“Doing A&S”

In one of those “X things about the SCA and me” memes, I saw a multi-talented artisan mention that “I don’t usually participate in the A&S side of the house that often. Mostly because I hate writing up documentation.” After chatting about it a bit, she edited her post to more accurately reflect reality, but I think it is a common view that “doing A&S” means writing up documentation and entering your work in competitions or displays.

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About 6 months ago, I asked on FB if anyone had opinions onĀ reference organizers. I used EndNote about 10-15 years ago, but suspected that there were newer products out there. I received several suggestions, but the one that caught my eye was Mendeley. Jenn/Alfrun sang its virtues, and after hearing a few tidbits about what it can do, I was sold.

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Cursed Sleeves

Finishing up second sleeve. I worry that the oddities of the design and the fact that I made them a month or so apart might make the two sleeves not completely symmetrical. I should have molded the reeds into identical loops before I started either sleeve. Short of completely re-doing both sleeves almost from the beginning (not happening – I am *this* close to lighting these sleeves on fire), this boat has sailed.

Let this be a cautionary tale for adventurous artisans learning new skills that will need to be replicated (like sleeves) in a single project. Lesson to learn: it’s good to test a concept before going whole-hog with it, but if it’s a complicated design, doing it assembly line style to ensure that you do it exactly the same way both times is a good idea. Well, I said I wanted to learn stuff and improve my skills with this project, and I learned something, which I guess is better than making it perfectly, but not learning anything new. šŸ™‚

I’ll just have to make sure I don’t square my shoulders directly at anyone straight on while wearing the dress. That way, they won’t notice the slight differences, and bonus is that it presents a smaller target to one’s opponent if they’re trying to stab you. Ā šŸ˜‰

Kirtle/Petticoat placard parking lot

ETA: I think NM was talking about placards OVER the front of the kirtle, and Drea is talking about placards UNDER the lacings (see pictures at bottom of page at the link below). Ugh. No. She’s talking about over, but her pictures are of under.

Parking this here for later use. I had been thinking about using a placard for my red kirtle – I’d like to be able to lace it up myself, but I don’t want to be able to see the laces and eyelet holes if I wear the gown partway open.

If I understood NM correctly,Ā the TT folks said that they did NOT have documentation for the placard over the kirtle lacings in an outfit they made for a customer. You can see them in a bunch of portraits (look for the pin heads on the side of the bodice), but we don’t usually see the bodice part of kirtles in portraits. Drea Leed, however, has documentation for them:


From Lizapalooza:

Some petticoats had a placard of fabric in the front to hide the lacings beneath. Queen Mary had petticoats like this:

    a peticoate of crymsin satten lyned with red kersey, the bodies and placarde lyned with lynen clothe garded with Crymsen veluett stitched all over with crimsen silke

as did Queen Elizabeth:

    for making of Twentie flappes of satten & taphata for Petycoates of sundry colors lyned with sarceonett.


Elizabethan and Jacobean Smocks and Shirts

I was thrilled to see this morning that our local university library had procured for me a copy of an article that Janet Arnold published in Waffen- und Kostumkunde in 1977. I’m pretty sure I’ve at least seen this one before, but it was a test to see if my new library privileges, which come from my company being affiliated with the university’s biotech park, included ILL service. Less than two business days after I submitted the request, which was for an article that was in storage at the lending library, it was in my inbox, ready for me to download. Geeking win!!!

The article is Janet Arnold’s Elizabethan and Jacobean Smocks and Shirts. A lot of the information is also in newer publications that have much better pictures and more current information, but I was still pretty pleased to be able to read it today.

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Decorative Features: Pinking, Snipping, and Slashing

This is a cool article, Decorative Features: Pinking, Snipping, and Slashing, from Janet Arnold in 1975.

Notable points:

  1. It sounds like long slashes made on the grain of the fabric were snipped diagonally down the edges to prevent fraying. I’d never heard that before, but will have to try it. OMG. Now that I look at the portrait, I’ve seen that before, but didn’t understand what they were doing or why.
  2. In the UK, “cross grain” means on the bias (i.e., at a 45 degree angle from the weft threads that run up and down the fabric).
  3. As is true today, you couldĀ get spiff effects by spending more money on fancier fabrics or by spending more time on cheaper fabric. The slashing and stitching in Plate 2 has potential for the sleeves of my kirtle. The slashing definitely was appropriate for the 1560s, but I’m not sure about the stitching to hold the slashes open. I bet the gold silk satin I got the other month from Elspeth would look fabulous under the dark red silk of the kirtle sleeves. I wonder if I can find curved chisels for making oval-shaped cuts….

Oh, and I have this article as a PDF. Holler through FB if you want a copy. The publishers say you can email it, but they don’t want it sent to listservs, so I’m sharing it only with individuals who ask for it.


My advice re Jane Ashelford’s books: Read everything else first, then go back and shout at the book (and computer) every time you see something that is obviously incorrect in the book. Some of it is evolving knowledge, but I also think she was blind as a bat. šŸ™‚

Seriously, though – read these old books next to a computer with a decent monitor and google all of the portraits to get them in color “Princess Elizabeth 1546 high resolution” in a google image search gives you this:

Pic of Princess Elizabeth 1564

Jen’s Reading Project

This year I’m trying to make how I spend my time match my stated priorities. It’s easy to say, “I’d like to sew and read more, but I don’t have time.” Actually, what that means is that IĀ have decided that sewing and reading are not priorities right now. If you are caring for children or parents, taking classes, or working overtime to save for a particular purpose or because you really need the money to pay the bills, your actions (or lack thereof) may actually be in line with your real priorities (i.e., you care about time with your kids more than you care about learning about Hank’s clothes, even though you wish you could do more reading). In my own experience, however, I find that the default is spending my time doing things that don’t really bring me happiness – either 1) easy things like mindlessly playing online or 2) necessary things like doing laundry or mowing the grass. If I really *want* to do something, I need to *make* time for it, even if it’s very small blocks of time. I’ve had a lot of success with scheduling these “tasks” just as I schedule things I need to do like doing the laundry, and one of my current “tasks” is my reading list. So….

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1560s Flanders Gown Project

Pics of progress on my 1560s Flanders gown, which is the project I’m likely to be geeking about in the near future, are here. I’m working on the second sleeve after doingĀ the first one start to finish to make sure I liked it – they’re too much work to make two of them, THEN decide I hate it, so no new pictures recently. I hope to have the sleeves done this weekend.

I’m simultaneously working on the dress, the documentation, and class notes. I suspect that my class notes will end up being the background section of the documentation. I’m looking at the development of the style over time, as well as how it was interpreted in various countries across western Europe that decade. I’ll include details about my dress in a separate section of the documentation.

I decided that the best way to get feedback on the outfit (dress, kirtle, and smock) is to enter it into a competition. Judges don’t have time to give real comments on display-only items. I’m aiming for 2016 KASF, which is only about 1.5 hours from us.

To meet my deadline, I want to finish the dress and the not-yet-started kirtle by the end of 2015, then make the smock and finish the documentation in January. February is fudge time for the inevitable delays. I’m sewing it all by hand and making all of the trim, but after I finish the cursed sleeves on the gown, most of the rest of it will be simple sewing, and I sew quickly if I listen to an audiobook instead of watching TV.