Kragelund Tunic

The Nederfrederiksmose Man (also known as Kraglund Man or Frederiksdal Man) was found May 25th 1898 in Fattiggårdens mose near the village Kragelund, north west of Silkeborg, Denmark (also approximately 15 miles south of Viborg, Denmark).

The man wore a kirtle of coarse woolen cloth, the legs were bare but on his feet he had short leather boots, laced over the instep. The boots are not preserved. Because of the boots, the find was originally dated to the 12th or 13th Century. Porl Grinder-Hansen, curator Danish Middle Ages and Renaissance, Nat. Mus. of Denmark had this carbon14 dated in 1998 by the AMS-laboratory in Århus, Jutland, using the accelerator technique and calibrated according to Stuiver and Pearson 1993. It was dated to c.1040-1155.
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Chausses – French word for medieval fabric or armor leg covering.
Pronounced [shohs] (rhymes with “shows”).
English speaking people would call them “hose”. Notice, “hose” rhymes with “chausses” (when it’s pronounced correctly).

But Sylvie, you say, I’ve heard some people pronounce it as [chaw-ses].
To which I reply: some people are idiots. Don’t be an idiot.
I know, I know. You first saw it written down and when you sounded it out like they taught you in primary school that perfectly good French word got mangled by your English-speaking tongue into [chaw-ses]. It’s ok. I understand. But now that you know better go forth and sin no more.

The Tale of a Tunic AKA: How I learned to do the Vandyke stitch

fearghus_in_brownOnce upon a time, at a Pennsic long long ago (2011) I made a tunic for my love. Somehow we’d gotten to site and my love had zero short sleeved tunics. To remedy this I dragged him off to Merchant’s Row where we purchased fabric and thread. Then I spent two-an-a-half days hand sewing it together so that he would have a short-sleeved tunic to wear at the Pennsic party. He loves the tunic. In fact, more than that, he loves being able to tell the story about how I started with a fist full of money and made him a tunic during Pennsic from stuff bought at Pennsic.

seamsThis tunic is the first completely hand-sewn tunic I’ve ever made for my love.

Directly after that Pennsic I wrote the following:

For this version I connected the pieces with a running stitch and then folded the seam allowances away from the first line of stitches and used a decorative running stitch to hold these down. I don’t love this. This method ends up taking 3 separate lines of running stitches along each seam line. Also, with only a single line of running holding the fabric pieces together it feels like the tunic will be very fragile. I plan to add another decorative stitch over the central running stitch.. but seriously.. at that point I will have put down four lines of stitches on every seam line.. that that seems needlessly complex. Now that I’m home I’ve decided to modify the sleeves to make them long sleeved instead of short sleeved. The linen is thin enough that I don’t think it -has- to be short sleeved and honestly I don’t think that sleeve length is accurate.

It’s now 3 years later. I never did replace the short sleeves with long sleeves and I never will. At this point the green has started fading (badly) so it’s moving from being a green tunic to being a yellow tunic. Regardless my love asked me to do the final seam treatment to strengthen the seam instead of making him a whole new tunic. So for the first time EVER I’m doing a decorative seam treatment.

vandyke-stitch1At the West Kingdom Town Fair I had the good fortune to have a class with Duchess Catherine Lorraine where she walked through several different seam treatments. One that she showed was a Vandyke stitch done with two different threads. That looked lovely to me and so it is now the stitch I’m using to reinforce the seam. Well.. sort of. I only mostly understood how the Vandyke stitch worked so I only of sort of did that on the tunic. I made the mistake of going straight across with the stitch where I should instead be going into the fabric at an angle. Now that I’ve figured out what I should be doing I’ll modify the stitch I’m using on the garment to be done the right way.

Previous entry:
Pennsic War XL post-mortem

Beltane IL post-mortem

Boob hatThis last weekend was West Kingdom Beltane. This is the beginning of the 49th year of the SCA and the West Kingdom.

