howto


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.

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At the end where the slit in the cap will be I made a bar by making buttonhole stitches over a couple of treads.

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In the front I made a embroidery inspired by this picture on Medieval Silkwork.

And this is how it looks when finished.
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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.

This tutorial is long due, I took most of the pictures two years ago so when I decided to redo the skirt on my trossfrau dress a couple of weeks ago I took the last pictures for the tutorial.

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Start out by cutting the shell fabric, I have a blue wool fabric that is slightly fulled. The back piece is cut on fold, but not the front piece, as it will open in front.

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The pattern is without seam allowances as you can see, I choose to have 1,5 cm seam allowance everywhere except the neckline and centre front, there the seam allowance is 1cm.

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The I cut my linen lining, I use my shell fabric as pattern pieces in stead of the paper patter, it lays better on the pattern and you can just cut them the same size, no measuring seam allowances a second time.

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Put the shell fabric and lining wrong sides together.

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Baste the two layers together, they will now be treated as one piece of fabric.

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Put the pieces right sides together and pin the shoulder and sides seams together, I have made a sewing line with a pen so that my stitches will be straight, these lines will never be seen so no need to use any special pens.

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I sew the shoulder and side seams with backstitches using waxed linen thread, as this is a tight garment so it is important that the seams hold up.

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Before sewing all the way down to the hem I cut away some of the lining, this is so that when the bodice is hemmed the lining won’t peak out.

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Then I take away the basting on the shoulder seams and side seams.

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The lining is cut down in all the seam allowances in side seams and shoulder seams, to make the seams less bulky and to make sure that the lining won’t peak out when the seams are felled.

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I press my seams flat with my iron and then I trim the seam allowances down to 1cm. You can start with smaller seam allowances from the start, but by cutting them at this stage you can mask if you have not sewn 100% straight. I think this make the seam allowances look cleaner especially if you have a fabric that is prone to fraying.

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Then I cast the seam allowances down, I use a filler thread because it is pretty and it keep the edge from fraying. To be honest the use of filler threads like this is something that might not be 100% historically accurate, the use of filler threads have been found on the garments from Greenland, but the findings is from the necklines only. But I do this anyway, as I find it historically plausible and pretty, but I wanted to make clear that it might not be correct.

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But it is so pretty!

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Take care when casting down the seam allowances to not go through the shell fabric, as I have done here, red might not have been the best choice of colour.

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I do the same on the shoulder seams.

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Then I cut out the fabric for my guards. The width is you choice, there are a lot of variation in the pictures, but they are all fairly wide. I have also added 1cm seam allowance on both sides.
I cut them longer then I really need, to have some fabric to work with.

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I press in the seam allowance on one side.

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Then put the guard right sides together with the front opening, make sure that you the guard is sticking out in the top and bottom.

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Mark the top of.

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Then put the strip from the bottom of the neckline in the front.

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Mark the corners on both strips.

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Draw diagonal lines on both strips connecting one corner to another.

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That line is the seam line, I add 0,5cm seam allowance.

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I always number my pieces to make sure that I know where they are supposed to go.

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Then I keep doing the same thing for the whole neckline. Putting the strips right sides to the bodice, marking the corners, drawing seam lines and adding seam allowance.

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Do this for the whole neckline and front openings.

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I sew them together in the right order using running stitches and silk thread, the reason for not using back stitches is that these go faster and on this seam there will be no stress so the strength if the back stitch is not needed. It is important to use the seams wisely. You are hand sewing this thing so why waste time by using a stitch that is unnecessary, time that can be better used doing other nice things.

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I sew only to the pressed fold of the seam allowance, not all the way down.

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In some of the corners you need to make some cuts and to cut away some material to make the guards lay flat when you press the seams down.

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When the seams of the guard is pressed you put it right side to the lining of the bodice.

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I have marked out my seam allowance on the neckline and centre front; 1cm with a tailors chalk.

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Then I sew the guards to the bodice using running stitches with waxed linen thread, make smaller stitches or even back stitches in the corners.

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Then I trim down the corners to make them less bulky.

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I take away the basing thread in the neckline.

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I also cut away like this, to make it possible to turn the guards and make the corners nice and neat.

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I trim down the seam allowances all around the front and neckline. The shell fabric is shortest, the guards are longest and the lining is in between.

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Turn the guards around and press the edges, make sure that the black is visible from the lining side, this is to make sure that the lining fabric will not peak over the edge when the dress is worn.

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Pin the guards down.

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Now we take a break from the bodice and make lacing strips. They are made from the same linen as the lining, folded so that you fold the raw edges inside so that the whole strip have four layers of fabric. As you can see the lacing holes are for spiral lacing, that is the most common lacing type in the 16th century.

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I sew a line of running stitches on one side of where I want my boning.

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Then I make my lacing holes, the next pictures are taken from another project, as I forgot to take pictures. I start of by punching holes in the fabric with the smallest setting. I sew them with button hole stitch, as this is a period correct way to do both buttonholes and lacing holes. The knots on the buttonhole stitch makes the lacing holes and button holes more even and it protect the edge. Each stitch is a knot and that means that when the buttonhole or lacing hole gets a lot of wear so that it actually wears of threads the rest of the buttonhole will be intact. If you don’t have the knots the entire buttonhole might unravel.

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Then I widen the holes using my bone tool, I know a lot of people use knitting needles for this work, I made this bone tool to polish the edges of punched holes in leather, but it is perfect for making lacing holes as well.

