This is incredibly modern to be me, I know! My latest infatuation has totally been the 18th century pattern drafting, mainly jackets, gowns and a whole bunch of skirts. And hats. Who doesn’t love hats?
Anyway, after my first attempt making a 18th century ballgown, I wanted to dive deaper and learn more about 18th-century pattern making and clothing styles, so I have spent the last couple of years on learning a bit about different 1700styles on my free time.
First out after the corset, shift and petticoats came these two jackets, based on an original piece and a drafted pattern from Costume Close-up (which is an incredible interesting and fun book that I recommend). I altered the pattern a bit, both to fit my measures but also to another style that fitted the extant pieces and fashion plates I was inspired from. Then I made a jacket in printed cotton, lined with linen and with linen ruffles on the sleeves. It came out really well both in pattern drafting and seams, and I was happy…
So I just had to try to make it in wool to experience the difference in fabrics. I choose a scrap from an old project; a thin wool twill that I lined with striped linen from another project. I love small but complex projects that means lots of sewing on a small fabric budget!
Since I found the pattern with the stomacher pinned onto the jacket difficult to put on fast, I tried another style for the wool jacket with the stomacher fastened behind the ribbons in the front. To make it even easier, I basted the stomacher to the jacket on one side, and added two hooks and eyes to the other side to be able to fasten it before pinning and tieing the ribbons. The hooks are not a historically based solution as far as I have seen but a very convenient and fast one.
The cotton flower jacket was laced in the front before pinning the stomacher over, covering the lacing and the corset. It is perfect for adjusting the size and the lacing strips with the eyelets where fun to made.
I made a whole outfit to go with the jackets (except shoes, I need to get me good shoes)
bergere hat in wheat straw
linen cap with a lace edge
cape/cloak in red fulled wool
white fine knitted socks
The linen shift and corset are the same that I made for my ballgowns, but since they are not showing I intend to go with them until I do more serious 18th century adventuring than a photoshoot or a picnic.
The underskirt is a simple cotton skirt, and the overskirt in wool is slightly longer and wider to make the silhuette nicer and make sure the undergarments are not showing. I had to piece the skirt together from several scraps of fabric, which of course is historical even if it doesn’t show in photos. I am planning to make an apron to go with the outfit in the future.
The fishu (scarf) is a trangle of thin silk which you tuck into your jacket to look modest and warm (and fashionable too!) The hat I made with wheat straw and silk fabric cut and sewn (and maybe a bit of glue too) to the hat in a fashionable pattern, and then I added broad pieces of silk fabric to tie it in the back.
The linen cap pattern comes from the American Duchess book, but I adjusted it a bit to fit well. The cloak pattern comes from a pattern diagram from Costume Close-up but I had to adjust that too, to be able to use it with the piece of wool fabric I had left. I also added slits for the arms and a small, almost invisible closure with hooks and eyes at the front in order to be able to wear it closed while doing things outside.
The garments are handsewn with the exception of some longer inside seams machinesewn to save time, and I used linen thread and silk threads for everything.
The redrafted pattern for the jackets in size Eu 36-38 is available, send me an email if you are interested!
This is an open letter, mainly to all organizers for historical events, and specifically new ones. I choose to write in Swedish since these are the grounds I know best, and to make it easier for new organizers to read.
Här är mina tips till dig som arrangerar (eller precis ska börja) historiska marknader och event såsom medeltidsdagar, vikingahelger och liknande. Jag skriver både utifrån mitt perspektiv som tidigare arrangör, besökare, volontär och marknadsförsäljare, med förhoppningen att du ska kunna undvika tråkiga misstag och få ett bra event!
Vilken känsla och period vill du ha på ditt event? Medeltid, vikingatid, vendeltid? Tänker du dig att lokala barnfamiljer ska ha picknick och titta på festliga framställningar, vill du ha återskapare som bygger en historisk marknad eller något av en festival? Bestäm tema och känsla och kommunicera sedan det tydligt!
Hur får man tag på marknadsförsäljare? I början måste du nog annonsera i grupper på sociala medier, men i takt med att ditt arrangemang återkommer borde försäljarna droppa in automatiskt, om du gör rätt. Gör de inte det? Då kanske du måste förbättra din service, kommunikation och det du erbjuder.
Hur får man tag på underhållare? Samma här, annonsera i början och hoppas på återkommande proffs. Har du en begränsad budget; var tydlig med det. Kanske finns det personer ändå som precis börjat lära sig gyckla, kommer från en ideell kör eller vill träna eldkonster, och som gärna ställer upp för en symbolisk summa eller gratis mat och boende.
