Author Archives: m d b


I have finally started to get some lesser known information out there. Over the last few years I have found the gap between what I know, and what everyone else knows has lead to me simply not being able to be able to explain choices I made in my clothing even when I had a number of resources with me. So, here are links to all my info, along with when I published or will publish 🙂

|| Anne of Cleves ||

  • The Holbein portraits (to publish, it’s the last piece before I explain The Hat)
  • The Bruyn portrait (this is the Bernal/Rosenbach portrait, there are many details no one in England would have known about at the time, and only really becomes obvious when you look for the influence on fashion caused by influence of political aspirations and clashes.)
  • Copies of the Bruyn portrait (and why they are copies, because they are obviously so once you know why the Bernal/Rosenbach portrait is the original.)
  • Tryptichon (a good colour image was only just digitised last year, details now viewable confirm the Bernal/Rosenbach portrait and the depicitions of dress in the Codice de trajes as it supports the distinction between nobility and citizens as dictated by sumptuary laws.)
  • Contested images (to publish, it really only makes sense once you know what to expect.)
  • Mislabeled (this is just so weird. Any painting labeled Anna Regina was assumed to be Anne Boleyn, but then later Anne of Cleves.)
  • Will the real Stickelchen Please Stand up? (to publish, I still have some transcribing and a lot of image editing to do, this is about The Hat.)
  • A bon fin? (already published on my site, editing it for my new one.)
  • Hall’s Chronicles (published ages ago, but now separate from the next two pages.)
  • Wriothesley Chronicle (to publish)
  • Letters And Papers (getting huge so will need to be published in chapters.)
  • wedding negotiations (published a while back, but it’s interesting to read anyway.)

|| Clothing of the North Rhine ||

  • All images sorted by date (published ages ago, got a few to cite still and a handful of newly digitised images.)
    • der Adel (nobility) (these are the ones I need to cite and tag, tags are so hard for these due to how different clothing was and don’t match the records for citizens.)
    • die bugerin (citizens) (will be sorted by decade as atm you need to start at the start and while context is great it can be a barrier.)
  • Codice de trajes
    • Gelderland (just published and it’s really nifty!)
    • Julich (just published, even niftier!)
    • Koeln (just published, less nifty except to support how reasonable the attempt was made for the other two.)

All the rest were published ages ago, and show how hard it is to find more specific records for 1500-1550 of the nobility. Most records were dispersed in at least two waves.

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Anne of Cleves progress

Well, it always happens. I hoped I would have finished by now but I found three new sources, this is great! But it complicates the order I publish my work in to make sure they are viewed in context.

But also not every CMS is happy with multiple galleries on one page. Made even more complicated by plugins that work in the UI and can’t load due to the already mentioned issues of multiple galleries. Luckily there have been natural break points to separate the information. But it’s a little nerve wracking hoping like heck you can copy and paste the information before the tab crashes.

My symposium talk and a really important SCA talk both rely on everyone being on the same page (hah!) as me, so I know this is worth it. The problem is that my RA and fibro require a lot of additional support even while I’m mostly copying and pasting information. That can sometimes be even more of a problem if the difference between time able to edit and time needed to recover get wider. T

I also need to find a style guide that works. And that works with my CMS as it is now, and in the future. To that end I’ve started taking caption off images in galleries and using the handy a) b) c)’s in captions below to match how captions work in images.

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Sometimes you just need a smashing lamp

But my PC and printer are working (finally) to let me get OCR scans of works I’m trying to translate. And my Anne of Cleves research is finally making sense. And all the rest of my renaissance costume research is now fitting around that. It is a bit weird yes. But the Spanish manuals and Hungarian garments all work together to get a really vibrant picture of fashion. And it really is fashion. I’m not sure why we persist in thinking it is an 18thC phenomenon at the earliest. I can date a portrait to a few years based on fit and accessories, and these were very much about the interection between personality and alliances.

But I’m so excited. I have had to just stop looking for the bias that has affected everything about her life, as it just got to the point of being depressing. So my focus is back to her portraits. To be fair that is a bit overwhelming too, as I do find myself trying to back track several years of connections made even with other Norther Renaiassance clothing focused people.

But that has also been exciting, I want everyone to be able to launch their own research without having to redo or relearn what seems to have been lost.

So. Time to rest. make some notes, and not worry about my PC and printer because I absolutely wanted to throw my printer onto the deck and smash it. But e-cycling is a much more responsible response *if* I have to delete and reinstall my printer Just Because.

