Monday 28 May 2018

16th century headdress, fiction and fact

I found this when I was looking for images suitable for my 1520’s gown project. It had nothing to do with it, but it was too good to pass on.

Pretty door knocker, c. 1500.

Source; Wikimedia Commons
And what must be the same kind of headdress, the extant version.

Ladies head dress from the grave No.31 (1525) in Geiterkinden Church. Now in Kantonsmuseum, Basseland

Thursday 24 May 2018

Resarch for a 1520's gown, part 4; resources

This is a list of books, articles, and blogs I have read, so far, and found useful. It is by no means a finished list, and I will add on it as I continue my research.

Books and articles

Dahl, Camilla Dahl; “Huffer till Theris Hoffueder: Sen-renæssancens Kvindehuer, ca. 1560–1630,” Dragtjournalen 2, no. 3 (2008): 21–52, pp 39–46 [n Danish. About caps and hats for women, with some references to the earlier 16th century)

Dahl, Camilla Luise; "Klædt i rigets borgerdragt. - stand, status og national identitet udtrykt i borgerskabets dragt i reformationstidens. Danmark-Norge og Sverige" [In Danish. About the clothing of townspeople in Denmark, Norway and Sweden in the 16th century.)

Johnson, Caroline, edited by Jane Malcolm-Davies and Ninya Mikhaila; The Queen's Servants: Gentlewomen's Dress at the Accession of Henry VIII, Fat Goose Press Ltd (December 1, 2011) [Focus on the English court with patterns and sewing instruction]

Blogs and web pages

16th Century German Costuming 

Costumekullan [A fellow Swede who also are making clothes for 2020]

Dragter på epitafier og gravsten i Danmark. [In Danish. “Clothing on epitaphs and tombstones in Denmark” spanning 16t-18th century. Lots of pictures!)

Elizabethan Costume Page [Huge collection of links, several of the useful for the early 16th century too.]

The Friesian Frock Girl 

The German Renaissance of Genoveva


Detail from "Blodbladsplanschen", a depiction of Stockholm's Bloodbath. The original was made in 1524, but was lost in a fire in the 19th century. This is from a 17th century copy.

Sunday 20 May 2018

Resarch for a 1520's gown, part 3; what money can buy

I can’t make shoes so I will have to buy them. Here is a number of links in an alphabetic order to
places to purchase shoes. The only one I have personal experience of is Harr, which I’ve always been
very pleased with, but they are also pricey. I want good shoes, but I also don’t want to spend a fortune
on what I probably won’t use much. It’s also unlikely I will end up buying shoes from the USA as the
postage combined with taxes can double the cost.

I will also need some bling. The lady in my painting is wearing a gold chain around her neck, a
diamond-shaped brooch, and four rings on the visible hand. I think it’s likely she is wearing rings on
the other hand too. I’m not aiming to find jewelry which is exact replicas, but I want it to work for the

I haven’t found any online shop for historical jewelry who sell this kind of heavy chain, but a quick
search on Etsy provided me with several suitable chains, so I don’t think it will be too hard to find a
suitable chain.

Armour and Castings have a few nice diamond shaped brooches.

As for rings I have found a Swedish company;Historiska Fynd who makes historical reproductions in bronze, which makes them rather inexpensive.

15th century:

16th century

Resarch for a 1520's gown, part 2: the other necessary clothes

The 16th century is a completely new period for me sewing-wise, but it was actually one of my first costume-loves, and I’ve always wanted to go there. I think I have a basic understanding of the period, but I still have a lot to learn. And I have a whole wardrobe to build! I mentioned Katafalk’s blog in my last post, and I will reference here several times because she’s worth it. She’s a brilliant Swedish seamstress and she has several excellent tutorials. I have, for example, found her post How to Frau, very helpful as it in a very pedagogic manner goes through the necessary layers and clothes.

I’m planning to build my wardrobe the sensible way; inside and outwards, so the first garment I’m going to make is the smock.

As you can see she is wearing a high necked, pleated smock which what looks like whitework around the neck. You can see similar smocks on many portraits of the period. At least I think they are smocks and not partlets.

For example, this portrait of Margareta Eriksdotter Vasa looks similar, but her gown is extremely low-cut, so it seem more likely it’s a partlet we see here. I include this because Margareta Vasa was Gustav Vasa’s sister, and the portrait is dated to 1528. It may have been painted in Lübeck, but at this point, Gustav Vasa was still unmarried, so Margareta was the most important lady in Sweden, and it’s likely her clothes reflect what was fashionable in Sweden. However, even if I the clothes I aim to make belong to a well-to-do woman, I’m not trying to be royalty.


