Drafting & Hand Sewing Medieval Hose || Historical Sewing


So it turns out I actually have quite a bit
of extra fabric, or, ‘cabbage’ left over from my 15th century gown project from a couple
of weeks ago, so I thought I would take this opportunity to make a pair of 15th century
hose to go with it. So I’ve never actually made hose before so
the process was a little but rough but hopefully you’ll be able to see my mistakes and learn
from my mistakes so you don’t repeat my mistakes. So I’ve included both my drafting and my construction
process in this video, so if you already have a pattern or if you already feel comfortable
drafting your own pattern, then do feel free to skip ahead to here for just the sewing
things. I found this amazing pattern from a pair of
nun’s stockings in the sixth volume of the UK Costume Society’s costume journal, the
shapes of which still reflect 15th century construction styles, and so I used this as
a bit of reference, along with notes on archaeological finds from my old friend, the Museum of London,
which I know I’ve referenced incessantly in my previous videos. First thing’s first is to take some measurements. Okay, quite a lot of measurements. I know it seems like there can’t possibly
be that many places to measure on a single leg but trust me, they’re all necessary. Start by drawing a single vertical line in
the middle of a large piece of paper, the length of the measurement from your knee to
the floor. This will also be your center line. The bottom horizontal line is an arbitrary
length. It’s just meant to denote where the floor
line is. On the top horizontal line, mark out the length
of the knee circumference, with the center line sitting right at the middle of that number. I think this is fairly standard, but 2 inches
below the knee line should be the under knee point. Draw another horizontal line at this point,
measuring the circumference of the under knee. Subtract the knee-to-floor measurement from
knee-to-ankle to determine how far from the floor line to measure up for the ankle line. Then draw another horizontal line measuring
the circumference of the ankle. Now just for the calf line. You can make this less complicated than I
have by just using your knee-to-calf measurement and measuring down from your knee line, instead
of subtracting to find the floor up equivalent. Again, the line should measure the circumference
of the widest point of the calf. Now it’s simply a measure of connecting the
dots from knee to ankle. I’ll only do this on one side, then fold it
in half when cutting out so that both sides are symmetrical. Now for the foot. From the ankle line, measure down the length
from ankle to toe over the top of the foot. This line will be the ‘toe bridge’, or the
widest part of the foot. Find the position of this by measuring from
the end of the toes. Then draw a line the length of the measurement
taken over the top of this toe bridge. Not the full circumference, since we’ll be
drafting a separate piece to cover the sole of the foot. On the ankle line, mark out the end points
for the measurements taken over the arch of the foot. Again, this shouldn’t be a circumference,
since the sole piece will cover the space under the foot. Although I’m a bit uncertain about this particular
step: you’ll see in the finished clip that I ended up with quite an excess of fabric
at the ankle, which I’m not sure is supposed to be there, and may be due to some faulty
placements of these measurements. But moving on! Draw straight vertical lines connecting these
two foot points, and a French curve will help to draw the curves at the end of the toe. Now just to draw the tabs that go round the
back of the heel. The angle here is arbitrary. I just wanted there to be enough room for
seam allowance between these and the foot tab, but they shouldn’t be terribly far out. I’m just extending these around 3/4 of an
inch below the floor line from the ankle, though this ended up being slightly too much,
so I’d recommend 3/8 to 1/2 of an inch instead. And these just get a nice curve at the end. And here is what I have so far. Are you hopelessly confused yet? I’m just cutting this part out, folding it
in half to do the symmetry thing I was talking about earlier. The sole pieces are much simpler, I promise. I’m trading off the foot tab onto a new sheet
of paper, making some little balance marks where the floor and toe bridge lines are,
as well as the center line. This is going to be too wide, since the foot
tab is measured to go over the three-dimensional shape of the foot instead of the flat sole,
but I’m planning to fit it properly into place on the toile, which I decided was a necessary
step into figuring out this foreign sort of geometry. Now I’ve drawn a horizontal line 1/4 of an
inch above the tops of the traced lines, though I can’t recall why I’ve done that and I’m
not sure that was even necessary. Then with the French curve again, I’m just
marking out the wing bits that will come up the sides of the ankle. Retrospective tip: these were definitely a
