Handcrafted History

Historical and modern handcraft mixed with adventures


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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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Houppelande tutorial- part 2

Last tutorial was about how I made my first Houppelande (medieval over dress) that was an early houppelande, with a pattern layout that saved in on the fabric.

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Now we move on to the opposite; a full circular houppelande dress that was the high fashion during the 15th century, and where worn by both men and women (with different lengths and fashion details of course) The construction method for this one is open for discussion; there might have been gores and more pieces according to different fabric widths during the medieval period. This layout is practical and simple if your fabric is 150 cm wide and you want the houppelande to be of as much fabric as possible, the small pieces allowing you to save in on the fabric a little.

The construction idea is from an article I found ages ago (that is now lost on the internet?) And later tailor’s books which shows very full dresses for women and coats for men. The shape, style and drape of this method also looks similar to paintings of houppelandes.

First of, you need a lot of fabric. How much depends on your length, in this example I make a pattern that gives you a dress around 150 cm long; good for the shorter woman or for a man (since houppes for men usually leaves at least the shoes visible) That means you will need 5,2 meters of fabric for the dress itself, and then another 1,5 to 3 meters for the sleeves. Oh, and maybe a full lining to?

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The pattern is basically 4 quarters of a circle; forming a full circle when put together. The small pieces saves you some fabric, but you may cut out the full quarter circles if you prefer. If you go with the pieces, then sew them together with the quarters the first thing when you have cut them out, so you have 4 whole quarters.

Then, sew the shoulder seams together, that is the short straight seams above the arrows. Leave the arm holes (on the pattern they are cut out as half moons) and sew the sides together. To know how wide your arm holes should be; measure yourself loosely around your armpit, or use a previous pattern. Add extra cm for movement; at least 5-6 cm.

The seam length of the shoulder should follow your shoulder; between 10-14 cm depending on how long shoulders you have. The arm holes should be laying on the body, not falling down from the shoulder to your upper arm. Cut away what you don’t need, a little at a time if you are unsure.

When you are satisfied with the shoulder, arm holes and side seams, sew the back and front together with each other, front to front, back to back. In the front you leave an opening big enough so you can dress and undress easily. On paintings some dresses are open almost to the hip. In the back you need to leave an opening big enough for your neck, try it on and you will understand! The open seam will give you the neckline on the back, and can then be cut for a rounder style if you like, or you could add a collar.

So, that was it- quick and easy yes? Now the dress should look something like the sketch above, and you can attach the sleeves to the dress. Sleeves? Well, that is for the next part of the Houppelande tutorial series. Stay tuned!

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Houppelande tutorial -part 1

Since I made my first houppelande (late medieval overdress) some years ago, I have been thinking about putting together a tutorial for you, to make it easier to understand the construction techniques behind the dress.

As it turned out, the houppelande dress is a bigger project than I thought at the beginning, so I’m doing the tutorials in different parts so it will be easier for you to find the model you are most interested in, and to get a nice overview of the whole dress style.

I start with my first woolen houppelande:

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This was somewhat of an experiment trying out both pattern, if I would like the type of garment, and what it would look like finished. I could not find my original sketch for the pattern layout, but it did look something like this:

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Some notes; this type of pattern layout work well in a tabby weave since it doesn’t matter if you turn your front and back pieces, but you can also use a twill like I did. If doing this type of pattern on a patterned fabric, you can have the pattern one way on the front pieces and the opposite on the back pieces, which work really well I think, if you want to save on the fabric.

The amount of fabric needed for this layout, in size small, is 150 cm * 280 cm (I used 3 meters of fabric, so I had a slightly larger hem.

F=front, B=back and FM= front middle gore. S1 and S2 is the sleeves. I always recommend drawing out your pattern before you do it on your fabric, it gives you the opportunity to see if all the pieces have room, and if you can add some extra circumference to the skirt. I also use to draw out how the garment will look finished, to give you an extra idea of the result. The small cut out pattern piece I use to draw the pieces faster by drawing around it on the paper.

