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Way overdue.... Bodiced Gown - Part 1.

This entry will be about me making a 1660s "bodiced gown" for my wife Jessica.

I started this project for a three-fold reason.
  1. Someone I know (Chole) was organizing a "Costume Creation Month" where participants were to make a single costume, and I thought that would help motivate me.
  2. The Searle's Raid re-enactment is coming up in early March, and I though Jessica would like something new to wear.
  3. I've dragged my feet for about two years or more about making one of these for Jessica, and even have a previously unfinished model to show for it. Actually, I think the parts to the previously unfinished one ended up getting re-purposed as a set of stays for someone else (that did get completed).
Okay, I might not have weighted the three above reasons for the project in that order, but that is how I wrote them, so that is how they shall stay.

First off pattern. While I do own a commercial pattern for this (from Reconstructing History), I decided I was going to draft the pattern from page 23 of Janet Arnold's "Patterns of Fashion 1". (Sorry but I do not have a link to a page where this pattern is posted online, if it even is). My decision to start from this pattern rather than using the commercial pattern is that I wanted an earlier styled gown. The Reconstructing History pattern while easily altered to backfit this earlier period, just isn't what I wanted. It is great for the 1680s and 1690 where the waist line in lengthened and narrowed, but the earlier period bodiced gowns were pretty high waisted (more so if you look back to the 1640s). Now I could post a bunch of links to images that demonstrate this point, but I'm feeling lazy, and this is going to be more about "how" I did it than the historic provenance of what I am doing. Maybe if I do get ambitious, I will add an entry on the history... But don't hold your breath... And furthermore, it would surprise me a fair bit if with a modest amount of google-fu, you didn't find such a writing somewhere else on the world wide web.

Going back to explain "Costume Creation Month", it is an idea the was brought to my attention by Chole. The target was to create and make a costume over the period of December 18th 2010 to January 18th 2011. It was not a contest, it was not a race, but just an idea to get a bunch of costumers going and working in unison to help motivate each other and share their ideas and progress. As you may ascertain from the date of this writing, I did not complete my project in that period. Most of the work I have done so far on this project was during the last couple of weeks of the "Costume Creation Month" span, but I got a late start on the project due to a busy holiday season, travel for work, and a liberal dose of being distracted by another fun project (painting some miniature figurines). But now I am hell-bent on getting this project done in the coming weeks (I have three weeks before the Searle's Raid event). For what it is worth, Chole did mention organizing another Costumer Creation Month perhaps early in the summer. Maybe next time I will be on time for it. LOL

Wow, two paragraphs and some random point making of preamble. I shouldn't write prior to coffee consumption.

Okay down to business. How I started. The first thing I did was purchase some big sheets of card stock, or poster board as it is often called (or bristol board is what I remember it being called as a kid). I then scaled the pattern from the book up to full size. I used the grid method to do this, but different folks prefer different methods, such as the blow it up on the photocopier and paste it to the card stock, or the ever popular use an overhead projector, or whatever method floats your boat. I used the grid method. This was made easier by the fact the poster board I bought had a faint one inch grid on it. Another item of importance here was to make a "FULL" pattern on the card stock. Meaning that for pieces that have reverse duplicates or can be done on the fold, to make complete images of those items (as in two parts to the items with two parts, and a full item that would normally be done on the fold). The below image shows the cut out card stock pattern pieces (with the pink duct tape I used to attach them together to test fitting). Please not there are two of each side piece and back pieces, and the front center is complete and not halved (like it was being made to cut on a fold).

