Below you will find the progress posts of the contestants. Each team has their own tag – if you click on it, you can see all the posts by that specific team, or you can just enjoy the mixed stream that exists here. All comments are moderated, and the ES web team will be by several times a day to release them.

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Sunday 04/25 Post

D. The Last of This Project, and Lessons Learned

I was not as happy with the way the pellote turned out, but at least I will know better for the next time I attempt it. For one, I will not order the fabric on-line, but will take a good look at what I am getting. For another, although the later versions of the pellote are indeed this narrow (those crazy 1280s), I will make my third attempt closer to that of the mid-1240s by adding perhaps an inch to the curve of the front and back panel, and bringing the lower edge up another inch, or inch and a half.

Side view with pellote, and cording.

I was happy with the way that gold trim worked for the neck and the way it hid the front seam, in any case.

I don’t ever regret losing time by hand- sewing trim.

Thank you all, once again, for hosting this unique event in these exceptional times. When we can be confident to meet again in person, I am sure many of us will be grateful for the opportunity this gave for us to make lovely garb to celebrate that meeting.

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Monday 04/19 Post

C. One Set of Needles Postponed the Other Set

I would have finished this thing completely but for the fact that I had my first dose of the vaccine recently, and I wasn’t quite up to it. However, I did receive the lovely token late last week. Thank you! It is the most appropriate and practical event token after the pouches have gotten at Convivencia and Musicians’ Day of past years.

I hope to finish hemming the liner of the pellote before this blog is closed to new entries. If someone would let me know when that deadline is, I would be most grateful.

Again, thank you for the event, the experience, the feedback, and the token.

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Thursday 04/08 Post

B. Hemming and Hawing

I have finished the trimming. All that’s left now where the pellote is concerned is the hemming of the interlining and the liner. Once all three layers are done, the three layers will be attached at the main seam points. I only have myself to blame for not cutting the three layers precisely each time.

After that, I will remove the eyelet tape made of hem tape from the saya and replace it an eyelet tape made from single fold bias tape. It will be much sturdier and better take the strain of the cording. I actually have some spare fabric which would be enough for a small purse. I have received the judges’ notes, but have not had a chance to read those yet. I am usually too exhausted after work during the week, but will go through those over the weekend.

This was a good experience, and I was going for the experience itself. I thank everyone involved once more for the time and the input. This will serve me well for a similar event happening in the autumn in Caid. Look up The Tortoise and the Hare event if you are curious. My hare entry (which is supposed to be something never done before) was drafting a pattern from scratch and making something of it, and the tortoise entry is doing the same thing a year later to show improvement. I may do another piece of garb, though, if this saya was made too soon for the purposes of this year’s entries.

Be well, everyone.

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Judging Sheets and questions

I got my judging sheets and I’m not mad or upset by them at all. I got middle of the road points and that’s what I expected. I think I’m harder on myself than the judges were. But I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t ask questions. Note-I’m asking to learn not to argue.

The comment I got the most was about how many SCA sources I used. And I did use a lot of SCA sources. Mostly because they were complete; added to this there were pictures from museums that even when I looked for the same image to use for documentation I could not find it either in Google or Google Scholar (and can every new A & S person please be told about Google Scholar? I didn’t find out about it for almost 20 years in the SCA). I looked in museum sites, scholar articles, student articles and books. But could not find the same information that was already on someone’s SCA site. I followed the links that were on those SCA websites and often the links no longer led anywhere or I wasn’t finding the same information that was worded in a real way as it was on the SCA person’s site. So the question I have is how do you use “real” sources or less SCA sources? And maybe what I mean is more how do you find the sites that count as “real”? Especially for a very niche outfit, such as my project. I read two different books about the Janissaries and their clothes and uniforms took up all of a page and half to three pages in each book. But not really what applied to just general infantry soldier. Also why are an SCA’s site frowned upon? Why reinvent the wheel?

The other question I have is more of how do “you” (whoever is reading this) write up your documentation? I know part of my problem and has always been a problem is that I can spend a month or two opening, reading and closing websites and books (I signed up and am paying for so I could read some books that I didn’t have other ways to get without buying them-some were not cheap or had info I needed). Then it’s time to do the write up and I have all of this information in my head and I know what applies to what I’m making and what doesn’t. I don’t always remember where what information came from and I’ve tried to pull the info I’m going to use and the citation to a word document but that has mixed results. So two months after all the researching and reading I have to basically start again to make sure I list all the places I got all the information from and then I get annoyed; as mentioned on another post this is normally for research for a feast-after research, tasting, testing, figuring out the budget and what would be acceptable substitutions for things outside of budget friendly ingredients. After all of that I’m not interested in opening and closing and reading everything again to make sure I have all the citations. So I’m hoping to learn a better way and I’m open to suggestions.

