Saturday, 6 September 2014

Contrasting gores in medieval dresses debunked

The old hoary chestnut of contrasting gores in medieval European dresses/tunics keeps doing the rounds and I keep meaning to do a formal debunking of the theory. Finally, I've got around to it. As always, this blog post is based on the evidence I have seen to date and I would very much appreciate any additional evidence you may have.

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Manuscript challenge: pink lowerclass dress

So, as you are probably aware by now, Maria, blogging at In Deme Jare Christi, has issued the Manuscript Challenge.

  • You choose a full-colour original image from a manuscript, fresco, statue, effigy, etc. dated 400-1500 and reproduce the entire outfit exactly as in your inspiration.
  • You can then ask at the Manuscript Challenge Facebook Page for assitance and encouragement. 
  • You must also let everyone know how you are progressing, e.g. by blogging about it.
  • And you have 1 year to finish (specifically, 1 year from when you first post your inspiration photo).
I thought this would tie-in perfectly with the project I was already working on - my pink lowerclass dress - as Maria said it was ok to submit projects you'd already started.

So, my inspiration image is:

Haine (Hate), Felonie and Vilanie.
Roman de la Rose, c. 1365, France.
University of Chicago Library, MS 1380, f. 2r.
I will be reproducing Felonie's outfit (the centre figure), with a wrapped wimple and a pink-brown dress. As I mentioned in my previous posts on this project, I will be interpreting the pink-brown dress as a surcoat and using Herjolfsnes #42 as inspiration.

First I have the small issue of a PhD to finish this winter, but I very much hope that I will complete this project. As I've already posted my inspiration image on the Facebook page, my deadline is: 22nd August 2015. However, I'm hoping to go to Azincourt 2015 (my first international show! *fingerscrossed*), so my soft deadline is 25th July 2015.

Friday, 18 July 2014


I really should have said this a while ago, but...

This blog is dormant. I'm still about, still checking regularly and if you have any comments, I'd love to hear from you. That said, I'm in the final phase of a PhD so all sewing projects and reenacting are currently on hold. One day, I hope to have a life again and bring you updates about my pink dress, musings on various reenacting/costuming topics (oh, and tell you about the awesome commission I'm sewing). However, unfortunately life comes first. *sigh*

Until then, I will live vicariously through my blog feed and occasionally pet my fabric so it doesn't get lonely...

Sunday, 19 January 2014

Historical Sew Fortnightly: #1 Make do and mend

So, once again I'm trying the Dreamstress' Historical Sew Fortnightly challenge once again. As with last year, I'm not aiming for all of the challenges (or anywhere near all of them). Instead, I'm going to do ones that help me work on stuff I was going to make anyway and maybe the occasional small thing if a challenge sparks an idea. And I'm hoping I won't fall quite so badly off the bandwagon this year...

Challenge #1 of 2014 was 'Make do and Mend' and was due Weds 15th Jan. For this, I decided to finally finish my St. Birgitta's cap that has been sitting less than 30 mins from done for ... over 2 months. I finished on Mon (13th) but I haven't had a chance to get some natural light for photographing until today.

Thursday, 10 October 2013

More from Lengberg

Just when you thought the finds from Lengberg couldn't get more revolutionary... well, they've done it again. Beatrix Nutz has recently posted an article on describing several wrapped-thread buttons which have been dated to the 15th Century. This pushes back the dating for this sort of buttons from the 17th Century to the 15th Century, although there is one other previously described 15th Century wrapped-thread button.

Many thanks to Cathy Raymond at Loose Threads for bringing my attention to this article.

Saturday, 31 August 2013

A little embroidery

Not strictly medieval, but this is one of the things I've been working on over the last couple of weeks.

Friday, 30 August 2013

Thoughts on Living History

Katrin Kania recently wrote an interesting blog post about The Rules of Experimental Archaeology. I thought I might write something similar about Living History, though they are not rules per se ... more like advice with a dose of opinion. ;)

Of course, perhaps I should first explain what living history is... Wiki gives a fairly good explanation
Living history is an activity that incorporates historical tools, activities and dress into an interactive presentation that seeks to give observers and participants a sense of stepping back in time. Although it does not necessarily seek to reenact a specific event in history, living history is similar to, and sometimes incorporates, historical reenactment. Living history is an educational medium used by living history museumshistoric sitesheritage interpreters, schools and historical reenactment groups to educate the public in particular areas of history, such as clothing styles, pastimes and handicrafts, or to simply convey a sense of the everyday life of a certain period in history.
Another way to put it is: living history is an obsessive, time-consuming hobby that quickly turns into a way of life. Symptoms include always having a small sewing project in your purse and being able to spot a 100% wool melton at 50 paces...