I wanted to tell you about my blue 15th century dress. It is made in a thin twill wool fabric and super comfortable and easy to wear!
This is one of the dresses I wear most when it is hot outside, but made in thicker wool it will give you a really cosy overdress for colder weather too. I have used lots of 15th century pictures as a start for the pattern drafting and overall look, and you can find some sources + more info at the end of the post. Also, there is lots of posts about 15th century garments and fashion here so click the tags for getting to know more. I made this one as a pattern experiment, and it turned out so nice that I am tempted to make another one…
The pattern is basically the same as the one I used for my coat. The skirts are longer and closed in the front with the opening reaching to the waist (easy to get in and out of) and the sleeves are S-sleeves (the seams are in the back) with an option to save on the fabric by inserting a gore in the back of the sleeve. This is the pattern outlay from the coat; if you want to make it to a dress just give the skirts more length, and redraft the sleeves to S-sleeves if you want.
The measures you need:
Lenght of garment (from shoulder to floor for example)
Armhole (or use a toile or pattern that fits you, the armholes are made in “the regular way” but will be a little deeper due to the width of the garment starting already from the shoulder. If you use a toile as a start, place the neck-hole around 20 cm (size s-m) from the selvedge and draft neck-hole, shoulder and armhole from the toile before continuing the sides in a straight line.)
Sleeve length and wrist circumference (for the sleeves)
Shoulder width (around 8-13 cm) from the neck hole to where the sleeve starts.
Upper body circumference. Measure your body, and split the measure in 4. Use this as a guide for drafting the start of the pattern; the neck-hole, shoulder and armhole.
As a reference, I started the neck-hole 20 cm from the selvedge/fabric edge and then drafted the pattern from there. To make sure you get the measures right and will fit in the dress; measure the width of the fabric pieces before cutting, especially if you have broad shoulders. Compare with the width needed over your shoulders.
It is easier to start from a corner, with the front piece and front sleeve gore 1.
If you are a beginner in drafting patterns, it really helps to start on a piece of paper with your measurements. Experiment until you feel more secure, and if you like, you can even cut the paper pieces out and tape them together to check the fitting. You don’t have to make the pattern a full scale, you can work on a checkered paper with a scale of 1:10 (1 cm being 10 cm in reality)
The gores for the front and back skirts are just there to give some additional width to the skirt (F1, F2, B1, B2) and they should be half the lenght of the back/front seam. So they will get longer if you draft the skirt longer.
Give the pattern a try! This is one of those outlays that may seem more complicated than it really is.
After you have cut out all the pieces, sew them together:
back seam and gores
insert the sleeves in the dress
front seam and gores (leave the dress open from the waist or the chest area up)
hemming and 1-3 small clasps at the front (if you like)
When I made the dress I tried different ways to achieve the folds; basting, gathering, and with a strip of fabric on the inside… But I like it best when it is loose and flowing so I removed all the stitching. Every time I put it on now I arrange the folds after putting on the belt. They may slip around a little but is easy to adjust again to your liking.
Most of the fabric is gathered at the front and back to drape the skirt nicely, without adding bulk on the sides. When choosing fabric, a thin but tight weave will give you a good fall and heavy drape to your dress.
There are lots of pictures of this style of dress, with draped folds, and what appear to be sewn ones. The sleeves can be made rather tight or looser, and the neckline higher or lower. Check out my pinterest for more inspiration!
I have not been very good at writing here for the last couple of months. I guess life happened, with lots of work and winter coming with darkness and the flu. But now I finally feel I have new energy, after a long holiday over Christmas and New Year. I also got lots of new plans, both for Handcrafted History and for my own handcrafting projects. So what is up?
This year’s first handcrafting workshop will be held in Norway; there will be a super fun, nerdy weekend with medieval (and some viking) clothing and we still have some spots available; check it out at https://www.facebook.com/events/2871689502883854/.
I am also looking over this year’s coming market and event season and making plans for new roadtrips, and returning to favourite places. There will be both lectures, workshops and a market round. So exciting!
