The Iron Tailor--A Parody

This parody evolved from a certain Laurel finding 1 square yard of brocade material at a cloth store that he absolutely had to have. His apprentices then began making jokes about a new SCA A&S competition: "The Iron Bobbin". From that brief exchange, a week's worth of episodes of the "Iron Tailor" were spawned....

Iron Tailor Gothic England -- a master embroiderer of the 12th century!

Iron Seamstress Ancient Rome -- seams? She don't need no stinking seams!

Iron Tailor Renaissance Italy -- does the nickname "Brocade Boy" mean anything to you?

And today's secret material is: a Scottish tartan pattern from the Argyle region! The Iron Tailor and Challenger must create at least 5 pieces of garb and/or accessories from this rare and valuable material within the time limit of 1 event!

The time limit is up! Our Challenger and Iron Tailor Gothic England have completed their items. Lets go to the panel of judges to get their reactions:

Meet our first judge, Mistress Paisley Weaver, an expert in textiles and red dyes of 15th century Austria. Her red-stained and callused fingertips show her dedication to her work. No shoddy workmanship will escape her eagle eye.

Judge number two is Syr Finn Yuessay. He knows virtually nothing about clothing other than it is required to show up at events and that "good garb" can be a "chick magnet".

Our third judge is Ladye Fayrie Starrelyghte of Unicorne Glenne, a newcomer to the SCA who just found out about us at World-Kon. Her favorite color is "octarine" and isn't Piers Anthony the most brilliant author ever born?

Our final judge is Master Joe-kago himself!

The Challenger has created a sporran, a great kilt, an embroidered cloak, a hat, a series of belt pouches covered in couchwork in Celtic zoomorphs, and a shield cover. An uninspired and predictable series of items, but they all look well made and they coordinate well into a single unified ensemble! Perhaps excellence in presentation and workmanship will overcome the Challenger's weakness in creativity.

Oh my! Iron Tailor Gothic England has created a full Elizabethan gown beaded with pearls and including a ruffed collar all from the Argyle tartan (the judges' eyes water), a baldric embroidered with the arms of all the Laurel Kingdoms, a torse and mantling, a full set of table linens, a hennen, a sail and rigging for a viking longship, and belt pouches embroidered with beads and semi-precious stones depicting the heraldic arms of each of our judges (major brown-nosing here, folks!). The Iron Tailor is going to be extremely tough to beat with this wide and impressive array of garb and accessories!

After these messages, we'll see what the judges have to say.....

The Judges React to the Challenger's Work

Mistress Paisley Weaver's reaction:

I must say that the entire ensemble *is* well-coordinated, if na´ve in its historical accuracy <sniff>. This particular outfit appears to post-period in design. The pleats of the great kilt are sewn together, and a true great kilt of our Period would not have been. The hat is obtrusively modern, and I would have given it a low evaluation in any A&S competition.

<picking up the couchworked pouch>

The couchwork overall is excellent, but you have dropped a stitch here...

<indicates an area that requires a magnifying glass to see, and the camera can't zoom in close enough to see it>

Otherwise, my disappointment with this pouch is profound. Use of a tartan-style pattern on a belt-pouch is virtually unheard of, and you obviously have a misguided notion that because the Scots have a Celtic origin, that any decorations they have must be done in this "knotwork" style that the "Medieval Stuff" catalog keeps hawking as "authentic". <bigger and huffy sniff>

I noticed that the animal skin used in the sporran seems to be some sort of fake fur. That may be acceptable at some canton A&S competition, but I can't believe I am seeing it here!

<turning and glaring at Master Joe-kago>

Master Joe-kago, what on earth were you thinking giving these people such shoddy materials to work with?

<Master Joe-ka-go looks puzzled, and covers his puzzlement with a drink of mead>

<Mistress Paisley whips back to the items presented for her critique>

The cloak isn't bad for an amateur, but the embroidery is too heavy and causes the cloak to hang strangely from the person's shoulders. It's almost as if you cut across the bias instead of with it....Oh! Of course, that's pre-cise-ly what you did. I would expect such work from a rank amateur not from a serious contender to the Iron Tailor!

Lastly, any herald--even a cornet--can tell you that this shield cover is a complete fabrication. <waves hand dismissively> I won't even bother to address its voluminous problems! Ridiculous!

Overall, I'd have to rate this effort as a 4.0 out of ten... <waggling finger and looking over her reading glasses> ...and that's only because most of your handiwork is good and most of your elements at least fall into Period.