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Make a hole as big as you want.

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Thread a needle with waxed linen tread and make a knot at the end. I put the needle in a bit away from the hole and come up about 4mm from it.

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Pull the thread through.

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Put the needle through the hole and up through the fabric again, at the same distance from the hole as last time.

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As you pull the tread you will see the loop that is forming.

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Put the tread on the left side of the loop, and then take the needle through the loop from behind. It is important that you put the tread on the left and come through from behind, this is what makes the knot on the thread.

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Pull the tread, see in what direction I am pulling the tread, this makes the knot end up at the edge of the hole. You can pull it so that it comes more up on the edge or even more inside the hole depending on how you pull the thread. It is a matter of taste where you place the knot.

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Do the same again and you will see that row of knots form like a pearl bracelet!

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After some stitches I like to use my bone tool again, when you sew lacing holes it tends to shrink as you work. Doing this makes the hole bigger, you can get a lot more stitches in and the lacing hole itself gets stiff from all the stitches, no need to reinforce with metal rings at all.

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Then you keep stitching until you come all the way round to your first stitch.

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Here I go through the treads between the first and the second knot.

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And then down to the backside. Doing this will make sure that there is a solid ring without gaps.

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I secure the thread on the backside.

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Take the needle through the layers and then up again.This is so that the end of the tread will not be visible. And if you cut the tread of just where you secured it the knot will unravel, having a cm of thread left will keep the knot secure.

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Cut the knot of on the front and the tread of the back.

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And then you do it all over again, and again and again.

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Then I pin the lacing strip to the bodice about 0,5 cm from the centre front edge.

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Then I attach the lacing stitch with backstitches, through all the layers except the guards. This line of stitches forms the boning channel.

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See how clever it is, the seam is totally hidden by the guards.

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Here is where I stray from period correctness, I use a modern crinoline steel to help my lacing out. I guess the period correct version would be to use reed as you use in 18th century stays.

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I secure the top and bottom with extra tiny stitches.

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Now I sew the guards down, I sew with silk thread and with these stitches that makes the seam invisible.

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Then I trim of the end of the lacing strip.

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I trim some of the lining of to make sure that it won’t peak out when the bodice is hemmed.

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Then I fold 1,5 cm up and press the hem, I trim some off just at my lacing panel.

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Then I sewing it the hem down with small stitches.

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Then I pull away the basting thread at the hem.

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All clean and pretty, but not done yet! My floor is not so clean ;) I have the habit of throwing scraps and treads on the floor, it is quicker for me that way, to cleat it all in one go.

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This is how it looks so far.

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Now lace it up with a scrap string.

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Put needles in between the lacing, this is to prevent the lacing from gaping.

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Secure with stitches.

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Now on to sleeves, this tutorial comes with a pattern of a simple s-sleeve but here you can see my fancy sleeve that is a adapted version of the s-sleeve.

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I sew the sleeve together using back stitches, and then I sew it into the bodice also using back stitches.
The sleeve head have added 3 cm of ease, the sleeve is 3 to big for the bodice arm holes. This is to make a pretty sleeve and those 3 cm is distributed at the top of the sleeve around the shoulder seam. It is not supposed to be a puffy sleeve, done correctly you will have no small pleats or ruffles in the seam. for wool 3 cm of ease is not that much is you sew in linen it will be harder to fit the sleeve.

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Here you see the ease, but where the seam is there is no pleats or ruffles. To make a pretty sleeve this ease must be pressed down.

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I put it on my tailors ham and add water.

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then I gently start to work the ease down. You will have to go easy to not press the ease into pleats. Add more water when you fell that is is dry and press until flat.

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Here we see before and after, insane difference, this is why wool is awesome!

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Now I trim down my seam allowance in the sleeves to 1 cm.

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Then I cast the edges of all the layers together, this is all the finishing I will do on this edge, binding it would make it to bulky, but this is enough to keep it nice and together.
Remove all the basting threads left on the bodice.

Now on to the skirt, unfortunately when I took the photos I decided not to show you how to attach the skirt as I wore it as a separate piece. But is is much more period correct to have the skirt and bodice sewn together so when I decided to renovate my kampfrau dress and attach the skirt I took photos of that. But that means that I have no photos of how to sew the skirt part together.

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But it is very easy. My skirt is made up by three widths of fabric sewn together with running stitches and then the seams are felled. In one seam there is a opening so that you can get in and out of the dress.
I choose three widths of fabric to make it wide enough in relation to my body. I am big, and to make the hem look on me as it does on the women in the woodcuts, to make the pleats as deep ad they need to be I needed three widths of fabric. If you are smaller you will do fine with less and it personal preference. I already have a good trossfrau body, round hips, small waist and big breast but I you need more hips the extra fabric will help you out. I like to joke and say I was built to for 16th century German fashion ;)

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I have quite the wide hem on the skirt, this helps to hold it out in shape.

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The slit in front, here you can see my stitching before I started tailoring school, sooo big stitches ;)

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I have two rows of guards on the skirt, the cut-out is inspired by a woodcut, some people have puffs of silk coming out of these slashes, I wanted mine to be simple. I have also sewn down the slashes onto the skirt in stead of only hemming them. After a few incidents of getting stuck on low objects and benches and ripping the slashes or at some times part of the whole guard of the dress I decided to make it more secure.

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On the top of the skirt I fold down 3 cm. This is because I want to make the cartridge pleating in double fabric, to make the pleats even fuller.

