Thursday, August 10, 2023

New sheer handsewn linen camica


The camica laid out on my bed at Pennsic.   It's too sheer to model as it's out of 2.5oz linen I bought from Fabric Store.   

Close up of the neckline.  I used linen thread I would run through beeswax to sew the entire camica.   Each of the edges are rolled or are wrapped in what is essentially linen bias tape.   

Close up of one of the cuffs.  I still need to add twill tape or some sort of fastener to the cuffs.  

Overall, it took me maybe three days, on and off, to sew the camica up while at Pennsic?  This included cutting out the garment and going to classes or walking around.   It really didn't take too terribly long.

The pattern is very simple.  One yard of linen for the front.  One yard of linen for the back.  30" of  the linen, cut in half for the sleeves (so the "top" of the yard is one sleeve and the "bottom" is the other).  5"ish to make squares.  I cut the bottom of the front and back to make binding for the neckline and cuffs.  Overall:  3 yards of fabric used.  

It's very lightweight and perfect for summer.   I'll probably wear it to the North Carolina Renaissance Festival in a few weeks.  :-) 

Saturday, May 6, 2023

Late 16th Century Venetian Style Peasant Dress



3 1/2 yards of red linen/cotton blend from Fabric Mart

1/2 yard of cotton duck cloth

1/2 yard of white cotton

1/2 yard of linen rayon blend stripes from Fabric Mart

DMC thread because no one carries red linen and I thought the event originally was a weekend ago

White linen thread from Thimble and Plume

A boot lace

3 ish yards of trim I bought from Lace & Trims on ebay


I used McCalls M7763 for the bodice but with edits. I upped the neckline by at least a good inch. I took two inches off the front shoulder strap and redesigned them to be more narrow at the top. I took some off the upper inside of the front side seam as well.

The skirt is just pleated yardage that I then attached to the bodice. The apron is well, a rectangle with a long, thin strap of material to make the ties.

First Wearing

I didn't get the chemise I wanted to wear with the outfit done in time.  I ended up just wearing a blouse I found at Goodwill that looked close enough.   

The bodice probably could have been laced a bit tighter but, overall, it was pretty comfy to wear.  I love the length of it and will probably make a couple more dresses from the pattern.

It was also the correct outfit to wear as it was pretty warm in the sun at the event.  Unfortunately, I had to leave early because the pup wasn't used to the heat.  She's fine - she cooled down quickly on the car ride home- but I just didn't want her to get sick.   


It was pretty much based on the same images as I used for my friend's dress a couple of years ago.  This one in particular:

Pietro Ronzelli: Nativita di Maria, Chiesa del Carmine, Bergamo

I just did the inverse colors - primarily because I didn't have a bright red Venetian dress.  Now that I do, I think I'll work on making more chemises to wear with my dresses and gowns.  I'll need them come Pennsic!   Who else is going?

Sunday, April 9, 2023

Happy Easter! Naturally Dyed Easter Eggs!

 I've been slowly getting into natural dyeing for years now.  This year, I wanted to naturally dye the Easter eggs.  After looking at a few different options, I went with Turmeric for yellow and purple cabbage for blue.  


The one green/gray one is due to dyeing it with turmeric for a couple of hours and then throwing it in the cabbage dye overnight.  

Yellow Dye Recipe:

  • Two heaping spoons of tumeric
  • A couple of cups of water
  • About 1/4 cup of white vinegar

I put this all on a glass bowl and mixed it up.  I didn't heat up the mixture (which may have made it quicker but eh).  Really, I just put the hard boiled eggs in the mix and left them in the fridge (with a lid) overnight.  

Blue Dye Recipe:

  • Half a head of purple cabbage
  • A couple of cups of water
  • another 1/4 cup of white vinegar
Just rip up the cabbage leaves or chop them and thrown them into a pot.  Add in the water and once, the water is boiling, set it to simmer for 15 minutes.  I accidentally used too much water (4 cups) and while it worked, I think it would have been slightly quicker to dye if I hadn't used so much water.   

Once it's boiled, the leaved will be a pale purple with a lot of green.  It was really amusing to see.  Just gather up the purple water and add the white vinegar to that for your dye bath.  I left the eggs in the dye bath overnight (glass bowl with the lid) to get the indigo color.  

I was hoping for a bright green with the cross dyed one but oh well.  It was a fun experiment.   The nice thing is that purple cabbage was known in the Middle Ages.  I need to see if I can find a recipe or mention of using it as a dye as this does seem to work well and is easy to accomplish for a pretty decent blue.  

Saturday, February 4, 2023

Hairpins in the Medieval Era

Hello!   Is this thing on? I know it's been a long while since I've posted.  I'm back in the States, working at a wonderful new fully remote job where I get to do research all day!   

I thought to post because I came across yet another "Medieval Myth" today that bugged me.  Someone said that they didn't have bobby pins in the middle ages and they always did hair taping.

Now, hair taping was a thing but it was not the only thing going on.  There is more than enough archeological evidence for hairpins.  Here are just some of the examples we have:

V & A Museum, C. 900's-1200's

That's pretty clearly a hairpin as we would know them today but here's some more.

V & A c. 960-1279

V & A c. 960-1279

Basically, we have plenty of extant evidence for hairpins.  While these are all medieval and I haven't seen any in the 15th or 16th C, I also haven't researched more than 10 minutes on this.  I just knew it was wrong.   :-)