bit too wide. Now it’s time to test out this pattern and
to see if it actually works. Using some plain, cheap muslin, I’ve cut out
the pieces and stitched the leg piece up center back, then put it on. I’m then pinning the sole piece directly according
to the shape of my foot. There was quite a bit of taking in that needed
to be done, especially round the ankle parts, which suggests that perhaps my drafting method
could use a bit of refining. Be sure to trace over your pin lines on all
pieces with a bit of pencil to be sure that you can find your alterations once the pins
are removed. Then the stocking can be unpicked so you can
see your new and improved pattern piece. I’m cutting directly on my new pencil lines
so that I can use these shapes to make alterations to my original pattern. Another retrospective tip: you may wish to
round off the heel curve a bit more. Mine ended up to be a bit pointy in the end. Also, Drafting Me’s elusive instinct was correct:
the sole piece did need to be a bit longer at the top–though much more than 1/4 of an
inch. Now we can actually start constructing the
hose. As usual round here, I’ll be doing these Original
Practice: that is, using techniques that would have been employed within the period. You’re more than welcome to play along by
machine, but I’ll be demonstrating how to do it all by hand, 15th century style. The hose are cut out on the bias to allow
for a bit of stretch, since Spandex wasn’t yet a thing in 1450. I’ve marked a grain line at a 45 degree angle
from my center line on the pattern, which I’m using to measure out the piece on the
true bias, where the fabric will have the most stretch. Same goes for the little sole piece. Now I’m just marking out the pieces with a
quill and some ink, which you may have seen me do in the 15th century gown project. And once the pieces are cut out, I’m going
to begin by stitching the center back seam from the bottom of the heel curve up to the
knee end. This is done with a small, tight backstitch
in undyed linen thread. It’s normally customary to wax linen thread
before using it, but for thiis 15th century project, I’ve had the smallest idea of a theory
that this might not have been done in the period. I was speaking with a colleague once who was
telling me of a surviving 16th century doublet, in which some of the thread had been waxed
during its construction and some had not. You could tell, as the waxed thread had survived,
while the unwaxed thread had disintegrated almost entirely. When examining archaeological remains from
the 15th century for this project, the texts and reports continually pointed out that garments
were “probably” stitched with linen thread, though none of the thread survives, which
of course made me think that perhaps this is because it didn’t have that extra coating
of wax to protect the natural fibres from rotting away. Just a theory, and perhaps a silly one; but
just something I wanted to entertain. Nevertheless, generally, waxing your linen
thread is a good idea to give the thread a bit more strength, as it’s more prone to breaking
when you stitch otherwise. Especially if your sewing project is something
you actually intend to wear, instead of just a fun little historical experiment. Once the center back seam is all stitched
up, I’ve just slipped the stocking on again to check the fit of the leg and to pin the
sole piece in place. Then I can finish the edges of this seam by
turning and felling. This is done by trimming away one side of
the seam allowance, then folding the wider edge in to hide all of the raw edges. This is secured with a felling stitch, or
whip stitch. Since this stitch will prick through to the
right side, I’m just using a red silk thread so it’ll be less noticeable. Then we can get the sole pieces attached. Once again, I’m just doing this with a backstitch,
and back to the linen thread. And once again, this seam is finished with
a bit more turning and felling. And last but not least, the top edge of each
stocking is finished with a bit more turning and felling. And the hose are complete! They’re secured from slipping down by gartering
them just under the knee. I’ve just used a bit of twill tape I had handy,
but from what I’ve come across, I think these probably would have been made from strips
of tablet woven ribbon or tape. These hose cut off at the knee, as is believed
to be the standard for women’s hose in the period. However men’s hose would have been constructed
exactly the same way, only reaching up to the thigh since their tunics were shorter. Nevertheless, the drafting and stitching methods
should still be the same. Just be sure to take a thigh measurement and
extend them up a bit. So that’s all for this video. I hope that this was maybe mildly useful in
your own hose making plans. If you want to stick around for some more
sewing fun, do feel free to hit that subscribe button. I’m always here experimenting with historical
techniques and I should very much look forward to seeing you around.