Hur får man tag på volontärer? Hör av dig till dina lokala historiska föreningar, om det finns sådana. Fråga om de vill hålla i demos (såsom hantverk, bågskytte, fäktning) under ditt event, och erbjud något tillbaka: har ni liten budget i början kan gratis fika (och givetvis gratis inträde, parkering osv) vara lämpligt. Det viktiga är att visa uppskattning och respekt; var tydlig med er vision och vad ni kan erbjuda, och försök uppfylla behoven hos de som kommer och bidrar.
Inträde eller inte? Det här är nog främst en ekonomisk fråga, men se om du kan lösa intäkterna på andra sätt; besökare är mycket mer benägna att bara titta förbi, de handlar mer, och är ofta mer nöjda över en “gratis” upplevelse. (Ansök tex om bidrag från kommunen, stiftelser och föreningar.)
Logistik: se över behovet av parkering, toaletter, hygien, rinnande vatten, el och handikappanpassning noggrant. Ingen vill göra sig känd som arrangören som inte erbjöd rullstolsramper eller råkade ut för en eldsvåda. (Och ingen besökare vill upptäcka att det inte finns möjlighet att tvätta händerna ordentligt efter en småbarnsolycka. Det har hänt.)
Jag behöver logistikpersonal? Volontärarbetare som kommer från andra föreningar (tex scouterna) eller bara privatpersoner fungerar ofta bra för enkla uppgifter såsom att ta hand om parkering, fylla på vatten, tömma soptunnor och liknande. Ta hand om volontärerna; erbjud dem lokal, fika, dräkt eller väderskydd att låna och se till att schemat tillåter att de också får ha roligt. Då kommer de tillbaka! Till tyngre eller svårare uppgifter samt hantering av livsmedel kan det vara värt att ta in betald personal.
Sälj kaffet. Själv. De flesta erfarna arrangörer har upptäckt att besökare blir fikasugna. Väldigt fikasugna. Att vara den primära försäljaren av kaffe, enkel dryck och fika leder till stora intäkter. Om du inte kan täcka upp hela behovet själv; bjud in andra försäljare och se till att de kompletterar utbudet.
Kanske det viktigaste av allt: besök andras arrangemang och se hur de löser sina utmaningar. Hur många toaletter har de på området? Vilka avtal erbjuds underhållare? Hur har de skapat en trevlig marknad och hur fick de tag på de där uppstoppade drakarna som barnen klättrar på?
Marknadsförsäljningen då, hur gör man en bra marknad?
Var tydlig med tema, period och riktlinjer. Alla ska förstå vad som är ok och inte, så du slipper diskussioner med försäljare som anländer i blå plastponchos och vill sälja kaffe bredvid de anmälda honungsburkarna.
Fundera på vilken yta du har till marknaden, och kommunicera det till deltagare. I trånga inomhusutrymmet betalar deltagare ofta per bord eller meter, medan en stor äng gärna får fyllas ut med rejäla paviljonger, lägerplatser och långa rader med vackra föremål. Vad vill du ha?
Ta ansvar för utbudet; bjud bara in ett visst antal tygförsäljare, keramiker, korgmakare osv. Besökare vill se olika saker, och ingen försäljare blir glad över för mycket konkurrens.
Skäm bort dina försäljare! Besökare älskar marknader, och glada försäljare kommer igen (ofta tillsammans med sina volontärkompisar) erbjud vatten, toaletter, köp av el, duschar och en station där de kan hämta kaffe utan att behöva stå i 30 min kö. Kan du erbjuda boende eller ska de bo i sina tält? Finns det vakter under natten eller måste de spendera flertalet timmar med att plocka ihop varje kväll?
Be försäljarna att förbättra ditt event: bifoga länkar ifall de vill göra reklam och sprida ditt event i sina kretsar. Fråga om de vill visa upp hantverk/hålla modevisning/erbjuda kortkurser mm- massvis av extra aktiviteter för besökare kan uppstå med hjälp av rabatterat pris, en gratis lunch och möjlighet för försäljarna att tjäna in en lön.
Ska du ta betalt? Många som börjar med arrangemang erbjuder försäljare att komma gratis, dels för att man inte vet vilken statestik eventet har (hur många kommer totalt, hur mycket försäljning kan ske?) men också för att locka fler att satsa på ett nytt event. När du börjar ha siffor på antalet besökare och hur mycket varje försäljare omsätter (fråga efter eventet!) kan du lättare sätta priser för att stå på marknaden.
Om du tar betalt: informera om priser i förväg, samt ev servicekostnader (många arrangemang tar alltid ut en symbolisk avgift för sopor, el, vatten osv).
