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When it comes to braies.

  08.2022



During order processing we often receive from you various questions about braies and which of them will be the best for your costume. There are also questions about their length. In this post we will try to dispel any doubts connected with this garment.


You are probably wondering where we gain our knowledge from, as there's not much of original medieval braies left. The basis for our garments was medieval iconography. Numerous manuscripts present people wearing various types of underwear. Usually they were workers and farmers during their duties, but also enslaved women and men, who had nothing more to wear. As you may be aware, in the Middle Ages, besides the cult of saints, there was also something like devotional respect for the body - this is why you won't find depictions of the rich, rulers or saints with visible parts of their underwear.



Long braies

Legs of this garment reach under the knee and their openings have stripes to adjust their length and shape. Made of smooth, 100% linen of white or natural color.


Long braies are typical for an early medieval period, even up to the 14th century. They gained their greatest popularity around the 12th-13th century and they were worn mainly during work as an addition to or an alternative for hose. In this case, wearers made openings in the waist section for attaching the hose. Tapes on legs were tied in two ways:
- under the knees, adding some puffiness to braies
- tied to the waist (to the suspender belt or hose's holes)


In accordance with the former fashion (long outer garments, incomplete hose), braies were also quite long. They were worn by all social classes. They do not hinder the movement and help in keeping the warm during winter. In summer they were perfect for field work thanks to their fabric.


The most popular depictions of men wearing long braies can be found in the so-called Morgan Bible.


On Italian frescoes from the 14th century, currently kept in Palazzo Pubblico in Siena, farmers wear similar garments during their work.


Let's be honest. It's hard to imagine medieval camping in high temperatures with full woolen equipment and leather boots.



Medium braies

The most universal and the best-selling braies from our assortment. They reach from the mid-thigh to the knee, depending on a chosen size. They have no additional strings besides the one in the waist.


Typical for the 13th-17th century period. Perfect for an early and late medieval hose, as well as for joined-hose.


They came to existence with the growing fashion for shortened garments. Hose became more fitted to the body, so the braies had to change. They are shorter and less spacious, perfect for civil clothing and arming garments. Just like earlier, sometimes illustrations present these with holes in belts to tie up the hose.


Some examples of the historical sources:

The Bible Historiale of John the Good, 1350-1356
Grandes Chroniques de France, 1375-1380
Décades, 1370


Short braies

The shortest model from our offer, reaching only the upper half of thighs. Made of natural, breathable linen, just like previous models. Fastened under the belly with a string. These have slits on sides for better fitting to male thighs.

Typical for the late medieval period and later periods. Nowadays they are still available in the form of so-called boxer shorts. They have a very characteristic shape, fitted to the body, which is sometimes undervalued by reenactors. It's the best with the fitted, complete hose, and of course with pants. Fitted late-medieval clothing adjusts to the body in a better way and thus it highlights the figure perfectly. They are also more comfortable with armor, as they do not protrude from between the plates.

It seems that this model is the most popular in historical illustrations, so we can say it was more popular in the Middle Ages than now.


On the frescoes in the Italian San Bernardo church in Pigna you can find numerous depictions of men wearing short medieval braies. Paintings are dated to 1482.


Other examples of late medieval braies. As you can see, they were popular also among farmers and the working class.

detail from Polyptyque de l'Assunta, Pietro Sano, 1479
The Tacuinum Sanitas of Casacatsnse, pózny XIV wiek
Regnault de Montauban, 1451-1500


To sum up.




You should remember that historical reenactment is not only a passion, but also great fun! The choice of underwear is individual and one should not judge its length from the modern perspective.


And please remember that if you care for a full set of properly fitted and historically accurate costume, we can help you.


If you have any questions on this topic or you would like us to make a post on a specific topic, let us know!


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How to prepare a medieval camp?

  07.2022



One of the most pleasant activities connected with medieval reenactment and various LARP events is camping. It's a perfect way of spending time with friends and family, but also an activity perfectly aligned with the reenactment movement and - with the right preparation - allowing for a specific return to the past.

How to prepare your first reenactment camp? What is worth remembering about?



Which medieval tent to choose?

Tent is the basis - it will be your main shelter during the event. Remember that the weather likes to surprise. Reenactors have various needs as some of them look for a tent for a group, some look for a one-person tent, and some, like pilgrims, want a shelter easy to transport and assemble. And let's not forget about historical accuracy! Luckily, there is a lot to choose from.



