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!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Period Poncho for the Procrastinating Pilgrim

Okay all,

I've finally made up my mind about my project. I've found what Drachenwald needs is more Clint Eastwood in it, and to promote this, I'm looking for a period poncho.

This is what the Germanic National Museum in Nuremberg gave me. (More pictures and examples of similar garments in Lady Anna's Flickr album)

This looks like two rectangular strips of cloth connected along the top. I feel this meets my level of sewing expertise, though the joint on the top may prove tricky for me.

The interesting part of this poncho/cloak is, that it's buttoned up on the shoulders. Both examples I found have this feature, and it looks like the buttoning was always done on both shoulders. Do you guys have any idea about the purpose of the buttons? (Or, more generally, do you know more about this kind of cloak? For example, what's it called? "Blanket"?) It seems unnecessary (provided the neckhole is big enough to stick your head through as is) and to serve only to weaken the arrangement.

Being the ever-resourceful outdoor enthusiast, I figured this might be a dual-purpose cloak, much in the way modern army ponchos can be rebuttoned to be used as sleeping bag covers. Namely, assume the the cloak is made of two strips of cloth, each being about one meter wide and one meter 30 centimeters or such long. (That's roughly 3' by 4' for you nonmetrics out there.) Buttoned together along the narrow edge, it serves as a poncho with the head sticking out on the narrow edge, as shown in the picture. But if you unbutton it there and rebutton it along one of the long edges, you can turn it into a fairly comfortable blanket sized 200cm x 130cm. Unfortunately, none of the pictures I could find as yet shows any buttons or buttonholes along the long edges, which might serve to blow my theory right out of the water.

Now, do you have any ideas about this cloak? Is such a dual-purpose documented, conceivable, fancyful or rightout ridiculous?

What material would be used for the cloak? Is it what we nowadays would call "a hardshell", intended to stop the wind and rain (to which purpose I would make it from cotton tarp), or is it wool?

Any advice and suggestions welcome,


P.S.: If you think this poncho isn't worthwhile, my plan B project is to reproduce the Bayeux Tapestry in braille.


brooke said...

hehe maybe you should do the braille thingie sounds awesome ;)
Walter has something similar and likes it. the usefulness would imho be contigent on the material, its weight and water repellent or warming properties
get going, this sounds like fun

Anya said...


Anya said...

Have you seen any pictures that have buttons on both shoulders or just the one? If it's only on one side, my guess is that it's just there to make it easier to put the cloak on. For materials, I'd definitely go with a lighter weight wool, as the man in the picture definitely looks upper class, and not like he's about to go rough it for a few days. That's just my opinion though!