15 April 2017

How a [boy] shall be armed for his ease when fighting on foot

Long time readers will know that I have two sons, the Rab-ble as it were. By nature, and certainly by nurture, they have a keen fantastical and chivalric interest - their wooden swords have slain many a fearsome foe and graced many a tournament field. All good stuff.

When we were at the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge earlier in the week (absolutely fascinating exhibition on personal vs. public devotional items in 16th century Italy), they spotted these felt scabbard in the shop and, without nagging, made their admiration of them quite clear.

I wasn't going to buy them, but it did inspire me to get the sewing machine out today, and an old pair of my wife's jeans I had squirreled away (I'm going to use the seat pockets to make a dice bag one day, I think).

The swords in question:

I had been going to use some card to make a pattern

but decided it would be easier to use the existing seam on the trouser leg and draw round the sword itself

A couple of snips with my deadly sharp dressmaking scissors later and

(at this point I also made a small tune of denim into a belt loop which I sewed on before making the scabbard itself, but forgot to take pictures)

Then, keeping it inside out, I sewed around the edge to give this

then went back and fixed the gap I'd caused when I'd slipped with the foot peddle that drives the sewing machine - did I make it clear I'm no expert? This is the fourth time I've used a sewing machine, and don't know how to hand-sew.

Once finished, I carefully turned it the right way out (this hides the seam and keeps it looking neat) so that they can either hang them from their belts, or get a loop of cord and sling it over their shoulders, in plenty of time for the big St. George's day pageant and joust at our local English Heritage place.

They were suitably grateful and declared them "better than the ones in the shop" before hurtling off clashing blades and hollering. Perfect!

Points for improvement - I should have added some decorative flourishes before sewing them up as they're too narrow to fit over the end of the machine (adding a red strip to the mouth of the scabbard for one of them took longer than the whole rest of the endeavour when I unpicked the mouth and tried to retrofit it!).

It's got me back into wanting to learn how to make kids' toys and dressing up kit again. It really is terribly satisfying!

By the way, the title of this post is a reference to "How a man shall be armed at his ease for fighting on foot", which is a key reference document for those interested in armoured medieval combat.

I hope you're enjoying your Easter weekend, whether you are punctuating it with church services as I am, or not!



  1. Great work there and a Happy Easter to you and yours!

    1. Thanks, tgm, and a Happy Easter to you :)

  2. Wonderful stuff--and yes, arming one's children carries a very unique satisfaction.
    Happy Easter.

    1. Thanks, it certainly does! Happy Easter :)

  3. Well played! That should leave the sproggins alight with joyous mischief and I expect it give you the deep satisfaction that goes with enabling such glee. I can think of few finer uses for a worn pair of trousers. :)

    1. Thank you kindly! All was indeed suitably riotous until the younger one started wearing his scabbard as a tail because he had "to be the family dog because you won't get one!" [sigh]