Det finns olika metoder för att ta betalt av marknadsförsäljare, vissa tar en viss procent (5-6%) av den totala omsättningen, eller vinsten. Är det trångt, kan du istället ta betalt för antalet bord/meter försäljarna vill ha, men räkna då med att medeltida tält osv kanske inte kommer brukas- har du marknadsstånd att låna ut? Tak? Vissa tar en symbolisk summa (serviceavgift) av alla som säljer för att de anser att marknaden lockar besökare och bidrar till eventets känsla. Ytterligare andra låter försäljarna stå för delar av eventets kostnad genom att ta ut höga avgifter av dem, och istället ha gratis inträde.
Det finns för och nackdelar med allt. Höga avgifter skrämmer bort små personliga företag, medan begränsad yta gör att inga försäljare av rustningar, tyger och tält kan närvara. Många arrangörer tillämpar individuell prissättning där ett grundpris kan sänkas med tex visning av hantverk, ett fint marknadsstånd osv, medan priset höjs om försäljaren behöver el eller säljer över en viss summa. I slutändan handlar det förstås om ekonomi; en försäljare har råd att betala högre avgifter om omsättningen är hög (tex medeltidsveckan) medan andra event erbjuder gratis plats, kaffe och boende för att locka försäljare till små event där de inte gör nog stor omsättning.
Tänk på att försäljare (och historiska volontärer) ofta redan haft omkostnader innan de kommer till ditt event. Transport, boende, mat, dräkter och tält är stora kostnader som historiska marknadsåkare måste få täckning för, om de ska kunna dyka upp och tillföra värde till ditt event!
Själv önskar jag att marknadsarrangörer i år ska börja uppskatta sina försäljare mer och underlätta för de som driver seriösa verksamheter och betalar skatt (och se oss som viktiga för marknadens liv!) Det är omöjligt att “konkurrera” med företag som dumpar priser i och med att de inte betalar skatt (vare sig här eller i hemlandet). Med det sagt har jag förstås också seriösa kollegor från andra länder som jag ser fram emot att träffa. Jag hoppas också på att få se många nya, seriösa hantverkare i framtiden. Kanske kan man underlätta för nya hantverkare genom att låta dem komma gratis första året?
Jag hoppas också på att arrangörer ska fundera mer kring vilken arbetsmiljö de erbjuder marknadsåkare i år. Korta avstånd för att slippa bära tungt, tillgång till rinnande vatten och tvål vid toaletter, närvaro på marknadsområdet i form av vakter/frivilliga nattetid och rimliga öppettider står på min önskelista. Många arrangörer gör ett bra jobb; Torpas medeltidsmarknad hade till exempel toaletter enkom för arbetare, för att man skulle hinna gå på toa utan att behöva stänga en längre tid. Oslos Middelalderfestival erbjöd ett säkert, upplyst område som gjorde att jag som ensam marknadsåkare kunde känna mig tryggare. På Kapitelhusgården fick jag en kopp kaffe eftersom jag inte hann gå och köpa dryck under arbetsdagen. I Skellefteå var marknaden vid boendeområdet så att det alltid rörde sig frivilliga i närheten. Sådana här saker gör mycket för att man ska orka arbeta på marknader!
Vill du veta mer? Är du en ny arrangör som vill få hjälp att lyckas med ditt event? Eller vill du också prova att sälja produkter på historiska marknader i år? Efter tunga pandemiår saknar jag många branchkollegor och hjälper dig gärna att komma igång eller bygga upp en verksamhet. Maila för att boka in ett digitalt möte!
After my project with the Luttrell Psalter, I got interested in earlier medieval times and clothing and fell for the Morgan/Maciejowski Bible. The illustrations are so awesome! Also, the 13th century really is quite fashinating with its garments and ideal style differing so much from the 15th century that I have been into the last years. So here’s a short fashion/garment summary based on my studies of some mid-late 13th century manuscript.
Quick caracteristics of the mid 13th century female dress:
Overlong dresses: Reach the ground even with belts. The wearer hold the skirt up with their hand or drape it over the belt when moving.
Loose fit: The folds created in artwork indicates a loosely draped dress with lots of fabric.
Large armholes: Loose armholes on garments both with the sleeves sewn on, with partially open armholes with the sleeve half attached, and with open armholes without sleeves.
Sleeves: Loose upper sleeve, with tightness around wrist. S-sleeves and regular sleeves are both represented in finds (Söderköpings kjortel/kirtle was constructed with S-sleeve)
Shift (probably in linen) wool dress and wool overdress/gown, silk for elite society. Hose or socks in wool, shoes in leather. Apron (probably linen) when working, doesn’t appear to be a fashionable item. Hood and cloak for warmth, as well as overdresses lined with another fabric layer or fur. Lots of different headstyles; loose hair, hairnets, caps, wimple and veils, fillets, barbettes etc. If you want to check out more sources, my SCA mentor wrote this Interesting blogpost about Isabella de Bruce’s wardrobe from the end of 13th century.
