Handcrafted History

Historical and modern handcraft mixed with adventures


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14th century cotehardie

I have been reading up on 15-16th century medieval Europe, including art and clothing, for some years now and haven’t really been into 14th century for a while; I even sold of my Moy Bog gown and some other dresses. But then my friend J told me she wanted to brick stitch embroider a couple of purses; and I could have one in exchange for a minor handcraft effort (at least I thought so- I’m not really into embroidery…) and then I would need a fitting dress to that… And in almost no time I had this one finished, a hand stitched woolen cotehardie with silk lining, silk lacing at the front and short sleeves.

The dress is for the higher classes, and in pictures from the late 14th century it is worn with a kirtle underneath (a tight-fitting dress often with buttoned sleeves). Then it seems like the dress remain into the beginning of the 15th century, and is worn as a kirtle/middle dress with loose sleeves for a more fashionable look. After that, the dress seems to change a bit into the waist seam dresses (like my blue Weyden dress). This kind of dresses is very common on contemporary art and you can see them in different countries, with long or short sleeves, laced front or a hidden side lacing, and with buttons or lacing at the sleeves.

If you would like to make a dress like this for yourself, search late 14th and early 15th art sources (I have some at my reading tips) or look at my Pinterest bord about cotehardies.

Here’s my best tips for making the dress fit nicely:

  • Fit the sleeves in carefully, they should be snug around the arm for both good movement and the right look.
  • Make the lacing holes 1,5-2 cm from each other, no more, to make sure the lacing will not show the shift underneath.
  • Use a lining inside the dress to make it more supportive for the bust, to add shape and draping to the skirt. If you have a tight fabric budget; just line the upper body.
  • Try the dress on often during your work with it, and make the lacing before hemming and neckline. Also, you may fit in the dress at the end for that perfect look by leaving the side seams open until last. These are also good to leave open (just back stitch them and secure the selvages if necessary by zigzag or whip stitches) for adjusting shape, support or weight loss/gain in an easy and fast way.

On these pictures it is worn with loose silk brocade sleeves, but I’m planning on making a kirtle for it with long sleeves to wear under. On the head I wear my hair in temple braids, and then a silk tablet woven hairband. The veil is pinned down to that, and then I have a woolen hood for warmth. The gloves are modern and just for warmth, it was really chilly to go out with just one dress.

This was the first event trying it out, and after that I have been adjusting the dress a bit. Inside lining; the silk fabric getting snowy outside.

 

Hairband, pins and veil.

Historical accurate? The model is quite common for the late 14th and early 15th century, and the siluette of the period is a rather straith and smooth one, which I have tried to achieve by making the dress a bit loosely fitted around waist and hip area, in order to get the lean look of the time (I am built a bit to curvy for the 14th c ideal). The woolen twill fabric with it´s blue colour is representative for the periods upper class, blue is a common colour in women´s clothing during the medieval period, and the twill weave is fine and good looking. Dresses shown in period art often has a contrasting coloured lining, but it seems that this was most often in wool, linen or a cotton blend, while silk blends seems to be more common during the 16th century. For a more historical dress I would have lined the dress in a very thin wool, or made the whole dress out of silk. The pink, hand woven silk was chosen for it’s cheap price (1/3 of a wool fabric of the same weight), it’s look and the lightness of the fabric, making the dress comfortable and not hot at all.


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Going to Visby

Om ett par dagar bär det av till Visby, och jag kommer som vanligt hålla kurser på Kapitelhusgården! Kom gärna förbi och kursa med mig, eller säg hej om du ser mig på stan- jag tycker att det är så himla roligt att få träffa bloggläsare!

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Här är mina kurser (köp biljetter direkt i programmet eller droppa in en halvtimme innan i mån av plats)

Tisdag: 12.30 “Toile”

Grunder i mönsterkonstruktion för medeltida kläder där du gör en toile för överkroppen. Kom iklädd tajtare t-shirt/linne. Material och verktyg ingår.

Onsdag 08.30 “Toile”

Grunder i mönsterkonstruktion för medeltida kläder där du gör en toile för överkroppen. Kom iklädd tajtare t-shirt/linne. Material och verktyg ingår.

