söndag 1 maj 2022

The Bauren dress

I have been working on a new dress, or a complete outfit actually. There is not enough with just a dress to create an outfit, it consists of a little bit more than that. The outfit that I have made is for a farmer, a woman of the Bauren class. The clothing is a big part of a person´s identity and during the 16th century regulated by law. So to be able to make an outfit that feels accurate I needed to start there, with the sumptuary law. What does it say for this social class?

The first thing that is stated is that they needed to wear clothing made out of fabrics from the German countries, nothing that was imported. Except for some finer wool for a gollar. But no silk! The only exception is their daughters, they could wear a thin silk hairband. And no embroidered collars. 

Rock - Gown

The top layer, the gown, is called rock in German and I started working on it in january. It begun with the fabric. I was not content with it, it felted to fancy for the social class I wanted to portray. I bought my fabric at Medeltidsmode. Its this one. So I put all of it in the washing-machine with a little to hot water to make it contract a bit more. And it worked! But I most admit, I was nervous while it was in there. I chose pink. I wanted a colour that was cheap to make. My thought was that maybe they put this one in after they coloured red fabrics, just to use the last of the pigments in the bath. I dont know if that is how pink is made, but it felted possible. As a lining I used a piece of a used underskirt in linen that I made years ago.

As inspiration I used pinterest and the book Town and Country 1517-1550 by Marion McKnealy and Max Geisberg. The woodcut The big church festival by Sebald Beham from 1535 contains all the inspiration you might need for this type of clothing. 

I mean, look at these lovely ladies!


This one below is my favorite...

The things I noticed is that the skirts are rather short, the neckline not as low as I am used to when it comes to German 16th century and they have another type of headwear, not the typical steuchlein. 

And this is my take on their clothing.  

I thought I cut of the hem high enough, but I did not. I might cut of some more. But the dress is made with a padded hem, so I cant say I look forward to it...

When taking these photos I wanted everything in the pictures to be historical correct. So the building are too. The are taken at a folk museum and the buildings are both 15th century, old compare to the clothing I know, but I thought it was accurate.

Even my basked is based on a 16th century one and my bowls too. They are from a English find, but good enough. 

The dress is handsewn with undyed linen thread and wax. The seam allowance is folded and whip stitched. The dress closes with hocks and eyes, but only half way up. At the top there is two holes and a string. The string is a fingerloop braid made of undyed linen thread. 

My shoes are handmade to, by Erik Frisk. 
The hairdo is like nothing I have seen in other German 16th century artwork. Its like the young girls kept their silk hairband while marrying, and therefore covering up some of the rest. During the 16th century it started to be allowed to show a little bit more hair. According to sumptuary law young girls were allowed to have a silk ribbon as hairband. Maybe it stayed in this version?
It was not easy to keep the back part to stay on my head...I used a wulsthaube that I folded back and kept in place with the ribbon and covered with a veil, a schleier. Not the easiest hairdo to wear when having bangs...

Here it is in a close up. Its from a woodcut of a dancing farmers-couple made by Durer. 

But while making this dress I thought, I cant wear this without proper undergarments. Everything else I had felted to fancy.
So, I made them too...

 Here Im wearing a hemd in undyed linen, very much like the ones they would have wore in the previous century. On top of it I have the unterrock, the kirtle. Its made out of undyed wool, with visible lacing in the front. It is very deeply cut in the front so Im wearing a untergollar in linen, its also just very simply laced. If you wore a dress with a neckline that was too low you could actually get fined. So, untergollar! The inspiration for both the unterrock and the untergollar is from this woodcut - The domestic quarrel made by Sebald Beham 1535. 

On top of the unterrock Im wearing a apron, a schurz. In everyday life an apron covering the whole skirt, a washable layer over a usually not washable dress, most have been effective and helpful. This type where used of both peasant and patrician women. I have written about that apron before, you can read about it here. I thought this outfit would be perfect for working the fields on warm summer days. But with a straw hat of course, I need to get one of those.
I also wear a pair of handsewn stockings in undyed wool and garters, made with the sprang technique in red wool. 

