About halfway through sorting my fabric, it occurs to me that I may have gone a bit overboard. The floor is covered in scraps of different colored material and the cat decided to join in the fun by treating it as a playground.
I have a love/hate relationship with sewing. It's one of those things that I actually enjoy doing but can never find the time in my schedule. Whenever I see the collection of fabric in the craft room, I feel guilty. I remember back in college when my roommates and I would go on epic sewing binges, it was my first experience with medieval reenactment, and it makes me feel nostalgic.
I’m not going to lie, playing in the SCA can be expensive, and a lot of that comes down to crafting. Medieval clothing was only made with natural fibers and those tend to be on the higher end of the fabric price range. And you WANT to be using natural fibers, trust me. Otherwise, you will regret it at your next event. Traditionally, those fibers would be, linen, wool, silk (but only if your bougie), and cotton. Don’t get me wrong, there are others out there too, but those are the most popular by far. Since I live in Florida, the idea of being covered in wool is just not practical (fur and leather are a non-starter). That limits me to cotton, silk, and linen. Personally, I overwhelmingly lean more towards linen than any other material. It's easy to work with, soft, and pleasant to wear. I have zero complaints.
If you're interested in reading more about the textiles medieval people used, here is a great link:
This is another useful blog post I found that clearly lays out the differences between synthetic and natural fibers:
Not everyone may be interested in that, but if your a history nerd like me I wanted to provide links.
Back when I was first getting started, I made the mistake of creating garb from polyester material. Oops! By the time our next event came around, I was excited to show off my project. Little did I know that modern fabrics aren’t able to breathe the same as linen and cotton, which are also historically accurate.
It wasn’t even an elaborate outfit, but because the design was medieval there were layers upon layers of material (underdress/kirtle, dress, belt, shawl). I nearly passed out—no joke. If you’re going to be outside in the heat, wear natural fibers. It’s so much more comfortable in the long run and well worth the investment.
Okay, rant over.
PRO TIP: If you’re not sure what kind of material you’re dealing with, I always recommend a burn test. Cut out a small square of fabric and try to burn the edge. Natural fibers will burn, whereas polyester melts.
If you can’t tell, I’ve got some pretty firm opinions about it. Lol.
I would never judge anyone for using something different, I’m not a fabric snob, but if someone asks my recommendation for selecting fabrics on a shopping trip that is what I’d tell them. I don’t want anyone suffering in the Florida heat as I did, but not everyone is as sensitive to it as me. As long you stay hydrated, comfortable, and happy, that’s all that matters.
That being said, not all my sewing projects are for the SCA, and therefore do not require the same criteria. We have three, large, plastic tubs in the crafting room: One for garb (natural fibers), one for miscellaneous modern, and one for yarn.
Holy cow, do we have a lot of yarn.
From time to time, my husband and I will be gifted leftover fabric from family or friends, and it gets added to the pile. Everything I keep has a specific purpose and project in mind. My son, Vincent, is growing fast and needs a whole new set of tunics. I know he’s excited, and honestly so am I. Both he and Elenna are helping me fold and organize while listening to Loreena McKennitt in the background.
Happy...sewing, I guess? lol.