söndag 28 december 2014

Two kruseler or frilled veils

Having had a hectic Autumn at work nothing much has been done, or so I thought. But being forced to go through all my pics and decide what to keep I noticed that there has been some sewing after all.

Here comes a brief show of two kruselers I made for others, one is sewn in small pipes and then starched, the other one is a softer look with lots and lots of neatly hemmed linnen strips, gathered and the secured.

First, cutting. In order to get a very straight, on the grain-cut, I first pull out threads in the linnen weave and then cut along the line.

When it is all cut I press them, preferably with a little spray starch, makes it easier to fold when hemming. Then comes hours after hours of hemming teeny tiny hems. The strips for the gathered kruseler are hemmed on both sides, then folded alongside the middle and gathered with two rows of parallell gather stitches. Then a small strip is sewn on and attached around the gathering creases to hold it all in place. This gives you a rather sturdy kruseler that can be sewn or simply pinned onto your veil.

The other veil demands a bit more measuring but does not need that long strips. I made the pipes 1 cm wide, then they will be filled out fine with an ordinary earplug to create the round shape when drying after being drenched in starch.

Both recipients were happy but I have not yet seen them properly worn, but I hope to see them come spring.

lördag 19 juli 2014

Summer greens

I have for a number of years had a large pile of a wonderful thin but tight woven wool fabric with an amazing drape to it. It was bought without a specific plan and over the years I have made so many different plans for it but none were realised.

Since I started focusing on my main period of garb, the German late 15th Century, and managed to make my own interpretation of the pleated panel kirtle (Hausbook, Dürer kleid, Nürnberger kleid or whatever you choose to call it) my research also showed me variations of a deep V-neck kirtle without pleated panels. I thought that would work fine as more of an everyday dress and decided to make one out of this greyish green fabric that had been laying on a cupboard shelf for years.

I looked into some more period depictions and decided on a very simple version with plain long sleeves with the same shoulder- and back as my brown shortsleeved kirtle, and with a frontlacing going over the V-neckline. The two green ones shown here are both taken from a larger piece depicting a tourney with audience by Master of the Hausbook. So, not all dresses depicted by him are what we tend to call Hausbook dress. They are both rather simple, with a plain long sleeve and a marked waistline and the deep V-neckline I find so appealing. And to my great joy I noted the wonderful diversion of headgear in this the very same picture.

 This drawing is by another master of the same period and region, Ishrael van Meckenem, and shows a woman with a really deep V-neck, laced across inbetween what looks like some kind of clasps. The sleeves are a bit more elaborate though.

Here is yet another depiction by another artist, showing the V-neck.
And here is a rather nice pic of the back, showing the deep inserts of the sleeves.

I started with the bodice and cut it with a white linen lining, stitched it and then I cut the skirtpart in four panels, sewed them together and then attached the skirt to the bodice, not taking enough care to adjust the length of the bodice. That turned out really bad, more on that later. Last I assembled the sleeves, rather tight and with one large gusset over the shoulder. Here is a rather bad pic showing it all sewn together.
As you can see when looking closer, the skirt does not fall well below the waist, it kind of crumbles and makes creases, and the bodice itself is all wrinkled along the sides. When wearing it the shoulder seams move upwards together with the entire bodice and it felt all wrong. Almost in despair I asked: can I live with this or will it agonize me forever? At last I decided that it just doesn´t work and simply cut it loose above the waist and ended with shortening the bodice approximately three centimetres. It really did the trick I tell you! And I should know better...

All done it got worn properly assecorized today and documented on the first spin. And look how much happier I am with a properly placed waistseam!

måndag 21 april 2014

Bright lights! Bright lights!

The spring sun is shining, warm, bright, beautiful sunshine and then you realize, while enjoying the first event of the season, that the neckline of your dress is no longer flattering since you got the sunburn from hell. Sounds familiar? I guess I´m not alone. So here is how to cover up and still be true to the late 15th Century - the linen gollar.

When I first saw this high-cut gollar in pictures I mistook it for a chemise with a high collar, but with a little more research I was proven wrong. As seen in this portrait of a young girl by Albrecht Dürer, the linen gollar covers the neck, chest and shoulders in a rather lowcut dress.
And this is how I made mine, that I will be sure to bring to the first outdoor events.
 I first cut it in three parts, but in order to make it fit nicely into the neckline I decided to make a seam in the back as well. I made it in double layers and hid all the seamallowances, so that it is reversable.
 Here  you see it on top of the neckline that I want to cover, and then how it looks when neatly tucked in and pinned in the front. No more sunburn for me! And it is also good in winter, under a furlined gollar for instance, protecting the fur from the warm and sticky skin of the neck, or protecting that sensitive skin from a itchy wool gollar or overdress.

söndag 30 mars 2014

Springcleaning the medieval wardrobe

Yesterday we had the first warm day of spring, with sunshine and birdsong. Perfect for some spring cleaning and preparing your garb for a new event season. To take good care of all your wooly stuff, here is some tips and tricks for you.

Wool does not need to nor keep well if washed frequently. I hardly ever wash my wool clothing in the washing machine, since it is hard on the fibres and I want them to last long, considering the investment I made in money and work hours.

First of all, air your clothes at least once a year. Pull out everything and hang it freely so that the fresh air reaches into every crease and fold. This also prevents moth attacks. I let them hang for two-three hours.
Go over every garment and check for stains, holes, or ripped seams and fix them right away. Here is how I take out stains of food or drink on wool, with baby wipes or a moist cloth.
One thing that I almost always need to mend are my kneehose. They are patched several times and here is how I do that.
 When I made them, I did think first and made the choice of making the soles in a steadier and thicker wool than the hose. Evenso, they do get a lot of wear. As you can see, both the heels are patched. One was so worn I simply cut the remains of the sole away and patched it with a new piece. The other one was not as bad so there I put a new piece on the inside and stitched it thouroughly.

 This is how it looks on the inside. And no, I do not think all mending-patches must match the original fabric.
 Going over the hose I found a new little hole in the toe. And it is better to patch it straight away before it gets worse. I cut a new patch of wool and pinned it on the inside. Then I fastened it with some whipstitch, took out the pins and then stitch the entire patch with running stitch, that makes the mending steadier.

And this is the result, a nice piece of patchwork and my hose are ready for another season. These hose are now about seven or eight years and I wear them on almost every event I go too.

Another thing that needs to be done is to replace or fasten loose buttons. After some years I did not have any scraps of the original fabric of my husbands coat left, so I simply took another kind of fabric. I think it is a good sign of a loved piece of garb, and even extant pieces are mended over and over. One of the best written sources of garb research are wills, showing that garments were inherited for generations.

Now I just need to pack everything away again, hopefully in some kind of order, and finally hem that dress I made in December...