Historically correct – Only in English



Various ‘historical festivals’ are spreading across Europe like wildfire. They seem to be spreading from the north to the south with the medieval festival/market/experience being the most common culprit in Central Europe. While some of these events have standing traditions, a lot of them sprung up in the last few years.

I have attended one of these events last summer, just before I left Slovenia behind. Until that point, I have largely abstained from partaking in reenactment in that part of the continent, because I was aware that the standards were certainly underdeveloped, but this time I somehow got talked into it. The event was promoted as a most ‘authentic medieval camp’, filled with knights, representing Slovenia in the mid-15th century. The organizers were also proudly promoting their ‘authentic medieval market’, where one could observe historical craft in action. Generally, the word ‘authentic’ was thrown around a lot. But how did it look in practice?

It was a sunny Saturday morning and I found myself standing in a section of freshly cut cornfield, with the still standing corn stalks still visible on the edges of the perimeter, forming a fence around the camp area. I walked through something meant to resemble a palisade gate, quickly banged together from some planks. I already heard the blaring sound system of an open-air stage set up one the other side of the camp. On one side of the camp by the cornstalks, there was a clearly visible line of portable toilets. The reenactors gathered around the various tents represented grades form people wearing flip-flops, to some actually trying to look medieval. Where allegiance to some time period could be determined, this spanned at least 500 years of Medieval history, with people dressed up as Vikings and early crusaders on one end and veering into the renaissance on the other. The so called historical market was, with the exception of an armourer, mostly occupied by sellers of tourist souvenirs, local arts & crafts, and just plain garbage. On the other end of the camp was a fenced-off area, prepared for a mock battle and riding games, a prominent feature of which was some kind of agricultural vehicle, disguised as some kind cart, which at best evoked an aesthetic half-way between the Wild West and Mad Max. As part of the entertainment, the organizers had a bunch of guys parading around dressed up as Franciscan monks while playing saxophones. To top it of, there was a guy ambulating around the premises – presumably a visitor – disguised as a the Witch-King of Angmar. A bad medieval event joining forces with a 3rd rate LARP. An entity far worse than the mere sum of its parts – a sight as painfully captivating as a train crash played in slow motion.

Level of Historic Authenticity: Abysmal

Level of Immersion into a Historic Setting: ZERO.

My Reaction as a Reenactor & Archaeologist: Daydreaming about carpet bombing the place with napalm.

The Visitors’ Experience: They seemed to be at least somewhat enjoying themselves. They were here to eat and drink while looking in marvel at a bunch of adults who like to play dress-up. It seemed that for them this was just another carnival.

Witch-King of Angmar
NOT a medieval knight. (Still image from the LOTR Trilogy)

In my introduction to living history, I have already urged my readership to pursue the highest level of quality and authenticity. But why do I so sternly insist on establishing and maintaining standards, when the visitors do not seem to care? Why should living history enthusiasts are about authenticity? Why should we bother?

Because we have the power to change the public opinion.

The public finds living history extremely fascinating, after all, this is why all of these events get organized. This makes living history a very powerful tool for the promotion of cultural heritage, and with great power there also comes responsibility. This power power turns actors in living history into something akin to museum workers.

Living Shame
Being a reenactor does carry with it some responsibilities.

Even if we care enough, why don’t our visitors share this fervour? The people do not actually know what is authentic, the average visitor has an interest in history, but does not devote time to the meticulous study of details such as clothing. Thus the visitor tends to believe everything that he sees to be authentic. In his mind, if you see something at a Roman/Viking/Medieval event, then it evidently must be Roman/Viking/Medieval. After all, these people were selected by an organizer, who promised the visitors an ‘authentic experience’. Therefore, the average visitor sees little reason to question what they see and does not differentiate between fact, fiction, or even blatant sloth and stupidity on the performer’s part.

So, if this lack of public criticism is caused by a lack of knowledge, why would anyone with at least a general interest in the past and heritage be uninformed in this age of public education, libraries and the internet?

1. Their preconceptions are already twisted by popular media. Just because there is a lot of easily available information out there, it does not mean that most of it is correct. The Horned Vikings of classic Hollywood, Vikings in Leather Biker gear, 16th century armour in a 9th century setting, invented clothing patterns which rely on modern elements, people in all kinds periods wearing huge leather bracers which do not seem to serve any function, etc., etc. We have decades of really misguided representations of the past to fight against, and big ‘historical productions’ are popular again, with a range of series and films coming out each year. The entertainment industry is in the business of selling entertainment, not providing education.

2. Even a lot of museum displays often offer questionable reconstructions, which show a very outdated state of knowledge about how the past looked like. Often these were put up with a very limited budget, by somebody who just barely knew what they were doing and wanted to simply slap something on a mannequin, in order to make the exhibition ‘more engaging’. Do not completely trust archaeologists in these fields, unless they have specialised in reconstructing costume. Just because they can go on for hours about jewellery typologies, that does not mean that they actually know how their object of study fits into the outfit as whole, or what is the whole meant to be. There is a certain correlation between a region or country having a well developed reenactment scene, and the amount of research being done on things such as ancient costume.

3. The public might not be primarily interested historical accuracy. Being entertained and being able to relate to what is presented is given priority. This a lesson which museology had to accept in trying to open up to a wider audience, and it applies to living history as well.

