söndag 21 augusti 2016

Making stuff with pearls and beads

Just before I went to Visby for a few days at the Medieval week I made this  pearl garland.

It's made from glass beads, and cheap acrylic "pearls" that I bought when I was at NESAT on Lodz in Poland in 2002. After the conference the organizers took us to this huge warehouse filled with sewing notions. I bought 1000 acrylic pearls for c. 1 £
The base is a thick woven cotton ribbon, like the ones we used to use for belts back in the 80s.

My main inspiration for this pearl garland was a bunch of 15th paintings, where you see women either wearing or making this kind of garland from pearls and beads, usually red or red and white. Of course now I can't find my favourite example, which I had on a postcard that I had pinned on my wall for over a decade ;)

Here's a 16th century example by Lucas Cranach though.

And one from 1465, showing St. Clare

And a very detailed 15th century one, which was my main inspiration for the exact design, though I chose blue and white since those are the colours of Gotvik.

Anyway, one could ask what these 15th century examples has to do with the High Middle Ages, my currently preferred period. And the answer would be: Not much. 
But, most paintings from the High Middle Ages are a bit less clear in details, and we do know that they used beaded ribbons as decoration (R. W Lightbown: Medieval European Jewellery, 1992) also in the High Middle Ages, so I extrapolated and wore it like this.

With a half circle veil

Or a circle veil.

I don't think it's too far-fetched to think that the gold headwear with a pink veil draped over it in this image from the Grosse Heidelberger Liederhandschrift could be a stiff ribbon with beads on. Though obviously not blue and white :)

Friday night, while watching the Swedish team in women's Olympic soccer finals I made another garland. This one is more clearly inspired by a High Medieval image:

I've seen those garlands so many times, but I haven't noticed that they appear to be a ribbon with pearls or beads attached on top. As soon as I had noticed that I walked down town to get some green glass beads. Catchign a few pokémons on the way ;)

I used the metallic trim I got from Korps when I was in Visby. Then I sewed the beads/pearls on with unbelached line thread. The ties are cotton tape and I glued a silk ribbon to the back side of the metal ribbon to avoid a green forehead. And to secure the thread too, since it's hard to fasten thread properly in a ribon woven entirely from metal thread (wire around a thread core).

In my mind I looked fabulous with just the garland and no veil, but in reality I am definitely sticking to wearing a veil :)


söndag 14 augusti 2016

Medieval week shopping

I only went two and a half days to Visby Medieval week, and I'm really broke so my shopping was very limited.

The metal trims are from Medeltidsmode (the top one) and Korp's respectively, and will become edgings on veils and gebende, like this:

I made an edged veil just before I left, but with more silver-coloured trim. Because that's what I had. Here I am, weaing it at the medieval Chapter House in Visby.

The veil pins in the photo were made by some young guys and I didn't get their name. The pins are square rather than round and I'm afraid that might hurt the fabric. I hope that I can correct this with a hammer though. Anyway, they were the only ones that I found, since most vendors had sold out their stock of pins, and I they were really cheap.

The brass boar fitting is for Rickard and I haven't decided what to put it on yet - belt, hat or a quiver, which I plan to make for him this winter. It's made by Lorifactor, who have the most amazing replicas of medieval stuff. You really should visit their web site.

The "brooch" is from a merchant from Ukraine, whose name I have forgotten, I will try to find out however, because I liked their stuff. It's to be sewn on, but I think that I will make a brass pin myself, since I like being able to move my jewellery from one garment to another.

Most of my time I spent either in camp with my SCA friends or hanging in Hans-Gunnar's from Eikthyrnir, tent, drinking beer and chatting. I did not buy any shoes from him, but I was sorely tempted.

onsdag 27 juli 2016

A new, red Codex Manesse gown

I used to have another red gown based on the Codex Manesse, but I lent it to someone and neither of us can find it and so I decided that I needed to make a new one. It's a wardrobe staple really.

More info on the gown and more photos here.

Women's garment combinations in the Codex Manesse

A cool thing with the Codex Manesse/Grosse Heidelberger Liederhandschrift is that there are so many variations of the same basic garments and combinations. For women the options found in the manuscript are:

1. tunic/gown on it's own with a belt

2. Tunic/gown it's own without a belt

3. Tunic/gown with a sleeveless surcoat

4. Tunic/gown with a 3/4 long sleeve,  straight from the elbow.

5. Tunic/gown with a gardecorps


It may not seem that varied, but with all the possible colour combinations, and all the possible linings in constrasting colours or fur there are endless possibilities.

Adding the large variety of headwear and the possibility of a cloak and maybe a pair of white gloves and you may never need any other inspiration for outfits from the High Middle Ages.