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Using my smock guide I mark out two lines of dots that are 1 cm from each other and 1 cm from the edge.

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Like this

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Then I divide the skirt into four parts, this is to make gathering the skirt even easier, I make marks with some thread.

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Then I sew the gathering treads, down one dot up at the next.

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At the slit I sew the edges of the fold and the skirt together.

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I sew two lines of gathering stitches that I secure in one end.

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Then I pull the treads, look at the pretty cartridge pleating.

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I also mark the bodice in four equal parts.

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Then I put the markings at the skirt to the markings on the bodice right sides together.

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Now it is easy to gather the skirt evenly, put some pins as I go along.

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Then I stitch the skirt to the bodice. I do it with two stitches at each pleat, to make it strait.
Also the skirt is kind of heavy and these stitches need to be able to hold that weight.

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Look all neat and nice, I love cartridge pleats!

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This is how it looks at the front opening.

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When you are finished with the seam you can pull the gathering treads out.

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As you can see the cartridge pleats “stands open” inside the dress, this gives you the extra hip boost that will give you the correct 16th century hips, and for us that already have 16th century hips naturally; we get the superfrauhips! More hips is good, the German ladies all seems to have a lot of them.

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And now, you are actually DONE! With the dress that is, the list of stuff you need now is long, this is why the frau never gets boring. It is easy to give one dress many looks by simply changing the chemise, the veil or the size of you wulsthaube. Throwing on another hat, getting a fancy new gollar. I have tutorial for most of the trossfrau details in my tutorial list

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Here is the pattern.
It is in cm as always and made for me.
Bust: 118cm
Waist: 94cm

Remember to do a mock-up before cutting into the real fabric.

Kampfrau dress - pattern front
Kampfrau dress - pattern back
Kampfrau dress - pattern sleeve

After spending lots of hours of smocking, you wear your fancy new smocked garment on a event, afterwards you throw it in the washing machine.

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And it comes out looking all wonky and not at all that crisp and nice.
But there is no need to worry, resetting is easy, it just takes some time if you only have a ordinary ironing board.

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You need lots of pins for this, star of by pinning on the edge.

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Pin at every stitch for as long as your ironing board or garment allows.

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Then you pull the fabric under each stitch, see, now you can see the crispness again, and then you put a pin.

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Lots of pins, you need to have these without heads, as we are going to apply heat to them later on.

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If you do not have a iron with steam, you take a piece of fabric, I use a linen kitchen towel and make it really wet in one end, Use a old washed fabric to prevent excess colour from staining your work. Squeeze out some of the water.

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Lay the wet part of the towel over the smock.

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Then really lightly touch the towel with the iron just where your smock is. Do not apply any pressure, you only want the heat. The towel should now do a sizzling noise, the water turning into steam. If you happen to have a steam iron, you can just use a dry towel and then hold it over the towel and use lots of steam on the smock.

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Now take the towel away and wait for it to cool down and dry completely. If you have a vacuum ironing board this takes you no time, but for us without it can take several hours.

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I do the sleeve on the sleeve board.

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And this is how it turn out after cooling down, as good as new or perhaps even crisper. Now you can move on the the newt part of your garment and work your way around the whole smock, just to the same thing all over again.

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Here is a smocked apron that I have done the same thing to.

And now you can go out, wear it at en event, throw it in the washing machine and then do it all again ;)

I swear by my St. Birgitta’s cap, as you could see in the post “How I wear my veil” I use it as a base when I pin my veils. It can also be worn as it is as you can see in these pictures.

Here you can see it on the woman on the left
The cap have a long strap that is put over the head two times
A collection picture
There is also a extant cap

There is a lot of people that have written about this already, Isis post on it on Medieval Silkwork is a good read.

What I will show here is a simple version, without the fancy embroidery.

St. Birgitta’s cap - 1
If you have looked at other peoples patterns, you will see that my patterns differs slightly. Most patterns have a square lower front, my pattern have that part rounded of, the reason is that I find it easier to gather it when it is like that. I have tried the square pattern, but the rounded of corner works best for me.

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Start of by cutting your cap parts, you will need two parts. I use a medium weight linen fabric, make sure to make the marks both in the front and back, these are important later on in the process. As the pattern does not include seam allowance, you can choose what is best for you. In these pictures I have 1,5 cm seam allowance on the back seam and 1cm on the front of the cap.

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Pin the top seam, you will sew from the front to the marking in the back. To be able to put the cap on you will need a slit in the back and the back marking marks out where it begins.

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I sew backstitches with silk thread.

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Sew with backstitches all the way to the mark for the slit.

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Now you need to press the seam you sewed apart, I use my fingernail to simply scrape it open.

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Fold in the raw edges to make the cap neat on the inside.

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Then sew the felled seams down, I use small stitches and only pick up a few threads of the outer layer, this makes a almost invisible seam from the outside.

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Hem the other side as well.

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Now it is time to gather the lower edge, this gives the cap it’s shape in the back.

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I stitch with big stitches from the back up to the mark in the front.

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By sewing two lines of stitches you will be able to gather the fabric nicer.

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Now it is time to sew on the ties straps. I first take a strip that is 70 cm long and 5cm wide. On one side I mark out my 1 cm seam allowance and on the other side I press that seam allowance down.

