8 of many trades, Jack of some

First Smock/T-Tunic

I’m going to Pennsic Wars in the summer, which is medieval reenactment camping. And this means you can’t wear normal “mundane” clothes, but are supposed to dress more like you’re from the middle ages. So I’m making some simple dresses for the kid and for me.

The basic dress is called a T-Tunic or Smock. I have a pile of linen from my mother’s tablecloth stash, but I figured I should practice on some cheap material first before I up-cycle the vintage linens. So I bought some cheap muslin (which is another word forlightweight 100% cotton. Fabric language is a great confuser) for my first attempt . This caused some consternation in the store, as the bolt was mismarked.

Me: How much per yard?

Clerk: $3.

Me: Really, $3??

Clerk: Yes, $3 per yard.

Me: Great! I’ll take the whole bolt!

Clerk: . . . wait, hmmm, did I say $3? It’s not in the system! Oh noes!! System says $5 per yard? Ack – what to do!!

So they did a manual pricing, which in turn caused even more issues when I gave them my 40% coupon. They finally just waved their hands and pretended the problem away at a price I loved. Math hard. Haha. (This is what counts as fun when you’re not employed) So now I’m the proud owner of 4.5 yards of 60″ wide muslin, for $7.13

Next, a pattern. I figured this time I wasn’t going to eyeball it an instead seek out a pattern. I stumbled upon this online Elizabethan Smock Pattern Generator site and now patterns for both me and the kid.

Cutting and sewing, cutting and sewing. My sewing machine is pretty basic, but hey, these are pretty basic dresses. I usually do the kids first, then having learned from my mistakes, I do one for me.


I learned on hers not to cut such a big hole for the neck, despite what the pattern might say. She wears it with an undershirt now, until I get around to adding a modesty panel. Next up, a sideless surcoat overdress, from an Ikea curtain.

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