Torsdag 08.30 “Ärmar”

För dig som gått toilekurser/har en toile för överkroppen sedan tidigare och vill göra ärmar. Gör en ärmtoile till dig själv, få en massa sömnadstips och teori. Genomgång av svängd ärm, ärmkulle, Särm, Moybog mm. Material och verktyg ingår.

Torsdag 12.30 ”Brickbandsvävning med mönster”

Grundkurs för dig som vill väva men inte vet hur. Tydlig genomgång och handledning för att påbörja vävning och förstå vävda mönster. Material, verktyg/brickor och häfte ingår.

Fredag 08.30 ”Brickbandsvävning under medeltiden”

Grundkurs för dig som vill väva medeltida vardagsföremål. Snabb och effektiv vävning av strumpeband, bälten mm som blir enfärgade eller enkelt mönstrade. Historisk genomgång av fynd och tekniker. Material, verktyg/brickor och häfte ingår.

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Jag vill också passa på att göra reklam för den hemliga shoppen; den håller öppet nere på marknaden (sammma tält som förra året, men med en ny placering. Håll utkik efter skylten!) under onsdag kväll.

Yeay! In a couple of days me, love and our friend Lali (the Swedish guest blogger with all the great 16th c outfits) will be traveling to Visby Medieval Week, and we will be there all week!

I am working at Kapitelhusgården with workshops, and the rest of the time we are planning to hang out with friends, eat ice-cream, go to the medieval market, visit shows and hearing music concerts.

Here is some links if you are going to; for the schedule and the inofficial schedule for the week. And as always, if you see me during the week I would love to meet you and say Hi!

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From the SCA event Majgreve

This May I went to a small and cozy weekend event outside Stockholm, to watch the Majgreve tournament and meet with new and old friends. It was such a nice event, the weather was perfect and the site beautiful.

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Wow, what a site! Don’t you want to go for a swim?

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During Saturday, everyone hanged outside by the lake, having lunch picknick-style, playing or chatting with each other.

The fighters got hot; so they continued to practice in the lake.

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I also got too hot, and decided for a swim in the lake. It was very cold, but very nice! I didn’t take any bathing photos because of no swimwear, but look at how happy I was afterward!

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I put up my shop on the grass and tempted children with stuffed horses and adults with shiny jewels. Works every time!

The jug sneaked around the bush, going on adventures of its own. Who owned it? Don’t know, but I know that it is based on a find of a medieval clay jug.

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Court in the shade

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Afternoon sun by the lake

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In the evening, tables was set outside by the shore and on the pier, and everyone enjoyed a pot-luck feast together!

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And finally, some photos of fellow SCAdians! I always try to take some photos and/or portraits during events, to let you meet some of all the amazing people I get to meet during my adventures!

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I had an amazing weekend, and really recommend you to visit a SCA event if you haven’t already, or to visit Majgreve next year if you live closer to Sweden and Stockholm!

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Wearing my 16th century trossfrau outfit during the event. If you want to know more about it, read my other blog posts about 16th century clothing, and check out my tutorials on the subject =)


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Medeltidsveckan på Gotland!

Wow, time sure runs fast during summer. Now it is only 2,5 weeks before the medieval week in Visby, on the island Gotland here in Sweden and I have lots of work to do before we travel there. Me and love will be traveling with our friend L, and as usual, I will be at Kapitelhusgården holding workshops during the week. If you want to attend one of them you can prebook here.

There will also be a Secret Shop opening on a Secret Location in the market place during the week. If you know what I’m talking about- watch out for the sign!

Anyway, I haven’t had the time to write new posts for you, even if I have heaps of good photos and adventures to tell you about. They will have to wait until autumn, and instead I wanted to give you some reading tips (in Swedish and English) if you are preparing for Visby (or any other medieval/viking event) and want some inspiration.

