Handcrafted History

Historical and modern handcraft mixed with adventures


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Going to Hamar in Norway

Me and my friend J traveled to Hamar in Norway this May to attend the medieval festival/market over a weekend, and here is a blog post about the event!

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It really was a beautiful site, with the large lake stretching around the market and camping area, inviting for a swim in the warm weather. This is the reenactment camp, very nicely done and with an area for shows, riding and the like in front of it.

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A short walk from the camp was the market, with lush green trees and an open space for market tents and performances.

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Here is my tent! In a cozy corner in the road, under a big tree. We arrived the day before the market started so the first evening we just put up the tent, made some preparations and went about greeting friends and taking in the area.

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Morning in the tent, hearing tree branches whispering in the wind and feeling the sun rise on the tent side.

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Crafthive was on the market, selling belts and nice bags, among other things.

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I also sold things from my shop, mainly historical accessories and jewelry, sewing materials and handcrafting items. It is fun to meet new people during markets, but more often than not I start talking with them and forget that I should sell my stuff… I really like holding workshops and lecturing more, but the shop is a nice way to be able to visit new places and travel more!

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When no customers needed help, I sat down with new and old friends, having a chat and sewing on my new dress. Here it is, worn for the first time! The neck opening is just basted, but it was fun to get a chance to try it on. 15th century (yes, it’s much of that century right now) with proper hair and veil for the period.

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I got a chance to visit this very interesting ruin, saved inside a glass room on the site.

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And a visit with the Madonna and Child, a wooden sculpture made between 1200 and 1300 in Norway according to the sign. (Yes, visiting only in my shift! It was sooo hot that day)
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I found Volundr on the market, and they sold the most lovely handcrafted jewelry based on different historical finds. When I laid my eyes on this 15th c necklace I promptly emptied my money-box over their table, and went back to my own tent much happier but also more broke…

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After the market on Sunday, the wind had turned and there was rain in the air. We hurried to take down the tents, pack the cars with all stuff and then went to see if others needed help. Elna from Historical fabrics is my new favourite seller of thin linen for veils (among other things) and she was packing away her tent and all the fabrics when we came by. Phew! Fabric sellers have the worst time packing, we helped with some rolls of fabric and tent gear but there was some advanced tetris before she was finished.

I really love going on historical adventures! On the road towards Hamar we traveled across the mountains, some of them with snow still left, and then over the border to Norway and some very nice views along the way. It was sunny and we had a picnic packed in the car. On the road home, I was traveling alone since J had to go by train back to Stockholm, I hadn’t any food left and the weather was cold and rainy. Then the adventure seemed a bit less fun. But as they say; it’s good to leave on a journey but it’s great to be back home!


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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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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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My best tips for making a matching outfit

Making that matching outfit doesn’t have to difficult or impossible expensive, but it does take a fair bit of planning: before. Yes, I know it is the most boring part, but thinking before shopping is what makes the thing. So I put together a list of my best tips for making an outfit that makes everyone go “Wow” when they see it.

1. Decide on a colour scheme that you like, and follow it. You should have 2 base colours, with additional tones to match. In my case, orange and warm yellow is my main colours, as you can see on the amber necklace, the woven belt, the shawl and the apron dress. The hair band have a darker orange colour, but it is warm and intense to match the other tones. The red coat and the middle woolen dress brings in the additional colours to make the outfit interesting but have likewise a warm toned base.

2. Add some contrast or mismatch to intensify your matching outfit (yes, it works like that) it could be the opposite colour (red-green or yellow-blue) or a really dark detail to an otherwise light outfit. In my case, the green glass beads does match the yellow tones, but breaks nicely with the red ones. Still, they are in the same warm tone as the rest of the outfit. The uncoloured beige dress is another example; it doesn’t follow the main theme but have a warmer undertone so it works fine with the other  warmer shades.

3. Patterns or texture adds interest and depth to any colour. My apron dress is woven in a herringbone twill, and the coat is a bit uneven in its colour due to different dyes in the fabric, which is barely visible but adds texture and interest to the finished garment.

4. Darker and lighter shades; when choosing your colours make sure you have different shades and not only different colours. For example; yellow-orange-red make for a change in both colour and shade, but a light blue paired with a similar light green makes the outfit a bit flat. Add a darker green or blue-green tone and you will make the outfit more interesting!

5. Layers; plan for all the layers at once, and make sure they have different tones, shades or textures if they follow the same colour theme. In this case, you won’t end up having two orange dresses on top of each other, and can make sure that details will be visible.

