Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Hoopla is finished! And so are the banners and the tunic!

Our Autumn Hoopla event was this past weekend, and as such the banners are finished! They turned out really well, I think, and people had a good time painting them. Here's some pictures of the finished projects:

I'll probably put up a permenant project guide in the near future. Its very simple. Just hem and paint :)

I also finished my tunic for Hoopla, which was my goal. I still need to go back and do something with the sleeves because even though they're selvage, they're fraying.
Not that great a picture of the tunic, but this is the best I've got so far. You can also see my cape! I'll probably put up instructions for this as well, when I get a chance.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Fur project ideas

Looking at the Markland Calendar, I discovered there's a war in MARCH. I REALLY wanna go and drag someone along with me, but its going to be REALLY cold. I saw this article a while ago about making a rabbit fur blanket and decided that may well be the answer to the problem of the REALLY cold-ness.

So now I am preparing to learn to sew furs. I've ordered myself a sewing awl and some thread, and am working on trying to get some cheap rabbit furs. So far my best bet has been Ebay - I've gotten a couple for $2 with free shipping. If you want to buy in bulk, you can also get hare skins at http://www.chichesterinc.com.

Tips I have discovered for sewing furs:
1) comb the fur out of the seam before you sew it.
2) if you are using a sewing machine, it will probably have to be an industrial machine. You will need to get a special presser foot and needle to sew the leather.
3) if you have problems with the leather getting stuck in the feed dogs, there is a kind of tape you can get to put between the fur and the machine
4) if sewing by hand (as I will be doing) you need to have an awl and some very sturdy thread
5) you can lay the leather edge to edge with no overlap and sew small X stitches. According to one ebayer, one stitch per inch should be enough to hold everything together.
6) with most sewing awls, you need access to both sides of the material, which is only an issue if you're making something complicated.

As for the pattern given on the website... I am not really planning on following it for two reasons - it'll cost too much to get that much fur, and I don't want as small a blanket as that turned out to be. I think I will be cutting squares of fur and sewing them together quilt-style. As my sewing machine isn't industrial, I intend to work by hand.

I will also most likely try to find myself a SMALL project to learn the skills I need before I try to make something as big as a blanket.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Heraldry Banners

I spent yesterday hemming banners. Got 30 done!

Our club is running an event in a little over a week. Its our annual welcome/recuitment event, and this year we're including a craft project. We decided to make banners so that we can use the money to get the club sewing machines, so we can better make garb and such.

The pattern looks like this, only with slightly curved lower corners:

I made the bottom edges of the banner slightly curved rather than having sharp corners, and I think its a nice effect. I am hemming them all with black thread, which gives a nice effect. I'll try to get the pattern and some more pics up ASAP. The goal is to let people paint them with heraldic images and take them home.

So, only 30 more to go!!!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Favors and Tokens

My roommate decided partway through this week that she wanted to run a workshop on making favors, so that our non-combatant members could have something to make them feel more involved in wars. So, she began researching, and decided to make a favor to give to me to carry into battle as well.

Much of what we could find on favors has to do with the practice of giving them in the SCA. In the SCA, there is actually a difference between favors and tokens. Favors are given between people who are romantically involved, and in SCA symbolize this involvement. Tokens, on the other hand, can be given to symbolize friendship, group membership, or a non-romantic connection. As best as I can tell, the only way to determine whether something is a token or a favor is by the way in which it is presented to the fighter.

Historically, a lady could support a knight or page through largess, which included gifts that would improve his ability to fight. This could be things like armor, horses, or gear. Gifts indicating a love relationship were not very common, but did certainly exist.

Some ideas for favors:
1) SCA uses small squares of fabric worn on the belt, but there is no historical evidence for this
2) handkerchief
3) sleeves (sleeves used to just tie on to a bodice)
4) jewelry
5) strings of beads
6) a glove (evidence for this from Upsala)
7) veils
8) shifts/chemises (how????!?!)
9) girdle (from the tale of Gawain and the Green Knight)
10) flags/banners

Where favors could be displayed:
hat (or hatband)
on a lance
pinned to a sleeve
rings on the little finger of the left hand
SCA tokens are worn on a belt

