I love my blue dress, and I have redone it so many times now, but one thing was bugging me. It is to bright for what I want to do. I am aiming to do a lower class woman, a woman that could have been a follower of the German landsknecht tross. And for that my blue dress was to fancy.
I wanted to do something simpler, a lighter colour and a more “believable” dress. Then the idea of dying the fabric myself using a plant that would be easy to find and use.
There are plenty of birch trees around so I knew that I would be able to gather all the plants I needed to dye the around 4 meters of fabric I needed for this dress.

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I started of by getting a really big pot. I got my 70 litre brewing pot including a lid at www.storagrytor.se and then I ordered some mordants and iron sulphate from www.dengamlaskolan.se I choose to use the twill raw weave from www.medeltidsmode.se for this project. As I love the surface it gets after washing and I had heard that it would be nice to dye.

The raw weave is bought as the name implies “raw”. It is straight out of the loom, filled with spinning oil and the weave is quite loose. It is a fabric that is meant to be washed and fulled and should not be used as it is. It is inexpensive and kind of ugly with a dirty beige colour. But when washed in 60°C it fulls nicely and you get a soft cream coloured fabric with a visible twill structure and it becomes a sightly fluffy but not to thick fabric. You can wash it in 90°C as well to get a heavier, more fulled fabric, but I just washed it in 60°C before I dyed it. One should also note that it does shrink a bit when you dye it as well.

After getting a big pot it was time to add mordant to the fabric to make it possible to dye it. I added 10% of Alun and 5% Cream of tartar of the fabrics dry weight to a bit of luke warm water in the pot. Stirred it well to make sure it was all solved and then filled the pot up with water. Then the fabric was added and the heat was turned on. You need it to heat up slowly to not chock the wool but that really is not a problem with such a big pot. It took me around one hour to get it up to the 80-90°C that you need and I kept stirring the fabric around all the time. Then the temperature was held at 80-90°C for one hour and then the heat was turned down and I let the fabric cool down in the mordant water until the next day.
You can either dye directly on the wet fabric, or you can let it dry (no need to rinse it out) to have for dyeing later. I choose the first one.

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It takes a lot of time to get all the leaves. You need to collect t least the double amount of leafs of the fabrics dry weight. As I had around 1,5kg fabric I choose to pick around 4kg of leafs. Getting more then you need will perhaps not give you more colour but it can help with the light fastness of the colour. Better safe then sorry, also for birch it is good to know that if you pick the leafs after midsummer you can get a green tint to your dye, in stead of a clear yellow. This is what happened to me but I like it. You will want to get only the leafs and not any branches.

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When all the leafs was picked it was time to add it to the dyeing pot that was now emptied of water and rinsed out. I added the leafs and then poured on water until the leafs was covered. Then the leaf soup was brought to a boil and then boiled for one hour. Birch leafs does not smell bad, but they smell special.

After one hour it was time to take out the leafs. All the leafs need to be taken out as they can make stains on the fabric. Emptying a pot of 50 litres of warm water with leafs is a hassle. Really no that easy, but it can be done.
When it was empty of leafs I added more water. I had so much fabric that I needed as much water I could get and also it is a good way to get the temperature of the birch leaf soup down. You do not want to add the fabric if the water is over 50°C as this is bad for the wool fibre.

Then it was time to add the fabric. To make the fabric is even it is good if it is wet when you add it, mine came directly from the mordant bath so there was no need to wet it more. When the fabric is added you need to slowly raise the temperature to 80-90°C and you need to stir the fabric often to make sure that the colour gets even. When the temperature is at 80-90°C you need to keep it there for one hour stirring now and then during this time. When one hour is over I simply turned of the heat and let the fabric cool down to the next day. When cooled down I took it out of the bath and rinsed it well in cold water until the water was clear.

