Garb Nazi

9:16 AM Posted In , , , Edit This 0 Comments »
I'll admit, I'm a slight garb nazi. The sight of "shiny" fabrics (polyester, nylon, and other obviously plastic materials), makes me want to twitch. Now that's not saying that I expect everyone to be able to afford 100% pure linen/wool/and/or silk. But cotton is cheap. No, it's not strictly period, but it also breathes and is less likely to give you heatstroke, as well as a sight better than non-natural materials. There are even cotton/linen blends, also cheaper. And who would want to drag silk through muddy camping events? In fact, that's part of the reason why I encourage natural fabrics, they are so much easier to clean. And aren't terribly expensive if purchased in-season. Ssh, don't tell anyone, but I'm making a cloak out of an old, green, Army blanket. It's pure wool and a great colour. I just need some lining. Sometimes, it does pay to be short.
Neon colours are not period, most purples are not period and/or are restricted to certain classes. There are lots of colours that are historically accurate, and disguise dirt from outdoor events really well. Or you can have fun and dye the fabric yourself. Personally, I lack that talent to a degree.
Then there's construction. I like to take my anality to a point in that regard. I'm not about to sew a chemise by hand when it's not going to be seen and I have a perfectly good sewing machine. Will I do the neckline by hand? Most likely. Will I construct it as accurately as I can, rather than just cutting out a "T"? Yes. When making a cotehardie will I research how they were constructed and try to make it as historically accurate as possible? Most likely not with my 100% pure linen that I paid out the ass for. I'll buy a modern pattern and tweak it just enough to get the right silhouette.
I have access to a commercial heavy duty grommet machine through my job, but I won't use it. Metal grommets were not used, instead they were basically button-holes. I'll try and do all the buttonholes by hand, first.
As for hose, I'm not about to attempt to make nor wear them. I will knit myself a pair of stockings, which weren't technically introduced to my area until Queen Elizabeth. But socks were often knitted, so I see it as a cheap, quick, easy "cheating" way. But I will make them with a fairly historically accurate pattern, with the right colour, and out of wool with a teeny bit of nylon for strength in it, then tie them with garters.
I do research what hairstyles/head coverings are appropriate for each outfit, which are going to span a couple of centuries. I like to play with different outfits, patterns, etc. This is particularly important as I have a very modern haircut: shoulder-length, layered, and with bangs. (I am working on growing it out, except for the bangs. Wide, expansive foreheads are not popular in the 21st century). My first attempt at a veil was an unmitigated failure, it kept wanting to fall off the back. But I am trying hairstyles and coverings to disguise it.
Then there's the disguising of modern camping gear. Working on that. It's a bit more difficult than garb as I lack woodworking (other than burning designs), blacksmithing, and other skills that would make it easier. And I lack the interest. But I will try to at least hide my nylon tent with fabric and keep other things hidden.
I don't have a lot of money. I'd rather save it for going to events rather than my garb. I will take money-saving shortcuts where possible. For example, I can't afford hankerchief weight linen for a chemise. That's what cheap, thin, white cotton from Joanne Fabrics is for. I then construct it as historically correct as I can in order to appease my OCD side.
There are lots of cheap, effective ways to pass the 10-foot rule. They just require a little creativity, some time, and effort. Does this mean that I'm going to walk up to a stranger and tell them how their garb is wrong? Heck no. If asked for my opinion, I will try and do so tactfully. Does this mean that if asked for help, I'll try and steer someone to some research and resources? Yes. Am I the final authority? Considering that I've been in the SCA less than a year, that would be a resounding no.
Here is a blog with some great points on why being called a "garb nazi" is just as rude as someone pointing out the flaws in your garb, as well as why authenticity is important in the SCA.