Sunday, 27 September 2015

Scottish Targe

Recently a friend of mine in Canada just completed making his first Scottish Targe, the base of his project is a 3/4 inch piece of  plywood 20 inches in diameter . A pattern is then marked out on a template and the antique domed nailed are pushed through the holes in the pattern. Then the top of the targe is covered in leather and the back is covered in either deer, cow or goat hide with the hair left on . The front circle of leather is stretched over the sides and tacked into place and then the center shield boss is attached and finally the domed nails are hammered into position forming the pattern that you marked out on the template. The back of the targe has a leather forearm loop than can be adjustable and a hand loop as well. The targe was held in the left hand so you could still grasp the dirk ( long knife ) while your sword was in your right hand. The two D ring are for attaching a carrying strap so the targe can be slung over the shoulder when walking.

Pictured below are some photos of his replica targe

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Common mistakes in Jacobite period reenacting !

After a lot of research and information gained from experienced Jacobite reenactors I have managed to avoid the most common mistakes by beginners in putting together my own Jacobite kit.  For many they take a look at popular artwork or recent movies such as Braveheart or Rob Roy and even though these movies claim to have consulted experts in the Scottish history there are so many obvious mistakes .  First up lets take a look at the movie Rob Roy and what he is wearing in the picture below

While many Scots wore short coats , there were most often made out of  tartan or plain colored wool not leather with detachable sleeves like the coat pictured above. Also he is wearing a plaid brooch , while these were popular in the Victorian period there is no evidence of men wearing jewelry in the 18th century , the plaid was held onto the coat with a bodkin, or sharpened stick, certainly not a fancy round brooch studded with gemstones .

Next up is the ever popular Outlander TV show which has gained fans world wide due to the fantastic scenery and the lead man Jamie Fraser getting naked now and again . While the sets and locations are filmed in Scotland there are just too many obvious mistakes and shortcuts made by the costume dept for a show which such a huge budget. Jacobite's never rode horses in kilts with pirate leather boots and why does the show never feature anyone wearing tartan bag hose which was very popular during the 18th century , Also it appears our hero forgot to put his bonnet on as well !

It you had bad eyesight in the 18th century glasses were available, but no doubt they were very expensive so many people with bad eyesight did without them , but if you had the money you could have purchased some. Luckily for those of us with bad eyesight period replica glasses are available as pictured below , if you need glasses in your daily life and want to put together a Jacobite period kit , change your glasses as well to something period correct, as modern glasses look totally out of place . Jas Townsend & Son sell a nice pair of 18th century glasses if you are looking for some.

Next up is footwear , while a few of the gentry in Scotland went all out have fancy clothes made and topped it off with a pair of fancy buckled shoes most men in the 18th century owned a pair of basic leather shoes without buckles , or even more basic footwear made out of cowhide with the hair on the outside. Many of the poorer classes went barefoot even so don't rush out and buy a fancy pair of buckled shoes  . Pictured below is a painting of John Murry , 4th Earl of Dunmore 1765 who no doubt was very wealthy by the cut of his clothes and his buckled shoes !

And pictured below for comparison is a painting done in the 18th century showing Alasdar Mor Grant - The Champion  wearing tie shoes instead of buckles 

And finally we have a picture of my friend Andy Webb from the UK in his full Jacobite kit which looks fantastic , many people have thought this was a painting instead of a photo. His attention to detail is spot on although most men of the period were clean shaven !

So there you have it a short list of some of the common mistakes in Jacobite period reenacting that beginners often make. To save yourself some money do a lot of research first before purchasing anything and if possible get in touch with reenactors who have experience in the Jacobite period who can give you advice  on the correct type of clothing , kit required for a quality period correct impression. 

Saturday, 5 September 2015

Harris Tweed - Feileadh beag

This afternoon I just finished sewing the 16 belt loops to the inside of my new winter Feileadh Beag. I've always wanted to make a kilt out of Harris Tweed tartan and when I found a Japanese retailer that imported it , I purchased 3 mtrs of double width, cut it in half and sewed it together and then added 16 belt loops to the inside for the drawstring. I did another kilt like this and it works very well and is easy to put on. At present it's just a wee bit hot for wearing this but later on I'll post some photos of me wearing it once the weather here is cooler.