Also, with my Patreon up and running, readers, friends and supporters are contributing to this blog which enables me to make more new tutorials and materials for all of you. Do you want more free tutorials, patterns, how to make things, and so on? I would love it if you took a look at my Patreon and maybe even supported me there! Also, you will get access to all my paid tutorials and patterns there if you become a supporter.
Finally, I am working on selling lots of old clothing, fabrics, accessories and so on, that I have sorted out from my stash during the holidays. I will put everything up on my FB page during January, so check it out if you want to grab some pieces for a reduced price!
So, a short update done, I will continue sewing on some projects for customers, and a dress for myself. I also have some new posts coming up here, so stay tuned for more handcrafting inspiration. Do you have any projects planned for 2020?
It feels like the Summer Season has started now, and I am sewing, planning market tours and writing on new workshops and lectures. Weekends are mostly planned with market visits. Have my hands full, more or less.
As many of you know, Handcrafted History is much more than this blog: it is my business and main living! For me, the summer season is both fun adventures and lots of work. I travel through Sweden and into Finland and Norway too, and I will try to keep you updated with all the fun stuff happening! I might not have lots of time to write blog posts though; so visit my Facebook page HandcraftedHistory and my Instagram with the same name for more updates.
Here is my current schedule with all markets and events I’ve got planned. If you visit one of them- please come by and say Hi! I love meeting blog readers =)
On SCA events, Skellefteå Medeltidsdagar and Medeltidsveckan I also have workshops planned, if you want to learn viking/medieval pattern construction or tablet weaving. At Gunnes Gård there will be a viking themed workshop, but what is not yet decided. You can also come by during events to have your own personal pattern made by me; but you need to book a time in advance!
Both workshops have their own way of booking by their site- just wanted to show them here for you!
I also have some free time yet before the summer for weekend workshops with your group or at a location of your choice. Just send me an email if you are interested, to linda.handcraftedhistory @gmail.com. I also have time to make a couple of outfits for customers, so are you planning to order some clothing for yourself before summer now is a perfect time to do so! (waiting time is now until early May)
Then my main market season will start, and am I looking forward to that! Medieval tents, summer winds, lots of happy people, swimming in lakes… Yes, please! Let’s hope the spring and summer will arrive soon here!
Last year I made a woolen dress, based on the cut, sewing technics and seams from the finds from Herjolfnes, Greenland. I really didn’t plan it, I just had this sudden burst of creativity and had to make a plain, undyed working dress… The fabric is from Medeltidsmode, and it is an undyed natural wool that was just lovely to work with, the seams went very well, and the drape of the shirt is really good to. It is based on two different models, but with my measures- so it is a historical reconstruction with a practical use in mind.
Cutting out the pieces
And sewing them together with running stitches in wool thread
Sewing gores from the right side of the dress, with a whip stitch
The hems are made by a single fold, whip stitched and then sewed with another seam according to the finds. To finish of the hems two times was a bit tiring, but the result went very well, with especially the neckline and wrist coming out nice and stable for wear.
All inside seams are felled and whip stitched down, to make them more durable and the inside smooth and pretty.
There are several gores in the dress, both in the shirt and in the sides, that goes up to the arm holes. This gives the dress lots of hem line, as well as a nice drape. If you would like to make a dress more modern flattering, you could begin the width in the side seams by the waist. My dress is lose almost under the bust, which makes for a warm dress, that is easy to get in and out of, and probably good for medieval pregnancy if you are interested in trying that out…
The dress is so comfy, and despite a rather smooth fit over arms and shoulders it is easy to move in it.
On these photos I have rolled up my sleeves a bit and you can see the linen shift, a good way of keeping your sleeves dry when doing dishes.
Definitly one of my favourite dresses right now, it being so simple and yet pretty!
Sometimes I get the feeling that I never get anything done, or that I haven’t made a piece for sale in like, forever. So I made a list of some of the things I have done this year, both for customers and for myself and love, and then I felt that yes- maybe I have been quite productive after all!
In the beginning of the year, I think I accidentally started this Herjolfnes recreation, all hand stitched.
