Medieval Fair (and Dance)

Today me and my sister visited the annual Medieval Fair in a town near by. I was there as part of the dance group doing our routine, and my sister followed as our photographer and general cheer on.

I wore my green cotehardie, and my sister borrowed my tudor Peasant outfit.

Right now I’m to tired to write a lot about the day so instead I will let the pictures speak for them self (for the most part…).





IMG_1874Unexpected on lookers.


















IMG_1928Oh, swoon – that knight looked at me…


IMG_1930What, Is God, up there?

IMG_1932Oh swoon, another knight…


Book Review – The Medieval Tailor Assistant

I thought this might be a nice opurtunity to stay a bit longer in medieval times, even though I’m itching to show you some of the other stuff I’ve been working on latley.

So lets do a review of the only medieval costuming book I own.

I bought it last autumn when I attended a medieval sewing cours, but have not used it as much as I whould have wanted – so many time periods to sew, so litle time.

But now I thougt it a good time to do a review. I would also love to here your opinions about the book  so please coment and let me know what you think.

The Medieval Tailors Assistant by Sarah Thursfield.IMG_7290

About the book:

It is a ok about basic medieval pattermaking for men and women. The book does not include sewing instructions, but do however have a couple of pages about stiches, teqnicues and fabrics used at the time.

The book is about 230 pages, and contains several different costume pieces for both men and women like: Underwear, outerwear, gowns, dubblets, hoses, headwear, childrens clothes and accessories.


It also have a diagram which shows what clothing pieces were being used during different fashions and times during the time frame caled middle ages.IMG_7293

To get your pattern yo need to make you own “basic body blocks”, draping the pttern straight on your body.IMG_7294

The draping adapts and also workies on a dressform.IMG_2348Draping my fitted body blocks.

The basic sleeve needs to be drafted “on the table”, and have instructions and picture on how to do it.IMG_7295


I like the wide range of costumes you can get out of the book. Using several different pieces of garment you can combine you own look in whatever way you like.

IMG_3287 Lots of different intrepitations of the patterns in the book.

I also like the wide range between the garments – you can make male, female, child, old, rich, pore or anyone in between. and the pages showing how to combine your outfit are great.IMG_7299

The detail pictures are great in showing how the finished piece should look.IMG_7297Love the detail of this photo.

The pattern for the sleeve is adaptable to several different models but can be a bit tricky if you are new at pattern making.IMG_7298IMG_2487Detachable tight fittig sleeves.

I think the instructions for adapting the bodice blocks are good and easy to follow, and the sketch and pattern layou helped me a lot while figuring out my design and pattern. IMG_7300

IMG_3454Short sleeved Cotihardie.

There are a wide range of headwear in the book. And I also like that they included the children, accesories and under wear chapters. IMG_7302


I think the patterndarfting are a bit to hard for a beginner or unexperienced patternmaker.

I observed several beginners trying to figur ot the draping (and had a bit trouble doing it myself). It does take some practice to get it right.

I also think the sleeve cap are a bit of. I stuggeled trying to get it right, ending up raising it about 2 cm to get it to fit in to the arm hole. I guess this is something that happends whaen the bodice and sleeve are not drawn from the same template but one draped and the other drafted on paper.


I loved the pictures in the book, my only complaint is that they were way to few. Sometimes it is hard to know how a garmnent would look like just from principle sketches or patterns, thats when you need the pictures.IMG_7301

I would have liked to get some patterns, measurments or more details on the more complex headwear in the book.IMG_7303

I needed to work a bit to get the shape I wanted on my headcloth. Even though it can be great to figur things out by ourself, sometimes you just want to know what/how to do it. IMG_3066 Faux braids and semi circular headcloth.

Would I recomend it:

I think the book is a defenetly must have if you are interested in medieval times or historic costume design.

I do however think the book is a bit hard for a beginner to use, but if you are willing to give it a try – go for it.



Medieval Fair

Two weeks ago I attended my first medieval fair.

I wore my green Cotehardie paried with the separate beige sleeves, faux braids and headcloth.