This presents some challenge to the participants, and especially to the organizers who should be enforcing these ideals. First, we have to do our homework to create an image of the past which is as accurate as possible. Secondly, we have to make this image entertaining by making it engaging and relatable. There might be various ways of achieving this, and we will have to keep innovating and refining our method. A bit less sitting around drinking, and more displaying craft in a didactic manner, and even offering engaging hands-on experiences to the participants might be a good start for many.

Historic Pottery Production
Less sitting around and more authentic (dirty) hands-on experiences leads to better engagement of visitors and participants. (Photo: Heidi Blix Madsen)

Also keep in mind that, if we as living history enthusiasts do not adhere to a strict ethos of authenticity, then we are actively lying to the audience, therefore making things even tougher for those who are actually trying to inform and educate the public.

If all the participants and visitors were well informed on historical fact, then authenticity would be less important – at least as far as the message is concerned. Since everybody would know what is what, history and fantasy could coexist in the same space in the name of good fun and creativity. Instead, we are give the task of educating the visitors at our evens. Therefore we should at least make the effort to educate them right.

But striving to creating an authentic, captivating, environment also has beneficial experiential aspect both for the visitor and the performer. It increases the level of immersion, the magic quality of theatre, present at the event. One should not underestimate the theatrical qualities of a historical market. An immersive environment allows the participants fall into character, thus increasing their enjoyment. Since the participant is immersed in the role, they do not need to ‘put up an act’ for the visitor, therefore presenting to the outsider a more gripping experience. Not only is the whole experience all of a sudden more believable it is also a lot more enjoyable to both parties involved. Are we not in this because we are deeply interested in the past and want to have fun with it?

In Summary – If you wish to engage in reenactment, uphold the highest standards of historical accuracy. Otherwise you are actively deceiving those who visiting these events, you ruining the fun for the other participants, and even potentially sabotaging your enjoyment. Striving towards authenticity might be more challenging if you are just starting, but it will pay off in large dividends further down the line. It will make you more knowledgeable, deepen your enjoyment of living history and open the gates to some amazing events in future.

Have some examples of best practice or some horror stories from events, which you have visited? Do write in the comments bellow.

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So – just to be clear. This is not MY wrighting. It is Harald the Smith who wrote this. But I really agree // Marie @ Simply Medieval

Fabrics, fabrics and more fabrics / Tyger, tyger och mer tyger.

To choose the right fabric can be a bit like entering the djungle.
But if you break it down it makes more sense.

First – what material do you want?
Cotton, wool, flax, polyester, silk or any other material.

Second – do you want a knitted fabric like jersey or an interlock, rib or any other kind of knit.
Or do you want a woven fabric like a plain weave, a tweed or perhaps a diamond twill?

Third – How thick do you want it?
Here you have to remember that not everyone will measure equally.
Most wenders use weight as a measurement for thickness, the more a fabric weighs – the thicker it is. But…
Some measure one meter of the full width of the fabric and weighs that.
Others measure one meter x one meter (or one foot x one foot) and use that weight as a measurement. So the same fabric at two different venders can have a different weight.
You also have to remember that a fabric that is tighter will weigh more than a sparser made fabric even if it is made up of exactly the same threads.
So this is the bit that is the hardest to learn.
But as long as you have the two first down, you will have a much easier time choosing a fabric.

So… just because a fabric is for example, wool – it doesn’t mean that it is woven, and it doesn’t mean that it will be fulled and thick, it can be knitted and light.

Remember – always ask for samples if you order online.

Att välja tyg kan vara en hel djungel.
Men genom att dela upp det så kan det bli lite lättare.

Först – vilket material vill du ha?
Bomull, ull, polyester, lin eller något annat?

För det andra – vilket tillverkningssätt?
Stickat eller vävt?
Stickade tyger använder samlingsnamnet trikå. Där finns bland annat jersey, interlock, mudd, ribbstickat mm
När det gäller vävda tyger så har du ju exempelvis tuskaft, kypert, diamantkypert, panamaväv mm.

För det tredje – tjocklek.
De flesta återförsäljare anger tjockleken i vikt per enhet.
Alla mäter inte likadant dock, så samma tyg kan se ut att väga olika mycket hos olika återförsäljare. Några mäter i löpmeter, dvs 1 meter av tygets fulla bredd. Andra i kvadratmeter, några i kvadratfot. Så det gäller att vara uppmärksam på det.
Hur tätt tyget är påverkar också vikten. Ett glesvävt tyg kommer vara mycket lättare än ett tättvävt tyg även om det är samma tråd som används i båda fallen.

Så – bara för att ett tyg är i exempelvis ull, så betyder det inte att det måste vara vävt och valkat. Det kan lika gärna vara stickat och tunt.

Är du osäker och beställer på internet så be alltid om tygprover,


Perhaps this can be to some use.  // Kanske det här kan vara till nytta.

Kulturnav – textile words

Embroided intarsia / Intarsiabroderi

Last weekend i attended a course by Historical textiles in Stockholm.
They finished an amazing project last year (read more about it here) and now they are offering their knowledge in what they learned during the process.

As a New Year’s resolution I promised myself to both attend and give courses this year, so this was a good start.
I really recommend and encourages you all to do the same. If you have any knowledge to give out – just do it. And if you don’t, take a course or several. You will not only learn a lot (yes you learn by teaching as well) but you will also grow as a person and make new friends and acquaintances 

This course was well prepared, and we got to learn a lot of history of these kind of work. And also se a lot of pictures of embroided intarsia coverlets and cushions that have survived through the years.

