Handcrafted History

Historical and modern handcraft mixed with adventures

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November update

A post about shopping, giving discounts and what I am up to now.

Today it is black Friday, and you are apparently supposed to buy lots and lots of things and all companies are having lots of sales, special offers and the like. Not me. Why?

As a small business runner, I have discovered lots of thing about selling and producing things, and about the market in general, so to speak. One of the things I have learned, is that to have sales and discounts on things, you will have to either 1. earn less (not an option for big companies) or 2. earn the money in other ways. So if your favourite store or brand have large discounts and sales all the time, it means that it isn’t really a discount but the regular price – the price they want for the product to sell it with profit. All the other times when they sell on full price is just an extra income; more profit for each product. It really is very logical; why should a professional company sell things that they do not profit on?

This means, for me to have regular sales, I would have to rise my prices with about 20%, and then sit back and enjoy every time a customer bought a piece on full price. But that doesn’t feel very honest. So every time I do offer something on sale the cut goes on my income; it basically means I have been working hours for free. Sometimes I take that cut; to sell items that has been in stock for some times, or to give a close friend or a regular some discount. But I will most certainly not do it because it’s a shopping day, on which people are supposed to buy things just because…

working at home is fun, but also tiring when the work spreads through the whole house

With second-hand things it is a bit different. I often sell items after just a couple of uses, and that is mainly because they are experiments on new materials, technics or garments that I really wanted to make, but maybe not needed. Also, some items is getting sold because they don’t fit, or don’t get used enough. These items I do not sell as a part of my business main income- but to give myself space and income for a new project to take place. For me it is really important to not just make pieces on order, but allow myself to get inspired and creative in order to grow as a tailor and seamstress. For this reasons, you can often find barely used garments for a much better price at my facebook page.

This time of year is a bit slow for reenactment business, and I finished my last orders a couple of days ago. So now I am writing on new blogposts, working on new tutorials, reading books and sewing some new things for myself and the shop. Like this hood; just a small piece that turned out quite lovely, and is going up on the fb page for sale.

Do you want a special item made for yourself, as a Christmas gift or for next years season? Now is an excellent time to order; by late spring I usually have quite a delivery time if not fully booked. Hope you are having a nice weekend- with more snow than drizzling rain.

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Great reading inspiration

Recently, I was at the SCA event Kingdom University, and there I met lots of really good handcrafting persons. As a result, I got lots of inspiration, new knowledge and good tips on where to read and look for new inspiration. I wanted to share some tips with you, so here is some really good links to other people’s research and blogs;

Textile time travels is such an excellent blog by Annika where she generously shares her knowledge and projects.

Historical textiles have a very interesting blog about different historical finds and such, and a completely awesome dictionary with textile terms in different languages; perfect for reading blogs or books in a foreign language!

Anna/Renika has a nice blog about 15th century clothing, full of both research and sewing tips.

Lia is a skilled crafter that has a blog about her many projects; read and be inspired!

Eva/Aleydis has a blog about her costuming work, apart from some really cool silk dress projects, you can also read some more about Kingdom University there!

Right now, I’m working with the photos from Kingdom Univ, sewing on some projects, and trying to stay alive in the cold, dark November of Sweden. When I have worked through all the pictures I will show you them, along with some really great paintings ans sculptures from the Rijksmuseum. See you!



Hur du använder ett modernt mönster

This post is in Swedish, since I made a sketch for it really long ago, but never came around to finish it. It is about how to use modern patterns in an easy way, and some good (swedish) clothing patterns that I like.

Har du precis köpt ett fint nytt mönster, kommer hem, packar upp det och inser att du nog är världens mest ointelligenta person? Jag tror vi alla varit där, men att tyda köpesmönster så som Burda behöver inte vara omöjligt svårt.


  1. Bestäm dig för vilken modell du vill göra och vilken storlek du har. Kontrollmät på din egen kropp och anteckna om dina mått inte verkar stämma med mönstrets (mönstret är trots allt bara gjort för en modellkropp och sen beräknad i olika storlekar).
  2. Du får klippa, rita och kludda på ditt mönster. Jag lovar! Klipp ut de instruktioner du vill ha (om möjligt) så slipper du råka läsa spanska tips mitt i allt… Tejpa ihop viktiga texter med varandra. Markera med en penna de ord och ställen som du tror är viktiga.

