HANDCRAFTED HISTORY


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Åka på lajv del 1: Lajv och spelteknik

Det här är en post som handlar om lajv, olika sätt att lajva på och hur du bygger ett roligt och dynamiskt spel på ett lajv som gör att alla har roligt. Jag skriver främst utifrån min erfarenhet av historiskt inspirerade och fantasylajv. Den här texten förutsätter att du vet vad lajv är/har varit på lajv förut så om du inte har en aning- följ länken nedan och läs den först!

Foto från lajvet I Stormens Öga från 2020.

This post is in Swedish since it addresses the Swedish larping community, and larps are very different in other countries.

Vad är lajv? Läs mer om det HÄR om du är intresserad.

Hur fungerar då egentligen ett lajv?

Du skriver eller tilldelas själv en roll/karaktär som du sedan spelar hela tiden, utan brytningar, pauser eller omtagningar. Du ska agera och basera dina val på vad din roll skulle göra, umgås med de som din roll känner, och försöka uppnå de mål som står i din intrig/karaktär/i din grupps intrig. Det här gör du, tillsammans med andra personer som gör exakt samma sak; har skrivit sin egen roll och agerar utifrån den. Arrangörer står för att samordna lajvet, planera en ramberättelse och en värld, samt skapa intriger som fungerar som ett sätt att starta/skapa spännande spel.

Det finns förstås otroligt många sätt att göra det här på, och lajv är något man lär sig medan man upplever det. Det är faktiskt en av få aktiviteter där du som nybörjare kan kasta dig in och delta fullt ut utan att känna att du är sämre än andra, eller behöver lära dig lajvandet innan du kan vara med på riktigt. Däremot kommer du få roligare, och kunna bidra med roligare spel när du lär dig mer om hur lajv fungerar, vad som kan hända, och vilka möjligheter till spel som finns.

Foto från Eterna; Sagors Slut från 2014

Därför tänkte jag berätta om några olika sätt att spela under ett lajv, några termer som är bra att känna till och lite om hur olika spelare tänker under lajv. Det här är inte ett inlägg som går igenom allt som finns att tänka på; se det mer som en bra start!

360 graders spel: Allt man omger sig med, skapar och spelar ska vara så genuint i lajvvärlden som möjligt. Man undviker moderna saker, platser och stunder där man bryter spelet osv. Den vanligaste formen av lajv.

Blackbox spel: Omgivning, dräkt och saker är oviktiga, bara själva spelet räknas. Genomförs ofta under kortare perioder som test av roller, som workshops, eller som hela lajv.

Spela reaktivt: Du inväntar händelser eller motspelare som du sedan reagerar på utifrån hur din roll skulle reagera. Om inget speciellt händer din roll, inväntar du spel eller byter plats för att se om det händer mer spel på andra delar av lajvet. Exempel: “Åh, någon blev nedskjuten, sjukt spännande! Jag springer och hämtar en helare!”

Spela aktivt: Du skapar händelser och söker upp andra spelare som du sedan lajvar med. Oftast kanske du behöver vara något mer aktiv än din roll skulle varit “på riktigt” för att det här ska fungera. Exempel: “Åh, jag blev nedskjuten! Jag gick i skogen ensam med en påse guld (och kunde nog lista ut att det var en dålig idé, men kul var det).

Spela katalysatoriskt: Du planerar/skapar/bygger händelser och spel mot andra för att skapa fler spelmöjligheter och upplevelser för andra, även om det egentligen inte är troligt att din roll skulle göra så. Exempel: “Hah! Min plan att lura ut en person i skogen, anställa andra för att råna denne och sedan plantera bevisen hos en tredje part lyckades. Det hade varit enklast att gå och hämta guldet själv, och det krävdes en del offlajvplanering, men det var det värt”.

Foto från Nordanil 3, SLP-roller som bara spelades någon timme.

Spela SLP/arrangörsroller: Du tilldelas roller eller funktioner som arrangörerna tycker behövs för att driva spelet framåt, och spelar sedan dessa för bästa möjliga spelupplevelse för andra. Exempel: på morgonen är du budbärare som kommer med ett viktigt brev, sedan byter du om till kung några timmar för att hålla en rättegång, för att på kvällen istället vara ett monster som skrämmer andra i skogen.

Funktionärsroller: Roller som behövs för att driva praktiska saker under lajvet, till exempel kökspersonal, någon som tänder lyktor, håller kontakt mellan grupper eller mot arrangörer. Skrivs ofta som roller i form av värdshuspersonal, pigor, brevsändare osv.

Spela inåt: Du prioriterar den inre upplevelsen av att vara en roll, agera och tänka utifrån rollen, spela diskret eller uppleva saker som din roll under ett lajv. Exempel: den mystiske vandraren som då och då skymtas ute i skogen, men som ingen riktigt känner.

Spela utåt: Du prioriterar spelupplevelsen i kontakt med andra, hur andra agerar och reagerar mot din roll, hur din roll agerar på händelser. Exempel: vaktkaptenen som hela tiden konfronteras, tar folk till fånga, genomför förhör, skickar ut patruller i skogen.

Spelscen: En term som beskriver en kortare eller längre stund av lajvet då något ska hända/spelas ut. Kan vara mer eller mindre planerad i förväg av arrangörer, spelare eller en kombination av dessa som kommit överens om att vissa saker ska ske. Ofta är scenerna mer allmänna och kan upplevas av många på lajvet, men kan också planeras in av enstaka spelare för att spelas ut privat. Exempel: Ett bröllop mellan två spelare, ett förhör, en fin middag.

Under en spelscen är det oartigt att “avbryta” eller förstöra scenen, om man inte i förväg kommit överens om att det kan hända. Exempel: älskaren som fått en intrig om att förhindra bröllopet, spionen som hittat nycklarna till fängelset där den som ska förhöras är inlåst, tjänaren som fått ok offlajv på att förstöra middagen genom att spilla på en viss person.

Fördelen med en spelscen är att den kan planeras för att ge så bra upplevelse som möjligt, för så många som möjligt. Nackdelen är att för många scener på rad skapar en känsla av passiva/aktiva spelare på lajvet, där vissa får huvudroller medan andra får uppleva händelserna passivt. Alla arrangörer använder sig inte av förplanerade scener.

