Longstorian Robes

side.jpgThese have been in process for an age. I really struggled to find the right fabric for them, which held up the whole process.

My brief was quite loose. Green Longstorian (FnH nature God) robes, with a front opening, suitable for running and combat whilst still looking priestly, with hood built in. I went with a mash up of my pattern for the Assasins Creed style robes I made last summer and the hood extension I used on Bens mage robes. It’s a bit more fiddly than the simple hood extension on most costume patterns but I really like the result, it fits much better at the neck and lets the lapel hang more naturally. I adapted it from a vintage coat pattern originally, damn good find.

The original idea was to have these robes made to fit over, and flatter, a particular leather breast piece. That not being made yet, I ended up designing them to be quite adaptable. The sides are open with lacing, might seem a little silly with a front opening, but it will allow the wearer to adjust them over armour all around the torso so the arm holes don’t get dragged back. Arm movement was an important feature, so I went with removable short sleeves. Maximum ease of movement, and they can come off if they don’t look right with the armour. A back split as well as the side and front openings should stop anything getting in the way whilst running.

The matching prayer scarf is slightly shaped to lie smoothly around the shoulders, and I included little epaulet style tabs to hold it in place. I tried to keep them as far away from military style ones as possible.

In the end, I went with a fabric a little more blue tinted than I would have liked. A forest green, or a more muddy shade, would have been better, but I coudn’t find anything. It wasn’t even a matter of price, I just couldn’t find any plain green in the right shade that would be heavy enough to stand up to LARP and light enough for fighting. This one was a compromise, but compromising on colour seemed better than making combat robes that would tear or weigh the wearer down. I tried to tone them down a bit with the brown lining, not really sure if that works, but it’s a nice hardy fabric I picked up cheap (at Blaydon fabrics, my new favourite fabric shop) and fairly neutral. Better than than trying to find green!

With all the lovely brass eyelets (from Le Prevo – best shop ever) trim really didn’t seem necessary. Instead, I’ve went with custom made points and lacing to match the simple embroidery on the prayer scarf. It’s taken ages, and been very fiddly, but I do like the end result.

The embroidery is a running stitch in brown wool with a doubled orange wool threaded through the surface stiches.

The points are a four-strand round braid, 3 brown, one orange. The lacing I hand worked on my lucet with a standard two loop cording method.

The aglets are a brass craft wire wound tight round and twisted at a slight angle to secure the ends. I did consider embroidery floss for the braids and embroidery, but the sheen might have been a bit posh for the character wearing all this. Wool has a nice ruggedness to it that semed to fit better.

I struggled to find information on how to tie the points. Historically, they would be covered, so decorative knotting wasn’t an issue. I went with a Hungarian knot found in an old knotting book I picked up at Tynemouth market. It looks lovely, and it unties quite easily. It would be far too fiddly for everyday use, but for costuming I think it’s quite nice. It’s a larks head with each end taken back through the main bend.

All in all, I’m pleased with how these have turned out. Fairly simplistic, but with lovely little details. I’m fairly smitten with the aglets. Took a while to figure out a way to do them, but I’ll definitely be using them in other project. Check out the gallery for more pictures of the finished robes.

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