New Belts

While we were at St Johns I made a bunch of harp-shaped belt mounts under the guidance of the talented Edward Braythwayte. Now I am working on the belt itself fro Wendy.

We decided on an Aqua Green colour for the belt itself, although the dye has come out darker than we thought it would. I also order a belt end and buckle from Lionheart Replicas.


Here is the belt part made. I have already skived the ends to fit the buckle and end plates and punched holes for the mounts. I still need to finish dyeing the leather.


Then I’ll test fit all the elements before finally setting them permanently.

This is the second belt I have done with mounts for Wendy. The other I made a little while ago. The same principle was followed, however, the mounts had a split shaft that just needed to be bent over to fix them. As I didn’t have a lot of the mounts I also did some stamping along the belt, it is just visible in the photo.

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St Johns 2015

Over the weekend of the 10th – 12th July we attended the annual Cluain event of St Johns.

This is an SCA camp held in the Waikato region. While normally we would take our tent and camp we decided to make use of the bunk rooms available at the site, and it was very fortunate that we did as temperatures over the weekend dropped to around -2. Fortunately both the main hall and bunk rooms were nice and warm once the heaters got started.

St Johns was a nice relaxed event. While there was archery, which both Wendy and I took part in, heavy combat and rapier outside most of the event took place inside the main hall.

Wendy had offered to run a couple of workshops on beginner harp. These went very well and I think we may have some new converts. While this was going on I learnt a bit about pewter casting with Master Edward Braythwayte. The end result being 24 harp shaped belt mounts. Now I just need to make Wendy a new belt.

On the Saturday evening there was a banquet. The food as always was excellent. Afterwards there was music and games. Wendy, along with Nadia, played harp while Chantelle played flute and sang. I played a bar game that was along the lines of a giant version of shove ha’penny. Followed by a couple of games of Irish, an early form of modern backgammon.

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It appears that there are 2 different garments that get called a pourpoint. One is an outer layer, often padded that may have started as part of a knight’s armor. The other is a waistcoat style garment that was used to attach the hose, or sometimes with armor the leg harness, as an alternative to a belt.

The pourpoint style we decided to make was a simple waistcoat with no skirt. It was to have a lining to help handle any strain put on it. The outer layer is white linen with the lining of calico.

First step was to make an upper body block. This was adjusted until it fitted snugly. This was done using a combination of the instructions in the Medieval Tailor’s Guide and Wendy’s mother’s knowledge.

Once the block was made up the 2 layers were cut out. Each was then stitched into its own garment that would later be joined together.

Where the holes were to go, to which the hose were to be laced, an additional piece of reinforcing was added. This was also done at the front where the lacing holes for closing the garment were to go. A light cotton canvas was used, this was stitched to the lining.

Once each piece was stitched and fitted to Ian individually, they were then joined together. The bottom, neck, and front seams were joined using a french seam, then the garment was turned right side out through the arm holes, and the arm holes sewn up.

The back of the neck had an extra seam overlaid to keep the lining in place, as did the front hem for reinforcement.

The calico lining layer had previously been hemmed loosely at the arm holes to prevent the fabric fraying while being worked on. Before joining at the arms I unpicked this hem. The two layers were trimmed at the arm holes to align the shapes. Then the rough edges were turned in and hemmed with a double seam (about 3mm apart).

The final step was to eyelet the front and waist for closing and attaching hose.

The front closing was done in 4 pairs to allow for 4 laces to be used for closing. The waist points were added by carefully figuring out where the hose would attach to and then eyeleting those points. If, at a later date, different hose with more lacing are to be used then extra eyelets can always be added.

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Sometime ago now we decide to join the SCA. While their camps are not open to the public they are still a lot of fun.

We’ll add information on the events we attend here so you can get an idea of the sorts of things that happen in the SCA in NZ

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New Tent Part 2

So we have had the new tent for a while now so I thought it was finally time to put some pictures up.

The tent is the same basic design as our older one only on a larger scale.


The awning attaches to the top of the tent and has additional side flaps that allow for better sun/rain coverage


The awning can also be pegged to the ground in bad weather and gives extra cover over the door. The pegging for the awning is about 75cm from the tent so there is a bit of space to get in an out.

So this will be our camp for the foreseeable future.


I’ll post up some more pictures of it and the inside at some point

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Ladies Chemise

A medieval lady’s outfit would always begin with a white undergarment. In 14th century England, linen was cheaper than cotton, and therefore was the more commonly used fabric for clothing – especially clothing that was required to be more hard-wearing. Ironically, in modern day New Zealand, linen is substantially more costly than cotton, and to begin with my soft kit was largely made of pure cotton.

Now I am constantly in the process of revising my historical wardrobe, replacing less accurate cotton garments with the more authentic equivalent in linen.

This garment is possibly the simplest around; or at least, it is the way I’m making it.
To be continued…

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Tables is both a family of games that all use the same board and a specific game. Today the most common tables game is backgammon, and the medieval game of Irish is the direct precursor of Backgammon.

As Tables games were very popular we have made a leather tables set.

We also have a painted wooden board that has a circular layout. This is mainly for playing a tables game called El Mundo

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As part of our living history setup Wendy and I decided we needed better seating as often we would end up dragging logs from the wood pile or sitting on the floor. As with all things camp related it needs to fit into the camp setting nicely, be easy to transport and store and ideally shouldn’t cost the earth.

We opted for two different types of seat, one bench and a pair of seats.

The seats are a very simple design consisting of a a pair of upright panels, that form a cross when viewed from the top, with a lid. These have then been painted to help protect them from the elements and to allow us to work out which bits belong together when putting them together.


The bench is also a simple design. It consists of two legs that slot into the bench top. To give it extra support a bar runs under the bench top and though a slot in each leg and is then secured with a wedge. The bench will be oiled to protect it.

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Camp Fires

Within our camp environment fire is one of the most import things. It is used for cooking on, top help keep us warm, to dry wet clothing, to provide light and as a communal gathering place.

When ever possible we have a cooking fire of some sort. If we are allowed we dig a fire pit, where we aren’t we have a raised fire tray. Typically the fire is kept going though out the camp and chopping wood, checking, raking and stoking the fire is a continous thing.

One of the things we have been working on is being able to start a fire without the use of modern tools. Traditionally everyone would have known how to build and start a fire and anyone that was traveling would have had the basic tools required to start a fire. This would be a flint and steel. The other items that would have been carried are charcolth, some tinder and possibly some sulphur spunks.

In order to start a fire you would gather your fuel and have a starting stack ready. this would be a mixture of larger pieces of wood and some form of kindling. Dried grass, bark, moss or pine cones all make good kindling and if prepared correctly should burn for long enough that the larger pieces of wood will catch fire. To light the kindling itself you would use your flint and steel to create a spark, this would be ‘caught’ on the tinder, or more often on the charcoth which would be added to the tinder. once the tinder is smouldering you add it to the kindling and encourage a flame. If you have sulphur spunks these are also added to help get a flame going.

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New Tent

The first and possibly most important bit of the camp is the tent. This is home while on site. While it needs to be big enough to live in it also needs to pack down small enough that it is easy to transport and store.

Our living history tent is a bell ended wedge tent.


This is a great little tent. It is 5 metres end to end, 3 metres front to back and around 2 metres tall at the ridge. It needs no guy lines to hold up the main tent so the only guy lines are on the awning.


We are looking at replacing the tent in the near future. After much discussion we are currently planning on sticking with the bell ended design. A few things will change based on how we are using the tent and to add to the camp. Fortunately the current tent was made by a friend of ours and he is going to make the new one as well so the alterations we want are fairly easy to include.

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