Archive for January, 2011

I’ve got the St. Francis smock completely assembled, and all the seams finished.  I was working on it at Textile Guild Tuesday night and there was some discussion of how it differs from a “conventional” tunic… so I decided to write up my answers to those question in a more formal way.

Like the conventional “accurate” SCA tunic (for which my usual source is Marc Carlson’s “Some Clothing of the Middle Ages”) the St. Francis tunic (article and carbon dating info are here), the St. Francis tunic is made up of geometric shapes – in this case, just rectangles and triangles.  I’m no good at turning three dimensional garments into two-dimensional representations, but here’s what you’re looking at in the picture:

  • Rectangular body panels
  • Triangular skirt gussets that come almost to the shoulder seam
  • Rectangular sleeves
  • Triangular sleeve gussets

I assembled it by first sewing and finishing the shoulder seams, then doing the neckline.  (I find it much easier to do necklines when the garment is still flat, even when I’m sewing by hand.)  I put the sleeves together and finished those seams (but not the cuffs).  Then I put the skirt gores on, leaving the seams unfinished, and attached the completed sleeves.  Figuring out how to finish those seams was as much a jigsaw puzzle as it ever is and I didn’t do the two sides in the same way but they got done.

Between the two sets of gussets, there’s plenty of give in the chest and armpit. In fact, the general shape is just right for 13th century gowns.

We’ve booked a block of rooms in a local hotel for folks who are traveling here for my elevation – email me at saramichelef – at – gmail – dot – com for the reservation info.

The St. Francis smock is coming together really quickly. While at Kingdom Twelfth
Night on Saturday I completely finished one sleeve (seams and seam finishes) and got the other seamed. Finished that off on Sunday; last night I sewed the shoulder seams and cut & finished the neckline. Tonight I got two gores attached to the body panels and started on a third. I’m really itching to see how the join of the gores/body/sleeve goes but I need to get alll 4 gores attached before I set the sleeves, because the gores are so much easier to do while the garment is still two-dimensional. After I get the smock all finished and the second sock made, my part of the sewing for my elevation clothes will be done (Eilis is making my outer layers.)

In other news, the reason I trekked down to PA for Twelfth Night was that I stepped up as Kingdom Minister of Arts and Sciences on Saturday. Should be a whole new adventure, this Kingdom Officer gig.

Why did I decide it was a good idea to sew something on a completely new layout for my elevation?  BECAUSE I’M CRAZY THAT’S WHY.

Actually, I don’t think the St. Francis style tunic is going to be any more fiddly than the Nockert Type 1 that I usually do; if anything it might be less so.

Needless to say I didn’t get the smock cut out to take with us as we went traveling over the holidays.  But I’m taking it with me to work on at 12th Night this weekend.