(If you’re here just to grab the documentation right now, gosh darn it, here’s what you’re looking for: Reconstructing a Renaissance Camisa)
Well, this past weekend I did my first ever formal A&S…well, anything. It wasn’t a competition, but it was judged much like one might be. In fact, the whole thing was designed to as closely as possible mirror what it’s like to really enter a competition and really be judged – and it did an incredible job all around. The great folks who set it up and ran it (Master Fridrikr, Mistress Orianna, and the event staff from Hartstone) all deserve a very big round of applause.
I decided to jump into this with both feet back in March, at which point I approached the wonderful Maitresse Marguerite D’Honfleur (shamelessly plugging her blog every chance I get: https://lafrancoysse.wordpress.com/) about sponsoring me. Wait, sponsor what now? Well, one of the great things about this Fair setup was the fact that each entrant had a Fleur or Laurel sponsor – in other words, someone who’s been there and done that to guide those of us who haven’t.
This was totally, 100% invaluable. I would probably have done the A&S equivalent of a bellyflop from a very high diving board without Maitresse Marguerite’s help.
With her guidance, I decided to take the first baby step toward my 15-20 year goal project by picking a part of it that should’ve been easy: a camisa, the Spanish equivalent of a chemise. How hard can that be, right? (spoiler: very).
And if that weren’t complicated enough just on its own, the cuff of the sleeve looks like this:
Beautiful, gorgeous, drapes for days, and flows in a way that most fabric doesn’t seem to do. At all.
The finished product is version 2. Version 1, fondly called bedsheet camisa, is literally made from a bedsheet so that I could test construction possibilities without spending tons of money because, well, there’s something like 6 yards of linen in the finished camisa. Aww yeah.
- The Arm Poofs. How? From what? And yes, arm poofs is the technical term.
- The Cuff Drape. Does fabric even do that? How?
- The Extra Fabric. There’s just…so much. What do you do with it?
I managed to get pretty solid resolutions to all of those questions and more. There’s a lot more ground to cover before it’s well and truly right, but my research to date can be found in my documentation: Reconstructing a Renaissance Camisa!
And as to the specific problems above?
- Make the camisa arms (VERY) long tubes. Pull the excess along the top of the arm up through the slashes until cuff sits as desired.
- Fabric does do that. Gather it at the cuff with the fullness uneven so that most of the fabric hangs down. Combined with the excess pulled up along the topline, you’re good.
- Gather. Gather. Gather. Literally: every place there’s gathering got three runs of stitchery. We did the math during a moment of downtime at the event: 30 yards of hand-done gathering stitches.
So, What Did We Learn?
Well, I’m 100% not scared of A&S Competitions anymore. I learned that I’ve got at least some idea what I’m doing, both in terms of creating a garment to display and creating the documentation to back it up. And perhaps most importantly, the judges will have just as much awesome commentary for me as I was expecting.
But at the same time, I needed more time for my research. A theoretically simple garment, and I needed more time! But for the future, I know, and I’ll be ready.
…who am I kidding. There’s no end to this rabbit hole, and I’m never going to actually have all the time I want 🙂
Anyway, I’m more than happy to chat about camisa (no really, engage at your own risk, I’ll talk your ear off). And please feel free to share my documentation (Reconstructing a Renaissance Camisa) with anyone who might find it helpful. I’d love to chat with anyone who does!
Until next time!