Monday, May 22, 2017

A pair of viking pouches, and some other children's accessories

This year we are doing a much larger number of SCA events, partially because the children are older, and partially because my husband and I are both involved in fighting now, so a lot of events that I never had any reason to go to are now of interest to us. We have planned a summer slate that includes several weekend camping events, which is pretty exciting but means everyone needs a wardrobe instead of an outfit. With their chosen wardrobe (two small vikings, on 14th century princess, 1 tiny human) I decided that everyone this year should have a few small key accessories to go with their outfit. Particularly a pouch to carry small treasures, a favor that doubles as an ID tag (kid tag is what they call them around here) and a belt. The boys already had tablet woven belts, and I decided to purchase one for ladybug that she would get a lot of years out of.

Pouch from Birka
Since the boys are small vikings, I made them basic kidney shaped belt pouches with a flap closure, There have been a number of pouch and pouch hardware grave finds, a beautiful little lyre shaped fur coin purse at Birka, a box shaped strap closed pouch in Ireland (grave L/P 9) and a number of the basic round bottomed shape with strap closure, both at Birka, and in other places. I had seen at some point in my internet wanderings the most adorable small pouches with fur flaps and toggle closures rather than the more historically accurate strap and hardware closure. I thought the boys would really enjoy those, and they looked something I already had most of the supplies for, and simple enough for even a novice leatherworker like myself to be successful  in making, so I gave it a whirl.


I made a pattern out of cereal box, and taped it together for proof of concept. Basically you just cut a shape the size that you want the pouch to be, and a slightly smaller shape for the flap. I traced the bottom of my front and back shape to make a flap that would echo the curve properly. The only slightly tricky bit is getting the side of the pouch. it looks best if it's tapered a bit at both ends, but the edge has to be the same length as the edge of the pouch piece. Taping it all together with some masking tape is an easy way to be sure all the pieces of the puzzle fit properly.

With the pattern done, I traced it onto some of my scrap leather. I had enough for one of all one color/type of leather, and a second of mixed colors.

Although the original pouches seemed to all have one central loop to go over the belt, I decided for little folks that it'd be easier, more balanced, and sturdier to have two belt loops. This is a loosely "viking style" pouch not a recreation of a historical item.



I have a big bag off fur off cuts that I purchased as a lot from a furrier some years back for small projects like this. I scouted through and let the boys pick from the more likely options. Both pieces were a little too small, but that's the beautiful thing about fur, you can seam it in all kinds of funny ways on the back, and as long as the fur is lying in the same direction you can't tell from the front. Most off the off cuts I got in my bag were already seamed. Sometimes you may have to dampen and stretch the piece after applying a patch, but I didn't have to here, just carefully brush the fur over the seam. (I have a wonderful book about working with leather and fur that details how to stretch, seam, and patch furs.) You can use a sharps needle on most fur, but a glovers needle will make it go far faster and easier.

I haven't done much fur work, I've trimmed a couple garments with strips though, and I've found the easiest way to cut it is very carefully, from the back, with a very sharp razor blade. I find it easiest to make a number of shallower cuts to get through the skin rather than press hard and possibly cut the fur strands on the other side. With the seams on the back, I decided to line the flaps in linen. This required some problem solving, since you don't want to use a big seam allowance on fur but if you use a teeny seam allowance on linen that you've cut on the bias around a corner it's just going to come out of the seam. Fray check was the answer for me. I fray checked the linen pieces before I sewed them on, then over the stitches after I sewed them. I'm fairly certain they will now hold up to most any little boy abuses my sons can think of! The trickiest bit of the operation was keeping all the furry bits out of the seam!

I sewed the pouches together with an whip stitch over the edges. The first one I just did by eye, but the second one I got clever and used my stitching punches for (even though the leather was thin enough to just use the glovers needle.) This made the end result neater and quicker.

I applied the pouch cover with a very tight over cast stitch through both the linen and the fur into the leather. then I basically drenched the whole seam in fray check. (Hey, I know how crash and bang are, bless their hearts.)  Once the fray check had dried I slightly dampened the pouch side of the seam with a spray bottle, and then used a second piece of scrap leather as a pad, and hammered the seam into place. This was a technique I hadn't used before, from my leather sewing book, and it really improved both the look and function of the flap.

