Category Archives: Sewing

SCA sewing diary

What the apprentice wore- Pad Stitching part 2

…”Nor wear any silk lace or guard upon her gown, kirtle, waistcoat or petticoat, or any other garments, safe only a cape of velvet; nor any fardingal at all, either little or great, nor any body or sleeves of wire, whalebone or with any other stiffing, saving canvass or buckram only.” [1]

Pad stitching back panel- Notice the stitches are bigger and further apart. I don’t need as much support in the back.

Completed right side

[1] Some account of the Worshipful company of grocers of the city of London- BY BARON HEATH (John Benjamin Heath)

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Posted by on September 8, 2015 in 16th Century, English


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What the apprentice wore- Pad Stitching

…”Nor wear any silk lace or guard upon her gown, kirtle, waistcoat or petticoat, or any other garments, safe only a cape of velvet; nor any fardingal at all, either little or great, nor any body or sleeves of wire, whalebone or with any other stiffing, saving canvass or buckram only.“[1]

Lack of bodies that have boning, reed or whalebone cuts down on the number of things that can be used to create breast support. Fortunately, canvas and buckram are fairly stiff and can be pad stitched. For this project I am using linen canvas. Smaller stitches provide greater support. I was dubious that this was going to work. But it has produced a layer that is much stronger with the pad stitching. And after a couple dozen stitches, I finally started getting the hang of it. Guidleines helped immensely.  I have one of 4 front panels completed. It took about 2 hours.

Basted with guidelines

Back side (which is actually the front as you sew it)

Front side- this will be next to the shift.

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Posted by on September 2, 2015 in 16th Century, English


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What the apprentice wore- Coif

That none should wear on her head any lawn, cambrick, tiffany, velvet lawn, or white silk wires, either in any kerchief, koyfe, crest cloth, or shaddow, nor any linnen cloth therein, saving such linen cloth only, as should not exceed 5s. the ell, nor any lace or edging upon the same or any part thereof“… [1]

English ell is equal to 5⁄4 yard, or 1 ell= 1.25 yards.

£1 = 20 shillings (s)
1s = 12 pence/penny (d)

Measuring Worth [2], calculates a 16th century £1 = £199.10 in 2014 values. In US dollars £1 = $1.57, or $321.54 to £1 in the 16th century. [2] This mean a female would be restricted to linen that is under 5s per ell or modernly, $62.22 per 1.25 yards.

Linen used in this project retails for $9.75. It is a nice medium weight linen, with an even weave. It performs well in a work environment and holds up well under repeated laundering. I am using a basic woman’s coif pattern as seen in extant examples.

Here is the completed coif and forehead cloth.
forehad hat

The edges have been left unadorned as per the requirement:
nor any lawne, velvet, tiffany, cobweblawne, nor white silk cipres at all, other than about their neck or otherwise ; nor any linnen cloth but of the price of 5s. the ell, or lace or edging whatsoever, but plain hem and one stitch “[1]

[1] Some account of the Worshipful company of grocers of the city of London- BY BARON HEATH  (John Benjamin Heath)
[2] Lawrence H. Officer and Samuel H. Williamson, “Five Ways to Compute the Relative Value of a UK Pound Amount, 1270 to Present,” MeasuringWorth, 2015.

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Posted by on August 25, 2015 in 16th Century, English


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What the apprentice wore

As part of my A&S path, I am trying to put together a proper clothing kit for “Alesone.” She is a Grocer’s apprentice in 16th century London, England. There are a number of statutes she would be bound to follow, from class to trade for what she would be allowed to wear.  I am starting this dress diary to track the progress of her apprentice clothing. Let’s begin with what restrictions were placed upon her.

And as with the other diaries, we begin with the intended design.This is a blue kirtle with a dark gray over dress. Starched whites complete the outfit. This represents a middle class English woman, appropriate to time, place, and station.

Design based upon the illustration by Lucas de Heere, Drawing of Four Citizen’s Wives, from his manuscript Corte Beschryuinghe van Engheland, Schotland, ende Irland, c.1574 located here.

