melannen: Commander Valentine of Alpha Squad Seven, a red-haired female Nick Fury in space, smoking contemplatively (Default)
[personal profile] melannen posting in [community profile] sca_attire
I'm going to be in an SCA wedding this summer (in about a month, so I really need to get moving!)

It's Tudor-ish, and since I'm a groomsman, I'm doing male garb, and since I'm not male, that means crossdressing. Which is yay, because crossdresing is fun. It also means the first time I've really worked with male period clothing beyond the very basics. I was given patterns from the book "The Tudor Tailor" (on which I now have Opinions), and I started with basic shirt and basic hosen. Since I decided to do them entirely hand-sewn, they're all I have so far - I'll be adding a green velvet and gold slashed jerkin, panes and a hat, and if I have time, a doublet and a bonnet.

Here's what I've got so far (ignore the low-quality pictures, I haven't played with a self-timer for ages):

The shirt is *hilariously* too large; I know it's meant to be large, but after trying it on, I put pleats in both the shoulders to bring up the shoulder seams by about four inches each, because I couldn't see how sleeves that started below my elbows were going to fit into a jerkin. And now the shoulders are weirdly heavy and I have to keep pulling them to sit right, though I think the extra bulk will at least help with the crossdressing thing. Also, I currently have hook-and-eyes on the collar and cuffs, but they are really annoying and not staying on properly, so any suggestions for better fasteners would be welcome. (All previous period shirts have had either drawstrings or nothing, neither of which will work on this one.)

The hosen were fun! I've never sewn anything that fitted to the legs before (the picture doesn't go down to far, but they have fitted feet), and the probably are a bit too baggy still (especially at the ankles) but I like them! Also, the codpiece is fun, though I have to remember that, no matter how well-suited it is for the purpose, I shouldn't use it as a pincushion when there are boys around. (I have also made a leopard-print one I can swap out. And am trying to resist the temptation to embroider a Green Man on the green one.) My main issue with the hosen is how to keep them up; the pattern assumes you will be tying them to a doublet, but unless I have a lot more extra time than I expect, I won't have a doublet, just shirt and jerkin.

And now, a question I would like to put to the community: does anyone know of any SCA or period in general resources for crossplay/crossdressing, and specifically, for period-or-close-enough breast binders?

As the photos show, I don't need much, and if I fit the jerkin right I may not need anything, but I would like to be able to take the jerkin off and still more-or-less pass, and currently, that only works from a distance.

I found a muslin/linen binder pattern for Civil War re-enactors (by going on an adventure through the wayback machine, or I would link) but that's all I've found. If I don't find anything better I might try making a modified version of that one, but I was honestly quite surprised that I couldn't find anything SCA-ish on the topic when I looked online.

...I am also thinking of getting my hair cut in a period men's style (I've been thinking of getting it short anyway for the summer, so why not?) but another thing I was surprised to not find was resources for period men's hairstyles. Any advice or resources, or should I just start looking for hatless portraits?

Long comment is long

Date: 2010-05-05 04:43 am (UTC)
holyschist: Image of a medieval crocodile from Herodotus, eating a person, with the caption "om nom nom" (Default)
From: [personal profile] holyschist
Which period are you going for? I'm guessing the basic men's clothing (starts on page 58) by the style of your hose? Or are you treating them as a separate layer to put paned slops over? I am not so sure about having a codpiece on the hose if slops are going on top of them, since slops also have codpieces. The "basic men's clothing" section with the hose instructions is definitely earlier 16th century, and some modifications may be necessary if you're going later.

Shirts are kind of tricky to size right. Generally speaking, you want the body to be only slightly larger than your shoulder-to-shoulder measurement, and when you gather the neckline to the collar, the sleeve-to-shoulder seam should be about on your shoulder point. The sleeves on extant shirts are surprisingly narrow, too. These instructions (PDF) provide a general set of measurements which are a good starting point for most people, although the pattern shapes she uses are kind of unusual (there are a couple extant examples of similar shirts, but it doesn't seem to be the most common).

Closures: buttons and loops work well, although they are kind of fiddly. A lot of period examples have an eyelet worked on either side of the collar and cuff, and then a cord that passes through the eyelets and ties. This is WAY easier to tie on yourself than separate ties stitched to the shirt, although those are also period.

I am super-impressed by your hose! If you don't have a doublet, I'd suggest a belt. Don't use safety pins--they don't allow enough flexing and increase the probability of a rip-out.

by going on an adventure through the wayback machine, or I would link

Do you have the link that goes into the wayback machine? I'd love to look at that. No ideas (and I'm not surprised that there's nothing SCA-ish on the topic--I've never met anyone in the SCA who binds except trans guys, who I'd guess use modern binders). I hope someone else has some ideas

Haircuts: I'm not sure about early Tudor, but late Tudor, they're generally quite short; little pointy beards and moustaches are fairly popular, but the top-of-the-head hairstyles are not terribly exciting. That's probably why there isn't much about them. Robert Dudley is pretty typical. Francis Drake, with slightly longer, curlier hair.

