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.


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


Slashed sleeves for a Landsknecht

The picture above shows an intricate slashing of a wams, seen from behind, the sleeves has a very interesting shape with the same width from shoulder and down until it gathers around the wrist, creating an image of a pair of almost rectangular constructed sleeves.

The late 16th c pattern from Germany (also translated to English by C. Köhler in A History of Costumes), seems like a perfect shape to use to achieve the same look as the woodcut, including a very easy base to cut the long slashes. The even width of the slashes from shoulder to wrist is also a good inclination that the pattern is a good base to be used …and a picture of my re-calculation to fit my reproduction.

The adjustments from the original pattern transformed into a full sleeve pattern.

The fabric slashed in a similar pattern as the woodcut, including cutting it into three separate pieces. It’s hard to say exactly how many slashes the woodcut sleeve have, and I might have made a bit few, but I didn’t want to make the sleeve even larger until I get an idea how the pattern would work in real life; the sleeve still has to be both practical and elegant.

Each slash is then hemmed, which of course isn’t a must, but the wearer was very specific of having an extraordinary flamboyant outfit, so I hemmed all slashes to make it look as neat as possible. The hemming is done with simple running and wip stitches, and all pieces is then ironed flat.

Next step is to use the fabulous pinking tool and punch the crescent shaped slashes.

You can see on the woodcut that each sleeve piece has a slashed decor on the edge, which I simply make by ripping around 1″ wide fabric pieces, double fold them and then slash them an inch apart. The job of hemming this small slashes is way to time consuming, so I leave them as they are.

Tip; ripping wool is an easy way to get long and perfect straight pieces of fabric, just cut around half an inch and rip. The technique works perfectly fine with silk fabric as well.

Each piece is sewn together and the slashed decoration is attached to each side

Silk is a very nice fabric to work with, it’s light weight and more dirt resistant then linen, and only slightly more expensive. Silk also wrinkles less then linen, and the light weight of the fabric can be gather into incredible small areas, with out adding any particular bulkyness. It’s not unlikely to assume silk was used for garment used by Landsknechts, but it’s probably more likely used by officers, high payed soldiers or high class associates rather then the ordinary foot soldier. Linen fabric was probably much more common, or maybe it’s just your undershirt that is seen through the slashes since you can’t afford no other expenses.
When I calculate how much puffing I need I use at least length x 1,5 for silk, it gives the puffing a basic nice symmetrical look, this sleeves got a little extra length to give them even more flamboyant look. This sleeves is not to be lined, to keep them as cool as possible for the California summer by letting air in through the slashes, the silk is therefore sewed onto the sleeves close to the edge, the edges is then folded over and then just wipstitched, to preventing the silk fraying.


The pieces seems to be attached with cords, so each part is given four pair of holes on each side.

IMG_1334.JPG by making two holes next to each other, one cord is pulled through both holes on both pieces and can be easily tied on the same side of the fabric.

Each sleeve is hold together by 12 cords with aiglets
IMG_1395.JPG in a woodcut the cords is almost always seen tied with a single loop, and
On this specific woodcut, you can almost make out the loops holding the sleeve-pieces together.

IMG_1440.JPG Even though Urs Graf mostly painted Swiss soldiers, the garment is similar enough to be used for construction studies and Graf’s level of details and everyday poses provides us with valuable as well as the simple fact that the German Landsknechts also was inspired by the Swiss Reisläufers. The single loop cord is of course also seen in other German garment as in Albrecht Von Brandeburgens’s elaborated garment.

Each sleeves three pieces is attached to each other with the points


And the full sleeve;



The full outfit can be seen here

Landsknechts outfits ready to be worn!

It’s been a crazy autumn with a ton of commissions to finish, here is at least pictures of the two first complete outfits. (I will try to get better pictures and more close ups at the next event)

Nicks outfit is completely handsewn and the Wams is my first try of making the ‘vest’ design with an attachable front piece. The puffs is white and black silk, and the wams it’s only lined on the torso to make it slightly cooler to wear in California.

IMG_1174-0.JPG you can see a little gap in the corner, an extra lacing hole will be added, along all around the edges between the hosen and wams, to prevent it from slipping from the weight of his weapon on his hips. Read more about his Wams here and his hosen here.

