Roman

During the summer months Roman garb becomes quite popular in Atlantia, where temperatures can reach up to 100 degrees. Typically made from natural-fiber fabrics like linen, silk, and light weight wool, these loose fitting garments are quite effective in keeping the wearer from becoming overheated.

Roman women, or matrons, wear three layers. The first layer is the tunica, made from a light-weight linen. This layer sits closest to the skin and linen is a natural choice for helping to wick sweat from the body and keep it cool. The second layer is the stola. This layer can be made from a slightly heavier linen than the tunica, silk, or a light-weight wool. I always make my stola from patterned silk. The final layer is the palla. The palla is usually 6-8 feet long and is worn draped around the body and as a head covering. My palla is made from wool gauze.

Roman garb is incredibly simple in its patterning and construction. Both the tunica and the stola consist of two rectangles of fabric, cut to the length of the wearer from shoulder to floor, sewn up the sides. The width of the fabric can vary greatly, but must be at least as wide as the wearer’s hips. These garments can then be pinned and fitted to create a variety of styles, using a type of pin called a fibula. The palla is simply a rectangle of fabric with the edges hemmed.

A Roman Matron, photo credit to Lady Machteld Cleine. The three layers are seen quite clearly here – the light yellow tunica; the blue and gold stola; and the white palla.
My friend, Lady Marguerite, and I dressed in Roman and squinting in the sun 😉 Again, the layers are clearly distinguishable. Photo credit to Master Ursus.
Roman women in tunicas and stolas. We did not wear pallas this night.

Resources

Anna’s New Rome – https://annasrome.com/roman-garb-basics/

Greek & Roman Garb – https://www.eg.bucknell.edu/~lwittie/sca/garb/GreekRoman.html

My fibula come from ThorThor’s Hammer – http://thorthorshammer.com/romanbroochpage.htm

16th Century German

Within the last year I have grown quite fond of the Landsknecht and Kampfrau style of garb. In April of 2018, an event with a German theme – Night on the Rhine – was held in the nearby Barony of Lochmere. I decided to dress with the theme and make myself a Kampfrau dress, gollar, and wulsthaube.

For the dress, I used a pattern that I already owned and was previously used for a 16th Century Italian gown. I simply extended the waistline so that it would come several inches lower, ending at my true waist as opposed to just below my bust.

I then added guards to the bust and the skirt, which was then attached to the bust using rolled pleats.

For instructions on rolled pleats, please reference The German Renaissance of Genoveva at http://germanrenaissance.net/rolled-pleats-photo-tutorial-and-pleat-spacing-calculator/

The finished dress with detachable sleeves. The dress is 100% linen.
The dress, this time without sleeves, but with the gollar – a style of hood. The gollar is wool, lined with linen.
A close up of the wulsthaube, or head covering. I made mine using a drawstring – recommended by a friend – for ease of use. The drawstring is not historically accurate. Likewise, the fabric is a patterned blend that I purchased from JoAnn’s due to its resemblance to embroidery.
A close-up of the wulsthaube and hat.

I have several more 16th Century German style dresses planned for 2019 – stay tuned for updates here!

Resources

Reconstructing History has several patterns for both the Kampfrau style of dress and its accessories:

https://reconstructinghistory.com/product/rh505-german-accessories/

https://reconstructinghistory.com/product/rh504-kampfrau-or-common-womans-dress/

The Curious Frau – http://curiousfrau.com/2009/08/12/trossfrau-kampfrau-and-landsknecht/

Whilja’s Corner – https://whiljascorner.wordpress.com/2013/06/04/an-overview-of-the-trossfrau/

Katafalk – https://katafalk.wordpress.com/2014/04/06/patternmaking-for-the-kampfrau-dress/

14th Century English

Lady Margaret Lad is a 14th Century English Noblewoman. I would consider her to be my primary persona, though I often wear clothing from other countries and time periods.

When dressing as a 14th Century Englishwoman, I generally wear a front lacing cotehardie or gothic fitted dress (GFD for short); a belt, of which I have several styles; knee-high socks or stockings with garters; ankle high boots in the 14th century style; and a head covering of some sort.

