Thursday, July 15, 2010

Reconstructing History Patterns

Since I've been posting a lot about my garb sewing projects lately, I thought I'd focus a bit on Reconstructing History patterns. Kass McCann, who makes the patterns, thoroughly researches all of her garments and has lots of helpful and interesting articles on her site that cover everything from sewing tips (A Beginner's Guide to Historic Clothing, Handstitching Basics, Pleating Techniques, and Research Techniques) to articles on specific time periods (Late Medieval, Tudor & Elizabethan, 1603-1660s, Golden Age of Piracy, and Georgian/Baroque) to articles on clothing of specific areas (Irish, Japanese, Scottish, and Polish).

I recently bought my first RH pattern, the 14th Century Women's Sideless Surcote. I attempted to make a sideless surcote from a Simplicity pattern many years ago, and it was something of a disaster. I'm glad to have a well-researched, accurate pattern at last, and also glad that it covers many historical variations (the side openings can be either rounded or square, and can be of varying lengths).

Once I've got some money saved up and am no longer in danger of not being able to pay rent and bills (ah, the joy of self-employment!), I'd like to add the following Medieval RH patterns to my collection -

14th century Women's Kirtle or Cotehardie

The kirtle is the fitted dress that is worn beneath the sideless surcote. The RH pattern has many variations for this garment.

Medieval Irish Moy Gown

The original Moy gown was found in a bog in Ireland, and is one of two extant garments that offer a good example of what Medieval Irish people actually wore. Since my SCA persona is Irish, I thought that this would be a fabulous dress to make. However, the nice folks at RH tell me that this is probably one of their most difficult patterns to sew, so I decided to start with the more basic kirtle and surcote and leave the Moy gown for later (though I definitely want to make one!)

14th century Man's Cotehardie

This is the men's version of the kirtle. My boyfriend and musical partner (from the Tulstin Troubadours) Mark would like one of these, so I'm thinking of making him one in some combination of blue, green, and yellow. For myself, I'm thinking of making the kirtle in yellow with a parti-colored sideless surcote in blue and green.

14th century Man's Accessories

These are the accessories that go with the man's cotehardie, though I'm betting that I could use the liripipe hood pattern for myself as well. It would be a lovely addition to the rest of the outfit for the beginning of Sherwood Forest Faire, which started out really rather cold this year, and likely will again next year.

Since I haven't bought any of the patterns except the sideless surcote, I'd like to know if any of my readers own these patterns and have tried making them. Do you have any tips or suggestions?

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