Monday, January 9, 2012

Medieval Pin Keep ~ And Peter ~

Our annual 12th Night party was held on Saturday night. David had to work for half of the day so we had a late start getting there. In fact, I wasn't even sure that we were going to be able to go. I was thwarted at every turn. I couldn't find anything we needed. The wrapping paper and tape for our contributions to the gift exchange. Judah's hood. All 3 pairs of little brown shoes and hose - nope. No where to be found. David's red lion appliqued bag. My plain wool bag. Still missing in mysterious circumstances.

I did finally find enough to get us clothed - although we looked a bit rumply, and the children had to wear modern shoes and pants beneath their tunics - and we packed into the van and made it just after court started. It is extremely embarrassing to go go into a room that is already filled with people who are trying to pay attention to one person who is speaking. Even more so when your eldest child is fidgeting and grabbing at your skirts and proclaiming to all who will hear, "I have to poop!"

We did end up having a nice time, though. A wonderful abundance of savory foods were spread and a fascinating array of desserts to finish off the evening stimulated the senses of all. My contribution was venison, stewed in broth with sage and onions and garlic, with tiny potatoes and finished off with a sprinkle of cardamom and a dash of red wine, as well as flat biscuit-like cakes of oat and honey. My favorite was the smoked beef one gentleman had been cooking for the previous six hours. . .smoked meat is heavenly!

I didn't get any pictures save one, of my right-side dinner companion, Mr. Peter. We all have seen more flattering photographs of this gentleman, but I shall post it anyway for the sake of interest.

These other pictures are ones I had David take right before we left home, because I wanted everyone to be able to see the beautiful gift I received last month. I never would have had the patience to make anything like this, so I am doubly grateful and honored to be the recipient of this beautiful pin keep. Isn't the workmanship amazing?!

I love how it looks with my dress; so much so I decided against wearing my surcote so the pin keep wouldn't be covered up underneath it! It is so very, very useful to hold pins. So much more so than keeping them in a bag or worse yet, pinned into the hem of my skirt where I would often get tiny pricks on my ankles when I walked.

I'm now planning a new surcote to wear for Festival of Maidens; I would like something a bit more cheery and festive than what I already have, although not too overboard, or done up, or fancified. I ended up getting 5 yards of medium-heavy tan linen. I know, I know, it ought to be wool but linen was half the price and, well, the compromise was worth it to me. ;) I really like how the plain tan looks with the kirtle but David is right, it would show dirt quickly and it is kind of "blah". I have a bottle of crimson dye so I am going to try to experiment today and see if I can manage a light dusky pink with a diluted bit of the dye, since the fabric is tan to begin with.
This is the look I absolutely ADORE. I'd love to make an overgown exactly like this.

Then I will need to decide if I want to do a very fitted "cotehardie" style dress, or a looser gown that will leave room for belly growth. I really would prefer a more fitted style but already my shape is changing due to Little One. After Maidens, I think there is only one more event we will be doing before the baby is born, and that will be in April when I will be a little over 20 weeks or so. So, I still shouldn't be THAT big then. Thinking about it now, I can always make the skirt start flaring out just under my ribs, instead of lower down the torso, to give room for baby. Or I could make the gown tight fitting and open up the seams at the sides with lacing if I find I need to, in April. At any rate, I want to do something with interesting sleeves.



  1. I'm sure ladies in the era found a way around it...maybe research in that direction might help you with your decision.
    Maybe make it big then take it in after baby is born?

  2. I haven't been able to find much on details of clothes that are meant to be maternity, but you'd think that there definitely would be some easy modifications ladies in the period would have used since obviously they were getting pregnant and having babies in the 14th century, too. :)

    The best advice I've found so far has been in "The Medieval Tailors Assistant". She shows a line drawing of a pregnant lady wearing an overkirtle (overdress) that laces up at the sides. The lacing does not bring the sides completely closed, but is adjustable so you fit it over whatever size bump you have. The kirtle underneath is front laced (like mine). So when you wear the 2 together, the kirtle can be unlaced over the belly, but the open area is covered by the overkirtle, and the gap in lacing at the sides of the overkirtle doesn't show anything except the fabric of the kirtle underneath. It seems the most practical way to dress for pregnancy, at least so far.

    I just wish I knew if side-laced kirtles are accurate to the period, since in so many paintings there doesn't even look to be an opening at all. Or maybe I could get around that by making the overgown close down the front with buttons, but make it side-lacing TOO. . .that way, I can always have the front button closed, but can adjust the size at the sides. . .hmmmm. . .

  3. Oh, I love it! It's a great fit on you, and such a pretty color. [Also, Mrs. Sarah - I've posted a couple of your pictures from this post and your pink 1920s dress, which I also adore, on my tumblr account with click-through links back to your original posts. I hope you don't mind - I can certainly take them down if you'd prefer. :) ]


Thank you for your lovely thoughts!