A Little Wool Dress

Molly has grown so much this last year that it was clear she would need a new wool dress for this camping season.  I looked around and found a wool that I knew she would love – pink.  🙂

And so I finished this new dress just in time for Honey War, which was great as it was a cold and damp event.

Unfortunately, because I cut the dress full length to keep Molly warm, it often touched the ground as she played during the day.  Each time I saw her, more and more dirt had wicked up from the ground and by the end of the day the bottom of her dress was no longer pink.

After three washings, it was obvious that the pink dress was not going to come clean.  Alternatives would need to be considered.  With An Tir/West War looming, I decided to dye the dress red and hope that the darker color would hide more dirt.  😉

~ Cristiana

Unveiling the Possibilities (Part 1)

For several years now, I have been studying the frilled, ruffled, pleated, and crimped veils of the 14th century.  In the fall of 2009, I made my first attempt – a veil which I have loved and worn and worn.  However, it was definitely a beginner’s attempt.

After examining dozens and dozens of images and reading every frilled veil article that I could get my hands on, I decided to make a second frilled veil in the fall of 2010.

This time, I decided to have the ruffle surround the entire veil perimeter, which was 235cm.  The next decision was about the style of the ruffle.  For this project, I made the decision to use a cartridge pleating technique.  As such, I experimented with 3 different pleating sizes: 0.5cm, 1.0cm, and 1.5cm.  After trying all 3 sizes, it was easy to choose 1.0cm as the best size for both width and spacing.

The next problem was to figure out the best method to mark for the pleats.  I decided to use pins instead of a modern marking pen as a possible method more authentic to the middle ages.  With 1cm pleats, 1,200cm of veil tape was needed – with 1,200 marking pins.


The Mitten Project (Part 1)

I have been in the SCA for six years now.  At some point during each and every outdoor event, I think the same thing.  “My hands are freezing!”  For this entire time I’ve been wanting to wear mittens or gloves, but unable to find the evidence I needed in order to do so.  And so up until this point, I’ve allowed myself to walk around, weekend after weekend, with cold hands.

Well, the time for change has come.  Perhaps it is my impending 40th birthday, but I no longer find this situation to be acceptable.  🙂

This last year I started looking around for images from the middle ages of gloves or mittens.  Most of what I found was either being worn or carried (often tucked into a belt) by men.  There are both mittens and the 3-fingered mittens, which likely evolved toward gloves.  A number of excellent examples can be found at Kongshirden 1308 – Akershus (a Norwegian site).  Here is an example from the Lutrell Psalter:

I mentioned that I wanted to make a pair of mittens and then embroider on them to my mother – and it was my lucky day.  Mom gave me a pair of mittens that she had made a few years ago.  These were originally knitted in wool and then fulled to shrink into a smaller, thicker fabric.  Sadly, when they shrank,  they became too small for my mother.  However, my hands are just a bit smaller than hers and they fit me.  Yay!

I decided to try embroidering on them and was very pleased with the results.  But then like so many of my SCA projects – one thing led to another.  I decided that these mittens would be so much better if they were red.  So, out came the embroidery and into the dye bath they went.  I’m just giddy with the results.

And here is the final product – awaiting new embroidery.  🙂

~ Cristiana

Plaid Houppelande…the fur samples





 So, having selected this plaid fabric and then worked up the courage (and documentation) to make a houppelande out of it, it was time to settle in on a style.  I decided to cut this in the style that  starts with two half circles, which are then cut down to quarter circles.  The end points of these circles are cut off and then sewn together to form the shoulders.  The nature of this style causes the plaid to fall on the bias.

With such a detailed and busy pattern, Elisabeth suggested a simple style and finishing – and I agreed.   My plan is to cut the sleeves fairly fitted and the cuffs and collar will be finished in a brown fur. 

Having made that decision, the next quest was obvious…find the fur.  I ordered 7 brown fur samples from a company that sells the most amazing faux fur. Some were just too distracting, but in the end I found what I was looking for – a classic rich brown.

