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Sposa Dantiscana, Take II

It’s been a couple of years since my last go at this dress, and I’ve learned a fair bit about late-period costume since then, and I’m starting to ease my way back into the SCA, and what better way to do that than by starting a giant, ambitious costuming project right before leaving for war?

So. This is my Pinterest board where I have been gathering visual notes. I see two different things going on in most of the illustrations and reconstructions, and the Sposa Dantiscana dress is somewhere between the two, and I’m not sure what I’m actually looking at, what the artist understood or intended, or what the original historical garment the drawing is based on looked like, but by golly, I’m going to give it a shot.

The Trachtenbuch illustration and the Wiegel illustration are both showing what’s pretty clearly four layers: a chemise and gown, both of fairly unremarkable early-16th-c cut; an apron; an opashen/overgown. That’s also what’s going on in the three modern reconstruction photographs. Now the opashen as such is a pretty distinctly Russian garment (although overgowns were of course worn all over Europe), but the last of the three reconstructions is described as Polish, and based on Trachtenbuch.

The pair of Danziger matron illustrations at the end are interesting, because they both, from two different sources, very clearly show a chemise and an apron and between them a simple gown – no overgown, but those opashen-style sleeves, near floor-length with an oval hole cut at the elbow to put the arm through (as opposed to the long-slit or fully open oversleeves we see in Western European dresses of the same era and later). The neckline on both of these illustrations is quite similar to a lot of both period illustrations and modern interpretations of kampfrau/working class German of the period, which fits with with a fairly western locale.

Then there’s the Sposa Dantiscana illustration. At a first glance it looks like the other Danziger illustrations, but clearly has both fitted sleeves and opashen-style oversleeves. The first time I tried making this dress, I interpreted this as a fitted-sleeve gown under a short, fitted, doublet-like coat with opashen-style sleeves. But now I think this is wrong, partly because I have not found anything else that is even slightly similar to that, and partly because the distribution of layers on the body just doesn’t work; it’s not a functional garment.

Instead, I’m working on two theories. The first is that the costume should include a full opashen, body and sleeves, but the illustrator has for whatever reason eliminated it.It’s an interesting idea on paper but not particularly useful.

The second is that the gown has two layers of sleeves, possibly both sewn in, possibly one or both pinned or laced in. This is not unknown; the Katharina zur Lippe gown (Nuremburg and a almost hundred years later, so I’m being very careful to draw equivalencies, nevertheless) has sewn-in undersleeves that may have been cut from another garment.

So for the sake of versatility, my current approach to this gown is:

  • chemise
  • creme satin sleeveless gown with a boat-shaped neckline and attached laces
  • creme satin undersleeves with lacing points
  • creme satin and black silk oversleeves with matching lacing points
  • black silk opashen with attached laces
  • creme silk apron with black embroidered decoration

So the gown can be worn alone with one or both set of sleeves, with the undersleeves and sleeveless opashen, or with the undersleeves and the opashen with oversleeves laced in.

I’m not at all sure this is the most garment-history-authentic approach, but it’s the approach that hits all the points for illustration-based reconstruction, and I think it will be both comfortable and gorgeous. The question of whether a Lithuanian woman would have worn any of this at that time is another one altogether, but illustrations of Lithuanian elite noble women of any period are damned few and far between, and Poland and Lithuania were one political unit at this time, so Polish dress is still persona-appropriate, and it’s distinctive enough not to be mistaken for Russian.

I’m telling myself that I have no deadline for this project, that it’s purely for fun and as time permits, but in the back of my head I’m thinking it might be nice to wear to Coronation in November.





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Battlemoor VI Chai Cream Cordial

For the many people that requested the recipe:

1/2 bag Vitamin Cottage Brand loose bulk bagged chai tea blend*

1 1.75L bottle vodka of your choice.

2 c. sugar

2 c. water

1/2 gallon half & half

Combine vodka and spices and let rest for two weeks.

Combine sugar and water in a saucepan and boil until liquid is thickened and reduced by 1/3 to 1/2. Pull off heat BEFORE syrup reaches soft-ball stage/235 degrees. Allow to cool.

Filter vodka and spice blend through a goldtone coffee filter or other fine mesh. Add syrup and let rest for another two weeks.

Filter through a fine mesh again, then filter through paper coffee filters (you will need to change the filter several times as it gums up). Add half & half. Refrigerate for at least 24 hours before serving.

*The chai blend is in the bulk spices area, and the bags run about 1/4 lb, between $4.50 and $5.00 for for a  bag at $17.73/lb. If you’re using a different chai, the volume is roughly 1.5 cups. (I didn’t measure – I actually doubled the recipe and dumped a whole bag in – but I will check and update the post when I make another batch, and I WILL be making more batches.)

