Category Archives: sewing

A dress with no shoes

I’m still stitching along on the dragon and making some good progress, but in the meantime I’ll show you another dress I made and finally got around to take a photo early this summer.

blue dress

This dress is made out of light blue linen fabric after my “standard dress pattern” (which produces suitable dresses for anything until about 1300). The interesting and time-consuming detail here are the buttons. There are about 9 buttons on each sleeve, all handmade out of smaller pieces of the same fabric, accompanied by the same number of buttonholes. The buttonholes don’t look really well done but for my very first try they are acceptable. It’s completely handsewn (as usual for me) and the wrinkles are because I gained some weight since making it.

It’s a really simple dress but I like it very much. It’s light and comfortable, light enough for even the hottest summer day. And somehow this is the first dress that I made that I will voluntarily wear on my way to a historical event even when going there alone by public transport.

It kind of looks like I’m thinking “oops, I’m wearing no shoes” but the truth behind my bare feet is that it was too hot that day to wear anything else than sandals. All shoes that are more closed were too narrow for my feet that day.


Princess dress revisited

Remember the princess dress I made for my daughter about 1.5 years ago?
She still likes it, and it still fits her.
But, as kids do, she has grown a bit since she last wore it and she’s now about 10 cm taller than when I made it. Luckily she only grew taller, not wider and so the dress still fits somehow.

Yesterday I undid the hems on the cuffs and on the skirt and re-hemmed them. I had to elongate the sleeves a bit and made the skirt part much longer. I had planned with much seam allowance in the beginning, so I had no problems with this task.

new princess dress

Here’s the “new” version of the princess dress, it’s now about ankle length for a 1.1 m tall person.
In the picture you can still see the creases where the seam allowance was folded in, above the skirt hem. And the picture still shows pins in the new hem, I sew that this morning.

Another photo of the viking outfit

This time with me in it:
I was wearing the dress (as seen on the last post) to my usual dance meeting. The weather was really nice and I was waiting with some other dancers outside, where we took the photos. Normally I wear my hair in a ponytail, but on the photo I just undid my hairtie and was “fluffing up” my hair with my hands.

Also seen on the photo: green socks in the same color as the dress (not planned, but a nice coincidence) and my shoes which are more appropriate for 13th century.

The dress has the right length for dancing, it’s nearly floor length, but in the front my shoes are peeking out. The only problem is that on the sides (where it’s longest) it trails a little bit on the floor, just enough to be able to step on it.

Viking dress somehow completed

Viking dress somehow completed

I think I told you that I wanted to sew a green dress to wear with the orange viking overdress. This dress finally got finished this year in May. Here’s a photo of the green dress together with the orange overdress, lying on the floor. The sleeve on top of the photo is cropped, because I wanted to cut away some other stuff that sneaked into the picture.
At the moment there are no pearls or other adornments on the dress. I took off the string with beads when I had to redo the exact length of the shoulder straps and I will only add it again if/when I have something better than what I showed you in a earlier post.

More viking progress

As I told you here before I wanted to sew a viking style overdress out of orange linen. The dress is still not completely finished, but wearable. On the photo I have a blue (cotton) dress underneath, that’s how I wore it the first time after it was finished. I also have a tablet woven belt (blue wool) that I forgot to add into the picture.


All to-do tasks from the last post is done, all seams are sewn and neated, the hem is done, the shoulder straps are completed. When I tried it on after all seams were sown, it fitted nearly perfect, I only had to change the seam in the middle of the back a bit to adjust to my hollow back.

Here’s the list of what’s left to do on this dress and the whole viking outfit. I probably won’t do that before christmas, and certainly will only blog about that next year.

To do for the orange dress:

  • replace the trim at the upper end of the dress, it’s probably synthetic stuff and I want (one day…) to have a tablet woven trim (woven by me ideally)
  • shorten the shoulder straps a bit more, they are still quite long and therefore the top edge of the dress is lower than it should be
  • maybe do something else with the straps, they were sliding off my shoulders quite often, but that could be because they are a bit too long at the moment.
  • replace the brooches, these brooches look nice but are probably a modern design borrowing from viking designs. If I still like the dress when I have more money, I will want to buy myself some replica brooches.
  • replace the belt buckle, at the moment it’s a key ring attached to one end of the belt.

