The Trossfrau Sock II

After I made my first pair of socks (read more here), a friend posted pictures of a a pair of short linen socks found at Regensburg Historisches Museum in Germany. The design on these is more simple then my first guess, with what seems to be just two sets of pieces and I’ve finally got the chance to try it out.

1) The pattern is made about the same way as I made the first one; I taped my foot and draw the lines where I wanted the seam. I then cut it out in fabric and pinned it to my foot and adjusted it until it looked right. EDIT: I belive I over worked the pattern; the incut around the ankle can just be cut straight, the shape will come naturally when you roll the hem. (I’ll upload a new pattern example when my sewing room is unpacked after the move)

2) start by stitch the heel seam, and then fell the seam

3) I finished the edges around the opening before attach the sole

4) attach the sole and fell the seam, it’s easier to get around the heel and toe with tiny stitches

A pair took around a day to make a pair, including patterning. The sources of when and by whom it was used is a bit hard to find;

– the original is dated to 15th c, but I don’t have any information about the size of the sock so I can’t say if it’s male/female/social class etc

– There is a couple of woodcuts which shows a low cut sock off both trossfraus and peasants women, I haven’t had the opportunity to research if it was used by men as well, but it seems plausible.

– The inventory of the Swedish court in the early 16th c, mentions socks with lesser amount fabric than ordinary socks. No reference to whom it was intended for.


Petronilla of London (photograper of the original located in Regensburg Historisches Museum)

Cecilia Aneer, Skrädderi för kungligt bruk Tillverkning av kläder vid det svenska hovet ca 1600-1635, 2009

Rogg, M, Landsknechte und Reisläufer: Bilder vom Soldaten; ein stand in der Kunst des 16. jahrhunderts, 2002

How to keep the hat on your head

1) Lets tie this hat to the head 

The Graf woodcut shows some kind of cord thread through the brim and tied on top of the head and the woodcuts also shows the same construction on both men and women. (Swiss)

The Coloured woodcut shows a man with a similar construction, this time with the cord (which looks like it’s simply a piece of fabric) wrapped around the hat to keep it from fall off. (Swiss?)

And isn’t it pretty cool to see an extant piece of a very specific construction? The last pictures is a British hat made out of leather where the cord goes through the brim and it has also a little cut out, presumably to add a feather as the reconstruction shows. (Maybe they should have tied the cord on the head, though?) (British) 

This technique seems to have been used by Landsknechts as well. The first Woodcut may even show a slight,y different approach where the band might not really go through the brim, instead pulls throug the split of the brim (bonus detail; is it buttons, pins or the top part of a pulled through cord that is visible on the brim?) (Germany)

2) The stitched on cord 

The left picture shows a coif with the cord sewn on to the ear flap. (British)

The right woodcut shows a hat presumably hanging around his neck via a cord but without any sign of a cord that runs across the crown; It might be a construction similar to the coif, with a sewn on cord. (German)

3) The cord through the brim flap

Here the brim has been cut and that piece is folded down. The cord is attached either through a punched hole or sewn to the flap. (Swiss)

4) The cord through the folded brim

 Maybe this cord is attached according to the same principles as example number 1 …or maybe the cord just goes through the brim and hides behind the fold around the crown, or its part of the cord seen on the brim? At least we can say that this type of hat also can be equipped with a cord. (Germany)

5) Tied behind the neck

Maybe, maybe not; but doesn’t it kind of look like she has a bow on top of her head? If that’s the case, then the hat is probably tied around the neck since there isn’t anything visable under he chin. (Swiss?)
6) That special snowflake

I love it!



V&A’s Collection

Kunstmuseum Basel

British Museum

Museum of London

The Art Institute of Chicago

Museum Boijman Van Beuningen


Landsknecht Cap …what should a man wear underneath his hat?

Maybe you don’t want to wear your wool hat directly on your head, it can be itchy but it also makes the hat dirty with all that human sweat penetrating the hat for day after day. As a women it’s usually pretty simple, you just wrap a head floaty, where a haube or something else similar, depending on what kind of German class you belong to.

Lately several people have asked me for what a man properly should wear underneath his hat and it makes me so happy because I’ve tried once to convince my husband into wearing the awesome period caps you sometimes see in paintings, underneath his hat. He wasn’t as amused as I was, and to his defense, he more often puts on his Landsknecht outfit more to please me and make me happy …he definitely prefers early period clothing. So I let him wear his hat as he please, with either a Schlappe or a coif underneath, it’s not the end of the world.

But for those who might be a bit curious about what a guy can wear underneath a hat, I present the cap, a neat little haube for men and i only have seen it being worn once so far and it made me excited to see that little cap on this guy (thank you Sir Måns!), because paying attention to details is such a satisfying feature and I applause all those who do it.

