SCA garb and A & S projects

Here you will find pictures of my garb, and the stories that come with making it, and other things I make for the SCA. Unless otherwise specified, all pictures are credited to Windy Knoll Photography (that’s my sister).



(There’s me, or my back, in my second set of garb.)



(Photo credit: Julia Samia May)

And there’s my back again, on the left. This was my first garb, when I’d just gotten into the SCA. I was ambitious and hand-sewed the entire thing, which was about its only real virtue as a whole, as both the smock and the green dress are cotton, and I was new to historical research and mixed up the 10th century with the 1000s (which is really the 11th century) and didn’t discover that till afterwards, along with the handy bit of knowledge that the short overgown is not documentably period. Since the only distinction between men’s and women’s t-tunics is often the length, that green tunic is now loaner garb for any guy who can fit in it. The trim was a pain to put on but very nice once done. It all boils down to the precept a lot of beginners overlook: Your First Garb Will Not Be Your Best.

I also have a theory that if so much of the smock (which is underwear) were hanging out on purpose in early-period women’s garb, there’d be a second smock underneath that — c. f. what happened with the sideless gown and the cotehardie later on.

I won’t go into all the problems with everything here. It’s obvious from the picture that that outfit was a little wide for me, and you can kind of tell something’s up with the smock’s hem, if you look, and the veil is far from accurate for the late Anglo-Saxon era (though nice enough, the way I had it wrapped, that even though it’s a dark colour I wasn’t too hot). That smock is still my only smock, and perfectly fine. I tablet-wove the belt myself (my first tablet-weaving) and it’s a bit wonky at one end. I made the bag of fake leather, and still have it. It’s mainly just the too-short green tunic that annoys me.

The friend of mine who introduced me to the SCA, Lady Christiana, is in the center of the picture. She hand-sewed her garb too (she’s about three hundred years later than me). That was at Northshield’s Fall Coronation, 2015.


I don’t seem to have any pictures of the front of me when I’m wearing my green cyrtel as late Anglo-Saxon garb. The one above is from Northshield’s 24th Coronation. It’s quite as comfy as it looks. Oh, and it’s all hand-sewn.

The green cyrtel, partly because the sleeves are a little too short, adapts nicely to early Anglo-Saxon as well. In the cover of Wind Age I’m wearing it with a tied veil and two necklaces, which is period for the seventh century. (P. S.: the veil is a dishtowel. Versatile things, aren’t they?)

The wool I made it of is herringbone weave (perfectly historically accurate for my era) with half the threads green and half undyed, so it’s not overwhelmingly green. Instead of front and back and side gores, I cut two very large gores and put them in the sides, eliminating the need for slits. However, thinking I wouldn’t waste fabric, I didn’t round off the bottoms, resulting in a wildly uneven hem and that learning from experience which is the beginning of wisdom, because now I know why the t-tunic pattern says “round off the bottoms of the gores”. The sleeves are plain, loose ones with no gussets — the gores came too high for that, but they don’t really need them. It does nothing for the incorrect idea that all medieval clothes were sacks, but it’s a comfortable sack and I like it, if it is a little warm for summer events. Which brings me to my next project.

The blue cyrtel, pictures of which can be found about halfway through The Chronicle of Hadrian’s Feld, took me a little under two months to make. By hand, of course. Originally it was an old cotton sheet, cream-coloured, which I dyed with indigo when it was retired. It has only side gores, after the fashion of the green one (and Owen-Crocker’s cutting plan, in the back of Dress in Anglo-Saxon England, has only side gores also, so I’m in good company), but the sleeves are different. They’re fitted (perhaps a little too much) and boat-shaped, which places their period solidly at the end of the Anglo-Saxon era. For as small as the sleeves are, smaller than the ones on the woman fleeing the burning building in the Bayeux “Tapestry”, they have a definite knack for getting caught on a steering wheel (ask me how I know). The enormous white half-circular veil came from a very white cotton sheet found at a thrift store. It’s three feet in radius, which turned out a bit big — it keeps falling down past my shoulders and loosing the lovely folds that make it look so much like period examples.


5 Responses to SCA garb and A & S projects

  1. Does the SCA hold a “thing” every year?


    • Practically every weekend, somewhere in the world, there’s an event. In Northshield there’s one almost every weekend. Whether it’s anywhere close to us is different, as NS is a big kingdom. Some events focus on fighting, others on the arts and sciences, some on teaching and classes. They range from a single day to two-week-long wars.


      • Interesting, how do know where and when events take place?

        Well, to rephrase my question!
        Does Northshield hold a “thing” similar to this one:

        How big, is Northshield?


      • Oh, that kind of “thing”. Not as such. Once in a while the board of directors will meet to pass laws, and of course a lot of events have fighting (not usually to decide justice), but the law-making itself isn’t a part of the events I’ve been to. The closest, I think, is when someone’s been banished in a royal Court. Or maybe when peerages have their meetings. has a list of events coming up, so that’s how we know for our kingdom. For others, you’d probably look up their websites.

        NS covers Minnesota, the Dakotas, Wisconsin, the upper peninsula of Michigan, and parts of Canada.


  2. Didn’t someone say something along the lines: “for every answer, you have three more questions?


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