Plaited Apron

The plaited or smocked apron is seen during many centuries but turns up a lot during the 16th century in Germany and creates a lovely decorative accessory to show off one’s needlework.  This apron has both smocking at the top and a drawn thread work hem all the way around, entirely hand sewn with linen thread on linen ground.  If you don’t have he patience for this I will be offering this style of apron in my etsy shop but it will be dear as befitting the amount of time that went into this. 🙂

I highly recommend the online tutorials and classes of Genoveva von Lubeck at for all manner of lovely handwork- she was lucky enough to grow up doing this and now shares it with patience and a love of the art with grateful students around the known world.

plaited-apron-full plaited-apron-smocking plaited-apron-drawn-thread-hem

Historical Sew Monthly

The Challenge: Holes

May 2016

Fabric: 100% linen- handkerchief weight

Pattern: Class instructions from Genoveva von Lubeck, based on historical examples of plaiting and drawn thread work

Year: 16th century

Notions: linen thread

How historically accurate is it? 100% given accurate materials and hand sewn throughout

Hours to complete: 30 hours of handsewing

First worn: September 2016

Total: $20 fabric remnant, notions from stash

Historical inspiration images…

german-1530 drawn-thread-and-smocking  1529-german

Ten best Pennsic 45 Moments

As some have said it is tradition to post a list of top ten moments from Pennsic, I am joining in as mine cover more than one arena… then adding notes for my own tradition of setting goals and objectives each year as Pennsic is my SCA new year so to speak…

10. Circles overall were very big this year, but a few of the smaller ones held those “15 seconds that make the 20+ hours of packing, driving, setting up, tearing down and cleaning worth it” in the words of master Raudrhi from Calontir- the nights of heat lightning were especially spectacular when they matched the performance 🙂

9. I started my war light of heart with the news that Sir Turold had safely made it through receiving the gift of life from Sir Gregory and both were on the mend and headed home.  This was the truest example of chivalry that I have ever seen and this gift of life was found through our own society.  After telling their story around the Mountain’s Keep fire I requested Emer nic Aiden and the lady whose name I can’t recall do their paired versions of the Laundress of the Dead as it was the most beautiful and moving piece I had heard this war and echoed self sacrifice for love.  Beautiful both for the piece, the story, and the partnership of inspiration that brought both pieces together.

8. I was greatly inspired by my camp mate and friend Dierdre O Bardon- I have had people say they can tell when I have put in work on my art and hearing her this year I know what they mean.  Dierdre has worked hard and it shows in how her voice and harp came together as one this year- magical to behold and a few of my magic moments this year were because of her.  When we support each other we all grow and this world of ours becomes so much more, I heard the result of both practice and confidence and it is uplifting.

7. My final day seemed to hold all the conversations that helped me focus and process my goals for this coming year.  Thank you to Mistress Dervila, Master Ruaidhri An Cu, Lady Dierdre O Bardon, and Neil for your encouragement and focused critique that helped me see the way forward.

6. Teaching the “Coaching and the Art of Constructive Criticism” class again this year, twice with great response and also a couple return students.  I was told separately by 4 different gentles that this was the best class they had taken at Pennsic. 🙂

5. I also had a long class follow up discussion with a previous Pennsic mayor about organization and management of volunteers running an event of this size.  This may lead to me investing more in this transport away from the everyday, but service comes in many forms both in and out of kingdom.

4. Teaching the “Are you wearing a tablecloth? Intro to Greek Clothing” class again- twice with full tents again this year but especially rewarding was have three students return from last year properly dressed and one tied to tell me how much they enjoyed the class and bringing their follow-up questions.  I feel my preaching the ease and beauty of Greek garb is paying off!

3. Bringing “As I Roved Out” to the Atlantian royal bardic circle in all it’s bridging of vocal break glory- it is a belt it or go home piece but this performance earned a barefoot token from Cedar the Barefoot who also did an amazing performance that night.

