I often get comments that people really like my pattern weights, at least once every time I post a picture of a project where they can be seen on a photo or two so I thought that I would tell you how they are made, as they were dead simple to do!

Pattern weights - 1
They are made out of plaster, so they are kind of light, but for patterns they are just enough. I simply mixed plaster as the bag told me and poured it into this soap mould that I got of ebay ages ago.

Pattern weights - 2
When the plaster had dried over night it was simple to pop them out to let them dry completely and then I painted them black with acrylic paint. To make the pattern more visible I dry brushed some gold on the top.

Pattern weights - 3
And then as I wanted the bottoms to be smooth and to make them stay where I put them, I cut some faux leather and glued it to the bottom.

That is how easy they were to make, and kind of inexpensive as well, the plaster does not need to be the best quality as they are just weights and the acrylic paint have made them durable as it is basicly a layer of plastic. After seven years of use they only have some chips here and there.

So how do one use pattern weights anyway, I saw someone saying that I was probably one of those rotary cutting people. But I am actually not. This is how I use my patter weights.

Pattern weights - 4
I put the pattern on the fabric, making sure that the grain lines are right and all that putting my weights on strategic places. Here you can see my best friend, the grading ruler. Something that I simply can not live without as it makes it really easy to chalk with perfect seam allowance.

Pattern weights - 5
Then I chalk all the pattern pieces, this pattern was made with included seam allowances as I made it in school, but I am reusing it so there is a different neckline, as you can see by my chalk lines. If the seam allowance is not included (like I make my patterns at home) I use a ruler to chalk around my pieces. I never pin as I feel that the pins makes the fabric wobbly and shift. So I simply put my weights on the pattern and that keeps it in place as I chalk.

Pattern weights - 6
I thread mark darts and other important things and then remove my pattern all together. Then I can simply cut after the chalk lines.

Pattern weights - 7
You might ask if the fabric shift when I cut. But it actually don’t. I keep the bottom of the scissors to the table and cut in long cuts. It goes quick and rarely shifts a bit.

This type of textile bag with tassels can be found in manuscripts and pictures from the middle of the 13th century to the middle of the 16th century. This is the type of bag that women wore hanging from their belts in long ribbons and it was very often hidden by the over dress.

The look of the bag varies greatly, different kind and amount of tassels, colours and fabrics. The material of the edging and the materials in edging and tassels.

This bag I will show you is based on the simple three stranded flat braid. The look is very similar to the tablet woven edge but much simpler as you do not have to know card weaving to do it. Here is a extant bag with a similar braided edge.

The material of your bag decides how “fine” your bag is and it is possible to make the same kind of bag in silk and in wool, also embroidered bags can be found in the extant findings.

Start by cutting your fabric, I use a wool fabric for the outside that is 19,5*35,5 cm (7,7 * 14 inches) and the lining is a thin linen fabric that is 19,5 * 34,5 cm (7,7 * 13,6) note that the lining is shorter then the outside fabric, it should be so that the lining does not peak out at the top when finished. Seam allowances are included.

Medieval textile purse - 1
Pin both the short sides, with the outside fabric and lining right sides together and sew them with a small running stitch with 1cm (0,4 inch) seam allowance.

Medieval textile purse - 2
Press both seams open like this, you now have a tube of fabric. As you can see I have marked on both sides around the tube, 2cm (0,8 inch) from the edge.

Medieval textile purse - 3
Now you want to press in the 1cm (0,4 inch) seam allowance on both sides around the tube. This is very easily done as you can simply fold the edge until the raw edge meets the 2cm (0,8 inch) markings, what you now have folded in and pressed is your 1cm (0,4 inch) seam allowance.

Medieval textile purse - 4
Turn your fabric tube inside-out and put the wrong sides together, pressing the short sides flat and nice.

Medieval textile purse - 5
Now it is time for the braiding. First you need to cut all the yarn you need, how much depend on the thickness of yam you are using. I use a medium/thin wool yarn. You will do two braids, one longer and one shorter. For my long I have 18 threads that are 2m (2.2yd) long. To my short braid I use 9 threads that are 1,5m (1,6yd) long.