Before I started this project I collected notes on ways to achieve the correct look:
Make the dresses and gowns much longer than usual.
Make the garment wider than my usual simple dresses, but with a fitted neckhole, shoulders and sleeves. Or rather; make the front part wider to drape across the body, but keep the width of the back piece to avoid bulkiness over the shoulder area.
Add gores both in the sides, front and back of the skirt. Lots of width is needed for the upper class look.
Add width to the garment from the armhole, instead of starting at the waist.
Choose a thin, tightly woven fabric with a dramatic drape; the folds should be deep and clearly visible.
Make the armholes and sleeves wider than you need, and then finish them snugly by the wrist, or add buttons for tight closure.
Here is my construction adjustments; the drawn lines is the blue 14th century dress, and the dotted lines are the adjustments I made while drafting this dress. The sleeve hole is larger, the dress front piece wider, and the dress longer than full length while standing. To save on fabric, I decided to not widen the dress from the armholes but make the front and back panels straight. The width of skirt is made with the help of the 4 gores.
The silhouette is rather straight, without female curves or visible bust, and the easiest way to spot a woman is to look for the pooling dresses, My SCA mentor told me that women seldom show their feets in period artwork, while the men have gowns leaving the feet visible. I found that interesting and so far everything I have seen from this period fits with that description!
So far, I have mainly focused on the gown. I used my 14th century linen shift, wool hose and shoes to complete the outfit enough for wearing. I also made a belt from tablet woven silk and a buckle and belt end in brass. This was also made for the 14th century outfit, but it does well enough here. The brooch is made in brass and coloured glass, and the hair band is tablet woven in the same silk colours as the belt, backed with silk and decorated with small fittings in brass. The veils seen in the photos is my old ones from my 14th and 15th century looks. A future step would be to create a fun headwear typical for the period, if I want to explore it further. The belt bag is an old one in historical brocade from the late 11th- early 12th century if I remember correctly, with silk tassels and cord.
To achieve the right silhouette a loose garment is the best, as well as wearing the belt below the natural waist and arrange the folds to drape nicely. If in need of a modern bra for support, choose one that doesn’t separate or enlarge the bust, but rather a soft bra.
A note on linings: Used in overdresses, gowns and cloaks. Fur, wool or linen are mentioned in sources, and also blends; wool/linen and cotton/linen which might be an option for cooler garments. The patterned linings in white and gray/blue is a representation of squirrel fur, the white being the stomach of the winter coat and the most expensive. (Actually, squirrel fur was so popular that the poor animal went extinct in areas during the medieval period.)
Would you like to check out more from this period? Kongshirden is a reenactment group focusing on the start of the 14th century in Norway, and they have some great clothing guides for free on their website! (in Norwegian, but there’s lots of pictures to check out).
18th century ball gown in silk taffeta, embroidered with sage green wines and leaves in silk thread. This is one of my latest projects I have been working on, and I wanted to post it here as part dress-diary and part inspiration for those of you that also like the 18th century!
I made this 18th-century gown for a fancy dress ball that never happened, but I am sure we will have the opportunity to go have fun together in the future! The gown is based on 1750-1760 fashion and pattern construction and is decorated with fabric ruffles and gold ribbons. Underneath I wear a skirt in the same fabric.
When I found this fabric in a sale I fell in love and wanted to make a gown with it, and keep the decor simple to let the fabric shine. The embroidery is not a reproduction but similar to other embroidered dresses from this period, so I let that decide the decade from which to get my inspiration.
The model is an English gown with the back bodice flowing into the skirt without a dividing waist seam. I based the sleeve pattern on my previous dress sleeves but remade it a bit to get the seam to angle the same way as the gowns I based the dress on.
I like handsewing a lot, but I wanted to see how I could make this kind of gown on a sewing machine to be able to cut down on production time (not all my customers wants to have handsewn garments) so the whole gown is actually lined and put together on my sewing machine. The finishing touches like hemming, decor and back seams are sewn by hand. It turned out neat, though it is a bit more complicated to make the fit perfect when I had to make all seams from the inside instead of sewing them as I fitted the dress on the body form.
Along with the gown I wear a skirt in the same fabric, and underneath a linen shift, corset, cotton skirt and side hoops. A silk fichu around my neck was needed to add warmth, and a fashionable hat for outdoor strolling.
Are you longing for that perfect iron age (viking) look of square awesomeness, yet still wanting to show off some womanly curves? Fear no more, this is how you make your apron dress fit really nicely! (Yes, we are going to be more serious real soon)
This apron dress is the same style as you can find in this tutorial, but back then I never guided you through the fitting, straps or stitching. Kind readers have asked for more details, so now this part 2 is here for you.
