8. Footless hosen (Greenland D10616)

Being (politely put) short and on the stocky side, I have been dreading creating a pattern for hosen.  There have been a couple of attempts that have been anything but satisfactory (read: wearable).

In preparing for Kingdom University in November, I revisited Woven into the Earth (“WitE”) and companion Medieval Garments Reconstructed (“MGR”).  The last reconstruction of the second book (pages 138-140) gave me a simple, documentable solution to avoid fitting feet!  It also allows me to alternate between different nålbound socks and adjust for different footwear.

The original stockings were sewn of white 2/2 twill wadmal (WitE, p. 226) cut on the grain of the cloth (MGR, p. 140).  Interestingly, there was a loose strap lying next to the find, now lost (WithE, p. 226), which sounds like a garter, but there is no further detail available in this book.

These hosen/stockings are very simple to make.  Measure width of leg around ankle (F) and just below knee (E).  Measure total distance between these two measurements (B+C).  The last measurement is a distance between those two points where the calf swings in toward the ankle (B).  Two slashes in the cloth spaced equally across the lower hem makes it possible to ease them over the heel without tearing out the bottom seam.  I added 5 cm additional length (A) to allow the tops to be turned down over garters.

Remember to add a seam allowance appropriate to the cloth used.  These hose are cut on the grain of the cloth, rather than the usual bias cut of hosen.  Sew along centerline along back of leg, finish seam, and then hem the top edge and around bottom edge, just turning under a little along the sides of the slashes.

I made two pair, both in thin wool recycled from other garments.  The first was a usable ‘toile’ in a light beige plaid bearing in mind that they should be invisible under my skirts.  On the second pair (picture above, one turned down.), I added even more length to the top for a better turn-down.  My concern that they would be a bit tight and inflexible proved unfounded.

Further research: Find Nørlunds description of this catalog item to see if there is more information available on the strap/(garter?).


Fransen, Lilli, Anna Nørgaard and Else Østergård.  Medieval Garments Reconstructed: Norse Clothing Patterns.  Aarhus: Aarhus University Press, 2011. ISBN: 978-87-7934-298-9.

Østergård, Else.  Woven into the Earth: textiles from Norse Greenland.  Aarhus: Aarhus University Press, 2004. ISBN: 87-7288-935-7.

(originally posted to LiveJournal: April 8, 2013)