Thursday, June 20, 2013

Cranach Collar, German, Saxon. Das Theory In Construction.

Hi everyone!

So I'm a going to talk about German Cranach collars.

How to make something like them and my theory as to why they are the way they are.

The idea, or my assumptions while there are no extent examples for us (historical re-enactors) to recreate these pieces, we must guess.
And sometimes guessing is really just trial an errors.

So here's the theory.

They are made of metal and pieces were created by a Jeweler in Saxon Germany. Someone who was well versed in metal working. Who then took down the clients measurements for a custom piece and ideas and created a beautiful collar for their client.

Construction Theory.

Part 1: They are entirely made of metal, that includes the roping.

Part 2: The entire collar circles the whole neck.

Part 3: There is a hidden clasp, or swing method, which is utilized by the jewelers. But more 'modernly' practiced in the times by armorers.
Which include clasps, swing clasps and possibly hinges.

Part 3.1 : Roping. Decorated edges bent over into a fold  or small bend, to protect the wearer.
Why do I think this?
Armorers use it to protect the wearer from harm, the method existed in period, thus it could possibly exist in a construction method for the German collars.

Part 4: Decoration, we know that English ouches were popular on French hoods and known as billiments for necklines. We know that those were reused via wardrobe accounts.

Its not too far of a stretch to assume that jewelers would have their own kind of billiments for it.


This leaves the question of the floral designs on the piece. Were they raised? or much like the brass stampings we have now, or were they designed then casted in gold and set into the collar?

Considering we have no extent examples of these collars we must guess.

As I take the journey on the clasp's and rolled edges, I will testing a few theories on which looks better, and what one looks closest to the period portraits.

Thanks for Following!

Enjoy the video!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

How to get dressed Tudor style.

I have made to date, six Tudor gowns, and in the midst of crazy sewing instructions I had to guess.
Well this video takes all the guess work right out of getting dressed. Soon, I'll be doing my own version of this, which includes historic hair taping.  Which is imperative to keeping your French hood on. Believe it or not!

It even explains how to keep your sleeves on. PINS and more PINS!

Until next week everyone, happy sewing!

Monday, June 3, 2013

The Vikings are coming!

So while you are all absorbed in the title statment, and A- running in fear with the misconceptions of horned hat wearing, mead drinking 'neaderthalls'. Or B - Thinking of the History Channel's show Vikings. Which is kinda sorta, themed in the correct wear of the Vikings.

I'm here to SAVE you and point you in the right direction with the correct knowledge.
A little known or widely known, if you are new to the Viking culture, one must know this invaluable research resource. The Viking Answer Lady!   I've linked you to the clothing section, because that is what we are going to talk about, the basic construction, then move on to things like, shoes, and bling.

As with every kind of costume, culture has a huge influence on the clothing. So while the people are you thinking of, run around half naked and, pilliage, muder and rape.  I need to change our conception of the culture.

Vikings were first and foremost explorers and they were very serious about their gods. While I would love to talk more culture, I'm a clothes enthusiast!

This is the Down and dirty on how to make your Viking dress.  This details, colors, cut, construction and trims used in the era.

Lets start with the Basic Under tunic. Its comfy and gennerally made out of linen.

Both men and women patterns and shapes can be found here at this link.

While it has the basic construction tips, Let me give you a verbal idea of how to do it. Not because I am lazy, but beause I sometimes just don't have the time nor the patience to deal multiple pieces and I secretly despise geometric shapes. I think thats because I enjoy the more complexe elizabethan and Tudor shapes from whence I started sewing.

Females, Measure the widest part of your body. Most commonly this is your hips, other cases are your bust. Now Add four inches. This is to be able to slip it up and over your body and not to get stuck in your own garment.

Neck measurement
shoulder width, from one end to the other. You should be able to raise your arm and feel the little indent there to go off of,. Some use it, some dont, Thats just how I measure.
Natural waist line
Make a fist and measure around the hand. - Add two inches - Seam Allowance.