Then I dampened the leather with a spray bottle and wet blocked them onto my ironing board, pinning the seams down and pressing them open with my fingers from the inside so the bags had a nice square shape at the bottom. This is also a new step for me, and it made an immense difference in the final product.

The original pouches I had seen (I don't remember where or I'd credit them for the idea) had either wooden or antler toggle style buttons with a little loop of cord. I rally liked this idea, so I looked for antler toggle buttons. They're really expensive. Instead I bought a whole bag of antler tips for a fraction of the cost, Husbeast sanded the rough edges where they'd been sawed, and drilled holes in them.He did this outside and I wore a dust mask because the dust isn't good for you. With a couple thread loops, the project was a wrap!

The kids all received queens tokens at a recent event, of which they are understandably proud. Bang opted to have his mounted on the flap of his purse, while Crash requested his be made into a necklace that he could wear.







At a large event there is always the possibility that your child could be somehow lost or injured, and it's really good for them to have non visible but easily accessible ID on them just in case. Last year I saw someone with a very clever idea: her daughter had a belt favor embroidered with a lovely little squirrel, and on the back, safe from prying eyes, her full name, and all the pertinent emergency information I thought this was really clever. The little girl was so proud of her favor, and it kept the information secure and with her. I took that idea, and made each of my children a favor with the arms of the group we camp with on it, and an animal. Ladybug with her love of all things shiny got a magpie, Crash, for obvious reasons, a Bear, and Bang picked a hedgehog in a narrow contest against a badger: which is oddly appropriate. I did each of the favors in a slightly different style on different materials: Ladybugs is cotton  on linen canvas, done in petit point. Crash's is wool on wool and linen in split and chain stitch. Stephen's is cotton on linen and silk, in split and chain, and Kittens is wool on linen in split and stem stitch. Everyone picked their backing materials from my scrap stash. Kittens is the only one that is different: hers is armed with a pair of safety pins sewn very firmly in place, and can be pinned direct to the back of her gown where she can't reach it.

On the back of each favor is a standard military dog tag with the child's name, our name, and all the pertinent contact and allergy information. We've also had a few discussions with the horde reinforcing the obvious safety concerns, but also teaching them that in case they SHOULD somehow get lost or separated (it's never happened yet, but better safe than sorry) they should find the nearest person wearing a coronet or driving a golf cart and present them (politely) with their kid tag.

I'm still working on a pouch for Ladybug, my 14th century princess, in the style of a aumoniere, and her belt hasn't come yet, but hopefully I'll have those sorted for her by our second summer event.


Monday, May 15, 2017

In search of Armor: Undergarments

Because I wanted to build my armor from the skin out to ensure optimum fit, I had to start at the very beginning, with the foundation garments that go under it all. I had decided at the beginning in the design phase to try and make a supportive linen undergarment to replace my modern sports bra. This was for a few reasons. One reason was comfort. The wicking power of linen is insane, it's the coolest most comfortable fabric out there, even more than many of the "high tech" sports fabrics. Another reason was that I kind of doubted women would have worn neon green sports bras if they went off to war (I equally do NOT buy that women didn't wear any underwear before we developed the modern bra. Whoever came up with that idea was clearly a dude. A dude who had never talked to a girl.) But the most important reason was because currently at practice, I get to stand around in my hot sweat soaked gear while the guys strip down and either walk around half naked to cool off, or change into gloriously dry clothing. I'm jealous. I want to be able to change into dry clothes too! So I designed a wrapping top, probably most accurately called a breast band, that, while I probably won't be comfortable just stripping down to and walking around in, I'm at least comfortable in stripping down to for long enough to change into a dry tunic!
Drafting! lots of rulers! 

