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Simple Garb


May be applied by hand or machine.

Can go:

  • Around neck (use narrow trim – wide tends to be difficult for neck trim)
  • Around sleeves
  • Around bottom (if wide) or an inch or two above hem if narrow. Can use two or more rows of narrow or vary with different trims that complement or contrast. Can also use trim around sleeves.
  • Don‘t overlook yardage material, especially striped. This can easily be cut up and made into fabulous trim.




All materials need to be washed to be sure of shrinkage, fastness [whether it fades], and durability. Exceptions are fine        materials that must be dry-cleaned, but usually these are not first garments).

COTTON - The Number One choice!!!

  • Cool
  • Comfortable
  • Durable
  • Washable
  • Period
  • Muslin especially good for undergarments such as shirts and chemises (and can be dyed any color)

Cotton/Poly Blends – These will usually look better than cottons because they don‘t wrinkle as much but will be less comfortable in the blistering heat!

No Synthetics** **Velour is usually acceptable because it gives the appearance of ―velvet,‖ drapes nicely, and is very elegant; however, it is HOT! Not usually suitable for early period garments. Stick to cottons for your chemise especially and preferably for shirts. Of course synthetic furs as opposed to real fur are preferable.


Colors: Usually bright, or earth colors. Light blue was considered ―peasant‖ color. Stripes – some geometric designs – nothing obviously ―mundane‖ (modern). When in doubt, stay with neutral colors. Undergarments generally are white, off-white, cream, ecru – but can be whatever you want.



Some types of chains can be worn around neck or waist – but be careful. Do not get anything that could be mistaken for a Knight‘s Chain. (If in doubt, ask someone)

  • 50‘s medallions
  • rings – cabochon stones (not faceted)
  • belts – leather, string, braided, macramé (do not use white [Knights], green [Laurel apprentices], red [squires] or yellow [Pelican protégés]. That pretty much leaves black and/or brown!!!
  • pouches (purse) – drawstring [pouches are worn on belts]; pouches can also be buttoned over the belt.
  • knife [eating dagger]
  • HINT: check yard sales, flea markets, thrift stores, and, of course, SCA merchants.



SAS (especially for trim) if you have one in your area. A word of advice on fabric. They usually don‘t know the content of their fabric, so be careful.


SALES at Hancock, JoAnn‘s, and other fabric stores.


Also, if you see anyone wearing a garment you admire --- ASK: did you make it? who made it? where did you get the material? -- they will love the attention and will be sure to give you helpful information.



Women – square of material with some type of band (not metal!!!). A simple method is to make a long tube of material, turn and stuff with old nylons or poly stuffing. (Kind of a ―donut‖). In most periods, women pretty much covered up their hair. (No wonder, with all the bad hygiene and lice!!!)


Men -- can go bare headed in most time periods (especially early). [one of the ―laments‖ of SCA garb-makers is that so often you see a person in wonderful garb, but no head gear to complete the effect!!!]

 Normans, 10th Century Dover  A European or Gallic farmer, ca.300 b.c.e. Note that the styles did not change from cs. 300 b.c.e. until much later. Dover


12th century merchant and monk—Dover Shepherds, on the royal portal Chartes Cathedral, c. 1150 20,000 Years of Fashion, p. 181


Arnold, Janet. Queen Elizabeth’s Closet Unlock’d. W.S. Maney & Son LTD, Hudson Road, Leeds, 1988.

Bean, Ruth, Tailor’s Pattern Book 1589. Robin & Russ, McMinnville, OR, 1979.

Boucher, Frances, 20,000 Years of Fashion. Harry N. Abrams, New York, 1987.

Bruhn, Wolfgang & Max Tilke, A Pictorial History of Costume. Arch Cape Press, NY. 1988.

Cenninni, Cennino d‘Andrea. The Craftsman’s Handbook (Il Libro dell’ Arte) translated by Daniel V. Thompson, Jr. Dover Publications, Inc, Mineola, NY, 1960.

