Do you wash your helmet? 

Fighters tend to sew their padding to the helmet. So does the one I’m living with. This is him in his helmet.  5th from the right. Picture from Azincourt 2015 at the 600years anniversary.

The padding tend to get kind of sweaty when being worn. I  strongly recommend to take it out and wash it every now and then. Why? Sweat contains salt, salt breaks down textile fibres. So does metal and grease, like a chain mail. That means- something sweaty and unwashed will break faster then something clean. And the pictures below will show you how dirty a helmet padding get during 1(!) season. Since this padding is seewn by hand in a handwoven linen fabric that is over 100years old, I’m really not keen on making a new one every other year. And to be honest, I can’t get that fabric again.

Removing the padding. No! It’s rust not blood. ;)

Washing in a baby bathtub.  Normal detergent. This is the second rinsing water. As you can see quite dirty.

Here you can see how clean it became. The difference is quite visible. Now it even smells nice, I wouldn’t have put it on my head otherwise.. As you can see the grease is gone.


Happy washing!



Publicerat i Crafting, Textiles, Written by Maria | Lämna en kommentar

A striped hunting hood

I sometimes gets a bit warp over when weaving. I wove this white tabby weave last year as a gift for my husband.  It’s the lining in his uniform jacket. Husband in the middle. 

 The fabric looked like this before it was dyed yellow. 

  I wove it with handspun and machine spun yarn, mixed to get the same uneven feeling as the original. After I was done with the meters for him I had some meters left to play around with. I wove some meters of white 2/2 twill that I later dyed with madder.  It’s the red fabric on the picture below. 

But then my friend Johan sent me a picture of some fancy Italian men out on their way to hunt. I fell in love with the striped hood on the man in the middle of the picture.     I decided to weave the fabric and hoping that the last 100cm of the warp was going to be enough. 

 I needed to dye some fabric for the lining so I dyed with some more madder. Color came out smashing. But with hand on heart, it’s a bit too red. But I can live with that.  

 Now We just have to wait for my husband to finish it to see it on. Can’t wait! 



Publicerat i Crafting, Textiles, Written by Maria | Lämna en kommentar

Caring for wool textiles

The season is almost over. Some of my wool clothes is really getting dry and is not as protective against rain any more. It’s time to cure them with lanolin.

I buy lanolin in the same store as people buy washable dypers. The one I use is called Sonnett and can be ordered online.

 I fill up the sink with lukewarm water and put in approximately 2 tablespoons.

 I stir the water until it has dissolved. And after that I put in my garb. I leave it for 30-60minutes and just let it dry afterwards. I don’t rinse it.

I do this on my clothes every or every other year. It depends on how much they that been exposed to rain and sun.

Do I wash my clothes? Yes. Why? Sometimes on event I’m in the kitchen. And chicken grease and mashed fish is not something one can air out. The once that are not messy with food stains I just air out. Like these once.

Publicerat i Crafting, General, Textiles | Lämna en kommentar

Kurs i att sy 1300-talskläder

Kolla in vår Facebook-sida Medeltidens dräkt- Kurser och utbildningar.

23-24 maj så kör vi en dräktkurs i Stockholm.
Dräktkonstruktion 1::
Här tillverkar vi en toilé – ett personligt mönster som du kan använda när du konstruerar dina plagg.
Vi arbetar i par och lär oss att göra mönster på varandra.

– 14 timmar, inklusive frukost och lunch
I kursen ingår:
– Teorilektion om 1300-talets dräkt
– Toilé-konstruktion
– Materialkunskap

Vad behöver du ta med dig?
Ta med dina medeltidsplagg, tyg, tråd, sax, nålar, måttband, papper och penna.

Var är kursen?
I Stockholm. Lokalen är belägen på Thorildsplan i korsningen av Geijersvägen/ Nicandervägen. T-bana, grön- Thorildsplan och blå- Stadshagen. I lokalen finns ett fullt utrustat kök med kyl, spis och micro. Så man kan värma mat och ta med kylvaror.

Vi bjuder på frukost och fika båda dagarna. Kaffe, te, smörgåsar och kakor.
I närområdet finns flertalet take away-ställen och en stor matvarubutik.
Om deltagarna vill så kan man hänga kvar på lördag kväll och äta mat, dricka något gott och delta vid en genomgång av en massiv bildkavalkad.

Anmälan sker via privat meddelande till ”Medeltidens dräkt- kurser och utbildningar”.
Du får då ett kontonummer och betalning = bekräftad anmälan. Pris per deltagare 700: -.
Avanmälan skall ske senast 10 dagar innan kursdatum för att avgiften skall betalas tillbaka.