The first thing I did was to have someone (Blessings to Olivia who knows how to measure and is willing to help) measure me for a new body block. My last body block is pre babies and will never fit again. I've put off making a new one, because I find drafting patterns for my fluffy self depressing, but for this kind of fitted garment, you just have to have one. What you ask is a body block? A body block is the perfect representation of your 3 dimensional shape, with all your unique bumps and wiggles, rendered flat onto paper. If done properly, when it's made up in muslin it will fit you like a second skin. This provides the foundation for drafting patterns that actually fit with a minimum of fussing. Once I have a body block I can make almost any garment from it and need only one fitting to iron out any small problems with fit. It's the invaluable tool of the custom pattern drafter.

my front and back hip length block. No sleeve on this one.
Since I'm being all technical and stuff here, I'd like to take a moment to clear up some terminology confusion. A body block is a flat representation of a specific person's body, used as a tool to draft patterns for that person. A Sloper is a generic body block, made in standard sizes (not specifically for one person) used in commercial pattern drafting. So if you work in a fashion house, you might go grab the size 8 sloper to make a dress pattern. If you draft from measurements directly to the pattern for say a bodice or a doublet, (which is a fascinating period technique), it is neither a Block, nor a Sloper, it is a Pattern. You have completely skipped the Sloper/Block step of pattern drafting and gone directly to the end goal: a pattern that fits. I prefer, usually, to work from a block, because if I go direct to pattern I have to re-do the drafting process every time: if I have a block I just trace the pattern off and make the appropriate alterations.

Something extremely fitted and supportive like a breast band may require more fiddling than the average garment: even with a good body block, I had to go through two mockups to get the shaping just right. The final product though is super comfortable, very supportive, cool, and un bra like enough that I'm comfortable stripping off to change in the middle of a field full of primarily dudes. (I want to be clear that this is an issue of personal comfort, not of modesty. I applaud any of my sisters in arms who do not feel weird about stripping down and changing, I am not as brave as you!)

 The final garment is made of two layers of linen in the front, and one layer, with an extra strength piece added at the center in the back.  There's a small loop to keep the straps from shifting around at the center back. The tie is  double folded light weight linen. Usually I cut all selvedges off of linen, because they can make your seams bunchy. However here, I used the selvedge in the tie on purpose, because it 100% will NOT stretch.
  I wanted to give the back a little extra strength, but not make it two layers, so I put a small panel at the center back to give support to the fabric where the straps pull and minimize stretching.The straps are cut on the straight of the grain to minimize stretching.

I need to add a small button hole for the under wrapping strap to come out of, because that is showing a tendancy to slip.  All the front edges have three rows of top stitching. This is because they are necessarily cut on the bias, and will be prone to stretching. If this isn't stretch proof I can run a small ribbon through one of the "chanels" formed by the top stitching and sew it in place to firm up the edge.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

In search of armor. A basic design.

Tourney at War of the Roses, 2015
Photo: Daily Gazette
I have recently started doing SCA Heavy combat, which is something I've been interested in since the first time I saw people doing it, three years ago at Wars of the Roses. I thought, WOW that looks like an amazing amount of fun! But with then 3 kids and another on the way it just didn't seem possible. Well, fast forward two years, and the rest of the family is up to their ears in fencing, so I'm at practice every week, but actually fighting myself seems years away, because someone has to watch the horde. Enter the amazing Olivia Baker, who said something to me like "gee I'd really like to try fencing, but what on earth would I do with the minion while I fight?" And so the fight practice children's play group was born. I watch everyone while Olivia goes off and (safely and carefully) stabs people, then we switch out and I bludgeon people (well, attempt to) while she supervises the horde. It's been amazing, and Heavy is just as fun as I thought it looked the first time I saw it. Probably more!

The biggest problem with heavy fighting is all the armor. It gets expensive pretty quickly if you're not a smith, and I'm no metal worker. While most baronies keep a lot of loaner gear, if you're not standard guy sized you can have trouble finding things that fit. And armor that doesn't fit leaves spectacular bruises. Luckily one of our local households has a large stock of youth sized loaner gear and were able to set me up with a full kit. Less luckily, because it's household armor, they (very reasonably) requested that it be kept by a household member and transported to practice for me. Because the household member also has a life, which doesn't always coordinate with my life, the armor is not reliably at practice when I am. Between that and the "armor bite" bruises I'm scrambling to get as much of my own kit as quickly as possible.

