As I’ve been hanging out with SCAdians, I’ve been enjoying archery more and more. It is a fun hobby that nearly anyone can do for a whole lifetime and does not require a big initial investment to get a basic (modern) recurve bow and starter gear. And, since the Baronial archers have been a very welcoming bunch, it has been my main entry point into understanding the SCA and participating each week.
For a recent event, I trotted out a first attempt at a mostly non-modern archer’s outfit consisting of:
- linen arming cap
- decorated tunic
- short pants
- pouch and belt
- straw hat
- short cape
- (modern shoes)
Of this, what did I make, what did I purchase, and what modern items will be replaced??
I wanted to make something that was both festive and yet could belong to a common archer from the country. This is still done in cotton, but I modified the neckline to avoid the keyhole neck and better fit this lovely trim from Calontir Trim. The Northshield Griffin is worn to celebrate the fact that Their Royal Majesties were able to attend the event.
Given that we live in Minnesota, and the weather can fluctuate from cold and rainy to hot and windy within the same hour, I made a short cape that I can throw over whatever I’m wearing and yet still have arms free. This is definitely not medieval when you come close. It is knitted rather than woven, but it does the job and sorta blends in.
For this event, I purchased a couple of things in order to save time and to cover skills that I don’t have. I purchased a linen arming cap from The Hooded Hare. It worked great under my straw hat (which I purchased through Amazon), and it kept my hair from blowing all over while I was trying to shoot. I am definitely going to keep it around, but I’m going to try a head scarf for the next event and see if the more traditionally female head covering will work as well.
There’s a couple of things that I wore with this outfit that I am going to replace. I wore modern, cotton capri pants under the tunic for ITT/CAT because I ran out of time, and – like many people – I opted for modern shoes to cope with the muddy ground. I’ve already ordered linen pants (from LinenGarb) and boots (from Garb the World) so that I’ll have at least one outfit that doesn’t scream 21st Century as I walk by. That is, if I can pry my watch off of my wrist …..
Some (non-archers) were a bit surprised that I was wearing male garb. Yes, guys, I knew that I was cross-dressing, but if you look at pictures from the event, you’ll see that many experienced female archers were doing the same. Given the rough terrain and the expected heat, I decided that short pants and fewer layers (and a very big hat) would save me from the heat and sun.
The truth is, I was mostly comfortable and could move about freely, important since I was also running around as a volunteer as well as competitor. Still, I decided to make a few changes that shouldn’t impact the comfort level:
- I cut down a too-large veil into two head scarves, in preparation for Warlords and Warriors. The arming cap worked, especially under the straw hat, but I want to try a more feminine solution as a comparison.
- I’m working up a dress that I can wear outside, also as a test case to see if I can get comfortable walking and shooting in a long skirt. In my mundane life, I almost never wear skirts, let alone something that has the potential to trip me while walking; so it takes some getting used to moving in clothing my ancestors would have considered normal.
- Next items that I make will be done in linen or wool. I’m comfortable with sewing again, and I think I’m ready to work with more period appropriate fabrics. Just not expensive silks yet, especially since I’m still a lowly archer from the country.