Ok, so let’s start with the dress already cut out and basted together (white machine thread). It looks something like this, hanging a bit boring…
I pinned two pieces of ribbon onto the dress to be able to try it on easily. These will later be my guides for making the sewn linen straps.
Now it is time to do some shaping! I like to wear my apron dresses higher up on my body, which means I get fabric bulk under my arms. To avoid that, I draft a curved line under my armpit and then cut away the excess fabric. You don’t have to make a full “arm hole”, just add some space for your arm.
The next step is to pin away fabric in the seam above the bust. Here the seam stood out a bit, so in order to follow the shape of my body, I pinned away a little fabric. As you can see in the photo it is not much, only to add a soft shape.
Next are the side seams in the front. I pin away fabric under my bust, turn at my natural waist and continue out in a soft line to the basting line again. The goal is not to achieve a super snug fit, just to highlight that you have a body underneath.
Continue with the back seams and pin away fabric to add some shape to your waist here too. I hold my hand by my natural waist, and as you can see I did not aim to make the apron dress tight. Just removing a couple of cms to add shape.
My goal here was to be able to wear the apron dress with a woollen kirtle underneath, so I needed the fit to be loose. If you want a tighter fit you can try pinning away more fabric- just remember to try it on with new basting seams afterwards to make sure you can get it on and off. Apron dresses never have lacing or such.
Now it is time to check out the new fit! Mark the position of your pins on both sides of the seams, remove them to be able to take off your dress easily, and then bast along the drafted lines.
Here you can already see the added shape of the bust and waist, even without the seams properly finished. When you are satisfied with the fit, remove the old basting from places with double basting. This is needed to finish the dress by hand with a historical stitch.
Press all seams with the basting still in place. (This step is important if you want to try out the seam below, but if you use a sewing machine for your dress you should first sew all seams on the machine, remove the basting thread and then press.)
Turn the apron dress so the right side is out (yes, we are sewing the dress from the outside) and start by the hem with a small whip stitch. Work your way up on the outside, fasten the thread on the inside of the garment as needed, and repeat with all four seams.
The key to making this seam look neat is to make small stitches mainly running on the inside of the garment. I like to start from the bottom up, so I can try out the best thread tension and width between the stitches where it does not show so much. The pressing in the step before also helps a lot, as well as the basting on the inside, keeping the garment together while I sit comfortably on the sofa, sewing.
After the seams are closed on the outside, I remove the basting thread on the inside. Then I finish of the seams by cutting down the seam allowance on one side, and pressing the other seam allowance over this side. This way I just have to make one more whip-stitched seam for each long seam, instead of two.
Every seam is sewn two times with whip-stitching. This makes the seams sturdy and flexible!
When the dress is done, it is time to make some straps! Use the ribbons from earlier as your mockups /guides to decide how long your straps should be, but remember that the tortoise brooches will take some space too. Add seam allowance (3 cm) and extra for your loops. If you are unsure, make the strap 10 cm longer and then cut away the end you don’t need when you have made the loop and finished off everything else.
The measure for my dress straps was approx 30 cm long and 4 cm wide. I made 2, and then 2 really short ones to make the loops attached to the apron dress above the front seams. Then I pressed the straps in the middle, folded them, and then folded in the edges. Very smooth!
Whipstitch the folded straps along the edge. When you have finished, press them again but with the seam in the middle. This way the stitching will be protected in the middle and the straps will be looking really nice and even.
To make the loop in the edge of the strap, finish the seam along the line and then fold the edge back and fasten it with some stitches. I like these loops, they keep the brooch in place and look neat. The small fabric pieces for the lower loops get treated in the same way. Double fold, press, whipstitch along the line and fold to a loop.
Fasten the lower loops to the front, and remember to put them where you pinned your ribbons on in the beginning. The placement will help the shaping of the garment. If you wear a modern underwire bra, the placement of the loops is often towards the middle from the bra straps. Remember that your tortoise brooches should have a fairly even place to rest on your body.
Before attaching the straps to the back, try the dress on with your tortoise brooches, to adjust the length needed for your straps. When you are satisfied, pin the straps in place on your back, and sew them with some waxed linen thread. I like to work my way around the strap and through the wool fabric to make them sturdy.
That’s it! We’re done with all the fitting and sewing, and owners of a splendid apron dress with a perfect fit! Did you like this post? Support me on Patreon to help me make more!
Men kolla! En adventskalender från Handcrafted History! Nu kanske du tänker att det är superlångt till advent, men det är det ju inte. Bara lite mer än en månad, faktiskt. Så köp en rolig och vettig kalender till dig själv (eller någon annan?)
