Oh! It's happy fabric time at my house!
I'll be posting about my husband's costumes in more detail as we go along, but it's worth noting here that when we dress up for the Renaissance Faires, my husband is always costumed under protest. Trying to get him to come up with something he'd actually like to wear was like pulling teeth, but we did finally have success...more success than I thought possible, actually. He was very keen on the idea of honoring his Grandma Kennedy by wearing the family tartan, and a friend stumbled upon some of that very stuff, so we've decided to make him a belted plaid, or Great Kilt, so he can have a Scottish persona. He's got great legs and will look hot as hell in a kilt. Oh yes, I freely admit ulterior motives here.
I decided that I should have a Scottish persona of my own to match, so I started doing some research, and a week or so ago I ordered 3 yards of some nice medium weight wool from Hamilton Dry Goods to make myself an arisaid. As it would have been inappropriate for women to wear kilts, the arisaid is basically the Scottish woman's answer to the belted plaid. You take roughly 2 1/2 - 3 yards of wool and wrap it around yourself length wise, so the bottom end is about at your ankles. You belt it on, and the top half gets pinned at your shoulder, or you can bustle it in the back. You can then use it as a cloak or a hood if it gets cold or rainy, etc. When you have it bustled or pinned at the shoulder, it also makes big pocket-y things you can keep crap in. A very handy garment, the arisaid.
I read someplace that arisaids were generally lighter in color than men's plaids, because the men required the color in their clothing to serve as camouflage while hunting. I also read someplace (I CANNOT remember where) that arisaids were not usually plaid, but striped.
So I went surfing around and found this beautiful wool:
Now, I'm not sure that it's "period" per se, but I like the colors, the price was right, and quite frankly, I haven't been able to find sufficient information about period/16th century Scottish dress anywhere to convince me that this is completely incorrect. Plus it won't completely clash with my husband's Kennedy tartan.
Here's a close up:
This is actually an excellent picture. You can see the really pale blue horizontal striping, which will come in super handy when it comes time to even out and hem the ends!
I'm thinking that 3 yards is a bit too long though. I'm going to trim off 1/2 a yard to reduce bulk, and then I'll have some extra leftover for something fun. I'm also going to need a belt. DUDE, I have never worn a belt in my freaking life. Maybe I'll just gank one from my husband.
There is some disparate information out there on teh intarwebz as to what is supposed to go under the arisaid. Some sources say that it should just be a leine, which was a long linen chemise, white or saffron in color, with these sort of voluminous sleeves. Other sources say that it should be a smock underneath an a-line skirt with a jacket-style bodice, preferably of a contrasting color to the skirt. I suppose all of this was correct at some period in time - I get the impression that the leine was a more medieval garment. Based on some of the general (and very incomplete) information I've gathered about fashion in that period, I feel like I'm well within the bounds of decency to make myself a Tudor-era kirtle. I'll be using the supportive kirtle pattern from the BRAND NEW Tudor Ladies Wardrobe from Margo's Patterns. If it ever gets sent out. Word on the street is that Margo is finishing the final draft of the manual and will be sending it to the proofreader this weekend, in hopes of being able to start shipping next week. I hope that's how it goes down, because I have some work to get done between now and September 19th if I'm going to have this get-up ready for the Minnesota Renaissance Festival.