I also have a variety of accessories that I like to wear. Accessories can really enhance the overall look of garb and are usually come at a nominal investment – I highly recommend them! Typically, I wear a variety of rings that are reproductions of pieces found in the 13th-14th centuries. I also have several annular and penannular brooches that I wear pinned to the chest/shoulder area of my gowns. For my belt, I like to wear a rosary or paternoster, which are found worn in illuminated manuscripts of that time period. I also have several bags that I carry so that I can hide my modern necessities 🙂

A blue GFD, made by myself, with a hood made by Historic Enterprises, bycocket – a hat typically worn in the 13th-14th centuries, belt, rosary/paternoster, and leather gloves. Photo credit to Lord Naran Numuchi.
The same GFD with a red pilgrim’s bag, a shorter rosary, and no head covering – GASP! This picture was taken almost two years ago, before I realized how much covering the hair in a period style really lent itself to the authenticity of the overall look I was trying to recreate.
The same GFD, this time with white tippets worn on the sleeves, and a coif with a frilled veil. Photo credit to Master Ursus.
A red GFD, made by myself. Worn with a belt and red pilgrim’s bag. You can see a small red paternoster hanging from my belt, as well as my pointed 14th Century shoes peeking out from the bottom of my dress. My hair is worn in a period style referred to as “hair taping”, though it remains uncovered.
Disregarding my ridiculous pose in this picture 😉 You can see the details of the rings I typically wear, along with details of this beautiful belt made by Billy & Charlie’s Fine Quality Pewter Goods. I am wearing my hair tucked into a coif under my bycocket.
A green GFD, made by myself. Worn with a belt, annular broach in the shape of a heart, wimple, and frilled veil.
Another photograph of my green GFD, credit to Lady Machteld Kleine. This is the only photograph I have where my 14th Century shoes – courtesy of Viking Leather Crafts – are visible, along with the knee-high socks that I typically wear.

In regards to the picture above, I do want to note that tucking the ends of a dress into a belt in such a way is NOT a period fashion. Typically the dress is pulled up from the waist, with the excess fabric hanging over the belt. The next time I wear my dress in such a way, I will take a photograph to post here as an example.

Patterning a GFD

The gothic fitted dress is typically meant to be self supporting, which means that the wearer does not need any type of supportive undergarments for the top half of the dress. In order to achieve this look, patterns need to be custom-fitted to the individual. I have had the great fortune to attend several workshops in Northern Atlantia where custom fittings have taken place, and the principles of which have also been taught, by Dame Emma West and Mistress Drea di’ Pellegrini. As a result, I not only have my own custom pattern for this style of dress, but I can fit others as well.

I have offered fittings in the past at events and hope to do so again in the future.

Resources

In the meantime, here are a list of resources for patterning and making a gothic fitted dress that may be helpful:

La cotte simple – http://cottesimple.com/

Rosalie’s Medieval Woman – http://rosaliegilbert.com/index.html

Festive Attyre – specifically the article on spiral lacing, which is used for this style of dress – http://www.festiveattyre.com/p/the-zen-of-spiral-lacing.html

Embroidery

Embroidery is one of my favorite A&S activities within the Society and I honestly wish that I had more time to commit to making and finishing projects. I have many half-completed projects and ideas for others – I only hope that I live long enough to see them through!

An Embroidered Pillow in Black & Gold

This pillow was embroidered based on my interpretation of a period style found in 15th century Spain.

Juan de Flandes, Portrait of an Infanta. Catherine of Aragon (?), ca. 1496; Oil on panel. 31.5 x 21.7 cm, Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid INV. Nr. 141 (1930.36)

The style of embroidery is a counted blackwork, though gold floss was used. Blackwork is typically seen on garments in England from the time of Henry VIII, however the term “Spanish work” was also applied to this same style. The belief became that Catherine of Aragon brought blackwork garments with her from Spain to England. The pattern created for this pillow was inspired by a portrait, believed to be of Catherine of Aragon herself, painted by the Spanish artist Juan de Flandes in approximately 1496.

A close-up of the embroidery on the collar, which was used as the inspiration for the pillow’s design.

For the pillow’s materials, I used Zweigart brand Belfast 32 count 100% linen and Au Ver A Soie brand silk embroidery floss for the pillow’s exterior case. The body of the pillow consists of a linen interior case stuffed with goose down. The case of the pillow was then sewn closed using a whip stitch in a cotton thread.

A progress picture of the counted thread work.
The final result.