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Now on to some measuring, on the centre of your 70 cm make mark, this is where the top seam of your cap will be. From the centre you will mark out the distance of the front of your cap, in this tutorial it is 26,5 cm, a total of 53cm. This will make it fit a head measurement that is around 56cm. The measurements is 3cm smaller then the measurement of your head to allow for stretching of the fabric and so that you do not pull the slit completely together. If the slit is completely closed you will have a hard time getting a snug fit on your head. You will have to experiment to find what measurement fits best on you.
Put the cap part and the strap right sides together and pin them together.

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The gathering should be as tight as you can to the back of the slit, sew the seam with backstitches.

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As the strap should be longer I now sew on the other strips. They are 65 cm long and 5cm wide as I made this cap without a special person in mind. Most common is to have one continuous strap, but you can also pin the strap ends together when wearing the cap. When trying the cap on you will find what length you will need and you can shorten your straps later.
These two straps I prepare by folding and pressing in 1 cm seam allowance on both sides of the strip.

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Then I sew them on on each sides of the strap that you have already attached to the cap with backstitches.

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Like this.

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I scrape the seam open with my fingernail.

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Now what is left is to close the straps up and to enclose the raw edge on the front of the cap.

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I pin and sew the entire length of the strap together, enclosing the raw edges.

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If you wish to pin the straps together when wearing it, simply fold in the raw edge at the end of the strap and sew it shut.

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And your cap is done!

To sew the strap together, this is how you both put the cap on and measure how long the ends should be. If you are planning on having a continuous strap, you should not sew the entire length of strap together out to the ends. Save around 10 cm on the ends and then do this next part before joining the ends with a backstitched seam. After that you can close the last bit of the strap up.

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Put the cap on your head, if you have long hair it is good to have it in braids in the back or to put it in a low ponytail. As I have short hair I generally just put it in a low ponytail and stuff my bangs inside the cap. This cap is to small for me, I have a large head so for my personal caps I don’t use these measurements, also I could not bother with putting all my hair in the neck inside the cap, I always wear wimples so I usually don’t bother that much about some hair sticking out.
Cross the straps in the back.

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Pull them to the front and cross again, make sure that the straps lay nicely and so that they are not twisted.

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Then pull them over the back of your head above the bag that have formed for your hair, the straps should be snug around your head, if not the cap will slowly slide of your head. If you feel that the positioning of the straps makes the cap slide of your head you could also put it under the bag that have formed for your hair.

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Put a pin where they meet, now you can see where you need to sew them together, or if you want to pin them in stead, you can now go along and putting on wimples and veil if that is what you prefer.

St. Birgitta’s cap - pattern
Here is the pattern, in cm as always, and not including any seam allowances.

Surfing the net a million years ago, before I started with all the medieval stings I did do a lot of looking at other peoples work, wishing that I would find the courage to staring doing it myself.
Then I found this webpage with all of the fantastical reproductions. He had a photo of a extant medieval pouch from Norway that looked like no other purse I had seen. So when it came to me making my own money pouch a couple of years ago I knew I wanted to make that kind of purse. It says that the pouch is from late 13th to early 14th century but as money pouches does not differ that much and in “purses in pieces” Olaf Goubitz writes that the circular cut pouch is the most common type of coin purse in medieval times and that the use of them continues at any rate into the 20th century.

I have made my purse slightly smaller then the reproduction I was inspired by but as I girl I guess I have smaller hands and I did not want to have a too large pouch anyway.

I start of by cutting the leather out, you need the circular piece and also you need two long thin strips one that is 50 cm long and one that is 65 cm long, I made both mine 1 cm wide but to make it look even more as the extant purse you could cut them thinner. I have used a piece of a old leather jacker, but any soft leather will do fine.

Norwegian money pouch - 1
Norwegian money pouch - 2
In my paper guide I have punched holes, these I use to transfer the markings for the holes on the leather. I use a regular drawing pencil that I wet slightly, it gives just enough marks and is something I had lying around at home. You are cutting the dots of so you can use anything to make your markings with.

Norwegian money pouch - 3
Then I punch all the holes out.

Norwegian money pouch - 4
Take the longer leather strip and make it pointy in one end.

Norwegian money pouch - 5Norwegian money pouch - 6
Start threading it through the holes.

Norwegian money pouch - 7
All the way around

Norwegian money pouch - 8
I round the other end of the strip of and cut a hole in the middle.

Norwegian money pouch - 9
The pointy end goes through.

Norwegian money pouch - 10
Pull your pouch together a bit.

Norwegian money pouch - 11
As much as you want to have it open when it is finished.

Norwegian money pouch - 12
Thread the pointy end on a big blunt needle.

Norwegian money pouch - 13
Now we are going to do the nice wrapping around the purse.

Norwegian money pouch - 14
Continue around the purse and make sure that the strip of leather lies nicely and evenly around the first round of the strip.

Norwegian money pouch - 15
Norwegian money pouch - 16Norwegian money pouch - 17
Norwegian money pouch - 18
I did not my strip long enough, but you can easily make it longer like this, make sure that the joint end up on the “backside”, this will make it invisible.

Norwegian money pouch - 19
Then when you have sewn all around the pouch.

Norwegian money pouch - 20
Take the needle and go down the hole.

Norwegian money pouch - 21
See, it looks like it continues all around.

Norwegian money pouch - 22
Now you have the rest of the strip on the inside.

Norwegian money pouch - 23
Cut it of a bit and split it in half.

Norwegian money pouch - 24
Norwegian money pouch - 25
Thread one end on the needle and go under the inside strip.

Norwegian money pouch - 26
Make a knot and cut of the excess.

