Let’s talk about belts baby!

An easy way to up your historical accuracy cool factor ( but like a millionth)  is by having a period belt. It’s also one of the cheapest and potentially easiest posts in our Historically Accurate Equivalent series .

Step 1- THROW OUT THE RING BELT!

Ring belts are not precisely historically accurate, but are a pseudo SCA and Renaissance Faire hybrid from somewhere in the 70’s. Do a google search on SCA ring belt not period, and you will have a whole day of reading in front of you. The funny thing is, your going to spend more money getting a ring belt then you would getting a leather belt blank and a buckle.

Step 2- Figure out what kind of belt is correct for your persona.

A Viking is not going to wear the same type of belt as a crusader of an Elizabethan noble. If you don’t have a persona yet, then normally a generic leather belt with a plain buckle is find. However is you do have a persona or a type of clothing you wear more often, then your going to want to spend just a little bit of time doing some research.

Step 3 ( optional) Research: Check out some of these links for help/guidance on trying to figure out what belt would be right for you.

Step 3: Make or Buy your belt

Now you know what you are looking for, you should either create or buy a belt. Of course SCA events are going to be a great place to start, but also check out Etsy, and Thrift Stores. I have found more “plaque” or “chain” belts at the thrift stores that have a striking resemblance to period belts. Luckily I did my research ( Step 2 above), so I can easily tell which styles are historic-esque.

If you want a really historically accurate belt, than you should consider making it yourself. You can weave them, make them out of leather, or even sew belts that resemble period examples.  If your not up to making one yourself, try commissioning one from a blacksmith or weaver.

In Patronage of More Period Favors

With Valentines day quick approaching, I thought it was a great time to discuss favors.

No one knows where the “belt” favors so common seen in the SCA first started, but they are not historically accurate.  In various times in our period, people would wear items to show allegiance to a fighting group/liege lord/Kingdom/ext but those were usually tabards, sashes, and the like and they would never have shown dual allegiance ( like we do to various households, kingdoms, ext.).  A friend posted it best when he implied people with numerous favors have a tendency to resemble nascar cars. Nothing ruins a good piece of garb than a collection of belt favors.

When it comes to personal favors ( given from one person to another without allegiance attached) those also have some historical accuracy. The documentation we do have of ladies giving favors to fighter either before fighting, when they go off to war, or as a price for winning a fight usually comes from the early to High Middle Ages. Almost always the item was incredibly personalized ( something they made, or a part of their garment).

Personally I think it is amazing to watch a consort (male or female) bestow a very personalized token on their fighter ( or whomever holds their honor). I think it adds a level of theatrics to our society which helps glorifies the High Middle Age ideal of Chivalry and Courtly Love.

I posted the idea on my facebook page and the responses were to numerous and amazing to not share. Below are  all the responses of what people have given or received ( duplicates of some items as some people received like items). Hopefully some of these will give you some inspiration

  • A lady’s tippet from her sleeve.
  • A personal coif to be worn on their belt.
  • A bit of hair from each member of my family sewn into patch on the inside of their gambeson, to rest over the heart.
  • A pair of detachable sleeves from a late 15th century kirtle
  • A lock of my hair sewn down to a piece of silk
  • Arm sash favors with their device
  • Garters that match various aprons.
  • A wool pouch or something representative of Norse culture to wear.
  • Fabric torn from the hem of her dress.
  • A glove
  • Handwoven cotton/wool trim.
  • A wash rag with a teddy bear face. ( cool story attached)
  • Handmade paternoster
  • An embroidered standard belt flap as a fighting favor which also holds cards for the marshal table.
  • A personal scarf worn under their white scarf that is personally tied on by the giver.
  • A beaded tassle that hangs from the household belt badge.
  • Embroidered belt favor with their personal device
  • Gloves and sleeves.
  • Detachable sleeves, with a Crowned Initial pin attached. ( Another cool story)
  • Knit garter.
  • Tabletwoven band

My favorite quote (the only one not edited down for space), came from my Laurel-
“I gave him two favors that chase him and talk his ear off.”

