Honeycomb Pleatwork Collared Smock: Simple, Easy Pleatwork

Yesterday I discussed how I constructed my favorite high-collared smock which I wore through most of Pennsic. Today I will explain how I finished the collar with honeycomb pleatwork (smocking). (For those looking to make the honeycomb pleatwork apron, check the Patterns page for the instructions!) Pleatwork is a very common method of gathering, sizing, and embellishing cloth in 16th… (more…)

My Favorite Pennsic Smock: Pattern For a High-Collared Unterhemd with Honeycomb Pleatwork

For Pennsic this year I packed seven smocks for myself — some call them chemises or white linen underdresses, the German might say unterhemd (underdress) or Wäsche (the wash). My smocks are in a variety of styles and weights of linen, all worn before with success and all in good repair. Did I wear all seven over the course of… (more…)

The Mystery of the Disappearing Goller/Hemd: The Halshemd

In my review of German renaissance paintings of women, I’ve seen many upper class ladies with lovely beaded chokers around their necks. I took these chokers first to be jewelry. Later, I noticed that some of these chokers appeared with a fine, translucent material that covered the bare skin between the top of a gown and the neck. Closer looks… (more…)

Discovery of My 16th c. German Ancestors — The Tode Family

Sometimes when you go looking for something, you find a lot more than you expected. This is what happened last November when I was researching my first real German gown. Curious what women in Lübeck were wearing in the 16th century, I went hunting about the Internet for images. Why Lübeck? My grandfather’s ancestors (the Tody family) have always claimed… (more…)

16th Century German Hats and Headwear: A Review Based on Period Woodcuts and Paintings

In my time in the SCA, I have developed just one tiny pet peeve. One could call it a passion even. “What bee’s gotten into your bonnet?” you may ask. Well, it’s simply that I believe we should all be covering our heads when dressed in European garb. Men and women have regularly covered their heads in public since recorded… (more…)

Goldhaube: In Search of the Golden Caul-Hat-Haarhauben Thingee

German women of high rank in the 16th century were fond of wearing what we call a goldhaube, or Haarhauben, beneath their hats or even without hats. I’ve seen countless portraits depicting goldhaube, and as best I can figure, it’s a gold-decorated caul — nothing more than a fancy golden bag for your hair. I’ve seen them solid, richly embroidered… (more…)

16th Century German Tabards … Plus a Tabard Pattern!

A new member of my group recently asked how to make a tabard. This got me thinking. The tabards I’ve made have been pretty generic, as many others who came before me have already done a good job of covering tabard construction throughout history. I’m fond of the tabard pattern I use — it’s adapted from Duke Dag’s design, and… (more…)

Learning German Pleatwork (Seidenfitzen) on a 16th-Century Style Hemd (a.k.a. Smocking)

One of the projects on my big wish list is to replicate Dorothea Meyer’s pleatwork and goldwork smock. Thus, it naturally follows that I need to learn how to smock. It turns out that “smocking” (the gathering and manipulation of pleats in a decorative manner) is a Victorian term, so I’m calling this silk pleatwork, which is the literal translation… (more…)

Did 16th Century German Women Wear Fur?

This winter I went to an outside event where I knew the temperatures would be low. So I made myself a faux fur and wool goller and hat. Did I research them in advance? Nope. I just wanted to be warm! But, of course, I found myself wondering if German women wore furs. I hadn’t come across any evidence of… (more…)

German Blackwork Modelbooks: Patterns, Designs, and Motifs from the 16th Century

Blackwork embroidery was prevalent during 16th century Western Europe, including Germany (where it was known as Schwarzstickerei). Unfortunately, most of the extant embroidered items, books, and online resources are heavy on the English blackwork styles. So what’s one to do if you want to embroider blackwork that would be appropriate to renaissance Germany? Well, we can thank Johannes Gutenberg, who… (more…)