Vad innehåller den? 24 påsar med hantverksmaterial/redskap för den medeltidsintresserade textilhantverkaren, blandat med lite projekt och bling. Färg och användbarhet är ledorden.
1300 kr inklusive frakt inom Sverige (värde ca 1560 kr). Vill du samfrakta med andra för att spara på miljön, eller hämta på min ateljé utanför Sundsvall? I så fall bjuder jag på en extra present!
Boka din genom att maila firstname.lastname@example.org och skriv din adress och telnr för avi. Du får en bekräftelse med betalningsalternativ att välja mellan och ditt paket skickas sedan ut veckan innan advent!
(Jag kommer inte ha möjlighet/tid att göra massor av kit, så först till kvarn och jag meddelar om bokningen blir full. Det låter lite exklusivt nästan? Mvh egenföretagaren)
This year, I am able to offer an Advent Calendar filled with handcrafting materials, tools, some project ideas and shiny things.24 bags will be filled with useful and colourful items, and to book you just send me an email with your address, name and email for traced shipping, and I will confirm your booking with a payment link. International price is 1400 sek (approx 127 Euro) incl insured shipping and payment by Paypal. I’ll happily ship several calendars in one box for environmental reasons (and will include an extra gift for you if you choose to order with friends to the same address)
Unfortunately, the shipping time outside Sweden/Europe is still uncertain and I can only offer my Swedish customers delivery before the end of November. However, if you are still interested- feel free to send me an email!
This is my journal notes and photos from a fun project from the 18th century.
This gown took a really long time to finish! I have worked on it on and off for two years I think, while learning about 18th century tailoring technics and different models. I find it more fun to learn as I go along handcrafting, the problem is when you learn too much too fast, realise your mistakes, and have to start over.
I finally landed in some kind of Italian style gown, based on 1770-1780s fashion plates. The gown is made in silk taffeta and the skirt in silk satin- (Also based on fashion plates but made in 2019 when I was on my first 18th-century inspired ball. )
The back of the body does not continue down into the skirt like in a english gown, but is sewn as a bodice piece with the skirt gathered and stitched in place all the way around. Silk taffeta always shows every little wrinkle, but I am satisfied with the fit.
Wool would have made a better drape, but since the silk is so light, the skirt does not pull the body straight after I have moved around with my arms or twisted the body. This was also a new experience- my earlier medieval silk gowns are looser and heavier than this one. It was also really interesting to model a gown on a corset instead of my own, softer body. Both easier and more difficult.
The front is overlapped and closes by pinning the opening, which I found useful as it allows the size to differ a bit. Say, if you for example loves snacks better than exercise…
I also made loose lace ruffles to wear by the elbow, they are basted in place when I need them so I may use them on different dresses. It got a little more bulky than sewing them into the sleeve, but I think they will work fine as soon as they have bent to the shape of my arms a bit.
I am not finished with this look quite yet; I don’t have proper 18th century shoes and my hair is styled with silly amounts of hair spray as I don’t have fake hair/hair pieces and correct styling tools for hair (yet?). The hairstyle is based on American Duchess book on 18th century beauty, but my hair is too short right now. I will have to get some good false pieces and more hair pins. And shoes. And maybe a pair of good socks too. Then I will be ready for…ehm, another project?
This is a fun garment since it is both practical and in my opinion, also cute. But it took me several years of studying medieval manuscripts and art before I got interested in this type of garment. It seems so modern? But once I noticed it, I found more examples in different places and even a contemporary pattern diagram in Drei Schnittbucher dated from the 16th century. Most sources I have saved originate in central Europe, mainly today’s Germany.
The jacket or short coat can be seen in both late 15thc entury and 16th century artworks, but all examples I have seen are worn by working women, from farmers to ladies’ servants. One source in Drei Schnittbucher mentions a short jacket owned by a burgher class member, which indicates that it might have been a fashionable item and not only something worn for “survival”.
The jacket above is similar to the pattern diagram I found, though it has cuffs. The front closure is hidden but might be hooks and eyes, and the sleeves are S-sleeves put into a shaped armhole. The skirt part hangs in soft folds, probably a circle shape.
In the left corner, the lady wears a green jacket over a dress. She might be a maid or retainer of some kind, based on her dress and position in the picture. The jacket is fitted with a narrow sleeve and a fashionable neckline. The skirt part hangs in soft folds.
The blue jacket is fitted but the sleeve is a bit looser than the green one, and the neckline higher and rounded. I decided to base my jacket silhouette mainly on this picture (late 15th century).
Based on contemporary sources the jacket seems to be a practical garment to keep you warm while still allowing you to go on your daily chores (and keeping that fashionable silhouette!) I have found several sources from the middle of the 16th century onwards, often with the skirt part shortened like the jacket above. The black jacket has a short skirt, straight narrow sleeves and a collar of some kind. The collars seem to belong to the 16th century.
