onsdag 25 december 2019

Merry Yule!

I prefer the older word, mainly because it's the same in Swedish (Jul) - but whatever you celebrate, I hope that you're having a good celebration.

Those of you who follow this blog on facebook know that I am currently on sick leave from exhaustion, and that my best friend since 40 years id undergoing treatment for cancer in the throat.

So I don't have much energy for sewing, or really anything. But I made a new dress for yule, from some eyelt fabric that I bought at a second hand store. I wanted to keep as much fo the original shape as possible, sinne the eyelet pattern had direction, so it's made from one ractangle as skirt, another one as most of the bodice, shaped with darts, to the waist, and then straps in front and a yoke in back, plus sleeves. it is no particular period, but with this hair it looks very 1940s-early 50s.

I am alos working, very slowly on a 1919-1920 dress for New Years. Maybe it will be finished. I'm usign a remnant of velvet and a piece of embroidered tulle that was a second hand table cloth that I got from my best friend as birthday present. But I need lining fabric, so tomorrow I am braving the hordes down town to get that.

onsdag 27 november 2019

An empire era tea party

It doesn't have be more complicated than this:
My friend Anna invited us over for tea, with mostly period cakes and biscuits provided by us all. We had lots of tea and a good chat, as well as an attempt to read "The Mysteries of Udolpho" aloud. I say attempt, because it is very slow reading.

The setting was modern, but not jarringly so, and in candlelight it was easy to get into the mood.

First we took lots of ohotos of course, and I finally got around to having proper photos of the grey day dress that I made when I had my foot surgery in August 2018. If you look at the old photos you can see that I was quite a bit thinner then, so I had to start with making a new pair of stays. I chose front lacing stays so that I can put them on myself.

My stays is the only not hand sewn garment in my empire wardrobe. mainly because I needed to try out the pattern before making all that work. I have plans to make a back laced one with cords and quilting later though.

I also had to put in extra pieces in my petticoat/underdress), because I took it in when I was really skinny.

So, here's some photos from the tea party:

Most of the gang, some came after this photo was taken:


Anna and Alfhild conversing.

Anna. The cap was my birthday present to her last year. It is very silly, they tend to be that in the 1790s.

Amanda, who had borrowed my muslin gown. And Gunilla.

 Gaby in her brand new hand sewn gown.

Anna knitting

Amanda and me together

And finally, two phots of me in the grey gown.

tisdag 19 november 2019

A ca 1500 hanbok for Valeria

At Kingdom University I finally had the opportunity to take photos of Valeria wearing her hanbok, traditional Korean dress.

Then it took quite a long time to write the description of the sources, patterns and mateirals that I used. But now it is finished. This is the page with all the images, documentation, literature, links etc.

onsdag 13 november 2019

Surprising, overwhelming, and welcome

Last weekend I together with four friends organized Drachenwald's Kingdom University. I think we did a very good job and the c. 130 people who were there seemed to agree. We had a good programme (if you're curious you can find it on the web site I linked to), a good site and excellent food. And royal courts. And this happened.

Photo: Danel Styringheim

I was suspecting it when hubby packed the 50 years gift champagne that I got from some of my co-workers, but of course I wasn't sure. So instead of sitting at the registration all Friday evening with my friend Alfhild I spent it in vigil, contemplating becoming a member of the Order of the Laurel (SCA stuff). And, as you can see from the images of my scroll, medallion and the pillows that were gifts from my Laurel mother/mistress Helwig and my Laurel sister Lia, I accepted this honour.

The scroll was made by a very dear friend who lives in New York and doesn't play in the SCA anymore, so I managed to produce an interestign mix of tears and laughter when I heard his name.
The medallion used to be my Mistress Helwig's and the box for it was made by Mistress Renike.

I got lots of other gifts, but I haven't had the time to photograph them all, or figure out who gave me what, since my head was all spinning when I got them at the vigil.

tisdag 29 oktober 2019

Accidental fabric shopping

I just might accidentally have bought 6 metres of 80% wool-20 % modal (so sue me for using a wool/cellulose fibre blend ;) ) for this gown today.

You don't often find bright green wool. Now I "just" need good fake fur for  lining the sleeves and some for edging the hem. And silk for the under gown with its gold fringed wide sleeves.

onsdag 16 oktober 2019

Feeling small

having gained back 20 of the 40 kilos that I lost two years ago I rarely feel small tehse days. Except when trying on Måns' houppelande. He is of course much slimmer and in a better shape than I will ever be again, but he is also taller and have broad shoulders. So I look like a kid dressing up in mum's dress.

Kenya loves the houppelande.

onsdag 2 oktober 2019


Last weekend I went to a semi-local (c. 2 hours drive) SCA event called Boar Hunt. The main activities were an archery trail in the nearby forest, where we shot at plastic and paper animals (3D and flat), a lunch inspired by a hunting lunch by Gaston Phoebus' Book of the Hunt , followed by fighter traimimg where the fighters took the roles of hunters, dogs and boars. I took part in the archery trail, and it was great fun. This was my first real attempt at archery - I have tried it a little at a friend's place once and one shot at St.Egon this year. And I hit "animals"! Not many, but still.

