Regia Anglorum – Basic Clothing Guide

Clothing Hints and Tips
These are some general tips on clothing:
  • Always wash the cloth at least a couple of times and iron it before making anything - as this will get rid of any shrinkage.
  • Be generous with seam allowances - if you cut too much off you can't make the cloth any bigger.
  • When you are making neck holes, start small and get bigger.
  • You are not symmetrical front-to-back! The neck hole is about 1/3 to the back and 2/3 to the front of the body (I would actually make the hole and put the main panel on and get someone else to mark where the top of your shoulder is - it makes life a lot easier. Also when making trousers -your bum doesn't just look big! The back of your trousers is likely to be about 2-4" (5-10cm) higher than the front.
  • Its easier to make a garment from an existing set of clothes - preferably authentic ones - but if not - a shirt that fits but isn't tight and a pair of jeans that you can pull on without undoing the fly are a good place to start. You can then adjust the pattern to give lengths and widths.
  • If you are worried about cutting your first tunic out - get some cheap cloth - for example old sheets - and make a rough version first
  • Make sure you have the correct equipment - a tape measure will be useful - a lot of Regia members use long straight edges and decorator's tape measures for working with. A long straight edge is useful.
  • If you are going to fold and cut multiple pieces of cloth at the same time then pin them together. If you are going to fold a piece of cloth twice its better to fold it in a zigzag or concertina rather than in half and half again as then all 4 pieces will be the same size.
  • Use a chalk or a dress making pen or pencil for marking patterns. Ordinary blackboard chalk is pretty good and cheap. Avoid biros, or other marker pens, as they are hard to remove.
  • If you want to and can use a sewing machine you can knock up a tunic really quickly - but remember to hide all stitching. Hand sew all hems, facings and anywhere that may be seen (like the last inch or so of any skirt or wrist seams.
  • Facings serve two purposes - primarily they are at places that get abraded - the neck, wrist and skirt - so that the body of the garment does not wear out (leg bindings serve the same purpose for trousers). The second is to neaten up cuffs that aren't quite long enough or neck holes that aren't quite the right shape or are too big.
  • Linen and light wool will fray - so make sure all internal seams are hemmed or enclosed.
  • If you are going to wear modern socks - make sure they are of an authentic (cheap) colour (preferably off cream); of roughly authentic construction (loop-pile) and covered by trousers, hose and shoes. See also underwear - make sure they do not show through or are not obvious if you happen to fall 'awkwardly' - its embarrassing to die and expose "Rupert the Bear" boxers. We don't mind modern undergarments - we'd rather you didn't freeze to death or get arrested for indecent exposure! Turn shoes will last longer if you wear socks inside them.
  • If you are a cross dressing military type then a long dress can be tucked up under a belt and or into trousers to produce an excellent tunic!
  • Weapons/tools etc. are part of your costume on site, but please remove them before going into town and especially /to the pub as Regia will not bail you out or pay any fines!
  • Don't wear part kit in public - i.e. kit and glasses, kit and trainers. Although this is acceptable out of hours, please avoid being photographed by the press!
  • Don't panic when making kit - it's not that hard.

Last updated on 5 Feb 2004.
© Regia Anglorum MCMLXXXVI – MMXVIII
Compiled by Regia Anglorum.