Differences between the 15th century and the 16th century styles:
Late 15th century jackets seen in art are all colourful, with straight sleeves narrow or loose, longer skirts (the lenght of the skirt and the length of the upper body seem to be similar) and with simple, rounded necklines.
16th century jackets transform from this softer style to a more shaped and fitted garment with details to accentuate the tailoring such as collars or sleeves starting farther down the shoulder.
This time I decided to make a jacket to be worn with my 15th century wardrobe. Some years ago, I tried out this pattern by making a black jacket to be worn with my 16th century working woman’s outfit, but I sold it and wanted to try some variations. The blue jacket above became my inspiration, and I used the pattern diagram from the 16th century source to draft the jacket. The side seam is adjusted towards the back on that pattern, but in retrospective I think that is a bit too modern for the late 15th century style, but I got curious to try it out.
Drafting the pattern pieces
I decided on a straight S-sleeve to get good movement even when wearing dresses under the jacket, a longer skirt and a rounded neckline. The front closes with hooks and eyes. The original tailoring book states the lining needed for the jacket which is roughly half of the amount needed for the jacket. The fabric widths could be different since the pattern mention different amount of lining for different skirt lengths, or the skirt was not lined. I decided to put lining into the skirt too, to see how it would turn out as well as to make it more wind resistant.
The best way to create a skirt with even, soft folds, like the longer versions seen in the sources, is to use a circular cut on the skirt, rather than straight panels and gores. The contemporary pattern also suggests this style, so I went with that option.
The length of the skirt in 15th century sources seems to be around the same lenght as the torso, around 40-50 cm long perhaps. I decided to go with that. The tailoring pattern suggests a skirt lenght between 39 cm to 52 cm, which can be seen in the woodcut by Beham above.
To draft the correct size for the skirt pieces, measure around your waist and use that measure to calculate the inner circle diameter of the half moon, and draft the piece from there.
Example: Measurement around waist: 80 cm = circumference of the inner circle. That makes the diameter approx 26 cm, and the radius 13 cm. The length of the skirt = 40 cm. Mark 40 cm + 26 cm + 40 cm on a straight line = diameter on the skirt pattern piece (the straight side of the half moon). To draft the rest of the skirt, start with drafting the half-circle waist hole (measure from the middle of the line and draw a half-circle 13 cm from this point all around). Use this line to draw out the bigger half moon shape, by measuring 40 cm outwards all around the curve. Make 2 pieces for the skirt.
The upper body pieces are based on my toile/mock-up I already have (check out my Patreon for a video on how to make a mock-up yourself). To move the side seams I cut off a bit from the back piece and taped this side to side with the front piece instead. After that, I added seam allowance and some extra movement in the sides, shoulder and front to make the garment suited to wear over other clothing.
The sleeves are based on my existing S-sleeve pattern, cut in two. I added new seam allowance and made the sleeves a bit wider than my dress sleeves to get more movement.
Differences between the pattern from Drei Schnittbucher and mine: The waist seam got rounded to create a soft fall and looser fit, and the shoulder seams were shortened to make the sleeve fit the anatomical arm, creating a softer look more suitable to the late 15th century style. I removed the collar piece on the back and decided to make the back piece as one, instead of having a seam in the middle back. Both options are represented in tailoring from late 15th century art sources, I just didn’t need the back seam to achieve a good fit. The last alteration I did was to piece the skirt parts to save on fabric. In the tailoring book, the sleeves are made in two pieces, probably to save on fabric, and I wanted to do the same to be able to cut them out from the scraps left over after cutting body and skirt pieces.
My jacket needed around 1,5 meters of fabric with 1,5 meters width for both outer fabric and lining, but I would recommend at least 2 meters of both if you have, if you are not smaller than I am!
Fabric: I decided on a medium thick wool twill for the jacket to keep me warm, with a soft muted madder tone. The lining is made in thin unbleached linen. I aimed to make the jacket a working garment and not too fancy, but neither coarse nor homemade.
When I have made all pieces (back, front *2, sleeves *2, skirt *2) I like to cut these out in a mock-up fabric (like an old sheet) bast them together and try the garment on over the dress, to ensure I have enough space for movement. Adjust if needed, and then I use the mock-up as my pattern and draft the pieces on the wool fabric and lining.
I like basting- here are some more benefits:
no pins will disappear or hurt you
no slippery fabric moving, giving you uneven seams
easy to try it on several times
easy to adjust
basting is so secure you can sit on the sofa with your project in your knee, without messing up the fit.
I prefer to sew one seam completely finished before the next, which is faster and more ergonomic than first assembling the garment, and then reaching all the seams for felling the seam allowances.