Groups and families usually choose pavilions with one or two masts. These not only reach impressive sizes - sometimes comparable with a small house! but at the same time they are tall and spacious, and thanks to nearly upright walls it's easy to move inside them. It is also easy to furnish them with chairs, chests and other goods, making a functional room or a merchant tent.


Pair and individuals may be interested in medieval cones and Soldier tents. These models are lighter, easier to assemble, and much cheaper.



Depending on the character of the event, organizers and participants may be interested in some other specific shelters. For example, a simple linen shed will be invaluable during a medieval feast.


Medieval tents usually are available in more historically accurate linen version or a little cheaper impregnated cotton.


A tent and its historical accuracy

Dating and storage are not everything. To keep logical and historical consistency in medieval camp, the shelter should match a person using it. A king sleeping under the sheet between trees, as well as a peasant girl in bed under the richly decorated pavilion, will look not very convincingly in the eyes of campers.



Accessory for medieval camp - the devil is in the details

An impressive pavilion, may become useless when you forget about a few necessary accessories. Don't worry too much, as manufacturers usually sell their tents with a set of additives, so all you have to worry about would be a hammer and motivation for work.



Still, it's worth to make sure your set consists:

- required amount of ropes
- equired amount of pegs
- required amount of masts, poles and metal elements (especially in pavilions)
- other details like leather elements, wooden orbs and hooks for walls (also in pavilions)

So, do you miss anything? Calm down! We have some basic items in this section.


Make yourself at home with medieval furniture

Now, imagine your brand new pavilion. is already standing. You are opening the entrance, getting inside it and you see. an empty room! What can you do about it?



Depending on individual needs and preferences, ideas for an interior may vary. In our webshop you will find a wide range of wooden furniture and accessories based on historical findings. From our own experience, in the first place we suggest purchasing:
- a furniture for sitting (chairs, stools, benches)
- a wooden table
- a allet/straw mattress (as a place for sleeping)


As a complementary furniture, increasing the comfort of living, we recommend:
- a bed
- a bookcase
- a wooden chest


There's no meal without a pot

Traditional kitchen and meals from campfire are an essential part of medieval camp. If cooking lies on your shoulders, just make sure that around fire you will find these:
- a wooden chopping board
- a knife
- a basic dishes, like clay
- a metal tripod
- a cauldron
- a hanging grill
- an apron


On the other hand, when it comes to a common meal, it will be easier with:
- wooden utensils
- wooden bowls
- vessels (jugs and wine goblets, hand-made colored glasses, bottles, cups)


Purchase or rental?

Phew, that's a lot for one shopping, isn't it? It is worth underlining that we use high quality materials in our products and we work with the best craftsmen - this means you receive a product that should serve you for many years (and many medieval events and camps).



However, if it's your early steps in the Middle Ages and you just want to taste it before serious shopping, you may want to conside rental of items - even in our webshop.


Wiecej...

Custom fabrics

  06.2022



One of our missions is to use natural, historically accurate fabrics. In manufacturing of civil clothing we use linen, wool and silk. Gambesons are made only of thicker linen, while tents of specially impregnated cotton or properly adjusted linen.



Differences between linen fabrics

Have you ever thought about why various clothing made of linen has various features? It's probably because:


- fiber present in the yarn has different length, which has an influence on the final quality of the fabric;
- fabric used in your costume has an additive, for example in the form of cotton or polyester, which makes a final fabric cheaper, but also less durable than a 100% linen fabric.


In manufacturing linen garments we try to choose a 100% natural fabric. Linen is a fabric known in Europe for centuries. It is much more environmentally friendly in production than for example cotton, as it requires less water and chemicals. Nowadays, linen is used in making luxurious goods. What's interesting, this fabric is difficult to access, which also makes it more prestigious.


A 100% linen textile is much more desired by reenactors than textiles with additives. Linen fabrics are antiallergic, antibacterial and more resistant to abrasions. What's important, it does not electrify and high levels of hygroscopicity and breathability makes it perfect for the Summer season.