As a final treat, we got to look at the finished coverlets that started this whole thing.

I guess that I would have been able to figure the technique out for myself if I really wanted to. But I probably never would have started anything as it is outside my comfort zone. And I probably would have made several mistakes that I didn’t have to do now (some one else already have made those and learned from it and could teach me not to do the same).
And – most important. I never would have been able to get my hands on the guilded leather (real goldleaf).

I will just post a couple of pictures here. I rather see that you sign up for the course.
And yes… they can come to you if you want to   you just have to ask.

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Förra helgen gick jag en kurs i intarsiabroderi i Stockholm för Historical textiles.
Dom avslutade ett helt otroligt projekt förra året (läs mer här) och nu erbjuder dom kurser där dom för vidare vad dom lärt sig själva under processen.

Jag gav ett nyårslöfte i år, jag ska både gå fler kurser och även ge fler kurser så det här var en bra början.
Jag vill verkligen uppmuntra er att göra samma sak. Har ni något ni är duktiga på så erbjud er kunskap till andra, och är ni inte så duktiga så gå kurser för dom som är. Ni kommer inte bara att växa kunskapsmässigt (ja man lär sig saker på att lära ut också) utan även som människor. Ni kommer också att utöka er vänskapskrets.

Kursen var väl underbyggd och vi fick se många bra bilder på historiska fynd av liknande textilier, samt lära oss mer om deras historia.

Och som en sista liten guldklimp så fick vi även se dom återskapade guldskinnstäckena som startade det hela.

Jag skulle säkert ha kunnat klura ut tekniken själv, men jag skulle nog aldrig kommit mig för att göra det.
Dessutom slapp jag ju göra alla nybörjarmisstag själv, någon hade redan gjort dom och kunde berätta om det och visa hur man skulle göra istället.
Och – jag skulle ju inte kunnat få tag i gyllenlädret på egen hand (ja äkta guld applicerat på läder, ingen guldfärg här inte  )

Jag kommer bara posta några få bilder här för inspiration, jag ser hellre att ni går kursen faktiskt.
Och ja – dom kan komma till dig om inte du kan komma till dom, det är bara att fråga 


Starting with some Swedish fika and a test embroidery / Fika och provlapp.

Finished testsewing / Färdig med testet





The original / Originalet



The whole coverlet (the original) / Hela guldskinnstäcket (originalet)

The partial Herjolfsnes finding / Det icke kompletta Herjolfsnesfyndet.

I have had my eyes on this finding for quite a while now.  I have looked at many people recreating the Uvdal kirtle (Norway) and a fragment from Turku (Finland) that is similar when it comes to that those also is pleated. But I haven’t seen anyone try the Herjolfsnes nr 58.

I started as I often do, at Marc Carlssons page and turned to this page.
Then I put my fabric in the washing machine with a small amount of dye (enough to colour 500g of fabric dark brown, but i had 4 kg of fabric).  This was just to change the surface of the fabric and get it a little tint of colour as I knew that several of my friends had the same fabric in the same colour and I didn’t want us to look like we had a uniform on if we ended up next to eachother. 

After the fabric had dried, I brought my dressform down and started draping the fabric.
I ended up using the full with of the fabric for the front of the dress, and then i divided one full length of fabric in 2 so i got 1/2 with of fabric in each side.
Here I deviated from the finding and did one bigger gusset instead of 2 that was sewn togeather as I had a bit of a timecrunch and 2 long seams less to do was a good idea 

After pleating the front and sides to fit the dressform loosely I had to try to get the rest of the fabric to be enough for both arms, the back piece and the gusset in the back. To achieve this I had to make the sleeves in multiple pieces. So I looked at how the Herjolfsnes 63 had its sleeves constructed and pulled inspiration from that.
With a lot of puzzling in the computor I finally was ready to make the cut.
I ended up with about two or three pieces the size of a palm as scrap when I was finished with the entire dress.

Below you will find the pictures. I don’t yet have any picture of me wearing it, but when I get it I will update this with that picture.

Since I deviated from the finding and I learned that this fabric wasn’t optimal, I will try to do this kirtle again someday. But for now it is a fabolous winter kirtle 
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Jag har haft ögonen på det här fyndet länge nu. Jag har sett flera som har rekonstruerat Uvdalskjorteln från Norge och fyndfragmenten från Åbo i Finland. Båda dessa har samma sorts plisseringar, men kjorteln från Herjolfsnes har jag inte sett återskapad än.