Aside from being a blacksmith, There are other options: lamellar plates  and pickle barrel or kydex are more acessible to the average human, and less expensive. Leather can be expensive, and there is a skillset to working with it, but it's more flexible and breathable than many other options. I've spent a lot of time since I started fighting looking at all the female kits I could find. because  gear that works for girls can be quite different than that which works for guys. I found some options that are more in my own wheelbase: using more garment sewing skills than metal and heavy leather working skills. This also gives me the opportunity to learn a few new skills, particularly working with heavier weights of leather.

For design I wanted to maximize flexibility and breathability without sacrificing much in the way of protection. The official rules state that you have to cover your hands, wrists, elbows, knees, kidneys, and neck with "rigid" material backed by regulation padding. (obviously in addition to a helmet and gender specific groin protection) But most fighters add pieces to this to their own taste. As a new fighter I want a lot of protection because I get hit a lot. As I improve I may dispense with some of these pieces, but for now I'm thankful for all the protection I can get, since I don't like the look of layered bruises . I'm adding to the regulation gear: vambraces, Rerebraces, Spaulders (the smaller cousin of the pauldron) and a chest and back piece. I'm hoping to continue borrowing the full legs I've been using for the time being (leather cuisse with articulated metal poleyn and fan plate) because I quite like them. I may consider adding tassets eventually if I keep getting whacked in the hips, but for now I mostly get very good protection from my shield.

The best way to design and make all this is from the skin out: so that the outer layers would be sure to fit over padding and garments worn underneath.

Layer 1: a wrapped linen supportive top. Thorsbjurg trousers with leg wraps. and a closely fitted gamebeson with grand assiette sleeves for freedom of motion. The gambeson is quilted with padding over key areas, but not all over to facilitate not dying of heat stroke.














Layer 2: Rerebraces attached to couters are pointed (meaning tied) to the shoulders of the gambeson. Couters are purchased from Rough From the Hammer and made of aluminum. Rerebraces are going to be either kydex or leather (still arguing with myself) A tall fitted kidney belt with lacing for adjustment, and buckles to get in and out, covers my kidney area and supports my leg armor while spreading the weight of said leg armor evenly over my hips.  This garter style comes recommended by other female fighters, and I'm looking forward to getting rid of the highly uncomfortable leg belt.








Layer 3: a fighting tunic goes over the whole thing, and is belted on. Over that I put on a shaped leather breastplate with attached spaulders and a back panel of scale mail mounted on leather, and my gorget. Spaulders are stainless steel and also from rough from the hammer, and the gorget is on it's way from the same place we bought husbeasts fencing gorget. in addition I will wear a pair of leather covered vambraces attached to gloves, and leather half gauntlets.










Certainly this mish mash of pieces is nothing even LIKE historically accurate, but, for a viking persona, any armor other than a padded jacket with maybe a chain link shirt is basically not, from anything we can tell, historically accurate. The closest real armor I can find is the Visby coat of plates, in 1361, and of course the questionable birka lamellar scales. But in our particular combat sport, we have rules, and those rules dictate that we use certain amounts of rigid body protection, and good sense dictates a few more. So this is going to be a practical, fun, historical ish project that will hopefully result in a set of armor that I actually like.


Sunday, April 16, 2017

Robe a la Francaise, A Modern Twist.

Jean-Fran├žois de Troy, The Declaration of Love, 1731
One of my favorite things to do in my own designing (when I'm not obsessed with historical
reacreation) is to use historical garments as the foundation for wearable modern clothes. Whether it be a house robe or a formal gown, there's something enticing and fascinating about blending classical forms with modern sensibilities. Most of the time for my own fashion choices (at least the ones I wear out of the house!) I stick to a very 1940's and early 50's new look vibe. It's suitable for my figure, and I love the look. But for special occasion dresses, it's a lot of fun to just go a little wild, and the girls are the perfect models!

From the collection of the Metripolitan 
I admit to having a weakness for the robe a la francaise, or sack back gown. Even though there's very little about the rococo period that I like (most of it's just too much for me. Music, Interior decorating... even the art) there's something about the fitted tapered front, and elegant sleeves of the robe a la francaise, contrasted against the flowing, voluminous Watteau pleats that I just love. These gowns also showcase some of the most phenomenal use of large prints and particularly striped prints, that I've ever seen. I may be a little obsessed.