Next day I needed to dye my accent colour. As I had so much fabric the first round there was no space for that piece. There is kind of a lot of colour last in the bath after the first round, so adding a fabric to the after bath and redo the heating and one hour at 80-90°C would give a nice but lighter yellow. As I wanted to have the same strength but green I added the leafs to the water again and boiled them again, to get some extra colour into the bath. After the same procedure as the last time; straining of the leafs, adding more water to cool it down, I added the last piece of fabric to the bath and let it slowly go up to 80-90°C. When the temperature was right I let my fabric sit for 45 minutes in the bath, stirring well. Then the fabric was taken out temporarily and iron sulphate was added; 5g for each 100g of fabric. I stirred it well to make it dissolve into the water and then added the fabric again. This turns the yellow fabric green. But it is kind of bad for the fibre so I only let it be in the bath for 15 minutes. Then It was taken out and I let it cool down a bit before washing it well in first warm water that gradually was made cooler to not shock the wool.

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Then it was finished and I only had to wait for it to dry, and clean up the mess in the kitchen. Taking a good photo of the colours was hard, but it kind of what they look like but they do change in visual appearance if you are inside our outside, in the sun or the shade.

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Then it was time for the cutting and sewing part. Of course I had very little time to sew this as I wanted to make it for medieval week on Gotland. I only had a few days but I was pretty sure I could make it at least wearable for medieval week. The assembly for this is the same as for my blue dress tutorial. The difference is that for this dress I choose to not use the filler thread as there are no evidence that this was used in the 16th century and also I choose to try hooks and eyes and to not bone the front of the dress.

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Otherwise it was very straight forward sewing, I timed the dress as it is always interesting to see how much time it takes and for this dress it took me 25 hours and 5 minutes. Not bad for a totally hand sewn dress, and yes it was finished enough to wear for medieval week. What was left to do was to attach one more stripe on the skirt as I wanted two and the cast down some of the edges inside the dress but that is included in the 25 hours and five minutes.
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Under this dress I wear my wool under dress. A sleeveless wool dress lined with two layers of heavy linen that is laced in front. The under dress is not boned and I find that wearing the under dress and over dress is plenty of bust support for me. And also it gives you a proper silhouette.
To make this outfit better I will be making a new smocked shirt and veil, pure white and embroidered it not all that fitting for a poorer woman so I will be making them in non bleached linen in stead. And smock using a tone on tone thread in stead.

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I hope you like it as much as I do. I like the fact that it is so simple and not slashed at all. It feels very real and possible.

This tutorial is long due, I took most of the pictures two years ago so when I decided to redo the skirt on my 16th century German 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 clean 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 16th century German 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 16th century German women 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 details to make a 16th century German outfit 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.

16th century German dress - pattern front
16th century German dress - pattern back
16th century German 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 ;)

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.

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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.

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Then I punch all the holes out.

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Take the longer leather strip and make it pointy in one end.

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Start threading it through the holes.

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All the way around

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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!

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 hat is also worn by the Landsknecht.

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 women and Landsknechte can be found at my pinterest; http://www.pinterest.com/katafalk/16th-centruy-fashion-huge-hats

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 16th century German hat - 1

So twisting thin wire together I made a hoop as big as I wanted.

The huge 16th century German 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 16th century German hat - 3

Sew the fabric together, I used scraps so I have sewn it at two places.

The huge 16th century German hat - 4

Put the hoop in your fabric tube.

The huge 16th century German hat - 5

Put the wrong sides of the fabric together and gather the double fabric using a strong thread and big stitches.

The huge 16th century German hat - 6

The huge 16th century German 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 16th century German hat - 8

The huge 16th century German hat - 9

If you use the same length of all your stitches the gathering will look even and nice.

The huge 16th century German 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 16th century German 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 16th century German hat - 12

The huge 16th century German hat - 13

Then I pin the top circle to the hat and sew it with big stitches, one in each “pleat”.

The huge 16th century German hat - 14

Do the same to the underside.

The huge 16th century German hat - 15

The huge 16th century German hat - 16

Then I attached some linen ties so that I could tie it onto my head.

The huge 16th century German hat - 17

Now it is time for feathers!

The huge 16th century German hat - 18

The huge 16th century German 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 16th century German 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 re-enactors 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 the Swiss Landsknechte, but that the way to wear them was all around the hat, as I have mine or facing forward. 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”. If there are any truth to this or if it is just a “myth” I do not know.

