I have it!

I’ve been struggling with getting the written documentation of North Rhine dress up in a format that is easy to read and understand and above all how to actually write it out.

I have a lovely stash of words and a great deal of pictorial information but there are only a few places where they meet with any real surety. 

I also have realised I am missing my ruffs, again, and sleeves now as well. I really wish I knew how and why. I am missing a heavy wool goller too. hmmm.

Anyway. I also found my cut shirt and I may see if I can turn it into a very short shirt so I can also make a fitted chemise to wear with it. I may even be able to make my gathered shirt short and wear it likewise. In the written records “gin” is used a lot, I mean a lot, to describe garments. It does seem to be a diminutive as it’s also added to names as well. 

I have also finally been able to possibly confirm a theory I have so I’m going to be also delving into that.

And I’m also going to copy the contents of my blog post to my pages as I think it’s an interesting article and I am worried that I’ll not find a way to use it in my articles side of this site.

I’m also still gathering information as well as tidying the information I have. It’s been 12 years and in some ways I am still in the same place and in others I think I have the opportunity to expand what is understood. 

Juelich sleeves as depicted by Christoph Weiditz

I have been trying to work out if Christoph Weiditz can be trusted for his figures of women from Juelich. These are a lot of figures with nearly the same dress and sleeve arrangement after all and this is not an arrangement we see in the Bruyn portraits of women of Cologne.

I decided to treat these images as if they are representative of what I haven’t seen before, after all the rest of the figures really do match very well to imagery we have of dress across Europe.

We have a wealth of portraits of wealthy citizens of Cologne and a few precious images of Anna and her family. And these fragments of information do support this position as there are marked differences in style while maintaining features iconic of the region.

I am used to hanging sleeves of this region being made from the same fabric as the rest of the gown and lined in fur- and indeed even a very very fine fur that is often depicted as very delicate and very short and a very soft and thin skin- sometimes show with the tails often not. Sometimes these sleeves are pinned back and hide the outer.

1557 Portrait of a Woman of the Slosgin Family of Cologne, Metropolitan museum

However this is not what we see in the Juelich figures. And Weiditz fortunately shows figures with sleeves of this arrangement in his own work to compare his own treatment of this kind of turn back.

In the Juelich figures we can see vertical gathers on the white hanging sleeve where it meets the  fitted upper sleeve which does not indicate that the sleeves are pinned over.

I thought perhaps the way the book was created was from sketches Weiditz created during his travel and then he copied those into his book, thus maybe he did not take note of the colour of the hanging sleeves. His first book has been extensively studied but not this second so I am working with a lot of assumptions here!

However I may be right, as the last figure (pink with black guards) is missing colour on her shoulder to our left. And the figure in yellow has some darker paint on her shoulder to our right which may indicate some trouble. 

However this kind of separate soft and hanging sleeve is seen all over artwork of saints and allegorical figures and it does appear in different forms on portraits of women.

Freiburg, Münster, Stürzel Chapel, Stained Glass 1528 (Hans von Rapstein, Rappoltstein) after design by Hans Baldung Grien (copy, original in Augustinermuseum.)

These figures are not North Rhine but they are of the family of the founder of the Chapel. And the female figure in the middle of the right panel is wearing an example of the loose separate sleeve.

1500-1510 Bianca Maria Sforza (during her time at Tyrol.)
Porträtt av Margareta Vasa. Oljemålning. Nordiska museet inv.nr 77238.
Unknown Master, German (active 1540s in south Germany) Gemäldegalerie

This is not conclusive obviously, however these sleeves are seen from the south to the north of the Rhine and so might be a kind of shared fashion.

It is tempting to call these “stoichen” after a term used in Cologne inventories as this has been taken to mean a kind of pendant sleeve. I had originally thought perhaps they were matching sleeves as the de Bruyn costume book shows quitely clearly little fasteners on several loose sleeves that match the same sort of detail seen on fitted sleeves (though they look like thumb tacks not pins.) I suspect this is still a term for the type of sleeve even if not a separate item.

But here we do see that a short half length sleeve not only was in fashion in the later half of the century but also it does make for a very versatile garment. Sumptuary laws clearly show that the accessories were a very strong indicator of rank and so were very important. By alternating accessories and wearing the skirt open or closed the one dress can be worn in many ways.

