Handcrafted History

Historical and modern handcraft mixed with adventures


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The Medieval Wedding Dress; the silk dress

I am sooo behind writing about my different projects. I kind of have a bad conscience about it too, and I really try to work through all of my drafts, notes and old photos. I guess it has been quite the autumn and winter here, I really never post about those parts of life, but I like everyone else have tough periods in life. Life, dead and bills happens to everyone, as the saying goes. I am not going to talk about that today; I am going to show you my wedding dresses!

I made three different layers for the wedding outfit. A linen shift, a cream-white silk dress and the velvet silk over dress. The linen shift is made tight fitted, with thin shoulder straps and a supportive body, and then a loose skirt. Over that I also wore a linen petticoat with a strengthened hemline. It never shows, but it adds important stability to the cream silk dress so the skirt drapes the correct way.

Over these I have the silk dress, cream-white and lined on the inside with a really thin wool muslin fabric. The silk fabric is a taffeta, and even if that quality is a lot sturdier than other silks, it still needed to be lined for a better draping skirt and a smoother upper body. Here you can see some of the effect the petticoat has; making the dress skirt stand out a bit instead of hanging down. The taffeta also helps a lot.

The sleeves are unlined, instead I have the thin silk sleeves that is shown underneath. I didn’t want another layer underneath the silk dress, so the thin silk sleeves are just lose sleeves, attached by the arm hole on the dress. The lacing is made with silk thread, the same as I did the lacing holes with, and also the white freshwaterpearl belt. Around the wrist small pearls are fastened, kind of like a bracelet but easier to wear.

For these dresses I made full mockups in cotton fabric to get a feeling for the pattern drafting and models. Usually I like to improvise a bit, but now I somehow was patience herself while drafting… The skirts in both dresses are based on a full circle of fabric, that is what gives the dresses that magical drape and the deep folds in the fabrics. The mock-up was then taken apart and used as a pattern, here is half the skirt on the cream silk. Yeah, I actually cut out my fancy white silk dress on the floor, with heaps of fabrics laying everywhere. Creativity, you know…

More fabric, this is the other half of the skirt.

To prevent the silk fabric from fraying I sew all edges with a overlock. You can use a zigzag as well, but it is good to prep them in some way. I would have liked to sew all our garments by hand, but neither time nor my fingers allowed for it, so edges and some inside seams were made with sewing machines. The overlock really was my best friend when it came to the fraying silk fabrics.

I also reinforced the hemline of the dress with a thin fabric strip. This was pinned around the hem, and then sewn with a machine stitch. After that the lining was added so the strip was hidden on the inside between outer and inner fabrics.

Here is a nice close up on the silk lucet cords, the lacing holes and the matching silk belt with freshwater pearls. I really liked how the cream-colored fabric, the silk thread and the pearls matched each other

   

The dress has a waist seam, so it really is a circular skirt, a regular body with side seams/side lacing and set in sleeves, all in all a simple dress. Here you can see the waist line, the seam done by hand to get a good drape of the skirt and because the different layers of fabrics really liked to slip against each other.

A good view of the laced up sleeves from the side

And a view from the back, while walking in to get married.

This actually became quite the long blog post, so I’ll get back to you with the velvet over dress in a post of its own!

 


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Visby Medieval Week 2017

This Medieval week in Visby was rather different from my previous ones; I traveled without love (who was working) and lived indoors in a rented apartment with two friends. I also had workshops scheduled for every day I was there, and just had a free afternoon the day we arrived. So, with that said, I don’t have much photos since I was working a lot, but I wanted to share some moments with you- both by camera and words.

Me and my two friends really had the best living and it was easy to share with them, but we did have different hours so often I was on my own to and from work. It actually was really nice, I had some of my best moments because I was out on my own, strolling or talking with people and new friends I otherwise wouldn’t have time to see. I really recommend having some time on your own during the Medieval Week- it’s the perfect way of meeting new friends!

And adventuring on my own also means climbing things; even if wearing a full silk dress and veils…

One afternoon I met up with Minna to take some photos in the botanical garden, one of them is now the header for my social media! Here in the late afternoon light, trying to tie up my headwear without a mirror and enough pins (it ended up hanging from one side as you may have seen…)

Minna in her awesome hood; made from a manuscript from South Europe.

Work, I say? Yes, since I run Handcrafted History as my full-time commitment, most of my medieval and viking adventures and event is about work for me. I either have my market stall, selling clothes and handcrafting materials, or holding workshops and lectures. During Medieval Week, I mostly work at Kapitelhusgården, which is a lovely place and medieval restaurant in the middle of Visby. During the day, they offer workshops and lectures, and in the evening the garden transforms to a restaurant and pub, with a picnic-feeling. I love the place!