Yes, further research will be done on this topic, as it was incredibly hard to find documentation on favors- however I look at this as more of a challenge. Look for a class coming soon.

In the meantime, I would highly encourage people to think of other options for favors other than the common belt favor.

Battle of Coleman: The Quest For Better Seating at Events

If your interested in improving your seating at events, please join our Facebook Group

614527_10151031266622613_374681278_oThe other day I was showing a friend some photos of the SCA I had on Facebook. She wanted to know about our encampments so I went to these two photos as they were the first to pop up in my feed.399144_10150647473202613_193209125_n

She was impressed by the tents, and than immediately pointed out the camp chairs.

I was mortified, as I am not a fan of “bag camp chairs” . I don’t welcome them under my shade fly ( I usually have enough seating for more visitors), and I have been known to thrown the odd one out after it has been left for an incredibly long period ( 3+ days at Pennsic… yes I asked all my neighbors if it was theirs).

Now granted, the first photo was from a sewing circle I did at Pennsic one year, and the second was a bring your own seating for a meal plan at Gulf. Regardless, the fact that someone pointed this out in my encampment made me feel ashamed.

Fast forward 2 days, and a friend posted some beautiful leatherwork on a camp chair cover on facebook. I was inspired, and wanted to share that inspiration to hide camp chairs with others…. Well that Facebook post has now become notorious, and of course sparked the whole Historically Accurate Campaign.

Therefore what better way to start off by talking about chair coverings.

I heard a lot of reasons why people should be permitted to use the Bag Chairs in camp, including but not limited to:

  • Ease of carrying
  • Non-woodworking skills
  • Limited Carrying Space
  • Comfort Level
  • Cost

I have picked up my little stools for $15, and though they don’t have back support they pack smaller and lighter than most bag chairs. However, until you can get to a war or an event to pick up something similar… why not make a cover for your camp chair.

Below are a few links to articles and patterns other people have created on how to sew a cover for your camp chair:

I will compile images, tutorials, and examples of really good camp chair covers on a pinterest board.  I also created a Facebook Group dedicated to finding better options than the bag chairs for events.

If you end up creating a camp chair cover, please let me know, as I would love to include it in my pinterest board as an inspiration to others.

A More Historically Acurate Way to Do It

The other day a leatherworker I really respect posted a beautiful piece of work he did of tooling a leather chair cover. It was a great way to make a non-period bag chair seems a little less glaringly modern. This of course led to a discussion of the over use of bag camp chairs as this is probably one of my largest pet peeves in the SCA.

However, as the Facebook backlash hit, it was obvious not everyone held my views.

Now, for anyone who knows me, knows that I would NEVER alienate someone or put them down for not using a non-period chair. However, enough people have in the past done the exact same thing that I was easily lumped into the villainous category.

I am a firm believer that everyone who takes part in the SCA should make an attempt at doing things more historically accurate. No, that does not mean that after you receive your AOA, that you should be required to have a completely historically accurate set of garb, fighting kit, pavilion, feast gear, ext…. but I think you should start to think about it and slowly make the things you take to events, slightly more historical.

As everyone’s inspiration for being in the SCA is unique, so should their path of historically accuracy. For some, they want to have period clothing ready before they go to their first event, others might wear plastic armor while they slowly put their kit together… both ways are ok.

However, as I am passionate about approving the general appearance of SCA events I have decided to start a series of blog posts on small ways people can improve their historical accuracy of every day items or items we regularly use in the SCA.

Some posts will be about how I am trying to improve my own encampment and person, others will be a compilation of links to articles and patterns, and some will include original patterns and research.

If there is an item or concept that is regularly modern in the SCA, and you would like me to discuss it, please let me know in the comments below or via email.

This project is all about inspiring people to change little things and giving them the knowledge and resources to do so. After all if enough people focus on the little things, think what a big impact that would have on the society as a whole