I've done one sack backed project before. I have a dressing gown that's a empire waist with a sack back which is both comfortable and elegant. It's been one of my favorites for years, but I've yearned to do a closer approximation of the style. This has been simmering on the back burner for a long time in the "nowhere to wear it and it's not practical for at home" pot. But as I was looking at fabrics for my daughter's Easter dresses inspiration struck. I could do a gown, constructed in the period manner, complete with elbow flounces, with the entire top layer made out of terminally sparkly organze, making a whole modern twist out of a beautiful historical gown. I drew ups some designs and showed them to Ladybug, and she was in love. so away I went.

The original sack back I experimented with for my dressing gown had the pleats gathered into the neckline direct, which had some difficulties inherent to it: all that bulk, the pleats didn't want to turn under into neck seam easily, it wanted to pull at the neckline, etc etc. So for this gown I decided to select the other construction option, which uses a yoke. That way you don't have to turn down all those layers of pleated fabric, but instead just flip the yoke up over them. In some ways the line isn't as clean as pleats falling from the back neckline direct, but the construction is simpler. The yoke also gives you an easy flat space to attache trim, which with planned ruffled ribbon trim, was another plus.

I drafted the gown off of another roccoco inspired gown I had made last year, this one had a faux stomacher and a pollanaise style skirt. It took a standard sleeve pattern that I also have in stock, which made it easier than re-drafting from a block. Super secret: I hate drafting sleeves. If I have something similar I've already drafted I will frequently bastardize the pattern rather than go back and re do sleeve and armscythe drafting. With a few minor alterations, the pattern was a go.

I had a yard and half of super sparkle organza, and about the same of a purple satin. The plan was to use the organza for the entire exterior gown, and the satin for the interior gown and stomacher and then add ruffled trim. The first hurdle showed up as I began laying out pattern pieces This gown uses a LOT of fabric. Yes, those capitals are necessary.  To illustrate the stupid amount of fabric this gown takes: Kitten is 16 months old now and wears 24 month sizes. Her gown used all but scraps of an entire yard of 60" wide organza.  So, when I laid out Ladybug's, it was instantly obvious that I wasn't going to be able to get sleeves, ruffles, and the gown pieces out of the organza unless the back was pitifully narrow.

So back to the stash I went and came out with some embroidered chiffon and an old white silk shirt. There was enough there for the sleeve ruffle and a matching stomacher, and it was a nice compliment. of course it was terrible and slithery to work with, but in for a penny, in for a pound! The only downside was you could see the seam allowances through the chiffon where I made the ruffles. this bothers me but is basically invisible on the finished gown. I may still go back and try to put some trim over it.


The dean of the fashion dept when I was in school, Mrs. Hannan, always said that working with synthetic organza was like trying to sew live spiders together. She's not wrong, but I still do use it occasionally, particularly for little girl dresses. This fabric though? I don't care HOW sparkly it is, I will never EVER use it again. You can't iron it without a pressing cloth. Iron the front? The little plastic jewels melt on the iron. Iron the back? The glue from the jewels seeps through the cloth and onto the iron. It was also a nightmare to sew evenly, you can see how completely crooked my top stitching on these sleeve ruffles is. Every time you hit some of the jewels the fabric jigged, and you might not even see the ones you hit, because they could be in one of the bottom layers. The fabric made what should have been a fun project into rather a nightmare.

Whenever I'm making a gown with a sleeve treatment I like to apply the treatments to the sleeve before I attach the sleeve. This saves wrangling the whole gown around while trying to evenly apply ruffles. I also like to try and cleverly hide all the raw edges. In this case you want to trim the organza as little as possible. because it's evil and ravelly and will slither out of the seams if given half a chance. I flipped the seam allowances to the outside here, and then sewed ribbon trim down over it.

I used a heavy linen underlining to give the bodice some weight. then stay stitched all the satin to it to keep that from slithering off. Then I pinned the pleats, and sewed the yoke down over them. This was a really great way to do the sack back. I wished I'd had more fabric in the back, but it made fairly full pleats.