Woman with a Carnation by Lucas Cranach the Elder

Ursula Ligsalz, c. 1528

I’ve found two tutorials for a high-necked smock, one by Katafalk and one by Genoveva von Lubeck. I’m going to use Katafalk’s.

As for stockings and hose, I’m going to sew a pair. I’m fairly certain you could get knitted stockings at this time, but I’m not very good at knitting, so sewn ones it is. I have found a tutorial at Melanie Schuessler’s webpage.

I’ve never seen any references for stays this early in the 16th century, and ladies seen in profile are often quite curvy. But I definitely need some kind of support, and the answer to that is an underdress or kirtle. The Queen’s Servant by Caroline Johnson, edited by Jane Malcolm Davies and Ninya Mikhaila talks about clothes at the English court in the early 16th century, so right time, but the wrong place. I still think the notes on kirtles have relevance for a wider area, and I will use the instruction in the book on how to construct it. The book mention kirtles interlined in the bodice by one, or for larger ladies, two layers of canvas to provide support, which I will do. I have not decided on fabric and colour yet. The Queen’s Servant has found that silk sateen and black was the most popular choice at the English court, and I’m tempted to use that. As I mentioned in my last post black and silk satin was in use at Gustav Vasa’s court, but I don’t know if it was used for undergowns. And I don't know how far down the classes the material went.

Three paintings which depict possible undergowns or kirtles.



Melancholy by Georg Pencz, 1545

The lady on my pictures is wearing a short shoulder cape, a gollar, in the same fabric as the gown.

You can see this garment on a lot of pictures, Like here, for example.

Part of an altarpiece in St Knud's Church in Odense, Denmark, 1510-19

Jakob Seissenegger

It’s possible this short cape could was a way for women to distinguish themselves as decent women when they didn’t wear a long cloak. In Denmark in 1522 prostitutes were forbidden to cover their hair and wear “kåber” (cloaks), and in 1529 the same law came in place in Sweden, though the term there is “kragekåper”. I’m aware I’m making assumptions here, but “krage” means collar, so I think it isn’t impossible “kragekåper” can mean a very short cloak. (Klædt i rigets borgerdragt by Camilla Luise Dahl)

And as Katafalk has a tutorial for one, I will use that.

Then we come to the cap. And I admit I have no idea how it’s constructed. Or rather, I have ideas, but I don’t know how close to correct they are. Input is most welcome!

You can see a very similar cap here.

Probably by Jacob van Utrecht, early 16th century.

And a somewhat similar one here:

In the style of Barthel Bruyn the Elder, 16th century

I assume it is actually in two parts. Or three. An inner cap, caul or forehead cloth which sits tight around the head. Then the wearer’s braids are would like some kind of pillow(?) at the temples. And then another cap or possibly wide band is placed on top of it. Women n at least Denmark wore caps with a wide band placed on top of it, so I think it may be what we see here (Huffer till Theris Hoffueder: Sen-renæssancens Kvindehuer, ca. 1560–1630 by Camilla Luise Dahl)

I’ve no idea what it looks like from the back. I would love to recreate this cap if I can only figure out how it was plausibly made. In any case, I think the inner cap may be similar to the one Genoveva von Lubeck has a tutorial for.

Another alternative is to make a wulsthaube with a veil. Katafalk has tutorials for it here, here and here, as has Genoveva von Lubeck, Amie Sparrow and The Fresian Frock Girl

Regardless of what kind of cap I make, I can also go for those nifty wide brimmed hats you see so often. Genoveva von Lubeck have a tutorial for that too.

The next post will be about the things I cannot make myself, shoes and jewelry.

And if you are interested in another take on the same problem, check out Costumekullan who is also planning a Swedish 1520’s outfit.

Saturday 19 May 2018

Resarch for a 1520's gown, part 1: the gown

Busy as I am sewing my Victorian wardrobe, I still have plans for the future. And as I was recently reminded of how practical a blog is to keep track oofresearch, this post is posted now for future references.

In November 1520 and event happened in Stockholm which can be seen as the starting point for modern Sweden. After years of political struggles ,the Danish king Christian II was crowned king of Sweden. In the days after nearly 100 people; noblemen, clergy and townsmen were executed in what became known as Stockholm Bloodbath. Many of their female relatives was imprisoned and brought to Denmark. The claim had been made that Christian had the body of former regent Sten Sture the Younger and his son taken from their graves and mutilated and burnt. There is also a ghost story which says that if it rain the night of the anniversary of the massacre, the rain will turn into blood at the square Stortorget were the executions took place. Perhaps not so surprising Christian II is known as Christian the Tyrant in Sweden.