Some photos from last week 2017

…and more photos from the year before

The list I wrote some years ago for packing for a medieval tent event

My guide (in English) to the Medieval week and in Swedish

Hope you will enjoy these links, and if you are going to visit Visby- I would be so happy if you came by and said hi to me =) Some of my most dear memories includes meeting readers and making new friends during the medieval week!

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Tales from Double Wars

We went to the SCA event Double Wars in southern Sweden (Skåne) and traveled from early snowy spring to full summer in a day. Magical event on a beautiful site, and a really large historical camping ground. The drive took about 15 hours, so we divided it in two days and made some small stops and side trips along the way, like visiting historical buildings and eating ice-cream.

I am working on photos from the event, so the following blog post will be about the event, site, camp and lots of inspirational photos for you- hope you enjoy it!

The new red dress, late 14th century, in red wool with pewter buttons and front lacing. Since the event took place in early May, a warmer dress like this was a good choice. Being photographed in the camp site

Out new tent from Tentorium; we are really satisfied with the quality and the rainproof fabric, it kept us dry and comfortable living during the week-long event. Took the photo one morning, getting dressed in the late 15th c green kirtle (I will come back to this outfit later in a separate blog post)

One day we went for a short stroll down to the lake, through magical green forests with woodgarlic and birdsong

Do you remember my green houppelande with rabbit fur? I sold it, and tried out a new  model (how else to learn?) in a green high quality wool, lined with silk and trimmed with the same silk fabric, to imitate a painting I got inspired by. I call it the Weyden outfit; and I will write more about it when I got the time.

Love is feeling very well now, and was spending most of his time hanging around the archery, practicing or just having a good time. He is wearing a 14th century outfit, made of wool.

I also like archery, and discovered that most of my outfits was wearable for shooting and handling the bow. Even the fancy new red dress, with large veil was ok. What I didn’t like? My straw hat and the temple braids; they got in my way.

Here with love, practicing archery

Strolling around the camp groundsMarket day, love is jumping in to help some customers, while I had a snack and talked about clothing with friends.

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Me and Aleydis by the lake, she was swimming in the cold water, while I was minding the sun…

Do you like what you see? SCA is a big organisation that is active in lots of European countries, USA, as well as other places around the world. Google SCA and your country or city to find out if you have a local group to join- SCA is friendly for beginners and there is lots of help and friends to have if you want to join in and journey with us to long-ago-times!


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Quick update and a new dress

Just wanted to give you a short update, and show you my new dress. This time of the year my work is quite intense, with workshops, markets, events and commissions coming up. Lots of sewing, planning and packing is done, so there will be less time for making good tutorials and other free stuff for the blog. But I will come back with new clothing, inspirational photos and reports from events!

Today, I am driving north here in Sweden to hold a two days workshop in pattern construction for a medieval group, stopping along the way to meet with friends. I love this time of the year, when all the summer’s events is ahead and everyone is thawing out after winter.

For this season I have made some new clothing to replace pieces I ‘ve been selling, and I just wanted to post a few pictures of my red dress- it is so comfy and also pretty in that medieval way…

The dress is a late 14th c cotehardie, which is french for “kirtle” or “dress”, indicating the over garment that is shown, worn by both men and women (the garments looked different but was made in similar ways). Mine is made with long sleeves, and buttoned from wrist to elbow with 40 small pewter buttons. The front closes with lacing, and the whole dress is handsewn with silk thread, the buttonholes and lacing with buttonhole thread (I do sell it on my Etsy shop- have you visit it?)

The dress does not have a super tight fit- you don’t have to do a super tight dress if you don’t want to for the late 14th century. This one can be worn over a linen shift, or with a middle dress/kirtle under it. The important thing is rather to get the fit and silhoette right.

The back, showing the movement of the sleeves and my new thin linen veil =) I am planning on making a tutorial for this dress, but since it is lots of hours of work it will have to wait, probably until autumn. But I do make them on commission, so if you would like one of your own and don’t want to sew one…


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The 16th century working woman part 1- The research

This is a post about (one of) my 16th century outfits; and due to several years of research, work and sewing experiences it will probably be more than one post- with different focus. In this, I will give you an overview and some background research. The outfit is already finished, worn, mended and in line for some redoing, so I will be able to share the whole process with you; both good and bad outcomes and what I could have done different.

