Sunday, June 21, 2009

Sea breeches

I got this idea from Renaissance Magazine, but I did not like having to draft the full pattern. So I took a pattern I already had and made them into sea breeches, also called a sea petticoat.

• Pants pattern with two leg pieces, like for PJ's or scrubs. I used Simplicity 9802.
• Fabric- wool or canvas, about 2 ¾ yards.
• 1 yd of interfacing, I like muslin.
• Extra paper for pattern adjustments.
• Buttons or draw cord.

Take your waist measurement. Double this measurement, than divide it by four. Measures were the waist is on the pattern, omitting seam allowances. Expand the with of the pattern with paper. To do this, split the pattern down the middle. Insert paper, mark the extra with, and tape. This will give you nice full breeches. You could at this point measure where the breeches should come to, knee lenth or a bit longer. Cut off about two inches lower for a hem.

Next you will need to make a waist band and codpiece pattern. Skip this part if you are going to use a draw cord. The waistband is a rectangle that is your waist measurement plus two inches wide by three inches tall. Add a 5/8" seam allowances to all sides. (That's an extra 1 ¼ ".) The codpiece is a triangle with an 8" base and a height of 7", before seam allowances. I used a ½" seam allowance here.

Cut out your pieces, two of each pattern piece, of your fabric. Cut 1 waistband out of interfacing.

If you are going to make draw cord breeches, sew according to the pattern. Remember to make two holes in the front so you can draw the cord through before making the casing for said cord.

For waistband breeches-
Sew back crotch seam. Sew front crotch seam up to 5 ½" below waistline. Hem the fly opening. Sew the seam for the outer leg, and then sew the inseam.

Sew codpiece on all three sides, leaving an opening to turn. Trim and grade seams and clip corners. Turn codpiece inside out and hand stitch opening close. Add two buttonholes to the short edge of codpiece at each angle. Attach codpiece to breeches front. Center on seam with bottom point one to ½ inch below fly opening. Use a triangle shaped seam to attach codpiece.

Sew waistband on each three-inch side, one of the long sides, and two inches of the other side. Trim and grade seams and clip corners. Turn. Make a buttonhole on the tab.

Pleat breeches into waistband. Finish. Try on breeches and mark where buttons should go and mark hem.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

The Staff Sling

The staff sling
It is time to talk about weapons of medieval pirate. First up is one that most have not of heard of, the sling staff. The sling staff (or staff sling) was an early projectile weapon launcher. It was mainly used in naval battles in the Middle Ages. Otherwise, they are rare and hard to find anything on them.

The first use of the staff sling was by the Thracians. It was used as a weapon of the Peltasts (Slingers). The slingers were lightly armed and used the staff sling for "shock and awe" type battles. They would run in, fire a dart, javelin or rock, and then run away.

The sling fell out of use after the classical era, but the staff sling was still used. Geoffrey Chaucer mentioned a sling in the Canterbury Tales. In the Tale of Sir Topaz, he states
Sir Topaz quickly retired;
the Giant took a sling and fired
Fired stones, but greatly daring
Sir Topaz swiftly left the place
And got away by God's good grace
And by his noble bearing.

Seeing that the sling was a weapon associated with King David, an evil Giant could not have used it. A staff sling was more likely was used. Staff slings also lunched their projectiles a lot slower than the traditional sling a not as accurate, making it easier for Sir Topaz to get away.

An image of a staff sling can be seen in a depiction of the last sea battle of Eustace the Black Monk. The picture shows a staff sling being used to fling a bottle. The bottle could contain quicklime. Quicklime was used to blind opponents in battle.
Staff slings were used because they are easy to train a fighter to use in comparison to a normal sling or a bow. Also, unlike a bow, the wet concisions of a ship had little effect on this weapon.