Category Archives: 15th century

Swabian dress #4: The “mostly” final design

Well in theory, this is the mostly final design.  There will be tweaks as we go. And the goal again is to hand applique and bead all of the elements. So there may end up being fewer leaves.

Full sleeve

Full Dress:

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Posted by on November 8, 2012 in 15th century, Embroidery, Heraldic


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Swabian dress #4: design iterations

Normally, I don’t post all of the design process. But I figure that folks can learn from my iterations along with me. I’ve been trying to lean more towards “real” and less “what works”. In this iteration, you can see that the letter shape of the Y changed to something a little more calligraphy, less typography. Both the previous Y and this Y are in the pre- 1600 time period. But this new version begins to look more like a decorative cap, rather than a composition of things. The person who will be wearing this is running for baronial seat. But win or lose, the dress will be made and worn for Baronial Investiture. It is important to see if the design will hold up with all the elements, even if one element is missing. So I am adding a side by side view of what it will look like with a baronial coronet.  This covers both outcomes.

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Posted by on November 8, 2012 in 15th century, Embroidery, Heraldic


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Swabian Dress #4: design in progress

The sleeve design is in full swing. Doing design mockups like this allow me to play with elements until I and the recipient are happy.  It also serves as the baseline for what the applique shapes will be.

What we have so far:

What’s left?  The background noise, of ivy leaves.  The leaf motif will carry to the front and back of the bodice.

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Posted by on November 7, 2012 in 15th century, Embroidery, Heraldic


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Swabian dress #4: Where I build a door

If you know me, you know there are a few things that I really don’t particularly care for.  Beading is one of those things. And yet, I will be doing another beaded dress.

I have been asked to build a Swabian dress., that reflects the various regions of our Barony.  Salamander for the Barony, squirrels for the Canton, and ivy leaves for the Baliwick. Our baronial device is a salamander, “Gules, a Salamander sable dancing in flames, environed of a laurel wreath proper, on a chief argent a hurst of three trees, maple, pine and oak, proper, between a quill and a quill inverted, gules.” Which if you are a herald and playing along, this written in 1971, so it is what it is.  So I mocked up a sleeve, sent it over and the reaction was “I trust you…”

Discussion ensues with various folks who know more than I do. And I decided to scrap this plan and go with plan B.  I wanted something more heraldic. More real. Just …  More.

Fast forward to today, and enter the door.

It is beautiful.  The salamander is perfect.  The flames are perfect. The finial is perfect.  A variation of this will be on the sleeve. I will be replacing the “F” with either a “B” or an “Y” depending on what the wearer would like.  The sleeve will have ivy vines and leaves that will carry over to the 11/2 of the bodice front and back of the dress.  Interspersed throughout the leaves will be squirrels and smaller salamanders.  But the center piece of the dress will be the sleeve.  Now off to the design board.

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Posted by on November 7, 2012 in 15th century, Embroidery, Heraldic


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Swabian Dress #3- Final Pictures

Here is the final pictures of the Swabian dress, complete with head wear  and belt.

Seamstresses: Barry the White, Ysmay de Lynn and Alesone Gray
Weaving and brocade: Lianor de Matos
Belt buckle: Muin maqq Minain

Photos by Cateline la Broderesse.


Posted by on December 6, 2011 in 15th century, Embroidery, German, Heraldic, Sewing


Swabian Gown #3- update

Every once in a while I get to work on something neat for someone else. I am part of a team working on a Swabian dress for HRM Kiena of the East. My job is to assemble the pieces into a finished garment and create the undergarments and hat.  All of the sleeve beading and applique was done by the talented Barry the White.  Ismay and I worked on the bodice beading/gilt application.

The bodice for the swabian gown has been appliqued,beaded, pieced and stitched.  All that remains is to attach the pleated skirt and hook/eyes. And to trim all the little thready bits.


Posted by on December 1, 2011 in 15th century, German, Heraldic


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Dress diary- kitchen wear

In my never ending quest for the perfect kitchen wear, I think I am going to go with this gown.  I like that the dress sleeves are short and the over-sleeves are pinned on.  This has great potential.  I have become of late, enamored of peasent/working class wear.  I guess that makes sense given how much I spend my time working and not actually being a pretty, pretty princess.  I have also become quite enthralled by undergarments.

Given what I know about this region and style of dress (almost nothing), I am going to have to do a little guessing as to what is going on.  It looks like she is wearing a laced over dress of parti-colored blues, over the top of a different color blue under dress. Neckline looks more square-ish then round. A nice rounded collared shift, a simple cap and plain white apron.

This dress is part of the painting called the “Festival of the Archers”.  And… its an allegory. The problem with allegories, is there is usually some grain of truth to them. Which makes figuring out why and what fore challenging. Lots of theories and possibilities.  This may be why they are interesting to me. It’s a puzzle. A mind game. Finding the right plausible reasons, makes it less like work.  And when you are looking for other paintings of the “master of Frankfurt” and run into yet more allegories you have to wonder what was this guy doing.  At the very least, he does very lovely work.

Much conversation has taken place and I have been left to ponder different bits of this and that.

  • It is a dress on a servant girl.  Most of the costumes in the picture are showing the late 1400’s styled upper class gowns.    She appears to
  • be one of the only servants in the portrait. It possible that it is a hand me down.  She is also one of the only gowns with this “lace” up front.
  • If you look at the neckline, I really think this is 2 layers. The blue from the placard goes up all the way to the shoulder.
  • If the dress is a hand me down from an earlier time, it might also  explain why there is a gap.  Possible that the gown had to be “let out”/altered.  Also the posibility that this may betwo different dresses.
  • There is also the posibility that it could be livery.
  • And there is always the idea that the painter could be remembering things he has seen and just gone with it.

So I am going to guess, based upon a hypothosis and say, it’s 2 different colors, with a dress underneath. I am also willing to say, it’s an allagory and be ok with that. At the very least, it is just fabric and it can be repurposed.

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Posted by on September 12, 2011 in 15th century, Sewing