A Tudor Yule (an adventure in garb)

I haven’t really been posting blogs about the non-fighting events I attend recently. But my experience at this event deserved its own blog. I normally only attend the non-fighting events in my shire. A few months ago I was playing crumbhorn for the first time and had a lot of fun, so I was encouraged to attend an event where there were music things I could try. So I agreed to go. Then I found out it was a Tudor theme and managed to borrow some Tudor garb from a friend.


I trolled in to the event and I headed straight for the changing area (aka the bathroom). I walked in and said I needed help. Two women were kind enough to help me. I had never worn a corset before, but I had guessed what I could expect. The chemise went on first. It was an odd garment, completely open at the front. The younger woman started lacing the corset up my back, occasionally asking if it hurt (it never did) or if I could breathe (I could, but not as well). I quickly discovered that there is an art-form to ensuring that my breasts had been squished into the right place to be aesthetically pleasing. I tried to reach down and maneuver them into the correct spot, but the corset was too tight. Finally, the younger woman loosened it, but I still couldn’t reach the bottom of the one breast and it still wouldn’t go where it was supposed to. So, with permission, the older woman went up from the bottom of the corset and shoved my boob up into its proper place. I quickly discovered that with late period garb, there is no such thing as modesty and that you have to have friends just to get dressed. After the corset was laced up, the hoop skirt went on, the regular skirt went over it, and the overdress was hooked up the front. Everything else went on without incident and my borrowed clothes fit well.

I found myself trying to breathe with just the tops of my lungs. I was doing fine until I picked up the crumbhorn and played a song. By the end of it, I was gasping for breath. I felt light-headed. I now understood why people in corsets are known to faint. It took me several minutes to actually catch my breath. I did not like that.

After about the first hour, I had the distinct pain of something similar to an armor bite in my lower back. I dealt with it and told myself I had dealt with worse on the field.

I guess I also looked significantly different. There weren’t many people I knew there, but the few people I did know had to do a double-take before recognizing me. The Serpentius favor probably helped with the recognition as well. One person didn’t recognize me at all until I had changed into mundane clothes and had arrayed my hair in battle braids! One of the people who I knew there was Sterling. He inquired if I had followed his advice about singing during pell work. I didn’t take his advice. I hadn’t done much pell work recently and I felt strangely self-conscious for doing something by myself in my apartment. I just need to make myself sing while doing pell work anyway.

Over the course of the day, I think I complained to everyone I spoke to about the corset. Most of them reacted the same way — by telling me how great I look. Some meant it as a consolation, others meant it as a justification, but there seems to be no denying that I looked good. I felt horrible. Whatever was poking my lower back had become increasingly painful as the night progressed. I sometimes found myself having to catch my breath when I ordinarily wouldn’t have to.

I tried to socialize. I sang a bit with a group.

Oh, I don’t think I mentioned the joys of wearing a hoop skirt yet. I actually liked the hoop skirt. It looked neat and didn’t cause me pain. It WAS unwieldy. Going to the bathroom was always an adventure. Trying to compress the skirt to fit in the stall was an amusing process. As was lifting the back to sit on the toilet without getting the back part of the skirt wet or dirty. Even sitting in a chair was tough. I had to lift up the back of the skirt to sit. I often wondered if I was giving anyone a show! People would wait for me to finish going up or down the stairs before using the stairs themselves. One person even complained that I went down the stairs delaying his journey up it. I countered by telling him that the skirt squished just fine and he could have easily walked up the stairs past me.

The food came out constantly all day. That worked out well because I could eat very little at a time until I was full. The food was pretty good.

In the evening I danced. I initially wondered if I’d be able to dance at all given my breathing situation. I was thinking of dancing the Korrobushka (sp?). They did mostly slower dances not requiring much in the way of breath.

I also  had a chance to meet some more Facebook friends that I had not met in real life. One of them, Mabel, helped me get the corset off. It was wonderful! After it came off, everyone agreed that it had been too tight. I also had two bruises/dimples in my lower back where it had dug in. The dimples extended a good half inch into my back. I tried to take a picture of it because it was significantly dimpled, but the whiteness of my skin just reflected back the flash of the camera.

For a few days afterwards, I found it hurt to take a full breath. Almost a week later, I still have two areas of my back the size of a quarter where the dimples were. They are still red and strangely hard to the touch, at least compared to my regular skin.

I did have fun. I did look good. But for the next time, I’m going to stick with Viking!



~ by Gunnvor on December 15, 2013.

One Response to “A Tudor Yule (an adventure in garb)”

  1. I still say, you need a corset that is designed specifically for you, and in completely different materials. When made correctly and for your body type, a corset should be no more uncomfortable than a bra.

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