Thursday, August 16, 2012

Post-Pennsic Post

Yeah, I like alliteration. :-)

I spent last week at Pennsic 41 (the second half of the event). Of course I had a fabulous time despite the periodic bursts of wind and rain. My "modern" canvas tent, which may be as much as 35 years old, held up like a champ.

The Slavic Interest Group (SIG) meeting is always one of the highlights of Pennsic for me. Some of my SIG friends were missing -- either they didn't get to War or they were off doing something else -- but it was a pleasure to chat with newer folks, and a happy surprise to find out that one or two of them remembered my past classes on Lithuania. We shared snacks and booze (*smile*) and left with tentative plans to have another Slavic University in central Pennsylvania, perhaps sometime next year.

I also took an afternoon class on basic inkle weaving and even bought myself a small inkle loom. I really want to practice good, consistent weaving with constant tension. Also, I suspect that an inkle loom will be the perfect platform for me to practice the kind of pick-up weaving that I see in Lithuanian woven bands. However, I've got to learn the basics thoroughly first.

Finally -- and this has nothing to do with Pennsic -- back in July there was a Lithuanian Folk Dance Festival in Boston. Wow, I would have loved to attend it, at least as a spectator. I want to peruse the website more, but I'm just posting it here as a placeholder now. So many interests, so little time....

Friday, July 6, 2012

Garb Thoughts for a Midsummer Day

(Author's note: I started writing this on Sunday, June 24, but didn't get around to finishing it. With the big storm and power outages that canceled the June 30 SCA event in my barony, things got kind of crazy. So here is the article as I started to write it ... if that makes any sense.)

As I noted three years ago, today is Lithuania's Midsummer Day, also called Rasos, Kupolės or Joninės. The weather has been heating up around here, but I spent most of today indoors at an Italian Renaissance gown workshop hosted by Mistress Jeanmaire du Doremy. She is a Laurel primari
ly for late-period clothing, and by "late period," I mean the 16th century.

A couple of blog posts ago, I mentioned that I'm not all that great at making garb. Seriously, the clothing I've made since joining the SCA in 2004 amounts to a couple of chemises, a T-tunic dress, a shorter tunic for wearing over a skirt or pants, a woolen half-circle cloak, a liripipe hood (which I keep misplacing), a couple of veils, and a whole bunch of "bog dresses" or simple cotton chitons. This simple stuff is great for Pennsic. I'm not sorry I made any of it. But if I want to make some authentically Lithuanian (or Polish-Lithuanian) garb, I have two routes: the early-period stuff, with precious little pictorial evidence, or the late-period stuff, where there are at least a few paintings, such as Lucas Cranach the Younger's depiction of the Jagiellon family.

Mistress Jeanmaire's class focused on a particular dress worn in a 16th-century portrait, a print of which hangs on her wall at home. She has already made a gown for herself based on this portrait, and she wore it at the most recent Kingdom Twelfth Night. She explained in detail how to make the four layers: chemise (you must have a chemise specific to this dress), corset, underskirt, and the gown itself. We took each other's measurements and traced out customized corset patterns (after trying on the existing corset). At the end of the afternoon, we agreed to have another meeting in late September, well after Pennsic, when we can show off what we've done so far and continue working on our outfits.

Update on July 6: Since the class, I've dug out my copy of Tarp Rytu Ir Vakaru and looked at the illustrations other than the Cranach portraits. The book has one or two other late-period depiction of women wearing dresses that seem to be more like "Italian Renn" fashions than Saxon gowns. I really ought to bring this book, and the little other evidence I have, to the next gathering with Mistress Jeanmaire and ask her about this. If it turns out that Italy was as much of an influence on Lithuanian fashion in the 1500s and 1600s as the "German" regions (because of Bona Sforza and other "intermarriages" among noble families), that will make my "what to wear" conundrum much easier to resolve.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Happy Lithuanian Independence Day!

Remember, Lithuania is the country that has two "independence days": one in February to commemorate its 1918 independence from Russia and one in March to celebrate its 1990 break with the Soviet Union. So tonight I actually had some pierogies for dinner. Not the world's best pierogies, but still tasty.

And once again, to my dear readers, my apologies for not writing in this blog for so long. (By now, you're tired of reading THAT, right?) I actually did compile a list of A&S activities to write about ... and then I misplaced the list. Why, yes, I am disorganized.

I've been busy, but a friend and I planned to make this weekend (the one that's just ending) into a "project weekend." He has been wanting to make himself a steampunk costume, and I have been wanting to finish a light-blue linen tunic dress that I started last July (before my automotive transmission disaster).

Specifically, my friend wants to make a double-breasted vest from a commercial pattern, and in the past he's worked off of muslin patterns, not the printed-paper ones. So I transferred the pattern to muslin and added in the seam allowances, which aren't printed on these newfangled multi-size costume patterns. I also added a bit of length on the bottom because he's a tall guy. He was happy with how the muslin mockup fit him, so this afternoon he ironed his real fabric and cut out the pieces from the "real" fabric.

Then I dug out the pieces for the light-blue dress and sewed some of it before the threads jammed up near the bobbin of my machine. I think my friend and I can fix it, but we'll take another look at it in the daylight tomorrow. But then I have to get back to "real" work....