2. Performing, albeit quietly, the Changeling by Drake Oranwood for Drake himself and getting a “bucket list, check” comment from him- I think he was okay with my reinterpretation of the piece- it spoke to me and I sing it with love for and in memory of my mother in law who met challenges in motherhood I am not sure I would have had the strength to face.

1. The last night of Pennsic- small circle of fabulous bards around my home fire to share tales and songs- and singing the Compact between Horse and Man for the first time since I finally got the words and being given a cross by Alain who as head of equestrian activities for our kingdom appreciated this song. 🙂

Goal for this year- Continue “upping my game” but this year I want to focus on my level of performance because I know I can do so much better especially if I keep fusing this hobby with my interpreter brain.  The puzzle has been how to make that measurable…

Objectives-I want accountability and feedback so feel free to challenge me to any new piece this year and let me know how to make it better!

Memorize one new song a month and prepare it for best level performance*.

Work up one story per month and prepare it for best level performance*.

*Practice best level performance- breath control, planned and practiced projection, pitch, emphasis, emotion, dynamic range- until it becomes ingrained.

Complete one piece of garb each month.

Complete one non-garb sewing or other craft project each month.

Whew, think that’s all for now, thinking cool thoughts and jumping back into the fray!


Edwardian Bib Apron

Apron FrontApron back

This is a frilly Edwardian Apron, also for the Historically Sew Monthly March 2016 challenge…

The Challenge: Protection- March

Fabric: Cotton Batiste sewn with cotton thread

Pattern: Drafted to look as close to pictures as possible, based off of other aprons for sizing and tried on during construction

Year: 1910’s

Notions: shell buttons for straps under waistband

How historically accurate is it? As close to the picture as I could get along with comparison to other extant garments

Hours to complete: Total: 5   (Cutting and Sewing: 5)

First worn: Work at Steppingstone Farm Museum, May 2016

Total cost: $18   fabric from my stash, buttons and thread unknown

And the inspiration images…

1910 Edwardian Christmas

1910 Edwardian Christmas


1910 cooks dress and apron

1910 cooks dress and apron


1910, White cotton maid's apron hand embroidered with broderie anglais trim

1910, White cotton maid’s apron hand embroidered with broderie anglais trim


1910s canning lesson

1910s canning lesson

Elizabethan Chemise


This is an Elizabethan Chemise that I finally got around to, pieces were cut out forever so it could have counted for the Jan “procrastination” challenge also, for the Historically Sew Monthly February 2016 challenge… need to get a picture with it on- it wore very well but the camera I thought I got pictures with did not save them 😦

The Challenge: Tucks and Pleats- February

Fabric: Linen, linen thread

Pattern: Drafted from other fitted chemise and shirts that fit me well, pleating set to fit bands

Year: 1530-1600

Notions: cotton twill tape for ties

How historically accurate is it? Appropriate fabrics, construction details from Janet Arnold’s Patterns of Fashion but less fancy- easy care washable plain pleats for this one but still entirely hand sewn with felled seams in linen thread

Hours to complete: Total: 3   (Cutting and Piecing: 1, Hand Sewing:8   Setting Pleats: 1)

First worn: Bright Hills Baronial Birthday, February 13, 2016

Total cost: $24   fabric and supplies from my stash, buttons and thread unknown


Pleated 1890s skirt

skirt frontskirt back

This is a reproduction piece for the skirt from the “Skating Ensemble” from the Kyoto Museum, also for the Historically Sew Monthly February 2016 challenge…

The Challenge: Tucks and Pleats- February

Fabric: Cotton Chambray plaid, buttonholes sewn with cotton thread

Pattern: Drafted to look as close to picture as possible, pleats set with vinegar to 12″

Year: 1890’s

Notions: metal buttons

How historically accurate is it? As close to the picture as I could get along with comparison to other extant garments

Hours to complete: Total: 3   (Cutting and Sewing: 1, Setting Pleats: 1, Buttonholes: 1)

