Wednesday 26 June 2013

Medieval Toddler’s Boots

Last year little B didn’t need any shoes, but this year he most certainly does. We have our first all-weekend medieval event coming up, so a couple of months ago I tried to make a pattern for boots like this one from Medeltidsmuseet in Stockholm. 

A few weeks ago I made the first shoe, but as I don’t like making shoes very much, and my fingers were sore from the sewing, I postponed making the other one until last week. I then had to redo them slightly so they wouldn't fall of, but last night I finished them. I didn’t manage to make a perfect pattern, and the sewing didn’t turn out ideal either (I’m certainly not a shoemaker) but the shoes will do well enough. 

The shoes are stitched together using saddle stitch and medium thick, waxed linen thread. They are turn shoes, meaning they are stitched inside out, and then turned while still wet. I chose not to make the decorated border at the top, as he would then have much fancier shoes than his father and I, who both have very plain shoes, and that would look a bit odd. I’m keen to try it some other time though, on shoes both for B and myself.

As the shoe I based these off don’t have any extant lacing I wasn’t sure how I’d do it. After asking around amongst my 14th century living history friends a bit I decided on this method, one string for every two pairs of holes.

I’ve put thick inner soles in them, to protect from damp and the hard seams. Now I only need to have them greased a few times and he’ll be good to go. Or his feet will. I still have some finishing touches to do on his new cotte.

The shoes also fit under the Historical Sew Fortnightly's latest challenge:

The Challenge: # 13 Lace and Lacing

Thin leather found in our often visited charity shop, and thicker leather for the soles cut down from one of my sisters’ old medieval-ish shoes.

None. Made my own.

The boot I based these on were found in a 14-15th century deposit in Stockholm, Sweden, and as we do late 14th century it’s perfect.

Linen thread.

How historically accurate is it?
Pretty much; the material and stitching is all period. I’m not positive about the pattern, but the boots looks a bit like the original, so I’m not that far off.

Hours to complete:
Including making the pattern, six perhaps?

First worn:
For the pictures.

Total cost:
Just counting the bit of leather I used for the shoes, 30 SEK ($4,5; £2,9; €3,4).

Wednesday 5 June 2013

Checked 14th Century Pillows

This is my 200th post! Hooray! I had hoped to have a giveaway, but there’s just no time to make anything for it. Hopefully there will be one later, when things calm down a bit.

For a while now I’ve been wanting medieval checked pillows, like in the pictures below, alla found in this database. They are tolerably common in pictures from the fourth quarter of the 14th century (and continue to show up in the 15th century), but not so much before. I did however find one pictured as early as the 1330’s. They are most often blue, but I’ve seen a few examples of red, black and green as well.

 Austria, 1330's.

Austria, 1350-75.

 Austria, 1370-72.
Austria, 1370-72.

Italy, 1370's.

Since I gave birth to little B 18 months ago I’ve had some slight problems with my hips. They are all right most of the time, but I need a pillow between my knees when sleeping or I get a bit of pain. The want for good looking pillows to bring to events have thus grown into need. Finding a suitable fabric for it was not easy though. I could have had it specially woven for me, like the one my friend Maria made for Isis, but that’d cost more money than I have to spend on pillows. So far I’ve stitched pillows into plain linen towels for every event. But then, a few months ago, I found a couple of linen/cotton blend tablecloths in our often visited charity shop, for 60 SEK ($9; £6; €7). The check is not a perfect match to the ones I’ve seen in medieval art, but will do very nicely until I stumble upon something even better. I could see pillows like this looking wonderful in soft wool.

 The pillows on a quickly made medieval-ish pallet.
This is what our sleeping arrangement will look like this summer.

For the past two evenings I’ve been sewing two pillowcases (by hand, with waxed linen thread, of course) but there’s enough fabric left for several more. I stitch up feather pillows in them, using rather large whip stitching. It’ll be a bit of a hassle to do that every time, and to take the stitches out whenever the cases will be washed, but I don’t know of a period way to do it. I don’t even know if loose pillowcases like these are period (I rather suspect they are not), so I think this imitation of pillows without cases will look nice and unobtrusive.

A good thing is that they look fine and modern enough to sit on our sofa when we’re not at events.
I wanted more blue pillows for our living room, so that’s two birds killed with one stone, and one project off of this summer’s list of medieval projects.