Here is a small sample of different caps worn by men in Germany during the 16th century, and maybe I make one and just hope I’ll someday may convince my husband to wear it.


16th c Apron with Whitework Embroidery

It all started with me stumbling over an picture a friend posted on Facebook, she was hem stitching a veil, using Drawn Thread Work, and that made me suddenly realize this was the technique used on the collar of a 16th century shirt I was studying in a book. Four months later, after pinteresting and youtubing and asking friends, I decided to test it out on a bigger project.

The technique of removing a thread and stitch it into a pattern was used during the 16th century in a large area of Europe, though my research is focused on Italy, England, Sweden and Germany for various reasons.

The term whitework embroidery is a term used by L. Arthur to describe different techniques where you use white thread on white or natural coloured fabric, and since I haven’t yet figure out how to correctly translate the Swedish terminology of the different kind of techniques I’ve used, I decided to simply simplify it by using either Whitework Embroidery (vitbroderi) or Drawn Thread Work (utdragsöm). For those who may speak Swedish or want to google images and YouTube clip in a foreign language, you can also search for hopdragsöm, tränsad hålsöm, stolphålssöm, spindlar, snodd stolphålssöm and genombrutet broderi

The apron was chosen as simple enough start for me, and the repetitive pattern would give me hours of practicing to improve my sewing skills in the whitework embroidery genre …even though I handsew all my clothing, it’s still a different technique to do whitework embroidery that I needed to work on. And belive me, I’ve learned a lot on this project, some things I’ve managed to change to the better, some parts had to be left as they was due to my lack of skills …don’t get me wrong, I’m very very proud of what I managed to make, but I’m also very aware of the little mistakes that are in the final result, hopefully someone else will learn something from it, this is still the best I could have made with just, four months of experience;

The inspiration comes from a
German sampler (1618)


A Swedish shirt (1567) with a simple Drawn Thread Work decoration


…and then combine it by using the techniques on an apron, including the design, inspired from Italian surviving examples of aprons (late 16th c-early 17th c)

…also found at the Metropolitan Museum

A small detail to add is that narrow white apron with decoration can also be found in Germany during the 16th c, which makes me wonder if they might have used drawn thread work for aprons as the Italian did. Does anyone have any idea maybe?

Pictures found here and here.

I used a medium weight linen, and calculated the pattern by counting threads and then pull them carefully out of the fabric, saving all the threads so I would use them later when sewing (…my mother told me that this was how she was tought to do a traditional Drawn Thread Work when she was a kid, and I figure the same concept might been used during the 16th c. No need to waste good thread right?)


…though using thread pulled out of the fabric was horrible 🙂 …one of three threads broke when waxing it, and wax was so well needed since the thread started to fuzz as soon as it was pulled out. I tried to use my normal linen thread at one part, even though it was delightful to work with, the colour was a horrible match; the thred was optic white and the fabric off white, which made the white thread shine brightly in the sun, so I hade to remove it and remake it with the fabric thread.

The technique of Drawn Thread Work is fairly simple; pull out the thread, stitch the sides. The pattern is depending on how many threads pulled out (I used 5 +20 pulled threads), then you start to stitch one row at the time;

(There is a ton of good tutorials of how to get started on YouTube)

Where the rows met, I strengthen the threads by carefully wrapping the fabric threads.



I switch between sewing free hand, and using a frame; I padded the frame with a cloth to ensure that my fabric wouldn’t slack, and when working on the edges of the apron I simply used a thread to straighten the sides.

(A bigger frame would probably made it easier, but I managed to use what I had at home 🙂

The squares where the rows met was filled in with a little web, that shaped the squares to a star

The challenge with this procedure was to first get a long enough waxed thread without breaking it before you even started, and second to not brake it during the forming of the web; there isn’t much room to attach a new thread without bulbs…

The rows between the stars was needle weaved by again using a separate long double thread


The long rows was of course a bit tricky to do, if I missed a spot, I had to undo evrything up to that point …and that happened a couple of times…


The top part of the apron was attached by simply double fold a piece of fabric and whip stitched it to the apron; I pulled out a thread to make sure I stayed aligned when gathering the top part. The end of the ties got a small decorative tassel


One of the features with the apron is that the hem stitch makes the apron reversible;


The finished apron took around 3-4 weeks to complete.