Foto från Skuggsagor 2020, en i efterhand återskapad spelscen

Spelyta mot andra spelare: Här syftar jag inte på en fysisk yta, utan de speltekniska möjligheter som finns för en lajvare/en grupp. Ju bredare yta, desto fler intriger, kontakter, möjligheter har en grupp för att hitta roligt spel. Exempel smal spelyta: Rövargruppen är fördrivna från byn, och kan nu bara smyga in på natten för att stjäla saker. Exempel bred spelyta: Rövargruppen är fördrivna från byn, men har en spion som är dräng. Dessutom förklär sig två till köpmän för att smuggla in vapen i byn, medan en annan mutar vaktkaptenen som den är syskon med. De rekryterar också två missnöjda bönder som rövare.

Arrangörer gör det största jobbet med att fördela och skapa spelyta genom att bestämma vilka grupper som passar in på lajvet, vilka de ska ha kopplingar till och skriva intriger. Men spelare kan också skapa större yta genom att i förväg planera kontakter med andra spelare, bjuda in till spel genom förslag (inlajv och offlajv). Det här är en spelteknik som man lär sig som spelare- ju längre du har lajvat desto fler bra spelexempel får du uppleva.

Döda spel: Var inte en sådan som dödar spelet för andra! Säg “ja, men” istället för nej. Exempel: Du förstår offlajv att planen är en dålig idé men gör den ändå för roligt spel. Exempel 2: Det vore logiskt för din roll att döda en annan roll, men det dödar spel för den personen så istället slår du ned denne/hotar den så den håller tyst. Här kommer också nästa nivå av att inte döda spel: att bemöta det sistnämnda med hån/likgiltighet/våld eller liknande “icke-reaktion” är respektlöst- spela istället med eller kom på en ännu roligare idé. Eller om det låser sig; gå offlajv diskret och förklara din spelidé för den andra.

Spela ned andra: Inte heller en rolig grej att göra. Exempel: att inte visa respekt för adel/kunglighet fast det vore logiskt att göra det. Att inte vara rädd för andras vapen/vapenhot, att inte följa med i maktspel oavsett om man spelar mot de med lägre inlajvstatus eller högre inlajvstatus. Vill spelaren som är din tjänare vara rädd för dig; spela så hotfull som du orkar/vill. Vill spelaren som spelar kung att andra ska bli imponerade; bli det så mycket du orkar. Ofta kan det kännas roligt att spela ned andra eftersom det direkt ger en känsla av status och framgång offlajv, men speltekniskt är det inte speciellt schysst.

Spela upp andra: Motsatsen till ovan, förstås. Du blir imponerad av de som spelar högre statusroller än dig, du blir besegrad av de som spelar skickligare i vapenbruk än dig, du blir lurad av de som spelar lurendrejjare (till en viss gräns, de måste förstås fortfarande göra ett bra försök). Spela upp andra kan man också göra i den egna gruppen: när vakterna är med i en strid blir du själv passiv, när besökare är där beordrar du runt dina tjänare, när den vise talar tystnar alla uppmärksamt. Skapar ofta energi, dynamik och en känsla av bjudighet.

Spela MED andra lajvare: att spela i en grupp, tillsammans mot ett inlajvmål. Eller; att möta och följa upp spel för att skapa mer spel för fler. Exempelvis gå med på att bli lurad, tillfångatagen, rånad eller liknande händelser som Inlajv inte för en närmare inlajvmålet, men som Speltekniskt ger roliga upplevelser. Exempel: Tjuven blir tillfångatagen, men lurar vakterna så att den lyckas undkomma (tjuven spelar med vakterna, vakterna bjuder tillbaka) bara för att snubbla på en annan spelares stav och hamna i bråk (tjuven bjuder in fler i spelscenen, som följer upp spelet) tills vakterna fängslar tjuven igen.

Spela MOT andra lajvare: att spela mot andra lajvare med andra inlajvmål, att försöka vinna, att vara fiender. Eller; att möta spel genom att presentera eget spel/andra förslag. Exempel: Tjuven blir nästan tillfångatagen, men vill offlajv hellre gå och äta. Erbjuder vakterna en muta som blir nöjda och går därifrån. (offlajvanledning). Exempel 2: Tjuven blir nästan tillfångatagen, men vill hellre klara sin intrig genom att leverera guldet till en annan grupp. Springer fortare/lovar vakterna en tjänst/lovar att stjäla något åt dem senare (intriganledning).

foto smygtaget inlajv under Nordanil; Profeten

Nu har du fått en massa speltekniska termer förklarade, och därigenom också olika sätt att spela på. De olika sätten att spela har ingen inbördes rangordning, det är inte bättre eller sämre att spela inåt än utåt osv (förutom att döda spelet då, gör inte det), men för att skapa bra lajvupplevelser är det bra om du som lajvare 1. känner till de olika möjligheterna och 2. vet vilka spelsätt du föredrar och förmedlar dem till arrangörerna och din ev grupp. Som arrangör krävs en bredare överblick; ett lajv blir speltekniskt bra och roligt om de flesta grupper har mycket spelyta, tillgång till spelscener, och grupperna består av en mix av aktiva och reaktiva spelare där ledarna i gruppen är skickliga på att spela Med andra lajvare.

Med det här sagt, så blir ju ändå de flesta lajv bättre med någon typ av antagonist. Om alla är bjussiga spelare som säger “ja, men” hela tiden finns en risk att Alla lyckas och blir bästa vänner, och även om det skapar en mysig känsla kanske arrangörerna hade tänkt sig ett skräcklajv. Som antagonist kan du gå in, säga nej, vara till besvär eller sätta upp mål för spelare att ta sig över, men det är också många gånger ett tungt spel. Som arrangör är det klokt att kontrollera vilka grupper/spelare som vill spela på det här sättet innan man fördelar intriger, eller använda sig av SLPstyrkor som antagonister (monster, rövare, onda ledare osv).

Om du har en grupp att spela med, oavsett om det är en kompisgrupp eller en grupp för dig okända, så kan också de här termerna hjälpa er att prata om vilken typ av lajv ni vill ha, hur ni ska spela mot varandra och hitta likasinnade att dela lajvupplevelsen med.