I made our wedding outfits for our Midsummer wedding:
Supporting linen dress, white silk dress, velvet over dress, purse, belts and for love; silk shirt, silk brocade doublet and under west, woolen hose, bag and belt. Also, I remember sewing some tunics and dresses for our families for the wedding.
Did I sew this houppelande also, or did I finish it the year before? It is also all hand stitched, on wool, silk and rabbit fur.
During autumn, I apparently needed to redo my apron dress, make a whole new viking coat by hand and put it all together to a new outfit, along with some tablet woven bands.
Also, some commissions took place, like this coat…
… as well as a number of hoods, shirts and tunics (here’s some of them along with the silk cotehardie)
I also remember some viking hedeby trousers (baggy pants)- four of them i think.
As well as some hand sewn viking clothing…
I updated my shop and market stall during the spring with cloths, small flags and my own logo hand painted on a linen fabric.
Made a whole bunch of veils in linen and thin wool for different outfits;
I studied 16th century tailoring manuscripts and sewed two jackets for women, in wool fabric (one for my friend Linnea and one for myself)
Oh, and rosaries were totally a thing- I have read a lot about them, made a whole bunch of drawings, some pieces for sale and a folder about how to do them yourself, as well as holding some workshop on the subject.
This is far from everything I have made, and some pieces have not even made it to being properly photographed though I have been wearing them on several occasions. Also, quite a few items and commissions also are just on fb or my Instagram accounts, otherwise this post would be far to long.
All in all, I think I have; 1. made quite some things and 2. need to be even better at documenting them and writing about them here on the blog.
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…
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.
I do realise I’ve been going on with this blog now for quite a while, without giving you the chance to really get to know me. As new readers find they way here (welcome!) I really think it is time to do a better presentation.
What is Handcrafted History?
Handcrafted History is my own, one person company, my full time commitment and my dream coming true of working with the things I love most. From the beginning I called my blog and business “Hantverkat” which means “Handcrafted” but as I started translating my content and write in English, I realised I needed a better sounding name; easy for you non-Swedish readers to find.
Who am I?
My name is Linda, I am from North Sweden (from a town called Luleå) and is a woman trying my best to find balance in a life (like everybody else really) with work, free time, dreams, commitments, love, bills to pay and animals to care for. I have a horse named Rocken, bunnies and a husband whom I married in the summer of 2017.
Rocken in his winter coat, by the river
I’ve been interested in all things medieval, viking, fantasy and adventurous for as long as I can remember; but my first historic adventure was a larp I attended at age 16. Since then, I have studied arts and handcrafts, achieved a master in arts and teaching, and working as a teacher in these subjects for several years, finally realising there might be a way to combine paid work with dreams of how my life could be.
All in all, I try to live my life the way I really want to live it, as the person I really want to be, at the same time affording my bills and the food on the table. Working as your own is really a lot of long hours, the pay is not always good, but there is love and freedom that makes it worth your while, if you are ready to really go for it and not afraid to evolve yourself in areas you did not even know existed.
Were do I live?
I live in the middle of Sweden, by the Baltic Sea just outside a town called Sundsvall. Me and love have a small house, a garden with berries and different kinds of gardening projects, and bunnies digging holes everywhere if not watched. I run my company from home, partly because I like it that way, but also for keeping expenses low.
The viking age rune stone closest to my home, pass it almost every day by car.
What’s the blog about? What will you find here?
Mostly, medieval and viking age stuff; outfits, patterns, tutorials and lots of inspiration for your own handcrafting and adventuring. Occasionally, modern sewing tips find their way here, as well as everyday happenings and personal stuff. But mostly, sewing. If you click on the “Tutorial” page you’ll find all my free tutorials there. If you want to buy ready-made things, or order clothes for yourself, click on “Order your clothes” to learn more, or send me an email if you are non-Swede and wants information in english.
Why am I blogging?
