Thursday, August 9, 2018

Textured Heraldic Banner

Currently making an appliquéd, couched, goldworked and embroidered banner for my sca heraldry. While everyone is at Pennsic, it was time to have something fancy for displays. Plus nice to have one in the correct colors. Discovered that the one displayed in my home was in my original colors which was blue instead of purple. Though the prior one was a painted plaque and now it will be a proper fabric banner.

So the back ground done black on the back side, I used cotton fabric.  Used fat quarters so I can limit the cost plus, easier with a cut fabric the size of 18”x 21”. Then purple field will have a white, silver and grey unicorn. Mostly in wool for this unicorn with metallic nuances.

Making lucet woven trim for the edges and also for the appliquéd parts of the project. Used gold metallic cord around the lucet woven in yellow cotton, gives texture. So showing my progress so far harps need appliquéd down to the chief.

So I have stretcher strips that has cotton fabric for the unicorn all set. During a movie tonight, I managed to draw the outline of the unicorn on the fabric to embroider over. Lined it up the the background and it just so fits the purple field.

Started Edge’s in gray wool and will be filling in with while and tan as I go then streaks of silver on hooves horn mane and tail. Should be interesting when done.

I set up my sewing area in the basement. Boo claims my chair to sit on. I have a shelf with at hand supplies. So here is to sewing spaces old a new may they produce masterworks.

Missed my crafting,


Sunday, July 29, 2018

Final Push Mundane Move

This is the last few days of July, I have been able to drop two more car loads of miscellaneous item at Lewisburg. I have gotten a few more books on dolls to research while my life is upside down. Also working on lucet here and there, to keep my hands occupied. On the last color of the 6 I bought from TheWolf and Phoenix. Also located fabric I can embroider over for making the shirt for the Helena Von Snakenborg.

Also selling off the larger pieces of furniture, which is a challenge with organizing people. So I have a few waiting for my sister to take away. Also she can get linens, blankets pots and pans as needed. So it helps that items are going to be used and enjoyed. All the cat items are packed besides the food and litter boxes.

Ready to organize and set things to place in my new home. Starting a brand new adventure in the journey of life.



Wednesday, July 4, 2018

It’s Coming Along

I wanted to show the scroll wall before it was packed for moving. Looking forward to putting them up in the hallway of my new place. Along with incorporating my other belongings.

Now after more packing and moving, I am about 80% done. So have one dresser and 3 book shelves yet. So spending the rest of the evening packing books for Friday’s load.

In the interest of this blog and dispersing historical  information about my research. I also have a YouTube channel, containing videos about weaving, clothing/ garb and dolls.  Though in the near future, plan on posting some more videos on this platform to enhance the educational experience.

Maureen Benfer- Tudorosities channel

So keep an eye out for YouTube links in these blogger posts to coincide with the topic of the article.
Now back to my regularly scheduled packing.

On the home stretch,


Pondering New Sources as Moving Continues

New research materials 
Well with renewed spirits, been digging into “new to me” doll books. Sourcing some enteries back Medieval and Renaissance period, helps see perspectives from publication to now if theories changed. Which most of the time they do.  Not been able to do much more lately, though ready to get started. Would love to get a doll set for creating.

Saw the East Kingdom’ s 50th Anniversary event pictures from last weekend. There was an epic doll display of former reigning monarchs. It’s awesome handmade cloth dolls on an armature,  no faces indicated but hair and outfits are just spot on. Makes me wonder about a collection of these for Aethelmearc. Hmmm?
Doll Blank from my class 

Reading in between packing, which is 75% done. Hoping to nip more larger pieces to Lewisburg  over the holiday. I plan on moving the doll castle at minimum. Though certain can get more done since I packed more boxes for books. Packed some miscellaneous things for another car load for Wednesday.

Looking forward to free time again,


Sunday, June 17, 2018

Fleur’d Æthelmearc

So it has happened,  I was granted the Fleur’d Æthelmearc for my work on 16th century fashion dolls and Elizabethan clothing making. Shocked and humbled by the whole court drop surprise. Feeling very blessed and renewed in my research to bring the miniature interesting to the SCA and society at large.

I had taught my class Hello Poppet- Make and Take.  Which was taking my class from talking about the history and background on fashion dolls.  Now with the Make and Take part, one is creating a doll blank to eventually paint and fashion into a fashion doll. Which historical references do go back to the 1400 for some and earlier. Made sure to include patterns for clothing and also techniques on painting and wig making. So will refine this for next Æthelmearc academy in the fall.

After I am finished moving into my new residence in a nearby town in Lewisburg. Would have posted sooner though have been caught between two residences and have moved about 60% of my belongings. Over the summer I will create the next epic poppet. Plus the plan is to figure out plans for continuing the miniature journey for fashion dolls.

