1. CapnNogrow
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    CapnNogrow Member

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    Medieval Fur clothes and Survival Gear

    Discussion in 'Research' started by CapnNogrow, Mar 2, 2014.

    Okay, the setting is this. My main character, Jason, is in a situation where he wakes up in a fantasy style world in just his boxers, since he was sleeping at the time in our world. He's in a forest in a mountainous region, and it's fall. So the daytime temperature is somewhere between +5 and -5C. So he needs to get warm obviously. In the story he wanders around until he finds a burnt down house. In the house he finds a large chest. He discovers, upon opening it, that it must have belonged to a seamstress. He finds a lot of furs, string and seamstress supplies. Also a hunting knife. His survival skills are beyond average since he used to hunt and live off the land with his grandfather in the past.
    So, my question is this:

    How would he create fur clothing without spending too much time? What would they look like?

    What I'm thinking is a fur poncho, easy and quick to make and keeps the upper body warm. Also some sort of fur foot wraps, maybe a long loincloth? Fur skirt? (Read "Kilt" for manliness)

    What are your thoughts on this?
     
  2. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    What are the state of the furs? Are they complete pelts, or just scraps? Long fur, short fur?

    A poncho might not be the best approach. If he were to sew two large pelts together though (think maybe size of a large wolf or a smallish bear - or even a sheep) with either the forefoot or hindfoot sections of each one joined together with a gap between, where his head would go, then he could sew up the side seams without too much bother. Maybe construct some sleeves too?

    He could certainly use smaller furs to wrap his legs with. Does he have access to leather straps or thongs? It's fantasy, so you can give him anything you want to work with, can't you? Would be great if there was some wool as well. And of course he'll need serious shoes. Fur-lined tall moccasins?
     
  3. Michael Collins
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    Michael Collins Contributing Member

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    I think it's up to you, since you are not looking for something historically accurate.

    In that situation I would probably just get the biggest piece of fur, cut a hole in the middle of it and make some sort of a poncho or serape. If I had time and means, I would punch some holes in the sides and run a string through them to make seam along the sides.

    Then I would just wrap the remaining pieces of fur/leather around my legs, strapping them with some cord or string.

    But then again, it's really up to you and our character.
     
  4. CapnNogrow
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    CapnNogrow Member

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    The furs are in good state, surprisingly. Bear and wolf so he has plenty of pelts. As it is a seamstress chest I would imagine there would be some leather too. Easy to make leather strips. Then again he has never done anything like this before. Even though he used to hunt with his grandfather he did grow up in New York. He can only guess how to do this.

    I was thinking something along the lines of what Rambo creates in First Blood.
     
  5. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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  6. CapnNogrow
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    CapnNogrow Member

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  7. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    This is cool... and stuffing the boots with straw is an old trick that works. It's been used right up to modern times. I just read an account of a Wisconsin farm boy who grew up in the mid-20th century, who used to do this in the wintertime for insulation inside his boots. The worst thing about moccasins (and I'm an ex-owner) without rubber soles is that they are incredibly slippery, especially when wet. I don't know how folks dealt with that.

    prehistoric.clothing1.jpg
     
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  8. CapnNogrow
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    CapnNogrow Member

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    Now that pic really helped out. Kind of jump started my imagination. Thanks jannert.
     
  9. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    Nae bother. Always fun hunting up stuff like that.
     
  10. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    I can see the attraction of wearing fur side inside, but I also wonder about water retention. I think fur sheds water better than leather. I'd be inclined to want my fur on the outside if I was going to get caught in the rain. Don't know for sure about this. This is where wool is so fabulous. It stays warm even if it's wet.
     
  11. CapnNogrow
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    CapnNogrow Member

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    But that part of the book also shows that he isn't perfect. He makes mistakes and nearly freezes to death doing so. Falling off a rock wall during a climb in the storm and getting knocked out is rarely good for your health. :)
     
  12. Signalsurvival
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    Signalsurvival New Member

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    It depends on the sources present there. Almost fur clothes are made with the animal furs or tress. Now it is clear that animal will not be present there to give us fur so tress or other options can help. And beside it depends on the requirement that what you want. I think furs should be used in the all parts of the cloths so that they can protect you in -5c and help in surviving.
     
  13. Chinspinner
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    Chinspinner Contributing Member Contributor

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    I managed to find a couple of pictures of clothes commonly worn by Neanderthals (who would have had similar resources to your character), which might be of some use: -

    SIwnM.jpg model-of-a-neanderthal-man-in-modern-clothing-volker-stegernordstar--4-million-years-of-man.jpg
     
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  14. Dagolas
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    Dagolas Banned

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    If you're talking degrees Celsius, -5 would get him ill and even dead if he was naked.

    Also @Chinspinner , pretty sure there weren't blazers or shirts in 3000 BC?
     
  15. Chinspinner
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    Chinspinner Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yeah, I wasn't entirely serious.
     
  16. Shadowfax
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    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

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    Can you give your sources to prove that there weren't blazers or shirts in 3000BC? And didn't Neanderthals die out more like 50,000BC? Even harder to find evidence of prevailing fashions!

    But back to the OP... "seamstress supplies" would generally be used for sewing linen/cotton/woollen fabric. Leather is a great deal tougher (it's not woven, so doesn't have a slight gap between weft and warp that the needle can exploit) and would require a much more seriously rigid needle to be able to penetrate without breaking.

    Buttonholes, too, would require some fairly serious dress-making skills.

    A complete bearskin, hole cut in for the head to go through, tied around the waist with the string - what EVERY well-dressed man-about-town will be wearing this season!
     
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2014

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