so now what

After spending so much time with my files the last thing I want to do is spend more time in my files.

But I’m also not really up for making anything as I keep avoiding working with heavy fabrics and the Nordrhein fashion is nearly all heavy winter gear.

I do have small hand sewing projects though.

And I could use the summer as an excuse to make a fluffy dress.

So what do I mean? I mean the kind of dress that may have a normally fitted bodice but the sleeves and skirt are simply gathered not made with much structure at all.

This is not the same effect as is seen in the very finely pleated but very structured skirts seen from Westfalen through Saxony and south.

This is my favourite. Hanging sleeves made of gathers? I mean this is gloriously unpractical and yet really would be quite comfortable. I had initially dismissed this as a copy or of a stylised portrait. But it is clearly meant to be Sibylla of Cleves.

So much going on here but this is a perfect example of the softness of the gathers. They crumple. I get a very similar effect with my wool crepe dresses I made years ago. But these could be silk or linen.

And this one I think is by the same previous artist from the same region.

Isabella of Denmark.

This is part of a set of illustrations of women by Holbein. I think this is an example of the same kind of dress.

So now I am reconsidering this gown worn by Anna Meyer. The main difference here is the fit of the sleeves. They are classic two part fitted sleeves not a series of bands. In the full portrait her skirt has fairly deep pleat creases, like the illustration directly above.

Though really I should make a fitted chemise and finish the short chemises as well. I do need them desperately.


I managed to get through the 600 pdfs that were left over from my tidy up. These ranged from circa 1600 Spanish-French dictionaries to modern patterns.

I even found a few files that are of the Moulin Rouge wedding dress photos I took so hooray!

There are a lot of messy patches, but on the whole I have managed to declutter about 100G and made about 600G organised. So I definitely feel good about that!

I also put all my patterns in one folder, backed it up twice, and now I can work on the NRW files so I can work on my pattern book and research.

I do fully intend to work on the sticky stickelchen issue!

an end in sight

I have only 600 unassociated pdfs to go through now. I admit a bit of defeat in sorting my NRW archives and have just been dumping them all in the single folder.

health splat

I was doing so well with the B12 and then suddenly I’m not. Fatigue and pain and hot hands and feet all in the last few weeks before my infusion schedule probably means I am having a bit of everything happening at once.

still sorting

But I think I have finally, finally got a good system. I also have 240G of screen caps from SWTOR and Mass Effect, but I did manage to find and delete the at least two sets of copies of them so… my storage is a lot less messy.

At the moment it’s fairly easy but once I start needing to move pdfs I’m in trouble. I have three pdf viewers. One is super zippy but doesn’t create preview thumbnails, and the other two do but they load incredibly slow. And one keeps accessing far more memory and network than it needs. So… What I may do is see if reader number three will get me the thumbnails needed.

I do also have a backup of all my photos, my website (probably multiple times given I keep changing folder names).

On the upside I have now had to look at every single image in my stash and so refamiliarising myself with a whole lot of resources. Including some that I am keeping in case it will be of interest for others.

So that is what is currently keeping me away from my blog. I am simply moving the files I need to create these posts around so much that I need them to be properly tidied first.


Apparently I have stashed all my reference images on a harddrive. Yay. But I apparently wanted to keep them all in context which has led to folders nested in folders and weird mix ups. So it’s taking a lot longer to get them all sorted and backed up safely. What I will be doing is batch renaming files to make it easier if I ever wind up having to extract images from nested folders again.

Meanwhile my last purse frame has shipped. It’s literally a frame for my own sculpt over it. I sooo want the little lions. 

So cunning plan is to use steel Knead it to fill in the gaps in the frame. It is a bit heavy, but iron would be as well. But it really is not too brittle if mixed accurately and it does genuinely stick to metal. The alloy frame is probably about the same level of brittle so it’s a good match.

I’m hoping to have something that is functional enough to use and get used to and then be able to mold and cast more functional pieces. Ditto with a few jewelry items I really want as well.

new purse project: starting

So excited. I ordered yet another purse frame, this one is perfect in shape. Except it’s all holes. But this means I can use it as a base and use that super mega solid (and sticks to metal) knead-it to make the shape I want. And then it can be used for casting if anyone is interested in a) doing the casting in metal and letting me know what kind of mold is needed b) anyone interested in a cast so that I can pass the mold on to someone who can make more copies.

I couuuuuld potentially park out at a makerspace and do the casting myself in pewter. I thiiink I could do that safely. I miiiight be able to park at a makerspace and trade for someone else doing the mega hot metal stuff.

But the frame is almost bang on for shape and size. And I think that is the cheapie metal you can super easily file cut down as well. Will need to do so.


There is a Cranach painting where the purse has a gold tone. so YAY! Shhhhh, this is an allegorical painting but Cranach is very well known for basically painting princesses over and over again. His workshop probably produced more of that genre than any other. 

Note my wonderful pink coat at the lower edge there. Yes I take photos of books then promptly lose them in my various folders. Currently trying to get all my files organised. Super tough.

new purse project: inspiration part 3

So I finally managed to organise all the Aldegrever prints (there are three sets of dancers.)

Aldegrever was active in Soest which technically makes him in the Nordrhein-Westfalen area. Which is great as some of the features seem to support the use of Weiditz as there is a very strong Saxon feeling with headgear that is more of a blend between Saxony and NRW.

So three different types are present.