6. Details; don’t we all love a well put together outfit? Making details lifts an outfit, and it can be both jewelry, accessories as well as useful tools, a knife, a jug or something like. Match it in colour, tone, shade or shape to your outfit. In my case, I chose to make a tablet weave to reinforce the apron dress, make the straps, and a matching headband. Having the same colour/pattern appear in different places adds interest and makes the outfit look well planned and matching.

7. Consider your own colours; colour schemes and matching is a whole science on its own, and there is plenty to read or check out on YouTube. Matching colours, creating interesting outfits and the like works the same way on historical clothing as on modern outfits or make up. Consider your own colours, if you have a warm or cold undertone in your skin, and consider what you like to wear. Using those kinds of colours will both make you more comfortable and happy during historical events. But also consider the historical finds; if you love to wear black and dark blue maybe that is not the best choise for your farmer viking outfit. But as these are considered as neutral colours in our modern eyes, maybe a dark grey with soft, plant dyed blues will do great for your viking outfit?

Got inspired? Did you find this guide useful? Please let me know by liking my FB page or leaving a comment on the blog!

 


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The Medieval Wedding Dress- the velvet gown

This is the final layer I made for my wedding outfit, it is a silk velvet dress inspired by the late 15th century over dresses. The gown is open at the front to allow for easy undressing, and to show more of the white dress underneath. This can be seen in paintings, though a closed gown would have been more common.

This was one of the most difficult garments I have ever made. The fabric is a silk velvet, sensitive, very thin and extremely flimsy; I so understand why silk velvet has been replaced by synthetic alternatives on the market (and it is not just a matter of price). The gown is fully lined with silk dupioni for support and look, and has linings in black silk taffeta and on the bottom, the same black high quality wool as in my love’s joined hose. I opted for the golden coloured silk because it did so well under the velvet, and made the velvet shine even more. if using a transparent velvet; try out different shades of lining fabric to find the one that gives you the look you want.

The gown closes with a small hook and eye at the waist, and then this belt is added. The bronze buckle and strap end is made after a painting from the period, and can be seen on houppelandes and similar overdresses from the period.

Working with the fabric. Here you can see the silk lining being laid out at the velvet to act as a pattern piece. The velvet was very sensitive, so pinning was only an option in seam allowances.

The fabric being so thin and flimsy, pinning it to the sturdier silk lining was a good help for cutting, basting and sewing. I treated the two layers as if they were one when sewing, making the seam allowances visible on the inside of the dress. Since the velvet is transparent where the pattern is, it was not an option to have the seams between the both fabric layers.

Front and back pieces of the body being laid out. With a patterned fabric, you might want to consider where to put your pieces, and in what direction. I let the two front pieces have the pattern laid out in the same direction, and then turned the back piece upside down, since the skirt would have the pattern visible in the same direction at the back of the gown. The two fronts doesn’t have to be similar in pattern, all contemporary art depicts uneven patterns on the front of dresses.

You may also note that the front lining pieces have the selvage running along the openings, since the velvet was stretchy, and silk stretch when cut on bias, I laid the pieces out diagonally on the silk fabric to have a non stretchy front, and instead add some flexibility across the body. This way, there is some small movement allowed over the rib cage, while the front lays flat against the body.

I sewed the gown together on the overlock machine, this was one of my best choices ever since the seam both helped with protecting the seam allowance and allowed for some stretchiness in the skirt. After the gown was put together, I hang it on my doll to let the skirts fall out. Fabric cut circular like in this case always seems to hang out unevenly…

And yes it did! I ended up cutting away between 10-15 cm in some places, but only 2 in the areas running along the fabric length. I was quite nervous- cutting a little each time and allowing for the fabric to adjust. There was some massive pinning and measuring and swearing going on at this part and frankly, I just forgot to take pictures because I was so frustrated. Here you can see the velvet skirts hanging out, the silk lining behaving all nicely and staying in shape.

After this, I worked with the hems and inside seams by hand. All the seam allowances were folded down, basted to the lining and then covered by a strip of silk fabric, whip stitched down. No ironing though; velvet does not go along with pressing so the seams were just smoothed out by hand. The front opening and the sleeves were lined with black silk taffeta, the same as love’s doublet were edged with.

The bottom needed a little more heavy lining, and I wanted something that could take some more wear than silk so I chose a thin wool tabby weave. Here it is, laying on the floor.

One of the seams, seen from the outside when finished of. The whip stitches securing the strip inside is not visible on the outside velvet, neither is the machine seam that holds it together.