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This is what it looked like once I had cut out all the pieces. After cutting, baste your pieces together to try them on, or sew them at once. I used running stitches and back stitches for parts were there was more stress on the seams (like around the body, the armholes, and the top of the front gore). I also pressed the seam allowances down and whip stitched them. You can of course sew your dress on a sewing machine if you would like, just be sure to pin or baste the skirt lengths first so they don’t stretch uneven.

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Always pin or baste your pieces together when they lay flat on a surface. After this is done, you can have the garment in your knee, sitting comfy in the sofa and sewing without having the seams getting all uneven. I started with the front gore, then sew the front and back pieces together. The sleeves were made after the “fitted sleeve” tutorial.

The hem is folded twice and whip stitched down, and the sleeves and front opening is lined with a soft, cut sheepskin in a matching colour.

The dress is sold since some time back, and I moved on to make another kind of pattern construction (as I usually do). I liked this one because of its simplicity, it was very comfortable and not bulky around the upper body. another pro was that it didn’t take a lot of fabric to make it. I really liked the fluffy lining since it gave a lot of extra warmth.

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The style is somewhat unusual in art, but can be seen at the start of the houppelande period, though with a tighter upper body, the sleeves were full length and often somewhat tighter. For paintings and art inspiration, check out my Pinterest board about Houppelande dresses

What I didn’t like was that I dragged the hem of the dress after me everywhere, without getting the comfort of a warm and thick enough fabric to protect me from rain and chilly winds. So the next one became a bit sturdier in fabric, and with more fabric…


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Making a better Apron dress

I though I would share my best tips and tricks for making good apron dresses, since I have made a whole bunch of them by now, and probably most of the mistakes to…

Nr 1. Use enough fabric. I know it’s tempting to save on the fabric, but trust me. To short and tight a dress will look like a modern dress.

Nr 2. Use a thin enough fabric. Save the sturdy, felted wool fabrics for a coat or a cape and chose a thin, rather loosely woven fabric. It should be comfortable and have a nice fall, try to drape it over a piece of furniture, like a table, and look how the folds drape.

Nr 3. Try it on while sewing with all your other layers of clothing, to make sure you will have enough room under the apron dress for a shift and a possible warmer dress if you think you will be needing that.

Nr 4. Dont make the straps to long. I think it looks very strange when women are wearing their dresses at the middle of their bust, or even under their nipple area. Please don’t.

Nr 5. If you don’t have tortoise brooches to fasten your dress with, don’t use modern buttons or fastenings in the meantime. The latest thing I have read about apron dresses is that 1. you don’t have to wear them for reenacting a viking woman and 2. they wear always worn with brooches, like the dress being an accessory to the jewelry and not the other way around. So skip the apron dress if you don’t own the brooches, or sew the straps directly to the dress itself.

Nr 6. Thin fabric could be lined with a strip of linen or you can use lining inside the whole dress to make it sturdier.

Nr 7. You could also sew on a piece of tablet woven band or a thin silk strip around the upper part of the dress, to make it durable, enhance the fitting and also, for decoration.

Nr 8. Decorating your dress doesn’t have to be expensive. Use thin strips of patterned silks, tablet woven bands, viking silver posaments, or just a braided cord. On the small figurines, it seems like there is decoration around the hem of the dress, and in grave finds there is remnants of silk and decorations around the upper part, partly inside the tortoise brooches. Save money and time and decorate only the upper part of the dress, or do the whole thing!

Nr 9. Use the same type of thread as the decoration you want to sew to your dress. Silk thread for silk fabrics, wool thread for woven bands, and a very thin and fine silk thread for posaments. This will give you a nice seam, that is as little visible as possible, and doesn’t damage the decorations.