Long and short of this; other than wow, I need more handsewing practice and time management skills, I feel like my score would have better if my documentation had been better and of course, if I finished everything-the shoes would have upped my wow factor. I can work on getting better at the first two but I really think I need help with getting better at documentation.

Oh, one other question-how do you write documentation for various audiences? One comment I had was that the documentation was written about the persona not the garments. I wrote the documentation the way I did because the outfit choice was based on the persona and one of my judges commented early on that she wasn’t as knowledgeable about the area’s garb. I had hoped to explain about the uniform itself, the history of the group and why the choices I made were made since the persona inspired the outfit. Again, not defending or arguing the comment. I’ve been told before that documentation should be written so that a newbie would be able to follow along but at the same time (I entered a dish in K & Q) be written for the judges-who would be Laurels. How do you write for both in same paper? Add to this how do you know what can be assumed as general knowledge and what isn’t? I can give you the example of the mortar and pestle. To my thinking, everyone should know what a mortar and pestle is or if it is used in the sentence, I used a mortar and pestle to grind the spices by hand then I wouldn’t need to give a citation to prove its a period method. But I’ve been told that I do. So how do you know what to include and what not to include? How minute do you need to be in your documentation or how do you know when you can be broad minded in what you include?

Seriously, I want to get better at this part of A & S so please if you can help I would greatly appreciate it. 🙂

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Monday 04/05 Post

A. The Trimming of the Pellote

This weekend was a full one, what with various home chores and Easter at the in-laws’ place, so I could not get much done, but I did pin the neckline and center seam trim to the pellote and start to sew it in place. More will happen before next week. I hope everyone’s weekend was happy and fulfilling, whichever spiritual flavor applied.

The pellote being trimmed.
The pellote in the process of being trimmed.
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Friday 04/02 Post

IV. The Epilogues

The succeeding posts will be for cataloging what was left to finish before this blog is closed. I ran to JoAnn’s on Wednesday to get some single-fold bias tape in the color I needed. I realized the hem tape I used this time to make the eyelet tape for the saya may not be strong enough for the long haul. The bias tape will be sturdier.

By Saturday night I should be finished with most of this. I must get out of here and log on to work for today. Take care and be well, everyone.

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I didn’t get to post about the last-minute push to finish everything for my judging presentation.

I got my basic hose finished at 4am on Saturday. I didn’t get to put the tops on them to really make them Viking thigh-highs, but that’s on my punch list. They are incredibly comfortable and I want to make more to really refine the patterns. There was a certain amount of jiggering about when attaching the top of the foot to the leg, and I want to play around with assembly to see what the easiest way might be. There could be a class here, so I’ll try to take good notes.

I did develop a little hot spot on the side arch of my right foot, but I couldn’t find any lumps or rough spots in the foot of the hose, so maybe there was a wrinkle inside my shoe. I’ve always been tender-footed, even when I was skating and abusing my feet regularly, so if it’s not that, I’ll probably just end up putting a bandage on my foot before I get dressed. I’ve been wanting an excuse to buy a Wellys kit.

I did the judging at my Mom’s house. Her background was less chaotic than my house. I was still sewing the straps on my smokker during the judging of the first group, and I sewed the tablet weaving to the front loops while I was wearing the dress. The loops that come over my shoulders from the back ended up being too long; fixing those are also on my punch list. The smokkr itself is really comfy, and I want to make another one, but I’m not entirely thrilled with the shape I developed. I’m going to play around with this pattern as well.

I also want to try this sort of pleating on linen, because I think it would be super-cute on a summer dress.

Speaking of linen, my serk turned out well, but it wasn’t till Saturday that I realized it was too big for me. Originally I was going to take in the shoulders. I was looking in the mirror, and realized that the neckline in particular looked too wide for me, and while I was chatting with my mom (who loves the handkerchief linen I used to make it), I grabbed a handful of fabric at the center front. Pinning 3” out of the front of the serk brought everything in where it needed to be, so fixing that is yet another item on my punch list. I’m just going to sew the line first, then trim away the excess and finish the seam. That way, if it goes haywire, I only have to rip out the stitching; I haven’t destroyed the front of my gown.

I think that my presentation went well. I haven’t gotten my comments back from the judges yet. There were some weirdnesses with the judges for my group that bothered me. I didn’t know who my judges were, as only two of them had introduced themselves to me, and I only saw one of those two logged in during the presentations of the Early Period group. Turns out that our group only had two judges, because of the four people that were lined up to judge, one dropped out a bit before end of the competition, and one ghosted the event entirely. I have some further questions about how events of the day went down in regards to my group, but I will ask those in the future.