This was my first entry in an A&S competition. The embroidered design on this pillow was my second project to use blackwork or any kind of counted thread embroidery. I was very pleased with how it turned out and I’m proud to say that it won the Best Novice in the A&S competition at the Spanish Inquisition – Torquemada’s Trans-Iberian Tour event on January 21, 2017.

Kingdom Arts & Sciences Festival, 2017.

After winning the Best Novice entry, I was honored to be selected as the Baronial A&S Champion for the Barony of Ponte Alto. I then entered the pillow again at the Baronial A&S Champions competition at Kingdom A&S Festival in 2017.

A Blackwork Napkin

I first learned the technique of blackwork during an Atlantian University, at a class taught by Lord Robert Shockley of Avonsford. I immediately fell in love with counted thread embroidery, as it appealed to my love of symmetry and evenness. My first blackwork project – a gift for a friend that has yet to be gifted! – was a napkin with a hem-stitched edge and blackwork motifs decorating its corners. I still have additional motifs that I would like to add, so – for now – it remains in progress.

A close-up of the hem stitch.

I love to hem stitch the edges of any embroidery project the requires a clean finish. This is one of my favorite embroidery techniques and I find it to be particularly calming & meditative due to its simplicity.

A very traditional motif of oak leaves in one corner.

German Brickstitch

Another of my favorite counted thread techniques is brickstitch. I learned this technique for a project that was never completed and, most likely, never will be. But I do hope to start a new project in order to practice this technique some more – I’m thinking, a German pouch? To be determined!

A close-up of the hem stitch.

The pattern was taken from Master Richard Wymarc’s collection at http://wymarc.com/index.php/patterns

It is Pattern 23: A Fragment.

The pattern depicted a motif of trees and birds.
The pattern was meant to be subtle. From a distance, it would appear as solid blue. Only up close would a person see the variations in colors and patterns.

A Norman Dress

One of my first, big embroidery projects was to make a simple dress with very elaborate embroidery – inspired by the Norman garb of the 12th Century.

An Alb (Coronation garment) said to be worn by the Norman King William II. Made by the Royal workshop in Palermo, Sicily. 1181. Inv. XIII 7. Location: Kunsthistorisches Museum, Schatzkammer, Vienna, Austria. Image taken from Pinterest.

My version of this garb was much simplified – made with Appleton’s crewel wool on linen, in a combination of chain and stem stitch. I also used a blanket stitch around the border of the neck and sleeves.

To transfer the design to the linen, I traced the motif onto Strathmore Tracing Paper and darkened the lines with a black sharpie. I then taped the paper with the outlined design to a window on a sunny day, then taped the linen over top of the paper. The light shining through the window allowed me to see the black lines on the paper through the light green linen, and then, in turn, trace those lines onto the linen with the Wrights 8823005 Water Soluble Marking Pen in blue. I find this pen to be wonderful for embroidery projects as the markings disappear as soon as you add water.

The final product, worn on the archery range.

Mammen Embroidery

Another unfinished project! I began recreating the Large Masks motif from the burial at Bjerringhøj, in Mammen parish, Middelsom herred, in northern Denmark. The finished product was meant to be an embroidered bank for a Viking hat, but it never quite made it that far.

The extant piece and technical drawing of the find from the 1869 article by Worsaae. This image is taken from the website of Heather Rose Jones: http://heatherrosejones.com/mammen/

The embroidery was done with Au Ver A Soie brand silk embroidery floss on inherited fabric – I was told it was a silk blend, but that may or may not be correct.

I traced the technical drawing (above) on to the fabric using a light box.

The beginnings of the stem stitch around the face.
A close-up of the stem stitch and the completed face motif.

A Lady’s Favor

A quick project, gifted to a fighter as a favor for a heavy tournament in early 2017. The motif is my first badge registered with the Society: Argent, a tree blasted sable and in chief a mullet of seven points purpure.

I traced the design using my computer screen – haha! Like I said, it was done quickly 🙂

No judgment! It worked 😉

The embroidery was done in satin stitch with DMC floss on white linen.


The beginnings of the satin stitch as the tree branches are filled.
Nearly complete!

The edge of the linen was finished with a machine. Since it was meant to be worn on the fighting field, I didn’t want to spend too much time fancying up something that was likely to end up torn and dirty!

