Advent calendar December 15 2019

Plant dyed fade over time. The more light they are exposed to the faster the fading goes. What was dyed on a large scale in historical times was wool and silk. Linen is difficult to dye, unless it’s blue.

Sometimes you are lucky and can see the backside of an old textile. The backside have often been protected from light and are therefore of stronger colours then the front side.

Here- a gilded leather embroidery dated to mid 15th century. Skokloster 2, today in the collections of Historiska museet, Stockholm, Sweden. To the right you can see the front, and in the middle the backside. Compare and see for yourself.

Advent calendar December 13-14 2019

Sometimes you come across a breathtaking textile. This fabric, that is part of a Swedish embroidery from mid to late 15th century, is probably that highest quality linen we have ever seen.

The photo is taken with a USB microscope and we are sad that the quality of the photo is not matching that quality of the fabric. Sorry for the blurry pic!

The fabric measures 21-22 threads per 5mm. That is 42-44 threads per cm.
Thinking of the skills that it takes to hand spin, on spindle, such even and thin threads is just beyond mad. The weave is super even and it is just pure pleasure for a weaver to look at it.

/ Amica and Maria

Advent calendar December 12 2019

Button up!

The 14th century is the buttoned century. Buttons are around even before. For one example the Vikings also had buttons in some clothes. But it was during the 14th century that suddenly “everyone” was wearing rows and rows of buttons.

In art buttons are almost always depicted in white, yellow or the same colour as the garment. White and yellow are interpreted as “silver/ pewter” and “gold/ brass”. The same colour are probably made of fabric.

When using reconstructed buttons in re-enactment garments, it’s always difficult to find small and light weight buttons. If you put many buttons in a row it tends to get very heavy.

Original buttons are very often hollow. Like the once on the picture. They are made in silver and can be found in the collections of the National museum in Copenhagen, Denmark. Dated 14th century
/ Amica and Maria
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Advent calendar December 11 2019

Sewing thread. All reenactors ask themselves how thick should it be? And how should it look?

All sewing threads for hand sewing, that we have seen on items from migration period up til 20th century have one thing in common. It’s 2-plied. Silks not included, it’s impossible to count.

Thickness? Some say that a sewing thread should be as thin as the threads in the fabric. That is not a rule that is usable on the older historical material. They used a lot thicker thread then both warp and weft combined sometimes.

Here we can see a bottom hem on an alba from Forsby church, Sweden. It is dated 1100-1350. Now in the collections of Historiska museet, Sweden.

So- don’t be afraid to use a thicker thread
/ Amica and Maria

Photos: Historical Textiles- pease cred us if sharing

Advent calendar December 10 2019

” Aglets (aiglets)- These small handmade metal tubes were sewn, or attached with tiny metal rivets, to the end of leather, cord or ribbon laces. You can find their plastic descendants on shoelaces today. 
Aglets, also known as aigletts, throwes or pyntes, were most commonly used from the 15th to the 17th century, when fashion and necessity required people to be laced together. They were used to secure the shaping structures that were worn under women’s skirts, known as farthingales, to fasten jerkins and to tie sleeves and hose (short or long trousers) to doublets (fitted padded jackets). Since virtually everyone needed them, they were mass produced, often quite crudely, and cheap to buy at around 2-3 pennies per dozen, which is why they are found in such numbers.” – London Mudlark: Lara Maiklem

Today we leave Sweden for a quick visit to Italy. We have had the pleasure to analyze a medieval textile collection with several objects in it. The owner wants to be unknown and we can’t therefore tell you where to find the objects. The collection is dated 1470-1540.

In the collection a broken point is found. It’s a tabby rep woven silk band and an aiglet at the end. The colors are brown and purple. The aiglet is made out of some sort of copper alloy/ brass. The band measures approx. 10-11mm and the weft is purple silk. It is possibly woven in a rigid heddle.

/ Amica and Maria

Photo: Historical Textiles – please cred us if sharing.

Advent calendar December 9 2019

Wool needs to be processed before spinning if you would like to make a smooth and even thread.

This pair of wool combs have lost their handles and one have lost almost everything of it’s wood. But considering they are over 1000 years old we must say that they are on great condition.

They are a Norwegian find and dated to Viking age.

Now in the collections of Nasjonalmuseet, Oslo, Norway

If sharing photos, please give cred to Historical Textiles. 

Advent calendar December 8 2019

Putting pieces of fabric together to create a larger fabric. That seems to have been more rule then exception during the Middle Ages.

Matching a pattern in the fabric was possible a luxury not even the highest nobility and the church could afford.

Here is a Danish chasuble from 1470-80 with some piecing that gives us a bit of a headache but also a smile of relief. If they weren’t perfect then, we reenactors can take a deep breath and let go of our modern eye too. The chasuble is made in silk velvet.

It can be found in the collections of the National museum, Copenhagen, Denmark
/ Amica and Maria

Photos: Historical Textiles- pease cred us if sharing

Advent calendar December 7 2019

The seventh advent calendar post is a once again a Spindel whorl. This time a really old one. Dated to 11th century. It’s from the old Swedish capital of Sigtuna. And it’s made out of glass.

Today it can be found in the collections of Sigtuna museum.

/ Amica and Maria 

Photos: Historical Textiles- pease cred us if sharing

Advent calendar December 6 2019

The 6th calendar post is applications on the Dalhem 2 embroidery. The M is in fine linen and the boarder is in a fairly thick wool.

Dating late 15th early 16th century.

In the collections of the Historical museum, Stockholm, Sweden

/ Amica and Maria

Photos: Historical Textiles- pease cred us if sharing

Advent calendar December 5 2019

A bit late for Sweden but it’s still the 5th!!

One really good thing that can preserve fabric is fire. Not burning down, but being turned into charcoal. Like this medieval fabric from Nyköping, Sweden.

/ Amica and Maria

Photos: Historical Textiles- pease cred us if sharing