I am holding my workshops there during the week, and this year one of my attending handcrafters took some pictures with my camera- so I actually have some during-work-photos. (This usually never happen because I get so busy with the workshop and explaining things…) So this is what it could look like when I’m holding workshops! I usually wear medieval or viking clothing when I work, but on modern locations such as universities I wear my everyday clothing (if nothing else is requested).

Linnea whom I traveled and lived with

And J, from my local group, meeting in the park for a chat and some photos


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Eventspackning, ett brev till mig själv

This post is in Swedish, copy to google translate if you want to read it. The post is mainly about historical camping in Sweden at viking markets, SCA events and the like, and is my personal remember-note for next years season and the updates I want to accomplish. Do you have any piece of advise on your own, or do you have a blogpost that is about historical camping in any way? Give me a link to it in the comment section so I can get inspired by you!

Bilderna i inlägget kommer från Double Wars 2017

Nu har jag åkt på massor av event under vår, sommar och höst där jag, jag och maken eller ett kompisgäng bott i tält. Det har varit både vikingaevent, marknader, SCA-event och blandningar däremellan, så nu tänkte jag göra mig en lista så jag kommer ihåg alla kloka lärdomar inför eventsäsongen 2018. Det här är alltså ingen packlista, utan mer en uppdatering på saker som kan göras bättre till nästa år, och saker som har fungerat fint.

Både jag och maken är ju rätt bekväma av oss nuförtiden, så vi gillar att kunna rulla fram bilen till vår lägerplats. (Fram till att jag var typ 22 så trodde jag att normen var att bo på andra sidan ett berg, längs med en stig. Norrlandslajvare.) Vi gillar också att sova torrt och bekvämt, ha rena kläder, lagad mat och vi vill inte behöva lägga för mycket tid på skötsel och packning av lägret. I dagsläget har vi klockat vår packning, och det tar oss en timme att sätta upp lägret från det att vi anländer, och en timme att riva + packa in allt i bilen. Ganska lagom, tycker vi. Med ett större tält (som vi planerar att köpa) + en liten shop med så tänker jag att det kommer ta lite längre tid nästa säsong.

Jag har också funderat lite på hur vi alla kan hjälpas åt för att göra den historiska lägerupplevelsen bättre för alla som är med (det som inom SCA kallas drömmen, inom lajv kallas inlajv och inom reenactment kallas att vara helt period). Jag tycker helt enkelt att det känns så himla tråkigt när jag ser massor av människor som lägger ner tid, möda och pengar på att skapa stämningsfulla läger och sedan mötas av en granne som tuggar chipspåse, knäcker en ölburk och spelar hårdrock helt öppet i lägret. Så respektlöst! Det här skulle kunna bli en arg rant, men jag undviker det för den här gången och delar istället med mig av inspiration.

Det här är min lista på smarta saker att ta med, kloka lösningar och idéer på förbättringar. Du får gärna bli inspirerad av den, kanske hittar du något nytt som du vill förbättra ditt läger med?

  • Lyktor är viktigt. Förutom i Norrland under sommaren, där behövs inga lyktor.
  • Myggnät är super. Är det inte mygg så är det tvestjärtar.
  • Ta med fler spännremmar till packningen. Och några extra.
  • Det är inte jättepraktiskt att ställa en keramikmugg med vatten i sängen ifall man är törstig på natten. Ett sängbord vore klart bättre.
  • Varje gång vi lämnar sopkorgen hemma saknar jag den och avundas alla som har en snygg sopkorg framme. Ta med en jämnt, med soppåsar till.
  • Våtservetter, hushållspapper och handsprit i en korg. Därför.
  • Träbänken är bra och rymmer flera gäster, men varsin stol med ryggstöd gör att man blir en mycket gladare människa! Vid urymmesbrist i bilen, duger 50 situps/dag i två månader innan eventet lika bra.
  • En korg att bära disk i. Diskmedel + diskborste om vi inte är på SCA-event. Och något att värma diskvatten i.
  • Ett ylleunderställ, mössa och tjocksockor värmer lika mycket som två tjocka filtar. Effektivare packning, varmare och nöjdare.
  • En stor flaska att ha dricksvatten i, för att slippa springa iväg från lägret så fort man blir törstig.
  • Efterrätt på maten är aldrig fel. Kaffe och choklad ger en dessutom helt nya vänner.

