Category Archives: costuming

Upcoming costuming/personal kit projects

Post-Battlemoor brain dumping, mainly for my own reference. Other stuff will get added to this as I think of it, I’m sure.

Deadlined projects:

Sposa Dantiscana II – Outlands Fall Coronation (November)

  • base dress
  • undersleeves
  • oversleeves
  • opashen
  • repair/refit late-period corset
  • hat

Expanded Qipchaq kit – Gulf Wars

  • Green and gold brocade coat, lined in green silk
  • Blue and gold silk coat, lined in gold linen
  • yellow silk undertunic
  • grey linen undertunic
  • embellish existing linen lightweight coats
  • black silk pants
  • cone hat
  • gather existing metal bits and buy more to build pectoral ornament

Quiver – next Battlemoor

Open projects:

Blue shawl

Knife and belt sheath

Black late-period skirt

Repair Juan’s two late-period shirts (closures, small tear on unembellished shirt)

Finish prettying up the late-period working-class Italian, possibly refit

Sort, repair, and milieu-tag every individual piece of jewelry I own, make a list for each milieu for which I have a partial kit, identify gaps, and complete at least one tight, solid daywear kit, one court kit other than the big elevation Letgalian kit, and one late-period kit that can go with Italian or Spanish.


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War footing II: A Scottish mercenary in the Spanish army

That’s Juan’s primary persona, based very loosely on a very tiny reference in Douglas Preston’s Cities of Gold* to a John Black/Juan Blaque in the Coronado expedition, of which very little is known except that he was Scottish by birth. Our Juan is a generation later, born sometime in the late 1530s. He traveled to France for military service in the early 1550s, toward the end of the regency of Mary, Queen of Scots; and abandoned France for Spain in the chaotic aftermath of the death of Henry II. In the Spanish service, he traveled to the New World, and was honored for his service there with small cash and land grants both in Mexico and on the Continent, a common practice in the land-rich, upwardly mobile military of Philip II.  He retired to a life of minor gentility outside of Segovia around 1580, and that’s where we find him today.

My focus on garb up to this point has been on mid-1580s Spanish, but after watching me play with how far I can stretch my persona in directions of time and culture, he’s inspired to toy around with some of the same experimentations. I made a very basic Western Viking kit last year for one of the Battlemoor parties, and he likes it so much for casual camping garb that he’s asked me to make more. Also, hopefully he’ll be fighting this year, so the big push will be making sure there’s enough fighting garb.

updated 8/10

His garb is generally in pretty good shape, but there’s always stuff that needs done. To wit:

Viking: two days worth.

  • One good outfit done and ready to wear.
  • Definitely make one more tunic (fabric in hand), embroidery similar in scope and scale to the royal Estrella War Court tunic, which took about ten days. Some or all of that embroidery may happen after Battlemoor. Finished – bumped up on the priority list to finish in time for the investiture of our friends, Broddi hornabrjótr and Máel Mide ingen Domnaill, as Baron and Baroness of Dragonsspine.
  • Another pair of trews ONLY if I find fabric I really like and have timeHahaha not happening.
  • Leg wraps – probably purchased rather than woven; there are reasonably priced ones, in pretty twills that I don’t have the equipment to make at this time, on Etsy. On a closer look, the affordable ones on Etsy are just strips of wool twill serged, and the handwoven ones are out of my price range at this time. I have twill. So I’m just going to make them.
  • Low boots or turnshoes: he plans to make, I may help out. We found out – on the rush job for Dragonsspine Investiture, see above – that a pair of non-SCA boots he thought didn’t fit, do, after all, and look great with the Viking. So the turnshoes are on back burner for now.
  • Torc and cloak pin: we will work together on them. Not started, but I’d like to try.
  • Hat: I’m very familiar with what hats looked like in eastern Norse territories, but need to do some research on what would have been appropriate for the Isles. Patterned, starting this week

Spanish: two days worth, plus court/party garb.

  • Ready to wear: Two good outfits of daywear: black linen doublet and trunkhose; blue brocade doublet and brown wool trunkhose, one plain lightweight linen shirt that can be washed midweek.
  • Ready to wear: Brown and gold silk doublet and gold trunkhose and lightweight, heavily blackworked shirt: Saturday Grand Court and party.
  • Great boots rev. 2 – the rev. 1 boots are wearable, but not super comfortable for multiple days of camping. I have one more tweak of the pattern to do and then I may *crosses fingers* cut leather on these TODAY. Construction done, just need to finish the soles – hoping to have these ready for a trial run at Crown Tournament next weekend.
  • Need one more good outfit for Friday court and party: I have a blue velvet doublet in progress, cut out and waiting on lining fabric. I would like to make a matching pair of paned slops, but that requires going back to Denver Fabric and seeing if I can match fabrics. Blue doublet is well underway but has a lot of work still to do. I’m going to try to get the next phase of machine sewing done this week and take the handsewing to Crown.
  • I have some really stunning fabric for a short cloak, and would like to get it done for Battlemoor courts, but it’s not a top priority. Unfortunately not enough fabric, so the cloak is not happening.
  • New hat: purchased and in transit from the vendor now.
  • Hose: proper underpinnings! The bare knee between the top of the boots and the hem of the trunkhose is awkward. Also, with hose, he can wear turnshoes with the Spanish as well. Not happening before Battlemoor. A project for this fall/winter. The new boots are softer and much taller, which resolves that problem.

Fighting garb:

  • Ready to wear: Two heavy, plain linen late-period shirts.
  • Purchased straight-leg elastic-waist pants. Until I get some idea of wear and tear patterns, I’m not investing my valuable time in handmade fighting garb. Shopping for these next weekend.

