A medieval apron

Medieval apron sewing strap

A couple of weeks ago was the yearly flea market of the medieval reenactment group I’m in. I had told myself that I most probably wouldn’t find anything useful since most of the things being sold are the old used things that people no longer find authentic enough. Well… I was wrong. 😀

Besides finding a nice hand turned wood plate for one euro and a tiny brass mortar that fits together with all my alchemy props in the book shelf at home I also managed to find a cloak that I will be able to use on cold evenings. I will need to remove the collar it has now and put a tablet woven band to close it with instead. Besides that it’s a good garment. Maybe not 100% authentic, but at the camp fire in the evenings it will be much better than squeezing on thick layers of wool tunics under my dress.

Cutting apron pieces

Note to self – build that standing table to not have to crawl around like this on the floor while cutting fabrics…

Linen fabric for a penny

All of a sudden I caught sight of a piece of really nice old linen fabric. Another girl in the group had also seen it and after hearing the price (far too cheap for such a fantastic quality!) we decided to split it. Not a big problem since there were over 20 meters in total. So now I have enough to sew myself a new chemise, the apron I’ve started here as well as some private everyday garments. This must have been one of the best bargains I’ve done in a long time.

A simple medieval apron

So I decided to start with an apron since I have noticed I need one for the fairs when we’re camping. I’m quite lucky to have a dress in a material and color that is rather insensitive to dirt, but I still would like to be a bit more careful with the wool so I don’t have to wash it that often. It’s better to have a linen apron that I can just throw in the laundry when I come home (after soaking it for some hours of course, to not freak out my textile care freak friends).

Pleats on medieval linen apron

Simple pleats to make the apron more narrow at the top.

I’m sewing the apron by hand just like the other garments in my garb. A perfect way to get myself out of the house and hang out in my car doing something productive while relaxing and listening to some birdsong. 😉

I used an old 1940’s apron I have to figure out a nice width and length that fits me. I don’t have an exact historical model that I’m basing my medieval apron on. I have just gone over some manuscripts and seen that women of the time (at least a little bit later) often wore shin length aprons tied with a simple band. Basically just a rectangular or trapeze shaped piece of fabric with something to tie it around the waist fixed to the top. As far as I know there are no remaining finds of such a garment from the 12th or 13th century, so it will have to be a qualified guess based on illustrations from the time as well as a bit later.
Stitching the strap to the top of the apron

Sewing the apron to the waist strap.

About 50-100 years later you can find illustrations of aprons that are either pleated or with a pointy tip fixed to a clasp. I believe my solution with a few pleats at the top to make it fit better at the waist would be a plausible option for the time I’m portraying, but as said – it’s a qualified guess, not something based on a specific find.
Hemming the apron

Hemming the bottom part of the apron.

So far I have only fixed the upper strap to the top of the apron and started hemming it. But it shouldn’t take too long to finish this since it’s a very simple garment. I’ll show it again once it’s finished.

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Veronica is the founder of Hyperbrain.me. With one foot in the past and one in the future she takes inspiration from older aesthetics and ideas to apply them in updated form today. She is passionate about teaching timeless skills and believes that the world needs more polymaths.

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