Till after the move,

THL Marrin O’Kealy

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Middling English Ladies Waistcoat

     Haven’t touched upon the topic in a while, the historical significance of the English Ladies Waistcoat. The ladies waistcoat is noted around 1550-1600’s England. Its a short jacket like garment meant to be worn over a kirtle (dress) and petticoats (underskirts) for the ladies.(TT Pg 41) Many made of linen, flannel(wool) and silk, these were normally lined garments but not always worn for warmth and modesty (QEWU pg 145) The waistcoat was worn by all classes, from royalty to peasant. Noted various decorated waistcoats are found in Queen Elizabeth wardrobe accounts many of silk with embroidery and other fine lace and metalwork (QEQU pg 9.) Depending in the materials and decoration, one would know the station of the person who owned the garment.

Layton Jacket Extant
Victoria &Albert Museum
London England
      There were particular patterning cuts for men's which varies from women's waistcoats. So by looking carefully one would know which sex it was meant. (TT pg84,58) The ladies are cut in a particular way to accommodate the fullness of the hips. Using godets front and back just under the waist. Alternatively a peplum like cut to the fullness of the waist, would accommodate a growing belly depending on the pattern. (TCA vol 160) The men's are more angular and belly is shaped differently and worn over a shirt and doublet, which was tied on to under-hose.(TT pg58)

     My waistcoat is made of woven wool fabric and lined in cotton linen blend interlined in wool. Queen Elizabeth’s Wardrobe Unlock’d mentions blended fiber linings on pg 9. I spun the weft single ply in gray Ramie wool, woven the ramie wool fabric in a tabby weave, patterned the garment piecing all 6 yards of wool 12” fabric, then sewed it together. Many of surviving examples of waistcoats are black-work and ploy-chrome silk embroidery on linen, those of lower classes wouldn't be able to afford such a luxury so would need something more in line with their socio-economic standing. 

     I used the simplest tabby weave as I know it historically goes back to ancient times, also thought
Layton Jacket with
Portrait of Margaret Layton
Victoria& Albert Museum
London, England.
it was class appropriate. As it a simple weave though worked in 3 colors appears more complicated pattern in the fabric was to work. The ply of the brown and white weft wool made this awesome pattern as the subtle grey winks through. The significance of the colors of wool that these are the ones naturally available from the lucrative wool trade in England.

     Reinforcing the seams with heavier wool felt and decorated with couched wool yarn same colors as the waistcoat. Turned out to be quite a thick and heavier garment, which is great since they historically are worn for warmth (QEWU pg145) When I was envisioning the end product of all this cottage craft, I detailed it for a middle class English lady for unseasonable damp and cold weather.  

     In conclusion found it to be thicker that expected but wasn’t unusual for some bulk depending on lining choices(QEWU pg 9). In my outdoor test wearing at Lewisburg Arts festival, a cool to mild warm Pennsylvania spring day with a breeze among the damp. I felt warm and dry, not at all hindered by the thickness but was able to feel the breeze so it kept warmth but also allowed the sweat to wick and keep dry. A functional, practical, handmade garment that it also pleasing to wear. Would call this more than a middling success.
QEWU- Queen Elizabeth Wardrobe
Arnold, Janet. Queen Elizabeth's Wardrobe Unlock’d. Maney Publishing, 1988. ISBN: 9781909662537

TT- The Tudor Tailor
Malcolm-Davies, Jane and Mikhaila, Ninya. The Tudor Tailor: Reconstructing 16th Century Dress. Costume and Fashion Press, 2006. ISBN: 9780896762558

TCA- The Compleat Anachronist
Kratts, Aimee. The Compleat Anachronist: A Survey of Late Sixteen/Early Seventeenth Century Embroidered Jackets.  Vol 160. July 2013.

Visual Bibliography:

Margaret Layton Portrait (1620) oil on Oak Panel. Victoria and Albert Museum item E.214-1994

Margaret Layton Waistcoat. 1610-1615 made, 1625 altered, Victoria and Albert Museum item T.228-1994

Monday, April 30, 2018

Lewisburg Arts Festival 2018

  I was prudent and avoided taking any of my spinning wheels this year. As hauling is a challenge and weather is fickle, as the forecast was correct on transientness of mother nature.

 So hand drop spinning, fiber display, wear the woven waistcoat and dolls. So here are pictures of the day.

 Did have a young girl try spinning, drop spindle is easier than my wheels. So for the best for a try it. Plus many intrigued by the dolls and all the paintings they are found within period.

The waistcoat had much praise and many questions. I like the fit and the fiber, looking forward to wearing my others with respective silk kirtles. May have found my period jeans so to speak.

Had a blast from the past,

Marrin O'Kealy

 Credits to Dennys the Decadent and Jaqueline de Moliere for pictures.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Wild Wooly Wednesday

 Finished this middle class Elizabethan wool gown. This has been an outstanding project for over a year. I was having issues with the heavy wool pleating for the skirt.  Completing the pleating is challenging with the heavy blanket like wool fabric.
 The tabs were also a bit fiddly as they had to be cut in half and attach them to the base of the doublet. Reminds me of petals but some finishing is needed to lay a little flatter. I used the linen ties to make sleeve attachment decorations.

