The Maker: Getting Medieval

Lisa and Amy Bradley, a mother and daughter team from Anderson, create feudal costumes fit for a lord.

Tony Valainis

Lisa and Amy Bradley belong in another age. When sewing the cloaks, hats, bags, and archery quivers for which they’ve become famous, the mother-and-daughter team sometimes wears the medieval costumes they create. “We’re very comfortable in period clothing,” Amy says, laughing.

Frequent attendees of Renaissance fairs, the Bradleys initially made items for themselves. But requests to make Middle Ages–style clothing for others soon began rolling in. In 2011, they officially opened Folk of the Wood, an online retailer of their garments. Today, they ship clothing worldwide for Celtic weddings, theater productions, and cosplaying. New York’s Shakespeare Society and other groups are frequent customers.

To make the various items, the Anderson-based pair divides and conquers. Lisa handles the linen and wool. Amy works with leather. For their signature leather tunic, customers must first send in their measurements, then the two translate that into a pattern. Amy dyes the leather and sews it on an industrial-grade machine. Finally, she uses presses to set rivets and other hardware.

For their woodland fairy bag, Lisa cuts wool in the shape of oak and maple leaves, then dyes them before sewing them to the purse. Like the duo’s tunics and Robin Hood hats, the result looks surprisingly fashionable.

Prices range from $20 for wearable pouches to $490 for a leather quiver and up to $3,000 for a complete, custom ensemble. Regardless of what they’re making, they take pains to source natural materials. “We prefer organic dyes and fabrics, which give our things more of an authentic, period look,” Lisa says. “I think that’s what makes us unique.”

Buy It
The Viking Fur Mantle, shown here over a linen tunic, is a faux-fur capelet that fastens with a leather loop and wooden button. $100.