Help me clothe my Saxon family please!

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Help me clothe my Saxon family please!

Post by Naomij »

Hello I'm new :) and I'm looking for advice to upgrade our kit! We are 28, 9 and 2 :) and our group does dark ages to early medieval. Our next event will be for Samhain and we will be Saxon villagers, pillaged no doubt.

At the moment our kit is basic and shabby. I have a cotton/linen mix underkirtle made following the pattern on Sally's website (thankyou for that!) however I didn't fit it when cutting as I was in a rush, as I'm a size 8 I added various ugly tucks to make it fit at the shoulders but it's not ideal. I might add a picture if it helps. Over that I have a wide tube of reddish horrid linen/viscose mix stuff which attaches at the shoulders so it falls in folds if you see what I mean. It's horrid so I've bought 3 ms of wool planning to make an overkirtle thing to wear over the underkirtle. But it is very, very thick. I'm worried it won't be very wearable (would 3 ms be enough anyway? Can't remember how much the underdressed used)

So now I'm thinking maybe:

- do a better fix on the underkirtle and dye it to wear as an overkirtle
- use the wool to make a hangerock or something (don't know much about this)
- make a simpler long shift

What do you think? I'm not a great seamstress but am at the stage where I think I could do most things if I push myself. How would the cotton/linen dye? I'm not sure of the mix and had hoped to use natural dyes (have equipment for that) but think the linen content might make it more hassle than it's worth.

I'd love to just buy enough linen and wool to start over for all 3 of us but that's not going to be possible before Halloween (and also our event will be pretty dark!!!) think I'll start a separate thread for the children

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Re: Help me clothe my Saxon family please!

Post by nathan »


  • when you say 'saxon' what century are you aiming for?
    what is the name of the group (and are you attached to either the vikings or Regia?)
    you mention size 8, is that for both t-shirts and trousers? how tall are you?
    when you say the wool is 'really heavy' what do you mean, unlined autumn/warm winter coat or thick blanket?
And initial attempts at answers/thoughts:
  • A picture would really really help, perhaps without the tucks. If it's just too loose at the shoulders then altering the angle the sleeves are attached at might go a long way to fixing it. If it's just 'big' then you can just take it in.
    A hangerock is a very scandinavian piece of clothing and generally a mark of status worn _over_ 'normal' outer clothes later on (read that as, not something it's worth making till you have good basic kit _and_ want to be a viking rather than a saxon).
    If the wool is heavy and assuming later (C8/9th +) anglo-saxon, then i would suggest a rectangular cloak or better yet a mantle (cut as a generous, big semi-circle (3/4 circle is even better) as you can take it off if it's too warm.
Suggest you read: Once we have more specifics it would probably really help.

Beware of dragons, for you are crunchy and good with ketchup.

Posts: 17
Joined: Sat Sep 03, 2011 8:20 am

Re: Help me clothe my Saxon family please!

Post by Naomij »

Thanks for all the links I'll have a good read
Here's a dodgy pic

Excuse mud from detling and general ugliness. I think my frustration is that I'd love to start over but that's not realistic right now, and I'm thinking part of this re-enactment lark might be the constant mild frustration of always learning more and having more ideas than there is time or funds for immediately.

I'm with a small group called Ekho. They're not fussy on kit and happy for us to wear what we have, but all improvements appreciated! But if I'm going to go to the effort of sewing I'd like to do it as accurately and proficiently as I reasonably can.

I think the wool will be best suited to cloaks etc, which is fine as we need them for warmth at a Halloween event!

In most shops I'm an 8 all over, but IMO shops are over optimistic! I'm prob 8-10 but small chested so 8 works fine.
Some of the seams have already needed repair as I machine sewed it in a hurry. I was chatting to another member last night (the only other girl!) who can see why I'd like to start over with a nice linen shift but also thinks this is fine as an underdress and I just need to make something vaguely Saxon for on top.

As for century, well at this event the chaps from the village have just gone off to fight at Hastings, when a bunch of normans come and pillage us. But all the date is specific for this event, it'll be pretty dark and as the group aren't fussy, it would be fine to just make a Saxon costume which will cover as broad a period and type of person as possible.

So I guess I need to make an overdress :) the local shop sells cotton linen in a few earthy colours at a decent price which the other woman says is heavy enough for it, so I shall consider that.

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Re: Help me clothe my Saxon family please!

Post by FionaDowson »

How did you get on with making your Saxon costume?

I know it's the dark ages but I feel I shouldn't be this much in the dark!

Is it allowed to buy commercial fabric from an ordinary shop? Is that what you did?

I've had a look at the Reglia BRit stuff and it looks pretty straightforward, I just don't know what to do about buying material. Did you add any patches or darns?

Fiona in Norwich

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