Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Pelicans and Great Northeastern War - Mistress Deirdre de Planchette

Years ago, a friend was making a Pelican cloak for someone, and the full elevation outfit, and vending GNE and time was running out for it to be finished, so I spent a dreary overcast Saturday morning sewing down trim and adding the little garnet blood droplets to the Pelican cloak to be presented to Master Peter the Red.

I didn't know Peter then, I knew his wife a little, but I knew of his reputation in the archery community as a teacher and master of his craft. Since then, Peter has become my friend and I was reminded of that overcast Saturday as I sat this past year in my encampment finishing a dress for another Pelican-to-be.

Mistress Deirdre de Planchette with their Majesties Omega and Etheldreda
Great Northeastern War 2015

Let me tell you about Deirdre. Lady Deirdre de Planchette was the Exchequer of the Barony of Stonemarche for a LOOOOOOOOONG time. Which means she's been the person getting the 2,000 SCAdian cats who attend Birka swiftly, accurately, and efficiently through gate each year. (The folks from Pennsic Troll came up to Stonemarche and modeled Pennsic's system after hers)

And you never see her. She sits in the back room counting, sorting paperwork, making sure everything one else has breaks and has everything they need. Not to mention being responsible for the funds it takes to run such an event, and all the other events held in Stonemarche.

She has given to the Society in more ways, fostering newcomers, fostering the arts, and never seeking attention to herself, just doing and doing well.

So when the call went out from her daughter to help out with Deirdre's vigil and Pelican ceremony my household wanted to help. So Simona bat Leon and I volunteered to make her dress.

Deirdre's colors are blue and red so a bliaut was born: baby blue summer weight wool with red silk dupioni lined sleeves, red silk neckline yoke and trim. Lady Anastasia of the Oaks made the most gorgeous red and white silk trim for the dress and belt. (I kept petting it, it was so soft).

A quietly elegant dress for a quietly elegant lady.

I used a variation on this bliaut pattern by Adrienne Dandy. The pattern is simple but striking and I wanted the fabric to speak for itself.

We cut the fabric out on the Camelot Common House pool table (I'm sure that's why they got that thing, for fabric cutting). The edges are all serged inside and the lower sleeve is entirely lined in the red silk.

Isn't she lovely folks?
Full length shot of the dress with my lovely assistant Simona bat Leon
A shot of the silk trim being applied
The trim was terrifying to cut, as I know how hard Anastasia worked on it. But it looks so magnificent on the red silk backdrop. The trick is sewing across the trim first in two parallel lines and cutting between them.

Ok maybe not Doom
Simona and the sleeve - what ironing! And she's a serging machine!
The sleeve is in two parts, the top portion is a trapezoid for the upper arm and I sewed down a strip of silk there at the top edge of the arm band then folded it back over the sewn edge, applied the trim and zig-zagged down the part that would be in the selvedge attached to the lower fuller sleeve.
 At some point I will do a keyhole neckline tutorial. Today is not that day, I'm sorry darlings.

The silk facing applied to the neckhole
Handsewing down the neckline facing
Adding a little hint of embroidery around the edges to pull in the red and white of the trim
 The embellishment was done by backstitching in red using 3 strands of embroidery floss around the edges and whip stitching white around those back stitches, just like I did with the bow on my Viking Sailor Moon dress. I'm a novice at embroidery and am a bit of a one trick pony right now.

Simona and I presented the dress to Deirdre during her vigil during Saturday of the war. (Once we were done hemming it in camp...)

The evening court (there were like 5 courts at the three day war) they inducted her as a Pelican. The bycocket was made by her daughter Kiaya based on Agnolo Gaddi's fresco of the Legend of the True Cross in the Basilica di Santa Croce in Florence circa 1380. It's her first bycocket!
You have to look hard for her - for a while I was calling her "St Helena Not Appearing in this Fresco"

Deirdre and Baroness Megan Laine, first Baroness Stonemarche

You may now greet your order - shot of the back of the dress

The scroll was a happy accident - it features what looks like the dress - but no one had seen it yet! The choice for light blue wool was made very late in the game due to fabric availablity. Mistress Eleanore did a fabulous job on it. 

Illumination by Lady Eleanore MacCarthaigh
I'm very pleased with this project and of the inclusion of this lovely lady into the Order of the Pelican.