Jag började som vanligt på Marc Carlssons sida och gick direkt till denna bild.
Sen var det dags att förbereda tyget. Eftersom vi var flera som har köpt samma tyg och jag inte ville att det skulle se ut som om vi hade uniform om vi hamnade bredvid varandra så slängde jag in tyget i tvättmaskinen på 60 grader med lite färg. Färgen skulle ha färgat 500g mörkbrunt, men med dom 4 kilo tyg som jag hade i maskinen så visste jag att det bara skulle bli en svag färgskiftning. Precis vad jag var ute efter 

Efter att tyget hade torkat så plockade jag ner min provdocka och började drapera tyg.
Jag använde fullbredd på tyget till biten fram och delade en fullbreddsdel på två för sidorna.
Sidorna på bilden (fyndet) är egentligen delade, men jag valde att göra en större bit i varje sida eftersom jag hade lite tidspress och att slippa två långa sömmar kändes som en bra idé då 

Efter att jag hade plisserat framstycket och sidorna löst så var det dags att försöka få resten av tyget att räcka till ärmar, bakstycke och bakre kil.
Så här fick jag vända mig till fyndet av Herjolfsnes nr 63 och dess delade ärmar. Med inspiration därifrån kunde jag pussla runt med delarna i datorn och få ut det jag behövde.
Det blev ca 2-3 spillbitar över i storlek av en handflata när jag var klar med hela klänningen. Snacka om tygeffektivt 🙂

Här nedan hittar du bilderna från processen.
Jag har inga bilder på mig i den färdiga kjorteln än, men jag kommer uppdatera med det så snart jag får bilder 

Eftersom jag har avvikit från originalet så kommer jag göra en till version av denna längre fram. Men just nu är jag bara glad över att ha min härliga varma vinterkjortel klar 

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A kidneyshaped purse / En njurformad väska

Yesterday I remembered that I havent done any sew-alongs or tutorials for quite some time now. And the reason for creating this blog where to share how to make stuff.
I hope that you will like this one.

From project start to blogpost finished where about 24 hours.
So I guess that you can make this purse in a weekend even without leatherexperience.

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I går kom jag på att jag inte har gjort mågra sew-alongs eller instruktionsinlägg på länge och anledningen till att jag startade bloggen var ju för att hjälpa människor att göra sina egna saker.

Hoppas du gillar denna sew-along.
Från att jag började projektet till att jag postade denna blogpost så har det tagit ungefär 24 h och jag har inte sytt konstant 
Jag antar att du kan genomföra det här projektet på en helg om du inte är så van att sy i läder.



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First – start with looking at the PDF-file Purses in Pieces that you can find just by googling it. If you like it – buy it. I really enjoy it 
When you have read it – you will understand this instrucktion better. And something I will not get in to, but just refer to that PDF.

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Börja med att googla efter Purses in Pieces och läs PDF:en. Om du gillar den så köp den. Jag tycker att det är värt det. 
När du har läst den så kommer du förstå instruktionerna här mycket bättre, och vissa saker kommer jag bara referera till PDF:en för.
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I start by drawing some examples of how I want the purse to look.

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Jag börjar med att rita upp lite exempel på hur jag vill att väskan ska se ut.


Then I put two A4 papers with the short ends together and tape it together.
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Jag tejpar ihop två A4-papper med kortsidorna mot varandra.


To get the size of the bag I usually fold the long sheet of paper in three.
And then I take one bit of.

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För att få rätt storlek på väskan så brukar jag vika det långa ihoptejpade pappret så det blir 3 delar.
Och sen tar jag bort en del.


This time I wanted it a tad bit bigger than the with of the paper so I put a litle bit on at the bottom sides..

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Den här gången kände jag att jag ville ha väskan en aningen bredare så jag skarvade på lite på sidorna.


Just to connect back to the beginning. This is the bag I chose and this is how i cut the folded paper. A shorter lid and a longer bottom – but the same shape.

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Bara för att återkoppla. Det här är väskan jag valde och det här är hur jag klippte till det vikta pappret. Ett kortare lock och längre bottendel – men samma form.


This is how I lay the mane part out on the leather. Here I also experimented with the shape of the hole between the straps. But I don’t have to cut it until the bag is finished so I have time to change my mind a lot of times.
Some good examples on different shapes is found in the PDF i refered to in the beginning.

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Så här lägger jag ut huvuddelen på lädret. Här hade jag också experimenterat med formen på hålet mellan hällorna på väskan. Men det behöver jag inte klippa till förrän väskan är ihopsydd så jag har tid att ändra mig flera gånger än.
Fler bra exempel på former finns i PDF:en som jag hänvisade till i början.


The three parts that you need for the purse.

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Dom tre delarna som behövs för väskan.


You will need two needles. But not cutting ones, blunt points. Beeswax, an awl and thread. This is pre-waxed linnen thread.

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Du behöver två nålar. Men inte skärande, dom ska vara runda. Bivax, syl och tråd. Denna tråd är förvaxad linnetråd.


Put the pieces face to face (or right sides together as you say with fabric).

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Lägg delarna med lädersidan mot varandra och köttsidan ut. (Eller rätsida mot rätsida som man skulle säga med tyg)


I usually pin the parts together with clothespins, but if you have better (smaller and tighter grip) use them.
Thread both needles on the same thread an make a hole trough both pieces with the awl.
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Jag brukar hålla ihop delarna med klädnypor men om du har bättre (mindre och hårdare grepp) så använd dom.
Trä båda nålarna på samma tråd och gör ett hål genom båda läderbitarna med sylen.


Pass one needle trough the hole, match it up so you have the same amount of thread on both sides.
Make another hole with the awl and put both needles trough the hole, one from each side. Do not cross over the side of the leather. It should resemble a straight machine stitch after a couple of stitches.
Pull troug – repeat.
If you need to take another piece of thread after a while, just stop sewing. Thread the needles again but start about 2-3 stitches back from where you ended, using the old wholes.

