Today I provisionally finished my first underdress, or kirtle, to go with my Viking garb. The photos do not do justice to the beautiful blue of the linen, which my friend Janet VanMeter dyed for me. The linen had been five yards of drab light gray before Janet and Rit got their hands on it!

I got the trim sewn onto the neckline today. Ultimately I will add trim to the sleeves and the hemline, but not for awhile yet. I still have a cast on my left forearm and hand!

Here are some shots of the dress. I had to do it on the down-low in the downstairs bathroom, because Ophelia was attacking the dress where I usually hang it (on the stairs) for photos. I think she is jealous of all the time the dress spent in my lap, with me lavishing all my attention on it and not her! First a photo that shows Ophelia in action, attacking the dress while it was still under construction:

Ophelia and my blue underdress under construction

Now for a look at it after semi-completion, and without Ophelia’s “help:”

None of these photos does justice to the beautiful soft navy blue color that Janet obtained when she dyed the linen. The thread that matched the material is called “gunmetal blue.” Maybe that will give you a better idea of what it looks like! 😛

Some of the members of our Sewing Circle do Regency fashion, aka Jane Austen-era clothes, and a couple of them attended, in appropriate attire, the 200th Anniversary of Austen’s death a couple of weeks ago, here in the States. I bet the celebration in England was awesome, indeed!

The main library at Ohio State has a very small showcase of three (women’s) Regency outfits in the Special Collections lobby on the first floor. I got some pictures of them:

Three Regency gowns a la Jane Austen
Jane Austen day dress closeup
Muslin day dress and bonnet
Jane Austen evening gown
Silk evening gown
Jane Austen evening gown closeup
Detail, evening gown
questionable day dress
Day dress? We think it’s a pelisse. and bonnet
questionabl day dress from the back
Back of pelisse.

It would be fun to do Regency, too, although that is too late a period for the SCA, which cuts off at 1600.  I’m sticking to 10th-century Icelandic for my SCA persona, Unn Olafsdottir, great-granddaughter of Unn the Deep-Minded, whose story opens “The Saga of the People of Laxardal.” She was an amazing woman, one of the founders of Iceland in the late 800’s. Before that she had been married to Olaf the White, Viking King of Dublin, then she went back to Norway before leaving again with her father, Ketil Flat-Nose. They settled for a time in Scotland, where Unn’s brother was a king, until both brother and father were killed in separate battles.

It was up to Unn to rescue the remnants of the extended family (including six granddaughters, all of whom she found good husbands for; free men and women, related and unrelated; and slaves; as well as the family treasure). She did it by having a long-ship built secretly in the forest and sailing it herself to Iceland! Ultimately in Iceland she founded one of the most successful and largest farmsteads at Hvamm on the West Coast of the island.

Unn the Deep-Minded’s favorite grandchild was Olaf Feilan, to whom she left her entire estate. He is the supposed father of my character, Unn Olafsdottir, except that my character, unlike these other people I’ve named, is completely fictitious. That’s  a requirement for one’s SCA persona. You have to be authentic, but you can’t take an historical character for your own.

But you are allowed to have more than one persona in the SCA. If I do a second one, it will be as a lady-in-waiting to Eleanor of Aquitaine, who was a Queen in 12th century France, during which time she went on a Crusade with her husband Louis VII, then Queen of England, during which time her English husband, Henry the Second, imprisoned her for rebelling against his chosen succession plans for their sons. You might remember their story from the old, but still popular, film “Lion In Winter.” Henry was King at the time of Thomas a Becket’s murder; some say that Henry ordered it, but he protested vigorously that he didn’t, and I for one believe him.

OK, that’s enough history for one day. Tomorrow I will show you some of the jewelry I’ve been working on. Meanwhile, ta-ta and have a good night!