Card Stock Pattern PiecesThe card stock pattern pieces are numbered in the photo, #1 is the center front, #2 are the side-front pieces (there are two), #3 are the side pieces (again there are two, even though one is still taped to another piece in the photo), #4 are the backs (again there are two), and #5 are the shoulder strap pieces. As you can see, I cut the pieces out, taped them together (yes with pink duct tape, it is for my wife after all), but I did run out of pink duct tape, and had to tape the stage left (wearer's right) side-front piece to the center front pattern piece with clear packing tape. I only point this out to demonstrate what kind of tape you use doesn't matter, whatever strong binding type of tape you have on hand that can be safely used will work. Although I will say that duct tape tends to be my favourite for this type of task. Some of you may be thinking, "What? No sizing?" That comes later. I wanted to see how the "straight off the page" pattern fit, as this would give me a better idea on how to size it for other people should I make one for someone else at some point in the future. After I got the pieces all taped together in their correct layout (the above photo has them correctly ordered, just not attached), I had Jessica try the card stock mockup on. Of course as expected it did not fit... But I was mildly surprised at how little adjustment I needed to do. Jessica is on the taller side of average height, so I expected to have to lengthen all the pieces, but that was not the case, as she is all leg, and the torso was proportionate for her, so it just needed some letting out on the side measurement.

The below image with the green and black guidelines drawn in demonstrate where I added the dimensions to size the bodice of the gown up.Card Stock Pattern with huidelines You will want to increase or decrease the pattern dimensions along the green lines to adjust for bust/chest size, and along the black lines for waist. I ensured I evenly (more or less) divided the amount i was adjusting the pattern by across all the pieces (with the exception of the should strap pieces). To adjust the back pieces, I just moved the straight edge out. You will also likely need to adjust some of the angles and curves, specially if you increase the chest measurement (or waist measurement) more or less than the other. So for example, let's say we are expanding the chest measurement by three inches and the waist by five (this was not the case with my wife, but we'll use this as an example anyways). The three inches you need to expand the chest need to be divided up between the front piece, the two side pieces and the two backs. The "front-side" pieces taper too much to really be worth adjusting for the bust/chest. Because I didn't want to mess with the nice lines and symmetry of the back pieces too much, I arbitrarily decided that I would widen those two piece by a half and inch each. So there is one inch added to each of our measurement (half inch for each of the two back pieces equals one inch). I then widened the front piece by one inch (think of it as cutting the middle in half and inserting a one inch wide strip of paper, then reshaping the sop and bottom to smooth into the overall shape). That leaves one inch left to add in, and dividing that between the two side piece, so I added half inch to the top of each  side piece.

Adding in along the waist, one inch was taken up by the two back pieces (remember I just widened the back panels by half an inch for their entire length), one inch was taken up by the front (again, remember I widened the entire front panel by an inch), leaving three inches left to add in at the waistline. I decided to widen the two side pieces by one inch each, and only adjust the front-side pieces at the waist line by half an inch each to get the full five inches. I then recontoured the side-front pieces using the same shape they originally were, but adding in that extra half inch towards the bottom, the two side pieces were easy as they are more or less trapezoids with straight edges, so redrawing the lines to accommodate the added size, is as easy as drawing straight lines. You do need to ensure you keep the curve on the top of the side pieces so they will fit the underarm well.

After I redrew the pattern pieces onto a new piece of large poster board card stock, I again had Jessica try the card stock mock-up on. More adjustments were needed, so a third card stock mock-up was needed before I felt the fit was just right.

At some point during all of this you may have wondered at why use card stock for the bodice mock-up and not cheap fabric. Well the answer to that is simple, the bodice portion of the gown is boned (I'll be using reed caning) and card stock re-enforced with tape more closely emulates a boned garment than any cheap fabric mock-up would. You may also want to note, that while a card board mock will fit snuggly, it will leave some amount of gap, and this gap is important as when you add the boning in to your final piece, it will cause some very mild shrinking of the fabric pieces. So a slight gap is a good thing and important.

I think I am spent for the day, and will continue this another day. At this point, though if you have tried and completed all the steps, you should have a working bodice pattern in your size.

This is only a test

So, I have been keeping my blog for the last three or four years (or maybe even longer) over on my mySpace page. Some months ago, I went to post a blog there, and ended up spending several hours removing a virus I am fairly certain I picked up while visiting my mySpace page (a virus I certainly did not put there). At the time I let it go, thinking that it may have been a one-time occurrence, or that perhaps the virus had a different point of origin. I have made successful blog posts since then with no trouble, until yesterday... When I clearly got a virus from visiting my mySpace page with the intent of posting something. So that is it. I am officially done with mySpace. I have tried to be the one who didn't bail on mySpace for the more popular Facebook (I have maintained both, but except for blogging, pretty much favoured Facebook)... But now that I have gotten viruses from mySpace on two occassions (one I can validate, the other I am fairly certain of), I am giving up on it.