My aim was to make a good recreation of a whole outfit for a woman from early 1500s German (or possibly southern Scandinavian area, since this was influenced by German fashion at the time). She is not poor, but works for her living, maybe on a larger farm or in a smaller city. She is well dressed; as is the ladies on all the art I have studied, but like other working women, she own practical clothing with a skirt short enough to stay out of her way, and a cut to the clothing that is both economical and practical. Contrary from the trossfraus (the women who follows the mercenary armies) she does not wear slashed and mismatched clothing, but items that belong to each other and to a certain class in society. She follows sumptuary laws and does her hair in the braided fashion, or covers it with a simple cap and veil while working.

I wanted to show you some interesting images of 16th century women in art so I put together some examples for you;

Three women; wearing work tools but also lots of interesting clothing. The shoes are practical and the skirts reach the foot, not the ground. 

A painted glass piece showing the milking and making of butter. A (probably) younger woman has her hair in two braids, and a covering apron to protect her clothing. The older woman has a veil, a jacket and a dress hiked up in her belt.

This lady is described as a dancing farmer and has probably done her fine dress for a festive occasion, with her hair braided in a nice up do and what looks like a headband around the head. She wears a dress, and a gollar that looks fur-edged or with a whole lining in fur.

Another dancing farmer- with a gollar fastened by her neck, and an apron around her waist. The shoes look sturdy and practical (but nothing like the cowmouth shoes you can se on trossfraus) and she has some kind of decorative border at the hem on the skirt, and on her loose sleeves. No slashes though!

This piece shows the women working with flax, the process from plant to fabric demanded both time and hard work in numerous steps. The sitting lady wears a cap or veil around her head, with hair showing at the front. Her jacket is fastened at the front and is cut in the fashion of the time; low and square. The standing lady has her hair in braids around her head, and has rolled up her sleeves while working. The dress has a decorative guard at the front, and is hiked up at the waist. Clearly, she is doing some heavy work!

Dressed for cold weather? She has done her veils around her head, chin and neck, and wears a short cloak against the cold. She wears both shoes, socks and hose, and a bag at her belt.

Ah, time for cutting some fleece! The sheep does look dead, but is probably just laying at a convenient working pose for the woman, who use a shearing scissor for the work. She wears a simple cap or tied veil over her hair, and a dress with decorative guards at the front. It is hard to say if the brown skirts are part of her yellow dress, discoloured by time, an apron or a piece of cloth.

Festivities again! Do peasants and workers anything else than working and dancing? This lady has the common braids, a gollar and a dress. What is so interesting with this picture is that you can se the back of her dress, which is clearly more dense pleated than the sides. Uneven pleating in the skirts is visible in more pictures, and seems to be the result of a tailor work.

Summer time, and work in the fields this time. Now we can see her shift; a plain linen shift with a long sleeve, and either a high collar, or more believable, a thin gollar/linen cloth to protect her against the sun, as is seen on the woman with the red dress. She wears a straw hat, and her dress is sleeveless; it is a tight-fitting middle kirtle or under dress that gives you the bust support you need, without being in the way for hard work. This layer can be found on other women too; plain, sleeveless and intended to be worn under the woolen over dress. It is only during heavy outdoor labor such as field work, washing and shoveling it is openly worn, older women and richer women always have their overdress on.

Based on my research, I have found that I needed the following items for a whole outfit:

  • linen shift
  • kirtle or under dress
  • wool dress as an over dress
  • apron
  • belt
  • purse (and maybe a rosary to, it is mentioned in some written sources but doesn’t appear on peasants often)
  • cap, veils, a straw hat and/or a braided hairstyle
  • hose
  • shoes
  • gollar
  • jacket
  • cape/cloak

This much? I wanted to make a whole outfit, that would be practical during different kind of events with both cold and warm weather. I also wanted to try to make all the pieces of clothing and accessories that I have found during my research, to better understand how they worked together.

For more research, I have a Pinterest board on the theme if you want to learn more!