The weater was terrible, the rain had been goning on for days, turning the gras and gravel at the fair to a muddy brown mess. Everywere you looked people wore capes or umbrellas.IMG_8204Some stylish gentlemen.

As it was my firs time, I tried to take it all in and got very exited walking around amongst the stals, taking picures.

There was food…IMG_8193

…Horses and knights…IMG_8195

…Great music… IMG_8199

…More music…IMG_8209

…Familys living in the camp…IMG_8191

…Friends resting on a bench…IMG_8211

…a girl gambeling using a mouse to earn some coins…IMG_8208

And of course lots of stalls with costuming wares. Like:


…clothing and headwear….IMG_8201

..leather items like bags, and wrist bands…IMG_8202

…more leather and fur items…IMG_8206

…Childrens items (helmets, swords and shirts)…IMG_8200

I also found this strange set. A boar posed as a sign.IMG_8203

I did stop longer at some boths then other, and one I found especialy interesting was the both from “Svarta kattens handelshus“.

They sold juwelry and knifes…IMG_8212

… lovely woll fabric…IMG_8213

…and nice linnen fabric…IMG_8214

…medieval patterns…IMG_8215

…linnen thread, ribbons and yarn…IMG_8216

…and some realy soft furs.IMG_8217Sadly I’ve forgot to bring my purse. Or perhaps it was a good thing, since I surley would have spent a lot more then I should have, if I had had my purse.

Anyhow, I did’nt go to the fair to shop.

But to dance…IMG_8190Some of the members of the historical dance group.

We did some of our dancing in the mudd.IMG_8221

IMG_8230The weater and location made the few on-lookers even fewer,

So we took our line and danced ourself onto the jousting arena. IMG_8232

Where we got company from the jesters who tried to get the wet public in good mood before the knights arrived.IMG_8249

Then it was time for the high point of the day – the jousting.IMG_8245The knights saluting the audience.

IMG_8254Full speed ahead.

IMG_8243It was realy fun to wach the talented knights and horses performing there tricks.

But the best thing must have been when the “mystery knight” rode out, picked a lady from the audiense and propsed. To think he arranged the performance and dressed as a knight to porpose in a way he knew his medivel loving girlfriend would realy appreciate. IMG_8255She sad yes.

When I got home I was cold, wet, and muddy literary up to my knees.IMG_8259Natural agenig of my costume.

Medieval dress in a day

Ok, I must admit it did take me a bit longer then one day. But if I would have had one whole day (morning to evening) and not 3 short evenings to make it, I’m sure I would have finished to.

With less then one week left to the Medieval Feast my sister decided she wanted to go to. So we started bouncing dress ideas (while being at work/school) and decided the style of the dress on thuesday, while bying fabric.

Even though the dress was to be made by machine, with only the eyelets worked by hand, I’ve been to busy sewing to take any “in progress photos”. Sorry…

But I do have finished photos, and this is how it turned out.


Made out of burgundy and brown cotton twill.

The eyelets on the front and sleeves are all worked by hand, and closes with a syntetic cord.


My sister really liked the dress and looked totaly great in it.

The day after the party we went to the cathedral near by to take some pictures.















My Green Medieval dress – photos

The day after the Medieval Feast me and my sister went outside to shoot some pictures of our dresses. And since the medieval clothes feels and looks best in religous and grand settings, we walked the 500m to the city Chatehdral.

I wore my new green dress, the whimple, the braids and velvet cape.

IMG_3684This beautiful “Mary and child” statue sits right outside the museum.


The Chathedral of Linköping is a beautiful building finished in the 1490s, and restorated and added to since.IMG_3343







IMG_3663Not exactly the right footwear…





IMG_3546But what happened here?

I do think the Gothic building style come into fashion a bit sudden…

Medieval Feast

Yesterday (nov 9th) It was finaly time for the medieval feast, arranged by my dancing company. And as this was to be my first medievel event I’ve planed and prepered my dress for weeks.

I wore my new Green Cotehardie with the Outerwear Sleeves and a new pair of white tippets.


On my head I wore my new whimple and faux braids. (read more here)  IMG_3081IMG_3107And I actually managed to ge them to look like I wanted.