Och slutligen; vinna lajvet. Term som ibland används om att lyckas med sin intrig utan problem, att inlajv uppnå alla sina mål. Men som egentligen betyder: Att ha roligast, att bidra till att andra spelare har det roligt (tortyr, förhör och fångenskap kan ju också vara roligt…) och samtidigt spela ut sina intriger. Ut och vinn lajvet nu!

(är du nybörjare och vill veta mer om lajv? Den här länken innehåller många bra tips. Tänk på att olika saker gäller på olika arrangemang, så kolla gärna varje lajvs förutsättningar också)


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Medieval pattens (research post)

I wanted to buy myself a pair of really nice wooden pattens to protect my handmade medieval shoes during events, like 6 years ago. I didn’t find any, so then I tried to trade for a pair with some woodworking friends, but non knew how to make a pair or didn’t want to, so I set out to fix my non-pattens-problem on my own. That took a while; and believe me, I have gone through some bad options before I ended up happy.

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Making a wooden sole with a leather strap, and then put it on your foot seems like a simple task, but in the end I didn’t get it right before I researched the extant finds, looked at artwork and then tried making a pair with some serious hands-on experimenting. I wanted them to both look good, feel right and be comfortable to move in. Now I have finally made a pair I am satisfied with, so I wanted to share my research and process with you! Because of the amount of research, text and pictures I ended up with, I am splitting the posts into research and step-by-step. Easier to read!

Period: Europe, mainly 14th to 15th century.

About pattens

Pattens are a pair of soles with straps, to wear with your everyday medieval shoe to raise the foot above the ground, avoiding snow, dirt and water. Though they might look like sandals their purpose was to protect the wearer and the expensive shoes all year around, and the thick soles meant you came up from the ground, keeping you dry and warm as well as making the shoes last longer. Pattens were shaped after the foot and the leather shoe, changing form as the shoe fashion did.

They may also be referred to as clogs or galoshes, all names for a medieval overshoe meant to protect the leather shoe, though I will use the term pattens like Grew and Neergaard does in Shoes and Pattens. There are finds of pattens from the 12th and 13th century, making them an useful accessory for the medieval person. Finds of 14th century pattens in London are often decorated for the higher classes, and gets more common later in the century. In the 15th century they become increasingly popular, with many different models and variations. Lots of extant finds show this trend, as well as the pattens being frequently showed in contemporary art. Based on this knowledge, I decided to focus mainly on the late 14th and 15th century variations of pattens.

Materials and models

Pattens can be found with soles in joined layers of leather, as well as wood, and with a solid sole or a two-pieced variant, joined with leather almost like a hinge. Examples with a wooden platform on top of stilts or wedges in wood or metal can also be found.

Examples of wood being used in finds; alder, willow, poplar and one example of beech. Aspen was prohibited for use in England in 1416 (which tells us it was probably a popular choise) but 1464 it was stated that it was allowed to make pattens of aspen wood not suitable for arrowshafts (Shoes and Pattens).

15th and early 16th century pattens, both wood and layers of leather was used for soles.

Straps made of leather

All extant examples I have studied have straps made of leather (vegetable tanned cowhide seems to be the choice), though there are lots of different strap fastenings. Some pattens have one strap over the front part of the foot, almost like flip flops, while others also have straps at the sides or behind the heel, joining in a strap around the ankle. The heel straps can be first seen in late 14th century finds.

Looking at contemporary artwork, many working persons from the period wear practical pattens with a sturdy strap over the foot, while higher classes have more formed soles with delicate straps, sometimes decorated, and sometimes with a buckle.

To adjust the fit of the straps there are examples of metal buckles, ties and leather strips secured with a piece of leather or a nail among other varieties. The leather used for straps are generally thinner than the one used to join a split sole, and to make it sturdier a seam, a binding or a folded edge have been used. Two layers of leather sewn together is another method. The leather could be decorated with dyes or edges of contrasting colours and stamps or cut outs in patterns.

To fasten the leather to the soles iron nails were used, both for the straps and the sole hinge. Sometimes a second leather strap was nailed down around the sole to finish of the look and protect the foot straps from wear. Other words used for the nails are dubs, pins and pegs but I choose to follow the item descriptions on the online database of the Museum of London naming them nails. It also seems that the medieval examples have the same shape and size as nails to other kinds of work.

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Metal buckles and other fastenings

There are several examples of metal buckles represented in artwork on pattens from the 15th century, and finds from the 14th and 15th century of similar buckles made in iron, brass, bronze and copper allow to mention some examples. Because most buckles are found loose it is hard to say which ones was used for belts, shoes, pattens and purses. I opted for some examples from contemporary artwork to show you, and if you want to further examine buckles from the period there are lots of finds on online museum collections as well as in Dress Accessories.

Examples of metal buckles in contemporary artwork

There are several finds from sites in Europe like London and Amsterdam as well as examples from Germany. If you want to see more extant finds, Museum of London online collection is a great source to begin with.

Hugo van der Goes, The Portinari Altarpiece/Triptych, c 1475

Sources:

Grew and Neergaard (2001) Shoes and pattens p. 91-101

Egan and Pritchard (2002) Dress Accessories 1150-1450

Goubitz (2011) Stepping Through Time: archaeological footwear from prehistoric times until 1800.

Museum of London online collection (20200416) https://collections.museumoflondon.org.uk/online/search/#!/results?terms=medieval%20patten

Extant find at the top; Museum of London online collection. 15th c patten in wood with leather and iron nails.

A patten maker; (20200416) https://hausbuecher.nuernberg.de/75-Amb-2-317-106-v

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Living at Birka

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In the beginning of August I took my camp equipment and moved to Björkön for a long viking-weekend. I had such a wonderful time, and wanted to show you some great photos and inspire you to maybe travel there yourself, when the world allows.

As many of you fellow viking-nerds know, Björkö was the place were the viking city Birka was situated, and it is very beautifully situated outside Stockholm, in Mälaren (so it is in the inner archipelago, not towards the sea) which makes for a great climate. Wild apples and cherry trees grows over the island, and sheep grass the ancient hills, grave mounds and ancient monuments still visible from the viking era.