På kursen finns plats för 12 deltagare. Vid färre än 7 anmälda så kommer vi inte att kunna genomföra kursen och då betalas givetvis din kursavgift tillbaka.

Varmt välkomna!
Peter och Maria
Här är en länk till Facebook-eventet

Publicerat i Uncategorized | 1 kommentar

The dyed feathers? 

Is it possible to dye feathers? Technically yes. It’s a protein fiber, but does it work? My friend Andrea asked me if it was possible so I had to try. Why? In reenactment society you often come across people wearing dyed ostrich feathers. Often dyed as the ones we put in our Easter decorations. Like the once on this picture.

Is it possible to get a dye as strong as theese once? I started with a white ostrich feather.

I didn’t have any alum at home so I had to use cream of tartar as only mordant. The weight of the feather was 4 g. I used 100% of mordant. To be able to see how the pigment was going to set on the feather I also put in a piece of white wool fabric, handwoven. It weighed 9g.

They were in the mordant bath for 1h.

At the same time I boiled skins from red onions, 49g. That means ten times as much dyestuffs as the weight of the feather. That is A LOT!!!


 After the 1 hour of boiling.  It was almost black.

I separated the skins from the dye water and put the water in the pot with the feather and the fabric. 

After 1 h I took them up.


The feather and the fabric had both gotten a brownish color. But the fabric was dark and thick, the dye on the feather was pale and quite seen though. After the dried they looked like this.

As you can see the feather didn’t receive the same color as the wool. And to be honest I was surprised that it was so pale. The bath was REALLY strong.

Did I get the Easter colors? No. Do I think it’s possible to get them? No. Not with plant dyes.

Do you know any medieval sources that are mentioning feather dyeing? I don’t and I would really love to have some original recipes to follow. Help me!!

/ Maria
ps. I’m sorry for the lousy quantity of the pictures

Publicerat i Crafting, Miscellaneous, Written by Maria | 4 kommentarer

A pink hood 

Remember this one? The little left over piece of pink and white was only 45-50 cm and I promised to make a small hood for my daughter. She keeps on steeling my black favorite one so I wanted to make her one for herself to be able to have my hood for myself.

The fabric was lovely but it frayed like mad – 4 shaft twill usually does this when not fulled. As you can see the fabric didn’t leave me with any leftovers.

I sewed it with linen tread, 35/2. The fabric was too bulky to double fold so I really had to use filling tread to prevent it from fraying more, even after sewing.

The filling tread is some leftovers from some madder dye I made years ago. Too orange for my taste but my daughter liked it and she was the one deciding. I’m secretly happy that she choose a very historical dye. Madder seems to be the IT color during the medieval period. I hate the ugly stitches but they will move down further in the fabric after some use.


The inspiration for this hood came from:

Not really ;) But it’s always good to have some Disney inspiration when making things for kids.

The real one:

Publius Terentius Afer, Comediae 1400-1407

And from this: MS Bodl. 264 fol 101v Romance of Alexander 1338-1343

I chose to make a short tail too, because my daughter informed me: a hood without a tail is boring.
I’m quite happy with it and to be honest, I didn’t want to give it away when it was done ;)


Publicerat i Crafting, Recreations, Textiles, Written by Maria | 2 kommentarer

The metal button issue

There are several finds of metal buttons from the 14th century, but no surviving garment  with metal buttons, from this period. At least none that I know of.

I have often considered the best way to sew these buttons on to a garment. They have really long ”necks”. Why? Are they sewn directly onto the fabric edge, or are they attached the way people put metal buttons on folk costumes in the 19th century? Besides, the 19th century is way too late a period to look at when making 14th century outfits.

When I made my checkered dress I was shown a picture of metal buttons on a 16th or 17th century coat. I can’t remember where that picture came from. :(
Anyway, I did the same thing on my buttoned dress as was done on the 16th/17th century coat.

This is how it’s done.


The thread/ leather strap is sewn onto the fabric to prevent the buttons from ”falling out” of their holes.

About a year ago, I stumbled upon this picture of St. Margaret by Pietro Lorenzetti (1306-1348). She is probably from Italy. Today, the painting can be found at Musée de Tesse, Le Mans, France.

Look at her metal buttons. The inside shows the method for fastening the buttons. To me, it surely looks like they were attached the same way. I think the reason metal buttons have such long necks, is that they must be long enough to pull though the fabric. A shorter neck would be preferrable on buttons placed right on the edge, the way you would place fabric buttons.


Publicerat i Crafting, Research, Textiles, Written by Maria | 11 kommentarer

Do you do living history?

As some of you guys might have noticed, I’ve been very silent on the blog for quite some time; I last wrote in March 2014. This is because I’ve been doing a lot of serious thinking about myself and what I’ve been doing, but now the time has come for me to tell you a li’l story.