I started blogging some ten years ago, with different blogs about art, handcraft and larping. For a short period I also tried out that lifestyle thing- but really, it was not for me. Some years back I landed with Hantverkat which mainly was about handcrafting, arts and historic adventures. I have always loved to write, take photos and tell stories about what I have done, as well as teaching others about handcrafting.
My Handcrafted History blog is a way of being creative, educational, artistic and running my business, all in the same place!
How can you support the blog (without monetary contribution)?
Did you know, that if each reader would contribute with a dollar/month I could go on making you online tutorials as my full-time work. That would be like 2-3 tutorials for free each week!
But, as they say, free is always good (or in Swedish “gratis är gott”) so if you like the blog and what you see here; go to my facebook page and give it your like/follow me. If you have tried the tutorials or attended one of my workshops, it would be wonderful if you could give me a review there. I also get very happy if you share things you like with your friends.
Don’t use facebook? A comment on the blog makes me a very happy person too, or you could tell a friend about Handcrafted History =)
Why? Because the more activity on social channels the more new people will find their way here to read, order clothes or book a workshop. That means money for me, and when I have food on the table I always feel inspired to do more free tutorials! Yeay! (Due to how facebook and other medias work, more likes and interactions also leads to more visibility for more persons.)
If you feel that a small monetary contribution would be in your taste; I am working on an easy way to make that possible during 2017.
Living close to the forest
Other Media Channels
Apart from my blog, I also have an Instagram: #handcraftedhistory
Since I’m still waiting for the photos from our Midsummer wedding, more posts about that will have to wait to. But we had a really great time, we got married all safe and good and had an awesome party, with all of our friends and family attending in medieval/viking clothing and helping us creating the most wonderful weekend. I did receive one photo of us from our photographer Minna, so I want to share that with you;
Our wedding outfits are inspired by Italian 15th century fashion. My hair is a modern take, but with the elaborate hairstyles of Italian early renaissance women in mind. The clothing really took some time to finish, and oh my, there was quite some problems involved…. But more of that later (when I can lay my hands on more pictures of details and such)
Now, it’s the beginning of July, and most of my friends post updates from their vacation. For me, July is a fully booked working month with lots of events, markets, workshops- lots of fun! Next week, I’m of to Skellefteå’s medieval days to hold a lecture, and some workshops. Me and B also will have a market stall to sell some goods. The week after that, I’m working on Hägnan’s medieval days in Luleå (my hometown) as a coordinator for the handcrafters (and selling my wares to) and after that, home a couple of days to rest and do laundry, and then Saltvik’s viking market is next.
Then, it’s time for The medieval week in Visby, and since love didn’t have any vacation to spend on Visby this year, I’ll be going with some dear friends, and we have booked an apartment to stay the week. So, for the first time ever, I’ll be sleeping indoors- which will be very good for getting good rest I think. Previous years, I have always got sick during the week, and it’s really a bother to hold workshops when you have the flu or a food poisoning…
Anyway, I’m holding workshops on Kapitelhusgården this year to- and now they have the workshops and lectures up for you to reserve a place on! Just follow the above link to se all their interesting workshops and such. Many of my workshops tend to get full before the week even start when pre-booking is available, so be sure to get a place beforehand! If you would like to attend one of my workshops, I can offer:
Gör en toile- medeltida mönsterkonstruktion (the drafting of a personal pattern on your body)
Mönsterkonstruktion av ärmar (patternmaking for sleeves)
Brickbandsvävning med mönster (tablet weaving with patterndrafting)
Medeltida brickbandsvävning (tablet weaving with fast warping and simple patterns)
Medeltida sömnadstekniker -fortsättningskurs (medieval seams and handcrafts for non beginners)
All this courses will be held in swedish, but on the workshop about seams and handcrafts I will have time for fast translation for those who would like to attend and are english speakers. During the weaving and pattern workshop, I will not have time to translate and many of the participants won’t be able to follow english instructions only- so that is the reason the workshops are in swedish.
So, that was some of my summer. More updates will follow, and of course I will keep you updated from the different events. Check out my instagram #handcraftedhistory to follow my everyday work, and my facebookpage Handcraftedhistory for updates, offers and pictures.