I am very pleased with the dress, I really plan on using it in the future on events. It was not easy to make, but hopefully some of my experience shared with you will make you want to try one for yourself if you wish!

 

 

 


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Lästips; 1400talsdräkt för kvinnan

Because the book is in Swedish; so will this blogpost be. It is about a new book about the late 15th century clothing for women.

Kommer ni ihåg att jag skrev om mansdräktsboken förut? Nu har även kvinnoboken kommit ut, och jag ville förstås bläddra i den också!

Boken påminner mycket om mansdräkten med samma lättöverskådliga layout, enkel och tydlig text, och stycken som efter en snabb genomgång ger dig koll på dräkten. Det är den typen av bok jag skulle börja med att skaffa om jag ville göra 1400tal, eller ge till en nybörjare som vet *ingenting* men gärna vill vara med. Det sena 1400talet är en komplex period med många samexisterande stilar och plagg, men jag tycker ändå att det känns som att den ger en överblick över det tyska modet, även om det inte finns plats för så många sömnadstekniska detaljer som jag skulle vilja- det är ju trots allt mitt intresse =)

Boken innehåller, förutom referenslistor, också massor av bilder från perioden. Bredvid varje avsnitt om plagg/material osv hittar du alltså både historiska referenser, bilder, skisser och materialförslag från ett modernt perspektiv. Dessutom finns ett uppslag om hur du får till 1400talslooken med en “turbanslöja”, jag förutspår att det här kommer vara nya innestilen till sommaren…

 


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Sewing in velvet- a guide

Today I am sharing my best tips for making garments in velvet!

Velvet has a beautiful shine to it, with highlights rather than shadows. This can be seen in paintings, where the clothing is pictured with highlighted areas rather than darker folds. Like this; (though this may also be woolen cloth, but it goes for illustrating highlights in fabric)

  • The choise of material is important. On the market today, you can find different kinds of velvets, in both high and low quality. The original velvet fabric was made of silk, insanely expensive, and probably also sensitive for wear and washing. To buy a good silk velvet for your project is of course historically accurate, but also very expensive, and you will have a garment that is sensitive. But the look and shine of the fabric will be outstanding.
  • Cheating? For a silk velvet look, you could instead choose velvet made of viscose, rayon or a mix of synthetic fibres. This fabric is a lot cheaper, more durable, and is (depending on the quality and materials) close to how silk velvet looks. Avoid fabrics made of pure polyester, since these will be warm and uncomfortable to wear; a mix based of viscose is often the best. You could also go for cotton or cotton mixed velvet, the look is a bit more matte than silk velvet but black is quite close in appearance. The good thing with cotton velvet is that it is made of natural fibres so it is easy to wash, feels good to wear and is durable and fire safe (it will not melt on your other clothes if you are unlucky) as well as cheap. As an example; my wedding gown made of silk blended velvet costs 4 times more than a medium cotton velvet.
  • Ironing velvet fabric is often unnecessary, instead just hang it out. If you need to press seams or iron out stubborn folds, you need to iron the fabric on its wrong side, with a cotton cloth over and a bath towel underneath. This will protect the fabric, and the towelling (in swedish; frotté) fabric with its pile will act as a soft bottom so the velvet pile doesn’t get flat and pressed down. Iron gently, and always try it out on a spare bit first.
  • Hang it before hemming; to make the skirt hem as even as possible; hang the dress on a doll for a couple of days to let the fabric hang out, then pin/mark the hemline and cut it. The skirt on my velvet over dress is cut in a half circular piece (almost) making the fabric drape nicely, but also hanging out uneven in the hem. Look at this picture- this is the dress skirt before cutting the hem, it differs over 10 cm!
  • The pile is what makes the velvet special, and it is important to take care not to crush or flatten it out. When ironing; do so gently. When machine sewing, choose a foot/presser that is narrower, and loosen the pressure on the machine a bit if possible. Or sew the fabric together on an overlock machine or by hand. When cutting out your pieces, don’t step on or lean on the fabric, as this may crush the pile unevenly.
  • Baste- don’t pin! Silk velvet is quite sensitive, the pins might rip threads from the fabric so basting with loose stitches is a safer way to go. If sewing in other materials, it is still better to baste because the pile of the velvet, when put together with another fabric, tend to “walk” over the surface no matter how much you pin it.

A picture from our wedding day, the velvet dress looking all nice and innocent, not at all like me and the dress really hated each other while making it…