Yesterday was the East Kingdom’s King’s & Queen’s Rapier Championship. It was a beautiful day for fencing. Sunny and comfortably warm. A naval fortress on the coast as our backdrop. Great day. Great location.
I’ve been looking into spurs for a few years now, but I haven’t been able to find 17th Century accurate spurs anywhere. Not even UK-based English Civil War reenacting shops have them. I did find some nice 15th Century spurs from Raymond’s Quiet Press while at Pennsic this year, so I picked those up and some sweet 1/2″ buckles that match pretty well.
Some extant examples are a little more brown or grey, but this gives you the general idea of the look. This golden brown coloration is a byproduct of the tanning process. Tanners would “oil tan” the leather with lime and scrape the surface to remove the outer layer. This is what gives the buff coat that rough, unfinished look. Cod oil was used in a process called “kicking.” I’ve also read that yellow ochre was used to help get the color. Continue reading 17th Century buff coat: Getting the right color (test dyes)→
This has become humorously problematic as the number one mistake/mix up I run into with my fellow SCAdians is that they call the “Carolingian Calivers” the “Carolingian Cavaliers.” The mix up is understandable, though I sometimes wonder if people think I’m misspelling my fencing unit’s name when I write “Calivers.”
Regardless, I figure I’d do a quick post to explain the difference between the two. Most people I run into know what a cavalier is, but are fuzzy about what a caliver is.
One of the more prominent items of a 17th Century cavalier’s garb is the spur leather which helped hold up a cavalryman’s spurs.
In Medieval times, this was just a strap of leather that wrapped around the front of the boot. By the mid-17th Century, the spur leather grew in size and took on the popular shape of a butterfly or bow.
These were made of tough leather. The pair I made for myself (see below) are two layers of 4-5oz veggy-tan leather, dyed black and sewn together with black wax linen. A strap (4-5oz leather) goes through two openings in the front of the “butterfly” and is secured by a buckle on the outside. A second strap could be added, connecting to the first strap and going underneath the foot. It’s not necessary unless you find the spur leather rising up.
My good friend and fellow fencer, Nataliia, commissioned me to make her a fancy cavalier hat for Pennsic without any instruction or description of what she wanted the hat to look like. “I trust you,” was her rallying cry for the project, which is giving me an incredible amount of power and freedom.
I can be a bit hypercritical of my work and when making something for a friend I wasn’t sure if it was “good enough for Nataliia” but she was bouncing around in excitement when she put it on, so I guess I did all right.
I love hats. They’re such a great accessory to a person’s persona — be they for the SCA or a RenFaire or a LARP or even for just Halloween fun.
I’ve gotten a lot of use out of this hat that I got from Potted Fox (they no longer carry this, alas) and then added the silk band and plumes.
This hat was great because it’s leather so it can take a beating and also has a wired brim, so it can be bent into any shape I want and then reshaped later. I’ve used this for the cavalier/musketeer look as well as a tricorn for being a pirate and my Daring Dragoon cosplay. Hell, I’ve had folks recognize who I am in the dark because of this hat. Like I said, it’s a good hat.
But as part of my #MoreDashing2015 goal, I decided I needed update my look. The leather wide-brim hat isn’t going anywhere, but I wanted something a little more period (I haven’t found an instance of a leather hat in the early-to-mid 17th Century) and something a little nicer.