Friday, October 8, 2021

What About NESAT XIII?

A few weeks ago, I wrote about my success at obtaining a PDF copy of NESAT XII, Aspects of the Design, Production and Use of Textiles and Clothing from the Bronze Age to the Early Modern Era (Karina Grömer and Frances Pritchard, eds.) from the publisher, Archaeolingua.  

Today, I thought it might be worthwhile to make an effort to find NESAT XIII, Links Between Past and Present (Milena Bravermanová, Helena Březinová, and Jane Malcolm-Davies, eds.), which was published by Verlag Beier & Beran Archäologische Fachliteratur.

Abebooks appears to still have the book in soft cover for $70.25 USD plus $18.48 USD shipping. I wasn't able to navigate the publisher site, which is written mostly in German.  Perhaps the PDF option will be adopted after they run out of soft cover copies of the book.

As for NESAT XIV, the conference was only recently held (online) this summer; the volume has not been published yet.    But abstracts for the presentations may be found here.  

EDIT:  (10/11/2021)  As the commenter noted, there are a few publicly available videos of NESAT XIV talks.  You can find them here

Monday, September 6, 2021

Pssst! Want to buy a copy of NESAT XII?

The North European Symposium on Archaeological Textiles, or "NESAT", is a symposium that is held about every three years.  Each NESAT has produced a symposium volume of papers on archaeological finds relating to textiles and costume that are eagerly sought after by people, like me, who are interested in the history of costume (especially early period European costume).  But the print runs are small, and the volumes remaining after the conference participants have received their copies tend to be expensive.

When I was making a lot more money, the expense was not as much of a problem.  But now I find the typical $70 USD price of the newer NESAT volumes prohibitive.  My collection of NESAT volumes ends with NESAT XI.  I have not been able to purchase NESAT XII and NESAT XIII, which were published after NESAT XI came out in 2013.

Recently, I began looking for the NESAT volumes I lacked at reduced prices.   To my dismay, I could not find a seller of NESAT XII that had the volume in stock for any price.  So I checked the webpage of the publisher of NESAT XII, Archaeolingua. Archaeolingua is based in Budapest, and all transactions in its webshop must be made in either Hungarian forints or Euros, but I figured if anyone would still have the book available, it would be them.

To my surprise, I was able to obtain a copy for 20 Euros (a bit less than $24 USD)!  The copy was an e-book, of course (a PDF, to be exact), but that was an advantage, since I was able to download it immediately as soon as my payment (via credit card) was accepted.  

NOTE:  I was not able to find the book's page via the search function, but if you choose the category "Archaeolingua Series Maior" you can page through the four pages worth of books to find it.  Be aware that the site can be balky.

Thursday, September 2, 2021

Tidbits from NESAT XIV

Didn't make it to NESAT (North European Symposium for Archaeological Textiles) XIV a few weeks ago, in mid August?  Me either.  But today (now that the symposium is over), I found some wonderful summaries, and photographs, of presentations from NESAT XIV on the symposium's Instagram account.  The list of posters featured on the Instagram account may be found on the NESAT XIV website here, and the NESAT XIV Instagram account is here.

Among the most fascinating presentations on the Instagram account are those about an early medieval textile finds in Finland.  The find, at Ravattula, is going to be the subject of a head-to-toe reconstruction project, starting with weaving the wool for the garments as well as making the jewelry and characteristic bronze spiral clothing decoration.  It dates to approximately 1200 CE.  One of the Instagram posts features grave find diagrams as well as photographs of the Ravattula textile and jewelry finds, including woven garters.  I cannot wait to see the results of the reconstruction project!  

Also fascinating to those of us interested in early costume is a post about the braided armband found in Dartmoor, United Kingdom, dating to about 1730-1600 BCE.  This armband is now believed to have been made by fingerloop braiding, though the horsehair used was stiff and springy enough that the strands needed to be manipulated with "handles" of yarn instead of directly by the fingers.  A reconstruction apparently was made using fingerloop braiding techniques.  (Andy M. Jones published a book in 2017 about the Dartmoor find called Preserved in the Peat which is available, and currently on sale, from its publisher Oxbow Books.)

It will be several years before the printed NESAT XIV volume is published, but these Instagram posts are a wonderful taste of what to expect from that volume.

Tuesday, August 10, 2021

Another Regency Dress with a Net Overlay

From Kate Strasdin's Instagram account comes three lovely photographs of a Regency gown with a lovely coordinating net jacket or overlay.  The outfit shown on Kate's Instagram account is in the Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum in New York City.  You can see the photographs here (click the arrow on the right side to see the other photos, or swipe left to see them if you're viewing the Instagram account on a tablet or smartphone). 

Not too long ago, Stella, of Historical Living with Hvitr, shows off a similar netted creation in blue here.  It's a marvelous fashion that I had not known about before I saw Stella's post back in 2018, and if I had the time or patience to do the netting, I'd make one for myself and worry about where I could wear it later!  