There are still lots of grave mounds left as they were, but also a museum, a newly built experimental viking village with boats tied to it’s pier, and good paths to stroll to different sites on the island. As you can imagine, I got quite excited when asked to join some friends there!


When the sun set, we took a stroll around the pasture lands, enjoying the view over the water and the surrounding islands, with a small picnic basket with us. The path took us over viking age grave mounds, past the Black Earth (were the city Birka was situated) and toward the Homelands. When darkness came, we returned to the village to lit a fire, and enjoy the company of each other.

The village is built as an experimental viking settlement which allows a viking group to actually live in the houses, tend the gardens and the buildings, as well as sleep, cook and go around their daily life there- as well as greeting modern visitors during the day time. Not everything is 100% accurate with what we know about the daily viking life, but things get mended, rebuilt and used in a historical way, with old tools and knowledge (but modern safety measures…)

It was so cozy going around the settlement, with the sound of cooking and woodworking, the smell of fire and tar, and vikings going around their day tending to their business. I brought my market stall and tent, setting it up with a nice view over the water, were I spent some time drinking coffe and chatting about all things viking age. I also held a lecture about clothing and dress in the viking society, inside the interesting museum on site

My friends Joel and Josefin took me on a guided tour since they hade been here before, and we went to see the excavations going on near the shore a short walk away. This was so interesting and I learned a lot about archeology (which seems to be such a hard job, working on your knees for hours, patiently digging through the ground.) It was also very clear how much the field has developed since the early reports, that we base much of our understanding on when recreating viking age. I look forward to the reports from this excavation!

Outfit of the day; linen shift, apron dress in woolen diamond twill inspired by the Köstrup find, woolen shawl and tortoise brooches to fasten the outfit with.

In the photo below, I just have the blue dress and loose hair, feeling a bit undressed, but also happy to finally be cool enough…

I spent the days in the market stall selling some viking things, or strolling around with new friends in the museum, out in the landscape or by the fire. This was just what I needed after a summer of staying-at-home, and even though we weren’t many it felt really good to be outside again, doing things I love.

If you want to know more about how to visit Birka, here’s a link with useful info, there’s some lovely boat trips during the summer which will let you stay to see the interesting bits and take a swim before going back.


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Early 14th century outfit

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This is my early 14th century outfit, hand stitched and made with inspiration from medieval manuscript sources, like the Luttrell Psalter from early 14th c England.

I made the dress for my video project and wanted to put together a whole outfit that would fit in the same time period. It turned out super comfy, maybe I could wear it instead of my comfy pants indoors..?

I also made it so it would be usable in the viking outfit if I would be in need of a thin woolen dress/kirtle under the apron dress. Hence the looser sleeves, shorter length and not so wide neckline. It is certainly not the most fashionable 14th c outfit, rather an outfit for work, like in my market stall. (Uhum, much suitable, very nice thinking there…)

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This dress will be featured in my online lecture about Medieval Dress (only in Swedish right now!) and as I know that many of you readers are Swedes or understand Swedish, I will post a link to the lecture here. For you non-Swedish speakers; I have not forgot you, and will strive to translate interesting parts of the video to English and post it on a Youtube channel in the future.

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Until then, here’s a list of the materials used in the outfit if you get interested in making your own.

What items do you need?

For my outfit in size small-medium, based on fabrics 150 cm width

  • Linen shift, 2 meters. Linen thread and bees wax for sewing.
  • Wool kirtle as the visible layer. 2,6-3 meters of wool fabric. Wool, linen or silk thread for sewing.
  • Birgitta cap + linen half circle veil. 60 cm thin linen. Thin linen thread and bees wax.
  • Linen apron. 100*80 cm of sturdy linen, linen thread and bees wax.
  • Wool hose/socks. Around 70*100 cm wool twill.
  • Leather turn shoes.
  • Garters in wool or silk for the hose. Fabric scraps, vowen ribbons or braids can be used.
  • Purse, here in brick stitched silk with silk tassels and a silk tablet woven band. Made by my friend Jenny!
  • Thin belt in leather or fabric.
  • Decorative brooch in brass with stones.
  • 3 dress pins in bronze.

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Alnö Medieval Church

Alnö is an island just outside the town were I live, and there is a really amazing church with medieval paintings inside. But for some reason, I have never visited the church before. Last year there was a small medieval event with a market I attended, and then I finally took the chance to look inside.

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Isn’t it funny, how we dream about going to faraway and amazing places to look at old things. But the viking age runestone and medieval church and ruins I drive by regularly fades into the background of everyday life. Taken for granted and maybe not appreciated as they could be.

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Anyway, I wanted to share my visit with you in this blog post, so you also may se all the beautiful paintings and sculptures inside the church. A taste of a faraway and old piece of art, but close for me. Also, I tried to take photos of all the amazing clothing in the paintings still visible, because I am a historical garments nerd…

The paintings mostly depicted different saints and their life and martyrdom, but with an interesting mix of contemporary fashion. This is very common in religious art from the medieval time period; historical scenes made alive with clothing and accessory from the time they were painted. This makes them into an interesting source for understanding and recreating clothing items, but there might be traps too; some saints were depicted in out of date-styles, as well as angels often wearing “some kind of draped clothing” instead of real clothes.

Most female saints were also virgins and therefore represented in art as young fashionable women with their hair worn loose. Therefore, if you want to work with religious paintings as a source for your planned historical outfit, it is wise to take this into consideration and look for more sources of clothing, as well as study the history of saint and how they were represented. There are many interesting books in art history on the subject, but a quick walk through google and wiki are a great start too!

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The oldest part of the church was built sometime in the 12th century, but the wall paintings, the altarpiece and the crucifix was made in the 15th century.

Of course I wanted to match the church art, wearing my 15th c outfit for the market weekend! The church is open during the summer and I also had the opportunity to get a short guided tour when I visited. Some parts of the church are more modern, and I really adore the mix of the very old church with its massive stone walls, and later added decorations, interiors and attributes which shows how people continued to build and care for the buinding for a really long time.

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Outside the churchyard we put up our tents, and had a relaxed weekend selling medieval goods, talking to visitors and enjoying the cozy setting.

