söndag 17 juni 2018

Bright colours for bright summer days

As summer events are approaching one yearns for more colour and light materials. And as my friend Johanna at https://www.facebook.com/evajohanna.arts.crafts/ just showed her circlet made of Bright coloured string covering a metal band I finally got the inspiration for making that multicoloured gefrens I have had plans for for quite some time. I even ordered different colours of silk in order to make one.

What is a gefrens then? Well it is a small fringelike accessory covering the back of the neck, and is mostly depicted in late 15th Century german art. It comes in many different colours and shapes, there are even those in metal. 




These ones are my main inspiration, clearly thin stripes of different colours, not just three large blocks of colour.
It is often seen used just as it is, over the braided hair, but it is also seen in combination with other headwear such as vulsthaube and steuchlein.

For my new gefrens, I started with a silk lucet cord and then measured and cut the strands in green, yellow and red.
My silks are a thick lush one from Devere yarns
Don´t complicate things, use whatever comes handy!
 I measured twelve strands for every stripe, and then tied them onto the lucet cord in threes.
A simple and fast little project finished! And a small and very versatile accessory is ready for use.
And I love how it just naturally makes those waves you see here:



A laurel wreath

Going to SCA Drachenwald 25 years anniversary and Midsommer Coronation in Bulgaria the upcoming week, I had loose plans on making a new dress. As most people does. But the silk I ordered from the US is still in customs, so no new dress for me. And it is not like I am at the risk of having to go naked, there are plenty of kirtles in this girls closet.

But I could always use some new headwear. Because I love headwear, it makes such a difference for an oufit and with plenty of headwear it is easy to alternate and it packs easy.

As a newbie Laurel, I do not have much insignia other than my medallions. And sometimes one simply has to bling up a bit. So I decided to make a laurel wreath, similar to one I made for my mistress, Joutsenjärven Sahra, using a brocade band with attached laurel leaves in gilted leather.

But I could not make a thing without finding some kind of period sources or inspiration for it. So I had a look through my art database and found a number of late 15th Century german depictions of wreaths used by women.



Some seem to be actual flower wreaths but other are to stylised to be simply a flower wreath. And the bride in red in the middle is wearing a small circlet with beads and a central flower of semiprecious stones or the like.

So with this supporting my idea of making a SCA-anachronistic wreath, I went on to sewing a band in dark red silk brocade and then cutting and attaching leaves of gilted leather to it. I decided to make it open in the back so I can pin it on different headdresses as well as just on top of my braids, as seen in the pictures.

I sewed the leaves onto the band with silk and left the front uncovered, but then it looked like it needed something. Back to the drawing board! I finally went with a little flower out of glass beads, similar to the one on the bride in her red dress. And in order for the gilted leather leaves not to look to bland, I added some beads inbetween them too, to look like litte berries and brighten things up.



So now I have a very blingy wreath that also travels easily and can be rolled up and put in a bag without any fear of breakage. And I am looking forward to wearing it!


onsdag 30 maj 2018

One for working days, one for Sundays

A very dear friend wrote to me in horror over discovering holes in her thin woolen veil I gave her some time ago. It had happened in storage, and nothing else in the same box was affected. Hard to tell what caused the holes. But as I have more of that gorgeous thin wool I offered to make her a new veil, but also to make an attempt at mending the holes. I had an idea I wanted to try. So I asked her to send the veil to me.

As it came I inspected the holes, not that big but many, right in the middle of the veil. I promptly put it in an embroidery hoop to keep the sheer fabric straight and still, and then I drew threads from the leftover fabric intending to use them to make a darning.

It turned out to be nearly impossible to make it as neat as I wanted too, as the weave is so very thin. I had to turn over two threads a stitch instead of one and it easily turned into wibbly-wobbly lines. 


As I darned the holes the darning made tiny crosses on the veil, not entirely undecorative in my meaning but I sure wish they would come out more even than they did here. It got better after a good pressing with a damp cloth between the fabric and the hot iron. All in all, the veil is now mended and can be used as a more everyday veil. And the new one I made for my friend can be for Sunday finery.

Tomorrow they will be sent back by post to their rightful owner. I hope she will find the darned veil usable again.


lördag 19 maj 2018

Heraldic display

I had a dream of making an heraldic inspired dress sleeve, after looking at the so called Schwabian dresses as depicted in the family tree of the Babenberg family. I had found a picture that I wanted to use as a starting point, with minor changes to make it my own. It is a painted tournament shield with a woman in a green dress supporting a painted shield with arms. It is now at the Metropolitan Museum.
I started with remaking the design to fit an embroidered piece suitable for appliqué. The embroidery is done in silk with split stitch on linen.