Now I have dozens of posts there (if not hundreds), and I have no wish to lose those, so I wanted to see if "back-dated" blog entries could be made here so I could copy them all over, and in posting this entry, I have seen that one can indeed set the date and time of an entry to whatever one wishes.

I had considered switching over the LiveJournal before (which is why I created the account however long ago), but stuck on with my persistance that mySpace wasn't so bad, and my desire to stick it out there.... Well no more. Unless anyone I know has a better suggestion for a stable blog environment I can count on not going "under" anytime soon, I think this is where I will migrate to.

Now, I know I said I have a Facebook site.... Why not just post there? Well I do post short entries and status updates there, but I am of the opinion that Facebook really kind of sucks for posting anything of substance, and prefer a site that has the ability to post robust and well organized blog entries.... Which is pretty much anywhere except Facebook (and probably Twitter, which I have no use for anyways),

So expect a great deal of blog entries to start appearing here, as I migrate the old ones over (so I do not lose them).... It's a shame I have to waste my time saving the old stuff rather than posting new stuff I have in mind to write about,  but c'est la vie...

From stained to powerless to pirate

From powerless to pirate

Well, it's been a hectic few weeks.

I've been working like mad on various peices of garb for both myself and helping Nick with his gear as well.

Last week Krieger and I got it into our heads to harvest some black walnuts. Well, despite our wearing latex gloves, we both got badly stained hands for our efforts. It has been about 8 or 9 days now since and while the stains are faded, my hands are still noticably discoloured.... Oh, well... This experiment may yield some interesting results in the form of dye and inks.

On Sunday of last week, we had a pretty bad wind storm blow through the area, and somehow the electricty got knocked out to a big portion of Columbus and the surrounding area. We were lucky, as our power was restored by mid-morning on Tuesday. Many people we know did not get power back until the end of the week (Fri-Sat), Even more fortunate for us, Jessica's parents and Grandmother who both live a short drive away did not loose power, so we were able to dine and shower over there on Monday. While this was an inconvenience, the this did impact our efforts for getting things ready for the Pirate demo we did on the Santa Maria this past Saturday.

The pirate demo went off great dispite some lost time due to the power outage and the resultant loss of time and communications.

Mark showed up Friday evening to hang out for a while, collect his new garb (that I made for him) and the garb I made for his skeleton Bucky. He went about dressing Bucky so as to get a good idea of the overall impression.... At which time Jessica got out her inks and distressing materials from her scrap booking supplies, and proceeded to age Bucky's gear some more. I had previous shot up the gear with some black powder to stain it and age it, but Jessica and her scrap booking supplies seemed to do a better job aging the Bucky outfit than Krieger and I could do with a musket at the farm over the course of an afternoon.

Saturdaay morning after a minor delay, we still managed to make it to the ship ontime to set up promptly at just before noon. After rounds of introductions, I set about rolling cartridges with Perkeo's help (it was one of those tasks I procrastinated). During the early part of the afternoon, the tours came through the ship, and we went about our various things, Mark's (Mission's) medical setup was a brilliant addition to the tour. I showed Perkeo the basics of black powder use during some firing demonstrations (his friend Grizz had done some Rev War stuff before), so we were all able to get in on the battle at 2:00 PM.

