Rosemary oil

Hello all, some of you might know that I really enjoy working with herbs. Not only do I use them for cooking but they make great beauty products as well. Herbs are so versatile!

Today, I am sharing with you an all time favourite: rosemary oil

It really is very very simple to make. All you need is a jar, fresh rosemary and extra virgin olive oil.

You need to let it sit in the window (in the sun!) for about 2 weeks before you can use it. After those 2 weeks, drain the oil and remove the herbs. You can cook with it, it gives great flavour to meat or baked potatoes. Gluten free recipes also benefit from the strong flavour in the oil so make sure not to use too much.

in the sun!

Another use is in the bathroom. It is a good bath oil for sore muscles. Again: be careful not to use too much to avoid slipping. Excellent for largesse, my fellow Scadians!

After putting together the herb and oil mixture I ended up with some leftover branches of rosemary. I tied them together and put it in the smallest room in the house as this makes an excellent toilet refreshener!

Bodice, 1573

This post is long overdue and I apologise. I seem to be frightfully busy and have, obviously, bitten off way more than I can chew.

The 1573 garb set is done, mind you! I will not share it with you here on this blog just yet, as I am presenting it soon at Drachenwald’s Midsummer Coronation. If you cannot attend that event, you can read and see the finished garb set next week here.

So here is the info I meant to share with you earlier. Better late than never!

You may remember I have the theory that there were seperate skirts and bodices next to dresses with bodices all in one. I have opted for the first variety: a seperate skirt and bodice. I am using the word bodice here liberally, as I have yet to discover what the word ‘rijglijf’ in English is, translated properly. So, if you will bear with me, bodice it is!

The reason I chose for two seperate garments is that in those days garments lasted a lot longer than they do today. To me, it makes sense to give a new bride a decent and brand new dress, which she would be able to alter & mend herself after the birth of children. Later in her life, when a bodice needed replacement she could still use the skirt, etc etc.

I have one picture, from a painting by Pieter Aertsen, where you can see a girl baking pancakes and her chemise is peeking out under her bodice, have a look:

800px-Pieter_Aertsen_002 - kopie

I was also lucky to find the last will and testament of a tailor in Leeuwarden, named Jan Douwes. The testament dates from the year 1560. It is, sadly, only in Dutch but it is full of garments, fabric and sheets he gives to family members. As I said, garments could last a very long time and could even be part of an estate.

Back to the bodice, which I started sewing a while ago. I chose a sturdy canvas as the inside. Canvas, written as CANNIFAS is mentioned in the will of Jan Douwes. I asked a friend to help measure me, that is not an easy task on your own.



The back looked very nice right away. The front didn’t make me happy…


At least we can say I was having fun!! Ha! This is similar (well, I hope…) to the many women you see on the Beuckelaer paintings, see the girl on the far left.


So, a new theory emerged: younger girls may have gotten away with a bodice with no or little reinforcement, at my age it is ridiculous. Also, if you look at this painting, the bodices seem to have some sort of structure.


I decided to be brave and contacted a student from the School of Historical Dress in London and inquired about how to do this because in no document had I found the word ‘bone’ or whatever; not even in the Douwes testament. I was told reeds were used, I was allowed to look at a photo of a pair of bodices and notices those reeds were indeed there. Sadly, I was not allowed to copy the photo. Only a few reeds if the wearer was slight and whole bundles if there was more to keep in place.

Back to the drawing board, bodice wise I mean. I started with the front plaque and created this out of three layers of fabric: canvas inside, linen lining and red silk outer layer.


I then started reconstructing the bodice, again in three layers: canvas, linen lining and brick red wool for the outside. Then it was time to be brave and add reeds… which I found but wearing them was incredibly uncomforable. Also, several reeds ended up breaking. There is (apparently) a special way of preparing the reeds, but I have no knowledge of that at this point. No pics of that, sorry 🙂 Now what? My heart sunk last month, let me tell you… How to finish this garment?!

Thinking I probably wasn’t the first to face this problem I did some new research. Breaking reeds must have happened in those days too. I couldn’t find anything, because nobody wants to document their failures and I took some emergency steps. Leather… yes, leather.

A little side step here…. do you know how the Vikings made water bottles? Out of leather! Probably not only the Vikings… Soaked in water it becomes very hard and stiff when dried. So, it was time for an experiment…



I added the stiff leather strips to the canvas and then sewed the linen lining to the inside of the bodice, adding hooks and eyes (all mentioned in Jan Douwes’ testament!). It was then time to add the brick coloured wool to the outside of the bodice. No blisters on my fingers yet…



Here I am, wearing chemise, stockings and bodice


It fits!! FITS! The leather works beautifully and is a good replament for reeds, which in themselves deserve further study.

Next week the complet garb set. Ava is happy again 🙂


It is time to do some major sewing and I really look forward to it, mostly because there are garments I have never made before.

The partlet for instance… I think it is the ‘grand daughter’ of the medieval hood (of which I have made quite a few) but this partlet is a bit of a weird piece of clothing!

Using the Tudor Tailor pattern, I began drafting from scratch. This takes me back to the days in the fashion academy where I was taught how to draw a pattern and make it fit to your own size.

This took me about an hour or so, although measuring yourself is always a bit of a challenge. The fabric for the lining is a light brown used linen, it was laying around gathering dust so using it for the lining of the partlet was a great new destination.

The idea of used fabric appealed to me, because the Alcmaer lady was believed to be out of town, not wealthy (given the state of her bones & skeleton) and you don’t wear your Sunday best going to war, right? Right!

