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...