More about Battlemoor later. It was a glorious event.

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Pattern darning and veil pins


Just some off-and-on side projects in between working on the Stibbert doublet. I’m doing the length of pattern darning for fun and practice – not sure what I’m going to put on yet. The pins are just an excuse to play with glass while I wait for the bead release I ordered to come so I can start making beads.

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Stibbert Doublet: sewing started

Haven’t we all drooled over this doublet?

I came across it about four years ago and always wanted to make a reproduction of it, but lack of good materials, my own lack of skill, and other pressing projects have back-burnered the idea. About a year and a half ago I lucked into some exceptionally high-quality faux suede (really, you need a magnifying glass to see that it’s fabric, and cannot tell to the touch) in the $4/lb discount upholstery scrap bin at Denver Fabric, and bought every scrap I could get my hands on. Which is JUST BARELY enough to make the doublet.

I got as far as patterning it last summer, and it went back into the UFO basket. I’m between projects now, so last night, after getting home from a VERY busy and wonderful event weekend, I put my feet up with a cocktail and Netflix and started embroidering.

2015-03-09 08.57.41 2015-03-09 08.57.55 People always ask how long stuff like this takes, so I’m going to keep track and do periodic writeups, and one at the end. My off-the-cuff guess: if I worked steadily (3-4 hours per night, 4-5 nights a week, and on road trips) it would take 3-4 months – call it 300 hours. I won’t work anywhere near steadily on it; like the Blackwork Shirt of Doom, which took two years, it’ll be my fun, no-stress, no-deadline project for between other things. A year and a half to two years seems likely.

Actually, I’m starting three projects this week – this, a pair of Tatar boots for myself, and Juan’s brigandine mark II. There’s a bit of a rush on the brig, we want it in service early in the spring fighter practice season, but it doesn’t have a specific target date. The boots will also be a low-pressure project; done by Battlemoor would be nice but I’m not heartset on it.

So I’ll bounce around between these three and a couple of others (camp furniture, a little basic garb – more Norse tunics and pants for Juan, more Tatar salwar and undertunics for me – a back scroll assignment, some largesse) until something with a deadline pops up. I’m also working on some non-SCA art projects. Having no deadlined projects at the moment is LOVELY and I’m going to enjoy it while it lasts!

2.5 hours in

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Catching up: SCA edition

Following on this post: I actually started writing February’s post on February 3rd, but got derailed and never got back to it. So here, I’m both reflecting on February and looking forward to March.

Big projects (that won’t be finished this year but will be worked on this year)

I finished and delivered a back scroll using the February theme, which I’m delighted about.

Had a great conversation about a possible future event proposal and ongoing project that has got me inspired to start up work on Motino again.

The Great Baltic Mapping Project is a bit stalled. Maybe set aside an evening next week to figure out the next step with it.

I’m really, really ready to start on the Stibbert. I don’t want to get sucked into a big SCA project when I’m really trying to focus on non-SCA art, but maybe once the weaving is done on the new mixed-media piece but before starting the surface embellishment, take a couple of evenings to get the ball rolling, and then relegate it to a car project. There will certainly be enough traveling in March and April.

The event calendar has firmed up A LOT in the last month and a half, so there are some pretty significant adjustments to my own event planning below.

February: Taking stock

Corazon was cancelled because of a blizzard, which makes the entire month of February feel – not wasted, something beyond that: like somehow it never even happened.

KAOS is due Sunday; I have two evenings of work left, and ran short on one supply and can’t get to the craft store till tomorrow. Get as far as I can tonight, finish tomorrow evening, get it in the mail on Thursday. And that’s an end to February.


The Next Thing is Dragonsspine Candlemas/Queen’s Prize. I’ve resold the Corazon lunch to Queen’s Prize, so there’s that, but there’s very little prep to do – most of it is already sitting in my freezer. Mainly, it’s getting together my chukies and gifts and things. I picked up some post-Valentines candy, and need to go through my stash of sparklies and bits, maybe make some more.

Need to check work schedules, because I’d like to go to Crown Tournament – it’s at the magnificent, early-18th-century colonial Rancho de los Golondrinas facility, one of my favorite SCA event sites ever – but two weekends in a row is really difficult.

Also up in March: Dance Collegium in Caerthe.

Each of these three events, individually, is pretty low-prep, fun, and unstressful; but three of them in a month makes for a scheduling challenge. Probably one of the two latter ones will get dropped. Pin this down before the week is out.


April has ArtSci Collegium and Heralds and Scribes. I definitely don’t plan to put in a teaching bid at H&S, just to go and have fun and learn. I need to make a decision about ArtSci, like, yesterday. Caelainn has been moving forward with the project we kicked around in December; I haven’t had the time or energy to do anything more than read the material she sent me and not approvingly. Need to follow up and see if we’re actually ready for this thing to go live in April, or if it should wait for a summer event.