Oh, and while we were in court - two rapscallions named Juan Lazaro Ramirez Xavier and Maria Pagani were given writs to go on vigil for inclusion in the Order of the Pelican themselves... so guess who got to make more Pelican regalia? Simona and I!

But that's for another post tentatively titled - Love is Appliqueing Circles

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Scandelously Practical: Italian Drawers - Class Handout

This is the handout for my most recent version of this class taught at Pennsic 46.

I had never taught before at Pennsic and was very nervous. Then I kept watching people show up for my class... and got even more nervous. Laurel wreaths.... terrifying laurel wreaths were adorning (turned out to be LOVELY) people attending MY CLASS.

It was a packed house and both sessions I taught this had at least one male in the room (you go guys!). I've had some discussions on drawers with people both in class and out and will be updating and further researching as well.

And yes, Lady Urtatim, I took out the word Turkish.

Scandalously Practical: 
Italian Drawers


Baroness Fortune St.Keyne
Shire of Quintavia,East Kingdom
Saint Fortune @ gmail.com

Flip Up SKIRT!

Venetian Courtesan DiversarumNationum Habitus (Padua, 1589) by Pietro Bertelli

According to Cesare Vecellio in his Clothing of the World (c.1590once dress styles were more influenced by Spanish fashion and the skirts came out further from the body through the use of stiffened petticoats or farthingales (verdugado), the trend of wearing linen or silk drawers began.

How precisely this developed is unknown, but courtesans were known for adopting Islamic styles and men’s-styles. For example, one extant pair housed at the Prado are patterned after men’s style breeches, embroidered with mottos such as “voglio il core” or “I want the heart”, but unlike the example seen above do not have slashes.

Drawers, also called calze or brache, quickly caught on for the more respectable ladies. In Mode a Firenze it is mentioned that Eleanor of Toledo (1522 –1562) possessed a pair of drawers in red silk taffeta, and Maria de' Medici (1573 –1642had many pairs were made up in splendid gold brocade as the new Queen of France (1610). Englishman Fynes Moryson observed in his travels in Europe (May 1591 to May 1595) that “city” virgins and gentlewomen of many places wear silk and linen “breeches” under their skirts, published in his Itinerary (1617). By 1625 according to Mary Laven's Virgins of Venice nuns were wearing drawers.

Since the origins are murky I’ve looked into what very bare evidence of Ottoman and other Near/Middle Eastern undergarments for women were. The pants worn under clothing have many names: Shalwar, salwar, or Sarwal/Serouel all are similar in cut and seem to have evolved into drawers, as evidenced by the wide stance. Often these were of thin fabric for women and white, but no slit that we know of. These are believed to have been linen or cotton and are depicted as being very light or sheer.

The extant examples included here are from the early 1600s, so we can only speculate on earlier uses of these garments. However, if study of period costume has taught me one thing: our ancestors were far cleverer than we give them credit for.  

A note on the above illustration: I believe is happening in the above woodcut is more titillation than actual underwear. The cortigiana di lume, the lamppost courtesans or streetwalkers, were known to wear men’s clothing to arouse interest in clients. Girls wearing men’s clothing has long been sexy. Vecellio even speaks of courtesans wearing “men’s style” breeches under their skirts.

It could also be a bit of a commentary on the courtesan’s rights in society, being more on par with a man, “wearing the pants” literally. There is a woodcut of a german woman wearing braes with a message about the woman ruling the husband. So we’re going to base the patterns used here on the few extant examples.


A Short Note on Men’s Underwear:

The Met extant drawers are described as being for men, but the period male “brache” or “mutande” have a different stance, and seem to be constructed with a full strip of fabric between the legs instead of a gusset. They also appear in depictions as shorter, closer to modern boxer shorts. You can see an example of men running in their underwear in the Triumph of April fresco in the Salon dei Mesi of the Palazzo Schifanoia in Ferrara from the mid-1400s. The women in that fresco are wearing only chemises to run, and are thought to be prostitutes, you can see right up one of their skirts. (Nice banquet hall, Cardinal).



