Friday, March 17, 2017

Norse Clothing and Vikings in the SCA

This post is about the research I did for my Norse outfit, and I want to talk a bit about my feelings on wearing "Viking" clothing in the SCA.

A few months ago, after hearing that Artemisia's Spring Coronation would be an all-Viking affair, I thought I would branch out and try making a more "legit" or accurate Norse/Viking outfit. I specify Norse because I knew that I wanted to try to make all of the items Scandinavian, and avoid anything that was decidedly Hiberno-Norse, Jorvik-found, etc. I wanted to focus on what an upper-class or even noble woman from a Scandinavian culture would have worn in the 9th to 10th centuries. Some SCAdians tend to use the term "Viking" to describe their garb, but as that term is typically used to describe an occupation, I have been trying to say Norse instead of Viking for my outfit. I'm clearly not going a-Viking in my pretty clothes!


The biggest resource I used for this outfit was the Viking Clothing Facebook group. There are some serious experts on there, often the best in the business, if you will. People who are able to look at the archeological finds, people who have studied these textiles for decades. I relied on their knowledge, yet I didn't take everything as gospel. Many of the experts disagreed with each other quite often. Many "experts" would make claims they couldn't back up with sources. But in general, there are certain things that everyone agrees on, sometimes begrudgingly, because they are tired of reenactors making the same styles again and again. They have a file section in their group that lists and provides scholarly sources.

 
My hairstyle is based on the Elling Woman grave find, a couple centuries earlier than the Viking Age, but a documentable hairstyle. Norsewomen may have worn head coverings but I wanted to try a hair style first. My hair isn't long enough for the Valkyrie knot ponytail.


For the sake of this blog post, I am going to say that everything I learned can be found or discussed on that FB group. I highly suggest joining it. They are known for doing it as historically-accurate as possible, sometimes to a borderline unreasonable point in my opinion (more on that later in this post). I'm not going to list educational, scholarly sources in this post. Did I use them? Yes. Can you find them easily online? Yes. Join the Viking Clothing FB group and research like I did. It's all very easy to look up. The information is out there, and it didn't take me long to absorb and memorize a lot of it.


I have compiled a basic list of what items I made, if it is documentable for the period, where I deviated from agreed-upon accuracy, and why I made it less accurate. This is by no means an exhaustive list of everything I read on the subject, but it's enough to talk about the items I made. If you think I'm wrong about a "Fact", please consult the Viking Clothing FB page to see if they covered it, or ask me about it and I'll find the documentation. When I say it's a "Fact", I don't mean that's the only way it was done. I simply mean we know it was done at least once and for this time period, that's enough for me (for this time period, not for later periods).

1. An underdress. Facts: the Norse used linen for underlayers; they had natural purple materials for dye; pastels are possible from second dyebaths; linens weren't usually as bright as wool layers because they were subject to more frequent washing after wearing against the skin; they had fitted tunics where the shoulders were not squared off like rectangular construction; they had keyhole necklines; they did split-stitch.

 Evidence of purple garments in Norway and Denmark. Yes, it's not as prevalent as Dublin/York/London, but there is proof. 

 Fragment of a tunic found at Hedeby, showing they had fitted shoulders.

What I did: I purchased 5.3oz linen from Fabrics Store in a Silver Thistle color. I used my body block pattern to make it just fitted enough to slide over my head with no closures. It is two rectangles in front, one in back, and three gores (two sides, one back). It is shaped in the armscye and has a keyhole slit neckline that is held shut with a pin. I chose to do some split-stitch embroidery on the neckline and wrists. I used split stitch because the Norse used it, and it is considered a functional stitch that is not solely decorative. Neckline, cuffs, and hem are all sewn by hand.


2. An apron dress. Facts: Norsewomen probably wore another layer over the underdress and they could have had straps made from loops; we don't know how long they were because a full one doesn't exist, which also means no pattern to say there is only one way to construct them; they could have been made from wool or linen; herringbone or chevron twill wool was used for garments; the dresses likely weren't embroidered over seams (hard to adjust for size when you sew over the seams three times to decorate them); true dark blacks likely weren't available but dark gray could have been (they had dark gray sheep); narrow tablet-woven trim was used; narrow silk edging was used.