We camped. This is the first time we have camped at an event since our son was born. He’s now 5 1/2 months old.

The good:
– We camped! The whole weekend! We didn’t chicken out and run home even though home was only 1 hr away!
– Bob used his new propane powered coffee maker. I was having much love for coffee on Saturday and especially on Sunday morning.
– Scotch eggs are yummy. These are a GREAT option for Sunday morning breakfast. Easy and filling. I plan to make a bunch and freeze them.
– Babies in medieval garb are stunningly cute. Friday afternoon, just before I left the house, I whipped up a wool hood for The Monster. OMG SO CUTE!
– Two friends gave us hats for Erik. Maat gave us another boob hat (I accidentally shrank the last one) and Sæunn gave us a lovely blue/white knitted cap. Unfortunately I only have pictures of the boob hat.

Continue reading Beltane IL post-mortem

Simple Board Loom

She who dies with the most looms wins. At this point I think I have 5 looms. The simplest looms I have is this board loom. Aside from the backstrap method I believe it’s probably the simplest loom to build at home.

My husband made my board loom from a 1×6 of quilted birch. The base is 5.5″ x 18″. The blocks at the end are each 2″ x 5.5″. The ends each use two carriage bolts long enough to go through all three pieces of wood, two washers and two wingnuts. Because of the width of the blocks on the end (ie, the warp sits at about 2 inches above the base board) this loom works best with fairly small tablet weaving cards. I use the wooden cards I purchased from the Etsy merchant Ampstrike. The cards are about 2.2 inches square.

Each end has wood/wing nut clamps. I add additional temporary tension to the warp by inserting small wooden blocks under the warp on either end.

I use a separate warping board to measure out my warp and to add large white cord to maintain the crossover(helps to keep the strings in order).
If my tablet weaving pattern builds even tension (ie, 4 forwards/4 back) then I will chain up the excess warp and simply pull out more warp as I advance the weaving.
If my tablet weaving pattern builds uneven tension I will butterfly up each individual card and then spin the butterflies to relieve tension as I advance the weaving.

Wooden cards: Wooden Tablet weaving cards I love the size and feel of the wooden cards from the seller Ampstrike on Etsy. Well worth the cost. I have purchased these in Walnut(2 sets), Padouk and Oak. The different colors make them easy to setup on the loom to make counting out a pattern very easy. The wood is very smooth and working on them is a total pleasure.

Making Butterflies

Making Butterflies

Starting at one end of the warp, wrap the warp threads for one card around your fingers until you get to the place where you want the bundle to hang(upper left).
Then pinch a loop from the warp thread, twist it twice(upper right).. and put this loop around the center of the bundle of threads you just made of the rest of the warp (lower left). Tighten the loop down until the bundle of threads looks like a butterfly handing from the end of the warp. (lower right)

With the double-twisted loop I’ve found this to be fairly secure.. and fairly easy to remove the loop, carefully pull more warp out of the butterfly and then re-secure the loop.

This works for securing the excess.. but not for providing tension. If you need tension you may need to add weights to the butterflies and treat the loom like a warp weighted loom.

Side-Laced Cotehardies as maternity wear

Well now.. I wish I’d seen this 4 months ago.

At this point (7-ish weeks from due date) I won’t be altering any of my cotehardies.. but if I’d seen this a while ago I’d’ve added side lacings to my cotehardies and continued to use them as maternity wear.

As it is there’s really only one event I’m planning to possibly attend before the baby’s birth.. so it seems silly to alter a dress now (silly but if I’m bored and can’t come up with anything else to do I might do it.. we’ll see).

[Edited to add]
On a whim I just shimmied into my black waisted cotehardie which I made a year and a half (and 50 lbs) ago.

I am currently 34 weeks pregnant. I was able to get the dress on. I’ve gained about a cup size in my breasts so there was a bit of spill over at the top. I could tame it all into the dress and the dress is still supportive but it looks like the bodice is flattening my breasts more than cupping them (Though honestly, looking at the pictures from when I first made the dress I see indications of the same flattening.. so the issue here could be the fit of my bodice pattern, not the added weight from pregnancy).

Normally, when I’m not pregnant, when I wear the dress the hem is just barely touching the ground. Right now over all the hem is now about 5 inches off the ground. In the front it’s probably more like 8-10 inches off the ground. If I’d added the “ruffle” that you see in period illustrations I could have probably let it out to get the hem down to ground level.

January 25, 2014. After splitting the front and adding eyelets and a lace.

January 25, 2014. After splitting the front and adding eyelets and a lace.

My belly is causing the dress to ride-up in the front (probably part of where those additional 3-5 inches went). This puts some pretty serious wrinkles under my breasts, but it’s not terribly uncomfortable. I could probably wear the dress just as it is without adding side laces. But if I added side laces it would allow the dress to not ride-up so much.. and would minimize the amount of ankle showing at the hem. Then again.. I was pretty big before I got pregnant.. and although I’m “showing” it’s not as dramatic a big pregnant belly like some of the skinnier gals will get.

BUT: as for a long-term wear.. since I made the dress without a lace this will NOT work for breastfeeding. If I want to use this dress after the birth I’d need to alter it by at least adding a lace to the center front.

Considering I fit the dress to myself over 50 lbs ago.. I’m kind of pleased at how well it fits.

Edited to add:
In Januray 2014, just after I gave birth to my son, I updated this dress so that it would be open down the front with eyelets so it could be closed with a lace. This turns out to be fantastic breastfeeding garb.

Patsy’s Grey Velvet Cotehardie with Tippets

Photo by Joel the Brewer

Photo by Joel the Brewer

Photo by Joel the Brewer

Photo by Joel the Brewer

On September 12, 2013 Her Majesty Patricia contacted me to ask if I could make a Cotehardie for her to wear at October Crown (October 5). She would supply the pattern and the fabric and other materials. I agreed to make the dress for her but warned that there may not be enough time to finish the eyelets for the lace.
Continue reading Patsy’s Grey Velvet Cotehardie with Tippets

“Extant” does not mean a good example for everywhere and everytime

Medieval Garments Reconstructed: Norse Clothing Patterns Full PDF:
This is a book of patterns for the garments found in Greenland which have been dated to the 14th century. It has an interesting introduction with some helpful sewing hints. It leaves out some details which are crucial in the path from a picture of a pattern of the garment to an as-close-as-I-can-get-it-reproduction of the garment.. but it’s better than a bare line drawing.

That said:

Please pardon the rant.
Continue reading “Extant” does not mean a good example for everywhere and everytime

Kentish Anglo-Saxon “button loops”

I’m currently researching 6th century Kentish Anglo-Saxon women’s clothing with a huge focus on what Penelope Walton Rogers refers to as Dress Style III and Dress Style IV.

Dress Style III(picture here) is described as “a garment with a vertical front opening clasped by two brooches, one at the throat the other centre-chest, and worn with a buckled belt.” For ease of reference I’m referring to this at “the tunic”.

'Button loops' from Buckland Dover, Parfitt, p. 201.

‘Button loops’ from Buckland Dover, Parfitt, p. 201.

In researching the tunic layer I’ve come across a couple of references to some truly spiffy button loops used to hold the button brooches on either side of the front opening (at the collar and bust level).
Continue reading Kentish Anglo-Saxon “button loops”

Tabletweaving Technique: Weft management

This past weekend I ended up doing some tabletweaving in the park during our weekly fighter practice. Someone watched me for a while and then commented that although they’d done tabletweaving before they hadn’t dealt with the weft the same way that I I figured it might be worthwhile to document how I deal with my weft.

I honestly don’t remember where I originally learned about this method. I’ve been using it for the last 9-10 years. This is what I do to keep my band width consistent and to keep my weft from peeking out too much at the edges.