…the one thing I didn’t anticipate was that the wax on the thread would stay after washing it, so ironical the stars are now darker then the rest. Hopefully will it change after being washed a couple of more times


Book sources;
Arnold, J, Patterns of Fashion 4
Arthur, L Bonniers Stora Bok om Broderi
Nylén, A-M Livrustkammaren, vol. 8-9; Stureskjortorna

I had a great deal of help from my mother who’s own interest in handcrafting provides me with tips and tricks of how to continue on my own path; Her knowledge and skill have been invaluable, without her, I wouldn’t have been able to get this far …thank you so much, Lotta! ❤

16th century goller

During the 16th century in Germany you can see several different shaped Gollers, usually just covering the shoulders and bust area.


When browsing through picture from the large area of Germany and through the different classes, you notice some similarities of the basic shape and decoration, but also interesting details that is different; some has a longer front tip, some is just barely covering the bustline, some is made out of fur, some has different decorations etc, but the basic function is still the same; to keep your shoulder warm during chilly weather. My personal experience of using a goller in a Swedish climate is that it is a perfect accessory; small enough to not take up any room in the luggage, and still gives enough cover to keep you warm by just covering up the area of your shoulder and bustline, and will increase your body temperature enough to feel comfortable.

If you’re planning on making a goller, you should consider the purpose of the gollar; what climate are you using it for, what time of the year, and what would be the most appropriate fabric and design for your persona?

The pictures posted above shows some of the variety of the Gollers available during the 16th c (similar designs can also be found in other parts of Northern Europe), you can find more information about the pictures above on my Pinterest (Whilja de Gothia).

1) For my Trossfrau outfit I still have my very first basic goller made out of wool and lined with linen, it’s made in four panels, because that gave me the most control of the shape and makes the goller very well fitted. It has a simple decoration of two rows of wool stripes.


This goller has two sets of strings to tie it in the front, a solution that is extremely practical, but now I might admit that it’s probably not a perfectly period solution; today, I would probably have chosen hooks and eyes instead (…the strings is still very practical, darn it)

I used the same design to make a dark blue/yellow goller for a friend;


The wool goller lined with linen works perfectly for example chilly summer nights, an autumn day and works even great to keep you dry during the rainy spring season.

2) For heavier rainy days or for warmer winter days, I’ve made a longer goller, it reach down to my waistline, also in wool lined with linen. This one is made out of one piece with two smaller seams on each shoulder to make it more comfortable to wear. I added a small collar to give me neck protection as well. Note that the collar is just a straight piece attached to the gollar neckline.

(Yep, it has a Swiss slashing)

The length of the goller is inspired from a woodcut of a Trossfrau, and it’s gives me better protection against the different kind of weather like snow, rain and cold.

The front is closed by strings, this time by adding two sets of holes on each side and then lace them together, this idea of closing was inspired by how hosen are attached to a wams in the male garb.

3) For cold nights I use my fur lined goller (most commonly known by its English word “partlet”), it’s very cosy and warm, and combined with my long dark blue goller, it keeps me warm during snowy days.


4) …and I’m currently working on a new Swiss goller, with a thousand slashes, so it might take a while;


Fässing -the shoulder bag

There is a stone carving on a medieval church in Gotland, Sweden, picturing a servant (?) carrying a sack over her shoulder

Stone carving (14th c) Martebo Church, Gotland, Sweden

The sack is today most commonly known to be closely linked to the traveling salesman, ‘knallar’, who was traveling around mid Sweden selling their merchandise since the 16th century, the merchandise was usually carried in a shoulder bag.

Traveling salesman 1912 (A. Strindberg) and a picture of a folk dress from Västergötland (unknown)

The word ‘Fässing‘ derives from the unique dialect (Månsing), used by Knallarna, and means approximately stuffed sack. Different spelling; fussing (1587), fässäng, fessäng (1749-1833), fästing (1772-1851). Some areas used the word fässing, or halm-fässing, as the word for a mattress (a bag stuffed with hay). Today most historical interested Swedes use fässing as the word for the shoulder bag, a spelling first seen around 1779.

The Swedish king , Gustavo II Adolf, decided that knallarna, the traveling salesmen, should be controlled (and, you know, actually pay tax), which is why the town of of Borås was founded 1621. Today the city has a high reputation in the Swedish textile industry, and the Borås Museum has a focus on the textile preservation, with many interesting exhibition about textile history. A couple of years back the museum made an exhibition about the history of Knallarna, and as a part of the reconstruction, they made a fässing;


2011 the Textile Fair in Toarp had a the theme ‘Knallar’ and one participant was wearing a Toarp dress with fabric, trims and a fässing;

Picture from”>

There is some smaller varieties that can be seen; the opening can be either at one side on the bottom or in the middle so it’s “locked” while you carry the bag.

How to make a simple fässing bag;


…and the best part is that it folds down to nothing when travel between different events