 Fragment of a garment found at Hedeby that could be an apron dress.
Loops on top of a garment edge, Birka grave 597.

What I did: I used a heavy cotton flannel with a herringbone weave instead of wool. I had it on hand and the cotton flannel mimics wool extremely well. It is dark gray, not black. I did two rectangles (front and back) and three gores (two sides, one back). There was no other way to cut the fabric as I had less than two yards of directional fabric. The trim is a linen tablet-woven band (.5" wide) from the White Wolf and the Phoenix, in purple and white tones. The silk edging is plain white silk. The widest silk edging found was 1.18" inches, and mine is 1" wide. All of the trim was sewn on by hand. The hand sewn loops (narrow tubes) are sewn onto the front and back of the dress, and are held together with the brooches- long loops from the back meet the short loops in front.


 3. A caftan. Facts: fragments of garments believed to be coats were found at Birka and Hedeby, although they were likely men's coats; again, wool with a herringbone weave is documentable; light gray was easily found on sheep; narrow silk tablet-woven trim has been found; silk was used to edge garments.


What I did: The caftan is the hardest layer to document of the garments I made. They are very popular in the reenactment community for both men and women. The Norse would certainly have had warm woolen coats but we don't know how they were constructed or what they looked like. I decided to make a style I've seen on many people but it has little documentation. I used gray herringbone wool flannel from Dorr Mills. I again used my body block pattern because I wanted the coat to be fitted and flattering. It's more probable that a Norse coat would have been less fitted and more blocky, but I wanted it to be snug. I added silk facing, although it is about an inch wider than we know the Norse used for edgings. The trim is .75" wide, silk, tablet woven, and in a diamond pattern. The pattern is not based on a particular extant item, but it is similar to some with a diamond pattern. The trim was made by Sir Brynjolfr of Artemisia. The closure is a solid silver clasp with three circles on each side.

 A close up of the trims. The amber necklace was borrowed from HE Katya.

4. Jewelry. Facts: some Norsewomen owned oval shaped brooches; the brooches have been found attached to the loops that could be on apron dresses; sometimes beads could be worn with the brooches; beads could be precious gems or glass or bone; Thor's Hammer (Mjolnir) pendants have been found and may have been worn by women.


What I did: my brooches were purchased from Raymond's Quiet Press. They have Odin's face on them and are based on a Finnish find from the Viking Age.  My "coronet" is not far off from this diadem that I read is from the 9th-12th centuries and is called "Viking", but I need more documentation for it. I purchased a three-strand woven metal circlet and glued cabochons onto it; I found the diadem picture later which was a neat find, but I have no serious attribution for it. I have a gold plated Thor's Hammer pendant and a little bone bird pendant attached to my festoons- we'll pretend it's a raven! The beads are mostly glass with some real stones and some bone.



5. Accessories. Facts: the Norse wore leather turnshoes; textile belts were worn but we don't know if they were worn with apron dresses; fur was a product used by the Norse and has been found in fragment with garments; wooden bag handles have been found.


What I did:  I am wearing a full, cased arctic fox pelt. While we have no evidence that a full pelt would be worn, there is evidence that fur was used with garments (grave finds). I just think it looks really cool, I'll admit it. My shoes are leather turn shoes with leather lacing straps from Boots by Bohemond, which are based on several extant shoes from the 9th-10th centuries. My belt is inkle woven, which I have read is not documentable for the Norse, but I already owned it and it matched my outfit. I made a little herringbone linen bag with Etsy-purchased Hedeby-style wooden handles.

My Hedeby bag, using leftover tablet woven trim for the straps.



Now that I have blathered on about the layers, I want to talk about how far I think SCAdians should be willing to go to make historically accurate "Viking" garments. Here is how a conversation on the Viking Clothing FB group goes:
Newbie: "I want to do embroidery on my Norse garb because I see it on everyone else's."
Expert: "The Norse didn't do embroidery so neither can you."
Newbie: "But what about the Oseberg burial / Mammen finds / Birka / etc ? They found embroidery on that."
Expert: "Okay yes, there is that example, but only the wealthy could afford it or import it."
Newbie: "So you're saying they had embroidery then... got it."
Expert: "But unless you're portraying nobility you shouldn't do it."

