Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Cavalier outfit


I'd like to write a little bit about the outfit I'll be wearing for Kingdom Twelfth Night.
This dress was made in the Cavalier style, which actually existed in the early to mid-17th century (see this page). That makes it a bit post-period in terms of the SCA, which generally covers the sweep of human history prior to 1600 C.E. (In other words, the time span ends with the Elizabethan era, since England's Queen Elizabeth I died in 1603.) However, I wore this outfit to Kingdom Twelfth Night 2007 and I got no complaints, just lots of compliments. It's stunning enough that nobody seemed to get bent out of shape.
The jacket, chemise and skirt were hand-sewn by a woman who played in the SCA and other reenactment groups before giving up the historical stuff to go to law school. Sadly, I do not know her name. When she was preparing for law school, she passed along some of her outfits to Dame Brenna of Storvik, who sold them for her at an SCA event in northern Atlantia.

The jacket and skirt are made of rose-colored silk (silk noil, maybe?) and have gold-colored trim. The jacket uses hooks and eyes to stay closed; I attached some extra-large hooks and eyes to make sure the thing stays closed. The chemise is white cotton; the lace on the collar appears to be hand-made by somebody, but the lace on the cuffs seems to be of commercial provenance.
Mostly this outfit fits me amazingly well, considering that I never met its creator. The one small detail is that I can't button the jacket cuffs because my forearms are too fat, but I hope the large cuffs on the chemise disguise that. Perhaps I should get some fabric sizing to make the chemise cuffs a little stiffer.
To accessorize the outfit, I purchased a black Cavalier hat from Tall Toad Costumes and added a rose-colored feather. I also purchased a pearl necklace from a jewelry-maker at Kingdom Twelfth Night 2007; sorry, I cannot remember the name.
I'm looking forward to an enjoyable Twelfth Night this year, and I'll try to remember to ask Dame Brenna for the name of the costumer.

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