If any of my readers know of any other instances of this style, please let me know in the comments ( with a link to the image, if possible).

Saturday, July 3, 2021

One Afternoon Tutorials--Underwear

Sketch of a chemise, by David Ring.
Found on Wikimedia Commons
Having covered almost every other type of quick costuming project, I come to what is perhaps the most basic category of all:  one-afternoon projects about underwear.  

Underwear is the layer of clothing closest to the body.  It includes shifts for women (also called chemises), breast bands and bras, men's shirts, loincloths (wearable by either sex though usually associated with men) and equivalents of what Americans now call "panties" for women.  Before the 20th century, underwear was most often made of linen in Europe and America, but in modern times it's usually made from cotton or cheap synthetic fabric worldwide.

Until at least the end of the medieval period, stockings and socks arguably qualified as underwear under the above definition, because they typically were not made to be seen.  However, stockings and socks require special fitting and design, which is why they are not included here, though some stocking projects can be as quick to make as the items discussed below.  Corsets are also underwear, but because they require way too much detail work to be a one-afternoon project, I will not include them here either.

NOTE:  A man's shirt or woman's shift likely will take longer than a single afternoon to make (even during the summer) if completely handsewn.  If one cheats by using a sewing machine, it should be doable in one afternoon, as it involves mostly long straight seams.  For that reason, I have included shifts and shirts here.

As always, unless I have said otherwise here, I have not made any of the items in this collection of tutorials myself.  

Breast Support:
  • Mammilare or Strophium:  These are Roman terms for a simple band to constrain and support the breasts.  The simplest form is a long, narrow rectangular piece of fabric, ripped along the grain to provide a straight though unhemmed edge.  This website shows a very basic one made from wool, whose natural stretch would make it a good choice for folk who do not get an allergic reaction after wearing wool against the skin.  See it here.  (Frankly, I'm surprised to find this post still available on the Internet, since I first discovered it more than two decades ago.) 
  • Late Medieval "Supportive" Smock:  This is a kind of smock that is cut to provide some support for the breasts.  Elena of Neulakko explains its use, as well as how to make one, here.
Men's Shirts:
  • Early Modern Shirt: The Costume Historian provides this tutorial, which is suitable for the period from roughly 1530 to 1660 CE. 
  • Regency Era Shirt:  The Tea In A Teacup blog provides an illustrated tutorial as to how to make a shirt from the Regency (roughly, the early 1810s to the early 1820s).   You can find that tutorial here.  
  • 18th Century Shirt:   From La couturière française comes a genuine shirt tutorial and pattern from the mid-18th century, with clarifying text from the owner of the web site.  Potentially a lot of fun, if you have the right mindset and skills.  
Women's Shifts and Petticoats:  

Shifts did change in design, slowly, over time.  Early medieval shifts were fairly wide through the body, with long sleeves and a neckline matching the neckline of the gown under which they were worn.  Later medieval shifts could be sleeveless as they were often worn under form-fitting gowns.  Renaissance shifts (such as the Venetian camisia below) were extremely wide, both in the body and sleeves, and were gathered with tiny gathers into a band that usually matched the neckline of the gown with which they were to be worn. 18th century shifts could have three-quarter-length sleeves and were quite short.  19th century shifts were short-sleeved or sleeveless, about knee-length or came just below the knee, and were finally replaced with "combinations"--which were closed with loose legs on the bottom.  Below are some examples of tutorial on how to make a sampling of female undergarments through the ages:
  • Viking/Early Medieval:  It is believed that these garments were shaped just like an ordinary gown or robe, but were often made of linen and worn underneath one or more garments. (The Viborg shirt, a male equivalent, is too complicated to be a one afternoon job.)  They can be made quickly if done anachronistically with a sewing machine; handsewing them, though a simple matter of making many long straight seams, takes much longer.  Handsewing History has a well-illustrated tutorial about how to make such a garment, here.  
  • Byzantine (10th century):  Peter Beatson's pattern for a Byzantine undershirt is based upon an actual archaeological find, the Manazan shirt, on display in a Turkish museum.  This style may have been worn by both men and women; the gender of the wearer of the Manazan shirt is, to my knowledge, still debated. NOTE:  My Manazan shirt, which I wrote about in several different posts starting here, used Beatson's original proposed pattern, which his page now explains was probably erroneous.
  • Venetian Camisia (16th century): Shown for informational purposes, though handling the fine gathering is more easily done by hand and probably takes the end result out of the range of a one-afternoon project.  Bella's Realm of Venus site includes a tutorial here.   I have also found an "easy to wear" version that's a bit less thoroughly historical, where the construction seams were sewn by machine, though the gathering was still done by hand. 
  • 18th Century Shift:  Like medieval shifts, these are made from geometrically shaped pieces of fabric and connected with straight seams.  Mara Riley's tutorial explains the technique and gives supporting sources and suggestions for obtaining needed supplies as well.  Find it here.    
  • 18th Century Petticoat:  Petticoats were worn from the Renaissance through the end of the 19th century. Construction does not change much; these are essentially a quantity of fabric pleated or gathered onto a waistband.  Since the waistband is never when the garment is worn, how you make the petticoat matters less than the type of fabric you use and the length of the garment.  Try this tutorial from the American Duchess website.   
Men's Underpants:
  • Loincloths:  People living in cultures who do not wear any other clothing often wear loincloths.  The simplest form of these requires a cloth about 18 inches wide, which is wrapped around the man's waist at least twice.  The hanging end is then brought between his legs, from back to front, tucked into the wrapped portion, and allowed to hang over the wrapped portion in front.  This website, which discusses loincloths worn in Borneo, also gives a surprisingly good tutorial on how to wrap a "generic" loincloth, here.   
  • Dhoti:  The dhoti is a wrapped, lower body garment worn in India.  It may be short or long. It's essentially a loincloth with pleats used to control the extra fabric, and thus comes farther down the legs than a loincloth does.  This page provides a useful tutorial, with sketches, in how to shape and drape a dhoti.  NOTE:  The page is not in English, but the drawings are clear and easy to understand.  It even includes a video! 
  • Braies:  This article (in both Finnish and English) suggests that the type of knee-length underpants shown on men in European medieval art could have been made by draping, belting and tying a suitably-sized piece of cloth.  The technique is speculative, but would make for a very quick project indeed!
  • Civil War (Men's) Drawers:  More complicated than a loincloth, but still reasonably simple.  This link will take you to a blog which explains the construction and includes an image of the original pattern, which should be sufficient for some people to reproduce such a garment, though it's not a project for a beginner.
Women's Underpants:  