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För en nål genom hålet, se till att du har lika mycket tråd på båda sidor.
Syla upp ett nytt hål och stick igenom båda nålarna. En från varje håll. Korsa inte kanten på lädret med tråden. Det ska se ut som en raksöm på maskin när du har kommit en bit.
Dra igenom trådarna – upprepa.
Om du behöver ta ny tråd så sluta bara sy. Trä en ny bit tråd men börja 2-3 stygn från där du slutade och använd dom redan sylade hålen.


Turn the bag.
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Vänd väskan.

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This is a bit more advanced, but if you want you can do this on the lid (look at the PDF).

I cut the center out of the innerpart for the lid and replace with linnen.
Just put linnen all over the inside of the part. Stitch it on around the cut-out with the same kind of stitch you use to sew the bag together with.
Let the linnen hang over the sides for now.

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Det här är överkurs, men om du vill så kan du göra så här med locket (kolla PDF:en)

Jag har klippt ut mittdelen på lockets insida och ersatt med linne.
Lägg helt enkelt linnet över hela den delen, sy runt den utklippta delen med samma stygn som du använder för att sy ihop väskan med.
Låt linnet hänga över sidorna än så länge.


After turning the purse you are going to latch the pouch together.
The historically correct thing to do is by making slits all the way trough the four layers that we have in this purse and then take a leather strap and join the layers together as they show in the PDF.
As they have so good pictures I descide to not try to show it as I usually cheat and just stitch it together 
This time I tried to make it right though…
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Efter att du har vänt väskan så ska du fästa ihop alla delar och skapa själva väskformen.
Det historiskt korrekta sättet att göra detta på är att använda en laskrem. Dom visar väldigt bra i PDF:en hur man gör så jag kommer inte visa det eftersom jag oftast brukar fuska och bara sy ihop delarna med nål och tråd 
Den här gången försökte jag göra det korrekt dock…


Make a slit after lacing/ stitching the bag together, so you can put stuff in your bag.
I probably will make a slit at the inside of the lid as well so you can put something small there, but I will wait and se what the person that will get this purse wants 

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Gör en smal öppning efter att ha laskat / sytt ihop väskan så att du kan använda den.
Jag kommer troligtvis göra en öppning i locket också på insidan, så att den som får väskan kan stoppa saker där med, men jag ska först höra hur denne vill göra 


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An older yet more advanced purse, style 2 from the left of my first drawing.
Just as inspiration

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En äldre men mer avancerad väska, 2 bilden från vänster på min första teckning.
Bara för inspiration.

My friend Sofia made a similar purse. You can read about it here

Brickstitch and crowdfunding / Likriktad plattsöm och crowdfunding

I started a project a while back, where I was inspired by the roof of Hospices de Beaune (in France) and wanted to translate it into a brickstitchpattern.

My thought right then was to make a piece that would be sewn on to a modern leather handbag that I also were going to make. But then I saw Thomas Neijmans crowdfundingproject and that some guy were donating a Visby plate of arms and I asked if there would be any intrest if I would make this embroidery into a drawstring pouch instead, and well… yes 

I decided to just donate the bag to Thomas and his whife Maria and let them take care of the auktion since I always underestimate what my stuff is worth. It is not in any way some kind of false modesty. I just believe that the stuff I make isn’t up to everyone elses standard. I don’t know why… I have always thought so.

Today Maria put the auktion up in a Facebook-group and I almost dropped my jaw at the startingprice.
I would never have dared to put that price up to start the bidding. I estemated that it would end about there…
Maria said that she didn’t want to start to high though 
… and people are bidding!
I can’t believe it… They like my pouch and I am so happy 

A big part of the material for the bag was given to me by an anonymus benefactor. So it felt really good to be able to pass this on, and knowing that it will do make an impact (however small) to benefit our hobby 

You can find the auktion here

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För ett tag sedan startade jag ett projekt med inspiration av taken på det Franska Hospice de Beaune.
Det var tänkt att bli ett broderi som skulle sättas fast på en läderväska av modernt snitt som jag också skulle sy.

Sen såg jag att Thomas Neijman startade ett crowdfundingprojekt och blev inspirerad av att någon annan donerade en Visbyplata för utauktionering och tänkte att jag kanske kunde göra det här broderiet till en liten påsväska istället.

Jag frågade om det skulle vara av intresse och fick ett rungande Ja till svar 

Eftersom jag själv är väldigt dålig på att värdera mitt hantverk och alltid verkar undervärdera det så bestämde jag mig för att helt enkelt ge väskan till Thomas och hans fru Maria och låta dom sköta auktionen.
I dag fick jag höra att auktionen var igång… och utgångspriset var högre än vad jag trodde att slutbudet skulle landa på, men folk bjuder på den. Vilken känlsa 
Speciellt när Maria sa att hon började lite lågt med utgångspriset…

Det är inte falsk blygsamhet som får mig att undervärdera det jag gör. Jag vet att jag undervärderar det, men jag har den där lilla djävulen på axeln som sitter och säger att det jag gör inte är lika bra som alla andras, och därför kan jag inte begära lika mycket betalt som andra gör.

En stor del av materialet till det här projektet har jag fått av en anonym givare och därför känns det ännu bättre att få ge det vidare. 

Du hittar auktionen här

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Some pictures from the process of making the bag / Några bilder från tillverkningsprocessen.

