Who Am I? And Why Am I Here?

Elewys of Finchingefeld, GdS, JdL
Barony of Aquaterra, Kingdom of An Tir

This is a place to which I may post my research, my experiments, my successes...and yes, my failures...for medieval re-creation and research on my never-ending quest to learn and revel in knowledge and experiences.

I am a lady of many times and many places. Currently using a 15th century English name, dressing in a 10th century Danish dress, and camping in a Mongolian round house. "Lost" doesn't even begin to describe my persona.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Costumer's Guild Online Challenge

Well, it appears that there isn't going to be a rank challenge this weekend.  The guild has lost a lot of officers, one of them being Challenges Coordinator.  I am really quite crushed that all the hard work I put in to meet the deadline is for naught.  How do I feel about this?  (Warning:  language ahead)

And since some of my records had been lost, I figured I'd just start from the beginning to make sure that all the elements for each rank has been covered and that there is no duplication.  So now, out of interest for a few people who wanted to see what I had done, I present to you Elewys's Online Costumer's Guild Journeyman Rank Challenge.

I gathered some of my favorite references and went to the Costumer's Guild Rank Challenges page online to find out what needed to be done.  I am also the self-appointed Google Queen, so I was able to find a number of fantastic online references and research that other people are doing, which helped springboard me to the right sources.

To keep things organized, I got a binder and put plastic page protectors in it to hold all the documentation.  In it, I had an introductory page, outlines of each challenge, and cover pages for each entry.  I also included a list of sources for each entry, but since I've always been bad at doing the bibliography *perfectly* according to whoever decides the proper form of listing sources is (which seems to change bi-monthly), I just listed them however I wanted.  Mostly alphabetical, some by type, but I tried to always include author, publisher, and date with web addresses if applicable.

For my Junior rank, I had to only prove that I had taken a class in costuming.  The University of Ithra has all the records available online, so you just have to click "students" and search by student name. I printed out my entire Ithra records and highlighted all the costume-relevant classes, which was just shy of 20 (it would include more if you count spinning, nalbinding, survey of tailoring books, smocking, etc.).  For my credits, I chose to apply Basic Rectangular Construction, which I took in 1996 from Master Eduardo.  I put those in page protectors and put them in the binder...all of it.  275 credits of every class I have taken since 1991.

The next rank is Senior.  For this rank, you must do five things.  You must show one garment, one accessory, and two of any of the following:  Take a class, enter a contest, provide service to the Costumer's Guild, teach a class, or write an article for the costumer's guild newsletter.  For the fifth element, it's Challenger's Choice: you may choose any of the categories listed above.

One garment:  a 14th century Viking tunic, based on Bocksten bog find, child size.  Wool, dyed in onion skins.  Edges finished with wool yarn, blanket stitched.

The original tunic (above); my tunic (below).

One accessory: 14th century liripipe hood, wool lined with linen.  Admittedly, not my best entry since the fabric pattern choice may not be period and the construction was done in two pieces rather than having inserted gores over the shoulders or in the back, but it has the proper silhouette and materials choice.  It looks very much like a Greenland find, Herjolfsnes #66.

Write an article for the Costumer's Guild Newsletter.  I wrote an article for the Murmurs, the Aquaterra Newsletter, which was later re-published in the Costumer's Guild Newsletter at 12th Night 2010.  It was entitled, "Turkish Women's Clothing," and included all the details of the layers of clothing that women wore in Turkey, as well as other parts of the Ottoman empire.  Different cultures called them different things in the local languages, but it covered the cakshir, gomlek, chirka, and entari.

I also listed two classes:  one, "Costume History" was taken 1993.  One class taught, "Making a Bocksten Bog Style Tunic" which I taught in 2008.

Then, the Journeyman challenge.  This is a Magnum Opus...to me, it seems even more difficult than the Scholar rank, which keeps everything in one culture and time period.  The Journeyman rank is meant to show breadth of knowledge.  Using this chart, one must choose 10 items that fit into these various categories, noting that no more than two items can be in any one column or row.  

Location and Culture

British Isles
France and the Low Countries
Germanic Cultures
Iberian Peninsula
Italian Peninsula
Middle Eastern/North Africa/ Greece
Slavic Cultures/Eastern Europe/ Russia
Eastern Asia/Nomad
Other/None of the above
Further, the items chosen must be:
*  Two garments
*  Two accessories
*  Two items in the Teaching/Writing category
*  Two items in the class/contest/service/judging category
*  Two items, Challenger's Choice

After much thought and planning, I chose

1st Garment:  14th century Middle Eastern Pirihan, based on extant garment from Persia.  I used cotton, just as the original was, although the fabric I chose was muslin and a bit denser.  I did not embroider on it--I don't really do embroidery--and I made the sleeves shorter for convenience and work friendliness.  I'm not sure if this is meant to fit loosely or snug, but I chose to keep it loose for comfort...it's going to have at least two more layers on top of it anyway.  I also finished the neckline, unlike the original, which was not even cut--never worn.  I created an opening to the waist, as is mentioned in some 16th century first-hand accounts of Western visitors.

full kamiz

2nd garment:  16th century Flemish gown (1560s)

It's rather difficult to see what the gown looks like when I'm not actually wearing it, but suffice it to say, it's a fairly simple garment.  The period piece is covered by a white partlet on the top, but in general, it's an open-front bodice with wide lacing, and a gathered skirt that may (or may not) be sewn in the front up to the thigh.  It is often covered by an apron, so it's difficult to tell.  Mine is made with fulled wool, lined bodice but unlined skirt.

1st Accessory:  16th century Elizabethan Ruff (1575-ish).  This is another item I was unsure about because of the construction technique.  The more I did the research for the documentation, the more I found no support for the method of construction that I was taught by my Mistress.  While it looks right and it fits well, it isn't made entirely period (that I can document).  I may take the white muslin and make a new ruff using period construction techniques.  It also needs washing.  I meant to do that prior to the weekend...like today...

It was made with cotton muslin and had factory-made lace added to the edge.  Inside is a length of horsehair to add stiffening to the edge.

Wired caps gallery (Trystan)
No idea who this lady is, but this is essentially the look the ruff has, except that mine has lace on the edge.

2nd Accessory:  15th century Pilgrim bag.  I made this bag from two types of linen--a fine linen for the interior and a coarser linen for the exterior.  The reasoning being that if something small spilled inside, like seed beads, they wouldn't fall into the lining and get caught forever.  Antler button and string acts as a closure.


Two items in teaching & writing:
Pre-600:  The "Bog Coat" Examined:  Denmark's Bronze Age Shirt from the Borum Eshoj Dig (ready for publication)
Taught:  Pattern Drafting, 2012.

Two classes taken:
Medieval Underwear, 2003
Shirts & Smocks, 2003

Two items, challenger's choice:
1st:  11th-13th century Egyptian Knit Socks

These were modified a bit to fit me, and I didn't do the cast-off correctly at the top.  The pattern was drawn up by me, and then compared to another researcher, Dar Anahita, whose pattern differed very slightly, but hers looked better, so I altered mine to match hers.  Muslim knit cotton stocking

2nd:  Class taken:  Picture Parsing, 2003.

So there it is, Ladies and Gentlemen.  My brief presentation of my Costumer's Guild Junior, Senior and Journeyman ranks.  Hopefully I'll get a chance to challenge it for real this year.  In the meantime, I can make a couple of modifications to ensure that I get more positive remarks on the judging sheets.


  1. Look at you go! I am sorry that you cannot present it all this weekend :( Still, you are an inspiration as always!

  2. Those are fantastic items. I love the socks!! I'm looking forward to seeing you this weekend. =)