Peasant shoes

An annoying problem with reconstructions of the clothing of sixth-century lowland England is the lack of evidence for shoes. Leather rarely survives in graves, and we have little evidence of footwear before the seventh century. Did they go barefoot? Often, they probably did — Quita Mould notes that many medieval depictions of farmers and craft […]

Strike-a-light, firesteel, or pursemount

I wanted to make myself a new pouch, and that took me down a rabbit hole. The result was an artefact that has one of my favorite names: the strike-a-light. Anglo-Saxon pouches hardly ever survive in archaeological contexts, but their contents and their metal decorations do. One of the more common of these decorations, found […]

Designing a tunic for a sixth-century Anglo-Saxon

The tunic is the most basic garment of the early middle ages. It is also, however, one of the most challenging to research and accurately recreate. A series of unfortunate chances has rendered this staple garment almost entirely archaeologically invisible, and determining its fit, pattern, and style requires equal parts inference, guesswork, and experiment. This […]

Early medieval pillbox cap

I made two hats over the weekend! They are more than a little silly. But I suppose most hats are? The pattern is derived from a wonderfully preserved hat found in a settlement excavated near Leens, Netherlands, dating to the 7-9th centuries. You can read a detailed discussion of the hat (including a step-by-step breakdown […]

Turnshoes: from patterning to finished project

Turn shoes Step 1: Make the pattern and a fabric prototype [Materials: Canvas (or similar), pen/pencil, scissors] Create a sole: Spread out some canvas or similar tough cloth flat on the floor and trace around one of your feet. Try to be as precise as possible by following the contours of your foot very closely. […]