Short half sleeves can also be seen in paintings. The earliest I’ve found is on a child before 1550 and then on adults after this date. These all are puffed not fitted.

Barthel Bruyn the Elder (1493–1555)  Katharina von Gail and daughters, Louvre.

 Sophia Von Wedigh in 1557.
Porträt eines Mädchens

But what of the paned sleeves? These are seen on both figures of Anna and Amela in the triptych of their family, while the rest of their court ladies have loose sleeves.

Anna, Maria and Amalia

This last portrait is frustratingly difficult to find the original. It was part of an auction on a site that no longer hosts the originals nor any information about the auction, and this is a zoomed view. But there is a very clear paned upper sleeve seen here. This is from a pair of portraits thought to be by the Bruyn workshop. They may have been restored or they may be copies as they do not have the same softness of features.

The half length paned sleeve is seen in allegorical and religious figures especially in sculpture.

Of special note is the figure on the far left as she has the same style of hat Anne wears in the triptych. A different kind of cap is also seen on a portrait of the Countess Emeza von Kappenberg as a sketch and detail of the Xantener altar. 

JOURNAL ARTICLE: BILDNISZEICHNUNGEN VON BARTHOLOMÄUS BRUYN D. Ä. HILDEGARD KRUMMACHER Wallraf-Richartz-Jahrbuch Vol. 26 (1964), pp. 59-72. Note the braid is part of the figure behind her, also dressed in contemporary dress and likely another contemporary person.

The figure to the right of the group of three even has sleeves quite similar to the portrait of Maria (the mother of Sibylla, Anna, and Amalia.)

On balance it does seem more likely that Weiditz had access to images or people that are no longer represented clearly in the art we can easily access now. However elements of the style can be found both within the North Rhine and outside. 

Koeln style pages

Oh boy. I have been trying to get dates for a large number of image files, but I think I need to very quickly get what I have online as there are a handful of images that are stubbornly not at all easy to pop into my current folders as the dates simply to not match the style in the art. So I’m going to have to bookmark a whole lot of sites to come back to so I can do this fast start to my pages so that I can then explain my rationale for dates.

a bruyn portrait

Portrait of a girl, age 21 1522 by Barthel Bruyn the elder.

This painting has always been a bit of a mystery to me. It really does look like the work of Bruyn, her face especially but her dress does not look entirely as expected from Cologne, but it does not mean it isn’t North Rhine. 

Last year the painting was taken out of storage to be studied. So far fake aging has been identified as well as an understanding that the crest was added in the 19thC.

I’ll be interested to know to what extent her clothing has been altered, one element rings as untrue and that is the cuff. Not for being rather flamboyant but how the red has been treated- I suspect it is the other side of the cuff but might have been repainted over the wrist as it it was decoration. 

The paned sleeve is also seen in the Weidtz costume book and on the triptych on the figure of Amalia. But the specific style is straight from several Tom Ring portraits of women in the second half of the 16thC.

Interestingly while we are very familiar with the style of hat worn by Anne of Cleves I do have several instances of headgear that is very different.

Right now I am backtracking all my image references to group by date. So this is going to be a bit of a project but it is happening. This post has been brought to you by this search. I have a folder of a 215 images still to date, not including all the bildindex images that also need dates added.

But there will be a page on hats. Because they are extremely misunderstood. There are several forms and how they came about is very fun to track.

written works

Yesterday was a strange day. It was just weird. And I wound up resting for several hours.

So today I want to Do! Exactly what that is I’m not sure. I might just get the dowry information up. And check to see where my pdf of tailors ordinances is actually form and if I even have the file still. 

It’s not quite the same as making but I’m also really wanting to get my ducks in a row for the next frock. I also have a whole pile a fake fur to turn into a gown and I’m still not 100% sure on which decade to aim for with that nor what fabric to use. I have a perfect weight off white wool but that is pretty much used for the orders and I’m not sure how easy it will be to dye. 

I seem to have wound up in the 1540s with my gowns. My main trouble is in getting my skirts to be full enough. I think it may be a matter of some extra hem padding of my underskirts. 

I have just tried to do a bit of sorting and I’m back to feeling slightly overwhelmed. 