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How to make a Herjolfnes pattern

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I promised you some insights into the Herjolfnes dresses with the many side gores, and here’s my take to understand the patterns!

(This guide is a “make it work for you” guide, if you want to make a dress as similar to the extant finds as possible, you might want to use the published materials mentioned below instead)

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First, if you have “Medieval Garments Reconstructed”, it might be fun to try these patterns out. But remember that these are just general patterns, and they are not made for your body, nor your measurements. The risk is therefore that they will not fit very well, and you will be kept wondering what to do with this new and mysterious pattern.

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Furthermore, the original clothing (and patterns) were made to a very different person, with a different life style than yours, a body marked by another way of living, and the clothes were being worn and as a last thing, used instead of coffins for the dead last rest. Translating these clothing into patterns is important to understand the general pattern construction, but after this I believe it to be more useful that the dress you finally make is going to fit you well.

To achieve this, I recommend you start with a personal pattern; a mock up or toile. Once you have this one, you can then transform it into a pattern with as few or many side gores as you wish. To demonstrate this I made a model in paper for you. You can try out this method in regular paper first if you want, or go straight for patterning paper and 1:1 modeling.

Step 1: The shadowed picture is my toile/mock up for my upper body. I have made a start pattern with the skirt attached to these (by the waist line) and two integrated gores; middle front and middle back. On my standard dress pattern my back piece is whole (no seam along the spine).

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Step 2: I cut the front and back out, along with a side gore. This is the pattern for my red cotehardie.

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Step 3: Time to go sideways! I mean sidegores… I mean, just cut the pattern pieces apart like I did here. I place the cut where the arm holes start to bend, or around 10 cm in from the sides. The bigger size, the bigger piece you will get.

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Step 4: Cut the side gore in half, and tape each half to the new side pieces.

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Step 5: To make it easier, I draw the new side pieces on a piece of paper, and add some width to the other “side” of the side gore; where it is straight. I don’t need a lot, between 30-40 cm on a full pattern.

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Step 6: The front and back pieces also gets added width at the bottom hem. It’s illustrated by the orange part on the picture. The width gets added to both front parts and back parts. This will give you pieces that has no straight vertical lines on the skirt, but flared lines resulting in a lot of hem (fancy!)

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Step 7: Now I have a pattern with added side gores, 2 on each side. The gores at the front and back pieces have been added as a part of the pattern to simplify, but you could also piece everything together.

CF= center front (where my lacing is on the green dress) and CB on this pattern means you will have a seam along the back, since the gore is integrated. You could also keep the back piece whole, and insert a gore in the middle. I will show you how I do this in another post. (Also note that I show you a half dress in these photos; when you do your dress there will of course be another half of dress too.)

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Step 8: Want more side gores? Not a problem! Repeat the cutting-party, and cut each of the side gores in two. Here I have done it on the front side gore. I recommend marking your pieces with front, back, and arrows to show where they belong, and I also keep my waist line (dotted line). It can get confusing otherwise…

After this, you can add more width at the hemline to each of the new gores, drawing out more width from the straight side like shown above. You can also add A Lot More Width as shown below, if you want to have a fancy dress with a great amount of fabric.

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Step 9: Very important. After you have cut all your pieces and redrawn them, it is time to add the seam allowance. Add 1,5-2 cm of seam allowance around all pieces, either on paper or directly on the fabric. If your starting mock up had seam allowance integrated, do not add more to those lines that you have not touched this time.

Step 10: Whoho, a new herjolfnes based pattern has emerged! Cut it out in mock up cotton fabric to try out the fit, or just do like I did and cut out all the pieces in wool, with a bit of extra seam allowance. Extra? Just to be able to baste the dress together and try out the fit + if you are satisfied with all the new side seams. I did not need the extra seam allowance, but I intend to use the photos to make even another tutorial on the subject of fitting a dress pattern.

Remember that the side seams are not “princess seams” which are put over the bust to give it a modern form. The herjolfnes seams are more on the side of the bust, and gives you movement, a good drape and lots of hem.

I made the sleeves based on a regular S-sleeve pattern I already had, and for this construction method you should not need to adjust the sleeves much (if you have a working pattern), just check so the armhole doesn’t get to wide; measure your seam allowance when making the dress, and then insert the sleeves after sewing all the side gores and front + back panel together.

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The finished dress in medium thick twill wool fabric. The dress is actually quite loose, and I cut the sleeves short, and the hem above the ground, to make it into a good working kirtle for historical markets.

The original herjolfnes patterns doesn’t have lacing, but I decided to add that and take in the dress a bit to get a fit I am comfortable with. I also hate pulling a tight dress over my head as I always mess up my hairdo and cap, so the laced ones are my favourites. Once again, if you aim for a recreated pattern rahter than an inspired one, you might leave the dress a bit looser and skip the lacing.

Useful notes:

Remember to add seam allowance to your new pieces, I like to add a bit extra (2-3 cm) in order to easier make adjustments during the fitting.

When you have achieved your new pattern in mock up fabric (or cut it out in your wool fabric) baste all the side pieces together to try out the fit. The many side gores will adjust the weight and fall of the fabric and there might be more stretching that needs to be adressed.

You also have a lot of seams now were you can make adjustments to make the dress fit perfectly to your body. If you need to take it in; don’t take in all the extra width in just one seam, instead spread it out between the seams.

Also; remember to wear your medieval supportive garment or modern bra of choice when fitting the dress so the dress will fit the bust nicely.

Sources:

Woven into the earth, Else Ostergaard, 2004

Medieval garments reconstructed, Ostergaard mm, 2011

 

 

 


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My 10 best dresses

Hi! So nice of you to drop by to read! This time, I wanted to take you with me on a small tour to my virtual wardrobe, showing you some of my favourite dresses I have made so far. Be prepared to see some really old stuff now, because it wouldn’t be very fun if I just posted photos of the 10 most recent, high quality dresses I made right?

