I’ve been asked to make a new tent – the biggest one yet. I have the size and shape sorted out, now I just need to work out the colour scheme/decoration.
The tent will be based on the Fogliani fresco;
Here’s what we have planned;
It’s 10m x 15m and 5.5m tall. It’s a lot of tent.
Most of my tents are made with a “natural” finish, so they’re cream coloured and I’ve painted mine. In our early discussions I had intended to use alternating red and white canvas but after a discussion on the Medieval Tentmakers Facebook page I’m concerned that the red will fade.
Now I’m thinking that we could paint stripes on the tent, and could perhaps add the Household badge, similar to this tent;
I’ve also collected a bunch of similar decorated tents, for comparison and more ideas.
Like so many things in the SCA, we seem to have made something that works, that people like and that we can’t quite document as an item used in period.
These are the sunshades used by the Barony of Stormhold for our monthly tournaments. They’re easy to put up, dry, store and transport. They were pretty easy to make and have lasted for nearly nine years so far. We even made a pair for our neighboring barony, Krae Glas.
Here’s our design
As the canvas we buy is typically 2m wide, it’s easy to make stripes approximately half a canvas width. Each piece is flat fell seamed together and then the whole piece is hemmed. The leather hole reinforcement is the same as we use on all of our tents.
To put up the sunshade you also need 4 poles, each 2.1m high, 12 tent pegs and 8 ropes. You won’t always need 2 ropes on each pole, but it’s helpful on blustery, windy days.
These sunshades/rectangles of canvas can also be used as an enclosed tent, or a larger, wall-less sunshade, or as a tent like one of these;
In almost all of the tent pictures where you can see the guy ropes, the guys have what we call crow’s feet. Crow’s feet are the three (less often two) ropes coming off the eave of the tent that are knotted (it seems) into just one rope that is pegged to the ground. Like this:
We’ve always struggled with the crow’s feet. They’re difficult to adjust, we’re not sure of how to do the knot and mostly we’ve just put them in the too hard basket and gotten quite a good shape to our eaves anyway;
A few days ago, I discovered this picture. It’s out of period, but it’s suggesting an alternative construction technique for the guys:
Maybe the guys go up to the centre pole and are sewn to the roof canvas, maybe the crow’s feet are then tied on to the main guy to hold out the eave?
There is an extant pattern book out there that has a couple of tent pattern layouts – I need to find it again! In the meantime, CuriousFrau has taken a look at typical fabric widths in Juan de Alcega’s Tailor’s Pattern book of 1589. She says that typical fabric widths in this book are “2/3 bara, 1 1/3 bara, 1 1/2 bara, 1 2/3 bara, 1 3/4 bara and 2 bara ” and 1 bara is 33″. this translates to
We’ve been making round tents for a while now. When I look at the eave lines of the tents in manuscripts I can see that they’re very round.
I’ve always cut the wall pieces with an arc at the top and bottom and get a very round looking tent.
Note the wavy shape at the eaves? I think that’s because when we peg out the eave guys of these tents we don’t follow the line of the roof and put the pegs too far away from the base. It’s counter intuitive, but something I’m going to keep an eye on.
You can see that the base is very round.
But many pictures don’t show a round base.
So I’m not going to cut the arc at the base of my next tent.It will give me more ventilation too.
I’d also like to use wooden pegs, as described in this great pattern/instructions for a Saxon Geteld. They have a picture which is what inspired me this morning;