Monday, September 9, 2013

A Shirt for Dave

As we are planning to go back to Camlann for their Yule celebration, I felt I should make Dave a more period outfit. He's not so hung up on authenticity as I am, and I admit that in my love for him, I tend to add fanciful details to his things that aren't exactly in keeping with 14th century style.

Dave's only request was that I not make him braes and hose.

Thanks to the kind folks at Cloak and Daggered for this example picture.
Dave calls this the "saggy diaper butt" look, and says he'll refuse any attempt on my part to
force him into such nonsense. I bow to my lord's wishes. 
Now, I don't see what the problem is with this sexy, sexy way of dressing (although I'd think one's tush might feel a bit drafty not covered in wool like the legs are). My attempts to assure him that his nethers would be well covered by his tunic fell on deaf ears, and I know enough to choose my battles -- after all, he'll be the one driving us to Camlann! -- so he'll be wearing cotton tights under his kit, and as usual, if anyone wants to comment, well, then they can try to force him into hose.

Wait, this post is titled "A Shirt for Dave". Why am I going on about hose and Dave's tush? Back on topic this instant, madam!

What I am making Dave for Camlann is a traditional linen shirt and a woolen tunic. Shirt comes first: I pulled linen from my stash. Once I measured out, I realized the off-white stuff I had was not quite enough. I made the body, gores and gussets from that, and cut the sleeves from a scrap of white I had left over from making my wimple and veil. "No one will notice your sleeves and body don't match," I assured Dave. "You'll have your tunic on over it, and the color difference isn't that extreme." Dave looked uncertain. So I brewed up a quick tea bath and gave the sleeves a quick dip to get a closer match. They turned out matching perfectly.

As I ironed and cut and stitched, I noticed a few little stains. This happens when your linen source is secondhand tablecloths. I won't buy things with obvious dribs and drabs on them, but a speckle of this and that here and there is hard to avoid. I don't mind it on underthings. Like I say: it's not dirt, it's authenticity!

It took me two evenings, start to finish.

It's so nice to be able to work up such lovely, simple things. I wonder if the average housewife in the 14th century took any pleasure in making her family's clothing, or if it was just another chore? Of course things for babies, weddings, and fancy wear would be more likely to elicit a feeling of pride, but was there satisfaction in simple garments made well, too? I suppose it varied among individuals, just like today.

I'll be cutting the tunic from dark spruce-green wool and working on it during a vacation to visit my family this coming weekend. Until then, tell me: what have you sewn that pleases you most?  Share with us in the comments and I'd love it if you'd link pictures!

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