One of the purposes of the massacre was probably to scare the swedes into submission, but it backfired with a vengeance. The nobleman Gustav Vasa, whose father had been killed in the massacre, led a revolt, which ended with him being crowned king of Sweden in 1523, starting te Vasa dynasty which ended when Queen Kristina, his great-great granddaughter abdicated in 1654. Gustav Vasa, like his contemporary Henry VIII, initiated a reformation, making sweden protestant which it remain today. He also had several wives, but only three to Henry’s six, and none of them was executed or divorced. He also had better luck with sons; three of them became kings of Sweden.

So, after this history lesson, you can probably guess that in 2020 the 500th anniversary of all this takes place, and there will very likely be several historical events. Which means I need an outfit which could plausibly have been worn in Sweden in 1520. Unfortunately, there aren’t many pictures of Swedish women from this period, but as Sweden had strong economical and political bonds with Denmark and what is now Germany, I decided to looks at pictures from those areas as well, choosing a time span of roughly 1500-1540.

And fell in love with this one.

Detail from an altar piece at Noedeby Church, Denmark

It’s dated 1500-1520, but I think the date is closer to 1520 than 1500. I usually don’t copy clothes, but this is so pretty I can’t resist. It’s part of an altarpiece, but given the difference between the kneeling man and woman compared to the middle painting, I’m fairly convinced this is an actual portrait, probably of the couple who sponsored the painting.

It may have been painted in the Netherlands, or possibly just by a painter from that country, which is the wrong place. So I looked around to see if I could find similar gowns the area I'm interested in. And I found several with a similar silhouette, but usually fancier in style.

A rare Swedish example

Dorotea on an altar piece in Näs, Västergötland

Young woman in Basel by Hans Holbein the Younger

These gowns look very similar to the one I want, minus the gollar.

I think it’s plausible to say this is a style which could have been worn in Sweden. As for construction, I think it looks like it’s closed at the front. As the top of the sleeves are hidden by the gollar, I think it may have a pouf there, but there are completely plain sleeves too. I haven’t decided what I want yet. I plan to use wool, even if silk or velvet are other possibilities.

I have some information about clothes worn at Gustav Vasa’s court, which of course is later than 1520. Black was the most popular colour, and velvet the most popular fabric, though silk satin was also in use. Seam allowances was 0,5-1 cm wide, and the seams generally pressed down or outwards. They were sewn in running stitches, between 3-7 mm in width, or stem stitches. (from Vasagraven (1956), edited by Martin Olsson)

And what about extant clothes? What we have is very scant, and none for Sweden. The most famous one is the gown of Mary of Hungary, dated to 1510-25. It doesn’t look anything like the gown I want to make, although the back may be similar.

There is also the gown of Anna Jaigellon of Poland, ca 1547. Again it doesn't look much of what I want to make.

I will also need a smock, hose, a kirtle, headgear, gollar and jewelry. But this post is long enough as it is, so that will be in part 2.

To read:

Do you have any other recommendations for must-reads?

Friday 11 May 2018

Summer plans; a Victorian weekend by the sea

You can see from the last posts I haven't’ been idle despite my lack of blogposts. I also have plans for
the future. For the fifth year in a row, there'll be a Victorian weekend at Villa Fridhem, a Victorian
boarding house outside Visby. It was built in 1860 for the Princess Eugénie´I have never been there,
but last year a couple of friends went, and had so much fun I felt it was time to go.

The main problem are the clothes. You need a lot; morning clothes, bathing suit, daywear and evening
wear. And I don’t have any 19th century clothes. In fact, apart from the 1830’s, the 19th century
largely leaves me cold. But there are a lot of fun 19th century things going on, and I don’t want to miss
out. The time span for the bathing weekend is 1870-1900, and after discussing wardrobe with my
friend Lithia, we found a solution. I may not be super interested in mainstream fashion, but I’m always
interested in alternative fashions, regarding time. And in the late 19th century we have the often
overlapping Reform Dress movement and the Artistic/Aesthetic Dress movement. So Lithia and I have
decided to go as two artistic ladies, and make our wardrobe accordingly. It’s not a style which is
recreated often; possibly because it's faux-medieval look easily makes them look like badly researched
Medieval clothes.