Leather Working

I have a tendency to dabble in a variety of A&S activities within the SCA and leather working is one of those areas. As an archer, I’ve found a need to work with leather in order to make quivers, bracers, and other shooting accessories. Luckily, I have friends like Lord Stephan Grimm and Baron Colum Maxwell in the Barony of Stierbach who, not only have all the tools needed to work with leather, but are willing & able to teach!

Flask

This project was completed in one weekend spent at Baron Colum’s house. I picked out an empty glass container and His Excellency then showed me how to shape the leather to the vessel. I then embellished the leather with stamping, carving, and painting techniques in order to personalize it. This was my first leather working project and I’m very proud of how it turned out.

The glass container is permanently encased inside of the leather flask. This is perfect to carry water during the day or for a night out at Pennsic!

A Quiver for Pennsic

For my first Pennsic, I needed a quiver! Up until that point I had been borrowing quivers or using ground quivers while I shot, but I knew that was not sustainable. In the summer of 2015, Lord Cameron de Grey held a quiver making workshop at his home and I was able to make a very basic back quiver.

Cutting straps for my back quiver.
The finished quiver with a rendition of my badge, stamped and dyed.

My back quiver has seen quite a bit of use since my first Pennsic in 2015 and I’m ready to make a new one, in addition to a new crossbow quiver. Progress pictures to be posted here!

Arrow Making

There is a saying within the archery community of the Society: “Don’t get attached to your ammo!” And there is good reason for that. If you shoot on a consistent basis, then the probability of breaking and/or losing your arrows is quite high. The best way to curb the cost of replacement ammunition – with the exception of never missing the target – is to make your own arrows.

While I did purchase my very first dozen arrows, as I became more involved in archery I knew that I would eventually make my own. The first set of arrows I made were never meant to be shot – they were award arrows that I made and gifted to the best shooters at Spring Coronation 2016. I was the Marshal in Charge of Target Archery for that event and one of my favorite parts of this job is coming up with prizes to give my archers.

A few of the award arrows that I made for Spring Coronation 2016.

After making the award arrows, I set to the task of making a set of my own. These ones would be shot 🙂

Fletching my arrows using a fletching jig.
A hanging target at Grimmsfield.

I will continue to make my own arrows and arrows for others – either as prizes or as gifts – and post them here. Arrow making can be an art of its own. And receiving a beautiful, well made arrow can be a true gift.

The first award arrow I ever received. Made by Master Godai for Highland River Melees, 2015. A gift that I will cherish forever.

Music

I’ve always had a passion for music. Who doesn’t, really? My parents encouraged me to learn to play instruments and sing at an early age. In the mundane world I have played the violin, the guitar, the clarinet, and the saxophone… though the flute has always been my one true love. I started playing the flute at the age of eight and played through college, till the age of 21.

Despite the way my youth revolved around music, finding a way to incorporate this love within the SCA has been a challenge. I’ve attempted to learn music on more period instruments, though it’s been to little success. I always resolve to try harder and make more time to practice… alas.

The generous gift of a psaltry, from Master Marcellus.

I’ve had more musical success in the Society with singing, choir specifically. I’ve been a part of two choir ensembles in Northern Atlantia: The Ponte Alto Singers – our Baronial group – and Laydes Fayre – an interbarional women’s choir.

Ponte Alto Singers Performances

  • Chalice of the Sun God 2015
  • Ponte Alto Investiture 2016
  • KASF 2016
  • A Service of Advent Lessons & Carols (Columbia Baptist Church) 2016
  • Tournament of Love & Beauty 2017
  • Yule on the Bridge 2017
The Ponte Alto Singers at Fall Coronation 2016.

Laydes Fayre Performances

  • Night on the Town 2016
  • Battle on the Bay 2016
  • Holiday Faire 2016
  • Spanish Inquisition 2017
  • Love & Beauty 2017
  • Night on the Town 2017
  • Battle on the Bay 2017
  • Midwinter’s Feast 2018
  • Night on the Town 2018
  • Battle on the Bay 2018
  • Laydes Fayre 20th Anniversary Concert 2018
Laydes Fayre at our 20th Anniversary Concert. Total fail on my part to actually look at the camera!

Sadly, I have lost the ability to commit to singing with either of these groups for the moment. For now I will sing on my own or at events, when the moment is right. And maybe one day I will finally master a new instrument…

My Anglo-Saxon Lyre