  I was able to use the larger tabs to have cuff decorations and with the pleating this skirt doesn't need hemmed. Just the correct length. Love the color.
Very pleased in how this turned out over all. I also made a two wool aprons for more middle lower class outfits. I have one green and will dye the other brown. So considering  my options.

Wooly day,

Marrin O'Kealy

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Spun, woven, sewn, and embroidered

Well the pieces of the jacket are assembled. I did need some modern help keeping seams together even with strong stitches. So I had much seam reinforcement with wool to make sure rip out in handwoven fabric was avoided. There are areas I am watching to keep from warping as the garment is worn. So going to show a progress gallery from spindle to loom to garment.

Progress is slow by steady we all know it wins the race, said the tortoise.

Marrin O'Kealy

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Ice Dragon 2018

Well uncertain of the results due to technical difficulties for the Ice Dragon Pentathlon Though certain I captured toy category. Some pics to share. Will update this when more news is available.

Though this is a German outfit from a friend. As I had won the hat in a raffle the gown recently came up for sale. So all credit to the garb goes to Lady Selene of Nithgard. Just lucky our measurements are super close.

The salon all set up for snacks of friends and passers by. Ate much fruit and veg and stayed hydrated.

My entry was put both in accessories and in toys. Results as forthcoming due to technical difficulties. My scores are good, solid though going to see about going through the suggestions for improvement. A ways room for becoming better.

Some wonderful tokens of appreciation left behind by admirers.
Hoping to get started on the next doll soon. As time ticks away for next years Ice Dragon Pent.



Tudor Q and A

What is a Tudorosity?

A mashed combination of the words Tudor and Curiosity to create the word Tudorosity. Tudorosities is the plural form and the deffinition is as follows.

Tudorosity- an desire to learn or know anything about the Tudor dynasty assocated with years 1405 through 1603.

Most people ask my why I make the Tudor garb ?

I find the clothing of this era not only beautiful but also challenging to sew. There is much more care and purpose put into making garments and wearing garments in the Tudor Era. I love the look of Tudor so much I wanted to explore the way clothes were made back then and the subtle changes in fashion and styles of time.

How did you get started in this interesting hobby?

I started with art first, I love to draw, paint, and sculpt all the traditional fine arts. So being able to draw helps me visualize the looks I want to create in my garb. History has always been a huge interest of mine and I've had a knack for sewing since I was 6 years old. It all started with doll clothes and I learned cross stitch embroidery from my grandmother when I was little. I am self taught sewer, crochet, knitting, embroidery and tatting. My methods are learned from books mainly and there is still so much more to learn.

What is my favorite outfit and why?

It would be like picking a favorite out of one of my future children, its impossible. I love all my gown creations and really like the distinct differences in all the styles clothing I make for the Tudor Era.

Do you make the whole outfit including hat, shoes, and undergarments?

I do have a goal of making a complete Tudor from the skin out. As of right now I make 80% of my gowns and accessories. The shoes, corset, stockings, and petticoats are bought online and the petticoats are a close reproduction but not made by me. Though someday I plan on making a reed corset and petticoat to wear under my gowns, as well as other accessories.

How long does it take to make a gown?

It all depends on the type of gown I plan on making and the time period and class of the design. Generally if I work on it 8 hours a day on a sewing machine it will take 3 days to get the basics and another 5 days to do finish hand-sewing details and beading. So a week to a week and a half if working on it steady for that amount of time. I work a full-time job so it does take longer than a week to complete. I put over 40-100 hours per outfit depending on its complexity, its like its own full time job of sorts.

Do you make renaissance clothing for sale or custom orders?

No, due to new employment and changes in my lifestyle. Unfortunately, I have no time to support sewing for others. Though I recommend sewing lessons for those adventurous few. There are many fine folks who make and sell historical clothing. I suggest guidance with sew from many fine historical enthusiastic costumers out on the internet.

How long have you been making these elaborate costumes?

I have been in the Society of Creative Anachronism coming up on my 10th year. Active since 2004 working at demonstrations and volunteering when I could between working and other life's distractions. I really concentrated on Tudor sewing in 2007 and worked with patterns to learn proper fabrics, techniques, fit, and silhouette. I really enjoy the eras transition from a medieval form fitting layered cotterdie to the boned Tudor kirtle and then to structured Elizabethan clothing.

Tudor Rose

Tudor Rose

Lady Willoughby

Lady Willoughby

Tudor Rose

Tudor Rose

Peach Elizabethan Noble

Peach Elizabethan Noble

Tudor Rose

Tudor Rose

Mauve Waistcoat Elizabethan Gown

Mauve Waistcoat Elizabethan Gown

Tudor Rose

Tudor Rose

O'Cadhla Heraldry

O'Cadhla Heraldry

Queen Mary I of England

Queen Mary I of England