100 Replies to “Drafting & Hand Sewing Medieval Hose || Historical Sewing”

  1. I imagine the name "cabbage" could have originated by a frustrated sewer crumpling up the scraps in between tired hands and noticing that it looked like a head of cabbage.

  2. THANK YOU! "Hose" have been such a puzzlement to me. While I figured it could not be in anyway like modern hose… I just couldn't fathom what they were doing / using!

  3. Love your channel- certainly you already know that your content, pleasing, quiet voice, interesting vocabulary and natural lighting are one-of-a-kind on youtube. And I’m convinced, from this video, that you have secretly revealed yet another talent – fess up – you were/are trained in ballet. Your leg, toe and foot positions in displaying your completed stockings gave you away. Please tell me if this is true!

  4. As someone who hand knits socks this is fascinating and seems needlessly complicated! I wonder when the knitting technology needed for knitting socks became available?

  5. I made quite a lot of hosiery and even Ugg boots for my BJD and I think the feet look wide in this… I am no fifth century expect I am old but not that old lol!
    They look really nice though.
    You were giving me nightmares on the high window ledge with slippery hose on your feet…be careful!

  6. i was reading ruth goodman's how to be a tudor and she talks a lot about period dress, but one thing that struck me was that they made the hose from felt, this meant that when they got a hole they could easily fix it by tucking roving into the offending area and wearing it, seeing this video reminded me of that, strangely felting would have been quicker because no sewing, just lots of beating the fibres together

  7. I’ve just started historically accurate re enactment of the 14th and 15th century and this channel is such a good find! I’d love to see more 14th/15th century dresses! 😍

  8. coming from the video game sphere, particularly watching your videos offhandedly while levelling in ffxiv, it's almost got me wanting to take up "Weaving," "Leatherworking," "Carpentry," and "Armoring" to produce my own gear and kit for use IRL.

    considering no one makes a decent hoodie in my size, and cargo pants seem to get tighter every day, plus i hate all the backpacks i can find, it would make sense logically to make my own clothes. worst of all, all commercial/consumer grade clothing has stupid labels or designs on 'em. canadian winters are brutal, man.

  9. The ankles are a bit wrinkly aren’t they? I was of the impression(though I don’t know where I got it from) that they were supposed to fit as snugly as possible. Perhaps they were cut on the bias??

  10. If you're not using a super stretchy fabric, which wouldn't have existed when they made the pattern these are based off, you're always going to get a bit of extra fabric around the ankles because the pattern would likely allow for your heel to get through the narrow ankle, and into the wider heel area.
    Note: I'm assuming here, I don't know much of anything about the 15th century. I've heard things about people being sewn into their clothes, but I'm not sure if that was common, or just another thing like extreme corsetry, that is noted so thoroughly because it was unusual. (Or if it was even a thing at all, it might just be one of those weird fake factoids that made their way into "common knowledge")

  11. If I was one of the researchers who produced your reference materials, I would be so thrilled to know they were being used this way. You are just a delight.

  12. Nifty but personally it'd be much easier to crochet or knit hose! Although I do enjoy seeing you draft patterns, as I've self taught myself how to draft patterns because I still cannot comprehend standard written patterns, one day I'll get it! Oh and your tutorial on short stays is what brought me here because I accidently drafted something very similar recently to give support without dislocating my ribs, thanks for that video – I redrafted my pattern and came away with something quite comfy that I can wear daily 🙂

  13. The hose look like they would be very cozy things to have even now on cold and snowy days. Relax in front of the fire with your hose on, drinking mulled wine……

  14. Last weekend I fell out with my sewing machine in a major way and am not ready to forgive it yet, so I'm finishing the pockets I was adding to a pair of work trousers by hand! I'm also unnecessarily turning and felling the raw edges because of your bad influence. They look lovely though so I am quite happy to leave my machine in disgrace under my bed until it has time to think about what it's done.

  15. As a sock knitter, may I give a few suggestions?
    Good fitting sock-y things have @ 10% negative ease and an easy way to find the ankle hinge and other foot measurements is: place your foot on a piece of cardboard, trace your foot, and holding your pen straight up make a dot on your ankle, on either side of the trace. Take foot off the trace , connect the dots (this is where the start/stop of the heel turn is) and cut out your tracing. Voila! You have a foot to try! My foot measures 9 inches from toe-tips to heel round, and about 8.5 around the ball so to fit my foot the fabric needs to be @ 8.09 in by 7.85 in.

