All black ravens members have made some or all of their own fighting and feasting gear. We encourage this, and aim to help our members, as well as the wider re-enactment community, build safe, practical, and accurate costume, armour and weapons.


Clothing

Fabrics

Broadly speaking, in the medieval period the only available fabrics were wool and linen. My first reaction to that, and likely yours too, is "That's nice. Wool and linen cost the earth, so I'll just get poly wool blend and cotton linen blend at best, but probably just cotton".
What has changed my mind is that wool and linen are so much nicer to wear and can be had much cheaper than I first thought. Wool clothes shed water in the rain without wetting you, don't burn or melt when you have close brushes with fire, and breathe, so you don't sweat to death. Linen also has a feel to it that is completely different to any cotton blend, and worth the money.

The second part, getting it cheaply, is all waiting for sales, going to warehouses like Fine Wools Direct, checking op shops and market sales, and recycling fabrics. If you're unsure what type of fabric you're looking at, tear a few threads off, sneak outside, and do a burn test.

Tunics

The first thing that members will want is a tunic. A knee length, long sleeve tunic is acceptable clothing for many parts of the world from ancient times until the 15th Century, it will go a long way to obscuring your modern pants, and is cheap too. For inexperienced costumers, we recommend the pattern for the tunic of St Louis. It's really easy to put together. Pattern Here. This page also has some useful tips.

In the medieval period, two tunics would have been worn; one white linen tunic as underwear, and a coloured wool tunic over the top. For public displays and non combat social occasions, wool tunics look and feel great, but for regular training, cotton drill is much more durable.
As such, we recommend making a cotton tunic first for weekly wear at training. This will get worn, torn and soiled with rust, sweat and blood. A single tunic works fine until your first feast. If you come straight off the battlefield with your sweat drenched rust stained tunic on and try to mingle at a social function, nobody will go near you. In light of this, plan to make a wool tunic eventually for feasts, camps and public displays.