Norwegian money pouch - 27
Norwegian money pouch - 28
Then take the other strip of the leather, make one side pointy and thread it through the top holes.

Norwegian money pouch - 29
Go all the way around.

Norwegian money pouch - 30
And knot the ends.

Norwegian money pouch - 31
Norwegian money pouch - 32
Norwegian money pouch - 33
And now the purse if finished!

Norwegian money pouch - 34
The pattern is in cm, as always.

Good luck!

Wearing my veil - 1
I thought thought that I would share with you how I put on my veil and wimple, my modern me have short hair, bangs and piercings, very non medieval of me.

Wearing my veil - 2
I start of by braiding the front part of my hair, I try to pull the braids forward a bit, that makes them look better later on.

Wearing my veil - 3
One braid on each side, at my temples.

Wearing my veil - 4
The last hair I pull back, as you can see there is not really that much hair, I wish I had long hair, but I am far to lazy to wait for it to grow out so I crop my hair every autumn, so in summer it is slightly longer than in these pictures.

Wearing my veil - 5
Then it is time for the St. Birgitta’s cap, this is the best thing ever as you use it to pin everything on.

Wearing my veil - 6
Stuff the bangs inside.

Wearing my veil - 7
The St. Birgitta’s cap have long ties that you cross in the back.

Wearing my veil - 8
And then cross in the front and put over the back of your head.

Wearing my veil - 9
When I wear my St. Birgitta’s cap in the way that it sits best on my head, I feel that it sits to far back on the head to look good with my frilled veils. So I have finished of a piece of linen fabric with the dimensions 44*8 cm.

Wearing my veil - 10
I make a small pleat in each end.

Wearing my veil - 11
Then I pin it to my cap.

Wearing my veil - 12
Here you see that I have pulled the braids to the front, this makes sure that they are visible when the wimple comes on.

Wearing my veil - 13
Then I take my wimple, it is 115*50 cm and is hemmed with a thin double folded hem.

Wearing my veil - 14
I put the wimple under my chin.

Wearing my veil - 15
I pin it onto my St. Birgitta’s cap, not on top of my head but a bit to the back of my head and I pull it tightly around my chin. I usually have to make it tighter during the day as the linen stretches a bit with the moist and heat from my body.

Wearing my veil - 16
I fix the back so that it hangs nicely, I sometimes put a pin there especially when it is a windy day.

Wearing my veil - 17
I put some pins in the neckline to, to keep it in place.

Wearing my veil - 18
I put them in like this.

Wearing my veil - 19
It makes the pins almost invisible, the only thing visible is a small dot and you can see in the circle.

Wearing my veil - 20
Then I put the braids inside the wimple and put a pin through the braid to keep it in place.

Wearing my veil - 21
Like this.

Wearing my veil - 22
Then I pull out the pretty pins. I always loose my pins that are in my wimple and neckline so there I use ordinary pins and they are never visible. But for the visible pins I use these nice ones from Medeltidsmode.

Wearing my veil - 23
Then I take my veil, It is a full circle veil that is 91 cm in diameter, I folded in 25 cm and then I have attached my simple frilled veil to it.

Wearing my veil - 24
I put the veil on my head.

Wearing my veil - 25
Adjust it to sit nicely.

Wearing my veil - 26
Then I put a pin on top of my head, making sure to catch all the layers including the St. Birgitta’s cap.

Wearing my veil - 27
Then I pin the veil to the wimple.

Wearing my veil - 28
Like this.

Wearing my veil - 29
The pin on top of my head.

Wearing my veil - 30
And that is it, I remove my lip piercing and the transformation is finished, now there is no bangs, no piercings visible and the short hair looks like trendy braids.

After wearing a dainty little hat with my frau for two years my friends and I decided that this year for medieval week we would make ourselfs new hats, huge hats!
This construction is guesswork, I have no real knowledge on hat making, especially not 16th century hats, but I try, and if it in the end looks looks the paintings that it is nice.

I based my hat on several woodcuts and this style of had is also worn by the Landsknechte.

A man on his horse
A woman with her dog
One other woman with this kind of huge hat

The pictures and several other huge hats worn by both frau and Landsknechte can be found at my pinterest; http://pinterest.com/katafalk/huge-hats-landsknecht-and-frau

My small hat is made in the exact same way, but smaller and for that project I bought a big macramé hoop at a second hand store as the base for the hat. For this hat a bigger hoop of similar type would have been ideal and my first thought was to ask a blacksmith friend of mine to help me to solder a thick wire together. But my friend had to much other things on his list so I was as usual left to my own devices and I started to look at my box of thin wire. I made a hoop skirt out of wire of this type once for a post apocalypse party by twisting lengths together to make a thicker tread and it worked for that so I had to try it. I do like when I can make things myself.

The huge kampfrau hat - 1
So twisting thin wire together I made a hoop as big as I wanted.

The huge kampfrau hat - 2
Then I took a piece of wool fabric that when sewn together was slightly smaller then the circumference of the hoop, you want it to sit tight around the hoop. The width of the fabric needs to be shorter then the radius *2 to make it sit on your head and to make the fabric sit tightly in the hoop.

The huge kampfrau hat - 3
Sew the fabric together, I used scraps so I have sewn it at two places.

The huge kampfrau hat - 4
Put the hoop in your fabric tube.

The huge kampfrau hat - 5
Put the wrong sides of the fabric together and gather the double fabric using a strong thread and big stitches.

