In a message dated 11/15/2004 9:22:35 AM Eastern Standard Time,
<<so I go to my stash and find:
handkerchief linen in pink and lavender,
raw silk in navy,
burgundy damask and
teal silk de chine.
What can I use for an Aglo-Saxon tunic and under-tunic?>>
Well, let's go here first: Are you looking for an outfit that is as accurate
as possible in both fabric and colors to Anglo-Saxon clothing, or are you
looking for the best way to use what you have to make something that looks
The reason I ask is because silk was extremely rare if not totally unknown in
Anglo-Saxon England - it didn't become common until after the first crusade.
A king might have had his coronation robes made of imported silk, but that
would be about it. I also believe, but am not sure, that the technique of
weaving damask is much later than the Anglo-Saxon period. So the linen is the only
fabric in your current stash that would have been common in that period - and
there doesn't seem to be a lot of evidence for dyed linen. It seems to have
been used mostly in bleached form, and primarily for underclothes and possibly
veils. The most common fabric used for anything other than underclothes
would have been wool.
If you are looking for a color combination that would be good, and aren't so
worried about the fabrics, my first thought would be to use the damask as the
undergown and the navy blue silk on top. Pastels such as pink and lavender
weren't commonly used, and I don't think a good teal came along until later
<<Can the under-tunic be a chemise or does it have to be a tunic? I'm
too well endowed for a simple t-tunic, can I modify something with a
modern amscye or should I modify something like Folkwear's galabria or
one of their other patterns?>>
Again, we're dealing with the question of how accurate do you want it to be?
If you want the cut accurate on all layers, than you would use a rectangular
tunic construction such as that found in the beginner's garb section of
www.reconstructinghistory.com . This is more adaptable to the well-endowed than the
standard "lay out a long sleeve shirt and cut your fabric around it with only
2 side seams" t-tunic, as the gussets under the arms work well to add more
room for the bust. It's also reasonable to cut the torso fabric to fit the bust
better and then trim in a bit so that the shoulder seams don't fall quite so
far down the arm - but Anglo-Saxon clothing decoration often shows a line of
trim around the upper arm just about where a lowered shoulder seam would fall,
which may be there to disguise such a seam. True period layering would have a
(probably white) linen chemise cut on the same lines, under the longer
colored undergown and somewhat shorter (mid-calf length or so) overgown, but if you
aren't looking for the full historical accuracy you could easily drop the
white linen chemise. I'm not familiar with the Folkwear patterns in this line, so
I can't help there.
What sort of chemise cut are you thinking of? Anything with very full
sleeves, or with a gathered neckline, won't look right. You would need something
with a straight, fairly tight long sleeve, and a keyhole or even a simple
horizontal slit neckline for the underdress.
<<Where can I find information on the types of trim and embroidery that
would be appropriate for the period?>>
Hmm. Tougher question, and I don't think I have an answer to it right now.
Let me do a little thinking on that one. My best guess for the type of trim
would be a woven band, like tablet weaving, though.
Shire of Silver Rylle, East Kingdom
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