From our experience we know that to make costumes as lasting as possible one should wash them by hand in a temperature not exceeding 40 Celsius degrees, without chemicals. Linen clothing dries the best on a hanger, without clothespins. Later, when the fabric is almost dry, we recommend careful ironing - it will help in keeping them in original size. Please remember to choose a proper programme on your iron.

Every linen garment has a dedicated label.


100% linen products
Gambesons

Woolen clothing for all occasions

When it comes to textiles, wool is our favorite! Usually we choose one of high quality, manufactured here, in Poland. Woolen garments are slightly more elastic, but equally fitted to the body as those from linen. Wool, just like linen, also has a high level of hygroscopicity, it absorbs warmth and works well in Summer and Winter seasons - it can isolate the body from cold as well as keep the warmth under it. Woolen cloak is useful even during rainy days, as it absorbs moisture and keeps the wearer warm!


Wool has another important feature. As it is collected from animals, some people may be allergic to it. To avoid any discomfort, it is worth adding a linen lining in your woolen cottehardie or other dress.




Woolen garments also should be washed in a specific way: by hand (or in a special programme), in up to 30 Celsius degrees. Try to avoid using strong chemicals and dry your clothes on a hanger, not in the automatic dryer. To close the fibers, iron clothes after drying.

More about cleaning you will find on a label.


Woolen products with lining
Woolen products without lining


Plain silk? Or maybe brocade, jacquard, velvet, satin, or taft?

You probably already know that the most pleasant in touch and the most attractive historical textile is silk. It's also the most eye-catching fabric, often used as an addition to a richly decorated medieval costume. Silk is characterized by gloss, smoothness and softness. It is light, sometimes thin, but also much more expensive than wool and linen. Despite plain textiles, historical sources also present various patterned silk fabrics. Peak of elegance, don't you think?



An interesting, and equally original, option can be brocade - a textile with a convex pattern with silk thread in golden or silver color. This type of fabric was popular in the medieval period, even up to the 17th century. Jacquard, on the other hand, is thick and durable, mainly thanks to dense weave. It stands out with rich design and is available in one-color version or multicolor version. This technology came to existence in the 19th century thanks to Joseph Jacquard. Velvet is a cotton textile of plain or patterned surface. It comes from India. In Europe, Italy started producing in the 12th century. Satin is a two-sided fabric; on one side soft and shiny, on the other matte. These fabrics are characterized by elasticity, with a tendency to beautiful draping. Taft is dense and stiff, made of natural silk. What's interesting, it rustles and shimmers in movement.


In our assortment you can find some unique patterns. Such textile can be used in sewing a whole costume, or used just as lining. It is perfect for accessories completing a set.



Decorative printed linen

We cannot skip one more unique textile from our assortment - a printed linen. It's a linen fabric with a printed historical pattern on it. This technique was described by Cennino Cennini in his book from around the 14th-15th century.



In our webshop you can get a full costume made of this textile (or only as a decorative lining), or just the fabric for your own use. Interesting idea is using this fabric for making a gambeson - it's very eye-catching, but also historically accurate.



We offer 4 patterns of a printed linen:



Confused? We can help you!

If you are thinking about the choice between:

- our nonstandard textiles (sampler available here),
- or decorative fabrics.
let us know - we can help you by preparing a visualization!


If you don't have an idea for color combination, this proposition may dispel doubts. A glittering dress with black sleeves? A woolen cottehardie with printed lining? Plain collar and details? No problem! Contact our Sales Department and let us know what you need.



All visualizations were prepared in Adobe Photoshop.

More...

How to prepare a museum exhibition? A short guide by SPES Medieval Market

  05.2022



Our workshop has a pleasure to prepare complete museum exhibitions as well as single components. Although we specialize in making items referring to the Middle Ages, we are not afraid of other periods, like Polish Nobility, Napoleonic Era, Vikings, and the 19th-20th century period.


How we prepared the current exhibitions

In the beginning, there were two paths to choose from: we prepared a complete exhibition on our own or in collaboration with a particular museum (or other institution). The rest of the work looks the same in both cases. We started with summing up the idea for a project and doing research. Later, we discussed our propositions with the expectations of a purchaser, and then we moved to completing an exhibition.


First, we have to answer a number of questions:

  • how many components will the exhibition consist of?
  • how many of them will require a mannequin?
  • which of them will be interactive?
  • can we prepare dedicated museum lessons? in what form?