    I hope this helps someone keep from getting Bad Sock Syndrome.

  16. This is great, thank you for this! So many people in the historical armor community seem to be afraid of sewing their own historical clothes, but this is a lovely and easy to follow video that I think will help them a lot

  17. Very interesting design! I am currently making a 14th century Scottish male peasants' Hoes, and the template I am working off has a separate foot piece from just beyond the ankle, which is so far proving troublesome for me. Great video, I just wish my technique was as good as yours!

  18. If i do make that Merida cosplay, do i want to be this thorough in the faux-historically correct department? Decisions, decisions…

  19. Ugh it's going to take me hours just to digest the measuring and drafting portion of this project, and I can't wait!

  20. I'm so far behind. This was a year ago, and I so would like you to know that I watched.
    This is a true history lesson. I thought hose were always knitted. I had no idea they were made as gloves may have been made. Did men were leather such
    hose? Needing more protection in the field?
    Mind blown, wow😁

  21. Alas the Museum of London shop link is bad. I so wish I had their books on Medieval accessories. I never knew what "chausses" were until today in my 66th year. The French word for socks is "chaussettes", literally "little chausses".

  22. Oh, my. How bold, modeling your hosen in just your shift, you saucy woman. (LOL)
    Nice job! Love how they turned out. Can you define, though, where exactly is "Under Knee" as opposed to knee?

  23. Tried to make some but can't figure out how to make the calf and ankle fitted but get the heel through to the bottom of the hose. Ow. You did inspire me to try though!

  24. I feel so proud of myself. Today I tried your technique of felling the seams to hide the raw edges. Not only that but I did it on a large piece of tarpaulin (woven plastic) and the results were astoundingly good. Thank you for teaching me how to do this technique.

  25. I love your videos, but you often talk way too fast. I have to slow down the playback speed (.75.) to fully understand all the information (does any other viewer do this?).Just curious- Do you really talk this fast, or speed up the sound in the final editing?

  26. Why would you simply not use matching three for all stitch work and just wear the bloody things inside out so you have the finished edges on your body and the dimensional seam on the outside?

  27. I found your channel about a week ago, just subscribed because I had forgotten to, but I’ve been binge watching your videos because they put me in a creative mood and it’s really relaxing to watch as I paint ❤️

  28. Might be a bit late since this video is now over one year old, but as I rewatched, I was wondering how common paper was back in those days. Would it have been used to make patterns? Were there such things as patterns, apart from older clothes?

  29. As someone who absolutely abhores seams in anything. This would quite literally drive my insane. I wear my modern socks inside out because I hate the toe seam.

  30. I’m hoping to make a not 15th century, actually, more like 1922 dress, and I just have no idea what kind of fabric I should use for the dress or for the mockup

  31. omg i saw on fb today a very clean way to tie garters, it looks soo nice and secure too! i hope this works >_< https://www.facebook.com/bunadtilvirkerne/videos/471785212980469

  32. The video is excellent. The bits with the muted audio are a little jarring though. I kept thinking my headphones got disconnected or that the video was loading

  33. So I've been following your channel for a while now, and because I am an introvert I've been very bad at commenting/interacting/all the stuff YT likes to rely on. I'm not a big sewer (I mostly just make one or two costumes a year for my children for World Book Day), but going back and watching some of your earlier videos is really inspiring me to actually knuckle on and make clothes for myself the way I've been meaning to for years.

    The way you present information and your experiences is so straight-forward and free of jargon that it's easy to pick up on, and to make what had seemed intimidating tasks actually a lot easier! Since watching your video I've made a point to go out and get things like a French curve and other tools to help me in pattern drafting (usually I'd get a sheet of brown paper and just….cut it to mostly fit around my children, and then pray!), and to think seriously about the materials I want to invest in to make long-lasting clothes for myself rather than continually settling for ill-fitting things off of mass-manufactured shelves.