The photos are taken by Anders Ragnarsson. Thank you.

onsdag 23 mars 2022

What to wear underneath your hairnet.

My sprang hairnets starting to appear on heads all over the reenactment-world. I get so happy everytime I see one beeing used. And in ways I had never thought of. With a big wulsthaube, with a small wulsthaube, with only the haube, with just the hair, there are many versions. I thought that I needed to write some about my thoughts about what to wear underneath the nets. 

When the hairnets appear in fashion in Germany during the 16th century its the first time women are allowed to have some hair visible. The first time we see a beret and a goldhaube in a portrait of a Nuremberg woman is 1519 (Textiler Hausrat). Its of Felicitas Imhoff.


If this goldhaube is made out of a net or out of fabric is difficult to tell. To me it looks like a net, but there are goldhaubes made out of fabric too. The nets do not appear during the first years of the century. So to use a really big wulsthaube, common during the first ten years of the 16th century, with your hairnet is not really that suitable, though they are not in fashion during the same time. 

In the artwork it is much more common to wear your hairnet together with a small wulst. Around 1515-20, when the hairnets starts to appear, the wulst get a lot smaller and starts to lean a bit backwards. Like in this painting below from 1529. She is wearing a hairnet together with a small wulst, or maybe just her hair, and her hair is also visibly at the temples. There is a string and its knotted around the wulst, to make it stay in place.

Its also not uncommon to wear the net with nothing underneath. One that seems to like her hairdo like that is Katharina von Bora, the wife of Martin Luther. She is have her hairnet like that in many paintings. 


Here we see her in a woodcut from 1530 made by Hans Brosamer. A lot of hair visible at the temples and a simple hairnet at the back. If I try to wear mine like this it slides of, so if any of you have any suggestions of how to get it to stay, please tell me.

Here is she again. This time with a similar hairnet but this time it has an embroidered band on it. Still, no wulst and some hair showing. To me it look like she is having her hair loose in the net. Or maybe with loose braids. I dont have enough hair to get that bulky look at the ears.

Here is another simple net. 

It looks like she is only having her own hair underneath it. Nothing extra. And some hair visible. And her ears totally covered, that cant be that comfy...

Or this lady here...I love her! Just because she looks so grumpy.

She is wearing a hairnet at the back of her head, some hair is showing. Probably also only her hair inside the net.

There is also the little bit more wealthier ones, like this one. She is wearing a beret and a hairnet. The hairnet has a string crossed at the neck and wrapped around her wulst. And a lot of hair is showing.


And this is Anna, queen of Hungary and Bohemia. Not the right area, I know. But I added her picture just because I though that it so clearly showed the hair through the netting, and the padding.

Her brown hair is visibly underneath at least half of the net. But at the back there is a slightly lighter area, that might be a wulst. I looked at this painting while I made my wulst, the one I use underneath my hairnets. At first I thought it was a negative thing that the wulst was slightly visible under but if the queen can wear it like this... 

 So, what do I use underneath my net?

It might be a bit difficult to see, but here am I, in my hairnet, with the wulst showing slightly, as a darker area, in the back. And some hair showing at the temples, it is actually fake, I dont have that much hair... When not having enough hair to fill out the net like Katharina von Bora a small wulst is a good option. 

And here are mine. Its a padded wire with braids at the ends. I used undyed linen scraps I had a home.

 And I just put it on the back of my head like this, securing it with the braids.

Its not steady. But after putting the net on it gets secure. Just dont wash your hair too much, it is a big difference, at least for me, if my hair is just washed and shiny or if it have gone a couple of days...

I have also done this one. But it is to light for my hair so it get to visibly I think. Its made out of raw dried flax. Maybe I should cover it with an undyed linen...

And what about the historic accuracy of these wulsts...

In the Archaeological Textiles Review, number 61 of the 2019 issue, there is an article written by Beatrix Nuts - Nets - Knots - Lace Early 16th century headdresses from East Tyrol, about findings of interesting headdresses.