A warning if someone wants to use this – I made some misstakes at the edges of the pattern. I forgot that it shouldn’t end there, it should repeat. So think about that.
Also, I just made this in paint so not all ”stitches” are the correct hight.
I will not recommend this for beginners, you need to be able to see the faults in the pattern to use it.

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En varning om någon vill använda mönstret här – Jag gjorde en del misstag i kanterna på mönstret där jag glömde att det skulle upprepa sig. Så tänk på det.
Och eftersom jag gjorde detta manuellt i paint så har jag inte fått alla ”stygn” i korrekt längd.
Jag rekommenderar inte att du använder detta om du inte är van vid att brodera brickstitch eftersom du behöver kunna se felen i mönstret för att kunna undvika dom.

Caring for your items / Att ta hand om dina saker

I don’t need to invent the wheel. There are some really good tutorials out there about how to wash your linnen and airing out your woolen clothes etc.
Some I have linked before under Material care.

But after Visby my yellow kirtle had a lot of large dark spots at the hem. And after rinsing the feet of my hose in a liter of water in the middle of the medieval week and finding almost half a deciliter of clay at the bottom of the sink… Well let’s just say that I thought that I needed to do more then airing out the kirtle after that 

I started by soaking the hem, no washing detergent or anything.

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Jag behöver inte uppfinna hjulet. Det finns flera riktigt bra tutorials på nätet angående hur man tvättar linne på bästa sätt och hur man ska vädra ylle och förvara det osv.
Några har jag redan länkat till i avsnittet om materialvård.

Men efter Visby så var min gula kjortel inte så gul runt fållen längre, den hade stora mörka och skapra fläckar. Och efter att ha sköljt upp fötterna på mina hosor efter halva medeltidsveckan i en liter vatten och hittat ungefär en halv dl lera i botten av handfatet så kände jag att jag behövde göra mer än bara vädra kjorteln denna gång. 

Jag började med att blötlägga fållen, inget tvättmedel eller något annat.




The white piece of cardboard is only for comparison. This water is after the first wash of the entire kirtle with detergent.
I dont rub the fabric, I just move it around in the water and try to force the water trough the fabric.

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Den vita kartongbiten är bara som referens. Det här vattnet är efter första tvätten av hela kjorteln med tvättmedel.
Jag gnuggar inte tyget utan rör bara runt det i vattnet och försöker tvinga vattnet genom tyget.



This is the second time with detergent.

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Andra omgången med tvättmedel.



After first rinse.

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Efter första sköljningen.



Three times is the charm   I find myself satisfied

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Tredje sköljvattnet och jag anser mig nöjd 


This is how compleatly cleen water looks with the same lighting and on the same floor, in the same place.

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Så här ser det ut med rent vatten i samma miljö och samma ljussättning.


So remember to sometimes give your gear a rinse even if you air them out as you should. The dirt particles will otherwise rub on the fibers and weaken them so you end up shortening the lifespand of your clothing.

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Så kom ihåg att skölja upp dina saker ibland, även om du sköter dom enligt konstens alla regler med vädring mm. Smutspartiklarna vill annars ligga och gnaga på fibrerna i kläderna och förkorta deras livslängd.

Not so simple – A fit for a king!

This post can be find in Swedish on my facebookpage with the same name as this blog.

About a year ago, or thereabout, I volountered to help with some sewing for the event Battle of Wisby (6-14 of august this year).
My thought was that either the arrengers needed some help since they put so much time and effort into other things that their own sewing would suffer, or that perhaps they needed some flags sewn or something else that would fit my level of ”expertise” 

Instead I got the question… Can you sew this?

My stomach filled with butterflies.
Could I?
I said that well, no problem, could you cut the pieces out and I just did the sewing since I didn’t have anyone to do a pattern on. But no, the person wearing this weren’t even in the same country as us.
Measurements then?
Very, very specific measurements, and a lot of them.
That I could have…
But then I didn’t hear anything for quite some time. In the meantime I got another request for the same event. A participant that couldn’t sew wanted an outfit. So I helped her with that and thought that that was it. Perhaps they found someone more qualifyid to make this outfit? 

About 2,5 months before the event I got pictures of the pattern being made.

When I saw that it was a very professional looking pattern I just had to as why the one wearing it (or his spouse) wasn’t making it. It would be easier if you could check the fit as you went. But no…
There was no time for them, and when I was told who they were my heart just dropped.
Should I (a nobody from Sweden) make an outfit for Bertus Brokamp, Isis Sturtewagens other half… I couldn’t… could I? were it going to be to their standard?
OMG… My stommache tied itself in a knot.
But Maria Neijman who gave me the assignment assured me that it would be fine.

Due to the postalservice who lost – and then found the package it would take until about 3 weeks before the event until I got the fabric and pattern. And then I was a nervous wreck, but I tried not to show it. 

Maria added me to a facebook conversation with Bertus, Thomas Neijman and Johan Käll and we really did some discussing about how to interpret the picture from the church. We wanted to get as close as possible.
I worked as fast as I could, the day the fabric and pattern arrived i cut it out and sew most of it togeather.
And then I started adding the white trim (while humming ”Here comes santa claus”…

I also posted a picture of the white hearts I where cutting out for the appliques, and the conversation went quiet for a minute or so.
Then it came…
– Ehm… white hearts? They should be blue, shouldn´t they?
– Blue? I thought they where green?

