Monday 1 April 2013

Tablet Woven 14th Century Belt

For the seventh challenge of the HSF I decided to make a new 14th century belt. I have wanted a cloth belt for some time, and bought a small buckle for it almost two years ago. Last week I read about a black belt, and saw the tablet woven belts in Textiles and Clothing, and finally it clicked. I wanted a black, tablet woven wool belt. 

 After weaving for a few centimetres I split the warp in two, and wove each one 
separately for a little bit: this hole is where the pin in the buckle goes through. 
I don’t know if this is period, but I think it’s plausible, and it looks nice.

I wanted to use materials I already had, and I didn’t want a true black belt, but rather a naturally black one, like you’d get from using wool from a black sheep. Luckily I had very dark grey knitting wool, but it was a little thicker than I wanted it. After warping half the number of threads needed, I had to split every thread in two for it to work. 

Even simple tools can get the job done: my tablets are made 
from cardboard, and the warp is attached to a belt at my waist on one end, 
and at the other to any convenient spot where I happen to be 
(like my big toe, the head rest of a car when traveling, or the drawer of my desk). 

Threading and weaving was a straight forward enough business: twelve tablets, all four holes threaded. I started warping on Monday evening, and on Friday evening I was done weaving. The belt is a little thinner than I’d have wished: I wanted it eleven millimetres wide, but it turned out only nine millimetres, a little too small for most strap ends on the market. I thought I could have used a couple of more tablets even when warping, but I was too lazy to look for the missing ones, or make new ones, so it’s my own fault. Never mind: I like it anyway, simple as it is.

The Challenge: #7 Accessorise
Fabric: Wool 4 ply (fingering) knitting yarn.
None, though leaning on what information can be found in Textiles and Clothing.
Late 14th century.

How historically accurate is it?
Pretty much I think: tablet woven wool belts did exist, and the buckle is a reproduction.
Hours to complete:
Maybe seven or eight.
First worn:
For the picture.
Total cost:
None at this time as I have had all the materials for some time. 

Now I need to find a strap end I like of the right width, which might prove a challenge in itself.


  1. oooh this is pretty, I like it!

    Would be nice in deep purpley colours too... and silvers...


  2. This is such a breakthrough idea! I haven't been able to afford a leather belt, yet woven look so boorish. This is a happy medium.
    This looks very cool, and could be used in daily wear as well.
    You are right, it may be challenging to find a narrow belt cap. But it should be fairly simple to make one from a can. Here's a link: go to,select Schnallen,Nesteln,Knöpfe from a menu left hand side,
    then scroll down to "Riemenzunge Modell 2". It's simple and pretty. It fits to 1,6cm, but could it be fashioned smaller?

    Anyway, I have read your blog for years, but now I finally have a blog of my own and can comment you.

  3. Thank you! The strap end issue will be solved - the 11 mm ones are not *that* much too big, and, even better - I know a silversmith, who also does living history :D


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