*Yes, Douglas Preston the novelist; no, this is not a novel. It’s half history of the Coronado expedition, half memoir of Preston’s attempt to reconstruct the route of the expedition, on horseback, from the Mexic0-Arizona border to the farthest extent of the journey in Kansas. It’s fascinating and meticulously researched and pure delicious experimental archaeology geekery, and I can’t recommend it enough.

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Project Asteroids*

After a lovely, very full, very social half a weekend (dinner, stay-over, breakfast with my apprentice sister and her fiance, Kingdom business meeting, afterparty), I spent a good chunk of my leisurely, solitary Sunday going through piles and laundry baskets of what I think of as “fabric bomb debris” – a chaotic, accumulated mass of yardage (earmarked for certain projects and not), scraps, half-finished projects, mending, old things discarded in hopes of salvaging the fabric, and just junk. Separated much of it out into linen-silk-other, yardage and scraps, and got that all put away; took two bags to the dumpster; that leaves me with one laundry basket full of projects-in-various-stages.

I’ve decided I’m not going to start any more projects until I clear at least a couple of these out, and in the future, I’m going to clear one out for every new project I start. To wit:

– a handful of non-SCA clothes mending – not more than an evening or two’s worth of work for the lot of it

– a couple of Bluebird 20-lb flour sacks to be opened up and hemmed for dish towels

– a yard of black flannel to be used as backing to frame some of Juan’s (amazing!) collection of English pub coasters

And SCA projects:

– a couple of pair of Tatar trousers needing hemmed.

three one pair of Spanish trunkhose needing taken in, and two half-finished pair

– one panel of a chiton to be converted to an apron, and a wool skirt that shrunk to be converted to another one.

a lightweight linen Tatar coat, which was “done enough to wear” last Battlemoor but still needs some seams finished.

– a little bit of work left on the Elizabethan corset I started to wear under the Sposa Dantiscana, before I realized that the Victorian corset gave a better profile and abandoned it.

– a choli that needs its ties taken off, properly finished, and put back on. And maybe some embroidery. Definitely embroidery.

– a plaid flannel half-circle cloak, cut out and ready to assemble.

– a couple of panels of vaguely Turkish-looking print to be hemmed for camp tablecloths.

caramel-and-chocolate damask for a doublet, very simply cut (maybe something like this) to show off the excellent fabric.

– ivory silk and (very good) faux suede for a Stibbert doublet.

and the Shirt of Doom.

Lots of busywork! Not as glamorous as researching, shopping for, and starting a new high-concept project (at least, until I get down to those last three!), but all stuff that deserves to get done.

I’ll come back to this post periodically and mark things off as I finish them. I’m sure I’ll also add a few more as I continue to organize and sort.

(*That’s “shooting down UFOs,” for those of you who are not children of the ’80s!)

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Sposa Dantiscana: update

I have a secret checklist – things I feel like I need to know I can do at certain levels of mastery of my craft.

One of these is “make an intermediately complex piece of garb between one event and the next.” Themed garb for made specially for a given event is definitely A Thing in the Outlands; but until fairly recently, I’ve been so busy building newbie kit and doing stuff in other fields that the timeframe from “X is the next piece of garb on the to-do list” to ready-to-wear has been about six months. A year ago, when I contemplated (around the first of November) making a dress for Caerthan 12th Night, the prospect was overwhelmingly daunting, and I ended up deciding against trying. But I’ve made a lot of progress on time and project management since then.

I decided on December 2 to make this ensemble, bought the bulk of the fabric on December 8, and started sewing on December 14. Last night, I tried it on for the first time. There are a couple of bobbles, of course. I don’t like the profile of the dress over the (also new) Elizabethan corset, and think one of my Victorian corsets will match the profile in the woodcut better, so I’ll be wearing that instead. And the sleeves are just a titch short, so I’ll be removing the interfaced cuff and putting an added cuff on. But other than that, it fits perfectly and looks amazing. I’m hoping to get some really good pictures at 12th Night.

My plan is to wear the ensemble as-is – just fabric construction – for this event, and then to spend a couple of evenings, before each future event I wear it at, adding sparkle to it. Goldwork embroidery on the velvet edging of the doublet bodice, then next time maybe adding piping to the panes of the sleeves, or edging out the bands on the skirt. Eventually it will be very heavily worked over indeed, but it can be worn in the meantime and look perfectly fine.

previously: Sposa Dantiscana.

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Sposa Dantiscana

I’ve been wanting to expand my garb outside Iron Age tribal, while staying in persona, for a while. The two projects I’m most excited about, but have found most daunting, are 16th century Commonwealth and 14th-15th century Lipkowie Tatar (which will be my fighting garb when (if? when?) I eventually get my heavy kit together.

I’ve been poking about the research on both in fits and bursts for a couple of years, but I’ve been having a hard time finding anything with a distinctive “look” – something that’s obviously not Western European or German. Recently, I came across this crazy awesome 1590 woodcut of a Polish matron, and I knew that it was THE DRESS. I happened to be in Denver the following weekend, and they happened to have apple-green silk on sale for $8/yard, and it happened to mate well with a bronze-and-green damask I already had, and I was off and running.

I have a Big Sewing Weekend planned for the weekend coming up: personal banners, some garb promised for a friend, but mainly THIS DRESS. Process photos to come!


image source: Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
MFA for Educators online educational collection
Sposa Dantiscana,” plate from Gli Habiti Antichi et Moderni di Diversi Parti del Mondo

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