Katla’s Ärmelrock (sleeved dress)

Kolskegg and Katla at their stepping-down.

Kolskegg and Katla at their stepping-down.

Work began August 2014.
Outfits first worn November 22, 2014.


Kolskegg and Katla, the current Prince and Princess of the Mists, asked me to do their stepping down outfits. My work for her outfit consists of an Ärmelrock (sleeved dress).

The dress will be green wool with black wool slashed guards with white linen showing in the slashes. The bodice will be lined in black linen.

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Kolskegg’s Outfit

Kolskegg at court.

Kolskegg at court.

Work began August 2014.
Outfits first worn November 22, 2014.


Kolskegg and Katla, the current Prince and Princess of the Mists, asked me to do their stepping down outfits. My work for his outfit consists of a high collared hemd (white linen), knee length hosen (orange linen), waffenrock (black wool with green wool guards), and fancy fake-wam sleeves (strappy sleeves made of black and green wool).

The waffenrock, hemd and hosen will be modeled after the “Hauptman” image using black wool for the base and green wool for the guards. The fancy-fake-wam sleeves will be modeled after the sleeves shown in “Bartl zalt micht vil”. These will be black and green wool straps.
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Organizing my fabric stash

My stash organization

My stash organization

I use 4×6 cards to track my fabric stash. Each card corresponds to one hank of fabric and allows me to see if I have enough fabric for a project without having to actually pull the fabric out. I record the fiber content, weight, color, yardage and (if I remember) how much I paid for it originally. I also staple a fabric sample to the card. As I use fabric I update the yardage to the new measurements. If I use all of a fabric then I throw away the card.

Even hand stitching

clever_stitching Clever hack to keep your stitches even.

By making 2 marks on the side of your thumb, and moving your thumb along as you work, you have a built in gauge for exact stitch length, without marking up your fabric.

PLEASE NOTE: THIS IS NOT MY THUMB NOR MY IDEA. I’ve tried to find the original source to no avail. I truly would like to give credit where credit is due, but falling short of that I’ll happily share a truly clever idea.

Queen’s Champion Tabard and Shield

A while back her Majesty, Patricia, asked Fearghus to be her Queen’s Champion. For this position Fearghus asked me to make him a tabard and to help paint his war shield. He wanted both of these marked with a personal symbol for the Queen’s Champion. That is, he is not the Queen so I advised that he could not rightly wear the arms of the Queen and at this time (AFAIK) there is no “official” symbol for the Queen’s Champion. After discussing this with Fearghus and Their Majesties we decided to use a pair of crossed axes behind a Tudor rose and to arrange these items on the green portion of a quarterly green and gold field.

The axes are modeled after the Ax Fearghus received at his knighting named “Blue’s Song”. The Tudor rose is modeled after a Tudor Rose that Her Majesty has tattooed on her forearm. I painted these on the fabric and the shield using artist’s acrylic paints.

Yes, I’m aware that the quarterly between the shield and the tabard don’t match. This unhappy accident brought to you by having one person sew a tabard while the other person paints the quarters on a shield. By the time we noticed there wasn’t enough time to re-do either before they’d be used.




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.

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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.