Thursday, October 2, 2014

Class Handouts and a New Site!

Across the Ages has a new home! 

I did some house cleaning and spiffed the place up! Come take a look around. The old site is still up for now, but I will turning it down soon and everything can already be viewed at!

I've had a number of requests for copies of my class handouts, so in addition to the blog there is now a place to download handouts from classes I teach here.

So far there the classes I have included are:




Monday, September 15, 2014

Manuscript Challenge

I have been pouring over images ever since the Manuscript Challenge glove was dropped.  The rules are simple, but specific and can be found here:

There is also an active Facebook Group found here:

 My mind was filled with extravagant ideas such as Lysbeth van Duvenvoorde (one of my favorite portraits).

Lysbeth van Duvenvoorde

Her outfit has so many wonderful details. As I broke down her outfit into individual elements, I realized that this would be an immense undertaking with only a year to complete.
With the all the other projects on my list (medieval and modern) I decided to be realistic and not set myself up for failure.  I'm keeping her in my back pocket, someday her outfit will be mine!

In search of a more realistic, but equally interesting image, I found myself again looking at one of my favorites.

The Marriage of Philip, the Duke of Burgundy, and Margaret of Flanders from Chroniques de France ou de St Denis contains a wonderful variety of garment styles for both men and women.  I have used it as reference many times when teaching and discussing sleeves styles, in particular.  The women on the right in the blue dress seemed to jump off the page.  I also recently purchased some lovely navy blue wool, so that may have influenced my choice. :-)

I also have been thinking about padded roll headdresses.  They are so prevalent in images of this time, but I rarely seen them recreated in a style that I like.  It has nothing to do with the quality of the reproductions, it's just that they look kind of frumpy and out of place to me (my modern sensibilities shining through). And the thought of wearing one myself has always been… not very exciting. 

With this fair blue lady as my inspiration,  I have resolved to give padded rolls a fair chance! 

Monday, September 8, 2014

Open Hood

Some days, I don't feel like wearing a veil. I just don't.

When looking at images of women from the late 14th and early 15th centuries,  I see many wearing open style hoods.  This style seemed a perfect option to wear during the summer instead of a veil. 
Detail of February (right) and July (left), Tres Riches Heures du Duc de Berry.
I saw Edyth Miller's wonderful interpretation of this style and decided to try one for myself.  Edyth used the tutorial from LiaThornegge for her patterning, but I decided to start with my existing hood pattern.

I used a trial and error process to find the ideal shape. I cut out my classic hood pattern and pinned the pieces together.  I stood  in front of a mirror and adjusted the side gores, edges around the face, and center back seam in order to achieve the look of the hood that is seen in illuminations.  What I ended up with is a hood that has a shorter and less voluminous cape and an opening around the face that is longer so it can be folded back. 

Left: Classic Hood pattern          Right: Open Hood pattern
I designed the hood with a long tail similar to the image below.
Detail of Bible Historiale de Jean de Berry, folio 290r. Bibliothèque nationale de France, Département des Manuscrits, Français 20090
I decided to make this hood a single layer of linen to keep it as light weight as possible since I would be wearing it during the summer and its main purpose is to keep the sun off my face instead of a straw hat or veil.  I finished all the seams in black silk to hide the raw edges on the inside. I used the selvage edge for around the face so there wouldn't be a hemmed edge.
I used running stitches for the seams (outlined in red for visibility).
This hood is very comfortable to wear. I pin it to my St. Brigitta cap and it stays put very nicely and keeps the sun off my face. The edges don't flare as much as in the illuminations, but it it was lined or made of a stiffer fabric it would hold a shape better.

After I finished, I found this image of an open hood with buttons! 

Boccaccio: Decameron c.1414-1419 Manuscript (Pal. lat. 1989), Biblioteca Apostolica, Vatican, Image courtesy of the Web Gallery of Art.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Pattens after Pennsic

I made a pair of pattens last year.  I wore them a couple times last summer, but they really had their work cut out for them this Pennsic War.   

The weather over the week varied widely and there was a lot of walking on gravel, grass, mud, and pavement. 

Pattens in pristine condition, March 2013
Pattens after 1 week of Pennsic, August 2014
The nails on the hinge of the right foot started to pull out and I did lose one nail (red arrow in photo above).  I think it might be due to the tacks being too short, but I originally chose that length since I was worried longer nails would cause the wood to split.  I also noticed small cracks have developed along the edge of the wood where the tacks are located. We will see if additional wear causes the cracks to expand.

Closeup of right foot.

Bottom of patten with small cracks developing.

I also felt the leather strap around my ankle is stretching a bit, but it didn't affect my walking. The leather strip around the sides of the pattens also stretched, especially around the hinge area, but it had no impact on my walking, either.

I am planning on replacing the missing nail with one that is a bit longer to see if that holds the hinge in place.  If it works well, I may decide to replace additional nails.

Shortly after I made these pattens, I was speaking with someone (I just can't remember who!) and they pointed out that the London finds had been worn and the wood base would have been thicker on new pattens.  This observation seems painfully obvious now, but hindsight is 20/20!  If I have more problems with the wooden bases, I will replace them with a thicker wood to more accurately replicate new pattens, which will also allow me to use longer nails to hold the leather.

Overall,  I am very pleased with how they held up! Having limited leather and woodworking experience, I was curious to see how they lasted with a real workout. I call this a success! 

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Baronial Hoods

A few months ago I made hoods for friends that were invested as Baron and Baroness of their local SCA group.  Hoods are one of my favorite go-to accessories to make an outfit complete -- and warm, too!

I made 2 black linen hoods, one with a long liripipe, one without.  The baronial arms are a felt applique livery badge.

The pattern I use for all my hoods originally came from Cynthia Virtue's website, How to be a Hoodlum.  I have used this basic pattern over the years, altering it as needed for size and style. 

Below is how I arranged the pattern pieces for the hood without a liripipe.  

This is how the triangular gore fits with the main hood piece.  I always end up making the gore extra long, but I'd rather trim it than cut it too short. 

I appliqued the Baronial arms to a round felt base by couching around the pieces with matching thread.  I also used couching to secure the badge to the hood.

Some of my earlier hoods had the gore set too far forward, but I adjusted where I set them and am pleased with the results - directly over the shoulders!