In an excavation carried out  in 1968 four headdresses dating from the early to the first half of the 16th century were discovered in a crypt in Lienz in Austria. One of the things found was a padded roll with strings in each end. The roll is 505 mm long (without the ties), 16 cm wide and 10 mm thick. Its made from three strips of fabric sewn together and stuffed with stiff matter. According to an earlier investigation of the roll its made of linen but from the newest investigations it is possible it could also be silk. The material of the padding could not be determined but could be linen or cotton. Cotton padding was often used in duvets or sleeping caps during this time (Textilier Hausrat). 

Beatrix Nutz´s article and pictures of the padded roll are available here: https://www.academia.edu/4162204/Nets_Knots_Lace_Early_16th_century_headdresses_from_East_Tyrol 

There are also two stuffed rolls found at Lengberg castle from the 15th century stuffed with linen and lime bast. The fashion in Austria is similar to the one i Germany during this time. So I think it is safe to say that padded rolls of this kind also were used in Germany during the 16th century. 

After looking at a lot of paintings of women in hairnets my conclusion in that they were not using wulsthaubes underneath their nets. At least not the common white type we all use with our German renaissance clothing today. Nothing in the paintings indicates to me that there is anything white underneath. So I think that you should look at the article above, look at some artwork, and make your own opinion. And then lets talk about it! There is so much to talk about! How did they do it? How did they make the wulst stay on their head without the haube? The small backleaning wulsts ones especially. Or did they have some kind of cap, just not white?

Sources: Textilier Hausrat by Jutta Zander- Seidel. Nets - Knots - Lace Early 16th century headdresses from East Tyrol by Beatrix Nutz.

lördag 18 december 2021

Styringheims Lucia

I have been to an event! Finally. I had not understood how much I have missed my people but seeing them all again made it very clear. I need events. As last time there was a Lucia event in Styringheim, a barony in Nordmark, Drachenwald, the head of my household where autocrat and the rest of us helped where every we where needed. 

And I know, I have not been writing anything here as in for ever. The side effect of starting my own business is that I mostly make the same things over and over again and only for other people, so there are not much time to make research and to make things for me.  But I still need a new dress, so sooner or later there will be one made. And I have a lovely hairnet with a embroidered border inspired by a painting of Catharine von Bora, the wife of Martin Luther, in the making and that one deserves its own article here. 

Except that is was great fun seeing everybody again there were extra fun to see my hairnets in use. The always so beautiful Tece de Kaxtorn were using a blue linen net that I made.

Here she is using it with a hat on top. A very proper way to wear the hairnets. Its very common in renaissance paintings to see hairnet being used together with a hat. More common actually to wear a hairnet and hat than a steuchline and a hat in 16th century Germany.


 Its also fun to see that she is wearing a wulst in a smaller size. Often among reenactors a big wulst is the most common. But if you look at the actual fashion the big wulst is only common in the beginning of the 16th century. To be replaced by a much smaller one around 1515-20.


 Not only are the wulst getting smaller in size, they tend to lean a bit backwards. I dont look good in that kind of wulst, it does not suit my head, but Tece does! 


At the event were also this gentleman, Edricus filius Offaeus. He is wearing a 16th century sprang hairnet in black linen.

The hairnet make the hat stay on much better and, besides that, it look good, right!?


Hairnet on men where very common during the 16th century but not that many reenactors  have one. That might be because there are not that many of us making male hairnets. And not many men today feel comfortable in them. To bad I say, when it makes an outfit come together in such a lovely way. 

Here me and Renike is putting up some decorations. Im wearing a sleeveless unterrock, its the underdress, and an apron in wool. I forgot my apron in linen, much more suitable for kitchenwork. She is wearing German late 15th century, with a Lengberg cap that I made, an apron in linen often seen on midwifes in paintings and yellow wool sleeved overdress. 

The city of Visby is a special place. And to have events there means that Saturday court are held in a church ruin. Magical, right?! I took this picture and than went back to the kitchen. A friend of mine, Ragnell Caxtone, was elected into the order of the Pelican. And I dont have a single picture of it! But Im so happy for her. So well deserved!

There were a court on Friday evening too. And I had the honor to be elected into the order of the rings, Ordo Cygni. The rare companions in Ordo cygni (the Company of the Swan) have distinguished themselves by superior achievement in scholarship, the arts and the advancement of beauty and knowledge in Drachenwald. They took me by surprise but made me very happy. The scroll is made by Agnes Odygd. Look, isn't it amazing?

