Sunday, July 8, 2012

[the medieval hausfrau] a clothing conundrum

I took some time this weekend to be "The Medieval Hausfrau."

Well, okay, that isn't quite true.  But "The Early Period Hausfrau" doesn't play on the name of this blog quite as well.

I decided to pull out and wear a Viking-era dress and apron that I made years ago.  Viking-era clothing is certainly more comfortable than my usual Tudor-era garb, and as temperatures are getting warmer and warmer, I wanted to insure comfort.

Unfortunately, I looked awful.  While much of my ghastly appearance could be directly attributed to my status as "Mom of a Toddler," some could not.  The dress just did not fit.  That's the bad news.  The good news is that my dress did not fit because it was too big.  I've lost too many inches for it look flattering, apparently.  The fullness of the skirt and apron were just perfect for casting my figure in a very prenatal light, apparently.  Thank GOODNESS no one asked me if I was pregnant.

In light of this new conundrum, I realize that I need to get behind my sewing machine again.  Frankly, I would LOVE to be sewing, but again my role as "mom" keeps me busy in just such a way to make sewing difficult when it's only the boy and I at home.  Since I have to be choosy about when I am able to sew, I think it best that I be selective about what to sew.

Prior to Declan, if a period silhouette caught my eye, I sewed up a basic dress.  As such, I have a couple of bliauts, a couple of Gothic fitted dresses, a couple of Viking-era dresses, some later period kirtles and over gowns, too.  Post-Declan I have to be particular and I am faced with a decision or two.

For anyone unfamiliar with the Society for Creative Anachronism, I'll provide a (very) brief summation of why I am even discussing old clothing.  My husband and I participate in a history group that attempts to recreate much of daily life, without the bad things like plague, for people who lived in the periods between 600 and 1600 AD.  So, I need something to wear when we gather en masse for a "war" or even for a day-event such as a local tournament or feast.  

14th century with hood
While some participants will stick closely to one particular time period and location, some will outfit themselves with clothes from multiple countries and multiple periods (as evidenced from my own collection outlined above).  As my free time for sewing and my closet space shrinks, I have to rein in my own "oooh, shiny" magpie behavior in favor of something more focused.  No more games of "pick a period" from my closet.

14th century
Since my preferred era clothing is not always the most comfortable for outdoor day events, I think I can justify picking two periods to focus on.  But now comes the hard part: which two?  Tudor era is the easy choice, it's filling in the other that leaves me frustrated.

Do I go with 14th century "high Medieval" to make use of the fitted gowns I currently have (but would likely need to alter)?  Do I go with something earlier to better match my husband's persona and interests?  Do I go with something altogether different?  ARGH.  Have I mentioned that I am not the best at making decisions?

On a perhaps related note, why do I always look so terrible in SCA photos?!  The best of the lot is the one with Declan in it.

Photos nabbed ages ago from Facebook, by the way.  Alas, I've forgotten the photographers by now.   If they're yours and you'd credit, please let me know.  

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