Until the Renaissance, women do not seem to have worn underpants, at least not after Rome fell.  There is some evidence for the use of a garment by Ancient Roman women called a subligaculum. (However, it's possible that the bikini-type garment shown in this ancient Roman mosaic by women engaging in physical exercise was not worn anywhere other than in a physical exercise context.) 

From the Realm of Venus page we have an illustrated discussion of the evidence for long (knee-length) drawers being worn by at least some Italian women during the Renaissance.  

I have not hunted for free tutorials in this category because there is no consensus about the shape of Renaissance-era underpants, and commercial patterns are easily available for many later period undergarments.  If I find additional tutorials on female undergarments, I will write another post on this subject.  

Do your own research if the maximum possible historical correctness is your aim, but whatever else you do, have fun!

Sunday, June 6, 2021

A Real Folk Treasure

Sharp-eyed readers will find a new blog in my "Costume Blogs" list in the left-hand margin: FolkCostume&Embroidery (the title is written without spaces on the blog's home page).  

FolkCostume&Embroidery consists of hundreds of article-length posts showing folk costumes from different parts of Europe and Asia.  Each is illustrated almost entirely with color photographs of costumes, diagrams, maps, and other useful illustrations.  Best of all, the articles often cite source material at the end.  The author embroiders and sews costumes himself, and the blog states that he is "open to requests to research and transmit information on particular Costumes for dance groups, choirs, etc."

Readers of the blog who are interested in folk costume should come and explore.  Chances are that the area you need information on will be featured, and there is a search box for the blog you can use.  I suspect I don't have enough time just to read all of the wonderful articles that are here, but that won't stop me from trying! 

Sunday, May 23, 2021

Mystery Solved?

Many of us who are interested in Viking era Scandinavian costume have heard of, or seen pictures of, the amazing Mammen find; remains of an embroidered garment that may have been a tunic; the padded cloth cuffs, adorned with metal brocaded tablet weaving; and other signs that a wealthy and powerful person/s had been buried there. 

What I hadn't known before now is that bones from this grave were originally discovered, but have been missing for over 100 years.  The bones from this find, also known to archaeologists as the Bjerringhøj find (the actual find location, which is near the village of Mammen) had gotten stored with bones from a find at Slotsbjergby, in Zeeland. 

Now, the bones have been rediscovered in the storage area of the National Museum of Denmark, where they apparently had been stored with another find.  Charlotte Rimstad, along with other researchers, wrote a report describing how the bones were lost and found.  That article was published online by Cambridge University Press, accessible free of charge:  it can be read and downloaded here.   In short, the Rimstad article notes that the newly-re-discovered bones were re-connected to the Bjerringhøj finds by analyzing the textiles that remained on them, and those textiles appear to be the remains of a set of ornamented pants cuffs similar to the ornamented wristlets associated with the "Mammen" find!

This story of mislaid bones is relevant to this blog because being able to study the bones, and not just the textiles that had been found with them, will provide (indeed, have already provided!) a greater amount of knowledge about the textiles than the textiles alone could provide.