How to decorate with short feathers

While working with the latest Tellerbarret and its feathers, a type of landsknecht hats seems to be covered with fluffy feathers poking almost straight out on the brim and at each top, decorated with a tip of some kind.

I couldn’t find any information about how to achieve the look, and started some small experiments to see what can be done to get a similar look. 

1) the feathers pokes almost perfectly straight out from the brim

– a normal wing plume top will “dip”, especially if you add a baubles on the end. 

– most feathers of “normal” length is too long, and would go too far out over the brim

Possible solution: cut the feather in desired length, use the stiff part …of course it hurts a little to cut off a perfectly good feather! But, it’s actually a good way to reuse any old broken feathers you may have (and I saved the nice fluffy feather tops to be used for later hats)

2) make the feathers look all round and fluffy

– one feather isn’t enough, sew at least two together

– each feather is curled to achieve maximum fluffiness 

I’ve used this technique before, read more about how-to-do or follow the quick tutorial;

 3) Attach the decoration
The First Book of Fashion describe one hat to be decorated with   “[…] white ostrich feathers […] augmented with gilt aiglets”. Excellent, and simple:


4) the result 

(Sorry for the potatoe quality, my iPads camera is getting a bit old nowadays)  

I’ve made two so far; don’t be tricked by the few steps involved in this tutorial, curling the vanes is what you’re going to hate the most… 2 down, 14-20 more to go before it covers the whole brim

How I made the hat
5) future changes

– I used high quality wing plumes for these sets, but since I’m cutting them in half, I wonder how it would look if I instead used ordinary feathers. The stiffer feathers might also be easier to curl ..and cheaper. Which is of course is a plus.


People on my Facebook page suggest the feathers to be called “frizzel/frizzle” feathers, the word “frizzle” dates back to the 16th c (Thank you W.Grant and D.Gonzales)


Graf August Johann Breünner Enkevoerth, Jacob von Falke (edited by M. McNealy), Landsknecht Woodcuts: Kriegsvölker im Zeitalter der Landsknechte, 2013 (originally published 1883)

Rublack, Hayward and Tiramani (edited), The First Book of Fashion: the Book of Clothes of Matthäus and Veit Konrad Schwarz of Augsburg

Bling, Beads and Curly Feathers

A friend asked me to make her a feather for her Elevation outfit and this is the end result;  

It contains no less then 3 ostrich feathers, each hand curled, stitched together and decorated with filigree decoration on both ends and along the stem. 

Decorated feathers seems to be used around the 16th century throughout Europe and even some woodcuts shows decorated feathers on Landsknechts.

How to make really fluffy feathers

Pick similar coloured feathers, I’ll recommend to start with just two, it is kind of tricky to wrap them as it is. 

During the last two years of selling ostriches feathers at events, I have had the opportunity to select and save the whitest non dyed feathers in the stock, initially to be used for a Saxon hat, so I had a couple to choose from for this project instead.

1) Use a sharp knife and curl each vane, kind of like you curl gift ribbon. Be careful so you don’t rip them off (it’s not the end of the world if you damage a couple, the curls will cover you)


2) When you’re done with the curls, you want to attach them; sometimes the end of the stem is a bit thick and needs to be shaved off a bit. Use a sharp knif and be careful to not slip. Removing part of the end stem will make your feathers lay more flat to each other, and will give you a thinner end, which will fit into the aiglet easier in the end.


3) Attach the feathers. A natural linen thread blends nicely with the colour of the stem. Wrap it carefully around both feathers. If a vane get caught, use a needle to carefully pull it out. Don’t stress this part, take your time to wrap it even around the stem.

(From an old project;  the linen thread is visible from the underside, some stray vanes is pulled out with a needle)


4) If you want to add beads, the just add them along the way while you wrap the thread. It’s a pain in the butt to wrap and bead at the same time, so may skip this part for your first time binding feathers together. 

The decoration used for this feather is actually a cut open filigree bead; it was light and the slight curve made it easy to use on the stem without it sliding around on the rounded surface. 


To the left, the beads specially bought for the project was not right, they was too heavy and slightly curved and wouldn’t lay flat to the stem. To the right, the filigree bead in its different stages of being cut up. 
5) I wanted to add all the bling! to the feathers, and used two filigree aiglets on each end.

Pretty neat right? Took around 10-12 hours to make, give and take all the mistakes and changes I did during the project.


Few techniques to add Turban ornaments

Mistress Juliana of Caid

Master Roland of Atenveldt

Nationalmuseum, Sweden

British Museum, England

Museo Nacional del Prado, Spain

The Sture Shirt project

Here is a sneak peek on one of my current project for myself, a recreation of one of the Sture Shirts from 1567, Sweden.

The goal is to make an exact replica (as far as my skill can take me) by the help of the report published in the Journal of The Royal Armoury, Stockholm by A. Nylén 1948 and additional info from J. Arnold’s PoF 4.

This is a picture of one of the sleeves which have a total amount of 108 pleats gathered into 8 pleats/cm.

