Adventures with Linen: The Tunic is Trimmed

Ta da! I’ve spent many, many hours on this garment, so I’m glad my husband likes it.

Victory pictures:

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(He offered to model it properly, but first I snapped a few shots of him in his natural habitat.)

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The tablet-woven trim is narrow (only 16 cards), but it does a lot to bring the tunic together.

^_^

Happy Yarning!

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Crafting Progress

My husband’s new linen tunic is mostly sewn! I’ve been sewing by hand and using “free” linen thread again, so I have to keep pausing to spin more whenever I run out.

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The band for the collar, cuffs, and hem is coming along nicely after a big hiccup during warping. I’m more than halfway through, although I’ll probably need to warp up another shorter piece after this one.

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On the writing side of things, I’ve got an idea for a new novel that’s very different from my usual fare, but I’m going to be good and stick with Featherfolk for now. Maybe I’ll go for it during NaNoWriMo or condense the idea into an entry for next year’s Mormon Lit Blitz. Or both!

We’ll see.

Happy Yarning.

Wimples for the Win

We had a blast despite the searing sun at the North Sound Sergeantry Trials and Sable Rose Tournament. So much fun that we utterly failed to take any pictures. Here are some pictures of me in my new garb after the fact.

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I finished the last of the eight long flat-felled seams in the car on the way to the event.

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We made it our goal while there to meet new people, since playing in the SCA is much more fun with friends than without, and we made several new friends from all three baronies present.

We also enjoyed playing with our new equipment at the thrown weapons range and archery range (a hatchet for my lord and a recurve bow for me!). Going forward, I plan to practice more regularly with my bow to better my form and thus not require basic instruction every single time I attend an event.

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My wimple was a complete success. Not only did it stay on my head through dancing, archery, and much walking, but it provided useful protection from the sun. My lord is still red about the face and neck thanks to my sieve of a brain (which resulted in a lack of necessaries such as sunscreen and matches–though forgetting matches is a great strategy if you want to force yourself to meet new people).

The only downside to my wimple is the fillet, which proved to be rather itchy. Since this one is made of acrylic yarn anyway, I shall feel no sorrow in speedily replacing it with a linen or silk fillet.

I am so sold on wimples. Mine was comfortable, practical, simple enough to put on without a mirror, never got in the way, and never stabbed anyone with its pins. Besides all that, it looks awesome.

Wimples for the win.

Happy Yarning!

Adventures with Linen: Simple Wimple

Good Christian women cover their heads. Or at least they did in Europe for a lot of the Medieval period. Headgear is the first part of medieval garb to be neglected by “noobs,” simply because it isn’t very important in modern western culture.

I am guilty of this–also guilty of wearing renaissance-esque snoods with early period dresses. But I’m learning.

For my new garb, I made a white linen wimple.

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After spending some hours on research and coming repeatedly across the answer that “We really don’t know how wimples worked, but they looked like this,” I settled on the “circle with a hole” design for my first wimple. I was inspired by this handy page tucked away on rosieandglenn.co.uk, which made it look simple enough for everyday wear. However, in my research I read that the headband or fillet was worn under (not over) the wimple, so I made that adjustment for myself.

Of course, in my haste, I broke one of my cardinal rules of garb-making. When cutting any hole for your head, always start too small and increase the size. Oops. But it still works despite its mammoth hole.

I spun my own thread (see my earlier post about that) to sew the hems. Perhaps with future wimples I’ll do something fancier than these little rolled hems.

And with a fillet made from a piece of my serpent tablet-weave belt (from yet another earlier post), I have a wimple!

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We’ll see how it does on its maiden voyage next weekend. I shan’t be surprised if it does go sailing off my head once or twice. All in the name of science–I mean, reenactment–of course.

Happy Yarning!

Repurposing Thrift Store Fabric

One great place to get fabric for costuming is thrift stores. As we liked to say in our college Medieval Club, “If it would make terrible curtains, it’ll make great garb.” And we sometimes literally turned terrible curtains into clothing. I’ve seen curtains, table cloths, and bed sheets become dresses, tunics, and cloaks.

This bliaut was once a table cloth and a bed skirt.

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Of course, most of the fabric goods that turn up at thrift stores are cotton and polyester (which aren’t ideal Medieval European garb). But if you just want a Medieval fantasy look, these are great. Every once in a while you find a nice piece of wool, linen, or a bit of silk for more period garments.

It never hurts to take a look and see if you find something. For example, these two nice lengths of wool I found a few weeks ago.

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They were about three dollars a yard all told. The gray twill is destined for a tunic for my husband. The plaid I don’t think I’ll even cut. It’s the perfect size and shape for a shawl, a viking cloak, or just a blanket.

Happy Yarning!

Now for the Prettying

My linen underdress is finished, and my wool overdress is all put together and hemmed!

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Now for the part where I spend a few weeks on embellishments. I thought the hems, chain-stitched in white wool thread, took a long time, but I have evil plans to finish some of the long seams with Mammen cushion stitch. Here’s my practice scrap.

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I tend to take a rather liberal view of what is historically accurate to a given place and time. For instance, I’m okay with using a stitch found on a tenth-century Viking pillow for my tenth-century Anglo-Saxon dress. As a crafty person, I’m prone to trying to recreate pretty things I see, so I figure Anglo-Saxon women wouldn’t have hesitated to try out stitches they saw their neighbors wearing. Unless they were busy running for their lives at the time. Silly Vikings.

See what I mean? Rather liberal.

In addition to these seam treatments, I’ll (hopefully) eventually add tablet-woven bands or silk onto the the cuffs, neckline, and possibly hem of my overdress.

Pretty. Pretty. Pretty…time-consuming! But at the end I’ll have my first “period” garb.

Happy Yarning.

Adventures with Linen: Long Seams

Sewing dresses by hand is all good fun until you get to the long seams.

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For my Anglo-Saxon linen underdress, I’m sewing the pieces together with a running stitch and then oversewing the seam allowances to prevent fraying.

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The shoulders and sleeves and gussets all came together pretty fast, but now I’m in the middle of sewing in the gores. Those are the tall triangles at the sides, which basically turn the dress from a long tube into something you can wear.

I’ve been watching movies to pass the time while I work on the gore seams. Lately I’ve been on a Danny Kaye kick. I watched both The Court Jester and White Christmas this week.

What do you do to keep your brain from frying on the long, boring parts of projects?

Adventures With Linen: Why Buy Thread?

I’ve been wanting to sew some medieval garb using period materials for a long time, and I’m finally doing it!

I haven’t quite nailed down my persona yet, but I’m thinking Christian Anglo-Saxon. Between AD 800 and AD 1066?

Anyway, I forked out the cash for 100% linen and 100% wool cloth. Then I went looking for linen and wool thread. Not to be found at my fabric store. I supposed I’d have to order some online.

But of course yesterday I really wanted to begin making the underdress, and I had yet to order any thread. That’s when I remembered I’d just spent all that money on linen. I had linen.

Luckily I also happened to have a drop spindle and some wax on hand…

So now I’m making my own thread.

First I take pairs of long threads from the leftover fabric.

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Then I give them a bit of twist on my drop spindle.

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(Ok, ok, it’s a tahkli. But it’s like a drop spindle.)

Then I run them across a piece of wax.

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Et voila! “Free” linen thread.

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So far I’ve hand sewn the shoulder seams and one sleeve + gusset, and the thread hasn’t broken on me. I call this a success.

When I get to the point where I need wool thread for the overdress, I think I’ll spin it from some roving I have lying around, and then dye it with the same dye I’m using on the wool cloth.

Happy Yarning!