New veil & my very late entry into the Historical Sew Monthly January challenge

I’ve gotten a lot of wear out of the veil I made to go with my Byzantine outfit in January 2016, but I noticed that it had stained lightly with wet, freshly dyed hair… so when I was washing fabric for the fourth version of my horned hennin, I decided to wash up enough linen to cut a new veil as well.

Marking linen for a half-circle veil. This linen is not as sheer or light as my previous veil.

Marking linen for a half-circle veil.

Based on Fabrics-Store’s linen, I’d estimate this around 3-4 oz/yd, though I bought it from a different seller who doesn’t note the weight of the fabric. My previous veil used 2.8 oz/yd linen from Fabrics-Store.

I folded the fabric in half, and marked out 71cm from the centre in an arch to make a quarter-circle on the fold – to make a new half-circle veil (the shape I find attractive and versatile).

My previous veil was entirely hand-hemmed… but I didn’t really feel like spending that kind of time on this one. I ended up doing a stitch, turn and press, turn and press and stitch on it by machine instead.

I did add the same embroidered “L” to one of the corners like I did on my last veil though…

The result is a heavier veil than the other one I have – I think it will work well for styles where I wear it under another hat (like my Byzantine costume) but I don’t think it works well on the soft collapsible horned hennins that I made. So… for that – I’ll be making another 2.8 oz white linen veil instead!


The Challenge: January 2020Timetravelling Garments: Create an item that works for more than one historical era, or that can be used for both historical costuming, and modern wear. It could be an apron that could do 1770s or 1860s in a pinch, a shift that can work under many decades of fashion, or a historical cape you also wear everyday, etc.

I am getting to the 2020 Historical Sew Monthly challenges EXTREMELY late, but this project suits this theme, so I’m calling it good. I’ll be able to wear this veil through several different costume projects – my Byzantine and 15th Century costumes specifically.

Material: 100% linen

Pattern: 1/2 circle, marked directly on fabric

Year: generic medieval – suitable for my 11-15th century costuming

Notions: thread

How historically accurate is it? The shape seems to suit many paintings and illuminations. The construction is entirely by sewing machine.

Hours to complete: About 10 minutes to cut, another 45 to hem and embroider.

First worn: not yet

Total cost: The linen was on a great sale for $4.95/yard (USA site plus shipping)  and this veil took just under a meters, but the leftover bits from the half-circle being cut out went into making my fourth version of a horned hennin.

Saint Birgitta’s cap

St. Birgitta’s cap - worn well too far back on my head.

St. Birgitta’s cap

This post is incredibly long in the making – I started working on a St. Birgitta’s cap several years ago, when one of the people in the SCA (Coryn of the Wode) taught a class on how to make the cap.

Unfortunately, the cap wasn’t finished in class… so I took it in parts home, and then promptly forgot all about it. Then, for the February edition of the Historical Sew Monthly, the topic is “linen”, and while there are more elaborate linen items on my to-do list, this seemed like an accomplishable project given how few projects I was able to accomplish in 2018.

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Blue silk sideless surcote


Blue silk sideless surcote (over a silver silk underdress)

Blue silk sideless surcote (over a silver silk underdress)

To go along with the dark silver underdress, I made a blue silk sideless surcote as a slightly ‘upgraded’ version of the sideless surcote I made earlier.

The blue silk was from 3-star fabrics in Calgary, but I forget how much it was. It’s not at all slubby – it’s very smooth 🙂

I used the same pattern, and trimmed the dress in black dupioni silk. I know that dupioni is a bit too slubby to be ‘upper class’ – but I didn’t use a lot of it, and I didn’t have any other smooth silk to use (and no inclination to go out and hunt some down…)

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Green sideless surcote

Green sideless surcote

Green sideless surcote

In preparation for Avacal’s first Coronation, a small group of ladies decided that since so many of them had green dresses, that it would be nice to all wear them for part of the event. Of course, although I have green fabric for some Viking Age garb, I haven’t actually made it up – and other than a gown that I made in grade 11 (don’t even ask how many years ago that was!) I don’t recall having a single green period dress… (I have a few modern mundane dresses and other costume-kind of dresses in green.. just nothing for period.)

So… once I finished another project I wanted to have done for Coronation, I decided that it would be nice to have a green dress to add to the costume closet as well. I wasn’t super keen on making up the Viking Age garb though, and I wanted something less fitted, constrictive, and frankly time-consuming than re-making the Italian costume I recently did in green.

I recently pulled my sideless surcote (a grey knit with the appearance of wool, with real fur trim – recycled from tattered fur coats) and wore it to a tavern (on another day when I wasn’t feeling like going a’Viking) and decided to knock it off and make it up in a green. I didn’t have the fabric I wanted handy, so went shopping, and found some perfectly lovely fabric.

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