Well, there you have it folks, a devastating critique by Mistress Paisley! It looks bad for our Challenger! Let's see what Sir Finn has to say.....

Syr Finn's Reaction...

When we last left our hapless Challenger, he had just received a devastatingly low score from Mistress Paisley Weaver--a 4!

<camera pans over to Syr Finn--who is posing and flexing for Lady Fayrie in an attempt to get a date with her. A pity that his chest has fallen down into his drawers 8^)....Lady Fayrie is blushing and giggling>

Syr Finn....Syr Finn?...Syr Finn!

<Mistress Paisley hits him with a weaving shuttle>

<Syr Finn looks around> Light! What? Oh!

<Syr Finn looks at the array of items from the Challenger>

Hmmm... <grins lecherously and twirls his moustache> I'll bet Lady Fayrie here would look really cute in this here Catholic schoolgirl outfit. <As he waggles his eyebrows, Lady Fayrie blushes more and giggles harder>

<Challenger weeps into hands, Master Joe-kago has another drink, Mistress Paisley swats Syr Finn with an inkle loom> Light!

<turning to look at the shield cover>

Hey! I've got a fieldless badge I can put on this! It'll make a GREAT distraction for my opponents at the next tourney! <slams fist down on table raising a small cloud of plaid-colored thread dust causing his nose to twitch>

Ah...ah....AH-HOOOOO! <Syr Finn's boots and socks fly off!>

<Reaches for hat and blows his nose on it> HONK! Snort!

<Challenger weeps harder, and Master Joe-kago takes another drink>

Uh,....Syr Finn, how about the other items?

Nice pouches. They'd be great to store all my Pennsic, Estrella, and Gulf Wars tokens in! Chicks go crazy for that stuff, ya' know.

<Winks at Lady Fayrie, then glances at the cloak>

The cloak is a little too swish for my taste, though. Get rid of all that poofy embroidery stuff and I could use it to keep me and my date warm at the drinking parties...I mean at the Bardic Circles.

<Master Joe-kago looks outraged, notices the camera is on him and covers his emotion by taking another drink of mead>

<Announcer, in desperation to move on> Uh, Syr Finn? Your score?

Oh, yeah! 7.5!

Lady Fayrie's Reaction

OK. Now, onto Lady Fayrie. Milady, what is your opinion of the Challenger's garb and accessories?

<Sits up and blinks at camera>

Well, the skirt is, like, totally mega-cute and that it really is my color! <brightly> I sooooo totally love the cloak! I can just imagine Professor McGonagle wearing it in the next Harry Potter novel!

[author's note: I couldn't bring myself to include "fer sure" here]

<camera cuts to Mistress Paisley shaking her head, then cuts for a split second to some of the studio personnel grabbing a pair of scissors out of the outraged Challenger's hand, then quickly back to Lady Fayrie>

<Picks up pouch>

This knotwork stuff makes me gag, though. It reminds me of, like, what the cat yakks up after eating a spider-plant. Its, like, totally gross, you know?

<the Challenger can be heard screaming "AAIIIIIIIEEEEEE!" off camera>

<Picks up sporran> This is kind of hoopy! It reminds me of my Tribble.... HEY! Like, this *is* my Tribble! I left it over there <indicating Challenger's work area> when Master Joe-kago gave me a personal tour of the studio! You jerk! <pulls out a stick from her bodice and smacks the Challenger on the head with it, breaking it and knocking out the Challenger>

<Syr Finn looks impressed> Nice flat snap!

<tears well up in Fayrie's eyes> Oh, Shards! You just, like, made me break my favorite wand! It was one of "Olevander's Finest"--walnut with a unicorn hair core....very whippy....<covers face and cries disconsolately>

<Syr Finn smoothly glides over and puts an overly familiar and solicitous arm around her and glares at the Challenger's unconscious form. Master Joe-kago downs another drink>

Er....Uh....We'll ask for your score later....Moving along to our final judge, Master Joe-kago, himself!

<screen dissolves into static>

Master Joe-kago's Reaction

<static clears>

Master Joe-ka-go? We await your wisdom!

