The Dürer 1490s dress

Dürer and Venetian, side by side. Here is my friend Clara


Research and Inspiriation

The dress is based on Dürer's Portrait of a Young Girl with her Hair Up, dated 1498.



Construction and Materials

This was my very first attempt on early German renaissance costume. Although I am generally pleased with the result, there are severel construction details one would probably want to do differently when more research has been done. This refers mainly to the cut of the sleeves and back panel, as I believe there should be some sort of pleating in the back too. I based this one mostly on a 14thC fitted cotehardie, with an front panel added to make the pleats.

A thin fulled wool was used for the dress. I tried to dye it olive green, but ended up with a yellowish colour. First I was very displeased, but I soon came to enjoy the colour. It is fully lined with a light olive green linen, as this was bought for this purpose before my dyeing failed me...




My first attempt on a wulsthaube (or is it a steuchlein?) was constructed with a cresent shaped roll padded with teddybear fluff. I sewed the roll onto a rectangular peice of linen that is pinned tight in the neck. On top of this a semi circular veil was worn, and over this a thin silk veil. The construction was easy and easily pinned into place, but the veils i used were too big and became very lumpy in the nape of the neck. The second attempt two smaller linen veils were made, edged in the front with a starched and finely pleated edge (sewn into place). These veils were much easier to pin into place without creating any lumps of fabric in the neck gathering! However, the Wulst and its mounting is under reconsideration and is going to be redone. Marion McNealy has an excellent presentation of one attempt to construct a wulsthaube on her website Kleider für eine Frau. Further Heather has recently started experimenting with wulsts and viels for her Nürnberg-dress! As soon as i find time I will upload a proper documentation of my wulstpieces and hair taping too...

For the second attempt I also tried a new way of braiding my hair. It was parted into two parts, the upper part was put into a pony tail and then braided into two braids which where intertwined and fastened with hair pins. The lower part of the hair was braided into two braids that were drawn up and fastend above the intertwined braids, letting them cover my ears and thus also showing under the wulshaube. I tried this several times with only making two braids, but without any success. My hair is too thick and creates a very unsightly lump under the wulsthaube.

A brown velvet goller was used with the dress for warmth. Maybe not exactly right for the dress, but I don't think it is too far of. Happily I have found a wonderful depiction of a schaube worn over a front pleated dress, and this will one of my next projects!

To complete the look, and to have somewhere to put things I used a long black belt, made out of felted wool. Fortunately I found very cheap, andrather period looking, small metal plates to mount on the belt (just about 2 cents each!). The Clasp is a very modern one I am afraid, but quite plain at least! From this I just hung a old velvet pouch I found in the bottom of my closet. Good for me, the satin edging matched my yellowish dress very well indeed!



Myra ©2004