HRM Alethea Fencing Armor

26 May

I have been working on HRM fencing doublet off and on since around June. This outfit has become one of my favorite SCA projects to date.  It has not been without its challenges and cursing… but it has given me my first “So there I was…”story (which gives me nothing but giggles when I think about it).

So the history behind the garb kinda goes something like this:
At a sewing day for Carolingia Fencers, [info]hugh_mannity  asks if there is anyone who can volunteer to make a fencing doublet in time for Pennsic. Looking around the room at the projects in progress and the persons he is asking for volunteers,  the logical choice for sewing the doublet is me (sneaky hugh).
A: Does she need pants?
H: No
A: Does she need detachable sleeves?
H: No
A: Does she need a shirt?
H: Nope, if she needs anything we’ll get someone else to sew it.  You just need to do the doublet.

By this time I had been fencing (and in the SCA) exactly 3 weeks, and was still learning pointy end, other man,  working on authorizing. [I also learned that I  have the dreaded helium hand for which there is little known cure]

I arrainged with HRH to do the measurements at Acorns & Pearls.
HRH: Is there enough fabric for a pair of pants?
A: Of course your Highness, lets get those measurements

I need some additional measurements before finishing the muslin for Glenn Linn.  In the email:
HRH: Do you think we will have enough time or materials for detachable sleeves?
A: Of course your Highness… how long are your arms?

To which the following conversation ocured:
A: Do you think it would be a good idea if just do the shirt?  I’m sure that’s the next question.
BC: Yes.  That would be a wise move on your part.

Sure enough at Glenn Linn:
HRH: I forgot to ask about a shirt…
A: Why yes your Highness, it does come with a shirt.  I just need you to try it on.  🙂

I cursed many times over while working on the project.  The fabric is slippery on the machine, but the linen lining was wonderful to work with. It is also a synthetic so it melts if you have your iron on too high.  The whole time I was sewing it I was worried about how hot the outfit was going to be… there was a lot of material and it was fully lined. The machine took its required amount of blood sacrifice. I know that ratio of cursing to garb success is that the more I curse the better the costume/outfit.

I saved the last minute alterations until I got to Pennsic. At Pennsic, [info]jtdiii provided me with power and a machine to finish the pants and doublet just before HRH needed to wear it on the field. I think he and I finished the last set of buttons and button holes with 15 minutes to spare!  And I was indoctrinated into the sew it before you wear it at Pennsic time honored tradition.  She looked great and wasn”t fencing naked (which marshals tend to frown upon)!


I took back the doublet and pants to do some final detail work and add tabs to the doublet to make it a little longer. The “finished” uniform is now back in the hands of HRM.  And the tabs add a nice touch. The top is a standard doublet  and the bottoms a pair of Ventians. Both are of English origin around the 1550s


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Posted by on May 26, 2009 in Fencing Armor


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