(Yeah, you wouldn’t think it was as nice sneeking a peek into my actual wardrobe, it’s quite full and maybe not in the best order. Have you seen my sewing box? Then you’ll have a feeling for what my wardrobe looks like…)

Let’s start at the beginning; my first buttoned cotehardie. This one is an old dress (the photo is from an event in 2010) long gone to someone else. It was my first try doing a 14th century dress with a closer fit. I can’t say I really knew how to make medieval fitted garments but somehow I managed this one and I was sooo happy with it. I remember looking up to others at the event, pondering how to make such awesome garbs like they wore, and how to manage a really good sleeve.

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This early in my erhm, blogging career (can you call it a career if you are not making any money..?) I didn’t get much photos of my own outfits, but rather took photos of everything I saw, trying to capture those magical moments and that cool things others wore. Like these outfits- I still remember thinking I would totally want to be that skilled when I grew up!

Oh, I had completely forgot about this one; the green herringbone twill wool was a really expensive (in 2011) fabric in an awesome quality, and I made some kind of Herjolfnes dress with lots of gores in the side and skirt. It was so comfy, fitted me well and I used it quite a lot before selling it. Actually still missing it. Here I am wearing it as a middle dress under my viking apron dress. Couldn’t find any good photo of just the dress.

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Oh, my green moy bog gown! Somewhere around 2010-2011 my real interest in medieval pattern construction techniques began and I wanted to try the moy bog sleeves. I remember that I first made a short sleeved one, wore that for a while and then remade it with long sleeves and better fitted gores in the skirt. Another dress I was really satisfied with at the time I finished it and wore a lot over several years. Then I wanted to make new experiments and sold it to be able to afford new fabrics.

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The 16th century trossfrau dress is one of my oldest that I still use (I tend to get tired of old projects and sell them of…) But I still like it. I put a lot of effort into research and actually making it historically accurate and fun at the same time and finished it in early 2015. It is hand sewn, the pattern and construction methods still holds up to my standard, and the colour is just sooo… fugly. The purple hue is actually based on a natural dye, so the thing that is least accurate with the whole outfit is the slashing on the hat; I was to fast and made it pretty rather than historical believable.

My wedding dress from 2017. This has a special place in my heart, I don’t know if it is the dress itself (it is rather plain) or the event it got used at… It’s a 15th century silk dress with open sleeves below the elbow, lined with a really thin wool, and decorated with silk cords and small freshwater pearls. I would like to redo it a bit as it doesn’t fit right know, and therefore I don’t use it. But I do feel a bit unsettled everytime I take it out from the wardrobe and think about cutting it apart to redo it. Maybe I am lazy, or a bit nostalgic. Yeah, I will probably remake it anyyy minute…

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I loved this one! It is a 15th century houppelande (overdress) in black velvet with moss green edges. The sleeves got lined with my last pieces of gren silk that I owned, and they made for a very good contrast to the rest of the dress I thought. The dress was only worn once during this photoshoot in 2017, and then I sold it to a happy customer abroad. I loved it, but I didn’t need it. I mostly made it to practice sewing in velvet and to try out the pattern, as it was my first try to make a full circular houppelande.

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My red 14th century wool cotehardie, completly handsewn, and with 20 pewter buttons in each sleeve. What is not to love? It is red, fancy, a really serious try on reenactment clothing and I feel Amazing every time I get dressed in it. Some time around here I also started to feel like handsewing a whole garment wasn’t such a big deal. Nowadays I handsew most of my wardrobe, with exceptions for some of my undergarments, and projects that has a short time frame.

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Ok, I know, it’s a whole outfit rather than just a dress (I can cheat right?) but I couldn’t leave this one out. The amber dress project was just that; a very serious and creative project which was so much fun to make. The process actually took several years, but somehow this outfit came to be a milestone where I felt that I had learned new things and evolved as a handcrafter.

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Yes, I have a thing for green. But you knew this one would show up here right? It is green, comfy, dramatic and 15th century. What is not to love? This was actually my latest houppelande after making several tryouts to explore drape, patterns, construction methods and different fabrics (you can see them below) and it is handsewn in a high quality woolen cloth, lined with a silk fabric. On this photo I wear it full “Weyden style” to portrait a well of woman from the middle 15th century, dressed in rich fabrics to the height of fashion of the time.

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Mmm, this is not a clear participant in this post just by the look of it. It is a really simple dress with panels and gores, handsewn in undyed ecological wool (in 2018 like so many of my other dresses). But it is one of those dresses that makes you feel awesome, comfortable and just warm enough whenever you wear it. It’s magical. If I was going to wear medieval/viking clothing everyday I would probably wear this one 9 out of 10 days.

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So, there you have it! Some of my projects over the years. It was a bit challenging to pick out favourites, and I know I left my new 15th century wardrobe out (but hey, you’ve seen that one a lot lately) as well as my viking apron dresses I’ve made that I really liked. Sometime I’ll have to put together another viking-wardrobe post maybe.

What do you think? You have any favourites that you would like to make a version of, or do you already have “the best dress ever” in your wardrobe? I would love to see it!

 

 


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Learning new things

The longer I’ve been doing historical handcrafting, the clearer it is that I find it important to improve myself and my knowledge all the time. The first half of 2019 I spent making lots of outfits for customers, and some for myself as well. The projects were all fun and turned out nice, but I had the feeling I was missing something.

New challenges.

So, during the autumn I decided to spend time learning new things, and chose some things I haven’t explored before. The result was attending a distance tablet weaving workshop to get new inspiration for patterns and workshops, and trying out a new handcrafting technique in the form of felting hats. The black one is my first, it got a bit uneven but I am getting better!

I also researched and made a (inspired) mid 18th century outfit and went to a historical ball event with that outfit, dancing and dining historical style.

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I feel very satisfied with learning new things, and got new energy to continue to work on lots of projects. Yes, at once- of course. I am one of those handcrafters that fill the entire room with projects, stash them in baskets and have them lying around the whole house in periods.

I also felt inspired taking up some old research on brocades. I am interested in late medieval style brocades, and have somewhat of a stash hidden in the shop (for customers, of course!) with small samples suitable to make pouches, purses, sleeves and details. Mainly, it is because I get so curious about the different weaving patterns and styles that I just Have To Order a small bit… (this is my pinterest board on the subject)

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I also, kind of unexpected, happened to buy several meters of a lovely silk brocade that is going to be a new medieval dress. I am in the progress right now of sewing it together, taking photos and notes as I work to make it into a new tutorial when I have the time.

