HANDCRAFTED HISTORY


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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 woollen houppelande:

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This was somewhat of an experiment trying out both pattern 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 an even sided 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 are 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 where 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 on 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 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 in some regions, 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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Historical reading tip- part 7

This is what I read right now; The first book of fashion. It is really two surviving dress diaries from the 16th century German, that has been put together and analyzed with comments and introduction to both the art and the time and period. It is a really well put together book, full of interesting reading.

If you are interested in recreating male clothing from this period, it is like a dictionary or bible full of clothing examples, with comments about what materials different garments were made of. It also have a recreated outfit at the end, with lots of information.

This is part 7 in my “reading tip/book tip series”, the earlier posts are in Swedish and you can find them here. Or just type in “dagens boktips” in my search field on the blog. Today’s post was rather short, because the sun is shining outside for the first time in forever, I’m heading out with the horse on an autumn forest ride, and then I’m of to visit some friends for the weekend. Hope you will have a wonderful weekend!


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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

 

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The green houppelande

I recently made (ok, rather recently…) this new green wool dress. It is an overdress for the 15th century outfit, and is commonly called a houppelande, which is like french for just ‘overdress’. The fabric is from Medeltidsmode, it’s a tabby woven fabric with a soft rich fall, and quite warm. The lining and the whole sleeves are lined with silk ( which is both fancy and in the case with the sleeves, very practical as the dress gets easier to take on and of) and the front is lined with a rabbit fur, that is from an animal/ecofriendly farm, and tanned with plants in an old-fashioned way. The dress is completely handsewn.

I wanted to show you this, because it’s a dress I’m very satisfied with, and also – I’m planning on a later tutorial about houppelandes and how to draft patterns for them. So, enjoy – here is a picture post about the green houppelande!

Great amounts of fabric gives you nice, deep and dramatic folds.

Under the houppelande I wear a blue silk dress, and rasberry-red shoes that I traded with Hans-Gunnar.

The belt is made of black leather and bronze fittings from a 15th century painting. The purse holder (to the right) is a way to be able to wear a purse in the belt- but I have not found that exact solution in any sources. It seem to be more common to carry your purse under the dress, in the belt of the kirtle. I had my Very-Fancy-Purse in the belt that day, but if you want to strive for a more historical accurate look- go without any visible purse.

Holding up the fabric is almost a must if you want to move around

 

Here you can see one of the gores I put in to save fabric, but expand the width.

The houppelande is a fancy dress, and should pool around your feet when you walk, if you don’t lift it of course! If you want to make one yourself- do it overly long. When I stand still, the dress arrange itself around me in deep folds.

Another thing is the width of the dress, and the amount of fabric it takes to do it. I had around 4 meters of 1,5 m width, but could definitely have used more fabric. As you can see, the dress gets very wide, and dramatic when hold up.

 

 

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Medieval wedding dress

I’m in the process of making my wedding dresses, which will be from the late 15th century.

Of course I want a nice looking wedding dress, but at the same time I want to be able to wear the dress on more occasions than the wedding. So I wont be having a pure white dress, since that is really unpractical. Instead, I have bought some lovely green (yes, I know I already have that green shade on several garments…) wool, a darker green velvet and a creme coloured silk fabric. This combination will be the wedding dresses, but it’s hard to decide exactly want I want to do.

But I have started with the basic dress in the creamy silk (or is it more like ivory perhaps?) cutting out the skirt and drafting the pattern. Now I have a bunch of orders to tend to, but after that I’m planning to sew wedding clothes only for a couple of weeks!

I also plan to make H a new outfit fot the wedding. We will match, of course, so I’m looking at the late 15th century and planning a doublet in silk (see below), hose in black wool, and an outer garment made of the same green wool that I bought for myself. The shirt will be in white linen or silk.

Anyway; I’ve made a pinterest folder with some inspiration and the different fabrics I’ve bought; https://www.pinterest.se/handcraftedhist/medieval-wedding-ideas/

If you have any input on design or practicality- feel free to send me a note here or on facebook!

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Fencing event & new outfit

Our local SCA group Gyllengran had a fencing event some time ago, a pleasant and small event- perfect to warm you up before the real event season starts. We who weren’t fencing gathered in the big common room for handcraft, small talk and cookies with wine.

Here’s some pictures from the event, and on my new 16th century outfit. I actually gave the indoor light a chance for pictures, but naw… I’m longing for outdoor events.

Warm and cozy with the fur lined gollar, comfy and easy to wear due to the well fitted bodice and the shorter skirt.

I’m wearing a straight unbleached linen shift closest to my body, and on top of that a simple yellow wool kirtle, without sleeves. It’s laced in the side and well fitted, so it works like a bra.

On top of that I wear my brown woolen over dress, which is based on paintings from Germany from around 1530-1550, mostly on peasants and simple workers. The pattern construction is from the book Drei Schnittbucher, which consists of tailor manuscriphts.

Over it is a handwoven smocked linen apron, a version of the st Birgitta cap (tutorial is out for sale) and last my rabbit fur lined gollar, which is based on paintings from the period. For work, only the Birgitta cap is used, but going out or getting fancy means another weil or two is pinned on top of the cap.

I also wear woolen hose, tied under the knee with wool straps, and a pair of simple leather shoes- much like you can se during the 14th-15th century. It seems cowmouth shoes were only for landsknechts and their followers and people of higher class, wereas the commoners used sturdy leather boots that reached above the ankle.

The belt is my old simple leather belt and fits well enough, but I’m planning to upgrade to a more 16th century one. The rosary and bag is a bit fancy for the rest of the outfit, but I liked the red colour on top of the brown dress- a little party fanciness to bling a simple workers outfit.

Now, a little mending of a seam and some improvements awaits the outfit before the season begin. New clothes are always the most fun to work with!

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