For the first battle (we decided right after the first to do a second battle late in the afternoon), Thomas and I rowed out in the canoe, to play the raiding pirates. Dan and Krieger got out on the rocky outcopping as our land based support (we decided to only put two in the canoe, although three probably could have fit). Jessica, Grizz, Perkeo, and Mark G played the defence, with Jennie, Ephera (or was it Ophera?), and Cass (Lady Seahawk) getting the audience armed up with boarding pikes to help the defence. Mark K (Mission) helped with the firing of the swivel gun (which is awesome, as I know Mark K has a fondness for artilery peices),

The time between the first and second battles were spent similarly rolling cartridges and the other doing their various bits to help with the tours. The second battle played out similarly to the first, with the exception that Krieger and Thomas switch places, and Krieger offered to row the boat while I fired (nice arrangement for me :D ). Another thing that happenned during the second that I found amusing, is that Thomas and Dan ran out of shot while firing from the rocky outcropping, and since I had plenty on me, I had Krieger row close to the outcropping so I could pass them some cartridges.... Luckily no one fell in! The Scioto river is horribly polluted and would be very unhealthy for anyone to have been exposed to. Jessica seemed to take to the loaner pistol she was using rather well... And seemed to take special interest in targetting me. I was having more fun targetting George (whose name is actually Ken or Kent), just because..

After the battles and demos were done, we had a bit of fun practicing some stage fighting. Jessica and I did a few rounds, then I went on to show Perkeo and Grizz the ropes as they seemed interested. They picked up on it rather quickly, and were going at it fairly vigourously in short order. With both of them having SCA combat experience, they learned quickly... But didn't seem to have as much trouble shaking some of the SCA combat habits that are contrary to stage combat as some people I have worked with before.

Soon, Jennie was done cooking dinner, so we all ate. The food was good as it was last time, perhaps even better. After dinner, some of us ran errands, Jessica and Dan walked over to an arts festival that was going on not too far off, and others just took their ease. After we all got back, the rum started to flow, and a night of drinks and chattig ensued. We ran low on rum at one point, so, Perkeo, Jessica and Keiger did a quick run to get some more.

That pretty much sums things up, we all camped on the ship once the rum brought on sleepiness. After getting up this morning, we tidied up the ship, collected our belongings, said our goodbyes, and have been pretty much vegitating since.

To see Jessica's photos, check out here photobucket.... Jessica's and My Photos from the demo

Perkeo's Photos from the demo

And Mark G posted this article, the article was just published last week, but it is about our first demo on the Santa Maria from back in July Article about the July 2008 Pirate demo on the Santa Maria

Project Part 4

So I finished the pants (for the second time) late last week. This time they fit perfectly. There is a picture of me in the pants in my photos, if you want to see them. The photo was taken with me wearing my "Simplicity" pattern pirate shirt, which will not be used with the garb, I just thought it would look better than the t-shirt I was wearing at the time.

So Sunday I started the jacket (deciding not to do the shirt second after all). I am using Reconstructing History's RH705 for the pattern, I am using some 10 oz. modern 100% cotton canvas/duck cloth for the outer fabric. For the lining (and interlining) I had anticipated using some 100% green linen, but I had less of that linen than I thought, so I am using some 100% linen in a "brick red" colour instead. The colours compliment each other well enough, and since I am doing the version of the coat with the turn-back cuffs, it will make for a nice splash of additional colour.

Yesterday, I finish sewing the back and fronts of the outer fabric, and completed the two pockets (which were optional, but I decided I wanted them) and the two pocket flaps (again pocket flaps were optional, but I wanted them). I'de love to finish the collar and sleeves on the outer fabric tonight so I can start on the lining tomorrow...

But as it is my birthday today, I'm guessing i won't get much done. I'm thinking the decision I made last year to insure I spent my birthday relaxing and enjoying myself was a good decision. While I do enjoy the hobby and the hobby related stuff, and can sometimes find it relaxing, I just think it is a good idea  for me to have this break from the hobby and related stuff, it will be a nice tradition.

So tomorrow, I will try to finish the collar and sleeves of the outer material for the jacket, and maybe if I am very productive I will get started on the lining. Then Thursday I should be able to finish most of the rest of .... Scratch that... I forgot I have plans on Tuesday... So Thursday I will finish the outer and start on the lining, and over next weekend I can hopefully finish the jacket (or get it most of the way there).

