I got the fabric for this dress from Caroline L, a lovely, rather thin purple wool that I was too scared to cut without her help. I made it for the summer season of 2011, during which I was ridiculously pregnant, which is why it has side lacing and will always fit me, no matter how fat I get.
|One cookie too many.|
A few years in the field have taught me that camp life is messy. There is a lot of cooking, fire tending, washing up and general outdoorsy stuff going on, and you get positively filthy in the process. My first shift had super-tight sleeves, to the point of cutting off circulation. (Blue hands are so 1340!) It took me precisely two minutes of wear to make up my mind never to try that one, ever again. All my shifts have sleeves that are wide enough that they can be rolled up, and fit the long wool sleeves of the dress inside the linen roll. This is absolutely mandatory when you're doing dishes behind the tent. And when rolling up your sleeves like this, it is more convenient to undo the buttons first. Since my sleeves are nearly always rolled up, buttonholes were the last of my concerns when finishing this dress in the first place. When I found I could do without them, it was no easy thing to force myself to sit down and do them - unlike many of my friends, I love the buttons but hate the buttonholes, not the other way around. Hence the dress is one of my more demanding UFOs, but everything else is fixed on it - I even bothered to finish the sleeves with heddle woven edges.
(The other fieldwear hint is to avoid long, luxurious hems and trains on dresses that you will wear when you work or move around a lot, say, when skipping about the more jubbly market stalls at Medeltidsveckan in Visby. Save princess-length dresses for banquets and larps where you're cast as the Queen of Huböblü, and can spend all day on your midget-encrusted Throne of Äwesome. Trust me on this - you will trip on an overly generous/long dress when you're on your way home from the Trix fire show in Nordergravar and are too busy ogling the nekkid firebreathers over your shoulder, or you'll pee on your voluminous skirts when you're too drunk to safely conduct yourself in a nearby Bajamaja - a feat that ought to be a fucking olympic event if you ask me. Don't be a princess. Skip the train.)
A few more notes on the above picture
The belt is wrong. It is really a man's belt, but if you're new to this and wondering, the answer is that I am out on a limb wearing a leather belt this wide.
I'm wearing the "slit swine ears"-braids at my temples, reasonably covered with a plain veil. They were all the rage in Albrechts Bössor a few years back (#micro-trends within reenactment communities), but now we've moved on to S:t Bridget's caps and frilled veils.
With the neck piece I am making up for the UN-HC fact that the neck of the wool dress is actually more generously cut than that of the shift (error). You shouldn't be able to see the shift. Use pins to keep the whole ghost hoodie structure in place. Use lots of them.
In accordance with my UFO pledge this year, I'm finishing the buttonholes on this one. Hopefully, the sleeves still fit!
*Photo courtesy of Mikael Ranelius. Thank you!