A pilgrim in a patched dress

I was flattered when I was asked to do a photo shoot a few weeks ago in order to make some nice press pictures for another reenachtment event. My friend Frida is organizing a traditional medieval pilgrimage at Gotland now in May. I really, really wish I could have joined in on that, I think it will be totally awesome. I saw one of  the pictures we did in Allt Om Historia the other day, but sadly the article is only available in Swedish.

In medieval manuscripts or church paintings you often see pilgrims wearing simple and comfortable travelling clothes, a shoulder bag, a staaf and perhaps also a rosary, like I do in this picture. Male pilgrims are commonly portrayed wearing a certain hat, sometimes with a big shell on it in front. The scalop shell is the sign of St James (also know as St Jakob) who’s grave in Santiago de Compostella in Spain was the goal of one of the most popular pilgrimages at the time. In fact, I think it is still a very popular goal for modern pilgrims.

Today I got the comforting news from the BoW organizers that there will be another chance for me and any other 14th century pilgrim prospects out there! And we don’t have to walk all the way to Spain – Frida will also be responsible for a smaller pilgrimage just over the day at Battle of Wisby 2o13. I’m so exited, this will be fun! (The details will be on the official web page soon.)

Remember the blue dress with grande assiettes I finished a few weeks ago? I call it the patched dress. I wore it as an under dress during the photo session and afterwards my friend Jan-Åke behind the camera took a few proper pictures of  it for me so finally I can show you what it really looks like on me.

Above you can see the largest patch, necessary as the material started to tear apart just between my shoulders. I don’t remember the toille behaving anything like that, so I just suppose I got bigger there since I made the pattern long ago. Everywhere else I think the dress fits nicely, slick like paint.


The belt I’m wearing is tablet woven in silk and inspired by a finding from the excavations by the River Thames in London. The original fragment is not much longer than 10 cm, if I remember correctly. It has little brass mounts on it, and I’ve had copy’s made, but I haven’t mounted them on my belt yet. The colours on the original is light pink and green instead of blue and green like mine, but in any technical aspect otherwise it is a copy, the measures are almost exact.

Because of the placings of the mounts on the original, it is suggested in Textiles and Clothing 1150 – 1450 (a book I really recommend to anyone in to 14th century dress) that it perhaps is not a part of a belt. It may have been a part of the structure that holds a spur on its place around a boot. But there is no way to know for sure what the fragment acctually was used for. And as there are other tablet woven belts preserved that seem to have been either plain, striped or patterned in some other way, I think this is a plausible interpretation.

I know that our perception of colours and our ideas of how they can be combined are a product of the time we live in now. The medieval man and woman had completely different ideas. But still, the picture I have in my head of some macho 14th century nobleman with pink and green striped silk ribbons for his spurs always makes me smile… 😉

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3 Responses to A pilgrim in a patched dress

  1. Pingback: The pathced dress | The official Battle of Wisby blog

  2. Pingback: The medieval pilgrimage reenacted | The official Battle of Wisby blog

  3. Pingback: Preparing to go hunting | The official Battle of Wisby blog

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