    I'm not much of a historical reproduction person (I tend more towards the period-mushing fantasy), but finding out about actual historical techniques and methodology is fascinating, and makes so much more sense than modern pattern sizing and standardised shapes. I definitely want to incorporate some of these older techniques, even if it means breaking out of my comfort zone and learning to properly hand-sew first! It's always bothered me that I can't neatly finish things with my sewing machine. Time to invest in a little cushion to pin my work to I think…

  34. I've been wanting to sew a pair of hose for a while now. After watching you sew yours, I think I can take a stab at it. A good project for a cold winter day!

  35. 'The seam is finished with a bit more trimming and felling'

    I've recently started my own project and I feel this understates the amount of trimming and felling. I'm not even nearly done and I already spent multiple evenings backstitching and felling.

  36. Very nice music. I love the topological challenge of the entire human foreleg and foot. Tough sledding. A practical suggestion– I think there would be– should be(?) a cut at the top, perhaps on the outside. A V shape that would have some ribbon or a strap of material on either side, so that it could be tied together. As you've done it, it would be easy to make it tourniquet tight. Though a simple bit of rag is good enough for the nuns, eh? Up-marketing my ribbon addition to a few eyelets and a length of braid would be awfully showy.

  37. I thought about giving making these a go and OMG I had no idea wool would be so expensive, is there a cheaper substitute fabric that someone who may fail horribly at this could use?

  38. I noticed you have a very different way of backstitching than I do… I think in the end yours is more effective and efficient so I might try and practice doing it the way I see you do it

  39. I loved watching you walk through the processing of drafting and making these. Thank you!
    One question I have: Do you think that perhaps the hose should have been drafted with a more close fit, to give the hose negative ease? Regardless of the fabric, with a garment for the legs, movement and wear will stretch the fabric and loosen the fibers. For comfort and a longer lasting garment, my thoughts keep going to making these so that when putting them on the fit is closer to the leg. I am not knowledgeable about how these were originally worn, so I am possibly off era? Thoughts?

  40. I will make my hubby his Christmas stocking with this technique with an added white fold on top. I wonder if you have an opinion or history for or against this. Thank you Professeur

  41. I'm so lost with measurement going to quick for me fair play tho amazing work watched it all but still cant get my head around it

  42. As a knitter this got me googling. Apparently knitted socks go all the way back to ancient egypt and a sock is actually the oldest knit garment we have found. Its got pretty complex colorwork too which is impressive and probably means knitting was around way before then too

  43. One of the first things I made when getting back into sewing was my own socks out of a pattern by Green Pepper pattern company (can usually find them at Joann's at or near the pattern cabinet). The pattern is 3 pieces (back of leg, front of leg/top of foot, sole of foot) and it fits rather well. I machine sewed them out of cabbage from making my foster dog a fleece coat for winter (his poor breed is not winter-hearty at all) and was my first real attempt at trying to use up leftover fabric scraps from an old project. It worked out so well for me than 3 years later they are literally some of my oldest surviving socks (since I started making an effort to only buy good quality merchandise). I'm seriously thinking that I may never buy socks again and instead only make them out of cabbage. What a way to reduce my spending, use up cabbage, and get to carry beautiful fabrics I used That One Time For A Present For Someone Else into my own everyday wardrobe.

  44. Thank you for sharing some historical sock construction! I've been curious how to go about sewing socks out of woven fabrics, because there's so many projects to work on – I just don't have the time to learn knitting or crochet yet. 😉

  45. would these work in modern (but loose) shoes? and under modern jeans? i've been thinking of making my own 'socks' because im obese, and very very tall and socks just do NOT fit anymore (on top of modern idea of 'well made' is complete junk…)

  46. I find myself wondering if your across the way neighbours ever sit there watching you prancing around prettily in your period costumes thinking, well, there she goes again! Gosh thats a pretty gown. What has she made today? Are those red hose? My, is that an 18th century combination underwear garment. Or gasp that’s a Lady Sherlock outfit! You’d be such an interesting neighbour 😊

  47. Just love the way you did these hoses. Just love these and will surely give them a try once I find the pattern. Love from Ontario, Canada

  48. HELLO dear Bernadette I have a question for you
    What about rainwear from turn of the century? What can you tell us about that can you make a video on it? Umbrellas raincoats?

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