Introduction to the SCAIowa Garb Guide

Welcome to the SCAIowa Garb Guide resource. This resource was developed by members of our participating groups in order to assist new and current members in the Society for Creative Anachronism as they discover and explore their unique path.  We hope it helps these new members to find the historic clothing that they wish to utilize in their participation within the SCA.

In the SCAIowa Garb Guide you will find entries that display an overall look associated with a time period and a culture, pages that show the different layers and accessories that go together to form certain looks as well as some entries that show individual components or specific items of note that our friends have enjoyed creating. All of these examples were made by members of the Society for Creative Anachronism, most of them were made by members of the Kingdom of Calontir. 

The entries show a wide range of difficulty and skill used in their construction. Some examples represent entry level projects that are within reach of nearly anyone who knows how to sew with a sewing machine or by hand. A few examples represent garments that are great for those who are just learning to sew.  Other entries represent culminations of many years of learning and practice and form expert, museum quality reproductions of specific garments.

 The examples of these projects, constructed by various members of the SCA, span many centuries of history. There are examples stretching from antiquity through to the end of the time period covered by the SCA, approximately 1600 CE. The examples also cover many different cultures and areas from around the globe. Although SCA members primarily focus on Western and Central European history, there are also a number of members who explore other cultures, representing Asian, South Asian, Middle Eastern, African, Eastern European and you may even find examples of American cultures.

The examples shown within the SCAIowa Garb Guide represent the efforts of actual members, and therefore represent a specific moment in time in the member’s journey through the SCA and their journey of learning and personal growth. One main theme that runs throughout participation in the SCA is that people learn and grow over time. In almost every case someone could find some flaw within an example or room for improvement. This personal evolution in an individual’s historic clothing is one of the reasons why the examples are taken from a variety of difficulty levels.  The skill and knowledge levels of the contributors are displayed in the various levels of confidence and complexity of their creations. The welcoming of participants of all knowledge and skill levels has always been a hallmark of the SCA.

Many of the members of the SCA are also limited in time, money and resources in the construction of historic clothing. Few people could spare the hundreds of hours of labor it would actually take to weave the fabric that would go into an absolutely accurate historic garment.  Even then it would difficult to find the correct breeds of sheep the wool came from or the quality of the flax match what is found in medieval examples. Many of our members are working within the constraints of the materials that they have access to and that they can afford on their budgets. This is another feature of the SCA that we value, that people can participate even when they have smaller budgets or limited time for their hobbies.  You can participate in the SCA, even on a budget.

These examples of historic clothing are what these members of the SCA wear as they participate in SCA meetings and events.  This means that the members often wear these garments camping and to sites both modern and rustic.  Because of this there are sometimes adaptations made to the garments, such as hem lines being slightly higher than they should be or modern slip resistant tread on reproduction shoes to prevent injury.  In some cases there are adaptations made to allow members to participate safely when there are challenges to physical accessibility and health concerns.  

Part of the learning and growth that happens while participating in the SCA includes learning about history itself. This can be seen within the clothing used by members of the Society for Creative Anachronism.  No member joins us with a complete understanding of history, all members learn over time and this is also represented in an improvement of their clothing.

Most of the entries for the SCAIowa Garb Guide came from volunteers who allowed us to show the projects that they are working on, and we often rely on the information that they provide us about their projects. We cannot guarantee the validity of information on any entry.  We strive to only represent accurate information but this resource was never designed to be the definitive source of all information about historic clothing. It is better to look on this resource as inspiration and starting points or sign posts pointing the way along your journey through historic clothing.

We hope you find value in this resource as you use it to discover your style as you have your Historic Adventure in the Society for Creative Anachronism.