danelaw so I borrow Norse influences in stories and clothing.) I didn’t want to try to sew through leather so I used an inkle band for the backing, sewed on metal plates I cut off from an elastic back, and jeweled the thread holes and intersections. It’s sparkly.

I Must Have These

I HAVE to make a pair of these. Mistress Ari of Atenveldt made them a couple of years ago for the King of Outlands. I hope he knows how lucky he is. I must have a pair of my own for cool evenings in front of the firepit at War! Ari also points out that the plush lining doesn’t break the bank, always a good thing.  BTW, while you’re at the link check out some of her needlework and other projects — outstanding.

Finished a New Dress… Finally

Why oh why does it take me so long to sew? I’m making 11th century Anglo-Saxon tunics for heaven’s sake. Granted they’re rectangular construction and not the cheat-method of  making tunics, but come on. It’s not exactly hard.

Oh well — it’s done, or nearly so. I just need to hem it. The cool thing is it came out well and I’m finally using the inkle trim I’ve been working on like a fiend. I’ll put up pictures of the new blue dress as soon as I get home. (I’m writing this from Lexington, MA where I’m on a business trip.) Next project: replace sewn-up side seams with laced sides on my gold bliaut. Not all bliauts were side-laced by any means, but I want to try the technique. Since the dress was not originally constructed with lacing this will raise the hem several inches, but I always wear it over a fancy cote so that’s O.K.

Updating Tourney Wardrobe

I like my court wardrobe a lot but I have HAD it with my tourney/war wardrobe. Ill-fitting, OOP fabrics, too hot or too cold, flooding hems, not enough layers, aging fabrics, BORING. I hate my war and tourney wardrobe.

So here’s the plan:

  • Long-sleeved linen chemises under everything. Handkerchief weight for warm weather, mid-weight for cold.
  • Most of them are white but can be colored. Existing raspberry and purple straight-sleeved gowns turn into mid-weight chemises.
  • Every gown has pendant sleeves. The dressier the gown, the longer the sleeve. Can contrast sleeve fabric for a more interesting look.
  • Wear tablet woven belts for tourney gowns, Norman ceintures out of silk or patterned fabric for court gowns. May combine with metal.
  • For tourney  gowns make inkle or tablet woven trim for sleeves, bicep, neck edge on tourney gowns. Make yokes on all of contrasting and/or decorated self-fabric.
  • All tourney gowns out of 100% wool or 100% linen.
  • Headwraps and veils: prefer to hide neck with wimples or headwraps. Make more headwraps out of crisp linen so they stand away from my face. Make filets, buy wreath circlet.
  • Make silk and wool mantles and hoods. Embroider at least 1 mantle as per Lady Eabha.
  • Make braid endings.
  • Wear period hosen, linen or wool.
  • Wear period shoes. Commissioned a pair from THL Domhnall, in the meantime make a pair from my commercial pattern. Or from Teffania’s blog.
  • Wear pattens in damp weather.
  • Wear more jewelry — cross, beads. Have long enough chain to show beneath wimple and shorter headwraps.

Now onto specific projects:

  1. I have a lightweight burgundy wool on hand. We’re coming into the warm/hot season in Caid but Potrero War can be cool so I’m starting with this. I’m inkle weaving trim now and will either put on a contrasting fabric for yoke/inner sleeves or will figure out an embroidery pattern. Deadline: al-Sahid Anniversary in early April.
  2. I just got in three glorious linens from www.fabric-store.com. I love those guys. One is a dark green, one a rich medium blue, and one is a dark crimson. These will all become linen overgowns, each will be trimmed and decorated.
  3. I also got in dyes from Dharma. I’m dying down a too-orange wool coat and a slightly too-bright green silk. Once they’re done I’ll finish the coat with trim and schedule the green silk for sewing.
  4. Use THL Elva’s hosen pattern to make up wool and linen hosen.
  5. I’m weaving in the evenings — inkle patterns now, and will tablet weave too.

So basically I’m busy, but will feel a hundred times more comfortable in tourney and war wear when I’m done.