Featured Image - Reading List for the Medieval Reenactment and Living History Resource The Turnip of Terror

Sewing & Clothing

UPDATED 09/01/2023

Archaeological Footwear: Development of Shoe Patterns and Styles from Prehistory til the 1600’s
by Marquita Volken 
“The knowledge of how to make a shoe pattern was certainly the ancient shoemaker’s most closely guarded secret, passed from master to apprentice but never written down. Now, after 20 years of research, the principles for making ancient shoe patterns have been rediscovered.”

Dress Accessories, c. 1150- c. 1450 (Medieval Finds from Excavations in London)
by Geoff Egan and Frances Pritchard
“Brooches, rings, buckles, pendants, buttons, purses and other accessories were part of everyday dress in the middle ages. Over two thousand such items dating from the period 1150-1450 are described and discussed here, all found in recent archaeological excavations in London … These finds constitute the most extensive and varied group of such accessories yet recovered in Britain, and their close dating and the scientific analysis carried out on them have been highly revealing.”

A Dyer’s Garden: From Plant to Pot, Growing Dyes for Natural Fibers
by Rita Buchanan
“Touching on the history and nature of dye plants, this comprehensive guide walks readers through a garden season from design to planting to harvesting for the dyepot, discussing 18 dye plants in detail.”

Fashion in the Age of the Black Prince: A Study of the Years 1340-1365
by Stella Mary Newton
“Stella Mary Newton broke new ground with this detailed study, which discusses fourteenth-century costume in detail. She draws on surviving accounts from the Royal courts, the evidence of chronicles and poetry (often from unpublished manuscripts), and representations in painting, sculpture and manuscript illumination. Her exploration … offers new insights into the social history of the times, and she has much to say that is relevant to the study of illuminated manuscripts of the fourteenth century. “

Medieval Garments Reconstructed: Norse Clothing Patterns
by Lilli Fransen, Shelly Nordtorp-Madson,
Anna Norgard, and Else Ostergard
“This volume begins with a short introduction by Else Ostergard to the amazing finds of garments from the Norse settlement of Herjolfnes in Greenland. It then features chapters on technique – production of the thread, dyeing, weaving techniques, cutting and sewing – by Anna Norgard. Also included are measurements and drawings of garments, hoods, and stockings, with sewing instructions, by Lilli Fransen. A practical guide to making your own Norse garment!”

Medieval Tailor’s Assistant. 2nd Edition: Common Garments 1100-1480
by Sarah Tursfield
“The Medieval Tailor s Assistant is the standard work for both amateurs and professionals wishing to re-create the clothing of Medieval England for historical interpretation or drama. This new edition extends its range with details of fitting different figures and many more patterns for main garments and accessories from 1100 to 1480. It includes simple instructions for plain garments, as well as more complex patterns and adaptations for experienced sewers.

Purses in Pieces: Archaeological Finds of Late Medieval and 16th Century Leather Purses, Pouches, Bags and Cases in the Netherlands
By Olaf Goubitz
“The use of purses, pouches, bags, sheaths and other containers saw its heyday in the Middle Ages. The purse became a fashion item and was an essential part of a persons outfit. This book provides a typology for all types of purse-like artefacts, in some cases inventing new terminology to describe them. The book is illustrated with finds from the Netherlands, woodcuts and other contemporary depictions, and with Goubitzs gloriously detailed reconstruction drawings.”

Shoes and Pattens (Medieval Finds from Excavations in London)
by Francis Grew, Margrethe de Neergaard, and Susan Mitford
“…nearly 2,000 shoes, many complete and in near-perfect condition, have been discovered preserved on the north bank of the Thames, and are now housed in the Museum of London. This collection, all from well-dated archaeological contexts, fills this vast gap in knowledge, making it possible to chart precisely the progress of shoe fashion between the twelfth and fifteenth centuries.

Stepping Through Time: Archaeological Footwear from Prehistoric Times until 1800
by Olaf Goubitz, C. Van Driel-Murray, and W. Groenman van Waateringe
“Drawing on 25 years’ experience as a conservator of leather, Goubitz presents a typological catalogue of footwear dating from 800-1800 AD. The study is based on Goubitz’ analysis of an important assemblage of shoes recovered from excavations at Dordrecht in the Netherlands but the volume’s aim is to offer guidance for the identification of shoes found on sites across north-western Europe.

The Techniques of Tablet Weaving
by Peter Collingwood
“…complete with dozens of detailed photographs, pattern examples, and step-by-step instructions for each of the techniques presented. In addition to instructional information, Techniques of Tablet Weaving contains pages of historical context for a variety of weaving techniques with clear and helpful tips on reproducing them precisely, as well as modern variations on the classics.”

Textiles and Clothing : Medieval Finds from Excavations in London, c.1150-c.1450
by Elisabeth Crowfood, Frances Pritchard, and Kay Staniland
“This highly readable account will be of wide general interest; dress historians and archaeologists will also find a wealth of new insights into the fashions, clothing and textile industries of medieval England and Europe.

Woven into the Earth: Textile finds in Norse Greenland
by Else Ostergard
“Woven into the Earth recounts the dramatic story of Norlund’s excavation in the context of other Norse textile finds in Greenland. It then describes what the finds tell us about the materials and methods used in making the clothes. The weaving and sewing techniques detailed here are surprisingly sophisticated, and one can only admire the talent of the women who employed them, especially considering the harsh conditions they worked under.

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