The huge kampfrau hat - 6
The huge kampfrau hat - 7
Sew all around the inside of the hoop gathering the fabric and making it sit tightly around the hoop. Pull it tight and secure the threads.

The huge kampfrau hat - 8
The huge kampfrau hat - 9
If you use the same length of all your stitches the gathering will look even and nice.

The huge kampfrau hat - 10
Then cut two circles that covers the hole in the middle, one is for the top of the hat and the other is for the underside.

The huge kampfrau hat - 11
I cut decorative slashes in the top circle, using a wool that matches my dress to put under, I cut the blue wool the size of the finished top circle, this makes it easy to pin the seam allowances under.

The huge kampfrau hat - 12
The huge kampfrau hat - 13
Then I pin the top circle to the hat and sew it with big stitches, one in each “pleat”.

The huge kampfrau hat - 14
Do the same to the underside.

The huge kampfrau hat - 15
The huge kampfrau hat - 16
Then I attached some linen ties so that I could tie it onto my head.

The huge kampfrau hat - 17
Now it is time for feathers!

The huge kampfrau hat - 18
The huge kampfrau hat - 19
I simply put the feathers into the folds of the pleats. I do not fasten them in any way they stay put anyway.

The huge kampfrau hat - 20
I put them all around my hat. When I was at medieval week a whole bunch of people told me that when they had been at a event in Germany the German reenactors had told them that the way that most of them wears their feathers, on one side of the hat facing back away from the face was not the way that the German Landsknechte was wearing them, but that the way to wear them was all around the hat, as I have mine. It is always nice to hear that your hat is considered “right”, but then I have based my hat on several woodcuts so I knew that the look was “safe”.

The huge kampfrau hat - 21
Now it is finished but I want to have some shape to not look like a big pizza on my head so I bent it slightly over my leg

The huge kampfrau hat - 22
The huge kampfrau hat - 23
The huge kampfrau hat - 24
The huge kampfrau hat - 25
And this is how it turned out, at first I did not know if this hat was for me. It is so big and loud and feathery, but I decided that I kind of liked it and after medieval week I am now sure that I like it!

The trendy thing at the moment among re-enactors seems to be the frilled veil. Everyone makes one and after my try last year with my non starched frilled veil I was very exited to make a new veil. This time I wanted to try the nice starched kind.

I first read about frilled veils over at Medieval Silkwork and it was something I had never seen before. But after knowing about them I started to see them in so many pictures. It is often like that, that you don’t see things because you don’t know what to see. This is why it is so interesting to talk to other people about how they interpret a pictures, we all see so different things in the same picture.

Here is a picture of a four layer frill.
Four layers seems popular.
Layered frills.

Then I just had to figure out the best way for me to make them. First I wanted to do the measuring and marking before the sewing, but well I ditched that for this really simple “no measuring” way.

Starched frilled veil - 1
Starched frilled veil - 2
Starched frilled veil - 3
Starched frilled veil - 4
Starched frilled veil - 5
First I cut a really really thin linen fabric into strips, I needed about 3,5 meter to make my frill that is about 80 cm finished.
The strips are 6,5cm wide before hemming. I cut them 100% straight by pulling out threads to use as guides for cutting. I also pull out a thread at 1 cm on one side, to guide me when doing the hem.
Then you sew together two strips using a really small felled seam and make a thin double folded hem. I do not hem all the way but leaves about five cm on each side of the long strip. When hemming and sewing the strips together I use silk thread.

Starched frilled veil - 6
To make the holes when starching the veil I am using wooden dowel pins, these I also use when sewing the thing, here is where the no measuring comes in. I start by putting my first dowel pin in, I put the first in the middle of the sewn together strip. It is important that the felled seam is put as you see in my picture, this way it gets almost invisible in the finished veil.

Starched frilled veil - 7
Then you add dowel pins and pin as you go along, one pin for every one dowel pin. Pull the fabric snug around the dowel pins.

Starched frilled veil - 8
Starched frilled veil - 9
After a while you will notice that the pins are getting hard to handle, not is the time to do some sewing.

Starched frilled veil - 10
Take the dowel pins out, now you get an idea of how it will look later.

Starched frilled veil - 11
Where the pins are you are now going to sew together with some small stitches at the same place.

Starched frilled veil - 12
To go to the next pin you can go in the hem without the threads showing.

Starched frilled veil - 13
And then fasten the frill with small stitches again.

Starched frilled veil - 14
Work your way through all the pins.

Starched frilled veil - 15
Now it is time to make more frills. I put in three dowel pins in the frills I just sewed, this makes it easier to make the new dowel pins snug. Then you continue on, pinning and sewing until you get to the end of your strip.

Starched frilled veil - 16
As you remember you did not hem all the way out on your strip, now you put the last dowel pins in, mark with a needles and then take it apart again.

Starched frilled veil - 17
You can now cut of the excess fabric and hem the strip and the side of the strip.

Starched frilled veil - 18
Then you can sew the last stitches on this side.

Starched frilled veil - 19
Continue on the other side of the strips in the same way, and when you need to attach the third strip you make sure that the felled seam ends up like in the picture, in the middle of the fill. To make it more invisible. And you finish of the end of the strip as you did on the other side.

Starched frilled veil - 20
Now you need to pleat the back of the frill. I do not measure at all, using the threads in the fabric and how the fabrics wants to lay you can get nice pleats anyway, and it is not deadly important that they are 100% exact and the same.