The bodice came together fairly quickly. The trickiest part of the whole gown was pleating in the side pleats. I was able to cheat a little bit because I was using an attached under skirt instead of the historically accurate petticoat so I just caught the pleats in the waist seam and was done with it. Putting in the sleeves and the lining was a nightmare because of the fabric. Instead of just giving all the seam allowances a good heavy steam pressing to make the edges crisp and keep everything in place while I was sewing in the lining, I had to hand baste all the edges of the sleeve and the neckline to the underlining, which, while it seems like a small thing, added another few hours of labor to the job.

Then I added the under skirt. I pleated it onto the bodice, but gathered a large loop of it directly under the side pleats. This gave it a shadow of the silhouette that would have been given by panniers in the original gowns.








With that sorted and the lining sewed down I put on ruffled organza ribbon trim. Yards. and Yards, and Yards of ruffled organza ribbon trim. Because go big or go home right?









Then the stomacher, which I sewed down to the lining at one side, and applied hook and loop tape to the other of for closure. Again, a historical fudge. Stomachers tended to be pinned into place, but that's just not practical for tiny people. The stomacher has one plastic cable tie down the center to help it keep it's shape and two layers of underlining.

Finished and on to Kitten's dress!

I picked cow print for Kitten's dress. Because of a hilarious family story started by my Aunt, my Cousin, and a ridiculous cow print romper one easter long ago cow print baby clothes have become a thing in my family. I decided to keep it going with my youngest this year, so she got her very own cow print gown.

I love drafting for babies: the pieces are barely shaped so it's super easy to change a pattern you know fits to new lines. I started from her little wool kirtle, and moved stuff around some.

The construction process was exactly the same except I could IRON this fabric. Therefore I managed to make her whole gown in about the same time it took me to make Ladybug's sleeves. Seriously, that's the difference fabric makes. (also it's tiny so it goes faster, but not that much faster!) I did do kitten's watteau pleats straight from the neckline and then hand stitch them down into shape. Partially just because I wanted to try both methods back to back, and partially because the gown is so small, more seams in a small space like that just add bulk.

My Model got tired waiting for me to finish....

I had my major oops for the project with Kitten's gown. Somehow, although I checked it twice both when I put the ruffle on the sleeve and when I put the sleeve on the gown, I managed to put the sleeve ruffles on backwards, so the long part is to the front. Thankfully it wasn't super noticeable. I'll take it off and turn it around later when I have more time!
My sparkle princess! 



I added vintage glass buttons to the bows on Kitten's stomacher for a little extra sparkle

note the backwards sleeve ruffle.... 

The first time Ladybug saw Kitten in her gown, she said "Look mom, she's a tiny cow fairy!"
The sack back does look a little like wings when she runs around! 

Crash and Bang didn't get left out. They got Dapper Dude Vests. 

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Cheater dags! (the story of a 14th century ensemble)

I don't normally write posts about the things I do on commission: I guess I feel a little squiffy writing about something that isn't for anyone in my family without permission, and there is the fact that I don't usually have the model handy to take pictures of. A lot of times too, the work I do for others isn't all that interesting, tunics, pants, basic gowns, nothing really out of the ordinary. But this project I think is interesting all on it's own for being particularly beautiful, and also because I came up with a nifty way to cheat on the dags, which are the super painful part of much 14th century wear that isn't made of wool (fulled wool is a beautiful thing). So I thought I'd do a short write up with some pictures of the cheater dags. (I'm sure I'm not the only person to think of doing them this way, but I haven't seen anyone else do it, so I figure I may as well share!)
The winning design, although he chose
colors.

Last fall a SCA friend contacted me about making him a good cotehardie to wear to fancy events, court, and the like. He wanted the full deal: a custom pattern with hand dyed silk, fancy buttons, and trim. I was enthusiastic about the prospect but told him he had to wait until I'd survived Feast of St. Nicks and Christmas. With those obstacles past, we got in touch and designed an outfit together, woolen hose, with a silk hood and cotehardie, all custom dyed to match. Parti colored, and with dags and trim and buttons galore.



In the 14th century dagged edges became all the rage. Hoods, sleeves, hems: you name it, if it was the edge of a garment it could be cut in any number of different kinds of fancy scallops. Square, rounded, long, short, even fancy compound shapes like oak leaves can be found in period images. It was a fashion craze, and it's a real pain to do. Unless you work in fulled wool, which is fray resistant, the best way to make dags is by lining and turning. While this method works, the the points between the dags tend to be fragile, and it's hard to get it totally flat after you turn it. It's far from impossible, but it is fiddly and bothersome.