<Master Joe-ka-go grunts, then nods sagely> Hmmm. Verra f-fine workmansssssht--Imeanship--on this...this kilt. Wot Mistress Paisley said, tho'

<shakes head to clear his mind, strikes pose and recites>

Kilt, Great though you are,
to our period, you are

<reaches for pouch and examines it closely--cross-eyed>

Like. I like the pouch. Nice pouchwork on the couch. Dozzen really go together, tho'. But then isss Creative Anaa...cranberry....Ana..Krony-ism, right? <wobbles pontifically>

Celtic knotwork on
plaid, your couchwork fine, well-placed
stitching chills my spine.

<grabs for the sodden hat and sobers up slightly as he flings it away>

Yee-ugh! Thass disgusting!

<frantically wipes hand on shield cover>

Beauty to the eye is destroyed
by that which is snot.

<peers blearily at the embroidery on the cloak>

OOoooOOOh! <waking up more> Nice needlework! Delicate leaves and flavorfully colored fruits! Evocative of the autumn. I am inspired!

<strikes a really dramatic pose, belches deeply, and recites one more bad haiku>

Embroidered tartan,
you taste of Lowland autumn,
crisp leaves, Oh! My heart!

<apparently this has exhausted Master Joe-ka-go who then wads the cloak into an impromptu pillow>

Oh, humble Challenger,
to your work fair, 8 I give.
Tailor, beware!

<slumps onto table and snores>

<camera zooms out for a shot of the entire panel of judges>

<Mistress Paisley is looking down her nose at Syr Finn hugging a weepy Lady Fayrie. Members of the studio crew are shaking the Challenger and Master Joe-kago awake as the announcer's voice is heard>

So far, a pathetic total of 19.5 from our judges for the Challenger's efforts. ....And we'll be back after Syr Finn scores with Lady Fayrie...I mean after we get a score from Lady Fayrie and once our own haiku-spewing Master Joe-ka-go sobers up....Uh....I mean we'll be right back after these messages!

<as the sound is turned down and the screen switches to a commercial>


The Judges React to the Iron Tailor's Work

Welcome back! We've finally gotten a composite score for the Challenger, and it doesn't look good. Lady Fayrie's initial enthusiasm for the Challenger's ensemble has evaporated and she gave him only 3 points. The Challenger only has 22.5 points!

<camera pans showing Mistress Paisley Weaver weaving on her inkleloom, Syr Finn Yuessay with his arm around a red-eyed Lady Fayrie--who is petting the sporran muttering "Frodo. Poor Frodo!". Master Joe-kago is wearing sunglasses and is sitting abnormally still as one of his assistants massages his temples>

Our judges have composed themselves and are ready to judge the Iron Tailor's impressive selection of garb and accessories. A quick recap of the Iron Tailor's works:

Iron Tailor Gothic England has created a full Elizabethan gown beaded with pearls and including a ruffed collar all from the Argyle tartan (the judges' eyes water), a baldric embroidered with the arms of all the Laurel Kingdoms, a torse and mantling, a full set of table linens, a hennen, a sail and rigging for a viking longship, and absolutely fabulous belt pouches embroidered with beads and semi-precious stones depicting the heraldic arms of each of our judges!

<As the Elizabethan gown and ruff are brought out, all the judges don sunglasses to ward off the eye-wrenching and vast plaidness of the ensemble. The remainder of the items are paraded along behind.>

Mistress Paisley's Reaction...

Mistress Paisley, what is your opinion of the Iron Tailor's works today?

<holding up a hand to shade her eyes better> Well! This is overwhelming my glaucoma, but it is a most creative use I must say!

<Runs fingers over the beadwork of the dress> What a joy to feel the quality needlework of you and your assistants, the beadwork on this dress is simply FAB-U-lous, and the ruff is "to-die-for"!

<The Iron Tailor bows and kisses the hand proffered by Mistress Paisley>

<The pouch with Mistress Paisley's arms on it jingles suspiciously as it is placed in front of her.>

My breath is taken away by this stunning pouch!

<Mistress Paisley reaches into the pouch as if to feel the fabric and stitching. A faint, but distinctly heavy clinking is heard>

The "golden" touch of the master is quite evident!

<The Iron Tailor and Mistress Paisley wink surreptitiously at one another>

<Master Joe-kago lowers his shades and peers with narrowed suspicious eyes at Paisley and the Iron Tailor>

<Mistress Paisley merely glances at the baldric with the Kingdoms' arms on them>

Well done! But you should flog your assistant for getting the West Kingdom's arms reversed!