Alas, I do have time… But I am also working on a tutorial on Herjolfnes side gores, how to make a pair of medieval pattens and a handsewn project for a customer. I am not good at doing one thing at a time…

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As late as February I still thought I would have a normal, busy season with workshops, road trips and market work, beginning with next week. Now the world feels more unsure and I don’t even know if there will be enough work to put food on the table. On the other hand, I do have lots of time now to experiment and learn new things. Really trying to decide this might yet be a good thing, I am working on new tutorials, garments for myself and lots of new things to sell when there will be markets again.

I also put up a small webshop at my Fbpage in order to give all my followers and customers a chance to order handcrafting tools and have a sneek peek at all the nice stuff I’ve got for the markets. It would help a lot if you would like to check out the shop, follow me on social media or show my page to a friend. This too shall pass, and until then all we can do is our best.

How are you doing out there? I know I have readers from both Australia, USA and many places in Europe as well as here in Sweden. I am praying for your good health, and hoping for a spring and summer that will be better than today.


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Things you can do at home

With the world as it is today with covid outbreaks everywhere, a lot of us finds ourself at home, more or less bored and without our usual friends and pastimes. I know it may feel uncertain and depressing to not know how the world will be in a few weeks, months or even half a year. But instead of feeling down, I will do my best to lighen your mood and as a handcrafter, I will shamelessly take this opportunity to inspire you all to more handcrafting!

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I mean, lots of time (and internet) on our hands, and a season to look forward to with magical events, cozy markets, lots of friends… (Yes, I know it might be a late season, but the world will rotate back sooner or later.)

So, look at these photos- don’t you get inspired? Longing for some summer vibes?

 

What are your goals for this season? Do you need to update or mend your wardrobe? Or make some practical changes to your camping gear? Here’s all my shifts washed, mended and ironed. Ready for fun adventures! (Also, welcome to a photo of some sexy medieval lingerie. It is here you’ll get all the tastiness!)

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I have a long list of things I need to do before buying fabric or planning new projects. As I wrote the list in New Years, I kind of felt that I would Never Get It Done. But now, being home full time without any extra jobs, markets and uh, well…income I have decided To Get Things Done. Yes, all the things! Some serious sewing will happen in this home the coming weeks.

If you need more inspiration to get started, or know what to make, here’s some really good tips:

  • Pinterest might be full of advertisement, photos and medieval-ish things but there’s really good inspiration too. My favourite is to search for different artists or painters from the period I want to know more about, or for earlier periods search for different finds, like “Birka graves viking” and see what comes up. Pinterest will show you more of the things you click on and save, so as you go along you will find more and more. Check out were the sources come from, follow others with lots of good folders and get inspired!
  • Go through your historical wardrobe and sort things out. Clean/air, mend and iron things to make them look neat. Try them on if you feel like it, play, get inspired! Think back to the previous season- did everything work? Was those shoes comfy? Need to make adjustments to any garment or sew a new warmer one?

IMG_3859Mending might be boring, but feels great when it is done!

  • Sell things you don’t need or like. The second hand market for reenactor wear is large and you can find lots of groups on facebook for buying and selling things. Get rid of things from your wardrobe you don’t like, get some new money, use the money to make more things you really love!
  • Get yourself outside! No, I didn’t mean exercise, but even if there’s no historical events right now you can gear yourself up and bring a friend out for some fun playing time. Take photos of your outfit in the forest, go for a hike, or cook over an open fire for lunch. Share all those photos on social media and get new energy! (also, going out with your gear makes you see if everything’s working well or if you need to make adjustments.)

vikingclothingWarm and comfortable viking, ready for a cold event!

  • Get yourself some new handcrafting things! With more time on your hands, you will have time for a really fun and inspirational project. (No, you don’t need to make all those boring things first, sometimes it is more important to get new joy before being practical.) Also, you purchasing new fabrics, threads, tools etc from small businesses will make all the different for them now when many are struggeling with survival due to canceled markets etc.
  • And if you don’t feel like sewing everything for the coming season- consider ordering a new garment (pick the one you felt would be boring to make yourself) from your favourite business. It will support them, you will get a new fun garment, and new inspiration for the coming season.

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(Hey; remember that I have lots of free tutorials for you here on the blog? And also, on my Patreon you can access all my tutorials for a good deal that I also sell on Etsy. This is kind of a commercial for my own stuff you know. Buy some stuff!)

And remember that even if you can’t go out to fun meetings and events all those lovely people are just a few clicks away, so why not start a sewing circle with skype, join a fb group or facetime with your friends while handcrafting! Spread the joy and happiness- handcraft more!

 

 


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How to make medieval hose

This blog post was made possible by my Patreon supporters, thanks for helping me bring more free tutorials into the world!

Woolen hose was worn by both men and women during the medieval period, with the difference that the men’s was higher and usually tied to the belt/to the waist in some kind, and as the fashion developed became higher until joined to a pair of pants. Get it? A pair of hose- a pair of high hose- a pair of joined hose- a pair of pants. (I have never understood the english saying of a pair of pants but this make so much sense!)

Anyway, the women’s hose was usually tied under or above the knee. Here’s a quick view of some, but there’s lots of different models, colours and designs from the period. If you wish to reproduce a garment for a specific time and location, you’ll need some more research to choose what you need, this tutorial is more of a “here, let’s make a garment!”

I wanted to show you how you can make a pair yourself, using your body’s measures for drafting a pattern or constructing the fit directly onto yourself. Hose isn’t very difficult to make, not even to get a pair of closely fitted ones. It just takes some practise and patience to pin them on your body and adjust the fit until you are happy with it.

First, you need some wool fabric, preferably a twill with a nice stretch to it. Not to thin but neither fulled into a bulky cloth, I love Medeltidsmodes Melton Wool (shown above as the white hose). To calculate the amount you need you can either first make a mock up/toile or you can take measure 1 + measure 3 (as shown below) and draw them as a square on the fabric. Add some extra material around. The most stretchy part of the fabric should go diagonal over the hose. I usually make mine from left overs from other projects and fit smaller pieces together.