Starched frilled veil - 21
Starched frilled veil - 22
Starched frilled veil - 23
I sew my pleats down with big backstitches, hare I used a waxed linen thread, but these will not be seen so it is not important what kind of thread you use, I had the waxed linen thread already on the needle so that is the reason why I used that in stead of silk.

Starched frilled veil - 24
Then I took a strip of linen cut straight on the grain and enclosed the raw edges, just as you bind anything in a bias strip.

Starched frilled veil - 25
Now it is done and time to starch.

Starched frilled veil - 26
It was my first time starching anything and I decided to use a modern starch for this time. I used potato starch and water. I took 1dl cold water and whisked down 2 teaspoons of potato starch in a pot. Then I put the pot on the stove and kept whisking, it is supposed to simmer but not boil. And then with the heat it turns into slime.

Starched frilled veil - 27
Then I applied the slime with my fingers to the fabric, generously on both sides. I let it sit for a few minutes to make the fibres soak up the starch. Then I took away the excess starch with my fingers, so slimy! Then it is time to put in your wooden dowel pins, my frilled veil took about 125 wooden dowel pins. Then you need to let it dry, I hanged it on my drying rack in the sun.

Starched frilled veil - 28
When it is completely dry you can take the pins out.

Starched frilled veil - 29
Sometimes the dowel pins stick to the fabric and you have to use some force to remove them. Look how crisp it has become.

Starched frilled veil - 30
One stitch broke when I took the dowel pins out, but it is only to sew it back again.

Starched frilled veil - 31
Then it is only to sew onto your favourite shape of veil, I put mine on a half circle veil of the same thin linen as the frill.

Cathrin Åhlén
And this is how it looks. The starching held up VERY well, I used it several days and at the battle of Mästerby it even held up to a light rain, I was quick to throw my open hood on but the ends of the frill was still in the rain. All I had to do when I came home was to take it of and put the dowel pins in again and to let it dry. The next day it was as crisp as when I starched it the first time.
As long as the starch is not washed away I believe that if the frills looks a bit flat you can mist it with water and put the dowel pins in and let dry, that would refresh the frills without having to re-starch it completely.

I thought that I would show you how I made my buttoned liripipe.

The pattern is a mix of Herjolfsnes no.72 from Greenland and hood no. 246 from the excavations in London. It is a tight hood but it can be worn both closed and open with the front part turned back.

I used a really nice thin grey wool for the outside fabric and a bright fun checked wool for the lining. I study tailoring and we made half a tailored jacket as a exercise and after everyone had cut out their jackets there was a lot of fabric over due to the fact that we pattern matched it. And most people just threw the pieces away since they were pretty small and they thought it was kind of ugly.
So I sneaked around and pulled their pieces out of the bins, free fabric is love.
The colours fit into the medieval colour spectra with a madder red and the other colours are also possible to achieve with plant dyes. So I pieces the scraps together, I know that pattern matching is not that period but I could not help myself, I just love pattern matching.
I sew with waxed linen thread and with sewing thread depending on what I am sewing.

Liripipe - 1
I start with cutting the shell fabric out. I have a pieced liripipe to save fabric so I take my big piece and put it on the lining with the wrong sides together.

Liripipe - 2
Then I baste the two layers together. Making sure that I do not baste to close to the edge at the slits for the shoulder gore.

Liripipe - 3
Then I cut the hood out of the lining fabric. Doing it this way in stead of cutting them separately is that there is no need to match them later, they are identical right from the start.

Liripipe - 4
Cut the slits for the shoulder gore in the lining fabric to.

Liripipe - 5
We are going to start with putting the shoulder gores in. We will sew them in from the right side. It is a easy way to set gores without having to worry about the tip being all wonky.
With a chalk I draw the sewing allowance on the gore. I have 1cm

Sewing the gores in from the right side is a technique that have been found on the garments from Greenland.

Liripipe - 6
The cut slits in the hood have now sewing allowance so put the cut edge to the chalk line.

Liripipe - 7
You should put the gore in between the lining layer and the shell fabric.
This is why you should not baste to close to the edge.

Liripipe - 8
Pin it in place.

Liripipe - 9
Fold the edge of the slit in.

Liripipe - 10
Do this all the way around the slit, see how easy it is to make a pretty tip on the gusset.

Liripipe - 11
Make sure that you only pin the shell fabrics layers together.

Liripipe - 12
Then sew the gusset with this kind of stitch.

Liripipe - 13
Make sure that you only sew the shell fabric together.

Liripipe - 14
And there is your gusset.

Liripipe - 15
This is the backside. The line is there to help me to pattern match the lining gusset.

Liripipe - 16
Do the same thing with the lining gusset. Yes, there might have been some non period pattern matching going on here to, but there is a lot of piecing and that is totally period

Liripipe - 17
Then you attach the liripipe the same way, from the right side. I do this because I am lazy and that it gives you a nice flat seam from the beginning. And the seam will not get any wear so it will hold anyway.

Liripipe - 18
I do not line the liripipe, no one will see it anyway and it will just be bulky.

Liripipe - 19
I cut the seam allowance down a bit, to reduce the bulk even more.

Liripipe - 20
Liripipe - 21
Then I sew down the seam allowance. I use filler threads to keep the edges from fraying, and it looks pretty as well. This is a technique that have been found in the garments from Greenland.

Liripipe - 23
Liripipe - 22
Then I mark out the centre front of the hood. On the buttonhole side I want it to overlap with 0,5 cm so I mark that out to.