The huge 16th century German 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 16th century German hat - 22

The huge 16th century German hat - 23

The huge 16th century German hat - 24

The huge 16th century German 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!

Lengberg Castle brassiere

From the first time I saw the Lengberg Castle underwear I knew that I would want to make something similar. Having big breasts complicates things, I would prefer not to wear modern bras with my medieval clothes. But there is no chance that I can get away with not wearing anything at all. The fitted front dresses might work, but I prefer to use ease in my garments and I am not all that fond of the shape my breasts would get in that kind of fitted underwear.

So the Lengberg Castle brassiere was perfect, it is just like a modern bra, but with more coverage and in linen.

There are quite a few interesting articles on the net already, you should check them out in stead of me trying to communicate what they are about.

Medieval supportive underwear at Medieval Silkwork
Supportive underwear in written sources at Medieval Silkwork
About medieval bra(shirt)s and other underwear by Isis Sturtewagen
The “Invention” of Needle-lace in East Tyrol? – University of Innsbruck

Lengberg Castle brassiere - 1
I used a lot of needles and draped this pattern on my self wearing my regular bra. It is really hard to drape on yourself so I recommend that you get a friend to help you. But after a evening of contortionism I had a pattern.

Lengberg Castle brassiere - 2
It might be the silliest looking pattern I have ever made.

Lengberg Castle brassiere - 3
One of my favourite things to do is actually sewing eyelets, my brassiere have 6-7 at each side and is spiral laced.

Lengberg Castle brassiere - 4
The lacing I used is lucet braided wool.

The result is this, the seams are made with felled seams that are placed on the outside, to make it as smooth as possible for the skin.
Lengberg Castle brassiere - 5
Lengberg Castle brassiere - 6
ILengberg Castle brassiere - 7
Lengberg Castle brassiere - 8
Lengberg Castle brassiere - 9
Lengberg Castle brassiere - 10

It feels good to wear. I wore it for a full day in school and the only thing was that the bottom edge raised up under my bust but I will be attaching a skirt to and that might fix that problem. Also, My breast went kind of droopy with not as much lift as I am used to with my modern bra at the end of the day. But the linen I worked with is really thin and I will make a try with some sturdier linen and that might keep them up and happy all day. But it was really comfy even if they “sank” in height during the day.

This pattern is made after my body, so a mock up is very important. But I thought that there is always nice to see how the pattern looks, as a starting point for your own pattern.
I wear a European size 80H according to the label in my bra that is a 95H in France and 36H in UK, sorry you US ladies but I have no idea what that translates to. But my body measurements are: Bust 120cm and underbust 96cm.
As usual my pattern diagrams are in cm

Lengberg Castle brassiere front
Lengberg Castle brassiere back
Lengberg Castle brassiere cups

My other posts about the Lengberg Castle brassiere.

Lengberg Castle brassiere – It works
Lengberg Castle brassiere – comparison

Last medieval week I ran around with a plastic bottle in my bag, since drinking water is important but plastic bottles are not all that fun I decided to make a leather bottle in stead.

Looking around there is two options, the bottle looking kind and the one that looks like a small barrel. As I do both medieval and 16 century stuff I wanted a bottle that I could use for both. Leather costrels seems to have been around forever, a quick google search found me both museum pictures of costrels from the late 1300 and from 1500 and they were in use at least up until the 18th century.

I also found a picture of huntsmen with costrels.

So I decided on a costrel, I like the idea that it could easily be made so that it would stand on its on to. I looked around at different techniques, some people use wooden moulds but I don’t want to bother with mould making so I went with the sand version. Haandkrafts beautiful costrel gave me lots of help figuring out how to actually make one.
I chose to take away some of the layers that he used, and it worked fine anyway.

leather costrel - pattern
Here is the pattern for it, it is in cm and I made one difference from my original costrel, it is only that the outer seam allowance is 0,5cm in stead of 1cm on the sides. There is no difference in function only the look. You need to use vegetable tanned leather for this project. Chrome tanned leather is never healthy, especially not if you use it for storing water that you want to drink. I worked with 3mm thick leather and found that it was perfect thickness for me. This costrel holds 9 dl of water or any other liquid.

