måndag 20 maj 2013

No panties

The debate for whether ladies had panties or not is now in for a new chapter, thanks to the Lengberg finds. The finds include a pair of tongs, that looks a lot like a modern day bikini underpart, and I have seen several pictures of  ladies wearing a reproduction of these together with the Lengberg brassiere. Well informed of this debate, Beatrix Nutz, who is now analyzing the finds, aims to have them, both knickers and brassieres, DNA-tested so that the sex of the wearer may be determined. Fingers crossed.

For me, these two pictures kind of sums it up for me:
Albrecht Dürer in a selfportrait wearing a tong.
The underpants from Lengberg.

The rest goes without saying. And this does not state by any means that women did not wear something at those days of the month when it was needed, but those will most likely newer be found since they ought to have been disposed of more secretly.

måndag 13 maj 2013

A kirtle´s diary

Since I couldn´t go to a whole week event with just one dress in thick brown wool, what if the weather turned out nicer than promised, I had to sew myself at least one new kirtle. Said and done, I had gathered some images and studied the sleeve-cut that I wanted to try out and thought I would challenge myself a bit again. And why stop there? No, I picked the fabric I got at a flea-market for handicrafts, one piece 1,5x0,5 metres and one piece of 1,5x2 metres. No chance of getting more anywhere should I cut it wrong. It is a really nice reddish brown thin wool in a twill weave.
It took some thinking, but I managed to get the bodice and sleeves fitted into the smaller piece which left the larger portion of fabric for the skirt-parts of the kirtle.
Then I had to try to decide on what to use for lining, the choices being a non-bleached linen or a really thin green wool. With some support I decided on the wool, mainly because it went so well with the brown colour-wise.
When the lining was cut I first basted along the seam-allowances to keep the to fabrics together before starting sewing the pieces together. Starting with the sleeves I stitched the sleeves and two gussets together, pressed the seams, cut down the seam-allowances and then started felling all seams.

Ironing the bodice back before assembling the bodice and then the easy part, stitching the four skirt-panels together and finally assembling it all. I use a hot iron and a damp cloth to protect the fabric when ironing it.
 I did consider sewing a strip of fabric covering the seam-allowance between the skirt and the bodice to avoid shafing, but decided not to. The fabrics are pretty smooth anyway.
Finally, time for eyelets, having felled all seam-allowances and hemmed the entire dress. This should be done in no-time, right?

The dress got done in time, eyelets and all, and I enjoyed wearing it with my new striped veil that got hemmed while traveling for the event. This is me outside Hovdala castle all dressed up, and the other picture is when wearing the striped veil, which came in very handy when touring the insides of the castle with really low doorposts and sloping floors. The guide spoke of a gardener that once got a concussion trying to get through one of the doors, misjudging the height entirely.

But of course there is always room for improvement. I find the sleeves a bit hard to move in, so I will take them out and tweek it for a bit. Might even make a new and longer gusset in the back in order to get more room.

Fake it til you make it

Since I got the kids my hair is just not as full any more and braiding it is not as fulfilling any more. But braids are not optional when reenacting German 15th century, they show under the headdress all the time. I was considering buying fake hair, but I don´t like modern fake materials (I can tell you stories of how much money that has saved me when stopping me from buying mixed material fabrics...). So just before leaving for Double Wars, a week-long event, the Curious Frau laid out pictures of fake hair made of strings or yarn, and even in fancy colours.

On the altar you see St Klara´s fake hair in bright blue and her gefrens in yellow. This had to be tried, I thought, waking up at four in the morning of departure and remembering a set of bright blue silk/mohair-yarn in my yarn basket. It was found in time and at the event I tried it out. I divided it into three, made a small braid holding it all together in the middle. The braided part I put in the neck and then divided my hair and braided it together with the blue yarn. The yarn being longer than my own hair helped keeping my braids together and lengthening them so that it easily wrapped around the forehead. These pictures show it worn with a simple orange gefrens.