Accessories · Experimenting · Medieval · Progress

On slashes and feathers and being hella cute

I haven’t had much time for sewing this week, sadly. We opened up a new exhibiton at work yesterday, about the Spanish Influenza, the flu pandemic which killed more people than the First World War 100 years ago. Late evenings translating texts and building exhibitons meant little time and energy for making stuff when I got home. However, little is not no!

This coming weekend, there is a Medieval Festival in Oslo, and I decided to take my late Medieval German outfit out for a spin on Sunday, for the following reasons:

  • There has been YEARS since my last Medieval Festival. And I love myself a good Medieval Festival.
  • Germans were very important to Norwegian trade and commerce in the late Medieval Period, would be nice to see more of them in Norwegian festivals.
  • My old MA supervisor (old as in “from the olden days when I was a student” and not old as in “he is decrepit”) will hold a lecture on Hanseatic traders, and I thought I’d go and surprise him in suitable garb.
  • My German outfit is hella cute, it has only been worn for one larp and needs to be seen by more people. There, I said it. I am so humble.
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By the way, the combination of green, purple and white is both the original suffragette colours (green for fertility, so that their fight would be fruitful, purple for nobility, so that their fight would be noble, and white for innocense) and the colours of the Genderqueer Pride Flag.

This is my Trossfrau Outfit! It’s almost historically accurate. I should probably have made the skirt and the bodice in one piece, but I can fix that later. Also, there is some uncertainty about whether this kind of outfit should actually be worn with a petticoat, and either way both the petticoat and the chemise shirt are machine sewn for 18th century, not 16th century, originally. I have plans to make a proper chemise for this outfit anyway, one that fits it better, but I’m not stressing it.

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Slashes! On the skirt!
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More slashes! On the bodice!
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Hook-and-eye closure which fits me, but not my dressform. My boobs happen to be a tad more squishable than my dressform’s.

However! I needed something proper to put on my head. The last time I wore it, I used a thin, knitted tube scarf which I wound around my head, and while that worked, it was not ideal. I could have used one of the headlinens I’ve already got for 13th century reenactments, or I could have borrowed something from my friends, but why do something simple when you can do something complicated and time-consuming?

Luckily, there is help to be had. I stumbled upon a glorious blog, Katafalk, with oodles of lovely tutorials. I decided to try and make the following, in a couple of days, while working and doing other things too:

  • A Wulsthaube (a padded bonnet thingy to wear under headlinen and give a lot of volume towards the back of the head).
  • A Steuchlein (hood-like headlinen to wear on top of the Wulsthaube).
  • A massive hat.

Overreaching? Who? Me?

There is no haberdashery store or real fabric store in my town, not to mention a milliners, so I had to make do with stuff from my stash. I had some white linen, enough for a Wulst (the padded sausage thing), and I had some cotton wool lying around after a failed attempt at 19th century stuffed ribbon trim, so the Wulst was done fairly quickly:

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BEHOLD THE WULST. I don’t know why, but that word sounds a little dirty to me. Anyhew, the string is to keep it in shape before I get to sew it to my bonnet. It’s cut on the bias, and from scraps, hence the seam to the left.

The “Haube” for the Wulst was more work, and the pleating took some time, but not as long as I had expected, actually. 30 minutes, maybe? No one will see it anyway, and I’ll be covering it with a flap anyway, so I did not spend a lot of time making sure the pleating was nice and even.

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Flap pinned on and ready to be stitched in place. I did actually make a separate flap, so that it goes all the way under the neck edge and covers the pleating on the inside as well as the outside.
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Wulst + Haube = Wulsthaube! I will probably baste the Wulst in place, so that it can be removed if I need to wash the Haube-thingy.

I found another linen scrap just large enough to cut a Steuchlein from. I have made an almost exact copy of the one in the blog tutorial, apart from a few details. The embroidery is in green, not black, and instead of felling the long seams (stitching the seam allowance down, attaching it to the fabric) i opted for French seams (where you sew the seam twice, first once with wrong sides together, and then you turn the garment and sew the same seam right sides together, locking in the raw edges).

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I think I will add some white embroidery in addition to the green. Oh yes, and it needs ironing. Desperately.

Now; hats. I love hats, but I cannot make them to save my life. Still, I decided to try, despite the fact that I have no skills, no tools and no materials fit for hat making. This can only go well, don’t you think?

I bought some wire, meant for plants, I think, but it was too thin and weak. Finally, I sacrificed an old wire clothes hanger, which I manage to force into a sort-of circle shape. I had some black and green wool scraps to use up. So far, this is the result:

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Brim, complete with contrast-coloured gathering thread that needs to be hidden. And it’s massive! Ø45 cm!
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Crown and crown lining. The hat will have a green underside and green lining to the crown, with slashes in the crown to show this off.

Images of people with these glorious and ridiculous hats often show how they are covered in fluffy feathers all around the brim. Sadly, I have no stash of fancy, fluffy ostrich feathers at home (I do have a stash of artificially coloured chicken feathers, though! But it’s not really the same).

Do you know what I have?

I have a feather boa. It’s fluffy and feathery and goes twice around the brim of my hat, and I never really use it. Maybe I could sew that on, for now? If I manage to finish my hat in time?

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FEATHERS. Actually, this looks more like the nest of a bird about to go bold, than it does a hat…

What do you think?

WILL MY AMBITIOUS HEADGEAR PROJECT BE FINISHED IN TIME? (I mean, Sunday is like… over 24 hours away!)

SHOULD I PUT A FEATHER BOA ON MY OBNOXIOUS HAT?

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Here, we see the confused seamstress in her natural habitat, feeding on pins that have fallen on the ground. She is easily startled by cameras and loud noises, so please – be quiet…

4 thoughts on “On slashes and feathers and being hella cute

  1. You should definitely put a dead animal on your hat! Even if it’s a fake one. Or maybe especially if..

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