SCA: Common Sense Authenticity

Where do you fall on the spectrum between the creative in “creative anachronism” and historical accuracy when playing in the SCA?  I fall into the camp of doing the best you can with what you have. Personally, I love authenticity, and applaud those dedicated souls who spend their money and put in hours using historically accurate materials and methods to make historically accurate “stuff”.  I’m nowhere near that standard but it is an ideal toward which I gradually move. Still all the historical accuracy in the world MUST be balanced by common sense!


Glasses are safety, we want people to be able to see each other. I prefer seeing glasses to someone tripping over a tree root because they didn’t have their glasses on!

The electric candles are safer than the real ones.  And if you use a camp stove it is less likely to be a risk for a grass fire. Also, a camp stove is easier to manage without catching fire to the garb. Modern fire pits for fires are good too. Again, safety with the fun!

We like our first aid, plumbing and food safety modern, but if the EMS on site at a big event are willing to wear garb– we are delighted– and we like the port-a-potties hidden behind the bushes.

Keep the wheel chair or walker, but if you make a couple of small banners to hang off of the back and garb made to be worn in a wheel chair– more power to you!!  Orthopedic shoes stay on the feet although if you hide them with shoe coverings I will applaud. That kind of thing.


Better to BE there with a modern tent than miss the event.  You need a chair, and while a period one is seriously awesome, any chair can be draped with fabric to hide its modern design. Same for the many other items you may need to camp. Lots of yards of fabric to drape over stuff that is not period is GREAT. If it is linen it is even better.  Still, all that period stuff and even fabric draperies take time and money to acquire, so go anyway and know that bit by bit as you continue to enjoy the fun, your set up will improve. After all, this is to be fun.


We have a group standard of an “attempt” at period clothing.  My standard for beginners is really low.  If the guy who came to gawk is willing to drape a tabard over his street clothing while watching the guys fight– he is cool by me. A cotton t-tunic is not a problem to me, but if they spring for the “linen look”– even better!  Long term, linen is the ideal in hotter climates and wool for the colder ones, but simple, cheap, garb is better than no garb.  Considering where I began, just kick me if you ever hear me complaining about ANYONE’s garb!

My first garb attempts, pre-SCA, were fantasy based.  I wore a tiny dark blue, sleeveless, wool-blend tunic made from a modern dress pattern, over burgundy leotard and tights with the cutest little black suede boots to RennFair. The outfit was cute and I had the figure for it back then, but it was not even remotely period!  I found myself at the SCA booth and received my first exposure to SCA!  My first garb that was cut right for period was made for WorldCon so I used fantasy fabrics, but those wrong fabrics but good cuts of garb took me to my first SCA event!! Every effort is an improvement in one way or another.

I try to make my garb better with each project. Current garb is linen and reasonably period.  Recently I learned to use an inkle loom. Now I’m making trim (loom not period, but the trim is getting better). Eventually I want to be using card weaving on my inkle loom and begin to copy extant trims. Love that sort of thing but common sense says to use the fabrics in my stash or what I can afford.  I keep wearing the linen t-tunic, and the linen that is probably blended with cotton (don’t actually know) was cut for tunics better for my period, etc.  I seek to make each new piece better than what I have done before. Eventually, I hope to own some fabulous garb.


Common sense applied to an ideal of historical accuracy doing what you can with what you have and having FUN is where I fall on the spectrum between creative and historically accurate in the SCA.


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