Between the Medieval and The Modern

August 2, 2017

CoBloWriMo Day 2 – Current Project

Filed under: Uncategorized — Frau Magda @ 8:31 pm
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My current project is a tropical weight pink wool gown for my German alter ego, Magdalena von Wissersdorf. She’s a camp follower with the Landsknecht mercenary group Das Geld Fahnlein.

A couple of years ago, one of my reenactor friends posted a link that wool was on sale for 50% and I bought some tropical weight wool in hot pink and a sort of bright pea green. It’s been in my stash for so long that I can’t remember which vendor I bought it from, which bums me out, because I really love how it washed up. Pretty much zero shrinkage, and the weight is fabulous!

This is my fourth “camp frau” gown. The first attempt was made based off of Reconstructing History pattern #504, 16th century German common woman’s gown. But I didn’t really like the fit, so my second attempt was based off of duct taping myself in a t-shirt and using that as the basis for a pattern. And the third attempt was the same bodice pattern, tweaked again. While my fitting has gotten better with every new gown, this is the first time I’ve had professional help with my pattern drafting. One of our Guild members teaches theatrical costuming at a college in NY, and I drove up last summer to have her help me tweak my bodice pattern yet again. We raised the neckline in the back and significantly changed the armscye.

I decided that since I already had a hot pink gollar, that I wanted to make an entire pink outfit based on this woman in the baggage train in the Triumph of Maximilian.

I had plenty of other evidence for pink gowns in the German speaking lands during the 16th century, so I wasn’t worried about accuracy of my color choices (I try to follow Kass’s Rule of Three when deciding if something is common enough to reproduce or an outlier).

I’ve had the gown done since last summer.

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Pink Gown – Current state

But I’m still poking along on finishing the sleeves. I waffled for quite a while on what style I wanted to do. Since this was a tropical weight wool, this was going to be my “summer” gown for hot weather events, which meant I was probably not going to want to be wearing sleeves due to the heat. My friend Dan (from Old New England Grown New) and I have had an ongoing discussion for a couple of years now about whether detachable sleeves are a renaissance faire anachronism or if we could find any documentation for them. Women’s sleeves often have ties (especially the Italians) but mens? Not so much. But I digress, the point is, as much as I loved this gown with short sleeves that I spotted one year at Pennsic, I wanted to do something that I could document. Because Historical Accuracy, that’s why.

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Blue German Gown spotted at Pennsic

There are plenty of Italian styles that look like separate upper and bottom sleeves, where the only thing across the elbows are lacing. And my camp follower in the Triumph of Maximilian looks like she has Italian style sleeves. But I wanted a tiny bit more pizzazz if I was just wearing the top part of the sleeves. I finally found this image.

Lucas Van Leyden – Temptation of Saint Anthony

I love the devil’s sleeves. And they’re close enough to the Pennsic sleeves that I’m going to use that image to justify my choices. The top of the sleeves (and they’re in progress, but I’m too lazy to dig out the camera, and this post has enough images already) is from the Pennsic gown, pink with a black stripe around the bicep. There will be eyelets and they will lace across the elbows. And the bottoms of the sleeves are similar to the ones in the Triumph of Maximilian, but my striping doesn’t exactly match the image.

Once I get the sleeves finished, I’ll probably also add another “guard” or stripe to the skirt and I can call this gown finished.

December 27, 2010

The Devil’s Stripes

Filed under: Uncategorized — Frau Magda @ 9:44 am
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I got a bee in my bonnet this week, and started drafting some costume guidelines for the Guild.  And as I sorted through the rather extensive collection of woodcuts and portraits on my hard drive, I noticed how very many of them contained stripes

I can’t remember when I added The Devil’s Cloth: a History of Stripes to my Amazon wish list, but I suddenly had the overwhelming urge to read it.  I toddled off to the local Barnes and Nobles, intending to order it.  But what to my wondering eyes should appear, but the in-house book search showed that it was in stock and on the shelf!  In the social sciences section, of all places.  Clutching the book to my breast, I did an internal little dance of glee as I scurried off to the checkout.

It’s a slim volume.  And quite scholastic.  It reads much like the sorts of academic articles I had to slog through back when I was in graduate school. Luckily it isn’t a very long book, a mere 90 pages, not counting the 30 pages of bibliography and footnotes.  But despite the dry academic tone, right from the beginning I knew that he was going to have something useful to say to me.  (more…)

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