~ Cristiana

The Next Project ~ A Plaid Houppelande

 It all started last November with a visit to the Pendleton store.  Just look at what I found – an exceptionally lovely woven plaid. Not surprisingly, 11 yards came home with me.  While I knew that I could document plaid fabrics to 14th century England (Museum of London, Textiles and Clothing pg. 50), I was not certain about using it for a houppelande.

And so, I set out to find evidence of woven plaid wool used to make a houppelande – and I found it! Located in Germany, at the Heidelberg University Library,  is a text produced in workshop that existed in 1418 Alsace, France. This book tells Rudolf von Ems’ French tale Willehalm von Orleans (1235–1240). It is the story of an ideal knight striving to survive in a harsh world of practical realities.  Imagine my excitement as I examied each page (wonderfully photographed and posted online) to find multiple plaid images.












And so, I’ve begun the process by cutting out the gown.  Now I’m committed to the plaid – and loving it!

~ Cristiana

Woven Trim

Awhile ago, I decided to make Gerald and myself a set of Norse garb to wear this summer for camping – especially for some of the Norse themed events. It has been fun learning to make a different style of clothing. I have been fortunate to have the guidance and assistance of Drifa, my friend and advisor in all things Norse. 🙂

Learning to inkle weave and tablet/card weave has been occupying some of my time this last six months. This new Norse project seemed like a great opportunity to produce some woven trim for our new garments.

I began with a medium width band on my mini-inkle loom. Gerald chose the colors – he was quite fond of the intense purple. I decided to use some of the same colors when making the wider band for a light wool apron dress I’m working on. This is being woven with cards on the large inkle loom that Gerald made for me last month. I haven’t decided which side of the trim I’m going to make use of yet, as I am fond of them both.

~ Cristiana



Red Houppelande

This red velvet houppelande was my big project this last fall. I love this style of gown and started looking into the time span of the houppe. Fortunately, I found documentation of houppelandes dating back prior to our time period of 1371.

After collecting fabric and looking at multiple patterning ideas, I finally settled on each of the elements in this gown. Having never worked with velvet or fur, I was challenged from the start. From cutting to sewing, this was complicated.

I worked many hours per day all through winter break, and in the end finished just before 12th Night. It was such a relief to be done. 🙂

New Hoods

This year our entire family attended the combined Stromgard and Three Mountains Yule Feast on December 19th. A few days before the event, Gerald decided that a red hood would look quite nice with his new black cotehardie. This seemed like a workable project, as Gerald likes hoods that do not have gores inserted, making them much quicker to construct.

After getting started on Gerald’s hood, I realized that the girls really needed  the extra warmth and finishing addition to their Yule outfits. Of course, this meant that they would require new red wool hoods to match their father’s.  🙂  On the first night, I washed and dried the wool one last time and then cut out all three hoods. Then I sewed Gerald’s together – partly by machine and partly by hand. On the second night I sewed the girls’ hoods together and began the embroidered stripe on Gerald’s garment.

Then on the morning of Yule, I cut out and sewed an off-white wool hood for myself. I finished Gerald’s embroidery in the car on the way to the event. 🙂

We were all warm and toasty for the Yule this year.

~ Cristiana

Hopping Phules ~ The Baroness War

mirellaThis last weekend found the de Huntington family in the Barony of Vulcanfeldt, attending “Hopping Phules” ~ The Baroness War. vulkanfeldtbaronyof

We could not have asked for a more beautiful weekend for an event. We stayed in a hotel, not far from the site, which had a wonderful swimming pool that our entire family enjoyed. This was a great option for us, as it is still exceedingly cold at night. After driving over a snowy pass on our journey, we were thrilled for a Saturday with clear and warm skies.



I was quite pleased with Molly’s new wool tunic. Although they are not obvious in this picture, there are gores inserted into the skirt section of this tunic which gave it a nice fullness and swing. And most importantly, it served its purpose by allowing her to run and play while keeping her warm.

Mirella and Molly enjoyed playing with the other children, both at the established play areas and at the river which ran through the park.

Gerald spent the day at war – and he could not have been happier. 🙂