  1. Inte allt på en gång. Mystiska teckningar och instruktioner du inte förstår? Det är inte meningen att du ska förstå allt på en gång! Börja från steg ett och arbeta dig igenom beskrivningen så kommer det vara mer logiskt när du kommer fram till punkten och har ditt arbete i handen.
  2. Fuska. Inte sugen på att lära dig sy passpoalfickor just nu? Hoppa över dem då och sy det du är sugen på. Personlig design kallas det att göra mönsterändringar.
  3. Mönsterpappret från helvetet. Sömnadsindustrin vill gärna att det ska vara så svårt som möjligt att sy, eller så är alla mönsterutvecklare snåla- jag vet inte. Grejjen är att mönsterarken är gjorda i världens tunnaste skräpkvalité, och om du frågar på tygaffären så kommer de sälja dig en rulle mönsterpapper i samma tunna skräpkvalité. Gå inte på det! Köp istället byggplast, sådant som du har för att skydda golvet när du målar väggar, eller köp non-woven mönsterpapper som är lite mer som ett tunt tyg i kvalitén. Bägge är genomskinliga, går bra att rita på men går inte sönder lika lätt som vanligt mönsterpapper. Nu kan du rita av alla delar du behöver på bättre material, och skratta medan du gör det.
  4. Svårt att veta vilken linje du ska följa? Fram med en markeringspenna igen! En glad röd linje längs med alla rätta linjer i din storlek på originalmönsterarket kan verka tråkigt att göra, men gör det så himla mycket lättare att rita av bitarna sedan. Lätt är rätt.

Sist men inte minst; välj vilka märken du köper dina mönster ifrån. Vissa märken kan vara svårare att förstå än andra, och vara gjorda med olika standardmått (ja, det finns olika) beroende på var de är producerade. Ett av mina favoritmärken är Svenska Mönster, vars ägare Stina jag träffade på en Symässa. Svenska Mönster har storlekar anpassade efter svensk (europeisk) standard, lätta mönster och beskrivningar på svenska som är enkla att följa. Men framför allt är grundaren en sån himla cool kvinna som gör allt själv, driver sitt företag på svensk mark och är både kunnig och trevlig. Jag rekommenderar!

I bilderna ovan har jag använt ett mönster från Burda som exempel, de är internationella men har svenska översättningar på sina mönster, och ett enormt utbud. Det finns också många små mönsterutvecklare som säljer via internetbutiker på tex Etsy, och där kan du hitta formgivare och designers som utgår från speciella mått, kroppsformer, stilar, nivåer på sömnadskunskaper… Allt du kan tänka dig, och sjukt mycket mer.




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The Viking Amber Project

This is my latest just-because-it’s-nice project. I wanted to make a viking outfit on a certain theme; so I chosed my amber necklace and worked from that one to create a whole outfit.

Some pieces you might recognise from before; the shawl is my first handweaved project, and the apron dress is in fact the orange dress that I have cut out and redid into an apron dress since my shoulders and back have become a bit bigger (hello gym!) To make straps and a supporting band around the upper hem I made a tablet woven band and sewed it into place.

I also made a bit extra to wear as a headband, looks kind of cute, and is practical for keeping your hair in place and for pinning a veil to it. It is tied in the neck with a knot. I got the idea from a grave in Birka/Björkö were there was a find of the same band on both clothing and skull, though I didn’t read how the band on the skull was arranged or if it was sewed onto something.

The hairdo is inspired from an Iron age find of a woman having her hair in plaited buns (aka Leia buns almost) but to achieve a more historical look, a bit of fake hair could be applied (women seem to have had more and longer hair when washing and chemicals weren’t the thing). It is also a bit messy from having a rest in the tent earlier.

The jewelry is based on findings from mostly Sweden, the brooches from Öland, and some of the bronze items like the needle case is from Historiska Fynd. The glass beads I have made myself, the amber necklace and some other jewelry is bought on different viking markets. Amber beads is found in several graves; if you want to use amber in your viking outfit look for big, regularly shaped beads, or faceted ones. The small nuggets are very modern, the viking lady seemed to prefer her beads big and luxurious.

About the layers: the linen shift is barely visible and over that is a hand stitched woolen dress of uncoloured wool from Medeltidsmode. The apron dress is made of thin wool and have tablet woven bands on it. The coat is made of a wool, also from Medeltidsmode, and hand stitched with woolen thread. Wearing several woolen layers is a good way of staying warm in the autumn season, but they get a bit heavy, so for comfort I used my tablet woven wool belt to fasten the skirts at the waist, so my hips could carry some weight from the outfit.

To keep the shawl in place I fastened it with the brooches; in this way my neck stays warm but you can still se the rest of the outfit and the jewelry at the front. For a warmer look, I use a small brooch to fasten it at the front beneth my breasts.

Historically? There is sometimes a different amount of loops or fabric underneth the tortoise brooches in finds, indicating that several layers of clothing was held in place by the brooches, and sometimes more layers on the bottom or the top of the brooches. But there is also several graves with clasps or brooches at the front of the body with fabric in them, suggesting that the woman wore an other garment that fastened at the front, like a cloak, shawl or coat. But really, there is much we doesn’t know for sure- so this is a “suggested way of wearing viking clothes” and not a “we now this for sure-outfit”.

Without the coat and with the shawl pushed back. Still comfy and warm, without having to hold the shawl in place by myself.


Putting on the shawl. Here you can also se the knot at the neck for the head band.

Dramatic and cool viking woman! Yeah! (I was having a bad cold at the moment, but you can always pretend)