Re: Long comment is long

Date: 2010-05-05 05:30 am (UTC)
holyschist: Image of a medieval crocodile from Herodotus, eating a person, with the caption "om nom nom" (Default)
From: [personal profile] holyschist
That is confusing! I'd say the trunkhose are pretty similar throughout the 16th century. It's an article of clothing that doesn't change very dramatically (there are two styles: the kind with a fitted butt and the kind where the panes are lose and go over the butt; the former seems to be more German and I wouldn't worry about it), so using the pattern on page 106 to start should help. If you do manage to make them in time, you may want to replace the codpiece on the hose with a flap.

But wow the sizing in the book was off.

Yeaaaah. I like the book, but would not want to use the patterns except as a very general guide. It has...aspects.

I haven't tried making a shirt with hooks-and-eyes, but the buttons stay buttoned. There are a bunch of extant shirts with similar ruffles and narrow cuffs that are fastened with ties--the eyelet-and-tie method is actually pretty unobtrusive. Let me see if I can remember to scan a couple pictures for you. But buttons and loops are easy and stay fastened well.

I am fairly sure it's not documented to any level of historical accuracy that SCA would approve of, even if it was in period.

Heh. Well. The SCA's idea of an "attempt at pre-17th century clothing" encompasses sweatpants, so...well. Anyway, I'm not planning to enter it in an A&S competition, but linen sounds comfortable to me and I'm investigating the possibility of playing a male character in a reenactment group, so this is useful stuff! Thanks for the links!

Re: Long comment is long

Date: 2010-05-05 03:52 pm (UTC)
holyschist: Image of a medieval crocodile from Herodotus, eating a person, with the caption "om nom nom" (Default)
From: [personal profile] holyschist
The codpiece isn't strictly necessary for the base layer, depending on the social class and style. If you get really interested in early Tudor men's clothing, The King's Servants (same publisher, different authors) is really good, although quite thin.

Ooh, pictures of alternate fastenings would be great! (Lack of explanations for how the fastenings work: another source of Opinions.) Maybe as a top-level post for later reference, too.

Hmmm. I don't think I would feel good about posting them publicly, as scans from a recent book (Janet Arnold's Patterns of Fashion 4--it's all about UNDERWEAR and amazing)? I'll see what I can come up with.

Re: Long comment is long

Date: 2010-05-06 06:48 pm (UTC)
holyschist: Image of a medieval crocodile from Herodotus, eating a person, with the caption "om nom nom" (Default)
From: [personal profile] holyschist
I'll send you a PM or something. I haven't made enough shirts to have that many examples! I might do some sketches from the book and post those, though.

It is an AMAZING book. And it has color photos!

I think what I find most fascinating about it is that for a long time, there have been two or three ways of "making period shirts" floating around, but when you look at a larger sample of extant shirts, there are actually a lot more ways to make them, and a lot more pieces that aren't strictly rectangular/triangular than simplified directions would suggest.

Patterns of Fashion 3 covers outer clothing. Janet Arnold had measurement issues, too, so like The Tudor Tailor, it takes some fiddling to scale the patterns up.

The King's Servants has patterns specifically for working men's clothing in Henry's reign, although they could be modified for upper class. It's nice because it's so focused, although the patterns probably have the same frustrating aspects as those in The Tudor Tailor. Lots of great information, though!

Re: Long comment is long

Date: 2010-05-06 01:27 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
It is the bride!

Yeah, I didn't look too much into how the boys' clothes are supposed to work. (Had enough trouble figuring out the ladies' clothes.) If anything in my instructions looks weird, feel free to ignore them. Use thy best judgement. :)

(Oh, and I love the pictures!)

Re: Long comment is long

Date: 2010-05-06 06:48 pm (UTC)
holyschist: Image of a medieval crocodile from Herodotus, eating a person, with the caption "om nom nom" (Default)
From: [personal profile] holyschist
The book is not always super-clear on which items belong to which period. :-)

(no subject)

Date: 2010-05-05 05:35 am (UTC)
sara: S (Default)
From: [personal profile] sara
I am small-busted, and therefore a bit of an outlier (I mean, my problems with being mistaken for a man on the bus, you are perhaps familiar with them), but have in the past gotten by with just running the doublet boning up over the bustline and doing no binding at all.

(no subject)

Date: 2010-05-05 02:33 pm (UTC)
hugh_mannity: (Default)
From: [personal profile] hugh_mannity
That shirt does seem a little on the large size :D

For a binder I'd go with a sports bra. The Frog bra is one that comes highly recommended by some well-endowed ladies of my acquaintance who fence in male attire. Currently it's unavailable in white, but the same website has a number of different styles of sports bra, so I'm sure they've got something that will work for you. Then adjust the opening of the shirt so it doesn't reveal too much bra.

Those whose lives can depend on passing as male tend to go for the heavy duty compression vests but with these you'd need your shirt done up pretty much to the chin. These are also hell to get on and off (unless you get the ones with hooks and eyes up the front) and are extremely warm, being several layers of nylon and spandex.

(no subject)

Date: 2010-05-05 03:55 pm (UTC)
holyschist: Image of a medieval crocodile from Herodotus, eating a person, with the caption "om nom nom" (Default)
From: [personal profile] holyschist
Here's a page on breast taping, which is plausible. Here it's used to create a slightly lifted, rounded silhouette, but I suspect it would be possible to bind flat.

Worth experimenting with, I think!


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