<turning to the ship's chandler's worth of plaid>

This sail and rigging is a bit of an odd use of tartan. <putting finger to chin and pretending to think> is historically plausible that a Viking raid could have resulted in this plaid being taken back as booty and used in sail construction. I must again compliment you and your staff on the excellence of this stitching!

<Master Joe-ka-go makes rude noise and Mistress Paisley's eyes narrow to beady angry slits>

The table linens are simple, but if one is to dine in style, these would be just the ticket! Very festive--it reminds me of Christmas! The torse and mantling really aren't appropriate, though. As everyone should know, proper heraldic display should only depict two tinctures: the primary metal and color of the person's arms. Tartans used to identify clans and families weren't formally established until the 17th century--well after our period of interest. However, the style for the torse you have used is perfectly appropriate.

<Paisley places the hennen on her head, as Fayrie giggles and quips>: Holy Hennan, Batman!

<Paisley smiles indulgently> I simply adore silly hats! Although no self-respecting noblewoman of the period would ever wear this particular fabric, I simply cannot resist its humorous quality!

Full marks for the Iron Tailor Gothic England! 10 Points!

<Announcer sounds stunned> Amazing! Mistress Paisley *never* has given anyone full marks before now! It doesn't look like it will take much to give the Iron Tailor the victory today.

<cut to Iron Tailor looking smug>

Syr Finn's Reaction

<cutting to Syr Finn from the smug countenance of the Iron Tailor>

Syr Finn Yuesssay, what are your thoughts about the garb and accessories created by the Iron Tailor?

<Syr Finn sneers> What kind of man makes such a foofy dress like that? What are you, a pansy? That thing is totally impractical! I wouldn't even let one of our scouts wear one. How could they get through the woods in that--it would get caught in every bramble!

<holds up the tablecloth> This would be much more practical: just cut a hole in the center large enough for a helm to pass through, and you've got a swell fighting tabard!

<The Iron Tailor's eyes blaze with anger as Master Joe-kago muffles a laugh>

I like the baldric, though. It suits me just fine since I've been King of almost every one of those Kingdoms! <puffs up importantly> You should'a seen when I beat Duke Murphle in that Crown! I broke three swords, and he broke six! I caught him with a rising snap, and...oh. <breaks off realizing that the announcer is motioning him to get on with the judging>

<Frowns as he examines the sail and rigging>

What the heck did ya make a sail out of this stuff for? *Everybody* knows that canvas is the only way to go for sailcloth! <Syr Finn waves arms> This wool will just suck up all the sea-spray and smell like wet dog before it finally capsizes the ship. What a dork!

<The pouch with Syr Finn's arms (Argent, on a schneck azure a billet fesswise Or charged with two bare feet proper) clunks heavily on the table. Hefting the pouch, Syr Finn obviously is struggling with his conscience>

Hmmmmm. Nah. <rubs chin> I'll give you 2 out of 10. I'd have given you five if you hadn't tried to bribe me.

<The audience gasps and nearly causes the panel to pass out due to sudden decompression and oxygen deprivation. The Iron Tailor gapes in astonishment and fury. Mistress Paisley heaves a floor loom onto Syr Finn, squashing him a bit>

<faintly, from the floor> Ooof! Good!

Lady Fayrie's Reaction

Ummm...OK....Now, Lady Fayrie, how about your score for the Iron Tailor?

<Lady Fayrie, eyeing the struggling Syr Finn>

I had no idea that costuming was so, like, dangerous! Do I need to fill out a waiver?

<looking puzzled at the gown> I think I saw a picture from Pennsic on the Internet of this done in that army stuff. You know, like, camo? Or was it in A Knight's Tale? Anyway, this is so hard to look at, like, who needs a cloaking device? I don't even want to look at it. This dress would just totally overload Geordie's VIZOR, right?

<double-taking at the table linens> Oh my gawd! This is so Carol Burnett! You know, like, the Gone With the Winds skit-thing they did! Icky-poo! I wouldn't be caught dead wearing THAT and certainly wouldn't even make a house elf wear it! Like, gag me with a sonic screwdriver!

<picking up the baldric> If this were made out of metal mesh, it would look just like Worf's sash! But that would be a violation of the Prime Directive, to, like, let you know about that, wouldn't it? <covers mouth with hand and giggles> Oops! That was a violation, too, wasn't it? The gnarly thing about it, though, is that on this plaid thing, it, like, so reminds me of being a Brownie Trooper. Totally Square, you know?