Period Drawers –


·         Wide stance, much wider than modern pants (see extant)

·         Gathered into a thin waistband with a tie through eyelets, descriptions of Spanish drawers list the ties and agelets separately

·         The Prado example is buttoned at the waistband with a fabric button

·         Either gathered into a thin bias cuff at the bottom or embellished with bobbin lace

·         Embroidery is both monochrome and polychrome

·         Decoration on the slit (seems impractical…)

·         Slit goes from the front, about half way around on the two Met examples, the Prado example has a smaller slit.

The Split:

I am not fully convinced that extant example #3 here was ever fully sewn up the center. You’ll notice it is not fully sewn all the way up in the front or back. I suspect these were independent tubes held together on a single drawstring waistband. This is the method I use to make mine, and it works really well for me.


Why Drawers?

Now, let’s talk about why you should wear them: because most people have thighs that touch. Drawers, especially split drawers, are a more porta-privvy friendly option to bike shorts and they can be made of natural fibers. 


Personally, I have one pair for every day of an event. Since, you know, they are underwear!


Period Pattern:

Janet Arnold has a pattern for drawers in Patterns of Fashion 3 based on one of the below examples from the Met.

Depending on how familiar you are with pattern making, you’ll notice this looks a lot like a modern pants pattern, but instead of being cut in its entirety, the flares of the crotch seam are added with gussets. It is very important if you are using the period drawers layout to do flat felled seams so there is a smoother surface on your inner thigh. I promise you.


Cutting Layout:


Take your waist measurement and multiply it 1 ½ times. Divide this number by 4. This is measurement 1 on the diagram.


Take a measurement around leg just below the knee, add 2 inches, divide by 2, this is measurement 2 on the diagram. If binding your cuffs multiply the measurement 1 ½ times and then divide by 2.


This is inspired by Kat of Kat’s Purple Files layout on her website. See the resources at the end for a link: Take a measurement from your waist to just below your knee, add 1 inch for gathered and bound waist, 3 inches for a drawstring, this is measurement 3.

The gussets are from what is left, generally around 8 or so inches. You will need four triangles about 4 by 4 by 6 inches, or you can make two 4 inch squares. If you are sewing by hand, it won’t matter, if you are doing it by machine, then do the triangles.


If you are doing a gathered and bias bound waistband cut out a strip three inches wide by your waist plus 1 inch. Iron in half, then fold up the raw edges to the ironed fold and iron those in. Iron the raw edges in half an inch and set aside. If you are binding your bottom cuffs do the same but using your below the knee measurement and adding 25 inches for ties each leg.

Sew your legs together on the long side using a flat-felled seam. Again, you want your seams as flat as possible.


Curve one side (mirroring on each leg) of the leg piece in slightly, about an inch and a half, and then attach the gussets to either side of the leg piece as shown in the first Period Pattern diagram.


Sew the legs together from the tip of the gusset to the end, or 3 inches before the bottom cuff if you are binding the cuffs. Again, flat-felling the seams, and if you’re really fancy, to the right side.


TURN ONLY ONE LEG INSIDE OUT. Nest the two legs together and sew from the BACK to the far side of the gusset. Leave the rest open. Hem the front opening.


Hem the bottom slit and cuffs. Bind the bottom cuffs if that is your desire. Embellish the bottom cuffs otherwise with lace or embroidery. These were not dainty embellishments, they are 3-4 inches deep, so go to town.


Gather the waistband and fold over if doing a drawstring or bind in the waist binding you made earlier. If you are doing a waist bound top, you will need to make two eyelets on either side about an inch and a half down from the top and an inch and a half in slit. You will pass a silk ribbon or some finger-loop braid through here as your tie.


Congratulations on your new set of drawers, I hope they bring you light, happiness, and no thigh chafing!






Now, for those of you more afraid of pattern drafting and are willing to cut corners, read on for my quick method drawers:



How I Do It Quickly– (aka Pennsic is in a week and a half, let’s not kid ourselves here)

Meet your new friend, the Pajama Pants pattern!

Youneed an easy, no frills, pajama pant pattern. No pockets, not for stretch fabric

·        ButterickB5829

o   Includes apattern for cloth slippers (period looking for shoes!)

·        McCall’sM2476

·        McCall’sM6252 

·        Simplicity5314 (plus size)

Yardage: I usually purchase 3 yards of fabric, but I am a bigger girl, am tall and a lot of that height is leg. I use the leftover to make a simple fabric pouch to tuck the dirty pair in once worn and toss that pouch into my garb bin.