To do for the whole outfit:

  • sew the dress out of olive green linen (see first “Viking progress” post)
  • probably embroider that dress (I like embroidery and I think it suits a viking outfit)
  • collect more beads for the necklace-thingy that hangs supported from the brooches. At the moment I have one glass bead, one metal bead and one bead where I’m not sure if it’s glass or ceramics. The rest of the beads are wooden beads from a “make your own necklace” kit for kids. And I need a different string to thread them onto.
  • probably something else, but I can’t remember it at the moment.

Here’s a close up picture showing the brooches, trim and beads better. My camera made a moire on the orange fabric, don’t know why it did that.


Viking in progress

I don’t know if I told you before but I’m planning a viking outfit for myself since last summer/fall. This spring I got some wonderful linen fabric at the Stoffmarkt, I got about 3 meters of olive green and about 3 meters of a rusty dark orange.

picture of the linen fabrics for my viking dress Here’s a picture of the two fabrics.
The olive green will be (in the future) a new dress, the orange linen will be (very soon) the overdress or “apron dress”.

Last saturday I met with a friend for pattern creation for the overdress, and we both got out patterns done. Saturday evening I spent in front of the TV, ironing 3 meters of linen and trying to get all wrinkles out. I didn’t succeed and will probably iron the finished dress again, with much steam then.
Then I cut out the parts I need for the dress and packed everything up.

Last Sunday I met with my friends and one of them had wool yarn (pure lambswool) from Renaissance Dyeing dyed with madder. That yarn has exactly the same color as my orange fabric, and we were excited to see that. She gave me that yarn as a gift, because she had it lying around for some time and it is strong enough and thin enough to use it as a sewing thread.

Current progress: half of the seams between the panels of the dress are done. I still need the other half, then fitting the dress on my body, then hemming and serging all seams. I won’t look at all that’s to do, just at the next seam, then it seems easier doable 😉

I’m glad that I have a dress to wear beneath it already.

Princess Dress

Here is finally a photo of the dress I made for my daughter, or as she calls it: her “princess dress”. She loves playing a princess in that dress, but that doesn’t keep her from playing around with a sword and shield (both wooden and made by her grandpa). pink "princess" dress for my daughter

The dress is made out of pink linen, the color was her choice and I tried to get a shade of pink that could be accomplished with period colors.
All seams and hems are handsown but I went around each piece with the sewing machine and a zig-zag-stitch to keep it from fraying. The thread is in a matching color but unknown material, I used what pink thread I had at home so it’s probably some (cheap) polyester thread.

It’s about mid-calf length for a 1 meter tall girl. I think that’s a good length for a beginner, she only wore skirts ending around her knees and that’s the first skirt/dress longer than that. But it’s still short enough so that it doesn’t get into her way when climbing stairs or ladders (at least most of the time).

She wears modern clothes underneath it, as this is just a thin linen fabric I dress her nearly as warm as I would do without the dress (so at least a long sleeved shirt and a pair of leggins in the winter) and then the dress over it. We’ll see what she will wear in summer and how much I have to change on that dress to fit her. Dressing her in only garb is a plan for the future but I have to get her “hooked” into the middle ages first. 🙂

What I did this summer

I did some scrolls that I haven’t shown here, need to get the pictures on my computer (they are distributed among my smartphone and my digital camera) edit them a bit and then find out how to upload them here. They are in different styles: of course there is carolingian miniscule, but there’s also a renaissance style: White Vine illumination with a humanist hand (that developed out of carolingian miniscule). I’m currently trying to learn the insular script used for the Book of Kells, because I’m a fan of it, I have a pdf of it and I have the request for a calligraphed proverb that would fit that style.

I made my daughter (in kindergarden age) her first garb. She saw me last winter trying on a dress-in-progress and said “aww, you’re wearing a princess dress”. I asked her if she wants her own princess dress and she agreed and chose pink as the desired color. So this summer I made her a simple tunic (should be suitable for anything pre 1300) out of pink linen. She wears if over her normal clothes as the outer layer and loves it. She also had a belt with it, but we lost that very quickly so I have to get/make her a new one (but that can wait until next spring).