April is when fighter practice and archery practice can start in earnest. Juan and I have discussed revisions to his armor, and are going to start on those pretty much immediately – probably over the next couple of days – and I’d like to get started on mine too.


May is First Camping. In January, I wanted to pick ONE major project and work on it, and it looks like it might be a Viking bed, so maybe lumber shopping on Saturday.

June and July

The North doesn’t have anything on the calendar for July 4th weekend, and I’m not super excited about Keepers of Dry Stone. And I’m not sure we can swing Lilies, in terms of either time off or money. Al-Barran is doing Nock on Wood in late June, and a low-key archery event sounds fun, so we’ll probably do that. I’m just not sure what’s going on here. There will be more events announced in the next four to six weeks, so for now, make some beer and decide on the season’s sewing priorities, and wait and see.


Brewing and sewing – those are the things that have to be put into motion far in advance for Battlemoor to go smoothly. I know I want to do more Indian and more Central Asian, and Juan wants more Viking, and particularly a Viking coat. Start on that stuff before the end of the month, so there’s some breathing room to maybe make one party outfit for each of us once the party themes are announced.

I plan to participate in the Battlemoor scroll challenge, so maybe start sketching out the first three or four scrolls in the next few weeks, and then work on the calligraphy for all of them at once.

September & October

Corazon may be rescheduled for somewhere in here, a decision that will probably be made at populace meeting on Friday, and I also want to make a Florida trip. Sit tight and keep options open.

November & December

I have made a pretty big dent in organizing my craft supplies, and need to continue on with that. Pin ideas for 12th Night gifts, think about putting some stuff up. I have an overabundance of sugar – it might be fun to start some spiced sugars.

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Good period food is just good food.

Just a little post to express amusement at the way SCA life and the rest of life intertwine and overlap.

I am in the last stages of recipe testing for Corazon IV (post soon!) and so I had some leftover arroz con caldo de carne  (De Nola #57) in the fridge. I also had some leftover Hüenre von kriechen (Guter Spise #4) filling in the freezer from – Battlemoor? I can’t even remember. Anyway, I was casting around for lunch stuff, and I grabbed the two ziploc bags and took them to work and mixed them up. And it is magnificent, on a cold dreary Tuesday when a snowstorm’s blowing in and I have way too much work to do.

Arroz con Caldo de Carne (Rice in Meat Broth)

You must take rice and wash it with cold water or tepid water three or four times; and when it is well-washed, set it to dry on a wooden chopping block in the sun, and if there is none, near the fire; and when it is dry, clean it well of the stones and filth; then put a very clean pot on the fire with meat broth, which is fatty and well-salted, and put it on the fire; and when the broth begins to boil, cast the rice in the pot; and when the rice is more than half-cooked, cast in goat or sheep milk, and for lack of these cast in almond milk; and cook everything in the pot, stirring it from time to time with a large spoon so that it does not stick to the pot or burn; and when it is cooked, remove it from the fire and put the well-covered pot inside a pannier or basket of bran, and leave it there to rest for a while, which should be for the space of an hour or at least half.  Then take egg yolks and beat them well when you wish to prepare dishes, and cast them in the pot, mixing them with the rice, and giving them a few turns with the large spoon.  Then prepare dishes, and cast upon each one sugar and cinnamon.

But note one thing, as I said in the chapter on semola: that in none of these pottages, such as rice, semola, farro, and fideos, when cooked with meat broth, is it necessary to put in any kind of milk; but everything is according to the appetites of the men who eat it; and with this pottage, there is no need to cast sugar upon the dishes; however, sugar never harms the food; and the excellence is in this, that each one does according to his taste.

Make a strong stock of one or more meats (lamb, beef, pork) bones, organs, and scraps by combining 1/2 Tbsp salt and 1/2 gallon water per pound and cooking over low heat 6-8 hours or in a large crockpot overnight. Strain but do not clarify.

1 c. rice

2 c. stock  OR 1 c. stock + 1 c. almond milk

2 egg yolks, beaten

Add rice to cold liquid, bring to a full rolling boil, turn down to low and cook until rice is fully cooked and liquid is fully absorbed. Stir egg yolk into rice and (if original pan is not oven safe) move rice to a casserole dish. Finish under a 400 degree broiler for 5-8 minutes or until egg is fully bound.

Hüenre von kriechen (Hens from Greece)

Diz heizzent hüenre von kyechen. Man sol hüenre braten. und ein fleische eines swines, weich gesoten und gehacket, under ein ander. und nim einen vierdunc rosen dor zu und nim yngeber und pfeffer und win oder ezzig und zucker oder honie und siede daz zu sammene. und gibs hin und versaltzez niht.