NOTE: Remember if you are going to fold your fabric, say hamburger style, you have to half your measurements for the pattern.

If you hamburger fold and then hot dog fold, you have to half your half. Confusing I know.
So lets talk numbers

Say the neck measurement is 14 inches. 14" devided by 4 = 3.5"   Thats your neck hole. Don't forget to add a 1/4" seam allowence or 1/2" depending on your prefrence.

Most likely if you have gotten this far, I have by far confused you all!

This is the time I include a picture to stop the madness.

If you laid out you pattern this way, all measurements will be 1/2 of the original measurments.
You want to leave your shoulder measurement alone, the triangle gussets at the bottom make up for the hip room.
You want your two main body rectangles to reflect the widest part of your body measurements so you can get it off and on.
Don't do the mistake I did, and try to make the garment with no ease. I got stuck in my own garment and waisted fabric. It was horribleand costly mistake.

Now I mentioned a cheater method. Its simple. Half your fabric at the shoulder seam for the length you want. I normally go from the shoulder to the ankle, then add two inches, for hemming.

I then hot dog and devide my measurements by 4. I cut it all as once piece. If your crunched for time you can do this.

However for those enthusiast who want to go te distance. Go for this! You can even get a coat pattern out of this.

"Textile Choices

Some garments, particularly undergarments, were made of linen, hemp, or nettlecloth: many such smocks and the occasional coat have been found. Although other forms of linen weaving were known at the time, the archaeological evidence indicates that almost all of these materials were in tabby weave. Linen, ramie- cotton, or cotton-linen blends in tabby weave are easy to find and make very appropriate choices for smocks, gowns, and lightweight coats."

The link above shows how one gets a coat out of the same pattern. The vikings were pretty nifty, one pattern could go a long long LOOONG way. Heres the link again.

So lets recap! Undertunics, can be used for a shirt, by shortining the pattern, used as a coat, by splitting the pattern and also used a coat or jacket by modifying the pattern.
Which is awesome!

Lets talk Apron Dresses next!

of the apron dress should sit at your nipple level. The over all circumfrance should encase your bust line.
Anothe way to do this, is to simply wrap a length of fabric around your body to get the measuremen then add wide gores into the skirt, one at each side and one in the back. The apron should fall about six inches blow the knee.

I trim the top and the bottom with inkle woven trim or trime from local sources to bling it up.

Straps can be sewn like this, or done in one long strip sewin to the center back for ease.

Where does my bling go? The turtle shell shaped like brooches pin the straps to the apron dress.

Example of wool coat with silk trim.

Hats oh my!


A recent dress for a client with long straps and embroidered apron dress. The undertunic features a keyhole neckline.

Example of Viking Brooches. Google Search Image.

Anoher example of ladies viking wear. Google search Image.

All Good things come in time!

So I should start off with an introduction.

I am a seamstress, a costumer, jeweler, hat and soap maker. Is that too much?

Every week at least once a week I will be covering the previous costumes that I have done, take a whole day out of my scheadule to sit down and explain what it is that I do and how I do it.

Expect to see my face ALOT and my studio ALOT.

I will be adding videos and offering costuming challenges with prizes hopefully.

The idea is to share my knowledge, with documentation as much as possible.

There should be NO secrets to costuming.

I don't beleive that costuming should be a myth, I beleive that if you are going to costume, costume with the best materials possible and in the end, make that effort to look like your costume and the person in it, stepped out of a portrait of movie piece.

I don't just do historical costumes I also do replicative movie and show peices as well.

So I hope to see you all very soon, stay updated, this blog has to undergo a serious beautification process.

I think the first blog should be Viking's, as I am on the kick currently.

I'll show you reliable patterns, how to make your own trim, annnnd the meanings and definitions behind the period of the historical pieces.

Sounds like fun? Good! I am glad you are here!

Heather Clark, - ElizabethesCloset