I think this may be the last of the "Authentic(ish) Pirate garb" project for a while, as I am probably going to shift gears over the next 4 or 5 weeks to work on a different project. I might poke away at it here and there, but it really depends on how in depth I decide to go on the other project. (Norse/Viking related stuff)

Living History Trade Fair

Yesterday, Jessica and myself went to the Living History Trade Fair in North-Western Ohio. Getting there wasn't a joy, as because I didn't look into things well enough before going, I accidentally went to the Smoke And Fire store (they were a sponsor of the event) rather than the actual event location (which was 1/2 hour drive closer than where the Smoke and Fire store is).... So after doing a short bit of browsing around the Smoke and Fire store, we got directions to the actual location of the Trade Fair and went on our way.
So after driving back the way we came (almost 45 minutes), we got the to Trade Fair, and did the whole shopping bit. The fair was good, lots of vendors, a great variety of stuff... Most of the "stuff" was 18th and 19th century focused, but there was still some neat stuff, and Jessica and I left with a few new toys...

Jessica bought a cannon... It's one of those "world's smallest firing canons". Shannon bought one at the Ashville Viking festival last year, and he was nice enough to let both Jessica and I play with his canon (which caused a great many jokes, as Jessica and I have both played with Shannon's "pocket canon" as he calls it), and we have been wanting our own canon since.. and now we have one! We bought a lot of extra packets of black powder for the canon, as we know it is going to be a favourite toy and get used a lot.

For a short video of the canon's first firing... Use this link...

The link no longer works, unfortunately mySpace deleted the video

We also got a few spools of linen thread, and a bone lucet, and a bone tablet weaving shuttle. I got myself a pair of wool stockings for the historically accurate pirate garb I am working on. And that pretty much sums up the shopping spree.

Over all it was a great day, and made for a great placebo for not being able to go to the Living History Festival in Chicago this weekend. So back to working on my garb project...

New Project Part 3

Okay, so I got my new sword (a sabre, dulled with a rounded point for safe use during stimulated combat), and it is nice... I like the weight and feel of it, I think I am going to be very happy with this new sword. I've included a picture of the new sword.

A bit more about the sword, it was made by a pair of local guys (here in Columbus), they've been making SCA fencing blades for a while, and are starting to do other types of swords. Their workmanship seems to be very good, but of course, time and regular use will be the only true test of that. Their web site is here http://www.mkarmory.com/ ... I have a good feeling that I will be doing more business with these guys in the future...

Okay, onto other aspects of this project. I finished the pants to the point where only the buttons and button-holes needed to be sewn, and I tried them on... And they were way too small.... Grrrrr... So I have started over, luckily I had enough of the fabric left to make a second pair. It was close and I had to be extra careful cutting the fabric to insure I had enough, but it worked. So I am back to about the 25% done stage on the pants.

On buttons, I have decided to forego casting those. While shopping this weekend, I managed to find exactly what I wanted in brass. Since they were cheap, and looked exactly like what I wanted, I will use them instead. If I were being exceedingly nit-picky, the posts to sew the buttons on are a bit thicker than those depicted in the photo of the period buttons I was aiming to emulate, but really, that is such a small thing, and honestly, who is ever going to see my buttons backs? ;)

I also bought some fabric (55% linen 45% viscous) for the shirt... I decided to go with bleached linen (which is ivory and not white) for the shirt... I thought the natural linen might be just a little too rustic looking. Linen is way too expensive in Columbus compared to what I am used to paying back in Toronto, so I will either end up using linen blends more, or just buying lots of fabric every time I go back to Toronto... Or possibly, just start mail order fabric (something I don't like to do, because I really like to handle my fabric prior to purchase). I may also make the shirt second rather than the jacket. I guess we'll see when I get that far. Knowing me, I'll probably change my mind at least two or three more times before the time comes and explain and justify each change of mind here in full. :P

Part two of my secret project

Okay, to go further into detail about my new garb project. Having read the below article...

http://home.att.net/~crowdogs/TheEasternFrontier/proposal.htm (WARNING: I have contacted the current hoster of this article, and the web site is slated to be torn down changed and this article will disapear with it, so this link will become dead within days/week/months?)