First worn: Work at Steppingstone Farm Museum, February 12, 2016

Total cost: $28   fabric and supplies from my stash, buttons and thread unknown

And the inspiration image…

Kyoto Institute 1890's Skating Ensemble

Kyoto Institute 1890’s Skating Ensemble

Civil War Mourning Gown

A mourning gown had been on my “to sew” list for many years, but I was motivated to finally get it done to wear to the exhibit opening of “Death Becomes Her” a Victorian Mourning Clothes exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  It was done enough to wear there but I am in the process of adding more trimmings and details as I am wont to do…

The smooth line of the fitted bodice emphasizes the small waist with wide shoulders and the width of the hoop.  This effect is emphasized with the cartridge pleated waist.

This gown is made from silk taffeta, self piped,  lined with polished cotton and is hand finished to complete the period look.

  • Mourning gown
  • Machine sewn inner seams
  • Hand finished (hems, edging, hooks and eyes)
mourning back

Photography by Drew Harting

mourning carriage

Photography by Drew Harting


Photography by Drew Harting

Orange Rain Cloak

A rain cloak that reminds me of sunsets and orange sherbet and also for the Historically Sew Monthly  January Challenge… Procrastination

This project started many years ago when I started saying “I need a rain cloak” then grew a few years back when I started attending Pennsic where it can be in the 90’s and raining and I am often caught out with armfuls of shopping when I say “I really need a rain cloak big enough to cover all this and not hot” which led me to a friend who had brilliantly made hoods our of waterproof cotton.  So, I went hunting for waterproofed cotton which took me a while to find and when I did it was orange, a nice orange but orange none the less.  I was afraid to over dye it because I didn’t know how it would effect the waterproofing.  Then, last year I finally had enough of the rain and made a point of cutting it out, which sat around for a year.  Then, I machine sewed the pieces together in time for Pennsic this past year because it was supposed to have torrential rain but ended up having none, probably because I came prepared with something I could wear to keep me dry even if it wasn’t finished.

I foolishly decided to hand finish this, I say foolish because it took forever and required 2 thimbles to sew due to the tight weave of the fabric.  Some of you have seen me wearing this and sewing the hem as I wore it on a rainy day… but it kept getting pushed aside for proper clothing, historical clothing that I could get excited about.  So, this last weekend when I got back on the wagon for the Historical Sew Monthly and saw that the challenge was procrastination I figured the bit of orange peeking out at me from the finishing pile in the sewing room was fair game, it has been many years/months in the making so as we put on several movies and I armed my fingers I finished the last of the long, long, long hem, decided to add some soft boning in the hem of the hood, and then decided to throw out the idea of hand flat felling all the interior seams in favor of binding them by machine with bias tape- which I had in a very close orange color in the stash inherited from my mother in law, along with one large orangey mother of pearl button.  Voila!   The beast is done, is not as historical as I would like but it will keep me and whatever I choose to carry or several friends dry.  I promise another procrastinated project for the February pleats challenge and a proper historical piece for the March protection challenge. 🙂

orange sherbet cloak

The Challenge: Procrastination

January 2016

Fabric: 100% cotton waterproofed trench material

Pattern: Vogue shaped shoulder cloak

Year: 19th century with shaped shoulders

Notions: bias tape bindings, shell button

How historically accurate is it? The shape and purpose are accurate but a modern practical compromise of waterproofed cotton rather than oilcloth

Hours to complete: Total: 20  (Cutting: 1, Sewing: 2, Hand finishing: 8)

First worn: Unfinished Aug-Oct 2015, finished January 2016

Total: $48 fabric, notions from inherited stash


Historical inspiration images…

Civil War full length cloak with fitted shoulders.

Civil War full length cloak with fitted shoulders.

Civil War full length cloak with fitted shoulders and single closure at neck.

Civil War full length cloak with fitted shoulders and single closure at neck.

Civil War long cloak with fitted shoulders and hood.

Civil War long cloak with fitted shoulders and hood.

orange silk cloak 18th c

Orange! 18th Century cloak with hood

Orange! with awesome decorations...

Orange! with awesome decorations…