These are called Hens from Greece. One should roast hens. And the flesh of a pig, which is boiled until soft, and chopped together. And take a quarter phunt roses thereto and take ginger and pepper and wine or vinegar and sugar or honey and boil this together and give out and do not oversalt.

1 lb. shredded cooked chicken

1/3 lb. chopped cooked bacon

1 Tbsp pomegranate molasses

1 Tbsp crushed rose petals

1 tsp ginger

1 tsp pepper

1/2 tsp salt

1 lb pastry dough of choice, chilled

1-2 qts fry oil of choice (optional)

Pre-heat oil (if frying). Roll out pastry dough. Combine remaining ingredients and make small handpies or samosas of the shape of your preference. (I generally prefer 4-cornered purses from 3 in. pastry squares, which make a nice 2-bite tidbit). Fry or bake until golden. Serve hot or cold.

These may be prepared in advance and frozen uncooked, or the filling may be made in advance and frozen.

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2014 Project Log

This has been a page; I’ve moved the content into a post, and created a new 2015 page. I really enjoyed keeping this list, and in my neverending quest to document better, I’m going to keep it going.

I am inspired by the A&S 50 campaign, but uninterested in setting production goals – I’m more focused in exploring process and focusing on my quality of workmanship. And on going through my periodic project and idea lists and making sure that projects move up the list from “eventually” to “completed” in something like an orderly fashion. So, for 2014, I’ll be tracking finished projects. I’m curious to see what the year has in store. (Updated – things got a little crazy for a couple of months there, so dates are approximate.)

1. Pair of heraldic banners: for myself and Juan Osorio de Segovia.  (Jan 2)

2. Viking tunic for HRM Alrik IV, as part of a group project coordinated by my Laurel for his Estrella War Court garb.  ( Feb 16)

3. KAOS III: a heraldic wooden box containing a section of tablet woven trim in heraldic colors, and a pair of veil pins.  (Mar 8)

4. Corazon del Leon III feast (very late 16th c. colonial New Spain).  (Mar 15)

5. Curonian apron of linen with a decorative band of handwoven, bronze-embellished wool. (Apr 8)

6. Survey of platillos, cooked and presented at Kingdom A&S (late 16th c. Spain). (Apr 12)

7. Laurel vigil buffet for Duke Garick von Köpke (mid 14th c. German). (May 9)

8. Heavily blackworked men’s shirt, begun in 2010, occasional (roadtrip/at events) project for most of that time. (May 10)

9. Argent Heart scroll for Nicolaao Machado. (May 10)

10. Brown and gold silk damask doublet. (May 24)

11. Seam finishing and pearling on Sposa Dantiscana dress. Dress was left off at “done enough to wear” for Caerthan 12th Night but could not be washed until seams were finished. (June 3)

12. Late 15th/early 16th c. brigandine armor, collaborative project with Juan Osorio de Segovia. Started in 2012 but work was interrupted several times by major illness. Finished (and fought in!)  (June 8)

13. Mid-16th c. linen Qipchaq entari with applique’d hem. ( Jun 19)

14. Tooled leather vambrace using the same motif as entari, above. (July)

15. Viking men’s tunic with yoke embroidery based on the bear-head post from the Oseberg ship burial. (July)

16. AoA scroll for Adelaisa Bernois (August 16)

17. 16th c. great boots, rev. 2. (August)

18. Various small jewelry pieces (August)

19. Staff and Teachers’ Dinners for Academy of Grace and Valor II, Italian first night, German second. (Sep. 12 & 13)

20. White and red silk tablet woven band based on Siksala find. Later applied to white linen skirt. (September)

21. Two new white linen underdresses: Kangasvuo A and Birka. (September)

22. Complete Letgali grave goods set: spiral crown (improved, using some components from earlier attempt and some new fabricated components); wrap-and-hook torc; cowrie-and-glass necklace; purchased extant spiral bracelet; fabricated matching spiral bracelet; extant ring; fabricated matching ring; waterfall chain with boat pendant (collaborative project with Juan); pair of ring-head pins. (October)

23. Men’s late 16th c. doubled and paned slops set. (October)

24. Pair of long camp benches with wood-burned heraldic motifs. (November 3)

25. Laurel vigil buffet for my own vigil (various, past feasts and other cooking projects). (November 7)

26. Research & adaptation of period Lithuanian fealty oaths and royal directive correspondence for SCA Laurel ceremony. (November 8)

27. Present anticuchos de corazon recipe at the December meeting of the Caerthan Cooks’ Guild (themed Blood, Guts, and Other Offal Things). (November 22)

28. Flower scroll for THL Ailinn Shadowfox (mostly worked before the new year, finished 1/1/15, presented 1/3)


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