Hello, today I want to introduce you to the first piece of clothing on my recently started journey – a replica of a medieval outfit inspired by a South German playing card from 1430. What began as a brief conversation about a visit to a medieval Christmas market turned into a massive project with a tight schedule. So, here we go!

My project began with the decision to recreate the outfit of the “Stag High Court Lady.” I started with the underwear to capture the silhouette of that time. Inspired by archaeological finds in Austria of a medieval bra, the so-called “Lengberg Bra” from the 15th century, I decided to transform my bra into a dress for practical and time reasons.

With the help of a pattern from Katafalk, I delved into the fascinating world of medieval underwear. The cups, jokingly referred to as “bags for the breasts” in contemporary terms, posed a challenge as they actually looked more like bags than cups. After making several changes to the mock-up, I was finally satisfied with the result.

Image of sewing with an antique machine using thick linen thread on white fabric.
Close-up image of hand felling technique, showcasing meticulous stitching on fabric edges, a traditional sewing method for creating neat and durable seams.
Image demonstrating hand-sewing a gathered skirt to a bodice, showcasing meticulous stitching for a durable attachment between the two garment pieces.

For the execution of this “medieval bra dress,” I chose white linen and relatively thick linen thread. Unlike people of the past, I didn’t hand-sew the bra but used my antique sewing machine. I sewed the main seams and was a bit surprised that my machine handled the thick linen thread so well, as I had expected the thread to break more often.

However, the cups had to be sewn by hand. A technique I learned from Katafalk involved sewing them with a backstitch and placing all seam allowances on the outside. These were then finished with a felling stitch. This way, you achieve a good fit and increase comfort since the seams don’t rub the skin.

After the bodice had taken shape, it was time to finish all seam allowances. The felling stitch was once again my faithful companion, and most visible seams looked historically accurate with it.

Once the top was finished, I moved on to the skirt. Using the whip stitch, I gathered the fabric to the desired length while securing the edge. This gathered edge was then sewn onto the bodice, with me wrapping the thread around the little bumps. Fortunately, I had chosen the right width for the skirt, so it fit perfectly to the bodice.

Close-up detail of reinforced sides with eyelets for lacing, showing sturdy construction and precise placement for functional and decorative purposes.

Fascinated by the historical technique used for the original Lengberg bra, I reinforced the side seam with fabric strips to give it more stability. Additionally, I strengthened the edge by sewing a looped cord directly to the edge between the two layers of fabric. With another, much longer looped cord, I will close the bra dress through lacing.

With the final step, the eyelets, I completed the medieval bra dress. Although time-consuming, the eyelets make the dress look historically accurate. Luckily, there weren’t too many of them on this garment.

With this replica of the Lengberg bra, I have completed the first layer of my medieval outfit. Stay tuned for further updates as we delve into the next layers of this outfit. Until then, happy sewing!

Drawing of a medieval woman in undergarments surrounded by sewing supplies.
Image of a woman wearing a medieval bra, showcasing historical undergarments with intricate details and design elements.


  • 2 m white linen
  • Linen hand sewing thread by Gütermann
  • Random white knitting yarn from my stash


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