Monthly Archives: July 2009

Pennsic 2009 project photo gallery

The project gallery for Pennsic 2009 is located here.  These are all the major projects I have been working on since May 1, 2009- August 1 2009.

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Posted by on July 27, 2009 in Projects, Sewing


Pelican- Marion del Oakes: Dress

I was asked to help with creating some regalia for a good friend’s elevation to the Order of the Pelican. I was responsible for a new dress and a new personal banner.

Marion’s persona is 14th century English.
“Over the chemise, women wore a loose or fitted gown called a cotte or kirtle, usually ankle or floor-length, and with trains for formal occasions. Fitted kirtles had full skirts made by adding triangular gores to widen the hem without adding bulk at the waist. Kirtles had long sleeves.”

Marion approached me prior to Spring Crown for help in creating a 14th century dress. 2 weeks prior her husband approached me for help in creating a 14th century dress for her elevation to Pelican. I had never sewn for this century before and was unaware of how to make this type of dress. Unbeknown to Marion, when she asked for help, she was handing me a “practice” dress. I was able to measure her, do a duct tape double, and create the Crown Tourney dress all in preparation for her elevation. AND… she helped in the whole process. We even created a custom pattern to be used later.

Ironically enough (ok not really… I planned it that way) the sideless over kirtle we made has the same color cherry shot through at regular intervals. She will be able to use the over kirtle for both dresses.

After crown, we had to modify the pattern to create more bust support. The result has become her elevation dress. The dress was created in 5.3 oz cherry linen. It is ankle length with a modest train and two additional triangle gores. It is a formal dress, without too much additional fabric.

The cord was created by my student and her cadet Lady Elysabeth Underhill. It was hand combed, spun, dyed (with assistance from another of her teachers Lady Iseault), and corded.
Lissa’s diary entry.

The lacing holes are much improved over the first dress as I had a lot of practice with the blanket stitch from the banner project. Finished dress:

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Posted by on July 27, 2009 in Pelican, Sewing


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Pelican- Marion del Oakes: Banner

I was asked to help with creating some regalia for a good friend’s elevation to the Order of the Pelican.  I was responsible for a new dress and a new personal banner.

Marion del Oakes’ personal device has oak leaves, acorns and a badger.

We have had a great discussion about badgers over the course of a lengthy car ride to and from New Hampshire.  Her favorite is the honey badger.  She likes the little white cap on their heads.  Honey badgers are also known for being deceptively cute, and vigorously nasty.

My first task was to find out if I could substitute the badger she was currently using for the honey badger. The heralds (I know a lot of heralds) said yup, the badge specifies a black badger… not a specific badger. So a honey badger is what was created first. The badger itself was made applique style.  The white cap and fir lines were painted on using fabric paint.  It is a little smaller than the badger on her device, but honey badgers aren’t very big.  I added claws and teeth, so no one would get the idea that it was a “nice” badger.

Note: the back side of the badger is lined in a cute pink bunny fabric which was used to bind the whole animal together.

The oak leaves and acorns were made in the applique style.  I used a cookie cutter to create the shapes from green, brown and ginger linen. Then I used a fabric glue to hold the appliques in place.  Finally I finished off the appliques using a hand sewn blanket stitch.

The final touch was to add the latin “Cave melem” which means, beware of badger. This was also done applique style in black linen.

The banner was made of a gold colored linen, and is lined.

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Posted by on July 27, 2009 in Pelican, Sewing


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Mamluk soldier uniform

Mamluk soldiers wore a type of incendiary fireproof uniform. The uniform was made out of wool, acting as a “fire retardant” material. The soldier was covered in what appeared to be linen tufts that had a small amount of gun powder sewed into a small pouch. These tufts were attached all over the soldiers uniform, looking a bit like a linen porcupine. These tufts were then set on fire as the soldiers head towards the enemy. the charges were not very large, and were many used as a scare tactic utilizing both sound and fire to scare the enemy.

The illo that I have seen, redacted from the original, is on pg206 of J.R. Partington’s “A History of Greek Fire and Gunpowder” . The original source is called the St Petersburg Manuscript, and more info on it is on pg 204 of the same book. It shows a cavalryman with a heavy suit edged in what appears to be small rectangular packets. His lance and his horse’s barding also show the”charges”. Partington dates the illos to late 15th C.

This was a jump start to the research and I found a link to a more detailed discussion about gunpowder, hand cannons, and the above fire suits.

I will not actually be using real gunpowder due to safety reasons. But it is a research project and a costuming project. It doesn’t get much cooler than that.

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Posted by on July 27, 2009 in Artillery, Sewing


Technique: Trim “Tacking”

This handy little trick allows you to “tack down” 1/2″ edging into straight lines without bunching, folding and did I mention straight. The glue holds everything in place while it gets sewn down. You can use pins to help the holding power. I use the 1/4″ so that I have a clean, clear edge for stitching down. Sometimes it is hard to get a needle (hand or machine) through the glue. I am not substituting sewing here, just using a product to help keep those nice even straight lines. On the Bear Dress, I am doing a double diagonal pattern and machine zig zag stitching the edging down (this is a respectable 1 ft dress, not an A & S entry).

In period they used chalk, pins, time and probably quite a bit of cursing, un-doing and re-doing.

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Posted by on July 27, 2009 in Sewing, Technique


The “Pickle” dress- update

Completed dress:

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Posted by on July 27, 2009 in 16th Century, English, Sewing


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Technique- Concealed buttons and sewed on garters

When I’m working on armor, I am most concerned with how the garment looks and its structural integrity. So I am not using 100% period techniques and occasionally I add a modern element that is concealed. Like buttons. The only way you are going to see this is if you are up close and very personal with the fencer and you better be buying breakfast. This adds a level of safety to the garment in case a tie fails. Which is not very likely, but is possible.Though oddly enough I draw the line at velcro… A girl has to have some standards.

I don’t know about you… but some people I know have a hard time getting all the parts of their garb and themselves to the same event. Garters are one of those pesky items that complete the “finishing” touches on the pants, but… I know that they would get forgotten, lost, mutilated, etc… who know what else would befall these little fabric strips. Heck, I consider it a win if the garters actually make it to the rapier list tied properly (as opposed to “still pinned” neat little ironed rolls). Solution, sew them to the pants. If the pants make it to the event… the garters make it to the event. If the pants don’t make it, then we have a different problem.

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Posted by on July 27, 2009 in Sewing, Technique


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