Medieval textile purse - 6
On one end, make a knot so that you have loops in the end.

Medieval textile purse - 7
Cut the other side open.

Medieval textile purse - 8
I use a door handle like this when I braid, to have something to braid against.

Medieval textile purse - 9
You are going to make a simple three strand braid so part your yarn into three equal strands. As you can see you always strive to put the outer threads in the middle. And as you move the outer threads to the inside the threads that where on the inside ends up on the outside. Like this a braid is formed, yes trying to use words to describe braiding is really hard, that is why I made this neat illustration of how you do it!

Medieval textile purse - 10
Start with the long 2m (2,2yd) threads and keep on braiding, as you braid the bottom will become tangled. So now and then make sure that the bottom is untangled, or you are going to have a mess of yarn in the end and a short short braid.

Medieval textile purse - 11
Braid the 2m (2,2yd) long threads until your braid measures 1,2m (1,3 yd)(measure when relaxed) and make a knot.

Medieval textile purse - 12
Trim the end roughly, the rest of the threads will be used for the tassels so save them.

Medieval textile purse - 13
Now take the shorter treads and do the same thing, knot in the end, cut the other side open, divide in three and braid. But this time you braid the full length of the threads.

Medieval textile purse - 14
Then cut the braid in half, unravel the ends a bit for tassels and make knots. there you have the two drawstrings for your purse.

Medieval textile purse - 15
Now we make the tassels, cut a piece of yarn and tie it around the middle of one of the leftover ends from the long braid folded in half.

Medieval textile purse - 16
Make a knot and pull the knot to the top of the tassel, so that you get this look.

Medieval textile purse - 17
Make all three tassels, don’t trim the ends yet.

Medieval textile purse - 18
Now we are back at the sewing, mark two lines at both the short edges, one that is 1 cm (0,4 inch) from the edge and then one that is 1,5cm (0,6 inch) from the first line.

NOTE

I got a question on what I was basing this type of drawstring on, an the simple and honest answer is that I did not look at the extant purses. I simply looked at manuscript pictures and did what felt right and what worked.
What I have found is two bags with the same type of drawstring, but the first a 10th century German relic bag is way out of my time span and the second one is also a German bag but from 1540 so it is a bit on he late side.
This was a stupid thing of me to do, because when I looked and asked around all the extant purses have simply the drawstring pulled trough the outer fabric and lining, no holes made and no eyelets sewn.

Like these extant purses show you.
14th century Sion
Mid 14th century France
1301-1400 Europe Here you can also see what looks like a linen lining.

But one should note that the extant purses have silk cords, and the shell fabric is almost always silk embroidered linen. For a purse like mine with wool strings and wool outer fabric I would suggest that one did sewn eyelets either with linen or silk thread to prolong the life of the drawstring and bag itself.

If you wish to do eyelets instead I would suggest to to them in two levels as this picture shows, as the braided wool cords are a bit on the thick side, or to do your braids a bit thinner. If you do eyelets you can also skip the part about skipping over the tunnel for the drawstring that will come further down, just sew the braid to the bag all the way to the top in stead.

END OF NOTE

Medieval textile purse - 19
Stitch along the lines with small running stitches.

Medieval textile purse - 20
Like this, on both short sides.

Medieval textile purse - 21
Fold the bag in half, lining against lining. Short sides against short sides and pin along the edges.

Medieval textile purse - 22
Take a longer piece of yarn and thread it on a needle. Knot the end of the yarn and starting from the inside of the bag, between the lining and outer fabric, pull the tread trough.

Medieval textile purse - 23
We are now going to attach the long braid, that also is your carrying strap at the same time as we sew together the lining and outside fabric. Pull the needle right trough your braid like this.

Medieval textile purse - 24
Make sure to catch both the lining and outer layers. Go straight trough the braid, and take a stitch right trough the bag, angle it slightly upward to the other side and pull the tread trough as far away from the first stitch as you choose.

Medieval textile purse - 25
Sew like this along the length of the bag, stopping only at the channel for the drawstring that you stitched before, there go trough the layers. Then when you have passed the channel continue your sewing until you reach the top edge, there fasten the treads.
Do the exact same thing on the other side of the bag, before sewing the braid make sure that it is not twisted.