I am not in any way contesting the results of my skill division. Bartholomew Sharpe deserved to win. His presentation and accomplishments are beyond reproach and I strive to be as efficient in my making and as fearless in trying new skills as he is. The issues I had with the judging in my time period group rocked me hard, harder than I expected, and those are issues are mine to cope with, so I’m going to take my time to unpack them. If I force it, it will not go well.

I enjoyed the process and the presentations. (If you want to see my presentation, it’s right here on YouTube. I’m going to help organize the competition next time, and I’m looking forward to that. I’m really hoping that we can make it even better next time, fostering community amongst the competitors and excitement amongst the populace. I really want to make it fun.

That wraps it up for me for the Ethereal Seamstress Challenge. Next up… The Laurel Challenges! If you want to follow my progress on the Laurel Challenges, please join me on my personal blog at Built Fjord Tough. Thank you, and don’t forget to tip your bartenders and waitstaff. Night, y’all!

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Sunday 03/28 Post: The Day After

III. What Was Finished, What Remains, What Was Learned

Someone once told me about the Order of the March Hare. It’s about as unofficial as you can get. All you need to do to be in it is to be sewing a piece of garb that you plan to wear to an event on the day of that event, on the way to it, or even at it. So I was still hemming my pellote on the morning of the event, and had pinned the trim the night before and had starting sewing that on as well. I did not finish it, but at least I was able to show what I had completed.

So here is the ensemble, such as it is. The camisa had been done before the competition and was considered an underpinning. The linen head wear and socks, the faux silk crespina, were commercially purchased at virtual Pennsic last year. The saya was completed in time for the event, and the partially completed pellote is hanging in the background.

What gone done by the day of.
The completed saya and the partially completed pellote, background.

I was asked during the judging portion what I had done differently from a prior attempt at this uniquely cut garment, which was out of this beginner’s comfort zone, particularly for drafting a pattern that does not exist commercially. I said that I added 1/2″ across the front panel so it would not be so tight across my chest, and I also subtracted one whole inch from the right side armhole, so it would not pinch so at the armpit. Where the left side is concerned, I had tried to make the gap a little less wide, but it will always be a little daring. What can I say, I’ve lived to a venerable age for that time, I can afford to raise few eyebrows. Que se fastidian las chismosas. Let the gossips be bothered.

Right side of saya.
Right side of saya with comfortable armhole.
Left side of saya, with proper cording.
Left side of the saya with cording that approximates tubular tablet-woven silk.

The cording would have been tubular tablet-woven silk of the same fabric type as the saya, but I have not the budget/skill/time for that, so I used strips of fabric of the same type as my saya (a cotton-poly blend), sewed, pressed, turned, and slip-stitched so it would look passable.

So what is left? I am going to finish hemming all three layers of the pellote, and getting some narrower complementary trim for its neckline. I plan to finish that before the month is out, to post the entire ensemble here while we are still able to do so.

This was educational and entertaining. My many thanks to the people of Barony Beyond the Mountain for hosting this unique event during these unique times, to my husband Lord Wilhelm von Freiburg for putting up with the long hours I spent on this (and for cleaning out the sewing machine when the bobbin got fractious), and to Buddy the feline fabric tester, who made it his personal mission to test the liner for maximum comfort when my back was turned.

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Panel embroidery

I want to thank everyone here for this event. This is my panel embroidery. When I am done with my hood embroidery and my bag I will add the photos also.

panel embroidery

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The finished piece

I finished it. My outfit. In the beautiful linen. I finished by covering the grommets with the silver thread.

The grommets.

I also had a friend find an easy slipper design, that looks period, from a 1940’s issues of Vogue.

It has a u shaped piece that I used scrap of my purple fabric. I rolled all the seams. Closed the back and attached to a memory foam insole for shoes. The pattern called for insoles of some kind. I think if I redid this in a period way I would do a turn style leather shoe. Or at least use leather on the base so it can be used outdoors. In the future I may even see if I can glue a stronger piece of leather or rubber to the bottom.

I also lined the collar with a tube I made out of the purple linen scrap. And basted it on to reenforce the raw edges.

My documentation for this pattern is the pattern I bout from Etsy. The chemise is based off of a t tunic design. I’ve seen other chamises with a design element like mine. They were cut to make them. I decided not to cut the fabric since it covered my entire arm span.

Image I found on :

I love the outfit. I would change a few things. And I would have the sleeves in the blue linen that I lined the neck with. Which I plan on doing, even after this challenge.

Thank you for doing this challenge.

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