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Fencing garb for women

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  • Marioun
    Does anyone have any resources for creating fencing garb for women? Most everything I find involves cross-dressing and wearing men s garb. I would really
    Message 1 of 9 , Oct 30, 2006
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      Does anyone have any resources for creating fencing garb for women?
      Most everything I find involves "cross-dressing" and wearing men's
      garb. I would really like to fence in women's garb, although I know of
      only one actual documented source for a woman actually fencing and its
      Italian, does anyone else have any experiance in altering other garb
      to meet the fencing requirements? ie: adding layers or other
      alterations? Does anyone know of any other resources documenting women
      fencing in period times? Should I create almost an "alternate" persona
      for fencing?
      Marioun
    • Carmen Beaudry
      Subject: [Authentic_SCA] Fencing garb for women ... I fight rapier in my dresses. It s actually pretty easy; most late period European cultures had some sort
      Message 2 of 9 , Oct 30, 2006
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        Subject: [Authentic_SCA] Fencing garb for women


        > Does anyone have any resources for creating fencing garb for women?
        > Most everything I find involves "cross-dressing" and wearing men's
        > garb. I would really like to fence in women's garb, although I know of
        > only one actual documented source for a woman actually fencing and its
        > Italian, does anyone else have any experiance in altering other garb
        > to meet the fencing requirements? ie: adding layers or other
        > alterations? Does anyone know of any other resources documenting women
        > fencing in period times? Should I create almost an "alternate" persona
        > for fencing?
        > Marioun

        I fight rapier in my dresses. It's actually pretty easy; most late period
        European cultures had some sort of high necked bodice or doublet for women,
        and you can just make that out of puncture proof materials. I make mine out
        of two layers of canvas, then I can use whatever I want for the top layer.
        I also fight in my fully boned 17th cen. corset, which works for breast
        protection. I make sure the skirts I use are either hemmed shorter, or
        hitched up so I don't trip, and I'm good to go. The two dresses I'm using
        to fight in both have two bodices, one rapier legal, and one regular, so I
        can just change the bodice after fighting and be appropriately dressed for
        court.

        Melusine
      • Sarah Michele Ford
        ... Good timing - I JUST co-taught a class on this very topic this past weekend. What period do you do? I can make suggestions about how to modify your
        Message 3 of 9 , Oct 31, 2006
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          On 10/30/06, Marioun <djmccreary@...> wrote:
          > Does anyone have any resources for creating fencing garb for women?
          > Most everything I find involves "cross-dressing" and wearing men's
          > garb. I would really like to fence in women's garb, although I know of
          > only one actual documented source for a woman actually fencing and its
          > Italian, does anyone else have any experiance in altering other garb
          > to meet the fencing requirements? ie: adding layers or other
          > alterations? Does anyone know of any other resources documenting women
          > fencing in period times? Should I create almost an "alternate" persona
          > for fencing?

          Good timing - I JUST co-taught a class on this very topic this past
          weekend. What period do you do? I can make suggestions about how to
          modify your existing clothing to work as rapier armor. I can also
          upload the handout from our class to the files if you'd like.

          And yes, it is entirely possible to fence in long skirts - I did for
          several years, though I recently did switch to "boy clothes".

          Alianor de R
        • Marioun
          ... I have only been involved in the SCA for a little over a year and havent really nailed down a complete persona yet. I have tried out a few on my friends,
          Message 4 of 9 , Oct 31, 2006
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            >
            > Good timing - I JUST co-taught a class on this very topic this past
            > weekend. What period do you do? I can make suggestions about how to
            > modify your existing clothing to work as rapier armor.

            I have only been involved in the SCA for a little over a year and
            havent really nailed down a complete persona yet. I have tried out a
            few on my friends, and have mainly gone with a 13th century scottish
            because of my experiance with the Scottish Highland games and my
            contacts in scotland (makes research easier when you know people over
            there...)

            But, I would really like to pick a persona where I dont have to flop
            back and forth for different activities, and I'm really into
            equestrian and am starting to get into Fencing and would really like
            to go farther with it. Anyone have any suggestions? Im kind of a
            history and research buff (thats what happens when your mom has
            masters degrees in history and library sciences...and she works as the
            head librarian for a major university).

