Medieval Referee


I was asked to referee for an armored combat demonstration at the Utah Renaissance Fair at Thanksgiving point. The Salt Lake City Crusaders were facing off against the TOAL mercenaries from Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana, and the Arizona blood eagles. I knew I couldn’t just show up my normal ref attire, so I decided to make a period costume just for the event. Yellow and black are the official referee colors for the International Medieval Combat Federation (IMCF) and whenever the Crusaders go to period appropriate events like Ren-Fairs they usually default to the IMCF regulations. This was a relatively easy project to pattern, but much more difficult to execute. I wanted there to be chevron stripes and as any costumier knows, you can’t just cut strips of fabricant sew them at a 45 degree angle. You have to worry about grain lines and ensuring that the fabric hangs properly. Furthermore I had to MAKE buttons! Never done that before.


Every great project starts of with a good design. I actually rendered this right on the back of the envelope I put the pattern in. I think I’ll always do this in the future.

Final Product. 

Here is what the final product looked like. Notice the clean corners on the dagging. No puckering. I made the shirt and the shoes too but there are different portfolio spots for the building of those.

Flat Patterning the Bodice

Pretty straight forward sloper patter with dagging on the bottom. 

Hood/Chaperon Pattern

Took a while to get the spacing right on these dags because of the irragular curve. When hanging they all look rectangular but they’re all closer to a trapezoidal shape. 

Hat Pattern

The dotted line is where the base folds up to form the brim.

Chaperon Mock-up

I made a mockup of everything to true up the patterns. This one came out pretty well on the first try. Measure twice cut once I guess. 

Chaperon Mock-up Side View

Hat Mockup

Surprisingly this is the mockup I had to fuss with the most. I wanted it to fit my head snug so the bill wouldn’t keep dropping in front of my eyes. 

Diagonal Stripes

Had to cut 4″ strips (1/2″ SA on each side) on the bias so that when I rotated them down 45 degrees the grain line would be virtical. 

Trying on the Bodice.

Making sure everying fits before putting on the buttons.

Back View

In hindsight (pun intended) I wish I had made the bicep cuff of the tippets with the seam on the inside of the arm. Its just so apparent here. 

Right Side View

Getting even spacing for the dagging on the chaperon was a nightmare but you can see how well it turned out here. 

Back View

Notice how long the liripipe is! Had to tuck it in the belt to keep from stepping on it.

Finished Hat

Made from Wool felt, black linen and some interfacing to keep the form.