This part is later to be attached to a 246 cm (97 inch) ruffle which I have completede the drawn thread work on, but still have the decorative braid to attaches before gathering it into the cuff. (You can see that I need to trim down the piece between the sleeve and the ruffle to around 1-2 cm as the original piece)

Progress picture of the drawn thread work

The shirt is estimated to be finished around mid February


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


Steampunk Zombie Hunter -the dress

My Halloween Steampunk Zombie outfit got a lot of questions about how I made it, so here is behind the scene;

There was three things that controlled the outfit;
– I only had a couple of days to make it
– I had a tight budget
– I haven’t done steampunk before

So first, I use Pinterest and search for some inspiration, since I haven’t done steampunk before; gather a couple of pictures with details you like. This is what I took my inspiration from;

The Steampunk dress/outfit has some trademarks that I decided to focus on;

– 19th century clothes with metal and leather
– ruffle and bustle
– weapons with futuristic mechanic
– Hat and “protective” goggles

Since I was suppose to be a zombie hunter, I needed a lot of weapons and I didn’t have to worry about the finishing of the dress; zombies can get at bit ruff sometimes, right?

The skirt
I used one rectangular piece of fabric as base, rounded the corners in the bottom and started sew on ruffles (double folded, just knife pleated them right on, only made sure the mid back was straight and got a box plate so the right and left looked about the same) make sure the row above cover the seam on the row below.

When I got closer to the top I pleated it so it would fit around my waist and added a bustle, stuffed with pillow stuffing, in the “pocket” where I pleated. (The bustle pattern is made from a faint memory of making hip pillows for a 18th century dress around twenty years ago. You can probably find some between pattern online instead.) Then adding the rest of the ruffle to cover the top. I was going to wear something over, otherwise I would have added a big fancy bow on the top. (Notice I didn’t even zickzack anything. To little time, and a zombie hunter can’t be too picky right?


Since it’s open I the front I used a fluffy underskirt to make sure I wasn’t to elaborate…


The top
I already had a ruffled blouse (used so many times for masquerades through the years), that would work, I just added some details (since I didn’t want to destroy it or alter it in anyway); arm covers made out of velvet with bronze sprayed trims and one has a glued on “watch” made from things at the scrapbook section (Jo-Ann) and jewelry stuff I had home, all epoxy together, to kind of give the outfit a “uniform” look. I was going to make the uniform shoulder thingies, but it would have interfered to much with the shoulder bag.

The blouse also had medals; I’m a successful zombie killer, right?


Underneath I had an under bust corset (what I had at home) and a small black blouse (since I only had an underbust corset)

And the result;


Took about 3 days to assemble/sew, and a total cost around $50 (Since I had fabric and some cloths already).

(How I made the accessories can be found in another post)

Steampunk Zombie Hunter -accessories

Weapons and goggles
The pistol was made with the help of of this blog

…which introduced me to the magic of Rub and Buff (Jo-Ann or Michael’s), kind of metal in a tube that you can put on anything to make it look metal; silver, bronze and gold. I only got my hands on gold due to being on a short time, but it worked out good enough.

I spray painted some stuff bronze and some stuff black; underside of an egg carton, hair product jar, spice jars and lids, goggles, water pipe end knobs, pistols, fake knifes and a hatchet …practically anything I could come up with to add to the outfit


Add some stickers and glue decoration nails on the knifes and hatchets, and use a leather band around the handle

An then spray it with a finishing spray so the paint and stickers would survive longer.

Then do the final decision of what to use for the gun and goggles, hot glue it together, and then on with the Rub and buff;

One “eye” is a spice lid with bronze sprayed tüll glue to a piece of carton, with a broken new year tiara part glued around it.

20131027-182722.jpg20131027-182753.jpg found a tutorial somewhere on the internet of how to do a pair of goggles, but lost it and can’t fin it again, kudos to who ever put it up, it helped me a lot! 20131027-182819.jpg



The resultat is pretty good, I just wished I had silver/brons rub and buff to alternate with, but still good enough.

The hat
The hat was found in a Halloween shop for $8, and I added a red band (same velvet as in my dress). A package of black roses from the dollar store and some Rub and Buff on the edges, and a bunch of ostrich feathers, some glued on buttons and home made spring wire to give it an extra touch

The end version has more feathers and the goggles in front.

The bag and trophy belt
The husband bought the Dead Island Riptide game to me a couple of months ago (it’s about zombies), and it come with gizmos like a hotel key, a zombie hula hula dancer and a old fashion looking luggage. I added extra stickers on it to enhance the “old well traveled” look, and attached it to two belt bought at the local thrift store.

The two belt hanged cross one shoulder gave me more room to add two knifes (dollar store) and a hatchet (walmart) in the front, and trophy zombie fingers (dollars store) and recharger (homemade) in the back. One belt around the waist (and a bit rub and buff. Of course), with handcuffs and a baton holder.

The “recharger” is two empty thread spools, black sprayed and Rub and Buffed and then home made spiral wire wrapped around it. (They got a bit beat up during the party)




…and one of the dogs ate my mini zombie with zombie sounds. He left the head though…

(How I made the dress can be found in another post)