Fot this I wore my pink cotte with a green surcoat made from handwoven wool twill, based on Herjolfsnes 39, though without the piecing and the lace holes in front. I also wore a bycocket sewn from wool flannel and lined with silk. It was dark in the forest, which affects the photo. Especially since it was also raining.

The way I wore the wimple, veil and hat were inspired by this Italian mid-14th century image, though I should have worn a bigger wimple. But I forgot to pack one.

Bonamico Buffalmacco 1336-1340

Other things that I forgot was: one garter, my knife and fork and a quiver. My arrows were kept in a cotton tote bag tied to my belt instead.

There was also dinner, and court: Princess Jovi and Prince Stigot of Nordmark.

I dressed in Italian 14th century for court too, here I am posing in front of the Nordmark banner after everyone had gone for dessert.

torsdag 15 augusti 2019

Migration era/early medieval tunic

So, I made this migration era tunic. It is made from dyed linen, because a) the fabric Gods spoke to me when I found it at the fabric store earlier this year and b) spoke to me again this week about what it wanted to be.

It should have been wool of course, and the blue might be too bright. But when the fabric Gods speak, you follow their commands. I don't even know when I am going to wear it - except just hanging around in the flat.

I think that I look amazing in it, and I feel amazing. Which is good enough right now.

onsdag 17 juli 2019

The tale of the mantle

In the beginning of this month I went to the International Medieval Congress in Leeds. Together with two friends I had session about materiality in Arthurian literature. My presentation was about clothing and textiles in six romances translated to Norwegian and Swedish in the early to mid-13th and early 14th century respectively. One of these, the so-called Möttuls saga was probably based on the Old French Le Cort Mantel, and was adapted into Old Norse  by a  cleric known as Brother Robert, probably of Anglo-Norman origin, for King Haakon IV of Norway (1217–1263). 
The Norse text can be found in its entirety here.

The tale is about a wondrous cloak which tests the fidelity and virtue of the woman who wears it, and the story in the Norse version is rather comic and somewhat bawdy. The cloak is very beautiful; made from red silk and is gold embroidered all over with leaves. it is held together with cloak ties and if the woman wearing it is virtuous, it should reach all the way to the floor. A man brings the cloak to the court of King Arthur and demands that all women at court should try it on.

Unsurprisingly all but one of the women at King Arthur's court fall short in this test; the cloak is eithr too short or too long, and often both at the same time, indicating, according to the tale, in which position the woman had been unfaithful.

So much about the story, but when I worked with this material I felt a very strong urge to have such a cloak, though without the magic. Silk cloaks are not unheard of in medieval Scandinavia, I found three in Norwegian documents when I did my PhD dissertation:

* One, is in a woman's will from 1349, and it is made from blue silk and has skillmala, an unidentified type of ornament. Link to the document.

* One, from 1353, has no mention of colour, but was lined with ermine and edged with sable and also had lade, a word that means woven or embroidered trim. This is a man's will, but it also contains items of women's clothign, so the cloak may also be a woman's cloak. Link to the document.

* The latest one, is in a document dividing posessions between a brother and a sister on the occasion of her wedding in  1366. This cloak was given to the woman, was green, lined and edged with ermine and had gold ornaments made in Norway (norröna). These were probably cloak clasps, since bezants, the metal ornaments so common in medieval fashion were usually silver or gilt silver. Link to the document.

So, I decided that I really need a floor length silk cloak.

Cloaks from this period were semi-circular - one such cloak was found during excavations in the church of Leksand in Sweden. The cloak, which is dated to the 12th or 13th century, was made from a diamond twill wool and had a border of woven trim along the straight edge of the semi-circle. This cloak was probably long enough to reach to the wearer’s feet in the back. Marc Carlson has a page about it, which shows an estimation of the cut, and more information can be found in Margareta Nockert's article ’Textilfynden’,  in Tusen år på Kyrkudden, red. Birgitta Dandanell, Falun 1982.

I looked around for reasonably priced silk when I was in London on my way home from Leeds, but I didn't find any in a colour I liked. However, this week I passed the town of Borås, known for its textile trade, on my way to a friend's 50th birthday celebration, and there, at a shop called Furulunds, I found a gorgeous raspbetty red silk. The photos do NOT make it justice.

Now I "just" have to make the embroidery. And decide HOW to make it, which means more research. I will keep you posted.
It will be lined, probably in another silk, but given the time the embroidery will take to make I don't have to look for lining fabric this year.

The Korean project is moving along

We decided that Maja and Valeria could use the same fabric for their chima, and the same cotton for their jeoksam, the blouse worn under the jeogori jacket in the medieval period. Valeria will have a light blue linen jeogori and Maja will have a light green cotton jeogori, but I haven't started on those yet. After all they're not going to wear them until November, and I have other interesting projects.