Nr 10. To protect your dress from the everyday stains; use a belt to fasten up your dress while working, this will protect the hem from mud, open fire and stains. Also, an apron is a very good choise for protecting your clothes. Or remove the apron dress and work in your shift or woolen dress. It seems the apron dress was a status symbol and finer wear, so it is probable that women didn’t wear them while laboring.

 

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Hi! I am Linda

  Hi handcrafters!

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

Etsy shop: Handcrafted Histories

Facebook page/shop: Handcrafted History

Pinterest: Handcraftedhist

Mail: linda.handcraftedhistory @ gmail.com

 

So, that was a bit about me! It would be so much fun to know You a little more; please comment and tell me were you are from, what you like to sew and if you have a blog on your own!

Spara

Spara


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Old clothes and new dreams

So, I recently searched my computer to find some old I-know-they-should-be-here-somewere-photos (when I was young I had all photos in an actual box, fancy that…) on my viking age outfit. I found them, and a lot of other photos of moments not forgotten, but clearly from a time far far away. So I wanted to share some old but good clothes and pictures with you all, most of them now sold or given away to support new dreams. I like that clothes I have grown tired of can have new adventures with other people!

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Both the black and red dress now has new owners, but they were really fancy together!

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Look at K, she is sooo gorgeous in that hood!

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B has a loose overdress, I will show you that again a couple of years later in a coming post…

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K in her viking garb during a Christmas market. Wearing the cloak over the hood makes all the warm air stay inside, and the wind outside.

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3 layers of wool keeps you warm during springwinter time (yes, it´s called vårvinter in northen Sweden. That time of year when it’s warm and sunny during daytime, but real winter during the nights).

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Look what a fancy photo! It’s more common for me to make funny faces or blink during photoshoots, but this one is really nice. A very chilly day with freezing winds, so I wore the red dress from the first picture, under a blue shortsleeved woolen dress with pinned-on sleeves and a hood.

All this photos made me realise I got lots of new inspiration for making new garb, and some pieces that are newly finished but not yet documented.

 

 


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När sommaren är långt borta

I januari när snöskottning och eldning i huset är huvudsysslor känns medeltidssommaren ofta långt borta. Men det är ju nu det finns massor av tid för att gå igenom garderoben och planera upp nya projekt inför säsongen!

Under vintern är det bra att vädra alla kläder och städa ur förvaringsutrymmen för att undvika oönskade hyresgäster. Speciellt medeltidskläderna mår bra av vädring, de används inte lika ofta, och ylleplaggen tvättas bara när det verkligen behövs.

Jag väntar på en kall dag med minusgrader och snö, och sedan hänger jag ut alla plagg, gärna under något dygn om jag har tid. Luftfuktigheten på vintern är lägre än på sommaren, och det är fukten i luften som transporterar bort smuts från ylleplaggen och gör dem fräschare, enkelt förklarat. Men kylan kan istället ta död på lite kryp, och genom att skaka ur plaggen några varv och vända på dem så blir de avdammade och eventuella kryp kan ramla ned på snön och syns tydligt.

Jag brukar föra anteckningar över hur jag tycker att dräkterna fungerar på event, och skissar ofta på nya idéer när jag får inspiration från andra eller från någon spännande bok.

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(Långt ifrån alla idéer blir till plagg, men här är första skisserna av halloweendräkten.)

Ett bra sätt att få koll på sina medeltidskläder är att sortera upp dem i högar efter årtal, användningsområden eller säsong, och sedan fundera på om något behöver kompletteras. Behövs det fler underkläder till årets medeltidsvecka eller kanske vinterplagg till vikingadräkten? Jag skriver upp alla idéer jag kommer på; och sen vet jag vad jag behöver till sommaren!

När man har en färdig plan känns det ju också enklare att starta med ett projekt…

Själv syr jag på några klänningar som ska bli klara till sommarens medeltidsäventyr, lagar strumpor och ska ta tag i den nya gollaren som jag håller på med när inspirationen faller på.