Here is my problem with that. In the SCA, if we choose, we all get to start off as minor nobility, or Good Gentles. We are allowed to decorate our clothes as far as our budgets allow. It seems that for many of the strict European reenactment groups, not everyone gets to pretend to be nobility or royalty, so their outfits must reflect their lower status. This is not so in the SCA. Just because embroidery, or jewelry, or trim, or silk, was expensive back then and only worn by the highest status person, does not mean we should discourage SCAdians from wearing their bling. We get to portray nobility and royalty in our society, so I say, wear whatever you want regarding "high status" items and decoration. That being said, try to pair your Norse bling with high-quality textiles like finely woven wool and linen. We don't wear diamond necklaces with workout gear, right?

A couple of high-status Norsewomen, wearing their bling proudly with high-quality textiles.


Now I'd like to talk about where SCAdians could draw the line at historical accuracy. Let me give another example of a conversation on the Viking Clothing group:

Brave Person: "Here is a picture of a new outfit I made, what do you think?"
Expert: "Did you weave the fabric and dye it yourself? Did you use only natural dyes available to the Norse? Did you raise the sheep and shear it and was it a breed the Vikings had? Did you cast the jewelry yourself? Was it based on an extant find? Show me a picture and prove it. I don't care if it's hot where you live, I wear wool year round and I don't overheat."

Seriously. That is how it goes. I can understand when a person who makes something "Norse inspired" gets told that their Celtic embroidery, cotton dress with grommets, or Vikings TV show copy isn't what the group is all about. I totally respect that. But where do we, as SCAdians, draw that line? I like to be accurate within reason. I consistently strive to do better once I know better. But I am now of the opinion that when it comes to "Viking" clothes, cutting some slack is fair, because the archeological evidence is not extremely easy to interpret or discover. 

Many of us do not have the time or budget to do things 100% accurate, even if we had all the knowledge to do everything from scratch ourselves. While I might suggest that a person save up to afford linen over cotton, I will certainly not expect someone to weave their own fabric or dye it themselves with plants they pulled out of the ground in Sweden. These are skill sets acquired after years of study. It is unreasonable to expect someone to be skilled at every aspect of the creation process. I believe the SCA is pretty fair in this regard. I have encountered some Laurels in the SCA who really can do all the things listed, and make something entirely from scratch, and this is phenomenal. But most of us don't have the knowledge or time to go this far. I respect it, and I admit that I may not ever go so far as to shear a sheep I raised in my backyard and use my own urine to set the dye from the cochineal insect I gathered off a cactus. Did I get that right? I had to Google it.

But while doing my research, I came across some people who do not cut any corners and do everything exactly as found in a grave in one location and one time period. If we all did this, we'd be wearing a Viking uniform. I highly respect the people who have the time, budget, and knowledge to make everything as accurately as possible. However, I am glad that the SCA doesn't hold itself to such high standards- I cannot meet them regarding Norse clothing (or maybe any other era despite my hard work). I think there is room for improvement in the SCA, and once you know better and can afford better, do better. I am trying to meet this goal every day.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Completed Norse / Viking Outfit - First Pictures

I have a really long write-up planned for my new Norse outfit, but seeing as the outfit is finished and I won't have time to do the big post for a couple weeks, I've decided to do a brief post with some simple pictures first. I plan to get in the outfit and style my hair and take some outdoor pictures, but I have been very busy in my modern life, and the weather here in MT has been so darn cold, that I haven't yet managed to get dressed up and take the pictures. But I will! This outfit demands some great pictures. At the very least, I'm wearing the outfit to Artemisia's March Coronation event in three weeks, so lots of pictures will happen then.



