On finishing things

You see, I so often start things without finishing them. Sentences, cleaning my room, stories, projects, anything really, that I start, has a great chance of getting forgotten or simply dropped (one of the reasons I hate interruptions). This may partly explain my delay in finishing the pages for my stories and my garb.

However, yesterday, when I was in the basement hiding from people and recovering from a completely pointless trip to town, I finished my latest garb project, a blue cyrtel of later style than my other, with boat-shaped sleeves of moderate size. (Boat-shaped sleeves, known to the Normans as maunche, can be seen in an only slightly exaggerated form on the woman fleeing the burning building in the Bayeux “Tapestry”. History lesson over, you may proceed with the regular unscheduled programming.) It fits, and this is good, as it makes its debut at Hadrian’s Feld this Saturday. The fabric is cotton from an old sheet I’ve been eyeing for some time, finally repurposed, which I dyed blue with indigo. The thread is ordinary white polyester stuff. I handsewed all of it, including the hem, which by my reckoning (perhaps I have been thinking, and reckoning, more than is good for me) is slightly under three yards. Pictures should come at some point after Hadrian’s.

In other garb news, my sister is making progress on her polyester smock — sorry, chemise; she’s 1st-half-12th-century Anglo-Norman — and not doing too bad a job of it on the machine. She won’t have it ready by Saturday, but we’ve other arrangements, so she won’t be wearing just one layer. Besides, with a wide-sleeved bliaut, you need some kind of a sleeve under there so you aren’t showing so much skin.

You know you are in the living-history world when underwear is an appropriate subject for a blog post. . .


About Nolie Alcarturiel

Creative Writing major and Philosophy minor, contemplating a Master's degree in Medieval History. I enjoy practically anything to do with medieval history, including the domestic arts, with an especial emphasis on the Anglo-Saxon Era. In my spare time I read endlessly, do medieval living-history, hold philosophical debates at the drop of a hat, and write books on even slighter provocation.
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2 Responses to On finishing things

  1. Christine says:

    Finishing things can be so hard! I’m really bad about starting something and then just dropping it right away. That, or I’ll get so obsessive over finishing I completely drop my life and ignore my family to get it done. >.> I think I need to find some balance somewhere…

    BUT CONGRATS ON FINISHING!!! 😀 You’re definitely gonna have to share pics with us!

    I so admire people who take the time to sew. I took a 4-H sewing class when I was young and just could NOT get into sewing. I don’t have the patience. It’s bad. XD I wish I did, but it’s not my thing.


    • noliealcarturiel says:

      My sister has strong opinions about the amount of time I spend on projects that I could be devoting to her. I’m still figuring out a lot of things about balancing projects with people, partly because a lot of my projects have deadlines, whether self-imposed or no, and sometimes people are, well, not exactly rewarding to be around. Especially when they’re already spent half the morning begging you to pay attention to them.
      (Sister dear, if you happen to be reading this, I am writing tongue-in-cheek. Literally, because whenever someone describes an action, you have to try it out to see if it works, don’t you?)

      I learned to sew a very long time ago, but never did any for real until about a year ago, when I got into the SCA, and with more ambition than was good for me decided to hand-sew my first garb because that was the historically accurate way of doing things. Shall we say I’ve improved dramatically with practice? That’s better than saying my first sewing was a mess.
      As far as time goes, if you’re doing it by hand it’s very portable. I’ve stuffed two body pieces, two large gores, and two flappy sleeves with their gussets into my knitting bag and brought them to school with me for the last five weeks, and worked on it before classes or between classes or whenever I felt like being extra weird ;). Now, if I were machine sewing, it would take a lot less time (the running debate in our house, of hand versus machine, is enough to occupy a blog post in itself) but I wouldn’t be able to bring it places with me. I started this cyrtel (modernized kirtle, as in Lady of the Green) in the second week of August, and I can’t remember how long my other one took. The better part of a semester, I would guess.

      I should choke myself off before I do write a comment the length of a post. . .


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