When deciding what kind of persona I wanted to do I first looked at the garb. There were a few places that I was interested in a few time periods but I just wasn't sure. Then I remembered that I was going to be the one making the garb. Oh boy. That meant I needed something relatively easy.
So I went Anglo Saxon. It was easy and I liked it. I found a name and I found the era. Now all I needed to do was make the garb. First I did research. I'm not a garb nazi but I thought that after five years in the SCA I should start down the road of authenticity. I wanted to get it right. After research was done I knew I needed to begin. I was so nervous about making the garb. It wasn't as if I'd never made garb before. I had and had even made it for other people. There was just something so important about the garb I was planning on making that made my nerves run wild. This was the big wave for me. If I was going to live Anglo Saxon I desperately wanted it to be right.
The biggest problem I had was patterns. I was a pattern gal. All the garb I made previously was generic McCall and Simplicity patterns that I had used to make pseudo-period garb that would easily blend into the crowd at any event that I went to. (I found it hard to blend due to my volunteering efforts and when I was called into court on rare occasions I was very nervous people were murmuring about how I was so not period.) I didn't have a pattern for the semi-fitted under tunic. What I did have though was a semi-fitted under tunic that someone gave to me that was too small. (I mean way too small.) I didn't want to think yet about how I was going to go about sizing the new tunic with the old one that didn't fit. Instead I went to my local JoAnn's to peruse their excellent selection of fabrics.
I really wanted to get linen but I'm but a poor college student so I settled for 100% cotton. (I know, I know.) I bought some great possibly-not-period-colors of sage green and pale burnt orange- four yards each- and left the store with my credit card humming. (I also purchased embroidery thread, thread of matching colors to the fabric, and some varies things that I can never have too many of.) I was pretty pumped at this point in time and was so ready to put my fears aside and tackle this project.
Now, how was I going to size the new tunic? I stood for several long minutes staring at the fabric stretched over my sewing table with the too-small-tunic folded in half and carefully placed to match the fold of the fabric as I pondered how to solve this problem. There was one moment where I thought it would just be easier to loose 10 pounds instead of figuring this out. My aunt came in and posed herself similar to me. She was as stumped as me. This didn't help me much.
Then it hit me like a rock in a snow ball. I can just move the fold of the small dress down an inch from the fold of the fabric to give me four extra inches in the new dress! I was so happy!
I got to cutting and I got to sewing the tunics. Three hours later I had 'finished' tunics.
The next stage of my devious project would later prove me an idiot.
I wanted to embroider a small leaf pattern around all to sleeve ends, the neck, and the bottom of the dress. I also wanted trim on the outer tunic.
Four days later and one painful blister later I had finished the bottom of the dress and one sleeve. I was beginning to think that I was crazy and needed help. The only thing that kept me going were to ooh's and ahh's that I was getting from people who saw me working on it. Many an archery practice came and went with me sewing on that blasted under tunic. When I finished I felt like a champion though. I strutted around the house in my new garb and took pictures to send to every scadian I knew.
What really validated everything I had worked hard for was the first event that I wore it too. Loads of people told me it looked great. That really lifted my ego a lot and made me swell with pride.
Just goes to show that you can solve any problem if you stare at it long enough.