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You can start with a ready made pattern, or make your own. Either way you will have to adjust the pattern to you body, by fitting your hose onto your body for the perfect fit. Each wool fabric you use may be different, so if you are making several pairs in different fabrics adjustments might be needed for each pair.

Also note that I make my hose right and leftsided, you don’t have to do this but I find that the over all fitting is nicer when I mirror the pattern I have.

If you decide to make your own pattern from start rather than buying one readymade, I prefer to draw some straight lines on a piece of scrap fabric and then drape this directly to the body. Of course, a friend to help you is great but not necessary.

You can also create a pattern on a flat piece by measuring and draft lines.

Start with taking the measurements:

1. Length of hose

2. Width just under the knee

3. Width around calf (thickest part of leg)

4. Width around ankle (thinnest part of leg)

7. Measure around the heel like shown on picture

(5 + 6 will show up later)

To make a flat pattern, also take measurements between the numbers above. Take the measure along line 1; what is the measure between 2,3, 4 and 7? Then you can use this to draw up this starting pattern for your hose; draw line 1, and then horizontally draw the lines 2,3,4 and mark the placement for 7 with just a dot.

This is my ready-made hose pattern. Yours will have the straight lines now, but lacking the sole and the form of the foot as well as the triangular gore.

Make the sole by drawing your foot on a piece of scrap fabric/paper. Make sure you stand straight while doing this. Add 1 cm of seam allowance around. This is piece number 5, and you make it the same way for both methods.

Now you can either try drawing the upper foot part on the flat pattern, or cut out what you have and continue draping the hose directly on your body. If you want to draft the shape, line 7 is the width you need to fit your heel inside the hose. Draw that in a curved line like shown on the picture above. Then loosely draft the form of the foot and add some space needed for fitting around your drafted pattern. Don’t make any gores or slits yet (number 6) do these while you are trying on your pattern instead.

The measure of line 7 is worth taking into consideration while trying on your hose. You may pin it perfectly close to your body, but if you have a thin ankle you might not get the hose of because that measurement (4) is smaller than that around your heel (7). Remember to check this measurement while drafting the pattern or when trying on the mock up. The hose should just go on and of your foot.

Draping rather than drawing

I prefer the draping method and use it on my beginners workshops because I think it is effective and easy. If you would prefer to drape the whole pattern, just mark line 1 on a scrap fabric and then pin it to your body (use stockings, leggings or shorts but nothing bulky like jeans). To use the fabrics stretch, you should draw line 1 horizontally over a piece of tabby weave or along the edge on a twill fabric. The stretch should go over the hose, not alongside line 1. Does that make sense?

Step 1 of the draping method. A piece of scrap fabric pinned above the knee, hanging loose. Line 1 will go from the pinned point to the toes, straight down on the middle front of the leg.

Steg 2: Loosely pin the fabric to the leg, following the natural shape of the leg. Make sure you dont pin in fabric folds. The pins (the future seam) should be at the backside of your leg, running straight down over your heel. When you have an approx fitting; cut away the excess fabric leaving only 2 cm seam allowance. Stand with the leg straight, foot on floor when fitting the fabric.

Or you could get a friend to pin you in, while you stand on a table…

Step 3: Pin the hose more closely to the body. Pin on the sole from toe to middle of foot. To make the fabric lie smoothly on the body, stretch it gently in the directions of the darts. Toward the toes, down the side of the foot, towards the heel. Above the ankle you change the direction and smooth the fabric out upwards. Every little crease will not disappear yet.

Step 4: When the general fit is good, it is time for the heel and the slit with the gores (number 6). Cut this one while the hose is on the body, from were the heel meets the sole, straight up on each side of the foot. Cut a little at a time, and check how the fabric behaves.

Straighten out folds and creases by stretching the fabric and pinning it more fitted to the body. This step is a process, and your personal foot shape will decide how long you will have to cut before all fabric lies smoothly. When you are satisfied, pin the rest of the sole to the upper fabric, leaving the new slit open.

Step 5: Now you have the over all shape of your new hose. You can baste it together if you want, and try the fit by taking it on and of.

This step with cutting the slit and inserting gores I do on every pair of hose I make, when trying out a new fabric quality. If I work with a fabric I am used to, I still make the gores while fitting the hose on the body. Note; I don’t make two mock ups for left+ right, I just have one and then I will mirror that when laying it out on the wool fabric to get a left and a right hose.

Step 6: I find it easiest to just pin or baste a piece of fabric (generally triangular) to the hose while wearing it, and then cut of excess fabric. Then I can use that as a pattern for the other gores (notice that inner and outer gores might be slightly different in shape, that is normal depending on the shape of your foot and how you work with the fabric).

Step 7: When I have come this far I am content with my pattern, and take it apart (removing basting or needles) I also cut it clean, add seam allowance and label it with size and date. I also like to add some notes on the pattern for remembering things or if I lend them to friends;

Sewing the hose from wool fabric

Draw your hose pattern on a wool fabric, laying line 1 horizontal across the fabric if you have a tabby weave (making the most stretch across the width of the hose). Cut the hose out with 2 cm seam allowance, 1 cm around the sole. Baste your pieces together; leg first, then the sole to the foot from the toes and back to the heel. Try the hose on, make adjustments and cut out the slit + fit the side gores.

Then you can sew your hose with back stitches, and fold down the seam allowance with whip stitching, or sew it on the sewing machine if you prefer. The gores I set in last, on the inside with whip stitching. Fold the edge at the top, stitch it down, and add garters to hold the hose up.

Other designs on medieval hose.

The pattern with slits and gores are one of several finds on hose designs. You can also adjust your hose pattern to another design with a sole and a separate part for the foot, and a part for the leg. This saves you a bit of fabric and is quite easy to make. On the photo above I have marked this design with a dotted line straight over the hose. The grey hose below is made with that pattern.

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There is also variations with the gores as parts of the sole piece (shown above in the photo of a find), a hose with the foot and sole joined, and several examples of patching, mending, and seams for joining small scrap pieces when making hose.

You can also add a second sole made out of thin leather to be able to walk without medieval shoes on dry ground. Avoid adding a thick sole, that will only rip your hose and be uncomfortable.

Good luck sewing!