And, for men there are even more garments and options, with split tunics and surcoats, tunics with hoods, or with v-necks or stand-up collars.

fredag 22 juli 2016

My favourite patterned clothes from the 14th century

So, you have probably noticed that the one style/time period that I shy away from is the 14th century, say after 1330. It has not always been so - I did a lot of fitted gothic dresses in the late 1990s. Then it was a fairly unusual style in Sweden. However, soon it became fashionable, to the extent that many people today equate "medieval" and "the period ca 1360-1410". And I've never been good at following fashions within the re-enactment community - when something becomes that fashionable I jsut want to make something else. It also rubs me the wrong way that the reason that many people like the late 14th century fashions is because it conforms to what is considered a sexually attractive body today. I want my historical fashion to be beautiful on its own terms, and a bit odd, if that's what it is :)

Of course it may also be that I'm now a bit too fat to pull off that style, but I didn't wear it 25 kilos ago either, so I don't think its that. After all, I make 12th century which is just as tight.

Anyway, just because I don't wear it doesn't mean that I can't appreciate the art of the period, and the gowns worn in it. So, here are some of my favourite patterned gothic fitted dresses and tunics:

Catalonia, second half of the 14th century

Tapestry from Padua ca 1400. 

From the very nice blog "A Commonplace Book"

From an Italian manuscript of the Quest for the Holy Grail and Tristan of Lyonesse, 1380-85.

"Roman d'Alexandre", 1338-1344. One of the loveliest manuscripts there are. It's at the Bodleian Library in Oxford. Here.

More checks, this time italian, mid-14th century.

Guillaume de Digulleville, "Le Pèlerinage de la Vie humaine". At Bibliothèque Sainte-Geneviève in Paris.

These two are from La Quête du Saint Graal et la Mort d'Arthus, de Gautier Map. 1380-90s. From BNF, here.

Martyrdom of Saint Agnes. "Missale ad usum fratrum minorum", c.1385-1390, Latin 757, f. 298r, Bibliothèque nationale de France.

The resurrection, 1361-62, Museum of Zaragoza, Spain.

 Image taken from this blog.

St. Catherine of Alexandria. Italian 1360s.

The Smithfield Decretals ca 1330s-40s. Can be found digitised on the British Library's web site.

Italian Manuscript of "Guiron le Courtois". 1380s. All three images from Manuscript Miniatures.

c.1385 St. Stephen Altarpiece Church of Santa Maria de Gualter (Noguera) Musuem of Catalan Art, Barcelona

St. Urusla and her virgin companions. Italian manuscript 1380s-90s

I got it from Mistress Mathildes site "By my measure"

The death and coronation of St. Clare. German 1360-70. Link to a photo by Lady Petronilla on Flickr.

tisdag 19 juli 2016

Two printed wool gowns from the late 13th-early 14th century

I have now written a rather long documentation on mine and my husband's printed wool gowns from c.1300.
Where you get to know all the things that aren't period correct about them, but also quite a lot about fabric printing in medieval Europe. You find it here.


söndag 17 juli 2016

Shaping woven trim around a neckline

Since I am very fond of the clothes shown in the Grosse Heidelberger Liederhandschrift the problem of applying broad, generally gold coloured, trim has been a part of my costuming life for a long time now.

The problem is of course that necklines in this period are round and woven trim is straight and not very flexible. You can of course cut out a shaped piece of fabric, but if it's patterned it may look a little off when the pattern doesn't follow the line of the neck opening.

Anyway, that's not what I was going to write about, but how to apply straight, woven trim. In this case a four centimetres wide "gold" trim that I bought at Passamaneria Valmar in Florence this spring.

First, if you have a thin main fabric, like the tropical weight wool twill I'm using for this gown you probably want to reinforce the place where the trim will be placed. This will stop the stiff trim from distorting the fabric. I use scraps of fairly thick fulled wool for this. The photo is taken after I sewed the trim to the gown, but you get the idea.

I do the same when I make buttonholes on thin wool: apply strips of felted wool to provide stability.

 Then cut off a piece of trim. Make sure that you have enough by measuring where the lower edge of your trim will be. And add some extra for safety.  Then you stitch a line of gathering stitches  on one edge of the ribbon. Pull the thread and shape the trim along the neckline.

When it has the right shape, iron it, with plenty of steam, and it might me a good idea to have a piece of cloth between the trim and the iron too. At least you won't get plastic on your iron if it melts. I pinned the lower edge of the trim first and then ironed the trim to the same shape as the neck opening, moving some of the gathers as needed.

Of course even the tiniest gathers will be visible when inspected closely, but with a good steamy ironing they are not easy to see from a couple of feets distance.

On this piece of trim I didn't place a fold at the shoulders, which you of course can do to. Then you get less gathers, but I thought that it shaped up so nicely even without a fold so I went for just gathering this time.