Friday, January 9, 2009

Ode to a Fair

As the new year picks up steam, almost every corner of my head is crammed with ideas. And with the highlight of my SCA year just two months away, it's getting worse by the hour!!

The University of Oklahoma's 33rd Annual Medieval Fair takes place the first weekend in April and is the largest event of its kind in the state, not to mention one of the top 5 or so largest in the nation... and it's FREE!

Even if I wasn't in the SCA this would be a much anticipated weekend, but being in the SCA gives it almost Mecca status. And I'm not the only one who feels this way...

People who haven't come to an event in four years suddenly show up with shiny new armor and fine clothes. People who haven't missed an event in decades are as excited as newbies. Okay, okay, maybe that's a an exaggeration, but it does get people pretty worked up around here, and for good reason. Our local groups see this as an opportunity to widen our appeal, bring in new members, educate the public about what we do, and maybe even show off a little.

Mostly I see it as a test of my abilities. It seems that every year since I was sixteen Medieval Fair weekend has been the time to prepare for and learn new things. The year I was sixteen I tried my hand at sewing my first piece of garb: a far-too-long, off-the-shoulder English-style gown in some heinous fabric I can only describe as a mixture of fleece and felt. I was miserably hot and constantly tripping over that ugly train. I think the next two days of the fair my friend Adena loaned me some middle eastern garb because I was so disappointed. In fact, I don't think that dress lived past its first wearing. I'm pretty sure I threw it out that night.

Last year I was just getting to know my new persona so I spent several weeks before Med Fair making middle eastern garb. I made two new ghawazee coats, two new pairs of froofy harem pants, and a standard undertunic, all of which I thought was period for this new persona -- wrong! -- but I didn't know that at the time so I felt like a goddess all weekend and got plenty of compliments on my new, pretty garb.

This year I know better. Much better.

So, in preparation for this year's festivities, I started working on some mock-ups tonight. I've been experimenting with period garb for several months now after finally learning how to draft my own patterns. Thus far I have only been able to get the salwar down because the entari instructions I had were a little off. But I've been tweaking the pattern and the mock-up I cut tonight appears to be the right formula. I'll baste it together tomorrow and, if it works, I'll tear it apart and make paper patterns off of it (then I'll sew it back together, chop off a foot or so from the bottom and call it a chirka!).

In the meantime, I also need to get a kataginu finished for Ashi. I made him a gorgeous pair of red court hakama for Wiesenfeuer Yule Revel, but he didn't get to wear them because we had to leave the event early. And since he is going to Estrella War in a few weeks, a couple more kimono probably wouldn't hurt.

Anyway, I will have a proper "dress diary" in the next week or so. Until then, thanks for reading!

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