The first three are drawn with the ties drawn right up to the belt (gurdel). Then there are two that are drawn but have a separate tie to the gurdel (might be a circular frame? There is an extant purse with what looks like a soft frame.) And finally an arch frame purse that has hardware to attach it to the gurdel.

Brilliant! I can happily make an arch frame after all. But I may also make a circular/loop style as well while I figure out a way to really get the purseframe of my dreams.

I do have a knife case and set of mother of pearl handled knife and fork. I want to upgrade that as well as I used very recognisable filligree brass pieces to decorate the case! 

new purse project: inspiration part 2

So now I need to think about the body of the purse. To see if there is a limit to the materials or the colour, or the kinds of compartments.

The first of the following frames all seem to have the same style of arch. 

Archivnummer: 016173; Persistent Link 016173; Bildthema: Gürteltasche; Datierung: 1400-1500; Material: Leder , Metall; Technik: Lederarbeit , Schmiedearbeit; Objektart: Gürteltasche; Standort: Kempten, Bayern, Deutschland; Institution: Diakonisches Werk und Stadtarchäologie, 16262

This purse seems to have two main compartments and the front facing one has an additional gathered pocket the full width of the bottom half (below the hinges.)

Nurnberg GNM, beuteltashe mit eisenbugel, 1501-1600

This again has a fill width pocket across the front but this looks like it has two gathered circular openings towards the middle. There are several of the button-rosette decorations on this one, on both the body of the pouches and on the end of one tie. There may have been more on other ties.

Frauentasche middle 16thC. 

This one is interesting as it has that series of stitches in the flat area within the frame. It also has three circular pockets on the front. These are quite distinctive and can be seen better on a couple of loop frame purses. It also has little rosette-buttons.

Behältnisse für Kostbares 1500-1700, published in 2005.

Beautiful condition! With the button-rosettes and decorative stitching across the flat section within the frame.

Germanisches National Museum. 1501-1600. GNM T 4219

This purse has extra compartments on the inside but the outside has some fine line details. This kind of parallel lines are seen on both leather and textile purses.

Germanishes National Museum, 1501-1600 MNM T 2533

No external pockets, but at least two hanging compartments one rounded and with a strip to widen front to back the other flat and squared.

More rosettes.

Behältnisse für Kostbares 1500-1700, published in 2005.

Lots of great images for the closing mechanism! Also two pouches on the reverse, a different shape. I suspect that the suppleness of the leather is a very important factor in these and other shaped pockets.

Goat’s leather belt pouch with iron frame and 18 pockets, some behind secret closures, France, 16th c.
“As a status symbol for an aristocratic gentleman, this buckle bag with its 18 secret compartments was worn attached to the belt.”

18 compartments! Okay so obviously i now need to find some books.

Now that I have looked at the standing frame types on to the hanging loop type frames.

new purse project: inspiration part 1

I think my collection of purses might have gone missing. Regardless of status, missing/misplaced, I need to replace them for purpose.

And so off to the bildindex, the google, the pinterest (actually pretty good if you can reverse image search after) and I realised.

There are multiple extant variations of a particular frame. A frame I am now obsessed with. They do vary a bit, some have belt hooks, some have a loop to hang from. They are also used in conjunction with the hanging loop frames.

They all appear to be iron, as all the frames of this era, though at least one is tinned, so they probably were quite vibrant originally. 2488 A Renaissance belt pouch (money pouch), Nuremberg, circa 1600

Of interest is the view of the top of the arch showing a little of how the fastening works. on our left in this image there is a spring action closure and to our right what looks to be a turn- or it could be a dummy? But the small square on the opposite frame lines up so it could be a very short turn latech? But two different forms of closure would help keep this secure. It reminds me of the bottom of a laptop- one side can be slid open and the other is a spring that has to be held for the full length of time as you open.

Sadly I don’t have over 3K euro to buy one so let’s continue online window shopping.

The Museum of Bags and Purses
Posted on December 26, 2012 by Stacey Bewkes

I swear this looks like the body is replaced but look at those decorations, I’ll come back to that.

The Metropolitan has three of these frames! Dated quite widely.

Purse frame; Date:16th century; Culture:German, Nuremberg; Medium:Steel; Dimensions:Overall (open): 5 3/4 × 5 1/4 in. (14.6 × 13.3 cm); Classification:Metalwork-Steel; Credit Line:Harris Brisbane Dick Fund, 1957; Accession Number:57.137.17

Purse; Date:early 17th century; Culture:European; Medium:iron, linen, silk, metal, paper; Credit Line:Gift of Catharine Oglesby, 1959; Accession Number:C.I.59.30.3

Purse; Date:16th century; Culture:probably German; Medium:silk, iron; Credit Line:Anonymous Gift, 1986; Accession Number:1986.537.1

Germanisches National Museum. From Bildindex but I’m having trouble with both versions of the site.

Jaktvästa, LRK 997; Date mid 17th century; Medium chamois leather (Färg: gul, material: sämskskinn) – steel – silk – silk; Färg: grön,ljusblå, material: silke) – velvet – leather; Dimensions; Weight: 1,120 g (39.50 oz); Length: 470 mm (18.50 ″); Width: 425 mm (16.73 ″); Collection; Royal Armoury Blue pencil.svg wikidata:Q1636176

I limited to this particular lion head frame but I am looking at other framed purses to see what kind of compartments to add. There are a few extraordinary hanging loop frames in pristine condition to use. And there are other square and arch frames to look at.

The next post will be about the decorations and pouches as seen on the Purse Museum example.