Women could also accept favors from men:
"The Countess of Champagne was also asked what gifts it was proper for ladies to accept from their lovers. To the man who asked this the Countess replied, 'A woman who loves may freely accept from her lover the following: a handkerchief, a fillet for the hair, a wreath of gold or silver, a breastpin, a mirror, a girdle, a purse, a tassel, a comb, sleeves, gloves, a ring, a compact, a picture, a wash basin, little dishes, trays, a flag as a souvenir, and to speak in general terms, a woman may accept from her lover any little gift which may be useful for the care of the person or pleasing to look at or which may call the lover to mind, if it is clear in accepting the gift she is free from all avarice.'" - Andreas Capellanus

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Tunics and Shirts

Well... its now about 6 months later since my last post. We never did have that tunic workshop. However, my roommate went to the city for the day, so I took the time to make me some new garb :)

My first project was another skirt, on the same pattern I've used before. Its Simplicity 9966, which is unfortunately out of print but an awesome pattern if you can find it. As you can see, its intended as a costume pattern, not anything with historical accuracy, but I still LOVE the pattern. My copy is in marker on an old newspaper :P
Alright, back to the current topic - skirt! The skirt is this pattern is REALLY easy to make - 4 quarters, a waist band, and you hem it and you're done. AND its big enough to fit over my 4-hoop skirt.
NOTE: if you're going to wear this over a hoop skirt, you may need to lengthen the skirt by about 2 inches.

So my first project for today was to make a wool skirt. I'd found a 5 yd. piece of wool plaid fabric in my closet at my mothers, and after freezing my butt off at one of the summer wars, decided it should be another layer of skirt. And it IS warm - I was cooking with the fabric in my lap while I was working on it.
NOTE: As far as I know, if the elastic waist of the skirt is replaced with a drawstring, its nearly perfectly period. And the drawstring is (in my opinion) more comfortable, too!
My second project for the day was to attempt a T-tunic. We have a TON of new freshmen, and I'd like to see everyone have a tunic at least by feast time (Nov. 1) so I figured I'd better at least make sure I can make a tunic.
I wanted something quick since there may not be much time for a workshop, and found these two links:
I started off with some random gray fabric I had gotten for $1 a yard to try out my bodice pattern. (I realized after buying the fabric that it wouldn't work because there's a little too much stretch in the weave) I successfully made this into a tunic in about 30 min. following the instructions from #1. Its the most comfy thing EVER! With the possible exception of my chemise.
I finished it, tried it on, and realized it was pretty darn see-through. So I dove back into my fabric box and found a yard of muslin that *might* have been a corset if I had ever gotten around to that. As is, I have ordered a custom corset and am waiting for it to arrive, so the muslin was up for grabs for this project. I basically made a shorter tunic and used it as a liner for the larger one. I cut the neck hole in the muslin small so the edges could fold over the raw edge of the gray fabric at the neckline. The I cut out a piece of maroon fabric to accent the neck area and did the same thing in the opposite direction, so the muslin cannot be seen from the outside.
This took me 1.5 hours. For a tunic that took 30 min. to make. *sigh*

I still have to finish attaching the maroon neck piece and hem the cuffs and bottom edge. But this shall happen another day, when my eyes don't hurt so much from staring at one thing too long. All in all, the tunic in and of itself was a success.
NOTE: if you try this, use seam binding for the neck. And make sure your fabric isn't see-through.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

"Simple" tunics

We've asked for funding from the college to buy wool for club cloaks, so making cloaks is on hold at least for a couple weeks. We also asked for money to make new tabards for our war. In the meantime we're working on planning a medieval wedding, which shall be amazing.

Which brings us to our next project: tunics! Our guys have very little, if any garb. The nice thing about tunics is that they can be thrown on over pj pants and look somewhat period. Note here - we're not worrying about historical accuracy for this project (much) we just want something these dudes can wear to events. I found two notable patterns:
1) Anglo-saxon tunic - http://www.forest.gen.nz/Medieval/articles/Tunics/TUNICS.HTML
2) T tunic with contrasting sleeves - http://www.reddawn.net/costume/tunic.htm
3) viking tunics - http://www.cs.vassar.edu/~capriest/viktunic.html

I think we will be using the anglo-saxon pattern as it looks do-able, but still comfortable. We're probably going to make these out of cheap cotton (gotta love Walmart's $1 rack!) or blends. The plan was to have to workshop Sat., but given our track record with these workshops, we'll see how that goes.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Just kidding

So apparently you cannot buy warm wool fabric in Febuary, you can only get it in the fall. All the stores are now carrying their summer fabrics.
The conclusion is thus that we will be ordering coat-weight wool online for these cloaks.
And thus have yet to actually make them.
The drama continues!