Crafty stuff, Make

A trio of Medieval accessories

You’ve already seen my medieval dress, and a costume-y medieval belt, but I’ve been working on much more historically accurate accessories.

My first belt was fun and sparkly, but I wanted a proper belt:

A Miramar Gothic Dress thedreamstress.com08

(shown, with complete lack of properness, with my Miramar Gothic dress)

I made the belt from two strips of soft leather in mid-brown.  I couldn’t find a leather scrap within my budget that was long enough for a single strip (a $200 hide is out of the question at the moment), so I joined the two strips with a bit of stitching.  I have no idea if a leather join like that is accurate, but I suspect it’s plausible.  And it reminds me of the  mended sashes of the sword-wearers of Damar, so, win!

A medieval belt

I used a vintage English-made brass buckle I found at an op shop: it’s not quite right for the 14th century, but isn’t too bad.  I had a stroke of luck the day after I cut my belt, but before I’d finished it.  I found a crappy pleather belt at an op shop with a cool brass end: and it was the perfect width for my belt.  Score!

A medieval belt thedreamstress.com1

I’ve also made a proper veil:

A medieval linen veil

The Fabric Store got in a bolt of very fine linen a few years ago, and I knew I’d regret it later if I didn’t buy some.  I was definitely right, because I couldn’t find it the first time I went looking for it for a veil, and spent a week with the devastating conviction that I’d decided against buying the fabric after all!  Luckily, another search revealed it had slipped in between the folds of another fabric.

A medieval linen veil

The linen is much too fine for a chemise, but it’s perfect for a noblewoman’s veil.

A medieval linen veil

I used the guide at Som När Det Begav Sig  for the veil dimensions – mine is 107cm long x 73cm wide: a tiny bit longer and wider, but I like that it isn’t precise dimensions.

A medieval linen veil

I hemmed the curved edge with a tiny rolled hem, but I just used the selvedge edge for the straight edge, because erk, rolled hemming!  Also, I’m pretty sure using the selvedge edges is period accurate.

A medieval linen veil

And finally, to go with the veil when I feel like being posh, a circlet:

A medieval circlet

I used the same beading technique for the circlet that I used on my costume belt.

A medieval circlet

The circlet was a little too soft and flimsy the first few times I wore it, so I lined it with silk and a circle of pasteboard.  The lining is caught to the beading at every point where it reaches the edge of the leather.

A medieval circlet

I have no idea if any of the techniques I used in the circlet are historically plausible.

So, now I just need to find the time to put on my ca. 1369 dress again and show this all off!

The Challenge:  #7 Accessorise (veil & circlet)  #9 Brown  (belt)

Fabric:  75cm of linen for the veil ($10),  a scrap of silk for the circlet (from my scrap bag), and scraps of leather for the belt & circlet ($8).

Pattern:  None for any of them.  The veil was helped by the information  at  Som När Det Begav Sig, a friend in the SCA showed me some belts, and I used period images and materials that would have been available in period for the circlet (though I suspect the decorations would have been studs, not beads).

Year:  last half of the 14th century.

Notions:  silk thread (veil) (>$1),  faux pearl beads, gilded woods beads, linen thread and pasteboard (circlet) ($2), brass findings (belt) ($2).

How historically accurate is it?:  The  veil is close to  100%, the belt is pretty good, but not perfect (especially not if the mend is totally inaccurate), so let’s say 75%, and the circlet is lucky if it 50%.

Hours to complete:  30 minutes for the belt, 2 hours for the circlet, 3 hours for the veil (blasted rolled hem).

First worn:  I wore the circlet unfinished for the historical dinner & my medieval photoshoot, and the belt with the Miramar Gothic dress, but I haven’t managed a proper wear + photoshoot yet.

Total cost:   $6 (belt), $10.50 (veil), $5 (circlet).


  1. Jen Brown says

    Cheers on your clever work and fine eye for details. (And on another note – I think we must have matching book shelves. ‘The Blue Sword’ is a favourite from way back. Lol)

  2. Elise says

    Yay! The best part, of course, are the irises in the picture!

      • They are! Last year, I helped my mom plant some, but we planted them too deep, as we later found out, so not all of them bloomed this year. 😛
        The veil is fantastic; clever buy. Do you still have some of that fabric left and plan, say, a chemisette or fichu? It looks like it’s perfect weight for something like that.

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