I recently won an auction for a knitting pattern book that I loved as a kid. I couldn’t afford every single Sindy but I had a few and so this booklet allowed me to use my imagination and imagine what the dolls got up to.

I think it was particularly great because the front page was a lovely long dress with ruffles and then there were two “business” outfits and then two disco outfits.

I lucked into finding it again. 

But I have been tidying because I believe I am missing one of my original Sindy dolls and I think I have a second hand Sindy ballerina mixed in by accident.

All of them however need some major intervention. Most Sindy’s only had hair as the centre part and around the hairline. I have my sleepy eyed Sindy that does have a lot of hair but I think my Sindy that was in the dress was my very special hairdressing one.

I was so lucky to have a couple of sets. One was the bathroom with working shower (well it was a pump but still) and very definitely had a set of hair styling. And the oven! I loved that oven. And I had the four bedroom “house” (not all set pieces.)

But I do seem to have lost one of my favourite Barbies. I thad three I really liked. Peaches n Cream (lost her shoes and boa but I still have her dress!) Tropical? (very long hair in very warm tones) and Twisty Curls.

I was trying to remember the recipe I used on my Jetta doll, looks like the MLP community has better sharing of cleaning of this kind of mold. And it’s coming up to summer so they will dry out much better now.

So either use hydrogen peroxide or Vanish, or acne cream

ahsoka progress

No photos, sorry. Didn’t really expect to get as much done as I did which was to use up the mix of latex and acrylic I already have and mix some more. I am so much happier with this final shape. It’s great 🙂

Getting the shape right means I can paint with confidence and correct any future blips. Once upon a time I’d have seen this weekend as a tough deadline but one I could sacrifice for. Now though I know that if I did pull an all nighter no way could I actually wear the darn thing. So I’m just doing what the weather is letting me do (paint and latex right now.)

new who quote out of context

“We’re all capable of the most incredible change. We can evolve while still staying true to who we are. We can honour who we’ve been and choose who we want to be next.”

This is wonderful. It is part of why I love The Good Place too. It is relentless in this belief. That we can always stop doing what we know is hurtful and change. And we do not have to discard who we were but recognise we need to adapt now.

There is nothing there that says this will be easy though.

And you may never ever find the world changes with you. 

I am dealing with this myself. I’m pretty sure this is where a lot of people will click away but yes health pulls no punches here.

I have had to change myself continually due to my disease. As a person I used to thrive on changes and challenge. Now they can be barriers. No matter how I approach them. How I approach things though affects my own sense of self.

I was 12 when presented with a complete change in perception of who I could be And it was a good change. Prior to that I was limited by what my teacher saw in my messy handwriting. They ignored my reading comprehension and ability in maths. After that offer though I could visualise myself in STEM. I was able to see a chance to become an actor.

So I chose both. I dedicated my schooling to both. Which meant never ever having a free class slot because obviously I had to do all the science and maths classes and support the theatre stuff with English.  And I also chose to continue to think about costume and art when it wasn’t supported at school. It wasn’t all about getting grades, it was about learning everything.

And when I was offered the chance to challenge my body I started stunt training. 

Oh I see all that now as privilege and I feel so incredibly lucky to have had those opportunities to think of myself as limitless.

I’m not saying I was not scared. I was scared a lot. I got some awards but the power of them and what they meant about my ability sort of never clicked. One of the downsides of being a high achiever in a community of high achievers. Self worth is complicated but it is built from within and feedback from the world.

Health has stripped away all the protections I had put in place to protect me from my internal conflicts of self worth. I kept myself busy constantly and always had something else I could do.

My diagnosis was practically immediate because of the severity. I was right at the start of a potential acting career and I lost it right when it was the most exciting and should have been the most magical moment of my life.

It took a little longer to realise I could not go back to academia though. My BSc would mean my chances at a Masters or PhD relied on essentially doing the grunt work to support research of others. This is in part because science is expensive and the kind of science I wanted to do required heavy investment in lab equipment. Equipment that was overseas not here. 

No one was going to risk their research on someone who needed a very flexible timetable.

So I threw myself in community work. And my costuming. 

The work just to have this post published? I recommend anyone who is passionate about sharing their work to focus on front end stuff. Self hosting is mostly back end not content. I would love to just work on content. Another series of barriers. I’m not sure I’m going to want to make a change I think I will have to, but I might.