 I got to thinking about it while I was drawing up the designs, and it occurred to me, why not do them just like the tabs on a doublet: make them separately, line and turn them, sew them onto the edge, then just hide the seam with trim? it would be significantly easier than finishing a scalloped edge. So, that's what I did, and it worked out really well.

Dags in progress. 
I did some math to figure out how big the dags should be, then cut the correct number in both colors. This is silk satin, over 4.7 oz linen, lined with tissue weight silk habatoi (the silk is hand dyed, everything is from Dharma Trading as usual). I sewed the dags, clipped and graded them, turned and ironed them, then top stitched around the edge. Then I just sewed them
onto the edge, and flipped the seam towards the body of the garment. I sewed the trim so it overlapped the seam, then sewed the edge of the lining down to the edge of the dags. Voila. you could do any of the simple dags this way, square, curved, even some of the simpler compound shapes, although not the really crazy compound shapes (I've seen beautiful wool hoods with oak leaf shaped dags around the edge.) Those should probably be reserved for fulled wool. Doing the dags was still time consuming and fussy, but on balance, much easier.  A side benefit of doing it this way is that you don't have to worry about the tips of the slits, where the seams allowances are very small, and quite capable of working their way out of the seams. Fray check is your friend there, but traditional lined dags are still a little fragile. these are not.

It was a little more tricky to apply the dags to the curved edge of the hood. if you sew a straight edge to a curved edge, it cups, like the bottom of a basket, Obviously that's not a great look for a hood, so instead I turned the edge of the hood, including the lining towards the outside of the hood, and laid the dags over it.

Then I top stitched along the edge of the lining from the reverse to attach the dags.

I then applied trim over the exposed edges. Trim on a curved edge like this is tricky. you can see how if I make it tight to the larger circumference of the outside edge, it bubbles along the inside edge. Where the curve is gentle, many brocaded synthetic trims like this, if steamed thoroughly (careful about the heat of the iron, they will melt) can be eased into the shape of the curve. However, where the curve is sharp, this is not enough: you can see how much excess there is on the left picture of the hood edge. Then you have to find a way to take tucks in the edge. In many patterns you can find a spot to take small regular tucks that will be disguised by the pattern.


There are six tucks in the trim on this side of the hood. once they're sewn and steamed into place, you can hardly tell, even from quite close to the trim.

Here's the hood on my volunteer mannequin. I'm not sure about the lining in the hood: I was just lining all the things with my standard silk lining, which is lightweight, nice to work with, and comfortable to wear. After I got the hood all finished I put it on myself to see how it looked, and noticed that the weight of the liripipe (long tail at the back) was pulling it down off my head. Because the silk lining is so silky and smooth it was just sliding straight off. Another time I think I would line the hood in something with a little more natural friction, linen, or even tropical weight wool, to give it some grip against the head. I told the recipient that if it continually slides down, he can send it back and I'll stitch a little pad of something with more grip to the crown of the head to keep it in place.


This was a time consuming project, I had never sewn a cotehardie or hose before (thankfully the customer had a pair of hose that fit him to be cloned. which made that easy.) so I got to learn some new things, which is always exciting. Really the cotehardie is the progenitor of the suit jacket, the first truly fitted men's garment in a long line thereof. Like other very structured garments, it was a lot of work, but the result is very sharp. It kind of looks like a blob laying on the bed, but it fits the recipient like a glove. The sleeve, although tightly fitted, is constructed for full range of motion.It has gold and black modern brocaded trim in a period style, and pewter buttons cast in a period style.  I'm hoping to get more chances to play with cotehardies in the future, because it was a great deal of fun. I'm actually now looking at drafting a grand assiette sleeve for myself, as taken from the purpoint of Charles de Blois, to use in a gambeson to wear under my armor for heavy combat. I wouldn't have gone down that rabbit hole (Which is a very FUN rabbit hole) without this experience to start me. (which is one of the many reasons I really enjoy doing work for other people, I get to play in periods and shapes outside the norm for me).