The second stage is preparing the meritorical side of the exhibition. All descriptions and components have to comply with the general outline.

Next step is making a team, dividing tasks, and preparing the elements one by one. This stage takes the most time. Depending on a project and its complexity, preparation can take from a month even up to a year.

After preparing an exhibition, consultation with a purchaser and finishing touches, we transport the order to its destination and help in arranging it on the spot.



In last years we prepared some bigger exhibitions "W rycerskim obozie", "Rózaniec i radlo" and "Sladami sw. Jakuba",

exhibitions "W rycerskim obozie"

exhibitions "Rózaniec i radlo"

exhibitions "Sladami sw. Jakuba"

as well as many single components, like historical clothing with mannequins.


What is the main thing in preparing single components for an exhibition?

Naturally, the base for making an authentic character for historical exhibition in a mannequin of good quality! It has a huge influence on the final appraisal of your exhibition. Below we are comparing two mannequins: standard vs properly stylized.


Between them you can notice a difference which you should keep in mind when making a museum exhibition. It's better to go for visible facial and skin details, and pliable body parts, because:

  • such mannequin looks much better and it is more similar to a person;
  • pliable body parts ease the process of dressing up, fitting a wig, and make it possible for a mannequin to hold something or take a natural pose;
  • the absence of permanent hair elements ease the process of designing a character and provides more options of corrections according to age or gender of a character;
  • wrinkles, scars and other elements make a mannequin more realistic and, as a result, make an impact on an exhibition and the experience of immersion, encouraging the viewers to enter the presented world.

Standard mannequins, known from shop expositions, are much cheaper, but they also lower the quality of a museum exhibition. Here is why:

  • usually they have visible permanent makeup and neutral facial expressions, and do not resemble real persons;
  • as hair elements are usually permanent, it's almost impossible to customize this aspect; even wigs easily fall off such head, even after using a glue which works poorly on smooth surface;
  • body parts are often made from plastic of different plastic colors;
  • low flexibility makes a mannequin hard in dressing up;
  • unnatural pose, typical for clothing shops;
  • often feminine look and body shape, difficult in making other characters (like overweight monk or muscular knight).

More on the criterion of choosing mannequins for exhibitions you will find in the next post.


Why is it worth choosing SPES Medieval Market for making an individual historical museum exhibition?

It's been several years since we started manufacturing, selling and renting replicas referring to the medieval period. We do our best to make our products as similar to originals as possible, but also functional and somehow adapted to modern times.

Our work is characterized by an individual approach to projects, with attention to detail. We are able to prepare historical exhibitions of various characters and in accordance with the highest standards.

Museums and other cultural institutions can expect comprehensive service, providing mannequins, exhibition stands and other elements necessary in professional museum exhibitions.



More...

Handwork is always appreciated - why do we love handsewn clothing?

  04.2022



For a long time our medieval clothing has been available in three standards of sewing: by machine, mixed standard, and sewn by hand. In this post we'll take a closer look at the third option, which is handsewn medieval clothing. To visualize the features of this method, we'll base on our latest special project - a customized, handsewn 14th century pourpoint of Charles de Blois.


The process of hand sewing on the example of a medieval pourpoint

The first draft of the mentioned gambeson was based on the well-known pourpoint of Charles de Blois. The change concerned the method of sewing and increasing the number of layers of chest, with the use of natural linen with a red de Blois theme. The project also includes an additional overlap on the front, behind the buttons. We started our work with great enthusiasm.


A word about hand sewing

Handmade standard means garments which have visible marks of using only traditional tools and methods of sewing. In this project, all stitchings in de Blois gambeson are made by hand! Phew, that's a lot of work - and this means that all handmade medieval clothes are in some way like unique works of art.



The most difficult part of this project was stitching the thickest layers. It's in the chest section where we used the Y7a type of quilting - but in a doubled version!



A few needles were broken, a few tin buttons stitched to the garment, and the project was finished in a record time. The final result was definitely worth the work. Let's hope the customer will like it as much as we do.


Coming back to de Blois pattern.

The pattern visible on the fabric is well-known by reenactors and LARPers. De Blois pattern was inspired by the characteristic gambeson worn by Charles de Blois. More on the gambeson and the 14th century prince you will find here!



More...
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