Heraldic Sideless Surcoat (part 2)

After whip stitching the first two charges onto the dress, I decided to use a running stitch to attach the third (and final) charge. This meant that one of the patonce crosses was attached with a whip stitch and the other was attached using a running stitch. I wanted to see which would work better covered by the couching cord and which stitch worked better for sewing curves and points. While the running stitch was somewhat quicker, I found that I preferred to sew the whip stitch. To me, it felt like I had better control over the outcome with the whip stitch.

To finish all of the seams, I simply opened them up and sewed each edge flat out in opposite directions. This helped to remove some of the bulk that can form at the seams when two layers of coat-weight wool are sewn together.


The final step in preparing the surcoat to be worn, was to attach the brass plaques. After looking for these for several years, I was finally able to locate them. Because they were square, it was necessary to make certain they were precise and straight. At first I marked the center line on the fabric, but it was still too difficult to make certain the plaques were level to the ground. So instead, I marked the center line with tape and then placed tape at the outer edges of where the plaques should sit in parallel lines to the center line. This allowed me to mark spacing on the top and bottom. It worked well!

Now all that is left is to couch braided cord on the edges of the charges.

I had submitted my Arms for registration before beginning this project, I am pleased to report that they have now officially passed. That’s a relief!  🙂 

~ Cristiana

Heraldic Sideless Surcoat (part 1)

For some time now I have wanted to construct a heraldic sideless surcoat made from wool.  Having recently finalized the design and submitted my arms for approval, this seemed like a great time to get started on this project.

I set out to draft a design that would represent my arms, but also work well as an item of clothing. After determining design, I was able to calculate the amount of red and blue wool that I would need for the project. What I didn’t realize at the time, was how difficult it would be to locate the correct colors in the same weight of wool. After purchasing 4 yards of a wool that ultimately would not work for this project, I finally found exactly what I needed at http://www.thewoolconnection.com

The next big decision related to construction. I generally finish hems, cuffs, and necklines by hand, but sew long seams on a machine. My previous exceptions to this guideline have been for ruffled veils, which I have sewn entirely by hand. As I began to work with this wool, cutting out pieces, I recognized that I would enjoy working with this fabric and that it would make a great project to sew entirely by hand.

The next dilemma to be solved involved adding the charges of my heraldic design. I needed to find a source for both white and golden-yellow wool. After significant hunting, it was apparent that finding either of these colors would be extremely difficult. At that point I decided to look for 100% wool felt. I was able to find a really nice dealer on www.etsy.com who sold generously sized wool felt squares in a wide range of beautiful colors.

Once I received the wool felt squares, I taped them to a wall and projected my two heraldic charges onto the fabric. This allowed me to adjust the size of the charges on my document camera and then easily trace the projected shapes onto the wool.

With the garment and charges cut out, I laid them out to begin the pinning process. After measuring and measuring to make certain that everything was straight, I whip-stitched the charges to the garment.

More to come…
~ Cristiana

One Finished Cloak

mollys-cloakMolly’s circle cloak is finally finished, just in time for the Baroness War. What a relief!

After the appliqué of the crescent was completed, I sewed the wool to the red linen lining. Then the An Tir badge trim was added with hand sewing. This took approximately 4-5 hours, much of which was accomplished while crossing White Pass on the way to the Baroness War. The final detail was to add a small clasp.

It feels great to have this project finished. Now I just have to finish Mirella’s cloak.

~ Cristiana

Irish Feast 2009

irish-feast-2009-2This year’s Irish Feast was a marvelous success. Hosted by our home Shire of River’s Bend, it was really nice to attend an event only five minutes from Huntington House.

Mirella has grown considerably since last season, and as a result, she was in serious need of new garb. This sideless surcoat was the first item I completed. It is actually my third modification of the original pattern. Finally, it has the correct lines. Originally, I used a ‘period pattern’ from France. The cut was just too boxy and unflattering for Mirella. I wanted to create a surcoat that was a nice cross between the garments that children wear and the surcoats worn by 14th century women. After two significant alterations, including an increase in the number of gores, I feel that this is a winning look for her. The garment has been put together with machine sewing, but all of the trim was applied with hand sewing. And that was a project! 🙂 It serves as a good compromise for our family, a balance between practicality and authenticity.

There was a productive meeting for the staff of the new Accademia dei Studiosi. This took up a good share of my early afternoon, but the results were exciting. Hopefully, it won’t be much longer before the Accademia is fully functional.

irish-feast-2009-1For me, the best part of the event was simply the time spent with friends. It was enjoyable to have the chance to connect with so many of those people who make the SCA a special place for us. I am  particularly indebted to Dame Arwen, who gifted me with the most lovely set of veil pins. Featuring a pair of dazzling red beads, they will assuredly make an appearance on my head-ware in the very near future. The gift was especially meaningful as Arwen always gives a decided amount of attention to the details and adornments which make garb personal and exciting.

Well done, River’s Bend.

~ Cristiana

shire-of-rivers-bendI enjoyed the evening as well.  For me it was a mix of spending time with old friends and getting to know some new ones better.  I had an opportunity to talk to Lord Olcan and found that we have many common interests.

Playing chess is a favorite pastime that I haven’t had much opportunity to participate in recently.  I found several worthy opponents at the feast and enjoyed each and every game.  Thank you all for the challenges.

~ Gerald