We know that many people starting out participating in the Society for Creative Anachronism begin with clothing they already have, something they borrow from the loaner gear of a local group or often basic tunics and tunic dresses that allow them to begin participating and exploring their Historic Adventure. The SCA Iowa Garb Guide resource is really meant for after this point, when new members are wanting to find a style, a culture, or a time period to explore more in-depth. Hopefully by looking through the pages of the SCAIowa Garb Guide you will be aided in discovering a style that you would like to explore more and create some new historic clothing.
Now that you found a style that you like, what is the next step?
The first thing that you should probably do is research. Hold on – Don’t Panic. We aren’t talking about doing a ton of homework or a research paper, but it is very useful to look around for other resources available specifically for that style, culture or time period.
Now more than ever before, these resources are at your fingertips online. Equipped with the time period, culture and name of a garment, it is easy to begin searching for museum examples, research papers, tutorials, videos, and blogs discussing how to create these specific garments. In some cases we have linked to specific examples although we do try to avoid this. The world of online tutorials and videos is ever changing and there are new examples being posted as well as old links being removed. It is best for you to do some of this research and find information that is available to you now. This is made far easier when you are equipped with the names of the garments that you are interested in.
You may also want to look more into the history and culture related to the look you are interested in. Most people starting out in the SCA have an interest in history and a love for learning. There are many different resources available to learn more about the cultures we enjoy recreating. It is one of those truths of life that activities of a people shape their fashions. Knowing more about the people adds depth to the understanding of the artifacts of the culture. And anyway, everyone needs a good history book to read while they wait for their fabric order to arrive or a good documentary to watch while crafting. (I personally like listening to audiobooks while I am sewing.)
Another avenue that is available to you are some of the many quality published resources that you can purchase online. Many of these books are relatively inexpensive and some contain a fabulous amount of information for the reenactor. You will see many times on our pages references to the Medieval Tailors Assistant by Sarah Thursfield, or The Tudor Tailor by Ninya Mikhaila and Jane Malcolm-Davies. These books are an investment but especially examples such as these include a lot of information about fabric choice and specific advice about sewing, finishing, patterning and the accessories that go along with many of the garments.
Perhaps your first step should be to contact local members of your SCA group or members of your larger SCA community online and find the resources that exist in the people that surround you. The examples that we use in the SCAIowa Garb Guide are primarily from people participating at the events that you will be attending in the Kingdom of Calontir. That means that the people who know how to construct these garments are attending the events that you will be attending, so obviously they know how to do this.
Other resources that may be further afield from you are the classes that are taught at events as well as the one-on-one learning that happens at local meetings and events held around the calendar year. The vast majority of the learning and classes offered within the SCA are free (once you have paid the site fee to the event) and there are any number of classes and even whole events dedicated to learning about garment construction in the SCA
It is also worth restating that at this point- you are at the beginning of your journey through historic clothing. Make sure to allow yourself the time to learn and grow.
Give yourself the ability and the permission to make some mistakes along the way. It is in mistakes that we often learn the best lessons.
Don’t try and do everything all at once, you have time. We hope that you will be participating with us for many years to come so there really is not a rush to get everything done all at once.