Posts Tagged ‘Costuming’

Meet JennyShoshanna has a doll named Jenny. She may look like an American Girl doll but she’s really the Target version thereof. Anyway. Jenny goes EVERYWHERE with us. I think the only night Shoshanna has slept without Jenny since she got her in April was when she had an overnight at camp last week and we wouldn’t let her take Jenny for fear she would be lost.

As you can see, though, Jenny’s clothes (somehow she still only has the set that she came with) are not really very medieval. And that is why I’m sitting here, the night before we leave to go to Pax for the weekend, hemming a tiny blue tunic made from raw silk.

I’ll post measurements for the doll and the garment later.


Back in November, when I cut out Shoshanna’s yellow tunic to go with her Viking I also cut out a new smock for her because she’d been wearing her old one for four years. And she’s a LOT bigger now than she was four years ago. No really, look how little she was when she first had it! And at one time it even had long sleeves!

So last week I put together the smock that I cut out six months ago. And just for fun, I decided to see how long it took, because I’m ALWAYS getting asked “How long does it take to DO that?” and I wanted to actually have an answer.

  • Cutting: probably half an hour
  • Machine sewing & finishing: 2 hours on the nose
  • Hand finishing: three Merlins (another 2 hours)

So… for a kid’s garment, 4 1/2 hours. I don’t know how much scaling for an adult would add. Maybe I’ll test that theory next time.

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.

Scottish Fest Demo is Saturday.  (Come out and play!  It’s oodles of fun!)  None of Shoshanna’s clothes fit her (mostly in the length).  Logic dictates that at 10:15 on Wednesday night I’m digging around in the fabric that Honnoria gifted me with to make clothes for the kid because I can’t for the life of me figure out where the lavender fustian went.  Thankfully there was a 2 yard hunk of gorgeous blue/green linen in there, so that’s going to become a tunic for Shoshanna between now and Saturday morning.  Because I’m awesome like that.

…that people’s arms don’t get smaller at a linear rate? That the bicep and the elbow are often just about the same size? Since I have started making more fitted-sleeve tunics I have had to contend with this realization. But now that I’ve had (and blogged) it I hope that I won’t soon forget it.

In other news, we had a big ol’ Pennsic Panic sewing session for textile guild last night. We ended up with more helpers than we did helpees but I helped Muirgel put buttonholes (all hail my buttonhole attachment) on a gown and Kate and Dicea broke my brain as I watched them lay out & cut a tunic for Phil.

Catlin’s tunic is half hemmed and I have reached saturation. I can’t look at it without seeing all the things that I think of as flaws. Putting it on the dress form and stepping back helps some but not entirely. I should have it done tomorrow night, though, at which point I will do my best to get the cat hairs off of it (we gained a feline family member this week, and she immediately made herself right at home on top of whatever sewing was in my lap in the evening), take pictures, and pack it up for delivery at Pennsic.


Aaaand Caleb’s hosen are done. The kiddo and I went to practice tonight and I finished off the toes to fit his feet. No pictures because, well… Plain linen hosen. I didn’t do anything new or interesting on them. I’ll get a picture of them on him at some point. I had forgotten, though, exactly how quickly hosen go together when you have a pattern for them.

Now I’m working on hemming Catlin’s riding tunic. Getting the hems on these things even is a giant pain.

And THEN when I have that done I still have a smock and gown for Magdalena.

Her Majesty’s Pooh Tunic: > 3/4 assembled (one side complete, the other not).

His Majesty’s Pooh Tunic: 1/2 to assembled.

TRM came by on Monday to check necklines (I’m soooo paranoid about necklines) and a good thing, too, because I need to put bigger gussets in His Majesty’s sleeves.

If I am a good little worker bee I should be able to have them done by the middle of next week.

Pooh Fabric This pile of “Pooh” colored linen (Shoshanna’s color-description, not mine) is destined to be tunics for TRM, to be worn either solo or under their Viking overlayers.  To be done by Pennsic (eep!).  Good thing I’m machine-sewing them!  🙂