Valeria in jeoksam and chima.

fredag 21 juni 2019

Medieval and 16th century Korean dress: A chima

So, it appears that a new(ish) interest is Korean dress from the period that the SCA covers. Mainly because all my daughters are huge K-pop fans, and thus became interested in everything Korean.  The fact that my 1330s Genoese outfit reminds everyone of a woman's hanbok because of the high "waistline"also helped.

So, the plan is to make 14th-16th century style hanboks for both Valeria and Maja. I started yesterday, at Gotvik's sewing meeting, by making a chima (wrap skirt) for Maja from a linen/cotton blend. Ideally it should be hemp or cotton for lower class garb, and ramie or silk for higher class, but this is such a lovely fabric. And it has stripes, which was popular for unmarried girls and women.

The chima was pretty easy to research, there are several preserved ones from this period, such as these:

A chima made for Jung, On (1481~1538), a 5th class officer in the reign of King Joongjong. It is made of fine tabby silk and has various Buddhist scriptures around the knee portion. This suggests that this Chima was specially made for a placement in coffin as an element of the burial, and also as an offering for the late husband’s soul to rest in peac

This unlined ceremonial Chima was worn by Lady Han of Cheongju (region), a great-grand child of King Joongjong. It is made of satin damask with a lotus and seven treasures pattern and is decorated with two lines of satin tapes made with supplementary golden wefts to create a lotus and child pattern.

But I need more info for the rest of the outfit. I have ordered Traditional Korean Costume on ILL, and I have found two blogs with historical info, as well as a wonderful artist on DeviantArt who draws historical Korean outfits.

A hanbok fit for a 16th century Gisaeng.

So steady as she sews

Glimja at DeviantArt

And I am ever so grateful for the Metropolitan Museum of Art for making so many of their publications free to download. Like this: Art of the Korean Renaissance.

My Pinterest page on Korean dress, which includes later periods

måndag 17 juni 2019

Gotvik's summer picnic

Every year in June Gotvik holds a summer picnic in Keiller's park, and this year it was last Saturday.

It was a really pleasant afternoon, which included socializing wtih really nice people, yummy food, harp musc, a toddler, dogs, and a stranger asking about us and ending up being at least close to recruited ;)

I wore my remade gothic fitted dressed, originally made in 1998.

And the (for me) obligatory selfie when historical clothing on public transport ;)

torsdag 13 juni 2019

A new 16th century knitting project

As you might have seen I have made several flat caps from the Gagiana pattern that Marion McNealy constructed  based on a preserved flat cap from the 1583 Italian shipwreck of the same name.

Two of them

I also used the same pattern as starting point for one of those 17th century knitted tall hats that they have found in Denmark.


Photo by me, from the National museum in Copenhagen

That one wasn't a perfect success, so if I make another one I will make some adaptations to the pattern.

But, happy as I am with the Gagiana pattern - it is easy to follow and makes excellent flat caps - I have now had the opportunity to have closer looks at preserved flat caps at the Germanisches Nationalmuseum, plus photos from other museum collections and I have come to the conclusion that at least most of them are made from thinner yarn than worsted. I also want to make a split overlapping brim. I know that there are patterns for that which you can buy, but I'm cheap too ;)  So I may have to make my own pattern (how hard can it be? Famous last words). I am making it for Sir Måns, because my husband doesn't wear 16th century.

I was thinking about using fingering weight, but then I fell in love with this sport weight yarn.  It is from a local spinning mill, and really nice to work with. 

I started with knitting a swatch, which will later be hand (or foot) fulled). it is 35 stitches and 25 rows on (from bottom) 3 mm, 2,5 and 2 mm needles. I'm sort of hoping that the 2,5 mm will be fine enough.

Now I will measure the swatch before felting. "Now" as in when I have worked some more on an article for The Journal of Dress history.

torsdag 6 juni 2019

Maintenance Monday...and week

Someone in Drachenwald started the idea of "Maintenace Mondays", when you take care of you historical clothing and other stuff needed for our hobby. I don't keep with it regularly, because generally I am so good at fixing stuff that I don't have anything to do in that field most Mondays.
   But after a big event such as Double Wars there is of course a lot of things to do: like cleaning the bottom of your wool gowns (which are white wool or lined with white wool), with a sturdy brush and soap. And washing all your linens.

But I also re-made this bed spread, made from wool and fake fur:


I made it 13 years ago or so, when I was a member of another medieval group, and it has the devices that my husband and I had registered within that society. When we (re-)joined the SCA we couldn't register exactly the same devices, but of course I could still use my bed spread.

It was, however, made when Rickard and I, and little Maja, still slept on two 90 centimetres wide foam matresses and thus way too big for our new 120 centimetre bed (which Maja doesn't slep in ;) ) Still, I made it work reasonably well. Until this Monday when I decided to remove the fake fur and cut it down to make a smaller bedspread (from 210 to 170 cm). And when the fur was removed I could just as well re-make the devices.

It's a bit wrinkly in the photo, partly because of the lumpy bed under it, partly because it had been packed in a very full plastic tub while slightly damp. It will get better.

But now it will fit our bed better, and have the correct devices.