The layers consist of:
-a lavender linen underdress with white stem stitch embroidery at the cuffs and neckline
-a charcoal apron dress made from heavy cotton flannel with a herringbone pattern. This fabric mimis wool herringbone very closely. The dress is edged with white silk topped with linen tablet woven trim
-a wool herringbone caftan, edged with purple silk taffeta and topped with silk tablet woven trim, with a silver clasp at the natural waist to hold it shut
-a purse, sometimes called a Hedeby/Haithabu bag. The wood handles are from Etsy, and I used orange herringbone linen fabric, the leftovers of the dress trim, and some purple cotton thread to attach the pouch to the handles


I really like all the layers of purple, the varying textures of the fabrics, and of course the accessories that bring it all together and make it a bit fancier. The brooches are from Raymond's Quiet Press- in hindsight, I wish I had bought a bigger size. These look good but I'm not a petite woman and I thought I wanted smaller brooches. Turns out I could easily carry a bigger brooch set on my wide shoulders!


I made the swag necklace with beads from our local bead store. Some are semi-precious, some are glass, four are metal, and the white ones are bone, including the bird pendant and the spacers against the brooches. I added my Mjolnir (Thor's Hammer) pendant to the swag instead of wearing it as a separate necklace, and I definitely like it this way.

The belt is inkle woven, and I have read that inkle weaving as is typically done today only dates to the 19th century, not the 9th as I'm going for with this outfit. I've also heard that not using a loom to inkle is period, but I don't know anything (ANYTHING) about weaving. I bought this belt a couple years ago, and the colors happened to match perfectly, so for now I'm going to pair it with the outfit.

 The clasp on the caftan was a gift from my mother last summer. She happened by a Mountain Man Rendezvous in Wyoming, and thought I would like it. I didn't know what I would ever use it for until the caftan was already complete, and the clasp works really well with the outfit. It has a three circle design with swirled inner circles, not unlike some designs I've seen on extant Norse jewelry. I'll find images of those for documentation on my later post.

The big post will be my documentation for the projects, how I went about researching the outfit, and why I decided to deviate from absolute historical accuracy. I'm excited to put my thoughts on wearing Norse in the SCA out in the blogosphere. The post will basically say: here is what we know they did in period, here is what I did, and here is why some of my stuff is plausibly period, and here is why some of my stuff is not quite right, and this is why I chose to do it this way. It's also about why I think we should be more flexible in the SCA regarding Norse clothing, which is something I never thought I would say. So keep an eye out for that post in a couple weeks!

Monday, February 6, 2017

Regency Ball Gown

My first chance to attend a Regency themed event finally arrived with the Regency Romance Ball in Salt Lake City, held the first weekend in February each year. It is put on by the Jane Austen Society of North America (Utah Region), and Old Glory Vintage Dancers. I only heard about it for the first time about a year and a half ago, but as the event always falls on the same weekend as my local Shire's SCA event, I had to make the tough decision this year to skip my local event and head South to go to the ball. It was certainly worth it!




I started making the costume plans several months ago, to give myself a lot of time to make my own costume and some items for my husband. I've never done early 19th century before, so I took my time with this project. I managed to finish it all with more than a week to spare, so I was quite prepared!


My outfit consists of a gown and underthings: short stays (corset), chemise, and petticoat. The short stays were purchased from RedThreaded on Etsy. I found them well constructed and of good quality, but I chose to opt for a standard size instead of a custom order for two reasons: one, it's more expensive for a custom size and these corsets are pricey to begin with; two, I wanted to get working on the bodice patterning so waiting longer for a custom size would have held me up. The corset works well enough, but the bust is too small and the underbust is too big. I simply leave the top two eyelets unlaced so I have maximum room in the bust cups. If I end up doing a lot more Regency costuming later on, I'll make my own so it fits better, or make the bust gussets bigger on this corset.

The chemise is made from a light cotton muslin, and of very simple construction. Two long rectangles for the body, two short sleeve squares, two armpit gussets, and two hip gores. It has a drawstring neckline. I found it very comfortable. I based it off some extant chemises like this one, circa 1810, from UVM.
 The petticoat wasn't made specifically for this project, but it works very well underneath the gown. It's about 3.25 yards of silk taffeta, knife pleated to a waistband, and it closes in back with a hook and eye. I have worn this petticoat under Renaissance-era gowns, Edwardian skirts, and now Regency. It would work well for 18th century, too. I have petticoats that open on the sides, but I decided I wanted just the one closure for this petticoat. It has a deep hem- I used the full width of the fabric (54"), so the hem has about 10 inches of extra fabric folded inside to stiffen it.