Medieval textile purse - 26
Divide the bottom part of the bag in three and attach the tassels.

Medieval textile purse - 27
Take one of your short braids and tread it trough one side of the channel with the help of a safety pin, go under the big braid and thread the braid trough the other channel as well.

Medieval textile purse - 28
Like this!

Medieval textile purse - 29
To the same thing with the other braid as well. Now you have a functional drawstring!

Medieval textile purse - 30
Pull the bag shut and then trim the tassels all around. I like it when my tassels are bigger in the middle and gradually gets shorter to the sides, but that is just personal preference.

Medieval textile purse - 31
Now it is done! Put it on your belt and feel happy! I have mine hanging from a purse hanger that I got at Historiska Fynd.

I got invited to a 18th century event with the question “I’m sure you have some 18th century clothing”, my answer was “No actually not, but the event is one month away and I am sure that I can make something”.

I have liked the 18th century for years, started a outfit years ago but it never got any further then a par of stays, a chemise, a pocket, bumroll and a half finished jacket. So it was not really a hard thing to start up with again. Last time I wanted the big silk dress, but now I had acquired the taste for lower class. The “undressed” is so nice, very forgiveable and a god place to start. It can easily be made on a budget as you can wear miss matched skirts and jackets; perfect for thrift shop fabrics.

I asked for a Swedish 18th century artist to Google and was told that Per Hilleström was the way to go and I quickly decided on this picture.  He paints a good amount of more common Swedish people an around a time that I like. The picture of the women and the fish is dated to 1775, a period that I like shape wise and I really like the shape of her jacket, simple but nice.

I looked around some more and added my findings to a album on my pinterest .

18th century common woman - 1
My old stays was way to small, so I made a new one. The pattern is the 1776 stays from “Corsets and crinolines” by Norah Waugh. I decide to not hand stitch the stays as I had only a month for this project. So therefore I choose to use coutil for the base fabric and also steel boning, I will make a more correct one when I have the time for it. The top fabric is a old linen table cloth that was mangled into shine by some old lady making it look almost silk like, I thrifted it for almost no money at all.

18th century common woman - 2
I choose to sew the middle section by hand, if it decided to peek out under by bows or if I needed to undo the jacket for some reason, faking it until you make it.

18th century common woman - 3
The stays are bound with red wool, leftover from my medieval hose making. Wool is a very nice material to bind with as it can be steamed and pressed flat after binding and have some natural stretch even if I actually did cut it on bias as well. when binding tabs, you want all the help you can get. The binding was machine stitched thee first way around and then stitched down on the back by hand. Making it very neat and nice on the outside.
I choose to make the lacing holes by hand, I as I am crazy and actually love button hole stitching I stitched them with button hole silk thread from Gütermann.

18th century common woman - 4
18th century common woman - 5
I really like the finished result of the stays, they are nice to wear and does no compress anything, as stays are not made for tight lacing but to only give the correct shape, something that my soft body very easily does. I would say that stays are on the hole more comfortable to wear then other types of corsets, as there are no reduction. The measurements of my waist and bust of me in stays and without are the same, or to be honest my waist is slightly bigger in the stays. But the tabs makes by hips look even more huge then they are, perfect for the 18th century silhouette.

18th century common woman - 6
18th century common woman - 7
18th century common woman - 8
In the pictures of me in my stays, you can see my old hand stitched chemise, I used it almost as it was, but I added a small ruffle of a finer linen around the neckline, inspired by this extant chemise. I also swapped the green string in the drawstring neckline into a pink faux silk taffeta ribbon.

18th century common woman - 9
18th century common woman - 10
18th century common woman - 11
My next dilemma was the shoes, I had no budget at all to buy finished shoes and I had no shoes at home that might work. SO I turned to my local second hand shops. I wear a size 42 (US size 11) and had no real hopes about finding shoes, my local second hand shops are not that good. So I was very surprised to actually find a pair of never worn size 41 shoes in real leather and with a heel that might actually pass as nearly right for under 10 USD. They were a bit frumpy and in a boring colour, but I instantly knew that I could make these work. And we have a shoe stretcher at work, so that they were one size to small was not an issue.