The feast started with some mingel, walking around and talking to the other guests (and I’ve forgot to grab my camera, bummer).

Then we all sat down to dine. IMG_3139

Me and my sister.IMG_3153

The food was really cool, and well planed – and must have taken forever to prepare…

We got: Boiled eggs in a bowl made of bread, with a bird made of butter sitting on topp.  IMG_3120

Salmon served with hearbs on enormous plates.IMG_3136

Soup made of peas, serwed in desposabe “wooden” plates, and fruit stuffed with meat.IMG_3130

Chees, fruit-cream and peaches with nuts.IMG_3192


And wine pored from a guilded tower into animal-shaped wine-jugs. IMG_3202

But wait a minute, Im sure I’ve forgot something…

Oh yes! A grilled pig served whole, with a chicken “knight”on top. IMG_3177

Omg, look at that little chicken rinding the pig! IMG_3168

He actually wears a helmet, shield and sword.IMG_3182

My amusment faded fast when they started to cut it up…IMG_3187Yuk…

After dinner it was time for some dancing.IMG_3270



In a dancing break I grabbed my sister and some friends and we snaped some quick photos in the basment.

My sister in a dress I finished just hours befor the feast.IMG_3218

And a friend from my dancgroup, who also made her outfit herself. IMG_3227

The mandetory “Ugly-shoot”IMG_3235

Then I got he whole “sewing group” togheter for some photos.IMG_3306 During the autumn we have all taken a medieval sewing class, held by the “medieval all-knowing” Karin (front left). It’s been so much fun learning authenticity, and to watch everybodys cloths coming togheter. (Even though I’ve heard we have a few cheeters in the group, bying theire clothes…)

Doing the “14th century everyday pose”.IMG_3287

And the mandetory “Jump shoot”.IMG_3335

I’ve had so much fun at the feast – eating, dancing and meeting new interesting people.

But most of all I liked wearing and feeling pretty in my dress and braids. Looks like there will be some medieval fairs to get o this summer…

A Green Medieval Cote

My entry for the HSF challenge 21: Green, is a medieval dress called a Cotiehardie. Its a outer gown which is ment to be worn over a kirtle and a chemise.

medieval4My inspiration pic.

I used the “Medieval Tailor’s Assistant” as a guide, and did my patten from the basic pattern block, and toile I’ve previously made from the book.


IMG_2766I used a thick green woolen fabric, and cut and basted the dress together for a fitting.


I needed to adjust the sleeve and neck a bit. So I took it apart and made the alterations.

IMG_2738Then I started the time consuming task of working about 30 button-holes.

IMG_2740I’ve already compleated the buttons in advance and sewed them on the outer edge of the right front piece.

IMG_2745I’ve used some cotton leftover as facing in the neck and as a buttonhole stand.

Then I sewed the rest of the dress together – did the gores, side seams and sewed on the sleeves.








Just the facts:

Challenge: 21 – Green

What: A medieval cotehardie.

Year: 1350 -1400.

Pattern: Drafted my own based on the “Cotehardie” pattern from “The Medieval Tailor’s Assistant”.

Fabric: 3m of green wool and some cotton scraps.

Notions: Thread and buttonhole thread.

How historical accurate: Pretty good. The dress is compleatly hand sewn, with historical methodes. I do however think the fabric is a bit thick for this type of dress. 7/10

Time: About 30 hours

Cost: 400 sek (44 Usd)

First worn: Not yet, but will be on the Medieval dinner party my dance group is hosting on 9th of nov.

Medieval pattern drafting

This fall/winter I will attend my first medieval event and therefor will need something to wear.

Odly enough I must admit the middle ages never tempted me before. I tought the costumes and styles of the period seamed pretty plain and boring, and I figured I would never have the use of one.

But when the invitation for a Medieval feast arrived from my dancing company I didn’t heasitate. I signed up for both the party, the medieval dance course and the medieval sewing course. If you haven’t noticed, I have a tendency to go all in with things like this.