I’ve finished a reform corset and one set of chemise and drawers. For morning and daywear, I’m using
the Sense of Style pattern. I’m making an overgown in black tropical weight wool, with an undergown
in white cotton batiste.

I’m going the white gown without the overgown for daywear. The inspiration comes from the
Skagen painters who often depicted their spouses in simple white gowns.

A Stroll on the Beach by Michael Ancher, 1896

I’m also making a bathing suit in dark green wool, using The Mantua Maker’s Grecian-Style bathing

As for evening gown I fell in love with this portrait. I’m making it in green/blue shot taffeta, with
slightly different sleeves.

Mrs Luke Ionides by William Blake Richmond, 1882
And I found these lovely Victorian belt buckle to wear with it!

Even if I will be wearing the reform corset for daywear, I’ll wear a proper corset for this one.

I originally planned to make a bicycle suit too but felt it would be too stressful for now. Possible in the
future! Also, coming up is a 1520's gown.

Saturday 5 May 2018

The 17th century hurluberlu hairstyle with a short tutorial

I started to write this post in September when I was about to go to an 1680 ball and I was doing research for the hairstyle called hurluberlu. It was a hairstyle which became fashionable in the 1670’s, and it was seen as a very new and daring style. But after looking at a number of paintings said to depict a hurluberlu, I wondered what it was. It’s often described as a wild array of curls around the face, but in one form or another, that had been fashionable since the 1620’s. But from what I can gather from my research is that the new thing with the hurluberlu was that it the hair was cut quite short.. Women in the 17th century wore their hair long. Even if the hair around the face could be cut to a shorter length to accommodate to fashion, the hair on the back of the hair was long and worn in a chignon. (An overview can be found here.)

Wild curls, but far too early. Unknown woman by Justus van Egmont, 1650-55.

Margaret, Lady Tufton by David des Granger, before 1650

The right time period, but she's wearing her back hair in a large chignon, wound with pearls. Anna Maria Carpegna Nero by Jacob Ferdinand Voet.

The hurluberlu needed a shoulder-length hair cut in layers, not only in the front but in the back too. It
was then parted in the middle and curled. The curls were deliberately arranged to look disheveled,
and when the hairstyle was finished the curls should not reach more than a finger width below the
earlobes, all around the head. The exception was two long curls behind each ear or the temples
which could be shoulder-length, or even longer. To keep the curls they were stiffened with Gum
Arabic or egg whites. The hairstyle could be decorated with jewelry or ribbons. The hair made the
head look quite round, which also earned it the nickname “cabbage-style”. Some called the hairstyle
youthful, while other claimed it made women look like men.

Three possible hurluberlu’s.

Elisabeth Tallyarde by Godefridus Schalken, 1679

Portrait of a woman, probably Anna or Maria Meulanaer by Nicholas Maes

Marie Mancini by Jacob Ferdinand Voet
At this point, my hair reached halfway shoulders and was cut in layers, so I thought it would be interesting to try to style it in the was of a hurluberlu. To curl it I used my standard curling method; standing pin curls. I parted my front hair in the middle and used a pencil to curl my hair around. And I made a lot of them; about 50. I prefer wet sets, so I slept on it.

A not so brilliant drawing of how I curled the hair.
A curling test run (I forgot to take pictures later). There were a lot more curls in the final set, but you see the idea.
When dry I brushed it out. Oooops.

Very disheveled, but hardly the right look. I bruche it for a while longer, brushing down and in. I
backcombed the roots a little to keep the volume. I then rubbed hair pomade on my fingers and
started to make separate curls. I curled a strand of hair around a finger, starting halfway from the
roots. It took a little time to go over the whole head, but it wasn’t difficult.

Until it basically looked like this.

 I then pinned up some of the hairs on the back of my head to keep the style uniform in length.

I pinned two long fake curls at my ears. And decorated it with loops made of silk ribbons.

Overall I was pleased with it. It could have used a bit more oomph, and I’ll probably add some short
fake curls the next time. I also need a lot more ribbon loops for a more opulent look.

Read more

Challamel, Augustin: The History of Fashion in France: Or, The Dress of Women from the Gallo-Roman Period to the Present Time, 2013

Corson, Richard: Fashions in Hair: The First Five Thousand Years, 2005

Harrison, Molly: Hairstyles and hairdressing, Dufour, 1969

Kelly, Francis M., and Randolph Schwabe. Historic Costume: A Chronicle of Fashion in Western Europe, 1490–1790. 2nd ed. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1929.

Coiffures femmes Louis XIV (1643 - 1715): Pictures and text

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