Sewing thread: unbleached linen 35/2 for most seams, paired with a sewing wool yarn for felling seams and create softer seam allowances. These are the materials I work with fastest. You can also use linen thread for the whole jacket, which would be a bit more historical as far as I have researched.
For me, the most important thing when hand-sewing is to make easy, fast seams without adding unnecessary strain to my fingers. The lining is put in at the same time as I sew the pieces together, in seams that need more sturdiness like shoulders and sides. In the skirt, the lining is fastened in the seam allowance when felling this down. The sleeves are made as 4 separate sleeves, and then the lining is put in. This minimizes the bulkiness in the sleeve seams.
Notes: linen thread if nothing else is stated. Sa= seam allowance.
This is my sewing order for hand-sewing the entire garment:
Start by joining the sleeve linings into whole sleeves with running stitches. Press the sa and whipstitch down to one side or leave them unfinished. Join the wool sleeves with back stitches. Fold down the sa, whipstitch down to one side and repeat with the back seam to get 2 complete wool sleeves.
Sew the shoulder seams with backstitches, wool + lining at the same time. Press down sa to either side, whipstitch down. I leave the basting in while sewing, and place my seam 1 mm to the side to avoid sewing into the basting thread. This makes it easier to remove the basting thread once I am done.
Backstitch the side seams together in the same way. I like to leave these open to adjust the fit if my weight changes, so I just whipstitch the sa but leave it loose from the main body. Then I put the sleeves in the armholes and sew them with backstitching. Cut down the sa and fell it towards the body with whipstitching.
I sewed the wool skirt parts together with back stitching and pressed the sa to either side. After that, I put the lining into the skirt pieces by folding the sa down to either side and whipstitched the lining in place.
Attach the skirt to the body with backstitches. Try on the jacket and mark out the hemlines; check the length of sleeves and skirt hem.
The skirt is finished by cutting down the lining a bit to avoid a bulky seam, and then the wool hem is double folded over the lining and whipstitched in place.
The front got a reinforcement strip in wool on the inside before the closure was added. I use running stitches and sew it front to front, then fold it over, press it to a good shape and whip stitch the loose part to the lining. A row of stitching along the edge makes it neat and durable (shown in the assembly photo).
The sleeve wool fabric is folded over the lining by the wrists and whip stitched in place. The neckline is also folded down twice and whipstitched. After that, I like to press it and then add a row of stitching around the opening to make it even neater!
Last, I added hooks and eyes to the front to be able to close the jacket.
This was a really fun project to do, and I have used the jacket a lot this season. It is easy to work in and doesn’t get as heavy as my coat does. Useful for medieval adventures!
If you know me, you know I am travelling and living my medieval/viking adventure life right now, and both blog and social media conversations are running low. If you are new- welcome here! I will not leave you bored in the middle of the event season, but have prepared some interesting posts for you to check out.
The best way to reach me right now is by email. I also try to keep Instagram updated, but rarely use Facebook since it doesn’t work great on the phone. https://linktr.ee/handcraftedhistory for more ways to reach me!
If you are attending Medeltidsveckan in Visby, you can find me at Kapitelhusgården from Sunday to Sunday. The shop is open, and I also have workshops in pattern drafting and tablet weaving. These are currently fully booked, but you can check out the full schedule here: https://medeltidsveckan.se/programme/
Are you attending one of my workshops and have questions? Send me an email! The info at the program states if you need anything special (like a modern t-shirt or similar clothes on your body for the pattern making) othervise you can just stroll in with a snack and a ticket- I will bring everything else!
If you want to check out more about Medeltidsveckan I have written about past adventures here; https://handcraftedhistory.blog/?s=visby where you also find the old guide and the packing list in Swedish.
In my shop you will find lots of straw hats and felted wool hats- but be sure to come by early in the week to secure the colour/size you want. Last year they sold out. For you readers interested in straw and wool hats but not attending Medeltidsveckan- I will open up my Etsy store and start accepting commissions when I am back home and can start packing and shipping regularly again. Thank you for your patience! (Yes- I remember you who have emailed/pm/contacted me)
New blog posts, patterns and research articles will be coming again this autumn- I look forward to share new and interesting stuff with you! With that said, I will continue with my packing/working/panic sewing days. Yes, I also have late projects. Yes, I will also sew on the ferry over… It is tradition, is it not?
In Sweden, the historical camping season has begun, and with that lots of clever reenactors are sitting at home, working on their packing lists and piling their things in large heaps. For your convenience and enjoyment, I have asked around after the best packing tips, clever hacks and what-not-to-forget as a beginner.
Here it is, the Ultimate Packing List! Containing everything and more, just what you need to plan your event. Just adjust after your preference and need, and print it out!