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like swimming upstream

Life with chronic pain and fatigue is complicated. Especially when that interferes with day to day activities. I had a bit of a wake up call recently as I tend to not think about where in the disability spectrum I reside. But it turns out I fit this “more-disabled women – defined as having their day-to-day activities “limited a lot” by their health.”

I mean. I know that is my situation. But it still is a bit confronting.

I have to limit slightly more than I want to as well, because there is usually a sharp drop if I meet a limit rather than avoid it.

I can still be happy and optimistic about other parts of my life. I enjoy music, and shows even if I have to keep part of me from remembering that I was supposed to have a career in performing. I can still enjoy art I created years ago even if I’m not sure if I’ll be able to make anything from this point on.

And I have to be honest, I’m now a few years down a path of increasing difficulty with even small projects.

Today I edited a blog post to republish on my new site. It is an important one for my Anne of Cleves research.

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a new project

*Galinda ting*

No but I have used all kinds of drafting systems over the years, only to find my draped pieces universaly work out better. Not just to a modern eye, but I get a much closer fit to the originals. Whether on me or laid flat.

So drafting systems need a lot of work to do what they promise.

Do yourself a favour and grab both the high res and lo res copies of this book. One for a little reader, and one for full monitor zoom.

Cutting a Fashionable Fit: Dressmakers’ Drafting Systems in the United States
Kidwell, Claudia B.
Date: 1979

And if you are still sure drafting works this little nugget my help “In the last quarter of the 19th century, hundreds of drafting systems were invented to help the professional dressmaker cut the complex patterns of the fashionable dress of the period.”


I love collecting them in part to match patterns of extant garments to work out how well they were used the time.

And there are some books that I look at and just sigh in bliss because I can tell from one page just how well the test pattern and the approach will work in general.

I really want to do this a series- one mannequin all the systems. Because you should not have to rely on be the idealised body type for a system to work..

But I also collect all the patents of the pattern tools (one even in 2004!) So I’m pondering if I could make one.

There are some rules in the tailor manuals after all (actually, all rules, not much freedom.)

I think I can do this. But I think my blend of drape and draft works well.

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I’ve been trying to accept that the stress right now has a direct impact on what I can do. I had a few days where I could Do and it was great.

The problem is that stretches between good days is getting longer. While not as full of days where the kind of pain I experience requires a warning (no really, it’s like being in a horror) it is now harder to treat.

What that means is that any progress I make in good days can be undone in days between. I can ruin progress, but I also have to repeat steps in future good days that I have done in previous good days.

I’m not sure if that makes sense. If I can only sew a single seam in a day I still have to prepare for that. So the fabric may need pressing, the sewing machine threaded, or my thread and tools tidied.

I am now in a bit of a loop of more effort spent on readiness and tidying than on progress. To the point I’m also in that habit and defaulting to it as a kind of calming therapy, but not very well.

I can’t even figure out ways to leave notes for myself. But I think I might even have sorted that out.

For now I need to recognise that while I am struggling to even write notes I have actually done a lot for my two big projects. That projects on hold are taking much longer to get back to, but they are happening.

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updates- updates across the board

I managed to get to Canterbury Faire after all 🙂 And taught two of three classes and then had to come home due to a truly minor infection (from sewing, hand sewing, not even machine sewing) and so didn’t get to preview some of the Anne of Cleves context. I might have to do my presentation at the conference then get it into some SCA context 🙂

But I started that journey in part due to the so called Rule of Three that meant many of us my generation missed out on reproducing her garments.

The rule of three says that you need to find three iterations of a Thing before you can recreate it. Or that’s how it has been used, in the past. The rise of viral social media has pretty much erased that. I saw it really rise with cosplay and especially with the Star Wars costuming clubs. The cache with being the first to recreate (and yes, I have managed that and there is a lot of social currency that follows) has meant not many people even know this was a thing.

But it really was.

Anne of Cleves in her two portraits wears garments of a Princess of Cleves between 1500 and 1550. We have so very little visual depictions of any princess of Cleves in that time frame that this was always going to be an impossible task.

So I started there. I think I genuinely have enough for a dissertation of my own. It would be faster to do it as a Masters and then get all my appendices in that rather than try to find a Ph.D superviser at this distance from.. you know… the actual paintings and archives.

But I did get to teach from my iPad a quick intro to my basic patterns. I know what I know about extant garments and tailor manuals, but there is a lot of work to turn that into a really useful book.

I am centered on frocks. But will include some outer garments and can probably get in a little info on bifurcated garments and doublets. There are some fairly easy to apply fitting bits.

But again, I want to get my reference ducks in a row so that it has very solid but easy to read support.