And then more pictures arrived

We all agreed that it should be a white trim, so I could keep the hearts I already cut out, but I had to do the same amount but smaller i a blue fabric that Maria threw in the mail.

In the meantime we talked about the helmetcover wich I hadn’t realised that I should make until i saw the patterns. We opted for the colours that I already had, even though perhaps it should have been a light blue or grey fabric instead for the darker blue, and blue hearts instead of the red, but it still was Valdemar Atterdags colours. And we didn’t have any time to go fabricshopping or dye some fabric.

By now I were sewing about 10 hours a day and I still have a hard dimple in my right hands middlefinger after pushing the needle trough the fabric.
I did have the organisers approval to sew some on the sewingmashine, and glue the applique-hearts on, but it didn’t feel right to me, so I did all sewing by hand, and no fabric glue at all

In the middle of everything, my father (who lives about 190km from me) celebrated his birthday, so I packed up everything I needed to make the helmetcover and did most of that in the car, while my husband did the driving 

Late evening the day before we started our journey to Gotland and the event, I put the last stitch in.
The only thing I didn’t manage to make in time was the band for lacing the jupion.
Below here you can find some pictures from the manufacturing and how it looked when Bertus wore the clothes at the battlefield as Valdemar Atterdag, the Danish king that invaded Gotland in 1361.

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Deciding if we should go with straight or curved – as the image.


Is this size ok?


Detail of the embroidered thin lines


Trying out how many hearts we should fit on one sleeve.


Getting there…

It’s all in the details


Last test before sewing all the hearts on.




Valdemar in all his glory (or rather Bertus  )


To sum up, this have been a collaborated effort.
Bertus made the pattern with the help of Isis.
Maria got the fabrics.
Johan and Thomas participated with all of us to decide about details that would make or brake this.
A big thanks to all of you for answering my (somtime stupid) questions 

The last two pictures in this blogg comes from Maria Kristiansson and more of her pictures of the battles can be found at Facebook in: The Official group for Battle of Wisby 1361

Long live the king!

Bleaching your linnen / Att bleka linne

It’s been a while since my last post now.
I have been working quite hard with making outfits for other people (something that I don’t do on a regular basis, I rather learn others how to do it for themselves  ). I even ventured in to the field of shoemaking since my teacher past away some time ago, and both me and a friend felt that we wanted to honour his work by passing the knowledge on to new students.

But onwards to the subject for this blogpost…
In a Swedish medieval sewing-group on Facebook we often have discussed the issue of what colour linnen should be.

As most of us, I used to buy ”bleached” or white linnen before, but a while ago I decided to try to bleach it myself, only using the sun, wind and regular washing (not detergent with bleach though).
And this is how it went…

I took a picture with a sample of the unbleached linnen attached to it, once a day.
After almost 2 weeks the weather started to get more unstable, so I haven’t been able to have the linnen out for 24 hours between photos, so I pulled the plug on the project so to say. But it will be even whiter with every use for a while yet even if the process isn’t as visible as it was the first couple of days 
The fabric have been washed 3 times during this time.
Some pictures is taken outside and some indoors. But I hope that you can see the fabric getting lighter by the day if you compare the difference between the test-cloth and the big one. Even in the first picture (24 hours in the sun) it is a suttle difference 
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Det var ett tag sedan jag skrev något här nu.
Jag har jobbat rätt hård med att göra kläder till andra (något jag inte brukar göra, jag lär hellre andra hur dom ska göra sina egna saker  ), jag doppade till och med näsan i ett nytt ämne. En kurs i skomakeri. Detta eftersom min läromästare gick bort för ett tag sedan och jag och en vän ville hedra hans minne genom att föra hans kunskap vidare helt enkelt.

Men nu till ämnet för detta inlägg…
I Vi som syr Medeltidskläder (på Facebook) brukar vi ofta diskutera det här med färg på linne. Och som de flesta av oss så brukade jag köpa ”blekt” eller vitt linne tidigare, men jag bestämde mig för att testa att bleka själv, enbart med hjälp av sol, vind och vanlig tvätt (tvättmedel utan blekmedel dock).
Och det här är resultatet…

Jag tog en bild en gång om dagen tillsammans med en bit av det oblekta linnetyget fastsatt på tyget.
Efter ungefär 2 veckor så började vädret bli lite ostabilt och jag kunde inte längre ha det ute 24h i taget så jag bestämde mig för att sätta punkt för experimentet. Men det kommer fortsätta blekas ett tag till även om processen märkbart har stannat av nu 
Tyget har tvättats 3 gånger under den här perioden.

Några bilder är tagna utomhus och några inomhus så kvalitén varierar. Men jag hoppas att det går att se att det händer något, och att skillnaden mellan testlappen och det blekta tyget blir större varje dag som går 
Till och med i första bilden (efter 24 h) går det att se en svag skillnad.











Dead man walking…

I might sound grim, but that is what my dear husband will be at Battle of Wisby this summer.
He will join in the fight as cannon fodder, and will “die” at the beginning of the fight (and then hope for good weather so he can take a nice nap or sunbathe until the fighting is over  )
Off course there won’t actually be any cannons, but it still is the correct term for those who is sent out to die in the battlefield.

So, why will he be cannon fodder and not participate in the actual fighting?