I will end this with showing a picture of the autocrat-team, taken on Saturday evening, after the last serving. Tired but happy! Head autocrat Renike Tucher in yellow, Görvel Skote, head of the food, in green. Sigrid, head of the kitchen on site, in red. And me, in red and black. The food was as always amazing. We served 7 different kinds of pie. One of each for everyone. I saw all the plates go out, and all of them look like small pieces of art. Im so impressed by Renike and Görvel who made all of them.

And Renike took this picture of me and Görvel the same night. Tired, but still in style!

Edit - There is a picture of myself at court and I got an ok to show it to you here. So, here comes an extra picture. Im wearing one of my hairnets, a silk striped one. Danel took this picture. The court at friday evening is as you can see inside, and not in the ruin.

fredag 19 november 2021

Textile talks on saturday

Tomorrow I have the honor of talking about sprang at Historical textiles Textile talks. 

You find a link to the facebook event here.

Questions that will be answered I hope) tomorrow are "How old is sprang? How did people use it during the historical times? Is it difficult? What kind of tools you need and what kind of yarn should you start with?" 

I see you there!


lördag 28 augusti 2021

The tree of life sprang of Lengberg

In november 2020 I tried to make the big Tree of life sprang from Lengberg for the first time. I was, however, wrong in my assumption about the pattern and the sprang that I made was not according to the extant finds. That first try ended up though with me getting in contact with one in the team around the Lengberg finds, thank you R for not just getting annoyed with me... 

She showed me pictures of the headwear, not available online, which helped a lot. I tried the pattern out again in late 2020 but it was to complicated for me and I lost track somewhere in the middle. I thought that I needed to do a little more sprang-training before trying it out again. 

For you that does not heard of Lengberg here is a short background. During a restoration of the Lengberg castle (East Tyrol, Austria) in 2008 a filled vault was detected below the floorboards. More than 2,700 textile fragment were found in there. This part of the Lengberg castle was probably finished by 1485 so the finds is most likely predating this. Among the finds there were a couple of sprang woven fragments, in different conditions. They are all made of undyed linen z-spun s-plied two-ply thread. The largest one is still attached to the garment, a headwear, first thought to be a bra. It consist of four pieces of natural linen. In the middle, from the forehead to the back of the head, is a beautiful piece of sprang. It has a decorative patterns made up by holes. The sprang is 27 cm long. 

The sprang pattern is that of a tree, the tree of life, and is repeated one and a half time. I assume that they had a pattern of the tree of life and needed to get to 27 cm for the piece to be long enough. So they worked it until they got 27 cm and that was one and a half time. But what do I/we know, maybe it was according to plane to use it one and a half time... 

Anyhow, I have done a lot of sprang this past year and always got back to the big sprang of Lengberg in my mind. It was time, I was ready to try it out again. The pattern still scares me though...

The pattern comes from the article Enigmatic Beauty_Headwear of Lengberg castle. Carol James have made it from looking at the original piece. I dont have a printer so last time I was trying the pattern out I drew it from looking at the article on my computer.  

Here is what it looks like. Scary!

The sprang patterns made by Carol are, in my opinion, easy to follow though the different turns of threads has different colours. The purple means two up one down, the orange means two up two down and the green means one up two down. So while working I dont need to count, I just look down and see a colour. The threads between the special turns still need to be counted though. So a row can start with a purple turn and then ten ordinary turns and than a green one, and orange one, a purle one, and than 18 ordinary ones. Maybe not the best explanation from my side...

I used a white linen two-ply thread made in Sweden. Where 100 grams is 420 meters (1377,95 ft). I wanted a little bit more than the 27 cm that is the original sprang. I tried that out and thought it was to short for my 57 head-size. I made a Lengberg cap out of the sprang with the wrong pattern last time and it came out really small. So I made this piece 31 cm.

This is probably the most difficult sprang pattern I worked with so far. Last time it was beyond my level. This time it worked out fine, even though I forgot to breath during the work...

