Archive for november, 2011

Duchie Award

november 18, 2011

Last month I was pleasantly surprised by being awarded the prestigious Duchie Award for ”Excellence in historical costuming and bloggery” by fellow Albrecht’s Bössor-member Sarah a.k.a. A most Peculiar Mademoiselle. My sincere thanks and appreciation to you, it’s an honour to be mentioned alongside gifted costuming-gurus such as Neulakko and Ida!

Now, as a receiver of the award I’m obliged to tell you five things that I love about historical costuming, which shouldn’t be too difficult at all considering my zest for the craft. First of all, historical clothing regardless of age makes it possible to connect with past generations at quite an intimate level, as clothes could be regarded as one’s closest possessions. As a student as well as teacher of history I appreciate the fact that clothes and fashion reveal so much about the time and society in which they were created.

Historical clothing is the cornerstone of all reenactment and living history and it is simply impossible to pursue those activities without dressing the part. By all means this is not in any way a sacrifice since period fashion tends to look better than most of the mass-produced and ill-fitting apparel being sold today, not to mention that they will last longer.

A properly reconstructed historical garb will not only allow you to dress and look like your forebears, but also feel what they felt including everything from smooth linen to coarse itchy wool.

This is of course lead us in to the materials being used, which almost without exception consist of natural materials like linen, wool, leather, silk, and so on. There simply is a sense of genuineness associated with Nature’s own fibers and I love working with them.

Speaking of working I’ve also always been fond of sewing by hand, a relaxing activity that often works like a kind of meditation. When sewing stitch after stitch by hand, time itself often seems to slow down and dissolve. It is also a satisfying thought knowing that you are passing on handicraft skills that are sometimes millennia old, making you a preserver and transmitter of tradition.

Then I am supposed to give the award to three other historical costuming-bloggers, which I am happy to do. There are undoubtedly a plethora of skilled ”colleagues” of mine out there who are at least as passionate about historical clothing, but the following bloggers have still not received the award as far as I know:

Kurage: Fellow Albrechtian Anders is a bloke skilled in many crafts, not least when it comes to costuming and documenting it. His 18th century stuff is equally as impeccable and inspiring as his 14th century work.

Mat, sömnad och tusen andra saker or ”Food, sewing, and a thousand other things” is a Swedish-language blog run by a friend of mine particularly hooked on the 18th and early 19th centuries. Although her historical garb is excellent one should also not fail to notice her period cooking adventures!

Frejs knivmakeri och annat konsthantverk: Although mainly dedicated to knifemaking and other ”hard” crafts, Frej has also proved to be a skilled tailor. I especially appreciate his fearless approach in trying on less common and less known garments such as the iron age trousers from Dätgen or tricolored cotehardie. This guy sure know how to dig out exciting stuff from the hidden depths of the period wardrobe!

Please have a look at the bloggers listed above, if you don’t know Swedish you might want to let Google translate them for you (although the photos featured there speak for themselves)


Senromersk tunika

november 8, 2011

Mitt senaste beställningsarbete är en senromersk tunika av den typ som ingick i legionärernas vestis militaris eller fältkläder under perioden ca 200-500. Tunikan är av naturvit kypertvävt ylle och försedd med röda ylleapplikationer, så kallade clavi. Denna typ av plagg brukar ibland kallas ”koptisk tunika” då flera bevarade tunikor från senantiken har påträffats i Egypten, och dessa har i regel vävts i ett stycke med clavi integrerade i varpen. Under antiken omtalades plagget dock som tunica manicata (eller chiton cheiridotos på grekiska), dvs långärmad tunika och lär ha kommit till under påverkan av germanskt dräktskick – innan 200-talet bar legionärerna i regel kortärmade eller ärmlösa tunikor. Vanligtvis bars den över en undertunika eller skjorta i linne, linea eller kamision.

Tunikan är av en mycket enkel och rymlig modell och är i praktiken ett stort kors som vikts av på mitten och sytts samman längst sidorna med täta efterstygn av vaxad blekt lintråd 60/2. En slits har lämnats som halsöppning. Kroppen är mycket vid medan ärmarna är lätt avsmalnande, och på det stora hela är det ett överraskande bekvämt plagg som jag kan tänka mig var ett mycket praktiskt grundplagg för soldater. Tunikans rustika material och förhållandevis enkla clavi antyder att det är ett plagg som kan ha burits av en menig legionär snarare än en officerare, vilka tycks ha föredragit mer utsmyckade plagg.

English: Late Roman tunic

My latest custom work is a late Roman tunic of the same type belonging to the legionaries’ vestis militaris or field garb during the 3rd to 6th centuries. The tunic is made of a natural off-white woolen twill and fitted with decorative red woolen strips, so called clavi. Sometimes this kind of garment is referred to as ”Coptic tunic” due to the fact that several preserved examples from late antiquity have been found in Egypt; those garments were normally woven in one piece on a wide loom with the clavi being integrated into the warp and/or emboroidered. During antiquity however such a garment would have been known as a tunica manicata or chiton cheiridotos, i.e. ”long-sleeved tunic”, and it is thought to have entered roman military and civilian fashion due to Germanic influence – before the 3rd century the legionaries uasually wore short-sleeved or sleeveless tunics. Generally the tunica was worn on top of a linen under-tunic or shirt known as linea or kamision.

The tunic is cut in a very simple and voluminous fashion and virtually consists of a large cross of cloth folded over and sewn together at the sides with back-stitches using a bleached, waxed linen thread 60/2. The neck opening consists of a simple hemmed slit. The otherwise loose tunic has fairly tight, tapering sleeves, and altogether it is a surprisingly comfortable garment that I can very well image to have accomodated the legionaries’ need for a practical foundation garment. The plain material and rather modest appearance of the clavi suggests a tunic that might have been worn by a legionary of the rank and file rather than an officer, as they seem to have preferred showing off with more elaborately decorated garments.

Tunikor med olika typer av clavi avbildade på en mosaik från Villa Romana del Casale, Piazza Armerina, Sicilien, 300-talet / Tunics with a variety of clavi on a mosaic from Villa Romana del Casale, Piazza Armerina, Sicily, 4th century (photo courtesy of Dick Osseman)