18th century common woman - 12
18th century common woman - 13
18th century common woman - 14
18th century common woman - 15
18th century common woman - 16
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I did some creative cutting, gluing, and then binding it all with a thin leather I had at home already, adding a tongue and buckles made out of other buckles. To make it all into one shoe again, I slapped some black leather paint on them and; Tada! Passable as 18th century shoes! The stockings I bought from American Duchess ages ago, I was very happy that I had them just laying around.

18th century common woman - 19
Next up was the jacket. I already decided that I wanted a 1770:ish jacket with bows in the front. So I turned to the very good book called “Kvinnligt mode under två sekel” by Britta Hammar and Pernilla Rasmussen.” (Female fashion over two centuries). A very in depth book using Swedish extant garments, looking at everything from the fabrics to the way the sleeves were set and the seems where sewn.
I choose a silk jacket in the book for the simplicity of the cut, and the short sleeves and bows as in the painting that I was inspired by. Using my stays pattern a base I made the pattern for the jacket looking at pictures of the pattern for the silk jacket. I made two toilles to make sure that the shape was right, the gores put in at the right height and the skirt of the jacket wide enough. Also testing the sleeves and length.

18th century common woman - 20
18th century common woman - 21
The fabric for the jacket is a brown wool that I found at a thrift shop for around two USD and the lining as a end of the bolt fine natural linen with sun bleached edges that I got for five USD at a fabric shop. Both in very nice qualities. The jacket was hand stitched together and fully lined of course. I got brown silk ribbon of ebay to put in the front and the sleeve ruffles are made in thin linen fabric.
I wanted t have the not so fancy embroidered sleeve ruffles, as also can be found in both pictures and extant examples. For one, I do not embroider that well, I did not have the time and also, I wanted to keep it simple. I wanted to keep the silk ribbons and silk socking the most fancy thing in this outfit.

18th century common woman - 22
I knew I needed something on my head, and I opted for the small linen cap with ruffles or lace edges, the ribbon in the back was inspired by this painting also by Hilleström. Still keeping it simple without lace but adding a matching ribbon.

18th century common woman - 23
18th century common woman - 24
One of the other things I already had was the embroidered pocket, inspired by extant pockets of forest and deer but with a very modern twist. I made this for several years ago and it is actually taken from a mug made by my all time favourite designer Klaus Haapaniemi. The mug was part of the summer collection Satumetsä he made for the Finnish company Iittala that I adore. The pocket is made in linen with linen embroidery, so not very historically accurate.

18th century common woman - 25
18th century common woman - 26
I also had a bum roll, but it was quite big so I deflated it a bit by opening it up and removing more then half the stuffing. I already have so mush hips, and for a common persons outfit you don’t need that much oopmf in the back. But as the stays gave me superhips I looked almost flat in the back and it looked kind of off, so the bum roll only took the sharp edge of the flatness.

18th century common woman - 27
18th century common woman - 28
The fabric for the skirt is the only fabric that I bought specificity for this outfit, it is a woad blue wool from my favourite shop “Medeltidsmode”. I made the skirt the “apron way”, with the back part tying in the front and the front tying in the back, giving you natural pockets slits in the sides. In many of the skirts from the book “Kvinnligt mode under två sekel” the front part had a wider waistband then the back so I made my skirt according to this fashion as well, it is very simply pleated to the waistband.

18th century common woman - 29
18th century common woman - 30
I am very pleased with my outfit, but the only thing that I am no all that happy with is my bangs, They are to short for me to try and hide in a hairdo so I simply left them out this time, perhaps I need to get myself a good wig in stead so I don’t have to bother with my hair, wigs are period correct after all.

Now follows a bunch of pictures I took by some 18th century cottages that are situated only a short walk from my apartment, I feel so spoiled to live in Sweden sometimes, we have so much history that is just around the corner from where we live.
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18th century common woman - 36

The event I attended was awesome, very cosy in a 18th century cabin in the woods in Stockholm, filled to the brim with nice people in awesome outfits. If you want to see pictures from the event, check out these facebook albums

This blog contains the things I make, projects and tutorials.
I know that there are so many of you that make things with the help of my tutorials, and I know that you are all awesome!

