Introduction to the Challenge

This challenge is specifically set towards those that have not had the opportunity to sew a garment/object by hand. This challenge is NOT a competion, merely a place for new handsewers to document their progress and seek feedback and help, and to challenge themselves. Sewers that are experienced in hand stitching items will not be excluded, but this is meant as a chance for those with no experience in this realm to get a start.The Challenge I propose is that all persons joining the challenge pick a garment or object of textile nature, no matter how small or large, i.e. a pilgrim bag, a Coif or any type of hat, socks, flag, gloves etc., and have at least one form of documentation for its existence during the SCA time period. Acceptable forms of documentation for this project will be paintings/woodcuts/drawings with the desired object in it or a picture of the desired object.The challenge starts first of June and will end one year later. People can join the challenge at any time during this year. Those of you with handsewing experience are invited to follow the blog, and leave comments and feedback as the challenge progresses. The challenge is based in Drachenwald, but is open to all kingdoms.
If you would like to join the challenge (and the blog) please email me at to be added!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Greetings From East Kingdom!

Greetings Everyone! I am Isolda Fairamay of the Southern Shores, from the Barony of Ruantallan in the East Kingdom.

I am very new to the SCA, having only been a member for a few months. I heard about this wonderful challenge and thought it would be a perfect project for me.

To give you a little background, I have been sewing by machine for about 20 years, but I do not consider myself a seamstress by any stretch of the imagination. I started off using mundane clothing patterns years ago but alas I became bored and moved on to more crafty projects. These crafty projects lead me into what has been my major pastime for a number of years...fabric art. Specifically I have created many quilted fabric art wall hangings. They are all my own designs and I have enjoyed making them immensely. Although I have had lots of sewing experience I must point out that I have no formal training. In fact, I have always been rather independant in my sewing by trying things out on my own and doing what works for me rather than following rules. I must also point out that I have done all this almost exclusively by machine sewing. I would avoid hand sewing anything (for lack of a better term) like the plague!
So, why this challenge and why now?

Well, of course once I joined the SCA I realized that I would have to sew my own clothing to wear. I always thought I hated sewing clothing and I gave up doing that a long time ago. But once I started sewing some medieval clothing and learning about it I found I started to enjoy it. The clothing itself is art and it is feeding my creativity in a way I haven't felt for a long time. SO, when I heard about the First-time Handsewing Challenge I knew it would be perfect for me! What better way to immerse myself in the art of sewing a medieval garment than to make it all by hand myself? And being someone who believes herself to be a hater of hand sewing, this is a challenge I cannot pass up!

What to sew?

As soon as I decided I would join this challenge I knew exactly what I would make. When I was first doing some research on what time period my persona would represent I saw a picture of an illumination that I fell in love with. It is one of the plates from the Codex Manesse, an illuminated manuscript from the 14th Century. I think the outfit that the lady in the picture is wearing is beautiful. I will post a photo of it with this entry.

Now, as I said I am rather new to the SCA and am still learning, but this is my plan for this First-time Handsewing Challenge: My goal is to recreate the lady's gown and surcoat in the chosen plate depicted from the Codex Manesse illuminated manuscript as authentically as possible.

I hope you all don't mind me joining the challenge a little late...I've been rather busy over the summer and did not get around to contacting anyone about it until now! I HAVE been working on this project, but since I haven't yet begun doing the hand sewing itself I decided joining late was better than never!

Looking forward to more posts!