To start the patterning of the gown bodice, I got out the Sense and Sensibility/Simplicity pattern that we see everywhere. I had gotten it on Joann's 99 cent clearance many years ago. I did three mock ups with this pattern and none of them worked for me because I wanted a smooth-front bodice instead of the gathering the pattern calls for. It's simply not designed to be altered that way, so I find no fault with that pattern, except for the fact that if you're over a B cup, the gathers won't fit over your bust, so alter according to their website instructions.

I got out my 16th century kirtle pattern and decided to alter that instead. The finished pattern is nothing like what it started as. The side seams got moved to the back, the straps moved back, and it has some darts under the bust for shaping. Overall I'm happy with the pattern, but I would have done the darts differently. They're accurate for this era (see Norah Waugh's "Cut and Construction of Women's Clothes"), but I simply folded them over like a pleat instead of sewing them like a proper dart, so they pouf a bit. I didn't want to remove and then reattach the skirt to change the darts, and it worked well enough. But if I make more Regency clothes down the line, I will use another pattern. The sides of the bust also wrinkle and pull, so I would start over with the pattern. But not too bad for my first try at this era!

The fabric for the gown is an aqua/seafoam silk taffeta with gold embroidered Fleur de Lys. While the Fleur de Lys is the emblem for French royalty and therefore isn't a typical "Regency" pattern as the Regency refers to 1811-1820 in England, I decided that the 1814 restoration of the Bourbon monarchy would be excuse enough to wear that pattern. I was inspired by several gowns that had intricate embroidery or beading patterns, and didn't find many other patterned fabrics that would achieve that look. I did seriously consider buying a sari or African George silk fabric, but decided to just get the patterned fabric and sew trim onto the hem. Here are some extant gowns that were my main inspiration (I think most if not all are French in origin):


The bodice laces up the back with hand-bound eyelets in a spiral lacing pattern. Next time I would make the back a bit shorter. The sleeves are just a large, rounded sleeve head, very short, gathered on top into the armscye, and on bottom into a narrow band. The hem trim is from India, and was only $4 a yard on Ebay. It's marvelous, high quality, and has sequins and heavy embroidery. The waistband/belt is just narrow gold trim with sequins from Joann's. I had a hard time matching the wider trim, as it's a more antique gold, which is hard to find in stores, especially with sequins.



Now for the accessories: gloves, headband, shoes, jewelry, and the hairpiece. The gloves are silk, and my third pair from Greatlookz (highly recommeded). The shoes are American Duchess, the Bronte, and I had them dyed by DyeMyShoes.com. They did a great job and I would again recommend- only $17 with shipping back! The necklace and earrings are genuine pearls, and some of my most treasured pieces. The necklace was given to me by my mom, and they were a gift from my father to her. The earrings were a gift from my best friend, and they tend to get worn a lot! The headband is from Sapphire and Sage, which I purchased probably 8 years ago, and it's holding up well after years of use. The hairpiece started as clip-on bangs, which I wet curled with foam rollers, let dry, then smoothed with curl cream. I simply put the headband over the fake "bangs" and went out! They stayed put all night and really made the whole outfit. My own hair is in a simple bun, which looked not so great, as I cut my hair recently and the ends are a bit too spiky when put up. I had to pin the crap out of it and it still didn't look good. At least the "bangs" kind of distracted from the sloppy bun!