So I would like to inspire others with the help of you. I would like to show what my tutorials inspire you to make. I have added a page called “made by you” where you already can see some things people have made.

If YOU would like to participate, please email me pictures, your name and where you live (of course it is optional, it can be your screen name and your country if you don’t want to be to specific) to cathrinahlen(at)hotmail.se
Of course I would add a link back to you if you have a place on the internet and of course write out photo credits.

Cathrin wants you to share

Don’t be shy! Excuse my angry look, the picture was taken for a joke picture “Cathrin sees you, press your seams!” for a Swedish medieval sewing group on facebook. But It kind of fits here to ;)

I started to feel like it was about time to sew a new dress, after three years (or tree weeks as I only really worn it to medieval week) in my green gown I had so many things I wanted to do better. I did my green gown before I started tailoring school and when I was really new on medieval stuff. I decided on brown last summer, but did not buy any fabric, and then the yellow gained on the “most wanted dress list” as it felt like “everyone” was doing brown. In the end I did a small poll on my personal facebook, and everyone said yellow… And a small voice in my head said but, but, the brown, is so pretty.

That is how you choose colours ;) so I bought a lovely oak brown thin twill from Handelsgillet a thin ans shiny fabric perfect for summer, a lot thinner then my green dress. I got it home and steamed it and put it on the “to do shelf”.

Brown Greenland gown - 1

Next of was pattern, I knew I wanted to do a Greenland inspired gown, so I looked a lot on Greenland no. 38 for this dress. I love the slim panels in the sides that flare into a wide skirt, it is perfect for fitting on a large bust and “hides” hips in the fullness of the skirt. I tried my hands on the 38 in my green gown, but now I wanted to master it with my tailoring skills.
I choose to make it much more fitted then the original gown, as the trendy tight fitting dresses from the manuscripts. I also choose to have buttons in the sleeves as you can see in the London findings. As I wanted to make this so that I can wear it as a middle dress I choose to make it with lacing in the front in stead of buttons, also this is inspired by period art, in the shape of the grave effigy of Katherine, Countess of Warwick. She sports lots of tiny buttons on her sleeves and then spiral lacing in the front.

Brown Greenland gown - 2

Also I did not know when I made the green dress but the panels of the original 38 is actually cut slightly on bias. I wanted to see what difference it makes. For one it makes the cutting of the dress very fabric effective. You get a lot out of your fabric with not all that much waste but a great fullness of the skirt.

Brown Greenland gown - 3

A big bust is troublesome when fitting and it took me about six toilles before I felt that the fit was nice, as always it is hard fitting yourself, but I am happy with how the pattern turned out. Keeping the side panels slim as in the original felt important, is would have been a lot easier it they had been wider and more of princess seams, but then it would not have been the same dress.

Brown Greenland gown - 4
Brown Greenland gown - 5
I basted together the whole dress to check the fit, I want to show you my stitches. I find that many people baste very small, this is my stitches. I make them smaller in the tight fitting areas, and then really big in the skirts. Don’t waste time on small basting, do small stitches where it matters in stead.

Brown Greenland gown - 6
After the fitting I started to sew the real seams, I do it like this. A ribbon is tied around my leg just over my knee, and then the fabric of the dress is pinned to the ribbon. As I sew the fabric is tight and it makes for quicker sewing and easier to make straight seams. I sew with backstitches where the dress is tight, until my hips, and from there I sew with running stitches in stead, with the occasional backstitch. Again, don’t waste your time with backstitches on such a wide skirt, it is unnecessary and only takes time.

Brown Greenland gown - 7
Brown Greenland gown - 8
After sewing all seams I pressed them really well and then I felled the seams to one side using a filler thread. The filler treads can be found in the seams just as this on the Greenland finds. I sew down the wool filler thread with sewing silk.

Brown Greenland gown - 9
Where the buttonholes and lacing holes are I have reinforced with a linen strip.