Update on Jan. 29th 2007 - I have just received permission to post the article that is/was in the above link on my web site. I have added the article at this link should the above link no longer work http://www.re-enactmentevents.com/re-enact/Proposal.php

Anyway, having read that article, I became inspired to "dare to be average", and as such, I am aiming to create a set of garb that fits as much the look of an average sailor/pirate during the "Golden Age of Piracy" (GAoP for short - about 1680 to 1720 AD). The difference between an average sailor and a pirate of the time... The pirate would be armed, unless of course the sailor was working aboard an admirality ship, in which case, the fabrics and colours laid out by the "Admirality Slop Contracts" would be more appropriate. As I am aiming for a pirate, or at least just a merchantman sailor outfit (when I am not armed in garb), I will be ignoring the colour and fabric guidelines of the "Admirality Slop Contracts". (Although an Admirality Slop Contracts set of garb may be in my distant future) ;)

Below is a link to several pictures of sailors of (or near) the correct time frame. I will be drawing my inspiration for the various components from various images in this collection....

http://www.picturetrail.com/gallery/view?p=999&gid=6655055&uid=3253847

I won't be drawing from any one picture in particular, instead I will be aiming for a more generic impression. I will be using the long trousers, as the pants (at this point about 80% done), and then a generic average man's/sailor's short jacket, and then a shirt. Once I have the various articles of clothing done, I will begin to assemble/collect/buy the various accessories needed to truly complete the impression. Making and collecting the accessories will probably happen in tandem to my making the second set of garb of this type in the period correct fabrics. I also won't be citing many (if any) references for the provenance of the articles of clothing, as the patterns I have bought to use to make these articles of clothing come with a good amount of references, and I would rather not copy or even plagarize the work contained within the pattern packages, and even if citing the references doesn't fall into the category of copywrite or plagarism, it would just be redundancy. If you want to know the specific provenances, buy the patterns, they're great and well worth the money!

Buttons is rapidly becoming a pending issue, as the is little sewing left in the pants, and then I will need to sew the buttons and button holes. I've found a few references to period buttons, and it seems, bronze/brass or pewter/tin (or silver for upper classes) were the common materials. As I have access to the materials and facilities to do simple pewter casting, and the basic button pattern/shape is so simple and basic, I think I will just cast the buttons out of pewter. That said, there is a mild problem there, modern casting pewter is not the same as period pewter. Short version is that modern pewter is lead free, and is lighter, brighter and shinier than period pewter, which does have lead in it. I will still use modern pewter, as the difference will not be too noticeable (I hope ;) ). To get a bit more technical, period pewter is made up of about 2% copper, anywhere between 2% to 15% lead, with the rest of the material being tin (and there is some variance, I am just posting generalizations here)... Modern "lead-free" pewter has similar ratios, but replaces the lead content with antimony or bismuth. As anitmony and bismuth are lighter coloured metals (lead being dark grey), this is the main reason modern pewter is so much lighter.

I am aiming to do the pewter casting soon, I will post about my experiences with that when the time comes.

Making New Garb

Okay this blog entry is starting out as a journal entry, as no one  will likely find it interesting, but I may some day change the setting to "viewable" in case anyone is interested...

So I am starting to make a new set of garb. First, my objective...

Objective:
To make a set of garb that meets the SCA fencing guidelines, and look as much as possible like authentic garb from 1680 to 1720ish. I will not be using authentic fabrics, to help making the SCA safety guidelines easier, as well as to use up some random fabrics I have laying about the apartment.

Okay, for this project I will be making some pants/breeches, a jacket of the type worn by the average sailor in the GAoP(Golden Age of Piracy), as well as a shirt. I have looked through the fabrics on hand, and I have some brown denim (or denim like fabric) that I will use for the pants/breeches (or slops), and I have a choice of two different fabrics for the jacket... One is a mushroom coloured fabric of unknown material (probably polyester or cotton/poly blend), the other is some 10 oz. green canvas/duckclothe... As I have a good amount of green linen left from some previous projects that I can use as a lining, I am leaning towards using the green canvas for the jacket. The canvas is a bit heavier and will probably help meet the SCA fencing safety standard easier. But I'm still not entirely sure, so I am just going to start on the pants first. I will be doing the shirt last, as that is the one item I will likely aim to make as authentic as possible in an authentic fabric. The pants and jacket will also serve as a test run to make totally authentic stuff in the proper fabrics at a later date.

