Saturday, 18 June 2016

Operation "Return Brigida's Garb"

In my last post, I mentioned that I was going to pull apart my Roman garb to get my hands on all that sweet, sweet linen.

Farewell, Roman outfit. I barely knew ye. I promise to do you better next time. 
After an evening of savaging my fabric with extreme prejudice, I have more of the blue than the yellow, for sure. However, the blue is in three pieces (front panel of the chiton, back panel of the chiton, and a really long piece left over from when I made it) and the yellow is in two pieces (the palla and about .5 metres left over from when I made it.)

I washed all the bits again last night, and then had to trim the ridiculous amount of spiderwebbing which occurred as a result. (Why do I never remember that's a thing that linen does?) Still, I ended up with enough fabric that I feel I can make a nice surcote and cote out of it, no problem. (Perhaps with some vaguely creative piecing, but we'll cross that bridge when we come to it.)

Voila! Fabric! 
So, given that I'm going to attempt to do a better job of dressing myself hereafter, I have to make a few decisions:

- What should I put on my head?
- What should I put on my feet?
- What should I put around my waist?

Headwear is an area in which I have historically not had all that much success. 

Dig that blue hair elastic! I'm sure I saw that in a woodcarving somewhere. 

Working my modern straw hat with stylish floral accent. Yas. 
Fortunately, the 14th century is a bit idiot-proof, since we're mostly dealing with lengths of linen being pinned and draped to shape your head, plus potentially a cap as a foundation. 

Sometimes this is called a St. Birgitta's Cap - it's a kind of a coif kept firmly on the head with a long wrapped tie
As far as I can tell, you can either use a similar cap as something to pin your veil (with or without wimple) to, or you want to use a fillet or fillet/barbette combo for a foundation.

Fillet (forehead thing) and barbette (chin thing,) this is from 
Then, all there is to do is decide on how to arrange your veil, whether or not you want a wimple, etc. Probably I will want to make a St. Birgitta's cap and just use that to pin my veil/wimple to if I want to scrub up nice. As far as I can tell, a wimple is just a long rectangle of fabric pinned on the front and up around the back of the head - the veil can be round, rectangular, or D-shaped, depending on the look you want.

Nun chic - it's real. (via 

Footwear, likewise, is not an area in which I have had much success. Largely, I wear either modern ankle booties in leather-esque, or straight-up sneakers if I'm going to be on my feet all day long. In the 14th century, though, it was all about the leather shoe (with or without hilarious pointy toes in the late 1300s - mid 1400s.)

Serving elf realness. 
I may just suck it up and buy a pair from a reputable re-enactment store online, since at some point I really should have some period shoes.

As for a belt, right now I have a super-wide, super-butch leather belt of the kind which is worn by a lot of folks in the SCA. As far as I can tell, I should be looking for a much skinnier belt, maybe even with a bit of shiny metal hardware.

My belt is on the right. The kind of belt I am looking for is on the left. (Except not green, because that is an Apprentice belt, and I am not an Apprentice. #scafashionfauxpas)
So anyway, that's the game plan with this outfit. Very happily for me, our baronial and kingdom A&S champion (same person - her artisanal kung-fu is strong) has agreed to sit down with me and work out how to cut and put together my outfit sometime this week. Hopefully, I'll have something new to wear by Dragonslayer in July!


  1. Cloth belts with or without embellishments are also ok. I've seen some tied on with bows, we well as just knotted. Stick to =/< 1/2" width.... and aprons are the bomb!

    1. Good to know! I'll keep it skinny! :D I will definitely make an apron one of these days. Honest.