So I’ve been collecting all my Burguen notes (I started transcribing several years ago but redrawing all the line art has been perhaps the most useful contribution) and found some rescaled line art of some of the Northern manuals.

But also so many extant garments have been described so i need to do some transcribing and translating to make sure I’m not missing anything. But some is really exciting 🙂

Meanwhile my cough has gotten worse so am in the middle of some tests (including stuff like liver and thyroid functions) and I’m hoping it’s something really simple. As embarassed as I will be if all of this is simple to fix it’s much much much better than having some nodules or scarring from coughing (as yes, that is very much a thing and scarring from coughing is very easy to do!)

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I have not had much luck with making anything for the last few years. Multiple health matters that ultimately lead to a deep undermining of my confidence. So I have started to work on a very fun project that doesn’t have much in the way of high stakes and it seems to be working.

I’m making a fluffy frock. This is my own term for a style of frock that appears in mostly Northern Renaissance art, in both portraits and historical or allegorical figures. There doesn’t seem to be a positive or negative connotation, and they are depicted with a texture similar to images that are mostly likely pleated linen items such as sleeves or aprons.

At this point I only have enough sheer fabric for the skirt and fitted but puffed sleeves and just enough to cover the bodice. But hopefully soon I will be able to justify 4m of fabric for the sleeves.

These figures are Judith and Salome respectively (the foreground figure in the painting could be Salome but the figure with the winged headdress seems to be directing the other two figures.) And both are by Niklaus Manual. Only the painting seems to use a fluffy frock.

It appears I have not created a gallery for fluffy frocks. So…

I’ve stuck with the very clearly pleated examples as they are treated to a degree that makes it clear they are made from a fabric that is somewhat light and creases even in a pleat, possibly pleated using stitches and then pressed, then the stitches removed. This is not all I have in my files but the most clear.

Further to these are the images depicting very full sleeves that are finely or coarsely pleated, again in portraits and representative art.

There are images that depict either sleeves or full loose single layer garments in a delicate peachy pink (usually) but not pleated, so there are a few more leads to track down in that regard.

So far I’m using some medium weight linen to support the body and am using a cotton voile because it’s what I have and it handles like my sheer linen anyway. I do know that the different linens I have been lucky to have and to handle suggest that I could possibly simply starch this at a later date if I want to try for some nice crisp pleats.

I will try to match fabric if I can for the full sleeves as one of these portraits is of Sibylla, sister of Anne of Cleves. And I’d love to make that at some date.

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a new year

It felt strange to wake up today, in a new year, but any moment I feel at ease is a moment I let happen, and be thankful. So I’m looking at a day of gently encouraging myself to think about my projects with a bit more kindness and appreciate that they are not easy, but they are fun, and I have a really good base to all of them even if progress is stalled on some due to needing a few more supplies (tape casings for the Marie Antoinette hoops for example so I can store them safely between wearing.)

My entire North Rhine wardrobe is getting an overhaul, so they have been pulled apart to have necklines, hems, and linings changed.

This is being remade into this, a bit earlier than my now 1540s wardrobe but this fit and neckline is in range.

I have never gotten a nice photo of this dress sadly- as it is for summer and it’s frankly hot and stuffy and this photo is very distorted by whatever my camera was doing at the time! But I do think the tube sleeve look works. It will require a fair bit of careful planning for the lack of a CF seam in skirt and bodice.

This stained glass portrait may depict something else, and I seem to have dropped the reference. There are big gaps I need to fill in in this timeline to be fair.

If this seems familiar it’s because this figure is from the Quentel Modelbucher but was also copied into other modelbucher in other languages. I have all the copies of her, and other women clearly in dress of Cologne.

These tube sleeves are also worn by children of the same decade.

As I have so little of this red left I’ve tried to overdye fabric to match, but can’t. so I’m making the liste deeper (the wide guarding at the hem- often fur, but in some cases velvet.)

And my original inspiration portraits.

It is hard to tell, but this portrait definitely shows the list is higher than her knee!

And you can use the narrower guarding here to work out how high this liste reaches as well!

This gown is proving to be very hard to sew, I have used a very plush velvet for the guarding. So the entire skirt needs to be basted in parts.

And there is some piecing that may need to be very carefully aligned as well.

I’m also tidying all my accessories, and rebuilding my linen gear. I think I need to adapt my Lengberg chemises a bit as they do a lot already, but I think I can adapt them even further to suit my area.

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transcription success

It just needed to get rescanning and a different PDF reader.

I will webbify it once I have a rest. I may have to go A SWTOR-ing (Along The Mountain Track) tomorrow. Or actually midnight 🙂

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