            Unfortunantly, I enjoy the research so much, that I havent spent much
            time out of the library putting together my ideas!

            What type of footwear do you wear under your dresses to fence in?

            I can also
            > upload the handout from our class to the files if you'd like.
            >
            That would be great!


            > And yes, it is entirely possible to fence in long skirts - I did for
            > several years, though I recently did switch to "boy clothes".
            >

            Do you practice in them also? I would think it would change your style
            a bit? Do you shorted them hem any? Ive seen one woman fence while
            holding her skirts up with the other hand, I think that would affect
            my balance...


            Marioun
          • The Dark Lady
            ... I also fence in dresses, unless we re doing a woods battle where pants are a necessity, but I detest the short-skirt look. Therefore I have several
            Message 5 of 9 , Oct 31, 2006
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              > Does anyone have any resources for creating fencing
              > garb for women?

              I also fence in dresses, unless we're doing a woods
              battle where pants are a necessity, but I detest the
              short-skirt look. Therefore I have several solutions:

              1) side slits on the skirt with tiny pieces of velcro
              on the inside to hold up the corners when actually
              fencing - please note that while I generally won't
              even touch velcro, hooks and other more appropriate
              fastenings won't release if you accidentally step on
              the hem in a fight and will tear your beautiful skirt.

              2) a little thing that hangs from my belt and
              essentially is a strap with two D-rings on it - the
              skirt can be pulled up and fed through the D-rings to
              keep it out of the way

              3) my favorite option: sewing channels down each side
              of the skirt and inserting a drawstring. When I fight
              the skirt is pulled up like a curtain, and can be
              immediately let down for a more decorous look in
              between bouts. I attach each drawstring to a lacing
              ring as a handle, then feed that through the same size
              lacing ring which is sewn onto the skirt at the point
              where the drawstring exits the skirt - this keeps the
              drawstring from getting sucked into the skirt and
              reinforces the channel to prevent rips.

              4) a loop in the skirt that can be hooked over the arm
              or attached to another part of the dress to hold the
              skirt up and misc other "bustling" sorts of solutions
              that are seen on wedding dresses - these tend to be
              effective but time consuming and you need to be
              careful for ripping hazards or situations where you
              could get caught on your own dress.

              I generally use 16-17th century patterns with no
              difficulty. Two layers of heavy linen usually passes
              the drop test and in some cases a heavy brocade will
              pass at one layer. Look at pictures of Mary Queen of
              Scots and similar ladies (ie before necklines dipped)
              for ideas. High necked doublets and dresses with high
              (attached for safety) partlets all work well. hanging
              sleeves can be worn for warmth or to provide a lovely
              distraction on the field. :)

              ~Eithni

              When he has obtained those things which are necessary to life, there is another alternative than to obtain the superfluities; and that is, to adventure on life now, his vacation from humbler toil having commenced. ---Thoreau



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            • Sarah Michele Ford
              On 10/31/06, Marioun wrote: ... Well, there are a couple of things you have to consider. There *is* evidence of women
              Message 6 of 9 , Oct 31, 2006
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                On 10/31/06, Marioun <djmccreary@...> wrote:

                <snip>

                > But, I would really like to pick a persona where I dont have to flop
                > back and forth for different activities, and I'm really into
                > equestrian and am starting to get into Fencing and would really like
                > to go farther with it. Anyone have any suggestions? Im kind of a
                > history and research buff (thats what happens when your mom has
                > masters degrees in history and library sciences...and she works as the
                > head librarian for a major university).

                Well, there are a couple of things you have to consider. There *is*
                evidence of women engaging in swordplay, but not much as early as the
                13th century (I do 13th century English). So the question is, do you
                want to work to develop a persona where it's plausible for a woman to
                be fencing & riding. For me, I have decided that Alianor fences
                because Sarah likes to. If you decide to go this route, there is
                PLENTY of 13th century fashion that you can easily adapt for both
                equestrian and rapier.

                The short version of how to make "regular" clothes work as armor is to
                somehow make them pass a drop test - see the handout (which I've
                uploaded to the group's files) for more detail. My preferred way of
                doing this is to be careful in my fabric selections such that when I
                wear the appropriate number of layers, my clothing puncture- and
                abrasion-resistant in the appropriate places. Right now, that means I
                wear a two-layer linen tunic with a fustian fashion layer and a
                double-layer hood. Since I dress as a boy to fence, I wear braies and
                hosen. When I wore long skirts, I wore modern long underwear and
                socks underneath.