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Posted by on August 25, 2015 in 16th Century, English


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Snow White completed

24 hours and we went from fabric to finished. Dress was constructed of silk, lined with linen. Special thanks to everyone who worked on this with me Amy (mid), Holly (mid), Eleanor (Calontir), and Patresha (mid). This is our interpretation of what Snow White would have actually worn.

Kleid (dress)
Gollar (dickie)
Goldhaube (hat)
Stock (underdress/skirt)
Churz (apron)

We started with silk from my business trip to Thailand. We had the option of doing wool, but thought the silk would be richer in color/sheen. We ended up using gold, blue, crimson and white. We had the option to go with brighter, crayola color pallet, but chose jewel tones.

Collar and protege belt. The crescent is the EK order for service, the bear is my protege mark.

The goldhaube, 6 sheep “pearls” for CB and “royal arson” for a motto.

Sleeve construction

Here is the completed top

Getting ready

24 hours later, we had a dress


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Snow White: Design 1

We have a initial design for the Snow White dress.  This dress maintains the base overall color scheme of the Disney movie, but keeps the design of the dress in line with mid 1500 Saxony. The red/blue/white slashing are poofs, but those tend to be more difficult to do 3d in a 2d program. The fleurs are a nod to my heraldry, drawn in Lower German/Florentine fashion.


Bodice/collar: Christiana Eulenau, Cranach, 1534 Germany
Saxon apron: Portrait of a Young Woman Holding Grapes and Apples, Cranach, 1528
Skirt: Duchess Katharina von Mecklenburg, Cranach
Sleeves: Sybille von Cleve. Cranach

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Posted by on February 28, 2014 in 16th Century, German


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What would Snow White “actually” have worn?

On April 11-12 we will be invading the Midrealm’s Golden Seamstress event.Currently we are an inter-kingdom squad of Mid, East and Calontir. I have been obsessed with creating a period appropriate Snow White since I last went to Disney.

The goal is not to create a Disney dress in period, but to create a period dress in Disney colors. Or fix the hot mess that is Snow White.

The trick for this project is to reverse engineer the Disney version of Snow White, into period appropriate SCA clothing. If you look at Disney’s version, it is a hot mess of styles from mostly around Germany in the 16th century. The sleeves mid century, skirt and later 16th. But the thing that is odd is the two colors between bodice and skirt. Disney’s movie version is set somewhere in Bavaria, but she’s dressed in a dress that you would expect to see in Saxony.

Going back to the origins of the faerie tale as written by the Grimms, the story was told to them by 2 women in Kassel. And by the time of retelling of the folk story, it was already “old”. Kassel is located in the area we know now as Hesse and bordered Saxony.

Add in another wrinkle of Margaretha of Waldeck. There are scholars that believe there is a direct connection to Margaretha of Waldeck and the Snow White story. The time period would be correct, as she died in the mid 1500s. The geographical area would be correct. Waldeck was a sovereign principality in the German Empire and is comprised of territories in present-day Hesse and Lower Saxony. There is a scholastic presumption she was killed by poison, long illness that started when she was at court, long drawn out death in 1554. The earliest Grimm tale of Snow White, has her hair being blonde. There are accounts of the family owning copper mine, worked by small deformed children called dwarfs.

I’ve got books on the way for the historical accounts of the House o Waldeck. Hopefully the get here in time and that translating the German doesnt prove to be a really large rabbit hole of time.

So I have, time, location, motive and a bunch of circumstantial coincidences. 1550s, Saxony here we come. The good news, is I am really familiar with this time/location combo and I have a bunch of manuscripts to paw through.

I think we have a winner for portrait inspiration. Christiana Eulenau by Lucas Cranach the Elder, 1534 That collar line is nearly spot on. Now we just need to figure out how to make the standing collars for the bodice AND the hemd. The big guns suggest that the hemd is actually a gollar, which has decreased the level of difficulty exponentially. A gollar can be a little caplet, that is circular in nature and worn over the top of a dress. Or it can be like a square partlet. Modernly, we would call this a dicky.

Christiana Eulenau by Lucas Cranach the Elder, 1534 Germany


Posted by on February 17, 2014 in 16th Century, German, Sewing


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