Silk Road garb (Part 2 – planning & breakdown)

Sketch of what I have in mind for my Byzantine costume

Sketch of what I have in mind for my Byzantine costume

In my previous post I mentioned doing a Byzantine costume for 12th Night in January. I’ve only done a bit of research in this area, but I’m comfortable with where I’m at thus far, with the limited time (and frankly, limited interest right now in exploring this culture) and other resources.

In this post I’ll breakdown the items I want to make for this costume, discuss what I have in mind, and prioritize them.


High priority

  • Dalmatica – This middle-layer garment is one of my highest priority garments.

Direct link from Pinterest

I’ll be doing this in a bright blue polyester that I got a while ago. I have the perfect amount of fabric (6 meters) and trim that matches nearly perfectly, which is a great design for Byzantine costume I think…. While normally I’d stay away from polyester – the cost was good and the colour is perfect, and it hangs and feels very much like silk, so I’m running with it for the time being. I’ll make this long, with wide “angel” sleeves, with a less-shaped waist than some of my other recent costumes.

  • Propoloma – The fan-shaped hat

Direct link from Pinterest

I really love hats, and I think that this would be a lot of fun to work on – plus it’s so wacky looking!

I’ve contemplated two ways of making this – either as a millinery hat with a buckram base, or a soft hat made with wool melton. Either way, I want the exterior to be golden silk, with red ribbon trim.

  • Belt – with a long hanging end

While this isn’t really an exciting part of the costume, it’s pretty vital, and I don’t think that I have anything else that will substitute in well – all of my long belts are very unembellished, early period, compared to what I’ll be looking for for this costume.

I’ll make this out of some braid/trim I bought at an Indian fabric store a while ago. I’d intended to use it for something else, but will use it for this instead, since that costume is a bit on hold right now.

  • Superhumeral- an elaborate collar

Linked from Wikipedia – Byzantine Empress Theodora (c. 815 – after 867)

This is an elaborate collar, often trimmed with pearls. I see this as being a pretty iconic part of the costume; an important thing to distinguish it as Byzantine, since the Dalmatica seems to be pretty darn similar to the Bliaut! (different time… different place…) There’s also a long hanging part to this collar that I didn’t find the name of.

These two pieces I’ll make with this gorgeous trim I got from an Indian fabric store a while ago (the same time as the trim for the belt). I’ll probably base the collar on the dress fabric, and trim it with pearls.

  • Cuffs – embellished, bracelet-like cuffs

If I need to use one of my existing underdresses in lue of the Tunica, I’ll need to have embellished cuffs to wear with it – they’ll be seen under the wide angel sleeves. Having them be bracelet-like and removable, will be a huge advantage, since I’ll be able to wear them with lots of different under dresses, won’t have to worry about cleaning challenges, and if I need to work with my hands a lot, can easily take them off temporarily.

Low priority

  • Tunica – the layer worn closest to the skin

Since I have limited time, I’m opting to consider the Tunica optional. It won’t show with the costume anyways (other than at the tight sleeves, beneath the angel sleeves) so I’m putting it super-low on my to-make list. If I don’t find the time (or just don’t want to) I can always use one of my existing underdresses instead, probably my silver silk one.

  • Chlamys – a cloak

Direct link from Pinterest

Since this event will be indoors (albeit in Calgary’s cold winter), I don’t think there’s any need to devote the time, material, and embellishment (not to mention later storage space) to another cloak.

  • Shoes

Directly linked from Pinterest

As much as I’d love pretty shoes for this, and making them might actually be doable, it’s way too far out of my area at this point to find the time to work on.  I’ll keep my skirt really long and wear whatever shoes I already have that feel right for the day.

  • Jewellery

Direct link from Pinterest

My Pinterest board shows lots of jewellery as well, and if there’s time I might consider making a necklace to go with this outfit, though likely not, since it will be pretty un-seen under all of the bling of the collar.

Follow my progress!

Want to follow the rest of the posts for this project? If you don’t want to check back to see what the next step is, I’ll be auto-posting to my Facebook page Dawn’s Dress Diary. Just click “Like” to follow me there!

Not into Facebook? You can follow me @SadinaDawn on Twitter – though I post lots of non-costume things too, but all of the posts from my blog are auto-posted there as well.

Want to see sneak previews of all the other projects I’m working on (and again, lots of non-costume content too) on Instagram too!

One comment on “Silk Road garb (Part 2 – planning & breakdown)

  1. […] when doing my initial research for this era ages ago, SO many of the images are SUPER BLINGY throughout every element of the outfit – but pretty […]

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