A little over two years ago I asked him if he wanted to fight in the BoW-reenactment and he said:
– eeeeh, well… maby it would be fun?!
So I told him that he had to make his mind up as we needed to make some kind of armour for him in that case and it could be quite costly if we had to buy most of it. So he would think about it.

A little mor then one year ago I asked him again and said that he in that case could not fight with a sword because I would not have time to make all the gear he would need, so if he wanted to participate he would have to be a bowsman. And the answer was:
– that sounds quite fun, I will check my bow and find out what helmet I need…

Last year in October/November (after trying to find everything he needed to be a bowsman) I said that time was running out, would he like to be a bowsman, didn’t he want to participate at all or did he just want to be canon fodder?

– cannon fodder? That sounds great

So for chrismas he got a secret helmet (cervellier) and a new kirtle and now he is quite engaged.
He is planning to practise “dyeing spectacularly” as soon as the snow is gone and the grass is dry. As both him and I have practised ju-jitsu, we know how to fall, and to fall BIG without hurting ourselves. The thought is an arrow to the back while running (perhaps while delivering the message that the Danish is comeing, or running from the battlefield. But some more “deaths” will be rehersed to.

I hope to se many more that like to participate as cannon fodder.

If you sew your clothes as i show in the sew-alongs, you will be fine.
If you don’t have correct shoes, you can sew a piece of leather to the sole of your hose. The only safety demand is that you have a helmet suitable for 1360 Sweden… We chose the secret as it doesn’t have a brim, so it is more comfortable after you “died” and lay on the ground, but the cettlehelmet is fine to.
I will try to make a tutorial as soon as I can for making the brailles, but until then, here is a drawing of how to think when you make the pattern if you do not want to wait

Join the official battle of wisby page and perhaps we can ask for special event/group for those who want to be cannon fodder.
It is an important role, it won’t look as great without masses of people that “die” duriing the battle…
The more the merrier
Join in the fun


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Dead man walking…


Ok det låter lite grymt, men det är precis vad min käre make kommer att vara på Battle of Wisby nu i sommar.
Han kommer att delta i striden som kanonmat, och kommer att ”dö” i början av striden (och vi hoppas på gott väder så att han kan ta en liten middagslur eller sola tills striden är över  )
Självklart kommer det inte finnas några riktiga kanoner på slagfältet, men termen kanonmat är ändå korrekt för de som sänds ut på slagfältet för att dö.

Så, varför vill han vara kanonmat och inte delta i själva striden?

För lite mer än 2 år sedan så frågade jag honom om han ville delta i BoW-striden och han sa:
– eeeh, tja, kanske det skulle vara kul?!Så jag sa åt honom att han måste bestämma sig eftersom vi måste fixa någon sorts rustning åt honom i så fall och det kan bli rätt kostsamt om vi måste köpa det mesta. Så han skulle fundera på det.

Lite över ett år sedan frågade jag honom igen, och sa att han nu inte kunde få slåss med svärd eftersom jag inte skulle ha tid att tillverka all utrustning han behövde för det, så om han ville delta så skulle han få vara bågskytt. Och svaret blev:
– Det låter rätt kul, jag ska kolla min båge och kolla upp vilken typ av hjälm jag behöver…

Förra året i Oktober/November (efter att försökt hitta allt han behövde för att vara bågskytt) så sa jag att tiden för det rinner ut, ville han vara bågskytt, ville han inte delta alls eller ville han bara vara kanonmat?
– kanonmat? Det låter toppen

Så i julklapp fick han en secret hjälm (cervellier) och en ny kjortel och nu är han riktigt engagerad.
Han planerar att öva på att ”dö spektakulärt” så snart snön är borta och gräsmattan har torkat upp. Tanken är att bli skjuten i ryggen av en pilbåge medan han springer (kanske är det han som kommer och skriker att Dansken kommer, eller kanske är han den där som avviker från slagfältet. Men några fler sätt att ”dö” kommer bli inövade också)

Jag hoppas att många fler vill delta som kanonmat.

Om du syr dina kläder på sättet jag visar i mina sew-alongs så är du på rätt bana.
Om du inte har korrekta skor så kan du sy på lädersulor på dina hosor. Det enda säkerhetskravet för kanonmat är att du har en hjälm som är passande för 1360-talets Sverige… Vi valde secrethjälmen eftersom den inte har något brätte och det kommer antagligen vara skönt när man har ”dött” och ligger ner på fältet, men kittelhjälmen funkar också.
Jag ska försöka göra en tutorial så fort jag kan för hur man gör brokor, men tills dess så får ni en teckning om hur man kan tänka när man gör mönster och syr dom om ni inte vill vänta

Gå med på The official battle of wisby -sidan så kanske vi kan be om ett speciellt event/grupp för dom som vill vara kanonmat.
Det är en viktig roll, det kommer inte alls se lika bra ut om det inte är mängder med människor som ”dör”under striden…

Ju fler destå bättre
Kom igen, det kommer att bli kul


Unfortunately I only had this with Swedish text, but I hope that you get the picture so to say

My dear husband, all geared up.
Showing both the christmas presents (kirtle and helmet) and the hose from the last sew-along.

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Kära maken, i full utrustning.
Här ser man både julklappskjorteln och hjälmen, samt hosorna från förra sew-alongen.

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