So that settles the first step then, make a pair of period designed pants/breeches/slops using an authentic pattern (pattern #706 purchased from http://www.reconstructinghistory.com ). I will post a picture when done. As a side bar, I will be hand sewing all of this to familiarize myself with the handsewing methods of these garments, so that I will have had some practice when I go to make better ones out of the realistic fabrics.

Dusting off the fencing gear - Part 2

Okay,

So I learned some new fencing drills (as well as got run through some I knwo all too well), but I did not get to fence last night...

It seems I overlooked one essential peice of gear mandated for SCA fencing, and that is a cap. Basically any head piece that covers the back part of the head which is not covered by the fencing mask.... Grrrr.... So over the next few days, I wil be getting out the needle and thread and making an arming cap or some such similar thing to cover this safety requirement.

I also learned last night, that while I do like the look of style of gorget I made, I am not fond of the fit of it.... Essentially I find it very uncomfortable. So I will likely be having a second go at making a gorget, but in a different style. I will definately make the arming cap first, because I can probably live with the gorget I have... But if at all possible, I would really like to make a newer, better, more comfortable gorget. I'll keep the first one I made to loan out, or possibly even just give it away. There was a design of gorget that a few of the fencers use that I think would be more comfortable. I am not as fond of the look of that style of gorget, but I think that appearance is going to have to be sacrificed to function and comfort in this case.

On a brighter note, the guy who is making my fencing blade, brought the blade to the SCA meeting last night to show me it... It's almost done, and it looks great. He has the handle and fittings complete, but he did not have that with him last night to show me that part. So at the end of next week, I should have my new fencing blade.... :D

Oh, also I have had a great deal of luck updating the look and theme this mySpace... I'm rather fond of the new look and feel, and I've even figured out how to add the look and feel to the blog entries as well... So this mySpace will now have a new improved and hopefully consitant look and feel... Hoepfully I will be ablle to keep this look and feel clean and not too cluttered or hard to view...

Dusting off the fencing gear....

I recently decided that I needed to become more physically active again (kind of a non-committal, unvoiced new years resolution), and I thought that the best way to do so, would be to start fencing again. It's been almost four years since I have fenced, instead have filled the intervening years with rebated steel (dulled steel) sword fighting...

I have regretted devoting so much of my time to rebated steel at the expense of my fencing, and now hope to remedy this. I checked out the local fencing school in Columbus, and while not terribly expensive, it is a lot more than what I payed back with my original fencing school that I was with for over three years. So I thought I would give SCA fencing a try instead, it's relatively free, and it give me the option of wearing garb while doing it (always an added bonus).

So I've been checking out the local SCA group, and gotten the short version of what gear I need to do SCA fencing. It seems that wearing two gloves is mandatory (foil fencing requires a protective glove on the foil hand only) and a gorget is needed. Not bad, the only things I need are a second glove, and a gorget (neck guard). My foil fencing gear covers everything else. Oh, I will need an SCA approved fencing blade (my foil is too flimsy for SCA use), so I have ordered a new fencing sword (a diamond profile schlager blade with a basket hilt - I'll post a pic when it arrives). The SCA have plenty of loaner swords for me to use until my new blade is ready in a week or so. So over yesterday and today I put myself together a gorget... Nothing spectacular, but something functional and that meets the spec. I've attached a picture to this entry for posterity's sake.

I will probably make some new garb to replace the modern looking fencing gear in the coming weeks (months), but I have to do some thinking about what exact period and style of gar I want to do to go with my fencing gear. But we will see....

Last week I began the footwork practice with the local fencing marshall (and a couple of other newcomers)... Most of the footwork was old hat, and just a brush up, but I have always maintained one can never practice the basics enough, so this was a great exercise for me. Some of the lateral movement, was done in a style that was new to me, but nothing too alien. This week, hopefully I will actually get to do some bouts, but we will see.

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