<examines the sail and rigging, then shrugs> I, like, totally dunno.

<picks up the torse> I think I saw this on the cover of a Gor novel. It's, uh, like one of those, loincloth things, right? But, like, I thought they were supposed to be made out of leather....Some girl got arrested for running around wearing one of those at Uni-Con last year!

<finally, feeling into the pouch with the rainbow, My Pretty Unicorn, and the Starfleet emblem on it> Like, wow! The beadwork on this pouch just dance upon my fingers! I can, like, so see my RPG character carrying this around! <hefting the pouch> Hey! This is heavy!

<opens pouch> Ooooohhhh! Did the rest of you guys get some of Smaug's hoard in yours, too? I didn't know we, like, got paid to do this! That's so totally hoopy!

<The Iron Tailor is nervously edging towards the exit. Lady Fayrie looks the Iron Tailor up and down speculatively>

I'll give you....7 points just 'cause I think you're kind of a hoopy frood who really knows where his towel is.... <nods sagely>

Master Joe-kago's Reaction

<The horizontal hold loses its grip momentarily but settles back to the image of a beady-eyed Master Joe-kago>

Master Joe-ka-go, it's up to you! Your score will determine victory or defeat for the Iron Tailor! The Challenger has received 22.5 points, and the Iron Tailor currently has 19! How say you?

<Master Joe-kago surveys the judges and the contestants with obvious contempt and distaste>

<Silently, Master Joe-ka-go examines each of the Iron Tailor's articles in minute detail. A slight curl of the lip, and periodically, a quiet "harumph!" as he inspects each item.>

<Holding gown up>

Eyes flow a river as
upon my fingers pearls dance

<Gesturing to table linens>

Extravagance! Behold!
Complete, utter
culinary tastelessness!

<Brandishing baldric>

Fashion disaster! You shall
pay for inappropriate use of

<Contemptuously regarding the sail>

Unfortunate anachronism.
Vikings would be ashamed to raid.

<Finally, Master Joe-kago opens the pouch given to him...and out pops Otto the Insult Otter!>

Hey! Joe-boy! How ya' doin'? Whoa, buddy, the "hair helmet" look went out with Frankie and Annette! What'd you comb it with? Buttered toast?

<looking around> Whoa! Who're all these freaks?

<Sees Elizabethan gown> Nice dress--who shot the couch?

<Noting Syr Finn on the floor> Dude! That's gonna leave a mark! Bet ya' didn't call that one "light"!

<Spots Ladye Fayrie> Hellllooooo, Nurse! Who's da babe, Joey?

<leers mockingly> Like, hello? Is that, like, neuron in your head lonely? <Ladye Fayrie blinks, puzzled, Otto continues> I keep turnin' the brightness knob on the TV but it ain't workin' on ya'!

<Master Joe-kago grabs Otto and stuffs him gabbling about his animal rights and threatening to call Greenpeace and the Park Service back into the pouch>

<Gritting his teeth, Master Joe-ka-go recites and points accusingly at the otter-filled bag>

Insulting otter,
more humility, less noise
from you, big rodent!

<muffled retort from the pouch> That's Ro-dahnt!

<Master Joe-ka-go straightens his outfit and brushes a stray lock of hair out of his face. He slowly and dramatically surveys the room with beady eyes glittering>

Unchivalrous bribes and
unlikely juxtaposition:
three point five.

<His voice rings into the stunned silence, a slight and mocking smile playing upon his lips>

Th-th-three point five points?!? Master Joe-ka-go certainly has punished the Iron Tailor for his blatant bribery of the judges and has provided a devastating criticism of the Iron Tailor's work that I have not seen outside of the cattier columns in "Variety" and bad daytime soap operas!

Since our contest has resulted in a draw, both the Iron Tailor and the Challenger will return to our studio for a special tie-breaking competition. Tune in next time!

<Pandemonium bursts out--the judges scramble for the pouches of gold before the crowd reaches them and run for the back door. Master Joe-ka-go stands stoically with his arms crossed surveying the surging chaos>

<The Iron Tailor can be heard over the crowd>

And I would have gotten away with it, too if it hadn't been for those nosy Trimarians and their insulting rodent!

<again, a muffled retort from the pouch> That's Ro-dahnt!

<As she leaves, Lady Fayrie turns back to the camera>

I, like, can't believe you sat through the whole thing!

<fade to black>

FINIS (or is it???) with a minor apology to the "Iron Chef"