This fall I went to a “Stoffmarkt”, a huge market selling fabric, sometimes much cheaper than in online shops or “real” fabric stores. A few years ago you got most things there cheaper than you would get them anywhere else, nowadays many prices have risen to a level that you can get in an online shop without much problems, but you still can make a bargain sometimes.
I got Loden (fulled wool) there for 18 Euros/meter (1,5 meters width) which would be a rather low price for a normal piece of wool fabric, and is really cheap for rather thick fulled wool. The disadvantages are: it’s stretchy in one direction so probably knitted and then fulled and it’s rather scratchy, I wouldn’t want to wear it directly on my skin. But it has a color that’s very close to the “Aubergine” or “Dunkelrot” (somewhere in between) on (this is a link to a color chart of a webshop that sells natural dyed wool). I bought enough of it for a cloak for me and probably my daughter. And the original plan of the cloak was to line it with something that’s nicer to touch.
I also bought some dark blue linen fabric, to make a new tunic for my husband’s viking garb. He’s constantly complaining that his tunic out of light wool is too warm for him in summer. And he promised me that he would wear his garb if I made him a linen tunic. So next summer we can go together as a garbed family to the medieval markets. 🙂

Most of my shire went to the Crown Tourney this fall, because it’s in a neighbouring shire (and some other reasons…). It was my first crown tourney and my daughter’s first event. She was really exhausted in the evening because of sooo many new and interesting things and running around and so on… but she had fun at the event and had fun wearing her “princess dress”. (one day I’ll tell her about princesses in the SCA but for now she’s too young and playing a princess or a knight is the most interesting part of medieval stuff for her). I also enjoyed the event, even though it was a bit stressful and we had to leave in mid-feast due to totally exhausted and overloaded (with new impressions) kid.
And: I got my Award of Arms! Yay! It was a wonderful ceremony and the scroll I got looks so beautiful. I still get a warm feeling thinking about that moment. A few days before the event I was sitting down, writing an AoA scroll for another member of my shire, now knowing she was doing the same for me. I thought that it would be cool but dismissed the thought as unrealistic again. I was really surprised when I got called up at court (and really nervous too of course).

different crafts, as I can’t seem to concentrate on one thing.

Since my last blog post (seven months ago) I wasn’t really lazy.

I sewed two bags, according to these instructions (in german). Both are made out of light blue linen, and both are gifts to friends (who were very well received).
Here’s a photo of one of them:

The second bag was done this afternoon, about two hours handsewing for the bag and another hour or 1.5 hours (with a pause for dinner in between) for the strap and sewing the strap to the bag. The first one was done on several evenings and therefore took much longer. Pausing a project seems to result in the project taking more time that it needs.

I also embroidered a small gaming board on a thick woolen fabric, and made a small purse out of woolen fabric with tassels but can’t show you pictures of that. They were also gifts for friends.

I continued needlebinding my socks. I decided that the needlebinding project will be a pair of socks, and I’m making progress, but not enough progress so that you could see more than two wollen tubes.

I also tried making needlebinding needles out of ice sticks, but that proved a bit difficult, I can’t get the needle eye really smooth and I didn’t find a solution.

Thsi afternoon I got a gift: two packets of 25 weaving tablets (made out of playing cards). AElfwynn also lent me her tablet weaving frame, so I’m ready to start and don’t have an excuse not to start anymore.

A few weeks ago (could well be a month or a bit more) I cut out some fabric for a new dress, but that’s as far as I got on that dress. I managed to sew two bags out of the leftover fabric, but the dress will be sown next weekend.
Next weekend a friend (from my shire) will come to my home and we will do a sewing day, hopefully resulting in a new dress for me and for her (ok, half finished is ok for me as I’m completely handsewing).

Sidenote: I edited the blog post about the sewing basket, it now contains everything my box contains.

misc stuff

My sewing basket has grown a bit: I have new scissors (even in a nice little leather sheath), and beeswax in a small tin and found some linien thread.

At the last event I was at I found someone who told me needlebinding (a different method than I learned before) and this time it stuck. I picked the project up yesterday and was able to continue. 🙂 With enough time this project will either be a pair of socks or a pair of gloves, but only time can tell at the moment. It will be brightly blue and yellow coloured in any case.

And I finally have a (linen) bag to carry my feast gear around. It’s easier to handle than a basket and enough for one person.