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Basic Accessories

Girdle

Your basic girdle (what you are probably more used to calling a belt) should be 1 inch wide and long enough to go around your waist, loop over itself, and dangle a bit as per the picture. The stuff of the belt may be leather or tablet-woven fabric (if you have woven stuff, check to make sure the pattern is okay). It should have a metal buckle and a metal strap end. Pewter alloy is the cheapest available metal, but copper alloy fittings will do for the buckle and strap end. There are many designs. Check with us. The company tries to keep some suitable buckles in stock for resale to newcomers.

Many belts were decorated. Methods include tooling, punching, and the addition of metal belt mounts. Check with us before embarking on a decorative scheme. We also have access to a number of suitable decorative mounts of pewter, just the thing for spiffing up a commoner’s belt.

Purses

The simplest purse is a small leather bag. Cut two pieces of supple leather about 6 by 8 inches. Place the grain sides face to face and sew them together on three sides. Turn the bag inside out so that the stitching is inside. Cut several pairs of slits along the open end of the bag as per the illustration. Thread two cords or flat strips of leather through the slits so that the loose ends of one cord or strip emerge at the opposite side from those of the other cord or strip. Knot them, and you have a cross-drawing closure for the purse. An optional third cord or strip can be sewn into the seam near the mouth of the bag or passed through the edgemost slits to provide a hanging cord for the bag. See the picture on the right for how it is worn on the belt.

Simple girdle purses seem to come into fashion near the beginning of the Hundred Years War and remain a typical style throughout, though newer designs come into fashion in the latter part of the war.

We have also tried some fancier and more elaborate designs of composite construction which appear to have been more common than a cursory look at medieval illustrations would lead one to believe. Several fragments of such girdle purses have survived in the archaeological record. Talk to us if you think you'd like more than a basic purse.

Bag

In order to create a bag for your stuff, you can simply make a larger version of the simplest belt purse. For such an item linen is as suitable as leather. Or you can go for a satchel style bag such as is commonly seen on pilgrims in medieval illustrations.

Sheathed Knife

Of the required items, this is the most difficult for the recruit to make for himself. Generally, we buy our knives and daggers from specialized craftsmen. You will probably need to do so as well. There is tremendous variety in cutlery. The picture at left shows schematic profiles of several knives. Whittle tang knives remain common in our time period, but the shift to scale tangs is well underway. We suspect that whittle tangs are in greater use among the commons.

Sheaths for knives are almost always simply leather and hang from thongs that pass through slits on the sheath. See the picture at the right for a back view of a typical sheath hanging from a belt. Sheaths for military knives often have metal throats and chapes. (Rondel daggers are a notable exception.) Some throats have rings on the sides but most do not, so attachment of the hanging thongs (sometimes chains) to the scabbards remains a research problem, but we have some guesses and extrapolations.

or Dagger

In the 14th century, the basilard (A) is apparently the most common form of civilian wear dagger (hence suitable for commons) but shows up considerably less often in military contexts.

The rondel (B) appears in the later 14th century and is almost exclusively depicted with military costume. It is believed to be a weapon developed for dealing with armored men.

The "sword-hilt" dagger (C) is a long-lived form. As with the rondel, iconography associates it with military costume.

The ballock (D) appears throughout the 14th century but its popularity increases dramatically in the 15th century, supplanting the basilard as the most commonly depicted civilian form by the end of the Hundred Years War.

Details of construction and decoration of daggers vary, so research what you want or get an established company member to guide your purchase.

Look into other personal possessions to help fill out a portrayal's accessories and goods.