Bloggutmaning; har du också en blogg, pinterestmapp, en facebookvägg eller liknande där du skriver (eller samlar på bilder) om medeltida/vikingatida event? I så fall så utmanar jag dig att skriva en egen tipslista, en packlista eller berätta om ditt läger- så delar vi erfarenheter och tips med varandra! Skriv en kommentar här med en länk till din sida, och berätta om utmaningen (och inte minst, skicka vidare den!) För ett bättre lägerår 2018!

Spara


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A long time ago

About a woman living a long time ago, in a world close to our own- but different. Photos taken by Minna Nilsson a couple of years ago, but still lovely for a cold autumn day when one needs to remember summer.

The outfit is a 16th century trossfrau- a woman living with the army in the German regions of Europe, working in the camp.

With a sparkly necklace-

slightly wrong for achieving historical accuracy but good for the upcoming party at the event that summer.

Wearing a smocked linen shirt, linen headwear and a smocked linen apron. The dress is made of wool

The bag, made of thin leather, holds the coin, and the rosary shows she is a member of the (catholic) church, in a political unsteady time.

It also is a very nice accessory.

Period time drinking glass, period time drink… Ready for a nice party evening

 

Spara


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The handcrafting camp at Hägnan

During Hägnans Medeltidsdagar in Luleå this summer, (that the local SCA group Frostheim organized) I had the over all responsibility to make the handcraft camp work out well. We had a camp outside (or inside if the weather was bad) with different kinds of handcrafts that each participant brought (so you could do whatever was in your interest and current project, as well as trying out some new things others had.) My work was mostly about saying “yes, good job!” and checking that the guard schedule was working. And reminding people of lunch – lunch is important!

Basically, it’s not that much work – happy handcrafters of different kinds gather and sit down during the days to craft, talk and show different kinds of handicraft to interested visitors. I usually try to make them bring many different things to work with, and to show different stages in the handcrafting process so that visitors can grasp what it really is about. Good ways of doing this is showing step-to-step pictures or unfinished objects, talk about the handicraft, lay out your tools etc. People get really interested when handcrafting is actually done – my love even got attention for winding yarn by hand when he sat down and helped me…

I also brought my market shop with me; but as usual I’m just not that interested in selling things from a specific place, when there is an opportunity to go around, talking handicraft, taking photos, sewing on projects and drinking coffee. So my market stall was mostly empty (but my friends checked it for me – thanks!) Anyway, it is good to have the shop with me because it usually spread the costs and make me afford all the traveling expenses.

Johan and Erik from Trix were performing just behind us during the week- first class entertainment while you are sewing!

I really recommend visiting handcrafting areas if you are a visitor on a medieval/viking market. Bring a project, some snack or just questions about different handcrafts and you will be almost sure to find someone who is willing to share and talk about how things are done.

  

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Preparations for Visby

So, I was originally going to write a detailed post about my preps for Visby. I’ve been packing, planning, sewing, making tutorials for sale and much more. Buuut everything went according to plan, I finished mostly everything yesterday, and today my preps is all about chilling, picking berries in the garden, training my horse and having a barbecue with my friends J and L whom I am traveling and living with. Feeling really relaxed and looking forward to this week!

So, if you want some tip for your own packing, check out this post (in swedish) instead. And if you are already there- and don’t know what to do; check out my guide to the medieval week!

Tomorrow early morning we leave for the ferry, and then I am at Visby the whole week! If you are reading my blog; I would love it if you said Hi! during the week, or stopped by for a small chat. It’s so nice to meet all of you readers and get a face on all the stats… And if you really likes the free tutorials and stuff and meet me during the week- I really like wine. Just saying…

Special tip: Have you noticed that my Instagram now also have a guest player by #GladaRåttan? Glada Råttan (Happy Rat) is a small pop-up store, that will appear on the marketplace by Friday evening, near the open space were Forum Vulgaris usually is. If you are an (more or less) adult and like (more or less) bawdy and sex-related stuff, this shop will be just in your taste…

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My guide to the Medieval Week at Visby

Wow- look at this! Now my guide is out in English to; thanks to Riia who translated it because I didn’t have the time.

Why should you go to Medieval Week in Visby?
Because it is a delightful, lovely, and inspiring medieval festival, perfectly suited for those
who love fantasy, tales, and the Middle Ages, both for young and old, tourists and the genuine
thing. You dedicated re-enactors travel with the understanding at it is ever so much more fun
to share in the magic with thousands of tourists.