                > What type of footwear do you wear under your dresses to fence in?

                I wear either Land's End Walkmocs (I actually prefer the Payless
                version of these) or Birkenstock shoes. Neither really mimics a
                turnshoe, but they're fairly unobtrusive. My husband fences in his
                ankle boots from Revival Clothing and hasn't had any problems with
                them; I opted to purchase turnshoe slippers and I haven't tried to
                fence in them yet (and I don't know if I will - they're made from a
                fairly thin leather and I don't think they'd stand up to fencing very
                well...).

                > I can also
                > > upload the handout from our class to the files if you'd like.
                > >
                > That would be great!

                Done - it's in the folder "Alianor's Files". This is really a
                skeleton of the class, and kind of Aethelmearc specific (in terms of
                armor requirements, etc.). Feel free to ask me further questions
                either on or offlist.

                > > And yes, it is entirely possible to fence in long skirts - I did for
                > > several years, though I recently did switch to "boy clothes".
                >
                > Do you practice in them also? I would think it would change your style
                > a bit? Do you shorted them hem any? Ive seen one woman fence while
                > holding her skirts up with the other hand, I think that would affect
                > my balance...

                I made my "long" skirts ankle-length - I could do a full lunge without
                stepping on them. I practiced in them for several weeks before I
                debuted them on the list field, but after that didn't practice in them
                - once I got used to how they moved they didn't affect my style all
                that much. I almost never fence without a second weapon, so holding
                my skirts in my off-hand is not an option.

                Hope this helps, and do feel free to poke me (ha! fencing pun!) if
                you have further questions.

                Alianor de R.
              • Kelsie
                MODERATOR EDIT - KINDLY DO NOT TOP POST. PLEASE TRIM YOUR POSTS AS A COURTESY TO THE OTHER MEMBERS OF THE LIST. THANK YOU. I often fight in whatever I m
                Message 7 of 9 , Oct 31, 2006
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                  MODERATOR EDIT - KINDLY DO NOT TOP POST. PLEASE TRIM YOUR POSTS AS A COURTESY TO THE OTHER MEMBERS OF THE LIST. THANK YOU.

                  I often fight in whatever I'm wearing (14th C).
                  I puncture test my "outfits". With the layers of shift, lined supportive
                  kirtle and gown, they're good to go.

                  Then I put on a puncture proof hood and tuck it well into the neckline, add
                  neck and face protection, gloves.

                  I wear a belt around the hips and pouch up the (4" on the ground) skirts,
                  just like the dancing pictures.

                  I did find I needed to slit the seam in the shift, as they are not gored.

                  Unfortunately the sword doesn't match the outfits, but then neither does the
                  mask, and it's less fuss than getting changed into special clothes.

                  I also fight in late 16thC boy clothes, as a eccentric woman, rather than as
                  a man, and could easily swap my pants for a skirt, or wear both a la
                  Dangerous Beauty.

                  Cecilia
                • Kelsie
                  ... Turnshoes ... (skirts) Doesn t change my style at all, I mostly don t even notice them, though occasionally I have step back to hitch them up if they slip
                  Message 8 of 9 , Oct 31, 2006
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                    > What type of footwear do you wear under your dresses to fence in?

                    Turnshoes

                    > Do you practice in them also? I would think it would change
                    > your style
                    > a bit?
                    (skirts)
                    Doesn't change my style at all, I mostly don't even notice them, though
                    occasionally I have step back to hitch them up if they slip through the belt
                    a bit much.

                    But I don't practice in skirts as it involves a bit too much getting dressed
                    on a Sunday morning :)

                    Cecilia
                  • Elvira Pedrosa
                    Greetings, Remember many of the rules vary by Kingdom, so check with local marshals and the rapier handbook for your kingdom. Another technique that I see is
                    Message 9 of 9 , Oct 31, 2006
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                      Greetings,
                      Remember many of the rules vary by Kingdom, so check with local marshals and
                      the rapier handbook for your kingdom.

                      Another technique that I see is to make a fencing legal "undertunic" which
                      can be worn under regular garb.

                      Elvira Pedrosa


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