For the outer layer I also used a bit of left over black wool, not perfect black but a bit faded. Again, in my opinion, excellent for the look I mean to recreate.

Incidentally, this is by far the weirdest item of clothing I have ever sewn! Where is the bottom? Where are the sleeves? Great fun 😀 and I am very happy with the results!

The closure under the arms is done by black lace and I am quite pleased with the general look. I am modelling the partlet here on a 14th century underdress and it looks a bit roomy, but I am still making the proper chemise for the era and the kirtle. I can adjust it a bit later and I am still adding the gorgeous silver clasps… which makes it my Sunday best after all, I am afraid…


Progress on my 1573 Alcmaer lady

It has been a bit quiet around my Golden Egg project. At least, you didn’t see much of it here on the blog.

With some members of the Uylenburgh household we organised a really fun cooking event called Serve It Forth and so that took a lot of my time, but also just thinking about the project and looking for patterns took time but that isn’t something you can find in an actual blogpost.

So, where am I at the moment with the sewing project? My last blogpost dates from October 17, 2018. It was at a time when I feared I was going astray with this project and I felt I wasn’t staying true to the real Brecht van Alcmaer, whose remains were found next to my old school. I felt I was making her too rich, by looking at regional traditional dress, see here. Fabulous and worth looking into but not right now.

All those fancy items weren’t found in Brecht’s grave. Moreover, the museum Huis van Hilde has information that the location of her burial site, was a mass grave for people who did help fight the Spaniards and their siege, yes, but were nonetheless people from outside the city.

So, I was a bit stuck and that is nothing to be ashamed of. Back to the drawing board. What do we know about Brecht? I wrote most about her in my first post on this project, see here and that is what I have decided to stick to and I am keeping it simple. After all, that is what the archaeologists believe she was: a simple but heroic woman.

To this day I have made one apron and I received one as a gift. I have a pair of black stockings (very old and will be used here in their round 2) and I made a pair of seperate sleeves.



800px-Joachim_Beuckelaer_(ca.1530-_ca.1573)_-_Allegorie_van_de_onvoorzichtigheid_-_MAS_30-05-2012_14-16-58 - kopie

This is a detail from a painting called “Allegory of Carelessness” by Joachim de Beukelaer (taken from Wikipedia), you can see the black stockings the lady is wearing.


Comfy & black

I am in the middle of drawing patterns for the kirtle and the fabric for both chemise and partlet are cut; I am using patterns from the Tudor Tailor, a book known to most of you I am sure.

These are the items I can cross off my list (and yes, I am aware I still have a lot to do):

  • linen chemise
  • stockings
  • kirtle
  • apron
  • partlet
  • seperate sleeves
  • (and hopefully shoes)




IMG-20190224-WA0005.jpgThere’s a dish in the Netherlands called ‘Hutspot’. Hutspot is famous as the dish found in the Spanish camp in 1574 after the sea beggars delivered the city from the Spanish siege. It’s a mythical dish that everybody knows, but what’s in it is a bit of a guess. The pot survived and can be seen in the Lakenhal museum. The contents of the pot is a bit more complicated, nobody made an accurate record of the contents.

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De Slag bij Hastings (1066), in borduursteken en dichtwoorden

The Animated Bayeux Tapestry

‘Tapijt van Bayeux’, borduurwerk in wol op linnen
Middeleeuwse kunstschat, en met stip
De beste oude, hippe strip,
Een halve bij zeventig meter gemeten,
Is nog nauwelijks versleten
En na zo’n hele lange tijd
Nog van perfecte kwaliteit
Het is al bijna duizend jaar
Een textiele ode aan Willem de Veroveraar

Het is een historische vertelling
Een stripverhaal op bestelling
Naar bisschop Odo van Bayeux’ idee
Gemaakt in een Engels borduuratelier
Of door Mathilde en haar vriendinnen
Opdat haar man Willem de troon kon winnen

Willem had pretenties op de Engelse troon
Want Koning Eduard had geen zoon
Hij wilde graag dat na zijn sterven
Willem de Engelse troon zou erven

Het was dus echt niet naar behoren
Dat Harold, die zelfs had gezworen
Afstand te doen van zijn recht op de troon
Zich toch liet kronen, in eigen persoon.

Willem liet niet met zich spotten:
Die Harold moest nu snel oprotten
Op hoge toon zei hij ‘Adieu’
En vertrok met een grote vloot uit Bayeux

Harold had net in het noorden die blagen
Van Vikingen definitief verslagen
Hij trok daarna met wat boerenluiden
Met gezwinde spoed naar Hastings, in ’t zuiden

Die boeren mochten, Harold: remember,
De oogst binnenhalen in ’t eind van september
Dat stond geschreven in de Engelse wet
En zo stuitte Willem op weinig verzet

Dat was voor Willem een cadeautje
En Harold legde dra het loodje
Willem werd rechtmatig koning
En vierde met Kerstmis zijn plechtige kroning

1066 is wel lang geleden
Maar nog levend in het heden
Het Wandtapijt van Bayeux
Is oud, maar wij zijn het lang niet beu
Huys Uylenburgh heeft daarom vele uren
In Bayeux-stijl zitten borduren.

© Hadewijch van Spannenburg, 29 juni 2018

Golden Egg Master List

Tracking the different recipes I’ve tried for my Golden Egg challenge. My challenge was to take 10 period recipes and convert them from the original into a recipe that a modern cook can easily follow (ideally with tasty results). In case you don’t know the Society of the Golden Egg, it’s a group in Drachenwald that you can join by setting yourself an A&S challenge to be completed within a year. Once you’re done you’re a member for 3 years.

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