Countdown to Lilies: 53 Days and Musing…

It 53 days until Lilies War – kind of big deal in the SCA Kingdom I reside in. I have nothing to wear. My husband, who does NOT play, has decided that he is coming for the first weekend (Yay!). He has nothing to wear. I’m teaching two new classes that I have to hone. New tent furnishings need to be made. There is much cheese that must be processed… Sensing a trend here? I’m not ready, not in the least bit. But, that’s okay.

I’m more than I a bit bummed that I won’t be going to any more events until Lilies War, but alas, spring is as it always is – filled with far too many commitments. However, that gives me some really fabulous opportunities to get a good base wardrobe that I’m actually happy with made, and to have a proper historical wardrobe for my persona from the skin out. Not everything will be perfect, and it will be of the peasant class instead of the lower gentry that my eventual goal is, but it should work for Lilies and during the weight transitions.  I know a couple more of my friends are doing this for this year too, and I’m really excited in discussing the pro/cons/challenges/etc. with them after the event is all said and done.

From the skin out? Historical? Isn’t that what you already do in the SCA? Yes, and no. For me, I’m really starting to focus more on my chosen time period – the 16th century, more specifically the late 16th century. With that, I’m not looking to create a bunch a clothes (like I’ve done in the past), but an actual wardrobe – a set of clothing that works within the historical matrix of what we know people actually owned (based on wills and such) and what they could afford. Our closets today are much different than the wardrobes of our ancestors. The best way to think about the historical wardrobe is a pyramid. At the base, you have white linens – your smocks, shirts, hose (if made of linen), partlets, headrails, yard cloths for various wrapping and covering needs, aprons, and just about anything else that came into contact with your skin on a daily basis. On the next tier up, you have your everyday woolens – hoses, kirtles, petticoats, things that were of lesser grades and dye colors of wool, things that got worn and used on an everyday basis. Next you have your better wools, better dyes uses, a nice wool kirtle and gown for those special market days or holy days that you aren’t mucking out the stable while wearing – this is getting into the realm of the really prosperous peasantry and yeoman farmers.  For most of the people during Tudor England, the extent of one’s clothing ended at step number two on the socioeconomic material culture ladder (unless your employer chose to cloth you differently). While, for the nobility, the pyramid continued to the very top with scarlet and ermine.

Taking this into consideration, my clothing going with me to Lilies will be primarily made of white linen (and some old cotton that is on it’s last leg) comprised of a fresh smock, headrail, and socks for each day. Next, I’ll have two kirtles that have been remade from previous dresses. They will be linen instead of wool, but that is what future improvement is for. At least two if not three aprons, two white linen partlets, one black partlet, three proper coifs, and a couple of sets of pin-on sleeves – I should look like a proper hodge-podge of a peasant!

Well, that’s the idea anyway, hopefully with writing this all down I’ll have no choice but to stick with it now. More to come.





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