As the embroidery was finished, the scary bit of cutting it down and prepare it for appliqué started.
Looking at extant examples of appliquéd embroidered pieces, they are often framed with a couched gold thread, like here. So I decided to couch some gold thread to frame my piece as well.


To give the sleeve that extra wow-factor I added spangles, and the effect on the dark blue wool was very satisfying. Like a stary sky above the lady and the shield.
entury 

What sources do we have for embroidered sleeves like this then? Well during the late 15th C the display of embroidery seems to be a fashion for both men and women. 
The portrait of Hemma von Gurk by Siebald Bopp, around 1510,
is an amazing example of an embroidered sleeve.

This man has an embroidered sleeve with spangles.

The double portrait of Jacob Fugger and his wife Sibylle Artzt
by Thomas Burgmair around 1498 is another stunning example of an embroidered sleeve.

This pcture is where I found the main inspiration for the cut and shape of my dress.
And one can definetly interpret the golden dots on her sleeve as spangles.

I wanted a dress with a high neckline and something rather warm, for use on late nights outdoors or really cold events. So I used a really nicely fulled dark blue wool, cut it really simple in four long panels and with a high neckline and a large slit in front so that it will be easy to pull over my head wearing headdresses. The closures are replicas of a late 15th century one, with acorns, alluding to the ones in my arms, and a small oakleaf.




torsdag 1 februari 2018

The late 15th Century is the new black

There seems to be a fast growing interest for the late 15th Century, within reenactment and in general among those that enjoy historical fashion. At least that is my experience. Photos from the most awesome 15th Century events does make it more tempting I would guess.

I have had the immense pleasure of working with a group of very talented people during last year, creating handbooks in late 15th Century fashion. One for men, one for women. The men´s book was published late last year and the women´s book came from the printers this week.

Both books are heavy on pictures, both art from the 15th Century and photos of recreations, as well as Amazing illustrations that I have no part in creating (I totally suck at drawing).

Yes, I am very proud over what we together have accomplished. And even though it is all in Swedish the publishers seem intent on having them translated later on.


Both books are available for orders here:

måndag 31 juli 2017

The Princess and the Pea

This summer I tried my first hardcore reenactment event for the late 15th Century, and my biggest struggle was to find a proper bedding solution. As the organizers proclaimed that they were not able to provide straw for beds I had to find some kind of mattress that could travel easily in a car and still support my rather old and aching body. So yes, I had to cheat a bit.

I simply sewed covers for a modern foam mattress in hemp fabric so that it would at least not shine modern that much. And the covers can later on work as a cover for a straw mattress when that opportunity comes.

I also dreamed of making a pair of the very typical blue checkered pillows that we can see in so very many illuminations, but I haven´t been able to find the right fabric for them. But I did have red-checkered handwoven linen in my stash, originally curtains in my parents-in-laws library. And I did manage to find a few illuminations showing red-checkered pillows. The fabric was just enough for two ordinary sized pillows and I had two nice feather pillows that would do nicely.

My biggest fear was being cold, so I decided that just woolen blankets wouldn´t do and hence sewed a duvet cover out of unbleached linen table cloths from a charity shop, washed numerous times and hence very smooth. And then a modern fibrefilled duvet. And to top it all I got my handwoven woolen blankets, big, thick and very warm. With just my head sticking out, I decided that my striped woolen cap a la Albrecht Dürer would do nicely as a night cap.

And yes, I slept like a princess. Never cold even though the nights were very damp and freezing.

onsdag 5 juli 2017

Amber kirtle

I have for quite a while yearned for a very plain kirtle for working, with a higher neckline than I usually do and a wider sleeve so that I can easily get them up and out of the way for cleaning dishes and the like. I gathered a number of images on what I was aiming for and then suddenly I bought The fabric on an impulse early this spring, a thin wool in a twill weave and a lovely amber colour.

Some of my main inspirations are mainly three paintings. In all of them you can clearly see a front opening, the two latter ones also show a higher neckline and they are also very plain in model, no details like open sleeves, visible decorations or anything.
Detail from the Paumgartner Altar. The front opening here seems to be slightly bulging, an interesting effect that I tried to accomplish with mine as well.

Detail from the Schottenaltar

Lots escape by Albrecht Dürer

My version of this kirtle is not lined other than two small strips of linen along the front opening, to serve as a support for the hooks and eyes. They are placed evenly and with at most two centimetres apart along the front making it a steady fastening.
Detail showing hook and eye-closing in an Italian painting
 
My version of the closing, I choose a simple inserted piece of lining instead of lining the entire bodice.


The skirt is simple and fabricsaving, a twopieced front and a straight back with some small pleats towards the waist. And I made the bodice loose so that I can easily fit an extra kirtle under it should the weather be colder. The sleeves are a simple S-curve with a small inserted gore towards the shoulderseam.
And here is the result.