leather costrel 1
leather costrel 2
Using an awl I made all the holes for the main part. I do not make any holes in the sides, they will be made as we go along with the sewing. Make sure that the holes in the top part matches, count them and make sure, you are sewing these together so they need to be the same amount and at the same places.

leather costrel 3
I have also prepared for the decoration, using a knife I have cut the decoration into the leather, but only 1mm deep. Mu decoration is based on this costrel but with my initials on it.

leather costrel 4
I started with sewing to top together, I use blunt needles and waxed flax thread.

leather costrel 5
leather costrel 6
Making it look like a small leather tent.

leather costrel 7
leather costrel 8
leather costrel 9
Take one side piece and wet the edges shape it with your hands, you might want to take some of the corners of, but don not cut away to much, it might cause the corstel to leak.

leather costrel 10
I have marked out where the top and bottom are supposed to be, so put the side piece into the “tent”. As I have not made any holes in the side piece, you will need to make these as you go along. Just put your awl in one of the holes in the main bottle piece and push it through the side piece as well, but watch your fingers.

leather costrel 11
I start in the centre bottom, with the seam that is farthest from the edge. I sew it from the middle to the top on both sides. I don’t knot any threads, I fasten them by making them overlap by three stitches.

leather costrel 12
I try to not end in the centre top, it is tricky to sew there anyway so I fasten the seams by overlapping a bit down on the sides as you can see it you look closely on this picture.
Sew the other seam, closest to the edge and sew the other side on. It is important to have two seams , it will make you costrel less prone to leaking.

Cut out holes for carrying straps.

Now submerge your half finished costrel in lukewarm water and let it stay there for at least some hours. Then you can force the leather to make the opening, my pattern will give you a opening that is just so wide that you can use a cut of plastic bottle as a funnel. It is also a width of opening that we are all used to. The water will come out just as well as from a ordinary water bottle.

Now you stuff it full of sand. Pour first dry sand into it. When it is full, add some water. Then you continue to stuff it with sand until it can not take no more and feels solid.

leather costrel 13
leather costrel 14
leather costrel 15
leather costrel 16
Now you can make the pattern if you want to, you will feel if the leather is to wet, then the pattern will not be as distinct. If this is the case, wait a day or so and try again.
I use a modelling tool for leather but you don’t really need any special tools, use what you have around you, a nice rounded stick, a fork to make a pattern with.
I don’t have any leather stamps so I used a edge cutter to make the dotted pattern.

leather costrel 17
One side done, one to go!

Now let your costrel sit and dry, this might take some time. I put mine in a sunny window and it helps to pour out sand as you go along.

When it is completely dry and all the sand is removed it is time to pour wax into it.
I used beeswax. Melt it carefully, get a old sauce pan from the thrift shop since the pan you use will forever be your bees wax pan.
Pour the warm wax into the bottle (wax is WARM so use caution) you should fill it at least until it is half full. Put a cork into it and move the wax around and make sure to cover all of the inside, it is easy to miss so make sure that the ceiling of the costrel is covered.
When you have done this you can pour the wax out again, pour small amounts into moulds made of of old plastic cups and you will have sewing wax for later. and it is easier to melt if you need more wax some other time.

Some fill the bottle completely with wax and put it in the oven on low heat, then they remove it when they see the wax seeping through on the outside of the bottle.

Now you can test your bottle by simply pouring water into it. You will quickly see if you need to redo the waxing part.
leather costrel 18
leather costrel 19
I coloured my costrel with modern leather dye. and this is how it turned out.
I added a carrying straps to be able to put it on my belt. I also carried it a lot as a small silly handbag ;)

leather costrel 20
leather costrel 21
A kind of a toggle lock, for quick removal from the belt.

leather costrel 23
leather costrel 22
A wooden cork attached with a thinner leather string.

It was SO useful to be able to carry around water with me the whole week without any problems, just remember to store it without the cork in to prevent it from moulding.
The first day of use the water tasted very much of honey, it might had been nice it if the water had been something else then sun warm ;)


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