My dad was once invited to be toastmaster at a wedding. The invitation said ”Black suit and tie”, but my dad had just recently bought a tan summer suit and asked the host if he could come without buying a whole new suit. The host accepted and said that he didn’t think people would pay much attention to the dress code anyway – my dad would certainly not be alone in a light colored suit.

So my dad went. And he was the only one wearing a light colored suit. Everybody else was dressed in black suit and tie or the equivalent clothing for women. He told me that he had never been so ashamed in his life.

This is a pretty funny little anecdote but it has served as a reminder for me to never disregard someone’s wishes when being invited to an event of any sort. I take pride in dressing up as requested by the host, and I would never question his or her choices; it is not my party and not my place. I am sure you feel the same. You wouldn’t ever come to a party dressed in your sweats when the invitation says evening dress – of that I am sure. You are not disrespectful – you are kind of happy you got invited and want to look smart according to your host’s wishes.

And then there’s my kids. It doesn’t matter how much I wash, clean, wipe, dust, vacuum, cook, shop and pick up their shit – they will go ballistic if I ask them to take out the trash; ”Why must I always have to do everything?”. This can provoke me to no end and I believe you are familiar with the situation. You might even be thinking: ”Oh, you scrawny little spoiled shitheads! If you were my kids I would give you a thorough earful or a whole barrel of whoopass”. As a grown up I wouldn’t even dream of behaving like that. It’s right down embarrassing.

Now, let me tell you: a combination of these two is happening as we speak. Grown ups questioning dress code and rules for an event and at the same time whining about it. Believe it or not – it’s real. There are actual people saying that the requirements for an event is to strict and kind of aggressively stating that they don’t have the, time, money or inclination to meet the organizer’s standards. This makes me think: ”Oh, you scrawny little spoiled shitheads! If you were here I would give you a thorough earful or a whole barrel of whoopass”. And they would deserve it, as they are being disrespectful nags with little or no understanding for reenactment/living history as a phenomenon, for organizer’s visions and dreams, for audience watching the whole shebang and for their fellow reenactors.

Perhaps you wonder why. I’ll let you know. Reenactment and living history is defined by its essence of constantly developing and constantly chasing the illusive truth of lost times. There is no such thing as an absolute truth in human sciences like history and archaeology but without the constant quest for it we would never grow any better at what we do. ”Did I read ‘sciences like history and archaeology’?” you ask. Correct. It leads me to the next step in my explanation.

Reenactment and living history (henceforth RAL) is based on the intense and everlasting study of history, art history, archaeology and the like. A RAL perpetrator is expected to do his/her own research – preferably from first hand sources and never ever from third hand (like looking at someone’s outfit and making a copy of it).

The aim of RAL is to be as historically accurate as humanly possible. Some people do this extremely well. I know of some guys that actually spin their wool to yarn, dye it, weave it to fabric (based on existing archaeological finds) and full it before they cut it with handmade scissors of 14th century model and stitch it together with a bronze needle and hand made flax thread, using stitches that were used in the 14th century. To request something like that would indeed be ”strict”. Others I know buy machine woven fabric and they even machine stitch their clothes. They know it’s not correct (and sometimes they don’t), but they strive to get better and to make fewer mistakes next time. Both are OK. I guess I am somewhere in between the two but I am always trying to get better, to be more accurate and to spend more money, time and work on my stuff. The goal must always be the immaculately perfectly historically correct. Otherwise you will let your fellow RAL:s, your organizers, your public and ultimately yourself down. RAL is like a living museum – people expect it to be totally correct.

Money, time and work is another issue when dealing with this immensely complex and all consuming hobby. Let’s realize something: what I have been writing up to this point indicates that you need to be freaking rich, have all the time in the world, able to read medieval Latin and be a textile genius. In a way that’s true. You need to spend a lot of your money on medieval stuff. You need to cut down on pub nights or tennis practice. You need to learn things you have never even tried before.

You can’t have both. There’s no time to go to the tennis court four nights a week and you can’t afford binge drinking eight nights a month. You need to spend your time and your cash on RAL. Sure – you can have a bit of both, but it’s a question of priorities. You and I both have 24 hours a day. If you choose to do anything else than RAL you have other priorities, which is totally OK, but just don’t expect to be a textile genius or a medieval Latin equilibrist. Similarly, you can forget to be able to buy the stuff you need if you spend money on other things. This is basic understanding but for some reason people become offended when I tell them.

”But wait, you judgmental Nazi! I don’t want to part of you immaculately perfectly stupid ding-dong-shit! I wanna do it my way! I think this is good enough and I demand that you not criticize it!”