However. Right here and now even if I can’t be who I was I can look back with respect for what I did. I am not sure I’m going to like everything about the future but change is happening. 

One of the problems with having known health issues is that it becomes the defining filter. If people are scared you may not be able do something they preemptively don’t ask you.

If they are scared they will make you worse, they won’t offer the risk but will instead protect you the way they know will guarantee no risk.

Having a new partner, new job, new home. All of these are expected and accepted as part of maturing. Health is too often viewed as being about willpower and so if health gets in the way you simply have not tried hard enough.

If I have to cancel it is because a key element is missing. That is the pin everything else hangs from. If it’s not there is is literally unsafe. Not uncomfortable. Often the solution is there but I do need it to be there.

This should not mean never ever trying, or just presuming. It means I have to be very sure, and then I can build up to it and prepare for after.

And often I am very scared of asking for that pin.

It might be financial.

It might be to have someone with me who can see when I am literally about to pass out. It’s fairly easy- I just stop. The solution is very easy unless I can’t reach it. I need to lie down and have some electrolytes. These fix 99% of the problems I have. Or at least let me continue doing the fun thing until I can get home and repair. And yes I do plan for these but people and the world are not predictable. 

Also, health issues do not protect you from “real life” issues. At all. There is not a special pass we are just given. And certainly none for life.

I think this adds to the fear in friends, even when all of this is understood deeply. Honestly though, I never begrudge that risk. I run the same risk doing my own health maintenance. 

I can’t not share that a risk sometimes pulls my health off balance. But I do try to say that it was worth it on a level of kinship. But I sometimes don’t because I don’t get feedback that time with me was worth the risk to those who helped. And then past experience is what filters that silence in to what I have come to expect. 

I start to erase my presence from those I think are being hurt just be being reminded I am here. That preemptive instinct is in me too. To try and prevent a future hurt to others.

And that is the loop I have been in for a while. It’s made more difficult to get out of as most of the communities I am in rely on friendship for accessibility considerations. There is a “just ask” policy. What it means is ask every single time even though 20% of our population is disabled and we should be able to have the system work for all of us.

I currently have that power right now in one community and I really dislike it. I feel that it should not be up to me it should be built in the system,  but fear of that being abused is really high, and we see this even in the public policing of who looks like they should have access to a parking space!

I have a very high level of compassion but who could just assume that? Friends. And thus the problem. If it’s only friends who know how to get that help within a structure with rules then that’s when problems arise.

As a community of communities we try to avoid people abusing systems for those who are vulnerable in ways that make it harder for those who are vulnerable. I mean it’s in the very word. 

So back to the quote. I try to hold on to this. Challenges are not always going to be immediately won and I may not even win at all. That is what a challenge is. It’s not about input and output.

still document sorting

I’m working my way through all my files. Images and texts. Also just watched the New Doctor Who. Really fantastic line in there that I think is very much something I have been pondering and might need to do a full post about. Maybe a post about how useful words of wisdom can be but how they can also fool us into thinking everyone has the same possibility.


SPeaking of I seem to be having trouble typing. Not my usual this now feels like my wrists are too low to rest. Might have to hunt out my little splints as the usual RA specific ones are too long to work with a keyboard.

Tingle tingle goes my left index too…. I’m moving my whole arm to get my fingers over the keys, I recommend trying this. This is an example of simple tasks using up many more resources when you have pain or degenerative disease, or disability. This one is simple. The amount of energy to move arms from the shoulder is obviously a lot more than fingers alone. But also requires all new coordination to hit the right keys. 

And I still have pain. It’s lessened.

ah fork, fibro

It’s so weird. It’s not what people probably think either. Pain isn’t one flavour. And today I’ve got a few going on.

Got the knife in the joints feeling (which feels like when I broke my toe and walked on it. This is in all my fingers and toes. It really feels inflamed and the classic RA test of forming a fist is tough 

My ribs feel like they are broken too, which I know because again been there. Not like the initial break like the first month.

There is pain in back that is touch sensitive. It feels like I slept on a rock. Touching the skin hurts. This one is very weird because that one spot is that hyper sore and there is a spreading muscle pain that is wrapping around my ribs.

It has been a while since this kind of pain. And because it’s now affecting how I walk (as I typed) I have had to change plans and back up plans and back up back up plans.