Friday, January 23, 2009

SCA Idols: The Garb Goddesses

I think everyone who spends more than a little time in the SCA finds someone they consider their "SCA idol" -- someone who has inspired them, someone to emulate or someone they have always wanted to meet. Maybe that person wears beautiful garb or they are well looked upon or they fight like a demon on the field.

If you are like me and spend most of your spare time researching period costume, crafts and cooking, it's likely there is someone out there you have been stalking -- er -- following for some time. In the case of period costuming, I call these my Garb Goddesses.

In no particular order...

My first Garb Goddess is a lovely woman I stumbled across on Flickr named Lady Agnes Cresewyke. She is a Laurel from An Tir who does weaving, dying, and embroidery, as well as many other things that I could never hope to learn. As I understand, she normally plays with a European persona, but ventured into Ottoman costume, drafting her own patterns and making some of the most beautiful garb I have seen yet. I check her photostream religiously every week to see if she has posted any new garb photos. Lady Agnes has unknowingly answered so many of my questions about what period Ottoman garb should look like on the body, whereas most other websites have only provided me with miniatures and patterns. She also taught me not to be turned off by the shape of Ottoman pants (after wearing "harem pants" for nearly 10 years, having something tight around my ankles feels so alien!) because the length of the entari can hide this. And perhaps most important of all, she has taught me that I don't need expensive, elaborate fabrics to pull off a really smokin' Ottoman look. :)

Somehow I stumbled upon her LiveJournal where she goes into a bit more detail about her costuming methods, which was exactly what I needed (and that lets me add her to my Blogger feed)! From that LiveJournal account, I was able to find her personal LiveJournal, which led me to her personal page which has a lot of examples of her other A&S pursuits. (See? I'm not stalking her, I'm being resourceful!)

My second Garb Goddess is Viscountess Safiye Konstantiniyye from the Principality of Tir Righ. I first found Safiye's AMAZING A&S photo album on the SCA_Turkish_Personas_Moderated YahooGroup. I don't remember specifically what I was looking for at the time, but I was blown away by the lengths this woman will go to for authenticity's sake! She handmade a pece from real horse hair!! I have to tell you, I am in awe of this woman. Not only is Safiye a Laurel who makes incredible garb that looks almost identical to period miniatures, she has this tent that leaves me speechless! And she is a former Princess of Tir Righ!

Another of my Garb Goddess is Urtatim (urr-tah-TEEM), webmistress of Dar Anahita, your one-stop-shop for all things Near Eastern. That's right, I said Near Eastern. If you have done any googling on "Ottoman clothing" or "Turkish clothing," etc, chances are you have already found Dar Anahita, which I would call the ultimate resource for anyone interested creating an Ottoman persona. Urtatim has put a tremendous amount of work into dispelling myths and rumors about Near Eastern culture, clothing, and dance. On top of all that, she has recipes (which I will be utilizing in the near future as I have been asked to help with a hafla snack bar at Ansteorra's 30th Year Celebration -- more about that later).

Anyway, I owe this woman so much! It is because of Urtatim that I feel confident and beautiful in period garb and actually prefer the period cuts to the more revealing non-period stuff. She basically taught me how to feel sexy even when I'm all covered up. ...Now if we could just find a way to prove that tassel belts are period, I would be the happiest Turk in the world! (If you were wondering, tassel belts are NOT period.)

Of course, what kind of garbmaking fangirl would I be if I didn't mention my Garb God, Master Rashid of the East Kingdom. I have been fascinated by Master Rashid's patterns since I was a 16-year-old lurker on the SCA-Garb list. It wasn't until about a month ago that I finally figured out how to turn those lovely diagrams into tangible pieces of clothing. Now, my first pair of salwar didn't turn out exactly like they were supposed to (at least I don't think they did -- no one else in my area wears period salwar for me to examine), but at least now I'm able to think in terms of measurements and shapes and tweaking the instructions instead of relying on commercial patterns for everything.

Years ago I spent a lot of time studying the patterns of Duchess Roxane Farabi, but, unfortunately, I didn't save any of them before she took her site down. Also unfortunate is the fact that everyone uses Duchess Roxane as a resource, so everyone's links are broken.

My last Garb Goddess is Kass McGann, owner of Though my early period Celtic persona and I are no longer associated, this woman still made me drool over a thousand-piece reconstructed Irish bog dress for almost eight years. Okay, it didn't have a thousand pieces in it, but it sure had a lot and there was no way a newbie seamstress was ever going to figure it out on her own. I emailed Kass about the possibility of a pattern and one was being drafted, but then my interests shifted and I started pursuing Near Eastern culture instead. She does have some nice Near Eastern stuff, but I would much rather draft my own now that I understand how to do so.

So that is my first installment on the topic of SCA Idols. I have a lot of thoughts on this subject, so expect to see more articles about it in the future. Thanks for reading!


Anonymous said...


I have just stumbled upon your site here whilst searching the internet for all things Turkish...I would just like to say Thank You for your wonderful compliments- may I always live up to them! I would dearly love to pass on your compliments of Mistress Agnes to her as well; she is a friend as well as an inspiration of mine.

I am always open to info-sharing and communication- feel free to contact me if you like!

Safiye Hatun

Vanessa said...

Agnes here! I totally just tripped over your post and am blushing totally down to my toes :)
Thank you so much and I am so glad to be helpful!
Feel free to contact me as well if you have more questions... 13costumes at gmail dot com
M. Agnes~