I want to talk about the event a bit, in case any readers are interested in attending in future years. This was the 7th annual ball. We had the good fortune to be seated at a table with one of the founding organizers, so we got some history about the event. This was the largest ball they have done, with 294 tickets sold! I find that outstanding and impressive. I was thinking it would be more like 150! They rent out the large ballroom at the Little America Hotel in Salt Lake City. It was an utterly fantastic venue. I have rarely been able to attend an event in such a perfect venue, and so very well organized and ran. They served a nice dinner, probably did 20+ dances, had gaming tables, served dessert, and had a professional photographer there. We got a room at the hotel for the weekend, and simply took the elevator downstairs for the ball. Here's what the ballroom looked like:


My husband and I danced about 5 dances. I found this gown to be much easier to dance in than my 1860s gown. I didn't really dance at all at the Virginia City Victorian Ball because my dress prevented me from lifting my arms, the hoops were cumbersome (I'm not used to or trained in dancing with hoops), and I was worried that someone would step on my hem and tear my gown. This ball had everyone dancing. It was rare to see people not dancing. There were easily 250 people dancing all at once in this room; it was a sight to see! I can't recommend this event enough. We will absolutely attend again.

Speaking of my husband, I did a little sewing for him as well. I made his waistcoat, shirt, and cravat. I bought his drop-front trousers from Gentleman's Emporium, and had a velvet tailcoat custom made from a seller on Etsy. We didn't take many pictures of him, but because the venue and backdrops were so lovely, I had him take a lot of pictures of me for the blog. The room with the pink damask wallcloth was the women's restroom lounge! It was my favorite room for pictures, much to my husband's embarrassment!





All in all it was a great event that was well worth attending, and worth the effort to make a pretty costume. There were only a small handful of people who didn't wear a version of Regency-era attire, out of nearly 300 people. They did a little costume contest, which I was nominated for, and although I didn't win, it was an honor to be considered. I highly recommend this event if you are able to attend: people came from Arizona, Wyoming, Montana (us and two friends), and even a couple from Montreal! It's worth traveling for.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Projects and Plans for 2017

Seeing as I wrote up a post about my completed projects from 2016, I figured I would do a post about projects that are in-progress or on the list to make in 2017. I'll also talk about events I plan to attend, and what I might wear to them: I am the type of person who will plan out what I'm wearing to an event up to a year in advance! This helps me space out the wearing of my garb; I don't like to wear the same thing to two events in a row. Hell, I don't like to wear the same thing within six months!

I don't often post in-progress pictures, because sometimes we have to abandon a project, or we lose interest and decide to put it away for a few months, or change our mind and don't finish it. I don't often completely give up on a project, but sometimes they get shelved for a while until an event to wear them to comes along. I also don't like seeing in-progress posts by bloggers, who then never finish that outfit, and so we never see the end result- I don't want to be a bad blogger!

January 14th is 12th Night in my SCA Kingdom, and I'll be heading over to Billings, MT, for their event. I'm going to wear my new pink silk satin 15th century gown, but instead of a hennin, I have a silk velvet open hood ordered from Lady Malina in Poland. Both of these hats would be acceptable to wear with this gown, but I decided on the open hood because I wore a hennin to my last event, and I just don't feel like wearing my big hennin for an entire day. Plus, new hats need to be worn!


February 4 is the Regency Romance Ball in Salt Lake City. This event has been held on the same date as our local winter event, and it is again this year, but I wanted to try to get to the Regency Ball. I've been wanting more chances to sew costumes that are out of SCA time period (post 1600), and while I'm bummed to miss my local event, I want to do something new.

I've been working on Regency costumes for my husband and I since December. I've made him a waistcoat, shirt, and cravat, and purchased him breeches and a tailcoat. For myself, I've made a chemise and gown, and purchased a corset. Everything is finished except my gown. The gown is wearable, I'm just waiting on some trim to arrive for the hem and a belt.


The first weekend in March, a friend is being elevated to the Order of the Master of Defense, and my friend Sarah and I have offered to make him a doublet and breeches for the ceremony. I will do the main construction, and Sarah will do the handwork. The breeches are nearly done, they're now with Sarah getting the handwork finished. Her handsewing is much smaller and tidier than mine, so it works well for us to share the work this way. I can handsew, but for a project that is a gift for a friend, it's best for us to use our strengths to make the best garment possible. The fabric is the same red silk brocade I used for my surcote with the floor-length sleeves, and it's fully lined in red silk. It will have lots of small gold buttons and black velvet trim.


