12th century grey light-wool tunic,  12th century projects,  Embroidery,  Hand-Sewing,  Needle Made Lace,  Projects,  Stem Stitch

12th century tunic for my husband – how I made the counterpart for the 12th century neckline fastening and some other details…

2015-12-Racaire-Conrads-12th-century-tunic-grey-light-wool-tunicTodays posting about “how I made the counterpart for the 12th century neckline fastening and some other details…” brings us finally to the last progress pictures of the 12th century grey light-wool tunic project for my husband.

Though I already showed you my period inspiration for this quite special 12th century neckline shape and how my take on this special neckline form based on the 12th century neckline inspiration looks like, it seems like I neglected a quite important detail till now: the period inspired fastening and its counterpart…

Well, to be honest, the seed of inspiration for this particular project, like for so many of my other 12th century sewing projects, was planted by my dear friend and sister Ezabella several years ago. More than 10 years ago, shortly after I started playing in the SCA, I met this beautiful and inspiring lady on my very second SCA event in November 2014. While listening to her and taking pictures of her class about how to master the period veil properly, I fell in love with her kind and gentle personality, her knowledge about the 12th century and her greatly inspiring work. And I am glad to say that this admiration grew into a great friendship ever since.

I think that Ezabella was and still is the major cause why I and so many others fell in love with the 12th century. Her facebook group “12th Century Workshops by EzaBella“, which she started some years ago, is still one of my favorite groups on facebook. And the link to the “12th Century Workshops by EzaBella” is normally the very first link I give to everyone who wants to get to know more about 12th century costuming.

Furthermore she is the main reason why I consider it a personal challenge to aspire towards recreating the most perfect 12th century attire I am able to create just to make her proud. Well, I guess that we all need our personal heroes to which we can look up to… 🙂

But to cut a long story short – some years ago my dear sister Ezabella posted some pictures of her tunic projects for her husband which were just adorable. Though I didn’t have much cause to start a male tunic project myself due to lack of a male companion playing in the SCA, I didn’t forget about them… And then – eventually – I fell in love with my dear sweetheart, moved to Meridies and married. Well, being in love with a guy who actually plays in the SCA, I suddenly had a really good reason to think about tunic projects… *lol*

One day, while I was still in Europe and looking through the posts of my sister Ezabella on facebook, I saw a picture of beautiful period fastenings. I couldn’t stop thinking about them and therefore asked a friend – Master Lorenzo – what he thought about them. And Master Lorenzo was so kind to make some for me. But it would take some more time until I finally put his lovely fastenings to work…

Looking back at my first sewing projects for my beloved husband, I kinda played it safe with round and keyhole necklines. This special 12th century neckline shape with the side fastening was a little bit intimidating as – like always – I wanted to make it proper and perfect right from the start… Yeah, my husband still wonders from time to time about my level of crazy when it comes to projects like this one…

And then, after countless nights of thinking about this special 12th century neckline shape and more thinking and again re-thinking it and looking at period examples, I finally did it! …and it was pleasing! There is definitely nothing better than finally putting a problem which bothered one for so long to rest! 😀

But enough about me and my little project procrastination in this case… To be able to use the beautiful period fastening Master Lorenzo made for my husband, I had to add a counterpart for the fastening at the neckline: 


…and here two close up pictures of the rather simple but very effective counterpart for the fastening:



My 12th century neckline inspiration – the blue Dalmatika and the white Alba – actually used a cord instead of a metal fastening at this point. However, I had this lovely replicas made by Master Lorenzo, which are based on actual finds and I was determined to use them. 

Though I have no documentation about this kind of counterpart for metal fastenings, I know that the technique, which you can see on the picture above, was used to create external “buttonhole loops” for buttons for a 13th century extant garment. This “buttonhole loops” might look quite different but the technique enabled me to make a reinforced bar. This reinforced bar could easily handle all the tension the metal fastening would apply when the neckline is worn and closed. Besides that it also prevents my sweetheart from getting poked by the pointy end of the metal fasting as it remains on top of the embellishment of the tunic.

And here a picture of how I made this reinforced counterpart for the metal fastening:


First I “laid” some basic threads between two designated points and then I covered this basic threads with buttonhole stitches.

Here a look at the backside of the same area – just some very small stitches are visible at the backside:


Though the stitches were nearly invisible, I decided to cover them up with a small heart for my husband executed in Stem Stitch – well, you know, I just love little hidden details like this…


…and though no one besides you and my husband will ever know that it is there, this little detail still excites me… 🙂

And last but not least because it was among the last pictures I haven’t posted yet – here a picture of the shoulder seam of his tunic:


You can clearly see all my little details… The small stitches with which I attached the tablet woven band along his neckline, the grey wool I used along the border of the shoulder seam while I worked my seam finishing technique and the small reinforcement for the corner of his neckline (bottom left part of the picture).

…and before I forget – if you think that the technique for the counterpart shown above seems familiar – you are right! I already used it for the external “buttonhole loops” for my 12th century white silk underdress with the trapunto sleeve cuffs and the trapunto neckline:


As you can see on the picture above, the white silk I was working with was quite thin. Therefore I decided to add a second line of stitches to strengthen the external “buttonhole loops”:


…and voila – the finished external “buttonhole loops for my 12th century white silk underdress:


…and here a picture of the inspiration for this technique based on an extant piece from the 13th century – “Sogenanntes Unterkleid der hl. Elisabeth” (so-called underdress of saint Elisabeth):


I hope you enjoyed todays posting about how I made the counterpart for the 12th century neckline fastening for my husbands new 12th century grey light-wool tunic project as well as the other detail pictures I added. As soon as it gets cold enough that I get my husband to put on his new tunic again, I promise to take some pictures of the whole tunic for you.

Best regards Racaire