Brown Greenland gown - 10
I choose to sew my buttonholes with a real buttonhole stitch with a knot in buttonhole silk, as you can see on the buttonholes of the London finds, it makes for durable buttonholes that are easier to do straight, even and also look very pretty. Also note the round buttonholes without thread bars in the end, just as a medieval buttonhole should look. Also my lacing holes are sewn in silk with buttonhole stitch.
Here you can see another thing inspired by the London findings, a thing silk edge weave, tone in tone silk to match the fabric of the dress. I used DeVere silk treads in the colour Cigar and thread thickness 36 and three cards that were threaded in all holes both as warp and weft, to weave was really boring actually. It was so slow, but I love the end result. Subtle but very nice and it makes the edge more durable.

Brown Greenland gown - 11
The backside looks alight, not as pretty as in the front but it is ok the buttons are 5 mm from the edge, and then the edge weaves comes and is 3mm wide. I should have put the even close to the edge, next time I might dare more.

Brown Greenland gown - 12
Then it was time to do buttons, tiny tiny buttons and in the end it became 31 on each arm, so a grand total of 62 buttons.

Brown Greenland gown - 13
So close that they almost touch.

Brown Greenland gown - 14
Here you can see the lacing holes and also the string that I made for the spiral lacing. I card weaved it in the same silk as the edge weave and it was even more boring. Six or eight cards threaded in all four holes with DeVere silk thickness 36.
What you can’t see is that all the edges are stab stitched, around the neckline, in the front and around the hem of the sleeve and buttonhole side. Just as in the Greenland findings. It makes the edge less prone to stretching and also keeps it very flat and nice.

Brown Greenland gown - 15
This is the result and I am very happy with it. It will fit better after some wear as always with wool the dress needs to “settle” on the body. After one sweaty day in Visby it was a lot better already.

Brown Greenland gown - 16
The wobbliness that you see here will most likely be gone after some wear, it is due to the side panels being on bias.

Brown Greenland gown - 17
The “prettyness” picture that shoes all that I love with this dress; tiny buttons, pretty buttonholes, edge weave in silk, side panels, lots of hips

outfits for medletidsveckan 2014
These are my outfits for Medeltidsveckan (medieval week) in Visby at Gotland. I hope I will see you there, if so say hi to me, I promise I am really nice ans I always love to meet people who read my blog. I will be on the island from Tuesday night to Saturday.

After having my old St. Brigitta’s cap for several years, and not really liking it that much. Well I like the cap itself as it is the best thing to pin your veils to, but it was a bit on the rough side with a bit to thick linen and also the band over the seam seemed like a good idea at the time but I don’t want it to show when wearing my frilled veils. Also the original cap have a lace embroidery over the head and in front on the band.

Making a new one is not that much work either, and the embroidery part was much easier than I thought.
I started by cutting the cap part out, in stead of sewing the back seam together I hemmed the two parts individually. Then I basted the cap to a thin cardboard that I had marked out some guide lines on to make it easier to embroider, the gap is 1cm wide and the markings are 0,5cm apart.
Embroidered St. Birgittas cap - 1
Embroidered St. Birgittas cap - 2

I used this excellent guide for the embroidery for the interlaced herringbone stitch.
I recommend looking at the guide in stead of my pictures, it is very clear. My pictures was mostly to show the progress on facebook.
I used a silk buttonhole tread for my embroidery, it became very delicate and nice, the original cap was probably embroidered with linen thread.

Embroidered St. Birgittas cap - 3
Embroidered St. Birgittas cap - 4
Embroidered St. Birgittas cap - 5
Embroidered St. Birgittas cap - 6
At the end where the slit in the cap will be I made a bar by making buttonhole stitches over a couple of treads.

Embroidered St. Birgittas cap - 7
In the front I made a embroidery inspired by this picture on Medieval Silkwork.

And this is how it looks when finished.
Embroidered St. Birgittas cap - 8
Embroidered St. Birgittas cap - 9
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Embroidered St. Birgittas cap - 11
Embroidered St. Birgittas cap - 12

Embroidered St. Birgittas cap - 13
And also how it looks when worn with a frilled veil, and also here with some flax cornettes I made a while ago. I love how the lace embroidery is seen under the veil.

If you want to make your own St. Birgitta’s cap here is a tutorial with a pattern.

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