Dante wanted a very ‘clean’ designed Waffenrock , with just some slashes for decor. This kind of slashes is made by just cutting a diagonal slash and when attaching them I simply stretch the fabric slightly to open them up (read more about how to slash here).
The front is side closed with hooks and eyes, just along the inside of the slashed band. The placement of the hooks and eyes was placed there because I wanted the front decoration to be still visible even if he choose to unhook the top hooks due to the heat of California.


The slashes before and after I attach them to the blue fabricIMG_1175.JPG

Markings for the vertical slashesIMG_0893.JPG

How the front opensIMG_1028.JPG

The hooks and eyes are all handmade, based on a 16th c Spanish finding


The main design of the Waffenrock is inspired by the left picture, but instead of velvet and brocade I use wool fabric that Dante provided. The slashed decoration and the shorter sleeves is inspired from the two smaller woodcuts.


Different ways to slash your 16th century German outfit

Handsewn slashes may look very neat, but all of us who have done it also know that it is a very time consuming sewing technique, and requires a great amount of patient when you slowly work your way through slash after slash. When doing commissions for others I’ve have therefore been working on different period solutions and alternative to keep the cost down for the costumer, and make my outfits available for a larger group.

The slashing techniques I use can be defined in three different categories;

1) Hemmed slashes
A technique very useful for light weight wool fabrics, velvet, brocade or other fabrics that fray easily. (read more about how I use the technique on wool here). It’s most commonly seen on Saxon dresses.

A) “Herodias” by Lucas Cranach the Elder, 1530. The slashes seems to be stitched to prevent the fabric from fraying.
B) painting by Cranach. The shape of the slashes may inquire that it has been cut and the edges folded and stitched to the backside since brocade would be fraying to much to have just been cut open without any treatment.
C & D) paintings by Cranach. Another fabric can be seen along the outline of the fabric, indicated that each slash may be folded and the slashed seem is protected on the inside by lining with another larger piece of fabric, adding an extra decoration on the sleeve.

2) Straight cut slashes
The technique relies on the movement of the fabric to open up the slashes, some times padding is added to help

A) Detail from Holbein’s Martyrdom of St. Sebastian. The detail shows a close up of the slashings and if you use a felted wool and slash it, the fabric would behave very similar to the painting.
B) Detail from Graf’s The Bearer of the Banner Canton Glarus. The sleeves is slashed and then the slashing is slashed as well, which gives you a straight cut profile that indicates no treatment has been made on the slashes
C) Aldegrever’s Portrait of Albrecht Von der Helle. A slashed decoration on a goller, which has probably a adding underneath the puff fabric to give a it a raised look as well as open up the slashing.

3) Cut or punched slashes
Pinking tool has been found in England, and is basically a shaped sharp piece of metal which you punch a hole with. The shape of the hole is based on the shape of your tool. If you don’t have a pinking tool available in the right shape, cutting out the slash with a small scissors is also an option to achieve the right kind of slash.

A) Stoer, 1525-1530, Landsknecht Tailor
B) Breu the Elder, 1525-1530, Bastl Machenstreit/Profandmeister *
C) Breu the Elder, 1520-1530, Eberlein trit herein*
D) Schön, 1530, Landsknecht met Hellebaard*


Slashed surviving examples of Landsknecht clothing has not yet been found, and the most common surviving examples of slashed clothing is made out of leather; an example of the three different techniques on leather

A) Jerkin, England, 1550-1600. Pinked decoration in shape of stars, diamonds and hearts.
B) Doublet, England, 16th century. Cut slashes.
C) Painting of a Nobleman, Monogrammist GR (Germany) c. 1555. Slashed leather with possible metal thread decoration around the edges.

Which technique that is to be used may vary between where on the body of the garb I’m working on, what kind of material I’m using (light weight wool frays easier then felted wool, for example) and in some cases also on what type of status or trade the outfit is inspired from; a foot soldier or an officer or if they are a tailor or anything else.

What kind of technique used can’t always be determine by studying a woodcut or a painting, there isn’t enough details to study or the artist may have not consider that detail being important or sometimes you just can’t see if the slashing is cut or punched by a tool.

* woodcuts from Landsknecht Woodcuts; Kriegsvölker im Zeitalter der Landsknechte, G.A Johann, B. Enkevoerth, J. Von Falke