Liripipe - 24
I baste the centre front line on the button hole side to make it easy for myself when I am going to mark out the button holes later on.

Liripipe - 25
On the side were the buttons will be attached I fold in the seam allowance completely, since you want the buttons to be attached to the edge of the hood at the centre front.
I cut some notches in the seam allowance to make it possible to press.
On the side where you want the button holes you only press in 0,5cm since you want it to overlap a bit.

Liripipe - 26
I trim down the seam allowance where the notches are so that the notches are cut of, It looks prettier.

Liripipe - 27
Then I trim away the lining a bit, to make it smoother.

Liripipe - 28
Cast down the edge with filler thread.

Liripipe - 29
Like this.

Liripipe - 30
Finish of both sides the same way.

Liripipe - 31
Then you sew the buttonholes. I use a silk buttonhole thread to work mine, It gives the best results and have been found on the garments described in Textiles and clothing.
I wait with the buttons since I always sew the buttons on last. It is a tailor habit and comes from the fact that you can not do a proper last press on a garment if the buttons are on it.

Liripipe - 32
Not it is time to sew the neck seam. I mark out where I want to sew.

Liripipe - 33
I start at the liripipe. Here I sew with short running stitches. There is no stress on these seams and sewing a back stitch is just wasting time.

Liripipe - 34
I sew with short running stitches all the way to this point in the neck, this is where I start sewing with back stitches.

Liripipe - 35
Then I press the seams apart.

Liripipe - 36
Period seam allowances are narrow so I try to simulate that with cutting my seam allowances down a bit.

Liripipe - 37
Liripipe - 38
Liripipe - 39
As I have done with all my other seams, I use the filler threads when I cast the edges down.

Liripipe - 40
Now it is time to hem the hood. I have chosen to tablet weave around the hood.
If you want to know how to do it, I explained this in my tutorial on how to make a open hood.
Click here to go to it.

Liripipe - 41
Now we make the buttons. Mark out the size on a piece of fabric.

Liripipe - 42
Liripipe - 43
Using a strong thread (I use waxed linen) sew running stitches around the circle.

Liripipe - 44
Then I trim the edges. If you have a big button you can leave these on to use for filling of the button. But my button is small so I cut it away.

Liripipe - 45
I gather the the button around my thumb.

Liripipe - 46
Fold the edges inside.

Liripipe - 47
Make a single knot and pull it together.

Liripipe - 48
Then I massage it between my fingers. I find that this makes a better shape and also enables you to pull it even tighter.

Liripipe - 49
Pull it tighter and make the second knot.

Liripipe - 50
And then you have a button small round and tight.

Liripipe - 51
Liripipe - 52
Using the left over threads I sew them right onto the edge. Make sure that they have a bit of a neck or else they will be hard to button.

Liripipe - 53
Now it is time to take away all the basting and to press your hood well. The tailor in me hates unpressed seams, everything is better well pressed.

And then it is done! Worn here with my modern clothes and my Bigritta cap.
Liripipe - 54
Liripipe - 55
Liripipe - 56
Liripipe - 57
Liripipe - 58
Liripipe - 59

And of course the pattern. In cm per usual.
liripipe pattern

Dress pins
Dress pins are a must have for the person wearing veils and wimples and so. But they are surprisingly expensive for what they are. I do understand why but still, I am a student and sometimes it is hard on the wallet to pay around four to five Euro for one single dress pin.

A metal working friend of mine said “well do them yourself, they are really not that hard to make”. But I did not really believe her, nothing is hard when you already have the skills of the material.
But when cleaning my worktable I found a piece of silver wire I bought a few year ago to wire wrap some jewellery and I thought that I can try it anyway. You can not really do anything worse then failing and if you do you don not have to tell anyone that you even tried.

But really, they ARE NOT that hard to make. It took me around 20 minutes to complete my first two needles, they are not all that pretty, but they are not ugly and works perfectly. And they cost me virtually nothing at all and are in fancy real silver.

A popular type of pin heads are the wire wrap and there are a lot of extant medieval pins found with this type of heads.

Dress pins - 1
I started with a piece of wire, it is quite soft at the moment but don’t worry, we will harden it later.

Dress pins - 2
Using a round nose pliers I started to make the wire wrap.

Dress pins - 3
Keep twisting the loose tail around.

Dress pins - 4
Here are my tools, the small pilers are a bit to small to be easy to use, but I got them ages ago and they were dirt cheap. The big one is just a ordinary wire cutter.

Dress pins - 5
Work your heads and try to make them look even and nice. When you have finished the wrap, cut the remaining tail of.

Dress pins - 6
I make two pins at the same time, to save time.

Dress pins - 7
On my tiny anvil I hammer the thread with a hammer. Any hard surface will work, but there can be marks on it after so use nothing to fancy. The hammer is just an ordinary builders hammer nothing fancy at all. We hammer the thread to make it harder, as it first was to soft to be able to use as pins.

Dress pins - 8
I try to hammer the thread all around, it will become a bit flat but we will sand it later so no worries.

Dress pins - 9
Sand it down with a piece of fine sand paper.

Dress pins - 10
Then cut the pin in two, try to cut at an angle. This will save you time later.

Dress pins - 11
When just cut the end are a bit to blunt to be used as they are.

Dress pins - 12
I use a file to file the ends to sharp points.

Dress pins - 13
See the difference.

Dress pins - 14
And that was that, they are now ready to be used as dress pins.

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