The woman in charge of my group assured us that it was easy to get garbed up for a long event as we could just make a bunch of plaid "Bog Dresses".
Please understand that this all happened before internet took over the world. Back then, there was no quick way to do a bit of online research before embarking on a project. I merely took her word that this was an early Celtic garment and set off to make my dresses. I first gathered yards of plaid from the quilting section of Joanns (you know, those dusty looking cottons that are used make curtains for country kitchens? That is what we used, in great quantity!). I was instructed to take two rectangles of fabric, tack them at the shoulders and belt at the waist and you have an instant dress. You could have a folded flap in the front and back at the top, or not.
Let me just sat that trying to keep those on, belted properly (with the same cord usually used as curtain ties) and not flapping around showing your bits was not a joy. We did have variety of dresses though (budding Pennsic fashionistas that we were!) - we had some that pinned at both shoulders, some that had flaps, some that only pinned at one shoulder, long ones, short ones, and I even tried to pleat some at the shoulders to get something that looked less like a grain sack.
I actually wish I could have taken the class about these types of costumes that was offered this year at War because I would love to know more about what is and what isn't authentic regarding these dresses. Maybe next year!
More forward a bit in time and there were a couple of years I was unable to go to Pennsic. During that time there was a hurricane that caused flooding at my house, effectively destroying all of my garb. When I went back in 2005, I had to recreate wardrobes for myself, my boyfriend, my friend Galyana (who often shares my clothes) and another friend and her husband. I put together then necessaries and we all enjoyed that war and then next as both had fairly temperate weather. The year following those saw extreme heat and humidity and I started to plot garments that would be passable in the SCA that would use little fabric and have little bulk.
I revamped one of my early Pennsic bog dresses and came up with something that suits the purposes of Reasonable Attempt (at being period) and is also cheap and quick to complete (even given that I hand sew mine).
Want to learn how to make Elf's rendition of a bog dress? Just click here:
I have an embroidery machine and have been experimenting with couched designs in yarn. From a few feet away they look quite believable.
The yarn is Caron Country - a Merino/Acrylic blend, stitched to linen fabric. http://www.naturallycaron.com/shade_cards/country_sh.html It is a delight to work with on the machine.