Where will you stay?
If you have medieval camp equipment: in Stryingheim’s SCA tent camp, just outside of the
city walls. In addition to being a secure camp with guards, food, good logistics, and near to
the old city, it is also a wonderful way to find a Medieval organization near you, meet new
friends and learn more about medieval crafts, fighting, archery, and cooking. SCAdians are
known to share freely both their knowledge and friendship—I think that it is the best place to
hang out, and the location of the best parties.
If you have a modern tent or travel for the relaxed medieval experience: Medieval week’s
damping (which has two separate parts) has a reputation for being a nice campground, and
one needn’t hide one’s milk cartons and grocery bags as one must in the SCA camp, where
one does one’s best to maintain the illusion of the best parts of the Middle Ages 24 hours a
day.
Or rent a room—it can be a little spendy, but absolutely more personal than a hotel room!

Free time at Kapitelhusgården, I like it best there during the afternoon


Where will you eat?
I, as both a vegetarian and allergic, am rarely impressed by pub or restaurant offerings. I can
usually find a little salad, some Thai, a taco plate at Yoda (here they are not stingy with the
plates), and can relax at the “Munkkällaren”, in addition to the Medieval Resturant. The Visby
Ice Cream shop (Wisby glass), sells the best fresh ice cream and the cheese shop (Wisby ost)
sells the best luxury snacks and a really good gluten-free bread.
There are also some gems with good food in the Visby city center, and some that carry tasty
food late in evening (go where the locals go!), but the best option is to buy some picnic foods
from a grocery store outside the city walls. Fill a large basket of bread, fruit, cheese, sausage,
and something to drink, complete with a fresh carrots and raspberries from the large market.
Take it all to the beach, grassy lawns by the market place, or to a free concert and enjoy the
world’s cosiest picnic. You do know that picnics can be eaten at least three times a day? PS
extra chocolate and strawberries will attract new friends.
The Fire show and picnic go very well together.


Which activities are the best?
Medieval week begins already during the voyage over; take along a snack and something to
sew on, and you will fit in perfectly with all of the other happy medieval people who are
panic-sewing the last bits of their costumes. To sew on the ferry over is a well-established
tradition. On the return trip one doesn’t sew; one sleeps, and curses all of the parents who let
their children run wild.
The best place to relax and see entertainment is the Forum Vulgaris, at the market place,
which has been run by Proknekt for several years. Check out also the Medieval Week events
program to find such treats as open performances, dance and other workshops which occur
here and there within the city walls.
If you like the German fashions from the 1500’s then the “100 knectars” march is a must-see
cool experience. Drums and music echoes through the streets of Visby and the vibrations from
hundreds of feed can be felt through your entire body when they march through the town. Join
them!


Kapitelhusgården is the location where I, and several other talented craftspeople teach courses
and give lectures over the week, so come by and learn a new craft technique! Many have held
their courses for several years and are real professionals who are outstanding in their field,
and here you have the chance to go to classes you would otherwise need to travel across half
of Sweden to attend.
Picnics in conjunction with the concerts, or in line for performances, and as a celebration after
performances, are cosy.
The Medieval garage sale is really fun, and is truly what it sounds like, but others have
discovered it, so be prepared to come early, and stand in line.
The Folksagosånger performance with David and Karro I will try to get to- when last I
listened to the duo they were good, witty, and had a wonderful atmosphere.


The prettiest places:
The botanical garden is one of my favourite places during the day: a beautiful garden with
nice benches and happy people strolling past. The little market at Kapitelhusgården and a
glass to drink in the afternoon before it becomes crowded. Beach walks during sunset, the
Trix fire show on Wednesday evening (go there for the atmosphere as much as the
performance), and the old city with in the city walls, with all of the narrow streets and
beautiful roses which climb along the house fronts. Magic!
Outside of Visby there is a pretty countryside on the road to the sea-stack Jungfru and the blue
lagoon, an old limestone quarry which provides clear and warm swimming water, well worth
the day’s excursion.


How long should I stay?
The whole week, at least! The town is Medieval from Saturday till the following week’s
Sunday, and if you want to see more of Gotland, you perhaps will need a few extra days. I can
never understand how a week can go by so quickly, and I never manage to see and do
everything I had planned. On the other hand, I am a confirmed Medieval nerd, and besides I
do work half the week. In recent years it has taken me several days before I even managed to see the whole market…


Think about:
It can be really bone-chilling cold in the evenings—take along a warm cloak (or jacket or
sweater).
It is good to bring along a pack of re-hydration tablets to mix with drinking water during the
heat of the day when you have walked too much. Bring also a large bottle to carry water; you
can fill it at water faucets in the market.
Visby’s streets are mostly cobblestone or asphalt, take along really comfortable shoes so that
your knees don’t complain after half a week.

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