How do you close the Trossfrau dress?

>Sebald Beham c1530

The most popular way to close the dress is with hooks and eyes, and is usually based on the woodcut “Old Man Caressing a Young Woman” from 1530 by Sebald Beham, where you can see the inside of the dress and a row smooth rectangular shapes. Sebald Beham c1530 miniatyr It is not that the interpretation might be correct, but I’m not sure that it is a beyond-no-doubt proof that they used hooks and eyes. Genevieve at has a also a discussion around te hooka and eye theory, for you to read.

The use of hooks and eyes are though very  well known from both findings and paintings and was used even during the dark ages (the hook from Kenninghall, Norfolk 6c) as in the Renaissance era (Svante Sture Doublet 1567, Sweden). The question is why the so called hooks in the Beham painting doesnt seem to really look like an ordinary hook: it doesn’t seem to have the part that is needed for attachment on the fabric and that it might be attach to some sort of stripe …or is it a part of the inside pattern fabric?

The second most popular closing is with lacing, this gives the wearer more control over the dress and allows you to close the dress much tighter then with hooks and eyes. It was a couple of years ago I saw the sewn down cord, that then was used to lace with, and the lovely lady who showed me told me that it was from an Italian painting she got the idea. Another friend of mine had insted used lacing rings, which my mundane me apprechiated much due to that I could lace it tight, but it was still pretty fast to both lace and unlace (and I didnt have to make lacing holes). So it was very satisfaying to find a Saxon dress with visable lacing rings attached on the inside of the dress.


So my conclusion this far is that hooks and eye is probably a safe way to close the dress, based on the fact that it seem to be a well known (and old) way to have close the dress among Europe. In the Saxon court (and Italy as well) there is evidence of the use of lacing rings, which could either have been something specific for the noble class or might have been transfered to other part of the society, but the art of making lacing rings shouldn’t be that complicated, which means that it might be safe to believe that the lower class might have use it as well.

I will still be scouting for evidence of the closing of the Trossfrau dress, until then will I use either lacing rings for the tight supportiv dresses, and hooks and eyes for the lazy easy-to-get-in-and-out


Picture of visable lacing rings from Spain (Joanna of Castile 1479-1555):
Joanna of Castile SPain 1496-1500

Sture dresses closed with hooks and eyes, 1567 Sweden:
Sturekladerna 1567

Svante Stensson and his sons Nils and Erik from the Sture Family was killed 1567 suspected to planning to kill the king, and the widow and mother kept the cloth and put them on a display in the church of Uppsala (the dress was kind of a turistattraction already during the 18th century). The clothing is one of the few still intact complett male dresses from the Renaissance.


One comment on “How do you close the Trossfrau dress?

  1. Valpfan says:

    Turistattraction during the 18th cent and more or less complete clothing from 1567, how cool isn’t that? 🙂

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