(This little book has more information than you could possibly imagine. Every Artisan should have this book in his/her library)

Contini, Mila. Fashions from Ancient Egypt to Present. Crescent Books, NY, 1965.

Davenport, Millia. The Book of Costume, Vol. 1 (4th printing) Crown Publishing, NY, 1956.

Du Chat, Mistress Katrine de Baillie.* Medieval Costume. Raymond‘s Quiet Press, Albuquerque, NM, 1980

Evans, Mary, Costume Through the Ages. Lippincott Co.

Fairholt, F.W., A History of Dress in England. George Bell & Sons, York Street Covent Garden 1885 – reissued by Singing Tree Press, Detroit, Michigan, 1968.

Gawne, Eleanor J., Fabrics for Clothing, Chas. A. Bennet Co., Peoria, IL 1973.

Grimble, Frances, After a Fashion. Lavolta Press, San Francisco, 1993.

Gorsline, Douglas, What People Wore. Viking Press, NY, 1951.

Hartley, Dorothy, Medieval Costume & How to Recreate it. Dover Publications, Inc. Mineola, NY 2003

Holkeboer, Katherine Strand. Patterns for Theatrical Costumes. Prentice Hall Press, New York, NY 1984.

Ingham, Rosemary and Liz Covey. The Costumer’s Handbook. Prentice Hall Press, NY, 1980.

Kohler, Carol. A History of Costume. Dover Publications, Inc., NY, 1963.

Kunz, George Frederick, Rings for the Finger. Dover Publications, Inc. Mineola, NY, 1973 (first published in 1917).

Lauren, Mairi-Kathleen nic., Fabrics From the WellSpring, ―The Compleat Anachronist,‖ SCA. Milpitas, CA 1986.

Laver, James, Costume in the Theatre. Hill & Wang, NY, 1964.

Ninya, Mikhaila & Jane Malcom-Davies, The Tudor Tailor, B.T.Batsford, London, 2006 (I have a signed copy)

Norris, Herbert, Ancient European Costume and Fashion. Dover Publications, Inc. Mineola, NY, 1999.

Norris, Herbert, Medieval Costume and Fashion. Dover Publications, Inc. Mineola, NY, 1999

Payne, Blanche. History of Costume from the Ancient Egyptians to the Twentieth Century. Harper & Row, NY, 1965.

Pellegrini, Drea di. Elizabethan Underpinnings for Women. Creative Anachronist, March 1997, SCA

Racinet, Auguste. Racinet’s Full-Color Pictorial History of Western Costume. Dover Publications, NY, 1987.

Russell, Douglas A., Costume History and Style. Prentice-Hall, Englewood Cliffs, NJ, 1983.

Sir Raymond, etal, The Pleasure Book. Raymond‘s Quiet Press, Albuquerque, NM, 1979

Society For Creative Anachronism, Known World Handbook. SCA, Milpitas, CA (older version)

Veleda of Isenfir, Fashion Center of the World. Moongate Designs, Canton, MI, 1986 (SCA)

Weiditz, Christoph, Authentic Everyday Dress of the Renaissance. Dover Publications, NY, 1994

Wilcox, R. Turner, Hats & Headdresses. Charles Scribner & Sons, NY & London

Winter, Janet & Carolyn Schultz. Elizabethan Costuming for the Years 1550-1580. 2nd Ed., Other Times Publications, Oakland, CA 1983.

Yarwood, Doreen. The Encyclopedia of World Costume. Bonanza Books, NY, 1986.

Yarwood, Doreen. English Costume From the Second Century B.C. to 1967. B.T. Batsford Ltd., London, 1969.

----------Costuming to a “T” (SCA)

NOTE: Look through costume books (libraries have lots) to get ideas on time period in which you are particularly interested. Read all you can about your ―time‖ period. SCA merchants often have excellent costume books for sale. Don‘t overlook the stage costuming section. They often have excellent ideas on easier ways to make garb. The internet can be trusted to some extent. If you are making something to enter into a competition, I would suggest you go directly to the book source rather than relying explicitly on the internet