Cutout the pattern at least one size larger than you would normally wear, you wanta little room, but these aren’t harem pants, don’t go crazy.

Measurefrom your waist to about your knees, or a few inches longer, add 2 inches tothis measurement and fold up the pants pattern at this measurement (measuringon the pattern from the markings for the waistband.

Ignorethe layout on how to cut them out on fabric. Be a rebel!


Lineup the inner thigh portion with the fold, this is important. You don’t want aseam here, it’s not a terrible thing, but it will improve the experience. Add acouple inches to the top (dashed lines), this is for adjustment later.

Cutout the two legs, You’ll have two pieces with a U shape in the middle. Finishthe U shape first, either with a strip of bias tape or by folding over thecenter.

Seweach leg to itself along the long side. You’ll end up with two tubes.

Now,the goofy step! You’re going to put them on without the waistband.

Cuta strip of elastic so it’s comfortable for your waist. I recommend non-rollelastic. Put on your two leg tubes, put the elastic around your waist over thetubes and safety pin, and adjust at will! You will likely end up with moreexcess at the front than the back. Go through the rhythms of daily life, walk,sit, squat, make sure it doesn’t pull overmuch. Leave the crotch loose, nottight up against the body, but not to your knees, both situations will leaveyou uncomfortable.

Oncethe waist is adjusted, mark with chalk and cut off the excess. Leave 3 inchesor so to fold over to create a casing to house the elastic, this depends on thewidth of your elastic, I usually use 1-1 ½ inch wide. I always recommend usingelastic as a backup for drawstring pants. No one needs the drawstring to failsay, when running to court.

Thereare two ways you can do this next step, you can either have each leg be independent on the elastic waistband–or– stitch together the first 4 inches at the center front and at the center back, do a tight zigzag at thesplit to reinforce this spot. Add two button holes or thread eyelets to runyour drawstring through.

Doublecheck the bottom measurement and adjust and finish the cuffs. Add thedrawstring and elastic Add bobbin lace for fun. Embroider the cuffs. Writecheeky sayings!

Now, if you’re more advanced at pattern drafting…

Lay out yourpieces (or just draft pant legs) with a wider stance to mimic extant garments.(That’s the goal eventually right?)


And if you really want to go crazy –

A pattern forsalwar from Master Rashid of the East:

Pattern my Master Rashid for Salwar from Dar Anahita:

Extant Drawers (also calledCalze or Brache)


1.   Museodel Tessuto, Prato c. 1630
Extant Drawers 1: "I Want The Heart"

Embroidered with words and a double eagle blue on white linen and the bottom of the leg bound

·        Linenbreeches embroidered with the words 'voglio il core' (I want the heart) indouble running stitch in blue linen thread

·        Theleg is bound with a blue ribbon (probably linen) and the opening is on theinside leg

2.    MetropolitanMuseum of Art, New York


Accession Number: 10.124.4
Due to the slit stopping halfway down, could have been mens (or a helpful later "fix")

Detail of the polychrome and metallic embroidery

·        Linendrawers with embroidered border in silver and silver-gilt

·        Atthe bottom of the legs bobbin lace worked in metal threads and two differentbrown silks

·         Embroideredopening from waistband to crotch

3.    MetropolitanMuseum of Art, New York c.1600

Accession Number: 10.124.3
If you are looking for these, the Met calls them "trousers", because that makes sense to them....

Detail of the embroidery

·        Thispair is marked as being "possibly for a man"

·        Linendrawers embroidered with polychrome and metal threads, some of which aremissing, showing the original ink used to mark the pattern

·        Polychromebobbin lace at the bottom of the leg opening

·        Drawstringwaist, missing the cord




Extant Drawers:


Pattern my Master Rashid forSalwar from Dar Anahita:

Middle Eastern Garb:

PersianUnderwear by Baroness Rozalynd of Thornabee on Tees:

Turkish Garb Overview by Baroness Katja Davidova Orlova Khazarina:

MaghribiWomen's Costume (Spain to Tunisia) by Urtatim bint 'abd al-Karim al-hakimal-Fassi        


Pattern from a Civil Warre-enactor:

Additional :

Articleon Courtesans and their clothing quoting Margaret F. Rosenthal: