Icebox

At Cynaguan Coronet one of our meals drowned in the cooler. It was in a zip-top bag that ended up under the melted ice water. It filled up with water and ruined the food.

I . WAS . PISSED!

Coolers are stupid. This is so dumb. The whole setup of a cooler leads to either drowned food or contaminated ice. I hate the idea of accidentally poisoning my family while trying to keep food good. So for about a week after Coronet I mulled over the problem.

I need food to stay cold. Heat rises, cold settles. I need to keep the water from the melting ice away from the food that should be lower than the ice.

After contemplating this for a while I started looking into iceboxes, I asked Google: “how does an ice box work?” reasoning that I could take a page from history and apply that lesson to our modern medieval hobby. Eventually I settled on a solution. I presented my case to my husband and suggested that he should build me an ice box.

He countered that maybe instead we should look to buy an actual antique icebox. It turns out they actually made “apartment sized” antique iceboxes. I found a few online (far away) and then finally my husband found one in a nearby antique shop. We bought it for $150. It’s a beautiful thing, all in oak.

The top 1/2 of the box is setup to hold blocks of ice. As the blocks melt the water goes down a tube at the back of the box and exits out the bottom. The ice sits on metal which is attached to the walls/shelf in the lower portion of the box.

We used it this past week at West An Tir War. The days were in the mid 60s. Two blocks of ice kept it at about 40F in the lower portion of the box for about a day and a half. We stored raw meats and dairy up in the top portion next to the ice blocks. I view this as a total win.

Early tudor smock

Third (and current) iteration.

I need a new smock. Something appropriate to the dress styles I want to recreate from 1488-1515. I skimmed the books I have available and found that I really like the square-necked smock showing in The Queen’s Servant’s (p. 36). It turns out that this is also the same style as a smock shown in Patterns of Fashion 4 (item #75 pgs. 57 and 115) identified as belonging to Mary, Queen of Scots. Added bonus, the rectangular construction used in the PoF4 smock is spot on with the pattern I’ve been using for rectangular tunics cut to fit my body shape (ie, cut more narrow in the shoulders).

Notes about the original from PoF4:
– created using 38″ wide fabric. The selvage is used in the construction. I cannot find 38″ wide white linen fabric so I’ve decided instead to cut 60″ wide fabric down to the width needed and hem the edges.
– there is no shoulder seam. The body portion is made from one piece of fabric.
– pieces are connected with an insertion stitch (also called faggoting). The images aren’t terribly clear but it looks like an interlaced herring bone stitch. The connection points are directly across from each other (not off-set) and the twining forms a somewhat bulky cross in the opening between the fabrics.
– the sleeves were cut from one piece of 38″ fabric that was split down the middle (giving a selvage on the front of each sleeve). I don’t have access to 38″ wide fabric AND I’m big so I have increased the width of the sleeve.
– It appears that the gores on the original were made from the off-cuts from the upper portion of the body.
– If the neck opening is cut as one piece it would be possible to make the gussets from the fabric removed from the neck opening.
– the lace around the neck and wrist seems to have been recycled from a different garment(maybe a collar?). At this time I plan to sew a smock without lace.

The original from PoF4 is noted as belonging to Mary. It’s doubtful that this is something she was wearing when she was beheaded since there are several sources that note that all of the clothes Mary died in were burned after her beheading. I’m still digging to see if I can find out more of the provenance of this garment.

I’ve included the measurements I used to create a smock for me. This is slightly adjusted from the original (shorter in length, wider in the arm, excludes the cuff on the end of the sleeve, tapered the sleeve, more narrow at the shoulder, excludes the lace at the neck and wrist). It’s not as efficient at fabric usage but it does fit me. If you had smaller arms then the sleeves of the garment could be made from the ~22″ offcut left when the body piece is cut out.

The pattern for the smock is found in Patterns of Fashion 4 (item #75 pgs. 57 and 115). The book includes a lot of very nice closeup pictures and a measured drawing with construction notes.

I think the insertion stitch is the interlacing stitch/ orientalischer Flechtstich linked on Medieval Silkwork
http://www.medievalsilkwork.com/2007/04/whitework-sampler.html
http://www.embroidery.rocksea.org/stitch/herringbone-stitch/interlaced-herringbone-stitch/

I’ve decided to do this smock in two phases.
Phase 1, make a smock and use flatfelled seams. This allows me to quickly have a smock to use and easily test out the fit and find any issues before I dump a lot of time into this project.
Phase 2, make a smock and hem all the edges of all the pieces and use the insertion stitch to connect the pieces.

Sources:

Chemise belonging to Mary, Queen of Scots (1542–1587) at Fotheringhay Castle http://www.nationaltrustcollections.org.uk/object/135702

Facebook post by Barry Pearce in the group “Elizabethan Costume” has some additional fantastic pictures
https://www.facebook.com/groups/29374273995/search/?query=scots

Books

Arnold, Janet, Patterns of Fashion 4 – the Cut and Construction of Clothes for Men and Women c. 1560-1620, London: Macmillian, 1985. Print.

Johnson, Caroline, The Queen’s Servants: Gentlewoman’s dress at the accession of Henry VIII, United Kingdom: Fat Goose Press, 2011. Print.

Research – the three-legged stool

At the Tudor Tailor workshop in LA last year (or was that the year before? yesh, time flies) they mentioned that good research is a three-legged stool.

It’s based on extant item, paintings/drawings/illuminations of the items from the time period and writing about the item (wills, letters, etc).

I learned a lot that weekend (and if you get a chance to attend one of their workshops I highly recommend it) but this is the pithy statement that has stuck with me the most.

Kentish Step Up Outfit

Fearghus and Sylvie, Prince and Princess of Cynagua July 9, 2016 A.S. 51

Fearghus and Sylvie, Prince and Princess of Cynagua July 9, 2016 A.S. 51

My step up outfit is my current best interpretation of Kentish Dress Style IV with a few caveats.

6th century Kentish finds are from burials. For the most part the fabric has rotted away except where it’s in close proximity to metals (brooches, brocaded tablet weaving, swords, weaving swords). This leads to the need to extrapolate the garments based on very little actual evidence.

Dress Style IV, as described by Penelope Walton Rogers consists of “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” (Dress Style III) with “the addition of a front-opening coat or jacket on top. The coat/jacket was fastened by a pair of crossways bow brooches, either at the waist or immediately below, the jacket being worn outside the belt” (Dress Style IV)

Continue reading Kentish Step Up Outfit

Princess Dress

Fitting started 3/8/2016.
kitty_dressBlue waisted linen kirtle started 5/13/2016, handed off (with unfinished hem) 6/9/2016.

Kirtle

Fitted, self-supportive (ie, not bra underneath). Short sleeved, waisted kirtle. Front opening. Bodice will have two layers of linen, skirt will have one layer of linen. Square necked. Edges bound. Silk sleeves tied in at the shoulder.

Inspirational Images

https://www.facebook.com/musee.renaissance.officiel/posts/10153407662910866
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Lord and Lady of the Swan

heirsWell ok. So I’m having a busy year.

This past weekend, at Cynaguan Coronet, Fearghus, my husband, won a tournament fighting for my honor. This means that at our Investiture on July 9th he and I will become the next Prince and Princess of the Principality of Cynagua (geographically northern California inner valley areas and northern Nevada). We will preside over this until our heirs are chosen at the next Cynaguan Coronet (another tournament occurring October 28-30) and we will then hand the Principality over to them at their Investiture on January 28, 2017.

Long story short: this is very cool for us.. and we’re about to get very very busy.

Laureling outfit

Processing into court for the ceremony. Photo by Joel the Brewer.

Processing into court for the ceremony. Photo by Joel the Brewer.

At West Kingdom October Crown, on October 3, 2015 directly after my apprenticing to Master Leo Diogenese as a lady-at-arts, while the ink was still wet on our chirograph contract, Their Majesties of the West, Miles Fitzraulf and Ariela Bar Leila invited me to join the order of the Laurel. By the gracious permission of Their Majesties and Their Royal Highnesses I had my Laurel ceremony at West Kingdom Golden Beltane at Their Majesties Mark and Patricia’s stepping down, April 30, 2016.

My Vigil and Ceremony were exactly what I wanted. Simple and elegant. My banner, which was made by Duchess Mina Wynter, was carried into court by my very good friend, Lord Coenwulf Draugrson. I was escorted into court by my husband, Sir Fearghus MacAirt and my Laurel, Master Leo Diogenese. Her Grace Sir Mari Alexander agreed to stand as my speaker. Master Leo passed the Laurel medallion on to me which he had received from his Laurel, Mistress Danaë FitzRoberts.

I finished the last stitch on the last accessory on the evening of Thursday April 28th. I did not stitch a single thing in the car ride to the site nor did I do any stitching before, during or after my vigil. I view this as a HUGE win. Coincidentally, staying up until midnight for the last month working on my outfit and accessories made it very easy to stay up late for my Vigil.

Continue reading Laureling outfit

Vigil at Golden Beltane

Be it known to all who should read this missive that Baroness Sylvie la chardonnière, a matron of the West Kingdom, woman-at-arts to Master Leo Diogenese, having been invited to become a Laurel of the realm by the late King Miles and Queen Ariela will sit vigil on Friday night, April 29, the feast day of Saint Catherine of Siena. With all humility she begs a boon of all that they should come and visit with her during this Vigil with private words of wisdom and well wishes for her to contemplate before her ceremony on Saturday during the court of King Marc and Queen Patricia.

How now Brown Gown?

Brown velvet gown started March 29, 2016. Finished April 23, 2016.

For my laurelling ceremony I want to wear a gown over my kirtle. I lucked upon a great deal on brown cotton velveteen at $3.20/yd. So I got 10 yards of it.

This is going to be a brown velvet gown with a center front opening which will be held closed with hook and eye at the bodice (open on the skirt). The gown will have a waist seam and very wide sleeves (which can be folded back). The sleeves and the skirt will be lined in black cotton velveteen. The neck and the hem will also be bound with black velveteen. For this dress I’m going to use stuffed box pleats as shown in “The Queen’s Servants” page 46.

The sleeves will be very wide but I want the seam to be at the underarm (lined up with the side seam) and end up at the bottom of sleeve drop at the wrist. For the sleeve, I want a very wide sleeve which can be worn down (to the back of my knuckles) or can be rolled up partially(~3-4 inches) or half way up the arm. When rolled back I want the rolled back portion to sit flat against the sleeve it’s rolled up against. When I was fitting the sleeve I found the if I used a basic flared sleeve the rolled back portion didn’t sit flat. To fix this I updated the sleeve to go straight after it flairs out enough for the depth of the sleeve I want (see pattern).

Originally I thought I’d do a train.. but I finally decided against it. Realistically the number of times I’d wear the gown with the train down is approaching one and it seems silly to spend time and effort developing a pattern for and then sewing a feature I’d never use.

Inspirational Images


Continue reading How now Brown Gown?

Early Tudor White Partlet

Partlet V2.  Closer.

Partlet V2. Closer.


Planning began February 10, 2015.
Accessory finished March 19, 2016.
V2 finished March 30, 2016.
V3 finished April 17, 2016.

Summary

I’ve been spending a lot of time looking at early Tudor (1488-1515) pictures from France and Brittany and I’ve noticed quite a few of them have something white at the neckline. I believe that to be a partlet (sometimes called a gollar). Most of the time I see this under the kirtle layer. Occasionally I see it over the kirtle. In images from France/Brittany I’ve only seen the white partlet under the gown (in some Italian images the white partlet can be seen over the outer gown). Occasionally I’ll see the black partlet worn over the gown.. but the black partlet will be a different accessory with its own post.

Considerations:
My son is 2 and I tend to pick him up and carry him quite a bit so although I believe it would be correct to attach the partlet with pins (though I do boggle at trying to do work with pins that will come out and/or poke you) I’m going to make mine with ties instead.

The plan:
I want to make a white linen partlet from two layers of light weight linen (fabric-store.com IL020).
I will setup my pattern to eliminate shoulder seams.
(v1) This will be sewn closed under the arms and tied closed at the center front.
(v2 & v3)This will tie under the arms and be sewn closed at the center front.
This style of partlet does not have a collar.
I’ll wear this over my chemise but under my kirtle.
Continue reading Early Tudor White Partlet