Your First Garb — Getting Started

As someone new to the medieval hobby, one of the first things you need is something to wear.  There are few requirements in this area, but there are a few criteria your first outfit should fulfill:

  1. It should be easy to make (no one starts out as an expert).
  2. It should fit (we don’t want you to trip over your hem and break your neck).
  3. It should be historically accurate (we are historical re-enactors after all).

Too often new re-enactors are rushed to make something just to “get them on the field”.  There is no reason for this haste.  Fabric costs money and sewing takes time.  Making bad garb is just a waste of precious resources.  Your first piece of clothing doesn’t have to be something you’ll be ashamed of in years to come.  You can make easy, historically accurate medieval clothes in minutes, and you can do it right the first time.

Get the rest of this splendid article on Beginners’ Garb by clothing historian Kass McGann:

10 Comments so far:

  1. Victoria says:

    I bought this article and the link I got through my email doesn’t work… the article no longer displays the option to buy it, but it still only shows the preview and ends with “”Get the rest of this splendid article on Beginners’ Garb by clothing historian Kass McGann”…

    • historian says:

      Victoria, can you send me a copy of the PayPal receipt for your purchase? There is a bug somewhere and i will refund your money.


  2. Shane says:

    Hi to whomever created this great site. When we were doing ours we found it easier to sew the gussets to the sleeves first, before sewing the sleeves to the front/back. Hope that helps others using this pattern :)

  3. Jennifer says:

    thank you for this wonderful tutorial I was wondering how wide are the Gores supposed to be? is there a way to determine the with they’re supposed to be

    • bob says:

      Thanks for the kind words!

      Have another look at the layout diagram. The measurement you’re looking for is “C”. 😉 One of the Gores will be split in half, of course. But the other 3 will have measurement C as the width.

  4. sheryl says:

    I am new to this so I greatly appreciate this pattern! Is a great place to start and advice on fabric type is also very helpful. Thank you!

  5. Helen Wright says:

    I am so glad I found this site! I cant wait to get my sewing room together so I can get some of these patterns.

    One question; Do you all hand sew these patterns or machine? If hand sew how much time do you spend on say a tudor dress?

    This site is fabulous. My head is spinning with ideas! Thanks!

    • historian says:

      You can handsew or machine sew any of our patterns. We include instructions for both. It’s entirely up to you. How long it will take depends on how fast you sew. Some people can make a dress in a month. Other people can make one in a day. It really varies.

  6. Audrey says:

    A great classic. About twelve years ago, when I started in the SCA… this page was my bible :-)