March also has us hopefully attending Coronation in Salt Lake City. Our current Artemisian King and Queen are doing a "Viking" reign (or maybe Rus?), and our Prince and Princess who will be stepping up at Coronation will likely also be doing something similar, Norse or Viking, so Coronation should be a very Viking affair. I'm currently well into a Norse project for myself, that includes several layers: linen underdress (serk), herringbone "wool" apron dress (actually a heavy cotton flannel that mimics wool), and a wool caftan/Birka coat. I've ordered new turtle brooches and made new bead swags to hang from them. Here's where I'm at today:


I started a pink wool flannel kirtle several months ago, perhaps even a year ago, back when I was still doing 16th century rather often. The bodice is an experiment in support: I've found that most of my 16th century bodices have too much compression on my chest, so I tried a new boning method for this bodice. When I finish the gown, I'll do a big post about how the support works and the boning pattern used. More gold silk trim needs to go on the sleeves and the hem of the skirt. It's all getting sewn on my hand, which has been good practice for making my handsewing even and less noticeable.

You can also see that I have a new smock with this kirtle. The fabric is an embroidered cotton I found in the LA Garment District last year. Of course linen would be the more historical choice for a 16th century smock, but I couldn't pass this fabric up, as it looks so much like blackwork, and it was $7 a yard!  The smock needs cuffs and the ruffles, and then it's done. I don't have a specific event to wear this outfit to, so it's not on my priority list for the next couple months.

April has Crown Tournament being held in Billings, so we'll definitely head over there for that event. I'll likely wear something fancy, as the event is being held indoors in a nice hall, likely with just the fighting outside. This calls for a nice dress but bring a coat along for standing outside to watch the Tourney. Perhaps the pink kirtle? I have a black, pink, and gold coat that I purchased from a friend which goes perfectly with this kirtle, so maybe I'll wear that.


Speaking of this coat, it's another one of my projects for the first half of this year. The coat got washed after it was constructed and worn a few times outside, and the heavy wool fashion fabric shrunk, while the lining did not. This means that the bottom hem of the coat is uneven. I am going to try to stretch the wool back out, by getting the coat wet, putting it on my dress form, and tugging at the wool. If it doesn't stretch out, I will add a wide guard to the hem of the coat (likely some pink velvet I have), making it a bit longer. The coat fits great at the top, but because it shrunk lengthwise, and because my friend who made it is quite shorter than me, I could use a bit more length. This coat is absolutely incredible; the workmanship is exquisite and perfect, and I am so happy that my friend allowed me to purchase it from her.

I do want to make a white linen 14th century hood for summer, and embroider it with gold thread. I have found that a hood is great sun protection for the neck and chest, but my hoods are all wool, so I'm hoping to make a linen one that will work for sun coverage but not make me roast and sweat. Perhaps April or May will be the time to make that, before the summer events.

June might see me attending Uprising in Idaho, and I won't need anything new for it. I have so much camping garb now, because last year I went to Estrella War and SCA 50 Year, and made a ton of clothes for those events. Artemisia 20 Year is being held over the 4th of July weekend, and I also doubt I'll need new garb for that. Maybe another early period linen smock, but that's it. I've got a couple more events in Summer and Fall of 2017, but it's gotten to the point where I have so much garb, that I don't need anything new, unless a special event arises, or extreme weather.

I have a couple other projects on the "maybe" list, some of them finishing a project, some of them re-doing an old outfit. I started (and nearly finished) a late 15th century gown in silk brocade, but the collar ended up wrong, so I put it in the closet for when I feel like finishing it. My ice blue French gown from 2015 ended up a bit small in the bodice, so I want to re-do it, which means taking the entire thing apart. That is getting avoided until I want to wear the gown again for some special occasion. I wore the gown once in March 2015, and by the end of the day, I was actually suffering- it was too tight in the chest, shoulders, and armscye. That is what made me decide to work on my 16th century bodice pattern, which led to the pink kirtle experiment. Once the pink kirtle is done, I will decide if I like the new boning style, and then will apply my findings to fix the blue gown.