So now it was time to make an medieval outfit – and we only had about 1,5 months to do it. The first challenge was to decide on wich style of dress I was going to make.

medieval4The stylished simple Cotehartie

campbellp393Or the pretty high waisted gown from later in the period.

The sewing group was asked to by the book “The Medieval Tailor Assistant”, (I’ve already read through it), and will treat it as my construction bible for this project.


While still unsure about the dress style, I draped a fitted bodice pattern on my dressform.

IMG_2340I adjusted her size to my mesurments and putt a sports-bra on her.

IMG_2343Following the instructions in the book, I cut and draped two pieces of fabric over the dressform.

IMG_2354Starting with the shoulders, pinning the fabric close to the dressform.

IMG_2355And then the waist.


I did the center back and neck shaping. And then the same at the front.

IMG_2352The front neck needed some big darts to lie nice and flat.

IMG_2357Side view of the front.

IMG_2366Then it was time to mark the armholes.


Cutting the exess fabric from the neck and armhole.

IMG_2378Then I marked the lines with a red marker, making sure not to miss any needels.


IMG_2383And removed it from the dressform. Lying falt on the floor, I traced the dotts to make some nice looking lines.

IMG_2388The vertical darts will be left closed while cutting the toile.

IMG_2391Cut the pieces out, and place the front pieces (and then the back pieces) on top of each other. Adust the lines.

IMG_2395 Trace the pieces to a cotton fabric, and cut the toile.

IMG_2417IMG_2431Make it up and try it on.

Since I draped mine on a dressform and not straight on my body, there was a few adjustments that needed to be done. I took out some width at the center back and also placed a vertical dart at the shoulder blades.

And there you have it – your bodice blocks to make your pattern from.

Now it is time to start with the actual pattern.

Which dress I will make?

You will just have to wait and se…

Medieval Sleeves as Outerwear

As the deadline for the HSF challenge 20: Outerwear, drew closer I needed to decide what to make. The time was pressing and I had a couple of other costuming deadlines lurking close by, so I know I needed to make it an easy and quick one.

So why not make something I could use for the up-coming medieval event my dance group are hosting.

I knew that I wouldn’t be able to make the whole medieval outfit from the inside out, so I needed to prioritate. The gown will be made in time for the “Green” challenge, and as “Outerwear” I will make a pair of lose sleeves.

birth_of_mary_gr“The Birth of Mary” shows a servant with one of her lose sleeves taken of.

Technically they don’t count as outerwear as they will be worn under the short sleeve of the cotehardie, but as they are separate they can also be worn together with a sleeveles kirtle over a shift – thus becoming outerwear…

I bought a light brown/beige colored wool with a soft feel to it.


I the drafted the pattern, using “The Medieval Tailor Assistance” diagram for –  a Kirtles fitted sleeve.


I didn’t make a mock-up, but cut and basted one sleeve togheter and then fitted it to my arm. It needed some taking in across the upper and lower arm.

I stiched and felled the seams, reinforced the buttonhole stand and the wrist with some brown cotton..

Then it was time to make the buttons.

2013-10-05 18.12.19

Cutting about 30 circles of fabric, and sewing the buttons when ever I got some spair time, really saved me a lots of time and effort.

I sewed the finished buttons on to the sleeves, putting them close togheter.


Then I made all the buttonholes, using a buttonhole-thread and all of my patience and determination to get them finished in time.

2013-10-06 20.46.22



And the finished sleeves.






And being worn, paired with my Peasant Kirtle.








IMG_2490“Knitta please” are maching my outfit

Just the facts:

Challenge: 20 outerwear.

What: A pair of lose sleeves.

Year: 1300 -1450

Pattern: Drafted from “The Medieval Tailor Assistent” – Kirtle, fitted sleeve.

Fabric: 1 m thin light brown wool.

Notions: Thread

How historical accurate: Pretty good. The fabric, thread and methodes where all used during the time. I give them 8/10.

Time: About 15 hours (the button-holes took like forever).

Cost: 150 Sek (16 Usd)

First worn: On the photoshoot begining okt.

Final toughts: The sleeve cap is a bit low, and needs to be either raised a bit or tied to a very firm shoulder-strap that won’t slipp of the shoulder.