I wanted to end up with a minimum of 30 cm long piece. With this yarn and the tension I managed I only repeated the pattern one time. But the tension look good, nothing wrong with it and its going to look so good on someones head.  

And here is the result! 

I will however, try to focus even more on the tension next time. It might be a little more me than the yarn. Even though the pattern still scares me I cant wait to put up another warp and do it again. I just need to make a couple of ordered hairnets before that. 

While writing this, actually right about now, it hits me, the original was not white, it was undyed linen. How could I forgot that?! I need to buy more linen yarn... I would have thought that a pattern this complicated would have been made in a more expensive material than undyed linen. This is one reason this hobby is so interesting, you learn, all the time.

I already have a Lengberg cap, the small one, and I dont even do 15th century. This piece will be sold on etsy if anyone is interested.

tisdag 17 augusti 2021

Hairnet on the go

During medieval week in Visby, Gotland, Sweden, the best thing with creating stuff happened to me. To see my creations worn by people. As soon as I saw a net I made on someone I was running after them, asking for a picture. And this is actually true...

 I wore one myself too. A copper one with white stripes and a black board. Underneath Im wearing a wulst in grey linen on a wire. I want it to look like my own hair and not show a haube. The hair you see at the temples is not mine, Im not that blond, and I dont have enough hair to get that 16th century german look.


And here is the beautiful E, wearing a silk net in white with black stripes and a black board. I think it looks so good on her! She took the picture herself but Im allowed to use it.

E is wearing the net with a wulst underneath, or is it her own hair, I dont know, it migh be. If so she is wearing it with her braids up. The nets can also be wore with your hair down, as you can see in the picture below. M is wearing the same net, trying it out for me when it was just finished. It look good but in a different way. She has thick beautiful hair, it would never look like that on me for sure...

The closingline in the middle is clearly visible when wearing the net like this.

E is wearing one of my very first striped silk nets, in blue with orange stripes and an orange binding. She is wearing it with a white wulsthaube underneath. When I made them I didnt think of this way of wearing them, but it looks really good too. Some wulsthaubes are to big for the nets and it can be difficult to know beforehand. A good thing to know if someone is thinking of purchase one of my nets.
Here is me and E together with our nets. I saw her in a distance at the market and felted truly happy. It looked so right! We are both wearing it with a wulst, she also has the haube. And filted bonnets.

When I made these I pulled them together at one side, and that created the eye in the back. If you look at the black and with net abbove I did not, and that makes the stripes go straight down, without the eye. With the drawstring you can create that effect anyway, if you like it.

I also make male hairnets. L is wearing a green linen net with a darker green binding and string. Here together with E, looking spiffy together!

At the front, and at the back!

By pulling it higher you get that typical pointy 16th century look. And that is why Im making the male hairnets in linen instead of silk. The silk is to soft and wont create that pointy shape. The linen does it by itself. Its not that common among male reenactors in Sweden to ware hairnets and that makes me even happier to see L in his net. If I get it my way more male 16th century  outfits will be complemented with a hairnet!

They made an oven in their camp, really cool.

And here is J in a net that I made and his friends bought him for his birthday. A very good gift if you ask me ;) It really suits him! Its made in linen and has the same wool binding as the rest of my nets, in black this time. Jenny Drakenlind took the picture and she let me use it here. Thank you for that!

And here are G and E. E actually made her net herself, with me hanging over her shoulder. So pretty! The male net is made by me.

Here it is clearly visible that the eye in the back is missing, that the stripes goes just straight down. This blue one, worn by the lovely K, and the white and black one, are made like this.  I like both variations. K is not wearing a wulst, just her own hair. When the net is placed on hair it tend to slide. But for me it worked just fine when I placed it just at the hairline.

And here is the net K is wearing. As the rest of the female nets its made of silk with a wool binding and a silk string.

The female hairnets are made of 72 loops that are 46 cm long. The male net is made out of 56 loops 40 cm long.  If anyone wants to make their own net. 
This picture is taken by Anna Malmborg and show us in her lovely garden also during medieval week. Im making the black and white net and J is making a filet net. Such joy to be able to sit among friends and talk nerdiness again!