OOOO-K. I’ve got news for you my friend. I’m not out to please, so I’ll just say it. You are part of my experience, you are representing RAL, what you show and do is accepted by audience at events and the organizers have invited you because they think you can show an accurate portrait of a given period. That means you have a lot of responsibility. It’s just that your way is not good enough. How do I know? I know because good enough can be measured. If your stuff doesn’t correspond to first hand sources it’s not good enough. That’s why I can take a look at your stuff and say it doesn’t fly. It’s as simple as that. I don’t care if you want to be a bobinette princess or a tin can knight – if you choose not to base your stuff on sources you are not reenacting: you are doing something else. Oh, I can hear you just fine. You are saying: ”It is too!” Problem is that you are wrong. Again. You might have forgotten this little chestnut:

Reenactment and living history (henceforth RAL) is based on the intense and everlasting study of history, art history, archaeology and the like. A RAL perpetrator is expected to do his/her own research – preferably from first hand sources and never ever from third hand (like looking at someone’s outfit and making a copy of it).

How can a RAL Fascist like myself tell what’s right and wrong? Because I’ve been at this shit for more than ten years. Because I am an archaeologist dedicated to this particular period of time. Because I’ve been investigating thousands and thousands of images from Norway in the north to Italy in the south.

But yeah. I might be wrong. It happens all the time. I just need you to prove me wrong – that’s what it’s all about. I’d be happy to revise myself if you can give me good proof from first hand sources that I am mistaken. No. I won’t back down because you say so. Your gut feeling and History channel isn’t good enough. Ask yourself if a Professor of Archaeology would claim anything and refer to History channel or ”I just know it”. That’s right. She wouldn’t do anything like that, because in that case she wouldn’t ever have made it to be a Professor in the first place.

Strangely enough the reenactment scene right now is overflowing with ”I am right because I say so”-types who have no clue what so ever when it comes to the basics in human sciences and logic deduction. They are pissed off when I ask for proof and they call me an elitist prick for talking back to them via arguments that proves me right. They simply won’t listen to reason no matter what, and they would never admit to being wrong. They would rather happily skip about in their made up gear telling everyone how medieval it is (and at the same time giving serious reenactors grey hairs) even though they somewhere deep inside know that they aren’t entirely certain of the historical accuracy of their stuff. It makes me tired to the bone and it makes me want to leave this hobby.

But chill out. I promise not to criticize your stuff (hell, I’ll gladly help you improve it if you ask me) if you promise not to pretend like it’s the bee’s knees! You know that your stuff might not be perfect. Stop pretending like it is. Alright? Or as a wise man once said: 

This takes us to next step. If you step into a museum you assume that what’s shown is correct, right? Even if you have your doubts you don’t storm into the manager’s office and demand that he makes changes in his museum to suit your palate. The same should be true when it comes to RAL. There’s no law that states that you can go to every event you fancy. Accept it. You can’t always have what you want; sometimes you have to follow the rules and the dress code. If you are not ready to invest time, work and money in RAL it is perhaps not your hobby and if you feel that the requirements for an event is too strict for you, it is perhaps not your event. If it doesn’t suit you, just don’t go. There a loads of other hobbies to try out and even more events for you to go to and to be honest you won’t keel over and die if you can’t attend that event with those strict rules…

In short: please do not become offended when an organizer asks you to live up to her standards. You might not like it or you might even be able to prove her wrong but it’s her event and if she asks you to come in a black suit and tie just do it. Don’t even ask if a light colored suit is alright; if it was she would have said so in the first place.

Publicerat i Miscellaneous, Written by Peter | 18 kommentarer

Onion skins- yellow

I really like yellow onion skins. The are easy to get, cost nothing and gives an amazing yellow.

Every time I use onions when cooking I save the skins. I keep them in a jar and I just press them down and put on the lid. My jar contains 1,5l and when it’s full with skins they weigh approximately 80gram, or less.
That’s enough to dye a fabric 90x 500cm dark mustard yellow AND to dye 90x600cm bright chicken yellow.
Here are the results of fabric no:1


/ maria

Publicerat i Crafting, Textiles, Written by Maria | 2 kommentarer

The left over

Remember to extended tabby with the massive breakage of the warp treads?

What did I do with the left over warp?
I changed it from a tabby to a 4-shaft twill and I changed the tread count from 8 tr/cm to 9 tr/cm. I also glued the warp with linen seed glue. But after 50 cm i stopped doing it
Twill is not as hard on the warp as tabby is.

I used a dark grey wool as weft.

The last bit I changed to white.



I wasn’t to happy with the colour is I dyed it with some indigo.




Now I just have to decide what to make out of the 6meters.


Publicerat i Crafting, Textiles, Written by Maria | 3 kommentarer